Sunday, December 28, 2008
For the record: Some might misunderstand that just because I used the term "WE" in one of the FOX 25 segments on the Philadelphia Church of God (and I often employ it in articles about the Church of God), that somehow I am saying I'm a part of the PCG or whatever organization I'm writing or talking about at the time.
However, when I use the "Royal We," it is in reference to the collective Sabbath-keeping Church of God that agrees on the biblical basics, like the gospel of the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of God-Beings to rule Earth from Jerusalem!), the seventh day Sabbath, the holy festivals and dietary laws, as well as gladly recognizing British-Israelites as Joseph.
Others might question how I can feel led by Christ against an organization they believe He also heads. I am led by Christ to expose error and encourage repentance: both in the Church and Nation. Didn't Christ head the Worldwide Church of God? Didn't He direct it? Does that mean the leaders must always follow His lead? Or in all things? If Christ truly led the PCG (and I believe He leads but Flurry doesn't always follow), they would agree what I say is biblical and stop wasting money in Edmond, Oklahoma. Tithes are not meant for a performing Arts Center! At least Mr. Armstrong had a special building fund that I used to gladly contribute to so we could pay off Ambassador Auditorium.
Didn't Yeshua say, "we Jews" when speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well? Did that mean He agreed with everything the Jews believed or the Pharisees taught? Didn't Yeshua rebuke their errors, even as He rebukes the errors of the Church of God in different eras? How does He do that but through men? Didn't He head those churches He inspired constructive criticism of?
Did John the Baptist or Jesus, or Peter, James and John, as well as Paul, oppose the religious authorities' position or their idolatrous traditions and hypocrisy, decrying their proud and stubborn refusal to repent, while still considering themselves strictly Jewish? They continued to identify with the Jewish people and religion: Paul continued to refer to himself as a Pharisee spiritually (Acts 23:6), and Peter made racial reference to the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers..." and called the Jews "brothers" and stressed how salvation was to begin with Jews first (Acts 3:12, 17, 26).
I do offer constructive criticism of the PCG, and others, and I believe God has inspired Beyond Babylon. The PCG never said it contradicts Scripture but wouldn't give it a proper hearing due to politics at play. Beyond Babylon's biblical truths are inspired and inspiring, although it's not a "thus saith the Lord" book, as there is no book on Earth other than the Bible that can honestly claim that. Unlike Gerald Flurry, I've never claimed an angel gave it to me, as he strangely claimed about Malachi's Message.
By the grace of God, I know who I am and what I am doing, and it is in accordance with the Word and Will of God. Whether within individual lives or the lives of leaders of organizations, just because God directs doesn't mean folks will always follow in every aspect. I believe Flurry follows in some ways and fails to in other ways. That's why God raises up individuals throughout history to take His Work to task - whether it's the priesthood, the religious authorities or the Church of God leadership today. Nothing new under the sun.
40. To: eleveneleven (#37)
All of your postings are attempts to promote your book and your name.
Have you never read of "the sword of the LORD and of Gideon"? (Judges 7:18). I'm sure he had his detractors on the sidelines too, who refused to focus on the message, who miserably failed to see how some are a means to an end, and that we direct all attention to the plain truth we dare to share and glorify God: believe it or not.
The shepherd David's attitude was also harshly misjudged, and his motivation cruelly questioned, when he loved and obeyed his father who had sent him to take food to his brethren (1 Samuel 17:17-18, 28-29), but it didn't stop him from doing what he knew God had led him to do; and Yeshua was even falsely accused many times, but stood his holy ground and testified "wisdom is justified of her children", knowing some folks are just never happy with how God chooses to work and don't approve of the "credentials" of those who He sends (Luke 7:35).
I live in Cairns, Australia. I started reading your literature about one year ago. Although I didn't agree 100% with all you were saying , I agreed with the majority and was suitably impressed. I felt at the time , this is the sort of message God's church should be behind and it also came to my mind, this is sort of message the two witnesses of Rev. 11 would be proclaiming, or a least a big part of it.
... I first started listening to HWA in the late 50's and have believed the basic church doctrines since that time...
I started checking through the web sites to try and find where Christ was working. That was when I came across your website, I read Beyond Babylon and downloaded most of the other literature you had...
I have never written to anyone in this manner before... I agree with you that the Two Witnesses need not necessarily be ministers and from where I'm standing you have pretty good qualifications for the job. I know God has already chosen and that they will be made known to the Church and the world soon...
The true Church is set apart by truth , old truth and new truth (we must continue to grow in grace and knowledge)...
Well, David, I hope you can understand what I am trying to say here. I have to consider the possibility I have been led by the Spirit to write to you . I hope it will have a positive outcome and that we will meet sometime in the near future.
by Herbert W. Armstrong
Better be sure whether this brand is upon you! Without it, no man will be able to buy or sell! Without it, you may be tortured even unto death! But with it, you shall suffer the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES OF GOD
SOME used to say this mystic "mark" was the faces on the old United States dimes. During World War II many said it was Hitler's swastika. During the Depression New Deal many said it was Roosevelt's NRA!
No subject has intrigued — and baffled — more people in our generation. Thousands of sermons have been preached on it — by professed ministers and evangelists who themselves did not know what it is! Millions have been curious.
The average sermon on this subject considers one text of Scripture, only!
Only Text Usually ReadThis is the sole passage ordinarily quoted:
"And he [the second "beast"] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:16-17)
From this one passage the speaker customarily uses his imagination. The general idea seems to be that since you will not be able to buy or sell without this mysterious mark, and since we all wish to be able to buy and sell, therefore we ought to do all in our power to receive this mark!
But here is an additional passage they neglect to show you:
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God ... And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, ... And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the WRATH OF GOD upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image" (Rev. 15:1, 6, and 16:1-2).
If you do have the "mark of the beast," you will be terribly punished, without mercy, by GOD — you will receive the seven last plagues!
How to Tell What It Is!
There are many more references to this subject in the Bible. Instead of looking at one passage only, then turning away from God's own revelation of this mystery, and using human imagination and fancy to conjure up the many ridiculous conclusions being foisted upon a deceived public by persons devoid of understanding, let us see what GOD says this MARK really is!
Make no mistake, God tells us plainly what it is! It is unmistakably, clearly revealed and explained in the Bible! But to find God's answer, we must have before us all of the scriptures referring to this subject!
First, from the text universally quoted (Rev. 13:16-17), notice this: the "mark" is something that will be very popular — something the majority of people will be in favor of, will seek — which custom will approve as right — because no man will be allowed to "buy or sell," unless he receives this "mark."
Everyone wants to be able to "buy or sell." In this scriptural usage the expression "buy or sell" more literally indicates being able to buy — not that stores or those from whom one might make purchases of the necessities of life would refuse to accept the money, but that the one refusing the "mark" would not be able to buy, would not be able to earn a living, to earn a wage or salary, or to engage himself in business.
The "mark of the beast," then, has direct bearing on ability to engage in business, or to hold a job and earn a living.
But let's look at all the facts God reveals on the subject all the scriptures bearing on it.
What Is the Beast?
First, then, the "beast" itself. The "mark" is the mark of the "BEAST." This is described in the first verse of this chapter:
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea," records John, speaking of his prophetic vision, "and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (Rev. 13:1-2).
What is this weird "beast"? An astounding booklet "Who Is the Beast?" identifies this wild animal — a composite wild animal with the strongest characteristics of the four wild animals symbolically described in Daniel seven — as the Roman Empire. Space does not permit that full identification here. A copy of this free booklet will be mailed you, without charge, upon request.
Daniel seven reveals that these "beasts" or wild animals, symbolize civil GOVERNMENTS, or world empires. Daniel's first "beast" was like a lion, and it represented the Chaldean Empire of Nebuchadnezzar, called Babylon. His second, like a bear, pictured the Persian Empire; his third, with four heads, like a leopard, represented Alexander's Greco-Macedonian Empire and its succeeding four divisions after his death; and his fourth beast, unlike any existing wild animal, the Roman Empire which swallowed up and absorbed all the others, and embodied the strongest physical and military characteristics of all its predecessors.
This "beast" of Revelation 13 had the mouth, the strongest part, of the lion; the feet, the strongest part, of the bear; the body of the leopard. It included, in the ONE Empire it represents, the strength of ALL of Daniel's "beasts." It is the ROMAN EMPIRE.
Notice, the "dragon" gave this Empire its seat and power, and great authority. Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 both tell us in plain words this "dragon" is Satan the devil. It is, then, the political instrument of Satan in ruling and deceiving the world.
Note this well! The "mark" is the mark of the BEAST — and the "beast" is the ROMAN EMPIRE. In Revelation 17 a later stage of this same wild beast is pictured, and there a "woman" — a great CHURCH — sits astride it, guides it, rules over it. But the MARK is the mark of the ROMAN EMPIRE — not the Roman Catholic Church.
That is fact number one. Keep that in mind.
Now in verse 11 (Rev. 13) another "beast" is pictured. This beast had two horns like a lamb, but spoke as a dragon.
The Bible plainly reveals this second "beast" to be the Roman Catholic Church. This Church is an ecclesiastical world Empire — a government. (See article "Papacy," Encyclopedia Britannica.)
This second beast of Revelation 13 is also pictured in Revelation 17 as the harlot woman who rode the beast. This fallen woman or Church is different from all other churches in one respect. She is organized at the Vatican as a civil Government, as well as an ecclesiastical church. Nations of the world send Ambassadors to the Vatican, at Rome, the same as they do the capitals of other nations.
This Church, just as the woman riding an animal guides and directs the animal — like, for example, a woman riding a horse — took over, exercised, wielded, all the power of the first beast — the Roman Empire. After 554 A.D., the Church did do this for 1260 years, as prophesied!
Notice, further, verses 15-16:
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, ... to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" (Rev. 13:15-16).
Now here is a deceived Church — both herself deceived by, and therefore used by the devil, and also deceiving the world. Notice, this Church did not actually herself kill these martyrs — she merely caused them to be killed. And she it was, too, who CAUSES all under her domination to receive the dread MARK of the beast.
The Brand of Rome
Notice carefully what the above text tells us:
1) "He," — the Catholic Church that formed the Papacy and originated human civil government modeled after that of the Roman Empire.
2) "Causeth" all to receive this mark. It is the Church, not the civil government, which forces this brand on people.
3) It is the same power which caused the martyrdom of saints.
4) It brands on the people the mark of the "beast" — that is, the mark of the Roman Empire, not the mark of the Church.
5) This mark is received in the right hand, and in the forehead.
So the MARK is that of the Roman Empire, which the Roman CHURCH did cause or shall cause the western world to receive.
Next notice when these saints were killed. This will show us when the mark of the beast is enforced.
"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. 6:9-10).
Here we find pictured the martyrs of the Middle Ages already dead, at the time of this vision — which is the approximate present. They know "Vengeance is MINE, saith the Eternal." They know God's judgments against this persecuting, deceiving false church, as described in Revelation 18, are to be the seven last plagues, poured out "in the presence of the Lamb" at the second coming of Christ. Read of it in Revelation 18. These dead saints are pictured as crying out to ask "HOW LONG" before the Second Coming of Christ and the seven last plagues which will avenge their martyrdom. History tells us that in the Dark and Middle Ages more than fifty MILLION were killed, many for their BIBLE faith and obedience to God instead of obedience to this church government of man and the devil. Notice now, what must again happen before the seven last plagues and the coming of Christ!
"And white robes [symbolizing righteousness and purity] were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled" (Rev. 6:11).
Christ will not come to take vengeance on this great false Church UNTIL another great martyrdom has taken place!
Note it! There was one martyrdom. Those saints are already killed. Their resurrection will occur when Jesus returns to earth — WHEN His judgments are poured out on this false BABYLON and her daughter churches! But there is yet to be another universal persecution and martyrdom of saints, just prior to Christ's coming in vengeance against the forces of evil! Here are TWO universal martyrdoms!
This coming great martyrdom is THE GREAT TRIBULATION (Matthew 24:9, 21-22). This tribulation is not the wrath of God — the last plagues. It is the wrath of Satan (Rev. 12:12), inflicted at the behest of HIS apostate Church by the coming "United States of EUROPE" and against the true people of GOD! It is a persecution — a torturing — a martyring of the saints of God — the very elect who cannot be deceived (Matt. 24:24). Except those days of Great Tribulation be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But, for THE SAKE OF GOD'S PERSECUTED SAINTS those days shall be shortened.
God shall intervene. Christ shall "come quickly."
The MARK Then, and Now
Now compare with these scriptures:
In Revelation 17, picturing this same Church as the woman riding the beast, John writes: "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (verse 6).
Also: Revelation 20:4 — "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Now we see WHY these many millions were, and shall be martyred! It was because they refused to receive this mark of the beast — refused to join in this worship of church and Empire! They obeyed God rather than man! Their lives were governed by God. They were the children, the heirs, the future citizens, of His KINGDOM, not the kingdoms of men. But — note it well! — they were, as God commands, subject to the government of MAN. They did not resist — they yielded themselves subject to the penalty. They were tortured — they were killed! But they obeyed the government of God rather than man where there was conflict. And, at Christ's coming to rule the world as KING of kings, they shall all be lesser priests and kings under Him and rule the world!
Do you see what this plainly reveals? Those martyrs, over a thousand years ago, were killed BECAUSE they would not worship the Church, conform to its idolatry and pagan beliefs and customs, or worship the so-called "Holy Roman Empire," — and BECAUSE they refused to receive the MARK of the beast!
This means the MARK of the beast is something that was forced on people, on pain of being killed, more than a thousand years ago! The MARK of the beast was in full existence and enforcement over a thousand years ago!
BUT, since it is those who have the mark of the beast who shall suffer the seven last plagues at Christ's coming, the dread mark is once again to be enforced! And those who refuse it are those who shall be MARTYRED in the coming GREAT TRIBULATION!
Now we begin to find real light shed on this baffling question!
Warning of Third Angel
Soon, now, the time is coming when gross spiritual darkness will cover this earth — when no human will be permitted to preach Christ's true Gospel. We must work while it is day — the night is fast drawing on when no man can work, for God.
At that time God shall send angels with His final warning to these apostate nations under sway of this great deceiving Church as a final witness against them. Three such angel messages are foretold in Revelation 14. Notice the final warning of the third angel:
"If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his MARK in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God" — the seven last plagues, full force, unmixed with mercy! (Rev. 14:9-10).
This shows that although the MARK was branded on all but the martyrs over a thousand years ago, it is STILL the brand of traditional Christianity today, and is ONCE AGAIN to be enforced. Once again those who refuse it shall be martyred. But those who receive it shall suffer the wrath of God without mercy!
You must soon choose whom you will obey — this coming Roman Empire resurrected by a United States of EUROPE, ruled by traditional Christianity — or whether you shall OBEY GOD!
A Mark of Obedience
We begin now to see that the MARK of the beast involves a point of OBEDIENCE — whether we shall OBEY GOD, or reject the commandment of God and obey MAN'S rule.
It has something to do, then, with the COMMANDMENT OF GOD!Notice, there are, in general, two classes — one has the MARK, the other rejects it and is martyred. Notice now the description of those who refuse this evil MARK:
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12).
There it is! In verses 9-11 of this chapter the third angel warns that those who have the mark of the beast shall be punished by the plagues of God. In the next verse, the 12th, the saints who do not have the mark are those who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. Those who have the mark, therefore, are those who refuse to keep the Commandments of God. The MARK of the beast, therefore, involves a rejection of the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, or of one of them, for if we break one we are guilty of all (James 2:10).
So, one class of people accepts the MARK of the beast.
The other class keeps the Commandments of God.
A Mark of Disobedience
Hence, whatever the mark of the beast may be, it means disobedience to GOD'S government — to the Commandments of God.
Here's further proof — here are they who get victory over this mark:
Revelation 15:2-3: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are THY WAYS, thou King of saints."
This corresponds to the children of Israel, delivered from Egyptian bondage under Moses. Moses was a type of Christ. Pharaoh was the type and forerunner of this Beast. The plagues God poured on Egypt were a type of the last plagues to be poured out on Babylon. The children of Israel stood on the shore of the Red Sea, and God miraculously delivered them. Here the saints of God are pictured on this symbolic sea of glass.
They sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb (Christ). Moses pictures Law and God's Commandments, the Lamb (Christ) pictures faith and salvation from sin.
Remember, the beast is the human civil organization of the devil. In Revelation 12, we find Satan stirred to great wrath "because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev. 12:12). He then starts a great PERSECUTION, or TRIBULATION against the TRUE Church — the true saints of God. This is just prior to the second coming of Christ (verse 10). Now notice against whom Satan is so wroth:
"And the dragon [Satan] was wroth with the woman [Church], and went to make war with the remnant [last generation] of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ [the Bible]" (verse 17).
There it is again! Those keeping God's COMMANDMENTS — those yielding themselves to God's RULE, and living by every Word of God — by the BIBLE — which is the written testimony of Jesus Christ — they are the ones the devil will persecute and martyr through his false Church and his reborn Empire!
But Satan knows his own. He will brand his own with a mark, so they shall not receive this persecution and martyrdom, even as God put a mark on sinning Cain lest men finding him slay him (see Genesis 4:15). Those in the world who do not receive Satan's brand — the MARK of the BEAST will suffer Satan's wrath in the Tribulation.
Thank God, those days shall be cut short, for the elect's sake!
Class on Whom Plagues Fall
There are TWO classes of people. That class which receives the MARK of the Beast is the class upon whom the PLAGUES OF GOD will fall. So if we can further identify those who shall receive this WRATH OF GOD, and why God will thus punish them, we shall further identify what the mark is.
In Ephesians 5 Paul is telling Christians to flee fornication, covetousness, idolatry — transgressing the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Then he says: "for because of these things," [transgressing God's LAW] "cometh the WRATH OF GOD [last plagues] upon the children of disobedience" (Eph. 5:6).
How plain! The wrath of God — the seven last plagues are coming on those who DISOBEY God, by violating the Commandments. The plagues fall upon those who have the mark of the beast!
Those who receive the plagues are breakers of God's Commandments, and also at the same time receivers of the MARK! It becomes more and more plain that the mark of the beast represents COMMANDMENT-BREAKING.
Notice this again in Colossians 3:5-6: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry [transgressions of some of the Ten Commandments]: for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."
Notice it also in the prophecies of the Old Testament: "The great day of the Eternal [time of God's wrath — the last plagues] is near ... that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress ... and I [God] will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men [the plagues! But why?] because they have sinned against the Eternal" (Zeph. 1:14-17). What is sin?
"Sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4) — commandment breaking.
The TRUTH Becomes Plain
Now, let's recapitulate! The truth is becoming plain!
1) The "mark" plainly means the rejecting and breaking of God's Commandments. And in James 2:10-11, God says if we break only one of the Commandments, we are GUILTY of breaking the LAW — guilty of all!
2) The Roman Empire is the real author of this "mark." It is the mark of the BEAST, not the woman who rode the beast.
3) The Church caused people to be deceived into receiving this mark.
4) Satan gave this Roman Empire its seat and great authority — it is the political instrument through which Satan works, in deceiving the world.
5) Those who refuse this "mark" are prohibited from "buying or selling, "engaging in commerce, trade, or holding a job.
6) Many of those refusing this "mark" were, and shall again be, martyred because of their refusal — because they keep the Commandments of God!
7) Therefore, the inevitable and plain conclusion is that the "mark" is something enforced by the Church, originating in the paganism of the Roman Empire, which a cunning, deceiving devil would seize on as a means of cleverly DECEIVING people into breaking God's Ten Commandments. And it involves a direct connection with holding a job — engaging in business — earning a living.
Satan is clever — cunning — a deceiver. He palms off counterfeits, which look like the genuine! Naturally he would select the one Commandment of God which he can counterfeit with a substitute — one in which by human reason alone no man could see where it would make any difference! He would select the one which would seem of least importance to the carnal human mind!
He would not try to deceive men on idolatry, profanity, or on stealing, lying, murder, adultery — though he has led people into all of these.
But WHAT Commandment could it be — what Commandment affecting a man's job, or his business?
There is only one possible Commandment — the one regarded by the largest number as the "LEAST" of the Commandments — and that is the fourth Commandment, which says: "REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to keep it holy ... The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Eternal thy God."
No carnal mind can see, without the special spiritual revelation of God through His Word, where it makes any difference WHICH day man observes.
WHERE DID SUNDAY ORIGINATE? Not with the Roman Catholic Church, but with the pagan religion of the ROMAN EMPIRE! It is the day on which the ancient pagans assembled at sunrise, faced the east, (as they do Easter Sunday morning today) and worshipped the rising SUN. It was Constantine, Emperor of the Roman Empire, not a pope, who made SUNDAY the official so-called "Christian day of rest." But it was enforced — people were caused to accept it universally — by the CHURCH!
Why Saints Were Martyred
It was for obeying God's FOURTH Commandment — keeping the Sabbath- -that millions were put to death. The local Council of Laodicea, in 363 A.D., passed this decree: "Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But, if any be found to be Judaizing, let them be declared anathema from Christ."
The church caused them to be killed. When the church branded one "anathema" (a heretic), the state police of the Empire began torturing him. Unless he recanted, he was tortured until he died!
Laws became so strict no man could hold a job, or engage in business, unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday. And the world will be so geared that it will be almost impossible for one to "buy or sell" except he receive this MARK OF THE BEAST!
This is the ONLY COMMANDMENT which was altered by the Roman Empire! In Daniel 7:25 we read the prophecy of this "BEAST" and the little horn (papacy) rising up, which was to think to CHANGE "times and laws." That is, change God's LAW in respect to TIME the time for the Sabbath!
What Is a Mark, Anyway?
Now what is a "mark"? In Bible usage it is virtually synonymous with a "sign," and in one or two places used interchangeably. There is merely this difference: A "mark" is a brand of identification, forced on one. Cattle raisers put by force their mark on their cattle — their brand. A "sign" is also a badge of IDENTITY, but one voluntarily accepted and used. A druggist hangs a sign in front of his store. It may say, "JONES & CO., DRUGS." It identifies. It tells what kind of store, and who owns it.
Now the "beast," in association with the Church, used FORCE to brand the western world with their MARK. Those who obeyed God and kept His Sabbath were martyred. They were unable to "buy or sell." But God does not force anyone. God lets us make our own decision about obeying Him, accepting Christ, and becoming His obedient children.
But is the Sabbath God's SIGN that we are Christians, belonging to HIM?
It was after God had made, and ratified, the Covenant with Israel. That Old Covenant, of course, was for limited duration and is now replaced with the New. But any covenant made after it had been made and ratified by blood was no part of that Old Covenant.
It was forty days after that ratification, that God made a new, separate, different Covenant between Himself and all who should be His people, to last forever. This was no temporary covenant, but for all generations, FOREVER.
It is found in Exodus 31:12-17:
"And the Eternal spake unto Moses, saying, Verily MY SABBATHS ye shall keep; for it is a SIGN between me and you throughout your generations." These generations of Israel (see our free booklet, "United States and Britain in Prophecy,") are still going on! Now WHY is it a sign? Does it IDENTIFY God to us? Does it identify us as HIS? "... that ye may know that I am the Eternal that doth sanctify you."
Get the powerful meaning of those words!
It is a SIGN, that we may KNOW that the Eternal is the true God. It identifies who God is. How? Notice verse 17: "It is a SIGN ... for in six days the Eternal made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." It is the memorial of God's rest from CREATION. Always, in all parts of the Bible, God identifies Himself as CREATOR. How can we distinguish who is the TRUE God, from all the false gods?
The true God created all the false gods, and that from which they are made, and everything that is. Some worshipped the sun. But the Eternal, the true God, created the sun, and rules it. Some worship idols carved out of stone, or wood, or marble. But the true God created that from which they were made, and even the human beings who made them. The Sabbath is GOD'S Sabbath, not the Jewish Sabbath. Never does the Bible call it the "Jewish Sabbath." It identifies GOD as the CREATOR.
The Sabbath was made FOR MAN. So said Jesus (Mark 2:27). It was made WHEN man was made (Genesis 2:1-3). It was MADE — and it was Christ, the Eternal, who made it! Therefore HE is Lord of the Sabbath! It was made to keep man in the true knowledge of the IDENTITY of the true God, to keep him from idolatry! And history proves that every nation that did NOT keep God's Sabbath worshipped false gods, and did not know who the true God was! When Israel quit keeping God's Sabbath, they went into idolatry (Ezek. 20:5, 11-13, 17-21).
It was for SABBATH-BREAKING GOD SENT BOTH ISRAEL AND JUDAH INTO SLAVERY!
But back to Exodus 31:17-18. It also is the SIGN by which we are identified as belonging to GOD. We BELONG to whom we obey — so we read in Romans! It is the sign by which we know He is the ETERNAL ... "that doth sanctify YOU." To sanctify is to set apart for spiritual use. The SABBATH sets one apart from the world, and always did — as OBEYING and belonging to GOD. Can you think of ANY REASON why anyone would EVER keep the Sabbath, except to OBEY GOD? Would any man defy human custom and invite persecution, and be set apart as different, through human reason? Could any atheist be a Sabbath keeper? THE SABBATH IDENTIFIES GOD'S PEOPLE!
God's people, we have seen above, are identified as they who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. The world acknowledges all the other nine Commandments. The only one the world rejects is the fourth. The only one that sets one apart from the world — that IDENTIFIES one as belonging to GOD — that is a SIGN of God — is the SABBATH.
Notice, verse 16, it is a "PERPETUAL COVENANT." It is a covenant! It is no part of the Old Covenant — no part of the law of Moses! It was made with Israel after all these, and is a separate, and perpetual COVENANT.
Notice verse 17: "It is a SIGN between me and the children of Israel FOREVER. There it is! It is a COVENANT. It is FOREVER!
When given to physical, flesh-born Israel, this covenant punished by death any breaking of the SIGN. Today, since the administration of the death penalty by the Levites and judges is not being done (II Cor. 3:7-8), and since all believers, in all nations, whether Israelite or Gentile are grafted into spiritual Israel (Romans 11:24), the willful refusal to keep this sign is punishable by death — the second death.
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God ...?" (Heb. 10:28-29).
On Right Hand and in ForeheadGod says the penalty for SIN is DEATH! Sin is the transgression of the Law. If we break only this one Commandment, we are guilty. The penalty is DEATH!
The Roman Church caused people to receive the MARK of pagan ROME — the Sunday observed by the pagan Roman Empire — and the penalty for disobedience was DEATH! Fifty million or more were put to death — so says history.
It is the ONLY Commandment the world will not accept in its MIND (forehead) and OBEY (by work, or rest, with the HAND). It is the ONLY commandment that can distinguish between those who have the MARK of the BEAST, or the SIGN OF GOD.
Now the book of Revelation is written mostly in symbols. The right hand symbolizes work, or labor — the forehead, the intellect, or mind. It has to do with what we BELIEVE, in the mind, and whether we OBEY, with the hand.
How ABOUT GOD'S SIGN? It also was received in the forehead, and the hand!
Regarding one of God's annual Sabbaths, we read: "... it shall be for a SIGN unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes [forehead], that the Eternal's LAW may be in thy mouth" (Ex. 13:9).
Deuteronomy 6:1, 6-8: "Now these are the COMMANDMENTS ... and these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart ... and thou shalt bind them for a SIGN upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes."
Deuteronomy 11:18: "Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a SIGN upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes."
Also see Proverbs 7:2-3, and Revelation 7:3-4; 14:1.
There is absolute proof. Yes, the truth is very plain!
The Sabbath is God's SIGN, standing, more than any commandment, for OBEDIENCE. It was symbolically in the HAND and in the FOREHEAD, just as the MARK of the BEAST — the pagan SUNDAY- -was in the right HAND and in the FOREHEAD!
SUNDAY observance — Christmas, New Year's, Easter, etc. — this is the MARK of the BEAST!
The Church did cause all under the "Holy Roman Empire" to receive this "mark," during the middle ages. Has she stopped?
Just at present she has not the POWER to enforce this mark on everyone. But there will be a United States of EUROPE — a union of ten nations. It will be a UNION of Church and State — and the Church once again will sit astride "The BEAST."
Now notice Daniel 7:21, 22: "I beheld, and the same horn [papacy] made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came [Second Coming of Christ] and judgment was given to the saints of the most High."
Yes, the MARK OF THE BEAST once again will be enforced! No one will be able to hold a job or engage in business without it. Those refusing will once again be tortured and martyred — probably by the secret police of the political state — but at the behest of the Church!
Today, ALL NATIONS are deceived by this paganism masquerading under the name "Christianity."
Today, America, Canada, Britain — Israelitish nations — are actually in the ways of this "BABYLON."
God's last warning is this: "COME OUT of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of HER PLAGUES!"
IF you are branded by this MARK, rejecting the SIGN of God in your forehead and hand, you shall be tortured by God's plagues without mercy! Yes, You!
But if you OBEY God, — if you are watching, praying without ceasing, you shall be accounted worthy to ESCAPE — and come under GOD'S PROTECTION (Luke 21:36).
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Beyond Babylon drops the bomb:
THE GERMAN-JESUIT JACKBOOT WILL STOMP JERUSALEM!
All the while during my six and a half hours of Israeli interrogation, I clearly warned them that the "peace process" is a trap; that it's about to blow up in their faces, and that a German-led Europe is going to wage a New Crusade to enforce the Vatican's version of peace. Catholic Europe will backstab and betray both the Arabs and the Jews. They'll push for Jerusalem to become "an international city," all under the cover of UN Resolution 181.
I maintained that the only explosives that I'm involved with is the bombshell I've written, Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. I continually referred them to it, stating that's where my beliefs are on public record. (Later I gave them a computer disk with my book on it to assist their investigation). I told them I know that Israel won't take G-d's warning seriously, any more than those Jews who spurned Jabotinsky's efforts to save them from Hitler. (Ze'ev Jabotinksy warned the Jews of Hitler's fury but they thought he was just crying wolf). Nevertheless, the Almighty will intervene and save us after our worst time of suffering, if we so insist, and every survivor in Jerusalem will be holy.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Congratulations to The Atlantic Times on its first-anniversary issue!
As reported by "This week in Germany," the English-language paper was launched "to stop the drifting apart of Europe and America, and especially Germany and America … and to build on common ground while learning to live with our differences," said the paper's executive editor, the renowned journalist Theo Sommer...the paper has featured scores of articles by prominent leaders and experienced journalists from both sides of the Atlantic..."Our basic message, in print and online, has been, and will be: We are still friends, and we must remain friends," said Sommer. "So let us not confront each other with swollen necks, but let us reason together."
Noble aims that are praiseworthy indeed! Mr. Theo Sommer is definitely to be commended for his efforts. However, based upon the stark testimony of the two witnesses of history and the Bible, Germany and the United States are going to continue to have some very serious disagreements that will ultimately destroy our friendship, alienate our countries and find Germany leading the European Union in a blitzkrieg nuclear attack against the United States!
Before that horrifying "Time of Jacob's Trouble," "the Great Tribulation," the British-Israelites will trust the Assyrian-Germans with their security! Our Anglo-Saxon-Celtic fools will increasingly rely on blind alliances with Germany and Europe that will be broken to pieces like so much shattered crystal!
Ephraim (Anglo-Saxons) also is like a silly dove, without sense— They call to Egypt, They go to Assyria (Germany).
Herbert W. Armstrong, chancellor of Ambassador College and founder of the Worldwide Church of God and editor-in-chief of The Plain Truth magazine and broadcaster of The World Tomorrow radio and television program, warned the world for years that a European combine, driven by Germany, would thresh the nations. He dared to make such bold proclamations when Germany was in rubble after WWII and divided.
Germany is destined to lead the European Union against the American, British and Jewish peoples, a divine instrument to punish us for our intolerable sins that rise up against Heaven (not that they're without sin):
5 Woe to Assyria (Germany), the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
6 I will send him against an ungodly nation (the Anglo-Saxon-Celtics and Jews),
And against the people of My wrath
I will give him charge,
To seize the spoil, to take the prey,
And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 Yet he does not mean so,
Nor does his heart think so;
But it is in his heart to destroy,
And cut off not a few nations.
It is not in Germany's mind today, or its present peaceful people, to wage war against us, but that will all change overnight, after a head-on collision with the Islamic leader of a confederation of Muslim states, their mahdi, whetting Europe's appetite for more blood and morphing the EU into THE BEAST. They will destroy all Muslim opposition with a vengeance.
Whereas most Germans are not aware of vile intentions of influential Germans under Jesuit influence to revive the unholy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the Fourth Reich, to embark on a new crusade into the Middle East, Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall bares their grand design before the world: the German-Assyrians will strike again!
The Atlantic Times, regardless of whether or not they believe any of this prophetic scenario possible, owes it to their readers to address this issue that is most serious to a growing number of Bible-believing Christians and many Jews. Can we trust them to deliver?
This indicative email exchange explains what I'm talking about. It was between Daryle Lamont Jenkins, of One Peoples Project, and myself, David Ben-Ariel, author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall.
Hatred, discrimination, racism - against whites
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Toledo City Paper, December 7, 2005 by Aaron Shapiro
"Beyond Babylon: Europe’s Rise and Fall"
Author: David Ben-Ariel
David Ben-Ariel was born in Bowling Green and currently lives in Toledo. His focus is not local however, as he tends to divert his energies to writing about World War III and the coming nuclear holocaust. Ben-Ariel subscribes to the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong the founder of the Worldwide Church of God and as a result Ben Ariel uses his writings to warn of our impending doom.
The Washington Times
Inside the Beltway
By John McCaslin
American author David Ben-Ariel tells this column that he will soon release "Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall," describing the book as "staunchly pro-Israel/ American." As a result, he predicts, the book's subject matter "will become a national debate and an international controversy." Not surprising. Mr. Ben-Ariel of late has referred to the "mindless mantra that mesmerizes fools for peace at any price and rings hollow because the Jews are going again, slowly but surely, through the lying peace process of phased destruction." "The only ones (thank God for the precious few) who are making any fuss about it, dragging their heels rather than go like sheep to the slaughter, are roundly condemned by their own leaders and American administrations and worthless world opinion as 'enemies of peace,' 'obstacles to peace,' and other name brands because they don't want to 'rest in peace' but live and prosper."
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
There is no Santa and Christ was NEVER in Christmas!
Submitted by David Ben-Ariel
Mike, why are you repeating the mantra that amounts to whitewash for a pagan hollow day? Do you still believe in Santa too? Let's be honest with ourselves. Apparently those who pretend to care Yeshua was born, the King of the Jews (how ethnocentric), the King of Israel (how racist!), prefer the helpless "baby Jesus" or "crucified Christ" rather than the outspoken and forceful Rabbi who overturns the tables of those who exploit religion for profit and who condemned traditions that contradict the commandments of God and who said He upheld the Law and the Prophets (even making them more binding by including their spirit or intent or attitude - not just the letter of the law) - the same Law and Prophets that condemn the vain attempts to modify pagan holidays to worship the true God.
If folks truly loved God and were appreciative of His Son, grateful for His life and example, they would accept the gracious gifts of the biblical Sabbath and festivals that portray God's plan of salvation for ALL mankind. After all, Yeshua, the disciples, the apostles, and the early Church of God faithfully observed and celebrated them with God's blessing. Every one of them reflect aspects of Christ. Instead folks have exchanged the gifts God has given mankind (through Israel), for cheap counterfeits, baptized paganism, whitewashed holidays, as misled to do by Romanizers pimping their accursed replacement theology.
Besides, what's "merry" about what God condemns? Don't you believe the Bible that whitewashed pagan hollow days are abominations? Aren't you a Bible-believing Christian? National captivity won't seem too merry. Merry national captivity? Merry catastrophe? Think again and have the change of heart God calls upon our nation to experience or suffer the serious consequences!
And for the record, I used to love Christmas and enjoy it with family and friends, because I didn't know better. Once I discovered the truth, that God condemns and hates modified pagan holidays as ABOMINATIONS, I forsook Babylon and quit keeping the unclean holidays, trusting Father knows best (Isa. 55:7-9).
Even if some sincerely mean to glorify and worship God and Christ on Christmas, they're sincerely wrong and their worship REJECTED - according to the Bible. Once God brings this light, this truth, to our attention, we're responsible to let it set us free from religious error and popular sin, not revert to traditional darkness.
And were you aware that our Puritan forefathers outlawed Christmas, and that it was also outlawed in England for awhile too? They recognized Roman Catholicism and its holidays aren't Christian, regardless of how some keep trying to force Christ into something He wants no part of and was never involved with! That's the plain truth.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I would like to let you know, I have read some of your articles and posting...
I have enjoyed you sharing your experiences & views.
Thanks Lou, that's great to know. More on the way!
I don't believe I've written before. I've just ordered your book Beyond Babylon.
I have been fortunate enough to read some of your material on line (I originally googled Philadelphia Church of God, and your name came up via google alerts).
I believe you are the modern Herbert W. Armstrong.
God bless you in all your work.
Port Chester, New York
Thank you Mike for your life-giving encouragement and support!
Re: The Mormon Book of the Dead
You're some stupid "White" person who doesn't know what crap of culture you come from. Being Native American, LDs & Lamanite I know where I come from and where I'm going. Stupid white people like you haven't a clue what religion or culture is.
Salt Lake City, Utah
I am a Native American since I was born here, of the tribes of Joseph and Judah. You sound insanely jealous and hateful toward legitimate Israelites. God help you to get over it.
Reflections on Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
Re: Will Germany Launch a Nuclear Attack on America?
how lame to use such a misleading headline and act like youre doing it in the name of god.
obviously germany is not going to launch a nuclear attack on america. you seem to be so arrogant, you probably think "america" means the United States.
prayers are appreciated, huh? well i pray that you spare people of having to view more ads like this in public forums
You're either willfully or woefully ignorant of the Bible and history, and your rash judgment harms you. You need to read and heed Beyond Babylon or suffer the consequences.
Re: Will Germany Launch a Nuclear Attack on America?
Ignorance is bliss. Let's keep Germany ignorant of your existence, shall we?
Ignorance isn't bliss when it comes to national security and international affairs, which is why Beyond Babylon warns the world. Germany wants to keep folks in the dark, but I'm bringing it all to light. Expect Beyond Babylon to become a household word in Germany. It is destined to become a national debate and an international controversy.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
RELATED INFORMATION ABOUT THE GERMAN - ASSYRIAN CONNECTION
Home Book Excerpt About the Author Website Purchase Related Information Seminars
Germany & Prophecy
Germany in Prophecy by H L Hoeh
Resurgent Germany: A Fourth Reich by D Winnail
Clash of Eagles - America and Germany in Prophecy by D Winnail
Decline and Fall of the Anglo-Saxon Powers by HW Armstrong
Germany and the Holy Roman Empire
Out of the Ashes
The Tribulation and Day of the Lord
Assyrian Origin of Germany
Compendium of World History (vol II, chapters 1, 2, 3) by H L Hoeh
Fantastic Trier photographs by Darris McNeely
Trier information from Wikipedia
Trier - Rome Secunda
Trier City Guide
Trier information and links
History of Germany by S Flurry
When Nazi Dreams come true
Europe on the rise!
Free online books about Assyria
A Woman Rides the Beast!
German foreign policy
German Council on Foreign Relations
Deutsche Welle online (English edition)
German secret weapons of WW II and Nazi saucers legend (very speculative, not proven)
World War II
Rise of Fascism again
Daniel 4:14-16, 23 ,26 - Strange Parallel
Time Cover 25 June 1990 (PDF)
Time Cover 25 June 1990 (JPEG)
Home Book Excerpt About the Author Website Purchase Related Information Seminars
Re: "Doggerel #89: "I'm Going to Show You... In My Book..."
Beyond Babylon decries the idolatry and immorality, physically and spiritually, of the British-Israelites and Jews - and yes, British-Israelites includes Aussies and Kiwis too! - and compares it to a form of spiritual AIDS, our countries' weakened immune system, our defenses down, inviting attack. (As an aside, I have AIDS now)./
Before Publish America published Beyond Babylon, my friend Carl Brown (fellow Bible believer) and I did everything ourselves from my typing and writing, copying the pages at Kinkos, cutting them, ordering nice covers and then putting it all together, time consuming and expensive, a hard labor of love, which, including postage, brought it to around $6-$7 per book to mail (if I remember correctly and more when mailed overseas), which we did freely to many, as funds were available and donations offered (thank you, to those who blessed us with financial and prayerful assistance), making the most of what we had, doing our best to get the Word out, trusting if we're faithful with the little we had, in God's good time He would increasingly bless us with more and helpers, co-workers.
Before that I simply printed out and mailed out the pages of Beyond Babylon, then someone suggested making it available online when I didn't have a clue about the Internet, but found out quickly and spent around $150 a month using AOL, Prodigy, CompuServe and others, always moving forward, expanding my horizons, reaching out in every way possible, slowly but surely, but never giving up.
Publish America was the first to say yes to BB. Of course I would prefer some big name publisher, with great royalties and advance payment, great publicity and such, but God usually doesn't work that way, does He? After all His Son was born in a barn, in a manger, not the Marriott or Hilton or Sheraton, and Herbert W. Armstrong taught that what God does always starts small and seemingly insignificant.
Excerpt from Is All Animal Flesh Good Food? by Herbert W. Armstrong:
Paul's letter to the saints at Rome is often quoted as supposed proof that any kind of flesh food is good to eat. But is this what Paul really taught?
Turn to the beginning of the 14th chapter of Romans. Notice what the apostle is writing: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye"--don't dispute with him and sit in judgment on him because of his weak understanding of the faith, Paul continues. "For one believeth that he may eat all things, another who is weak, eateth herbs [vegetables only]" (Romans 14:1-2).
Of whom is Paul writing? Of those who were vegetarians, as well as those who believed in eating both flesh foods and vegetables.
Paul was confronted with the same problem that we encounter today in carrying the Gospel to the world. You would be surprised at the number of people who do not eat meat or even any animal products--milk, butter, cheese, eggs. Some have meatless days or days on which they will eat fish only. These are all people who, because they are weak in the faith, abstain from those clean meats which God originally sanctified or set apart in His Word for man's physical nourishment.
The question confronting Paul was not that Christians at Rome contended that all unclean animals had now been cleansed by God--the common false assumption of today--but the real issue, according to verse two, was over the vegetarian belief held by some that no meats whatsoever should be eaten.
Paul was straightening out the brethren on this matter, telling them that none of those clean meats which had been created by God to be received with thanksgiving should be refused. He pointed out to them, however, that it would be wrong for the vegetarians to eat meat if they had doubts about it, thereby defiling their weak consciences. For he wrote, "...Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:22-23).
We must follow what God has revealed to us to be right according to the Word of God. This does not mean that our consciences always tell us what is right--not at all. We have to continually study to learn what is right and wrong. But God thinks more highly of a vegetarian who might sincerely and conscientiously deny himself the clean meats, because he does not know the full truth, than He does a person who would do the right thing according to the letter, but who really believes in his heart that he is doing wrong.
So "to him"--the vegetarian--"that esteemeth anything to be common, to "him"--the vegetarian--"it is common." That is, it seems so to him. But it is not common in fact, nor to us, for we know that all clean meats are good for food. That is why Paul wrote: "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing common of itself" (Rom. 14:14).
Notice that in this verse Paul used, according to the margin of the King James Version, the Greek word for "common," not the Greek word for "unclean." Why?
"Common" Does Not Mean "Unclean"
Many have carelessly assumed that Paul is writing about unclean meats in this 14th chapter of Romans. He is not! He is writing about the difference between vegetarians who regard that clean meats are common, and those who know that clean meats are of themselves not common.
In the Greek there are two different words used which are often carelessly translated "unclean" or "common." Notice that in Acts 10:14 both of these words are used. The Bible does not repeat itself foolishly. Therefore these two words mean entirely different things.
The Greek word for "unclean" is akarthatos. It means "unclean and impure by nature." The Greek word for "common" is koinos, which means "polluted through external misuse." (See any of the Lexicons.)
Paul used the Greek word for "common" throughout Romans 14:14. He did not use the Greek word for "unclean." In other words, Paul knew that no clean foods which God has sanctified are by nature polluted, but vegetarians who were weak in the faith--weak in understanding God's Word--thought meats should not be eaten. To such a vegetarian--"to him," not to others--that meat seemed to be polluted. His conscience defiled the meat for him; he would become upset if he were to eat meat. But that does not make the meat polluted in fact or for everybody else.
Notice Paul's conclusion: "For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure"--that is, all things that God sanctified and gave us to eat are clean --but it is evil for that man who eateth with offense. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth..." (verses 20 and 21).
Paul is not recommending eating unclean meats! Quite the opposite. He is recommending not eating any meat at all in the presence of a vegetarian brother if he is offended!
When Is "Clean" Meat "Common"?
The only circumstance in which clean meats are ever common or polluted is when the clean animals have died of themselves or when the blood has not been properly drained. That is why the apostles and elders who gathered at Jerusalem forbade the use of meat from strangled animals and meat with the blood in it (Acts 15:20). This is New Testament teaching for today!
Such animal flesh was called "common" because it could be given to strangers or aliens in Old Testament times if those people wanted to eat it. They were the common and polluted people--the Gentiles--not the chosen and clean people, Israel (Deut. 14:21).
In New Testament times, clean meat offered to idols was prohibited if it had been polluted by strangulation or if the blood were remaining in it. Otherwise the meat was permitted to be eaten if it did not offend anyone.
Paul devoted the entire 8th and 10th chapters of I Corinthians to instructions on not raising the question of meats offered to idols. "But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake" (I Cor. 10:28). In other words, if clean meats offered to idols were not polluted, you could eat of them unless it offended someone. Under those circumstances the meat became common, not to you, but to the other person who raised the question about idols. Notice:
"Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other" (verse 29).
That is why Paul said in Romans, "But to him that esteemeth any thing to be common [margin], to him it is common" (Rom. 14:14). ..
Click here to read the rest.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Quote from: sntjohnny on December 19, 2008, 01:00:25 AM
Some pretty mean words about Catholics and protestants there.
Are they mean? Was the apostle John being "mean" when he recorded the revelation that made reference to a religious mother and daughters in ugly but true terms?
Paul said, "Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?"
It would be mean to whitewash the Babylonian Mystery religion, and cruel to call it "Christianity."
Really, trying to malign the holiday (old 'holy day') because it started out as a celebration of the Christ Mass is a reach.
The "mass of Christ," a Roman Catholic invention, is just fuel on the fire. Regardless of how folks want to play games, they lose if they remain in denial that it's a pagan hollow day that has been "baptized" as Christian, and such vain attempts at modification of pagan holidays to worship the true God are condemned in Scripture.
"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord..." Romans 14:5
As far as I'm concerned, any kind of pronouncements like these ones about Christians celebrating particular days are completely out of line.
I encourage you to learn to rightly divide the Word of truth, and then you'll see Paul was referring to FAST DAYS, not pagan holidays pretending to be Christian!
You judge yourself and call the wrath of God upon your own head because in spite of clear passages insisting that how a Christian handles 'special days' is up to the discretion of the Christian, you nonetheless condemn them.
Actually, you've condemned yourself by your rash judgment, your failure to properly apply the Scripture. What you have attempted to twist the Scriptures to say is totally inconsistent with the Word of God and confusion, and Satan is the author of confusion. The God of law and order has graciously given us HIS holy days, pure festivals, to observe. Why not celebrate them like Yeshua, the apostles, the early Church of God, and the faithful flock who continue to do so?
Think and pray about it, if you please.
David Ben-Ariel wrote: Here are some of my pictures of Kibbutz Reshafim volunteers on site and on various trips to Timna, Eilat, Bet Shean, Ein Gedi and Jerusalem, as well as some links to letters I wrote to an American friend about it all.
Matthew Ellard wrote: David, Shin Bet deported you from Israel in 1995 for your activities with the Temple Mount group. If you want to show 19year old photographs from 1989 of your friends in Israel go to Facebook. This is a scientific skeptic forum and not a holiday snap venue for fundamentalist looneys. People here simply hate you and do not want to see your snaps...you must be so lonely....
painter wrote: David. I don't hate you and I actually respect you. The only ones who hate you are the one's who haven't been banned because the admins agree with them. Unlike them you are brave enough to post pictures of yourself and your name. All atheists are cowards and these pricks just prove that. Keep up the good work David! p.s. I am not David, but if you watched the movie "Spartacus" consider me one of the ones at the end who says "I'm Spartacus"!
BRAVO! (Although the moderator has called in the dogs when they were barking out of line).
Actually, I knew an atheist in Israel at Kibbutz Ramat Yohanan, a fellow volunteer named Dirk from Scotland or England, but he wasn't fanatic about the religion of atheism as some sadly appear to be, their misguided missionary zeal to convert others offering some solace to their dead lives, some meaning and purpose to their hollow shells.
Yes, unlike my cowardly critics, I post with my real name and my real picture, because I'm a real man who stands up for what he believes in and doesn't hide.
I think I'll post this on a couple blogs...
THANKS for your inspiration.
What Science Can't Discover About the HUMAN MIND
by Herbert W. Armstrong
THINK! Will any human person still be alive on this earth in another five or ten years? The number one problem we all face today is that of HUMAN SURVIVAL! WHY has the human mind produced such AWESOME modern progress, yet remains HELPLESS in the face of such appalling EVILS? The answer to this baffling enigma lies in the HUMAN MIND. In the following pages you will learn what psychologists and scientists do not know about the HUMAN MIND!
WHY cannot the greatest minds solve world problems? Scientists have said, "Given sufficient knowledge, and we shall solve all human problems and cure all our evils." Since 1960 the world's fund of knowledge has doubled. But humanity's evils also have doubled.
WHY? Is something wrong with the human MIND? Is something MISSING? There most certainly is a MISSING DIMENSION in human knowledge. A human manufacturer sends along with the instrument or device he manufactures an INSTRUCTION BOOKLET describing what his product is intended to do with full directions for accomplishing its purpose. The most perfect mechanism ever designed and made is the marvelous mind and body that is MAN. And it is also only natural that our Maker sent along His INSTRUCTION MANUAL — revealing for our good what we ARE, WHY we are, where we are going, and what is the way.
That instruction book is the Holy Bible. Yet man has made this the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and maligned book that ever came into human hands.
Nevertheless, the MISSING DIMENSION IN KNOWLEDGE is all there revealed. The incredible HUMAN POTENTIAL is there revealed and made plain — if MAN would only read it - and BELIEVE WHAT IT SAYS!
It is our source book. It reveals to us WHY we humans were put here on earth — WHAT we are — WHERE we are going — the unrealized incredible human potential — HOW to operate this human mechanism of mind and body to live happily in peace and to achieve that awesome potential.
But the greatest human minds have never comprehended that divinely-revealed KNOWLEDGE. It is as if God our Maker had sent his message to us in an unbreakable secret code.
And the greatest human minds have never cracked that secret code. Modern Science cannot understand it. Psychologists do not themselves understand of what the human mind is composed.
Something of supreme importance is MISSING from the greatest of human minds! That something is revealed within this instruction manual. It is NOT taught in any college or university. It is HIDDEN from the worldly wise and prudent. The greatest mind which ever lived said of it: "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes" (Matt. 11:25, NKJV).
But to the spiritual babe our instruction manual reveals that originally from eternity, there existed GOD and with Him there coexisted, also from eternity, "THE WORD," a second PERSON who also is God. God created all things by and through this coexisting SPIRIT BEING called "THE WORD" (John 1:1-4).
In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word translated "God," is Elohim, a uniplural name meaning ONE GOD who is composed of more than one person. In other words, a Divine FAMILY, of which the GOD mentioned in John 1:1 is HEAD.
God first created angels — also composed of Spirit, though lesser beings than God, and lacking in creative power.
Next, God created — brought into existence — the physical universe, including the earth. At earth's creation, a third of the angels were placed here. They were put under rule of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, administered by the great archangel Lucifer, a cherub. Under the GOVERNMENT OF GOD the earth was filled with wonderful PEACE, HAPPINESS and JOY. But ultimately Lucifer led his angels into rebellion. The GOVERNMENT OF GOD was rejected, no longer enforced. The earth as a result, became waste and empty, in confusion and utter darkness.
Then in six days God renewed the face of the earth. During this "creation week" of Genesis 1, God formed the first life forms that reproduced themselves — the flora and then the fauna — without the thinking, reasoning, decision making process, and without ethical, moral or spiritual capabilities.
Finally came the creation of MAN — created in God's own image and likeness — form and shape — but like animals composed of physical MATTER from the earth. MAN, to be born ultimately into the very GOD FAMILY, was designed to have GODLY-type MIND — ability to think, to reason, to make choices and decisions, capable of forming ethical, moral and spiritual attitudes.
Remember, God's PURPOSE in creating man is to reproduce Himself — with such perfect spiritual CHARACTER as ONLY GOD possesses — who WILL NOT and therefore CANNOT ever SIN! (I John 3:9).
Such perfect spiritual and holy character cannot be created by fiat. It must be developed, and that requires TIME and EXPERIENCE.
Such character is the ability in a single entity to come to comprehend and distinguish the true values from the false, the right way from the wrong, to choose the right and reject the wrong, and, with power of WILL, to DO the right and resist the evil.
Animals are equipped with BRAIN and instinct. But they do not have power to understand and choose moral and spiritual values or to develop perfect spiritual CHARACTER. Animals have BRAIN, but no intellect — instinct, but no ability to develop HOLY and GODLY CHARACTER.
And that pictures the transcendental DIFFERENCE between animal BRAIN and human MIND.
But WHAT CAUSES that vast difference?
There is virtually no difference in shape and construction between animal brain and human brain. The brains of elephants, whales, and dolphins are larger than human brain, and the chimp's brain is slightly smaller.
Qualitatively the human brain may be very slightly superior, but not enough to remotely account for the difference in output.
What, then, can account for the vast difference? Science cannot adequately answer. Some scientists, in the field of brain research, conclude that, of necessity, there has to be some nonphysical component in human brain that does not exist in animal brain. But most scientists will not admit the possibility of the existence of the nonphysical.
What other explanation is there? Actually, outside of the very slight degree of physical superiority of human brain, science has NO explanation, due to unwillingness to concede even the possibility of the spiritual.
When man refuses to admit even the very existence of his own Maker, he shuts out of his mind vast oceans of basic true knowledge, fact, and UNDERSTANDING. When he substitutes FABLE for truth, he is, of all men, MOST IGNORANT, though he professes himself to be wise.
When man, in the name of science, denies — or by indifference, ignores — his Maker, he blinds his mind to what he is, why he is, where he is going, and what is THE WAY! No wonder this world is filled with evils! There has to be a CAUSE for every effect!
But when our minds are opened to the knowledge of our GOD and His purposes, then we have glorious access to the vast MISSING DIMENSION OF KNOWLEDGE: the very knowledge that God is the Divine FAMILY — that God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF — that He is using MATTER in the process, and that He opens our understanding to vast vistas of new knowledge.
So now CONSIDER. God is composed of SPIRIT. God is CREATOR, DESIGNER, RULER, EDUCATOR. God has SUPREME MIND. He IS the PERFECT HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER!
But He is using material substance from this physical earth with which to REPRODUCE HIMSELF. Out of physical EARTH He has formed MAN in His image and likeness (form and shape).
But if man is to BECOME God, in the process of God reproducing Himself, then the character that is to be built in him MUST emanate from God — and the Spirit LIFE that is to be his also must emanate from GOD.
In other words, God has had to plan to bridge the gap between MATTER (of which MAN is now wholly composed) and SPIRIT (which God now is, and man must become).
Matter is NOT Spirit — cannot be converted into Spirit. HOW, then, can God change mortal material MAN into immortal, Spirit- composed GOD?
Man is composed wholly of MATTER. God says: "And the ETERNAL God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). MAN was made out of the dust of the ground. He receives his temporary human life from air, breathed in and out of his nostrils. His life is in the blood (Gen. 9:4, 6). But the lifeblood is oxidized by breathing air, even as gasoline in the carburetor of an automobile. Therefore breath is the "breath of life" even as the life is in the blood.
Notice carefully that MAN, made wholly of matter, BECAME a living soul as soon as the BREATH gave him his temporary physical life. The scripture does NOT say "immortal" soul. Man does not have an "immortal" soul. He IS a soul as soon as physical LIFE enters him.
The Hebrew word for "soul" is nephesh. In Genesis 1:20-24, animals are called nephesh three times — only the translators translated the Hebrew word there "creature."
Animals have the same temporary physio-chemical existence as man. Both die the same death (Eccl. 3:19-20).
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). Again, God's Word says: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:20). Adam was a soul, and God said to him, in regard to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, "... in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). But Satan denied this, and Adam and Eve believed Satan, as most of humanity has done ever since.
So let us UNDERSTAND! Man is FLESH and BLOOD — composed wholly of MATTER — and that living matter IS a living soul.
The SOUL is composed of physical MATTER, not Spirit.
I have explained that human brain is almost identical to animal brain. But man was made in the form and shape of God, to have a special relationship with God — to have the potential of being born into the FAMILY of God. And God is SPIRIT (John 4:24).
To make it possible to bridge the gap — or to make the transition of MANKIND, composed wholly of MATTER, into SPIRIT beings in God's Kingdom, then to be composed wholly of Spirit, and at the same time to give MAN a MIND like God's — God put a spirit in each human.
In Job 32:8, we read, "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."
This is a great TRUTH, understood by but very few.
I call this spirit the HUMAN spirit, for it is IN each human, even though it is SPIRIT ESSENCE and not matter. It is NOT a spirit person or being. It is not the MAN, but spirit essence IN the man. It is NOT a soul — the physical human is a soul.
The human spirit imparts the power of INTELLECT to the human brain. The human spirit does not supply human LIFE — the human LIFE is in the physical BLOOD, oxidized by the BREATH of life.
It is that nonphysical component in the human brain that does not exist in the brain of animals. It is the ingredient that makes possible the transition from human to divine, without changing matter into spirit, at the time of resurrection. That I will explain a little later.
Let me make clear a few essential points about this spirit in man. It is spirit essence, just as in matter air is essence, and so is water. This human spirit cannot see. The physical BRAIN sees, through the eyes. The human spirit IN a person cannot hear. The brain hears through the ears. This human spirit cannot think. The brain thinks — although the spirit imparts the power to think, whereas brute animal brains without such spirit cannot, except in the most elementary manner.
A scripture often used by believers in an "immortal soul" explains. In I Corinthians 2, the apostle Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that he did not come to them using hard-to- understand speech as many do to exalt their own vanity. He came to them with plain and simple speech, in humility. And yet none of the princes, the elite, the highly educated — the rulers — of this world could understand.
WHY couldn't the more highly learned understand? Because he was preaching Christ's message of the Kingdom of God. This is spiritual knowledge. This kind of knowledge cannot be seen by the physical eye, nor heard with the physical ear. Spiritual knowledge cannot enter the human mind by natural means — for spirit cannot be seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelled.
Then he explains that in this manner (verse 11) no MAN could have the knowledge a man possesses, except by "the spirit of man which is in him." The brute animal has a brain virtually identical to human brain — and some even larger. But their brains cannot KNOW — comprehend — what man knows. Neither could man without the spirit of man which is in him. In other words, this spirit imparts the power of intellect to the human brain.
Yet this human MIND is limited to knowledge of the physical. It cannot KNOW — comprehend — the spiritual things of God. WHY? Because even the human MIND only can know, naturally, what knowledge comes to it through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling. A brute animal also may see, hear, smell, taste or feel what a man does, and still be unable to utilize what enters his brain in thought or knowledge. The reason for this will be explained later.
Now the second half of I Corinthians 2:11: "EVEN SO" (in like manner) no man can know — have knowledge of, understand or comprehend — the things of GOD, except by ANOTHER spirit, the Holy Spirit of GOD.
Just as no dumb animal can know the things of man's knowledge, neither could man, by brain alone, except by the spirit of man — the human spirit — that is in man. So also, in the same manner, even a man cannot know — comprehend — the things of God, unless or until he receives another spirit — the Holy Spirit of GOD.
Stated still another way, all humans have from birth a spirit called "the spirit of man" which is IN THEM. Notice carefully that this spirit is NOT the man. It is something IN THE MAN. A man might swallow a small marble. It is then something in the man, but it is not the man or any part of him as a man. The man was made of the dust of the ground — mortal. This human spirit is not the soul. It is something IN the soul which itself IS the physical MAN.
Notice, further, verse 14: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
So, from birth, God gives US one spirit, which for lack of a better term I call a human spirit. It gives us MIND power, which is not in animal BRAIN. Yet that MIND power is limited to knowledge of the physical universe. WHY? Because knowledge enters the human mind ONLY through the five physical senses.
But notice that God had not completed the creation of MAN at the creation of Adam and Eve. The physical creation was completed. They had this "human" spirit at their creation.
But now must follow the spiritual creation. This required a second spirit in man — the HOLY SPIRIT of God.
"And the [ETERNAL] God formed man of the dust of the ground ... and planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the [ETERNAL] God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:7-9).
Actually and literally, Adam, as yet, was "not all there." The spirit of man was in him — but not the Spirit of God. God offered him freely the fruit of the TREE OF LIFE —which symbolized God's HOLY SPIRIT. Taking of the tree of LIFE would have done two things: (1) opened his MIND to comprehend spiritual knowledge, and (2) imparted within him the GIFT of God's Holy Spirit, leading to ETERNAL LIFE. But, when God explained to him the KINGDOM OF GOD, Adam disbelieved what God said and disobeyed — SINNED. Then what?
"And the [ETERNAL] God said ... and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the [ETERNAL] God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen. 3:22-24).
Now GRASP THIS, please!
Do not forget God's great PURPOSE! Through human man, composed of material substance, God is reproducing Himself — adding to His own holy, righteous, sinless GOD FAMILY. But God is composed of SPIRIT. How does God bridge the gap between mortal physical MAN and immortal SPIRIT-composed God?
The very first human had made the wrong choice, and by SIN rejected the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. God then drove him out of the garden of Eden and blocked all possible reentry to the tree of life. But of course God anticipated the probability of this.
God's PURPOSE must STAND! But HOW?
It now required the "second Adam" — Jesus Christ. He had offered Himself before the world was. But He was not to come, born human for the purpose of death, for about another 4,000 years.
God had marked out a 7,000-year period — the first 6,000 for mankind, cut off from God (with a few exceptions), to go his own way — to write the lesson in human suffering and anguish of living contrary to GOD'S WAY OF LIFE, commanded by THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD — which Adam rejected.
This 6,000 years, with Satan still here, would be followed by a single 1,000 years, during which CHRIST would rule, having qualified to restore THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth. Satan would be totally restrained during the seventh millennium.
During that seventh millennium, the KINGDOM OF GOD — the RULING FAMILY OF GOD — would be established on earth.
Meanwhile, during the first 6,000 years, a FEW would be offered opportunity to enter into the spiritual creation, which begins with the receiving of the SECOND SPIRIT — that is, the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT of God. Outside of these comparative few, God adopted a "hands-off" policy toward the human race. Abel, Adam's second son, apparently followed God's way, for Christ called him "righteous Abel." Enoch "walked with God." Noah found favor with God — but apparently that was all during the first 1,900 years or so.
After the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and Joseph lived God's way. Then God called and formed the nation of Israel, but they were offered no spiritual salvation or eternal life — only material and national blessings. God called and used a few prophets. Then Christ came and made spiritual salvation possible for all. Yet only the first comparatively very small spiritual harvest has been called to spiritual salvation during the nearly 2,000 years since Christ.
Human Reproduction the Type of God's Reproducing Himself
Few people realize that human reproduction has a sacred and GOD- PLANE MEANING NOT APPLICABLE TO ANY OTHER KIND OF LIFE.
Human reproduction pictures spiritual salvation — which is actually God the Father reproducing Himself in the GOD FAMILY.
Now see the ASTOUNDING comparison!
MAN, remember, is composed wholly of MATTER from the ground (Gen. 2:7 and 3:19). But HOW can God bridge the gap, in reproducing Himself, of converting a wholly physical man into a wholly Spirit-composed member of the GOD FAMILY?
It starts with a spirit (a portion of spirit essence) IN the wholly physical man.
Remember, this spirit is NOT the man — only something IN the man. Remember, too, this spirit cannot see, hear, or think. The MAN sees, hears, and thinks through his physical brain and the five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. The spirit in man imparts the power of PHYSICAL INTELLECT the physical brain, thus forming human MIND.
This spirit acts, among other things, as a computer, adding to the brain the psychic and intellectual power. Knowledge received in the brain through the eye, ear, and the senses is immediately "programmed" into the spirit computer. All memory is stored in this spirit computer. This "computer" gives the brain instant recall of whatever portion of millions of bits of knowledge may be needed in the reasoning process. That is to say that MEMORY is recorded in the human spirit, whether or not it also is recorded in the "gray matter" of BRAIN.
This human spirit also adds to man a spiritual and moral faculty not possessed by animals.
God had made the needed second spirit — the HOLY SPIRIT — available to Adam. But on Adam's rebellion and taking the forbidden fruit, God had driven Adam out and closed all access to the tree of LIFE — symbolic of His Holy Spirit.
Yet through Christ, a repentant humanity may yet receive God's GIFT of His Holy Spirit. To Nicodemus Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Of course Nicodemus could not quite understand that. Almost nobody today understands it. Jesus explained, "That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH, and that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT" (John 3:6). Man came from the ground. He IS flesh. Jesus was not talking about another physical birth or experience of conversion in this life — but about a spiritual birth — when man shall BE Spirit, no longer composed of matter, but composed wholly of SPIRIT! Yes, LITERALLY! Then he shall have been born of God. God is Spirit (John 4:24, RSV).
Now to become human, each of us had to be begotten by his human father. Likewise, to be born again — of THE SPIRIT, which is of GOD the Father, one must first be begotten of the SPIRITUAL FATHER — of GOD.
This is explained in Romans 8:16-17: "The Spirit [of God] itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the [begotten] children of God: and if children, then heirs [not yet inheritors or possessors]; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ...."
And God's Holy Spirit, now combined with our human spirit in the human MIND, does two things: (1) begets the human with divine eternal life to be later BORN into the GOD FAMILY as a Divine Being, then composed wholly of Spirit; (2) imparts to the human mind power to comprehend SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE — to understand the things of God (I Cor. 2:11). Also God's Holy Spirit imparts divine LOVE, FAITH, and POWER to overcome Satan and sin.
This Spirit-begotten Christian now has, conditionally, the PRESENCE OF ETERNAL LIFE — GOD LIFE — within him (or her), but He is NOT YET an immortal SPIRIT BEING — not yet composed wholly of SPIRIT.
He is now an heir of God as the son of a wealthy man is the heir of his father — but NOT YET "born again," — NOT YET an inheritor or a possessor. But IF His Holy Spirit dwells in us, God will, at Christ's coming back to earth as King of kings, "quicken" to immortality our mortal bodies BY His Spirit that dwells in us (Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:49-53).
Now see how the astonishing analogy continues:
Just as in human reproduction, the impregnated embryo, which later becomes the fetus, is not yet BORN, but still being nourished through the human mother; so the begotten Christian is not yet BORN into the God Family. The divine life has merely been begotten.
Satan has managed to deceive most of fundamentalist Christianity into believing they already are "born again" on accepting Christ.
But just as in human reproduction when the Human characteristics of form and shape and the human body and brain gradually begin to form during the period of gestation, so now the RIGHTEOUS and HOLY character of God begins to take form and GROW.
Actually in many, this Divine character may form so slowly it seems hardly in evidence at first, except that in some there will appear the glow of that ecstasy of spiritual "romance" — which may radiate in that "first love" of spiritual conversion. But, so far as growing in SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE (II Pet. 3:18) and spiritual CHARACTER goes, most of that is still to be learned and developed.
When newly converted, one is now a spiritual "Emissary." Now he must be nourished and fed on Spiritual FOOD. Jesus said man must not live by bread (physical food) alone, but by EVERY WORD OF GOD. The BIBLE is the written Word of God, just as Christ is the personal Word of God. This growth is the character development that REQUIRES TIME and comes largely by EXPERIENCE. Above all, it requires continual BIBLE STUDY to show ONE'S SELF approved of God, as well as much continual and earnest PRAYER. When you study the Bible, GOD is TALKING TO YOU. When you PRAY, you are TALKING TO HIM. You get to really KNOW God in this manner, just as you become better acquainted with people by conversation.
Yet much of this spiritual character development comes through Christian fellowship with other spiritually begotten people in God's Church.
Further, just as the human physical embryo and fetus are given physical nourishment through the human mother, God's CHURCH is the spiritual MOTHER of its members. God's Church is called "Jerusalem above, which is the MOTHER of us all" (Gal. 4:26).
Notice the exact parallel. God has set called and chosen ministers in His Church to feed the flock, "for the perfecting of the saints, for THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY [proclaiming Christ's gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world], for the edifying of the body [Church] of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13).
It is the duty of Christ's true ministers (and how few today) to PROTECT the begotten but yet unborn saints from false doctrines and from false ministers!
What a wonderful picture of God's reproducing Himself is human reproduction!
And remember God intended human reproduction to be a FAMILY matter. It adds human children to the human FAMILY. The HUMAN FAMILY is the exact TYPE of the GOD FAMILY.
God has bestowed MARRIAGE and FAMILY life on NO OTHER form of life except on HUMANS, whose potential it is to enter the FAMILY OF GOD! But consider further! As the physical human fetus must grow physically large enough to be born, so the begotten Christian must grow spiritually in grace and knowledge of Christ (II Pet. 3:18) — must overcome, develop in spiritual character, during this life, to be born into the Kingdom of God!
That is well illustrated by the parables of the pounds and the talents. In the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus pictured Himself as a nobleman going to a far country (heaven) to receive a kingdom and later to return. He called his ten servants and gave each a pound. While He was gone, one of the ten traded with the money and gained ten pounds. He was commended and made ruler over ten cities in the Kingdom of God. A second gained only five pounds - he did half as well, starting with EQUAL ability. He was given reign over five cities. A third gained NOTHING — and had even that pound taken from him.
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), one was given five talents, another two talents, and another one — each according to his own ability (like handicap golf). On Christ's return, the one who had been given five talents had gained five more (representing spiritual growth and overcoming in this life).
He was commended as a good and faithful servant and given responsibilities accordingly in God's Kingdom. The one who had gained another two accomplished just as much in proportion to ability. He, too, received an equal reward. But the one who had been given the one did NOTHING WITH IT. In other words, in his Christian life here and now, he did not overcome, he did not grow spiritually — he developed no character. The pounds or talents in these two parables represent the initial measure of God's Holy Spirit given at conversion. But as the Spirit begotten person is continually led by the Holy Spirit — following where God's Spirit opens his understanding, growing in spiritual knowledge and overcoming — the measure of God's Spirit in him increases. But Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit — not by measure (John 3:34).
The parables show that the convert who does not GROW in Spirit and character development will lose out! He represents one who "RECEIVED CHRIST" and considered he was already "born again" but did not think he needed to overcome, grow spiritually, or develop spiritual character. He thought he was "already saved." He said he didn't believe in salvation by "works."
What he didn't realize is that while salvation is a FREE GIFT, we are REWARDED according to our works (Matt. 16:27). But by doing NOTHING, he lost not ONLY the reward, but he lost out on the free GIFT of eternal life.
Christ's answer to such, when He returns with the KINGDOM OF GOD, is, "Thou wicked and slothful servant.... Take therefore the talent from him.... And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
He failed utterly in God's real PURPOSE — reproducing in us the holy, righteous CHARACTER that we may receive from God.
Many have been deceived into a FALSE "salvation."
To conclude the parallel: As the physical fetus gradually develops the physical features, organs and characteristics one by one, even so the begotten Christian must develop the SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES during this life, one by one, love, faith, Spiritual knowledge, patience, gentleness, kindness, and temperance. He must be a DOER of the Word of God. The fetus that fails to grow would die and never be born!
Bridging the Gap
Finally, HOW has God planned to "bridge the gap" from physical to spiritual composition — to reproduce Himself out of PHYSICAL HUMANS THAT COME FROM THE PHYSICAL GROUND?
First, God put IN the physical MAN a "human" spirit. It is NOT, however, the human spirit that makes the decisions, comes to repentance, or builds the character. As I have emphasized, this spirit does not impart life, cannot see, hear, feel or think.
It empowers the PHYSICAL MAN, through his BRAIN, to do these things. But this spirit RECORDS every thought - every bit of knowledge received through the five senses and it records whatever character — good or bad — that is developed in human life.
The human MAN is made literally from CLAY. God is like the master potter forming and shaping a vessel out of clay. But if the clay is too hard, it will not bend into the form and shape he wants. If it is too soft and moist, it lacks firmness to "STAY PUT" where the potter bends it.
Notice in Isaiah 64:8: "But now, O [ETERNAL], thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Yet God has given each of us a MIND OF HIS OWN. If one REFUSES to acknowledge God or God's ways — refuses to repent of the wrong and turn to the right, God cannot take him and create Godly character in him. But the human CLAY must be pliable, must yield willingly. If the human stiffens up and resists, he is like clay that is too dry and stiff. The potter can do nothing with it. It will not give and bend. Also, if he is so lacking in will, purpose, and determination that he won't "stay put" when God molds him partly into what God wants him to be — too wishy-washy, weak, lacking root of character, he will never endure to the end. He will lose out.
We are, in truth, the WORK OF HIS HANDS. Yet WE ourselves must do our part in this spiritual development. If we lazily neglect Bible study and prayer — or if we let other material interests become more important and we NEGLECT such great salvation, we lose out.
But if we have the strength of character to YIELD, OF OUR OWN WILL to put ourselves in God's hands, HE will instill within us His SPIRIT and by it His righteousness — His character — open our minds to His spiritual knowledge. We have to WANT IT! We have to work AT IT! We have to PUT IT FIRST, above all else.
It must be GOD'S righteousness, for all of OURS is like filthy rags to Him. He continually instills His knowledge, His righteousness, His character within us — IF we diligently seek it and want it. BUT WE HAVE OUR VERY IMPORTANT PART IN IT. Then all credit goes to GOD.
As we receive the CHARACTER OF GOD through the Holy Spirit of God, more and more God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF IN us.
Finally, in the resurrection, we shall be as God — in a position where we cannot sin, because we ourselves have set it so and have turned FROM sin and have struggled and struggled AGAINST sin and overcome sin.
God's PURPOSE WILL be accomplished!
WHY Made From Material Substance?
Once again, STOP AND THINK!
WHY did God choose to make MAN out of physical matter instead of Spirit? He made angels out of Spirit.
Remember God's PURPOSE is to reproduce Himself! His Divine children are to be begotten of Him and then BORN into His God Family. Christ, our pioneer, was begotten by the Father in a manner no one else ever was, when conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary. He was the begotten (the ONLY begotten, in that manner) Son of God from human conception and birth. He is already the FIRSTBORN of many brethren (Rom. 8:29), born a Son of God by a resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4), as we may be later.
To show the preeminence above angels that is already Christ's and also is our potential, remember we are joint-heirs with Christ, and God says of Christ, "being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?" (Heb. 1:4-5.) In the book of Job angels are spoken of as sons of God in chapters 1, 2, and 7, but only as created "sons." Still, as in Hebrews 1, God never said to them, "You are my own begotten sons." But when we humans receive the Holy Spirit of God, we do become His begotten sons and His heirs, to receive by inheritance His NAME —- just as my begotten sons inherited my name.
When we are BORN of God, we shall BE Spirit. Then why did God form man in the first place of material substance out of the earth?
I have partially answered that question already. Angels, being spirit, are immortal. Those who sinned shall go on bearing their punishment forever. Their punishment is NOT death. Their punishment is loss of the glorious opportunity God gave them to accomplish His purpose on earth, and to live forever in the resentment, bitterness, attitude of rebellion, and utter hopelessness and frustration of mind their own sins brought upon them. Once they perverted their own minds, they can never regain balance. Happiness and joy has left them forever.
Whereas, if MAN, composed of matter, sinned and refused to repent and turn from his sin, he will die the second death — he shall utterly PERISH (John 3:16) — he will be as though he had not been (Obadiah 16). This reflects God's MERCY.
The Physical Changes, the Spiritual is Changeless
But there is another all-important reason. As the humanist philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, "Nothing is permanent but change." Matter does not remain as it is, unchanged, permanently. But it continues changing permanently. Perhaps stone or iron is as unchanging as any element. But after a few thousand years, the giant stones in the wall around Jerusalem, for instance, have lost all their newness and show their age. Whatever you see now on this earth in time will CHANGE.
Spirit however, is CHANGELESS — except as God instilled in angel beings the power of mind — of thinking, reasoning, making decisions and exercising will to act on decisions or choices. But Spirit substance apart from the mind power of God or Spirit beings is CHANGELESS. Once Satan and his demons made the decision they did, being spirit, they cannot change!
In reproducing Himself God requires righteous CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. And that requires change. If God had made us of Spirit, once the decision was made to reject God, we could never have repented — could not change from Satan's way to God's! Man, composed of matter, is subject to CHANGE. Man, if called by God, can be made to realize that he has sinned, and he can REPENT — CHANGE from his sin — turn to GOD'S WAY. And once his course is changed, with God's help he can pursue it. He can GROW in spiritual knowledge, develop character, overcome wrong habits, weaknesses, and faults.
And this is all done by the PHYSICAL MAN, through the PHYSICAL BRAIN.
The human spirit in man empowers the brain with physical intellect, and the Spirit of God united with it empowers the brain with spiritual comprehension, and these spirits RECORD the knowledge and the character and preserve them, as well as the physical shape and appearance. These spirits do not develop the righteous character, but through the Holy Spirit God does give us His faith, HIS righteousness — as long as we ourselves earnestly desire it. But once holy and righteous character is developed in physical man, HOW does God bridge the gap, changing MAN into SPIRIT?
The Spirit MOLD
I have shown you that the Scriptures picture man as the clay — which he literally is — and God as our Potter. We might call God, also, our SCULPTOR, for with our submission and eager willingness, we are the WORK OF HIS HANDS in spiritual and character development. As Job said, "If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my CHANGE come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee [in the resurrection]: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands" (Job 14:14-15).
This brings us to the question of death of the physical MAN, and the resurrection — Job called it the "CHANGE" — into the Kingdom of God.
Now notice, as quoted before, in Isaiah 64:8: "But now, O [ETERNAL], thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand."
God could not form, shape, change, and develop His character in us — once we had sinned — as all have — had we been made of Spirit. Notice further: "Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What meekest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?" (Isa. 45:9.)
Another passage of scripture so often misapplied says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it [the faith] is the gift of God: not of works" (Eph. 2:8-9).
We do not earn salvation by good works or gain it by WORKS — BUT when we receive it as God's GIFT, the degree of reward will be according to our "works" (Matt. 16:27) — performance in living GOD'S WAY — building character.
But now read the rest of this passage which is nearly always purposely omitted by those misleading people on this point: "... not of works" ... WHY? ..."lest any man should boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:9-10).
I have tried to point out that we must gain contact with God and that HE is the potter — or sculptor — fashioning, molding, and shaping our lives and righteous character into His Character IMAGE, AS WE DESIRE AND YIELD.
All right. The godly character in us, I have stated, cannot be created by fiat. It must be developed. We must yield. We must desire it, seek it. But it comes from GOD. Thus if we keep a close daily contact with our Creator, through His Spirit and through our spirit — for remember, His Holy Spirit "beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:16) — then He is fashioning and shaping our characters. Had God made us of Spirit, this could not be done once we had sinned.
Now, as Job brought out, we die. Afterlife comes through the resurrection. When we die, all consciousness ceases. The physical brain becomes unconscious and decays.
With what BODY do we come, in the resurrection? That question is answered in I Corinthians 15: "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? ... that which thou sowest [burial in the ground], thou sowest NOT that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him ..." (I Cor. 15:35-38).
The body that dies is NOT the same body that will come up in the resurrection.
Now we come to a MOST IMPORTANT part concerning the SPIRIT IN MAN —which I have termed the "human spirit." It does not impart human life. It does not see, hear or think. The HUMAN MAN makes his decisions, and it is in the physical MAN that character must be built. It is the human CLAY that God forms into His character. The SPIRIT in man RECORDS what the brain comes to know, even the attitude, the facets of CHARACTER, not only of the human brain, but also of the whole body. It keeps the imprint even of the fingerprints.
Compare it to a sculptor's mold. The sculptor may want to produce a bronze statue of a man. The sculptor might use clay to form a clay model — or plaster of paris. Then the sculptor makes a MOLD of the model he has formed and shaped. The mold is a hollow form, made from the finished model. Into the mold is poured molten liquid bronze which then solidifies. The mold is removed, and the bronze figure is an EXACT COPY of the original model.
The spirit that is in every human acts as a MOLD. It PRESERVES the human's MEMORY, his CHARACTER, his FORM AND SHAPE.
Now I do not conceive, naturally, that the spirit is a hollow form. But it supplies the same purpose as the sculptor's mold. If one has received the Holy Spirit, then in the resurrection, God will provide a SPIRIT BODY, formed and shaped by the Spirit mold. The resurrected being will be COMPOSED of SPIRIT, not matter as the human model was. In the resurrected SPIRIT form he will suddenly come ALIVE. It will seem like the next flash of a second from his loss of consciousness at time of death. He will have all his memory intact. He will look as he did in human life in form and shape. Even his fingerprints will be the same.
The CHARACTER, which he allowed God to build within him, will be there. He will be alive FOREVER! And, like God the Father, by his own will, he will have been made so that he CANNOT sin (I John 3:9).
The body that comes in the resurrection is not the same body that was flesh and blood in this human lifetime. God does not turn flesh and blood matter INTO Spirit.
The flesh and blood physical body, after death, decomposes and decays, but the spirit that was IN that body, like the sculptor's mold, preserves all the form and shape, the memory, and the character INTACT. And that mold, being spirit does not change — even though the resurrection may take place thousands of years after death.
Notice what happens AT DEATH.
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." After death, whether buried in the earth, cremated, or what, the physical body returns to the earth. But the spirit that was IN the man, now having recorded everything — the body's form and shape, the facial identity, the memory and the character — returns to God.
It will be PRESERVED UNCHANGED.
Such saints as Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel died thousands of years ago. STOP AND THINK ABOUT THAT! God had to provide some way to PRESERVE the form, shape, appearance, mind and character of saints for thousands of years. They were composed of corruptible flesh and blood. All that was THEM (man is composed wholly of matter) long since decomposed. Yet in the resurrection, it will seem to them as the next fraction of a second since loss of consciousness at death.
In the interim of death, they knew absolutely NOTHING. Says God's Word, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead KNOW NOT ANY THING" (ECCL. 9:5).
The spirit, which returns to God, is the human spirit that was in them throughout life. It was not an "immortal soul," for the soul was mortal and corruptible.
Those who died with God's Holy Spirit will be in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-5). They will come forth IMMORTAL, in a glorious body of SPIRIT composition, their faces aglow as the SUN.
All others who have not been called to eternal salvation by God during their human lifetimes will be resurrected after the thousand-year reign of the Kingdom of God under Christ, in the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12). They will be resurrected MORTAL, once again in a flesh and blood physical body, just as before.
In this great judgment they will be "called" — their eyes opened to God's truth. Then, finally, there will be a last resurrection (Rev. 20:13-15) of those who HAD been called by God in their mortal human life, but had rejected or turned from the truth. They, with those who reject it in the Great White Throne Judgment, will be in the lake of fire (II Pet. 3:10-11), which is the second death. They then shall be ashes under the soles of the feet of the immortals in God's Kingdom (Mal. 4:3), and will be as though they had never been (Obadiah 16).
Then, ahead of the millions of immortal redeemed, shall lie the tremendous awesome HUMAN POTENTIAL — when God the Creator shall have put THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE under our jurisdiction (Heb. 2:7-8).