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INTRODUCTION The first volume in this series dealt with the history of the Bible, how we know it is not

just another book and how to get the most out of reading the Bible without being influenced by previous bias
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or pre-conceptions implanted by special interests and external influences. The second volume considered who God is, the Bible record of creation and how it concurs with science. Also considered in this volume is the main theme of the Bible and a host of definitions for bible words commonly misunderstood. The Third Volume explored whether various organizations and institutions which claim to represent God are actually in harmony with the bible. This volume also examines thirty five current foundational teachings of Christianity today and compares what the Bible actually tells us about them. This volume (Volume IV.), will explore the role prophecy plays in how we understand the Bible and what it reveals to us about how God views our relationship with him. It will also explore whether the churches and religious organizations of today truly represent God Almighty or whether they primarily serve other interests including those of the men who are in control. As with the three earlier volumes, a variety of Bible translations has been employed in this book for reasons outlined earlier such as allowing cited verses to be presented in language as clear as possible. Reason for this is to discern as closely as possible original meanings when they were written. This is a great aid for individual readers in forming their own solid conclusions, apart from doctrinal influences and the bias of religious institutions. Therefore, this book has compared more than 36 Bible versions, reflecting a clearer and more harmonious understanding as it addresses individual passages of scripture. Examples used are those which present as accurately as possible, Gods own view point based on overall scriptural and internal Bible context. For a fuller explanation of the philosophy behind scriptural use in this book refer to the opening introduction of Volume I. of IT IS WRTTEN.

IT IS WRITTEN
VOLUME IV. TABLE OF CONTENTS
[Ctrl + Click takes you to Chapter indicated]

CHAPTER 1. - From the BEGINNING TILL NOW, what does the record teach us?

page 04.

CHAPTER 2. ORGANIZATIONS, RELIGIOUS & OTHERS page 43. CHAPTER 3. PROPHECY and PROPHETS from a Bible perspective CHAPTER 4. PROPHECY and the MARCH of TIME Daniel, a prophet for the Ages CHAPTER 5. WHAT REVELATIONS TELL S US about those who claim to be Christians CHAPTER 6. CHAPTER 7. THE LAST DAYS / TIME OF THE END How do we know if we are there? PROPHECY AROUND THE CORNER The Second Coming of THE MESSIAH

page 94. page 133. page 152. page167. page 216. page 249. page 372. page 401. page 411.

CHAPTER 8. - BRIDGING THE GAP CENTURY ONE What a difference a day makes CHAPTER 9. CHURCHIANITY- WHEAT or WEEDS ? Where is Christs True Church today? CHAPTER 10. - TRUTH and its CONSEQUENCES Here and Now, for You and Me. CHAPTER 11. THE IN COMING KINGDOM OF GOD The only real hope left for mankind.

CHAPTER ONE From the BEGINNING TILL NOW,


What does the record teach us? Often it is only by taking a step away from the close up, close in view of things that we are able to get a better understanding of the larger picture. This principal applies not only to our lives on this planet but also to our relationship with the creator. Those of us living in this twenty first century are mostly focused on our own experiences and the events of our own day. For this reason it is easy to lose sight of what the collective meaning of history holds and what it teaches us. While this is true in many areas of our lives, none of these is as important to us as what it reveals about our relationship with our creator. This is so because our continued existence both as individuals and as a species on earth depends on our relationship with the creator. Therefore, lets take a step back and take a look at the historical picture of our (human kinds) relationship with our creator from the beginning of recorded time. That is, according to the collective time of man on this earth, and from Gods viewpoint according to a Biblical perspective. The book of Genesis provides us with both an historical and allegorical account of the facts God wishes us to know about concerning our relationship with him. Therefore, we may begin by examining important verses in Genesis which help us to see the history of Gods relationship with humans from his own standpoint as it is revealed in the 66 books comprising Gods testament to humans, known today as the Holy Bible. In the Beginning: The beginning of mans relationship with his creator is initially established by what is recorded in the book of Genesis. There we are given a number of scriptural clues as to how God saw his relationship with humankind. We are also told exactly how and why we did not fulfill his
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expectations. Genesis also provides us with a revelation of what he was going to do to correct the situation. By examining those important verses in Genesis which help us to see the history of Gods relationship with humans from his own standpoint and along with what is revealed in the 66 books comprising Gods testament for humans, which we know our current status with God. The Bible begins with what it refers to as the beginning. While most people who read the bible infer that this means the beginning of existence as far as God is concerned, this is not what the bible discloses. That assumption is based human thinking and does not take into account that what the Bible is referring to is the beginning as far as the history of humans on the earth is concerned. The Bible neither attempts nor gives any information regarding how God came into being. It merely provides as much information as is necessary for humans to understand what hiswill and purpose of God as their originator (creator) was in connection with their existence on this earth. In the beginning, is defined only by those events which would have an effect on humans. God Almighty already existed. It is also revealed in the Bible that other intelligent beings, (non humans) also existed. 1. He already existed - Genesis 1:1, Exo. 3:14, Isa. 40:28, Isa. 57:15, Psa.90:2. 2. Other beings with whom he had a relationship existed before man did. - Gen. 1:26. Gen. 3:4,5, Gen. 3:22, Job 38:4-7. This book is not about making arguments over what may have been or what is or is not scientifically acceptable to the modern mind set. It is concerned with what God sees as his relationship with humans from his own perspective, in his own eyes and according to his own thinking, as it is disclosed by evidence provided by himself in his own inspired word. The Bible provides us with some insight into how we might attain an accurate understanding of these things at Isa.28:10,11; It would be by means of building driblets of knowledge upon knowledge until a full and clear picture would be seen.

Isaiah 28:10 For it is precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line; here a little, there a little. JPS This verse indicates that the comprehensive picture would not be perceptible in reading one verse anchored in a single point of time. It would be through an accumulation of bits and pieces of knowledge from many verses over an extended period of time. When Isaiah wrote those words more than 2,600 years ago, he had available what is shown by later revelation to have been a fragmentary message, a partial picture. When Paul wrote more than 609 years later, he realized while he had a more complete picture than Isaiah had, the picture he had was still far from complete. Corinthians 13:9 For our knowledge is only in part, and the prophet's word gives only a part of what is true: BBE The same could be said in many respects of what we know in our day. While we have a fuller picture than Paul had in his day, the process toward having the complete picture continues. However, today, we have a distinct advantage over people who lived in previous times. Being able to look at a compilation of 1100 years of writings by 40 different men who were inspired to record Gods thoughts in writing, enables us to have clearer insight into Gods will as it concerns humans than was possible in the past. Today we have the complete Bible, both Gods Old and New Testament to humans. Also, we have the benefit of hindsight looking at more than six thousand years of recorded history. Thus we are in a far better position to apply the benefits of what Isaiah described as compiling understanding based on a line by line, here a little, there a little basis then ever was the case before. That being said let us examine what the scriptures as composite body of Godly information and what history reveals as to how we have fared in our collective human relationship with our creator over the years. In tracing the history of humans on the earth, we begin with a decision by God (Jehovah) to create a habitable place where we, as a sub species of intelligent beings would find a home and meaningful existence.

Isaiah 45:12 It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. NIV Psalm 113:24 The heaven of heaven is the Lord's: but the earth he has given to the children of men. DRA The first twenty five verses in Genesis provide us with a summary of the events which preceded the introduction of human beings on earth. (Genesis 1: 1-25) Then, in vs. 27, a statement of accomplished fact is made concerning the first humans on the earth:
IN HIS IMAGE:

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. NIV or as another version states; Genesis 1:27 And God made man in his image, in the image of God he made him: male and female he made them. BBE Upon completion of this creative act, God begins to assert what he expects of them and the terms of his relationship upon which their continued earthly existence depends. When it says, he made them in his own image; we should not assume this to mean that he made them to be as he himself is. An image is but reflection or a picture of the reality, and not the reality itself. Neither should we conclude that this infers God to be male and female. The only implication we should take from this verse is that he made man (human beings) in both male and female forms and that he made them with similarities to himself. The nature of those similarities was discussed earlier in It Is Written (See Volume I. Chapter 15, first subheading)

Upon completion of this creative act, God begins to assert what he expects of them and the terms of his relationship upon which their continued existence would depend. In the next series of verses we have underlined those parts which give us clues to what God was going to do for them in the form of beneficial action (blessings) and we have italicized those parts of verses which show what he expected of them in his relationship with them. Genesis 1:28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." NRS To be blessed" means 'to be favored by God'. Blessings therefore are directly associated with God and come from God. Thus, a person who is blessed will experience the favor of God and all that it represents in terms of their own benefit and well being. "May you have a blessed life therefore can also be translated as: "May you experience the favor of God during your life." The Hebrew word hd'r' radah {raw-daw'} Strongs; H7287,English dominioncarries a meaning of; to rule, to dominate over, to subjugate in the sense of superiority and control over something. In the dominion God granted humans, we can see elements of blessing and also an implication of responsibility to comply with his wishes in connection with that blessing. Genesis 1:29 God also said, 'Look, to you I give all the seedbearing plants everywhere on the surface of the earth, and all the trees with seed- bearing fruit; this will be your food. NJB Then, he switches from announcing what amounts to a long term blessing with potential benefit well into the future for them and their progeny, to speaking of local conditions and their here and now Genesis 2:8 And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward, in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. ASV
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Genesis 2:9 And from the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad. TNK Or as another version states; Genesis 2:9 From the soil, Yahweh God caused to grow every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. NJB The fact that the tree of life was located in the center of the garden conveys a sense that it held special importance among all the other trees. Apparently, uniquely, it had something to do with Gods way of providing life to humans on an on- going and continual basis. Meanwhile, the tree of the knowledge of Good and Bad introduced the element of choice as a freedom to be held by Adam and Eve. First of all, we need to realize we have in this passage an allegory, a picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. That meaning is partially revealed when we investigate the Hebrew meaning behind the word knowledge In Hebrew, the language of the original writers, knowing meant having discernment, understanding or wisdom about something. However, it also carried a meaning that went far beyond intellectual knowledge. The word was also used in the sense of knowing by experience, relationship, or encounter. It is in this sense that we can find Jehovah Gods reason for the prohibition of figuratively eating from that tree. Genesis 2:16,17. And Jehovah Elohim commanded Man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou shalt freely eat; DBY Genesis 2:17 except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." NAB With such understanding, Adam could clearly see a prohibition against doing or practicing evil. That prohibition became the single exception to an entire range of freedoms God had granted humans. It also proved to be a multifaceted test including their humility before him, their
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appreciation for what he had given them and their willing-ness to obey him as their sovereign. A test of this nature meant that he saw them as owing him obedience, respect and appreciation for what he had done for them as well as for who he was. This passage touches on allegory extraordinaire. I t begins with the expression Yahweh God caused to grow every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, and then adds two mysterious and intriguing elements into the Genesis account. They are the tree of the knowledge of good and bad and the tree of life. First of all, what do we extract from the early part of the statement? The existence of these trees is said to bring both pleasure to the observer and also provide nourishment for their sustenance. The fact that the statement describes every kind of tree necessary for this purpose indicates both variety and comprehensiveness. In this the earlier part of this statement effectually reveals that God had provided everything that could be imagined which would provide for their visual gratification as well as their physical well being. The two trees singled out which are described in the latter part of the verse have a different uniqueness in nature about them. Again, we must view their description as allegorical and look to a deeper meaning than the mere words appear to convey. God also spelled out what the negative consequences for disobedience would be for them (and in turn for their offspring). Up until this verse, no mention of death had been made. The provision was for life and the tree of life was implied to have been the instrument for the continuation of life as they had come to know it. They were, if they continued to be faithful, free of the fear of death which they also apparently knew about from their observation of the animal world around them. As for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, it was established in earlier in this book that the Hebrew meaning behind the word to know includes experiencing that which is known. Therefore we must view the knowledge of good and bad described by the tree bearing that name as more than the mere intellectual knowledge of what is right and wrong in Gods eyes. We must consider that the meaning of that tree includes the exercising or doing according to that knowledge. When Adam and Eve were precluded from eating of that particular tree, they were precluded from
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determining for their selves what was right and wrong. Determining for them self what was right and wrong was acting in a way that exceeded Jehovah Gods natural law in how he had made them. He had not designed them to decide what was best, either for them or for the rest of his creation. That right remained exclusively his. Taking this right for themselves constituted disobedience and a form of lawlessness in Gods eyes. That is going beyond or exceeding his authority. This was an issue of the deepest gravity for it affected the welfare of his entire creation and not just them alone. As for the tree of life, we must assume this was either knowledge by which they might sustain their lives indefinitely or an actual substance by which they could accomplish this. They were virtually free to live their lives as they wished upon the earthly home given them, provided they did not indulge in evil. Evil being defined by what God deemed to be harmful towards them-selves, their progeny and the planet he gave them stewardship over. Whereas they were given seemingly limitless freedoms of how they could live and how they were to dominate over the earth and its other living species, they were not given freedom from the builtin human limitations God had created them with. They would continue to need him and he would continue to provide for them in fatherly ways all the days of their lives. This meant that the freedoms humans were to have in connection with the planet he gave them to live on must be seen as relative freedoms. They were relative to or dependant on staying in harmony with Gods will. This was entirely harmonious with the system which God had instituted for perpetuating the earth in its designed condition. If they remained in harmony with him and his will they could enjoy life on it forever. Thus we have a picture of the provisions he had put in place for their welfare. If they remained in harmony with him and his purposes, and were obedient they would have an endless, blissful fulfilling life in an environment which would provide for their every need. After describing the preparatory activity for this, the Bible relates;
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Genesis 2:15 And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. ASV If we read some bible versions such as the ASV we get a rather limited idea of what this verse says; merely that he put him there to establish some kind of an appearance to it (the garden) which he was to maintain on a permanent basis. However, when we examine how Nelson Darby and other translators, such as those who translated the NJB saw it, we see the additional meanings of Jehovah expecting a certain kind of activity in connection with his blessing and also a demand for responsible stewardship on mans part over the blessing he granted them. Genesis 2:15 And Jehovah Elohim took Man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to till it and to guard it. DBY Or as another translation states; Genesis 2:15 Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. NJB In Darbys translation, he recognizes that this particular act extended beyond a limited local application. When he uses the expression God took man rather than God took Adam or God took a man as others do. There was already an earlier implication that the things God spoke of in Genesis were spoken with a longer term application and had far greater meaning than an entire local application would allow. As we saw earlier at Gen 1:29, God was framing his words in the context of the entire earth and of a blessing that extended to all men and not just Adam alone. In their translations of Gen. 2:16 other translators also seem to be aware of the subtlety in difference between the man (singular) and man (general). While most translators, notably KJV, YLT, NIV, NWT and others did not see the extended application in his words to Adam, others did. In
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addition to Darbys translation, NAB, one in which the translators were told to go back to the earliest manuscripts available to base their translations on, renders Genesis 2:16 as a command directed to man (in general). We are left with the proposition that those words spoken to Adam at the time also applied equally to mankind in general. Thus they were recorded for future posterity It is true that some would see this as is a subtle difference but the fact that some bible translators did recognize the subtlety is shown in the NAB where in vs. 18 it uses the man singular and not man in general when it describes Adam. Genesis 2:16 And Jehovah Elohim commanded Man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou shalt freely eat; DBY Genesis 2:16,17. The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden 17 except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." After speaking of man (in general terms) the account switches back to Adam (the man) in specific terms. This is not an ambiguity in the original language. God knew what he was saying. The problem is with some translators who are not attuned to Gods thinking or to overall Bible contextual implications making assumptions based on their own ideas. 18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; aI will make him a helper 1suitable for him." 19 And aout of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the 1sky, and bbrought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the 1sky, and to every beast of the field, but for 2Adam there was not found aa helper 3suitable for him.NAS
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These Verses contain both elements of blessing and explicit obligations. When it say God brought the animals to the man to be named, it implies a certain dominion over them on mans part. This is a blessing to him Jehovahs blessings include a wide latitude of freedom to choose for themselves what they wish to partake of within the confines of what Jehovah has provided for them. The obligation comes later in the form of a single restriction to their freedom, with a severe penalty attached for either ignoring or disobeying it. Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him." TNK Or as other translations state; Genesis 2:18 And Jehovah God went on to say: "It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him." NWT Genesis 2:18 And Jehovah Elohim said, It is not good that Man should be alone; I will make him a helpmate, his like. DBY It could be argued that with the animals in subjection and all living things under his dominion, man would have plenty of help. However, God gave him a fitting helper, one not only a complement of himself but also made in the image of God. as he himself was. This was an extraordinary blessing for his pleasure and enjoyment of the life and home God gifted him with. They could live together on the paradise earth God had intended for them in humble acknowledgement and appreciation for what he had done for them. They were free to enjoy all the pleasures God had designed into the earthly scene under the Gods protective umbrella and security in a child / parent relationship with their benevolent creator. Genesis 2:19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. NIV

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To name is to distinguish the nature of something and to denote the thing by means of a function of ones thinking ability. To draw conclusions based on observation requires possession of an operational logical mind. To name is also the prerogative of the owner, superior, or head. Doubtless the animals instinctively distinguished man as their lord paramount, so far as his person and eye came within their actual observation. God had already endowed man with the art of communication, when he caused him to hear and understand the spoken command. By placing him in a condition to put forth his naming power, God could confirm Adams ability to reason and make decisions based on what his mind was able to perceive from observations of his surroundings. Adam, on the other hand, having received the concept of language, became himself the free and active inventor of the greatest part of its words. He accordingly discerned the kinds of animals, and gave each an appropriate name. The highly excited powers of imagination and analogy broke forth into utterance, even before he had anyone but the Creator himself to hear and understand his words. This indicates to us a twofold use of language. First, it serves to register things and events in the apprehension and the memory. Man has a singular power of communicating with himself. This he carries on by means of language, in some form or other. In this he bears some resemblance to his maker in the complexity of his spiritual nature. He is at once speaker and hearer, and yet at the same time he is consciously one. Secondly, language is a medium of intelligent communication between spirits who cannot read anothers thoughts by immediate intuition. The first of these uses seems to have preceeded the second in the case of Adam, who was the former of the first language. Thus God gave man title to and legal possession of the fair estate he had granted him, and put him in possession of his dominion over the creatures. God brought them to him, that he might name them, and so might give; 1. A proof of his knowledge, as a creature endued with the faculties both of reason and speech, and as such taught more than the beasts of the earth and made wiser than the fowls of the heaven, And, 2. A proof of his power. It is an act of authority to impose names, and of subjection to receive them.
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Genesis 2:20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. NKJ Apparently, from what we can discern from Adams later expression recorded at Gen. 2:23, Adam, in the process of familiarizing himself with and naming the animals, came to a logical conclusion that there was none to be found that could provide him with fulfilling compatible companionship or as a mate whereby he might comply with Gods directive to multiply. Gen 2:23 implies to us that this was not for a lack of desire or a lack of effort. Genesis 2:21 Then, Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And, while he was asleep, he took one of his ribs and closed the flesh up again forthwith. NJB The fact that God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, anesthetizing him prior to performing what we might view today as painful surgery, showed loving kindness and consideration for Adam on Gods part. Genesis 2:22 And Jehovah Elohim built the rib that he had taken from Man into a woman; and brought her to Man. DBY It may be noted here that God could have created a vast multitude of similar humans to immediately populate the earth, much like he had done in the case of spirit beings in the heavenly realm, but he chose to propagate the earth by a more gradual means. As a consequence; Genesis 2:23 "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken out of a man." NLT Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.
GNV

Or as another version puts it;


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Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. NIV Thus was introduced what would become known later as the institution of marriage. This is not to be taken as an incidental observation, merely the consequence of the woman being formed from the man. This was a mandate placed on them by God, the first one after being forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Its importance is further highlighted by Jesus words found at Mk 10:7 where when questioned on the subject of divorce he offered these words; Mark 10:7 7-9 On this account a man will leave his father and mother, 8 and the two will be one flesh'; so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God yoked together let no man put apart." NWT At this point in the creation account, we see evidence concerning the relationship he was in with humans as well as the blue print for their relationship with one another. Genesis 2:25 And the man and his wife were without clothing, and they had no sense of shame. BBE Here we have a verse which appears to have more allegorical than historical meaning. While the couple was without clothing and viewed that as perfectly natural with nothing to be ashamed of, either before one another or before their God, there is far deeper significance in this verse. In an allegorical sense they had nothing to hide, either from one another or from God. They had an entirely open relationship in both instances. As scripture reveals, that was about to change in a way that would forever affect their relationship with one another and more notably with their creator. Prior to the point of change the couple is in a relationship with their God that allows them enormous latitude of freedom for enjoying the life he had bestowed upon them. They are provided with everything they may need or desire for a long and fruitful life on the earth for them and their progeny. They have countless freedoms to live as they wish
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in paradise on earth with almost no restrictions. They are free from any fear of harm and free from any anxiety the fear of death was to later infuse in humans. They are subject only to Gods rightful sovereignty. He, as their father and creator maintains the right to determine what is best for them and the rest of his creation as well. This implies boundless freedoms within the confines of one basic restriction which must be observed. It may be described as relative freedom. Limitless freedom based on the simple fundamental prerequisite that the earths affairs remain consistent with Gods own standards as its designer. We have already explored earlier in this book why this requirement is necessary, but we will summarize again; The reasons go back to the very nature in which man was created. He was not created as a god. He was created in the image and likeness of God only in a relative sense. While he possessed some of Gods attributes, these powers and qualities were not unlimited as were Gods. Mans ability to care for the earth, its physical systems, its living organisms and his ability to live in harmony with his neighbor all depended on him being in harmony with the creator and the rest of his creation. He had not been designed to have this abilitiy on his own. He would always need Gods guidance to effectively maintain the complex balance within the creation in its designed mode. God well knew mans limitations for he had designed and made him the being he was. The way Jehovah God views human ability to direct our own affairs independently from him is shown in the following verses: From three different Bible versions; Jeremiah 10:23 I know, Jehovah, that the way of man is not his own; it is not in a man that walketh to direct his steps. DBY Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. ESV Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that man's road is not his to choose, That man, as he walks, cannot direct his own steps. TNK Also at;
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Ecclesiastes 8:9 I have seen all this to be so, having carefully studied everything taking place under the sun, while one person tyrannizes over another to the former's detriment. NJB Or, as other versions have it; Ecclesiastes 8:9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: a time in which one man ruleth over another to his own hurt. WEB Ecclesiastes 8:9 All these things I considered and I applied my mind to every work that is done under the sun, while one man tyrannizes over another to his hurt. NAB Mans autonomy exercised independently of Jehovah would breed tyranny on the earth and result in hurt to his fellow men, the other creatures of the earth, and even the earth itself. Jehovah knew perfectly well man would continue to need his direction for he had designed man that way in the first place. Adam and Eve understood the need to be obedient as did Bible writers in later days did when they summed up the obligatory aspect of their relation-ship with God many years later. Wise king Solomon wrote: Ecclesiastes 12:13 The sum of the matter, when all is said and done: Revere God and observe His commandments! For this applies to all mankind: TNK And the prophet Micah wrote: Micah 6:8 "He has told you, O man, what is good, And what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice And to love goodness, And to walk modestly with your God; TNK Many years later, the son of God stated these simple principals again when asked what God demanded of humans in these words: Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind NIV
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all

The apostle John defined what that love of God meant; 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. ESV The few restrictions laid upon Adam and his human families were not any handicap on their human freedoms. They were the means by which man could derive the fullest joy from living on earth while affording the greatest protection for its systems and resources. They were an act of love by God, in recognition of the intrinsic nature of a human being. A being he himself had designed. In order to fully benefit by the blessings and benefits God was providing his children with, they would always have a need to be attentive and obedient to his guidance. Thus was Gods arrangement for life on earth for Adam and Eve when they were introduced on earth in the beginning. They had been given a gift far beyond their own comprehension, one which afforded them blessings they would continue to discover endlessly as they continued life on a paradise earth. For this to remain their reality, God placed only one necessary condition and only one other expectation on them. They must always be compliant with his direction by being obedient. Additionally, as the sole source of life itself and everything they enjoyed in life, he had every right to expect that they also express appreciation for what he had done for them and respect for who he was. This appreciation was to take the form of willing worship as an outward expression for all intelligent beings to see. *There were present at the time of their creation other living beings, different in nature from the newly created human species who were inhabitants of another realm, not earthly but heavenly. One of those beings was referred to in the Bible as Lucifer at Isa. 14:12 where it uses a figurative type in the king of Babylon to gives us one of the only Bible descriptions of the position the fallen angel later known as Satan previously occupied and also the role he played in the community of Gods created beings.
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Or from another version with further information provided by vss. 13 - 15 Isaiah 14:12 "O how you have fallen from heaven, you shining one, son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the earth, you who were disabling the nations! 13 As for you, you have said in your heart, 'To the heavens I shall go up. Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting, in the remotest parts of the north. 14 I shall go up above the high places of the clouds; I shall make myself resemble the Most High.' 15 "However, down to She'ol you will be brought, to the remotest parts of the pit. NWT Lucifer and those "sons of God" described at Genesis 6:1-4 as ones who followed him in the ancient rebellion were already around when Adam and Eve appeared on the scene. It appears that Satan could only have indirect influence in the new world the Lord God had made on the face of the old planet, and was not in control of the power of death. In order for Satan to communicate with Eve he had to become incarnate in the physical "Serpent" that was in the Garden of Eden. It appears from the verse below that the "gods" (we are assuming here the ones who had not followed Lucifer in rebellion) had some access to the new world and were known of by Adam and Eve; otherwise where did their knowledge of "gods" come from? Read carefully: Genesis 3:4-5 "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." KJV It seems that the innocent and sinless man and woman had some familiarity with other beings they knew as "gods," They must have been some kind of awesome creatures to behold in their goings and comings; otherwise, why would the serpent use the idea of being like one to tempt Eve? This passage also shows that Evil was lurking there and that a clear distinction had already been made between "good and evil" (Genesis 1:4) in the new world, although Adam and Eve may have been blind to it in their initial innocence.
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Now as for Death, the Scriptures reveal to us that it was also present and dormant in the background of the new world as well. This is shown by the fact that Adam and Eve, although innocent and sinless, were NOT IMMORTAL beings. Since they were created from the dust of a temporal world, they would have to eat of the "Tree of Life" (Gen. 2:9) in order to have full physical immortality; else why the necessity of there even being a "Tree of Life" in the garden? And if, as Young Earth Creationists claim, nothing happened before Adam and Eve like any death or sin, what would be the purpose of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the first place? Genesis 3:22 "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:"KJV When the Lord God made Adam He made him from the physical elements of the planet Earth. Genesis 2:7 "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." KJV While Adam was a living "soul" created in the image of God, Adams physical body was made from the dust of the same earth which, at this point in time, probably also had the fossilized remains of the planet's past history buried under it. Whether the soil should be considered pure and undefiled is not of consequence. Adam was formed from it using the pure form of original elements that Elohim God had created it with. Although Adam was made innocent, without sin, he was not immortal at this point. Had he not eaten of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" his flesh would have eventually died anyway, unless he and Eve ate from the "tree of life" that was in the garden. The tree of life was only one of direct benevolent provisions by a loving father for his beloved appreciative children As we continue with the Genesis account something occurs that will radically change the relationship between God and his human creation. Another living being inserts him self in their relationship. He does this
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not in a recognizably straight-forward manner but with great subtlety and deception. A major part of the deception is found in the fact that he disguises his true identity by assuming the guise of a creature that humans would find themselves at ease with, a creature they saw as a part of the animal kingdom God had created for their pleasure and enjoyment. (We know from Gen. 1:28 and 2:20 that the human pair was already very familiar with all the animals that God had made and there is even inference that they may have been able to communicate with them on some level based on Eves unconstrained conversation with a serpent) We also know from Gen. 1:26 that God had given humans superiority over the animal kingdom. Therefore, there would be no reason to mistrust something God had provided for their benefit. We read further in Genesis; Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?" NAB (The true identity of the serpent is revealed at Rev.12:9 and 20:2) In reply to that seemingly innocent inquiry the woman replied; Genesis 3:2 And the woman said, We may take of the fruit of the trees in the garden: BBE An 18th century Bible commentator named Matthew Henry made this observation about the means by which this occurred. 4. Satan tempted Eve, that by her he might tempt Adam; as he tempted Job by his wife, and Christ by Peter. It is his policy to send temptations by unsuspected hands, and theirs that have most interest in us and influence upon us. That which the devil aimed at was to persuade Eve to cut forbidden fruit; and, to do this, he took the same method that he does still. He questioned whether it was a sin or no, Gen_3:1. He denied that there was any danger in it, Gen_3:4. He suggested much advantage by it, Gen 3:5. And these are his common tactics. Eves reply to Satan is interesting:
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Genesis 3:3 "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die." NLT From this verse, we are able to tell that Eve was fully aware of Gods mind on the matter. She restated Gods position accurately in her own words thereby indicating she understood what was previously conveyed to her either by Adam, her husband or by God himself. In response to this acknowledgement, Satan commences to paint God a liar. Genesis 3:4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. NIV Then at verse 5, he paints a picture of great advantage to her if she would follow his way of thinking and simultaneously insinuates a selfish motive on Gods part into the relationship they have with their heavenly father. Genesis 3:5 For God knew that in whatever day ye should eat of it your eyes would be opened, and ye would be as gods, knowing good and evil. LXE Or as another version puts it: Genesis 3:5 but God knows that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad." TNK From this verse, we are shown not only do spirit beings have knowledge of what is right and wrong in Gods eyes but that they may have actual experience in what they know, for the Hebrew meaning of the word know carries with it the idea of knowing by virtue of experience. Genesis 3:6 And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes to look upon and beautiful to contemplate, and having taken of its fruit she ate, and she gave to her husband also with her, and they ate. LXE
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Or as another version puts it; Genesis 3:6 Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it. Afterward she gave some also to her husband when with her and he began eating it. NWT If we limit our understanding of this verse to a literal interpretation, all we see in it is something that tastes good and looks good. How-ever, the fact that the LXX describes it as something to contemplate and other versions such as the NIV, DBY and others as something through which to gain wisdom or intelligence by, takes it beyond mundane taste and sight, This places the verse in the realm of mental activity with deeper spiritual implications than mere looks and taste. It becomes obvious that the verse is speaking in allegorical terms and has symbolic meaning beyond its initial appearance. As such, it raises a number of questions. Genesis 3:6 And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a pleasure for the eyes, and the tree was to be desired to give intelligence; and she took of its fruit, and ate, and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. DBY Or as another translation states; Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. NIV The questions it raises are: Exactly, what was the fruit of the tree? In what way did she see it as good for food? In what manner was it pleasing to the eye according to her perception?
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What kind of wisdom or knowledge did it impart? And in what way did they eat it? In their most basic symbolic terms, trees in the Bible are provisions of God which are said to represent sources of blessing, depicted in differing ways in scripture. As such; 1. Trees are seen as sources for the food that nourishes life (Gen. 1:29, Ezek. 47:12) 2. Trees seen as a means for shelter and protection from adverse elements (Mic. 4:4, Isa. 25:4, Sol. 2;3) 3. Trees are seen as a source of spiritual nourishment (Psa. 1:1-4, Jer. 11:16, Rev. 7:4, Rev. 22:2. 4. Trees are also shown to depict humans exercising influence over others, either with a positive result or with a negative result. (Positive = Isa.61:3, Psa 104:16, Negative = Eze. 31:18, Jud 1:12, Judg.9: 8-16. 5. Trees are figuratively seen as sources of information from God; Those trees whom Jehovah uses are seen in a favorable sense Rev. 7:3, 8:7 and 11;4 and Ezek. 17:24. Trees are typically expected to bear fruit. Therefore, the tree itself represents the source of the fruit and the fruit from a tree represents the result for which it was intended, the product which it gives birth to. The tree at the center of the garden depicted a source for knowledge which could be used for either Good or for Bad (good = righteousness, Jehovahs way, the way of light or it could be used for evil, unrighteousness, the way of darkness) In the case of Genesis 3:6: Then, what should we recognize the allegorical fruit of the tree as ?
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From the description of events that followed, in this case, the fruit of that tree represented self determination, sovereignty over one self and others, something which Jehovah saw as not befitting humans, and which was contrary to his will. In what way did Eve see it as good for food? It was something that she saw as desirable for her to ingest, (to take in as nourishment). It was apparently something she may have longed for in her own heart. See James 1:14; Everyone is put to the test by being attracted and seduced by that person's own wrong desire. NJB In what manner was it pleasing to the eye according to her perception? In her perception the very idea of self determination was something to be seen as beautiful in itself. In some way, this related to selfishness. She saw it as something that would make her special. Apparently she thought her husband and also possibly others in the future might also see this as source of power which in some way might also make them special due to the newly acquired knowledge it would provide them with. What kind of wisdom or knowledge did it impart? The wisdom and knowledge it imparted was knowledge which would be contrary to Gods will and bad in his eyes. Among other things, it included knowledge about selfish determination and ways to exercise control over other humans, things evil in Jehovahs eyes. And in what way did they eat it? Adam and Eve embraced the idea of self determination to the extent that they took it in as nourishment to their entire being and way of life. Thus, they placed themselves in opposition to Jehovah by effectually leaving him and his rightful sovereignty for something else. In this case they were led to believe they could be godlike and free to decide for themselves what was right or wrong.
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Concurrent with a belief that their eyes were opened (Gen. 3:7), their innocence was lost, they died spiritually and, in due course they died physically. Jesus made a comment related to this where he said; If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (John 9:41 KJV It turned out to be a delusion on their parts. The reality was that in leaving God and following Satan and his crowd in their rebellious course they were not achieving self determination. They were actually placing themselves under anothers influence and sovereignty in place of Jehovahs. They were in effect turning away from the source of light for the darkness offered by a sinister source. This act would not bring them additional freedoms. It would enslave them to that source of darkness who later came to be known as Satan the Devil. He in turn would bring them under all kinds of slavery contrived under his own evil designs. Adam and Eve, by following Satans advice and counsel left Jehovah and his sovereignty and took sides with Satan and his company under Satans banner of sovereignty. They became figurative children to their adoptive father, Satan the Devil and slaves to sin. By their transgression Satan gained control of the earthly Kingdom, and the power of death entered full force into and upon the world of mankind. Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" KJV Or as another version translates it; Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned NAB Consider where it refers to Satan as having the power of death or as another version refers to it as the power to cause death Hebrews 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the
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same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" KJV Or as another version translates it; Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the "young children" are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil; NWT Through deceit Lucifer, now Satan, gained control of the newly generated earthly realm of the Kingdom of Heaven: Luke 4:5-7 "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."KJV One of the ways he exercised control over humans under his newly acquired power was through the fear of Death for he now had the power to cause them death. This device has seen continuous and successful use in maintaining control over human beings ever since. As a backup strategy, he employed another twist which harnessed the fear of death even to a greater extent for his advantage. He incorporated the idea that if humans agreed to follow and obey his wishes, they would be greatly benefitted in countless ways now and would not have to die at all. He taught that they could be assured of continuing to live in some other form. Thus the teachings on reincarnation, immortality of the soul, and transmigration of the spirit were all promoted as forms which differing religious entities offered their followers as rewards for obedience to their false religious tenets. When Adam and Eve forsook Elohim God they chose to place themselves under authority of the one whose advice and leadership they did follow. They transferred from a realm under Gods sovereignty to a realm under the influence and control of Lucifer who had enticed them in the guise of a harmless serpent.
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He was from the very beginning a taker of life and not a giver of life as Elohim God had been. He was also the original liar and as such a sponsor of darkness whereas Jehovah is a God of truth and is synonymous with light. Psalm 31:5 Into thy hand I commend my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O Jehovah, thou God of truth. ASV Psalm 27:1 By David. Jehovah is my light and my salvation, Whom do I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life, of whom am I afraid? YLT Psalm 104:2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent. NIV Psalm 118:27 Yahweh is God, he gives us light . NJB. Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. NJB Clearly, the original relationship the human family had with God was based on righteousness and enlightenment with Jehovah God as its source. With their defection from God, Adam and Eve entered into a relationship with Satan the Devil through the serpent as his surrogate. In many cultures the serpent came to portray an image that was to become an object of awe and fear to be worshiped in a similar way that religious institutions themselves were to become images of awe and worship in their own right. While that one ( Satan) would claim to be a purveyor of light, even representing himself as an angel of light he would in reality be exactly the opposite. 2 Corinthians 11:14 And it is no wonder; for even Satan himself is able to take the form of an angel of light. BBE Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, and
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receive, through faith in me, forgiveness of their sins and a share in the inheritance of the sanctified." NJB 2 Corinthians 6:14 Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness. NLT 1 John 1:5 And this is the message which we have heard from him and are announcing to YOU, that God is light and there is no darkness at all in union with him. NWT Thus, it can be known that there was a way of light and a way of darkness set before our earliest parents. They chose the way of darkness and as a consequence humankind found itself on a path that was estranged from Jehovah. In response he withdrew his own goodwill and some of his light as well as some of his benevolent provisions from them. Yet he did not abandon them, for as we know, he cont-inued to provide for their life necessities and leave a channel of com-munication open to them through prayer. He continued to urge them to return back to a right relationship with himself by providing a variety of ways for them to reestablish their originally intended relationship with him. Years later when the human race had spread earth wide, a nation who was supposed to be dedicated to him was experiencing hardship and difficulty, God caused his prophet Jeremiah to relate these words to the people of that nation. Jeremiah 16:1, 12. Then you will say to them, Because your fathers have given me up, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and become their servants and their worshippers, and have given me up and have not kept my law; BBE:12 'You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. NAS This shows that the issue of self determination and sovereignty raised in the Garden of Eden was still very much alive in Jeremiahs day. They had given Jehovah up in a figurative sense and opted for other guidance and direction aside from Jehovahs. They had not come to the realization that Jehovah God was their rightful sovereign and that their embracing the idea of Self sovereignty or sovereignty under other
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humans controlled by Satan the devil was still objectionable to Jehovah. This condition had not changed by the time of Jesus, for he was to exclaim; John 8:44 You are the children of your father the Evil One and it is your pleasure to do his desires. From the first he was a taker of life; and he did not go in the true way because there is no true thing in him. When he says what is false, it is natural to him, for he is false and the father of what is false. BBE John 8:47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." NIV This condition of separation was to become a spiritual battlefield on which the hearts and minds of the human race were contended for. The apostle Paul saw this as continuing war stll being waged in his day. Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. NLT Adam and Eve became slaves to Sin in the sense that sin ruled their lives. As a result, afterwards, they and their posterity would experience all the consequences that disobeying the creator would bring about for them and future generations. John 8:34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. NIV Jehovahs position remained un-changed. When Ezekiel prophesied, about 3000 years later, the wages of sin was still the same as it was in Adam and eves day. Ezekiel 18:24 But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the
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righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die. NRS Going back to Adam and Eve in Genesis and the Garden of Eden; In the next verse we are told that after partaking of the forbidden fruit there is a remarkable change in their demeanor and outlook. Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apron like girdles. AMP This is a verse with implications far beyond the physical, literal meaning people attach to it. It is a verse that raises questions bound to reveal its allegorical meaning. In what way were their eyes opened? And what caused them to perceive themselves as naked? What did the act of sewing leaves together as a covering indicate? A nineteenth century Bible commentator named Mathew Henry made this observation in answer to those questions. the eyes of their consciences were opened, their hearts smote them for what they had done. Now, when it was too late, they saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness they had fallen from, and the misery they had fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and favour forfeited, his likeness and image lost, dominion over the creatures gone. They saw their natures corrupted and depraved, and felt a disorder in their own spirits of which they had never before been conscious. They saw a law in their members warring against the law of their minds, and captivating them both to sin and wrath. They saw, as Balaam, when his eyes were opened (Num_22:31), the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand; and perhaps they saw the serpent that had abused them insulting over them. The text tells us that they saw that they were naked, that is, [1.] That they were stripped, deprived of all the honours and joys of their paradise-state, and exposed to all the miseries that might justly be expected from an angry God. They were disarmed; their defence had departed from them. [2.] That they were shamed, forever
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shamed, before God and angels. They saw themselves disrobed of all their ornaments and ensigns of honour, degraded from their dignity and disgraced in the highest degree, laid open to the contempt and reproach of heaven, and earth, and their own consciences. . . . What a deceiver Satan is. He told our first parents, when he tempted them, that their eyes should be opened; and so they were, but not as they understood it; they were opened to their shame and grief, not to their honour nor advantage. Therefore, when he speaks fair, believe him not. . . . .(2.) The sorry shift they made to palliate these convictions, and to arm themselves against them: They sewed, or platted, fig-leaves together; and to cover, at least, part of their shame from one another, they made themselves aprons. We see here what is commonly the folly of those that have sinned. [1.] That they are more solicitous to save their credit before men than to obtain their pardon from God; they are backward to confess their sin, and very desirous to conceal it, as much as may be. I have sinned, yet honour me. [2.] That the excuses men make, to cover and extenuate their sins, are vain and frivolous. Like the aprons of fig-leaves, they make the matter never the better, but the worse; the shame, thus hidden, becomes the more shameful. Yet thus we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam Job 31:33 if I have concealed my sin as men do, {33 Or as Adam did} by hiding my guilt in my heart NIV Or as another version puts it Job 31:33 Did I hide my transgressions like Adam, Bury my wrongdoing in my bosom, TNK By his transgression Adam put agreement to Satans premise that God keeps back the best gift out of envy, lest man should be like Him. He trusted Satan for kindness rather than God, whom he judged according to Satan's lie. He believed Satan instead of God, when he told him he should not die, as God said he should, and he cast off the God who had blessed him, to gratify his lusts. Not trusting God, he used his own will to seek happiness by, as a surer way, just as men do now. He followed another Spirit being, not his creator and he relied on himself, which was contrary to Gods will and to his own natural makeup.

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When his eyes were opened, and he came to realize the enormous consequences of what he had done, he chose the path of covering over, covering up or hiding his transgression, rather than confession and repentance for it. In this decision, he ratified or we could say confirmed that his transgression was not unintentional. This is developed further as we follow the account: Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of Jehovah Elohim, walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah Elohim, in the midst of the trees of the garden. DBY Or as another version puts it; Genesis 3:8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. NRS Genesis 3:9 And the voice of the Lord God came to the man, saying, Where are you? BBE It should be obvious that an all knowing God did not ask that question out of ignorance of Adams whereabouts. He was about to test Adams heart condition further. Adams statement in reply; Genesis 3:10 He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." NRS Gods reply to Adam is found in the following verse: Genesis 3:11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" NKJ Adams next reply to God is very telling:
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Genesis 3:12 "Yes," Adam admitted, "but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it." NLT Not only does he blame his wife, but he insinuates it is Gods fault because he gave him the woman. Having heard Adam reveal his heart condition by what he said, God turns to the woman Eve with a test for her heart. Genesis 3:13 Then Yahweh God said to the woman, 'Why did you do that?' The woman replied, 'The snake tempted me and I ate.' NJB Or as another translation put it; Gen 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, What is this you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled (cheated, outwitted, and deceived) me, and I ate. AMP Rather than indicating any remorse for her rebellious action, she also offered an excuse for herself. Then, God turns his attention to the serpent, who is actually a manifestation of the rebellious spirit being later identified as Satan the Devil. Genesis 3:14 And Jehovah Elohim said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this, be thou cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. On thy belly shalt thou go, and eat dust all the days of thy life. DBY At first glance this may appear to be a punishment or sentence placed on the snake as an animal species, rather than on the one who stood behind the action. John Gill, a seventeenth century Theologian had this observation: And the Lord God said unto the serpent, and to the devil in it; for what follows may be applied to both; literally to the serpent, and mystically to Satan; both are punished, and that very justly, the serpent in being the instrument Satan made use of, and is cursed for his sake, as the earth for man's; and the punishing the instrument as well as the principal, the more discovers God's detestation of the act for which
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they are punished, as appears in other instances, Exo_21:28. Nor could it have been agreeable to the justice of God, to punish the instrument and let the principal go free; and therefore the following sentence must be considered as respecting them both: While Adam was the guilty one and deserving of punishment, based on a fore knowledge of future consequences of Adams decision, God could pronounce that the earth would be cursed (suffer adversely) due to results of Adams transgression. Thus with one statement God pronounces a denunciation on Adam and on the ground he depends upon and occupies. At this point, an enormous shift in the relationship between God and mankind occurs. This seemingly simple act of disobedience triggers a whole set of consequences that would affect the relationship between men and their God for centuries to come and at the same time it launches a spiritual war to resolve the issue of rightful sovereignty raised by the serpent being in the garden of Eden. Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." NAB Or as other translations have it; Genesis 3:15 I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. DRA Genesis 3:15 From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." NLT Animosity and acrimony are words which aptly describe the attitude and feelings between the offspring of the woman and the offspring of Satan the devil. In terms of Bible prophecy this verse would become another example of multiple fulfillments. That is a single prophecy with more than one application. In an earthly (physical) sense:
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1. There would be permanent enmity between Eve and the serpent. 2. There would be natural enmity between Eves offspring (humans) and serpents in general. In a spiritual sense: 1. There would be enmity between Gods woman (his heavenly wife like administration) and Satan the Devil. 2. There would be enmity between the offspring of Gods woman (the saints) and the offspring of Satans rebellion. 3. The seed of Gods woman would be Jesus Christ in a primary sense (Gal. 3:16) and the anointed Christian congregation of his footstep followers (Rev. 12:17) in a secondary sense. God addresses Eve, the initial transgressor and pronounces a punitive sentence on her and her future female offspring. Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said: I shall give you intense pain in childbearing, you will give birth to your children in pain. Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will dominate you. NJB Then, God turns his attention to Adam and by extension, Adams human family who would constitute the couples posterity. Genesis 3:17- 19. To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
NIV

Vs. 18 signals a change introduced to their environment as 3:18. thorn and thistle; indicating their environment now has become hostile to
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humans. and vs.19 indicates a change to the nature of their existence there. Genesis 3:19 With the hard work of your hands you will get your bread till you go back to the earth from which you were taken: for dust you are and to the dust you will go back. BBE With those changes comes a change to the overall freedom they had been granted and yo their overall relationship with their fatherly creator; No longer would God, the benevolent father provide them with a life of ease and pleasure in paradise. They would from then forth need to work under strain and difficulty to sustain themselves until the day they died. They would in effect become slaves to a need to provide for themselves with difficulty rather than living under the freedom to thoroughly enjoy the wonderful environment and pleasurable activity he had provided them with in ease and pleasure. Genesis 3:20 Then Adam named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all people everywhere. NLT Despite placing these new condtions on their lives, God did not abandon them completely, nor was his purpose for them changed. The following verse shows us that he would continue to be what his own nature was which was still, a benevolent father. Genesis 3:21 Gen 3:21 For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them. AMP We have here a further instance of God's continuing care and concern for our first parents, despite their sin. Though he corrects his disobedient children, and expresses his displeasure, he does not disinherit them, but, like a tender father, provides the vegetation of the field for their food and coats of skins for their clothing. Thus the father shows the spirit later illuminated at Luk 15:22,23 in the parable of the prodigal son. If the Lord had been pleased at the prospect of their deaths, he would not have done this for them.

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These coats of skin he gave them had significance. The animals whose skins they wore must be slain, slain before their eyes, to show them what death is, and (as it would thereafter be for them. Ecc 3:18) that they may see that they themselves were now like beasts, mortal and dying. It may be supposed that they were slain, not for food, but for a principal of sacrifice, to typify the great sacrifice, which, in the latter end of the world, should be offered once for all. Thus the first thing that died was a sacrifice which prefigured Christ, who is therefore said to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. These sacrifices of the animal or animals which provided the skins for them were divided between God and man, in token of reconciliation: the flesh was offered to God, similar to a whole burnt-offering; the skins were given to man for clothing, signifying that, Jesus Christ in having offered himself to God as a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savior, we are to clothe ourselves with his righteousness as with a garment, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear. Adam and Eve had made for themselves aprons of figleaves, a covering too narrow for them to wrap themselves in, and fully cover the shamefulness of their wicked act. Isa_28:20. Such are all efforts of our own righteousness. But God provided them with coats of skins; large, and strong, and durable, and fit for them, fully capable of covering their nakedness which represented the shame of their sin. Such is the righteousness of Christ. Therefore the lesson he provided us with was that if we put on the Lord Jesus Christ we could cover the effects of sin inherited from our first human parents. Next, God reveals his ability to foresee future events and makes a statement which intervenes in the direction Adam and Eves disobedience is taking them and at the same time complies with his own sense of truth and justice. Recall he pronounced the warning of death upon them if they disobeyed at Gen. 2:17. His sense of truth and justice is explained by later findings in scripture at Isa. 55:11, Psalm 119:160. Genesis 3:22 And Jehovah Elohim said, Behold, Man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...! DBY Or as another version puts it; Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be
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allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." NIV Death comes into the picture for the human family: The human pair had access to the tree of life initially, which would have made them immortal (v. 22). They were denied only the tree of knowledge of good and bad. It is as a result of eating from the tree of that knowledge that they lost access to the tree of life. They were driven from the Garden of Eden, in which the tree of life was located, and cherubs and a flaming sword barred the way back. However, we must not lose sight of Gods original purpose, which was to have a human family living on the earth forever. Since Adam and Eve lost that prospect for themselves and their progeny and they themselves showed no inclination toward repentance or in making any adjustment in their willfully rebellious attitude, Jehovah god would have to take steps to restore the situation to its originally intended condition. This proved to be a rather complicated task due to a wide variety of conditions, mostly self imposed that must be met. (See Chapter Seven on the Universal Issue in volume II.) Gods own nature dictates that any solution must comply with all the qualities and characteristics he possesses applied in a balanced and harmonious way. His nature and characteristics are listed and discussed in IT IS WRITTEN Volume one extensively in Chapter 2, What is God, Who is God? When Adam and Eve made their decision to place themselves under forms of sovereignty other than Jehovah Gods they self-assumed a relationship which was to a great extent adversarial with the one God had in mind for them from the beginning when he created them. They had enjoyed great freedom under Gods sovereignty when they were placed in the Garden in the beginning. That freedom began to erode rapidly in a series of stages which found them ever more under the control of and in slavery to the one whom they had taken sides with
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in the controversy over the universal Issue. (See an Essay by the author entitled What Is Freedom by the author, John ben Wilhelm) The rest of the Bible account deals with the steps Jehovah God takes to rescue the human family from the condition of slavery and death inherited from their original parents in an effort to restore the progeny of Adam and Eve to the pristine and pure relationship they had with him in the beginning. It also illustrates as well, the various divisive means Satan the Devil takes to prevent this. That condition of Slavery to sin and death under the influence and control of Satan the Devil persists till our own day. The whole world world is still under his control and the idea of Self sovereignty and independence from Gods will is still the major issue between the creator and his human family. Many have claimed a willingness to submit to gods will, but their actions speak louder than their words. The current nature and condition of our religious and secular institutions indicates that we are still today very much under the overall organizational umbrella of Satan the Devil. The Idea of self sovereignty and manmade rule permeates every niche of secular society as well as every religious organization on the scene today. The next chapter will explore the differences between Mens concepts for organizations and the differences from Gods ideas for organization.

[Click to return to CONTENTS]


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CHAPTER TWO
ORGANIZATIONS
RELIGIOUS AND OTHERWISE

Prior to discussing organizations, it must first be said that Jehovah the God of the universe is revealed to us as being highly organized. The order found in the heavens, the universe, the creation on the earth and even the atomic structure, all testify to a highly organized intelligence. While his organizing ability is nothing short of spectacular in nature, when it comes to us humans, we fall far short of achieving spectacular results on our own. Our organizing attempts never seem to reach the same levels of efficiency as Gods do. Still, our human attempts at organization and particularly at organizing each other go way back into ancient history. Perhaps the earliest example of human organization is that found with the original city of Calah, organized under Nimrod barely two generations after the flood of Noahs day. Nimrod established himself as sovereign ruler and success-fully organized a following under himself consisting of a number of cities into which large groups of people were gathered under his ruler ship. That early model organization grew into Babylon, a complex religious/political world power where Nimrod, his family and his successors were worshipped as Gods. This model based on men dominating their fellow man has survived in principal down to our day. While modern political organizations appear to be devoid of religious dimension, this is not so, for these organizations demand obedience, loyalty and sacrifice tantamount to worship. It was a system under which one man or a small group of men dominated or ruled the rest of the men in their area of dominion. That system first installed under Nimrod is still operational today. Can we say it has in the main been successful in benefitting humankind and the physical earth we live
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on or has it also brought a long history of pain, suffering, bloodshed and injustice to the human family and our earth as well.? The Bible helps us to see what Gods own viewpoint for organizing humans is. It provides clear examples for us to follow, ones by which we might live here on the earth peacefully and be in harmony with the creation, the creator and our fellow human beings. Also, it provides us a model by which we might honor him and express appreciation through worship in an organized way. Gods organizational models were designed to accomplish all of that. What went wrong? We will explore examples of Gods organizational model for the human family as well as his model for a religious organization. These two models are closely related for it was his purpose that they function in tandem. In Gods view the two must be bound together if the human family is to fulfill its God intended purpose on the earth. When it comes to organizing, we will find this is just one more area where Godly wisdom supersedes any and all human wisdom. While, mans organizational attempts tend to become ever more complex, Gods organization for humans on earth epitomizes an elegant simplicity. It starts with something we seldom recognize as an organization, that is the human family unit. It is his starting point and the basic element in his organizational arrangement for man. The Bible in clear and straight forward language describes it in the following verses which are illustrated in a chart that follows; 1 Corinthians 11:3 But it is important for you to keep this fact in mind,that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. BBE Ephesians 5:24 but even as the assembly is subject to Christ, so also are the wives to their own husbands in everything. YLT Colossians 3:20 Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. NJB In these few verses, the Bible presents the headship principal under which man is to function as a steward over the planet God
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has gifted him with as a home. Here is a chart illustrating this simple, self perpetuating organization. Note to the reader It may be necessary to enlarge the charts
contained in this book for better legibility. It is suggested that the reader apply ZOOM TOOLS found in the View window of their browser in those instances where it is appropriate.

Jehovah God has established an equally clear model for religious organizations which meet his own standards and expectations. Yet when we peruse the scene on the earth today we find a confusing array of religious organizations in varying degrees of disunity.
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However they all claim to worship and honor God correctly, yet they fail to achieve either unity with one another or the kind of results in their lives which true worship promises. True religion should be recognizable by characteristics of love, peace, harmony and unity among its adherents. Can it be said this is the case with the many denominations of religious organizations, all professing to be Christian? Instead of those noble characteristics, we find among adherents of most religions the qualities described at 2 Timothy 3: 1-4. These characteristics are spoken of in the Bible as being associated with a group of general conditions prevailing during the last days. They are qualities completely out of sync with Gods will and purpose. 2 Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, ESV While most Bible readers would seem to apply these characteristics to a world devoid of religion, fulfillment of this scripture cannot be confined solely to those who are outside of religious organizations. Many of those in highly regarded religious organizations fit this profile too exactingly. Additionally, history has shown religionists to have been the leading participants in wars, brutality, violence and oppression of their fellow men, This has occurred in every shape and form imaginable, all through history and down to our own day. In our examination of various organizations, we will try to see why they have fallen so far short of the results promised to those who would follow Gods organizational models, both in the realm of family and religion. We have already explored Gods model for the family and it is obvious that the vast majority of humans neither acknowledge it or fully attempt to apply it in their lives. Let us also examine the model God provides for religious organizations in his inspired word the Bible. Perhaps we will be able to realize what went astray, why so many religious denominations are disunited and have fallen so far short of achieving Gods intended purposes.
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Prior to examining typical religious organizations currently holding prominence on the scene of this world, let us consider just what kind of organizational form Jesus and his Apostles left for his Christian Congregation. The Apostle Pauls words at Hebrews 10:25(1) clearly describe a need for believers to assemble together for encouragement by one another. The Bible also indicates, in other places, that such gatherings were to include organized occasions for mutual encouragement and godly worship. Whether this kind of assembling together includes a few fellow believers or many, Jesus words at Mtt. 18:20 (2) would apply to all such gatherings, provided they are done in his name. This means more than just merely using his name in connection with such a gathering. The phrase in his name indicates under whose authority it must be conducted. Also it implies full compliance with the teachings Jesus handed down by himself and through his apostles. This is the fundamental basis for the legacy left by Jesus for his believers to follow in their religious gatherings and in organizing themselves for worship in ways pleasing to both him and his father Jehovah God. Gods own inspired word provides us with a microscope through which we may examine the various organizations who profess to worship in accord with his will. We will peer through the lens and see close up if they actually do, or in some instances, how closely they are to complying with his wishes. Teachings and doctrines which are not supported by Gods word and which add to or subtract (3) from the legacy Jesus left us in Gods inspired word, cannot be assumed to comply with Gods will. Neither do they fit the spirit of the phrase In his name (see also further definitions Chapter 11. under name. Rather they fall under the unscriptural premise of going beyond what is written (4). As such they constitute traditions of Men(5).. Gods view toward manmade teachings such as these is clear.( 6) [Scriptural references for preceding paragraphs:]
(1) Hebrews

10:25 We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one
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another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near. NAB
(2) Matthew

18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." NIV [Spoken by Jesus to his followers] Deuteronomy 12:32 You are to keep with care all the words I give you, making no addition to them and taking nothing from them. BBE [Spoken by Jehovah, YHWH, the father)
(3) (4) 1

Corinthians 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." . Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. NIB [Spoken by the Apostle Paul to all who call upon the name of Jesus (1 Cor 1;1.)]
(5) Mark

7:13 In this way you make God's word ineffective for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.' NJB [Spoken by Jesus to the lawfully constituted religious leaders of his day] Matthew 15:9 Their worship is a farce, for they replace God's commands with their own man-made teachings.' " NLT
(6)

Or as another version puts it; Mat 15:9 Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men. [Jesus drew from a principal at Isa. 29:13.] Isaiah 29:13 The Lord said: Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, And their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men, NAB [Spoken by Jehovah about his own people]
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Even a casual observer if he honbestly admits to what he sees will acknowledge the verses above apply to many if not all of the socalled religions denominations of our day. What does the Bible disclose about the kind of a religious organization God favors? The Bible record provides descriptive information on the First Century congregation, which was established by the Apostles under guidance and direction of Jesus by Holy Spirit. Prior to the establishing that first congregation at Pentecost 33 CE, Jesus made this promise to his followers; John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will be your teacher in all things and will put you in mind of everything I have said to you. BBE In any description for a congregational organization laid down in the Bible to guide all future generations of Christians, there is no power of attorney which allows others to make changes to the Bible model, based on their own or collective whims, either in the first century or in future succeeding centuries. The following charts illustrate the configuration of the first Century congregation and its relationship with Jehovah God. This shows the congregation as it was founded and left for us as a model. This was the model was provided by Jesus Apostles for future generations of true Christians to follow:

FIRST CENTURY MODEL FOR CHURCH ORGANIZATIONBY THE APOSTLES

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Note to the reader It may be necessary to enlarge the charts


contained in this book for better legibility. It is suggested that the reader apply ZOOM TOOLS found in the View window of their browser in those instances where it is appropriate.

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MODEL for the FIRST CENTURY CONGREGATION


(Post Apostolic Era)

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The Apostles and Early Disciples were human beings no different from us today. They chose to follow Jesus and his Godly precepts. Under direct influence of Jesus and Holy Spirit, they were, given the understanding that they should not supersede that body of information which was handed to them. These teachings were to be transmitted to and preserved by future followers in a form which was later to become known as the Holy Bible. Neither they or subsequent followers were given authority to change, modify or twist the things they received from the apostles nor was there any authority to conform or mold what they had received to their own thinking or for purposes and convenience of others, no matter how well intentioned they might be in doing so. Early followers adhered to the model for a church (eklesia) which, was fashioned and inspired by Holy Spirit which it furnished the apostles as the organized form for themselves and for worship by future believers. Those early Christians responded directly to guidance by Holy Spirit. The first century church was an inspired organizational arrangement. As such it was, as is true of all Gods works, perfect. The nature of perfection is that one cannot improve on it. Bible references which can be applied to the organizational structure of the first century church show that it was compact and relatively small in size. Mostly it consisted of a household size group or a number that could be fit into a house for worship and fellowship. There is no scriptural precedent or historical evidence that any of these early churches (local congregations) exceeded 120 persons in size. On the other hand, in the Bible there is extensive evidence, and numerous references to the existence of individual houses as the places where early believers gathered for worship and association. Romans 16:5 and [greet] the congregation that is in their house. Greet my beloved E-pae'ne-tus, who is a firstfruits of Asia for Christ. NWT Romans 16:23 Gaius says hello to you. I am his guest, and the church meets here in his home. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you his greetings, and so does Quartus, a Christian brother. NLT
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1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia send their love to you. So do Aquila and Prisca, with the church which is in their house. BBE Colossians 4:15 Please give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nympha and the church which meets in her house. NJB Philemon 1:2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellowsoldier and to the church that meets in your home: NIB Acts 2:46 Each day, with one heart, they regularly went to the Temple but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; NJB Acts 5:42 every day also in the temple, and in every house, they were not ceasing teaching and proclaiming good news -Jesus the Christ. YLT Acts 16:34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family. NIB Acts 16:40 From the prison they went to Lydia's house where they saw all the brothers and gave them some encouragement; then they left. NJB Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the ruler of the Synagogue, with all his family, had faith in the Lord; and a great number of the people of Corinth, hearing the word, had faith and were given baptism. BBE Acts 20:20 while I did not hold back from telling YOU any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching YOU publicly and from house to house. NWT Or as other translations puts it; Acts 20:20 and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. NAB
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Acts 20:20 And how I kept back nothing which might be of profit to you, teaching you publicly and privately, BBE Acts 21:8 The next day we set out and arrived in Caes-a-re'a, and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelizer, who was one of the seven men, and we stayed with him. NWT 1 Corinthians 1:11 For the disclosure was made to me about YOU, my brothers, by those of [the house of] Chlo'e, that dissensions exist among YOU. NWT 2 Timothy 3:6 for of these there are those coming into the houses and leading captive the silly women, laden with sins, led away with desires manifold, YLT Titus 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. RWB 2 Jn 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bear this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, and do not speak a greeting to him. This list is impressive. It would seem likely that most New Testament Ecclesias could fit into a domestic 'house' with the exception of those in Jerusalem. Even here, there is a remarkable lack of archaeological discoveries of big Christian meeting places pre-70 CE, and that not for want of trying would confirm this. Thus the whole Corinth Ecclesia could fit inside one house. (Paul wrote Rom.16:23 from Corinth) Advantages of small, tight- knit congregations (Eklesias) Contained in that first century model, are important features and advantages which the vast majority of modern day churches are woefully lacking. For example just to mention a few; 1. Since the first century church was small, the number of believers it contained could be known intimately by those gifted with the privilege of serving as shepherds / elders of the flock,
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whose presence was there on a day to day basis. Those shepherds knew individuals in their flocks personally, knew their needs and could custom tailor their shepherding efforts directly to those specific needs. 1Pe 5:1-3 I, a fellow elder, exhort the elders among you, I being also witness of the sufferings of Christ, and being sharer of the glory about to be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not by compulsion, but willingly; nor eagerly for base gain, but readily; nor as exercising lordship over the ones allotted to you, but becoming examples of the flock. LITV 2. By being intimate, compact and local, a church, being self contained in smaller units, never became a burden on the resources of people. As far as expensive headquarter facilities with fancy church buildings to build or maintain, this did not exist. Without the burden of costly edifices and facilities, funds could be used for locally needy ones, charitable works in support of others, and for supporting evangelizing work by full time servants who had that calling. This was within the spirit Paul showed when he served local churches. He strove not to impose even the smallest burden on the brothers and sisters. 1st Thessalonians 2:9 You remember, brothers, with what unsparing energy we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming the gospel of God to you. NJB 2nd Corinthians 12:14 Now I am ready to come to you this third time. And I will not be a burden, for I want not what is yours, but you. Children ought not to save for their parents, but parents for their children. NAB 2nd Thessalonians 3:8 nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, NKJ
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3. A small local congregation was not saddled by multiple levels of man-made policies handed down by error prone men representing some far off central ruling body. Decisions to benefit the local brothers could be handled by those inside the local congregation, those who knew the needs of their brothers and sisters intimately. 4. There was no need for outsiders to direct local affairs. Jesus had assured them; Matthew 18:20 For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.' NJB The Spirit could call upon any local brothers it chose and energize them to minister locally and nourish the sheep spiritually. The inspired word and spiritually minded men, along with Gods Spirit in each congregation, would act as safeguards against error. These three would constitute a means by which all in the congregation could be built up and encouraged. The simple principal was if any one taught differently from what was handed down by the apostles, it was to be rejected. 1 Timothy 6:3 Anyone who teaches anything different and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, 6:4 is proud and has no understanding, but rather a weakness for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and evil mistrust;
NJB

Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! NAU 5. If any errors in thinking were to take root at all, despite the built in safeguards, the effect would be limited and local. Other congregations would not be infected by the error as is the case when an error may come down as policy from a central governing body with an ability to spoil the whole lump. As time passed, the Holy Spirit would cause ones to speak out in truth and the sheep would recognize those truths which were in harmony with Gods word and those which were not. Thus the
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error would be corrected by means of the operation of Gods spirit and not imperfect men. 2 Timothy 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), AMP John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. ESV John 10:27 The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. NJB And even if there were to be erroneous thinking promoted by some, the Bible tells us this too had a beneficial purpose. 1 Corinthians 11:19 It is no bad thing, either, that there should be differing groups among you so that those who are to be trusted among you can be clearly recognized.
NJB

Of course, all this is fundamentally dependant on trusting God and Jesus exclusively and welcoming Holy Spirit, rather than the spirit of the world or the spirit of other flawed men as ones guiding influence. Psalm 146:3 Put not your trust in the great, in mortal man who cannot save. TNK Psalm 146:4 Man's breath goes out, he is turned back again to dust; in that day all his purposes come to an end. BBE Proverbs 3:5 Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. NWT
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This means believers needed to take in enough accurate knowledge from Gods word, in order for it to be established as the basis for judging what any man would say or do. The Holy Spirit would motivate Shepherds, teachers and prophets who would convey Gods thoughts, rather than their own thoughts for fellow believers to consider. If men spoke in harmony with Gods inspired word, they were to be taken seriously, for then their expressions were not the thoughts of men, but rather Gods. If their words did not harmonize with Gods word and his thinking, then they would be rejected by spiritually minded fellow believers. Such individuals would be exposed by Holy Spirit which would correct any teaching which was not in harmony with Gods thinking. True believers would view erroneous thinking of men as the voice of strangers and guard what was handed down to them and pass it on conscientiously and accurately to new believers. John 10:16 "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd
NWT

John 10:27 My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. NLT John 10:5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." NIV This was the basis for the first century model as it was supplied by Christ and his Apostles. The first century congregation was an important provision by God in his battle with opposing spirit forces over the issue of sovereignty on the Earth. The war on earth was and is Spiritual warfare, a war fought between opposing forces with ideas and thoughts competing for dominance over the minds of humans. The Eklesia was a major provision by God as a counter stroke to Satans dominion over the world. However, we should not be so nave as to think Satan and his rebellious forces would not make attempts to subvert any and all divine arrangements. This has been the case from the earliest
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days. There was already in place an ongoing attempt by Satan to influence human thinking for thousands of years, since the beginning of mens lust for power and authority starting with Nimrod. Not surprisingly, in the days of the first congregations, there were also men who wanted power and influence for themselves, just as Satan had wanted for himself in the Garden of Eden, and just as there are men today who want power over their fellow man. Men such as these were a constant danger to the First century model and the early followers. Early Christians were given considerable warning concerning individuals who would promote apostate teachings in an effort to divert followers to themselves and away from the pure truthful teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. We cannot underestimate either the skill of such men or the effort they were willing to expend for their aims. Also, we should not imagine that these teachers were not shrewd enough to realize their distortions would be obvious if not carefully concealed and intermingled with the truth. While they were still alive, the apostles acted as a restraint to such efforts. Unfortunately, as the Apostles dwindled off the scene, apostate thinking and influence began to gain a foothold and creep into the early congregation, undermining the model given through the apostles. Men began to install an organizational system laced with human wisdom and thinking. This was promoted by men who either regarded their wisdom to be equal to or above Godly wisdom, or who wanted to gain followers for themselves rather than for Jesus Christ. Likely, unbeknownst to themselves, or in some cases knowingly, these men were influenced by Spirit forces aligned with Satan the Devil, against Jehovah and Jesus. They were put to work opposing Gods provisions for salvation. These influences fostered a concept for religious organization built on Satans pyramid model, with an unseen controlling head over layer upon layer of men exercising rule or authority over their fellow man. This kind of organizational structure added all kinds of rules imposed by various levels of men, who, even while well intended, did not have the ability to determine what was best for themselves, much less their fellow humans.
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Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. NKJ These men were easy prey for Satan who knew their vulnerability and knew how to exploit it. They went beyond what was written in Gods word, distorted, twisted and undermined the reality and truth of the pure gospel. They became sometimes willing and other times unwitting tools of Satan, who had a different form of organization in mind from the one initiated by the Apostles under Jesus direction. The following charts reveal that the simplicity of the first century model was replaced by complex organizational structures. We see examples of this, both in secular society and in a wide variety of religious institutions on the scene in our day. While they differ in their doctrinal statement, the common thread all these institutions seem to agree on is the need for multiple layers of control by humans over other humans. Even while there is much that they cant agree on among themselves, they appear to be united in one thing, the premise that human ruler ship is best for all concerned. The inherent flaw in this kind of system is exposed at Jeremiah 10:23 and other places in the Bible. Jer 10:23 O Lord [pleads Jeremiah in the name of the people], I know that [the determination of] the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his best] to direct his [own] steps. [Ps. 37:23;.] AMP Psalm 146:3 Put not your faith in rulers, or in the son of man, in whom there is no salvation. BBE Psalm 37:23 The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives. NLT Does this mean men had no part in the first century model? Not at all, the 1st century model provided for godly men to serve as a blessing and an eexample to their fellow believers, but not as taskmasters imposing burdens on them.
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The following verses paint a picture of the 1st century Christian Congregation, how it was organized and what transpired at meetings as far as fellowship, encouragement, instruction, and worship, were concerned. As such, it provided the model, set down in scripture by the apostles and other writers of the Bible for future generations of believers. CONGREGATIONAL MAKEUP; (Congregation means the same as Assembly or Church) Matthew 28:20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." NLT [Jesus speaking to the eleven apostles shortly before his departure from the earthly scene]
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The forces of opposition were to convince believers that while it might be true that Jesus would be with them in spirit, there was, a need for human intercessors to act for Jesus. This implied that Jesus and Jehovah God needed humans to act as their intermediaries and that people in effect, needed someone they could see and touch to lead them. This attitude constituted an act of gross faithlessness on their part, yet it was widely embraced. Colossians 1:18 And *he*[Jesus] is the head of the body, the assembly; who is the beginning, firstborn from among the dead, that *he* might have the first place in all things: DBY While proclaiming Jesus was still their foremost exempler, men inserted themselves as heads and leaders of his congregations of believers. While he would give men as gifts to their fellow worshippers in a number of capacities of service, he did not and would not authorize them either to replace or to usurp his own headship. Ephesians 4:11 and He [Jesus] gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as
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proclaimers of good news, and some as shepherds and teachers, YLT Matthew 23:10 Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. NJB Matthew 23:10 And you may not be named guides: because one is your Guide, even Christ. BBE Matthew 23:8 Don't ever let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher, and all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters. NLT Despite the warnings to the contrary, men took on titles assigning themselves special importance among the believers. In this, it created a need to depend on them, rather than a reliance on Gods Holy Spirit for guidance. About the entire anointed Christian congregation, the Apostle Paul had declared; 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do YOU not know that YOU people are God's temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in YOU? NWT This scripture was either grossly ignored or twisted in its meaning; Rather than Christ, the Church building or the Church organization was emphasized as the place where they had to come to receive any distribution of Gods spirit. This promoted the idea that individuals needed to depend on their organization and its clergy for spiritual sustenance, rather than on God himself. It is apparent from the above verses that it is not a building or an institution that is the home of Gods spirit, nor is it those individuals brandishing titles, rather it is the congregation of individual true believers that God chooses to have his spirit dwell among. Also, it is clear who was to be considered the head of his earthly congregation of followers. We are told in the Bible, that
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meetings of even as few as two or three believers could expect the favor and blessing of our Lord, Jesus. (Matt. 18:20) Conducting Meetings According to the first century model; 1 Corinthians 14:26 What is to be done then, brethren? when ye come together, according as euery one of you hath a Psalme, or hath doctrine, or hath a tongue, or hath reuelation, or hath interpretation, let all things be done vnto edifying. GNV [Or as another version states:] 1 Corinthians 14:26 Well, my brothers and sisters, let's summarize what I am saying. When you meet, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in an unknown language, while another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord. NLT This arrangement, which implied a great deal of spontaneity, was replaced by a pre-scripted, carefully controlled meeting, handled by one person or a small group of select, clergy type individuals, while all others sat, listened and learned from these special ones. Meanwhile scripture paints an entirely different picture; 1 Corinthians 14:27 If any man speaketh in an {unknown} language, {let it be} by two, or at the most {by} three, and {that} by course; and let one interpret.
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1 Corinthians 14:28 but if there be no interpreter, let him be silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself and to God. DBY 1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. NRS
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1 Corinthians 14:30 If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person be silent. NRS 1 Corinthians 14:31,32. In this way, all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged. 32 Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can wait their turn. NLT These verses certainly indicate much wider individual participation than is seen in Churches today. Expressions such as anyone, all who prophecy, someone else and any man are implicitly non exclusive and allude to general audience participation, not just a controlled dialog by pre-selected individuals. 1 Corinthians 14:37 Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have any spiritual powers must recognise that what I am writing to you is a commandment from the Lord. NJB Here Paul states that the arrangement for meetings is not a make it up as you go situation. He is quite clear that this arrangement is God given for it is a command from no lesser authority than Jesus himself. 1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, NIV 1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently <2156> and in order <5010>. KJV These verses have been taken to the extreme by those who would preclude any one other than themselves or those whom they favor from either speaking or from dissenting with what they have to say. Under the guise of order, they have restricted anyone whom the Holy Spirit might motivate to speak on Gods behalf from doing so. In most religious institutions, if there is a forum for audience participation, it is designed to allow only a parroting of the accepted doctrine. There is no forum allowing the congregation an option for discussing what might be said in their church services. Only those
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who are the programmed speakers are permitted to speak. If there is an erroneous expression, there is no provision for a spirit directed individual in the audience to correct it. This does not allow the congregation to recognize what sort of persons may be in their midst by what comes out of their mouths,(1 Cor. 11:19) in comparison to what the Bible actually says. So, here we see a scripture which was designed to encourage moderation being abused to promote control and extremism. Practice in most religious organizations today fails to recognize an important Bible principal: 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do YOU not know that YOU people are God's temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in YOU? NWT The spirit of God dwells in the congregation, its individuals, its people, with Jesus in their midst, not through selected individuals who espouse man made organizational viewpoints. This is not the will of God. Against this situation, we may apply what Paul so aptly wrote to the Ephesians. Ephesians 5:17 Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what Is the will of the Lord. NAB This is an important statement of principal when it comes to conducting meetings for encouragement or worship. It imposes a responsibility on all true worshippers to get it right and keep it right, according to what the will of God is. When we consider the above scriptures, describing just how a Christian meeting for worship and encouragement was conducted during apostolic times, we are hard pressed to find a counterpart in todays organized church services, especially among those where pomp, ceremony and formal ritual have completely replaced spontaneous worship and fellowship. Of course modern day supporters of their own particular variations of the first century model claim they are merely responding to changing times and conditions in changing the model set forth in the scriptures. Or they may assert God Given authority to change or embellish Gods thinking as expressed in the Bible, with thoughts and ideas of their own, despite biblical injunctions against doing so.
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In either respect they are wrong. Almighty God knew the future when he instituted the model. It is not outdated. And he was and is perfectly capable of communicating his wishes clearly and directly through his word and his Holy Spirit. He does not need any man or group of men to change or improve on what he says. What such men fail to recognize is the consequences of doing this. In taking the conduct of meetings into their own hands, they disavow need for guidance by Holy Spirit on an active day to day basis. Instead they institute man made controls which override, restrict or interfere with spontaneous operation of the spirit. The first century model left the meetings mainly in the domain of Holy Spirit and relied on its ability to act on individuals within the congregation. Men were on the scene merely to act as guides pointing out what God word said. Today, we are hard pressed to find meeting venues which conform to that model, a model which allowed Holy Spirit to motivate individual believers to make spontaneous expressions of their faith. While the apostle Paul certainly encouraged order rather than chaos at meetings, he did not encourage preventing spiritually motivated individuals from expressing their faith. Rather, he encouraged such ones to be given a voice to do just that. Paul acknowledges that some who might speak, would be motivated by another sort of spirit, and even cause dissentions or divisions, still, he shows how this too would serve a proper purpose. It would make manifest1 to all present, any individual who was inclined to speak in opposition the truth found in Gods word. 1Co 11:19 For doubtless there have to be factions or parties among you in order that they who are genuine and of approved fitness may become evident and plainly recognized among you. AMP Under those circumstances, The H.S. would raise voices to support Gods view and as Jesus said, his sheep would recognize his voice, thereby, clearly making manifest the voices of those who would be strangers among true sheep. Those who argue there would be chaos if every attendee was given the opportunity to speak deny the power of Holy Spirit to control its own affairs.
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Shepherds who suppress the voices of their fellow believers face a serious question. Is it actually Spiritual Truth which they claim to protect by denying others freedom of expression at their meetings? Or is it their own man made religious beliefs and opinions they are desirous of promoting and protecting? Each individual must, in view of Gods written word and his or her own relationship with God supply an answer to that question. Regarding Meeting for the Lords Evening Meal The Lords evening meal is afforded special status in the Bible. By scriptural inference, we can conclude the Lords supper was not observed with the same regularity as were general group meetings. The only clues as to the frequency with which it might have been observed is found in the scripture at Luk. 22:19 and 1 Cor. 11:24. There it states, Keep doing this in remembrance of me. From this, we can determine Jesus meant that his followers should celebrate the Lords Evening Meal at least annually, if not more often. On the basis that the Passover, a celebration observed in remembrance of Jehovahs deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage in 1513 B.C.E., was only commemorated once a year, on the anniversary date of Nisan 14. The Lords Supper, if viewed as a memorial or an anniversary, would appropriately be held only on Nisan 14. Verses applicable to the preceding paragraph: 1Co 11:20 So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the supper instituted by the Lord that you eat, AMP 1Co 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 1Co 11:24 and giving thanks, He broke and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken on behalf of you; this do in remembrance of Me.

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1Co 11:25 In the same way the cup also, after supping, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; as often as you drink, do this in remembrance of Me. See Luke 22:19, 20 1Co 11:26 For as often as you may eat this bread, and drink this cup, you solemnly proclaim the death of the Lord, until He shall come. AMP Therein lays the formality or custom for the significance of the symbolism connected with the observance of this memorial celebration. The gravity behind it is highlighted at 1 Cor. 11:27-29, where it says one partaking unworthily brings judgment on himself for not discerning the value of Christs sacrifice. 1Co 11:27-29 So that whoever should eat this bread, or drink the cup of the Lord, unworthily, that one will be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. 28. but let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and let him drink of the cup; 29 for he eating and drinking unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. AMP Preceding verses stated in simple terms, show what the Bible actually teaches about ways, circumstances and conditions under which followers of Jesus Christ and his father Jehovah were to gather together for worship, instruction, and encouragement, under the guidance of Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit in its various manifestations. Matthew 28:20 and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.' NJB John 14:16 And I will make prayer to the Father and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, BBE John 15:26 When the helper arrives that I will send YOU from the Father, the spirit of the truth, which proceeds from the Father, that one will bear witness about me; NWT
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John 16:13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come. NJB John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ESV John 8:32 and YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free." NWT John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. NIB From what we have seen thus far, it is quite clear that Jesus Christ, alive and active, as proven by multiple sightings by his apostles and others after his death on Calvary, promised to take charge of his congregation in a hands on manner personally, not by any surrogate individual or group of humans, governing as his personal representative. Still, as evidenced from the chart showing the makeup of the apostolic congregation, humans would be given some part to play in the administration of his organizational arrangement. Would they be given authority to rule their fellow believers, much as the kings of ancient Israel had been given? No! There is no scriptural evidence to indicate a yes to that question. If not ruler ship, what part might humans might play in assisting Jesus in his personal administration over those constituting his body of believers, who wanted to follow him, those who would love and embrace the truth he spoke and taught concerning his father, Jehovah, and his purposes?

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What sort of persons would he choose to perform services on his behalf, and for benefits to his followers? Exactly, what would he, specifically ask of them? And how would he prepare them for his work in this connection? These are important questions which must be answered if anyone wishes to identify which individuals and what organizations actually do serve the interests of Christ Jesus and Jehovah in actually ministering to his followers. We would expect the Bible to provide insights for helping us distinguish those actually doing so from those who merely claim to be doing so. Fortunately, the Bible provides answers in providing guidelines by which to recognize them. We will address a variety of scriptures which will help us differentiate the genuine article, from any lookalike counterfeit. At the end of such investigation, hopefully, we also will able to see the differences between those claiming to be true followers of Christ and ones who, while appearing to be followers, are actually pretended Christians. Lets begin with Jesus own words as they help us to draw a picture which conforms in all respects to his requirements and the examples he set for us and all others who would lay claim to being his followers. 1. Parameters under which Jesus conducted himself: (Given as an example to follow) John 12:49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. NIB John 5:30 But I do nothing without consulting the Father. I judge as I am told. And my judgment is absolutely just, because it is according to the will of God who sent me; it is not merely my own. NLT John 6:38 because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of him who sent me. NJB
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John 20:17 Jesus says to her, Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God. DBY Jesus by example sets the tone and provides overall guidelines for his followers as to what he expects of them. They must be in harmony with the will of his Father who is his God and their God, just as he is. The major ways they can achieve this is by learning to imitate him, by following his teachings, obeying his instructions and learning to think as he does. If one achieves all of these, he will be found to be in complete harmony and in unity with God and his purposes. Jesus set out the principals for true worship in explicit terms: Luke 4:8 Jesus answered, "It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" NIB [Exclusive devotion] John 4:24 God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth." NWT [Spirit and in truth] .Mark 12:28, 30,31 Now one of the scribes that had come up and heard them disputing, knowing that he had answered them in a fine way, asked him: "Which commandment is first of all?" You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this, 'You must love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." NWT [A core principal of true worship] 1 John 5:3 This is what the love of God is: keeping his commandments. Nor are his commandments burdensome, NJB [No love without obedience]
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1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: NAB [Obedience a function of perfect love] 2. Recognizing Christs position in true worship: John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known. NJB 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, NET John 14:28 "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I.
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1 Corinthians 11:3 But it is important for you to keep this fact in mind, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. BBE John 14:6 Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. NJB John 12:26 If anyone would minister to me, let him follow me, and where I am there my minister will be also. If anyone would minister to me, the Father will honor him. NWT John 12:48 He that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day; NWT

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Luke 9:23 Then he went on to say to all: "If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake day after day and follow me continually. NWT John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ESV Mark 12:14 On arrival these said to him"Teacher, we know you are truthful and you do not care for anybody, for you do not look upon men's outward appearance, but you teach the way of God in line with truth: Is it lawful to pay head tax to Caesar or not? NWT Matthew 20:25,26 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but John 13:15 For I set the pattern for YOU, that, just as I did to YOU, YOU should do also. NWT John 15:19 The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don't. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. NLT .Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few chosen. ASV In summary, what would one look for in a church or in an organization to determine if it really is in harmony with Gods word and actually complies with his standards? One must identify and search for the organization which fits all the above God given
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characteristics, and still add a few more along lines the following verses provide. John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." ESV 1 John 2:15 Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; NWT 1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman {is} the man; and the head of Christ {is} God. WEB Colossians 1:18 Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. NLT At this time, let us examine a sampling of Christianitys religious organizational structures which we find in place during this day and age. Some of them have been around a very long time and are very well established and accepted by millions upon millions of people, all around the earth. Others are more recent; nevertheless, they also have millions of followers, earth wide. We will see that the majority of religious organizations who represent themselves as being Christian (led by, and following exclusively, one leader, Christ), are actually organized to follow men who have inserted themselves between Christ and his followers, men who have salted the pure and truthful teachings of Christ and the Apostles with their own creeds, doctrines and traditions formulated by themselves or others and passed off as originating with God. Having already considered a scriptural description picturing Gods idea of what an acceptable religious organization is, lets examine the following charts showing organizational structures for a variety of contemporary religious organizations. In this, we will be able to see what they have in common, what their differences are and how
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they compare to the model God provides in his inspired word, the Holy Bible. The following charts represent practically all denominations of Christianity and are examples of organizations who claim to follow Christ and the Bible. However, it should be noted that religious organizations as a whole, outside of Christianity, also share the common characteristic where men dominate over other men under the guise of service to God and man. The major point to keep in focus as one peruses these organizations is from Jesus own words at Matthew 23:10; Matthew 23:10 "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ . NAS Or as other translations have it; Matthew 23:10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. RSV Matthew 23:10 nor may ye be called directors, for one is your director -- the Christ. YLT

Note to the reader It may be necessary to enlarge the charts


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As can be seen from the charts on the preceding pages, the religious organizations of our day all picture organizations which are quite different in nature from the one which was set up by Jesus and his apostles in the first century. Jesus was dealing with individuals within the first century congregation on a direct basis, not through a hierarchy of men dominating his sheep. Does that mean that men are not being used by him and have no part in Gods purpose for humans on this earth. Not at all, for the Apostle Paul said: 1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I would have YOU know that nobody when speaking by God's spirit says: "Jesus is accursed!" and nobody can say: "Jesus is Lord!" except by holy spirit. NWT And Jesus himself related: John 13:20 I assure you: The one who receives whomever I send receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me." CSB This being said, it means Jehovah, through Holy Spirit, has the ability to act upon whom he wishes, perhaps even on some not professing to be followers of Christ. However, this still allows that there is a difference between true believers (true worshipers) and those who are not. John 4:24 God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth." NWT Jehovah God, as the Supreme Being in the universe demands worship not only in spirit but in truth as well. There is no place for half truths, partial truths or un- truths in pure worship. Furthermore, Jehovah and his word are the only legitimate basis for determining what his truth is. Men or groups of men saddled with their own imperfections cannot be seen as a real basis for establishing truth.

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Psalm 62:9 {061:9} But the sons of men are vain; the sons of men are false, so as to be deceitful in the balances; they are all alike formed out of vanity. LXE Psalm 108:12 O grant us help against the foe, for human help is worthless. NRS Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in Jehovah than to put confidence in man; DBY Psalm 146:3 Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. NLT Among the truths the Bible reveals are those found in these verses, which many pseudo followers and their religious organizations disavow while professing to be true worshippers. Philippians 2:11 and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. NWT Or as another version puts it; Philippians 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father's glory. DBY This verse reveals that Jesus is Lord in a lesser sense than the one to whom the glory is directed (the father). Many professed believers claim Jesus not only to be equal to the father, but that he is the father. This is false (not spirit and truth) see also Chapter 19. under the subject; Trinity. 2 John 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world. They do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in a real body.Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist NLT 1 John 4:2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, NIV Or as another version puts it;
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1 John 4:2 This is the way to find out if they have the Spirit of God: If a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ became a human being, that person has the Spirit of God. NLT Many so-called believers claim Jesus was a god during his earthly ministry. This denies the scripture that says Jesus came in the flesh and was sent by God. Also, the Bible relates Jesus was referred to as the last Adam. Adam, being created as a perfect human was flesh and blood and not a god in any sense. 1 Corinthians 15:45 So the first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; and the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. NJB Or as another version puts it; 1 Corinthians 15:45 It is even so written: "The firstman Adam became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. NWT Jesus became a life giving spirit after his death and resurrection. It was not during his earthly ministry that any form of divinity is ascribed to him by the Bible. Claiming Jesus was God in the flesh is in direct conflict with Bible truth and given as a sign by which to recognize Anti Christ 2 John 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world. They do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.
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Philippians 3:3 For we who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us. NLT Paul was referring to himself and others who he considered to be true worshippers. He was clear that they put no trust or confideence in any humans efforts; rather instead, they were boasting in
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Christ, not in themselves or in other men, as so many religionists are prone to do. When men boast in their own efforts, they betray a lack of spirituality on their part, showing confidence in man and giving themselves credit rightfully due to God. This ascribing to men what belongs to God and putting men on a level with God is a form of idolatry and / or blasphemy. The Bible teaches there is no room for either of these in true worship John 14:6 Jesus said to him: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NWT Those who teach other pathways to God, aside from Jesus Christ are in direct conflict with this verse. Yet a vast majority of professing Christians believe access to the father is by praying through some saint, or by using some idolatrous device like a statue or image ie: rosary beads or a cross. Others may believe by obeying the voice of their pope or some other man or possibly a group of men that this is the path to salvation. When Jesus states so straightforwardly, that no one comes to the Father, except though himself, it becomes clear that those others claiming to be intercessors are either greatly mistaken or outright liars. Where does this leave the majority of religious organizations? It leaves them under serious question as to whether they are what they represent themselves to be. When we examine them in the light of the truth from Gods own word, glaring defects begin to emerge. An objective examination reveals a much more accurate picture of what they actually are and leaves us with a disturbing conclusion. The conclusion is that most religious organizations present to their followers a mixture of true and false teachings. The proportion of truth or error one uncovers depends entirely upon which particular organization you are examining at the moment. That there are true supporters of Christ among men today cannot be denied. There are also counterfeits, good and bad ones, passing themselves off as true supporters. They claim and often appear to be serving Christ and worshipping the true God, while actually serving the interests of enemies of Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ. They present themselves as angels of light in a variety of religious organizations organized and run by men. The fact is that
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both real and counterfeit believers are present in flocks claiming to be Jesus sheep. This is obvious to any objective observer and should not surprise us in the least. We have a whole body of scriptural evidence which confirms this phenomenon not as a suspicion, but rather sets it forth as a hard core reality. Matthew 13:25,30 While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. NAB :30 Let them come up together till the getting in of the grain; and then I will say to the workers, Take up first the evil plants, and put them together for burning: but put the grain into my store-house. BBE 2 Peter 2:1 As there were false prophets in the past history of our people, so you too will have your false teachers, who will insinuate their own disruptive views and, by disowning the Lord who bought them freedom, will bring upon themselves speedy destruction. NJB 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not take the true teaching; but, moved by their desires, they will get for themselves a great number of teachers for the pleasure of hearing them; BBE Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests teach as they wish; Yet my people will have it so; what will you do when the end comes? NAB Or as other versions puts it; Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? NIV 2 Corinthians 11:13,14. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ. NAB:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. NWT

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Even transforming themselves into angels (messengers) of light. Do we know the difference? Perhaps some of us do, yes, maybe no. One thing we can be sure of; Jesus knows the difference! Matthew 7:22, 23 On judgment day many will tell me, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.:23 But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized. ' NLT Who a false teacher is and who a true teacher is may be difficult to determine. The adversary is extremely capable and very sophisticated in the arts of deception and so are his followers. Yet, Gods word is able to pierce deeply into the realities of all things. Hebrews 4:12 The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it can pass judgment on secret emotions and thoughts. NJB It is only by understanding what Gods word (the Bible) really says that one is able to cut through the veil of deception which surrounds false religion and false religious organizations. If one comes to rely solely on what other humans claim it says, it becomes impossible to figuratively separate the weeds from the wheat and get out from under the yoke of those who are intent on preventing Gods pure unadulterated word of truth from shining on human kind. Spiritual warfare is over the hearts and minds of humans. It is a battle being raged by spirit beings with human involvement, a battle between Jehovah God and his followers and Satan the Devil and his followers. In his word, the Bible, Jehovah assures his followers; 2 Corinthians 10:4,5. The weapons with which we do battle arenot those of human nature, but they have the power, in God's cause, to demolish fortresses. It is ideas that we demolish,:5 every presumptuous notion that is set up against the knowledge of God, and we bring every thought into captivity and obedience to Christ; NJB

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John 17:17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. NKJ The truth is available in Gods word, if one really wants it. However, it takes a concerted effort to study what Gods word actually says. For those who desire truth and are willing to expend the effort, the rewards are indescribable; Jesus said John 8:32 you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. NJB Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, NIB As far as determining an organization which represents Jehovah God and his son Jesus, here are some basic scriptural principals one may apply in the search process: 1. It adheres to requirements laid down in the first century by Jesus and his apostles. These have not changed, as they are God given. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Malachi 3:6 'No; I, Yahweh, do not change; . . . .NJB Isaiah 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. ESV Isaiah 55:11 so shall my word be, whatever shall proceed out of my mouth, it shall by no means turn back, until all the things which I willed shall have been accomplished; and I will make thy ways prosperous, and will affect my commands. LXE 2. It teaches trusting in Jehovah rather than men Proverbs 3:5 Trust whole heartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception; NJB
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Psalm 146:3 Do not put YOUR trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. NWT Or as another version states; Psalm 146:3 Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. NLT 3. It holds the Bible as Gods inspired word and the true authority for its own teachings. It recognizes the Bible as the source for Gods truth. John 17:17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. NKJ Psalm 119:160 Your word is true from the first; and your upright decision is unchanging for ever. BBE 3. Its head is Jesus Christ, not men insinuated between God and his followers Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. BBE Ephesians 4:15 If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the head
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Jeremiah 10:23 I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to earthling man his way does not belong. It does
not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.NWT

4. It promotes worshipping with Spirit and Truth. Truth is a prerequisite factor, it rejects man- made doctrines which either have no basis in the Bible, or are contradicted by scripture. It promotes not only truth, but a love of truth.
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John 4:24 God is a spirit; and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. DBY 2 Thessalonians 2:10 and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. NAB 5. It recognizes Gods Holy Spirit as the means by which he accomplishes his will. It does not suppress, thwart or oppose that spirit in any way. John 14:26 but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. NJB Acts 5:32 And *we* are his witnesses of these things, and the Holy Spirit also, which God has given to those that obey him. DBY 6. It obeys Gods will as expressed by Jesus and the Apostles in all its leadings 1 John 5:3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, NRS Jeremiah 7:23 This is what I told them: 'Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!' NLT 7. It manifests Love within its house and toward all others Mark 12:30.31. and you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.':31 The second is this, 'You must love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." NWT
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John 13:35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
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8. It recognizes, honors, respects and magnifies Gods name and purposes. Isaiah 43:6, 7. To the north I shall say, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back!' Bring back my sons from far away, and my daughters from the remotest part of the earth, 7 everyone who bears my name, whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made. NJB Acts 15:14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. ESV If the religious group you are affiliated with does not fulfill all these requirements, you should take it as warning sign that the group may not be what it represents itself to be. It may very well face the day when Jesus will say; And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness' Matthew 7:23 ESV Where can you go? What can you do? Search for a group that best emulates those standards set out by Jesus and the Apostles. Dont be dazzled by size or by popularity. Two or three gathered in Jesus name who want to worship in spirit and truth bring more joy to Gods heart than ten thousand whose worship is sullied by falsehood and sin. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24 ESV Remember Jesus said For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them. This means the size of an organization or even the fact that it is an organization are not of prime importance. What is important to God is whether those who worship him are worshipping in Spirit and Truth. This may make it rather difficult, for Jesus also said; But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14 NIB
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This means the first part of that verse is also true Go in by the narrow door; for wide is the door and open is the way which goes to destruction, and great numbers go in by it. Matthew 7:13 BBE So, while you may be looking for a rather rare commodity, dont be discouraged. You have the Bible, Gods inspired word. You have the channel of prayer open for you to converse with the greatest being in the entire universe. Ask for his help in finding the right way. You are not alone. There are others out there who love God and truly want to do his will. They are worth looking for. In the meanwhile continue to grow in the stature of Gods word. Read it, study it, and meditate upon it. It will make you wise; it will show you the way. It will bring you closer to your creator and then he will draw you yet still closer. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free, you can know the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:21) and the peace that excels all understanding; Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard YOUR hearts and YOUR mental powers by means of Christ Jesus. NWT Study, meditate, pray, then study, meditate and pray some more. Keep on doing that and all things will come to you, for, as his word promises; Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; NKJ Hebrews 6:10 God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the holy people of God. NJB

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CHAPTER THREE

PROPHECY and PROPHETS


(From a Biblical perspective) Old Testament Bible Prophets From a biblical perspective all true prophecy is based on the premise pointed out to us at 2 Peter 1:20,21., where it says; Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves 21; or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God. NLT The primary thing we must recognize about true prophecy (God given prophecy) is that a true prophet speaks Gods thoughts and wishes, not the thoughts or wishes of either the individual or the organization he or she may represent. That being said how are we to recognize whether a professed prophet is expressing Gods thoughts or their own thoughts? If they are expressing thoughts truly in harmony with Gods thinking, there will be no conflict between what they say and his inspired word which he has given us as a primary means to test for truth. Additionally there will be no conflict with the spirit of truth which Jesus said his followers would be given and through which he would reveal all things. Therefore, any prophetic statements made by ptofessed prophets which may have even the slightest affiliation with untruth cannot be from Jehovah God, for he cannot lie. That true prophecy was and still is an on-going function of Gods will is borne out by the words of the true prophet Amos;
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Amos 3:7 No indeed, Lord Yahweh does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. NJB Gods purpose and his will are not subject to change, but his methods and the ways he executes his will are dynamic and not stagnant. As such it is entirely logical and reasonable that he continues to use prophets as messengers of change during times he sees a need to inform his loyal followers. Thus at critical times in the affairs of his people, we see prophets on the scene. This has been his pattern throughout history and there is no reason to believe differently in our day. Yet, some will make the argument that he already has in place established prophecy, therefore there is no need for new prophets. This notion is dispelled by the Bible itself where it tells us; Acts 2:17"'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams NIV From a basic analytical level prophecy in the Bible takes two forms of function. A prophet or prophetess may be seen as adeclarative prophet (that is one who delivers all manner of Jehovah Gods thoughts to people) or they may be seen as a predictive (perceptive) prophet (that is that they see and transmit unknown information received from God about future events which he wants made known to his people. Some prophets were called on by Jehovah to include predictive and declarative functions in their prophecies. There are also instances where prophetic messages took the form of prophetic scenarios which were enacted for the peoples benefit. A study of descriptive names given to prophets in Scripture reveals a broad spectrum of ministry within the two primary components (perceptive and declarative) of the prophetic gifts; It reveals that there are variations within these two primary components, all of which are prophetic according to Scripture, and all valuable and necessary. The common factor
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among all O.T. prophets was that they revealed Gods thoughts, sometimes in the form of his words and other times in their own words. The constant factor of all true prophecy was that it conveyed Gods message which he wanted brought to his peoples attention at times he saw it as being necessary or appropriate. TWO TYPES of prophets in the O.T. Type 1. PERCEPTIVE prophets: These include those who functioned as SEERS or WATCHMEN and VISIONARIES (Hebrew "ro'eh" or"ra'ah"), refers to a person who sees; an observer; a person endowed with moral and spiritual insight or knowledge. Essentially, the root "ro'eh", means 'to look at' or 'behold.' The seer is one who has understanding of the times. This person has the ability to perceive and discern the spiritual significance of a situation and can give Gods perspective on the situation. This person's strengths are gifts of illumination (enlightenment) and discernment (understanding). This kind of prophet is extremely valuable as a watchman and intercessor in the midst of the congregation.. VISIONARIES are akin to seers, however there is an implication that they go beyond simply seeing current spiritual scenarios. They are given a vision of what is going to occur before it happens. Visionaries fell into three classifications; In 1 Chr 29:29 we find an occurrence of three different words referring to three different prophets. 1 Chronicles 29:29 As for the affairs of David the king, the first ones and the last, there they are written among the words of Samuel the seer ((ra'ah) and among the words of Nathan the prophet (nabiy) and among the words of Gad the visionary (Chozeh), NWT

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While in some translations both Samuel and Gad were referred to as seers, the actual Hebrew word is different in the second case and carries some broader implications. The word is "chozeh" and is defined as a person of unusually keen foresight; a person who sees visions; or a beholder in vision. The primary root, "chazah", means to gaze at; mentally, to perceive, contemplate; specifically, to have a vision of. This kind of prophet is akin to the other seer, but the implications here are that this person goes beyond simply seeing the current spiritual scenarios, but has a vision of what God is going to do or wants to do in the future. This is the kind of vision that has a predictive element to it and is known as predictive prophecy. Type 2. ILLUMINATING (declarative) prophets: brought the people information and understanding that God wanted them to have at appropriate times in their relationship with him. 1. The Burden-bearer There are several places in Scripture where a prophetic message is called a "burden". For example Isaiah 13:1, "The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw." This word "burden" speaks more to the function or the message, rather than the person delivering it. It is of import- ance to note that the Hebrew word is "massa'", meaning simply "burden", but is used to describe prophetic utterances (Prov. 31:1) and even prophetic musical dirges (1 Chr 15:22). It implies the weightiness of the prophetic message prophets are sometimes called on to carry. When Prophetic burden-bearers are called to pray. These are the prophetic intercessors. They can feel the grief of the Lord over the things that are not right. These prophets seem to live in the doldrums (low spirits) much of the time, but they are called there to pray "right" again those things that are wrong. God bless them! There are many examples of prophets inter- ceding on behalf of the people in prayers to Jehovah. just a few exam- ples may be found at Dan.9:16-19 (Daniel), Nu.14:19 (Moses) and 1Sam.7:5
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(Samuel). Prophets are especially qualified to pray for others because they have an understanding of Jehovahs will which has been delivered to them in areas where others may be less aware of.; Amos 3:7 Certainly the Lord will do nothing without making clear his secret to his servants, the prophets. BBE 2. The Herald The last two kinds of prophets can be described by how they communicate more than how they receive a comm.unication from God. The "nataph" or"herald" is the prophetically inspired preacher. "Nataph" means as a primary root word; to ooze, i.e. distill gradually; by implication, to fall in drops; to let something soak in gradually or figuratively, to speak by inspiration. The word is translated "preach" in Ezekiel 21:2, Ezekiel 21:2 "Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and drip[words] toward the holy places, and prophesy against the soil of Israel. NWT Job 29:22 Once I spoke, they said no more, but received my pronouncement drop by drop. NAB A herald is seen as a royal representative or official messenger, especially one representing a monarch in an ambassadorial capacity during a time of conflict such as wartime; a person or thing that proclaims or announces change . To herald means to give tidings of, announce, proclaim, publicize, to signal the coming of, usher in. The content of their message is every bit prophetically inspired, and as their sermons or writings "soak in"to your mind and heart, you know you have heard from the heart of God on the matter. But their mode of communication and delivery is not necessarily the same as an oracle. 3. the Oracle
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The word nabiy is the most commonly used word in scripture for prophet and describes one whogushes forth with a spontaneous inspired utterance This describes one who functions as an oracle. The root word is naba and means to speak or sing by inspiration. A deeper connotation is to bubble up. to gush forth, to pour forth. This word is used at Amos 3:8 which states: the sovereign Lord has spoken-who can but (naba) prophesy, and Joel 2:8 which says . . . your sons and your daughters shall (naba) prophesy. This is the inspired utterance prophet who speaks forth in the name of God with a confident Thus says Jehovah. . . etc. This particular ministry goes further than simple inspired insight; beyond prophetically insightful preaching or teaching; and actually speaks Gods words into a situation. It should be noted that there were prophets on the scene who served in more than one of these functions at the same time. For example, While Moses could be seen primarily as as an Illuminating (declarative) prophet, he also made prophetic predictions about the future. Another important thing to be aware of is that prophets who were chosen by Jehovah constituted a miniscule segment of the human family at any given time. Sometimes there was only one prophet on the scene, sometimes just a few and sometimes not even one. In fact, during a period of over 4,000 years of history recorded by Gods people, only fifty two individuals can even be listed as possible prophets in the Bible. And of those, only sixteen are universally recognized by all bible scholars as credible prophets, according to the understanding of what constituted an O.T. prophet. This makes a true prophet, one who has been actually called by Jehovah to disclose his or her message to others an extremely rare commodity. Below is a list of those individuals from the O.T. who have been classified by most Bible scholars as prophets. In
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analyzing the list one will find that there are some individuals who do not quite fit the scriptural profile for a prophet. However in most instances, the individuals can be readily seen to possess those scriptural qualities which are associated with a prophet. When the N.T. makes reference to the prophets of old (Luk 1:70, Acts 3:21) it is understood to refer to a group of 16 prophets classified by bible scholars as (4) major** and (12) minor prophets*. It should be noted that this classification makes no allusion to their importance, but is rather based on the length of their writings. Old Testament Bible Prophets (A General list of those alleged to be prophets by bible scholars) Code identifying function and nature of prophets listed: Jones Bold print indicates a predictive prophet Jones - Italicized print indicates a declarative prophet Jones Bold italicized print indicates a prophet whose work included both predictive and declarative elements. Jones Normal print, underlined Indicates an individual whose prophet label appears to be of a questionable nature. Jones*- addition of an * classifies a minor prophet Jones ** addition of an ** classifies a major prophet Adam:

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There is no direct evidence that he was in the conventional sense a predictive prophet. Neither is he referred to in the Bible as a prophet at all. However, we assume by implication, he transmitted Gods thinking during his lifetime on a need to know basis to those he fathered and to their generations during his lifetime. For this reason some see him as a prophet Abel: There is no direct evidence that he was in any scriptural sense a prophet. Seth: There is no direct evidence that he was in any scriptural sense a prophet. Enos: There is no direct evidence that he was in any scriptural sense a prophet Cainan: There is no direct evidence that he was in any scriptural sense a prophet Mahalaleel: There is no direct evidence that he was in any scriptural sense a prophet Jared: There is no direct evidence that he was in any scriptural sense a prophet Enoch: Enoch is the first one who could be seen as a prophet if only for reason that he walked with god for over 300 years. Walking with god would imply testifying to his greatness and acknowledging his God ship. Additionally, Jude made this reference to Enoch as a prophet; It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many
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thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 1415) Technically this was not a prophecy in the predictive sense by Jude. Rather in his case it was prophecy in a testimonial sense. The predictive aspect is found in the time when these words of Enoch were reputedly spoken. Since Enoch is known to have lived before Noahs day, his words would have taken on predictive significance. Jude implies these were words spoken by Enoch before the flood of Noahs day. As such, that would constitute predictive prophecy. MethuselahLittle is recorded about Methuselah in the Bible that would paint him as a prophet. The book of Enoch, the book of Jasher (both apocryphal writings) and historians, Josephus and Philo disclose a few more facts about Methuselah. It is alluded to in the book of Jasher that both Noah and Methuselah preached the need for righteousness to their fellow humans. Whether this constituted prophecy remains open to some debate. Noah - While it is likely that he conveyed Gods warning to the people of his day there is no direct evidence that Noah was a prophet in the predictive sense. It is lilely that he prophesied in a declarative sense by informing the people of the consequences of disobedience to Gods will. Also we may assume that he conveyed Gods will to his family and their offspring. Thus he can be viewed as a declarative prophet. Shem According to some Jewish traditions is believed to have been Melchizedek, (e.g., B. Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8.), Shem is pictured as follower of Jehovah at Gen. 9:26. As such it is reasonable to assume that he declared Jehovahs will and purpose to his family and those around him. For this reason he is assumed by some scholars to be a prophet.

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Melchizedek ; There is much speculation about Melchizedech outside of the bible. Most of it centers on Melchizedek being a heavenly son of God who came to earth to teach about Gods plan of salvation for humans.. The Bible gives little information of major interest except that Abraham did homage to him and that he had no traceable ancestry. While the Bible paints him as a pre-Levitical priest worthy of great respect, it does not refer to him as a prophet in any conventional sense. Abraham God himself refers to Abraham as a prophet at Gen 20; 7. Isaac: While events in the life of Isaac were prophetic, we find what some would consider prophecy by word of mouth only in the blessings of his sons. (Gen28; 3,4.) Jacob: Some view the fact that Jacob was the patriarch of the nation of Israel as an indication he was also prophet. This may or may not be a valid assumption. Aside from that, it was the events in his life that had prophetic significance, not, as far as we know, the things he spoke. Elias or Esaias: Elias is an individual assigned the role of a prophet in Abrahams day only by Mormon theology. The Esaias of the New Testament (Matt 4:14 KJV) is clearly Isaiah and not Elias. Gad: Gad was a seer or prophet in the Hebrew Bible and one of the personal prophets of King David of Israel. References to him are found in the books of 1 Sam. 22:5 and 2Sam.24:11,13,18. Jeremy A prophet of questionable origin, possibly attributable to the apocryphal book of Enoch. Otherwise taken as a synonym for Jeremiah a later fully acknowledged prophet (see below) Elihu: Elihu, one of Jobs companions who claimed to speak on Gods behalf. Whether his words reflected Gods thinking or his own remains open to question.
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Caleb Was one of the spies sent out by Joshua. While what he did could be seen as prophetic by some, there is no evidence that he uttered prophetic words Jehovah had authorized him to speak. Jethro or Reuel (Exo.2:16-18) Jethro was Moses father-in law. While there is evidence that he was an advisor to Moses, the Bible only refers to him as a priest. His recognition of as a prophet stems mainly from Islamic writings. Moses: Clearly a prophet of the greatest magnitude, both in what he spoke and what he predicted. Example (Deut:18:15) One of the few Bible examples of self proclamation as a prophet. Joshua; Joshua cannot be regarded a prophet by what he is ascribed to have said in any conventional sense. However the case can be made that his deeds were prophetic. On that basis some see him as a prophet. Balaam: Balaam is an example of a non-Israelite prophet who ended up prophesying mixed messages, both positive and negative from Gods standpoint. Zechariah*: Zechariah was in every sense a Prophet both declarative and predictive (Zech 1:3. Zech.9:3,4,9 and 12:10.) Eli: While Eli was a high priest and a judge during the era of Samuel the prophet, there is nothing in the bible record that portrays him as a prophet. Samuel: Samuel was a seer as well as a declarative prophet Nathan: Nathan was a declarative prophet who exposed and confronted David for his sin in connection with Uriah the Hittite. Micaiah: Micaiah is a predictive prophet who uttered a short term prophecy about a battle King Ahab was about to engage in.

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Ahijah; Ahijah was a predictive prophet who forecast the division of the nation with ten parts going to Jeroboam and leaving but one part (Judah) to Solomons posterity (Reheboam). 1 Ki. 11;31-33. Jehu: Jehu declared Jehovahs judgment towards Baasha, the then current King of Israel during his time. Elijah: Elijah, greek Elas defended the worship of Yahweh over that of the Phoenician god Baal (which was considered as idol worship); he raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up in a whirlwind. He made no specific predictions but can be seen in the role of a predictive prophet in that In the Book of Malachi, Elijah's return is prophesied "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord." The New Testament sees a fulfillment of this in John the Baptizer coming to prepare the way for Jesus as the Messiah. Elisha: A number of short term predictive prophecies are associated with Elisha however, more importantly, the miracles he performed among the people of his time are said to point prophetically to the ministry of Jesus. Job: Job cannot be seen as a prophet in a conventional scriptural sense. While the experiences of Job may be seen as prophetic of the experiences righteous men may anticipate, what Job had to say and the questions he asked of God cannot be seen as prophetic. Certainly much can be seen in Gods answers that would appear prophetic for in them he disclosed much knowledge unknown to men at the time he spoke to job. However those were Gods declarations, not Jobs. Joel*: Joel is a predictive prophet with largely apocalyptic applications. Jonah*: Jonah made a number of short term local application prophecies, thus he is technically speaking a predictive prophet. However, it was the things he experienced that are seen as of prophetic significance, not his words as much. For
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example his survival after three days in the belly of a whale is seen as being prophetic of Christs resurrection from the tomb. Amos*: Amos is primarily a declarative prophet who pronounced judgment and informed Jehovahs people of punishments they could expect. Amos also reminded them of Gods importance and their need for social justice. Hosea*/Hoshea: Hosea is a declarative prophet who pronounced judgment on Israel and disclosed their need for repentance. God allowed Hoseas personal relationship with his wife to prophetically illustrate his own relationship with the nation of Israel in Hoseas time. In modern Christianity, Hoseas experiences are seen to illustrate how Gods sees his relationship with some modern day Christians. In this regard, based on the eyes of hindsight, Hosea is also viewed as a predictive prophet by most modern day Christian scholars. Isaiah**: Isaiah is a major prophet who wrote short term predictions that had long term fulfillments as well. He also wrote a great deal of declarative material which would apply to a future for Gods people when man would be restored to Gods favor and blessing under the Kingdom rule of God. Micah*: Micah was a predictive prophet who was given short term denunciation pronouncements against Jerusalem and Samaria and longer term predictions about the coming Messiah. His predictions were quite concise even detailing the town and district the Messiah would be born in. (Mic. 5:2) Nahum*: Nahum was a declarative prophet if you agree with those who claim he wrote after the fall of Assyria around 612BCE. If you agree with those who believe he wrote before 614 BCE, he was a predictive prophet. In addition to detailing the fall of Assyria, Nahum used the words of Moses to declare what sort of being God was. Jeremiah**: Jeremiah wrote his words initially to the nation of Israel, as Gods people. In his works we find both predictive and declarative elements. There is no doubt in most scholars minds that his prophecies had short term
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fulfillments with his people (Israel) during his time and that they have long term fulfillments in relation to Gods people in the time of the end Habakkuk*: Habakkuk was a seer. He was given a vision of what God would do during his own day. He was also given prophetic information relating to the time of the end, Jehovahs day. Obadiah*: Obadiah is a seer in that he is given a vision 1. (14) announcing judgment against Edom and her pride and is given a vision of the punishment upon her. However Odadiahs vision can be seen to have a future spiritual application to a greater Edom in a spiritual sense. Daniel**: Daniels prophecies which portend both short term and long term fulfillments are based on a series of dream/ visions which are only partially interpreted. The rest of their meanings are left for a time Daniel describes as the time of the end (Daniel 12:4), when they are see their fulfillment. Ezekiel**: Ezekiels prophecies were both declarative and predictive in nature. He discloses much information about the heavenly angelic realm, pronounces judgment and the reasons for judgment on Gods people in both a short term sense (his own day) and a long term sense (his people in the future) senses. Additionally Ezekiels prophecies are rich with spiritual meanings. Haggai*: Haggai's message is filled with urgency for the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the second Jerusalem temple. Haggai attributes a recent drought to the people's refusal to rebuild the temple, which he sees as key to Jerusalems glory. The book ends with the prediction of the downfall of kingdoms. Malachi*: Malachi can be classified as a declarative prophet whose declarations contain Messianic implications. The book of Malachi appears to have been written to correct the lax religious and social behavior of the Israelites, particularly the priests in post-exilic Jerusalem. As all other examples of
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prophetic works, there are spiritual lessons in Malachi that transcend his own times. Shemaiah: Shemaiah was a declarative prophet of minor importance during the reign of Reheboam. Iddo: Iddo was a minor biblical prophet, who appears to have lived during the reigns of King Solomon and his heirs, Rehoboam and Abijah, in the Kingdom of Judah. At (2 Chronicles 12:15) he is mentioned as Iddo the Seer" Ezias: Ezias or Esaias is a name found in some bible versions at Mtt; 13:14 in the new testament in verses referring to Isaiah 6:9-10 in the Old testament. Most Bible translators believe Esias to be Isaiah. Zephaniah* - Zephaniah was a predictive and declarative prophet who spoke boldly against the religious and moral corruption, which, in view of the idolatry had penetrated even into the sanctuary. He pleaded for a return to the simplicity of their fathers instead of the luxurious ways if life they were engaged in. He also made important predictions about a future time of the end Code for identifying the function of prophets listed above:
Jones Bold print indicates a predictive prophet Jones - Italicized print indicates a declarative prophet Jones Bold italicized print indicates a prophet whose work included both predictive and declarative elements. Jones Indicates an individual whose prophet label appears to be of a questionable nature

PROPHETS in the New Testament


In the N.T. we find the writers continued to define the meaning of a prophet in terms of the Hebrew Scriptures, which they were already quite familiar with. We find numerous references in the N.T. writings to the prophets of old who had prophesied about
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their own times and about future times. Examples may be found at Acts3:18,21,24, Heb.1:1, Joh. 6:45, Luk. 1:70, Mtt.2:23 and 2 Pe.3:2) We are also told of prophets currently on the scene during the 1st Century who made short term predictions, prophets who made long term predictions and prophets who made both short and long term predictions. For example, John the Baptist made short term predictions about Jesus (Joh.16, 17.) Jesus made both short term and long term predictions about the destruction of the temple and the end of the system of things. (Mtt.24:2, 622.) The Apostles Paul and John are both credited with major long term predictive prophecies at (2 Ti. 3:1-7 and Rev.21:1-5) and there was even a virtually unknown man named Agabus on the scene who is mentioned as a short term predictive prophet. (Acts 11:28a). The first century believer fully understood all this in connection with the meaning of a prophet since it was in harmony with scriptural precedents that he was familiar with from before. However, in addition to the traditional types of prophets who were on the scene at the time, the first century bible record shows that another type of prophet was common and active within the typical first century congregation. While this type of prophet was largely declarative there was a new dimension to their work. Such prophets are referenced at verses like Act. 11:27, 13:1, 15;32, Eph. 4:11 and 1 Cor.14:29. These prophets appear to be every day figures within the local congregations different from the rare individuals who had been gifted with the spirit of prophecy in the O.T. The Bible does not say explicitly if or how these first century prophets were different from the prophets of old described in the O.T. However, what is written about them gives us an implicit picture showing certain qualities they all had in common. It also reveals that their gifts of prophecy had an added dimension and an added purpose. It is by examining those verses which describe them and the function they serve that we are able to discern that they represented a class of
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prophets different from O,T. (type) prophets who were, incidentally also concurrent on the scene during the first century. Lets review some of those scriptures which provide clues helping us to identify those characteristics that set them apart from the convent-ional O.T type of prophet. By doing this we will be able to grasp what made this class of prophets different, also what they had in common with earlier prophets that allows them to continue being referred to as prophets. Starting off with a crucial predictive verse uttered by Joel more than 400 years before Peter applied it to his own time, we will examine a series of verses which will explain this phenomena. At acts 2:16 Peter said: But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel ESV Acts 2:17,17. "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. NIV Peter referred to Joel in that Joel had predicted that in the last days (Jewish system) and by extension, last days (End of the world), Gods servants would prophesy. Exactly which of the varieties of meaning for the word prophesy would apply to any given individual prophet is not made clear by this verse. What is clear is that while certain ones would see visions and some others would dream dreams, there would be a large contingent (my servants), both men and women who would have Gods spirit poured out, in such a way as to enable them to prophesy. Analyzing the following verses will help us determine what the nature of such prophesying is based on what it was in the first century congregation.

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1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, yet keep zealously seeking the spiritual gifts, but preferably that YOU may prophesy. NWT From this verse, we can conclude the prophesying Paul referred to is not of the same in nature as the prophecy that Peter spoke of at 2 Peter 1:21, where he said For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. NIV Peters words indicated the kind of prophecy he was referring to was not something one could acquire through their own will, while Paul indicates at 1 Cor 14:1 that the kind of prophecy he is referring to is obtainable by human efforts. 1 Corinthians 14:31 You can all prophesy, but one at a time, then all will learn something and all receive encouragement. NJB With these words Paul implies that the kind of prophecy he refers to can be done by anyone in the congregation. Matthew 7:22 On judgment day many will tell me, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' NLT It becomes obvious that the prophecy Jesus was referring to in this verse could not have been the O.T. variety where there was only one or a very limited number of prophets on the scene at a given time . Acts 21:9 This man had four daughters, virgins, that prophesied. NWT This certainly doesnt fit the O.T. profile of few prophets on the scene at a time nor does it fit the O.T picture of prophets as lifelong loyal servants of God Romans 12:6 Then since the gifts that we have differ according to the grace that was given to each of us: if
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it is a gift of prophecy, we should prophesy as much as our faith tells us NJB Again, this is not the same kind of prophecy as seen in the O.T. prophets where Jehovah determined when and who should prophesy. This was a type of prophecy that the prophet themselves had a large measure of control over based on their own faith. 1 Corinthians 11:4,5 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. It is apparent from this scripture that the prophesying Paul was referring to was quite common. NIV:5 And for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered shows disrespect for her head; it is exactly the same as if she had her hair shaved off NJB. From Pauls words it is evident that both men and women who prophesied were quite common at the time. We have now determined that the form of prophecy spoken of in the N.T. in these verses was different from the O.T. prophecy in the number or quantity of prophets on the scene at a given time. What else can we learn about this form of prophet and their specific purpose that makes them unique in their own right? 1 Corinthians 14:3 On the other hand, someone who prophesies speaks to other people, building them up and giving them encouragement and reassurance. NJB Here we have a major clue as to its meaning. This kind of prophesying was equated with speaking in a way that builds up, gives encourage-ement and reassures them. This addresses not only the nature of prophesying, but the purpose for it as well. 1 Corinthians 14:4 Those who speak in a tongue may build themselves up, but those who prophesy build up the community. NJB
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Or as another translation puts it: 1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaks with a tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the assembly (Eklesia). DBY Here we have another clue; the type of prophesying Paul described is connected with building up the community of believers, the Eklesia (the church or congregation.) 1 Corinthians 14:31 You can all prophesy, but one at a time, then all will learn something and all receive encouragement. NJB Here Paul not only showed how common the prophesying that he was referring to was, but also that it was directly connected to teaching and encouraging others in the congregation.. Romans 12:6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you NLT. This translation clarifies that the prophesying Paul was referring to was equated with God speaking through the one who was prophesying. The inference in this is that the prophet would be confident when speaking Gods thoughts and not his own thoughts. Speaking his own thoughts might be tantamount to offering the fruits of the lip as praise (Hebrews 13:15 Through him, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, the fruit of the lips of those who acknowledge his name), but it would not be prophesying. A final example shedding light on what it meant to prophesy in the N.T. sense is found at: Luke 1:67, 68. And Zech-a-ri'ah its father was filled with holy spirit, and he prophesied, saying: :68 "Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, because he has
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turned his attention and performed deliverance toward his people. NWT This was a fine example of a declarative prophecy. it wasnt just an inkling or hunch Zechariah had on his own. It was a thought planted in his mind by Holy Spirit. In conclusion; While the prophecy spoken of by Paul appears to be of a new type different from the traditional O.T. version, it remains fund-amentally declarative prophecy with a specific goal or purpose in view. Perhaps what is new about it is that it is not directly motivated by Jehovah in the form of his commanding the prophet to speak, as was the case with the prophets of old. Rather it depends on ones own faith and his free will in wanting to speak Jehovahs mind to others. It might be seen as being sponsored by Jehovah, rather than directly commanded. The commonality it possesses is based on the fact that the prophet speaks not his own mind as affected by his own thinking or the thinking of others, but reflects the thinking of Jehovah as he has made it known to the prophet by means of his Holy Spirit. Modern Day Prophecy and Prophets How about our own day? If this is truly the Time of the End as most if not all Bible scholars believe it is, should we not expect to see prophets on the scene in our own day? There are at least two schools of thought on this. There are those who believe god-ordained prophets and Biblical type prophecy ceased to exist after the book of Revelations. In support, they cite scriptural references such as 1 Cor 13:8 and Rev.22:18,19. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, NIV10 But when that which is complete is come, then that which is in part will be no longer necessary. BBE
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They interpret these verses to mean that Paul said prophecy would be done away with when the holy writings were completed. In this they presume that Paul meant the Bible when he spoke of that which is complete They reason that since the Bible is complete and provides us with a fore gleam of the future which extends even beyond the establishment of Gods Kingdom on earth, there is no need for additional prophets or prophecy. They submit that the apostle Johns words at the end of the revelation he received from the Lord Jesus lend further support to their position. Revelation 22:18,19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. NIV In this, they see these words by John as applying to the bible in its entirety rather than merely to the book of Revelations. While this may make sense to some Bible readers it finds contradiction within the pages of bible itself. In the book of Acts there is an explicit statement that not only says there would be prophets on the scene during the time of the end, but that they would appear in extraordinary numbers. Acts 2:17 a'And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; NAS Also, at Revelation 11:3 It speaks of an occurrence specifically attributed to the time of the end. There it says;
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"And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in csackcloth." NAU Whether one understands these two witnesses to be individuals or as representing of a class of individuals, the point is that they would be prophesying during the time of the end, prior to Jesus arrival in kingdom power. This should not surprise a serious bible scholar in the least for we all know that Jehovah God has shown a disposition to raise prophets on earth every time his people were enduring critical times. What form could we expect prophecy to take during the last days? Would we expect a re-hash of old prophecies already existing in scripture re- interpreted by new prophets? If that were the case, it would imply that God either did not have the ability to set forth prophecy that was understandable in the first place or that he did not have the holy Spirit to guide his followers later in the way they should understand his earlier prophets, so now he needed new prophets to clarify what he had disclosed through their predecessors. Such a supposition betrays both logic and what we know of Jehovah as being all wise and all knowing. There must be another explanation as to why he would provide prophets on the scene during the last days. Would it be for the purpose of informing the world as to his will or his forth coming judgments? His word already has done this and continues to do so. Would it be for the purpose of them teaching his anointed? Hardly, for anointed ones are direct recipients of his holy spirit individually. Scripture tells us who their teacher is, how they arrive at truth and who finishes their training. It is not by any human prophet dwelling in the midst of their own number. (Joh.14:17,26, Joh.16:13, 1Pe. 5:10) We are given some scriptural keys which should help us understand the reason for prophets in this time of the end. One is found in several places in the book of Revelations:
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Revelation 19:10 Then I knelt at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, 'Never do that: I am your fellowservant and the fellow-servant of all your brothers who have in themselves the witness of Jesus. God alone you must worship.' The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. NJB Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother, who share with you the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, found myself on the island called Patmos because I proclaimed God's word and gave testimony to Jesus. NAB Revelation 12:17 Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus. NAB Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, where they took their seats, and on them was conferred the power to give judge- ment. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God's word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not accept the brand- mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. NJB Other reasons have to do with their relationship with fellow believers, their own brothers and sisters. Paul wrote about this in his letters to the Corinthian congregation. In first Corinthians we see the role of the prophet as one who edifies, gives others encouragement and re-assurance and provides information from which they can benefit by. To edify is understood as to build up. In the Christian context it means to strengthen someone, or be strengthened. 1 Corinthians 14:3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. NIV
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1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaks with a tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies edifies the assembly. DBY 1 Corinthians 14:31 You can all prophesy, but one at a time, then all will learn something and all receive encouragement. NJB In summary, if we were to try and paint a mental picture of an end times prophet based solely on Bible information, it would probably look like this: We would see one who proclaims the word of God and bears witness to Jesus. Also, he or she would be a source of encourageement, comfort and edification to fellow their fellow believers. Additionally, he or she would have the qualities incidental to any true Christian; To fellow humans he or she would speak truth and have love in their heart for them. For Jehovah and Jesus there would be exclusive devotion, loyalty, trust and obedience along with love in their hearts for both of them. How would we know that such a person was a true prophet in view of the scriptural warnings against false prophets and false teachers who would also be on the scene during the time of the end? Matthew 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. NIV Mark 13:22 for there shall rise false Christs and false prophets, and they shall give signs and wonders, to seduce, if possible, also the chosen; YLT 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; NAS Once again, Gods word of truth provides us with the tools to recognize falsehood of all kinds, including false prophets. There are some verses in scripture which embody principals
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enabling a true believer to recognize both false prophets and false teachers. Deuteronomy 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, and the thing followeth not, nor cometh to pass, that is the word which Jehovah hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: be not afraid of him. DBY The test illuminated in this scripture is fundamentally a test for truth in a predictive prophet. It refers to a prophet who presumes to speak in Gods name as the authority behind his or her prophecy. When the prophecy fails to come true, it proves the prophet has been deceitful and that it was not by Gods authority that he spoke at all. (see also Eze.22:28) Jesus gave us definitive information on how to recognize a false prophet in the seventh chapter of Matthew, where he said; Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves.AMP He indicated they would appear to be as gentle and harmless as lambs, that is , as far as one could see from their appearance and demeanor. Yet in their hearts they are insatiable in their appetite to consume their prey. What he said next is the key to their identity. Mat 7:16 You will fully recognize them by their fruits. . . . . AMP What kind of fruit? We have already seen that they would have deceptively alluring outward appearances. However, the fruit a prophet is expected to produce is prophecy. A prophets prophecies are what must be evaluated as to whether they are worthwhile or worthless Mat 7:17, 18. Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly
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(decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit. A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. AMP The laws of nature tell us that a healthy tree will produce good, excellent fruit, worthy of being admired and consumed, whereas a sickly, diseased tree will produce fruit that is sickly and diseased. In the case of prophecy the disease of falsehood makes the fruit poison-ous to the consumer. Mat 7:20 Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits. AMP Mat 7:21-23. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. 22;Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? 23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. [Ps. 6:8.] AMP The primary obligation (command) for a prophet of God is to speak or declare what God has given them to others. Any deviation from that can be seen as a violation of that command. If their prophecy includes their own imperfect opinions, or those of others, they may be viewed as less than a true prophet. If their prophecy is blatantly untrue, they can only be viewed as a false prophet. The best way to guard oneself against falsehood, false prophets and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible should be able to identify false doctrine. The Bible, Gods Scale for weighing truth
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While its true that we are admonished to be on guard, some go to such extremes as to become narrow-minded and closed to some beautiful truths in the name of being careful. What should our role as Christians be in regard to acceptance of a new thoughts, ideas or doctrine? We are told to prove all things, not to reject them because they might be strange or new to us. However, we should not receive them as being true either, until we first prove them. How do we prove things? All true Christians are in agreement that our standard is the Word of God, the Bible. God left us his Book as a reference, a standard or gauge so we could know whether something is good or evil, truth or error, right or wrong. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, NAB Prove All Things One of our major faults as Christians is that we tend to rely on human thinking instead of Gods spirit on certain subjects. Instead of referring to the book God gave us we defer to those men who we view as authorities (often self proclaimed). While we recognize that God gave us men who might lead us to his word and the truths of God, we lose sight of the fact that it is God and his word which remain the only source of unblemished truth. We cannot avoid exposure to the ideas and thinking of humans we come in contact with in our everyday lives and sometimes their thinking will have some appeal to us. However, when it comes to spiritual matters, Gods word is clear in that it places an obligation on the hearer to prove all things and hold fast only to that which is good. While this wise counsel may also apply to things non-spiritual in nature, it has a top priority application to those things of a spiritual nature which we come in contact with, such as professed prophecy from a source who claims to speak gods thoughts and mind. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Let all things be tested; keep to what is good; BBE Or as another translation put it:
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Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine. NWT Deuteronomy 13:1-3 If ever you have among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and he gives you a sign or a wonder, BBE :2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," NIV:3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or to the dreamer of that dream, because Jehovah YOUR God is testing YOU to know whether YOU are loving Jehovah YOUR God with all YOUR heart and all YOUR soul. NWT Thus, the Bible makes it perfectly clear that the obligation lies with each of us hearers, individually to pay attention to what God reveals through his word and his spirit. Proverbs 4:20 My child, pay attention to what I am telling you, listen carefully to my words; NJB Luke 8:18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." NIV Isaiah 33:22 For Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah, our lawgiver, Jehovah, our king: he will save us. DBY

CHAPTER FOUR
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PROPHECY FOR TODAY


Having explored what the Bible reveals about our relationship with God in the past and also much about our about our present relationship with him during a time, which the Bible describes as The Time of The End, it is now time to explore prophecies concerning the future of mankind as well as the future for Planet Earth in this solar system. When the Bible speaks of prophecy, we have learned there are two different meanings we may take from the word. First there was predictive prophecy and then there was declarative prophecy. Predictive prophecy was concerned with foretelling events which had not yet occurred. Sometimes such predictions would apply to events days, weeks or months ahead and sometimes they would apply to future events decades or centuries in the future. Often such predictive prophecies had more than one fulfillment with an initial fulfillment and another fulfillment in the more distant future. A prophecy may have had more than one application to its fulfillment. Not only may there have been a physical / literal fulfillment but there could be a spiritual dimension attributable to the same prophecy. Also, a prophetic fulfillment might occur on several different levels; for example, a prophecy might picture an individual, a group of individuals, apply to a nation or even an entire population as well. We have seen that the most noteworthy prophets described in the O.T. were primarily predictive prophets. We today are greatly concerned with the role Bible prophecy plays in revealing events in our own day as well as what it portends for our future on this planet earth. While the Bible contains a considerable amount of information in various places describing the future earth and the prospects for life on it, two books are of special value in painting a prophetic scriptural picture of the future. They are the books of Daniel and of Revelations. The prophet Daniel, who is understood to have written around six hundred BCE, portrayed a series of events which were given as prophecies concerning the forth-coming Jewish Messiah (Jesus Christ). He was also given prophetic visions of a future far beyond the Messiahs
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first appearance on earth, to a time when Messiah would appear again, a second time and even of a time beyond that, when God Almighty would intervene in mans affairs and reestablish his own sovereignty over the planet earth. Yet when Daniel had these revelations from God which he received in a series of visions (future scenarios), he had no idea of what they meant at the time. A direct command from God to Daniel explains this quite well; Daniel 12:4, 9. But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase. "NLT vs.:9 'Go, Daniel,' he said. 'These words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the End. NJB When Daniel wrote, he was under direct inspiration by God. While most of the things he wrote about were not understood by him at the time he wrote, it was clearly told to Daniel that they would be understood later, during the time of the end. His book stands mainly, as a revelation of things which were to occur progressively from his time, connecting seamlessly with events which would find fulfillment in prophecies described later in a major revelation, given to the apostle John, more than 600 years later by the resurrected Jesus Christ. Let it be noted that the book of Revelations was given to the Apostle John in the form of signs (symbols), meaning it was written mostly in symbolic language with its deeper or extended meaning not immediately apparent. Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified <G4591> it by His angel to His servant John, NKJ Or as another translation states; Revelation 1:1 A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent forth his angel and presented [it] in signs through him to his slave John, NWT
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We should not miss a point made in this opening verse in the book of Revelations. The intention behind the book is not to reveal to the world at large what was to come. It was a message intended for bond servants (slave like) followers of Jesus Christ. Those who were not his footstep followers would have trouble with fully understanding the Revelation even if they were given keys to the symbols used in the book. This was a pattern established this earlier when Jesus used highly picturesque parables (illustrations) with very easily understood every day meanings to communicate deeper spiritual meanings which his own followers would understand while others would see only the every day meaning. (Mtt. 13:34, 35 and Lu. 8:10.) Likewise in both Daniel and Revelations we find dramatically vivid images and symbols to convey deeply significant truths which were to have their fullest meaning far in the future. Thus, in order to grasp any of the real meanings in Daniel and Revelations, we must understand what the symbols employed in these books mean. Those meanings are disclosed in other parts of the Bible and an extensive index of these Bible symbols and their meanings is provided in Chapters five and six of Volume I. of it Is Written. An example showing how important it is to have an understanding of the meanings behind Bible Symbols is demonstrated by the following verses. Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. NWT If one were to take this passage literally, it becomes easy to see how it would lead to a conclusion conflicting with other scriptures. In this verse, the meaning of the word heaven in symbolic language is that of ruler ship over the earth and not sky, stratosphere or infinite time and space. When the scripture indicates a new heaven, it symbolically discloses a new system of ruler ship over the earth. If one were to take the verse to mean a literal new heaven and earth, it would conflict with other places in the Bible such as;
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2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly tabernacle house be destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. DBY In this verse we find implicit reference to heaven being eternal. Furthermore, in the following verses we find explicit reference to the earth as remaining forever. If that be so, there is no need for a literal new earth. A literal new earth would imply that God had made somewhat of an error in his design for the original earth while overall Bible context relates that God is incapable of error. Psalm 104:5 He has founded the earth upon its established places; It will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever. NWT Or as another translation puts it; Psalm 104:5 You fixed the earth on its foundations, for ever and ever it shall not be shaken; NJB And Psalm 37:29 The upright will have the earth for their heritage, and will go on living there for ever. BBE So in symbolic terms the new heavens represent a system for ruler ship replacing the system of rule currently dominating the entire earth is an explanation that finds no questionable contradiction elsewhere in the Bible. That new ruler ship (new heavens) can be seen to fit the kingdom government administered by Christ Jesus, in contrast with the old system of ruler ship under Satan, the devil, (2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:2) who has had ruler ship on the earth and over governmental systems on the earth since the fall of man in the garden of Eden. The phrase former earth also has symbolic significance in this instance, insofar as it represents not a literal earth, but the people under the system of control Satan introduced to the earth when Adam and Eve defected from Jehovah God in the Garden of Eden. The sea is another symbol. It represents restless, troubled, revolutionary humanity, which has been in a historical state of turmoil ever
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since the beginning of mans mistakenly asserted his own ability to rule his fellow man. It should also be noted that at Rev. 1:1, most popular Bible versions describe the events as occurring shortly. In this sense most people understand this as meaning soon after the words were written. On the other hand, two literal Bible versions translate a meaning which indicates it is the events themselves in the revelation which would occur quickly once they commenced. Revelation 1:1 A revelation of Jesus Christ, that God gave to him, to shew to his servants what things it behoveth to come to pass quickly; and he did signify it, having sent through his messenger to his servant John, YLT Rev 1:1 A Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show to His slaves things which must occur quickly. And He signified by sending through His angel to His slave, John, LITV According to this meaning, unlike the events covered in Daniel, which take in thousands of years of recorded history, all the prophetic events of Revelation, once they have commenced, will occur or be fulfilled over a relatively short period of time,. The book of Revelation deals extensively with events during the time of the end leading up to the Great day of God the almighty. Then it leap frogs in time a thousand years, to reveal the ultimate conditions after the milennial period Christs kingdom reigns over the earth. In this chapter we will explore some of the high points from both these books as well as others, in order to obtain an overall birds eye view of mankinds prophetic future as presented by the author, Jehovah God as seen when combining the 66 books of the Bible. An outline of that vision includes; The Future of the Earth (literal earth) A. The earth is not to be destroyed: Psalm 104:5 He laid the earth upon its foundations: it shall not be removed forever. DBY
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Psalm 37:29 The upright will have the earth for their heritage, and will go on living there forever. BBE B. Earth to be a Paradise Ezekiel 36:35 And they shall say, That desolate land is become like a garden of delight; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are inhabited. LXE C. Earth to be fully productive Isaiah 35:2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel's pastures and the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God. NLT D. Earth to be entirely peaceful Isaiah 14:7 The whole earth rests peacefully, song breaks forth;
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Isaiah 65:25 Then wolves and lambs shall feed together, and the lion shall eat chaff like the ox, and the serpent earth as bread. They shall not injure nor destroy in my holy mountain, saith the Lord. LXE E. Harmony and peace among living all creatures Isaiah 11:9 They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea. NWT F. A bright future for Humans on the earth 1. Righteous government under Gods Kingdom. Revelation 19:16 And upon his outer garment, even upon his thigh, he [Jesus] has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. NWT
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Daniel 7:27 "'And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them.' NWT Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." ESV 2. Evil and wickedness to be nonexistent Psalm 37:10, 11. For in a short time the evil-doer will be gone: you will go searching for his place, and it will not be there. But the gentle will have the earth for their heritage; they will take their delight in peace without measure. BBE Psalm 104:35 The sinners will be finished off from the earth; And as for the wicked, they will be no longer. Bless Jehovah, O Praise Jah, YOU people! NWT 3. No more Wars Isaiah 2:4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more. NIB Isaiah 54:13 And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant. NWT 4. There will be a Resurrection of dead loved ones John 11:25 Jesus said to her: "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; NWT

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Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. ESV Acts 24:15 I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. NAB 5. Pain, suffering, even death will be eliminated Revelation 21:4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." NKJ 6. There will be no more sickness or disease Revelation 22:2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. NKJ 7. There will be personal prosperity for all Isaiah 65:22,23 They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. 23 They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them. NWT Proverbs 3:10 And thy barns shall be filled with abundance, and thy presses shall run over with wine. DRA Psalm 72:16 May there be abundance of grain in the earth <0776> on top of the mountains Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon; And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth <0776>. NAU
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8. Social peace and harmony forever Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men KJV Zechariah 8:12 Now they will sow in peace; the vine will give its fruit, the soil will give its produce and heaven will give its dew. I shall bestow all these on the remnant of this people. NJB Isaiah 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. NKJ 9. Satisfaction of all needs and desires Psalm 145:16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. NIB 10. Everlasting Life in a paradise John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day."
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Revelation 2:7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him that overcomes, I will give to him to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God. DBY Let us now take a look into the books of Daniel and Revelation and see how they reveal Gods prophetic thinking in connection with our future on this earth.

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CHAPTER FOUR PROPHECY and the MARCH of TIME


Daniel, a prophet for the Ages
Prophecy has been a hallmark of Gods dealings with his people throughout recorded history. The Bible is a book which contains virtually a complete collection of those prophecies covering a period of more than six thousand years and a time extending more than a thousand years into the future. On what basis may we place faith in Gods ability to accurately predict the future before humans can? By examining prophecies which have already become fulfilled it give us the confidence that others which are still ahead of us will also come to pass. One particular prophet who exemplifies this is the O.T. prophet Daniel. Daniels prophecies covered a period of several thousand years. Many of those prophecies have already seen fulfillment. Others divulge valuable information about events in our own day and the days ahead. Understanding Daniels Bible Prophecy While there are dozens of different interpretations on Daniels Bible prophecies, especially concerning the issue of the little horn power and the antichrist, the key word remains interpretations. Since we are warned against private interpretations, advancing such interprettations can be a large mistake. There is really no need to guess about information beyond what God gives us in his word and by his spirit. Gods Word provides us the ability to recognize truth in prophecy, without the need for speculation. Note carefully what the following verses say about Bible prophecy. 2 Peter 1:20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interprettation, NRS
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2 Peter 1:21 for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. NIV Heeding the words of this scripture will help prevent us from going too far astray. This verse implies that everything we need to know about end time events will be revealed according to Gods will and we will not have to add extra doctrine or our own interpretations to fill in gaps. When Jehovah God revealed his thoughts in prophecy, we must have full confidence that he knew exactly what he was doing and he also knew how to communicate it in ways his subjects were capable of understanding. The moment you hear or read statements like, this must be that country because or, then stop reading right there. If we have to add or take from what the Bible tells us, then there is a great likelihood we already have it wrong. In fact, once you understand the principles for understanding Bible prophecy, it is a lot simpler than you could ever imagine. Some people want to turn Bible Prophecy into something complicated and feel that if it is notcomplex, then it cannot be correct. They could not be further from the truth. One of the keys to understanding Bible prophecy is laid out in the principle of the following verse. Deuteronomy 32:2 My instruction will drip as the rain, My saying will trickle as the dew, as gentle rains upon grass and as copious showers upon vegetation. NWT Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: ESV Prophecy is unraveled not by reading a single verse and leaping to the first imaginable conclusion. Correct understanding is built upon a consensus of facts disclosed in Gods word in its entirety. Bible prophecy is best understood by comparing and analyzing scripture with scripture as the answer will always be explained directly in the passage or can be found by example elsewhere in the Bible. To illustrate an example, in Daniel we find four beasts coming out of the
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sea and one with ten horns. Do we make wild guesses as to what a beast is or what the meaning of the sea or water or horns are? Absolutely not! This is not necessary, for the Bible explains what beasts symbolize in other places. In this instance, a large amount of what we need to know can be found by cross-referencing the book of Revelations along with other books of the Bible. In fact two thirds of the book of Revelations symbolism can be found in the Old Testament and that is a very large key to finding our answers, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. Note the following three verses, which are significant in our understanding of many key Bible prophecies. For instance in the first example, the verse itself tells us the meaning of the waters or sea in this case. Revelation 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which you sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. The word Beast occurs more than 55 times in Revelation. In the book of Daniel it informs us what the Bible means by a beast. An example of how explicit the Bible can be is found at Daniel 7:23 This verse which was divinely given to Daniel, informs us unmistakably what a beast is in terms of Bible Prophecy. In this instance, there is no need to guess, we just let the Bible explain itself. Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. The book of Revelation refers to horns nine times. If one was to speculate that these instances referred to literal horns as found on goats, sheep or bulls, such understanding would completely obscure the real meaning of the verses. As for horns in Revelation, there is no need to speculate or guess either, as we have clear meanings from the O.T.
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The horns significance as a symbol of power is derived from its use in the Old Testament (2Sa_22:3; Psa_75:10; Jer_48:25). A horn is a symbol for someone or something that holds power over others. It also refers to any extremity or projecting part resembling a horn, as upon the four corners of the Jewish altars (Rev_9:13 [cf. Exo_27:2]), which have been said to depict the power of truth connected to the worship of the true God. Further clarification is found in Daniels own writings. Daniel 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. There is always so much speculation as to who the antichrist beast power (little horn) that enforces the mark of the beast is. Many believe it to be one individual at the end of time. Is this true? Not even close! This is also not what all the early protestants believed either, and that truth has been lost over the last few centuries. The real truth was even known by the translators of the King James Bible, Sir Isaac Newton and all the early Protestants. How did this truth get so lost? And why are there so few people who know the real truth about things like the origin of 666 and the number of the beast? Those who want to research the Bible thoroughly and study a little history will be shell shocked to find out what the real truth is and how many false teachings are floating around. As you begin to discern Gods truth, you will ask yourself why more people dont know the truth. The reason why is found in the father of the lie and the techniques he uses to mislead those who would aspire to worship in spirit and truth. This is how Satan works. He starts with a small lie and perpetuates it until it gets so big that nobody will entertain the idea of it ever being wrong. Even some theologians who first hear Satans perpetuated lies in traditionally accepted teachings dont question them. Instead, they tend to end up establishing their own theology around that lie and it becomes a permanent mind set.
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The following pages are an interesting scripture by scripture Bible commentary on the book of Daniel and many historical quotes are also given to reinforce Bible truths. This summary is derived partly from a book by H.L. Nigro, a professional writer, researcher and editor for 15 years specializing in end times prophecy, and partially from the authors own observations accumulated during more than 40 years of Bible study. The End Times Prophecies of the Prophet Daniel Many people think that biblical prophecies about the end of the world and the Battle of Armageddon are "a Christian thing", of interest only to religious fanatics and other societal oddballs. But endtimes prophecy never was just a Christian thing. It was also a Jewish thing because many of the most well known New Testament prophecies were foretold by Old Testament prophets centuries before the birth of Christ. It is a general interest thing today because greater numbers of people today are beginning to realize that man has not been able to successfully determine what is best for him and the earth he lives on. Many people have now begun to realize that unless there is a dramatic turnabout on earth, its continued existence is in jeopardy. There is a treasure trove of prophecy in the bible revealing exactly how God almighty promises to deal with earth and its inhabitants in what the bible refers to as the time of the end. Many of those best known prophecies, concerning the last days or time of the end, including the rise of the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon, were recorded by the prophet Daniel in the sixth century B.C. who wrote his prophecies during the 70 year period that the people of Israel (Gods people) were held captive in the land of Babylon. Daniel served as part of the royal court of King Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned in Babylon from 605 - 562 B.C. The prophecies came in the form of dreams, both the king's dreams and Daniel's dreams. For many of the details, Daniel was given the interpretation, but not all. Fortunately, we can look back with the benefit of history and the clarification of later scriptures, so now we can often see clearly what Daniel could not. Ironically, this in itself, was one of the prophecies about the time of the end that Daniel recorded (Daniel 12:4,9).

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Daniel 12:4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge ( ) shall increase." ESV Daniel 12:9 He said, "Go, Daniel, for these words are secret and sealed to the time of the end. TNK In its use in Daniel 12:9 knowledge has the following meaning according to one reputable Bible dictionary; Knowledge - H1847 Dictionary Hebrew) (Zodiahates Complete word Study

daat: A feminine noun meaning knowledge, knowing, learning, discernment, insight, and notion. The same word describes God's direct gift of technical or specific knowledge along with wisdom and understanding to Bezalel so he could construct the Tabernacle at Exodus 31:2,3 So, that which we would see increase in the time of the end would be knowledge in the form of discernment, insight and notion (which is concept or idea) In this book, we will look at several of the key dreams and what their prophecies meant and continue to mean for Israel and the rest of the world in the years before Armageddon. Keep in mind that each of these prophecies is not intended to stand alone. It is only when we have looked at all of the prophecies that a clear picture of the Bible's account of the end of world history begins to form. The Dream of King Nebuchadnezzar The first prophecy, which is recounted in Daniel chapter two, sets the broad framework for the rest of the prophecies. In this chapter, Daniel is called to reveal the interpretation of a dream that has been troubling King Nebuchadnezzar. As the king slept, he saw (dreamed of) a great statue (Daniel 2:31-35) with a head of fine gold, a chest and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
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But then, as King Nebuchadnezzar watched, a stone was cut out of a mountain "without hands" and struck the image on its feet, breaking the statue in pieces: "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:35 NWT). What to make of such a strange dream? Daniel is not left to wonder. He is given the following interpretation: The four parts of the statue the gold head, the silver bust, the bronze belly and thighs, and the iron legs - are four kingdoms. Those kingdoms are as follows: 1. The first kingdom is King Nebuchadnezzar's own kingdom of Babylon for, Daniel is told, "the God of heaven has given [Nebuchadnezzar] a kingdom, power, strength, and glory" (vs. 38). The Babylonian kingdom reached its peak during Daniel's time. 2. After Babylon "shall arise another kingdom, inferior to yours..." (vs. 39). This occurred when Medo-Persia, conquered Babylon in the fifth century B.C. The story of the conquest is told in the fifth chapter of Daniel, in which King Nebuchadnezzar's successor, King Belshazzar, sees mysterious fingers writing on the wall. Daniel is called to read the writing, in which God rebukes King Belshazzar for his pride and commits the kingdom of Babylon into the hands of his enemies, the Medes (Daniel 5:1-26). It is from this story that we get the phrase "the handwriting is on the wall." 3. After the second kingdom, Daniel is told shall arise "...another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth" (vs. 39). This prophecy was fulfilled approximately three centuries after Daniel's death. At this time, Medo-Persia was conquered by
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Greece, which rose to worldwide power in the third century B.C. Just as Daniel foretold, this third kingdom was known for its extensive use of bronze. 4. The fourth kingdom is somewhat different from the previous three: "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others." While not specifically identified, there is little question that this kingdom is Rome, which conquered Greece sometime between 250 and 30 B.C.E. At its height, the Roman Empire comprised almost the entire Western world known at the time, including most of Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, and North Africa. In addition to its size, Rome was notorious for its cruelty. Accurate fulfillment of this portion of the prophecy provides a basis for confidence in the future validity of the rest of Daniels prophecy as well as for Bible prophecy in general. Portions of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Yet to Come Now we turn our attention to the portions of this prophecy that have not yet been fulfilled. It is important to keep in mind that, because the early parts of this prophecy were fulfilled so precisely, we can expect the latter portions to be fulfilled just as precisely. First, consider the stone. God tells Daniel that this represents a fifth kingdom, a kingdom that is God's alone. This kingdom will arise at the end of world history and, in one powerful stroke, smash all worldly power and bring the earth under God's sovereign control: Daniel 2:44 In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not pass into the hands of another race: it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms and itself last forever- NJB
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Note that God's kingdom brings down the demise, not just of Rome, but of all the kingdoms before it. Considering Rome's size and expansive scope, it is amazing how this could happen. Working backwards, we recall that Rome swallowed Greece, which swallowed MedoPersia, which swallowed Babylon. Thus, when the kingdom of God brings down Rome, which the bible prophesies will be revived in the future as a confederation of modern nations - it will bring down the nations that once comprised ancient Greece, ancient Medo-Persia, and ancient Babylon, as well. One very pertinent fact that most bible scholars prior to this day seem to have overlooked is that this entire succession of world powers while different from one another in many ways, has something in common which is crucial as to how God views them. They are all ruler ships under the dominion of men in opposition to him and his true worship. When the stone in Daniels vision crushes the last world power, this will culminate at the battle of Armageddon; The Great day of God the Almighty. But what of the feet that are partly iron and partly clay? Daniel writes; "Where as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided, yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile" (vs. 42). Daniel is told that this refers to a version of the Roman Empire that is comprised of a federation of 10 kingdoms, some of which are strong and some of which are weak. We may recall that the number 10 in the Bible stands for completeness in human terms. More details about this confederation are given in subsequent dreams, where we see that, while the ancient form of the Roman Empire (the legs) has been fulfilled, this latter form made up of the 10-nation federation is yet to come. God concludes His revelation by assuring Daniel, "The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure" (vs. 45).

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When seen in light of the 70 Weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 (below), combined with the fact that Daniel's second, third, and fourth visions all refer to the empire of Rome as being in power immediately before Armageddon, it explains why Christians are looking to "a revived Roman Empire." This is also why some people point to the European Union as being so important to end-times prophecy, since, two thousand years after the demise of ancient Rome, the E.U. is now comprised of countries that largely recreate Rome's occupied lands. Also, the E.U. is based on the "Treaty of Rome." Signed in 1957. Daniel's First Dream King Nebuchadnezzar's dream is an important framework for all endtimes prophecy. This framework becomes clearer as we look beyond Nebuchadnezzar's dream and investigate Daniel's series of end-times visions. These include two dreams and one visit by a heavenly being. In the first dream, Daniel saw four great beasts coming up from out of the "Great Sea," which many biblical scholars believed refered to the Mediterranean Sea: 1. The first beast was like a lion, and it had eagle's wings (Daniel 7:4). 2. The second beast was like a bear. It was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth (Daniel 7:5). 3. The third beast was like a leopard, which had four heads and four sets of wings (Daniel 7:6). 4. The fourth beast was "dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong." It had huge iron teeth, and it devoured everything. It made war with God's people and broke them into pieces. Almost immediately, the parallels to King Nebuchadnezzar's dream are obvious. As in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel is told that the four beasts refer to four kingdoms (v. 23-27), and there can be little doubt that they are the same four described earlier. Thus The lion refers to Babylon, the regal and majestic kingdom.

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The bear refers to Medo-Persia, which was stronger on one side than the other (the Medes were stronger than the Persians). The third beast, the leopard, refers to Greece, which swept across the world with rapid ferocity under Alexander the Great, then divided into four kingdoms (the leopard's four heads) after Alexander's death. The fourth kingdom is Rome, which is again pictured as a cruel and fierce iron monster. In this vision, however, we are given the additional details about the fourth kingdom. We are told that it will severely persecute God's people to the point of death and, as a race, almost to the point of annihilation. This is exactly what we see in the annals of history. Rome's persecution and oppression of Gods people during the first century was merciless, and its destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 resulted in the massacre of more than one million Jews. The Roman Empire also comprised what would eventually become World War II. Germany, which under the rule of Adolph Hitler would slaughter six million Jews and persecute all those of Gods people who opposed him in any way. This dream also takes a closer look at the future manifestation of Rome, which is pictured here as being comprised of ten horns, or nations, corresponding with the ten toes of iron and clay from King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Then, according to the prophecy, another horn, a little horn, comes up from among the ten. This little horn plucks three of the other horns out by the roots. "And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words" (Daniel 7:7-8). If we are to understand that the number ten is literal and indicates a group consisting of ten parts the following explanation makes some sense. This takes the 10-nation confederation of the revived Roman Empire and puts a human face on it. Of the 10 leaders of those 10 nations, there will be one who comes up from among them and stands out from the others. His ambition for power will cause the demise of three of them.
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On the other hand, if we are to understand that the number ten is but a symbol representing composite human ruler ship during the time of the end. Then the one who stands up from among them may have a slightly different meaning. (more about that later) As in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel's first dream concludes with a vision of God on the fiery day of judgment. The heavenly court comes into session, the books are opened, and God's judgment falls. The little horn, or the arrogant leader from the Revived Roman Empire, is slain and his body is thrown into the fire of eternal judgment: Some Bible scholars have identified the Dual word power with the Anglo- American power currently in a dominant position in our day, with its claim to determine what is best for all people through the Magna Carta and its successors in (England) and Constitution and Bill of rights (United States). "And behold, One like the Son of Man [the biblical term for the Messiah], coming with the clouds of heaven. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14). Fulfillment of Daniel's First Dream Yet to Come The persecution of the Gods chosen people was fulfilled, in part, in the first century during Rome's oppression of Israel. (physical) and the early Christian congregation ( spiritual) However, just as the prophecy of the 10 toes (kingdoms) from King Nebuchadnezzar's dream awaits fulfillment in the future, the worst of the Roman sucesssorss persecution of Israel is also future when Daniel wrote. The Bible calls this time of persecution "Jacob's Trouble," or "the Great Tribulation," and it will be of greater ferocity than ever seen in history. It will be greater than the Roman persecution in the first century and, tragically, even greater than the Holocaust. Of this time, Jesus said; "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight [from
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this leader and his bloodbath] may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved" (Matthew 24:19-22). We are given many more details about this terrible period throughout the Bible (Jer. 30:7, Dan. 12:1, Mat. 24:21, Rev. 6:9-11). Daniel is also given many more details about the future 10-nation entity. It will be exceedingly powerful and completely overcome the people of God. God tells Daniel that the little horn 99 part of it) will be arrogant, pompous, and cruel. He will magnify himself against God and will persecute the people of God mercilessly until God Himself comes to save them (vs. 22). This ruler will not be allowed to have dominion indefinitely. As in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel's dream foretells that the fourth kingdom's dominion will be cut short by God's sovereign hand and that the kingdom of God will be established throughout the earth. At this time, God's judgment will be poured out, culminating in the battle of Armageddon. The kingdom will be wrenched from this wicked ruler's grasp and he will be sent into eternal damnation. The little horn also plays a key role in New Testament prophecy, where he is associated with "the Antichrist"and "the lawless one" Thessalonians 2:3-10 2 and the wild beast. , (1 John 2:18, Revelation 13:1-9). Although the Christian congregation did not exist at the time of Daniel, the New Testament records that the Antichrist's persecuteion will extend beyond gods original chosen nation to include the entire Christian congregation (Matthew 15:21, 1 Peter 4:12-13, Revelation 3:10, Revelation 13:7), which has been grafted into Israel through faith in Israel's Messiah, Jesus Christ (Romans 11:25).4 The Antichrist also plays the central role in the book of Revelation. Building Up to Armageddon Sometime later, Daniel has a second dream, and this dream gives us even more detail about the reign of the Antichrist in end times. (Daniel 8:17). In this dream, Daniel sees a ram, representing MedoPersia, which has two horns (two kings). A goat, representing Greece,
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attacks the ram with such ferocity that it breaks off both horns. The ram is subdued, and as the goat grows, its single horn (one king) is broken and replaced by four horns (four kings). However, one of these horns grows much faster and greater than the other three (Daniel 8:3-14). By now, it becomes clear that this little horn is similar to the little horn from Greece, as in the earlier dream, which plucks the other three horns (kings) out by their roots. Indeed, this little horn grows ever more powerful and comes down against the people of God in the Holy Land. Here, we see an overlap with Daniel's first dream of the four beasts, and as in the first dream, the little horn exalts himself against God and begins to persecute God's people. But in this dream, we see that he also takes away the sacrifices from the temple in Jerusalem and that the sanctuary of God will be "cast down." We also see this description in Daniel 11:31 and Matthew 24:15. Yet, for a time, God allows the little horn to prosper because of Israel's long history of transgressing against God in forsaking the covenant He established with Moses and serving other gods: "Because of the transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered" (Daniel 8:12). A heavenly visitor, who provides the interpretation of the dream, then identifies the little horn as arising in "the latter days" and at "the time of the end." He also describes Israel's future period of tribulation as being "in the latter time of the indignation" (vs. 19). We are then given one of the most detailed and horrifying descriptions of the Antichrist in the Bible: "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power. He shall destroy fearfully. And shall prosper and thrive. He shall destroy the mighty and also the holy people. Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise
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against the Prince of princes [the Messiah]. But he shall be broken without human means." The fact that the little horn will be broken "without human means" closely parallels King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, in which the fourth kingdom (Rome) is destroyed by a stone "cut out of the mountain without hands" (thus, when the Apostle Paul referred to Jesus Christ as the "chief cornerstone" in Ephesians 2:20, the symbolism was very clear); and Daniel's first dream, in which the fourth beast (Rome), will be broken, "not by human hands," but by God Himself. It is also worth noting that Daniel is told that this evil leader prospers, "not by his own power." In 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:2, we are told that the lawless one (beast) receives his power from Satan himself.5 But how can the fulfillment of this vision be in the future, as it tells us in vs. 23, if the kingdom of Greece was overthrown by the Roman Empire? In antiquity, it was. But today, the four ancient "kingdoms" of Greece - Macedonia, Egypt, Syria, and Thrace - exist as the modern-day nations of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Although no longer world empires, these four heads," or in Daniel's second dream, "horns," are once again nations in their own right. Thus, as biblical prophecy implies, the Roman Empire will be "reborn" as a confederation of strong and weak nations at the time of the end, and the Antichrist /man of lawlessness will be common to both of kingdoms of Greece and, also, a part of the revived Roman Empire. At the same time it will represent human rule as a concept in opposition to Gods rule as the unifying force holding binding it in a common cause. The 70 Weeks Prophecy When will all of this occur? And how does it relate to the end-time prophecies of the New Testament? For this, one must understand an important final end-times prophecy given in the book of Daniel, and known as the 70 Weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27). In this prophecy, Daniel is told that God has determined 70 Weeks, or periods of seven years, to bring an end to
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the desolation of their city, Jerusalem and their present exile and slavery in Babylon which was a punishment for their sins against him. And to reconcile them to himself again and to bring in (or institute) everlasting righteousness, to seal up (confirm) vision and prophecy and to anoint (consecrate) the most Holy (apartness, separateness) Dan 9:23 At the beginning of your prayers the word came forth, and I have come to explain it. For you are greatly beloved. Then consider the matter and understand the vision: Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people, and as to your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Dan 9:25 Know, then, and understand that from the going out of a word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction. Dan 9:26 And after sixty two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of a coming ruler shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, and war shall be until the end. Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week. And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. And on a corner of the altar will be abominations that desolate, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall pour out on the desolator. Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people, and as to your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. This was a very important prophecy for Gods people both in ancient days and in our times. It was a prophecy with at least a dual fulfillment and possibly also literal/ physical and spiritual dimensions.
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This prophecy had its initial fulfillment at the time of Christs earthly appearance during the first century. That fulfillment can be examined in the lens of hindsight to provide us keys to understanding the long term future fulfillment as it applies to our time during this time of the end. First, we begin with an adjusted calendar, for the Gregorian calendar that we use today did not exist in Daniels day. Also, a prophetic year was not 365.25 days as we now view a year. The prophetic year was 360 days. There is a Bible Reference Calendar, based on time measurement as it was recorded in the inspired scriptures which traces the individual days and dates back to creation in the day of Adam in what amounts to six thousand one hundred and forty five years. That calendar, with all the proper adjustments over the millennia calculates a typical Bible year to be a 364 days. A copy of that calendar was available for download as Earth's Sacred Calendar: The Dated Events of the Old Testament at the time of this writing at http://www.bibletimeline.org Or at www.thesacredcalendar.com which was still under construction at this writing Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) Monday July 21 Av 7 in 455 BCE, Bible Reference Calendar (BR) marks the end of the Babylonian Captivity and the start date of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy. This also marks the 4th day of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Wall that is completed 48 Days later on Sunday September 8 Elul 25. Monday July 21 Av 7 is the same day as the 71st anniversary of the start of the burning of Solomon's Temple in 526 BCE (BR). This same date on the Gregorian-Hebrew Calendar (GH)) is Monday February 16 Shevat 27, 453 BCE. This day is 4 days before the start of the 71st Year of The Exile. It is commonly believed that the 70 Weeks referred to in Daniel 9:24 refers to 490 Years (7 X 70 = 490 Years). Daniel 9:25-26 states: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. (Daniel 9:26) And after sixty two weeks Messiah shall be cut off." The first "seven weeks" mentioned in verse 25 refers to the period of 49
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years for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The first "seven weeks" period ends on Thursday August 1 Av 17 in 406 BCE (BR) near the end of the Reign of Darius the Persian mentioned in Nehemiah 12:22. It is important to not confuse Darius the Persian with Darius the Mede mentioned in Daniel 5:30 or Darius the son of Ahasuerus in Daniel 9:1. Darius the Mede is also King Ahasuerus who marries Esther in the "month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign (Esther 2:16)" in 481 BC. It is assumed that these first seven years are added to the other sixty-two and refers to a total of 483 Years (7 X 69 = 483 Years). The rest of the verse 26 seems to be a prophecy regarding the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Daniel's Prophecy ends on Palm "Monday" April 28 Iyar 11 in 30 CE (BR). On this date Jesus enters Jerusalem to start the events of Easter Week. Daniel's Prophecy is made up of 483 Years plus 40 weeks. The following scenario seems to be a reasonable explanation of this Prophecy that has been a puzzle to many students of Bible Chronology. From the Start of Daniel's "70 Weeks" there are 450 years plus 90 days until the Birth of Jesus on October 20 in 5 BCE. Jesus is 33 years old plus 190 Days when he enters Jerusalem on "Palm Monday." Daniel's Prophecy ends on the Monday before Easter April 28 Iyar 11 in 30 CE as previously stated. On the Gregorian-Hebrew Solar Calendar (GH) this same date is Monday April 1 Nisan 10 in 30 CE. Nisan 10 is the first day of the Feast of Passover and the day the Lamb is chosen for sacrifice on Nisan 14 that occurs on Friday, the day of the Christs impalement. The extra week in days in Daniel's Prophecy is the 7 Days of Easter Week ending on Sunday May 4 Iyar 17 in 30 CE with the Resurrection of Jesus. At that point, there is an undisclosed time gap to a future time when events continue to unfold. This time gap continues to be a mystery and prevents us from fore knowing a date for Christs second coming or Gods day of wrath upon the earth. Despite an endless number of attempts throughout history by self ordained prophets to add meaning to Bible prophecy and zero in on exact dates, all their efforts continue to pass and disappoint. This should not surprise us for the absence of information to accurately predict dates for the Great day of God the almighty is not accidental but intentional on Gods part. If we had a means within the Bible itself to predict a precise time for these events, it would make Jesus words at Mark 13:32 untrue.
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We should be able to appreciate this even without special spiritual insight. If only according to human wisdom we ought to realize that God almighty is not going to put someone in the position to fool themselves into thinking they can just jump on the band wagon to save their own skin. Mark 13:32 "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. NLT In the ultimate sense, each of us will be judged by what we do in accord with the things hidden in the depths of our own hearts. The only warning God inspired for believers in connection with his day of judgment is found in the words of Jesus who spoke on a number of occasions along these lines; Mark 13:37 And what I say to you, I say to all, Keep watch.
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Matthew 24:42 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. NJB The preciseness of fulfilled details contained in the prophecies of Daniel should strengthen our faith in the rest of Gods prophetic promises. It should only confirm for us that what Joshua had said on his death bed is still true for us living today. Joshua 23:14 "And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things1 that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. ESV The next chapter will address the second great book of end time prophecy, the Book of Revelations. We will see what we can learn from that book concerning Gods thinking and the certain fulfillment of his purpose towards the earth in connection with the Christian Church (congregation). [Click to return to CONTENTS]
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CHAPTER FIVE WHAT REVELATIONS TELLS US


about those who claim to follow Christ
While still on earth, Jesus spoke to his followers about the time of the end and he left them with this precautionary message. Matthew 24:42 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. NJB He was to add meaning and reason for those words in a further revelation he provided for his followers through the Apostle John. That revelation has a relevant and crucial meaning for Christians today. In the wake of Jesus words quoted from Mat. 14;42, we are vaulted into a future time and to an account found in the prophetic Book of Revelations where Jesus surveys the condition of his congregations of believers before coming to execute judgment and extend their reward to his loyal followers. The apostle John was taken in prophetic vision to a future time where he saw the Lord Jesus examining the condition of his entire congregation of followers on the earth represented symbolically by seven of the ancient congregations (Eklesias or Churches) John was familiar with in his day. While this passage is addressed to the congregations and their overseers, there is as much in the dialog that applies to individuals within all the congregations of believers as well. Let us see what his examination discloses; Revelation 2:1 "To the angel {1 Or messenger; also in verses 8, 12 and 18} of the church in Ephesus write: These
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are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:AMP The messenger can be identified as an entity that has the responsibility to minister to Jesus sheep. It may be a divine one, such as an angelic herald, minister or helper (Luk. 1:30,Luk2:13, Mtt.2:19,20, Act. 5:19,8:26.) or it may indicate a class of human servants in positions where they have been gifted with feeding and caring for his sheep. (Joh.21:17, Matt. 24:45). He who holds the seven stars, in an earthly sense gifted ones in the congregation- 1Cor. 12:4, 28.) in his hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands(the entire Christian congregation Matt.5:14) is none other than Jesus himself. It is Jesus in his own words who praises what he sees in connection with his own flock and also its shortcomings and what corrections must be made. Revelation 2:2 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; NKJ The word apostle denotes one who is sent forth. It was properly applied to Jesus (Heb. 3:1.), to the twelve (Mark 3:14), to Paul (Rom.11:13), to Mathias, and to (Act. 1:26) Barnabas (Act.14:14), and James (Gal. 1:19) Also possibly to Junias and Andronicus,(Rom. 16:7) but that remains a matter of controversy. The important point for us is that there were others on the scene who falsely claimed to be apostles. (2Cor. 11:13) but were not sent forth by the Christ. In the case of the Ephesian congregation they had done what was expected, they had tested such ones and found them to be liars. Revelation 2:3- 5 I know too that you have perseverance, and have suffered for my name without growing tired. NJB :4 But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me or each other as you did at first! NLT:5 Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent. AMP

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The lamp stand in this verse indicates Holy Spirit which is the source of enlightenment for all true believers. He tells them there is a need to repent from their lethargy and restore the zealous love they once had and the works it betokened. Revelation 2:7 He who is having an ear -- let him hear what the Spirit saith to the assemblies: To him who is overcoming -- I will give to him to eat of the tree of life that is in the midst of the paradise of God. YLT For Christians overcoming means that they hold fast to their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and all temptations and persecutions. The tree of life referenced here is the one originally referred to at Gen 2:9 again at Prov. 3:18 and predicted at Rev 22:1,2 as the River of life nourishing trees for the curing of the nations. Revelation 2:8 "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. NIV With these words, Jesus reminds them that he was the first integrity keeper that Jehovah directly resurrected to immortal spirit life and the last to be so raised. Jesus himself would resurrect all other anointed Christians. He is thus well qualified to give counsel to his brothers, who hope to share immortal heavenly life with him. Revelation 2:9 "I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich. I know the slander of those who claim to be Jews and are not, but rather are members of the assembly of Satan. NAB While they were poor in worldly goods, they were rich in Christ and the blessings of the covenant. They had the gifts of the Spirit and were rich in good works. They had the future prospects of being kings and priests unto God, and were joint heirs with Christ in the riches of his kingdom to come. Those who claimed to be Jews and were not are indirectly identified by the Apostle Paul at Rom. 2:28,29 and Phil. 3:3 where Paul identifies those who God considers circumcised as Jews. Christ acknowledged he knew about the ways pseudo Jews were slandering the ones God considered to be real Jews.
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Romans 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. ESV Romans 2:29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people. NLT False claimants are in actuality seen by God to be a part of the Congregation (Ecclesia or Church) of Satan not of Jesus and Jehovah. Revelation 2:9 'I know your tribulation and poverty-but you are rich-and the blasphemy by those who say they themselves are Jews, and yet they are not but are a synagogue of Satan. NWT Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. NAB Ten days is representative of the full extent of life during which a human being may be put to a test, as ten is a number that symbolizes earthly completeness or entirety. Despite the fact that the Devil would imprison them in his system, if they remained faithful until their death, Jesus would reward them with life through the resurrection. Revelation 2:11 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He that overcomes shall in no wise be injured of the second death. DBY The second death is a death from which there is no hope of resurrection. (Rev. 20;14 and Rev. 21:8) For those of his footstep followers who were found to overcome (hold fast to their faith even unto death) had no fear of the second death (everlasting cutting off).

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Revelation 2:12 'And to the messenger of the assembly in Pergamos write: These things saith he who is having the sharp two-edged sword: YLT Direct Clues to the identity of the one who has the sharp two edged sword are found at Rev. 1:16, Hebrews 4:12, and Joh. 1:1. Revelation 2:13 "`I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. RSV In ancient times, the people of Pergamum were widely known as the "Temple- keepers of Asia." The city had three temples dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperor, another for the goddess Athena, and the Great Altar of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. Many scholars equate this altar with the Throne of Satan mentioned in the book of Revelation. Antipas was a faithful believer who was martyred under the persecution during the regime of Emperor Domitian of Rome. . Today Satans throne can be found on earth, in the world (1Joh. 5:19). where he rules (Rev. 12:9.). James wrote about Gods view of those who were friends of the world at James 4:4-5, Apparently Pergamon is symbolically representative of the world among whom Christians must live and endure in their faith. Rev 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people there who are clinging to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap and a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [to entice them] to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and to practice lewdness [giving themselves up to sexual vice]. [Num. 25:1, 2; 31:16.] AMP Thesome people who Jesus mentions are not part of the world around them; they are people among the Christian Congregation at Pergamum. Balaam was a pagan prophet in the Old Testament. Numbers says Balaam is responsible for bringing about Israels sin with Moabite women, and that resulted in idolatry. The teaching of Balaam became a catchword for both sexual immorality and idolatry in the New Testament,
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Revelation 2:15 Likewise, you also have some people who hold to the teaching of (the) Nicolaitans. NAB According to the writings of the Early Church leaders, Nicolas taught a doctrine of compromise, implying that total separation between Christianity and the practice of occult paganism was not essential. This was contrary to the teachings of the prophets of old and the apostles of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:21, 2 Cor. 6:14, Isa. 52:11,) Revelation 2:16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
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With the demand for repentance it becomes clear that Christ will not put up with the sexual immorality and idolatry such as was fostered by Balaam, nor with any compromise with paganism as encouraged by the sect of Nicolaitans. Revelation 2:17 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him that overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna; and I will give to him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he that receives it. DBY A Christians overcoming means that they hold fast their faith even in the face of death. To such a one Christ says he will give of the hidden manna (lifesaving food from God, not readily available to all) and a white stone with a name on it known only to the recipient. When John wrote, Rome was the dominant power at the time. There was an ancient Roman custom of awarding white stones to the victors of competitive events. The winner of a contest was awarded a white stone with his name inscribed on it. This served as his ticket to a special awards banquet. According to this view, Jesus promises over comers an entry to the wedding feast celebration in heaven. In the scriptures a name stands for the meaning behind someone or something. The fact that no one other than the recipient knows what name is written on the stone indicates that the meaning behind the name written on the stone is not understood by any others aside from the granter and the recipient.

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Revelation 2:18 -20. "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:`The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. RSV19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. Fire in the Bible represents either destruction or refinement and Jesus sees the Thyatirans from the perspective of either needing destruction or refinement. Since the context of what he says to the Thyatira congregation is largely about a need for some to make changes from the behavior of That woman Jezebel, we can take its meaning to be positive if they make the reforms and negative for those who refuse to be refined. The symbolism of feet like burnished bronze takes us back to a scripture in Daniel (Dan.10:6) where an angel addresses Daniel about the time of the end. That angel might very well have represented the Lord Jesus in his pre-human condition. Jezebel was notorious in the history of Gods people in that she incited her husband King Ahab to abandon the worship of Yahweh and encourage worship of the deities Baal and Asherah instead. Jezebel is known to have persecuted the prophets of Yahweh, and to have fabricated false evidence of blasphemy against an innocent landowner. Jezebel became associated with false prophets. Thus at Rev. 2:20 she symbolizes false prophecy, idolatry and Blasphemy found inside the Christian conregations. Revelation 2:21 And I gave her time for a change of heart, but she has no mind to give up her unclean ways. BBE The context conveys an impression that Jesus has already made considerable efforts to refine the Thyatira congregation, to no avail. Therefore, he threatens to do what Jehovah had done on numerous times when his people were stubborn and refused to listen to him. He removed his blessings from them and left them to the consequences of their own sinful behavior. (Hos. 9:17, 2 Chr. 25:16 , Isa. 66:4)
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Revelation 2:22, 23. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. :23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.NIV Thus Jesus indicates that if they still refuse to repent despite his continued efforts, he will repay them in accord with their deeds. Interestingly, he alludes here to seeing what was in their hearts and minds before paying them according to their behavior. Rev 2:24,25. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not explored and known the depths of Satan, as they say--I tell you that I do not lay upon you any other [fresh] burden: AMP except that you must hold fast to what you have until I come. NAB To the ones in Thyatira who were commended in his opening words, he encourages them to continue as they are and hold fast to what they have till he returns. Rev 2:26,27 And he who overcomes (is victorious) and who obeys My commands to the [very] end [doing the works that please Me], I will give him authority and power over the nations;:27 And he shall rule them with a sceptre (rod) of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, and [his power over them shall be] like that which I Myself have received from My Father; [Ps. 2:8, 9.] AMP Once again he stresses the importance of conquering (overcoming) along with being obedient to his will. The reward is the same reward he promised his footstep followers at (Luk. 22:29) Revelation 2:28 even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star 29 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (congregations) NRS I will also give the morning star to the one who conquers. It is obvious from the context that the morning star is directly connected
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with the process of kingdom rule or the might exercised in that rule, for Jesus uses also in describing his gift. The star was the ancient emblem of sovereignty. See Numbers 24:17; Matthew 2:2. and had to do with a right to rule. Jesus possessed that right to rule (Rev. 22:16) and he said he would give it to those over comers at Rev. 2:28. Revelation 3:1 'Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, "Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know about your behavior: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. NJB The seven spirits of God represent the full complement of Gods Holy spirit which includes wisdom (Deu. 34:9), truth (Joh.14:13), justice (Isa. 28:6) , holiness (Ro.1:4), faith (2Cor.4:10), humility (Ps.76:12), grace (Heb.10:29), prophecy, (1Cor.14:32), mildness (Gal. 6:1), and counsel, mightiness and knowledge (1Sam.11:12) These are held by Jesus who originates this message for his people. The seven Stars ought to be interpreted as the entire company of angels in heaven who have involvement on the earthly scene. Revelation 3:2 Be on the watch, and make strong the rest of the things which are near to death; because as judged by me your works have not come up to God's measure. BBE An often repeated theme in the Bible is the need to stay awake and be watchful; (Matthew 7:15, Mark 13:33,1 Thessalonians 5:6,1 Corinthians 16:13, Prov.8:34, Revelation 16:15) Here Jesus combines it with the need for his followers to revive or restore those near dead good works of former days. He also implys the warnings given to the other congregations concerning their defieciencies aplly to the he has addressed in this Revelation 3:3 Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. NRS
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There is an assumption in this based on the fact that he is talking exclusively to believers.What you received and heard is assumed to be what was received and heard from himself, the prophets of old and the apostles. It is not what you received and heard from false teachers, false prophets or the world in general. The admonition is to wake up, repent, and return to those things in obedience immediately. The implication is that things other than what he taught have take root with them and they need to repent (turn around) from those things. Revelation 3:4 However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. NAB The interesting part of this verse is that the majority of the people addressed in this symbolic congregation are found currently unworthy for there are only a few people who are found worthy of the white robes he clothed them with. The rest have soiled their garments with things they had not learned from him and the apostles. Revelation 3:5 He who will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. NIV As for the minority who were exceptions and did not soil their garments as the majority had, their names were inscribed in the book of life permanently. Yet this is not a prophecy about condemnation, it is about waking up and repentance from those things which he finds his congregation deffiecient in. So in the case of the Sardis congregation, overcoming includes waking up, (coming to a realization of their shortcomings) repenting (turning away from those things which would soiled their garments of righteousness) and obeying the will of God and his Christ, Jesus. Revelation 3:6 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. NLT

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While the preceeding words might seem to some to be directed at individual congregations and individuals within them, When Jesus uses the phrase anyone and churches (plural), he implies that the message to one church is applicable to all. Revelation 3:7 " And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ' These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": NKJ In this verse Jesus is once again identifying himself as the speaker by virtue of the heritage and the power he possesses. The key of David refers to his prophetic destiny of being the ultimate heir in the line of Davidic kings over Gods nation of peoples. The reference to him as opening and shutting should evoke in us the thought of John 10:3,7 and 9.where he is pictured as the door. Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. NIV Here Jesus informs his followers that they have an open door (an opportunity) which no one other than he himself can deprive them of, based on the fact that they have kept his word and acknowledged the meaning behind his name, despite the fact that they are only human, with limited strength and power. Revelation 3:9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars-- I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. NIV Here we have proof positive who Jesus views as the synagogue (assembly, place for education and worship) of Satan. It is not a building, just as the temple of Jehovah is not a building but his people. (1 Cor. 3:16 ) Thus the synagogue of Satan is identified by Jesus as those people, churches or organizations who claim to be Jews (Gods chosen people) but are not He classifies them as liars whose future destiny he predicts at Rev 21:8. He further reveals that at some future
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time they will realize this and lower themselves from their lofty position to acknowledge his true followers whom he has loved. Revelation 3:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. NIV There are some interesting implications in this verse for those who are to endure and conquer. First of all, enduring patiently is seen as a command by Jesus, not an option. The next point is that he will keep such ones from the trial (great tribulation) that is destined to come on the whole world of mankind on earth. Revelation 3:11 'I am coming quickly <G5035>; hold fast what you have so that no one will take your crown. NAU In this verse, it does not mean soon as quickly takes on the meaning of suddenness. Since his coming will be as thief in the night with the element of surprise in it, it can be said to be sudden. Revelation 3:12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. ESV It might be mentioned here that the scriptural meaning attached to conquering is (to hold fast ones faith even unto death against the power of foes, and temptations and persecutions). With the assumption that the one being spoken of holds the true faith (based on the teachings of Jesus and the apostles) Jesus promises to make such a one a pillar (supporting element) among Gods people (his temple). Such one will have the authority (the name) of Jehovah God, the authority of the Kingdom Governments capital city, (new Jerusalem) and the authority (name) of Christ himself behind him. Revelation 3:13 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. DBY
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Once again we see a need stressed by Jesus for the individual hearer to pay attention to what Jesus says to (all) the assemblies (congregations, plural). Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea say: These things says the true and certain witness, the head of God's new order: BBE While the BBE translates this as new order, and others translate it as new creation and new ministry This is easily identifiable with the Kingdom, Gods new governmental arrangement over which Jesus is the head. Revelation 3:15,16. "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! NLT 16 So because you are not one thing or the other, I will have no more to do with you. BBE Here Jesus addresses another shortcoming he discerns among some of his followers, that is a lack of zeal. He places their works on a middle ground, lacking passion but not entirely unproductive. If they were passionate (hot), it would be pleasing to him. If they were totally passionless (cold), he would appeal to their hearts. The fact that they are neither in their relationship with him makes him want to want to be rid of them. Revelation 3:17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. NIV He next addresses a complacent self delusion in his Laodicean followers. They have deluded themselves or been deluded by others into thinking they are spiritually prosperous, in effect all set The reality is that they are wretched (contemptible), pitiful (deserving contempt by smallness), poor (meagerly supplied), blind (unwilling or unable to understand) and naked (exposed, unveiled,) to him. Revelation 3:18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and
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buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.


NAB

Nonetheless, love moves him to offer a solution to their condition. He advises they buy (acquire with sacrifice or compensation) from him gold refined by fire(Psa. 19:7-10 - Gods commandments, laws and reminders), and the righteousness that he clothes (declares) us with so that our nakedness (exposed sinfulness) might be covered. Finally he urges them to buy (acquire) Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:21, Joh.14:13, Rom. 1:4, 2 cor.4:13, Isa. 28:6, Heb 10:29 and Eph. 1:17) Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. WEB While these three chapters in Revelations are filled with commendation for what Christ sees as right for his people, they are primarily words of encouragement to reform from what he sees as being out of harmony with Gods ways, which are his own ways as well. Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. NIV These are words of opportunity. With these words he assures them that the door is still open, that there is still time to welcome him in and hear what he has to say, and that he will commune with them if they make an effort to do this. Revelation 3:21, 22. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. NIV 22; '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches." NAB With a final encouragement to overcome these things which he has pointed out a need to be addressed before he arrives in glory at the last hour, he reaffirms a promise made to his footstep followers over 60 years earlier, found at Luke 22:29, 30. Luke 22:29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right: NLT 30 So that you
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may take food and drink at my table in my kingdom, and be seated like kings, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. BBE Then, after the great tribulation and his second coming, those anointed ones who were referred to as needing to overcome at Rev. 3:21 and did so obtain their heavenly reward. The twelve tribes of Israel symbolically represent the entire community of Gods people present on the earth when Christs kingdom rules over it. This includes those who survived the great tribulation and the day of vengeance on the part of our Lord along with the newly resurrected ones from the common grave of mankind. Altogether, these will constitute the figurative twelve tribes of Israel (The entirety of Gods people on earth during the thousand year reign of Christ and his bride). However, we are getting slightly ahead of ourselves, for we have not fully taken you, the reader through that very important time in the historyfor the earth abd all people on it. That is the time referred to in the Bible as The Last Days, or as some versions translate it, the time of the End. Some Bible scholars understand the last week in Daniels seventy years prophecy to correspond with seven years of tribulation before the second coming of Jesus. This links a number of features contained in Daniels prophecy directly to the last days. The next chapter will educate us as to how we may recognize whether or not we, now living are in the last days.

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CHAPTER SIX THE LAST DAYS


How do we know if we are there? Within the pages of the Bible God reveals how we can recognize if we are actually living in that prophetic time of mans history known as The Last Daysor Time of the End. His inspired message to humans supplies us with a comprehensive set of clues to events which must occur, enabling us to recognize whether or not we are living in what the Bible refers to as the time of the end. However, we are told that the meanings we take out of the Bible concerning the Last Days will remain unclear until those days are actually upon us. This is a very significant since the fulfillment of that declaration in itself becomes one of the ways we can determine that we are indeed living in that time period Daniel 12:4 But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase." NLT There are Bible scholars who are absolutely convinced we are indeed in that time era and there are some who are just as con-vinced that we are not. In this book, we propose that it matters little what Bible scholars conclude on the subject. The only import-ant factor is what Jehovah God himself had preserved in his own word and what those writers who were inspired by him to write about the subject wrote. The Bible relates prophetically, a number of ways we can determine if we, in our day, are actually living in the last days. By studying those verses which apply to the subject, and comparing them with what we see as reality regarding events occurring around us, it should enable anyone, who can be honest with themselves, to be
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able to determine whether or not we are living in The LastDaysor as others refer to it;the Time of The End. Towards this goal, we will explore a variety of places in the Bible where the subject is addressed. From these, instances we will be able to form a composite picture of the events which are said to identify the time of the end. Only then will we be in a position to compare all the features of that picture with the reality of events occurring in our day. One of the greatest authorities on the Time of the End was the son of God, Jesus Christ. His prophetic words are from a source with the ability to accurately see into the future. Let us analyze verses which disclose what Jesus said about the subject of how to recognize the Time of the End. He spoke revealing words to the Apostles, his disciples, and by extension to us who would make up their long term progeny. In Matthew the 6th chapter, Jesus makes a veiled reference to some-thing which would be connected inseparably to the End Times. In what is commonly known as The Lords Prayer, by the expression Your kingdom come Jesus refers to the same entity Isaiah referred to at Isaiah 2:1 as the mountain of the house of Jehovah which he connected to the final days. Mat 6:9,10 So, then, you should pray this way: Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as it is in Heaven, also on the earth. AMP Isaiah 2:2 It will happen in the final days that the mountain of Yahweh's house will rise higher than the mountains and tower above the heights. Then all the nations will stream to it, NJB (mountains in the scriptures symbolically denote rulership) Therefore, the Mountain of Jehovahs is the ruler ship or Kingdom of Jehovahs house. That kingdom had been prophesied
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by Daniel at Dan. 2:44 to come at the end of a succession of human governments which were described in a dream about an enormous image at verses 2:31 35 Daniel 2:44 "During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand forever. NLT When Jesus spoke his words (recorded at Mtt. 6:9,10) he implied that the kingdom had not yet come, and that it was to appear at a future time. About 60 years later the Apostle John revealed, that the kingdom Jesus told his followers to pray for had not yet been empowered when he disclosed the world was still under the power of the wicked one. 1 John 5:19 We are certain that we are of God, but all the world is in the power of the Evil One. BBE Down to our day, this condition has not changed, for the world that we see around us clearly testifies that it is not influenced or ruled by Jehovah God or his King designate Jesus Christ. It remains under the influence and control of Satan the Devil, described in scripture as the mighty prince of the power of the air and the god of this world (system of things). 2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. RSV Ephesians 2:2 You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. NLT 1 John 2:16 Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world. BBE
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1 John 2:17 And the world, with all its disordered desires, is passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever. NJB Such is the case with how scripture currently depicts the condition of the world in our time, the time of the end While the forthcoming Kingdom under Gods messiah was strongly alluded to by the prophet Daniel and other Hebrew prophets, (Dan 2:34,25 and 44.), (Isaiah 9;7,), Micah, Zecariah, Haggai, Malachi, and others, in Matthew the 24th chapter Jesus disclosed a whole body of new information which added a great deal of detail to what the prophets of former times had disclosed; Let us consider the meaning of what he related to his disciples as they gazed at a Temple in Jerusalem which at the time representted the worship of Jehovah God here on earth. First, however, we should set some context for the remarks Jesus was to make on that occasion. Up to that time, his entire ministry had been directed to the Jews who belonged to the nation of Israel, as those whom God had been dealing with as his chosen people. The temple they were observing represented what they considered to be an immovable anchor in their relationship with their God. Jesus prophesys: In the 21st chapter of Luke, it tells of an impending change in that relationship which was to take place in the near future. A change Jesus would tell them about in response to an inquiry they made of him. Luke 21:5, 6 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down." NIV Matthew 23:36- 38 I assure you, all the accumulated judgment of the centuries will break upon the heads of this very generation. :37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the
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city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me. :38 And now look, your house is left to you, empty and desolate. NLT Or as another version puts it: Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. RSV A crucial Question: With this statement in mind his disciples later ask him a very important three part question with grave consequences far beyond their own day. Matthew 24:3 And while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came and asked him when they were by themselves, 'Tell us, when is this going to happen, and what sign will there be of your coming and of the end of the world?' NJB Part one: 'Tell us, when is this going to happen? referred to the desolation of the household of Jews, the City of Jerusalem and its Temple. A second part to the question referred to future occasion when he would return, his Second Coming and third part of the question referred to the end of the World In reply to these three questions, he would make a comprehensive detailed response; First, he prefaces his answer to the question with a warning; in this warning, he foresaw a danger concerning these questions. The danger would be from human deceivers who would represent themselves as being either himself or his direct representatives. Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.WEB 24:5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. NWT
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This warning was not to be taken lightly, for the scripture distinctly says many would come on the basis of his name, and many would be led astray. Upon uttering those words of warning, he goes on to give a composite sign, by which his followers would recognize that they were indeed living in a time he called the time of the end, despite what deceivers would say or claim. It is also noteworthy that in the warning itself there was an element which would constitute part of the composite sign. The composite sign that he gives has three applications. The first application was in answer to the first part of the question his followers raised in connection with the Jewish Temple and its system of worship then current in Jerusalem. The second application was in response to parts two and three of their three part question. The first two applications would pertain to earthly things. Another application would be in an area totally unseen by physical eyes. It would be visible only on a spiritual level, by those possessing eyes of spiritual discernment. That third application would be discerned by those persons who would be able to apply spiritual insight to the things Jesus would relate. Earlier and End Times Fulfillment: The first part can be seen as a short term prophecy; for it had a fulfill-ment less than 40 years after the time it was given. It was fulfilled in many of its details by the total destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem and its formal system of worship. This was in the year 70 CE, when the Roman general Titus led a force which besieged Jerusalem, defeated the defenders and burned the temple to a complete destruction. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that 1.1 million Jews were killed in that cataclysm. This was in part a historically significant event which had been prophesied by Jesus in accurate detail as he answered his disciples questions on that momentous day in 33 CE. The latter part of that 3 part question would have to wait about two thousand years to see its fulfillment. The time of fulfillment would be recognized by the fact that all aspects of the prophecy could be seen to occur simultaneously. Whereas individual features of the prophecy might be observed at various times in history, only when they all occurred at once, would it be proof to
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his followers that they were in fact, living in the last Days. It would also indicate to them at that time that his second coming was imminent. Matthew 24:33 Even so, when you see all these things, you may be certain that he is near, even at the doors.
BBE

Lets look at the individual features of the Sign Jesus gave his followers by which they might recognize that they were indeed living in this foretold Time of The End Individual features of the prophecy: 1. Wars and reports of wars Matt 24: 6; You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Do not be troubled, for this must happen, but the end is not yet. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. NSB Up till 1 CE, which is recognized to be about the time of Jesus birth, approximately 3600 years into mans recorded history, there were less than 100 wars documented for the entire time period up to that year. Then, in that first Century alone, after Jesus birth, 70 wars were documented. This was an increase rate of around 3,500% when compared to the average hundred year rate of the previous 36 centuries. Certainly, we could consider Jesus words about wars and rumors of wars fulfilled during that century. However, when we compare that feature with the statistics of our times, it pales by comparison. During the last 212 years, prior to 2013, there have been more than 1,100 wars and reports of wars documented. Ten times the rate of Jesus own time. This rate is unprecedented in all of history. We would have to concede this one aspect partially fulfills Jesus prophecy for the last days. 2. Famines:

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Matthew 24: 7b. and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. Major famines were recorded in the Bible and also in secular history in 44 CE, 45 CE, 46 CE, 47 CE and 70 CE. There may have been others in locales which were not recorded historically. Yet those which were recorded easily constituted a fulfillment in the first century. As far as the modern era and our day are concerned, famine is a fact of everyday life in much of the world. There have been major famines and food shortages recorded since 1900 in the following places; China, India, Russia, Lebanon, Belgium, Germany, Iran, Turkestan, Rwanda, Burundi, Poland, Greece, Netherlands, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina, Faso, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda, Somalia, North Korea, Sudan, Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Djibouti, Kenya, Myanmar, Afghanistan, East Africa, Tajikistan and Sahel, and Somalia. And this is not to mention the millions who today are malnourished due to unwholesome, yet available food. Earthquakes in diverse places: While the recording of earth quakes in Jesus day cannot be compared with today due to the fact scientific recording instruments did not exist, nonetheless there were notable ones which were documented at the time. During the reign of Claudius Ceasar, (41-54 CE) earth quakes were recorded in Crete, Chios, Miletus, Samos and Smyrna. During Neros reign (54-68 CE) earthquakes were recorded in Laodicea, Rome, Colossae, and Hierapolis. Suetonius records earthquakes in Rome during the period of 68-69 CE. Samos records one in Campania and Josephus tells of a great earthquake in Judea, all during that same period. As far as modern day statistics for earthquakes go, the following information shows an increased preponderance of evidence in our time. 1863 to 1900 - 38 yrs - 12 Earth quakes 1901 to 1938 - 38 yrs - 53 Earth quakes
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1939 to 1976 - 38 yrs - 71 Earth quakes 1977 to 2014 - 38 yrs- 164 (to Mar. 2011) predicting 190 in total earthquakes Whether these statistics are entirely reliable or not, the fact remains that in our day, there have been earthquakes in one diverse place after another, thereby fulfilling another part of Bible prophecy concerning the time of the end. Jesus continues his prophecy with the following thought; (Note: verses cited are from the NSB , New Simplified Bible, unless otherwise indicated) Mtt 24:8 These things are the beginning of birth pains (Greek: odin': in the throws of pain, such a childbirth). By stating Wars and famines are a beginning of something which is time related and persistent to a preset conclusion, he attaches a start to its duration. After it starts, he likens it to late stages of a pregnancy from which there is no turning back. Then, he goes on to predict what his own followers would experience during those times. Tribulation on an unprecedented scale: Mtt 24:.9,10 People will cause you tribulation, and kill you. 10. You will be hated by all the nations for my names sake. 10 Many will stumble and betray and hate one another. NSB First, there would be great difficulties (tribulation), caused by opponents or due to the ungodly system of things itself. Christians would be persecuted to such an extent that lives would be lost due to persecution, because of his names sake (that which Jesus stood for) Definition or meaning of Biblical tribulation tribulation ( Etymology Dictionarey) Early 13c., from O.Fr. tribulacion (12c.), from L.L. tribulationem (nom. tribulatio)
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"distress, trouble, affliction". Earlier, (c.200), from tribulatus, pp. of tribulare "to oppress, afflict, also possibly "to thresh out grain," from tribulum "threshing sledge," from stem of terere "to rub" (see throw) + -bulum, suffix forming names of tools. Threshing sledge goes well with the idea conveyed by Luke in the 22nd chapter of his book. There Luke likens Satan sifting Peter to sifting wheat. Wheat was sifted or separated out from the chaff by threshing it with a tribulum, a threshing sledge, in ancient days. Luke 22:31 'Simon, Simon! Look, Satan has got his wish to sift you all like wheat; NJB This part of the sign was very evident to Christians during the first century when their enemies subjected them to a wide variety of persecutions, even to the point of death in the arena. At the hands of the Romans there was great pressure on the Christian community. The Bible gives us an account describing an entire community which was forced to flee for their lives. Acts 8:1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. NKJ Under such pressures, there was also great opportunity for doubting the very master whom they had served, even to the point of betrayal of fellow believers. Mat 24:10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. AMP The key to understanding this verse is found in identifying who it is who should and who should not be trusted and obeyed.
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According to the Bible; Proverbs 3:5 Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception; NJB Jeremiah 7:4 Put not your trust in the deceitful words: "This is the temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD!" NAB Psalm 146:3 Put not your faith in rulers, or in the son of man, in whom there is no salvation. BBE Acts 5:29 In reply Peter and the apostles said, 'Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; NJB This has become a point of major confusion, for there are in these last days men who insist obedience to them and their institutions constitutes obedience to God. In this insistence they create a doubt whether scripture actually says what it means. It is as if God, through his Holy Spirit was incapable of communicating his thoughts accurately and clearly without their help. Such doubts breed confusion and confusion breeds distrust and distrust leads to disloyalty among those who are confused. Thus, there have been many who upon leaving the pure truth of Gods word who have ended up betraying one another by virtue of the falsehoods they promote to each other. This is just one more element in the comprehensive picture Jesus gave for the time of the end. That this was also true in the days of the apostles can be seen by the many warnings against such deceivers in their days, and it is true in this time of the end as well. False Prophets: Matthew 24:11 'And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray; YLT Increased Wickedness and Lawlessness: Mtt 24:12 Wickedness and lawlessness will increase.
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Wickedness; In its fulfillment during the first century, increased wickedness, particularly against Christians was evidenced by such atrocious deeds as dismembering them, burning them alive and using them for entertainment in the arena, with the idea they were to be killed by vicious animals. Today, widespread wickedness is also manifest in countless ways in the Movies, and TV people watch, in the games their children play and in the books they read and in the ways they treat each other. In all this, we find unprecedented wickedness portrayed. It is interesting to note producers of such materials claim that they produce them only because this is what people want. While most persons have a good general idea of wickedness; Lawlessness, another element in the composite sign of the time of the end, is a word that adds meaning beyond what is commonly understood. Lawlessness; In the usual secular sense, lawlessness usually indicates those without law or one who disobeys law. However, in Bible terms it has an expanded application as seen through Jehovah Gods own eyes. One Bible translation helps us better understand what Jesus meant at Matthew 7:23 and quite likely at Matthew 24: 12, by lawlessness; But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized. NLT While another version reads: Matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' ESV In this verse The New Living Translation defines what other Bibles refer to as lawlessness as doing what was not authorized
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by God and Jesus. Also, a Theological Dictionary of Bible words sheds still further light on the scriptural meaning of Lawlessness. Lawless, Lawlessness [from Vines complete Expository Dictionary of N.T. words] A. Adjective. anomos (G459), " 2Th_2:8, "the lawless one" (KJV, "that wicked"), of the man of sin (2Th_2:4);, where the thought is not simply that of doing what is unlawful, but of flagrant defiance of the known will of God. B. Noun. anomia (G458), "lawlessness," akin to A, is most frequently translated "iniquity;" in 2Th_2:7, RVS, "lawlessness" (KJV, "iniquity"); "the mystery of lawlessness" is not recognized by the world, for it does not consist merely in confusion and disorder (see A); the display of "lawlessness" by the "lawless" one (2Th 2:8) will be the effect of the attempt by the powers of darkness to overthrow the divine government. We must remember, Jesus was relating this prophecy to his followers, not the world in general. While the world at large might not be inclined to perceive spiritual meanings from his words, true followers would be able to frame their understanding from based on an intrinsic familiarity with Gods will. Then Jesus continues with his prophetic discourse, switching back and forth between purely literal / physical aspects and spiritual aspects contained within the same overall prophecy. He answers his apostles questions in great detail, even more detail than they themselves were capable of fully understanding at that time. General Decrease of love: He continues with these words starting in vs 12; Matthew 24:12 and with the increase of lawlessness, love in most people will grow cold; NJB
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The extent to which this specific aspect may have been fulfilled in the 1st century application is not readily apparent. When we speak of our days, we see innumerable evidences of its fulfillment. One only needs to read the papers or to listen to the news for vivid examples. cont. Vs.12; The person who endures to the end will be saved. For Christians whose faith was tested in the first century, this was a statement of fixed truth and promise, as well as a prophecy. The statement remains just as true today, in our time. A Christian must endure through all the trials and tribulations the times he lives in presents to his faith. Earth wide preaching of The Good News Vs.14; The good news of the kingdom will be preached in the entire world for a witness to all the nations and then the end will come. This particular feature has a primary application to our times, as first century circumstances made a literal fulfillment impossible. This is due to the fact that much of the globe of that time was unexplored, uncivilized or illiterate. The preaching described in vs. 14 had to apply to the entire world, not just a continent or two. It had to be fulfilled during a time when there was the possibility to communicate the good news to every nook and cranny of the earth. This is true today and not true earlier for it was not possible in the past. In its first century fulfillment, the prophecy could only have applied to the known world at that time. Nonetheless, even in this respect, it was fulfilled. A disgusting thing, standing in the Holy place Vs.15: When you see the disgusting abomination of desolation (unclean thing) spoken about through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that reads understand), 16 you in Judea flee to the mountains;
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This feature of the prophecy was obscure until it became obvious through its fulfillment in the first century. Transpired events revealed that the disgusting thing standing in the holy place turned out to be the Roman presence surrounding the holy city Jerusalem. In the first century, those who recognized the danger and heeded the warning were indeed saved from a terrible cataclysm. Christians whose faith moved them to obey the words of Jesus prophecy found refuge and safety, while the rest of Jerusalems inhabitants were either destroyed or taken into captivity. Faithfull Christians in the first century responded to the urgency illustrated at vss. 1721 as it applied to them in their day. There is a disgust-ing thing which stands in a holy place in our day as well. (as the Bible relates; let the reader discern what it is) Warnings of Urgency In the tine of the end:
Vs. 17;

you on the housetop do not go down to remove the things in y our house. 18 You in the field do not return to get your clothes. 19 You who are pregnant or nursing babies in those days will feel trouble. 20 Pray that your flight not be in the winter, neither on a Sabbath. 21 There will be great tribulation. It will be greater than any has ever been from the beginning of the world until now. These verses place a strong emphasis on urgency and the need to take decisive action immediately. In this, they have as much meaning for Christians in our day as they had in the first century. However, the next series of verses switch to a fulfillment uniquely related to the final time of the end. Their implied application could only be in a time when the end of all flesh was possible. Until the nuclear age, this was hardly a possibility. Today, it is not only possible, but many scientists say it is highly probable. Unless there are changes and the reversal of current trends in a number of different areas, our earth may become uninhabitable. Today earths inhabitants are already under threat of an ever increasing tribulation. Realistic persons must concede that a continuing pressure on the earth, its resources and its peoples, if not curtailed, will end in disaster for the entire earth and all its
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inhabitants. The Bible goes on to illustrate the gravity of the situation in the next verses and to what extent these difficulties would prevail. . Duration of End Times
Vs. 32;

Unless those days are shortened, no flesh will be saved. For the sake of the chosen ones (selected individuals), those days will be shortened. When Gods word speaks of the chosen ones it is not referring to people in general. It is referring to those individuals some bible versions refer to as the Saints. These are the same ones Jesus instituted his covenant for a kingdom with at Luk. 22:29. They are a limited number from among all of mankind. The book of Revelation numbers them as being only 144,000 out of the many billions who have lived on this earth. Whether this number is a literal or a figurative number remains to be determined by history. One certainty in connection with it is; that in comparison with the total number of humans who have inhabited the earth (some sources say well over 20 billion), it is a small number. Luke 22:29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, RSV Revelation 5:10 "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God and they will reign upon the earth NAU In effect, one of the reasons those days will be shortened is that if there were no earth or any human population on it, there would be no subjects to rule, thereby making Jesus promise untrue. Also, we must remember, it was Jehovah Gods original purpose to have the earth peopled with righteous God loving humans living in a paradise like condition. We can be assured; God will not fail in his purpose. For kis purpose to ne fulfilled, not only will the physical earth need to be preserved, but there must also be human inhabitants on it. Warnings of False Prophets in the time of the end:
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Vs 23; If anyone says to you then, Behold, here is the Christ (the Messiah)! or, There He is!--do not believe it.
AMP

The prophecy has now turned back to a warning mode. Here, it warns against mis-interpretations or deceptions superfluous to its own prophetic words. Those very things it is warning about are to be seen as part of the composite sign that identifies the time of the end. Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. RSV That these False Christs and False prophets would be effective is intrinsic within the warning itself. The fact that there is even a possibility of the elect (chosen ones, saints) being misled places the things warned against on the highest level of religious deception. Vs. 25; Remember, I told you before it happens. 26 If they say, Look, he is in the wilderness, or, He is in the inner chambers, do not believe it. Here Jesus further emphasizes the importance of the warning by adding additional figurative details. Figurative in the sense that he is saying; wherever, it is they tell you he is, dont believe them. The second coming: Then, in highly symbolic language he discloses some realities in connection with his second coming; Vs. 27. Lightning comes from the east and is seen in the west. The coming of the Son of man is like this. What is it about the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus) that is like lightning? We know lightning is not inconspicuous. We know lightning is instantaneous; it is powerful and can be seen from great distances. The fact that Jesus refers to it as coming from the east and being seen in the west carries an earth wide connotation,
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for there is no place on earth where this relationship between east and west fails to apply. Vs. 28; The eagles will gather at the place of the carcass. Or, as other versions put it; . Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
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Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together. AMP Eagles are predatory while vultures are scavengers. The carcass or corpse is the life Jesus gave up in behalf of human kind. The eagles or vultures, whichever meaning may be more exact, may be predators or scavengers who gather to feed or benefit themselves from the death of Christ. More than likely, vultures are a correct translation here, for vultures are birds who flock or gather together while eagles are not commonly known to flock in numbers beyond their immediate families. Matthew 24:29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days NAS When it says immediately after the tribulation, it sets the events that follow, later than the tribulation itself. The tribulation is over when the following events occur. In the first century the tribulation occurred within the lifespan of the generation to which Christ had personally spoken his words in the 24th chapter of Matthew. That tribulation culminated with The Temple being completely destroyed and the Jewish system of worship ending with that event. This all transpired before the generation which had heard Jesus words with their own ears came to an end. This was a direct fulfillment of his prophecy concerning the Temple and the Jewish System of things which completely revolved around the temple. In our time, the phrase immediately after the tribulation is also meaningful; immediately is not a word which allows an
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extended passage of time. Its meaning implies that the events must follow without any gap in time. The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light: Matthew 24:29 the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. NAS In this passage of verses, we have highly symbolic language. Lets take a moment and explore the symbolism behind the key words, based on other Bible references. While all three of these elements are sources of light, that there is a distinction between them is shown at 1 Corinthians 15:41; 1 Corinthians 15:41The brightness of the sun is one kind, the brightness of the moon another, and the brightness of the stars another. For star differs from star in brightness. NAB In former times, similar language was used to describe the fall of ruling entities, either nations or kingdoms (governments) The destruction of Babylon is foretold in similar terms Isa 13:10, and of Tyre Isa_24:23. The slaughter in Bozrah and Idumea is predicted in the same language, Isa_34:4. See also Isa_50:3; Isa_60:19-20; Eze_32:7; Joe_3:15. Therefore, this would befit a non-literal application of the prophecy in end times. It would describe the fall of something which had to do with ruler ship or government. Since Jesus spoke to Jewish followers, that ruler ship or government had to have application to their religion, for while they were under the Roman political system, it was really the Jewish religious system that ruled their lives. Therefore we should look for a spiritual application in connection with events concurrent with a literal fulfillment. It is here where the symbolic language comes into play. First, what kind of meaning may we find behind the figurative Sun when it says the Sun will be darkened.
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Matthew 24:29 a. the Sun will be darkened We must connect the sun both literally and figuratively with Jehovah God since he is the creator of the literal sun, our source of natural light. He is also the source of all light (enlightenment) in a spiritual sense. Psalm 84:11 For Jehovah God is a sun and shield. Jehovah will give favor and honor. He will not withhold blessing from those who walk faithfully in truth. NSB Psalm 27:1 Jehovah is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the stronghold of my life. Who is there to be afraid of? NSB Jeremiah 31:35 This is what Jehovah, the Giver of the sun for light by day, the statutes of the moon and the stars for light by night, NSB Psalm 118:27 Yahweh is God, he gives us light. Link your processions, branches in hand, up to the horns of the altar. NJB In the first century the Jews recognized Jehovah as the source for all enlightenment (light). To them he was like the sun, the source of all light. His presence was symbolized by the Shekinah Light in the temple in Jerusalem. In the Encyclopedia Judaica the "Shekinah" is defined as "the Divine Presence, the luminous immanence of God in the world. Thus, when Jehovah withdrew his presence (light) from the Temple at Jerusalem, It signaled the end of his enlightening influence, also the end of his protection (shield) for the Jewish nation. It was as if their sun had become darkened. An earlier prophecy by Amos had offered a foregleam of what was to come when that light was withdrawn. Amos 8:11 Lo, days are coming, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, And I have sent a famine into the land,
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Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water But of hearing the words of Jehovah. YLT Matthew 24:29 b. The Moon will not give its light The physical moon is entirely dependent upon the physical sun for it is but a source of reflected light. The figurative moon would represent the Law code and its many moon related festivals which Jehovah had given the nation of Israel through Moses. That code was a reflection of his light which stood apart from the Temple itself and the Shekinah light representing his presence. It was nevertheless an orb which had reflected Jehovahs light and favor toward the nation of Israel as his chosen people since the time of Moses. When this arrangement ended, their moon was figuratively darkened. Matthew 24:29 c.. The Stars will fall from the sky. Again, we must look beyond the literal for our understanding. We are not speaking here of literal stars in a literal sky. The scriptures shed light on their own meanings, for Jehovah is his own interpreter. Daniel 12:3 Those who have wisdom (insight) will shine like the brightness of the firmament. They turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever NSB It becomes even more obvious in the next verse that the Stars mentioned are figurative since stars cannot literally be unclean whereas men can. Job 25:5 Look! There is even the moon, and it is not bright; And the stars themselves have not proved clean in his eyes. NWT Revelation 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword: and his face was like the sun shining in its strength. BBE
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In the case of the fulfillment which occurred in 70 CE with the complete destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, it was the religious leaders (men) who were thought to shine like stars due to their great learning and insight. The Jewish community at large believed their Priesthood, their Rabbis, and their Sanhedrin were those who Jehovah blessed with special insight from his heavenly throne. When the destruction of the Temple, which Jesus predicted occurred, and they themselves had no inkling of its coming, it proved beyond a doubt, they no longer had God given insight. Their stars had fallen from the sky (heavens). Matthew 24:29d. the Powersof the heavens will be shaken. In the Bible the heavens symbolize ruling authority. Once the people of that time lost confidence in the insight of their spiritual leaders, those leaders no longer possessed the respect they needed for unquestioning obedience to their rule. At that point, the power of their heavens (ruling authority), while not being completely destroyed, was greatly shaken. However, would there also be a greater spiritual application, one which would portray spiritual events during the time of the end in our day? While these events are part of the composite sign given by Jesus, they are not events we can examine with the acute microscope of hindsight. These are events which are currently in the process of being fulfilled in our day. Matthew 24:29a.. the Sun will be darkened Once again, we must look to the one whom the Jews considered to be their sun. As the literal sun has not changed as the source of light, Jehovah has not changed as the source of Spiritual enlightenment. In what way would the sun be darkened in our day? The Prophet Amos offers us a clue in his words concerning the time of the end. Amos 8:11 Lo, days are coming, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, And I have sent a famine into the land, Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water But of hearing the words of Jehovah. YLT
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Today, we see the pure unadulterated word of Jehovah doctored with a hybrid mixture of human error and outright falsehood. The brightness and enlightenment of Jehovah as expressed in his word has indeed become darkened. Truth has been overlaid with a film of falsehood and the brilliance of Gods word has become dimmed to the vast majority of the human family. Just as Jehovah withdrew his presence from his chosen nation in 70CE and onward, due to their rejection of his Messiah and the hope he provided through that one, he will darken his sun of enlightenment and his protection for those who reject his Christ in any manner, shape or form during our day. Matthew 24:29b. The Moon will not give its light When we look for insight as to who or what this symbolic moon might be in our day, we must once again go to the first century for our understanding. If the moon in that day was symbolic of the enlightenment provided by God, however, not through his own direct light, but through reflected light of the Mosaic code, we must ask who most reflects his light in our day. The answer is found in his Son Jesus Christ. Christ himself said; John 8:12 When Jesus spoke to the people again, he said: I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the light of life. NJB As for the world at large, while the light of Christ and his teachings remains bright for his footstep followers, his light and his spirit are withheld from the world. Look, I am with you until the conclusion: Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded YOU. And, look! I am with YOU all the days until the conclusion of the system of things." NWT

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While Jesus promised his followers he would be with them until the conclusion of the system of things, his continuing presence would be dependent on their observing all the things I have commanded you. In what way would his presence be manifest? He himself gave us clues to the answer in verses in the book of John; John 14:16,17 I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another helper, that he [the helper] may be with you forever. 17 It is the Spirit of the truth. The world cannot receive it. The world does not see or know it. You know it because it lives with you and will be with you. NSB John 14:26 The Father will send a helper in my name, the Holy Spirit, which (Greek: hos he ho) (which) (that one) will teach you all things and bring to your memory all that I said to you NSB John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away. For if I do not go away the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send it to you. NSB As we know, Jesus did depart the earthly scene (go away). Would he ever withdraw that helper, the spirit of truth he promised faithful followers? First of all, the promise was until the time of the end. Beyond that, we are reading in meaning which may or may not be supported by scripture. Jesus himself originally spoke to those of a nation in the first century which claimed to be Gods people. They thought Gods promise was with them and that it would last forever. Likely, it would have if they had kept their side of the covenant God made with them, but they did not, and so Jehovah withdrew his favor from them. Matthew 23:37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone the messengers who are sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. But you were not willing! 38 Behold, your house is left desolate. NSB
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I never knew you: Likewise, in our day, there are those who believe themselves to be in a covenant relationship with Jehovahs Messiah, Jesus Christ. Yet, the words he spoke to the Jewish system of things back then apply as aptly to our time as well as then. There are those who, while claiming to be his followers, deny him and reject him through their acceptance of false teachings. They place their trust in doctrines of men instead of the pure words of truth revealed in the Holy Bible? They have in effect made the word of God invalid by overlaying Gods truth with their own error. Jesus will reject them and his favor will be withdrawn from them upon final judgment. Thus, Jesus, as a moon reflecting Jehovahs pure light will no longer give them light (enlightenment). Matthew 7:23 But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized. ' NLT 2nd Thess, 2: 11, 12 So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth (Jesus, the truth, according to Jo 14:6) but took pleasure in unrighteousness.- (parenthesis - authors comment) Stars fall from the sky: Matthew 24:29c. The Stars will fall from the sky The Christian community at large believes that their Pope, their clergy, church officials, or their governing bodies are those who Jehovah blesses with special insight from his heavenly throne. They view these men as light giving stars. While, there is a need to respect such ones as Gods representatives to the extent that they teach and adhere to Gods word, when they deviate from that word and teach their own thoughts, ideas and dreams, a true Christian must obey God as ruler rather than men. Thus, before this time of the end expires, Jehovah will expose the hidden agendas of such stars. True Christians will recognize that many of their star like leaders are not endowed with Gods
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spirit at all in all their teachings. They, those stars will lose their innocent admirers as they are recognized as failures at enlightenment. To their followers, those stars will fall from the figurative sky of Gods favor. Powers of the heavens shaken: Matthew 24:29d.. the Powers of the heavens will be shaken. As was true in the days of the first century, the heavens symbolize ruling authorities. Once the people lose confidence in the insight of their leaders, those leaders no longer possess the respect they need for unquestioning obedience to their rule. The power of those heavens, (ruling authorities) while not being completely destroyed, will be greatly shaken. Remember, when we speak of the time of the End, we are speaking about; a.), the Last Days, just prior to the Great Fear Inspiring day of Jehovah in the first century, and; b.) those days just prior to the great Fear Inspiring day of Jehovah as a culmination in the later Time of the End as well. This fits what Jesus described in the 24th Chapter of Matthew. Also, remember that in the Bible, a day frequently represents a longer period of time than a literal 24 hours. Later in the 24th chapter of Matthew, this period is likened to the days of Noah. Those days of Noah chronicled in the Bible and referred to by Jesus covered over one hundred and twenty years. We are not claiming, a time element of one hundred twenty years is implied by Jesus prophecy. However, it does mean that we were not speaking in terms of literal 24 hour days. Rather those days refers to an unspecified duration, one which only God would know the specific beginning and end of. Then Jesus continues with still another aspect of this composite prophecy for the last days:
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The sign of the Son of man: Matthew 24: 30. The sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of earth will mourn. They will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. There is no need for a sign if a manifestation is visible to human eyes. The fact that a sign is given precludes the possibility of being able to see this phenomena with physical eyes. When one comes on the clouds, visibility is either obscured or not possible at all, just as when one disappears into the clouds. Therefore, what is being described here is not something obvious to all persons. Yet it says They will see the son of man coming with power and great glory. While we mostly think in terms of seeing with our eyes, they are merely a camera for our brain. We see with our mind, for it is not what we see, rather what we perceive, comprehend or understand that forms thoughts in response to what our eyes have taken in. Therefore, when the Bible says every eye will see the Son of man coming with power and great glory, it means everyone will be able to perceive his power and glory by what they are able to discern. By clearly discernable evidence the time of the end will be recognized when all the signs are present and manifest. It becomes scripturally implicit that what is perceived will not be easily attributable to any other source than the Messiah. Therefore, we may conclude that what every eye will see may have to it a supernatural or miraculous nature, one which can only be attributable to divine intervention. Such was the case when Jesus performed miracles during his first presence on the earth. Miracles such as turning water into wine, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and fish, restoring sight to blind ones and resurrecting dead persons, cannot be attributed to any other source than implementation of Divine Power. Matthew 24: 30a.: He will send his angels with a great trumpet sound.

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In the Bible the "TRUMPET symbolizes announcing something of great importance. It is noteworthy, the trumpet is not the event itself, and it is merely the announcement which precedes an important event. Matthew 24: 30b.: They will gather together the anointed from the four winds, from one end of the sky (horizon) to the other. Jesus then directs his listeners attention to the fact that all these things constitute the sign and that when they are all perceived (seen) it is a sure indication his presence is very close, even at the door. When you see all these things: Matthew 24: 32, 33; Learn from the illustration of the fig tree. When the branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 Therefore, when you see all these things, you will know he is near, even at the door. In the next verse, Jesus gives an indication as to a time or duration of the era of these events; Matthew 24: 34; Truly I tell you, this generation (those living at that time) will not pass away till all these things take place. In the first century fulfillment, there was a literal generation to whom he had spoken his prophetic words. While all individuals who might have heard his actual words did not survive till 70 CE, when it was fulfilled, the generation itself had not passed away. In a later fulfillment, the fulfillment for the final time of the end, there has been much speculation about the duration of that generation. Knowing when it ended could attach a length of time to his prophecy. If one could determine the length of this generation accurately, one could attempt to calculate the day and the hour for the final end by knowing its time of commencement. Jesus said no man would know the day or the hour. Thus, one should not expect to be able to predetermine the length
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of the generation living in the time of the end. It appears, no one knows the exact time it commenced, and neither will they know the exact time it endS in advance. Matthew 24:35; Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. With this statement, Jesus seals the sureness of this prophecy in all its comprehensive detail. He then goes on to reiterate regarding its exact timing. In this verse is buried a warning against those who would predict an exact time for his second coming (presence). By telling us that that no one knows the exact time, he implies that those who do predict a day or an hour for his coming are in fact doing so on their own, without scriptural authority. Matthew 24:36 But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father alone. NJB How people are reacting to events during the Time of the End He then proceeds to comment about the curiously questionable behavior, on the part of those on the earthly scene while these events unfold as predicted. Directly related to his presence he says; Matthew 24: 37; The presence of the Son of man will be similar to the days of Noah. 38 It will be like those days before the Flood. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. 39 They were not aware until the Flood came and took them all away. The coming (presence) of the Son of man will be like this. 40 Two will be in the field. One will be taken, and one will be left. 41 Two will grind at the mill. One will be taken, and one will be left. NSB Other versions put the same verse as:
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Matthew 24:39 And they had no care till the waters came and took them all away; so will be the coming of the Son of man. BBE Matthew 24:39 and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. NWT Buried in this group of verses is a fact which is frequently overlooked. That is that his coming is closely associated with those taken and also those left behind. It takes us back to vs. 31, where the angels gather anointed followers from the four winds. Another significant point is that they (people in general) were not aware, or were unconcerned. They were in their normal course of daily activities, seemingly oblivious to his coming or any warnings pursuant to it. For that reason, he warns his own followers to not be found oblivious to those events. Rather to be prepared, ready and in expectation of his coming. Matthew 24:42; Be alert, for you do not know what day the Lord will come. 43 Know this, if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have watched and his house would not have been vandalized. 44 Be prepared! The Son of man will come at a time when you do not expect it. The Faithful Steward: Then Jesus conveys a spiritual message to his footstep followers, those who may know what readiness and preparedness mean. He speaks to them by means of a parable. A parable they would discern the meaning of with through their spiritual eyes while others would attribute misguided meanings to it. The parable begins with a question; Matthew 24: 45 51; Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his lord put in
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charge of his other servants, to give them their food at the proper time? NSB Other translations: Matthew 24:45 'Who, then, is the servant, faithful and wise, whom his lord did set over his household, to give them the nourishment in season? YLT Matthew 24:45 'Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy servant whom the master placed over his household to give them their food at the proper time? NJB Matthew 24:45 "Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? NRS Here Jesus raises a question which someone with Spiritual insight would have to answer in his or her own heart and mind, because Jesus does not provide a direct answer. What he provides is a contrast between faithful and unfaithful slaves found by the Master on his arrival and what the masters reaction would be to what he sees upon returning from an extended absence. That servant is blessed when his lord comes and finds him doing his will. NSB
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The key point here is; one servant is doing his masters will while the other is not. In fact the other is found to be abusing his fellow servants. The key question this raises is; what was the masters will for the servant he granted stewardship concerning his other servants when he departed?. If we are to relate this parable to Christ as the master who departs with an intention to return at an undisclosed date, we must explore exactly what it was that Christ left his footstep followers to hold stewardship over. Some might argue, it was their fellow followers that Christ gave them stewardship over. This concept is contradictory to scripture for Jesus had told them they had no other master than him.
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In this parable, the masters will was to feed his fellow slaves, not to rule them. As far as granting them authority over their fellow servants lives, Jesus in his own words established principals his stewards must not violate. Matthew 23:10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. RSV Matthew 20:25,26. and Jesus having called them near, said, 'Ye have known that the rulers of the nations do exercise lordship over them, and those great do exercise authority over them, YLT :26 It shall not be so among you: but whosoever is the greater among you, let him be your minister. DRA Or as another version puts it: Matthew 20:26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, ESV There is little to justify stewardship means ruler ship over their fellow slaves contained in any of the principals he laid down for his disciples. On the other hand, Jesus did have much to say in answering the key question as to what the masters will was for the slave he granted stewardship concerning his fellow servants upon his departure. Also, a related question is; what was that stewardship over? What the Psalmist had written centuries earlier about God himself laid the ground work for what Jesus would have to say on the subject during his own time and to his own followers; The psalmist wrote about Jehovah God; Psalm 104:27 All of them are waiting for you, to give them their food in its time. BBE Jesus himself adds weight to the thought that the food the psalmist referred to was not confined to physical nourishment
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but represented a greater source of nourishment which was Jehovahs word. Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. NIV John 17:17 Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth. NLT John 17:14 I have given them your word . . . . NIV Or as another version puts it; John 17:14 I have given your word to them . . . NWT His followers would need to act consistently with his words in regard to Jo 10:14, 27. John 10:14 I am the fine shepherd, and I know my sheep and my sheep know me, NWT John 10:27 My sheep give ear to my voice, and I have knowledge of them, and they come after me: BBE Thus, what Jesus fed his followers with was the truth contained his fathers word. Then, concerning what his followers were to do with that which he had provided them with, he said; John 21:15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' NJB John 21:17 Once more he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you." Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep. NLT

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Later, Paul recognized the connection between the supplier and the receiver of the food they were providing and what kind of food it was. 1 Corinthians 10:3 all ate the same spiritual food NJB A further command initially given to his apostles was; Matthew 28:19, 20 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, NAB 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, {even} to the end of the world. Amen WEB Correctly understanding the word observe becomes crucial to the correct meaning of this scripture. While most translators apply a meaning of obedience to the word, this is somewhat of a leap from what the original writer implied. The word teros (observe), according to Thayers has a differing meaning. Observe (Thayers, BDB definitions) G5083 thre,w tereo {tay-reh'-o} from teros (a watch, perhaps akin to 2334); 1) to attend to carefully, take care of 1a) to guard 1b) metaph. to keep, one in the state in which he is 1c) to observe 1d) to reserve: to undergo something While many Bible translators have rendered the word observe (G5083 ) as obey, this is not the correct meaning. The correct meaning is to guard, protect, preserve and or keep. Thus, what Jesus left his disciples to guard was what his father had given him to feed them with. It was his fathers word of truth. It constituted a legacy they were to protect and pass on to fellow believers as well as new believers. It was the spiritual food Paul
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spoke of at 1 Cor. 10:3. Where he said; They all ate the same spiritual food NIV How they managed the spiritual food which they were to provide would determine whether they were or were not faithful stewards over what he gave them. Obviously, Jesus would know what they had been doing with this food before his return to the earthly scene. Therefore, the prophetic parable should not be seen as intended to focus on what he saw, as if it was the first time he saw it. It should be viewed more as an indication of what he would do with regard to those whom he gave stewardship over his word, those he charged with feeding his sheep with it in a timely manner. For the slave who discharged his stewardship faithfully, there was to be a reward. Matthew 24:47 Truly, I say to you, he will put him over all he has. BBE Matthew 24:47 Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. ASV Matthew 24: 47; I tell you, he will put him in charge of everything he owns. NSB With these words, he makes a statement that does not have a precise time tag tied to it. We cannot be certain whether the reward of being given stewardship over everything he has applies immediately after expressing the words, or some future time, perhaps when that slave, by virtue of his marriage in heaven has ruler ship bestowed upon him in connection with the administration of everything the master owns. Also, when it refers to everything Jesus owns, we might recall, that while admitting he possessed his fathers word, he never claimed ownership of any other earthly belongings when these words were spoken. In fact what he said at Matthew 8:20 implied he had little or nothing in the way of earthly belongings.

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Matthew 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. ASV In contrast, we have verses citing specifically what Jesus did give his followers: John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. NIV Mark 4:11 And he said to them, To you is given the secret of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are given in the form of stories; BBE Then he, the Master (Jesus) reverts back to examine the attitude, motives and outcome for the evil servants behavior. The evil slave being the servant who is found to abuse his stewardship during the time of that stewardship; Matthew 24:48,49.; "But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time:49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards, NAU In what way could it be said that evil servant would beat or mistreat his fellow servants? Beat (Vines N.T. Expository dictionary of
Greek,)

BEAT, v.t. pret. beat; pp. beat, beaten. [L. batuo. See Abate.] 1. To strike repeatedly; to lay on repeated blows, with a stick, with the hand or fist, or with any instrument, and for any cause, just or unjust, or for punishment. We are given clues as to the character and results of such blows in other places in the bible. These blows are behavior or actions which cause others to be diverted from the pure truth of Gods word and teachings. They constitute teachings, behavior and or
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treatment toward others which either detract from or diminish the truth of Gods word, thereby causing others to stumble. Concisely, they beat their fellow slaves in that they teach things which cause others to stumble. Pauls words at Philippians 1:10 form a basis for us to not view this as innocence or ignorance. Philippians 1:10 that YOU may make sure of the more important things, so that YOU may be flawless and not be stumbling others up to the day of Christ, NWT And they bind heavy burdens on fellow servants; Endless stipulations, laws and obligations which deprive their fellow believers of god-given freedoms. Matthew 23:4 "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. NKJ Jesus voices his opinion on how he views these persons: Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea. ASV Or as another version puts it; Matthew 18:6 But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who put faith in me, it is more beneficial for him to have hung around his neck a millstone such as is turned by an ass and to be sunk in the wide, open sea. NWT Matthew 13:41 The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, NWT
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In 24:48b Jesus provides us with interesting insight about this evil servant. Matthew 24:48b; And he eats and drinks with drunkards, What grasp does the Bible give us regarding the meaning of drunkards?. Drunkenness here is figurative, not literal. The Bible supports an understanding of drunkenness as representing a spiritual condition. Isaiah 51:21 Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: ESV Deuteronomy 21:20 They must declare: 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a worthless drunkard.' NLT Jeremiah 51:57 "I will make drunk her officials, wise men, rulers, captains, and warriors," says the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty. "They will fall asleep and never wake up again!" NLT Isaiah 19:14 Yahweh has infused them with a giddy spirit; they have led Egypt astray in all she undertakes like a drunkard straying about as he vomits. NJB Or as another version puts it; Isaiah 19:14 The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit. NIV Jeremiah 13:13 you are to say, "Yahweh says this: Look, I shall fill all the inhabitants of this country, the kings who occupy the throne of David, the priests, the prophets and all the citizens of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. NIV
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1 Corinthians 6:10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers-- none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. NLT As we noticed in Isa 19:14, This drunkenness is related to stubbornness, rebelliousness and disobedience, stumbling about dizzily in a spiritually sick condition. This drunkenness has a kinship to what Paul later refers to as a strong delusion in 2nd Thessalonians, a verse which is also set explicitly in the Time of the End. 2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: NKJ Then, Jesus speaks of what the master will do about the unfaithful servant and when he will do it. The when is addressed in the very next verse; Matthew 24: 50; the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect it, an hour when he is unaware. AMP Or as another version puts it: Matthew 24:50 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he is not looking for him, and in an hour of which he has no knowledge, BBE It will be at a time when he not only does not expect, but also may even be unaware that he has come. Yet, it is interesting that according to this verse, upon his arrival, the master does not instantly get rid of the unfaithful slave nor does he have him destroyed at that time. Lets closely analyze the meaning of the words in the following verse, for some of them may not have exact same meanings we normally attach to them Matthew 24:51 and will cut 1 <1371> him in pieces 2 <1371> and assign 3 <5087> him a place <3313>
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with the hypocrites 4 <5273>; in that place <3313> there <1563> will be weeping 5 <2805> and gnashing 6 <1030> of teeth <3599>. NAU Or as another version puts it; Matthew 24:51 and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be. NWT In this verse, the master does not get rid of the unfaithful slave immediately, or have him destroyed. Instead, he groups him with those who are hypocrites (pretenders, actors, or frauds) in connection with his service. However, we can view this assignment as temporary because, we have been told by Jesus in other verses, that hypocrites will not have entry into the kingdom of heaven. Also, we might recall Jesus had accused the Scribes and Pharisees as being hypocrites who not only dont enter the heavenly kingdom themselves, but even prevent others from entering it. Matthew 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. NRS Matthew 24:51 and will cut 1 <1371> him in pieces 2 <1371> and assign 3 <5087> him a place <3313> with the hypocrites 4 <5273>; in that place <3313> there <1563> will be weeping 5 <2805> and gnashing 6 <1030> of teeth <3599>. NAU Bible Meanings for key words found at Mtt: 24:51 cut (Vines) 6. dichotomeo (G1371), lit., to cut into two parts" (dicha, "apart," temno, "to cut," tome, "a cutting"), Mat_24:51, "to cut asunder," is used in Luk_12:46. Some take the reference to be to the mode of punishment by which criminals and captives were "cut"
1

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in two; others, on account of the fact that in these passages the delinquent is still surviving after the treatment, see a form of separation or dismemberment. piece (Vines) is a part separated from the whole; pieces are parts separated from one another and the whole.
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assign; (Thayer Definitions) (G5087) tithemi 1) to set, put, place 1a) to place or lay 1b) to put down, lay down 1b1) to bend down 1b2) to lay off or aside, to wear or carry no longer 1b3) to lay by, lay aside money 1c) to set on (serve) something to eat or drink 1d) to set forth, something to be explained by discourse 2) to make 2a) to make (or set) for ones self or for ones use 3) to set, fix establish 3a) to set forth 3b) to establish, ordain
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hypocrite G5273 (Zodhiates N.T. Bible dictionary)

hupokrites; gen. hupokrito, masc. noun from hupokrnomai to act as a hypocrite. A hypocrite, one who acts pretentiously, a counterfeit, a man who assumes and speaks or acts under a feigned character. Hypocrite (Websters 1824 with Bible definitions ) 1. One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.
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5 weeping

G2805 (Strongs) - klauthmos , klowth-mos' From G2799; lamentation: - wailing, weeping, X wept. gnashing G1030 (Thayers) brugmos 1) a gnashing of teeth 1a) used to denote extreme anguish and utter despair 2) snarling, growling: in the sense of biting<1030>
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The words of Jesus in Matthew the 24th chapter are not the sum total of what we are given to know about the time of the end. Words added by the apostles who spoke later and were written under inspiration would also confirm and add to the things Jesus had said previously. The writer John alludes to this at John 21:25 There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. NAB What the Apostles & Other Bible writers said about the Time of the End Therefore, let us take a look at some bible verses attributed to the Apostles and other inspired writers which add to the picture Jesus gave his followers. A picture by which they could recognize they were indeed living during the time of the end and what such recognition would mean for them. The Apostle Peter wrote; 1 Peter 4:17 For the time of having the judgment begin from the house of God is come; but if first from us, what shall be the end of those who obey not the glad tidings of God? DBY Or, as another version puts it:
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1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? NAB 2 Peter 3:3,4. First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire. :4 This will be their argument: "Jesus promised to come back, did he? Then where is he? Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly the same since the world was first created." NLT Peter referring to Jesus and the last days of the Jewish system; 1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest <5319> in these last times for you, KJV The Apostle Paul wrote concerning the time of the end; 2 Timothy 3:1 You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. NLT 2 Timothy 3:2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. NLT 2 Timothy 3:3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, NIV 2 Timothy 3:4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. NLT

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2 Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power and avoid such men as these . NAS 2 Timothy 3:6 Of the same kind, too, are those men who insinuate themselves into families in order to get influence over silly women who are obsessed with their sins and follow one craze after another, NJB Paul also wrote about benefitting from a warning example from the past and how it applied in the End Times; 1 Corinthians 10:-3 I don't want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, what happened to our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. God guided all of them by sending a cloud that moved along ahead of them, and he brought them all safely through the waters of the sea on dry ground. :2 As followers of Moses, they were all baptized in the cloud and the sea. :3 all ate the same spiritual food NLT 1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. NRS 1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. ESV Then, Paul goes on to describe a series of behaviors which in their case displeased God, including idolatry, materialism and immorality. Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
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1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither become idolaters, as some of them did; just as it is written: "The people sat down
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to eat and drink, and they got up to have a good time."


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When he concludes the list he ties those events into our time in the next verse. 1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were described in writing to be a lesson for us, to whom it has fallen to live in the last days of the ages. NJB The Bible Historian Luke wrote; Acts 1:6 When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, "Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?" NLT Acts 1:7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. NKJ Acts 2:17 In the last days -- the Lord declares -- I shall pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young people shall see visions, your old people dream dreams. NJB In conclusion, while many so called experts have attempted to draw an endless variety of enhanced conclusions from the material in the Bible, it remains true that, if one wants an accurate picture from Gods standpoint, one will not draw conclusions beyond what the Bible itself teaches. Therefore, those who speculate on an imminent date for the time of the end as being either specific or certain, are exceeding what Jesus knew when he said no man knows the day or the hour. What can be certain is that what the Bible itself says is accurate and reliable. . We can depend on it to be found altogether true. Summary: The bottom line message from material considered regardingthe time of the end is; be prepared and ready, because you will not
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know in advance when these things are to be completely fulfilled. It will be just as it was in the first century when the exact time of fulfillment became recognizable only after it occurred. All that was provided in that instance was a warning, nothing further. However, back then as it is now, the warnings on how to recognize the forthcoming events were in place. Those who paid attention to them were rewarded by escaping the destruction which ultimately came upon Jerusalem and the Jewish system. In those days, it was a matter of escaping to Pella in the mountains, a safe distance from the destruction. In our day, it is a matter of escaping to the figuruative mountain of Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ and their ruler ship. Mark 13:14 "But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. ESV Mark 13:14 "But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. ESV In our day the mountain of Jehovah, (the ruler ship of Jehovah), is the only place of safety from the coming great day of Jehovahs judgment and the destruction of the ungodly system of things on earth. Isaiah prophesied that Gods Government, this Mountain of Jehovahs house, will not only be a reality, but it will dominate over all other governments and people would stream to it. Isaiah 2:2 It will happen in the final days that the mountain of Yahweh's house will rise higher than the mountains and tower above the heights. Then all the nations will stream to it, NJB Christians are not immune from the warnings found in the words spoken by Jesus and his Apostles about the Time of the End. As they had to flee from Jerusalem in the first century, true Christians will also have to take flight from something. That something is The Counterfeit religious systems Satan the devil has designed to
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look like Christianity. While appearing outwardly authentic to their followers, they are in fact ruled by men who are in turn under the control of Satan the Devil. True Christianity has only one ruler, and that ruler is Christ himself. He is the lone Messiah who Jehovah God has provided for the salvation of humans in this time of the end. It is not a Pope, a Cardinal or any other titled religious official. There are many hypocrites on the scene today. They are found in all those religious entities, which act pretentiously, counterfeits who assume, speak and act under a feigned character. Scripture leads us to believe that these would include men and organizations, which appear to be legitimate, yet are not. The Christ is not one with them nor do such men represent him in support of his fathers purposes. Such men and organizations obscure the pure truth of Gods word and contaminate it with twisted translations to suit their own purposes. In our day, there appears to be an abundance of spiritual food on the scene, yet scripture reveals that there is a spiritual famine. This proves that most of the religious shepherds of our day are not feeding their flocks with unadulterated food, the pure food of truth which is found in Jehovahs inspired word. His pure truth is being contaminated by blending it with unauthorized manmade doctrine. How harmful this is may be is illustrated by Jesus words when he said; Matthew 15:7, 8. Hypocrites! How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you when he said::8 This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. NJB 1 Corinthians 5:6 Your self-satisfaction is ill founded. Do you not realise that only a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? NJB Jehovah makes this declaration about the last days: Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. ASV Notice, a careful reading discloses that the famine is for Hearing (discerning, understanding) the word of Jehovah. It is noteworthy
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that the famine is for not for the quantity of Gods word, nor the availability of Gods word, rather it is for the hearing (listening to Gods word). One final caution about the Time of the End, from the pen of the Apostle John; 1 John 2:18 Children, this is the final hour; you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and now many Antichrists have already come; from this we know that it is the final hour. NJB If you have read the earlier chapters up to this point, you have a comprehensive idea of what Jesus knew about the time of the end, what he told his apostles and what they passed on for us to know. In our day, when there is a quagmire of misinformation, obfuscation and distortion of truth in religions, where does it leave honest hearted individuals who want to worship in spirit and truth? The Bible is the book which contains Jehovah Gods thoughts. The Bible is Gods book, preserved down to our day so that we might have comfort through the scriptures. It is the sword of the spirit. It contains the spirit of truth Jesus spoke of at John 15:26. Let us turn to it for guidance and direction rather than to the thoughts of men. Seven reminders from the Bible which help the scriptures speak to us personally; 1. Remember; All scripture is inspired by God . .(2 Tim.3:16) 2. Trust in Jehovah with all your heart. . . . . (Proverbs 3:5) 3. Never trust men rather than God . . . . (Jeremiah 17:5) 4. Listen to the spirit of truth. . . . (John 15:26). . Even when it only seems to whisper to you. 5. Apply the Two witness rule to your Bible understanding . . . (2 Corinthians 13:1)
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6. Pray about anything and everything . . . (1 Thessalonians 5:17) . . Keep on praying. 7. Always remember, Gods will is none should be lost . . . . (2 Ti 2:4) and that all should come to an accurate knowledge of truth. What then will the outcome of this be? The next chapter will explore what the bible divulges prophetically about future events the earth may look forward to.

[Click to return to CONTENTS]


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CHAPTER SEVEN
PROPHECY AROUND THE CORNER
The Second Coming of Messiah

Nevertheless, while we may not be given information about exactly when this history changing event will occur there is much to be learned about how and why it will occur. From this we have reason to anticipate that the Messiahs second appearance is so to say just around the corner. I. MESSIAH JUDGES and WAGES WAR Compare the descriptions of the arrival of the Messiah in Daniel 12:1-8, with the prophetic description given in the New Testament, about the future time John wrote about the Second Coming of the Messiah. "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:11-13). Who is it that he (The Word, Jesus) judges and makes war with? It is not a war in heavenly places for Satan has already been thrown out of heavens with his sprit followers. (Rev.12:9,12.). He judges the human condition and humans themselves on the earth, starting with his own people, the true Christian Congregation. He does not come peacefully, rather as a judge about to conduct major warfare with Gods enemies. 1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for the judging, starting with the church of God; but if it makes a start with us, what will be the end of those who are not under the rule of God? BBE
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Or as another version states: 1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
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II. DAY OF JUDGEMENT Judgment by God has been an ongoing process. The Bible tells us of judgment of Adam and Eve in their day, of all mankind in Noahs day. It speaks of regional judgments in the cases of Sodom and Gomorrah, Tyre, Ninevah, Babylon, Assyria, Egypt and Judah, among others. It speaks of judgments against individuals such as Miriam and Aaron, Korah, Dathan and Abiram, Ahab and Jezebel, Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira, For his own people, Gods ongoing judgments in individual cases prove to be a means by which he refines persons who are rightly inclined towards him. (Rev. 2:1 3:20) For his enemies, Gods judgments have led to their demise and in some cases, even their elimination. 1 Corinthians 11:32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. NIV Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every one he loves ESV However, when we speak of The Day of Judgment, we are speaking of an event with worldwide implications, an event in connection with what many call The end of the World(however, more accurately; End of this System of things under the which the earth has been running). This day of Judgment has been defined by one dictionary as The final trial of the human race, when God will decide the fate of every individual, and award sentence according to justice.The scriptures themselves are the very best source of knowledge concerning that Day of Judgment Psalm 75:2 "At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.ESV [Judgment day]

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Ecclesiastes 12:14 For the [true] God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.NWT 2 Peter 3:7 But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.ESV The fact that the day of judgmentis followed with destruction of the ungodly men should not be understood that they occur at the same time. There is normally a time period during which a trial is held, evidence fully established and considered before judgment is passed. In trials, varying amounts of time may pass depending on the complexity of the case being resolved. Afterward, sentence is pronounced, along with a time when execution of the sentence is to be carried out. After enough time for all the preceding steps to have occurred in a way for justice to be served, sentence is carried out. One of the things we are given to understand about that Day of Judgment is that it begins with the house of God. The house of God has always been constituted on the basis of his (Gods) own choosing, denoting those he favored his own name being associated with. 1Pe 4:17, 18. Because the time has come to begin the judgment from the house of God; and if firstly from us, what will be the end of the ones disobeying the gospel of God? And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and sinner appear?"LITV This house of God consists primarily of a spiritual nation of anointed ones. They are ones who are described in some Bible versions as holy ones and in other versions as saints. When the Bible mentions them together with all who everywhere are calling upon the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it implies two distinct parts to the house of God. Those who are referred to as saints and others who are calling on the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to YOU who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all who everywhere are
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calling upon the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: NWT 1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours KJV: Their day, the saints or holy ones, (time, era) of judgment takes on a some-what different character or nature from the judgment upon the rest of those who call on the name of their Lord Christ and different again from the world in general. We are told by the Apostle Peter that the time for judging the holy ones started in his own day. Since that time, their individual life prospects were and still are, dependent on maintaining their faith and integrity firm till death or the end, whichever may occur first despite any and all persecution or tribulation they might be confronted with. Only then, if they have endured till thusly, will they be considered worthy of everlasting life with their Lord and savior in heaven. Secondarily it consists of a people for his name, other sheep, those believers who come to call upon the name of Jesus Christin association with his anointed ones (saints, holy ones). John 10:16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.NAB Ezekiel 34:17 "As for you, my sheep, (Gods people) the Lord Yahweh says this: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats. NJB (Parenthesis authors) Their basis for survival of the Great Day of God the Almighty is their love of Christ, their loyalty to and love for the truth about Christ and his father Jehovah, and how they treat Christs brothers, the anointed holy ones. 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12. So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, 12; in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness. NWT Matthew 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'NAS
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Those who survive The great day of God Almighty, will, be granted further life on earth during a time when all the dead, the righteous and the unright eous will come to life. All will be judged according to their deeds after their resurrection. All are granted an opportunity to prove their faith in Jehovah and his King designate and Lord, Jesus Christ during a thousand year reign and restoration period without Satanic influence on their culture. John 5:28, 29."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.NKJ Proverbs 11:21 My hand upon it! the evil man shall not be unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall escape. [my hand upon it, a form of guarantee, very much like a hand shake in our day, except in Jehovahs case, it is totally reliable)JPS Those who betray the opportunity given them for everlasting life in the restored paradise earth by rebelling against Jehovah and his reigning King Jesus Christ during that period of a thousand years will be subjected to the second death, from which there is no further resurrection. In reading the above verses, one might note, there are both positive and negative outcomes resulting from judgment within the house of God. That this is not an easy or superficial judgment is borne out by the fact that the righteous is scarcely saved. This judgment period continues on as long as the wheat is allowed to coexist with the weeds. The trial or judgment process is not over till its over. Until the trial is ended, we are left unsure as to the outcome for any single individual defendant. We do know that with Jehovahs personally appointed judge, Jesus Christ, the final verdict will be completely fair and just. Then action will be taken to separate wheat like ones from weed like ones with punishment meted out and rewards given. Until the final day, the door of repentance and mercy remains open to the guilty, while the innocent must remain free from the practice of sin and the penalties it produces. Meanwhile, God remains merciful. Jehovah has demonstrated in the past that even when perpetrators were seen to be guilty, he would grant them relief
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from extreme punishment based on repentance and turning away from their bad ways. One such example is found at: Jonah 3:10 And the [true] God got to see their works, that they had turned back from their bad way; and so the [true] God felt regret over the calamity that he had spoken of causing to them; and he did not cause [it].NWT Another example is found in Jehovahs basis for forgiving the house of Judah at Jeremiah 36:3 Jeremiah 36:3 Perhaps those of the house of Judah will listen to all the calamity that I am thinking of doing to them, to the end that they may return, each one from his bad way, and that I may actually forgive their error and their sin."NWT Also, in ancient Israel he instituted an arrangement for mitigating the death penalty in cases where those individuals who might have been accused of murder were either not really guilty or were guilty of the lesser grave offense of manslaughter. That arrangement was called the City of refuge(Nu 35:6-32; Jos 20:2-9.) and it has a spiritual counterpart in later days. There is still a house of refuge available to repentant ones who seek reconciliation with God. Hebrews 6:18 so that by two immutable things, 1 in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. NAB Jehovah lovingly leaves a door of mercy open to truly repentant, ones who are willing to leave their bad ways and return to him. This is based on the fact that it is Jehovahs will that none be destroyed; 1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.NKJ Does this mean that anyone can presume on Jehovahs mercy? No, not at all, and for two reasons; firstly, Jehovah is not one to be fooled by wrongly
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motivated pleas for mercy, and secondly, no one knows in advance when his door to mercy is closed and the judgment period is concluded for any given individual. The Day of Judgment for the world at large, while possessing similarities, also has characteristics which uniquely differentiate it from the days of judgment for Gods anointed and those who call upon the name of Jehovah and his Christ. III. A Time of This Judgment: The Scripture teaches that before Messiah will begin to reign on earth, there must be a judgment to determine who will enter into Messiahs kingdom since they are not all Israel (spiritually regenerated believers who put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Messiah) The rebels of disobedience and disbelief must be filtered out so that only believing Israel will enter into the kingdom Ezekiel 20:34-38 With a strong hand and outstretched arm, once my fury is sated, I shall bring you back from the peoples and gather you again from the countries throughout which you have been scattered.35 I shall lead you into the desert of the nations and there I shall judge you face to face. 36 As I judged your ancestors in the desert of Egypt, so will I judge you -- declares the Lord Yahweh. 37 I shall make you pass under the crook, bring you to respect the covenant 38 and rid you of the rebels who have revolted against me; I shall bring them out of the country where they are staying, but they will not enter the country of Israel, and you will know that I am Yahweh.NJB Matthew 25:1- 30; 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten wedding attendants took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: 3 the foolish ones, though they took their lamps, took no oil with them, 4 whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, "Look! The bridegroom! Go out and meet him."
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7 Then all those wedding attendants woke up and trimmed their lamps, 8 and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, "Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out." 9 But they replied, "There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves."10 They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. 11 The other attendants arrived later. "Lord, Lord," they said, "open the door for us. 12 But he replied, "In truth I tell you, I do not know you."13 So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour. NJB 14 'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one, each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. 17 The man who had received two made two more in the same way. 18 But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now a long time afterwards, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them.20 The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. "Sir," he said, "you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made." 21 His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have shown you are trustworthy in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness." 22 Next the man with the two talents came forward. "Sir," he said, "you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made." 23 His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have shown you are trustworthy in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness." 24 Last came forward the man who had the single talent. "Sir," said he, "I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you had not sown and gathering where you had not scattered; 25 so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back." 26 But his master answered him, "You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown
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and gather where I have not scattered?27 Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have got my money back with interest. 28 So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but anyone who has not, will be deprived even of what he has. 30 As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."NJB In end times this judgment results in a separation or removal of true believers (sheep) from unbelievers (goats). Part of this removal occurs resulting from tribulations; but those who are not eliminated by these will be gathered and judged, with rebels removed leaving only true believers to enter into the millennial kingdom. Matthew 24:21 for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. NWT Zech. 13:8,9 So it will be, throughout the country- declares Yahweh Sabaoth- two-thirds in it will be cut off (be killed) and the other third will be left. 9; I shall pass this third through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, test them as gold is tested. He will call on my name and I shall answer him; I shall say, 'He is my people,' and he will say, 'Yahweh is my God!'NJB IV. The Basis for Judgment Scripture reveals that salvation through the tribulation (as in all the gospel age) is through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, along with trust in his God and father Jehovah. Revelation 7:14 And I said to him, "Sir, you are the one who knows." Then he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.NLT
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Proverbs 3:5 Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception;NJB Jeremiah 17:5 Yahweh says this, 'Accursed be anyone who trusts in human beings, who relies on human strength and whose heart turns from Yahweh.NJB In Malachi 3:2-3, 5, and Ezekiel 20:37-38, it shows that God will judge living Israel (his people) and separate the saved from the unsaved. Malachi 3:2,3; Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like fullers' alkali. 3; He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they can make the offering to Yahweh with uprightness.NJB Ezekiel 20:37, 38. I shall make you pass under the crook, bring you to respect the covenant 38; and rid you of the rebels who have revolted against me; I shall bring them out of the country where they are staying, but they will not enter the country of Israel, and you will know that I am Yahweh.NJB John 3:19 Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked.NWT Every individuals works will be brought into judgment, not because they are saved by works, rather because a lack of good work demonstrates they are rebels who have failed to show faith and trust in Jesus, even as much as a manifestation of bad works shows a lack of faith. For such faithless ones, the word judgment has a totally adverse connotation. On the other hand, for those who do exercise faith in Christ and trust in his father Jehovah, judgment has no negative effect. John 3:18 He that exercises faith in him (Jesus) is not to be judged. He that does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God NWT

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John 3:18 "There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God.NLT John 3:18 No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God's only Son.NJB The matter of exercising faith in him (Jesus), trusting, or believing as various Bibles put John 3:18 is not at all a trivial or even a simple matter. It is not simply belief that he existed or that he remains the only means by which salvation is possible. Exercising faith, trusting or believing carries the meaning of believing Into (which means living ones faith, manifesting it, practicing it), there are many factors connected with this kind of faith, namely; love, obedience, loyalty, trust, peace, long suffering and endurance. When all of these are found in combination in a Christian, they can be viewed as a result of his or her exercising faith in Christ and his ransom sacrifice. When they are missing or nonexistent, it portrays a lack of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6) Yet, as Christians we know and Jehovah knows we are imperfect therefore, he provides us with ongoing discipline and correction designed to build our faith. Thus, for those of us who respond to Gods ongoing discipline, judgment turns out to be positive, and not a basis for condemnation. 1 Corinthians 11:32 However, when we are judged, we are disciplined by Jehovah, that we may not become condemned with the world.NWT An outstanding example of this verse is found in the book of Revelations at verses 1:20 3:19, discussed in earlier paragraphs, where Jesus Christ prophetically appears before his own figurative congregation of believers during a time referred to as the Lords Day V. JUDGMENT DAY for a World, alienated from God; For the world (1 John 5:19), the trial period began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan as their head rather than their creator Jehovah. Sentence was passed, punishment decreed. The death penalty was carried out for Adam and Eve and all their successive generations.
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The final conclusion for that trial will be a sentencing of un-grateful, unfaithful mankind to everlasting nonexistence at the end of the 1000 year millennial rule of the Christ. John 12:31 The time of judgment for the world has come, when the prince of this world will be cast out.NLT Also, we are given to understand a number of things which the bible indicates are a basis for adverse judgment; John 8:12 Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."NLT Matthew 12:36 I tell YOU that every unprofitable saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day;NWT Romans 1:20 ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse:NJB 2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.NWT a. The reader should note the world is not the literal earth. The original Greek word for world was the Ionian age The World is the system of things by which people are dominated and ruled by Satan the Devil. 1 John 5:19 We know that we are God's children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.NRS John 3:19 Now this is the basis for judgment that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked.
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b. Gods judgment is based on reading minds and hearts;


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Luke 10:27 The man answered, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "NLT Jeremiah 11:20 But, O Lord of armies, judging in righteousness, testing the thoughts and the heart, let me see your punishment come on them: for I have put my cause before you.BBE 1 Samuel 16:7 but Yahweh said to Samuel, 'Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.'NJB Romans 1:20 ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse:NJB 2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.NWT Or as another version puts it; 2 Thessalonians 2:12 Then they will be condemned for not believing the truth and for enjoying the evil they do.NLT c. Who is Gods judge at the time of the end? John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,NIV John 5:27 And he has given him authority to judge all mankind because he is the Son of Man. NLT Thus, we have a picture of events as they apply to Gods times for judgment and the Day of Judgment which has been defined by one dictionary as The final trial of the human race, when God will decide the fate of every individual, and award sentence according to justice.
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That day of Judgment is not to be confused with Jehovahs Day, which is a day of Vengeance or a day of Retribution. They are separate occasions with different meanings, different points in time and different durations. There is no escape from the day of Vengeance / Retribution; however, such is not the case with the Day of Judgment. d. GAPs BETWEEN JUDGMENT and EXECUTION What's the difference between judgment and sentencing? Judgment is an ongoing process. God is in the process of judging Christians today (1 Peter:4:17. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?). [judgment had begun, for anointed ones at the time when Peter was on Earth, and has continued through history down till our day] Still, judgment while related to sentencing is separate from sentencing; In Noahs day Judgment occurred 120 years before sentence was executed when the world of that day was destroyed. Judgment of Adam occurred over 900 years before sentence was carried out and death occurred. In each instance there was a measurable duration of time between judgment, sentencing and when execution occurred. Examples of this are also found in Sodom and Gomorrahs destruction, when Jerusalem was devastated by Babylon and again later when it was destroyed in 70CE.

Thus, we see a gap between when the wicked slave of Mtt. 24:48-50 is judged and when he is destroyed. In this verse the gap is represented by a duration in time during which he is assigned a place with the hypocrites (Mtt. 24:51) before he is destroyed (Mtt. 23:13,15,), in Gehenna along with them. It is similar with the judgment of the world. While the world may be undergoing judgment at this very moment it does not mean it is destroyed immediately. Drawing a parallel with human
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courts, judgment involves three stages, the gathering of evidence, weighing or evaluating that evidence and the passing of a final sentence. Anyone, alive or dead, whose mind God did not open to spiritual understanding hasn't begun the judgment process that ends with a decision (sentence) of eternal life or of death. Their case is still open. The day of Judgment is not to be confused with the day of Vengeance or the day of Retribution. They are separate occasions with different meanings, different points in time and different durations. When we speak of the Great Day of God Almighty which is associated with Armegeddon, we are describing something that occurs after Judging and after sentence has been pronounced. Actually, Armegeddon immediately precedes The Great Day of God Almighty. The word Armegeddon occurs only in one place in the Bible; Rev_16:16 (R.V., Har-Magedon) , symbolically designating the place where the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev_16:14) shall be fought. The word properly means the mount of Megiddo. It is the scene of the final conflict between Jehovah, his Christ and their enemies. The idea of such a scene was suggested by the Old Testament great battle-field, the plain of Esdraelon (q.v.). Armageddon is in a spiritual sense not a place, but rather a situation in which the opposers of God find themselves, drawn to a final confrontation with the Almighty God Jehovah. Revelation 16:14 They, [those expressions, out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet]. are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings [rulers] of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. NWT Revelation 16:16 And they gathered all the rulers [of the earth] and their armies to a place called Armageddon in Hebrew. NLT The word itself, or concept of Armageddon is synonymous with and culminates in The Great Day of God Almighty. In the latter description we find not the situation, which Armageddon represents, but rather a detailed description of events connected with God's day of Vengeance
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and God's day of Correction or cleansing of the earth from the harm and unrighteousness accumulated throughout all of history. Thus, Armageddon should be seen not in a negative, dark light, rather as the immediate harbinger of Gods direct intervention. This intervention is necessary to bring about his originally intended paradise earth which he will accomplish under his Kingdom government arrangement. That government which will replace the current wicked system on this earth, a system which if left unaltered will destroy the earth we inhabit. VI. The Great Day of God the Almighty: Despite all kinds of speculation by different religions, this is what we actually know from the bible about that day; Jeremiah 46:10 "And that day belongs to the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, the day of vengeance for avenging himself upon his adversaries. NWT Micah 5:15 I will pour out my vengeance on all the nations that refuse to obey me."NLT Revelation 11:18 The nations were in uproar and now the time has come for your retribution, . . . .. The time has come to destroy those who are destroying the earth.' NJB 2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. NWT 2 Peter 3:7 But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men. NWT We have previously established that Peter is speaking of a figurative heavens and earth and of a figurative fire. Heavens represent ruler
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ships and authorities over an earth which figuratively describes the world of people being ruled by the current system of things under the control of Satan the Devil. (1 Joh.5:19, Rom.12:2, 2 Cor.4:4) The fire is also figurative in that it represents total destruction from which there is no reprieve. The key point in our understanding the full impact of Armeggeddon is that it culminates in what the verse in 2 Peter describes as the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men. When that day occurs, the earth will be expunged of all satanic rebellious influence along with all persons who support it, and replaced by godly righteousness under Gods kingdom with Christ Jesus, as its King and High priest. VII. A KINGDOM FOR A THOUSAND YEARS The Bible gives us a prophetic fore gleam of what is to be accomplished during the thousand years of restoration of the earth under its rule. Let us examine some prophecies which describe conditions during that time and see what they say about the prospects of life during the thousand years of Christs kingdom rule. Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. ASV John sees a new Ruling system over a restored human race, which will be established devoid of Satans influence. There will be no more sea of peoples who are restless like the sea of discontented humans. Revelation 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. NIV New Jerusalem pictures the capital city of Gods kingdom provided by the God of the heavens. She is seen in the clean white garment of a chaste bride representing her endurance, holiness and righteousness.
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Revelation 21:3 I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). NAB No longer is the God of heaven a remote obscure entity to those on the earth, it is as it was in the Garden of Eden, before the rebellion, when Gods presence was there amongst his creation on earth, benevolently providing for their blessing and joy. So it will be in the kingdom under Christ and his bride. Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." NIV All causes for unhappiness will be removed during the thousand year reign under the kingdom government. Revelation 21:5,6. The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.":6 He said to me, "They are accomplished. I (am) the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. NAB With these verses the certainty of these promises is established. There can be no greater authority standing behind these words than Jesus himself who tells John to write (record them for posterity) for they are as certain as if they were already accomplished. Once again the speaker identifies himself as he had done earlier in the book of revelations as Gods appointed King and Messiah. To that he adds the thought that he provides life giving water as a gift. Revelation 21:7 he who is overcoming shall inherit all things, and I will be to him -- a God, and he shall be to me -the son, YLT With this verse he clarifies who the recipients of these promises are. They are not mankind in general, but those who overcame in the sense of their waking up, and came to a realization of what their shortcomings were. They repented (turned away from those things which would spoil
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their garments of righteousness) and they obeyed the will of God and his Christ. They are ones who prevailed despite the adversities, temptations and hardships they encountered. Therefore in that sense God sees them as victorious. Revelation 21:9 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came to speak to me and said, 'Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married.' NJB With the promise to disclose information about the bride of Christ the angel carries John away in a spiritual experience to show him a vision of the future: Revelation 21:10; And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. NIV Thus, with the declaration that he will reveal the Bride to John he shows him a vision which adds detail to the previously mentioned Holy city described as being furnished on the earth by the God of heaven. The implication in this is that the Holy City and the Bride are synonymous. Revelation 21:14 The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. NJB From this verse, we can conclude that the work of the apostles which was to perpetuate the teachings of Christ is fundamental with the bride. Revelation 21:22 I could not see any temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, NJB John was not shown anything that resembled the ancient temple he was familiar with from the past, where Jehovahs presence was said to be contained in one small compartment called the Holy of holies. He was shown that Jehovah God and the lamb now manifested a presence that was everywhere. As such, they were the temple.
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Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. NIV There is no need for a figurative sun such as was the case in the Temple of old where Jehovahs presence was symbolized by a Shekinah light and the figurative moon which was a symbol for the Law and was thought to reflect Jehovahs enloghtment. The glory of God is itself the light and the Lamb reflects that light which in turn enlightens the entire earth. Revelation 21:24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into It. NKJ The enlightenment furnished by New Jerusalem, the holy city, (the Bride) will be accepted by all the saved (the survivors and resurrected ones) who live under its enlightened ruler ship. The kings, (or sarim, in earthly positions of oversight) will bring their glory (an inherent glory resulting from their being created in God's image) and their honor. (To honor someone, then, is to give weight or to grant a person a position of respect) Revelation 21:25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. NIV There is no cessation, rest from, or restriction on the illumination available from New Jerusalem. It shines continuously without interruption. Revelation 22:1 And I saw a river of water of life, clear as glass, coming out of the high seat of God and of the Lamb,
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The water of life (Holy Spirit) pure and unspoiled in any way flows continuously, as a river from the lofty seat of God and the lamb (Elohim). Revelation 22:2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every
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month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. NIV Holy Spirit is the river that flows down the center of the most important thoroughfare of the city. On each side there stands a source for sustaining life which is available year round for promoting healing and continued life. Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. ESV No longer will there be anything ill-fated in connection with the city (the bride) and Elohims throne (seat of rule) will be established there where he will appreciated, adored, respected and served. (in effect, worshipped) Revelation 22:4 they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. NJB The cities occupants will not need an intercessor (priest) and the meaning and authority behind him (name) will be part of their constitutional mindset, influencing everything they do. Revelation 22:5 and night shall not be there, and they have no need of a lamp and light of a sun, because the Lord God doth give them light, and they shall reign - to the ages of the ages.YLT They will experience no darkness (lack of enlightenment) or need any source of further illumination since their light is directly from God almighty. In this enlightened state they will hold governing authority to indefinite times Revelation 22:6 And he said to me, These words are certain and true: and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to make clear to his servants the things which are now to come about BBE

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Here John is given assurance of truthfulness along with the reason Jesus has for revealing these things to him. John must make clear to the Lord s other servants the things which are to take place. (Amos 3:7 Indeed, my Lord GOD does nothing without having revealed His purpose To His servants the prophets.
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Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. NIV At this point John is shown the holy city again. Whether for reason of emphasis or for the disclosure of some previously undisclosed information is a matter of speculation. However, the description bears a familiar resemblance to the previous one given at Rev.21:2-8 Revelation 22:14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. NIV In this verse we see descriptive material not specifically mentioned in the earlier description of the City named New Jerusalem. Here we find that not everyone who has been resurrected enters (avails themselves) of the blessings of New Jerusalem. Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. NIV While it may be surprising to some that these things can even be in the picture during the millennial reign of Christ and the 144,000 joint heirs , apparently some of those who are resurrected to a second chance enabling them to live under Jehovahs sovereignty decline to do so. It would seem they end up preferring their old ways instead. Under the circumstances of having made this decision under righteous rule and perfected conditions, they would be cut off. At what point this would occur during the thousand years for an individual is only alluded to in the book of Isaiah where it says;

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Isaiah 65:20 "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach or the sinner who reaches a hundred will be considered accursed. NIV What we do know, according to prophecy, is that at the end of the thousand tears Satan is once more let loose from his condition of restraint as a final test upon all humanity alive on the earth at that time. Revelation 20:3, 7. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while. NWT:7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison NIV What his newly acquired freedom results in is described at Rev. 20:8; Revelation 20:8 He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. NAB From this verse we learn that despite the fact that Satan has been constrained for a thousand years from influencing humans, there are a significant number of those who even upon obtaining human perfection refuse to accept Jehovahs sovereignty. This is just as Adam and Eve refused it in the Garden of Eden. They are labeled Gog and Magog as they represent the final remnants of the forces of darkness who oppose God almighty. The prophetic account further reveals; Revelation 20:9a. They came swarming over the entire country and besieged the camp of the saints, which is the beloved City. From this we learn that these worldwide opposers of Gods Kingdom (Government) besiege (surround) the holy city, New Jerusalem. It is
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not a matter that the bride is in danger of harm for human forces under Satan can do no harm to the bride wwhich consists of spirit beings endowed with eternal life. What is threatened is their god-given authority over the human family on earth and not their persons. Gods response to this threat is swift and decisive; Rev. 20:9b.But fire rained down on them from heaven and consumed them. NJB In the Bible Fire symbolizes either destruction or refining by God. In this case it is destruction from which there is no return, that is; everlasting destruction. Revelation 20:10 And the Evil One who put them in error was sent down into the sea of ever-burning fire, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their punishment will go on day and night for ever and ever. BBE Here we are told that the evil one (Satan the Devil) who was responsible for misleading this large contingent of perfected humans whoch threatened the Holy City is now destroyed permanently along with his followers, leaving the earth devoid of any and all opposition to Gods Kingdom under Christ Jesus. At that time mans last enemy (death itself) is also terminated by Jesus Christ. Revelation 20:14 And death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death -- the lake of fire. NLT Thus, with the final destruction of the condition of death itself the Apostle Pauls words to the Corinthians in the first century are finally fulfilled; 1 Corinthians 15:55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." NKJ

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At this point in time, in fulfillment of 1 Cor. 15:24 we are told Jesus voluntarily hands over the kingdom to his father. 1 Corinthians 15:24 then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. NAB We are given the reason for this at Corinthians 15:28 where it tells us: 1 Corinthians 15:28 Then, when he has conquered all things, the Son will present himself to God, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. NLT In that momentous gesture we find summed up the profound meaning of the entire Bible message. It was all directed towards restoring the earth, the human family on it and the heavens to their originally intended purpose. That was; to have all creation in harmony with its loving creator. What would be the condition of the earth and the human family at that time? Jesus saw no need to describe this in his revelation to John for John, already knew what Paradise on earth would be like from the writings of Moses, Isaiah, Joel and Micah, all prophets of old. Moses had disclosed in Genesis, a book set down in writing by him, what things were like before the rebellion in Eden. While many of the restoration prophecies of the O.T. had a minor fulfillment in the time of Israels return from Babylonian bondage, Bible scholars point to them as picturing the future earth in its restored paradise condition. It is these prophecies which enable us to have a preview of the earth and its inhabitants at the time Christ turns over the Kingdom to his father at the end of his millennial reign. What picture forms from what they disclose? Isaiah 51:3 For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. NKJ
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Zion represents Gods people. The fact that God would make her wilderness (deserts) like the garden (paradise) of Eden (an earthly location) confirms Isaiah is speaking of an earthly situation, not a heavenly one. Likewise in Joels prophecy as shown here. These are all elements exclusively unique to earth, and not at all applicable to the heavenly realm. Joel 2:22-27 Wild animals, do not be afraid; the desert pastures are green again, the trees bear fruit, vine and fig tree yield their richness. 23 Sons of Zion, be glad, rejoice in Yahweh your God; for he has given you autumn rain as justice demands, and he will send the rains down for you, the autumn and spring rain as of old. 24 The threshing-floors will be full of grain, the vats overflow with wine and oil. 25 'I will make up to you for the years devoured by grown locust and hopper, by shearer and young locust, my great army which I sent to invade you. 26 'You will eat to your heart's content, and praise the name of Yahweh your God who has treated you so wonderfully. (My people will never be humiliated again!) 27 'And you will know that I am among you in Israel, I, Yahweh your God, and no one else. My people will never be humiliated again!' NJB Malachi 3:19 'For look, the Day is coming, glowing like a furnace. All the proud and all the evil-doers will be the stubble, and the Day, when it comes, will set them ablaze, says Yahweh Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor branch. 20 But for you who fear my name, the Sun of justice will rise with healing in his rays, and you will come out leaping like calves from the stall, NJB It is patently clear that Isaiah, as well as Joel and Malachi, were speaking of a time after Jesus Christ's Second Coming. More specifically they were speaking of a time after the establishment of the Kingdom of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. They were not necessarily speaking in terms of Eternity. Before we address eternity, lets take a prophetic look at things as they are when Christ hands over the Kingdom to his father;
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A New Animal World: Isaiah 11: 6, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,..." Think about it, the wolf shall dwell with the lamb. This did not occur during ancient Israels deliverance from Babylon and has not occurred in all history down to our day. "...and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;..." Also this never happened before today unless the kid was inside the leopard, and that's not what it's talking about here. "...and the calf and the young lion and the fatling.....together; and a little child shall lead them." Now can you picture a wolf, a lamb, a leopard, a kid, a calf, a lion, a steer, and a little child altogether. They're all friendly. The animals are all lying down, the little child is walking among them and it's quite safe. Then we read; Isaiah 11: 7"And the cow and the bear shall feed;" (That means together)."...their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." The Lion Shall Eat Straw Like the Ox This is the little nub on the jigsaw puzzle piece that enables us to fit it in one place and nowhere else. Until you see a lion eating straw, you know the kingdom has not come. Prior to the Flood Animals Were Herbivorous Before the flood, lions did eat straw. The animals were herbivorous. If you read the story of creation in the first chapter of Genesis you'll find that man and animals got their instructions as to what their menu should be. Their menu did not include meat; it consisted of plants, berries, fruit, that sort of thing. Man and the animals were all herbivorous.
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The Knowledge of the Lord: There's a beautiful picture presented here. In that day the knowledge of the Jehovah God is going to cover the entire earth like the waters cover the sea. It's a beautiful picture for this means not just knowing who God is and what he is but also knowing mostof what he knows. Jerusalem, World Capitol: Isaiah 33: 20, "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cores thereof be broken."KJV This is again just verifying what we already know about New Jerusalem in Revelations. It is going to be the capital of the world, with Gods presence residing there. A New Physiology: Isaiah 33:24 And no resident will say: "I am sick." The people that are dwelling in [the land] will be those pardoned for their error. NWT Isaiah is telling us there will be a new physiology, among humans and that everybody will be healthy. This includes not only physical health but all forms of mental health as well. There is also an interesting implication in this verse which attaches health conditions to imperfection due to sinfulness. Isa. 35:1 "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." Isaiah says here there will in effect be a new agriculture. A New Agriculture Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; NKJ

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For all history and even in our own day the earth groans in a condition of where it is less than paradisiacal. This has been so ever since Adam brought the consequences of his disobedience upon himself and the planet he had to live on. (Gen. 3:17) The Apostle Paul wrote concerning this in his day: Romans 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. NIV This earth doesn't want to groan under the curse of Adams sin. (Rom. 8: 22.). You know when God made the world it just produced automatically, abundantly. But then, because of man's sin, God had to put a curse on the ground that he depended upon for subsistence. As a result there are deserts, thorns, thistles, lice, flies, mosquitoes, and bed bugs. And all kinds of discomfort at the hands of nature. Some of these things, we call them pests, are to remind man he's a sinner, and he needs a savior, and this is yet not the paradise God has in store for him. . Also, no matter whatever he does, he can never build utopia on earth by his own ingenuity. Well, in chapter 35 of Isaiah we have some beautiful things about how the curse of the ground will be largely lifted, and the desert will disappear. Where there was desert there will be beautiful vegetation, flowers will blossom, the desert shall rejoice, and blossom like a rose. It has happened already in a very minor way in Israel, where irrigation turned arid land into gardens, but one day it's going to happen just automatically all over the world. A New PHYSICAL PERFECTION Disabilities become a thing of the past; Isaiah 35:5, 6. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped." "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart,..." . . .and the tongue of the dumb shall sing:..." It's just delightful to read that when the Lords time comes there will be nobody who will be deaf, nobody who will be dumb, and nobody
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who will be crippled. That's what it says. The lame man jumps up and leaps like a deer. We're going to move on now a little bit farther and come toward the end of the book of Isaiah to chapter 65. It's amazing the way Isaiah put so much concerning this millennium kingdom into his book. Just putting some here, and some there, so we can proceed along and look for the pieces that fit together into a Biblical jigsaw puzzle. We can pick some up, lay them down, and when they fit beautifully they fit nowhere else. Now lets take a good look in chapter 65. It's not surprising what we find there in view of what we have already seen. If there's no pollution and every-one is healthy, then it is not surprising verse 19 and the following verses tell us about how well people live to be old again. A New PEACE OF MIND "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying." You know, Jerusalem is called Jerusalem the city of peace, but there's been no peace at Jerusalem in the state of Israel . It's a city where there's been so much warfare. Yet it was an important city where Gods name was found. The Devil hates that place. He would like to wipe it out; but God has not allowed that. It has been captured approximately fifty times in history. It has been leveled approximately six times in history, and yet there it is. It cannot be destroyed. It symbolizes Gods city of peace and one day in a certain respect it's going to be a peaceful place again, when the Lord comes to reign. Isaiah 65:19, 20. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 "No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only sinners will die that young! NLT This means that death will no longer be an automatic natural enemy at any age. It only enters into the scene when an individual becomes guilty of willful sin. Then it doesnt matter what their ages are, they
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will transpire. Otherwise they will still be viable energetic humans at any age. A New PROSPERITY Isaiah 65:19, 21, 22."And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them." 21; "They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat:...":22; "...they shall not plant, and another eat (the fruit thereof):..." The way it usually goes now; You build a house, and you get a thirtyyear mortgage and about the time you get the mortgage paid they might have a hearse at the door ready to take you to the cemetery. Someone else lives in that house, or maybe you build a house and don't even live in it at all. Maybe you work hard just so someone else can have a nice house to live in. In most cases people work hard for other people who get the greater part of the fruits of their worker labor. The implication in this verse is that everyone gets what they fairly and justly deserve according to their own efforts. In the millennium people will live so long that when they build a house they will live in it for a long time. I presume they're going to improve the method of construction in view of the fact that they're intending to occupy it so long. When they plant fruit trees they're going to stay around and eat the fruit of them. A New LONGEVITY: How long are they going to live? This is what the Bible tells us; Isaiah 65: 22, 23;"...as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.""They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them." Isn't that beautiful? "...as the days of [the trees] are the days of My people...". Think about that! How long do the trees live? Well, there are olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane that were there when Jesus prayed two thousand years ago. In California you know they have the mighty redwoods and what a delight it is to stand in awe before such a
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demonstration of the handy work of God. God made a tree that is so thick that it grows 101 feet in circumference, 32 feet wide at the base, and towers over three hundred feet into the sky! It was growing three thousand five hundred years ago. I used to think they were the oldest trees in the world. Then I found out about the Bristle Cone Pine, a kind of a narrow tree that grows high in the mountains of California is said to be over four thousand years old. The science behind a tree is that as long as they have proper nourishment and nothing to injure them, they can keep living indefinitely. In the beginning God gave man the same prospect. As long as he nourished himself from the tree of life, he could keep on living. That benefit from God was withheld after Adams original sin. According to Revelations (Rev. 22:2) it will once again be available to humans by means of what Jehovah provides through New Jerusalem. Thus what we find at the end of Christs millennial rule is a restored earth with the human family living on it the way it was purposed to live. It is back to the condition it was in at the beginning, prior to the Garden of Eden disaster. It is essentially the paradise Jesus promised the evil doer on the stake next to his in Calvary, We are told that by the end of Christs reign during the thousand years the human family will have learned to use the elements God provides through nature and science in ways which are in harmony with his will. The new technology on the scene is designed to bring humans greater blessings and God greater glory. As a consequence, when Jesus hands over the kingdom to his father at the end of the millennial rule, Jehovah is indeed all in all (1 Cor.15:28). What Jehovah is going to do after he receives the Kingdom back from Jesus is only hinted at by the Bible. Whether God has plans for humans that extend beyond the earthly realm is left up to our imaginations by the Bible. It merely hints at the potential God has in store for the human family. Psalm 145:16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. NKJ Isaiah 11:9 There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. NAB
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1 Corinthians 2:9 But just as it is written: "Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him." NWT Deuteronomy 28:2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. ESV

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CHAPTER EIGHT

BRIDGING THE GAP FROM CENTURY ONE


WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES

When we think of the difference a passage of one single twenty four hour day can make in our lives, we realize how a day can be life changing. Perhaps you can think of a time when a loved one was lost to death and what a difference there was from the day before their demise and the day after, in your life. This just illustrates the difference a single day can make in how the future unfolds for any one of us. How about the difference a Bible Day can make to human life in general? a. What is a day in Bible terms? We have shown in previous chapters that the term day while in most instances can refer to a day/night cycle of 24 hours, in the Bible, frequently it refers to a period of far greater duration. It can refer to a lifetime, an undetermined duration or an era. The day of Christ may therefore be seen as his lifetime, it may refer to the time of his influence on earthly affairs or it can refer to the specific time of his second coming to the earth to execute judgment on behalf of God. The day (time) when Christs influence on the world of mankind began to take on international importance occurred when his
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small, group of Jewish followers first expanded into a congregation of multinationals. This occurred on Pentecost of 33 C.E. (Gregorian calendar), when Holy Spirit was poured out on Peter and the eleven apostles, after which about 3000 were added as believers. That Day of Christ began with the formation of the Christian congregation at Pentecost 33 CE, fifty days after his earthly death, and ten days after his ascension to his father in heaven, at which time Psa. 110:1 was fulfilled; Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The miracle associated with Pentecost was provided as visible evidence that the resurrected Jesus had indeed assumed power and that he was present with his followers in the manner which he had promised them. (Mat. 28:20, Jo14:16, 17:20) The ascended Christ empowered certain early disciples with miraculous gifts, by which the mind of God would continue to be revealed to humanity and subsequently preserved in a body of sacred literature. Toward this end a congregation, Christs congregation took form. The intended nature and purpose of the early congregation is revealed by Jesus and also in the inspired first century writings of the apostle Paul as well as other authors of the Christian Greek scriptures. Their writings provide us with a detailed picture of what Christ had in mind for them and exactly what he expected to accomplish by means of a congregation (church) of followers, meeting together for mutual encouragement and being devoted to perpetuating and spreading his teachings. Among the first things we discover about Christians congregating (meeting) together is that there is an extremely low minimum size requirement for a Christian meeting Jesus said at Matthew 18:20 ; For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." RSV
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In the case of Christ, In my name means gathered in the meaning and authority behind his name. This adds purpose and meaning to the gathering as a name in the bible is not merely for identification purposes. (see information about names, Volume _ Chapter__. It Is Written ) Paul elaborates further on the nature of Christian meetings and the basic requirements for a congregation when it comprises more than just a handful of members. 1 Corinthians 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. NIV Colossians 1:18 Christ is the head of the church (congregation), which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything.NLT 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.NIV From these verses we are able to learn that the head of the Christian congregation is Jesus Christ, who is also the head of the man and who is himself under the head ship of Jehovah God, his father. We also discern here that the church (congregation) is not a building or an organization but the collective body of true believers who exercise faith in Christ. These persons are identified by Paul in another place as; those who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be God's holy people, with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord as well as ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2 NJB) It is to the individuals who made up the Christian congregation at Corinth in the first century that Paul and Sosthenes, a fellow
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missionary wrote their letter. The fact that this letter was addressed to include all those everywhere who call on the name of Christ and was included later by God in the entire body of inspired works known as the Bible, makes it still relevant as a directive in our own day. 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,2 This sets the tone for Christian gatherings by making what Paul has to say universally applicable to all congregations of believers, everywhere, regardless of size. Thanksgiving and acknowledgement;
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always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every waywith all kinds of speech and with all knowledge 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul acknowledges that the spiritual well being that they enjoy is an undeserved gift from God and not of their own doing. Also, in verse 8 he implies that the Lord Jesus is currently involved with them in keeping them firm to the end. Unity of mind and thought
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appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some . . have informed me that there are quarrels among you. . . .
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Paul commences to speak about the danger of crediting or following individuals like himself, rather than Christ. He urges unity in mind and thought, which he refers to as the mind of Christ elsewhere. (1 Cor. 2:16)
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Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I dont remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospelnot with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised thingsand the things that are notto nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from Godthat is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.
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Paul shows that God arranged the congregation so that no one should be given to a prominence that would cause him to boast. It was because of God that they had come to know Jesus, and not due to any ones human efforts. In 1 Cor. The 14th chapter Paul gives us guidelines on how to have a congregational (church) meeting. These instructions are found at 1 Co 14:26-40. 1 Co 14:26 begins with What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a
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hymn, or a word of instruction, arevelation, a tongue or an interpretation. In this verse, the apostle Paul was describing what normal congregational meeting life was to be like. It may come as a shock to us to realize he did not say, When you come together, the choir has a song, and the pastor has a sermon which you all need to listen to. It is obvious that the meeting he refers to was participatory, not passive. Paul did not restrict the right to speak to only a few men" Instead, he assumed the right of any individual to speak in the meeting and simply provided guidelines for doing so. At Col 3:16, we learn that things were apparently conducted like that at Colosse, too: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Paul also wrote in Eph 5:19-20 Speak to one another,. .with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the above verses, the emphasis is on teaching one another, and singing to one another. The congregation was vibrant, dynamic and interactive, not a passive audience submissively sitting and listening a few preordained speakers as is the case is in so many religious organizations today. Did that mean that those meetings were conducted in a state of chaos or were unruly affairs which could turn into forums for each and everyone who just wanted a soap-box to air their own opinions? Not at all, for Paul set down specific guidelines to insure against that happening. While every detail might no longer apply due to changing times and changing technology, the principals are timeless.
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Six First Century Principles for Congregation Meetings: In 14:26, Paul gave examples of various contributions each believer may make to the meeting: "a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation." In the verses that follow (27-40), he tells us how to incorporate these contributions into the gathering. Notice that the apostle does not give us a fixed program or order of worship. Instead, he gives us principles and guidelines to follow which infuse freedom, spontaneity, and creativity into the meetings! Let's consider these guidelines. Principle One The first guideline, in the last half of 14:26, is that All of these [songs, teachings, etc.] must be done for the strengthening of the congregation. Whatever is spoken in the meeting must edify, or strengthen, the body of believers. Usually this entails speaking positive and uplifting words, but a congregation may also be edified by a challenging word that produces repentance and refinement. Principle Two The second guideline is If anyone speaks in a tongue, twoor at the most threeshould speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God (14:27). Speaking in tongues was a gift for a time when believers who spoke differing languages gathered together. This gift was based on the remarkable occasion of Pentecost where the apostles who normally spoke only their own language were endowed with the ability to speak foreign languages so other believers could hear the good news in their native tongues. Paul implied that a tongue or language that only the speaker understood was useless to anyone else but the speaker. Today, in our shrunken world, people often speak other languages than their native tongue and also, there are translation methods which are available to anyone who wants to convert their native tongue into another language. There is no need for a
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miracle when every day technology and custom can commonly provide what is needed. Principle Three A third guideline is that Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said (14:29). A prophecy, according to W.E. Vines Expository Dictionary, is the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God. Thus prophecy is not limited to foretelling; it is more completely described as forth telling. Vine describes a prophet as having three primary characteristics: 1) the Spirit of God rests on him, 2) he converses with God, and 3) he is one from whom a message from God springs forth or is secretly disclosed. The above verse should not be considered as a command that two or three prophets must speak, but rather as a command to allow two or three prophets to speak. Prophecy should not be forbidden, but we should weigh carefully what is said (1 Cor.14:29). Even when thus saith the Lord is attached to a message, we should not accept it unquestionably. God expects us to distinguish His Word from that which is not His, because false teaching and false prophecy are a real possibility. As 1 Th 5:19-21 tells us; 19 Do not put out the light of the Spirit; 20 Do not make little of the words of the prophets; 21 Let all things be tested; keep to what is good; BBE Since the gifts of teacher and prophet are treated as separate ministries in Eph 4:11, we should not consider teaching and prophecy to be the same thing. Teaching is usually based on learning and preparation; but prophecy is based on revelations of the Spirit. There is some overlap between the two, however, because 1 Co 14:31 tells us that instruction is one of the goals of prophecy. In fact, many of the spiritual gifts can overlap. A song, for instance, could teach doctrine, and an interpretation of a translation in a tongue could take the form of a prophecy. Likewise, a prophecy could take the form of a teaching. A good example of this is the prophecy given by King Lemuels mother to her son in Pr. 31:1-31. Verse 1 refers to the passage as an oracle (lit., burden, a term often used in the OT to indicate a weighty
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message given by God), but it is written simply in the form of a mother teaching her son. Peter wrote that Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering Gods grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God (1 Pe 4:10-11). Peter 4:10, 11. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.NKJ 11 Peter 4:11 If anyone has anything to say, let it be as the words of God; if anyone has the desire to be the servant of others, let him do it in the strength which is given by God; so that in all things God may have the glory through Jesus Christ, whose are the glory and the power for ever.BBE Every word that is spoken in a congregation meeting should be prompted by the Spirit of God and delivered in a manner befitting such an utterance. Note also that we are commanded to use whatever spiritual gift God has given us to serve others, faithfully administering Gods undeserved kindness (grace). Spiritual gifts are not so much gifts to us as they are gifts through us to the body of Christ. Because of this, we would be harming the body of Christ if we denied others the opportunity to minister with their gifts! The beauty of a scriptural meeting is that it gives God's people opportunities to share their spiritual gifts with one another. Principle Four In 1 Co 14:30 we read the fourth guideline: and if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. There are several observations that we can draw from this verse. First of all, we should recognize that the apostle is speaking of prophesying here, not of teaching. Some have misunderstood this verse, and taken it to mean that it is OK to rudely interrupt a teacher while He is delivering a word of instruction. Some have even taken it to mean that it is OK to change the course of a
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teaching altogether, or to interrupt with an entirely unrelated teaching! That would be very unedifying, and is not at all what the apostle meant here. On the other hand if one receives something by the spirit that adds to what is being spoken about, it should be shared in a kindly, respectful and edifying way. It is considerate, respectful and kindly to avoid interrupting the Holy Spirit's flow through another person during a teaching. You may want to wait for a pause or an opportune moment where the flow is not interrupted. The word that is translated revelation (14:30) means an unveiling of secrets given by the Spirit. Granted, one form that a revelation may take is when the Spirit gives sudden understanding of a Bible passage or a scriptural principle to someone in a congregation meeting, who then shares it to complement a message that is being spoken. However, since Paul limits the number of prophets who speak to two or three, we must not besiege a teacher with so many revelations to compliment his message that the poor man cannot get through it. That would also be very unedifying. Here, however, the apostle is not speaking of adding something to a teaching, but of how the Holy Spirit may move one prophet to speak, and then another, when the Holy Spirit desires a second prophet to speak. H.S. is finished speaking, or almost finished speaking, through the first prophet for the time being, who should then stop and give the second a chance to speak as soon as it is appropriate. Note, also, that our Lord does not want one prophet to dominate a meeting. Other prophets, if there are any, should be given opportunity to speak. Following this, Paul makes a corollary statement: For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged (14:31). The prophets are to speak "in turn." One prophet must not interrupt another prophet so that two people are speaking at the same time. One rule that the apostle has made clear in this passage is that only one person should speak at a time. So even in the case of prophets, everything should be done in an orderly way. This obviously means that the second prophet
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should indicate to the first that he also has something to say, perhaps by raising his hand or by some other silent signal. Another principle evident here is that one persons gift cannot meet the needs of everyone. If we want everyone to be instructed and encouraged, then everyone must be allowed to participate in his proper turn. This principle of mutual participation requires that there should be spontaneity in our meetings. No congregation meeting should ever be so planned that the Holy Spirit is hindered from guiding us. We must allow Jesus his room to sovereignly lead! Spontaneity and the freedom for anyone to speak adds an air of excitement and expectancy to worship. The Lord never intended that meetings of his people would be a boring experience! However, our Lord did intend that meetings be orderly. If someone speaks out of turn or inappropriately, then those who are spiritually mature should seek to restore order and correct an error as quickly and discreetly as possible. Talking out of turn is speaking when the Holy Spirit has not led, and includes being disruptive, domineering, disorderly, long winded, or teaching falsehoods. Related to this, the apostle next teaches us that God gives no one an uncontrollable urge to speak: The spirits of the prophets are subject to the control of the prophets (14:32). If a person disturbs an otherwise orderly and edifying christian meeting, then the urge to do so does not come from God. As Paul continues in v 33, For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. An incidental note; since the meetings were interactive, usually consisted of smaller groups which took place in homes, participants probably sat in a circle arrangement instead of rows. Principle Five A fifth guideline for meetings is based on 14:33b-35, As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the congregations. They are not allowed to speak, but must be submissive, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation. This raises a fairly complex issue which we will not be dealt with extensively in this book. The reader is left to form their own
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opinion as to exactly what Paul meant, and whether it was merely his opinion or has backing elsewhere in scripture. Suffice it to say, that unless the meetings had been participatory, the women would have been less tempted to violate this guideline.

= Principle Six
The last guideline for congregation gatherings acts as a binding agent for all else: But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (14:40). Spontaneity in Christian meetings is no excuse for disorder! 1 Corinthians 14:33 for God is a God not of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of God's holy people, NJB) However, neither is doing things in a fitting and orderly way an excuse for squelching the Holy Spirit with a rigid program or a pre-printed "order of worship". Although there is room for scheduled events now and then, the tenor of this passage makes it clear that orderly spontaneity is to be the standard! Notice also the complete lack of emphasis on meeting leaders in 1 Co 14. They simply did not dominate a meeting. Certainly there were those who were gifted by Holy spirit to administrate. The Greek word for the spiritual gift of administration is Kubernesis for which the literal meaning is "to steer," or " rule or govern." with the idea of someone who guides and directs a group of people toward a goal or destination. With this gift the Holy Spirit enables certain Christians to organize, direct, and implement plans to help others in the various ministries of the Church. This gift is closely related to two other gifts. One is the gift of discernmene and the other is the gift of eldership, (1 Tim. 5:17, 20) but the one with Kubernesis is more goal or task oriented and is also more concerned with details and organization. While the gift of Eldership is more directly concerned with maintaining the congregation free from un-holy contamination, the spiritual gift of discernment, also known as the gift of "discernment of spirits" or "distinguishing between spirits, complements it. The Greek word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis. The word describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement,
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situation, or environment. In the New Testament it describes the ability to distinguish between spirits as in 1 Corinthians 12:10, and to discern good and evil as in Hebrews 5:14. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation. The congregation needs those with this gift to warn believers in times of danger or keep them from being led astray by false teaching. It is their task to be able to recognize error when it appears in the form of a verbal declaration uttered by someone who is not motivated by Holy Spirit. It is not their function however, to make up or extend meaning given the congregation by legitimate spirit direction. Having covered a reasonable amount of information about how the congregation of the first century was constituted and the fact that its only head was the Christ, lets now explore what gifts were given to individuals in the congregation by Christ to assist in its stability and growth. We should preface that selection and motivation of these individuals by any other means than Holy Spirit, fails to confirm them as a God-given gifts. Self- proclaimation, organizational ordination, and or popularity mean nothing. How then can we recognize those whom God has bestowed his gifts upon from counterfeit or wanna bees? Jesus taught, among other things, two valuable principals which would help us recognize the real thing. One is found at Luke 19:22; "His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! NIV Their own words are what they say or what they write. What they say or write must conform to Gods will, be in harmony with his inspired word of truth and the spirit of truth he provides true followers with. The second way is closely related. It is found at Luke 6:44; Matthew 12:33, where it teaches that a tree should be recognized by its fruit. If someones fruit includes twisting, distorting or misrepresenting Gods word, they cannot be a gift of God or a legitimate
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kingdom heir with his son Jesus Christ. Here, it is important to begin by determining what the expected fruits of the particular tree in question are. For example if the tree is a religious organization, and the fruit we see is impressive buildings, large numbers of followers, financial prosperity and other showy ways to draw attention to itself and build a following, we must disregard them. All organizations manifest the character of the individuals who hold leading positions. The fruits above are not what God evaluates individuals or organizations by. Real fruit which is indicative of a true Christian must first and foremostly be in harmony with the teachings of Christ. They must include an appreciation and a love for truth, both in the way they live and in what they teach. Also, love for others will be a hallmark of theirs. This means love for their God, love for their brothers, love for their neighbors and even love for their enemies. In addition to these, they must be no part of the world When we use these two principals in identifying what they say and what they are according to Gods word are used in they provide us with a godly means of recognizing them for what they really are and not what they may appear to be. That being said, what are the gifts scripture reveals we may expect to find in the congregation of true believers? The compendium of spiritual gifts listed below is found in three Bible passages: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11 Administration Apostleship Discernment Evangelism Exhortation Faith Giving Healing Interpretation of Tongues Knowledge Leadership Mercy Miracles Pastor/Shepherd Prophecy Serving/Ministering Teaching Tongues Wisdom
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Administration The Greek word for the gift of administration is Kubernesis, a unique term that refers to a shipmaster or captain. The literal meaning is "to steer," "guide or direct." It carries the idea of someone who guides and directs a group of people toward a goal or destination. Apostleship The spiritual gift of apostleship is sometimes confused with the office of Apostle. The office of Apostle was held by a limited number of men chosen by Jesus, including the twelve disciples (Mark 3:13-19) and Paul (Romans 1:1). The requirements for the office of Apostle included being a faithful eyewitness of Jesus ministry and His resurrection (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1), and being called by Jesus Himself (Galatians 1:1). The Apostles were given authority by Jesus to do many different things to establish the church, including writing Scripture and performing miracles (John 14:26, 2 Peter 3:15-16, 2 Corinthians 12:12). There are no more that hold the office of Apostle today, but the gift of apostleship continues in a different sense. Jesus gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers at His ascension (Ephesians 4:7-12), While some might argue that apostleship ended in the first century, they do this with some degree of ignorance as to the intrinsic meaning of the word. The intrinsic meaning is one who is sent forth We should not expect that Jehovah God would preserve the words of the apostle Paul for a time when they would no longer be true. That is exactly what those who would deny that there are apostles in our days imply. While there are none on the scene who exactly duplicate the work of Jesus twelve apostles, there are those who fill the role in a contemporary sense. The mission for those with the gift of apostleship today is to go forth into places where the Gospel is not preached and reach across cultures to establish congregations in challenging environments. They often have many different gifts that allow them to fulfill their ministry. They are able to take risks and
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perform difficult tasks. Missionaries, certain scholars, and those spreading the word into new or uncharted areas can be seen to have the gift of apostleship. See also Ephesians 4:11, I Corinthians 12:28, Acts 1:21-22, 1 Corinthians 9:1. Read more... Discernment: The spiritual gift of discernment is also known as the gift of "discernment of spirits" or "distinguishing between spirits." The Greek word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis. The word describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment. In the New Testament it describes the ability to distinguish between spirits as in 1 Corinthians 12:10, and to discern good and evil as in Hebrews 5:14. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation. The congregation needs those with this gift to warn believers in times of danger or keep them from being led astray by false teaching. See also I Corinthians 12:10, Acts 5:3-6; 16:1618; 1 John 4:1 Evangelism: The eleven apostles were called to evangelize and reach out to the lost with the Gospel. (Matthew 28:18-20) That a form of this work would still apply in the last days is confirmed at Matthew 24:14. Today some are given an extra measure of faith and effectiveness in this area. The spiritual gift of evangelism is found in Ephesians 4:11-12 where Paul says that Jesus gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. The Greek word for evangelists is Evaggelistes which means one who brings good news. This word is only found two other places in the New Testament: Acts 21:8 and 2 Timothy 4:5. Evangelists are given the unique ability by the Holy Spirit to clearly and effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. They are burdened in their hearts for the lost and will go
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out of their way to share the truth with them. Evangelists are able to overcome the normal fear of rejection and engage nonbelievers in meaningful conversations about Jesus. Their gift allows them to communicate with all types of people and therefore they receive a greater response to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. They continually seek out relationships with those who dont know Jesus and are open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to approach different people. They love giving free treasure away for Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:7), and it brings them great joy knowing that the feet that bring good news are beautiful to those who believe (Isaiah 52:7). See Ephesians 4:11, Acts 8:5-12, 26-40, 21:8, Matthew 28:18-20. Exhortation The spiritual gift of exhortation is often called the "gift of encouragement." The Greek word for this gift is Parakaleo. It means to beseech, exhort, and call upon to encourage and to strengthen. The primary means of exhortation is to remind the hearer of the powerful and amazing work of God in Christ, particularly in regard to the saving work of Jesus in the atonement. We see Paul commanding Titus to use this gift in Titus 1:9 and throughout chapter 2, particularly Titus 2:11-15. He also charges Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2. The Spirit of God gives this gift to people in the congregation to strengthen and encourage those who are wavering in their faith. Those with the gift of exhortation can uplift and motivate others as well as challenge and rebuke them in order to foster spiritual growth and action. The goal of the encourager is to expend their efforts in building up the body of Christ and glorifying God. See also Romans 12:8, Acts 11:23-24; 14:21-22; 15:32 Faith The spiritual gift of faith is not to be confused with saving faith which is a gift no one can acquire by their own efforts. All Christians have been given saving faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but not all receive this special gift of faith. The word for faith in the New Testament is Pistis. It carries the notion of confidence, certainty, trust, and assurance in the object of faith. The gift of
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faith is rooted in ones saving faith in Christ and the trust that comes through a close relationship with the Savior. Those with this gift have a trust and confidence in God that allows them to live boldly for Him and manifest that faith in mighty ways. In the Bible the gift of faith is often accompanied by great works of faith. In Acts 3:1-10 we see this gift in action when Peter sees a lame man at the Beautiful Gate and calls on him to stand up and walk in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said even a small amount of this faith could move mountains (Matthew 17:20; 21:21). Paul echoed this truth in 1 Corinthians 13:2. The Holy Spirit distributes this gift to some in the church to encourage and build up the church in her confidence in God. Those with the gift of faith trust that God is sovereign and He is good. They take Him at His Word and put the full weight of their lives in His hands. They expect God to move and are not surprised when He answers a prayer or performs a miracle. See also I Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 11:1-40. Read more... Giving: The Greek word for the spiritual gift of giving is Metadidomi. It simply means to impart or to give. However, this word is accompanied in Romans 12:8 by another descriptive word: Haplotes. This word tells us much more about the kind of giving that is associated with this gift. The word Haplotes means sincerely, generously and without pretense or hypocrisy. The Holy Spirit imparts this gift to some in the congregation to meet the various needs of the body and its ministries, missionaries, or of people who do not have the means to provide fully for themselves. The goal is to encourage and provide, giving all credit to Gods love and provision. Those with this gift love to share with others the overflow of blessings God has given them. They are typically very hospitable and will seek out ways and opportunities to help others. They are also excellent stewards and will often adjust their lifestyles in order to give more to the spread of the Gospel and the care of the needy. They are grateful when someone shares a need with them, and are always joyful
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when they can meet a need. See Romans 12:8, 13, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 9:6-15; Acts 4:32-37, Galatians 4:15, Philippians 4:10-18. Healing The spiritual gift of healing found in 1 Corinthians 12:9 is actually plural in the Greek. Charismata iamaton is literally translated gifts of healings. This spiritual gift is closely related to the gifts of faith and miracles. All spiritual gifts are to be exercised in faith, but gifts of healings involve a special measure of it. This gift is interesting in that there is no guarantee that a person will always be able to heal anyone he or she desires. Its effectiveness is subject to the will of God, as it applies in any given situation. This is also true of the other spiritual gifts. The Disciples were given authority to instantly heal and cast out demons, but they were not always successful. The Apostle Paul was not able to heal himself and was told that Gods grace was sufficient to carry him through his infirmity without removing it from him (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). This gift was given at various times and places to reveal the God of heaven to the sick and tormented. If healing was not granted, then we could conclude that God may have other plans for letting the person go through the illness or infirmity. The spiritual gift of healing is an intimate one as it reveals the heart and compassion of God. Jesus is the Great Healer and Physician and during His ministry on earth He healed countless people and cast out demons (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16; 9:35, Mark 1:34). Healings reveal that God is near to His people and He cares about their sufferings. Healings are meant to draw people to God through His Son Jesus Christ. God wants those healed to respond in faith with thanksgiving and love as the leper did in Luke 17:15-19, and as the demon-possessed man did in Mark 5:18-20. By Gods grace, physical healing should lead to spiritual healing (faith in Jesus) and life with Him under the kingdom. Today, this gift may or may not include the instant healing manifested in the days of Jesus and the apostles. Todays healing may occur through providing the ill one with the soothing balm of Gods word by which they may avail themselves of Gods grace
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through prayer and repentance, or by providing council when one is in a position to afford legitimate expertise on medical affairs. Those who have this gift are compassionate toward the sick, encourage and pray for them regularly. They have great faith and trust that God can and will heal some and are not deterred when He chooses not to. Their ultimate concern is the spiritual wellbeing of those being healed and their relationship with Jesus. They yearn for the day that there will be no more pain and suffering, and sin will no longer wreak havoc on the people of God. See 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30, James 5:13-16. Interpretation of Tongues This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit gave certain Christians the ability to clarify and interpret messages uttered in a language formerly unknown to them. See I Corinthians 12:10. In ancient times this required somewhat of a miracle just as flying or speaking to someone who was not within physical earshot would have required back then. Today, with modern education and translation methods this is possible on an everyday basis and no longer needs miraculous intervention. Nevertheless doing this still demands a skill not possessed by all persons. Proper Christian humility precludes ones not called to it by Gods spirit from functioning as if they were. Therefore it continues to be seen as gift by the spirit when it is imparted for use on Gods behalf to benefit his congregation of believers. Knowledge The spiritual gift of knowledge is also known as the word of knowledge or utterance of knowledge. The Greek word for this gift is Gnosis and it simply means knowledge and understanding. The Scriptural emphasis in 1 Corinthians 12:8 is on the ability to speak this knowledge to others in a given situation. In the opening passages of 1 Corinthians, Paul spoke of knowledge and recognized that the most valuable form of knowledge among men is the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ (i.e. the testimony about Christ, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4-7). What we can conclude then is that the gift of knowledge is an understanding of the things in this world and in our lives that is founded in the Gospel and rooted in
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the Scriptures. This gift is closely related to the gift of wisdom which is alluded to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. The Holy Spirit gives this spiritual gift to some believers to bring about understanding and to inform the congregation or individual believers. The person with this gift is usually well-versed in the Scriptures and often has much committed to memory. They can retain the truth and communicate it effectively at the appropriate times. The gift of knowledge allows a believer to relate the scriptures, and particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to all aspects of life. They can see how it connects to every situation and circumstance and how the reality of truth in general and the truth of the Gospel is to inform every decision a Christian makes. See also 1 Corinthians 12:8; Romans 15:14; 2 Corinthians 2:14
Leadership

First, to call something a gift of Leadership in the Christian congregation is something of a misnomer. Jesus is on record as saying his followers are to have no leader aside from himself. Matthew 23:10 "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. NAS However the gift of eldership which includes taking the initiative within a congregation in advancing and up-building the congergation by setting proper examples. It includes protecting the congregation from predatory harm from within or without. This is considered by some to be a form of leadership. So, in describing this gift of Eldership, we will use the semantically incorrect term of Leader, since that is what most people readily understand. However, it must be perfectly clear; this kind of leader is totally different because he leads by example, not command or decree. The spiritual gift of leadership (eldership) is closely related to the gift of administration and, interestingly, the spiritual gift of shepherd. The Greek word for the spiritual gift of leadership is proistemi. This word means to lead by example, to assist, to protect and to care for others. The spiritual gift of leadership is found in Romans 12:8 sandwiched between the gifts of giving and of mercy. It is placed there intentionally to show that it is a gift
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associated with caring for others. This is what connects it to the gift of a shepherd, and what differentiates it from the gift of administration. It is more people oriented than task oriented in its application. This is not to say those with the gift of administration do not care for people, of course they do, but those with the spiritual gift of leadership focus on people and relationships more directly and more effectively. The word proistemi is connected to caring for people in other passages as well. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 Paul says to respect those who labor among you and are over (proistemi) you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. The labor and work of those who were leading the believers by their example in Thessalonica was that of tirelessly caring for their souls. Paul also connects leadership to caring for others when he asks, If someone does not know how to manage (proistemi) his own household, how will he care for Gods congregation? 1 Timothy 3:5 The Holy Spirit gives the spiritual gift of leadership to some to care for Gods people and lead them into deeper relationship with Christ and each other. They base their success on how well they help others to succeed and grow in their spiritual walk with Jesus. They are able to accomplish many different tasks and objectives as they lead, but they will always lead by example, humbly acceding to Christs head ship with a deeper concern for the well-being of others. They are visionary and less concerned with mundane details than those with the spiritual gift of administration. They will go to great lengths to protect those under their care and are well-equipped to stand as noteworthy examples through crisis situations. See also Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-6, 5:17. Mercy All Christians are called to be merciful because God has been merciful to us (Matthew 18:33; Ephesians 2:4-6). The Greek word for the spiritual gift of mercy is Eleeo. It means to be patient and compassionate toward those who are suffering or afflicted. The concern for the physical as well as spiritual need of those who are hurting is covered by the gift of mercy. Those with this gift have
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great empathy for others in their trials and sufferings. They are able to come alongside people over extended periods of time and see them through their healing process. They are truly and literally the hands and feet of God to the afflicted. The Holy Spirit gives the spiritual gift of mercy to some in the congregation to love and assist those who are suffering, and walk with them until The Lord allows their burden to be lifted. The gift of mercy is founded in Gods mercy towards us as sinners and is consistently expressed with measurable compassion. Those with this gift are able to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15) and bear one anothers burdens (Galatians 6:2). They are sensitive to the feelings and circumstances of others and can quickly discern when someone is not doing well. They are typically good listeners and feel the need to simply be there for others. See Romans 12:8, Matthew 5:7; Luke 10:30-37; James 3:17; Jude 22-23. Miracles The spiritual gift of miracles is described in Scripture much like the gift of healing. It is found in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and the Greek phrase energemata dynameon literally translates workings of powers. The double plural most likely means that these gifts were diverse and were not permanently available at the will of the gifted believer, but instead were bestowed at various times and circumstances. Thus, the gifts are subject to the divine will of God and His purposes and are not decided by the one who performs the miraculous works. We know that Jesus performed many miracles in His earthly ministry, even more than those recorded in Scripture (John 20:30-31, Acts 2:22). The Apostles regularly performed miracles of all kinds including casting out demons, healings, raising people from the dead, striking people dead, causing blindness, and much more (Acts 2:43; 3:1-10; 5:1-16; 9:36-43; 13:4-12; 19:11-12). Other believers performed miracles as well, including Stephen (Acts 6:8) and Phillip (Acts 8:4-8). Miracles were given by God at a time when his people generally believed that his only presence was in connection with the temple
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and the Jewish system of things prevalent at that time. Yet, this was a time when extraordinary change was to be effected by God. A revolution was about to occur with the appearance of his messiah and the updated teachings he brought. Gods favor was about to be transferred to a new form his chosen people would take. Spiritual Israel (the Christian congregation) was to replace the nation of Israel as his chosen people. In the past Jehovah God had worked miracles for the nation of Israel to prove to them and to a faithless world that he was with them in all his power. With the introduction of his Messiah, or Christ, once again he chose to provide miracles to a faithless generation to impress them with his power and his ability to execute his will as he saw fit. Another reason was to show the world that his favor was no longer with the Israel of old but had transferred to a new nation. Miracles were given by God to the congregation to reveal the presence and glory of God among them as his people and to create a sense of awe, wonder and Godly fear. Though there were many enemies of the infant Christian congregation, often the result of miracles being performed was more people coming to faith in Jesus and glorifying God, as well as greater faith and boldness within the congregation itself. (Acts 4:29-31; 9:35, 42). Today, there is no need for God to impress either the world or his own people to convince them of his power. Jesus pretty much summed up Gods position when he spoke to those requesting a sign from God at Mk *:12 and Luk. 11;29. The sign of Jonah being representative of all the miracles they had before and still not believed. If there are those who are endowed with the gift of miracles today, they would understandably be expected to be found among the footstep followers of Jesus Christ and not among a world alienated from God. It could be reasonably argued that the inspired word has been miraculously preserved and that since it constitutes all that his followers need to know even beyond the time of the end, there is
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no need to produce miracles to either impress anyone or to convince people that God cares for them. Their own faith or lack of faith attends to that. However, we cannot preclude God from performing a miracle on behalf of a specific situation or occasion if he were to will to do so. Would it occur with great worldwide fanfare drawing attention to the one through it was performed? That would fly in the face of scripture. If there are any among us who are gifted with miraculous power, this author has never heard of them or seen one of them. Of course, that too is fully understandable for there is a scriptural principal at Mat. 6:3 which has a bearing on this sort of thing. Matthew 6:3 But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, NWT Undoubtedly, If Christ admonished his followers to abide by this counsel, it applies equally well to himself as our example and to his father as his own exemplar. Those who possess this gift understand that God is Sovereign and he can work when and how He desires, but their lot is to be sure they are available and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit They do not claim power themselves, but always give credit and glory to God for His mighty works. Like any others possessive of spiritual gifts, occasionally God will humble them to keep them relying on Him and his undeserved kindness and pointing to His Son, rather than the gifts he has bestowed on tem. See also 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-29; Acts 1:8; Galatians 3:5. Shepherding: The spiritual gift of a shepherd is one that carries diverse responsibilities. This gift is closely related to the spiritual gifts of eldership and teaching. The Greek word describing such an individual is Poimen and simply means shepherd or overseer. In the Biblical context, shepherds have several different responsibilities to the sheep and ultimately, to the owner of the sheep who is Jesus. They keep a lookout for predators and protect the sheep from attackers. They care for wounded and sick sheep, nursing
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them back to health. They rescue them if they became lost or trapped. In Biblical times a shepherd spent enormous amounts of time with them guiding them to the best places of nourishment and rest. Of course in the Christian congregation, these men are but surrogates or stewards for the fine shepherd, who is Christ himself. The voice they use toward the sheep must be the voice of the fine shepherd, Jesus, not their own. The sheep know and trust the fine shepherd and it is this relationship that keeps the sheep following him. The sheep are attuned to the fine shepherds voice to the point that even if they were temporarily mixed with another herd, at his call they would separate and follow him. Elders are called shepherds because their calling and gifting are much like those who care for sheep. They are called and gifted to care for the spiritual well-being of a local body of Gods people. Elders (shepherds) are first and foremost, servants. They are servants of Jesus and stewards of his word placed as examples to the flock. In most churches, the pastor (shepherd or elder ) has assumed the position of the local voice of authority with a Bishop, Cardinal Pope or Council of men over him in a man led hierarchy of organizational authority. He assumes the roles of Shepherd, Teacher, Administrator and General all purpose Overseer. This is not the model for Christian congregations instituted by Jesus and the apostles. The Bible clearly states there would be different men with different gifts in a congregation of Gods people, all under the sole head ship of Christ Jesus. Prophecy: This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit empowers certain Christians to receive revelation and speak powerful messages from God to people. These may take the form of predictions or they may consist of declarative prophecy, where men speak Gods thoughts as they are led by the Holy spirit to speak them. See Romans 12:6, I Corinthians 12:10, 14:1-5, 30-33, Ephesians 4:11, I Peter 1:20-21. Serving/Ministering: The spiritual gift of service, or ministering, covers a wide range of activities in its application. There are two Greek words for this
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gift. The first one, found in Romans 12:7, is Diakonia. The basic meaning of this word is to wait tables, but it is most often translated in the Bible as ministry. It refers to any act of service done in genuine love for the edification of the congregation. The word Antilepsis is translated "helping" and is found in 1 Corinthians 12:28. It has a similar meaning: to help or aid in love within the community. The Holy Spirit endows some believers with this gift to fill the many gaps of ministry and meet the needs of the congregation as it fulfills the Great Commission. The goal is to energize the brotherhood and free up others to use their gifts to the fullest. The result is the continued edification of the congregation and the added ability to see beyond its own needs and reach out to its neighbors As is the cases of those with the other gifts, ones with this gift do not seek recognition or a position in the spotlight, they just love to help out. They are content with serving in the background knowing that their contribution will bless the congregation, display the love of Christ to the world, and bring glory to God. See also Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 28, Acts 20:35; 2 Timothy 4:11; Revelation 2:19. Teaching: This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables particular Christians to communicate and clarify the details and truths of God's Word in ways others can understand easily. It entails a

necessity on the teachers part to have a deep and abiding understanding of overall scripture and Gods way of seeing things. Their teaching must be in harmony with gods mind as he reveals it through his word and by his spirit, and not a mere reflection of their own opinions. See Romans 12:7, Ephesians 4:11, James 3:1, Luke 12:48
Tongues:

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This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables a Christian to supernaturally speak a previously unknown language. See I Corinthians 12:10, 30, 14:4, 39, Acts 2:4, Acts 19:6 Wisdom: This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit empowers particular Christians with a supernatural understanding of God's Word and the will to apply it to life situations. See 1 Corinthians 12:8, James 3:17. The early Christian congregations had gifts granted to right hearted ones so they could serve their God and their fellow believers. So these gifts which are given graciously by God to us are intended to be passed on to others just as graciously. As in all other matters in connection with what God wants and expects, these are also related to the condition of ones heart. The gifts have little value either to God or to fellow believers if they are not given voluntarily from the heart. If they are given either under compulsion or for personal gain, they would surely constitute a lame sacrifice. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. NAS Whether the Gifts which are given for the edification of the Christian congregation will apply in the same ways during the thousand year reign of Christs kingdom on earth is a matter of some speculation. They may very well do so in principal and yet they may see radical changes in the ways they are used. We have not been given any specifics along these lines. Common sense indicates there will probably be changes, for the needs during the millennial reign of Christ will not be the same needs as a congregation has when surrounded by Satans system of things. What we do know is that this was and is the arrangement for Christs congregation on earth till his second coming.

Conclusion
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It is obvious from Scripture that church meetings were participatory in New Testament times, and that everyone was allowed to contribute freely and spontaneously to them. It is also obvious that Paul wrote these instructions not just for the Corinthians, but for our benefit as well, because the letter was addressed not only to them, but to "all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord". Since that is the case, many current Pastors, priests, reverends and ministers will find these passages threatening to their traditional church mindsets. They may even find them somewhat threatening to their careers. In most cases, with great sacrifice on their parts they were trained to be someone whose primary job is to bring "the" sermon Sunday morning and evening. Because of this, they are not inclined to "shake the boat" and challenge "the way we have always done it"? That certainly makes Pauls inspired words at 1 Co 14:26-40 tempting to ignore, doesn't it? Although some may wish to take that easy way out, the apostle Paul does not give any of us the comfortable option of ignoring his words, if we want to have a clear conscience. Instead, he goes on to tell us that what he is writing is the Lords command. 1 Cor.14:36 Did the Word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lords command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Paul anticipated that there would be those who would want to conduct Christian meetings in ways other than this. His questions are designed to point out to them how presumptuous they would be to ignore his instructions and invent their own customsas though the Word of God had originated with them, or they had a corner on it! We know for a fact, however, the ways of meetings handed down to us is so different from what the Lord commanded. This tell us that there have been those in the history of the church who have
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indeed presumed to substitute their own customs for the Word of God,. Tertullian, a late second century believer, wrote that custom without truth is error grown old. The question is, are we going to continue ignoring God's word for the sake of "error grown old"? If we intentionally did that, would not the words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees ring accusingly in our own ears? Matthew 15:3 Jesus replied, "And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?
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Let's try to understand those who don't conduct Christian meetings this way. While its true some don't know better and are merely continuing in the traditions they have inherited, does this necessarily excuse them? Maybe, but what happens when its brought to their attention or when they know the scriptural view point and chose to ignore it? While its true Judgment is God's business, if we know better can we just go along and wait for something to change on its own? Matthew 18:15 "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. NAS James 4:17 Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and does not do it commits a sin. NJB 1 John 3:4 Every one that practises sin practises also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. DBY 1 John 3:6 So if we continue to live in him, we won't sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known him or understood who he is. NLT That was how it was supposed to be, how the Bible indicates Christians were supoosed to meet and how they were expected
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to live according to the teachings of their exemplar and head, Jesus Christ. The apostles understood this very well and set forth the form for Christian meetings clearly and concisely in their own day. Since now we know the scriptural way to conduct godly Christian meetings, lets take a look at how its done in almost all instances in our own day and how scriptural standards have been either twisted or ignored. See what a difference a day has made. The Modern guidelines for a Meeting: a. How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, the pastor (Priest, Elder, Reverend or Minister, all fit equally) hath a doctrine, and the minister of music hath psalms. Let all things be done unto edifying. b. If anyone besides the pastor hath a doctrine, let him not speak; let him hold his peace. Let him sit in the pew, and face the back of the neck of the person which sitteth ahead of him. c. Let the people keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith church tradition. But if they will learn anything, let them ask their pastor after the service, for it is a shame for a layman to speak in the church. For the pastor, he hath a seminary degree, and the layman, he hath not so lofty a degree. d. If any man desire to remain a church member in good standing let him acknowledge that what I write to you is the command of the denominational headquarters. But if any man ignores this, he shall be promptly escorted out the door by the ushers.

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e. Wherefore brothers, covet not to speak in the church. Let all things be done decently and in the order in which it hath been written in the church bulletin. The strange thing about this is that it exactingly resembles what continues to be practiced in most religious meeting venues, blatantly ignoring what the Bible says about all scripture being useful for correcting things. 2 Timothy 3:16 1 2 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, NAB What should we conclude from this? Certainly not that these groups or organizations are acting in ignorance. Almost unanimously, they claim to base their religious practices on the Holy Bible. This leaves us with the more likely possibility that they have chosen to ignore Gods teachings on this topic and instituted what is more to their own inclination. Since the great issue of the day is all about sovereignty; that is Gods sovereignty (his right to rule), this constitutes a direct rebellion against him. He has provided us with his word as a means for people to know what his will is. He expects people to follow it obediently, even when they may not fully understand why. To ignore God almighty when one clearly understands what his will is constitutes either Idolatry (placing one self, someone else or something else in the place of God), or Rebellion (resistance to his authority). We should not need to be reminded that this was exactly the deadly sin which was committed by Satan the Devil in the Garden of Eden. And then by the first human couple who followed his lead. Jehovah God has already clearly shown that he will not tolerate this and also has indicated what the penalty for it is. For those who choose to reject his word of truth and cling to their own thinking in opposition to him, the outcome is inevitable. However, when we examine the NT writings, we see an entirely different persona in the first century congregation from what we have today.
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The important questions are why? What happened? And how do we explain this phenomenon? The next Chapter will explain

just what happened to the model the apostles left for the Christian congregation since the first century.

[Click to return to CONTENTS]

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CHAPTER NINE
CHRISTIANITY WHEAT or WEEDS? Wheat in its unprocessed form is said to be one of the most complete nutritional foods on earth. This was the kind of wheat which was known to the Bible writers. Its contrast with weeds is easily recognized by observing the dictionary definition below; weed - www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ (1) : a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially : one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants ... When the first century congregation was established, within a short time subversive elements began to undermine the work of Jesus and the apostles. By the time the apostle John had finished his writings around 98 CE (Gregorian calendar), scripture reveals concerns for false teachers had developed into real problems for the first century congregations; 1 John 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. NIV Barely more than thirty years after the death of Jesus, Peter who is said to have completed his writings around 64 CE had published the following warning to Christian believers; 2 Peter 2:1 As there were false prophets in the past history of our people, so you too will have your false teachers, who will insinuate their own disruptive views and, by disowning the Lord who bought them freedom, will bring upon themselves speedy destruction. NJB Just one year after Peter had completed his writings Jude reports that Peters words had already begun to see fulfillment. Jude 1:4 For certain men have come among you secretly, marked out before in the holy Writings for this evil fate, men without the fear of God, turning his grace into an
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unclean thing, and false to our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. BBE Around the same time, Pauls writings also contained evidence that there were elements in the congregations which were already problematical to the health of the early Christian brotherhood. Acts 20:30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. NKJ (See also; 1Cor.11:12,13, 26, 2Tim.2:17) Barely thirty three years later, by the time the Apostle John had finished his writings around 98 CE, we find these words among his writings. 1 John 2:18 Young children, it is the last hour, and, just as YOU have heard that antichrist is coming, even now there have come to be many antichrists; from which fact we gain the knowledge that it is the last hour. NWT 1 John 4:1 My dear friends, not every spirit is to be trusted, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets are at large in the world.
NJB

The early Christians should not have been surprised at this turn of events within their congregations. Their own lord and master, Jesus Christ had not only prophesied more than sixty years earlier that it would come to pass but also had explicitly warned them against it. Mark 13:22 Because there will be false Christs and false prophets, and they will give signs and wonders in the hope of turning even the saints from the true way. BBE Matthew 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. NIV

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Matthew 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. NIV Thus we see in the succeeding early congregations those very elements the Lord Jesus had prophesied about and warned against. There were wolves disguised as sheep operating inside of the fold along with Jesus true sheep. Also, the Bible discloses that not everyone viewing themselves as a sheep or a believer was one who would be recognized by Jesus as a true follower. Matthew 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.' NAS The congregation would not be the pure un-adulterated body he provided for it to be. This phenomenon was explained in two parables he taught his disciples. In one of them he illustrated just what the process of making a true Christian was and what it took to become a real follower. This was the parable of the Fine Soil and it is found at Luk. 8:3 -15 "A sower went out to sow his seed. Well, as he was sowing, some of it fell alongside the road and was trampled down, and the birds of heaven ate it up. 6 Some other landed upon the rock-mass, and, after sprouting, it dried up because of not having moisture. 7 Some other fell among the thorns, and the thorns that grew up with it choked it off. 8 Some other fell upon the good soil, and, after sprouting, it produced fruit a hundredfold." As he told these things, he proceeded to call out: "Let him that has ears to listen, listen." 9 But his disciples began to ask him what this illustration might mean.10 He said: "To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of God, but for the rest it is in illustrations, in order that, though looking, they may look in vain and, though hearing, they may not get the meaning. 11 Now the illustration means this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those alongside the road are the ones that have heard, then the Devil comes and takes the word away from their
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hearts in order that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those upon the rock-mass are the ones who, when they hear it, receive the word with joy, but these have no root; they believe for a season, but in a season of testing they fall away. 14 As for that which fell among the thorns, these are the ones that have heard, but, by being carried away by anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life, they are completely choked and bring nothing to perfection. NWT 15 As for that on the fine soil, these are the ones that, after hearing the word with a fine and good heart,retain it and bear fruit with endurance. While this parable described the process and pitfalls in the making of a true believer and provides a vital clue for identifying one, the second parable describes the nature of the Christian congregation down till the end. (end of this worlds system under Satan). It is known as the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds and it had a multiple application. The parable is found at Mat. 13:24. 24 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off.26 When the new wheat sprouted andripened, then the darnel appeared as well.27 The owner's labourers went to him and said, "Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?" 28 He said to them, "Some enemy has done this." And the labourers said, "Do you want us to go and weed it out?" 29 But he said, "No, because when you weed out the darnel (weeds) you might pull up the wheat with it. 30 Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel (weeds) and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn." ' 34 In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. 35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: I
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will speak to you in parables, unfold what has been hidden since the foundation of the world. 36 Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, 'Explain to us the parable about the darnel (weeds) in the field.' 37 He said in reply, 'The sower of the good seed is the Son of man.(Jesus) 38 The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the Evil One;39 the enemy who sowed it, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. 40 Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. 41 The Son of man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of falling and all who do evil, 42 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.43 Then the upright will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Anyone who has ears should listen! NJB The lesson behind this parable can be seen to have a multiple fulfillment. Jesus related the parable to the crowd but later explained it more fully to his own followers, so obviously it had a special meaning for them. The parable transcended time in that it would not only apply in his own day, but it would apply equally well through history all the way down to our day. On one level it would apply to his footstep followers, Spiritual Israel, the true anointed congregation. On another level it would apply to all those who professed to be Christians before a final harvest. On still another level it would apply to the nations of the world apart from his people Israel. At the time of the end while they would constitute an overwhelming majority of mankind, according to Bible standards, there would be wheat like ones among them who Jehovah would view as worthy. John 3:16 For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life. BBE

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1 Timothy 2:3,4. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, RSV who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. NRS Acts 10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. ESV When we trace the history of the Christian congregation, Spiritual Israel for two thousand years since Christs death we find that the parable of the wheat and the weeds has been playing out all along. One thing to note is that there is a difference between professed Christianity, those who wear the external physical garments and bear the label of Christians and those whose who are spiritual Israel, those for whom Christianity exists in their minds and hearts as an intrinsic part of their makeup. Paul taught about this difference at Romans 2:28,29, where he said; Romans 2:28,29. The true Jew is not one who is only so publicly, and circumcision is not that which may be seen in the flesh: BBE:29 Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real Circum-cision is a matter of the heart -- it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God. NRS Thus just as it is necessary to examine the fruits in order to determine who a true Christian, the same thing may be said about those organizations who profess to be Christian When we examine the fruits they produced and continue to produce we need to be aware of a shade of difference between those fruits which are attributable to the Holy Spirit operating on individuals as gifts of the spirit and those fruits which were set before believers as commands they had to obey for the furthering of kingdom interests. For example; Galatians 5:22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, NLT

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In this verse while most people apply it as something they themselves have complete control over, a careful reading identifies these qualities as a result of Holy Spirit influencing their life and not due to their own efforts. On the other hand verses like Prov. 3:5, Joh. 4:23 and 2Tim. 2:15 are shown to place control in the readers domain, whether to comply or not. These are far greater indicators of fruits the hearer has control over personally. As ones claiming to be dedicated to doing Gods will in furthering the Kingdom interests, we should expect the following verses to reflect fruitage God expects from them whether they be individuals or they are organizations. Failures in the areas indicated by these verses should be taken as warning signs when such fruits are either missing or defective. Proverbs 3:5 Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception; NJB When individuals and organizations raise their own thinking to a level either equal to or above that of God almighty, this should shout at us as a fruit that is out of harmony with Gods interests. When men or their counsels and governing bodies are venerated as vehicles of salvation equal to or instead of God and his Messiah, that can only be seen as a fruitage opposing Gods will. Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the Lord has said: Cursed is the man who puts his faith in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart is turned away from the Lord. BBE Yet in religious organizations dominated by men, we find this to be the rule rather than the exception. For example, the Catholic Church holds its Pope to be Gods direct representative with authority that supersedes Gods own word the bible. Followers are expected to trust the Pope, who is only human, in spite of scriptures warning against it. In other denominations of Christendom, the same can be said of Governing bodies, Counsels, Boards of directors, and other humans who have placed themselves in a godlike positions demanding trust, loyalty and obedience as if they were gods themselves.
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John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. NIV Despite the clear evidence in Gods word that truth is a foremost expectation of God almighty in his worshippers, we find overwhelming evidence to the contrary in most religious organizations. They continue to embrace the trappings of falsehood in a variety of ways. Most encourage observance of holidays and celebrations rooted in pagan falsehood or vestiges of deceit. Many embrace idols, icons and other representations of falsehood as sacred symbols in their worship. Virtually all hold their self-made doctrines above God-given truth despite the light the Bible sheds on them being false dogmatic doctrines. 2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who has no need to be ashamed, but who keeps the message of truth on a straight path. NJB Here is another area where we see deficient fruits. However much an individual or an organization devotes itself to preaching, spreading or declaring the word of God, if what it spreads is contaminated with half truths, whims of fancy or outright distortions, it represents a fruitage of darkness and not of light. Gods word is meant to be his communication with the world of mankind. As such, twisting meanings, quoting out of context, mistranslating words and mis-interpretations are all aberrations contaminating his pure and truthful message. While it is a known fact that in more than the 150,000 words which are translated from early manuscripts consistently and accurately, only about 10,000 are questioned as to their legitimacy. Within these 10,000 words lie more than mere human error. Among these questionable words are found much of the support for false doctrines religious organizations promote as being founded in scripture. It is only by comparing multiple translations that most of these contaminants are uncovered. Does it make a difference? Not in preventing Gods Light and message from penetrating a veil of deceptive doctrine
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completely. Gods truth shines through based on the 93% of accuracy most Bibles contain. However Bible principal cannot be ignored and scripture tells us even a little leaven can spoil the whole lump 1 Corinthians 5:6b. . .. Do you not see that a little leaven makes a change in all the mass? BBE In the case of mis- handling the scriptures, adding or subtracting meaning for a verse represents a distortion of the perfect message God has provided. When this occurs, either in the form of a small or a large distortion it should be viewed as a fruitage of un-righteousness which leads to either confusion or misunderstanding of Gods inspired word. Its little wonder that James was inspired by God to write: James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. RSV These are only three of the areas which expose the true fruits false religious organizations produce. A whole book could be devoted to examples. The pertinent question is what happened? How did that simple honest first century congregation evolve into a worldwide monster which is in actuality a counterfeit (a Pseudo Church of Christ) with its many branches all passing themselves off as Christs only true congregation (church) ? The answer lies in tracing the history over the two thousand year period from the founding of the first century congregation till our own time. The next chapter will do exactly that.

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CHAPTER NINE
Bridging the Gap from the first century till today

Two thousand years ago, when the first century Christian congregation was inaugurated and in its infancy the worlds population is estimated to have been about 300 Million persons. Of that number approximately 2 to 3 million people who thought of themselves as Gods chosen people lived in what we would now refer to as Bible lands, including areas beyond the middle east, in Africa and Europe. Within that number, according to best estimates based on the account in the book of Acts the early Christian
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community numbered no more than twenty five thousand by the end of the 1st century. Almost immediately even while the apostles were still acting as a restraint against false teachers and false prophets, individuals began to maneuver for power and influence within the local congregations. (see Act. 20:30 and 1Ti. 1:20) Pauls account at 2 Cor. 11: 1-21 affords us a behind the scenes look at the jockeying for power by prominent individuals within the Christian community even while he was still away on his missionary tours. Lets look at Pauls account and see how it reveals a satanically sponsored strategy to undermine the congregation Jesus launched as Gods latter day counterpart to Israel as his chosen people. This jockeying for power began even while the apostles were on the scene. The writings of Paul are filled with accounts of those who were trying to undermine the church Christ had founded and elevate themselves in an ongoing quest for control of Christs congregation that was to span more than two thousand years. The account is highly revealing for it paints a picture of what was to become a pattern in succeeding generations of congregations all through history. Paul Unmasks His Opponents
(2 Corinthians 11:1-21)

In Paul's case, news of a worsening situation at Corinth leads him to abandon his normal aversion toward self-praise and proceed in chapter 11 to do the very thing that he had spoken against earlier in a letter to them --boast in his apostolic achievements. 1 Corinthians 1:28, 29. " and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something,29 so that no human being might boast before God. NAB The circumstances that drove Paul to commend himself are spelled out in 11:1-5. :
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I am afraid, he says, that . . . your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ (v. 3). His converts are being led--as we say--down the garden path by rival missionaries, and are not even aware of what is going on (vv. 18-21). Paul's motivation is his concern for the congregations' spiritual welfare, and not for his own reputation, that pushes him to engage in self-praise. But why would he resort to boasting? Why not just expose the intruders for the frauds they are and leave it at that? Unfortunately, by the time the news reached Paul, the intruders had already made significant inroads at Corinth. This was largely because of the Corinthians' penchant for impressive credentials (vv. 21-23), fine-sounding words (v. 6) and extraordinary shows of power (12:12). So in order to win the congregation's ear, Paul must match the opposition point for point: What anyone else dares to boast about . . . I also dare to boast about (11:21). The reasons for indulging him are three: first, Paul's divine jealousy for the Corinthians' purity; second, their willingness to put up with an aberrant message; and third, because he is in no way inferior to his rivals. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, Paul states (v. 2). Earlier Paul used the term zelos of the Corinthians' "zeal" on his behalf (7:7, 11). But here it more likely means "jealousy"--yet of the divine sort rather than what we commonly think of as a human failing. The word denotes an intense concern for a person's honor or reputation. God's jealousy for Israel's reputation among the nations is a good example (e.g., Ex 20:5; Is 26:11; 42:13-17). Paul's jealousy stems from the fact that he promised the Corinthians to one husband, to Christ . . . as a pure virgin (v. 2). In ancient Jewish culture, parents typically chose a wife for their son and arranged for the marriage by legal contract. It was then the responsibility of the father of the bride-to-be to ensure his daughter's virginity during the betrothal period. Betrothal was considered almost as binding
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as marriage itself. The betrothed couple addressed each other as "wife" and "husband" (Deut 22:23-24; Joel 1:8), Israel as the betrothed of Yahweh is a familiar theme in the Old Testament (Is 54:5; 62:5; Ezek 16:9-22; 23:27; Hos 2:16-20). In the New Testament the bride-to-be is the congregation and the groom is Christ. As their congregation founder, Paul pictures himself as the Corinthians' spiritual father, whose responsibility it is to ensure their faithfulness between birth (betrothal) and Christ's return (consummation), when they will be presented as a pure virgin to her groom. But something now threatens to rob the Corinthians of their purity. Other suitors are on the scene, seeking to lure them away from fidelity to their future bridegroom. Paul's fear that their minds may somehow be led astray is well founded. The form of the conditional at verse 4 connotes fact (ei + indicative). Someone has come to Corinth and is successfully depriving Christ of a loyalty that is rightfully his. It is likely that only a small number have become prey to the intruders' ploys at the time Paul writes. But there is the real danger that the congregation as a whole may be carried along, as Paul's use of the second-person plural pronoun makes clear. (hymon, v. 3). The Genesis 3 account of how the serpent deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit serves as a ready illustration of what Paul fears is going on at Corinth: just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning. Deceived translates a compound verb that has the intensified meaning "thoroughly" or "utterly deceived" (exhpatesen). Eve's thorough deception is attributed to the serpent's cunning. The basic meaning of the noun panourgia is "capable of all work" (pan + ergon). In the New Testament it refers to someone who uses his ability unscrupulously and resorts to trickery and slyness. In the case of the Corinthians, the deception is of a corrupting kind. The NIV and RSV's led astray is not really the sense. The verb phtheiro means "to destroy," "to seduce" or "to ruin." A corrupting influence that leads to intellectual and spiritual ruin is most likely the idea. But the focus in these verses is on a seducing of the mind (ta noemata), not a corrupting of the will. Paul's fear
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is that as Eve was led astray by the cunning argumentation of the serpent, the minds of his brethren may be similarly seduced by the trickery of his rivals. The intruders' goal is to divert the Corinthians from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ (v. 3). The Greek is literally "a wholeheartedness toward Christ" (apo tes haplotetos tes eis ton Christon; compare 1:12; 8:2, 9-11, 13). Haplotes ("sincere") in the New Testament denotes personal wholeness or undividedness. (as in exclusive devotion) As the bride-to-be is wholly focused on her intended spouse, so the congregation is to be wholly undivided in its devotion to Christ. If kai tes hagnotetos (set off by square brackets in the Greek text) is part of the original text, then the congregations devotion is to be marked not only by undividedness but also by "purity." In the passage of scripture Paul also addresses the Corinthians' willingness to put up with rivals who present a different message: If someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough (v. 4). That Paul is dealing with a concrete situation and not just a hypothetical possibility is indicated by the form of the conditional (ei + the indicative). The fact that Paul speaks of his opponent as "they" before and after verse indicates that the intruders came to Corinth of their own accord, rather than being sent at another congregations behest. And that they preached a message that the congregation had readily accepted: "you welcome it with open arms!" (JB). Unfortunately, it is not the message Paul had preached to them. Herein lays the difficulty. There is something defective about their preaching--so much so that Paul labels it different (allon) and "strange" (heteron; v. 4). Verse 4 is one of the most scrutinized verses in the whole of chapters 10--13. In large part this is due to its perceived importance in identifying the Corinthian intruders and their teaching. In reality, though, the clues are few in number, and the terse "another Jesus/spirit/gospel" does not offer much help.
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Nonetheless, the triad is disturbing. As is typical of much false teaching in the Christian congregations down through the centuries, the language of Paul's rivals has a very familiar sound to it. Yet what they mean by Jesus, spirit and gospel is so radically opposite to what Paul preached that nothing will do but to call it a different message. Exactly what the intruders' preaching amounted to is difficult to assess. In "Another Jesus"it is hard to know what Paul meant by a different spirit. Spirit has a number of subtleties of meaning attached to it.. Whether, it indicates a lifestyle antithetical to the gospel, an attitude opposing Jesus will or someone's having fallen under the influence of evil spirits, all are possibilities. It is clear from the context that these intruders put great stock in things like an outward show of the Spirit, oratorical ability and heritage. "Signs, wonders and miracles" are "things that mark an apostle" (12:12). "Visions and revelations" are grounds for boasting (12:1). Eloquent speech (10:10; 11:6) and the proper heritage (11:22) are sources of pride. This fits with the epithet superapostles (v. 5) and the portrayal of the intruders in chapters 1--7 as those who seek to legitimize their authority through letters of recommendation and who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart (5:12). Putting all these things together, it is a reasonable conjecture that Paul's rivals were ones who came to Corinth carrying letters of reference and sporting an impressive array of credentials (such as visions, impressive sounding experiences and revelations). They sought to sway their audience through polished delivery and powerful oratory. They combined this with an outward show of the Spirit, appealing to the prominently impressive role of the miraculous in Jesus' ministry. If so, their approach is not much different from what is seen practiced in religions of our day This raises the question of what constitutes a proper manifestation of the Spirit in the gospel ministry. To be sure, there is a place in preaching the gospel for reasoning ability and persuasion. Paul himself sought to reason with his listeners (Acts 9:29; 18:4). And he did preach a word accompanied by power, conviction and the Spirit (Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 2:4; 2 Cor 12:12; Gal 3:5; 1 Thess 1:5).
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But the role of the miraculous was to validate Gods favor on the congregation not displace, the gospel; and persuasion in the message of Christ. It is all too easy for an audience to fasten on slick rhetoric and an outward show and miss the real message. This is why Paul concentrated on preaching nothing except Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2NIV). By focusing attention on what he was saying and not on how he said it, Paul prevented his listeners from getting distracted from what was truly important. 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. NIV Another reason Paul enters into his discourse on subversives in the congregation is the fact that he does not think himself in the least inferior to these super-apostles (v. 5). Think translates a term that means "to draw a logical conclusion" from a given set of facts (logizomai; A candid appraisal of Paul's credentials shows that he measures up at least as well as his rivals. Paul does not say that he is superior to these super-apostles--merely that he does not fall below them. The mention of "super-apostles" is intriguing. The phrase appears nowhere else in the New Testament. To whom is Paul referring? Some think that it may have been the Jerusalem twelve, who the Corinthians may have had great admiration for. This would conflict with the fact that elsewhere Paul is careful to support and show respect for the Twelve, while further on he does not think twice about calling the intruders deceitful workers (v. 13) and servants of Satan (v. 15). Alternatively, "super-apostles" more likely could be the intruders' with their own exaggerated appraisal of themselves or the impresssion they gave of themselves as ones sent forth by Christ. (1Cor. 11:6-12) Paul goes on in verses 6-12 to deal with two specific areas of inferiority that his rivals have pointed to: his speaking ability and his lack of financial support. I may not be a trained speaker, Paul says, but I do have knowledge (v. 6). The NIV translation loses the force of the conditional. "Even if, as
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some claim" is the sense. Paul admits the possibility that he may not be as skilled a speaker as others (ei de kai), but he by no means concedes the point to his critics. The Greek idiwtes ("not trained") refers to someone who has no professional knowledge or expertise in a particular area (that is, a layperson). In Paul's case, the charge is that he lacks expertise "in word" (to logo)-that is, in well-fashioned phrases and lofty-sounding language (compare 10:10: "Some say, `. . . in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing'"). One can assume, then, that some of his rivals, in fact, possessed this expertise and flaunted it to their advantage From 1 Corinthians 1--3 it is clear that the Corinthians placed a great deal of importance on oratorical skill. In this respect they are not much different from many religious organizations today who are more interested in the outward wrapping than with what is in the package. In Paul's judgment, however, his knowledge more than compensated for any perceived lack (v. 6). Gnosis most likely refers to an understanding of the truths of the gospel and insight into God's mind and purposes, rather than to a "message of knowledge" spoken during worship for the edification of the church (1 Cor 12:8). It may be, though, that Paul is merely saying that he does "know what [he is] talking about" (Phillips) whereas his rivals do not. The Corinthians themselves had been endowed with knowledge (1 Cor 1:5). So they should have been the first to recognize that Paul possessed it too, especially since he had made this clear to them in every way possible (v. 6). But like so many of us today, the Corinthians got caught up in the outward form and appearance of things and lost sight of what was truly important. Another area his opponents sought to denigrate him in the eyes of the congregation was in the area of finances. It rankled them and some of the Corinthians that Paul, unlike his rivals, preached the gospel of God free of charge (v. 7). Why did he do it? The intruders claimed it constituted an admission that he was a second-rate apostle. But Paul categorically denies this (I do not think I am in the least inferior, v. 5). In fact, he has already made it plain to the Corinthians that he waived support so as not to hinder reception of the gospel message (1 Cor 9:12). He did not
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want the gospel associated with a solicitation for money and rejected for that reason. Like the Apologists of our day, a fair number of itinerant preachers showed more interest in lining their pockets than in proclaiming the truth. In doing so, they were in effect treating God's message like so much cheap commercial merchandise (2:17 TEV), and not as the priceless treasure it was. Paul chose instead to do work as an itinerant laborer and engaged in tent-making as a means to support himself. The life of an itinerant laborer was hard. A craftsman who stayed in one place and developed a regular clientele had to work from sunup to sunset every day to make ends meet. To be constantly on the road, as Paul was, meant that each time he went to a new town he had to look for work and start afresh. It is not surprising, then, that he should often have been in want. But he was determined not to burden the Corinthians (v. 9). Paul resolutely refused to abandon his policy of offering the gospel free of charge: I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so (v. 9). No matter what tactics Paul's opponents use, they would never be able to effectively blockade his policy of offering the gospel without charge. How different it was from today when religious organizations think up an endless array of ways to extract money or other means of remuneration from their flocks. In Paul's case, the intent was not to draw attention to himself but to undercut the boasting of the Corinthian intruders who wanted to be considered his equals in the ministry: I will keep on doing what I am doing, Paul states, in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about (v. 12). Paul Labels His Opponents "Servants of Satan" (11:13-15) Meanwhile, there is an even greater danger. The fundamental reason Paul cannot concede any ground to his rivals is that he sees them as false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ (v. 13). The language is surprisingly harsh.

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The phrase "false apostle" does not occur anywhere else in Paul's letters. False (pseudos) refers to that which is untrue or bogus. Although the intruders claim to be Christ's delegates (apo + stello, "to send forth"), they in fact are not. How did Paul know this? He could tell from their methods, which marked them as deceitful workmen. There is more at stake here than empty boasting and exaggerated claims. The noun ergates is used in the New Testament of the worker who is employed in Christ's service. The adjective dolios (only here in the New Testament) and the verb doliow are descriptive of someone who deals dishonestly or treacherously with others. The intruders' misrepresentation of themselves and their missionary activity is not the result of self-deception or careless exaggeration. It is quite deliberate and, for this reason, treacherous in intent. The treachery stems from impure motives. The intruders claim that their purpose in coming to Corinth is to serve Christ, when in reality all they care about is serving themselves and at the Corinthians' expense (exploits . . . takes advantage of, 11:20). This represents one of the ways they are like wolves in sheep's clothing, masquerading as apostles of Christ (v. 12). Their behavior, Paul says, is not surprising, since Satan himself masque-rades as an angel of light (v. 13). The genitive can denote material (that is, an angel made of light) or quality (a shining angel), but the latter is the predominant use in the New Testament. Angelic appearances are described as like lightning (Mat 28:3), gleaming (Luk 24:4) and shining (Luk 2:9). The Greek term translated masquerade means to "alter" or "change the outward appearance" of a person or thing. Satan dons the outward guise of an angel of light in an attempt to conceal his true being. If Satan finds it advantageous to masquerade as an angel of light, it is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness (v. 15). Paul's statement is sobering. Congregation leaders can seem genuine in appearance and profession and yet in actuality be Satan's minions. How one sees through the outward guise to the inner truth is not stated. But it is clear to Paul that the Corinthian intruders have disguised themselves in this fashion. The
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charge is a serious one. If the Corinthian intruders really are Satan's servants, then they are not merely Paul's opponents but also enemies of Christ. Paul said as much in the earlier part of this chapter, when he expressed his fear that the Corinthians were being seduced from their undivided devotion to Christ. For the enemies of Christ only judgment waits: their end will be what their actions deserve (v. 15). For the Corinthian intruders, their works will determine their end. The term telos in this context denotes end result or ultimate fate. They have done Satan's work; to Satan's fate they will go. What this fate will be Paul does not say in this letter. Elsewhere, though, he states that the enemies of Christ will face eternal destruction, shut out from the presence of the God and from the majesty of his power (Phil 3:19; 2 Thess 1:8-9). The role of a Fool (1 Cor 11:16-21) At verse 16 Paul gets on with playing the role of the fool. In verse 1 he had asked the Corinthians to bear with him in this matter ("I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness"). But now he warns, Let no one take me for a fool. The term fool (literally "unwise") refers to someone who lacks sense or reason. It is not someone who is stupid or witless but rather someone whose selfperceptions are blown all out of proportion. The distinction is an important one. While Paul considers what he is about to do sheer folly (the act of boasting), nevertheless, what he is about to say is far from foolish (he is no blithering idiot). For if he chooses to boast, he would not be a fool (like his rivals) because he "would be speaking the truth" (12:6). If the Corinthians can tolerate the selfimportant gibberish of the intruders, they can also tolerate a little of Paul's boasting. There is one qualification, however, that Paul insists on. They are not to receive his self-confident boasting as it were from the Lord (v. 17). In this matter of boasting Paul does not want to be taken as talking as the Lord would. The phrase is literally "according to the Lord" (kata kyrion). What exactly does this mean, though? Paul could be saying that in boasting about his ministerial achievements he is not talking as the Lord would (NIV). But it is
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more likely that kata kyrion means "with the Lord's authority" (RSV, JB, Phillips) or "what the Lord would have me say" (TEV). The bragging Paul is about to engage in is not something the Lord would approve of; hence he does not presume to speak ex cathedra (as an apostle). Boasting of this sort is not the way of the Lord but rather the way of the world (v. 18). The Greek is literally "according to the flesh" (kata sarka)--a favorite phrase of Paul's (five times in 2 Corinthians). Typically it denotes operating the way the world does or being driven by human standards (compare 1:17; 5:16; 10:2, 3). When it comes to human pride, the way of the world is to boast in personal accomplishments. Many brag in this fashion, so Paul will too (v. 18). The biting sarcasm of Paul's next remark is unmistakable. Having begged their indulgence, he now points out that bearing with his senseless boasting should pose no great problem for them, since they are used to putting up with fools. Paul minces no words when it comes to the Corinthian intruders. In verse 13 they were labeled "false" and "deceitful"; now they are called fools (v. 19). The term fool (aphron, "unwise") denotes a lack of sense or reason (see the commentary on v. 16). The intruders are fools on account of the exaggerated opinion they have of their self-importance. And the Corinthians gladly put up with them, thinking themselves to be so wise (v. 19). The position of hedews ("gladly"), beginning the clause, heightens Paul's sarcasm: "Gladly you put up with fools." The Corinthians have been duped by the apostolic pretenders. Yet they think themselves so wise! The irony of the situation does not escape Paul--nor does the danger. The Corinthians should have seen through these apostolic pretenders, but they chose not to. Moreover, they did not merely turn a blind eye to what they were about but received them with pleasure. Is Paul being too hard on the Corinthian congregation? The next verse suggests that he is not. For although the Corinthians thought themselves so wise in their dealings with the visiting missionaries, they actually allowed themselves to be walked all over (v. 20).
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Importantly, the following paragraphs help to explain just how what was going on in the Corinthian congregation in Pauls day was but a shadow of the things to come in congregations of those professing to be believers all through history. Five terms sum up how the intruders were trying to take advantage of the congregation; First, they were "enslaving" them. Katadouloi denotes absolute subjection or the loss of autonomy (Rengstorf 1964:279). This was all about power, power over Christs sheep. Because the term is used in Galatians 2:4 of Judaizers who sought to enslave the Galatian churches to the rules and regulations of the Mosaic law, some have argued for the same sense here. But there is no hint of a Judaizing polemic in chapters 10--13. Slaps you in the face, at the tail end of verse 20, suggests, instead, subject-ion to a domineering style of pastoral leadership. "Treats you like slaves" or "orders you around" (TEV) more effectively catches the idea. Second, Paul's opponents are "exploiting" the congregation. The Greek term katesthio, commonly used of animals of prey, means to "eat up" or "devour." Paul undoubtedly is thinking of how the intruders set out to devour the Corinthians' finances. So C. K. Barrett's translation "eats you out of house and home" (1973:291) and the NJB's "eats up all you possess" may not be far off the mark. However, we cannot ignore the fact that exploitation may take on other faces. It may not be confined to financial areas alone. It applies just as well to exploiting their time, their efforts and their labor in behalf of their own interests. Third, they are "taking advantage of" the congregation. In terminology related to hunting or fishing, lambano means to "catch" or "take unawares" through the use of alluring bait. Paul uses the verb in 12:16 to denote using alluring bait and catching someone through trickery, which may well be its sense here. Fourth, they "push themselves forward." The verb is literally "to hold or lift up" (epairo). The picture is of individuals who have a lofty or prideful opinions of themselves--constantly keeping their nose in the air or patronizing others.
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Finally, they are "slapping" the congregation "in the face." The Greek verb dero means to "flay" or "skin" (as in "to beat a dead horse"). It usually refers to a physical beating or flogging (Mt 21:35; Mk 12:3, 5; Lk 12:47, 48; 20:10, 11; 22:63; Jn 18:23; Acts 5:40; 16:37; 22:19), but it is also used figuratively for abusive behavior. Matthew 24:49 and he begins to beat [oppress NLT] his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, NRS The overall picture is appalling. It would even be appalling to say that Paul is only anticipating what might happen at Corinth. But the form of the conditional at verse 20 connotes fact (ei tis + indicative), It is happening. Some have indeed come to Corinth and are employing these kinds of browbeating tactics. Paul, however, will never stoop to such levels. To my shame, he admits, . . . we were too weak for that! Biting sarcasm is once again in evidence. It is probably best to put too weak in quotes. This is the voice of the opposition speaking rather than Paul's own self-estimate. He has been accused of being bold enough when away but timid when actually face to face (10:1). We today may be quick to scoff at a congregation like Corinth. How could it permit itself to be fooled, dominated and browbeaten like this? What kind of wimps were they to so readily accept such leadership? But the Corinthian situation actually foretold what would happen to Gods people in future history. We have seen that those who wanted control and power over their fellow humans used and still use the same methods as those 1st century wolves in sheeps clothing masquerading as apostles of Christ did. The only difference is that in our day, they are not a minority of intruders, as they were in Pauls day. They have complete control of what people think is the Christian congregation, but actually the pseudo manifestation of Christs church. (congregation) The phenomenon of the Wheat and the Weeds can be seen at work in both the true Christian congregation (spiritual Israel ) as well as in the earthly physical pseudo church which consists mainly of individuals calling themselves Christians yet picking and choosing
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only those Christian teachings they wish to follow. The wheat and the weeds entanglement can also be seen in the body of teachings that individuals and organizations have espoused throughout history and still do even today. MILESTONES or MILLSTONES? In tracing milestone events leading to modern Christendom one may see a pattern of a deliberate and controlled long term process designed to undermine efforts of Christ and the apostles made to present Jehovah God with a true people for his name. A people who would, unlike the Israelites of old, appreciate their creator as their sovereign and desire to live in harmony with his will all their days on the earth he had given to them. Here are some of the more important milestones in Christendoms church history. Let the readers decide for themselves if these, taken cumulatively, do not show an evolving pattern of clear intent to undermine the true church and replace it with an earthly congregation (church) under the control of men instead of direct headship of Christ. The ultimate success of this intent is measurable by comparing the first century model left by the apostles with what we see on the scene today. The result can be seen in no other way but that it serves the interests of Gods adversary, Satan the Devil and not those of the creator, Jehovah God as much or more than it serves God. 120 CE - The Didache - pronounced didi-kee: This was a non canonical document attributed to have been completed no later than 120 CE. It purports to summarize the teachings of the twelve apostles. The fact that the document contains advice on how to recognize and treat false prophets and false teachers indicates that the problems which began in the Apostles lifetimes continued in the second century. This document indicates that the typical congregation (church) of that time was consistent with the N.T. model set forth by the apostle Paul. (A complete text of the Didache is available on line at:
http://www.paracletepress.com/didache.html) 305

230 CE Origen: wrote in the 3rd Century in defense of Christian beliefs. The career of Origen is one of the more unusual in Christian history. He dedicated himself to defending attacks on Christianity from paganism, Judaism, and Christian heresies. From his writings, it would appear that there was a theology present in his time which had begun to stray from the simple teachings of Jesus and the apostles. While he was seen as a defender against false teachers, it is noteworthy that some of his own teachings later became to be viewed as heresies demonstrating the principal of wheat along with weeds in his own teachings. 258 CE Cyprian of Carthage: By the time of Cyprian, his writings reflected an acknowledgement that there were sinister diabolical forces at work attempting to break up the unity of the body of Christ, (the true congregation /church of Christ). The following excerpts from Cyprians writings indicate how seriously he viewed this in rather extensive writings encouraging unity among the bride (true church). His writings show that he felt the identity of the true church was being overrun by those who called themselves Christians yet served the master of darkness, Satan. The spouse of Christ cannot be defiled; she is uncorrupted and chaste. She knows one home, with chaste modesty she guards the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God; she assigns the children whom she has created to the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined with an adulteress is separated from the promises of the Church, nor will he who has abandoned the Church arrive at the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy . . . persecution alone is not which are made in open attack to overwhelm and cast down the servants of God. The enemy is more to be feared and guarded against when he creeps up secretly, when deceiving us under the appearance of peace he steals forward by hidden approaches. . Not only must we guard
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against things which are open and manifest but also against those which deceive with the subtlety of clever fraud under the very title of Christian name to deceive the incautious. He [Satan] invented heresies and schisms with which to overthrow the faith, to corrupt the truth, to divide unity. Those whom he cannot hold in the blindness of the old way, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way. He snatches men from the Church itself, and, while they seem to themselves to have already approached the light and to have escaped the night of the world, he again pours forth other shadows upon the unsuspecting, so that, although they do not stand with the Gospel of Christ and with the observation of Him and with the law, they call themselves Christians, and, although they walk in darkness, they think that they have light, while the adversary cajoles and deceives. Hence heresies have both frequently arisen and are arising, while the perverse mind has no peace, while discordant perfidy does not maintain unity. During the years following, leading men began to assert themselves and gain power over the local congregations acquiring a title of Bishop, they claimed to rule for Christ. By the time Constantine became Emperor around 311 CE, there were over 300 separate jurisdictions ruled by Bishops scattered over the widespread Roman Empire. They were ruling the congregation of Christians in place of Christ their rightful ruler. By then, Christian adherents are said to have numbered over two million. This was despite a major persecution by Emperor Diocletian around 303CE 312 CE Constantine: Roman Emperor Constantine, saw political opportunity in this rapidly expanding religion and declared it the state religion of Rome. Himself, he claimed to have received a miraculous vision of a Cross in the sky in 312 CE. It is important to note he still remained a worshipper of the Sun God Sol, all his life until just before his death in 337 CE, when he was baptized into the Christian faith by an Arian Bishop. The objective of Constantine and the high Christian Church officials on the scene was to bring peace through mutual comp307

romise. Constantine shortly declared himself Pontifex Maximus over all of Rome, its territories and its districts. Thus he became a Pope of the entire church who at the same time ruled as Emperor. His power and influence was complete for it included both the political and religious realm. To achieve unity, he began a program of combining traditional pagan Roman beliefs and customs with essential Christian beliefs into acceptable hybrid religion capable of exponential growth. What he created not only flourished then but has survived down to our day He started off with Sundays. It was a doctrine that the religions of the empire could easily unite behind. Sunday sacredness was common both to the Sun-worshipers and to compromising Christians. Making that day the sacred day of Christendom could bring the heathen into the Church. And so it happened. It is a historical fact that when Constantine issued this first imperial Sunday edict of A.D. 351, enforcing the observance of Sunday by the people of the Roman Empire, he himself was still a worshiper of Sol Invictus, "the Invincible Sun" (Mithra) as well. So while he was the Pontifex Maximus (supreme pagan pontiff or priest) of Roman heathen worship he was head of the state Chrisrtian Religion which he also claimedto profess. Both he and the Christian leaders at Rome were half-converted Christians and together they worked to unite all under one church roof. In the name of unity, a seemingly endless number of pagan customs and beliefs were integrated into this new entity which was called the Roman Catholic (universal) faith. This was to galvanize the Church as a worldly institution, far removed from the original faith instituted by Christ. For now it held blatant violations of scripture close to the heart of its official doctrine. 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? NIV 1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. ESV
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Matthew 23:10 "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. NAS The institution he founded, with all its variations from the true church Christ had inaugurated at Pentecost in 33 CE, became a hybrid church. By the time he and the Bishops were done combining true teachings handed down by Jesus with the Pagan customs and teachings of the Roman religious system, the church existed in name only. The reality is it more accurately may be labeled a pseudo church. This Pseudo Church was to continue to grow and expand in subsequent generations of church history, all the time adding ever more non-scriptural teachings to the core doctrines of Constantines church. At the same time, a spiritual war was being waged by those true believers known as saints (Spiritual Israel) who were fighting to prevent Satans takeover of the true church just as the apostles had fought and acted as a restraint. 381 - Council of Constantinople At the First Council of Constantinople the Nicene Creed which had been proposed earlier in 325 CE was formally adapted after decades of debate and opposition led by Arian factions who had defeated it previously at councils held n 359CE and 360 CE. By the year 381CE a church counsel held at Constantinople was convened for the purpose of adapting one of the great false teachings in history. It is a teaching that the Pseudo Church still embraces tenaciously today as one if its cornerstones. It was what we know today as the Trinity Doctrine: (see Volume III. Chapter 9, subheading Trinity The Trinity Doctrine asserts that there are three different Gods in one, all co equal, all co eternal. Despite years of controversy by those denying its validity, including Constantine himself who was known to be an Arian, it was adapted into the Catholic (Universal) Church with acceptance of the Nicene Creed in 381 CE. It has maintained its position as a foundation of the church even till today. The doctrine itself has its deeper roots in
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Pagan religions going way back to ancient Babylon, and not in the teachings of Christ or the apostles. In addition to embracing still more non-biblical doctrines and teachings, during the next Century and a half, The pseudo Church took measures to reinforce its authoritarian power and dispose of all opposition. While from time to time this meant resorting to extreme measures in suppressing and eliminating voices of discontent, mostly this was done by deception and misinformation. In addition to having in place a Pope as the ultimate authority in the church, there was an arrangement for church counsels to be convened as seen necessary to deal with new conditions, implement new doctrines and respond to problems as they arose. These counsels consisted of leading powerful men in the church and were held only occasionally. So when they occurred, they were seen as very important. That tradition continues in churches till this day. 451 CE - Council of Chalcedon was about bringing all the local churches under a strengthened centralized control. 787 CE - Second Council of Nicea Whereas the first council of Nicea was instrumental in laying the ground work for the Trinity Doctrine, This council passed a resolution for something that God Almighty would see as fully deplorable and unacceptable according to both the Old and new Testaments of the Bible. The council supported idolatry in the form of veneration of Icons and Images. This was and still is an insult to the True God who demands exclusive devotion and will not share his glory with any others. 1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, fly from the service of idols. DRA or as other versions puts it; 1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. NAS

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1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends,1 flee from the worship of idols. NRS (See also: Exo 34:17, Hosea 4:12 and Isa. 45:16) When examined, all these counsels and the doctrines that came out of them can be seen as being contrary to the context and content as revealed in Gods word the Holy Bible. The church had evolved as a power unto itself, in conflict with Gods sovereignty and under the control and will of men rather than God. The more one cares to compare the scriptures with church doctrines, the more one sees this to be so. It became a pseudo church in that it had the title, bore some resemblance and professed to follow Christs teachings, however when examined closely in the light of scriptural truth, it was a sham and a fraud.

Scripture becomes a thorn to the church


It eventually dawned on some of the power elite in the churches that the holy scriptures were in some ways becoming a thorn in their sides. Scripture was Gods word and as such infallible. (2 Tim. 3:16) The doctrines and teachings they were introducing were of human instigation and sometimes even un-godly. Yet the Paradox was that their faith was supposed to be based on Gods word as he had revealed it to men. At that point a strategy was needed to control what a reader could take from the scriptures by either slanting it to their liking or circumventing it by translating and interpreting it along lines they wanted it to be understood. Of course this presented a problem to them, because this was Gods own inspired word, handed down through the ages over a period of 1100 years by more than 40 different writers all combining to present a consistent and unified picture of his will. As such, the teachings on any given important subject could be found sprinkled throughout the Bible.This made it virtually impossible to alter in every instance where they occurred. Since Divine will was involved with preserving scriptural integrity. This problem was dealt with as well as they could by first assembling a version that was somewhat compatible with their own views and then limiting its exposure or complicating it so that the great majority of people would need the churches learned expertise to interpret it. Then people would essentially be
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able to get all the benefits Gods word had to offer, but in a version that did not conflict with their own self interests. This type of organized arrangement was absolutely dependant on a Clergy / Laity separation. It could not fit the First century model where Holy Spirit acted directly in ways that were in harmony with Gods word in feeding his sheep. Their way was for a clergy class to act as a buffer between God and men wherein the will of men could be substituted for the will of God as a matter of clergy convenience. The scriptures on their most basic level taught that man was to be subject to God and not that God was subject to man as was the churches policy which had been integrated by that time. Thus how the scriptures would be handled became tantamount to trench warfare in the battle for sovereignty being waged for mens minds. Pope Damasus I commissioned Saint Jerome, in 382, to revise the Vetus Latina, which was the compendium of all biblical texts, translated into Latin. Jeromes product became known as versio vulgata, or common version. He is said to have completed a final translation in 405 CE. It was the translation used most often from then on throughout Western Europe, and until about 1530, the Latin Vulgate was the one and only Bible most Western Europeans ever encountered. While it was succeeded by some latter day Catholic versions used in the Church, ie; the Rheims / Douay, the Confraternity, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible and the New American Bible, it is, in fact, still the only official Bible of the Catholic Church. Jeromes translation was made under the official auspices of the Catholic Church. How much its newly accepted Trinity doctrine had an influence on his viewpoint remains a matter of speculation. What we do know is that he remained in favor with the official church and is said to have been canonized as asaint shortly after his death in 420 CE. Nothing seemed wrong with his Bible, because Jeromes translation was reasonably accurate and at its time of publication Latin was spoken throughout most of civilized Europe. It is, more or less, the King James Version in Latin, since the King James translators used
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it as one of their primary guides. But the problem arose when the commoners throughout Europe told their priests, who told their bishops, who told the popes, that the commoners did not understand the first thing about Latin. It was not spoken except in church ceremonies, and thus, in order to learn it, the commoners had to get their priests to teach them. But the priests would not bother teaching them. Why? Because knowledge is power, and the Catholic Church had all of both. For about 1,000 years, the Bible remained well known only to the church officials, clergy of all orders, and an elect few well educated scholars. It was never counter to any Papal Bull for any person to translate the Bible into another language. However, anyone who intended to do so was strongly admonished by the Pope himself, with every archbishop, bishop and priest of the continent told not to translate the Bible into any language besides Biblical Hebrew, Ancient Greek or Latin. These three languages were almost dead at the time, meaning no one spoke them commonly.

A Second Millenium:
By the end of 1st Millennium CE the pseudo church had established such a high degree of control that it began to look for an ongoing policy to deal with those who opposed it. Still, the Bible remained a thorn in its side because when people read it, they got ideas about how far church policy had departed from scriptural policy. The Pseudo Church needed a way to deal with the Bible problem and any opposition to its policies as well. It found this in the process of Inquisition which was designed to seek out and eliminate heresy (teaching, opposed to what was by then considered orthodoxy by the church). 1054 CE - Great Schism between East and West [Power struggle within the church, between leading men] While the church was seeking to neutralize all external opposing influence to what it had by then established as its official face, there occurred a struggle for position, power and influence within the church itself. In 1054 The church divided into two major
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factions commonly known today as the Eastern Orthodox church and the Roman church. This was portrayed on the surface as disagreement about doctrine when in reality it was all about power and position, about who should be foremost and how they should exercise that power. Like the rest of future rebellions and attempts to reform the church, it could address almost any subject except mans desire to rule himself and his fellow man. This was an absolutely sacrosanct area which touched the very heart of Gods issue with Satan the Devil and Adam and Eves rebellion in the Garden of Eden. The church would never solve it satisfactorily in Gods eyes by burying its head in the sand, which is exactly what it has done when it comes to recognizing how important this issue is to God, By the end of the first millennium CE, most of western Europe had been converted to Christianity. By this time, there was little or no separation of Church and State. That is, secular and ecclesial offices and legal systems overlapped. The effects of one system were recognized within the other. Because of this, the secular powers and the Church, even with all their disagreements and failures, had developed a common foundation and aim in protecting their perceived common good. (men ruling in place of God) One general effect of all this was that secular politics was not entirely severed from the Church. Instead, political and religious questions were inextricably intertwined, and religious heresies were also considered a kind of political treason. An interesting sidelight here; While Jesus and his apostles had taught that Gods kingdom was no part of the world and that the world was under the power of Satan, (1 Joh. 5:19) and consistently declined involvement in political affairs, (Jam. 4:4, John 15:19, 17:14, 18:36), the Pseudo Church saw things entirely differently. It was not omlyinvolved with the political elements of the world, in most cases the reality was little or no separation between church and state. The inquisition process was designed to deal with any and all questions which could be raised by individuals who saw sins inherent in the pseudo church and either objected or spoke out against it. It was quite simple; the church had proclaimed itself as Gods voice on earth and any opposer was seen as a heretic. Truth
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was to be accepted solely based on what the church deemed it to be. Anything else was to be seen as heresy. Church doctrine was the only education available to the masses and everyone was subjected to a steady diet of indoctrination. In many instances Gods word the Bible, which exposed falsehood was suppressed and withheld from the population at large. There was even a time when there was no printed Bible in English. And there was another time in England when under the Roman Catholic Church, it was illegal to translate the Scriptures into the common language from Latin also, it was illegal to read those illegal translations in public or to own one. It was a time when people were martyred for either owning or translating Bibles. During the period when the Roman Catholic Church was in power, she did everything she could to keep the Bible out of the hands of the common people. It was illegal to translate the Bible into the common languages, even though most people could not read the official Catholic Bible because it was in Latin, a language known only to the highly educated. While the church and its defenders deny that there ever was this kind of repression against Gods word, history proves this claim a lie. Consider some of the laws Rome instituted against Bible translation. These began to be made in the 13th century and were in effect through the 19th. (1) In the year 1215 Pope Innocent III issued a law commanding that they shall be seized for trial and penalties, WHO ENGAGE IN THE TRANSLATION OF THE SACRED VOLUMES, or who hold secret conventicles, or who assume the office of preaching without the authority of their superiors; (J.P. Callender, Illustrations of Popery, 1838, p. 387). (2) The Council of Toulouse (1229) FORBADE THE LAITY TO
POSSESS OR READ THE VERNACULAR TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE (Allix, Ecclesias-tical History, II, p. 213).

(3) The Council of Tarragona (1234) ORDERED ALL


VERNACULAR VERSIONS TO BE BROUGHT TO THE BISHOP TO BE BURNED (Paris Simms, Bible from the Beginning, p.

1929, 162).

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(4) In 1483 the infamous Inquisitor General Thomas Torquemada began his reign of terror as head of the Spanish Inquisition; King Ferdinand and his queen PROHIBITED ALL,
UNDER THE SEVEREST PAINS, FROM TRANSLATING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE INTO THE VULGAR TONGUES, OR FROM USING IT WHEN TRANSLATED BY OTHERS (MCrie, p. 192).

For more than three centuries the Bible in the common tongue was a forbidden book in Spain and multitudes of copies perished in the flames, together with those who cherished them. (5) In England, too, laws were passed by the Catholic authorities against vernacular Bibles. The Constitutions of Thomas Arundel, issued in 1408 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, made this brash demand: WE THEREFORE
DECREE AND ORDAIN THAT NO MAN SHALL, HEREAFTER, BY HIS OWN AUTHORITY, TRANSLATE ANY TEXT OF THE SCRIPTURE INTO ENGLISH, OR ANY OTHER TONGUE

(6) Pope Leo X (1513-1521), who railed against Luthers efforts to follow the biblical precept of faith alone and Scripture alone, called the fifth Lateran Council (1513-1517), which charged that no books should be printed except those approved by the Roman Catholic Church. THEREFORE

FOREVER THEREAFTER NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PRINT ANY BOOK OR WRITING WITHOUT A PREVIOUS EXAMINATION, TO BE TESTIFIED BY MANUAL SUBSCRIPTION, BY THE PAPAL VICAR AND MASTER OF THE SACRED PALACE IN ROME, and in other cities and dioceses by the Inquisition, and the bishop or an expert appointed by him. FOR NEGLECT OF THIS THE PUNISHMENT WAS EXCOMMUNICATION, THE LOSS OF THE EDITION, WHICH WAS TO BE BURNED, a fine of 100 ducats to the fabric of St. Peters, and suspension from business for a year (Henry Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages).

(7) These restrictions were repeated by the Council of Trent in 1546, which placed translations of the Bible, such as the German, Spanish, and English, on its list of prohibited books and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Catholic bishop or inquisitor. Following is a quote from Trent: IT SHALL NOT BE
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LAWFUL FOR ANYONE TO PRINT OR TO HAVE PRINTED ANY BOOKS WHATSOEVER DEALING WITH SACRED DOCTRINAL MATTERS WITHOUT THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR, OR IN THE FUTURE TO SELL THEM, OR EVEN TO HAVE THEM IN POSSESSION, UNLESS THEY HAVE FIRST BEEN EXAMINED AND APPROVED BY THE ORDINARY, UNDER PENALTY OF ANATHEMA AND FINE prescribed by the last Council of the

Lateran (Fourth session, April 8, 1546, The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Translated by H.J. Schroeder, pp. 17-19).

These rules were affixed to the Index of Prohibited Books and were constantly reaffirmed by popes in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. These prohibitions, in fact, have never been rescinded. It is true that the Council of Trent did not absolutely forbid the reading of the Scriptures under all circumstances. It allowed a few exceptions. The priests were allowed to read the Latin Bible. Bishops and inquisitors were allowed to grant license for certain faithful Catholics to read the Scriptures in Latin as long as these Scriptures were accompanied by Catholic notes and if it was believed that these would not be harmed by such reading. In practice, though, the proclamations of Trent forbade the reading of the Holy Scriptures to at least nine-tenths of the people. Romes claim to possess authority to determine who can and cannot translate, publish, and read the Bible is one of the most blasphemous claims ever made under this sun. Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) confirmed the Council of Trents proclamations against Bible translations (Eadie, History of the English Bible, II, p. 112) and went even further by forbidding licenses to be granted for the reading of the Bible under any conditions (Richard Littledale, Plain Reasons Against Joining the Church of Rome, 1924, p. 91). (8) The restrictions against ownership of the vernacular Scriptures were repeated by the popes until the end of the 19th century: Benedict XIV (1740-1758) confirmed the Council of Trents proclamations against Bible translations (Eadie, History of the
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English Bible, II, p. 112) and issued an injunction that no versions whatever should be suffered to be read but those which should be approved of by the Holy See, accompanied by notes derived from the writings of the Holy Fathers, or other learned and Catholic authors (D.B. Ray, The Papal Controversy, p. 479). A counter attack in the battle for mens minds It was during the reign of Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) that the modern Bible society movement began. These can be seen as an instrument of Holy Spirit in exposing Gods word to a worldwide audience and reaching into every nook and cranny of the earth. The British and Foreign Bible Society was formed in March 1804, the purpose being to encourage a wider circulation of the Holy Scriptures without note or comment. Other societies were soon created for the same exalted purpose. Germany (1804); Ireland (1806); Canada (1807); Edinburgh (1809); Hungary (1811); Finland, Glasgow, Zurich, Prussia (1812); Russia (1813); Denmark and Sweden (1814); Netherlands, Iceland (1815); America, Norway, and Waldensian (1816); Australia, Malta, Paris (1817); etc. One of the societies began distributing a Polish Bible in Poland. The Pope, instead of praising the Lord that the eternal Word of God was being placed into the hands of the multitudes of spiritually needy people, showed his displeasure by issuing a bull against Bible Societies on June 29, 1816. The Pope expressed himself as shocked by the circulation of the Scriptures in the Polish tongue. He characterized this practice as a most crafty device, by which the very foundations of religion are undermined, a pestilence, which he must remedy and abolish, a defilement of the faith, eminently dangerous to souls. Pope Pius VII also rebuked Archbishop Buhusz of Mohiley in Russia because of his endorsement of a newly formed Bible society (Kenneth Latourette, The Nineteenth Century in Europe, p. 448). The papal brief, dated September 3, 1816, declared that if the Sacred Scriptures were allowed in the vulgar tongue everywhere without discrimination, more detriment than benefit would arise (Jacobus, Roman Catholic and Protestant Versions Compared, p. 236).
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Pope Leo XII (1823-29) issued a bull to the Bishops in Ireland, May 3, 1824, in which he affirmed the Council of Trent and condemned Bible distribution. It is no secret to you, venerable brethren, that a certain Society, vulgarly called The Bible Society, is audaciously spreading itself through the whole world. After despising the traditions of the holy Fathers, and in opposition to the wellknown Decree of the Council of Trent, this Society has collected all its forces, and directs every means to one object,--the translation, or rather the perversion, of the Bible into the vernacular languages of all nations. . IF THE SACRED SCRIPTURES BE EVERY-WHERE INDISCRIMINATELY PUBLISHED, MORE EVIL THAN ADVANTAGE WILL ARISE THENCE, on account of the rashness of men (Bull of Leo XII, May 3, 1824; cited from Charles Elliott, Delineation of Roman Catholicism, 1851, p. 21). This Pope re-published the Index of Prohibited Books on March 26, 1825, and mandated that the decrees of the Council of Trent be enforced against distribution of Scriptures (R.P. Blakeney, Popery in Its Social Aspect, p. 137). Pope Gregory XVI (1831-46) ratified the decrees of his predecessors, forbidding the free distribution of Scripture. In his encyclical of May 8, 1844, this Pope stated: Moreover, we confirm and renew the decrees recited above, DELIVERED IN FORMER TIMES BY APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY, AGAINST THE PUBLICATION, DISTRIBUTION, READING, AND POSSESSION OF BOOKS OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES TRANSLATED INTO THE VULGAR TONGUE (James Wylie, The Papacy, 1867, p. 182). This encyclical was delivered against Bible societies in general, and mentioned in particular the Christian Alliance, which was formed in 1843 in New York for the purpose of distributing Scriptures. Pope Pius IX (1846-78) in November 1846 issued an encyclical letter in which he denounced all opponents of Roman Catholicism, among which he included those insidious Bible Societies. He said the Bible societies were renewing the crafts of the ancient heretics by distributing to all kinds of men, even the least instructed, gratuitously and at immense expense, copies in vast numbers of the books of the Sacred Scriptures translated against the holiest rules of the Church into various vulgar tongues... What a horrible crime! Distributing the Scriptures freely to all people! It was Pius IX who had himself and his fellow popes declared infallible at the Vatican
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I Council in 1870. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) published an Apostolic Constitution in 1897 which stated: All versions of the vernacular, even by Catholics, are altogether prohibited, unless approved by the Holy See, or published under the vigilant care of the Bishops, with annotations taken from the Fathers of the Church and learned Catholic writers (Melancthon Jacobus, Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles, p. 237). Where the Roman Catholic Church held power the Bible was always scarce. Consider a few examples: When the government of New Orleans was taken over in 1803, it was not till after a long search for a Bible to administer the oath of office that a Latin Vulgate was at last procured from a priest (William Canton, The Bible and the Anglo-Saxon People, I, p. 245). In Quebec, as late as 1826, MANY PEOPLE HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (Canton, II, 61). The situation was the same in South America, where for about three centuries, were almost entirely without the Bible. It was 1831 before the first Bible was printed in Spanish America, and even then the copies were exorbitantly expensive (Canton, II, 347). Thus, even when Catholic authorities finally printed some Bibles, they were priced far beyond the reach of most people. Between December 1907 and February 1908 a diligent search was made to determine how many Bibles were available in Catholic Ireland. Not a portion of the Bible was available in bookshops in Athlone, Balbriggan, Drogheda, Mullingar, Wexford, and Clonmel. A shop assistant at Mullingar said, I never saw a Catholic Bible. When asked about the New Testament, a sales person at the The Catholic Truth Society replied, We dont keep it. Those who did the extensive survey concluded that IN NINE TENTHS OF THE CITIES, TOWNS, AND VILLAGES OR IRELAND A ROMAN CATHOLIC COULD NOT PROCURE A COPY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLE OR NEW TESTAMENT (Alexander Robertson, The Papal Conquest, 1909, pp. 166-167). These facts uncover only the tip of an iceberg in regard to Romes attitude toward the Bible in former times. A book Rome and the Bible: The History of the Bible through the Centuries and Romes Persecution against It documents this more extensively. It is
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available from Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 61368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org. Back to the Inquisition and how it dealt with those opposing the church: Back in the 12th century CE THE WALDENSES (also called Vaudois or Albigenses) are an example of what occurred during this period. They lived in the mountains of Italy and France and eventually spread throughout Europe; they refused to join the Catholic Church or recognize the Pope. They accepted the Bible as the sole source for faith and practice and had their own translations, which they diligently reproduced in hand-written copies. Rome persecuted the Waldenses all throughout the Dark Ages up until the 18th century. A few brief descriptions of the persecutions against the Waldenses follow. Note that many entire books have been written about these persecutions and the following facts only hint at the destruction and torment poured out upon these people. [For more information, the readers attention is invited to the Fundamental Baptist CD-Rom Library, which contains dozens of rare antiquarian Baptist and Waldensian histories, including Baptist History by John M. Cramp (1852), The Story of the Baptists in All Ages and Countries by Richard Cook (1888), Memorials of Baptist Martyrs by J. Newton Brown (1854), A History of the Baptists by Thomas Armitage (1890), A History of the Christian Church (Waldenses) by William Jones (1819), History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont and Albigenses by Pierre Allix (1690, 1692), A History of the Waldenses by J.A. Wylie (1860), and A History of the Ancient Christians of the Valleys of the Alps by Perrin (1618). The Fundamental Baptist CD-Rom Library is available from Way of Life Literature, 866295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org.] The enforcer for the church in these policies was often the secular court system, with property illegally confiscated and guilty ones either imprisoned or done away with. When Gods Holy Spirit moved individuals to uphold his side of the issue, the power of the church was brought to bear against them.
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This is not to say that there was a recognizable group on the scene at any time in history that held un-adulterated pure truth. There was not. However there were individuals all throughout those years who stood up for and taught those truths from Gods word which the church was hiding. However even for those who were anointed with Gods spirit, there was still the Syndrome of wheat and weeds to contend with, often within their own teachings. Whereas they could see pure truths in some respects, there were also things that remained unclear or rooted in previously biased thinking which sullied their teachings. Satan was at work on every level, using every deceptive tool at his command. He knew human nature and the way the human mind functions and used that knowledge to his own advantage. It was then and still is a spiritual (non material) warfare with the most significant battles being fought over human minds and hearts in their own brains. Over the Centuries there is known to have been a considerable number of attempts by different ones who stood for truth and tried to bring about reform in the church They sought to restore it to its first century prototype as established by the apostles. These were all labeled heretics by the powerful pseudo church and dealt with as any opposer to church doctrine would be. Either they were discredited, persecuted, imprisoned or done away with in some fashion or another, even to the extent of killing some of them. During unfolding centuries, secular rulers, Church councils, and popes called for full scale investigations and prosecution of heresy and for punishment of all unrepentant heretics. Initially these efforts were somewhat ineffective due to a lack of focus and disorganization on the part of enforcers. To remedy the disorganized response to heresy, Pope Gregory IX (1227-41) took on the task of bringing the investigation of heresy under the discipline of the Holy See. What we term the Inquisition was said to simply be the ecclesiastical tribunal with specially appointed judges (inquisitors) answerable to both the local bishop and the pope, whose task it was to investigate charges of heresy in a systematic and fair way. However, in retrospect, the entire concept as it played out can be seen as one of the most heinous abuses of human rights ever perpetrated on people in all of human history.

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This first phase of the Inquisition began to die out in the 1300s as the heresies themselves faded. The next phase began in 1478 when, at the request of the Spanish sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella, Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84) issued a papal bull allowing for the creation of the Spanish Inquisition. It lasted until it was formally abolished in 1834, although its most fervent activity was during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Spanish Inquisition is the most notorious of the inquisitions for three reasons. First, it was crueler perhaps because punish-ment was administered by the secular government. Second, it was concerned, in large part, with the conversos. These were Jews who had converted either under duress or out of social convenience, and were suspected of secretly practicing the Jewish faith. And third, it has been the main target of Protestant and secular opponents of Catholicism who have published through pamphlets, books, histories, plays, and even paintings sometimes illustrating cruelties and excesses even beyond those which actually occurred. Still, regardless of how the church tries to trivialize events which occurred under its watch, a diabolical attitude and mentality continued to be evident in its exercise of power. Deception, misinformation and outright lying remained crucial to its power base and control of the masses. This is highly significant as it helps identify the mindset behind church policies. (Joh. 8:44) For example in the following ten examples we see how the church dealt with anyone it saw as opposition. In this we also see the mentality and thinking of the men who have been in control over the pseudo church for centuries. SURPRESSING GODS CHAMPIONS While the church held fast its claim to ultimate authority in matters spiritual as well as secular, there were individuals on the scene who were moved by Gods spirit to champion the truth and opt for reform and changes in the pseudo church. In the second millennium much of the opposition to the church took the form of those who had a love for Holy Scripture and wanted to get Gods word to the people in a form they could all have personal
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access to. This was an idea the church was opposed to. Apparently it saw this as a potential hazard to its own power and position. Later, after it had lost the battle to totally suppress Gods word, it was able to assume a different strategy which included distorting scripture in ways that it seemed to support church doctrines. This has been a strategy so effective it is still in use by the pseudo church today. Some of those reformers who championed the cause of bringing the Bible to the people in a form they all could read were; John Wycliffe:
John Wycliffe presaged Martin Luther as a Protestant reformer.

Wycliffe lived from c. 1328 to 31 December 1384, about a hundred years before Luther. Wycliffe wanted people to worship God and Jesus according to the Bible, not according to the popes and their bishops and priests. He saw that people are imperfect and corrupttible, while the Bible is not, and thus, he saw no good sense in taking ones troubles to a priest, so the priest could make one feel better. He believed communication directly with God, via prayer, was not impossible, but required an understanding of the Bible, so he saw a need to get the Bible to people in a form they could easily understand without clerical help. Wycliffe preached in England, and on the Continent, that priests should do nothing more than oversee church services and help the laypeople interpret the Bible for themselves. It didnt take long for Wycliffe to irritate a few Catholics, particularly Pope Gregory XI. Gregory issued no less than five Papal Bulls attempting to shut Wycliffe up, but he would not be silent. Wycliffe went so far as to argue that the pope and the Antichrist were practically equivalent, and denounced the papal throne as a throne of Satan on Earth. He was the first to translate the complete Bible into English, which did not endear him to the Catholic hierarchy. The church held that Gods word should be read in Latin, a language spoken and understood by the clergy and intellectuals of the time, not by the common people. The Church did not attempt to catch and kill Wycliffe, ostensibly because it could not find him (he traveled extensively in England, France, and the Netherlands), or because it
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did not like the risk of invading England to get him. He died three days after suffering a stroke. Thirty years later, The Council of Constance ended the three popes reign and elected Alexander V, who immediately denounced Wycliffe as a heretic, had as many of his books burned as could be found on the Continent and in England, and then posthumously excommunicated him to be consigned to ever-lasting flames from the moment of his death. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe had produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. Pope Martin V was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and burned at the stake with the ashes scattered in the river. The next example is not for an individual, rather of an idea: The idea was one which Wycliffe had promoted extensively. It was that Gods word should be in the vernacular (language) of the common people. This was not an idea favorable to the thinking of the church who maintained they certainly had nothing against Gods word. Pope Damasus I commissioned Saint Jerome, in 382, to revise the Vetus Latina, which was the compendium of all biblical texts, translated into Latin. Jeromes product became known as versio vulgata, or common version. It was the translation used most often from then on throughout Western Europe, and from 400 to about 1530, the Latin Vulgate was the one and only Bible most Western Europeans ever encountered. It is, in fact, still the only official Bible of the Catholic Church. Jeromes translation was correct according to what he had available to him and at its time of publication Latin was spoken throughout most of Europe by the educated few and clerical scholars. It more or less, resembles the King James Version, but in Latin, since the King James translators used it as one of their primary guides. But the problem arose because the commoners did not understand the first thing about Latin. It was not spoken
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except in church ceremonies, and thus, in order to learn it, the commoners had to get their priests to teach them. But the priests were not to be bothered by teaching them. Why? Because knowledge is power, and the Catholic Church had all of both. For about 1,000 years, the Bible remained well known only to the church officials, clergy of all orders, and an elect few well educated scholars. Anyone who intended to make a common language version available to the masses was strongly admonished against doing so by the Pope himself, with every arch-bishop, bishop and priest on the continent and told not to translate the Bible into any language besides Biblical Hebrew, Ancient Greek or Latin. No one spoke them commonly and they would be of no benefit to the masses. Therefore, the masses would remain fully dependant on the church rather than the word of God for any spiritual food the sheep were allowed to have. Galileo: Galileo Galilei may have had a problem with the churches hegemony on all education but he wasnt opposed to the church per se. He was good friends with Pope Urban VIII, and dedicated some of his works to him. What he found out was that if one even has an idea that opposes an idea the church holds, this is intolerable and either you or your idea must be eliminated. One day Galileo discovered, via his own pet design for the refracting telescope, that Jupiter has moons, and Jupiters moons orbit Jupiter, NOT Earth. What this meant to him was that orbits are based on gravity, not mankinds ignorance or arrogance. This idea is called heliocentrism, which is, The Sun is at the center of the solar system, and Earth, like everything else nearby, orbits the Sun. Galileo was of the opinion that Nicholas Copernicus was right. The Earth was not the center as the church taught. The Church didnt want to hear about heliocentrism. Galileo went to Rome to persuade the Church not to ban Copernicuss works, and instead of convincing them, the Church officials turned on Galileo and demanded that he desist with his ideas of Heliocentrism. He refused, but did back off for a few years. Urban VIII tried what he dared to help him, but the facts connected to his idea themselves
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were deemed vehemently heretical, and Galileo was finally brought before an Inquisition and forced under threat of excommunication and torture to abjure, curse, and detest heliocentrism. The trial of Galileo Galilei is one of the most infamous and embarrasssing moments in Catholic history. It still hasnt gone away. It is said at one point he let his Italian temper get the better of him (after several years of aggravation), when he stood and bellowed, The Bible tells you how to go to Heaven! It does NOT tell you how the heavens go! The Catholic Church did not lift its ban on heliocentrical thought until 1758. It was not until 1992, 350 years after his death, that a pope, John Paul II, formally apologized for the Church placing Galileo under house arrest for the last 9 years of his life, and denouncing his discoveries which, ironically, were also incorrect as Galileo taught that the Sun was the center of the universe not just our solar system. What Galileo might have learned from this experience is that he didnt have to oppose the church per se, all he had to do was oppose an idea the church subscribed to, no matter how improvable it might be. If it was held by the church, it was beyond questioning. John Paul IIs successor, Benedict XVI, is on record as stating that the Catholic Churchs verdict against Galileo was rational and just and the revision of this verdict can be justified only on the grounds of what is politically opportune. Politically, mind you; not factually. Has church mentality changed much in all these years? Jan Hus: Jan Hus (c. 1369 6 July 1415) was a Czech priest and Catholic reformer who could not stand what he saw as various corruptions rife throughout the Roman Catholic Church. It would take too long to explain every detail of his arguments with the Church, but they can all be simplified to his view that the priests, bishops, archbishops and popes were immoral and given to sin, just as any other human was. Thus, any rule the Church established was corrupt, because 100% of the rules necessary for Christian living and salvation had already been written by God in the Bible.

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He made no secret of his disdain and outright antagonism for the Church in his Prague pulpit. He especially wanted the papal schism to end. There were two popes at the time, Gregory XII and Benedict XIII. In 1409, Alexander V was elected to appease both sides, but this backfired. Hus saw it was one more proof that the Church was a human institution, and no longer divine. In 1411, indulgences received a sudden surge of popularity following the death of Pragues Archbishop, Zbynek Zajic, when Antipope John XXIII advocated indulgences to insure that all those under his bishopric would be cleaned of the sin of following Hus. Hus sternly preached against indulgences. So, in 1415, the Church convened the Council of Constance to put an end to the papal schism, but also to put an end to Hus. They tricked him into coming to the Council under a letter of indemnity, which meant they promised to do no harm at all to him. All they wanted was to talk. While he was there, the Church started the rumor that he was trying to escape the city of Constance (Konstanz). He was not trying to escape, because he wrote his will before leaving Prague. He knew they might try to kill him, and they did, arresting, trying and imprisoning him for heresy. He was held in an underground dungeon, fed very little, contracting the flu and possibly pneumonia. He was ordered to recant his teachings, and he refused, stating that he stood firmly and solely on the Bible, that for the Church to demand his recantation of the Bible was the same as demanding Gods genuflection to the Roman Catholic Church. This infuriated the Church officials, who promptly sentenced him to death. They refused him the Last Rites and burned him at the stake. Joan of Arc Joan of Arc believed that God had called her to lead the French in kicking the English out of France once and for all. She instigated an uprising in 1429, and led a successful relief force to the besieged city of Orleans, where she aided Gilles de Rais as well as Jean de Dunois and Jean de Brosse, in lifting the siege and routing the English oppressors.
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While she certainly couldnt be considered a true Christian in terms of Matthew 5:44, and John. 18:46, she was nevertheless a person of religious conviction according to her own understanding. Long story short, Joan roused the political irritation of quite a few Catholic political honchos in the area. But when they set about opening up a trial against her, they could find no legitimate evidence. But they opened the trial anyway, and also refused to allow her any legal counsel. This was patently against their own rules. During this farce, the inquisitors (French Bishops who favored the rule of the English), especially Jean LeMaitre, tried to trap Joan with her own words, just like the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to trap Jesus with his own words. She calmly and carefully turned all their traps back against them. She left them no ground at all on which to base her execution, so of course, they killed her anyway. They hated her and wanted to kill her. In the end, they had to lie. Joan of Arc was executed for heresy, not because she claimed to hear the voice of God, not because she defied and killed the English, but because she was said to have worn a mans clothing while in prison. This was also forbidden, and thus punishable by being burned at the stake. She requested that her last meal be Holy Communion. The Church officials refused; in essence trying everything they could to consign her to Hell. It was even discovered after her death that she had never worn a mans clothing. Her case was successfully appealed 25 years later, and she was exonerated by the Pope at the behest of St Joans mother. Nevertheless, the Church did not canonize her until 16 May, 1920, five hundred years after she was killed. Martin Luther:
Martin Luther dealt the symbolic blow that began the Protestant Reformation when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. That document contained an attack on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences by church officials. Luther, himself a product of the Catholic Church system was a Bible scholar who wholeheartedly believed the Bible was Gods inspired word. His studies in the Bible led him to recognize differences between what it said and the way the Catholic Church practiced
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Christianity. He felt moved by Gods spirit to do something about it and began a quest for reform within the church. This was the beginning of what became known as the Protestant reformation, with protestant having the root meaning of to protest. But Luther himself saw the Reformation as something far more important than a revolt against ecclesiastical abuses. He believed it was a fight for the gospel. (good news of the Christ) Luther even stated that he would have happily yielded every point of dispute to the Pope, if only the Pope had affirmed the gospel. And at the heart of the gospel, in Luther's estimation, was the doctrine of justification by faiththe teaching that Christ's own righteousness is imputed to those who believe, and on that ground alone, they are accepted by God. That doctrine, often called the Material Principle of the Reformation, echoed what the apostle Paul taught as well: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). Luthers theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge. The church taught, and still teaches that the Bible is a parallel source of divine knowledge alongside the church itself and that only the pope is the final authority in determining scriptural meaning from the Bible. In the spring of 1521 a trial for heresy was held before the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the Diet of Worms in the spring of 1521.Historians have described it as the trial that led to the birth of the modern world. On May 6, a final draft of the Edict of Worms, prepared by Alexander, was submitted to the Diet. It was finally signed by the emperor on May 26. The Edict called Luther a "reviver of the old and condemned heresies" and an "inventor of new ones." It called for the burning of his books and for confiscation of his property. It cut him off from the church, called for his arrest, and forbid anyone from harboring or sustaining him. Finally, it warned that anyone who dares to directly or indirectly oppose this decree...will be guilty of the crime of lese majeste (treason against a sovereign
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power) and will incur our grave indignation as well as each of the punishments mentioned above." By the time the Edict of Worms was announced, Martin Luther was a month gone from Worms. He was, in fact, at Wartburg Castle where he had been hustled on horseback by a gang of "abductors" as part of a staged kidnapping on his route back to Wittenberg. Frederick the Wise had decided to hide him. Under the protection of Frederick Luther began to translate the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts into German. In 1534 the complete Bible containing both old and new testaments along with the Apocrypha, was completed. During that time, his teachings and his writings had gotten exposure all over Europe and had gained a substantial following. The Catholic Church condemned Martin Luther as a heretic, excommunicated him from the Church and refuted those of his writings that were against the Faith. Luther eventually returned to Wittenberg where he had nailed his original Ninety-Five Theses on the church door and preached his version of what he understood Gods word to be until his death in 1546. Martin Luther was a man who responded to the leading of Gods spirit as he understood it. As it turned out, his 95 theses were only the tip of an iceberg and while a whole reformation was staged and obtained an enormous following, the reforms still fell far short of restoring the church to its originally intended apostolic roots. The pseudo Church now existed in yet another form but it was still a pseudo church. Despite the Churches opposition to having the Bible made available to the masses, events were taking shape to afford anyone and everyone on earth access to Gods inspired word, as we know it today, the Holy Bible.

Johann Gutenberg
Guttenberg was not known as a particularly religious man, yet what he contributed to the Holy Spirits making Gods word available to humanity cannot be denied.
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He invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Born as Johann Gensfleisch (John Gooseflesh), he preferred to be known as Johann Gutenberg (John Beautiful Mountain). Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the most important invention in history. The church was opposed to widespread distribution of a Bible everyone could read. Whether this was any connection to Gutenberg being a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took control of his business and left him in poverty cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the cat was out of the bag so to say. The invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to getting Gods word into the hands of the masses and away from exclusive jurisdiction of the church. The Bible as we have demonstrated in earlier volumes is Gods book. As such, it reveals his thinking to humans. It is the primary tool Gods spirit uses in establishing a means by which humans may get to know him and what his will is. It is absolutely essential for worshipping him in spirit and truth. In this it represents a means toward godly freedom and salvation for true believers and a threat to the influence and power to those who wish to control and manipulate others in ungodly ways. The Bible itself took on the proportions of a battlefield for the hearts and minds of men. While the church continued to suppress its exposure for at least a thousand years eventually it was doomed to lose that battle. Gods spirit was at work at opposing suppression of the bible. Not only did God preserve the essential communication he had given men through the bible, he also took measures to preserve the Bible itself as a composite book of scripture representing his thoughts for all posterity. The pseudo church, no matter how hard it would try, could not circumvent his will is this. The Bible was there and it was a force to be reckoned with.
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However the fight for control of the minds of the masses was far from over. The Church remained an enemy of the Bible in both blatant and subtle ways. As the years passed, the church continued to surpress the Bible either in its content or in its distribution. However there continued to appear individuals who must be seen as champions for the Bible, for reform and for change in the face of church opposition. Examples in those Champions for the Bible met the following outcomes: William Tyndale: The Tyndale Bible generally refers to the body of biblical translations by William Tyndale. Tyndales Bible is credited with being the first English translation to work directly from Hebrew and Greek texts. Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the Architect of the English Language, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today. Tyndales translations were condemned in England, where his work was banned and copies burned. Catholic officials, prominently Thomas More, charged that he had purposely mistranslated the ancient texts in order to promote anticlericalism and heretical views. They cited the terms church, priest, do penance and charity, which became in the Tyndale translation congregation, elder repent and love,in the revised edition of 1534), In this he was accused of challenging key doctrines of the Roman Church. Betrayed to church officials in 1536 by a social acquainttance in the indirect employ of the church, he was defrocked in an elaborate public ceremony and turned over to the civil authorities to be strangled to death and burned at the stake. His last
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words are said to have been, "Lord, open the eyes of the king of England!" Miles Coverdale: Coverdale studied at Cambridge (bachelor of canon law 1513), became priest at Norwich in 1514 and entered the convent of Austin friars at Cambridge. When Robert Barnes was tried for heresy in 1526 Coverdale assisted in his defense and shortly afterward left the convent and gave himself entirely to translating. In 1535 he published the first complete English Bible in print, the so-called Coverdale Bible. As Coverdale was not proficient in Hebrew or Greek, he used 'five sundry interpreters' in Latin, English and 'Douche' (German) as source text. He made use of Tyndale's translation of the New Testament (following Tyndale's November 1534 Antwerp edition) and of those books which were translated by Tyndale: the Pentateuch, and the book of Jonah. He returned to England in 1539, living briefly in Newbury, but on the execution of Thomas Cromwell (who had been his friend and protector since 1527) in 1540, he was compelled again to go into exile and lived for a time at Tbingen, and, between 1543 and 1547, was a pastor and schoolmaster at Bergzabern (now Bad Bergzabern) in the Electorate of the Palatinate, and very poor. On 20 January 1569, Coverdale died in London and was buried in St. Bartholomew's by the Exchange; when that church was demolished in 1840 to make way for the new Royal Exchange, his remains were moved to St. Magnus. Thomas Matthew (John Rogers) The Matthew Bible, also known as Matthew's Version, was first published in 1537 by John Rogers, under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew". It combined the New Testament of William Tyndale, and as much of the Old Testament as he had been able to translate before being captured and put to death. The translations of Myles Coverdale from German and Latin sources completed the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, except the Apocryphal Prayer of
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Manasses. It is thus an important link in the main sequence of English Bible translations. Rogers was a lecturer in the Anglican Church who received income through the church. On 16 August 1553 John Rogers was summoned before the council and bidden to keep within his own house. His income source was taken away and his position was filled by some ones else in October. In January 1554, Bonner, the new Bishop of London, sent him to Newgate Prison, where he lay with John Hooper, Laurence Saunders, John Bradford and others for a year. Their petitions, whether for less rigorous treatment or for opportunity of stating their case, were disregarded. In December 1554, Parliament re-enacted the penal statutes against Lollards, (Lollards promoted the reading of the Holy Scripture in the vernacular as the means for knowing the true Word of God.) And on 22 January 1555, two days after they took effect, Rogers (with ten other people accused of sympathizing with Lollards) came before the council at Gardiner's house in Southwark, and defended himself in the examination that took place. On 28 and 29 January he came before the commission appointed by Cardinal Pole, and was sentenced to death by Gardiner for heretically denying the Christian character of the Church of Rome and the real presence in the sacrament. He awaited and met death cheerfully, though he was even denied a meeting with his wife. He was burned at the stake on 4 February 1555 at Smithfield. Noailles. Thomas Cranmer: Cranmer was an enthusiastic scholar, and he found himself in sympathy with the continental movement toward church reform that emphasized the importance of both the Bible and secular authority over papal authority. Cranner found himself immersed in a major political controversy of the time. He was induced to write a theological defense in support of Henry VIIIs divorce which was seen as illegal by the Church of
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Rome. Henry in appreciation elevated Cranmer to the title of Arch Bishop of Canterbury, the titular head of the Anglican Church. During the reign of Henry VIII, Cranmer worked toward his own version of sensible ecclesiastical reform, including a new translation of the Bible in English. In1549 Cranmer produced The Book of Common Prayer (a second revised version was issued in 1552), which introduced a storm of controversy. Cranmer presented the view that a proper Christian communion meal depends more on the heart of the practitioner than the actual bread and wine used in the ceremony. He also encouraged the public reading of the Bible by the entire congregation. Cranmer's brief reform movement was overturned when Mary I came to the throne in 1552. Mary, a firm Catholic, quickly had Cranmer tried and sentenced to death for treason. The sentence was not carried out, though, and Cranmer was tried anew for heresy. During his trial Cranmer, under pressure, un-idealistically recanted his reform views, and affirmed the supreme authority of the Pope and the physical presence of Christ in the bread and wine of Communion. He signed an official document renouncing his reformist views. Despite this recantation he was convicted of heresy and sentenced to death anyway. Perhaps realizing that his chances of survival were gone, Cranmer faced death with remarkably calm. On March 21, 1556 he was burned at the stake at Oxford. As the flames rose about him, Cranmer renounced his previous recantation, and held out the treacherous right hand that had signed the documents, so that it might be the first consumed by the fire. He is said to have uttered these words; "And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished."

John Foxe:
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John Foxe was a historian on the scene around that time. He was deeply troubled by what he saw and how people were losing their lives over their religious convictions based on their consciences which were seen as opposing the Catholic Church. He commenced to do a historical study on those who had lost their lives for their religious beliefs from the time of the apostles till his own time. Foxe based his accounts of martyrs before the early modern period on previous writers, including Eusebius, Bede, Matthew Paris, and many others. Foxe's own contribution was his compilation of the English martyrs from the period of the Lollards through the persecution of Mary I. Here Foxe had primary sources of all kinds to draw on: Episcopal registers, reports of trials, and the testimony of eyewitnesses, a remarkable range of sources for English historical writing of the period. His book included accounts of thousands of individuals who had been subjected to indescribably cruel treatment at the hands of civil authorities, the church and church controlled tribunals because of their religious beliefs. In early days in the times of the apostles these had taken the form of persecution by the Jewish and Roman authorities against Christians who held fast to their professed beliefs. Later the persecution took a much wider form. It was applied not only to those who supported the beliefs Christ had taught them but to any one or any group of individuals who opposed the established church for any other reason as well. On 20 March 1563, John Foxe published the first English edition of the Actes and Monuments from the press of John Day.[34] It was a "gigantic folio volume" of about 1800 pages. It was received with a great deal of public interest and three more editions were released in the years to follow. Today, his writings are still available in both printed and electronic forms known mainly as Foxes Book of Martyrs Like a barrister, Foxe presents crucial evidence and tells one side of a story which must be heard. But he should never be read uncriti337

cally, and his partisan objectives should always be kept in mind." While the side he tells undoubtedly reveals a great deal of truth, the side he doesnt tell should not be dismissed in completing the story. Other authors since Foxe have added greatly to the picture of how widespread and how totally comprehensive the churches power to suppress opposition was to become. By the 1800s the picture had expanded greatly and reached astoundingly measurable statistical proportions. It is suggested that the reader avail themselves of some of the writings circulating around that time and since then to get a sense of just how oppressive and cruel it was to opposition and how all consuming the churches power had become in dealing with what it viewed as dissent to itself or its policies. Wars were even fomented such as the thirty years war in Germany, which was mainly instigated by the Jesuits, in order to deprive the Protestants of the right of free religious worship, secured to them by the treaty of Augsburg. There was the Irish rebellion, and the inhuman butchery of about fifteen millions of Indians in South America, Mexico and Cuba, by the Spanish papists. In short, it is calculated by authentic historians, that papal Rome has shed the blood of sixty-eight millions of the human race in order to establish her unfounded claims to religious dominion. This includes only those numbers which were documented as confirmable. How many other individual cases there were is another matter. After all, this has not been anything the church was overly anxious to publicize. These and many other examples were examined by a number of writers since Foxe. Some of them which the reader might wish to examine are: Disputationes de Controversiis, Objections Answered, Robert Bellarmine, (1682 edition.) The History of the Inquisitions, J.J. Stockdale, (1810). Plea for the West by Lyman Beecher (Cincinnati, Truman and
Smith, 1835),

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Popery the Enemy of Civil and Religious Liberty, W. C. Brownlee, (J. S. Taylor, New York, 1836,) The Roman Catholic Religion viewed in the light of Prophecy and History, Charles K. Moore, (New York, 1843,) Christ and Antichrist, by Samuel J.Cassels, (1846,) The Story of Religious Controversy, Joseph McCabe, (The
Stratford Company; 1ST edition, 1929)

The Shadow of Rome, by John B. Wilder; (Zondervan Publishing


Co.,1960)

There are also many other books available on the subject as it was too widespread to have been effectively concealed from public know-ledge. Its a bit like the holocaust in Nazi Germany. No matter how many Hitler apologists denied it ever happened, it had affected and disturbed so many people, it could not be hidden. However, in fairness it should be noted, these books are by and large the products of Protestant and in some cases Atheistic authors. As such, they tend to not take into consideration that their own Churches and other non-religious organizations were also guilty of gross bias and persecution against true Christians as well. However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. So, lets get back to the middle ages for a while. By the 1580's, the Roman Catholic Church saw that it was losing the battle to suppress the will of God by means of force and that His Holy Word, despite extreme efforts at suppression was on its way to becoming available in languages everyone understood. It had by then already become available in German and English. In 1466, Johannes Mentelin published the first printed Bible in the German language, the Mentelin Bible and by 1534 Martin Luther had published one that the common people could read and understand. Also, in 1526 Tyndales Bible had gone into print and was available outside of exclusive domain of clergy and academia.
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It was time to change the strategy. Suppression of the Bible was a losing battle as it was failing. This called for a new approach. If you couldnt suppress the Bible, at least you could try and control what people got out of it by slanting some verses in favor of your doctrine. In 1582, the Church of Rome surrendered in their fight for "Latin only" and decided that if the Bible was to be available in English, they would at least have an official Roman Catholic English translation. And so, using the Latin Vulgate which by then had been proven to contain corruption and error as the only source text, they went on to publish an English Bible that year with all the distortions and corruptions that Erasmus had revealed and warned of 75 years earlier. Because it was translated at the Roman Catholic College in the city of Rheims, it was known as the Rheims New Testament (also spelled Rhemes). Later, the Douay Old Testament was translated by the Church of Rome in 1609 at the College in the city of Douay and the combined product is to this day commonly referred to as the "Douay/Rheims" Version. In 1589, Dr. William Fulke of Cambridge published the "Fulke's Refutation", in which he printed in parallel columns the Bishops Version alongside the Rheims Version, attempting to show the error and distortion of the Roman Church's corrupt compromise of an English version of the Bible. King James I With the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Prince James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. The Protestant clergy approached the new King in 1604 and suggested their desire for a new translation to replace the Bishop's Bible first printed in 1568. They knew that the Geneva Version had won the hearts of the people because of its excellent scholarship, accuracy, and exhaustive commentary. However, from their viewpoint it contained controversial marginal footnotes. James himself saw objection to verses which could be seen to interfere with his strong view of the "divine right of kings," specifically he objected to notes like that at Exodus 1:19 ("Their disobedience herein was lawfull, but their dissembling evill"), which seemed to him to countenance rebellion toward rulers.
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Essentially, the leaders of the church desired a Bible from the viewpoint of the Church of Englands hierarchyand James wanted a Bible that did not raise questions as to his sovereignty. It was a marriage of mutual convenience. Of a matter of interest is that the protestant clergy, while opposed to anything catholic, held on to many of the nonbiblical teachings which had been introduced into the Catholic Church during more than fifteen hundred years of elapsed history. This was said to be a translation to end all translations" (for a while at least) It was the result of the combined effort of between forty and fifty scholars, including high clergy officials, linguists, professional translators and credentialed academics, all members of the Church of England. They took into consideration previously published Bibles such as The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament. All of these were rooted in the Masoretic Text (Hebrew) and the Textus Recepticus (Greek). From 1605 to 1606 the scholars engaged in private research. From 1607 to 1609 the work was assembled. In 1610 the work went to press, and in 1611 the first of the huge (16 inch tall) pulpit folios known today as "The 1611 King James Bible" came off the printing press. It is apparent that the Church of England, as an institution did not subscribe to Jesus viewpoint where he said in the book of John; John 15:19 If ye were of the worlde, the world woulde loue his owne: but because ye are not of ye world, but I haue chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. GNV John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. KJV John 17:16 They are not of the worlde, as I am not of the world. GNV
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John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. KJV John 18:36 Iesus answered, My kingdome is not of this worlde: if my kingdome were of this worlde, my seruants would surely fight, that I should not be deliuered to the Iewes: but nowe is my kingdome not from hence. GNV John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. KJV In the Church of England Politics and religion were very much intertwined when the KJV was produced. King James motivation for having the new translation done was essentially political. Was a new Bible actually needed from a theological standpoint at that time? We need to understand that some 140 editions (not reprints, editions) of the Geneva Bible had been undertaken between 1544 and 1610. It was hard to stem the tide of this popular Bible with Protestants. As Noll chronicles, it was at least 150 years after 1611 when people began to really extol the literary merits of the KJV and even longer before it became the go to translation of Protestants in America. However, the idea of a Bible that could be adapted at least to some extent to the views of those who had control of publishing it worked quite well. Because the KJV proved so hugely successful, this can be seen as strategy that was to be repeated again and again by the various denominations of Churchdom in later history. When the current Bible in use did not fit or contradicted their own man-made doctrines, they could simply publish one that would, under the auspices of clarifying scripture in view of new evidence or new understanding. Also, the matter of how they dealt with what was available to them must be taken into consideration. In many instances they had only what their predecessors had either uncovered or what they inherited from previous evidence available. As the centuries passed, especially in recent times, modern technology in archaeology has disclosed a vastly greater body of evidence closer to the original writings than
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ever available in the past. The King James Bible is said to have been based on only six original papyri manuscripts. It is estimated that today we have over 10,000 manuscript versions of early documenttation many of which are closer to original documentation than was available to the translators of the KJV in their day. Yet, It must be said, of the King James and of other Bibles since that time, translators did a very credible job in most cases where it didnt interfere with the official church doctrine of the denominations they represented. This constitutes the vast majority of scripture contained in any given version. So the fundamental message that God wanted man to have is still intact. Also, the Bible itself discloses those areas that have been tampered with by raising warning flags when something doesnt fit context or wanders away from truth disclosed elsewhere in Gods book. Also, freshly uncovered ancient evidence is valuable because it helps in many instances by providing a clear expose of verse which may have been tampered with by biased translators in the past. Persecution, a hallmark of the Pseudo Church The Protestant Churches who had themselves been greatly discriminated against and persecuted showed that they too could be just as cruel and unreasonable in dealing with those who did not subscribe to their own denominational beliefs as the Catholic Church had been. While they saw themselves as having broken from the bonds of the Pope and the Catholic Church, they still were enslaved to the idea that men were capable guides for the church and that God had placed them in charge of his affairs. So they replaced one form of human rule with another, often changing terminology so it didnt appear as catholic. They would no longer have aPope. This was replaced by a council, a committee of men or even sometimes by a single messianic figure that they greatly admired. The word priest was viewed as too Catholic, too Jewish or too pagan a title, so they called his counterpart Pastor or Reverend. While a number of significant doctrines and teachings were changed, one issue which still remained was intact, for it was untouchable. Men
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must rule their fellow men. This remains an issue over Gods sovereignty even today. In Gods sovereignty is found a principal which saw no reform or even any attempt at reform. No one in the the pseudo church, either in its original form (Catholic/Orthodox) or its seemingly endless clone like offspring, the protestant denominations, appeared to even discern what the great issue between God and Man really was. (We will deal with that in more detail in the concluding chapter) First here are ways and examples of how the Protestant children of the Catholic Church continued to be a pseudo church unto themselves. Though the Protestant Reformers of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries had demanded religious liberty from the Roman Catholic Church, in many cases they did not allow liberty to others. A fact rarely told in church histories and therefore little known is that Protestants of the Reformation era persecuted Catholics, Baptists and others who differed from themselves in the way they practiced their Christian faith. Just a few examples of the frame of mind present among leading churchmen during those times;
ZWINGLI IN ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, WAS A PERSECUTOR OF FELLOW CHRISTIANS:

Huldrych (or Ulrich/Ulricht) Zwingli (1 January 1484 11 October 1531) A leading figure of the Reformation in Switzerland who is credited with founding the Swiss Reformed Church which still exists today. In 1518, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmnster Church in Zurich where he began to preach ideas on reforming the Catholic Church. In 1519, Zwingli specifically rejected the veneration of saints and called for the need to distinguish between their true and fictional accounts. He cast doubts on hellfire, asserted that unbaptised children were not damned, and questioned the power of excommunication. His attack on the claim that tithing was a divine institution, however, had the greatest theological and social impact. Zwingli insisted that he
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was not an innovator and that the sole basis of his teachings was Scripture. In his first public controversy in 1522, he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent. In his publications, he noted corruption in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, promoted clerical marriage, and attacked the use of images in connection with worship services. Before adopting Baptist principles, Anabaptist leaders Conrad Grebel (1498-1526), Felix Manz, and George Cajacob were associated with Zwingli in the beginning of his work in Zurich. Unlike Zwingli, they moved beyond Protestantism and state churchism back toward a true New Testament faith and practice. By the end of 1524, Grebel and Manz had taken a position against infant baptism and wanted to establish a true church composed only of regenerate baptized members with a simple Lords Supper as a memorial meal. On January 17, 1525, a disagreement between Zwingli and those opposed to infant baptism was conducted in Zurich before the city council. The decision was not long in coming. The next day, January 18, the council decreed that all infants must be baptized within eight days of birth, and those who did not baptize their infants would be banished from the city. Another decree on Jan. 21 forbade all opponents of infant baptism to meet together or to speak in public. The day of the first city council proclamation, Grebel, Manz, Cajacob, and others of like mind met together in defiance of the decree but in obedience to the Word of God and determined to form a church based upon biblical principles as they saw them at that point. Cajacob was first baptized by Grebel upon confession of his faith in Christ; Cajacob, in turn, baptized the others. The baptism was by pouring, but they later adopted immersion. Within a week, 35 more were baptized. In March of that year, the Zwingliinfluenced city council issued a strong edict against the Anabaptists, which was ratified in November: You know without doubt, and have heard from many that. . , some peculiar men, . . .have preached, and without the permission and consent of the church, have proclaimed that infant baptism did not
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proceed from God, but from the devil, and, therefore, ought not to be practiced. . . . We, therefore, ordain and require that hereafter all men, women, boys and girls forsake . . . shall let infants be baptized; whoever shall act contrary to this public edict shall be fined for every offense, one mark; and IF ANY BE DISOBEDIENT AND STUBBORN THEY SHALL BE TREATED WITH SEVERITY; for, the obedient we will protect; the disobedient we will punish according to his deserts, without fail; by this all are to conduct themselves. All this we confirm by this public document, stamped with the seal of our city, and given on St. Andrews Day, A. D., 1525. The Anabaptists and their leaders, including Grebel and Manz, were thrown into prison. In December 1527, Felix Manz, Jacob Falk, and Henry Reiman were put to death by drowning. The council had decreed, Qui mersus fuerit mergatur, or He who immerses shall be immersed. The Protestant leader Gastins wrote, They like immersion, so let us immerse them The Baptists were delivered to the executioner, who bound their hands, placed them in a boat and threw them into the water. Some Protestants mockingly called this the third baptism. The Baptist martyr Felix Manz (or Mans, Mentz) (1498-1527) was a very learned man, skilled in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. As he was led through Zurich to the boat, he praised God that he was going to die for the truth of the Word of God. Another Baptist that was tormented by those influenced in Zwinglis Zurich was BALTHASAR HUBMAIER. He was a very learned man and had been a close friend with Zwingli in earlier days, and they had fought together against Roman Catholicism. But Hubmaier desired to follow the Bible in all matters and he rejected infant baptism and became a Baptist. He wrote books in support of what he understood biblical baptism to be. He also wrote one against persecution, titled Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them. He taught that it is not the will of Jesus Christ to put men to death for their beliefs that the churches should be in the business of saving men, not burning them. He was thrown into prison by the Zurich Protestants in January 1526 and kept there for four months. His appeal to his old friend Zwingli was ignored. His wife also was in prison and his health was
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broken. He had just gotten over a sickness that was almost unto death. In this sad and discouraged condition, he was tortured on the rack by the Protestant authorities; and on April 6, 1526, the broken man agreed to recant his beliefs. The people of Zurich were summoned to the cathedral to hear the recantation of this well-known Baptist preacher. Zwingli first preached a sermon against the heretics. Then every eye turned to Hubmaier, who went forward to read the recantation. As he began to do so in a trembling voice, he broke down weeping. As he swayed to and fro in agony, he was suddenly strengthened by the Lord. He shouted, INFANT BAPTISM IS NOT OF GOD, AND MEN MUST BE BAPTIZED BY FAITH IN CHRIST! Pandemonium broke out! Some screamed against him while others shouted applause. The Zurich authorities quickly took him back to the dungeon. Later upon release and being allowed to leave Zurich, and moved to Moravia, where he had a very fruitful ministry and a harvest of souls was brought to the Lord. On March 10, 1528, in Vienna, he was burned to death at the stake, and he died in the faith that he preached. His faithful Christian wife was drowned eight days later. About that time, persecution was instigated against Baptists in St. Gall, Switzerland. Baptist preachers such as Konrad Grebel and Eberle Polt were preaching with great success at St. Gall and thousands from throughout that part of the country were confessing Christ and taking believers baptism. At the instigation of Zwingli. the St. Gall city council determined to persecute them by drowning if they refused to leave the territory. On September 9, 1527, they issued the following decree: In order that the dangerous, wicked, turbulent and seditious sect of the Baptists may be eradicated, we have thus decreed: If anyone is suspected of rebaptism, he is to be warned by the magistracy to leave the territory under penalty of the designated punishment [to be drowned]. Every person is obliged to report those favorable to rebaptism. Whoever shall not comply with this ordinance is liable to punishment according to the sentence of the magistracy. Teachers of
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rebaptism, baptizing preachers, and leaders of hedge meetings ARE TO BE DROWNED.. . .. Foreign Baptists are to be driven out; if they return THEY SHALL BE DROWNED. No one is allowed to secede from the [Zwinglian] church and to absent himself from the Holy Supper. Whoever flees from one jurisdiction to another shall be banished or extradited upon demand The decree on March 26, 1530, was even more severe: . . . . BAPTIST LEADERS, THEIR FOLLOWERS, AND PROTECTORS SHALL BE DROWNED WITHOUT MERCY. Those, however, who assist them, or fail to report or to arrest them shall be punished otherwise on body and goods as injurious and faithless subjects. The Protestants staged an inquisition which was in many ways similar to the Roman Catholic one. The Protestants required that every citizen submit to their doctrines and practices upon pain of death. They required that every citizen become a spy to report on the presence of dissidents. Not only were the dissidents persecuted, so were those who helped them in any way, including those who even failed to report them. Zwingli was a hypocrite in the matter of persecution. He spoke against the Catholics when they persecuted Protestants, but he supported the persecution of Baptists. The Baptists were not seditionists. They were not trying to overthrow the government. They merely desired to practice their own faith in peace. Protestant persecutions in Switzerland continued in the 17th century. At the council of Geneva, 1632, Nicholas Anthoine was condemned to be first hanged and then burned for opposing the doctrine of the Trinity; and at Basil and Zurich, since the Reformation, heresy was a crime punishable with death. As late as 1671, seven hundred persons, homeless and destitute, were driven out of Berne. Great was the suffering of old and young if they opposed the pseudo church in Switzerland.
LUTHERANS IN GERMANY BECAME PERSECUTORS:

A look at Martin Luthers position on persecution; It is important to understand that Luther changed his position in many important ways. In the early days of his reformation, for example, Luther taught that the proper mode of baptism is
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immersion. He changed in regard to baptism. In his German New Testament, he translated baptize as dip, which is a good translation in that the term means to put into the water and take out of the water. The term immersion, on the other hand, does not have the connotation of taking out of the water. In 1518, he taught not only that the word baptize means to immerse but that the significance of the ordinance points to immersion. That also baptism demands immersion, for it signifies that the old man and sinful birth from the flesh and blood shall be completely drowned through the grace of God. Luther sounds like a Baptist here, but at the same time, he defended the unscriptural practice of baptizing infants; and he soon gave up the debate on baptism and became an enemy of the Anabaptists. Luther also changed in regard to persecution and bloodshed. Early on in his reformation career, Luther did not support the death sentence against false teachers, though he supported their persecution short of death and their banishment. Though naturally of a very warm and violent temper, he was averse to punishing heretics with death. He says in his writings, I am very averse to the shedding of blood, even in case of such as deserve it; I can, therefore, by no means consent that false teachers should be destroyed. But as to all other punishments, he seems to think they may lawfully, be employed: for after the above passage, he adds, it is sufficient that they be banished. Agreeably to these principles, he persuaded the electors of Saxony not to tolerate, in their dominions, the followers of Zuinglius, in their opinion of the sacrament; nor to enter into any terms of union with them, for their common defence against the attempts of the catholics to destroy them. ... He also wrote to Albert, Duke of Prussia, to persuade him to banish them from his territories
JOHN CALVIN IN GENEVA ALSO PERSECUTED OTHER CHRISTIANS:

John Calvin was a reformer whose teachings are still held by the Reformed and Presbyterian denominations of Christendom. Calvinists claim to believe that the Bible (not including Deuterocanonicals) is the infallible Word of God, and contains all the revelations of God which he designed to be a rule of faith and
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practice for his Church. The Calvinist doctrine of Bible clarity teaches that everything necessary for salvation is taught in the Scriptures plainly enough that special training is not required for interpretation. Calvin embraced the form of trinity which had been determined by the councils through generations of manmade creeds such as the Nicene Creed. Calvin enforced his Christian doctrine and principles at the point of the sword. In October 1563, the Geneva government burned to death Michael Servetus for heresy. Servetus held Unitarian views rejecting the Trinity and thus was seen by other reformers as a false teacher, but the New Testament nowhere instructs the churches to kill false teachers. Servetus death sentence was supported not only by Calvin, but also by Melanchthon in Germany and Bullinger in Geneva and by other Protestant leaders who were consulted about the case. By and large, the reformers had perpetuated the Catholic version of the Trinity Doctrine despite the fact that it could not be explicitly supported in the Bible. This is an example not uncommon of how popular institutional leaders in the church can end up committing atrocious crimes. Because of an elitist, unyielding attitude, they cannot handle humiliation and thus react with even bloodthirsty hostility. Christ's death was one example, and Servetus' another. Other men were also put to death under Calvins tenure. So entirely was he in favour of persecuting measures, that he wrote a treatise in defense of them, maintaining the lawfulness of putting heretics to death; and he reduced these rigid theories to practice, in his conduct towards Castellio, Jerom Bolsee, and Servetus, whose fates are too generally known to require being here repeated. At the council of Geneva, 1632, Nicholas Anthoine was condemned to be first hanged and then burned for opposing the doctrine of the Trinity... (J.J. Stockdale, The History of the Inquisitions, 1810, p. xxviii). In the days of King Edward VI of England, Calvin wrote a letter to Lord Protector Somerset and urged him to put Anabaptists to death: These altogether deserve to be well punished by the sword, seeing that they do conspire against God, who had set him in his royal seat (John Christian, A History of the Baptists, Vol. 1, chap. 15).
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The hostility and persecution in Europe by the protestant reformers was not by any means confined to dissident Protestants. There was also a general and systematic suppression of Catholicism. Historical facts are what they are, yet most Protestants (and Catholics) are unaware of the following historical events and beliefs (while, on the other hand, one always hears about the embarrassing and scandalous Catholic intolerance of opposing views). Readers are shocked or surprised at the very thought that their beloved Protestant reformers were just as intolerant, cruel and ruthless in the way they dealt with those who did not concur with their new reforms. What follows are examples of comments about Protestant intolerance in Europe from a variety of scholars. Historically nothing is more incorrect than the assertion that the Reformation was a movement in favour of intellectual freedom. The exact contrary is the truth. For themselves, it is true, Lutherans and Calvinists claimed liberty of conscience . . . but to grant it to others never occurred to them so long as they were the stronger side. The complete eradication of the Catholic Church, and in fact of every- thing that stood in their way, was regarded by the reformers as something entirely natural.
2. The Dou ble Standa rd of Pro testa nt "In quis itio n Polemi cs" (John Stodda rd)

Religious persecution usually continues till one of two causes rises to repress it. One is the skeptical notion that all religions are equally good or equally worthless; the other is an enlightened spirit of tolerance, exercised towards all varieties of sincere opinion . . . inspired by the conviction that it is useless to endeavor to compel belief in any form of religion whatsoever. However, what makes Protestant persecutions especially revolting is the fact that they were absolutely inconsistent with the primary doctrine of Protestantism -- the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief! Nothing can be more illogical than at one moment to assert that one may interpret the Bible to suit himself, and at the next to torture and kill him for having done so!

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Nor should we ever forget that . . . the Protestants were the aggressors, the Catholics were the defenders. The Protestants were attempting to destroy the old, established Church, which had existed 1500 years to replace it by something new, untried and revolutionary. The Catholics were upholding an established faith; the Protestants, on the contrary, were fighting for a creed . . which already was beginning to disintegrate into hostile sects, each of which, if it gained the upper hand, commenced to persecute the rest! . . . All religious persecution is bad; the scriptural principal behind this is that in matters of faith, God makes each one of us a free moral agent answerable to no one but himself. At all events, the argument that the persecutions for heresy, perpetrated by the Catholics, constitute a reason why one should not enter the Catholic Church, has not a particle more force than a similar argument would have against one's entering the Protestant Church. In both there have been those deserving of blame in this respect, and what applies to one applies also to the other.
Locke

3. The 17th Centu ry: Rutherfo rd, Mi lton,

The tradition of intolerance among Protestants did not soon die out. And when Protestantism found its way into the new world, persecution and intolerance came right along with it. According to Protestant historian Owen Chadwick: The ablest defence of persecution during the 17th century came from the Scottish Presbyterian Samuel Rutherford (A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty Of Conscience, 1649). (Chadwick, 403) John Milton and John Locke, otherwise relatively "enlightened" Protestants, argued for tolerance, but excluded Catholics -- the former in his Areopagitica (1644), and the latter in his first Letter Concerning Toleration (1689). (Cross, 1384) 4.One of the many tragi-comic ironies of the Protestant Revolution is the fact that even persecuted Protestants failed to see the light: Often the resistance to tyranny and the demand for
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religious freedom are combined, as in the Puritan revolution in England; and the victors, having achieved supremacy, then set up a new tyranny and a fresh intolerance. (Harkness, 222) Multitudes of Non-Conformists fled from Ireland and England to America; . . . What is amazing is the fact that, after such experiences, those fugitives did not learn the lesson of toleration, and did not grant to those who differed . . . freedom . . . When they found them-selves in a position to persecute, they tried to outdo what they had endured . . . Among those whom they attacked was . . . the Society of Friends, otherwise known as Quakers. (Stoddard, 207) In Massachusetts, for successive convictions, a Quaker would suffer the loss of one ear and then the other, the boring of the tongue with a hot iron, and sometimes eventually death. In Boston three Quaker men and one woman were hanged. Baptist Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts in 1635 and founded tolerant Rhode Island (Stoddard, 208). To his credit, he remained tolerant, an exception to the rule, as was William Penn, who was persecuted by Protestants in England and founded the tolerant colony of Pennsylvania. Quakerism (Penn's faith) has an honorable record of tolerance since, -like its predecessor Anabaptism, it is one of the most subjective and individualistic of Protestant sects, and renounces association with the "world" (governments, the military, etc.), whence lies the power necessary to persecute. Thus, Quakers were in the forefront of the abolition movement in America in the first half of the 19th century. A. Martin Marty (American religious historian) Baltimore . . . welcomed, among other English people, even the Catholic-hating Puritans . . . In January of 1691 . . . the new regime brought hard times for Catholics as the Protestants closed their church, forbade them to teach in public . . . but . . . the little outpost of practical Catholic tolerance had left its mark of promise on the land.
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(Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America, New York: Penguin, 1984, 83, 85-86) Lord Baltimore allowed several hundred Puritans, unwelcome in Episcopalian Virginia, to enter Maryland in 1648 (see Ellis, below, p. 37). John Tracy Ellis ( Catholic church historian) For the first time in history . . . all churches would be tolerated, and . . none would be the agent of the government . . . Catholics and Protest-ants side by side on terms of equality and toleration unknown in the mother country . . . The effort proved vain; for . . the Puritan element . . . October, 1654, repealed the Act of Toleration and outlawed the Catholics . . . condemning ten of them to death, four of whom were executed . . . From . . . 1718 down to the outbreak of the Revolution, the Catholics of Maryland were cut off from all participation in public life, to say nothing of the enactments against their religious services and . . . schools for Catholic instruction . . . During the halfcentury the Catholics had governed Maryland they had not been guilty of a single act of religious oppression. (American Catholicism, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1956, 36, 38-39) Stories of Protestant intolerance in America prior to 1789 could be multiplied indefinitely. Jefferson and Madison, in pushing for complete religious freedom, were reacting primarily to these inter-Protestant wars for dominance, not the squabbles of postReformation Europe. Here we are concerned with the immediate era of the Protestant Revolution -- roughly 1517 to 1600, so the above anecdotes will have to suffice as altogether typical examples. The principle which the Reformation had upheld in the youth of its rebellion -- the right of private judgment -- was as completely rejected by the Protestant leaders as by the Catholics . . . Toleration was now definitely less after the Reformation than before it. (Durant, 456; referring to the year 1555)
6.

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CHURCH DIVISIONS FURTHER ANIMOSITIES Dissension plagued Protestant churches from the start, even though one would think that a religion stressing individualism and conscience would be free from such shortcomings and would promote mutual respect. The myth of Protestant magnanimity and peaceful coexistence (especially in its infancy) dies an unequivocal death once all the facts are brought out.
1.

Principals of choice embedded in scripture set forth by God were ignored. The Bible teachings on judgment were disregarded and manmade ideas on religion were enforced, in many cases even to the point of death. They took scripture which alluded to Gods allowing people choices and twisted them into excuses for doing away with those who did not choose to accept their own interpretations. In effect, they took upon themselves the roles of de facto judges and executioners. Deuteronomy 30:19 "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! NLT While god says he wishes they would make the right choice, which would lead to continuous enjoyable life, he does not command them. He leaves them a prerogative to themselves. Psalm 109:17 And he kept loving the malediction, so that it came upon him; And he did not take delight in the blessing, So that it became far away from him;
NWT

While the wrong choice might bring natural consequences, and sometimes with adverse effects and ultimately, death into their lives, people were not to act as Gods judges of a fellow man and even more certainly not as his executioners.
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James 4:12 God alone, who made the law, can rightly judge among us. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to condemn your neighbor? NLT

Religious Reform or Greedy Power Ploy?


All through the years of relationship between religion and secular authority there had been an on-going struggle for dominance. At times in history the Kings and their courts dominated and the religions supported them and at other times the religions held ultimate power and the kings and their courts supported them. From the time of Constantine, when a professed version of Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, the power of religion had been on the ascendency. By the 1500s the church pretty much dominated all of the secular governments of the western world and were very much in control of all things worldly, including great wealth and property holdings. In the fifteen hundreds the reformation was to have another profound change on church power. Not that the church was about to become powerless instantly, but there was going to be a trend toward loss of power away from the church in favor of the state. This was partially fed by a change of attitude toward the church engendered by the reformation Hilaire Belloc, French poet and social commentator remarked; There came - round about 1536-40 -- a change . . . The temptation to loot Church property and the habit of doing so had appeared and was growing; and this rapidly created a vested interest in promoting the change of religion. Those who attacked Catholic doctrine, as, for instance, in the matters of celibacy in the monastic orders . . . opened the door for the seizure of the enormous clerical endowments . . . by the Princes . . . The property of convents and monasteries passed wholesale to the looters over great areas of Christendom: Scandinavia, the British Isles, the Northern Netherlands, much of the Germanys and many of the Swiss Cantons. The endowments of hospitals, colleges, schools, guilds, were largely though not wholly seized . . Such an economic change in so short a
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time our civilization had never seen . . . The new adventurers and the older gentry who had so suddenly enriched themselves, saw, in the return of Catholicism, peril to their immense new fortunes. (Belloc, 9-l0) Will Durant (American writer, historian, and philosopher) wrote; The cities found Protestantism profitable . . . for a slight alteration in their theological garb they escaped from episcopal taxes and courts, and could appropriate pleasant parcels of ecclesiastical property . . . The princes . . . could be spiritual as well as temporal lords, and all the wealth of the Church could be theirs . . . The Lutheran princes suppressed all monasteries in their territory except a few whose inmates had embraced the Protestant faith. (Durant, 438-439) They do not care in the least about religion; they are only anxious to get dominion into their hands, to be free from the control of bishops . . . Under cover of the Gospel, the princes were only intent on the plunder of the Churches. (Durant, 438, 440) Henri Daniel-Rops (French writer and historian) Right from the beginning, Luther's spiritual revolt had let loose material greed. The German rulers, the Scandinavian monarchs and Henry VIII of England had all taken advantage of the break from papal tutelage to appropriate both the wealth and the control of their respective Churches. (Daniel-Rops, 309-310) The Protestants had learned from the "Hussites", Bohemians who claimed to follow the heretic John Hus, whom Luther hailed as one of his forerunners. After Hus's execution in 1415, zealous ragtag armies: . . . passed up and down Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia . . . pillaging monasterles, massacring monks, and
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2. Melanch thon o n the P rince s

compel-ling the population to accept the Four Articles of Prague . . . (Durant, 169) Sweden: Gustavus Vasa In Sweden Gustavus Vasa deprived the Church of all its landed properties . . . The proportion of land held by the crown increased during his reign from 5.5% to 28%: that of the Church from 21% to nil. (Dickens, 191) The great Scottish nobles . . . supported the religious revolution because it gave them the power to loot the Church and the monarchy wholesale. (Belloc, 112) Likewise, the English "Reformation" was perpetrated primarily by means of plunder at the highest levels of government. Erasmus' Disdain of Protestant Plunder The greatest scholar and man of letters in Europe at this time, Erasmus, who looked with some favor upon the "Reformation" initially, but came to despise it as he saw its fruits, wrote on May 10, 1521, just a few weeks after the Diet of Worms, about those who "covet the wealth of the churchmen." He goes on to say: This certainly is a fine turn of affairs, if property is wickedly taken away from priests so that soldiers may make use of it in worse fashion; and the latter squander their own wealth, and sometimes that of others, so that no one benefits. (Erasmus, 157) SYSTEMATIC SUPPRESSION OF CATHOLICISM In the view of the reformers The Catholic Church which had held almost absolute power for fifteen centuries had to be neutralized in
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5. Sco tland a nd Eng land

order for their own power to rise and dominate. This called for an on-going long lived campaign against Catholicism. Johann Janssen, Church historian tells us the views of some leading "reformers" on this score: Luther was content with the expulsion of the Catholics. Melanchthon was in favour of proceeding against them with corporal penalties . . . Zwingli held that, in case of need, the massacre of bishops and priests was a work commanded by God.
(Janssen, V, 290)
h)

Zwingli's Zurich was definitely not a haven of Christian freedom:

The presence at sermons . . . was enjoined under pain of punish-ment; all teaching and church worship that deviated from the prescribed regulations was punishable. Even outside the district of Zurich the clergy were not allowed to read Mass or the laity to attend. And it was actually forbidden, 'under pain of severe punishment, to keep pictures and images even in private houses' . . The example of Zurich was followed by other Swiss Cantons. (Janssen, V, 134-135) The Mass was abolished in Zurich in 1525 (Dickens, 117). How did Zwingli's ideas spread?: Their progress was marked by the destruction of churches and the burning of monasteries. The bishops of Constance, Basle, Lausanne and Geneva were forced to abandon their sees. (Daniel-Rops, 81-82) In 1529 the Council of Strassburg also ordered the breaking in pieces of all remaining altars, images and crosses, and several churches and convents were destroyed (Janssen, V, 143-144). Similar events transpired also in Frankfurt-am-Main (Durant,
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424). At a religious convention at Hamburg in April, 1535 the Lutheran towns of Lubeck, Bremen, Hamburg, Luneburg, Stralsund, Rostock and Wismar all voted to hang Anabaptists and flog Catholics and Zwinglians before banishing them (Janssen, V, 481). Luther's home territory of Saxony had instituted banishment for Catholics in 1527 (Grisar, VI, 241242). In 1522 a rabble forced its way into the church at Wittenberg, on the doors of which Luther had nailed his theses, destroyed all its altars and statues, and . . . drove out the clergy. In Rotenburg also, in 1525, the figure of Christ was decapitated . . . On the 9th of February, 1529, everything previously revered in the fine old cathedral of Basle, Switzerland, was destroyed . . . Such instances of brutality and fanaticism could be cited by scores. (Stoddard, 94) Scotland: John Knox In Scotland, John Knox and his ilk passed legislation in which: It was . . . forbidden to say Mass or to be present at Mass, with the punishment for a first offence of loss of all goods and a flogging; for the second offence, banishment; for the third, death. (Hughes, 300) Knox, like virtually all the Protestant Founders, was persuaded "that all which our adversaries do is diabolical." He rejoiced in that: . . . perfect hatred which the Holy Ghost engenders in the hearts of God's elect against the condemners of His holy statutes. (John Knox, History of the Reformation in Scotland, New York: 1950, Introduction, 73) In conflict with these damned opponents (i.e., Catholics) all means were justified -- lies, treachery (Ibid., I, 194 and note 2), flexible contradictions of policy.

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(Durant, 610; Knox, ibid., Introduction, 44. See also Edwin Muir, John Knox, London: 1920, 67, 300) Luther: Luther was at the forefront of this remarkable inquisition against Catholic practice: It is the duty of the authorities to resist and punish such public blasphemy. (Grisar, VI, 240) Not only the spiritual but also the secular power must yield to the Evangel, whether cheerfully or otherwise. (Grisar, VI, 245) Luther had decided by 1527 that: Men despise the Evangel and insist on being compelled by the law and the sword. (Grisar, VI, 262; EA, III, 39; letter to Georg Spalatin) Even though they do not believe, they must nevertheless . . . be driven to the preaching, so that they may at least learn the outward work of obedience. (Grisar, VI, 262; in 1529) Although we neither can nor should force anyone into the faith, yet the masses must be held and driven to it in order that they may know what is right or wrong. (Grisar, VI, 263; WA, XXX, 1, 349; Preface to Smaller Catechism, 1531) It is our custom to affright those who . . . fail to attend the preaching; and to threaten them with banishment and the law . . . In the event of their still proving contumacious, to excommunicate them . . . as if they were heathen. (Grisar, VI, 263; EN, IX, 365; letter to Leonard Beyer, 1533)
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Although excommunication in popedom has been shamefully abused . . . yet we must not suffer it to fall, but make right use of it, as Christ commanded. (Durant, 424-425) If I may be excused an irresistible pun at this point: "The Catholic Masses were forced out, while the Catholic masses were forced in" (to Protestant services) . . . Melanchthon asked the state to compel the people to attend Protestant services (Durant, 424). Later on, in Saxony (1623), even auricular confession and the Eucharist were made strictly obligatory by law, punishable by banishment. (Grisar, VI, 264) Calvin, in Geneva, also pushed religious compulsion to an absurd degree. Conclusion (Owen Chadwick) The Protestant states did not question that teachers of disapproved doctrines should be prevented from preaching. Nor did they question that the state should use laws to encourage churchgoing. In Anglican England and Lutheran Germany, Reformed Holland . . . the citizens were alike liable to penalties if they failed for no good reason to attend the worship of their parish churches. (Chadwick, 398) That the new version of the pseudo church born of the reformation was a sponsor of VIOLENT RADICALISM is shown by the following rhetoric of its leaders; If I had all the Franciscan friars in one house, I would set fire to it . . . To the fire with them! (Grisar, VI, 247; Table Talk [edited by Mathesius], 180; summer 1540) It is a duty to suppress the Pope by force. (Grisar, VI, 245; EN, IV, 298)
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The spiritual powers . . . also the temporal ones, will have to succumb to the Gospel, either through love or through force, as is clearly proved by all Biblical history. (Janssen, III, 267; letter to Frederick, Elector of Saxony, 1522) See also: Martin Luther's Violent, Inflammatory Rhetoric and its Relationship to the German Peasants' Revolt (1524-1525). Luther's thought and opinions here are very complicated; I highly urge anyone who wants to understand it better to read this paper, which is heavily documented from Luther's own writings, and opinions of many Church historians: both Protestant and Catholic. To see it in its entirety, it can be Googled.
2. Zwingli

Zwingli, too, had marked militaristic tendencies: Zwingli had gone the length of declaring that the massacre of the bishops was necessary for the establishment of the pure Gospel . . . He wrote on May 4, 1528; The bishops will not desist from their fraud . . . until a second Elijah appears to rain swords upon them . . . It is wiser to pluck out a blind eye than to let the whole body suffer corruption. (Janssen, V, 180; Zwingli's Works, VII, 174-184) The radicalism promoted by leading churchmen of the reformation did not exclude DEATH AND TORTURE FOR CATHOLICS, PROTESTANT DISSIDENTS. AND JEWS
1. Lut her

There are others who teach in opposition to some recognised article of faith which is manifestly grounded on Scripture and is believed by good Christians all over the world, such as are taught to children in the Creed . . . Heretics of this sort must not be tolerated, but punished as open blasphemers . . . If anyone wishes to preach or to teach, let him make known the call or the command which impels him to do so, or else let him keep silence. If he will not keep quiet, then let the civil authorities command the scoundrel to his rightful master - namely, Master Hans [i.e., the hangman].
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(Janssen, X, 222; EA, Bd. 39, 250-258; Commentary on 82nd Psalm, 1530; cf. Durant, 423, Grisar, VI, 26-27)

That seditious articles of doctrine should be punished by the sword needed no further proof. For the rest, the Anabaptists hold tenets relating to infant baptism, original sin, and inspiration, which have no connection with the Word of God, and are indeed opposed to it . . . Secular authorities are also bound to restrain and punish avowedly false doctrine . . . For think what disaster would ensue if children were not baptized? . . . Besides this the Anabaptists separate themselves from the churches . . . and they set up a ministry and congregation of their own, which is also contrary to the command of God. From all this it becomes clear that the secular authorities are bound . . . to inflict corporal punishment on the offenders . . . Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then . . . we conclude that . . . the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.
(Janssen, X, 222-223; pamphlet of 1536)

Two well-known and reputable non-Catholic sources concur, as to the facts of Luther's adoption of persecution of non-Lutheran Protestants: In 1530 Luther advanced the view that two offences should be penalized even with death, namely sedition and blasphemy . . . Luther construed mere abstention from public office and military service as sedition and a rejection of an article of the Apostles' Creed as blasphemy. In a memorandum of 1531, composed by Melanchthon and signed by Luther, a rejection of the ministerial office was described as insufferable blasphemy, and the disintegration of the Church as sedition against the ecclesiaastical order. In a memorandum of 1536, again composed by Melanchthon and signed by Luther, the distinction between the peaceful and the revolutionary Anabaptists was obliterated. (Bainton, 295) John Stoddard gives an account of Henry VIII, who founded Anglicanism:
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. . . the murderer of two wives . . . and the executioner of many of the noblest Englishmen of the time, who had the conscience and the courage to oppose him. Among these were the venerable Bishop Fisher . . . and Sir Thomas More, one of the most distinguished men of his century . . . When Henry began his persecution, there were about 1,000 Dominican monks in Ireland, only four of whom survived when Elizabeth came to the throne thirty years later . . . Executions speedily began . . . At one time, . . . about 800 a year [roughly the last half of the 16th century]. Hallam [a Protestant] . . . says that the revolting tortures and executions of Jesuit priests in the reign of Elizabeth were characterised by a 'savageness and bigotry, which I am very sure no scribe of the Inquisition could have surpassed' . . . The details of these atrocities . . . would form very unpleasant reading for Protestants, accustomed as they are to think that all religious persecution has been done by Catholics. As Newman says: It is pleasanter (for them) to declaim against persecution, and to call the Inquisition a hell, than to consider their own devices and the work of their own hands. Still another area where churches both in earlier times and after the reformation have been guilty of is found in the area of suppression of information that they saw as harmful to their own self interests. In the earlier days, this was accomplished by withholding knowledge, by outlawing unfavorable information and by burning or destroying books or documents which raised questions about the Catholic Churchs teachings. The early Protestants were not the champions of free speech and freedom of the press, either, as we are led to believe, any more than they were for freedom of religion or assembly -- not by a long shot. Suppression of the Mass and forced Church attendance by civil law are examples of this intolerance regarding freedom of thought and action. Neither was Catholic and sectarian literature to be suffered: With isolated exceptions . . . we find everywhere the opinions which are exactly in harmony with those of the territorial prince
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of the day, striving their utmost to suppress all differing views. The theory of the absolute Church authority of the secular powers was in itself enough to make a system of tolerance impossible on the Protestant side. . . From the very first religious life among the Protestants was influenced by the hopeless contradiction that on the one hand Luther imposed it as a sacred duty on every individual, in all matters of faith, to set aside every authority, above all that of the Church, and to follow only his own judgment, while on the other hand the reformed theologians gave the secular princes power over the religion of their land and subjects . . . 'Luther never attempted to solve this contradiction. In practice he was content that the princes should have supreme control over religion, doctrine and Church, and that it was their right and their duty to suppress every religious creed which differed from their own.' (Janssen, XIV, 230-231; citing Johann von Dollinger: Kirche und Kirchen, 1861, 52 ff.) In the Protestant towns numbers of preachers bestirred themselves zealously with the help of the municipal authorities to suppress the writings of all opposing parties. 'When first Luther began to write books, it was said,' so Frederick Staphylus recalled to mind (1560), 'that it would be contrary to Christian freedom if the Christian folk and the common people were not allowed to read all sorts of books. Now, however . . . the Lutherans themselves are . . . forbidding the purchase and reading of the books of their opponents, and of apostate members and sects.' (Janssen, XIV, 506-507) The Protestant princes . . . loved and encouraged the censorship because, with its help, they could suppress the well-merited complaint against their robbery of Church property, or other self-interested deeds, or even criminal acts. (Janssen, XIV, 507) Violation of the orders of the censorship was everywhere to be severely punished.
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(Janssen, XIV, 234)


2. Lut her Sup pres ses Catho lic Bib les (!)

Janssen writes of a hypocritical instance of Luther's censorship (1529): Luther . . . set his pen in motion concerning this Catholic translation of the Bible. 'The freedom of the Word,' which he claimed for himself, was not to be accorded to his opponent Emser . . . When . . . he learnt that Emser's translation . . . was to be printed . . . at Rostock, he not only appealed himself to his follower, Duke Henry of Mecklenburg, with the request that 'for the glory of the evangel of Christ and the salvation of all souls' he would put a stop to this printing, but he also worked on the councilors of the Elector of Saxony to support his action. He denied the right and the power of the Catholic authorities to inhibit his books; on the other hand he invoked the arm of the secular authorities against all writings that were displeasing to him. (Janssen, XIV, 503-504)
3. Lut her an d Melanc htho n Suppre ss Swis s and Anabap tist Books

Wherever the prince, according to old Byzantine fashion, thought himself a theologian, he managed the censorship in person. (Janssen, XIV, 233) Instances could, of course, be multiplied, but the above examples suffice to illustrate the general Protestant hostility to a free press. While we today have gotten used to a free press and rarely is censorship of religious materials a matter of law any more, we still find a Censorship Mentalityin religious organizations today. In some instances, while censorship cant be found in their written statutes, it exists and is practiced in unwritten forms perfectly clear to their followers. The Protestant states did not disapprove those teachers of other doctrines than theirs should be prevented from preaching. Nor did they question that the state should use laws to encourage
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churchgoing. In Anglican England and Lutheran Germany and Reformed Holland . . . the citizens were alike liable to penalties if they failed for no good reason to attend the worship of their parish churches. In the New world, where there was supposed to be a haven for religious freedom for persons who sought refuge from persecution for their beliefs, things werent much better? In the storybook version most of us learned in school, the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. The Puritans soon followed, for the same reason. Ever since these religious dissidents arrived at their shining city upon a hill, as their governor John Winthrop called it, millions from around the world have done the same, coming to an America where they found a welcome melting pot in which everyone was free to practice his or her own faith. The problem is that this tidy narrative is an American myth. The real story of religion in Americas past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally a bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side. And much of the recent conversation about Americas ideal of religious freedom has paid lip service to this comforting tableau. From the earliest arrival of Europeans on Americas shores, religion has often been a blackjack, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the heretic and the unbeliever including the heathen natives already here. Moreover, while it is true that the vast majority of earlygeneration Americans professed to be Christian, the pitched battles between various Protestant sects and, more explosively, between Protestants and Catholics, present an unavoidable contradiction to the widely held notion that America is a Christian nation along the lines of Christ and his teachings. First, a little overlooked history: the initial encounter between Europeans in the future United States came with the establishment of a Huguenot (French Protestant) colony in 1564 at Fort Caroline (near modern Jacksonville, Florida). More than
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half a century before the Mayflower set sail, French pilgrims had come to America in search of religious freedom. The Spanish had other ideas. In 1565, they established a forward operating base at St. Augustine and proceeded to wipe out the Fort Caroline colony. The Spanish commander, Pedro Menndez de Avils, wrote to the Spanish King Philip II that he had hanged all those we had found in [Fort Caroline] because...they were scattering the odious Lutheran doctrine in these Provinces. When hundreds of survivors of a shipwrecked French fleet washed up on the beaches of Florida, they were put to the sword, beside a river the Spanish called Matanzas (slaughters). In other words, the first encounter between European Christians in America ended in a blood bath. The much-ballyhooed arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England in the early 1600s was indeed a response to persecution that these religious dissenters had experienced in England. But the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not countenance tolerance of opposing religious views. Their city upon a hill was a pretended theocracy that allowed no dissent, religious or political. The most famous dissidents within the Puritan community, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, were banished following disagreements over theology and policy. From Puritan Bostons earliest days, Catholics (Papists) were anathema and were banned from the colonies, along with other non-Puritans. Four Quakers were hanged in Boston between 1659 and 1661 for persistently returning to the city to stand up for their beliefs. Throughout the colonial era, Anglo-American antipathy toward Catholicsespecially French and Spanish Catholicswas pronounced and often reflected in the sermons of such famous clerics as Cotton Mather and in statutes that discriminated against Catholics in matters of property and voting. Anti-Catholic feelings even contributed to the revolutionary mood in America after King George III extended an olive branch to French Catholics in Canada with the Quebec Act of 1774, which recognized their religion.
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In newly independent America, there was a crazy quilt of state laws regarding religion. In Massachusetts, only Christians were allowed to hold public office, and Catholics were allowed to do so only after renouncing papal authority. In 1777, New York States constitution banned Catholics from public office (and would do so until 1806). In Maryland, Catholics had full civil rights, but Jews did not. Delaware required an oath affirming belief in the Trinity. Several states, including Massachusetts and South Carolina, had official, state-supported churches. While some of Americas early leaders were models of virtuous tolerance, American attitudes were slow to change. The antiCatholicism of Americas Calvinist past found new voice in the 19th century. The belief widely held and preached by some of the most prominent ministers in America was that Catholics would, if permitted, turn America over to the pope. Anti-Catholic venom was part of the typical American school day, along with Bible readings. In Massachusetts, a conventcoincidentally near the site of the Bunker Hill Monumentwas burned to the ground in 1834 by an anti-Catholic mob incited by reports that young women were being abused in the convent school. In Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, anti-Catholic sentiment, combined with the countrys anti-immigrant mood, fueled the Bible Riots of 1844, in which houses were torched, two Catholic churches were destroyed and at least 20 people were killed. At about the same time, Joseph Smith who founded a new American religion soon met with the wrath of the mainstream Protestant majority. In 1832, a mob tarred and feathered him, marking the beginning of a long battle between Christian America and Smiths Mormonism. In October 1838, after a series of conflicts over land and religious tension, Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs ordered that all Mormons be expelled from his state. Three days later, rogue militiamen massacred 17 church members, including children, at the Mormon settlement of Hauns Mill. In 1844, a mob murdered Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum while they were jailed in Carthage, Illinois. No one was ever convicted of the crime. Even as late as 1960, Catholic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy felt compelled to make a major speech declaring that
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his loyalty was to America, not the pope. (And as recently as the 2008 Republican primary campaign, Mormon candidate Mitt Romney felt compelled to address the suspicions still directed toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) Of course, Americas anti-Semitism was practiced institutionally as well as socially for decades. With the great threat of godless Communism looming in the 1950s, the countrys fear of atheism also reached new heights. Mobs harassed, even beating fringe religions such as Jehovahs witnesses well into the 20th century. Southern churches fanned the flames of bigotry against black citizens and non-whites as well as Jews and others well into the mid nineteen sixties. When we examine these examples from the pages of church history and come to know these are but a small sample of abuses of individual choice, personal liberty and intolerance, we cannot fail to see a pattern in all this. It is a pattern completely foreign to the spirit which first century congregation was endowed with based on the teaching of Christ. The record leave no other conclusion for a thinking person except that the church which claimed to be Christs congregation all through history was a sham, a bad counterfeit of the first century congregation. This leads us to a relevant question for our own day. What is the church like today? Does it resemble what the apostles left for posterity in their day or does it resemble the pseudo Church of the last seventeen hundred years of history? The next chapter will examine the institutions that make up Churchiantity. This is not to say they all call themselves churches. They may very well bear other titles. Some may be called Assemblies, Conventions, Study centers, Synagogues, Temples, Congregations or Kingdom halls. The point is they all claim to follow Christ as their Leader. The question is; Do they actually follow Christ and the pattern he left through his apostles or do they mor readily resemble the pattern with some variations provided by the Pseudo Churches history? [Click to return to CONTENTS]
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CHAPTER NINE
CHURCHIANITY TODAY Wheat or Weeds?
Church hood or Churchianity is an organizational concept which recognizes the sovereignty of men either on a par with or above the sovereignty of God. It advocates a pyramid type organizational structure with a top level of human rule and subsequent broader levels of administrative management on various levels descending down with the mass flock of its members at the lowest level. It is run by humans, controlled by human thinking and has other interests that Gods as its main concern. Today, most churches and church organizations are run and populated by people who if not for the sake of a necessary show would seem to have little or no regard for the principals and practices Jesus and the apostles taught as they were preserved in Gods inspired word of truth, the Bible. The Pseudo Church with all its denominations committed identity theft on the original first century congregation. It flashed impressive credentials, it mesmerized with razzledazzle and it spoke grandiose utterances while the reality was just another worldly institution run by and operating under the spirit of an unseen leader, Satan the Devil. What does all this have to do with the churches of Christendom today? Simply this: Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity taught a universal truth at Luke 6:44 which ap plies in the case of all fraudulent churches today. Luke 6:44 A tree is identified by the kind of fruit it produces NLT
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While it may seem an extreme statement to some persons, the dictionary definition of Fraud fits only too well in identifying the fruit false religion in general and the churches of Christendom produce. Fraud is given the dictionary meanings of: 1. deceit; trickery; cheating 2 Law intentional deception to cause a person to give up property or some lawful right 3. something said or done to deceive; trick; artifice 4. a person who deceives or who is not what he or she pretends to be; impostor; cheat
Websters New World college Dictionary

An analysis of the fruits produced by the pseudo Church over the past two centuries shows that it cannot be the church of Jesus Christ described in the Bible. How do we prove such a shocking conclusion? Christ alluded to the ways he would determine who his true followers were on a number of occasions: (John 14:21, Matthew 22:37, 1 John 5:3, Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, " 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' NLT The lack of love for God by the churches of Christendom is expressed in their refusal to acknowledge Gods personal name, ignoring or skirting around his commandments when it is convenient for them and placing human sovereignty on a par with Gods sovereignty. Psa 83:16,18. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.KJV
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1 John 5:3 This is what the love of God is: keeping his commandments. Nor are his commandments burdensome, NJB John 14:21 He who has my laws and keeps them, he it is who has love for me: and he who has love for me will be loved by my Father, and I will have love for him and will let myself be seen clearly by him. BBE John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. ASV Members of Churchianity who continue to embrace teachings in their churches which are out of harmony with the Bibles and in some cases even outright lies cannot be seen as worshipping in spirit and truth John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV Jesus Christ asserted that He was the only way of approach to the father. The churches maintain that while this may be true the way may be through Christ, but one must enter it by means of a church door. Christs organizational formula for his followers precluded any institution based on a human chain of hierarchy. However, It did equate obedience with the love of God. 1 John 5:3 For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, NAB From this we might conclude that identification is easy; Just see who is obedient in doing the good things Christ encouraged and taught. While this seems like a reasonable approach it still allows for an important unanswered question to slip through the net. The
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question is simply; Why are they doing the works in evidence? Whats the true motive? Albeit, the works of obedience to Christs Words may be performed due to the right heart condition, but they can also be performed for other reasons as well. They may be for showiness (impressiveness to others). This is especially evident in prominent ones who wave their goodness openly for all to see and in institutions which build impressive facilities claiming these are indications of Gods blessing. They may be the result of guilt feelings for some earlier activity or they may be done for selfish reasons hoping to gain personal advantage from them. These are all reasons which exclude the kind of unselfish love Christ taught. Christ was not an example of anything even close to outward ostentation or impressiveness for personal gain. He said; Matthew 6:3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, NIV Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then yourFather, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. NIV Frequently we see churches and their members flaunt goodness and charity in ways for all to see. Often these things are bragged about by individuals, groups or organizations professing to be Christs followers, toward the end of impressing their hearers. Or their good works may exist solely for pragmatic reasons (self benefit) just as easily as not rather than obedience to God. Works themselves do not address the heart condition behind obedience. The best analytical approach that uncovers the heart condition is not by examining what one has done in compliance with Christs teachings, rather what they have not done and what they disregard in his teachings. It is when we look at what is ignored as well as how one violates the teachings of Christ that ones true heart condition become manifest. This is not only true of an individual; it is equally true of a group, an organization or for that matter a church which professes to follow Christ.

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Lets look at some of the clearly, explicit teachings the Bible attributes to Jesus Christ, which the pseudo /fraudulent church either ignores, twists or violates in the way it professes to practice Christianity. The first area is LOVE and some of the specific commands scripture teaches in connection with it: These things are not given by God and Christ as suggestions, they are mandatory for a true follower. You can read the words carefully yourself and concentrate on the meaning the verse conveys. Then make a note in your own mind ways a Church or institution you are familiar with follows the verse and in what ways it does not. Mark 12:30 and you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.' NWT How important is this? You might take note that it was cited by three different Bible writers, not that that should make a big difference to us except for Gods own counsel which says "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." Can it be said that the traditional churches have themselves complied with these commands or that they successfully led their followers to comply with them as Christ did? Have they truly loved God with their whole heart or has their heart (their desire and motivations) been divided in its love for all kinds of other things? Have they loved with their whole life essence (soul) or have they devoted their lives to a greater emphasis on more mundane things? Is God and his will the foremost thing on their minds, or does it take second, third or even last place in their thoughts?
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Have they loved God with all their strength or has their strength (power) been expended on more beloved activities such as accumulating worldly riches and indulging themselves in worldly comforts? The factual answer lays in their fruits; The Costly buildings they possess, the showy means of which way of life they hold dear, and the accumulated worldly goods and riches far beyond mere need, all show who or what is first in their lives. Mark 12:31 "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these. NKJ Can this be said to have been true of the historical Churches of Christendom, or did they persecute, harm and sometimes even kill even their fellow Christians. Can it be said to be true today? How many members of a typical church you are familiar with can truthfully say they love their neighbor as much as they love themselves? Luke 6:27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, NIV Is there anyone alive today who would even claim either the churches or their members love their enemies? Throughout history and still today, the leaders of the churches have been more than willing to cooperate with the secular governments and sacrifice members of their own flocks in political wars and efforts to kill their enemies. While someone may try to rationalize around these failures in the churches and their members, the fact remains that the fruits they have produced not only show exactly who they are, but also what they are not. They are not the disciples of Christ whose entire ministry and life revolves around love. John 13:35 It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognise you as my disciples. NJB

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Holiness (Sanctified) John 17:17 Sanctify them; {Greek hagiazo (set apart for sacred use or make holy NIB Another area of Christs teachings that help us see the pseudo church for what it is can be found in the area of Holiness. Being holy means properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. .. We call a man holy, when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts. For these reasons he is set apart (sanctified) as something holy. Holiness is not an option for Gods people; it is an identifying characteristic in the same manner that love is a proof of discipleship. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. ESV 1 Peter 1:15 but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, NAB Romans 6:19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. NKJ 1 Thessalonians 3:13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. NKJ Can we say historically that the churches of Christendoms were examples of holiness when their popes, priests and clergymen are accused by their own church members of gross immorality? Can we say they are today in light of the avalanche of accusations of pedophilia and immorality leveled at church officials of all denominations in recent years? Or can we say they are examples of
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holiness when they support things like abortion, sex outside of marriage, and gay rights which are all condemned in Gods word? Excerpts from The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis) By Louise Ropes Loomis, a catholic collection of the lives of popes cites just a few of the examples from the pages of church history. The picture one gets is not the picture of the apostles or of those who the Bible portrays as ones gifted by God for the purpose of shepherding their fellow believers. Concerning JOHN XII the following: "He spent his entire life in adultery [Pontificalis, Vol. 2, p. 246]. The pope BENEDICT IX who reigned from 1033 to 1045 was made pope when merely twelve years old. Halley, in his Halleys Bible Handbook on p. 775 says concerning this pope the following: He committed murders and adulteries in broad daylight, robbed pilgrims on the graves of the martyrs, a hideous criminal, the people drove him out of Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia states about him; He was a disgrace to the chair of Peter. The pope BONIFACE VIII, is described in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, on pp. 668-669, art. BONIFACE VIII, in the following manner: Scarcely any possible crime was omitted - infidelity, heresy, simony, gross and unnatural immorality, idolatry, magichistorians, generally, and even modern Catholic writers class him among the wicked Popes, as an ambitious, haughty, and unrelenting man, deceitful and also treacherous, his whole pontificate one record of evil. During the reign of BONIFACE VIII, the poet Dante visited Rome and described the Vatican as a sewer of corruption. The Catholic historians admit that BONIFACE VIII spoke offensive phraseology on the public documents. The pope BONIFACE VIII also publicly declared the following:
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to enjoy oneself and to lie carnally with women or with boys is no more a sin than rubbing ones hands together [History of the Church Councils, Book 40, art. 697]. Now this monster of a man was in fact the very pope who in 1302 issued a well known UNAM SANCTUM which officially declared that the Roman Catholic Church is the ONLY TRUE CHURCH outside of which there is no salvation. His declaration is embraced by the faithful flock of Romanism to this very day. The pope JOHN XXIII was another monster who set on the alleged chair of St. Peter. Chiniquy in his book The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional on p. 139 gives us the following information regarding this monstrous Holy Father: John XXIII, having appeared before the Council to give an account of his conduct, he was proved by thirty-seven witnesses, the greater part of whom were bishops and priests, of having been guilty of fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, simony, theft, and murder. It was proved also by a legion of witnesses, that he had seduced and violated 300 nuns. His own secretary, Niem, said that he had at Boulogne, kept a harem, where not less than 200 girls had been the victims of his lubricity. A Vatican record offers this information in relation to his wicked, immoral and monstrous reign: "His lordship, Pope JOHN committed perversity with the wife of his brother, intercourse with virgins, adultery with the married, and all sorts of sex crimeswholly adverse to the life and teaching of Christ,,,he was publicly called the Devil incarnate [Sacorum Conciliorum, Vol. 27, p. 663]. The pope ALEXANDER VI is regarded as most wicked and corrupt of the Renaissance popes. He lived in public incest with his two sisters and his own daughter LUCRETIA, from whom he had a child. In October 1501 he conducted a sex orgy in the Vatican, the equal of which for sheer horror was probably never duplicated in the annals of human history. The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, while still a Catholic priest, visited
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Rome. As he caught the glimpse of the seven-hilled city, he fell to the ground and said: Holy Rome, I salute thee. He did not have to spend much time in Rome - that is, in VATICAN where the pope was situated - to find out that Rome was anything but a Holy City. He soon discovered that iniquity and immorality existed among all classes of the clergy. He discovered that many priests told indecent jokes even while serving at the Mass. The papal court was served at supper by TWELVE NAKED GIRLS. He was shocked and dumbfounded. He used to chastise himself and even whip himself when he committed minor sins. But here at the heart of Vatican, in the presence of pope himself - nudism was rampant. [For verification of this story please see Durant, The Story of Civilization, Reformation, p. 344]. Pope GREGORY XVI who reigned from 1831 to 1846 had several mistresses, one of whom was the wife of his barber. He was one of the greatest drunkards in Italy. Pope PIUS IX who reigned from 1846 to 1878 also had several mistresses. Two daughters were born to him from two of his mistresses. It is hardly surprising that the popes, cardinals, bishops, priests etc. were and still are guilty of such gross illicit sexual acts. They are nothing more than the PRIESTS OF BACHUS. Chiniquy writes: However, nobody can be surprised that the priests, the bishops, and the popes of Rome are sunk into such a bottomless abyss of infamy, when we remember that they are nothing else than the successors of the priests of Bacchus and Jupiter. For not only have they inherited their powers, but they have even kept their very robes and mantles on their shoulders, and their caps on their heads. Like the priests of Bacchus, the priests of the Pope are bound never to marry, by the impious and godless law of celibacy. For every one knows that the priests of Bacchus were, as the priests of Rome, celibates. But, like the priests of the Pope, the priests of Bacchus, to console themselves for the restraints of celibacy, had invented auricular confession. Through the secret confidences of the confessional, the priests of the old idols, as well as those of the newly-invented wafer gods, knew who were strong and weak among their penitents, and under the veil of
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the sacred mysteries, during the night celebration of their diabolical mysteries, they knew to whom they should address themselves, and make their vows of celibacy an easy yoke. Lest we get the idea that the sexual immorality was found only in isolated cases within the churches, history tells us that in the middle ages there were brothels in numerous cities owned and run by church officials. Ruth Karras, author of Common Women: prostitution and sexuality in medieval England, discusses how some bishops ran and owned brothels in England during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Ecclesiastical institutions and individuals owned brothels . . . Several individual clerics also managed brothels in London and Westminster. She mentions also that they were not only owners, but many were clients as well. Karras is not the only one to show that the clergy were clients of prostitutes. . This is a theme which has many witnesses attesting to its historicity. It is not our intention to deliberately offend the Roman Catholic Church. These are merely historical facts which are even admitted and recognized by the Romish official sources. I merely want to show that even if the original pope was considered to be a real and legitimate successor of the Apostle Peter, that chain of succession was broken and destroyed by the wicked and monstrous popes who followed. Also, that sexual immorality was not what could be termed the rare exception in the church, it was a widespread pattern found in examples from Popes to priests to parishioners. The record of the Protestant Churches is devoid of the kind of open notoriety and public knowledge found in the catholic churches of earlier times. This does not mean they were more moral than their catholic counterparts. The Protestant Churches did not impose unscriptural celibacy like the Catholic Church did, and its clergy were not as sexually repressed or frustrated as catholic clerics were. In fact, it may be argued that the Protestants took extreme views on sex from the opposite direction leading to a puritanical extremism. The fact that sex remained an open and ongoing issue in the view of the protestant church is confirmed by the large number of repressive rules and regulations it pressed on its followers. While sexual misconduct
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is devoid of much documentation, the church continued to be immoral in a number of other ways. There were and still are a number of other morality related issues. Morality moral = principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of reports of Pedophilia in religious institutions. What makes these especially abominable in Gods eyes is that they are often covered over by higher-ups in the organizations with perpetrators left unpun-ished and able to continue in their aberrant behavior. Religious orders continue to provide chaplains who lend tacit approval to war activities by their participation in military service. Scandal ous behavior by tele-evangelists has become so common place that it is hardly noted by the average church goer anymore. Racism: We cannot say that racism was an official policy in most churches. However, condemnation of it was according to scripture, a Christian obligation. In this, most of the churches down till the middle of the 2oth century failed. Their silence makes them accessories after the fact in many peoples minds. Matthew 18:15-17 'If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16 If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: whatever the misdemeanor, the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain the charge.17 But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a gentile or a tax collector. NJB (In the days of Jesus the Jews he was speaking to avoided contact withgentiles (Undelievers to them) and viewed tax collectors as undesirables). In other instances, examples of complicit rhetoric by church leaders went beyond excuse as a failure of silent bystanders:
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Some Southern Baptist preachers fanned the flames of bigotry, thereby legitimizing groups like the KKK in the minds of their followers. Of course, this is not to mention that KKK followers not only remained members of their churches, but in many instances were seen as the leading citizens in them. The LDS Church excluded blacks from the priesthood in the church, from 1860 to 1978.[162] Most Fundamentalist Mormon sects within the Latter Day Saint movement, rejected the LDS Churchs 1978 decision to allow African Americans to hold the priesthood, and continue to deny activity in the church due to race.[163] Due to these beliefs, in its Spring 2005 "Intelligence Report", the Southern Poverty Law Center named the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church to its "hate group" listing. Thats not to say there werent individuals within the churches who opposed bigotry and prejudice. But it indicates how an outside group of lawyers saw the church as a whole. All through history there have been minority voices who took a stand for what their Biblical Christian consciences dictated. There were voices from within the churches such as Martin Luther King and others, whose protests eventually led to overturning repressive laws against blacks that the churches had been instrumental in establishing. Yet it cant be said that churches in general were instrumental in championing equal equal treatment for people of all races. It was not agains t blacks alone that church members discriminated. There was discrimination and prejudices toward Jews, orientals, various nationals of all kinds and just about anyone else who did not conform to their own doctrines and policies. While the guilt in this cannot be removed from the individuals who perpetrated, or practiced these things, it also lies with their institutions and organizations which they were affiliated with and followed. If leaders in these institutions and the organizations themselves had taught these things to be contrary to Gods will and therefore not acceptable, these behaviors would never have taken hold of the large numbers of people who practice prejudice and bigotry, and bring harm to millions.
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Another area where the question of right and wrong (morality) comes into play in connection with the churches was in the area of unscriptural legislation; they sponsored and supported secular laws which produced hardships on people. Their mandate from Christ was to follow his example and to teach people what he taught, not to twist scripture to support legislation that went beyond Christs teachings or what the Bible held as truth. Laws preventing people from drinking from public water fountains and availing themselves of transportation because of their color or race had no basis either in O.T. or in N.T. scripture. Sunday blue laws depriving people of making a living or obtaining goods and services they needed had no place in the teachings of Christ. Yet these were only minor examples among repressive civil laws the pseudo church either sponsored or supported. Another way the churches can be seen that they are un-holy in the eyes of God Almighty is in the matter of bloodshed and warfare. In every war on record in which the accumulated historical death toll has numbered in hundreds of millions if not a billion, the religious leaders have either sponsored or condoned the death of innocent people by the ravages of war. They have supported politicians and political causes and sent members of their flocks to die in the name of patriotism and selfish national interests. They have furnished chaplains to bless the weapons of war and glorified those who were willing to kill and be killed for such causes. This does not totally absolve their blinded followers who complied with bloodthirsty policies. Each of us individually has been given an innate sense of right and a wrong which we know as a conscience. In this, Jesus command for his Church is quite clear: you are to love your enemies. Love does not equate with mass bombing and indiscriminate property destruction of enemies as well as innocents. Anyone who is familiar with the Bible or the teachings of Christ knows this is not something true Christians could do and still be viewed by Christ as his followers.
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These are unholy acts by unholy people who are affiliated with unholy organizations and institutions, not the true church of the living God, Jehovah. His expectations for those he would recognize as his own are perfectly clear. The acts committed by the churches in the name of God prove they are not that people. 1 Peter 1:15, 16 but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, NAB 16 For he himself has said, "You must be holy because I am holy." NLT 16 For he himself has said, "You must be holy because I am holy." NLT Still another way to recognize the Pseudo Church for what it is may be found in the matter of how a church and its members view and or respond to truth. The words of Jesus on this subject: John 14:6 Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
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John 17:17 Sanctify {Greek hagiazo (set apart for sacred use or make holy); also in verse 19} them by the truth; your word is truth. NIB John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth KJV 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. NAB How does this compare with what the Church teaches and how it either ignores or distorts truth according to its own whims? When we begin to list the falsehoods connected with what churches teach we soon find that a simple list will not suffice . It would take a book to adequately describe all the lies inbred in those teachings and doctrines which contradict, ignore or go beyond real Bible teachings. Just for the sake of illustration, here is a small yet not insignificant
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sampling of things the churches teach which cannot be supported by truthful Bible under standing: 1. Their Immortality of the SoulDoctrine teaches that Satan was correct, and not a liar when he alluded that regardless whether Adam and Eve disobeyed, they would not die. in that humans do not really die at all, but all go on living by virtue of their souls which are independent of their bodies. 2. That a God of Love and mercy is capable of torturing his beloved earthly children in everlasting merciless ways like subjecting them to pain and suffering for all eternity in a fiery existence because they fell short of his will. 3. That the creator is actually three distinct and separate persons in a single mystical entity. 4. That Christ was at the same time God and Man 5. That Satan the Devil is everything from a figment of ones imagination to a harmless idea in peoples mind and that he is not real and does not have any real power or influence over them. 6. That there is no God as an exclusive creator and that all creation happened mainly due to chance and evolution. 7. That it doesnt matter how you live your life in opposition to his will. Since God loves you, you will not lose your life, but will be saved and survive in heaven due to his mercy, as long as your intentions are righteous in your own eyes. 8. That the Bible and science are or reflect entirely different kinds of truth. 9. That lying is alright under certain conditions where the motives can be justified or rationalized. While these are extremely important examples of lies the churches have promoted, one towers over all the others in how devastating its effect is the ultimate survival of the earth and us as its human occupants. That devastating lie is the concept that man possesses
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the ability to know and to determine what is best for himself, his fellow man and the earth which he lives on, independent of assistance from God. Simply put this is an enormous lie from Gods standpoint because he knows quite well what his intentional design limitations were when he created the genre of beings we know as humans. Believing this lie leads people to disregard both his right and his ability to care for his own creation. If this singular important lie continues to go unchecked and people are encouraged to run the earth according to their own will rather than Gods will it can have no final end result other than thedestruction of a highly complex interrelated system of living organisms which make up our planet earth. By perpetuating this lie, the pseudo church becomes an accessory to a powerful spirit being, intent upon humiliating Jehovah God in the ultimate rule or ruin scenario.

Idolotry:
Still one more way we can recognize the pseudo church of the world from the true church of God is in the area of Idolatry. Idolatry is an especially abhorrent thing to God for it not only insults him but shows disrespect for his own person and power, not to mention indicating alack of appreciation for the way in which He blesses the human family. When we examine the Pseudo Church of Christendom, within it we find examples for all the definitions of idolatry one dictionary source gives: a. An image used as an object of worship. b. someone or something that is adored. Often blindly or excessively c. A false God d. Something seen and tangible but without substance

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The Bible has a good explanation which helps us to understand the nature of Idols as God sees them: Romans 1:18-25. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity , . . . .25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. God created humanity to live in relationship to him knowing Him, honoring him, delighting in him, serving him, finding identity and meaning and personal significance in belonging to him and working with him to accomplish his purposes in creation. The inclination and tendancy of humans after their removal from the Garden of Eden was not to naturally turn to God and honor him as God or give thanks to him. With few exceptions, they did not turn God-ward in love, honor, delight, obedience, and grateful service. Instead they sought to be independent of God. Because we are made for God and intended to derive our identity, security, purpose and happiness in relationship to Him, when we exclude him from our lives there is a huge vacuum. So we do not
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simply eliminate God we exchange God for a God-substitute that we look to for our identity, security, meaning, purpose and happiness. That identity finds form in other gods or in ourselves. So Paul says, we exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve the creation rather than the creator. We elevate something else in creation above God. GK Chesterton said When we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything. These substitutes are counterfeit gods. Therefore, we can define an idol as someone or something within creation that is inflated to function as God. It is inflated to function as God in this sense: It becomes more fundamental than God for your identity, personal meaning, security, purpose, and joy. So, an idol can be a physical object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero anything that we may substitute for God in importance to us. The Fruit of Idolatry is one or another form of slavery. When we devote energy, time or resources to something which becomes as important or more important than god under what we consider a sense of obligation, it becomes a form of slavery for us. It is slavery to worship and serve anything or any creature aside from God. When we elevate something or someone as more fundamental than God and try to achieve identity, meaning, security, purpose, and joy apart from God by exchanging him or it for a god-substitute, it inevitably leads to slavery. This is the irony of idolatry in turning from God and seeking to be free from God we become a slave to a god-substitute. We turn from God to an idol that we think we can control, but the idol overpowers us and begins to control us. Idols control us by giving promises and warnings that enslave us, drive us, and cause us to live in anxiety. The Pseudo Church not only encourages its followers to practice idolatry in a variety of forms, but it has made itself into an idol. It extracts admiration and homage in various ways, including the blasphemous way it puts itself in the place of God in making unscriptural demands of its followers.

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Those who profess true Christianity today should ask themselves what various forms of idolatry they may inadvertently be guilty of in Gods eyes. Among the various forms modern idolatry can take, those which feature self are prominently in evidence in our own time. Most people no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of self. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms. First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more stuff. Our homes are filled with all manner of possessions. We build bigger and bigger houses with more closets and storage space in order to house all the things we buy, much of which we havent even paid for yet. Most of our stuff has planned obsolescence built into it, making it useless in no time, and so we consign it to the garage or some other storage space. Then we rush out to buy the newest item, garment or gadget and the whole process starts over. This insatiable desire for more, better, and newer stuff is nothing more than covetousness. The tenth commandment tells us not to fall victim to coveting: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exodus 20:17). God doesnt just want to rain on our buying sprees. He knows we will never be happy indulging our materialistic desires because it is Satans well conceived trap to keep our focus on ourselves and not on God. Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego. This often takes the form of obsession with careers and jobs. Millions of menand increasingly more womenspend 60-80 hours a week working. Even on the weekends and during vacations, our laptops are humming and our minds are whirling with thoughts of how to make our businesses more successful, how to get that promotion, how to get the next raise, how to close the next deal. In the meantime, our children are starving for attention and love. We fool ourselves into thinking we are doing it for them, to give them a better life. But the truth is we are doing it for ourselves, to increase our self-esteem by appearing more successful in the eyes
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of the world. This is folly. All our labors and accomplishments will be of no use to us after we die, nor will the admiration of the world, because these things have no eternal value. As King Solomon put it; For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:2123). Third, we idolize mankindand by extension ourselvesthrough naturalism and the power of science. This gives us the illusion that we are lords of our world and builds our self-esteem to godlike proportions. We reject Gods Word and His description of how He created the heavens and the earth, and we accept the nonsense of evolution and naturalism. We embrace the goddess of environmentalism and fool ourselves into thinking we can preserve the earth indefinitely through our own efforts and inventions. Finally, and perhaps most destructively, we worship at the altar of self-aggrandizement or the fulfillment of the self to the exclusion of all others and their needs and desires. This manifests itself in selfindulgence through alcohol, drugs, and food. Those in affluent countries have unlimited access to alcohol, drugs (prescription drug use is at an all-time high, even among children), and food. Obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed, and childhood diabetes brought on by overeating is epidemic. The self-control we so desperately need is spurned in our insatiable desire to eat, drink, and medicate more and more. We resist any effort to get us to curb our appetites, and we are determined to make ourselves the god of our lives. This has its origin in the Garden of Eden where Satan tempted Eve to eat of the tree with the words you will be like God (Genesis 3:5). This has been mans desire ever sinceto be god and, as we have seen, the worship of self in the form of self determination is the basis of all modern idolatry. All idolatry of self has at its core the three lusts found in 1 John 2:16:
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For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. If we are to escape modern idolatry, we have to admit that it is rampant and reject it in all its forms. It is not of God, but of Satan, and in it we will never find fulfillment. This is the great lie and the same one Satan has been telling since he first lied to Adam and Eve. Sadly, we are still falling for it. Even more sadly, many of the pseudo churches are propagating it in the preaching of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel built on the idol of self-esteem. But we will never find happiness focusing on ourselves. Our hearts and minds must be centered on God and on others. This is why when asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). When we love the Father and others with everything that is in us, there will be no room in our hearts for idolatry. Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 39; 'You must love your neighbor as yourself.'
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The unfortunate thing about all this is that these forms of idolatry are found intrinsic to much of the administration and makeup of Churches and church like institutions on the scene in our day. For this reason they can no more be seen as genuine worshippers of the true God and his Son Jesus than the individuals who practice these forms of idolatry can. This begs the question; is there a true church? If so what is it and where is it? The true church consists of those who are legitimately seen by Christ as his own brothers. At Mark 3:35 he identified them as those who do the will of his father. Clearly this identity does not convincingly fit the pseudo church which evolved over the centuries once the apostles had passed off the scene. One way to recognize the true church (his spiritual brothers) is found in how it is treated by those in the pseudo church who do
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not in fact want to whole heartedly practice Christianity in the way Christ taught them to do. Matthew 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' NKJ Matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
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Or as other versions puts it; Matthew 25:40 "And athe King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' NAS Matthew 25:40 And the King will make answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. BBE Who might these my brothers of Christ be in his own eyes? Here, we need to make a distinction between HIS, Jesus brothers and brothers in general Mark 3:35 Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." NIV It is not until after his death and resurrection that bible writers show Jesus to use the expression my brothers again; Matthew 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." NIV In this case, the my brothers he was referring to were specifically his eleven apostles (Matt.28:16), not the disciples in general.
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However, before that, at the Lords evening meal, he had expanded the meaning of my brothers to include, by inference
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others who would be included in the covenant he made with his apostles on that occasion. Luke 22:29,30. and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, RSV30 you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. NJB Later in the book of Hebrews Paul, referred to those joint heirs of the Kingdom again: Hebrews 2:11 He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them "brothers," NAB In this verse, their description as being consecrated puts them in a different light than followers in general. Consecrated has the meaning of being set aside for a divine purpose, called to a solemn dedication. Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. NIV Still later, the Apostle John sees a vision of them in the Book of revelation: Revelation 5:10 and made them a line of kings and priests for God, to rule the world. NJB There is a very important generally unrecognized distinction between those who Jesus sees as my brothers and those who are followers in general yet who are also brothers to one another. Those who are my Brothers have a personal calling from God. They are referred to as future Kings and Priests. and as The Bride of Christ. According to scripture, they represent a very small number from the entire history of mankind. They are uniquely ones who are destined to rule with his son Jesus Christ over the earth during the Millennial Kingdom. They are designated in the Bible as saints or holy ones. These alone constitute spiritual Israel. Their relationship with Jehovah God
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and his son Jesus Christ is personal and purely spiritual and entirely independent of any earthly connection with the pseudo churches of Christendom. These alone constitute the true church of God in the spiritual sense. In the earthly sense there are those, some of which have association with religious organizations and some who do not, yet who can also be seen as part of the congregation of God. This isnt based on an organizational affiliation, rather on the personal relationship they have with the creator in their hearts. These individuals are by nature humble and generally not inclined to boasting or outward displays drawing attention to themselves. Bible examples of Gods true servants show them to resist personal attention and defer all glory to God himself. By and large these individuals are unrecognizable to us as humans in a certain and direct way for we measure mainly by what we see as the outward trappings we have been taught by the world to be important. Those members of the true church have a relationship which exists within their own minds and hearts and is linked to the creators mind and spirit in ways invisible to us as outside observers. So, the true church is not found as the institutions and organizations who claim to follow Christ, nor in the individuals who profess to follow Christ, but in those who actually do follow, practice and exercise faith in his teachings. Paul referred to them as being circumcised in their hearts. (Rom. 2:27-29,Col. 2:11, Phil.3:3) Humans do not have the innate ability to read hearts, while God and his son Jesus do. Those who are anointed with Holy Spirit know within themselves what their relationship with the creator is. Others must rely on what they perceive Gods will to be and how closely they observe Gods will is being followed by one who professes such anointing. In the case of individuals both within and without a church, this is the only indication others may have as to their possible relationship with God. In this kind of evaluation, since we are not God it is essential to have a thorough and accurate grounding in Gods word where his thinking resides. Only then will we be able to discern between
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what we see from outward appearances and commendable to him from a scriptural viewpoint.

what

is

As for the churches and institutions, whether or not they are of God is more easily discerned when one recognizes there is difference between an instrument used by someone and the person themselves. The history of Gods people reveals he used various nations and entities who were actually his enemies in dealing with his people. In the case of Egypt and Babylon, both pagan nations, both avowed enemies, God used them to punish his people and in other instances to bless his people. In both instances he allowed his people to remain enslaved to them for an extended period of time. When Gods time for their release came he let them know it was time to be free of the yoke of slavery and provided a means for them to do it. In the meanwhile, while they were in captivity, he still continued to feed them and care for them in other ways. The pseudo church is somewhat similar in that while it is actually an enemy of God, he finds use for it as a vehicle for supplying needs of his people on some levels. It has been an instrument by which he has seen his word circulated into every imaginable corner of the globe. And it still functions as an instrument which exposes his word to billions of earths population. As such he is using it as he used Egypt and Babylon in ancient days. There is however one large difference. In the case of Egypt and Babylon, they never claimed to be something which they were not. They never claimed to speak for Jehovah God and readily admitted to following their own Gods. In the case of the pseudo churches, they claim to not only speak for God, and not only to be instruments of God, but they have seated themselves in his place. They claim authority as Gods visible earthly representatives which they flaunt for all to see. They rule his people as if they were him. If they were legitimately his true church, we would expect them to reflect all the fruits of his spirit and of his will. When these fruits are tainted or missing, and as we have shown above it is a safe indication that they are not of God, but rather a counterfeit or as we have indicated a Pseudo version of Gods true church. Those individuals who were members of the true church and stepped forward in the past either to call attention to error or to make attempts to reform the pseudo church have been opposed
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by the pseudo church. All through history, supression and persecution has been the rule when anyone has attempted to either speak for truth or question untruth as it is practiced in the pseudo churches. The magnitude of the persecutions is important for the following reason: in two thousand years of history, one could excuse a few hundred cases as exceptional, but thousands upon thousands of victims can only be the result of a systematic policy, thereby showing the harmful results of church-state unions and abogus (Pseudo) church. All this evidence points to the fact that the so called Christian Church on the world scene, despite what it may call itself, is in fact a Pseudo Church, a counterfeit. This raises the question; If the church we see with its institutions form a fraud, where is is the earthly counterpart to the Spiritual congregation (the Bride of Christ) found to exist today? The answer is; not in the form of buildings, facilities or human institutions and organizations. The apostle Paul wrote to his first century contemporaries that they themselves were the temple of God. 1Corinthians3:16,17.Don'tyou know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? NIV 17 If anyone destroys God's temple,God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
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Now some may contend that this passage only applies to a group collectively as in church, consisting of many individuals. Certainly, this is true in the sense that many individuals who are seen as having Gods spirit are described as a body, however it remains true that each of those individuals must receive Holy spirit personally first. Only then can they be seen as part of his collective body. Jehovah God deals with individuals, not corporations, organizations, institutions, or churches. When they are credited with anything positive,good or beneficial, it is because he has motivated individuals within those organizations
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to respond to his will. On fundamental root levels, both judgment and blessings by God are an individual basis. Ephesians 4:7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.
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1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. NAB Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, 1 which parted and came to rest on each one of them. NAB 1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. NKJ Galatians 6:5 Because every man is responsible for his part of the work. BBE Ephesians 6:8 knowing that each will be requited from the Lord for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. NAB Jeremiah 31:30 But each will die for his own guilt.
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Therefore, the physical earthly form of the true church rests not in the organizations, but in the individuals who follow Gods word and his Christ in their hearts, wherever they may be found. As far as the Pseudo Church, it is a part of the world empire of religion opposed to Jehovah Gods true followers. In the Bible such false religion collectively is known as Babylon the Great, The Great Harlot (Rev. 17:1ASV) and mother of harlots (Rev. 17:5.NAB) who fornicates with the the political rulers of the earth and make its inhabitants drunk with the wine of her immoral relationships. ( Rev. 17:2NAB)

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What should anyone who finds themselves in captivity to Babylon the great in any of its many forms do? The apostle John received the answer in prophecy and wrote it for Christs true followers to consider. in the book of Revelations, Chapter 18, and Verse 4 we finf these words: Revelation 18:4 Another voice spoke from heaven; I heard it say, 'Come out, my people, away from her, so that you do not share in her crimes and have the same plagues to bear. NJB Or as other versions puts it: Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, "Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her.
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Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues,
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The next chapter will address what the bible discloses in connection with the basis upon which each of us must make a personal decision regarding our future relationship with our creator. This may very well be the most important decision we make for it affects not only our present life but our future life prospects as well.

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CHAPTER TEN
TRUTH and its CONSEQUENCES
Here and Now, for You and Me.

Having arrived at the final chapters in the last of four volumes, exploring the Bible from A to Z, the time has arrived to ask some soul searching questions. The answers to these questions will affect our happiness and our peace of mind now and for all our tomorrows to come. This is not an exercise for the timid. If you are a person easily unsettled or one who is made uneasy by truth when confronted with it, these may not be questions you want to ask of yourself. However if you love truth and want answers to some of the deep down things that are troubling you about life and those religions people either embrace today or fail to embrace, this is for you. More than two thousand years ago Jesus Christ said You will know the truth and the truth will set you free His words have never been more appropriate than they are today, a time when the entire world around us seems to revolve around misinformation, illusion and delusion. To serious Bible scholars, this comes as no surprise for the Bible from the beginning has maintained the whole world is controlled by the father of Lies, Satan the Devil. John 8:44 You are from your father, the devil, and you prefer to do what your father wants. He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in himat all. When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar, and the father of lies. NJB Revelation 12:9 The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived
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the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. NAB 1 John 5:19 We know that we are God's children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. NRS On the other hand we are told in the Bible that the creator, God Almighty is a God of truth, that truth is intrinsic with his very being, and that it is impossible for him to lie. We are also told that his word which in some scriptural instances describes his written word and in others describes his own son Jesus Christ also epitomize truth. Psalm 31:5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. NKJ Titus 1:2 This truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began -- and he cannot lie. NLT Hebrews 6:18 So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. NLT John 3:33 Those who believe him discover that God is true. NLT John 14:6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. NLT Psalm 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. NKJ

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The apostle John, one of Jesus first century footstep followers made a profound observation which also ahs an application to any one of us living today. 1 John 2:21 I have written to you not because you are ignorant of the truth, but because you are well aware of it, and because no lie can come from the truth. NJB Whether you call a lie misinformation, distortion or deception, or rationalize it and call it disingenuousness, it breeds, confusion, doubts, and either suspicion or discomfort. Only you can determine whether you want to be free of the doubts and discomfort that falsehood inadvertently gives birth to. If you are up to it, lets explore a scriptural outlook on some of the BIG questions and also some of the Smaller ones they beget, and see where the answers truthfully leave us. I. Where art thou O truth? What happened to truth in our day? In our day, most of the earths population has become immunized from the effects of lying and deception. Wherever we look deceivers are at work in our everyday lives. Whether at home or at work, at school or at play, at a sporting event or at a church it bo longer surprises us if someone lies to us in one fashion or another. For this reason many of us have rightly become suspicious and pessimistic of almost everyone who makes an effort to convince us of something whether it is true or not. While all humans have within their brains a natural attraction towards truth, this innate function of the mind has been overridden with a tolerance for misinformation, distortion and outright deception.

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We have even invented euphemisms to make this more tolerable to us, because at some deep level of our psyche, we know that truth is beneficial and lies are dangerously harmful. We use sugar coated expressions like fibs,spinning, disingenuous, white lies and half truths to clothe lies in presentable garments. We have come to expect our politicians to deceive us on some level and accept it as a common fact of life. We expect advertisers and sales people to fudge the truth, and we accept this as the norm rather than the exception. We are even coming to realize that those scientific, educational and religious institutions which we revered in the past have also been guilty of misleading us and lying. The world around us has become so saturated with falsehood that often there is great difficulty in recognizing a difference between truth and falsehood. Even the real meaning of the word truth has become obscured or a subject for debate in our minds. If asked for a straightforward, simple definition of what truth is?, the average person either becomes tongue tied or spews an unintelligible dialog that ends up being a shallow excuse for any real definition. Scholars of our day still debate endlessly what the meaning of truth may be. Yet, it has always been there, with us, in the deepest recesses of our minds. Intuitively we have always known what Daniel Webster knew when he offered this definition for truth back in his 1824 dictionary where he wrote truth is; Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be In Gods book the Holy Bible, Jesus spoke about something he called the Spirit of Truth. Analyzing some of the verses where the expression is found, can help us understand what He meant by it.
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John 15:26 " But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. NKJ From this verse we learn that this spirit of truth he speaks of is dispatched by Jesus and that its source is his father Jehovah. Also, we see in this verse that this spirit of truth is not accepted by the world at large, and that it would testify about him (Jesus). John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. NAB We are told that the world is not capable of accepting it. Jesus does not say it doesnt receive it, he says it doesnt accept it. This makes it a matter of personal choice on the part of those in the world. Yet for his true followers, he says they would recognize it and it would remain with them and in them. John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. NLT Here Jesus focuses on the effect the spirit of truthmay have on us; He will guide you into all truth. Also, the fact that Jesus repeatedly refers to it as he implies a separate outside entity apart from oneself or himself. What then is the Spirit of Truth? In the Bible there are approximately eleven meanings given for the word spirit (See Volume Two, Chapter 17, Spirits pp. 379384 of IT IS WRITTEN). Of these eleven definitions which may be applied to the word spirit, the ones which best fit the context of verses where The Spirit of Truth is found are;
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Spirit as someone or something with individuality, Spirit as something within humans, Spirit as a mental disposition and Spirit as a teacher or revealer of information. All of these fit the collective context of verses which contain the expression spirit of truth. While it is something Jesus said he would dispatch to his followers, apparently it also requires a welcome attitude by a willing recipient for the spirit of truth to take residence within them. The fact that one recognizes the value of truth in practical ways does not mean he either loves it or wishes it to be a personal guiding spirit of his own. How does the Spirit of Truth operate on us today and how do we receive it? First, we start off with the premise that the spirit of Truth is from God, and that it is something that he communicates and transmits to us. Throughout history, there have been examples of extraordinary ways in which God has communicated and transmitted information to different individuals. In some instances he communicated (spoke to) them by means of visions or dreams (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17). Job 7:14 Then you send dreams to me, and visions of fear; BBE 1 Samuel 28:6 And Saul enquired of the Lord; and the Lord answered him not by dreams, nor by manifestations, nor by prophets. LXE In some other instances, he used angels (messengers) in the form of either humans or Spirit beings who appeared to them in materialized forms that they could readily relate to and accept. (Gen. Chapters 18 and 19) Judges 13:3 The Angel of Yahweh appeared to this woman and said to her, 'You are barren and have had
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no child, but you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. NJB Yet the most universal and direct way he had and will always have is to plant thoughts directly into our own individual minds . Heb.8:10, In their minds I shall plant my laws writing them on their hearts NLT, NJB, BBE However, due to the way a human mind is designed to work, unless the recipient has faith that the message is truly from God, it will not be effective nor will the spirit of truth have influence in their case.. In such instances, if God still wants to communicate his message to them he may use extra-ordinary means such as a vivid vision or a memorable dream to establish confidence in the message he is going to reveal to their minds. How is a human being in our day to achieve the kind of faith that allows us to be attuned to Gods messages? We are given a formula for developing this kind of faith at Rom.1017; So faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ. NWT So faith is built up in us by virtue of Gods word and the knowledge it imparts about his will and his Messiah, Jesus Christ. Interestingly it was Christ who made the statement at John 14:6 where he said: I am the way, the Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. NJB These words are profoundly meaningful. The thing heard is through Gods word. The Bible reveals the truth about Christ and we cant come to God through any other means aside from him. If we accept this, then we are able to have a personal relationship with Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ. Since we have built faith in the word and have faith in God and his son, Christ Jesus, he can
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communicate directly with our minds, because we also have faith that the message is from him. There is no need for extraordinary measures such as dreams and visions to capture our attention and help us to realize when a communication is from God. The spirit of Truth combines with our spirit and our own faith helps assure us the message is from God. This however, applies mainly if the message is personal and for us individually. If it is a message he intends to be relayed to others, their faith or lack of faith enters into the equation and God may furnish some additional means for instilling faith in them so that they may perceive that the message was provided by the spirit of truth. Such extraordinary measures are alluded to by the prophet Ezekiel where he prophesies about incredible situations and events and then adds Then they will know I am Jehovah (Ezekiel 6:14, Ezekiel 7:4,27,11:10,12,16,20) In our day, neuro-science has approached the threshold of being able to read a persons thoughts externally by observing and recording the patterns of neurons firing within their human brain. If these patterns are measurable and recordable they could also be useful to someone who has the ability to plant neuron patterns in the individuals brain. As far as we know, science is not quite there yet. However, that is not to say that God almighty or for that matter even Satan the Devil does not have the ability to do just that. The implication according to Heb.8:10 is that even now, thoughts can be planted in our brain by the creator. If we have confidence in their validity and accept them they will affect our potential behavior. If there is an additional influence such as a spirit at work in addition to our confidence (faith) in those thoughts, then they will affect our behavioral patterns on an on-going basis. Such is the work of The Spirit of Truth or any other spirit which may reside in us. If we have it, it affects the way we see everything and how we act accordingly. This ties back in with Gods original will and purpose for the earth. If we (mankind) act
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in complete harmony with his will, and his spirit, despite time and circumstance, things will go well for us, we will be of benefit to those around us and good stewards over the earth we live on. How about us as individuals? Why is truth important to you and me, as individuals? Because, First as was just stated; as individuals we will realize enormous benefits from Gods blessings if we act in harmony with his will and the truth it epitomizes. Additionally it will free us from all the illusions and delusions falsehood enslaves us with. Thirdly, it is not just a request by God that we love truth; it is a request that carries a penalty to those who would disregard it. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 He [Satan] will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them. NLT [brackets added by author] Or as another version put it; 2 Thessalonians 2:10 and every kind of wicked deception [by Satan] for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. NRS [brackets added by author] Also, no beneficial advancements or improvements, either personal or otherwise, are possible except where truth is evident and forms a foundation for them to built on. Interestingly, while many believers recognize the importance of Gods word in connection with his purposes, truth takes a low priority in the ways they apply his word in their lives. Yet, if we need to be reminded, truth existed with Jehovah God long before scripture came into being. While scripture has been preserved to help us recognize truth when we are exposed to it, truth also exists
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outside of scripture. Gods truth, which is an intricate part of his nature, is found in science, mathematics physics, chemistry, and in every other manner of creation. It also has an innate presence in our connection with God almighty through what the bible refers to as our minds and heart. This innate presence is crucial to our relationship with the creator. It is occasionally referred to in the Bible as a conscience or a witness bearer within. It is also referred to as soundness of mind, wisdom or thinking ability. While all of these have shades of difference in their meanings, they are all closely related to the truth as a power of the mind which all humans are endowed with. Thus, whether we accept what God presents us as true or not, he has a basis to hold us responsible to himself and to his will. This is illustrated in the next two verses. Romans 1:20 ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse: NJB Romans 2:15 They demonstrate that God's law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.
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Both these verses refer to mental faculties in our brains which we all possess. These faculties function at full potential only in response to truth. As such, truth is absolutely essential in our mental connection with God. There can be no relationship acceptable to God without truth as its foundation.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN GODS KINGDOM, the only REAL HOPE for mankind
Today, the condition of the world and its attitudes toward God and godliness remains unchanged from the very beginning of mans history. While there are some who have embraced Gods sovereignty in their lives, the vast majority of people on the planet still take issue over it. Religions everywhere say they worship and serve God, yet the fact is , it remains the most important open issue between God and Man . Simply stated; Whose sovereignty will determine earths affairs, Gods or mans? It is the exact same issue surfaced in the Garden of Eden, where under the prompting of Gods adversary Satan the Devil, our founding parents chose to chose to follow their own will instead of Gods will. The issue then was and still is now; who is in the best position to ultimately determine what was best for the human family; God or man himself. The creator has never changed his view on this. While he has allowed men to employ every imaginable form of government they can conceive of in ruling the earth and their fellow humans, universal failure of their efforts has not resulted in a change of their minds or a change of direction. The overwhelming majority still cling to the idea that some man or some group of men or some human organization is a road to salvation and the only hope for saving the earth. This is the fundamental core belief that makes the world what it is and why it is alienated from the true God Jehovah. It permeates every corner of society on the earth, and dominates the thinking of a worldwide system of things influenced by Satan the devil in its opposition to Gods will.
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Whatever words one chooses to describe it, whether it be selfdetermination, democracy, monarchy, or any other form of mans rule over other men, it constitutes opposition to Gods will. His will was and is for man to be obedient to Gods ruler ship, because he knows that the human mind is not designed to know what is best either for himself or for the earth he lives on without his creators guidance. Whether it takes the form of exaggerated self esteem, self worth, self interest or plain selfishness on his own behalf or toward the resources and blessings God has bestowed on him, these are all forms of self sovereignty which is detestable to Jehovah God and his son Christ Jesus, and which constitute a form of rebellion and in many cases idolatry. Those who are anointed by God as members of the true Church, that is, the spiritual body of Christ know that all hope for the future of humanity on earth rests with Gods Kingdom. They place their allegiance with God Almighty and his son Jesus Christ, faithfully trusting in them and not in themselves or in other humans. There hope rests in the kingdom of God, not in buildings, institutions or organizations run by imperfect humans. The good news which the Bible refers to on numerous occasions is all about the Kingdom of God and the hope it represents for mankind through and by means of Gods Messiah and king Jesus Christ. It is the administration by which Jehovah God will restore all things to their right state. This includes the relationship between men and himself, the relationship between men and each other, and the relationship men were intended to have with the rest of his creation, both earthly and heavenly. Ephesians 1:9, 10. Having made clear to us the secret of his purpose, in agreement with the design which he had in mind, to put into his [Christs] hands BBE Ephesians 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him NAS

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This is indeed good news, extremely Good News for it portends the solution to all the problems which have plagued humans since the beginning of their time on earth. Mat 24:14 And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.AMP This Kingdom was so important that Jesus listed it right next to the sanctification of his fathers name at Mtt. 6:9,10, where he taught his disciples a model prayer that would please God. A brief examination of the Phrase ; Kingdom or Kingdom of God as it exists in scripture reveals it to be a real defacto government which Jehovah God will provide toward the end of restoring the earth to its originally intended form which is a Paradise like home for the human family. Daniel 2:44 "During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand NLT forever. We are told in Daniels prophecy that God Almighty would establish a righteous government at the end of times which would bring an end to all human governments and last forever. 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts,10 RSV thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers -- none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. NLT In this description we are told that many of the troublesome things our society has come to accept as facts of everyday life will be gone or missing, for they do not comport with Gods will for his kingdom.

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Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, And ministers shall govern with justice; TNK The primary principal which will form the foundation of all law in the kingdom administration is Love. Matt. 22: 36-40 36; "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And He said to him, a"'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the great and1foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, a'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."NAS These verses point to the ruler ship under Christ and the 144,000 joint heirs spoken of at Luke 22:29, 30. . as a wholly loving, righteous and just administration and now I confer a kingdom on you,[his footstep followers] just as my Father conferred one on me 30 you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel NJB and at Revelation 20:6: Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. NAS This Kingdom was of such great importance to Christs followers that he included it as the first thing they should pray for after the sanctification of his fathers name. Matthew 6:9-13. 9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on
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earth, just as it is in heaven.11 Give us our food for today,12 and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.13 And don't let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.NLT The benefits this Kingdom will provide for earthly subjects under its rule are are found scattered throughout various places in the Bible. Here are some example verses; Revelation 21:3 I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). NAB Psalm 67:6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. KJV Revelation 21:4 He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever."
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The means by which this will be accomplished is revealed by God in the book of Isaiah; Isa 11:9 They shall not do evil, nor destroy in all My holy mountain. For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.
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or as another translation has it; Isaiah 11:9 They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea. NWT While some may think this simply means that the people of the earth will know of Jehovah God, the meaning is much more profound. It also carries the meaning that the earth will be filled
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with the knowledge that God possesses, which when fully understood by us will contribute to the paradisiacal conditions on the earth. (See Definitions -Knowledge- Chapter 15. Volume II. IT ISWRITTEN) What all this translates into physically for the earth and its inhabitants is revealed in verses like Isa. 29:18, 35:6, 65:21,and 24. Isaiah 29:18 And in that day those whose ears are stopped will be hearing the words of the book; and the eyes of the blind will see through the mist and the dark.
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Isaiah 35:6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. NIV Isaiah 65:21-24. In those days, people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. NLT :22 They will not build for others to live in, or plant for others to eat; for the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, and my chosen ones will themselves use what they have made. NJB23 Their work will not be for nothing, and they will not give birth to children for destruction; for they are a seed to whom the Lord has given his blessing, and their offspring will be with them. BBE:24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
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The reference to the days of a tree in the above verses alludes to the fact that like a tree, people will go on living indefinitely. Trees continue to live as long as they receive water, nutrients from the air and ground and are not harmed by disease or other destructive forces. There are trees like the bristle cone pine currently living on the earth which are said to be more than 4,ooo years old. While these things still seem miraculous in our day, try to imagine how some of the everyday occurrences we take for
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granted today sounded to humans on the scene 2000, years ago. Television, radios, telescopes, travel through the air, trains, cars, genetically modified plants and animals, surgical techniques, computers, cameras and modern machinery such as excavating equipment, cold storage devices and dozens of other thing s all would have been viewed as miracles if you had described them to someone living in the first century. Why doesnt everyone know and accept the marvelous things God reveals in his word of truth? The answer is too simple for most people to believe yet it is the truth Scripture tells us: 1 Corinthians 2:7- 10. . . . the wisdom we speak of is the secret wisdom of God, which was hidden in former times, though he made it for our benefit before the world began NLT.8 which no one of the rulers of this age did know, for if they had known, the Lord of the glory they would not have crucified; YLT 9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" NIV :10 But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God's deep secrets. NLT When the Spirit searches out everything, it also searches into the heart condition of the hearer and the faith and trust he or she has in what God reveals to them. This is what makes the information either something they are able to see, understand and benefit by or a secret, which they neither perceive or can understand and thereby derive little or no benefit from it. Hebrews 11:6 So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. NLT Proverbs 3:5 Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception; NJB
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Jeremiah 17:5 Yahweh says this, 'Accursed be anyone who trusts in human beings, who relies on human strength and whose heart turns from Yahweh. NJB Matthew 23:12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. NLT There has been a great deal of information from Gods book of truth, the Holy Bible in the three volumes of this series. Along wuth that ther is information the author believes God has revealed through Holy Spirit to various individuals after the 66 books of the Bible were completed around 98 CE. How any of this this information will affect your faith we cant say. This is entirely between you and your creator. Romans 14:4 Who are you to condemn God's servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord's power will help them do as they should. NLT We can say though that how much you want to accept what God has revealed to you will affect your prospects for any relationship you may have with him. Also, your rejection of his truth will not make him a non-entity. He is God Almighty and he will remain so whether you chose to believe and follow, or choose to reject him. This is not to make the claim that this book is on a level with the Bible, as Gods wholly inspired book, it is not. However it addresses and respects truth the same way as the Bible does. Also, the author believes that the book contains truth revealed by Holy Spirit for our times. We urge you to test what you read in light of what the bible as a whole teaches, and what the ring of truth reveals to you. If the information is true, it will stand the test of being compatible with the bible as well as the test of time. If not, we urge you to disregard anything out of harmony with truth and
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embrace what the Bible confirms, while disregarding what it does not. Finally, here is a small collection of verses in the Bible on which to meditate as you consider what the information in this Four Volume Book means to you. John 3:12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? NRS Luke 8:10 and he said, 'To you is granted to understand the secrets of the kingdom of God; for the rest it remains in parables, so that they may look but not perceive, listen but not understand. NJB Luke 12:31 But let your chief care be for his kingdom, and these other things will be given to you in addition.
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Luke 17:20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; NRS Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. . .. NIV Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. NRS Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. NAB Matthew 23:13 "How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you won't let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and you won't go in yourselves. NLT
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Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit NAB John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." NAB Matthew 18:4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. NRS 1 Corinthians 15:24 then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. NAB With these thoughts fresh in mind, we end our four volume dissertation on Bible topics. We have taken you, the reader on a figurative journey through the Bible from A to Z in that we have explored the major issues between men and their creator from Genesis to Revelation and beyond. We feel a need to acknowledge first and foremost, the Holy Spirit as a force motivating so many Godly individuals from whom we gleaned information for this book. In some instances an apology is in order for we have not always acknowledged these valuable sources in every instance. The author believes that if the information provided is in harmony with Bible Truth, its true original source is God and that his will is that it should be shared freely without concern for personal glory or financial gain. The author also believes that Gods word, his will and his thinking are resources that should be made available to all persons without reservations, suppression or efforts by any individual, an organization , institution or a government to prevent anyone who wishes to avail themselves of Gods word or his thinking from enjoying it.

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Among the many other lovers of Bible truth the author has drawn information and inspiration from, he wishes to express gratitude to the publishers of the following Bibles which were quoted from in the pages of this series of books. The order of listing should not be construed to imply an endorsement of any one version over another. The listing, in alphabetical order is merely for the sake of the readers convenience in identifying which versions various verse citations throughout the four volumes came from.
AAT ABP AMP ABPE ASV BBE DBY DRA EDGT EMT ESV GNV HCSB JER JPS KJV KJV+ LITV LXE MIT NAB NASB+ NAU NAU+ NIV NJB NKJ NLT NTN NRS NSB NWT RSV RWB+ TNK WEB YLT An American Translation by Smith and Goodspeed Chicago Apostolic Bible Polyglot, Apostolic Press, Charles Van der Pol Amplified Bible Aramaic Bible in Plain English American Standard Version The Bible in Basic English The Darby Bible Douay Rheims American Edition Emphatic Diaglott - B. Wilson English Majority Text English Standard Version The Geneva Bible Holman Christian Standard Bible Jerusalem Bible Jewish Publication Society Tanakh King James (Authorized Version of 1611) King James with Strongs Numbers Literal Translation of the Bible Brenton Translation of the Septuagint MacDonald Idiomatic Translation New American Bible New American Standard with Strongs Numbers New American Standard Bible New American Standard with Codes New International Version (US) New Jerusalem Bible New King James New Living Translation New Testament, an Improved version by Arch Bishop Newcome New Revised Standard New Simplified Bible - J. Masden New World Translation - Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Revised Standard Revised Webster with Codes Tanakh - Jewish Publication Society The Webster Bible Youngs Literal Translation

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