The God of Peace: A Marriage of Faith & Works

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.” (Heb. 13:20-21)

The above text will be our focus for this study; which we will open up more fully from the Scripture.

God is called the “God of peace”, and how He makes peace is of interest towards all of us is worthy of continual study, because not all are at peace with Him. Worthy because the man who has sinned is separated from His Spirit of peace; this causes a disconnect between God and man, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6)
Before man sinned, and after he is redeemed from sin, the life and peace of God through the Spirit of God is to be in us. It is further stated in the Scripture of the God of peace how that peace is brought about. It is “through the blood of the everlasting covenant” that this peace is established. That peace that is brought to us is to bring a definite work into the soul:

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself… And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”
(Col 1:20-21)

By that very blood, now you are reconciled to God, but before having this peace, you were counted as an enemy of God “by wicked works”, “because the carnal mind is enmity [hatred, hostility] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7) Yet that same blood of Christ (who is our peace [Eph. 2:14] with God, and called the Prince of peace [Isaiah 9:6]) so fully brings us back into the presence of the God of peace, so that we might be called truly “peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9), the children of peace, having peace with God, and in Christ, peace with all those who partake of His Spirit. Moreover, that “everlasting covenant”, the blood of which brings this peace, is called “the covenant of peace” between God & Christ (Zechariah 6:13). God says of “the Jerusalem above” (Gal. 4:26), His beloved nation that He is married to: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” (Isa 54:10)

The God of peace is truly merciful; seeking to reconcile all to Himself. There are many today who are professing to be children of peace, and part of the covenant of peace, and say they are citizens of that beloved heavenly nation that is at peace with God, but why are there so few that truly have any real peace at all?

The answer can be found in what happens when the God of peace brings us to covenant relationship with Him. It states that He will “perfect in every good work to do His will, working in us that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ…”; this work that is worked in us by God, through Christ. What is “every good work” that He works in us? It is nothing less than His commandments. We are told that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) The good works that we walk in, to reveal that we have peace with Him are the works which were “before ordained that we should walk in them.” Only a few verses before, it contrasts the saved experience of walking in good works, with the condition of before our salvation appeared: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:…But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”  (Eph. 2:2,4-6)

Instead of walking in good works, we had walked in disobedience to God’s law, being “dead in sins” (which is the transgression of God’s law 1 John 3:4). But “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus” has “quickened us together with Christ,…and has raised us up…” that we might now walk in good works, as the Spirit that raised up Christ Jesus dwells in our hearts working in us.

To all who believe in Christ as a personal Savior, and walk in His commandments, He gives us the assurance:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Peace can never be afforded from the world that doesn’t know God or keep His commandments, but only to those who truly love God and truly walk in His commandments. The peace that the world offers is temporary, superficial, and outward; it seldom is true peace that reaches from our heart to the heart of God, and to one another. Thus He promises a true and abiding peace; heaven’s peace is that which He works in us, and is called “the work of righteousness”:

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

What a beautiful promise! The work of righteousness produces the peace of God! Now, the only righteousness that can be worked is that which divine power in Christ, through His blood, can work, and apart from that there is no righteousness at all which a man can have. We need a divine peace, which comes from a divine righteousness; this is wholly a gift of God’s grace, and not our own works, but receiving His works to be worked out in us. Man’s standard of righteousness is to try and work to create peace with God, and with each other by their own strength independent of God; this is a very common for men to to this; to believe “I’m a good person”, but blind to the obligations of God’s law, and what it means to have His righteousness. Anything less than His righteousness is worldly; Christ declared the same: “Do not think that I’ve come to destroy the law…I’ve come not to destroy but to fulfill…Verily I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no manner enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 5:19-21) Only through blood of Christ which cleanses us from all unrighteousness can this be made a reality in our lives. And His righteousness, which works peace can only be manifested in us by obedience to His commandments. “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law…” (Isaiah 51:7)

Here is the secret to real peace. It is knowing the law’s searching even the thoughts and intents of the heart, and being cleansed deeply; thus producing a depth of peace that few have realized in their walk with Christ. It is only when realizing the magnitude of the holiness of God’s law to reveal His own righteousness, that Christ may work in us to truly establish peace in the soul. Such a peace is found in the holiness of the law engraved on the tables of the heart that keeps God’s commandments. It is God’s righteousness in His law, and the blood of Christ which binds our hearts to peace in that law that finds the words fulfilled in our lives: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

It is evident by these passages of Scripture that if such a peace is in the heart, it is because the law is in the heart. Without the law in the heart, how can the soul be risen above stormy tempest,  to heaven’s atmosphere above the clouds, with the holiness of the Prince of peace? To such as who disregard His law as the basis of His righteousness, He says:

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:…There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” (Isa 48:18,22)

Yet, of the redeemed children of that beloved nation of the covenant of peace, something far different is said:

“All your children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of you children.” (Isaiah 54:13)

“Great peace have they which love Your law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)

There is good reason why many do not have such peace today, they think that Christ came to take away the law instead of taking away our sins (the transgression of that law), rather than coming to fulfill the law in us. Like a shallow reading of the law and not seeing the deep holiness of God within it’s precepts, there are many who are not discerning Christ’s works of coming to fulfill the law, or the righteousness of God. The Scripture tells us that “what the law could not do, because it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us…who walk after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:3-4) Christ fulfills the law in us, He destroys our sins against that law, condemning them by His Spirit in our flesh; He restores order to the soul; He builds us anew.

It is not enough to have the law without Christ’s blood (works). Nor is it enough to have Christ’s blood without the law (dead, empty faith). Both can never produce peace. These are the two chief reasons that so few actually have peace today; they do not see Christ as inseparably connected to His law; they do not walk as Christ walked, though they claim to be in covenant relationship with Him. Both extremes the apostles frequently opposed and taught against, teaching the truth to be a narrow road between the two ditches.

FAITH APART FROM OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1Jn 2:4-6)

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17)

Faith was alone, and James used starting words to declare the connection between faith and works. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (v. 26) Many are simply a body without the Spirit; if Adam’s body had been formed, but he received no breath of life, he could not walk, and live, and communicate. His soul was dead (non-existent) when he had an absence of life. The living soul of true Christianity is understanding the beautiful inseparable marriage between both the law and faith. It is true understanding when we realize that Christ did not die to divorce Himself, (or us) from the law, but to divorce man from sin, and it’s condemnation which brings death.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:…Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Rom. 5:1)

THE LAW APART FROM CHRIST

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:4)

Man is justified by faith, and that of faith by Christ’s blood. It will forever change how we relate to the law; but does not justify walking in disobedience like we did before we knew Christ. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) The law reveals sin. To try and keep it after you have broken it already, is sin; it is like Adam and Eve once they sinned and their nakedness appeared. They were guilty, but tried to clothe themselves to hide their guilt; but only Christ could clothe them by His sacrifice; God could accept nothing less. “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” (Gal. 2:18) Therefore, the law can only produce condemnation and never salvation, but true salvation in Christ, which is by grace through faith, can produce the good works required by the law which we had sinned against.

Moreover, that the children of God’s covenant of peace are through-and-through commandment-keepers cannot be denied:

“And the dragon (Satan, the old serpent that deceived Eve into sin) was wroth with the woman (the beloved nation- the heavenly Jerusalem), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (the Spirit of God- Rev. 19:10).” (Rev 12:17)

And even though all the wicked, all the devils of hell and their agents shall come against us, yet the peace of God that is manifested to us will overcome and triumph over all of our enemies; the devil was cast out of heaven, and though we live on this earth and are not shielded from the tempter, we may be united with the power of heaven in Christ, being risen above the storm in the Spirit that dwells in our hearts, as we walk in obedience to His Word. This peace in God will unite us to a divine source of power, which is well able to rise above the most terrible of persecutions.




Daniel 7: The Rise and Fall of Empires

daniel-7

The vision is of importance to us in these last days…

In Daniel chapter 7, Daniel sees a vision of impression importance, revealing a controversy that leads to the people of God in the last days. His vision is of vital importance for us to correctly understand. He told us “he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.” Here is that dream, and it’s prophetic unfoldings:

“I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.”

Here Daniel sees the four winds striving upon the sea. We are told what the waters represent, using the Bible as it’s own interpreter:
THE SEA: “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest…are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”  (Revelation 17:15)

The four winds striving upon the sea are the power of God’s judgment to bring scatter the power of the nations of the earth:

THE FOUR WINDS: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.” (Jeremaih 49:35-36)

Daniel then beholds four great beasts, one rising after the other, from amongst the people. We are told that these beasts symbolize kingdoms: ” These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth…The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth.” (Daniel 7:17,23) A king always is representative of his subjects, which make up his kingdom, with it’s associated laws and distinctive government; thus these four represent kingdoms.

                                                          THE FIRST BEAST: “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings…”

Ishtar's lion on the walls surrounding Babylon

Ishtar’s lion on the walls surrounding Babylon

Tiglath-Pilesar I depiction; a symbol of coming judgment

Tiglath-Pilesar I depiction; a symbol of coming judgment

Ishtar standing upon lions: a symbol of her throne/chariot

Ishtar standing upon lions: a symbol of her throne/chariot

This kingdom would have been instantly recognizeable to Daniel, who was both a captive in Babylon, and a counsellor to the sovereign of Babylon. All surrounding the walls of Babylon, there were over 120 lions with wings portrayed in honor of the goddess of war and fertility, Ishtar, who was one of the chief dieties of Babylon, alongside Bel (Baal) represented by a dragon, and Adad. The lions were symbolic of Ishtar’s throne. The inspiration for these came from both from Ishtar, and ancient Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I, who described in ancient texts his nations walls portraying great lions on them, and having sacrificed over 120 of them by hand in war. He is depicted as putting them to death by causing them to stand upon their feet. In a striking resemblance, we’re told of the lion: “it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man…” The the book of Daniel is filled with several stories of how God deals with the kings of this earth; He committed light into Babylon’s hand, which represents it standing upon it’s feet as a man, but the interpretation is twofold: a blessing, yet a foreboding of a coming judgment if it should turn aside from the light and privileges God had bestowed upon it (Rom. 1:20); Babylon, that great lion, was judged by the hand of God for profaning the holy privileges given to her.

                             THE SECOND BEAST: “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side…”

the-constellation-bear-ursa-minor

The height of the tail is the star “polaris”, which is a fixed star. All other stars revolve around it, thus it is called the hand of Mithra.

persia-bear

sol-invictusThe second kingdom that came was Media-Persia. The bear was raised up on one side, because the Persians were more powerful than the Medes, but they confederated together to secure the demise of Babylon. Like the lion, which symbolized the pagan religion of Babylon, the bear is symbolic of the pagan religion of the Persians. Mithraism, the worship of the sun, had it’s deity symbolized by the constellation “ursa minor” or bear. Ursa minor in the heavens is the constellation which is connected to the north star, “polaris”, which is immovable, but rather all stars move around it. Mithras holds constellation the Great Bear in one hand, emphasising his power as the stellar god who moves the cosmic pole as well being responsible for the procession of equinoxes. In an ancient Mithraic liturgy, it says describes him as “a god immensely great, having a bright appearance youthful, golden-haired, with a white tunic and a golden crown and trousers, and holding in his right hand a golden shoulder of a young bull: this is the Bear which moves and turns heaven around, moving upward and downward in accordance with the hour.”

The bear is said to have “three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.” The rib: is a symbol of woman who was made from a rib, and in Bible prophecy, we are told of a woman who reigns over the kings of the earth and is hostile towards God’s people, depicted by the rebellious tendencies of Babylon, and given the same name. Prophetic Babylon has a judgment pronounced against her; thus the kings of the earth “devour her flesh”. The ribs are a symbol of the three sovereign nations, chiefly Babylon, then Egypt, and Lydia, which Media-Persia’s confederacy “devour”.

THE THIRD BEAST: “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl;”

The Grecian god Dionysius sat enthroned on a leopard.

The Grecian god Dionysius sat enthroned on a leopard.

dionysiusgreece-leopardThe third kingdom to arise after the Media-Persian kingdom was the Grecian empire. It was symbolized by a leopard, a figure of the patron god of Greece, Dionysius, the god of revelry and fertility, who sat enthroned upon the leopard as his chariot. The leopard was the beast said to overcome all who opposed him.

Oppian, Cynegetica 4. 230 :
“Leopards are overcome also by the gifts of Dionysos… Leopards are now a race of wild beasts, but aforetime they were not fierce wild beasts but bright-eyed women…But to the women he gave the grey eyes of a wild beast and armed their jaws and on their backs put a spotted hide like that of fawns and made them a savage race.”

According to Greek Mythology, Dionysius freed his female worshippers from their imprisonment when they were incarcerated for worshipping him, and at their request they were transformed into leopards to avenge themselves and their god upon the king who imprisoned them.

It had four wings: symbolizing the great speed at which Alexander the great conquered the world; riding the winds of judgments falling upon the Media-Persian kingdom. It had four heads: symbolized by the divided dominion of Alexander, upon his death from the overuse of alcohol (a practice common among Greeks in dedication to Dionysius), shortly after he proclaimed he was a god.  Having no living successor, his kingdom was given into the hands of his four generals, Lysimachus, Cassander, Ptolemy, and Seleucus.

THE FOURTH BEAST: ” After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the remnant with the feet of it…”

Chronos, the god of time, often depicted with a serpent/dragon chariot, devoured children.

Chronos, the god of time, often depicted with a serpent/dragon chariot, devoured children.

chronus-devouring
red-dragonThe fourth kingdom is the Roman Empire, which is said to devour and break in pieces. The chief god of the Romans was known as Saturn, or Chronos, god of time, whose chariot was serpents/dragons. Chronos, in fear of losing his place as chief among the gods, devoured any child who was born from him.
It was during the Roman Empire that Christ came as a man. Speaking of Christ’s birth during this time, we are told this devouring beast was the “dragon”. “…the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”(Rev. 12:4) Upon the king Herod learning of Christ’s birth from the wise men, he ordered all of the youth two and under to be killed for fear of his throne being overthrown. Satan, also called “the great dragon…that old serpent” (Revelation 12:9) in the Bible, had inspired the king with his very own fears of losing his throne. Thus Herod was moved by the very spirit of Satan to “devour” Christ “as soon as he was born.”
saturn
The beast symbolized by the devouring beast of the dragon, “that old serpent”, was also symbolic of the Roman god, Saturn. Saturn was known to transform himself into a serpent with wings, and he is also depicted as having a chariot carried along by serpents with wings. The “old serpent” in Scripture is a reference to the Satan using the medium of a serpent with wings before it was cursed perpetually to live on the ground. The god Saturn was known for having devoured his children as soon as they were born for fear that they would overthrow his dominion.

It was through the Roman Empire that it “break in pieces” Christ, as the sacrifice for man on the cross. After He ascended, we are told that the dragon makes war with “the remnant…which keep the commandments of God”: so the early Christians were terribly persecuted under the empire until the time of Constantine, when the dragon, “that old serpent”, would take a much more subtle form of attack in the Roman Empire.

THE TEN HORNS OF THE FOURTH BEAST: “…and it had ten horns.”

Daniel 7:24 says, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise…”

The Roman empire was divided into what may be more commonly understood as ancient Europe. When the single Roman emperor fell, the kingdom was divided initially into ten divisions: Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Saxons, Lombards, Suevi, Celts, Alemanni, Thuringians.

A LITTLE HORN: ” I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots…”

littlehorn1024

The Antichrist’s Rise: Who is this little horn?

We must not make the mistake of falsely identifying this little horn power, because it will prove to be the great antichrist power of history, and serve as a key to unveil the deception of the subtle serpent, and how he is working in these last days.

In order to avoid all mistakes of identity, it would be well first to consider the nine characteristic marks described in the prophecy itself. These marks of identity will enable us to be absolutely sure of the interpretation. We dare not guess or speculate concerning the historical identity of this “little horn” of prophecy.

1) It arises amongst the ten horns of Western Europe and it’s divisions.
2) The ten horns were in 476AD, so the little horn rises after this point.
3) It would uproot three horns standing in the way of it’s dominion, saying that “there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots.”.
4) It would have “eyes like a man and a mouth speaking great things,” signifying that it would be a man symbolized by this reign, and he would claim to be in a position of great authority.
5) This horn would be “diverse from the first”, showing that he is a different kind of power than the traditional political authority of the other kings.
6) It says “he shall speak great words against the most High.” Another verse says, “speaking great things and blasphemies.” [Blasphemy in the Bible is defined as a man, placing himself in the position of God. “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:30-33, also to forgive sins- ““Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” Mark 2:7)
7) He makes war with the saints, and prevails. (The saints are defined in the Bible as those who have the gospel of Christ and keep the law of God [Rev. 14:12])
8) He thinks to change times and laws. This does not refer to the laws of the kingdom of Rome, because the laws of the earthly kingdoms have always changed. It speaking about a man who claims to have authority to change the law of God and His kingdom.
9) It will reign for 1260 years. The Scripture says “a time, times, and a dividing of time.” While it seems unusual to word time like this, how can we know it is referring to 1260 years? The expression is employed again, in regards to a time when the church of God must flee persecution “for a time, and times, and half a time” in Revelation 12:14, which in verse 6 is referred to as “a thousand, two hundred, and threescore (a score is 20, so 3×20=60) days”. A day in Bible prophecy is in fact a year, according to Ezekiel 4:6 (“I’ve appointed thee each day for a year.”) A time therefore is 360 days, which is the length of the Bible’s year. Times is 720 (2×360), and a half a time is 180. If this is all put together, it gives us the key of reigning for 1260 years.

All of these points must match perfectly to identify the antichristian power, which will be used by Satan in the last days to deceive the world. God has already let these points find fulfillment, so none need be in darkness in the last days regarding the deceptions of Satan.

Are you ready to see who fulfills all of these characteristics? Click here.

little-horn-question




“I’m a Gentile, not a Jew…”

“I’m only human…” says the man who has fallen on his face, endevouring to justify his frailties and sinfulness apart from God. A man who declares he has lost confidence in himself, having fallen back into the same entanglements of sin that have troubled him from his youth. His confession declares nothing of God, nothing of His might and power to save, and nothing more in faith than the athiest, because in confession he is practically athiest, although in profession he claims the name of Christ; thus placing him unawares into breaking the third commandment, “You shall not take My name in vain…”. What hope does such a man have? After all, is he only human?
Running through the same vein of thought is her sister confession: “We are Gentiles, and not Jews.” Generally, professed Christians will use this as a basis for not keeping the law of God as instructed in Moses, but even this confession, “We are Gentiles…” is a confession little short of athiesm in it’s end result. Are you following? Let’s explain this confession, and it will not take long to unfold the oft-sincere but misguided confession of placing confidence in a man’s humanity.

The argument sounds pretty good to some. “I’m a Gentile, not a Jew” seems like a great description of one’s identity. And that’s exactly right. Both confessions in the above are confessions regarding their identity. So what does it mean that you are a Gentile? Have you thought it very far through? Most who, by saying so, are suggesting by their words the apparently quick-fix to the plague of supposed-Judaism. He who makes such a confession only sees an annoyance to his faith and practice; he who makes such a confession hold the perspective that the laws given by God to the Jews will naturally resulting in the Pharisaical Judaism that plotted to crucify Christ. And understandably so, because it was the self-righteous religious class of that day who were the chief perpetrators of slaying the Lamb of God. Were they not given the law which made them so self-righteous? Why would someone want to be classed with a group of self-righteous men who claimed to love God so much that they hated Him? But as good as these arguments sound, we want to know what the Bible actually teaches, not just what “sounds good”- Are you “a Gentile”? What does that even mean according to the Bible?
Before looking briefly at this subject, it might be good to unsettle some prejudices from the outset. Let’s be fair to note that all of the authors of the Scriptures of the 66 books contained in the Biblical canon had Hebrew roots. More than this, most of the strong spiritual leaders and shining examples of the Bible were at least Israelites, and in a majority of cases, they were of the tribe of Judah (Jews). Therefore when claiming to uphold the Bible, we may definitely say the book is a Hebrew book.
It also would be well to remember that the law that was given to Moses was a law which God Himself both gave and wrote(Exodus 24:12), and that He did not give it for the purpose of crucifying His Son, but gave it rather to reveal the sins hidden in the heart of those which crucified His Son (Romans 5:20). That thought about the law, and that thought alone, should be given time to digest and settle in your mind; because the difference between the two is as far as east is from the west. The logical conclusion of one means the abolition of the law, while the conclusion of the other means the exalting of the law’s purpose in the plan of salvation.
So you are a Gentile. The main issue here is what was salvation of the Gentiles to mean? Was it to do away with the law of God so that the Gentiles could continue to practice the same way of life, while professing the salvation of God by grace through faith? Was grace to finally do away with that pestilence of a law that was faulty because man could not keep it, or else if he sought to bring his life in conformity to the precepts delivered by God to His people, he would become an enemy of God as a result? Interestingly enough, this was a strain of thinking that existed in the early church. This doctrine, called “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans…”, was not a doctrine of the apostles, but proceeded from a mingling of Alexandrian philosophy (Greek thinking) with the Christian term of salvation by grace [I say the “term” because the concept was wholly twisted to mean something the apostles or the Bible never actually taught]. This doctrine was reported by the apostles to have been “turning the grace of our God into filthiness” (Jude 1:4), “While promising them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Peter 2:18-21).
This grace which could do nothing for the Gentile, and had no association with the law of God whatsoever, was a base counterfeit which turned professed followers of Christ into the servants of Satan, and slaves of sin, while professing to be delivered. It should be good to note, that whenever this line of thinking was practiced by the professed people of God, God reproved them, saying, “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations”?”
(Jeremiah 7:9-10)

Were you saved from your old life without Christ only to continue living in your old life, under a Christian disguise? Christian rap, Christian death metal, Christian fashion, Christian entertainment, Christian competition, Christian homosexuality? Would a Christian Gentile fit in that description? It would surely depend on what is meant by a Gentile.
We are told of a class of people saved from among the Gentiles, but the actual word for “Gentiles” is “heathen” or “foreigner”. It means that they are foreigners of the government and citizenship of heaven, and of heaven’s God. Scripture clearly says that a convert has a reformation in heart and life, and the Gentiles “that were sometime alienated and enemies in [their] mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled”
(Col 1:21).
Did you notice that? The Gentiles were alienated, separated, and enemies in their thinking, by wicked works. Did God reconcile the wicked works that separated the Gentile from God? Or did God reconcile the Gentile by separating them from those wicked works, saving them “from their sins” (Matt. 1:21)? We are told that we are saved from our sins, and not in them. We are told of those who were Gentile converts to Christ, “Wherefore remember, that you in time past were Gentiles in the flesh…” (Eph. 2:11). So then what are you when you come to Christ if you are not a Gentile? The answer might surprise you.

We are told much regarding the grace we receive by faith in Christ from the Scriptures. Nothing in the Scriptures, when read aright, would cause the law to work at war with grace, as though the Jew has only law, and the Gentile has only grace; both of these are extremes which men who have not known the truth have a tendency to take. Regarding the grace that saves, we’re told that it is an effectual grace, that works righteousness in them that believe. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus TO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
” (Eph 2:8-10) While salvation is not by works, salvation produces the fruit of good works that “we should walk in”. And what does this walking by grace look like? It looks like Christ. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him…He that saith he abides in Him [Christ] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.
(1 John 2:3-6)
We are not Gentiles, we are Christians. We do not look like Gentiles, separated and alienated from God, we are to look like Christ, connected to Him as a branch to the vine, growing up and revealing His image and likeness.
The old metaphor of the cart and the horse is actually a very suitable one to better illustrate law and grace, and the extreme positions many are taking on one side or the other. Perhaps you have heard it said, “You’ve put the cart before the horse!” Many have put the cart before the horse when it comes to works. The horse is named Grace, and the cart is named Works. The cart, Works, is carried by the horse, Grace. Some have made the mistake of putting the cart before the horse, and wonder why they get nowhere in their Christian experience. It is because they need grace! Grace! But many today are sitting in the cart (glued to the seat, because a man will always work something, whether good or evil), and saying, “No cart thank you very much, only this horse…only grace”; this also gets them nowhere, because they are no further along in their Christian experience because they fail to grow in grace that produces the fruit of good works. Could you imagine sending your horse off without first strapping it to your cart? The horse runs away, and you are left sitting in your cart. You get nowhere. Both extremes lead to the same conclusion, and is it any wonder there are so many spiritual cripples professing Christ today? We are Gentiles they say, but in actuality, they are saying, “We don’t keep the law because we are foreigners of the law.” But if you are foreigners of the law, then you are foreigners to the kingdom to which that law pertains to also.

Yet still the old argument lingers, “I’m a Gentile, not a Jew” because you just feel it’s dangerous to associate youself with that law because of the Jews. After all, the Jews that have the law don’t have the gospel, do they? Yet the tribe of Judah had the gospel foremost amongst the people of the earth, and it is their faith that the Gentile converts become part of. The Gentiles were expected to give up their sins for the gospel, not the Jews give up their law for it. The Scripture doesn’t teach that the Jews were to forsake their law, but rather, to understand their law in a right relation to the gospel.
So what was the issue of the Jewish people if they had the gospel all along? It was unbelief. Speaking of the Jews as branches of the tree, we are told: “If some of the branches are broken off, and you [A Gentile], being from a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them (the tree which God planted- The faith committed to the Hebrews), and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
(Being fed and nourished by what the Hebrews were fed and nourished with), Boast not against the branches…” (Romans 11:17) Did God cast away His olive tree, the faith which He established and He planted, and plant a different wild olive tree instead? Did God give a new faith based on grace, because the first one he planted, based on law, was faulty? No. For that tree always had law and grace (Gen. 6:8, Exodus 33:13, Zech. 4:7).
He took the branches of a wild olive tree, a completely different faith, and planted them into His olive tree, and the fruitless branches that were dead and failing to receive the nourishment from the tree “because of unbelief were broken off”. The nourishment they were to receive is now the vitalizing force of those branches that are grafted in- the branches from the wild olive tree have a new foundation. Therefore you are founded on the faith which God delivered to the Hebrews; Christianity was not a new religion based on Gentiles who disregarded the Scriptural law and foundation of Israel, but rather, Christianity is an old religion dating back to Adam and Eve, the first believers in the Messianic hope of salvation (Genesis 1:15).
But now because I say this, many are you conjure up pictures in your minds of draddles, stars of David, sacrificing animals, and waving palm branches in your hands, but this was not, and never has been, what constituted living faith in Christ; living faith in Christ was pure worship and honor of the law of God in the order and manner revealed in the law. It consisted not in sacrificing animals, but “spiritual sacrifices”; not in outward observances of the flesh, but the inner-workings of the Spirit of Christ in the heart, producing an outward change of life; to say with David, “O how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day!” So you are not in fact a Gentile, but a spiritual Jew, which keeps the law from the heart [This includes the actual keeping of the Sabbath day- See the article The Jerusalem Council & the Law of Moses for more details].
If Christ came to do away with the law, then salvation would not require any change of life, but Christ Himself says, “Do not THINK that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets; I’ve come not to destroy, but to fulfill…whosoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so shall be bidden very little into the kingdom of heaven…” (Matt. 5:19).
Many are thinking that Christ came to replace to religion instituted by God, simply because there is not the same outward ritualistic observances any longer, as were instituted by God to shadow forth the good things to come in Christ. I remember when discussing this issue with a sincere brother of mine about the issue. He said that regarding times of worship, God was insulted to be worshipped according to the times outlined in the law. When I cited the fact that the apostles were observing all the times of worship outlined in Scripture, he responded that I needed to remember that they were also Jews and did not fully understand what happened at the cross. He then said that unlike the Jewish apostles, we can see more clearly their error today. This confused me, so I asked him if he realized that the whole new testament basis for his arguments were written by the ones he said had a faulty understanding, thus making them teach something contrary to their profession and practice. He didn’t respond. How could he? While this brother was sincere, there are many who I believe are sincerely reading into the Scriptures the idea that they are Gentiles, and have nothing to do with the law of God any longer.
So Christ says not to think He came to destroy but to fulfill the law. What is the argument used by those who want to do away with the law, when Christ says those words? They say, “He fulfilled the law, so we do not have to, because we can’t.” They say, “We’re only human…”… remember? This idea they are promoting actually teaches men that Christ does not have any more power to save men from their sins than they have to stop committing them. Thankfully nothing could be further from the truth for the Christian who is in close connection with Christ. Christ has all power in heaven and earth, and those in living connection with Him through faith in the gospel will find Him as the source of strength, and divine might to walk in a way that, in their own human strength, would be impossible. Christ came to fulfill, not just in the days of His flesh on earth, but He came to fulfill the law to the uttermost in all those He came to save. Through His Divine Spirit, He will do what divinity did in the days of His flesh, except it shall be in my flesh, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the fleshly mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” His divinity meets my humanity, and thus in co-operation by His Spirit, man cannot say, “I’m only human” as an excuse to sin, but rather, “By Christ, I am a son of God.” It is the privilege of Christians in deep connection with Christ to say, “When you’ve seen me, you’ve beheld Christ.” Even as Christ said to Philip, “When you’ve seen Me, you have seen the Father. Believest not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” The Divine Son of God who bound Himself to flesh, will through His Spirit, make His abode in our hearts, and so identify Himself with us that we may be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1); He calls us His brethren (Heb. 2:11-13), and calls His God our God, and His Father our Father (John 20:17).
Those who teach that Christ fulfilled the law because we can’t have not tasted of Christ fulfilling the law in us; they have not tasted of divine power indwelling the human vessel to enable us to walk in obedience to all of God’s commandments.
The Hebrews who held the word of God, His law, and His promises, also knew in part of His promise of salvation from sin. They knew what it meant to be saved by grace through faith and to believe in Christ for salvation; it was the Gentiles who “were without Christ, being aliens from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world;” (Eph. 2:12). They were WITHOUT CHRIST, and WITHOUT GOD, because they were ALIENS from the citizenship of Israel, but Israel were not without God or Christ, so long as they did not lose sight of the gospel.
Speaking of Israel, we are told that the gospel was given to them also, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2) It was unbelief in the gospel which cut them off from the tree, but having the gospel committed to them is what it meant to be part of the tree which God planted. Yet without faith in the gospel, they did not receive the Spirit which was to prepare them to receive Christ; all of their lawkeeping was filled with self, and all of their righteousness was human and tainted with sin. It did not meet the divine standard brought to view by the gospel, and for this cause they crucified Christ. The Jews, contrary to popular opinion, was not to be caught up in a round of Christless Jewish traditions and ceremonies. Christless as they were because of unbelief is actually the definition of what a Gentile is. And no wonder professed Christians don’t want to be associated with such Jews- they were Jews outwardly, but inwardly, they were Gentiles without faith, and thus without God and Christ.
Nevertheless, the tree which God planted was rooted firmly in the soil foundations of the God’s Word (and still is), Christ Himself being the the root and Tree from which the branches ever received nourishment (John 15:1, Isaiah 11:10, Rom. 15:12). Those Hebrew branches who fought against Christ, and sought to keep the law apart from the grace of Christ were able to do no good thing, for Christ says, “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) It is little wonder that they sought to kill Christ if they were not cleansed inwardly from sin through faith in Him. They still had hatred and murder in their hearts- the gospel had not done it’s work. The law of God which they observed outwardly had not traced His righteousness upon their hearts by the divine finger!
The cart therefore, without the horse, was nothing, and the horse without the cart profits nothing. Those who claim either are without Christ as Gentiles indeed, stuck within a cart that will move no further until it recognizes the work of Christ in relation to both the law and grace. Whether it is the outward Jew (who is a Gentile in their heart), or the Gentile separated from the divine enabling of keeping the law, the results are the same. Separation from Christ one way or the other. The only true thing to say is “By grace, I’m a Jew inwardly, delighting in the law of God by Jesus Christ my Savior, who works in me both to will and to do of the Father’s good pleasure.” Amen.




The Ministry of Heresies

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) What are we to do? We are to “study”. And what are we to study? “The word of truth”. And why study the Word of truth? That we “needeth not be ashamed.” Many today are in deep and desperate need of this counsel, as heresies are coming in rapidly amongst us; moreover, many are studying the Word of truth not that they need not be ashamed by rightly dividing that Word, but rather to prove their own opinions to be correct in that word. We are called to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned (the Word of truth); and avoid them…for they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ…and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Rom. 16:17-18) Take note that it is the simple that are deceived “by good words and fair speeches”; it does not say that the deceptions will be of bad words, but it will take “good words”, even the Word of truth, and they will turn it to mean something it does not truly say; anything that seems to come in as “new light” must be thoroughly tested before being accepted and advanced. For this cause, we must “rightly divide the Word of truth”, for “the entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Psalms 119:130)

For this cause, I felt impelled to share this message by elder W.D. Frazee, thankful to God for the light shining in this message, that it might minister understanding on the purpose of the heresies that are daily coming in among us, and how our wonderful God causes it to work for the good of those who love Him wholeheartedly. May you be blessed~ Christian Israel, Director of LC3AM~

THE MINISTRY OF HERESIES

“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

What do all things do? They work together. As we view them, they seem to be working at cross purposes, but all things are working together. They are working together for good, not for everybody, but for those who love the Lord. Man has been given the power of choice. It rests with each one whether everything that is working together is working together for his personal good or not. We must never lose sight of the eventual triumph of God’s purpose, the eventual carrying out of His plan. We must never forget those forces that seem to bring defeat are, nevertheless, being used by God.

Notice how Paul spoke of this, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8). Isn’t that wonderful? Even the devil can’t do anything against the truth. He is trying all the time, and here in this world, he seems to be having his way. Let us look behind the scenes. God is working out His will.

In the great crisis that is ahead of the church, which it is even now entering, we shall need the wisdom as well as the courage that comes from reminding ourselves of these promises, appreciating their full import.

“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Psalm 76:10). God uses even the wrath of man to praise Him. Man shouldn’t get any credit for that, but God should get a great deal of credit for using even the plans of His enemies and the wrath of the dragon to work out His will. Any wrath that doesn’t praise Him, He restrains.

This is no credit to Satan or his devils, and it is no credit to human beings that are used by him. They must all suffer in the final judgment for their rebellion against God and for the specious theories that they have advocated. They are just as guilty as though they had succeeded in subverting the truth of God and unseating God from His throne,
but they cannot succeed.

Concerning the security of His children, Jesus said, “No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:29). We can be glad for that.

I’ve been led to study this subject as I have contemplated this inspiring statement from the messenger of the Lord in an article in the Signs of the Times, January 6, 1898:

It is thought by some to be a misfortune when erroneous theories are advanced, but the Lord has said, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” The contention among the Corinthians made it necessary for Paul to write his wonderful epistles to them. If the Gentiles [of Galatia] had not backslidden from the faith, Paul would not have written, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you out of the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another.” It was a misapplication of the Scriptures, to prove falsehood and error true. If the Thessalonians had not misinterpreted the instruction they received, they would not have entertained the belief that the Lord was immediately to be revealed in the clouds of heaven, thus making it necessary for Paul to present the truth as it is in Jesus, leaving on record truth important for all time. And so opposition against light and truth called from Christ a clearer definition of the truth. Every time that error is advanced, it will work for good to those who sincerely love God; for when the truth is shadowed by error, those whom the Lord has made His sentinels will
make the truth sharper and clearer. They will search the Scriptures for evidence of their faith. The advancement of error is the call for God’s servants to arouse, and place the truth in bold relief.

So I want to study with you why God allows erroneous theories to come to His church either from without or from within, for the Scriptures state clearly that both happen. Paul said, “Grievous wolves” shall “enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29, 30).

Why does God allow His church to be rent and torn with schisms, factions, contentions, discussions over this and that point? Why is the unity of the church threatened at times by these things? We can see already from the texts we have read that God must have a purpose, or He wouldn’t allow them.

Let us look at three great purposes accomplished through the ministry of heresies, three objectives that God has in mind in allowing erroneous theories of various kinds to find their way to you and me. God could stop them. Why does He let them come? As we study the ministry of heresies, we shall find at least three answers.

The first is to sift out the false-hearted.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:18, 19). The falsehearted went out. Why? It might be made manifest. That is, clearly revealed, they were not of us.

Notice this wonderful statement on heresies by the servant of the Lord in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 707: “God will arouse His people, if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat.”

What do heresies do? They sift the church! What happens to the chaff? It is separated from the wheat! Never forget, as the winds blow, whether they be the winds of heresy or the winds of persecution, it’s the chaff that goes out; the wheat remains.

When I was visiting in Florida, a friend took me to a packing shed where oranges were being sorted according to size. The oranges were on a chute. As they passed over a certain place there were little holes, and the tiniest oranges dropped through them. Presently, as the oranges went along, there were holes a little larger, and the littlelarger oranges fell through them, and so on. Just because we may not fooled by one heresy, we must be careful not to pat ourselves on the back. In my imagination, I have looked at those oranges going along, and I heard a medium-sized orange say, “Well, we are not going to fall through; we’ve already been through that test and this one and we didn’t fall through. We are going to go right on to the end.” However, they hadn’t gone the whole length of the sieve yet.

Some of the heresies the devil brings into the church are so crude and bungling that I am amazed they fool anybody. The devil is not finished with the work of placing heresies among God’s people, and God is not finished allowing him to do it. Some far more subtle, more seductive, more difficult to discern and detect than we have yet seen are doubtless on the planning boards of the devil’s corporation. He is studying our minds and characters, and if there is anything falsehearted, there he will design something that will sift out the chaff. Our only safeguard is to be sure we are anchored in Jesus and His truth, and that we love God and His church more than we love ourselves
and our own opinions.

There is a second purpose of the ministry of heresies. I trust that God will use this to bless some heart who may feel secure, who may, indeed, be secure as far as theology is concerned. We get it from the story of Jehu, one of the kings of Israel.

Let us get a picture of Jehu from the sacred record. “The driving is like the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously” (2 Kings 9:20). Jehu was a driver, and he has descendents today. He was furious against the apostasy and heresy of Ahab and rightly so, but there was something that he lacked. He lacked love.

Jehu was full of zeal. Watch him in action. “When he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord. So they made him ride in his chariot. And when He came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the Lord, which he spake
to Elijah” (2 Kings 10:15-17, emphasis supplied).

Jehu was doing God’s work but not in God’s way. Yet, God used him. Baal worship needed to be rooted out, and Jehu did it, but I am afraid we won’t see Jehu in heaven.

I am calling attention to this because I read something in the book Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 333: “All who are longing for some engagement that will represent Jehu riding furiously will have opportunity enough to distinguish themselves.”

So Jehu’s chariot still rides, and like Jehu of old, some today will stop the chariot just long enough to say, “Is your heart right as my heart is? If it is, get in and ride with me; we’re going to go places and destroy  Baal worship in Israel. Let me show you my zeal for the Lord.”

Notice this inspired comment, an Ellen G. White statement in The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 1038:

Men are slow to learn the lesson that the spirit manifested by Jehu will never bind hearts together. It is not safe for us to bind our interests with a Jehu religion, for this will result in bringing sadness of heart on God’s true worshipers. God has not given any of His servants the work of punishing those who will not heed His warnings and reproofs. When the Holy Spirit is abiding in the heart, it will lead the human agent to see his own defects of character, to pity the weakness of others, to forgive as he wishes to be forgiven.

Part of the ministry of heresies is to give an opportunity for Jehus to manifest themselves. However, because some in the church militantly defend the faith, get out their swords, and ride the chariot zealously, is no evidence that they will be with God’s people at the finish.

Note the warning in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 400: “As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks. Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare will in times of real peril make it manifest that they have not built upon the solid rock; they will yield to temptation. Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them will, under one pretext or another, go out from us.”

There is more than one way to go out. We can get out the way Ahab got out, or we can get out the way Jehu got out. God keep us from either path of peril. But, remember, God was using them all.

Finally, there is a third ministry of heresies. Oh, I wish every one of us might be among those for whom it accomplishes this third purpose, that is, to lead us to study the Word of God. Concerning those in Berea, the Scriptures say, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

In Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 707, we are told, “There are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness.

“The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s professed people should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition and worship they know not what.”

So one of the reasons that God allows erroneous theories of various kinds to come in is to lead us to go to the Word of God and to study for ourselves what God has said. If heresies accomplish that, has not some good been accomplished?

We need more than a superficial knowledge of the Bible. Satan is adept at quoting Scripture. In the wilderness his first temptation was met by Jesus from the Word. Satan said, “I can do that too.” So in the second temptation, he quoted from the Scriptures. Merely, because a man quotes Scripture, does not mean he teaches truth. Just because he gets out leaflets and photocopied material liberally sprinkled with quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy, doesn’t prove that he is an angel of light.

This may be the most important thing: what we need to study most of all are the original sources—the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Notice this statement in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 298:

Perilous times are before us. . . . The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. . . . We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy. . . . I beseech those who are laboring for God not to accept the spurious for the genuine. Let not human reason be placed where divine, sanctifying truth should be. . . . Let not erroneous theories receive countenance from the people who ought to be standing firm on the platform of eternal truth.

Throughout the history of this movement, there have been good men, educated men, experienced men who have lost their way and fallen on the dark mountains of unbelief. The enemy succeeded in leading them away from the truth even while they thought they were pursuing truth with all their heart.

We need God. We need the help of our brethren. We need the Holy Spirit. We need to dig deep into the written Word and the inspired commentary of the Spirit of Prophecy. In Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 273, is this statement: “Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine.”

God allows these false teachings and heresies to get us to study the original sources and to acquire a systematic knowledge of the principles of truth. We need to see how the different principles fit together, to weave a tapestry of truth into our minds, to build a solid temple of truth, to wear every piece of the heavenly armor. We need all of these elements to wage the battle in which we are now engaged.

Several years ago, the United States government conducted a school in various parts of the country to teach bank cashiers and others how to detect counterfeit money. The instruction lasted for fourteen weeks. How many pieces of counterfeit money did they examine? Not one! The government instructor knew that what they needed was a thorough knowledge of the genuine. Then they could detect the counterfeit.

If we are going to be saved from the many erroneous theories floating around, we need to study the original sources and fill our minds with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. We will never find our safety in going into the false theories and studying them over and over. The better we know the genuine, the more surely will we detect the counterfeit when we meet it.

May God solemnize our hearts. May we not be wise in our own conceits and so sure of our own opinions or those of others that we fail to get on our knees as little children and say, “Dear Lord, there is much I don’t know. I want to know you and your way. Oh, keep me from the delusions of the enemy.” We shall need to pray that prayer again and again. We shall need to intercede with God, for we are entering into the time foretold in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 80: “Every wind of doctrine will be blowing.”

If we would not have the Scriptures clouded to our understanding, so that the plainest truths shall not be comprehended, we must have the simplicity and faith of a little child, ready to learn, and beseeching the aid of the Holy Spirit. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 703)

•Loud Cry of the Third Angel Ministries has published the sermon entitled Ministry of Heresies by evangelist W.D. Frazee, Scriptural injunction of the call “with all thy getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7) We are willing and ready to acknowledge elder Frazee’s precious light regarding the subject of the ministration of heresies, and believe it holds a vitalizing understanding for our time. May God bless you~ Christian Israel, Administrator of LC3AM•




The Trinity Controversy: The Three Horns & The Justinian Code

The piece of history between God’s people and the work of apostasy has a very interesting unfolding of events. It contains many foundational pieces of understanding which we would do well to understand. Of these particular events, it was nothing less than a great controversy between two classes who professing Christians who professed to be the followers of Christ: one class keeping the Sabbath, the holy days, and the keeping of the doctrine of God & Christ, and the other, regarding Sunday, other adopted pagan holidays, and the doctrine of the Trinity. Seventh day Adventist historian and pioneer J.N. Andrews said the following regarding that particular period of time:

“The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush.” (J. N. Andrews, March 6, 1855, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 24, page 185)

We are going to expand on that “ecclesiastical history” briefly, to see one of the most strong measures that it was imposed upon the church by force. In prophetic history, we read of the Roman Kingdom:

Daniel 7:7-8 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (8) I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Now that beast was the “fourth kingdom upon the earth” (v. 23) It had ten horns.

Daniel 7:24-25 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. (25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 

The fourth beast had ten horns

The fourth beast had ten horns

Now, let’s examine these ten horns from this fourth kingdom, which can be none other than the Roman kingdom. Three of the horns were indeed uprooted, and we will see why in a moment.
1) AlemanniRome divided
2) Anglo-Saxons
3) Franks
4) Burgundians
5) Visigoths
6) Suevi
7) Ostrogoths
8) Heruli
9) Lombards
10) Vandals

It was after 483 CE that Rome was divided into ten divisions, just as Daniel 7 prophesied of the fourth kingdom to rule the world. It was during the time of the Roman kingdom that the gospel of Jesus Christ went forth with great power, yet not all was well in the newly established converts from the Gentiles. There was from converts from Judaism and of the Gentiles, those who had a tendency to unsettle the faith. Seeing this, Paul declared:

2 Thessalonians 2:7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (restrains) will let (restrain), until he be taken out of the way.

Paul already saw elements at work to bring in the falling away, but knew that there were three kingdoms that must be subdued by this ecclesiastical power that was to arise and speak great words against the Most High.

Acts 20:29-30 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

This “mystery of iniquity” was being restrained to a large degree, God permitting the gospel to go forward, and many were being brought to Christ. Yet in this fourth kingdom, a little horn, “speaking perverse things”, arose. Paul saw with prophetic vision the little horn, who he declared to be “the man of sin”, which the vision of Daniel declared should “shall speak great words against the most High”. Paul further understanding also that it was the fourth kingdom that this crooked power was to come forth, who would “think to change times and laws”, he said “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31)

To the church in Rome, he spoke regarding this thinking “to change times and laws” speaking on the mind that is alienated from the gospel of God.

Romans 8:6-7 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

He admonished the Hebrew converts to Christ to keep the faith, “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” ( Hebrews 10:25) Paul saw that the departure of God’s appointed times also unsettling the faith of the people, and playing an intricate role in the development of the Papacy.

Then a “little horn” that would think to change God’s appointed times and His laws, and was diverse from those ten horns, was to rise up. This point was fulfilled by none other than the Papacy, they plainly make their boast about. (See side letter from Catholic archbishop Thomas Enright)

So startlingly clear are the facts. So traced out are the lines of prophecy, that it could not be mistaken that it is anything but the Papacy mentioned in this prophecy. Those who try to apply it to any other power must forgo the plainest, and most abundant evidence historically furnished by God from the sacred Scripture. The power that ruled the world with iron teeth was nothing less than the Papal church/state union during the dark ages: this was that diverse little horn power.Enright

Paul recognized that it was an ecclesiastical power that would rise up, and it had interestingly been those three horns, three “kings” from the kingdom of Rome, that were resisting this “little horn”, and must be “taken out of the way” (2 Thes. 2:7). To find those three horns that must be subdued, the three kingdoms that were uprooted in Rome before the presence of the little horn, we must look for the development of that “little horn” this side of CE 483, after the kingdom of Rome was divided into ten. As we have already clearly noted, there was, in fact, just such a pretentious power, seeking acknowledgment of its boastful claims.

As early as the beginning of the sixth century the bishops of Rome had become powerful enough to exert considerable of that influence at the imperial court which ere long exalted them to a station where they could command the kings of the earth. There was only one hindrance to their supremacy, — the opposition of the three non-Trinitarian, Sabbathkeeping tribes- to the doctrines of the Catholics, especially to that of the Trinity. These opposing powers were rooted up, the Visigoths in 508 were driven into Spain by the church state union of Clovis in France, the Vandals in 534 were wholly exterminated, and the Ostrogoths who occupied Rome in 538 were uprooted from the land, and chased down into extinction.

The word “Vandalism” comes from the kingdom that honored both the Sabbath, and were decidedly non-Trinitarian. The Vandals destroyed the graven images of the idolatrous Romans and were then subjected to a bad name by later historians due to the preeminence of the Catholic religion across the face of the whole earth. Their position against both pagan assemblies, and the Trinitarian concept of “God” were reviled, and made them objects of supreme hatred by the Catholic monarchs. It is a matter of record however, that the Vandals occupation of Rome was exemplary.

A Witness to this day of the claims of the Papacy to those three uprooted kingdoms.

A Witness to this day of the claims of the Papacy to those three uprooted kingdoms.

Another interesting fact regarding these tribes has to do with the triple crown of the Papacy: “It is a remarkable fact, that the popes to this day wear a triple crown, — a fact that exists in regard to no other monarchs. . . . The papacy [is] well represented by the little horn.’ . . . In fact, this one power absorbed into itself three of these sovereignties.” — Barnes’s Notes on Daniel, p. 307

“In 533, Justinian entered upon his Vandal and Gothic wars. Wishing to secure the influence of the pope and the Catholic party, he issued that memorable letter which was to constitute the pope the head of all the churches, and from the carrying out of which, in 538 [when the last of the three Arian horns was plucked up], the period of papal supremacy is to be dated. And whoever will read the history of the African campaign, 533-534, and the Italian campaign, 534-538, will notice that the Catholics everywhere hailed as deliv­erers the army of Belisarius, the general of Justinian.”-Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, p. I36. .

“The celebrated letter of Justinian to the pope in the year 533, not only recognized all previous privileges, but enlarging them, and entitling the pope and his church to many immunities and rights, which afterward gave origin to the pretensions displayed in the canon .law.”-Gavazzi ‘s Lectures, p. 66.

The Catholic conquests had been growing and succeeding greatly. With Pope Leo (often termed “the great“) the Papacy politically began to wax “exceedingly great” (Daniel 8:9-10), and preoccupied a great part of the kingdoms of Rome in 508 through the nominal conversion of Clovis to Catholicism from paganism. That was only the beginning of the conquests of Rome. Only 30 years later, the center of the kingdom, Rome itself, was to be taken.

Notice how much territory Clovis alone had. The Ostrogoths, who occupied Rome, were soon to be banished as the Papal power grew exceedingly.

Notice how much territory Clovis alone had. The Ostrogoths, who occupied Rome, were soon to be banished as the Papal power grew exceedingly.

The only thing withstanding the rising of this power was the non-trinitarian, Sabbathkeeping Vandal and Ostrogothic kingdoms. These were withstanding the establishment of the supremacy of the Papacy in all the earth, and who occupied the Kingdom of Rome. However, the prophecy must be fulfilled: even these horns must be uprooted: they would be subdued before the face of the Papacy. Finally, the restraining of the strange, concealing powers of iniquity, taking the form of a Christian profession, were now, through the emperor Justinian, “taken out of the way”, and was to be established on the throne of Rome over the kings of the earth.

In 534, having victory over the Vandals, a letter was issued (mentioned above) called “The Justinian Code.” This decree was practically a declaration of war on all Christians, and all faiths, who would not submit to be swallowed up in the papal religion. It gave homage to the Pope, and promising the banishment of all who did not bow to Rome Pontiff, the Catholic church, and all who would not submit to her doctrines, chiefly, the Trinity. The Ostrogoths alone were left by 534 A.D. and though they occupied Rome, the rest of the kingdoms now surrounded them. Justinian, in 538 A.D., uprooted the Ostrogoths from that place of Rome, and they were chased down and exterminated from being a kingdom, as the Justinian Code declared. In so doing, the Sabbathkeepers and the non-Trinitarians were the few, and not the many. The pursued, and the persecuted. Hunted down like wild beasts, and those who professed to be Christians, holding themselves like wild beasts, destroyed veraciously those who kept “the commandments of God and had the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12)

Thus is found the fulfillment of the verse found in Daniel 11:37-39. Speaking of the Papacy, it says:

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (38) But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. (39) Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.”

Read for yourself how the Justinian Code, the most “infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history” fulfills this verse particularly:

 

THE CODE OF OUR LORD
THE MOST SACRED EMPEROR JUSTINIAN.
SECOND EDITION.

BOOK 1.


TITLE 1.

CONCERNING THE MOST EXALTED TRINITY AND THE
CATHOLIC FAITH AND PROVIDING THAT NO ONE
SHALL DARE TO PUBLICLY OPPOSE THEM.

1. The Emperors Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius to the people of the City of Constantinople.

We desire that all peoples subject to Our benign Empire shall live under the same religion that the Divine Peter, the Apostle, gave to the Romans, and which the said religion declares was introduced by himself, and which it is well known that the Pontiff Damascus, and Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity, embraced; that is to say, in accordance with the rules of apostolic discipline and the evangelical doctrine, we should believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute a single Deity, endowed with equal majesty, and united in the Holy Trinity.

(1) We order all those who follow this law to assume the name of Catholic Christians, and considering others as demented and insane, We order that they shall bear the infamy of heresy; and when the Divine vengeance which they merit has been appeased, they shall afterwards be punished in accordance with Our resentment, which we have acquired from the judgment of Heaven.

Dated at Thessalonica, on the third of the Kalends of March, during the Consulate of Gratian, Consul for the fifth time, and Theodosius.

2. The Same Emperors to Eutropius, Praetorian Prefect.

Let no place be afforded to heretics for the conduct of their ceremonies, and let no occasion be offered for them to display the insanity of their obstinate minds. Let all persons know that if any privilege has been fraudulently obtained by means of any rescript whatsoever, by persons of this kind, it will not be valid. Let all bodies of heretics be prevented from holding unlawful assemblies, and let the name of the only and the greatest God be celebrated everywhere, and let the observance of the Nicene Creed, recently transmitted to Our ancestors, and firmly established by the testimony and practice of Divine Religion, always remain secure.

(1) Moreover, he who is an adherent of the Nicene Faith, and a true believer in the Catholic religion, should be understood to be one [pg. 10] who believes that Almighty God and Christ, the son of God, are one person, God of God, Light of Light; and let no one, by rejection, dishonor the Holy Spirit, whom we expect, and have received from the Supreme Parent of all things, in whom the sentiment of a pure and undefiled faith flourishes, as well as the belief in the undivided substance of a Holy Trinity, which true believers indicate by the Greek word a [alpha]. These things, indeed do not require further proof, and should be respected.

(2) Let those who do not accept those doctrines cease to apply the name of true religion to their fraudulent belief; and let them be branded with their open crimes, and, having been removed from the threshhold of all churches, be utterly excluded from them, as We forbid all heretics to hold unlawful assemblies within cities. If, however, any seditious outbreak should be attempted, We order them to be driven outside the the walls of the City, with relentless violence, and We direct that all Catholic Churches, throughout the entire world, shall be placed under the control of the orthodox bishops who have embraced the Nicene Creed.

Given at Constantinople, on the fourth of the ides of January, under the Consulate of Flavius Eucharius and Flavius Syagrius.

3. The Emperor Martian to Palladius, Praetorian Prefect.

No one, whether he belongs to the clergy, the army, or to any other condition of men, shall, with a view to causing a tumult and giving occasion to treachery, attempt to discuss the Christian religion publicly in the presence of an assembled and listening crowd; for he commits an injury against the most reverend Synod who publicly contradicts what has once been decided and properly established; as those matters relative to the Christian faith have been settled by the priests who met at Chalcedony by Our order, and are known to be in conformity with the apostolic explanations and conclusions of the three hundred and eight Holy Fathers assembled in Nicea, and the hundred and fifty who met in this Imperial City; for the violators of this law shall not go unpunished, because they not only oppose the true faith, but they also profane its venerated mysteries by engaging in contests of this kind with Jews and Pagans. Therefore, if any person who has ventured to publicly discuss religious matters is a member of the clergy, he shall be removed from his order; if he is a member of the army, he shall be degraded; and any others who are guilty of this offence, who are freemen, shall be banished from this most Sacred City, and shall be subjected to the punishment prescribed by law according to the power of the court; and if they are slaves, they shall undergo severest penalty.

Given at Constantinople, on the eighth of the Ides of February, under the consulship of Patricius.

4. John, Bishop of the City of Rome, to his most Illustrious and Merciful Son Justinian.

Among the conspicuous reasons for praising your wisdom and gentleness, Most Christian of Emperors, and one which radiates light [pg. 11]as a star, is the fact that through love of the Faith, and actuated by zeal for charity, you, learned in ecclesiastical discipline, have preserved reverence for the See of Rome, and have subjected all things to its authority, and have given it unity. The following precept was communicated to its founder, that is to say, the first of the Apostles, by the mouth of the Lord, namely: “Feed my lambs.”

This See is indeed the head of all churches, as the rules of the Fathers and the decrees of the Emperors assert, and the words of your most reverend piety testify. It is therefore claimed that what the Scriptures state, namely, “By Me Kings reign, and the Powers dispense justice;” will be accomplished in you. For there is nothing which shines with a more brilliant lustre than genuine faith when displayed by a prince, since there is nothing which prevents destruction as true religion does, for as both of them have reference to the Author of Life and Light, they disperse darkness and prevent apostasy. Wherefore, Most Glorious of Princes, the Divine Power is implored by the prayers of all to preserve your piety in this ardor for the Faith, in this devotion of your mind, and in this zeal for true religion, without failure, during your entire existence. For we believe that this is for the benefit of the Holy Churches, as it was written, “The king rules with his lips,” and again, “The heart of the King is in the hand of God, and it will incline to whatever side God wishes”; that is to say, that He may confirm your empire, and maintain your kingdoms for the peace of the Church and the unity of religion; guard their authority, and preserve him in that sublime tranquillity which is so grateful to him; and no small change is granted by the Divine Power through whose agency a divided church is not afflicted by any griefs or subject to any reproaches. For it is written, “A just king, who is upon his throne, has no reason to apprehend any misfortune.”

We have received with all due respect the evidences of your serenity, through Hypatius and Demetrius, most holy men, my brothers and fellow-bishops, from whose statements we have learned that you have promulgated an Edict addressed to your faithful people, and dictated by your love of the Faith, for the purpose of overthrowing the designs of heretics, which is in accordance with the evangelical tenets, and which we have confirmed by our authority with the consent of our brethren and fellow bishops, for the reason that it is in conformity with the apostolic doctrine.

The following is the text of the letter of the Emperor Justinian, Victorious, Pious, Happy, Renowned, Triumphant, always Augustus, to John, Patriarch, and most Holy Archbishop of the fair City of Rome:

With honor to the Apostolic See, and to your Holiness, which is, and always has been remembered in Our prayers, both now and formerly, and honoring your happiness, as is proper in the case of one who is considered as a father, We hasten to bring to the knowledge of Your Holiness everything relating to the condition of the Church, as We have always had the greatest desire to preserve the unity of your Apostolic See, and the condition of the Holy Churches of God, as they [pg. 12] exist at the present time, that they may remain without disturbance or opposition. Therefore, We have exerted Ourselves to unite all the priests of the East and subject them to the See of Your Holiness, and hence the questions which have at present arisen, although they are manifest and free from doubt, and according to the doctrines of your Apostolic See, are constantly firmly observed and preached by all priests, We have still considered it necessary that they should be brought to the attention of Your Holiness. For we do not suffer anything which has reference to the state of the Church, even though what causes difficulty may be clear and free from doubt, to be discussed without being brought to the notice of Your Holiness, because you are the head of all the Holy Churches, for We shall exert Ourselves in every way (as has already been stated), to increase the honor and authority of your See.


[pg. 125]
One Hundred and Thirty-First New Constitution.
[Novella 131 was issued in 545 A.D.]
The Emperor Justinian to Peter, Most Glorious Imperial Praetorian Prefect.
PREFACE.
We enact the present law with reference to ecclesiastical rules and privileges and other subjects in which holy churches and religious establishments are intrusted.

Chapter I.
Concerning Four Holy Councils.

Therefore We order that the sacred, ecclesiastical rules which were adopted and confirmed by the four Holy Councils, that is to say, that of the three hundred and eighteen bishops held at Nicea, that of the one hundred and fifty bishops held at Constantinople, the first one of Ephesus, where Nestorius was condemned, and the one assembled at Chalcedon, where Eutyches and Nestorius were anathematized, shall be considered as laws. We accept the dogmas of these four Councils as sacred writings, and observe their rules as legally effective.

Chapter II.
Concerning The Precedence of Partriarchs.

Hence, in accordance with the provisions of these Councils, We order that the Most Holy Pope of ancient Rome shall hold the first rank of all the Pontiffs, but the Most Blessed Archbishop of Constantinople, or New Rome, shall occupy the second place after the Holy Apostolic See of ancient Rome, which shall take precedence over all other sees.


Source: Corpus Juris Civilis (The Civil Law, the Code of Justinian), by S.P. Scott, A.M., published by the Central Trust Company, Cincinnati, copyright 1932, Volume 12 [of 17], pages 9-12, 125.

 




THE COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM & THE LAW OF MOSES II: A HISTORICAL CONTROVERSY

*This historical account of the council of Jerusalem, mentioned specifically in Acts 15, is a continuation of the second portion of the article regarding the Council of Jerusalem and the Law of God that deals with the Scriptural context. This historical account is the second witness. It is recommended to read the first part to have a clearer understanding of the subject being dealt with. You can find it here.*

History records many similar gatherings as the council of Acts 15 at Jerusalem where a single individual bishop oversaw the meetings as the brethren assembled in conference together. The bishop issued the sentence according to the judgment of the brethren when unity prevailed amongst them. The first recorded bishop overseeing affairs at Jerusalem was the apostle James, and the first recorded sentence was given by him regarding the controversy of the circumcision of Gentile converts. Until the siege of the Jews many years later, which took place under Emperor Hadrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession there, all of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity. And being from Hebrew descent, and having faithfully passed down the knowledge of Christ and the law, they were approved of to be bishops by those who were considered competent in judging of such matters. These continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at that time; in which siege the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles.

Critical events happened from that time to after the seige which add witness to the observance of the law of God by the bishops in Jerusalem, far from abolishing the law by the sentences in their councils, they guided their judgments according to the law and not independant of it. The bishops overseeing Jerusalem are historically maintained, leading up to the controversy regarding the law of God under Hadrian’s reign over Jerusalem. They are as follows: (1) The apostle James (2) Symeon (3) Justus (4) Zacchæus (5) Tobias (6) Benjamin (7) John (8) Matthias (9) Philip (10) Seneca (11) Justus (12) Levi (13) Ephres (14) Joseph (15) Judah

At the time of the fifteenth bishop, Judas, Jerusalem was beseiged and a change took place amongst the Christians after the Hebrews were driven from the land. At this time, a new bishop took the office of overseeing affairs in the Christian church at Jerusalem, who made great breaches within the Christian faith with the Roman Emperor.

“And thus, when the city had been emptied of the Jewish nation and had suffered the total destruction of its ancient inhabitants, it was colonized by a different race, and the Roman city which subsequently arose changed its name and was called Ælia, in honor of the emperor Ælius Adrian. And as the church there was now composed of Gentiles, the first one to assume the government of it after the bishops of the circumcision was Marcus.” (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book IV, Chapter VI)

“The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregation over which they presided united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ. It was natural that the primitive tradition of a church which was founded only forty days after the death of Christ, and was governed almost as many years under the immediate inspection of his apostle, should be received as the standard of orthodoxy. The distant churches very frequently appealed to the authority of their venerable Parent, and relieved her distresses by a liberal contribution of alms…

The Nazarenes retired from the ruins of Jerusalem to the little town of Pella beyond the Jordan, where that ancient church languished above sixty years in solitude and obscurity…under the reign of Hadrian, the desperate fanaticism of the Jews filled up the measure of their calamities; and the Romans, exasperated by their repeated rebellions, exercised the rights of victory with unusual rigour. The emperor founded, under the name of Alia Capitolina, a new city on Mount Sion, to which he gave the privileges of a colony; and denouncing the severest penalties against any of the Jewish people who should dare to approach its precincts, he fixed a vigilant garrison of a Roman cohort to enforce the execution of his orders…

They elected Marcus for their bishop, a prelate of the race of the Gentiles, and most probably a native either of Italy or of some of the Latin provinces. At his persuasion the most considerable part of the congregation renounced the Mosaic law, in the practice of which they had persevered above a century. By this sacrifice of their habits and prejudices they purchased a free admission into the colony of Hadrian…

When the name and honours of the church of Jerusalem had been restored to Mount Sion, the crimes of heresy and schism were imputed to the obscure remnant of the Nazarenes which refused to accompany their Latin bishop [Marcus]…

It has been remarked with more ingenuity than truth that the virgin purity of the church was never violated by schism or heresy before the reign of Trajan or Hadrian, about one hundred years after the death of Christ (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I, Chapter XV, Section I. ca. 1776-1788)

“According to rabbinic sources, he [Hadrian] prohibited public gatherings for instruction in Jewish law, forbade the proper observance of the Sabbath and holidays and outlawed many important rituals.” (Barron SW.  Social and Religious History of the Jews, Volume 2: Christian Era: the First Five Centuries. 1952, p. 107).

Feeling it was the first importance to their well-being, to procure for themselves the liberty of removing their effects into the city of Ælia, and to be admitted in the rights of citizenship there, a considerable number of the Christians came to the resolution of formally renouncing all obedience to the law of Moses. The immediate author of this measure was, in all likelihood, that very Marcus whom they appointed as their bishop: a man whose name evidently speaks him to have been a Roman, and who doubtless was not unknown in his nation that had been the chief command in Palestine and might possibly have been related to some officer of eminence there. Perceiving, therefore, one of their own nation placed at the head of Christendom, the Roman prefects dismissed at once all apprehension of their exciting disturbance in the newly-established colony, and from this time ceased to regard them as Jews.

In consequence in this favourable alteration of the sentiments of the Romans towards them…Marcus, at whose insistence, they were prevailed on to renounce the law of Moses… Nothing, in fact, can be better attested than that there existed in Palestine two Christian churches, by the one of which an observance of the Mosaic law was retained, and by the other disregarded. This division amongst the Christians of Jewish origins did not take place before the time of Hadrian, for it can be ascertained, that previously to his reign the Christians of Palestine were unanimous in an adherence to the ceremonial observances of their forefathers. There can be no doubt, therefore, that this separation originated in major part of them being prevailed upon by Marcus to renounce Mosaic ritual, by way of getting rid of the numerous inconveniences to which they were exposed, and procuring for themselves a reception, as citizens, in the newly formed colony of Ælia Capitolina(Mosheim JL. Commentaries on the affairs of the Christians before the time of Constantine the Great: or, An enlarged view of the ecclesiastical history of the first three centuries, Volume 2, 1813, p. 196-197)

Hadrian’s proclamations sought to root out the nationalistic features within Judea’s Jewish communities,[5] which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions. He prohibited the Torah law and the Hebrew calendar, and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scroll was ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount. At the former Temple sanctuary, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, he wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina.[16][17][18] By destroying the association of Jews to Judea and forbidding the practice of Jewish faith, Hadrian aimed to root out a nation that inflicted heavy casualties on the Roman Empire. Similarly, he re-established Jerusalem, but now as the Roman pagan polis of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden from entering it, except on the day of Tisha B’Av.[56]

Originally written by an Arabic Muslim around the tenth century named Abd al-Jabbar and called Tathbit Dala’il Nubuwwat Sayyidina Mahammad. One chapter of it is believed to be an Islamic interpretation of a lot of “Judeo-Christian” writings (some probably from true Nazarenes, others from Essenes, etc.). Shlomo Pines translated much of the one chapter of it into English, that discussed Arabic Judeo-Christians.

Here is the translation of one section of it that may have additional insight related to Marcus’ supporters:

(71a) ‘After him’, his disciples (axhab) were with the Jews and the Children of Israel in the latter’s synagogues and observed the prayers and the feasts of (the Jews) in the same place as the latter. (However) there was a disagreement between them and the Jews with regard to Christ.

The Romans (al-Rum) reigned over them. The Christians (used to) complain to the Romans about the Jews, showed them their own weakness and appealed to their pity. And the Romans did pity them. This (used) to happen frequendy. And the Romans said to the Christians: “Between us and the Jews there is a pact which (obliges us) not to change their religious laws (adyan). But if you would abandon their laws and separate yourselves from them, praying as we do (while facing) the East, eating (the things) we eat, and regarding as permissible that which we consider as such, we should help you and make you powerful, and the Jews would find no way (to harm you). On the contrary, you would be more powerful than they.”

The Christians answered:”We will do this.”

(And the Romans) said: “Go, fetch your companions, and bring your Book (kitab).” (The Christians) went to their companions, informed them of (what had taken place) between them and the Romans and said to them: “Bring the Gospel (al-injil), and stand up so that we should go to them.”

But these (companions) said to them: “You have done ill. We are not permitted (to let) the Romans pollute the Gospel. In giving a favourable answer to the Romans, you have accordingly departed from the religion. We are (therefore) no longer permitted to associate with you; on the contrary, we are obliged to declare that there is nothing in common between us and you;” and they prevented their (taking possession of) the Gospel or gaining access to it. In consequence a violent quarrel (broke out) between (the two groups). Those (mentioned in the first place) went back to the Romans and said to them: “Help us against these companions of ours before (helping us) against the Jews, and take away from them on our behalf our Book (kitab).” Thereupon (the companions of whom they had spoken) fled the country. And the Romans wrote concerning them to their governors in the districts of Mosul and in the Jazirat al-‘Arab. Accordingly, a search was made for them; some (qawm) were caught and burned, others (qawm) were killed.

(As for) those who had given a favorable answer to the Romans they came together and took counsel as to how to replace the Gospel, seeing it was lost to them. (Thus) the opinion that a Gospel should be composed (yunshi`u) was established among them…a certain number of Gospels were written. (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, pp. 14-15).

The 19th century scholar J.B. Lightfoot wrote:

The Church of Ælia Capitolina was very differently constituted from the Church of Pella and the Church of Jerusalem…not a few doubtless accepted the conqueror’s terms, content to live henceforth as Gentiles…in the new city of Hadrian.  But there were others who hung to the law of their forefathers…(Lightfoot, Joseph Barber.  Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: A Revised Text with Introduction, Notes and Dissertations. Published by Macmillan, 1881. p. 317, 331)

The consensus speaks of Marcus as one who cast off the law of God. It was not the apostle James, or any other succeeding bishop who had done this until that time from Jerusalem. However, because of this compromise, the succeeding bishops eventually came to be regarded as the orthodoxy among those ignorant of the historical events. This led to many other breaches in the observance of the law much further than in Jerusalem, affecting the observance of the law from those early professed followers of Christ, such as Justin Martyr, the first century Barnabas (not the companion of Paul), and the bishops of Rome. This led to the development of the Russian Orthodox church where the Jerusalem Patriarchates, claiming to be the successors of the apostle James, found their beginning. Yet these do not succeed James in their works, any more than the Popes have followed after the example of the apostle Peter. Rather, they cast aside the law of God, and observe, as the Papacy does, Sunday sacredness as the legacy of Marcus, the bishop of Aelia Capitolina, while deeply disregarding much of the other principles of the laws contained in Moses.

WHAT OF THE LAW WAS NOT REGARDED ANY LONGER

So then, historically we see the consensus that the law of God was upheld until the time of Marcus, who made concessions with the Romans. By this means, Marcus had effectively severed Christian ties with their Jewish roots with no Scriptural basis for doing so, and in so doing, by disassociating themselves with the law of God, had severed themselves from the religion which Christ established. Then what was it about law of circumcision that made it so disagreeable to the early church? It was the outward nature of it’s observance, which could not profit the man in his relationship with God, nor affect righteousness or salvation from sin; no practical holiness could result from fleshly circumcision, anymore than removing the leaven from the home at the time of the feast of Unleavened bread could purge out sin from the soul.

“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
(Rom. 2:28-29)

All the law is to be upheld, yet the outward carnal elements were not what God regards as essential to salvation or of true religion which springs forth from a pure and undefiled heart. It was for this reason that the early church saw circumcision as unessential as it pertains to salvation.

If we go as far as to say that the apostles would have had the authority to do away with the law of God, they would be going against the very Scripture and instruction which was the test of the prophets and the Messiah: “To the law (Torah) and to the testimony, if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20); if the Messiah came to do away with the law, there is no light in such a Messiah; thus it would have to make such a Christ a false Christ. If His apostles came and spoke of doing away with the law, the same is also true, being false apostles. God be thanked, Christ came to “magnify the law (Torah), and make it honourable” (Isaiah 42:21) and not to destroy it, and His true apostles are to teach whatsoever He commanded, thus they also speak according to the law, magnifying it, showing it as honourable in Christ. So do we do away with the law of God? “God forbid, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)




The Scripture, the Feasts, EGW w/ Notes

First, why Ellen White of all people to write about? The woman certainly had visions, lived in the last two hundred years, and she is has written the most translated book in the world besides the Bible, called Steps to Christ. But there are many questions that need to be asked. And they SHOULD be asked by all who have an interest in the truth. Questions such as: Was she given a gift of prophecy; does it matter? And was there proof of the genuineness of her calling to the prophetic ministry? Was there a purpose if she was so called? Does the Bible teach that the prophetic gift would come after Jesus ascended into heaven? What does the Bible say about prophets and does she pass the test? Can women be prophets? Is she the leader of a cult? Or is she, contrary to those who oppose her, well-respected by those outside of her church? Was she, like so many “prophets”, claiming her writings superior to the Bible? Does her writings replace the Bible? Did she say you need her to be saved? These things will be addressed in a soon upcoming article; if you are in her church, or if you aren’t, the answer might surprise you. So if you are new here, read this to know what is the honest and genuine opinion is of close study by this ministry towards her. As such, this article is geared towards Adventists who claim to believe her writings, in part or in whole, to see the internal consistency of her writings, and see if they speak with the Scripture on this respect or not as we all are told to do in the prophetic test of Isaiah 8:20.

Contrary to popular opinion, Ellen White did not write against feastkeeping, but rather the ceremonies that attended them were done away as the sacrificial systems shadows met their intended object. Originally, all times of worship, daily evening and morning, weekly Sabbath, new moon, and yearly feasts, all were enjoined to sacrifices that pointed to the various facets of Christ’s redemption; Christ being the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, “foreordained before the foundation of the world, but manifested in these last times for you”, the sacrifices attending the times of worship were no longer to be observed, as it is written in the Scripture, Christ “will cause the sacrifice and offering to cease.”

Ellen White says to seek to reinstitute the sacrificial system would be an abomination to God; akin to the sin of Israel when they continued to sacrifice lambs after rejecting Christ; it would be a denial of Christ’s sacrifice and ministry. Yet these sacrifices all pointed to faith in the redemptive work of Christ, as shadowed forth in these sacrifices and the priestly works attending them; when the shadows met the object, they no longer had the sacrifices, yet the same faith and times of worship in which that faith was to be exercised upon unseen and heavenly realities were still in effect; these worship times both contained a shadow of better things, and a reality which contained that perfect heavenly reality. The early Christian church understood this concept, and the manner of their observing the feast days God had given His people were to change forever: “The principles presented by Christ, THE MANNER OF OBSERVING FEASTS, of praying to God, could not be properly united to the forms and ceremonies of Phariseeism. Instead of closing up the breach that had been made by the teachings of John, the teachings of Christ would make the separation between the old system and the new more distinct, and to attempt to unite the two would only result in making the breach wider. ” The Signs of the Times, September 19,1892

The forms and ceremonies was once the manner of observing the feasts, but the change was to come.

The apostle Paul, speaking to the Hebrews about the shadowy sacrifices, admonished the people not to forsake their sacred assemblies, as some were already doing. “The law, having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered make the comers thereunto perfect…for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins…Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:1,4,24-25)
Just as the writer to the Hebrews encouraged them to continue their sacred assemblies together, Ellen White speaks highly of the festal gatherings commanded by God, and writes under inspiration regarding their value:

Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship. To these holy convocations the children of Israel came, bringing to the house of God their tithes, their sin offerings, and their offerings of gratitude. They met to recount God’s mercies, to make known His wonderful works, and to offer praise and thanksgiving to His name. And they were to unite in the sacrificial service which pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Thus they were to be preserved from the corrupting power of worldliness and idolatry. Faith and love and gratitude were to be kept alive in their hearts, and through their association together in this sacred service they were to be bound closer to God and to one another.
In the days of Christ these feasts were attended by vast multitudes of people from all lands; and had they been kept as God intended, in the spirit of true worship, the light of truth might through them have been given to all the nations of the world. With those who lived at a distance from the tabernacle, more than a month of every year must have been occupied in attendance upon these holy convocations. The Lord saw that these gatherings were necessary for the spiritual life of His people. They needed to turn away from their worldly cares, to commune with God, and to contemplate unseen realities.
If the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world then needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!” Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 6, pg. 39-40

We’re told by the apostle John that we are to keep ourselves from idols; he said further that “we know that we are of God, and that the world lieth in wickedness”. The holy days of the world are not the holy days of God. When God would assemble His people, it was to fully separate them from the corrupting power of the world and their practices. The holy days of God reveal Christ to us, and in us by Him, the design for the holy times are to find their fulfillment. The corruption that was growing, “the Lord saw that these gatherings were necessary for the spiritual life of His people.” And if He saw that “the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days…” Ellen White further spoke on these times:
(note: the **# means a note is made at the end of the article regarding that particular point being addressed)

“God gave direction to the Israelites to assemble before Him at set periods, in the place which He should choose, and observe special days wherein no unnecessary work was to be done, but the time was to be devoted to a consideration of the blessings which He had bestowed upon them. At these special seasons they were to bring gifts, freewill offerings, and thank offerings unto the Lord, according as He had blessed them. The manservant and maidservant, the stranger, the fatherless and widow, were directed to rejoice that God had by His own wonderful power brought them from servile bondage to the enjoyment of freedom. And they were commanded not to appear before the Lord empty. They were to bring tokens of their gratitude to God for His continual mercies and blessings bestowed upon them. These offerings were varied according to the estimate which the donors placed upon the blessings they were privileged to enjoy. Thus the characters of the people were plainly developed. Those who placed a high value upon the blessings which God bestowed upon them brought offerings in accordance with their appreciation of these blessings. Those whose moral powers were stupefied and benumbed by selfishness and idolatrous love of the favors received, rather than inspired by fervent love for their bountiful Benefactor, brought meager offerings. Thus their hearts were revealed. Besides these special religious feast days of gladness and rejoicing, the yearly Passover was to be commemorated by the Jewish nation. The Lord covenanted that if they were faithful in the observance of His requirements, He would bless them in all their increase and in all the work of their hands.**1
God requires no less of His people in these last days, in sacrifices and offerings, than He did of the Jewish nation.**2 Those whom He has blessed with a competency, and even the widow and the fatherless, should not be unmindful of His blessings. Especially should those whom God has prospered render to Him the things that are His. They should appear before Him with a spirit of self-sacrifice and bring their offerings in accordance with the blessings which He has bestowed upon them. But many whom God prospers manifest base in gratitude to Him. If His blessings rest upon them, and He increases their substance, they make these bounties as cords to bind them to the love of their possessions; they allow worldly business to take possession of their affections and their entire being, and neglect devotion and religious privileges. They cannot afford to leave their business cares and come before God even once a year. They turn the blessings of God into a curse. They serve their own temporal interests to the neglect of God’s requirements.
Men who possess thousands remain at home year after year, engrossed in their worldly cares and interests, and feeling that they cannot afford to make the small sacrifice of attending the yearly gatherings to worship God. He has blessed them in basket and in store**3, and surrounded them with His benefits on the right hand and on the left, yet they withhold from Him the small offerings He has required of them. They love to serve themselves. Their souls will be like the unrefreshed desert without the dew or rain of heaven.**4 The Lord has brought to them the precious blessing of His grace. He has delivered them from the slavery of sin and the bondage of error, and has opened to their darkened understandings the glorious light of present truth. And shall these evidences of God’s love and mercy call forth no gratitude in return? Will those who profess to believe that the end of all things is at hand be blind to their own spiritual interest and live for this world and this life alone? Do they expect that their eternal interest will take care of itself? Spiritual strength will not come without an effort on their part. **5
Many who profess to be looking for the appearing of our Lord are anxious, burdened seekers for worldly gain. They are blind to their eternal interest. They labor for that which satisfieth not. They spend their money for that which is not bread. **7 They strive to content themselves with the treasures they have laid up on the earth, which must perish. And they neglect the preparation for eternity, which should be the first and only real work of life.
Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. All should feel that God requires this of them. If they do not avail themselves of the privileges which He has provided that they may become strong in Him and in the power of His grace, they will grow weaker and weaker, and have less and less desire to consecrate all to God. Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast. He will be present, and He will do for you that which you most need to have done. Your farms should not be considered of greater value than the higher interests of the soul.**6 All the treasures which you possess, be they ever so valuable, would not be rich enough to buy you peace and hope, which would be infinite gain, if it cost you all you have and the toils and sufferings of a lifetime. A strong, clear sense of eternal things, and a heart willing to yield all to Christ, are blessings of more value than all the riches and pleasures and glories of this world.
These camp meetings are of importance. They cost something. The servants of God are wearing out their lives to help the people, while many of them appear as if they did not want help. For fear of losing a little of this world’s gain, some let these precious privileges come and go as though they were of but little importance. Let all who profess to believe the truth respect every privilege that God offers them to obtain clearer views of His truth, of His requirements, and of the necessary preparation for His coming.**8 A calm, cheerful, obedient trust in God is what He requires. **9
You need not weary yourselves with busy anxieties and needless cares. Work on for the day, faithfully doing the work which God’s providence assigns you, and He will have a care for you. Jesus will deepen and widen your blessings. You must make efforts if you have salvation at last. Come to these meetings prepared to work. Leave your home cares, and come to find Jesus, and He will be found of you. Come with your offerings as God has blessed you. Show your gratitude to your Creator, the Giver of all your benefits, by a freewill offering. Let none who are able come empty-handed. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” **10

Testimonies for the Church Volume Two, ch. 73, pg. 573-576

End notes:
1) This is a reference to the everlasting covenant made with His people. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deut. 30:19) In this covenant, “beside the covenant made with the children of Israel in Horeb” [Deut. 29:1] (All that the Lord hath said, we will do…”), there were conditions laid out for the blessings of the people. If they were obedient, as Abraham was, they would inherit and keep the land God would give them. These instructions were a revelation of the order and life He bound up with His people and their blessing. “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
(Deut. 28:1-2) These are called requirements. -Bear this in mind, because it is repeated several times.
2) Here, she is saying that the same things are required of God regarding sacrifices and offerings. Did God require the ceremonial sacrifices and offerings? The Bible says Jesus caused “the sacrifice and offering to cease” (Dan. 9:27). But it also says, “Burnt offering and sin offerings, Thou hast not required.” (Ezekiel 40:6) when foretelling Jesus dying instead of ceremonial sacrifices. So what does the Bible require in sacrifices and offerings? The same spiritual sacrifices it always required. Faith, praise and thanksgiving, communication of God’s will and way, sacrifice for the cause of God in furthering His work as He outlines in the Scripture (Heb. 13:15-16, Psalm 69:30-31, 107:21-22, Php. 4:18, 1 Peter 2:5). The Bible calls these spiritual sacrifices and offerings, and these were always required (Hosea 14:2). So indeed, He requires just as much now in these offerings, as He did then. But to know what that comprehends is vital, such as confession of sin and faith in the Lamb of God which taketh away sin (John 1:29); this is infinitely better  and more pricy than slaying a lamb of your flock, and confessing it over his head before slaying him. It’s the sacrifces of faith that God accepts, and has always accepted (Heb. 11:4).
3) According to the obedience of the covenant, He says “Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.” (Deut. 28:5) But these who God has kept His promise and increased will not so much as  attend one of the yearly feasts to return thanks and praise to God for what He has done, regardless of whether it is a requirement from God. He has said: “But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.”
(Deut. 12:5-7)
4) The Bible reveals that these feasts were appointed times where God would shower out His blessing of the early and latter rain. “Ask ye the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain… And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem (the heavenly Jerusalem- the church- Heb. 12:22-23) to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” (Zech. 10:1, 14:17) Even so, was this a promise in His covenant, The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” (Deut. 28:1) In this manner, it was manifested on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit came to them as promised, after Christ had confirmed the covenant in His own blood with them. As it is written: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)
5) Spiritual strength, as noted above, comes from having the Spirit of Christ in us; who without which, “ye can do nothing” (John 15:5) But “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” (Phil. 4:13). Indeed, if Christ comes to you in Spirit on these feasts, as a heavenly guest in the Comforter, His Spirit, then in obedience to the blessing God has given to us, let us meet with Him to return thanks and praise for the blessings He has promised; and Christ has promised He will be at the feast to strengthen us.
6) Here is being quoted a verse regarding the everlasting covenant and the eternal blessings God would give His people: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” (Isa 55:1-3) Christ spoke this very thing on the feast: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)
7) These are called sacred gatherings, and yearly gatherings. They speak of the feasts as year to year: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zech. 14:16) The Scripture calls them “holy convocations” (Exo. 12:16-17). Only what God does can make something holy (Gen. 2:1-3, Lev. 23:3, 7, 8, 21); man cannot make a common day holy by his own devisings (Neh. 8:2, 9-12, Lev. 16:1-2, 10:1,2, 8-10).
8) It was customary to examine yourself to prepare for the appointed times of the feasts. Anciently, the priests would read the sacred writies, and the law would be read, with it’s blessings and curses. God’s blessings, His guidance, His purposes, and His promises were thus to be kept in the view of all, lest they should forget. These were times of special repentance, revival, and reformation. This is why they assembled (Num. 10:1,2, 9-10), and we, as the Hebrews were admonished in the epistle, are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but as we see the day of Christ approaching, to see all the more important the necessity of it (Heb. 10:25).
9) Many fear that in keeping these feasts, they would be Judaizers, and offend Jehovah for honoring a law they suppose was abolished. Such think it better to gather at any time they appoint outside of the sanctified times of Scripture, so they are not associated with the ceremonial law. But the ceremonial laws which shadowed Christ was not the body of Christ. The body of Christ was the church, and is to assemble in the manner outlined in the Scripture. The manner of the feasts being observed were different from there ceremonial counterpart; in fact, early Christians regarded the feast of the Passover as a new feast, calling it the Passover in Christ. But perfect love casts out all fear. Calm obedient trust, and not disobedient fearful caviling is the best policy; such a manner as God can bless.
10) To prepare for the coming of Christ, these assemblies shall be called into remembrance by the people through divine interposition. God says He will send men in the spirit of Elijah to call to remembrance His downtrodden law and covenant, declaring “Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb, with it’s statutes and judgments…” (Mal. 4:4-6). The bringing in of the tithes was a special call by the spirit of Elijah to remember the law, and specifically, the tithes that are brought to the sacred feast (Mal. 3:10). Thus the Elijah message does indeed make a call to remember the feasts, observing them in the Spirit, and in truth.

 




THE COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM & THE LAW OF MOSES I: A SCRIPTURAL CONTROVERSY

One of the most pressing issues to arise in the early church was whether the Gentile converts who had come to Christ were to observe the law of circumcision or not. It would also discuss the relation of these newborn followers of Christ who had little-to-no knowledge in regard to the law or it’s precepts. In Jerusalem, the birthplace of apostolic Christianity, a council of the apostles and elders gathered to consider the matter with the apostle James, bishop of Jerusalem, overseeing the discussions and giving sentence as to the general consensus of the brethren. You can read about this controversy in Acts 15; yet many are reading Acts 15 with an understanding that the church may define what is essential in regards to the law, and declaring it as non-essential for the observance of converts from the Gentiles to Christ. The implications of this are not inconsiderable, but that will not be the purpose of this study (For that study, go to the “I’m a Gentile, not a Jew” article here).
Rather, this study is for the purpose of understanding the early Christian church’a decision as it pertains to understanding the law of God, and whether or not it was decreed as non-essential to be observed. It is not the purpose of this study to arouse further controversy on a sensitive subject, but rather to bring us all into a unity of faith with respect to what Scripture teaches.
To bring out the matter completely, we will examine texts from the Bible, as well as what history said about these councils at Jerusalem. While the Bible is sufficient, historical witnesses supply a secondary testimony, shedding more light on the matter and the controversies erupting in the early church regarding the law of God which were not plainly brought to view directly from the Scripture itself.
Do we uphold the law by keeping the commandments as much of the Bible suggests we should? Or is this council the Achille’s heel to it’s observance? Or perhaps indeed, there is a Greco-Roman Achille’s heel that exists, but it’s in the understanding of those reading their ideas into the Jerusalem council. Scripture and history will bear this out as we bring this controversy back to the table for discussion.

There are two classes of Christians today.
(1) Those who believe they should keep the law of God because they are saved.
(2) Those who don’t keep the law because they believe they are saved, with no necessity of keeping it.

How often has this second class revisited that council in Jerusalem to resort to justifying their identity as Gentiles who need not keep the law of God! So without further delay, let’s look at pulse of the issue: the council itself.

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
” (Acts 15:1-2)

And what was the issue? It was an issue and question of salvation, and how a man is saved from sin. “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” (Acts 15:5-6) Jesus had taught the apostles to teach “whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20), and the Pharisees believed that the law of circumcision was to be kept [to command them to keep THE law- that law- this particular law- of Moses], and if it, that very law of Moses itself, was not kept, those who believed in Christ and were baptized were not truly saved at all. Thus salvation from sin was the fruit of their keeping of a law of Moses, and not of believing in Christ. The great problem that was not being factored in was that it was only believing in Christ’s power to save from sin who would circumcise the heart to love God wholly, as Moses also instructed (Deuteronomy 30:6); this a man could not do of himself for salvation, as it is wholly a work of God on his behalf.

So the matter was considered, and Peter couldn’t accept the charge upon the Gentiles that they were unsaved until they were circumcised because it is “God, which knows the hearts, and He testified, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did to us; And has put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9) Thus, Peter placed his finger upon the pulse of the issue of the Pharisees; an issue that they long struggled with even in the days of Christ; Peter recognized that they were also born of the Spirit of God, by which alone a man can see the Kingdom of God (John 3:5). It was this very instruction that Jesus gave to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, because it was the instruction so greatly lost sight of amongst that class of believers. The circumcision of the flesh was a sign upon the flesh of the newborn, but the circumcision of the heart was the work of the new birth: a work accomplished by the hand of God and not the hand of man.

The Gentiles constituted those who came from other faith traditions, who in part were unfamiliar with the laws, customs, and traditions of the Hebrew people. The Gentile manner of worship, practice, and things which they allowed were often in sharp variance to the precepts outlined in the laws given to Moses; so much so that the Gentiles were called the uncircumcised, being “without Christ” and “without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). It was not uncommon for Gentiles to sacrifice unclean animals (swine, eagles, lions, beasts of prey) to their gods; or else to consume them. Neither was it uncommon for them to practice sexual immorality, drink fermented wine, and in the case of governors, to oppress and persecute those whose ideas came into sharp conflict with their own; all of this was consistent with their beliefs, as it was the example set forth by many of their heathen gods.

“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you [the Gentile converts] with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:…(Acts 15:28-29)
The law of circumcision is the portion of the law of Moses which they gave no such commandment as essential to salvation, believing only one circumcision as truly essential was the one performed by the Spirit of Christ. This circumcision that was truly essential was the one which “ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…” (Col. 2:11)

THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL & THE LIMITATION OF AUTHORITY

In council of the apostles, James presided over the council to make the final decision based upon the consensus among them. “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
” (Acts 15:19-21)

The decision was what commands the apostles should enjoin to the Gentile converts as they were only beginning to learn of the things contained within the law. More specifically, these commands pertained to the individual believer’s own body. Paul the apostle speaks of fornication as sinning “against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). He further comments on these particular commands, saying: “…ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would incease more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God…that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
“(1 Thes. 4:1-4)
.
The decision pertaining to bodily commands as it pertained to the law came from the highest authority on earth, as the mind of God worked through His people in making a judgment. If the judgment was from God, this decision was always to speak in harmony with the law and testimony of Scripture (Isaiah 8:20). Yet many have gone to the extreme as to interpret that the church was given the authority to abrogate God’s law when they are minded together to do so. This sentence issued by James however was not to loose the obligation regarding what was not in those four commands. Those four commands were actually found in the law of Moses itself, thus showing the basis of their decision was guided by the law, so as to not overthrow it, but to maintain gospel order and soundness in their conclusion. It was the apostle’s judgment not to trouble the Gentiles who were coming to God, as overburdening them with more than they could bear. The reason is given, “For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him…”; or to put it simply, “They will learn to rest in time. Let the Sabbath reading of the law be a time for them to learn more.”

The Gentiles who came to the synagogues to learn of the God of the Hebrews had already been attending the assemblies every Sabbath day, as it was written: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
” (Acts 13:42) The fact that the Gentiles were keeping the Sabbath after they were converted to Christ meant that the four laws were not meant to abbrogate the whole law of Moses, especially the Sabbath observance, but only to specify that the outward observances of the law, such as circumcision and tassle-wearing were not enjoined to the Gentiles; and that the rest of their duties in the keeping of the law would be unfolded as they learned more of the principles of the law of God.

The Sabbath was especially regarded by the Gentile converts in the early church just as it was prophesied would happen in Isaiah: “Also the sons of the heathen (Gentiles), that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant;
…for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him. ” (Isaiah 56:6-8)

That the Gentiles who converted were expected to become established in the law, and not to disregard it a consistent principle laid out in the Scriptures (Rev. 14:12, Rev. 22:14, Rom. 7:7). The apostle Paul says that those who have the law of God, yet break it are actually teaching the Gentiles to blaspheme Him by their example.

“Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God…An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, who has the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
You therefore which teach another, do you not teach yourself? You that preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You that say a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you commit sacrilege? You that make your boast of the law, do you, through breaking the law, dishonour God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you…”
(Rom 2:20-24)

The apostle says that to break the law is in fact dishonoring God, while giving a bad example to the Gentile converts whom they are entrusted to teach. The elder is entrusted to teach the younger the way of life.

The fact that God would allow the Gentiles to come to the law of God, and give them His Spirit, while having time to learn His law is exactly as the parable of the prodigal son. The Gentiles lost sight of the law of God, having gone astray because of their fathers who left the way of the God of Noah. Yet they were to return, and God, as a Father to them, was to meet them a great way off, and provoke the other brother to jealousy who had never left the law of God but had no love in his heart for his repentant brother (Luke 15:20, 1 John 4:20, Deut. 32:21, Rom. 11:11).

***For the second witness, the Historical Account of the Council of Jerusalem and the Law of Moses, and to understand the controversy that erupted in the second century, causing the council to depart from the law of Moses entirely, click here.




The Church & Antichrist

The devil had his origin as “the covering cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14), who dwelt “in the midst of the stones of fire.” The covering Cherub’s name was Lucifer, which means “A Bearer of the Light”. These cherubs occupied a high position in heaven at the very throne of the Most High God, in “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:2) Moses was instructed to make a pattern of this tabernacle, where golden cherubim were made to dwell in the most sacred place of the Sanctuary. The angels were always known as “spirits” and “flames of fire” (Hebrews 1:7), and God’s Sanctuary has always been the church of all the heavenly host: where He sits enthroned, and where His government reigns supreme. His law was placed as the foundation of the throne in the Sanctuary upon the earth, and that very same law was the foundation of His throne in the heavenly assembly, which assembly we are part of:

“ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
(Heb 12:22-24)

THE LIVING STONES OF THE CHURCH

The church we are part of is the very church that the “innumerable company of angels” are part of, and that includes the cherubim. In this church, we are called “lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
(1Pe 2:5) We are to be living stones, building up the temple of heaven. That fallen cherub was no exception, being a “flame of fire”, walking in the midst of those “stones of fire”, the angels were, and as many as are faithful and obedient to God, still remain as part of the church of God in heaven.

So what happened that Lucifer should no longer be part of that church? He began to exalt himself to equality with God. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
(Isa 14:12-14)

Lucifer, the created angel, who was part of the “church of the firstborn”, was desiring to exalt himself to equality with God, and to receive worship that was due to God and Christ alone. Yet the Scripture tells us that this honor was never given to any angels:

“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? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
(Heb 1:4-6)

The angels never received the divine inheritance of worship that the Firstbegotten, the Son of God, inherited from the Father. Christ was the foundation of the throne of God, upon His shoulders the entire government and church of heaven was firmly established. So firmly fixed was this foundation, that the “church of the firstborn” is the very church Christ declared to be founded upon Himself in Peter’s confession “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” For Christ declared in return, “upon this rock will I build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16,18) This honor was not ascribed to any angel to be the foundation of the church, which is built upon the Son of God, but both redeemed man and created angels were made from this Rock, which is Christ, as living stones. This is why Christ gave the acclamation to Peter’s confession by the Spirit of God, saying “You are Peter (a stone)”. The Scripture tells that this confession alone is what the true church is, and ever will be, and Christ’s confession in return is to be what all of God’s people always are in Him, the Rock of salvation. The Scripture says that we “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph 2:20-22) Christ, the firstborn and chief cornerstone of the church, is declared to be the Rock “which you are hewn (carved out) from” (Isaiah 51:1), which “has begotten you” (Deut. 32:18). This church is the only church which the gates of hell will not prevail against, yet of Lucifer it is said at his fall, “thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:15) It is fundamental to our understanding then that Christ is the Son of God.

THE FATHER OF LIARS

God is the Father of Christ, the Son. This testimony speaks true. John, the apostle, declared Christ to be “the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3). Yet of the devil, Christ declares that he, in John 8:44, “…abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Thus did Lucifer, who desired the worship that was given by God to Christ alone, fall from the very church of heaven, and so necessarily saw the gates of hell prevail against him, and why is this so? Because he refused to believe that Christ alone is the only equal with the living God, “as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name” than any angel. Satan, in exalting himself to equality with God, was not abiding in the truth of the Son of God. He was declared to be “a lair”, adding to the Word of God something that God had not declared.

The Scripture tells us that, “…he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son” (1 John 5:10). Satan had done exactly this. In exalting himself to equality with God, Satan brazenly declared that he did not believe the record God gave of Christ, His beloved Son, and by this means, had added to the Word of God and by this means he fell from heaven.

“Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure…Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:4-6).

God created all things by His Word, and Lucifer was now adding to the creation something that was not so from the beginning, and in doing so, he proved himself to be a liar. Thus he declared God to be a liar while in heaven, in not believing the record He gave of His Son. The most startling implications, not then discerned by the rebellious cherub, was the result of Lucifer seeking to exalt himself in his heart. Thus it was that another church was founded which disregarded Christ and which Satan was to be king of. That church is nothing less than the beginning of antichrist, and the stones of fire which composed the church of God were now fallen, and part of the “synagogue of Satan”, which rendered allegiance to the lies of Satan above the Word of God. Every church that is not in intimate connection with the Spirit of Christ, the Son of the living God, is a church of antichrist.

1 John 2:22-23 point this out: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”

Thus, it was that Satan denied the Son of God. There is an abundance of Scriptural testimony regarding that old serpent, the father of lies, that declare that the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against him, and that he has continued this warfare against the creation of God. He continues to this day to declare that God is a liar, and perverts His Word to win souls to his rebellion.

“…Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).

Christ said, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own.” While dishonesty and jealousy are exclusively the qualities of the devil, he imposed them upon the Father of truth, thus the prevalence of the gates of hell over one who denies the Son of the living God. Satan has ever won his converts over through subtle deceptions that overthrow God’s authority. As it was then, even so it is now.

THE CHURCH OF ANTICHRIST

Satan’s church has always used lies at it’s foundation, and the growth of his church has always been aimed at the living stones to establish them in his own building. He seeks to incite rebellion through deception, which is what he did to the angels of heaven, Adam & Eve, the worship of false gods amongst God’s professed people. In fact, in speaking of his fall, it refers to Lucifer as “the King of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:3), that is, a heathen nation that is foreign to the nation that is symbolic for God’s remnant church, “the heavenly Jerusalem”. Babylon was known for it’s worship of false gods, and when God’s people became entangled in their worship, it was evidence that Satan had found his way into Jerusalem, and for this cause, they went into captivity under the nation whose gods they served. “The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.” (Lam. 4:12)

Satan artfully conceals himself under the guise of the worship of false gods. When Israel departed from the living God to worship Satan, though they professed to be Israel, they ceased to truly be Israel, or have any right to the blessings that Israel were to receive. “Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these…Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 7:4-11) The living God denounces those who profess to say they are the people of God, declaring they are delivered, and that they are called by the name of the only true God, and then show by their works that they are not at all the people of Jehovah, but of Baalzebub (Satan), the “king of Babylon”, and though they professed to believe the truth, underneath this profession was a manifestation of all that antichrist is and has always been.

The church was in the days of the Babylonian captivity referred to as a woman: “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” (Jer. 6:2) And in prophecy, the last day antichrist church is referred to as a woman, and no less as “Babylon”.

“Come here; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore…with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication…And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev 17:4-5)

Satan is the king of this church, and through her, he receives worship. More than this, she is in intimate connection with the kings of the earth, thus Satan, through her, enforces his false system of worship by a church/state union. She is arrayed with precious stones and pearls, but these pearls and stones are to belong to the church of God, but instead adorn the church of antichrist.

Moreover, she is referred to as a whore, because of the false worship associated with her, just as it was with Israel in the days of their apostasy: “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.” (Jer. 3:3) A whore is one who commits fornication against the true God, and has “a whore’s forehead”; therefore the nature of the god she worships is written upon her head, and is no less than Babylonian Satan worship in nature.

ANTICHRIST DEPARTURE FROM FAITH

This development of antichrist began in heaven, and continued with the concealed deceptions of Satan until it even began to find a foothold in the apostolic era of the Christian church. The apostle John, speaking of this, said:

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
(1Jn 2:18-19)

The apostle’s words were echoing the same voice that was spoken two millennia before, when Moses wrote: “Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;” (Deu. 13:13) A key characteristic that the apostle styled as “antichrist” was “not continuing” in the faith, by going to “serve other gods, which ye have not known.” John seeing this, declared further: “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1Jn 2:21-22) John shows how the very denial of truth that happened in heaven was happening amongst professed followers of Christ in his day, and for this cause John admonished the children of the truth to abide in the truth, that they “shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” (1 Jn 2:24) Two churches both professing to be the Israel of God were developing. One of the most startling revelations regarding antichrist which Satan set up was to “sit in the temple of God;” when the only seat in the temple of God is the throne of God, which is the place of His worship and the seat of His government, where His law is contained. Thus Satan would have one arise in the church to assume prerogatives that did not belong to him.

THE WHORE’S FOREHEAD

This culminated into Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots. Being a whore, upon her forehead was written the name of her god: “Mystery” with whom Satan was mysteriously concealing himself to receive worship in her. This was “serving other gods, which ye have not known.” And for this cause, she persecutes the saints of God. Jesus said “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:2-3) Thus we see those who are true to God, and know Him and are founded upon fundamental knowledge of the Son of God, and those who do not know the Father or His Son, but think they are serving God, when in fact they are serving the god which they know not under the false guise of worshipping God. This woman, involved in church and state union enforced upon the saints this mystery worship. “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus…” (Revelation 17:6) She not only enforced her worship of her mystery god, but moreover, enforced the falsehoods that were framed by a departure from the words of the true God, and like Eve, became a catalyst for promoting the deceptive sentiments of Satan.

Who is this church? She must necessarily meet all of these characteristics:

1) She worships a mystery god.
2) She enforces the worship of that mystery god.
3) She does so by means of a church/state union.
4) She makes war with the Son of God through making war with his church.
5) The mystery god must necessarily have Satan concealed in it’s worship: adding to or removing from the Word of God.

What is the church that identifies the characteristic marks of the antichrist church which wars against the church of the firstborn? It can be nothing less than the Catholic church.

SHE WORSHIPS A MYSTERY GOD
“The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church…” Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p. 11

“The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself…his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.” Cathechism of the Catholic church, ch. 1:234,237

This is evidence that the God of Israel was said to have been a mystery god, which “ye have not known”.

SHE ENFORCES THE WORSHIP OF THAT MYSTERY GOD
Speaking of the church that enforces the worship of it’s god by the state, the Scripture says: “in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many…” (Dan. 11:38-39)

The Catholic emperor Justinian made a decree enforceable to subject all men to the worship of the Trinity and to worship under the Catholic system:

Pope Francis addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly- the largest assembly of nations ever gathered.

“CONCERNING THE MOST EXALTED TRINITY AND THE CATHOLIC FAITH AND PROVIDING THAT NO ONE SHALL DARE TO PUBLICLY OPPOSE THEM…

(1) We order all those who follow this law to assume the name of Catholic Christians, and considering others as demented and insane, We order that they shall bear the infamy of heresy; and when the Divine vengeance which they merit has been appeased, they shall afterwards be punished in accordance with Our resentment, which we have acquired from the judgment of Heaven…

Let all bodies of heretics be prevented from holding unlawful assemblies, and let the name of the only and the greatest God be celebrated everywhere, and let the observance of the Nicene Creed, recently transmitted to Our ancestors, and firmly established by the testimony and practice of Divine Religion, always remain secure.”

SHE DOES SO BY MEANS OF A CHURCH STATE UNION

It should suffice that Satan has used the papacy, under which influence the kings of the earth are employed to enforce the Babylonian religion upon the world.

Consider the idea presented in 1965 from the Pope in his encyclical, Gaudium et spes:

“The Church herself makes use of temporal things insofar as her own mission requires it. She, for her part, does not place her trust in the privileges offered by civil authority. She will even give up the exercise of certain rights which have been legitimately acquired, if it becomes clear that their use will cast doubt on the sincerity of her witness or that new ways of life demand new methods (§76).”

There is no suggestion here that the Church’s renunciation of her rights in regard to the state is the ideal, only that sometimes this move might be prudent in order to establish her credibility. Flowing in the same vein of thinking, but more direct in it’s tone, it shows another of the highest legally binding document of the Catholic church (the encyclical) AU MILIEU DES SOLLICITUDES:

“We shall not hold to the same language on another point, concerning the principle of the separation of the State and Church, which is equivalent to the separation of human legislation from Christian and divine legislation. We do not care to interrupt Ourselves here in order to demonstrate the absurdity of such a separation; each one will understand for himself…Catholics cannot be too careful in defending themselves against such a separation. In fact, to wish that the State would separate itself from the Church would be to wish, by a logical sequence, that the Church be reduced to the liberty of living according to the law common to all citizens…. It is true that in certain countries this state of affairs exists. It is a condition which, if it have numerous and serious inconveniences, also offers some advantages – above all when, by a fortunate inconsistency, the legislator is inspired by Christian principles – and, though these advantages cannot justify the false principle of separation nor authorize its defence, they nevertheless render worthy of toleration a situation which, practically, might be worse.”

Again, it says that the church that for many years exercised the authority over the state to persecute God’s church is tolerant where she does not have the influence over the state. It was stated by Pope Francis that the orderly development of “a civil, pluralistic society requires” that the “authentic spirit of religion” not be “confined” to “personal conscience but that its significant role in the construction of society is recognized,” in his remarks to the Italian president. “On the other hand, public authorities—who are primarily expected to create the conditions for a just and sustainable development, so that civil society can develop all its potentialities—can find a valuable and useful support for their action in the commitment and loyal collaboration of the Church.”

SHE MAKES WAR WITH THE SON OF GOD THROUGH MAKING WAR WITH HIS CHURCH

That the Catholic church persecuted other professing Christians by means of the state simply because they would not adhere to their form of doctrine and manner of worship is abundantly testified to throughout history and even at times through the confession of the Catholic church itself in places where she has little to no influence over matters of state.

THE MYSTERY GOD MUST NECESSARILY HAVE SATAN CONCEALED IN IT’S WORSHIP: ADDING TO OR REMOVING FROM THE WORD OF GOD

Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to worship a Trinity. We have only a command to worship God the Father, and that His Son, by His divine inheritance, is to also receive worship. Satan knows this, and has sought for many centuries to secure worship for himself, yet was never permitted to have this in the church of heaven. He idealized the concept in his heart of the Trinity: he disregarded the special prerogative belonging to Christ alone as the Son of God in truth who is entitled to worship, thus removing from the Word of God, and he placed himself in equality with God, to receive worship and added to God’s Word, declaring Him to be a liar. The Trinity presented three divine beings under the worship of one God, yet Scripture never sanctions the worship of three, but one God, and a fundamental part of that worship is honoring and giving worship to His only-begotten Son. Never in Scripture is there a place where we must worship the Spirit of God & Christ, but only to worship God and Christ from which we receive that Spirit. In the Trinity, the worship of the Holy Spirit is a concept idealized in the heart of Satan to be enthroned upon the hearts of men, securing worship from them through his subtlety. Instead of being the angel that is “a ministering spirit”, he flatters himself to be “the holy spirit”, giving himself a name and honor above what God had bestowed upon the angels.

Simply because he conceals himself as this, does not by any means imply that the Holy Spirit does not exist, but rather that the Holy Spirit is not a third divine being to be honored, exalted, worshipped with the Father and His Son. Rather the Spirit of God is their agency whereby they may be everywhere present, teaching, admonishing, guiding, and enlivening the children of God.

IN CONCLUSION

It may be plainly seen that the church of God has always been built up of His faithful children as “a spiritual house”, a “habitation of God through the Spirit”, and that the church of antichrist, the false systems of worship that departs from the worship of the true God and Christ, has a “house that is left desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38) because of the “overspreading of abominations” (Daniel 9::27, Matthew 24:15), being devoid of the Spirit of Christ. These are two opposing forces that have run parallel since the fall of Lucifer in heaven, and that the same measures which caused him to fall are brought to bear by him against God’s church in every age since that time.

“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” (Gal. 4:28-30)




Lying Signs & Wonders: The False Prophet’s Patriotic Miracle

“And I saw another beast rise up out of the earth, having two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” (Rev. 13:11)
We are told in the Scriptures that before the return of Christ there will be “false christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” (Matt. 24:24) “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish…” (2 Thes. 2:10). These deceptions before Christ breaks upon the clouds in the Father’s glory will be preceded by false prophets working miracles by the power of Satan (while claiming it is Christ), claiming the power which Satan himself wields to lead souls into perdition, “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved; and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie…”.
Note, that this “strong delusion” comes upon those who have resisted “the love of the truth”. The strong delusions begin by false prophets and apostles, whose wonder working power, which claims to be of Christ by the operation of the Holy Spirit, is in fact of Satan in whom he is especially working to seal and drown them, as well as those who follow them, into deception; that work is called in the Scripture “the mark of the beast”. In rapid succession upon being sealed by the mark of the beast into the deception, they end in accepting the person of Satan, veiled as Christ, to be their Messiah: the very voice of the one speaking through the false prophets.
We are told that this will be the case by Paul the apostle, who foresaw the deceptions that would arise in the church, declaring “of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30) Further elaborating on the nature of that deception, he reveals the heartful utterance of the True Shepherd for His flock: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Cor. 11:3-4)
In the church would arise another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel which was preached; please take care to understand: the last great deception begins in the churches professing Christ, and it begins as false doctrine enters. The deception of Satan was to serve as the popular counterfeit to the true and pure doctrine of Christ; it was to be proclaimed under the moving of another spirit. And not only so. It would be a false Jesus, radically different from the glorious High Priest and Wonderful Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. Far different from He which baptizes His prophets with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Word of truth (John 17:17), “confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20). This “Jesus” breathes upon his prophets an unholy spirit, proclaiming lies, and seeming to confirm them with “all power and signs and lying wonders.” All power is given in heaven and earth to Christ, but when God permits, Satan employs all his satanic power allied with human force to make the genuineness of his deceptions appear all-the-more irrefutable; this deception the God of heaven will permit when man persistently rejects the merciful appeals to come to Him who would be their “refuge in the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the spirit of the oppressor is as a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4). Thus it is spoken of as “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:13-14)
What manner of miracles shall be performed by these “deceitful workers”, under the influence of the Master deceiver? When understanding the working of Satan as the Scripture reveals it, you may be more ready to know. Do not be deceived. These wonders may have easily discernable manifestations to the surface reading Christian, but they also have a more concealed and subtle manifestation to better serve the purpose of the enemy, but we are told how to test these matters. Christ says, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:18-20)
The very children of Christ are to be signs and wonders; their lives testifying to the power of the gospel unto salvation, causing them to reflect the fullness of Christ’s glory, and nothing short of complete restoration into the image of God: the character of God is a most wonderful sign of those who belong to Christ. It further tells us, “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them”. They are called “children of light,” and they walk in His law by their lives. They live out His testimonies as it is written of them. And they speak according to these very themes. They speak truth by the Spirit of truth, preparing men to receive the One who is called Truth. What are children of light commanded to do? We are commanded to be fully aware that our Master is ready to appear and not receive be brought under the satanic deceptions, and to “not sleep as do others”, but rather “watch and be sober.” (1 Thes. 5:5-6)
The “children of wicked one” (Mark 13:38) are also signs and wonders; the spirit that has taken hold of them does not reveal the image of God and the fullness of Christ’s glory, but they “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things…” (Rom. 1:23); the spirit they reveal is earthly, deceptive, as the serpent in Eden which caused Eve to fall away from God’s law; it does not uplift man into a heavenly atmosphere, but debases him as those “drunken in the night.” (1 Thes. 5:7)
These lying signs and wonders do not speak to the law of God, nor does it live in harmony with those most holy precepts. When they speak against the law of God, they are fierce opposers to the true Spirit of prophecy;  the Scripture terms this as “drunkenness” (which is far from sobriety of spirit), and likens these who receive not the truth to have the glory of beasts rather than of God; herein we find a startling contrast between those of God and those of Satan. Despite this contast, do not be deceived: while this is indeed the works of darkness, it will be covered in such a light as to appear true, that only those who honor Scripture will be able to discern “between him that serveth [God] and him that serveth him not.” (Mal. 3:18). Satan is fully aware of the Scripture, and quotes it to suit his designs (Matt. 4:6) and by this, he may deceive even the very elect. Here are some of the things to be aware of:
The false prophets employ the prophecies of Scripture in a false setting.
They will claim believe in God and Christ.
They will use Scriptural terminology, like the gospel, righteousness, gifts of the spirit, the law of God, power, blessing, covenant, etc.
Yet all of these things, though true Biblical terms, are used to conceal the true nature of the sorcery and rebellion of Satan’s agents. In fact, the Scripture tells us that Satan can cause disease:
“And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman you are loosed from your infirmity. And He laid hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God…ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13:11-13)
Satan had bound this woman for eighteen years with a spirit of infirmity. Satan further does this in the book of Job to try Job’s faith: “Put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:5-7) Notice that Satan, in an attempt to prove Job’s bloodguiltiness, was permitted to bring disease upon him. Satan will make sick if he can cause you to deny God and the truth. And had Job cursed God, what would have happened? If Satan had let go of his hand, the disease would have been removed. If bringing sickness can cause men to deny God, Satan shall work to this end. If healing by removing his hand shall seal them in their denial of truth and righteousness, this equally suits his purpose. He makes men sick, and then removes the sickness; and this is one lying sign and wonder which he performs.

This very thing is happening, and it is happening in the churches that claim signs and wonders, healings and miracles in abundance. These very things are being fulfilled. You may find that the spirit of drunkeness, the spirit of beasts, the spirit of deception, and the spirit of counterfeit miracles as revealed in the following video:

The Charismatic Pentecostalism claims to have the “fire of the Holy Ghost” which will heal diseases and other infirmities. The preaching can be articulate and even quote many Bible passages; it is often boasted in these circles that they are “drunken with the Spirit”. In some of the these revival meetings, far from sobriety, it is not uncommon to hear shouting, laughing, rolling around, dancing around ecstatically, barking like dogs, howling like wolves, clucking as chickens, going unconscious, and people walking on their hands and knees like the beasts of the field.

THE KINGDOM CALLED FALSE PROPHET

And in Bible, we are not told of merely one false prophet. But in the book of Revelation, we are told of a whole kingdom called “the False Prophet”. This kingdom is built upon the very bulwarks of false prophetism. In Bible prophecy, a beast is a kingdom (Dan. 7:23), and we see in Bible prophecy a new kingdom arising from the earth.  “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” (Rev. 13:11) We are told that this False Prophet power has two lamblike horns. We have shown already with abundance of evidence in this ministry that this is the United States of America, with it’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution, that it could break away from the monarchial rule found in oppressive and Papal Europe, represented by the first beast in Revelation 13. Yet, despite this escape from the oppression of Papal darkness from the dark ages, it will “exercise all the power of the first beast (The Papal European kingdom) before it” (Rev. 13:12)
We are told that this power would use “another gospel”. And what is the gospel? “It is the power of God unto salvation…” (Rom. 1:16). But another gospel would necessarily mean another power is exercised. The power that the Papacy exercised was the power of the state to substitute the lack of the power of God’s Spirit; unlike the Spirit of God, the power thus exercised was the power of force.
Likewise, these false prophets, though clothed like lambs, shall speak with the tongues of fiery serpents, quoting Scripture to the destruction of many. And if Satan works disease, and healing by the removal of the disease to deceive a soul, what would he do to deceive a whole nation?  It says that this beast will DECEIVE those who dwell on the earth. How? Through lying miracles.
“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” (Rev. 13:13-14) He makes fire come down from heaven. These verses are filled with significance.
This power claims to be as Elijah the prophet, who prepares people for Christ’s return by upholding the law of God, but in fact, is a counterfeit, preparing for Satan’s appearing as Christ and making void the law of God, but exalting a counterfeit law in it’s place.
This power claims that it has holy fire to heal. When it is actually Satan who afflicts and then makes it appear as though these false prophets are healing.
This power, through it’s miraculous claims, shall deceive the people of the United States.
This power, like John and James, would destroy men’s lives in order to appease a vengeful God.
Lastly, Satan is given power over the elements to cause great storms, fire, hail, hurricanes, and other disasters. He causes great destruction, and presses hard against the people of God.
“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:9-12)
The work of destruction Satan brings demonstates that he has some manner of power over nature, to cause great disasters when God permits:
“While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:18-19)

Satan works a disease, that his false prophets may bear a message that appears genuine in one healing. Satan is causing great disasters to strike across the United States, and around the world, that on a national level, these false prophets may bear a message that it is the wrath of a vengeful God, who is calling for a return to righteousness, and legislates laws and oppressive enactments to the end that they will make war with the children of God. Satan not only inflicts disease and loosens his hand to deceive them, but brings down fire from heaven in the sight of men to “deceive them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles”; this fire of the lamblike beast is the spiritual manifestations that lead men to believe they must urge with their influence in the Republic of the United States, to join their voices with the false prophets to demand the nation turn to laws of the church to expiate the divine judgment.

“While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:16)

When the true children of God oppose such messages, voicing support for the legislation of Caesar’s Sabbath, becase they choose to honor the law of God above the law of the Papacy, the calamities, unceasing from the hand of Satan will be reignited upon the land, and blamed upon the Sabbathkeepers. As John and James ‘knew not what spirit they were of’, and desired to call down fire from heaven to destroy the lives of the men who, in their estimation, had deserved the righteous wrath of God, so to will these false prophets show forth “another spirit” which will result in the mark of the beast crisis.

Do we believe that such a thing is possible? That such a thing ever will be so? On September 1, 2017, it happened in response to the hurricane in Houston, and Russia’s unwillingness to fully unite on the climate change agenda of the United Nations. Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, stated that it was “moral decay” that was causing the calamities on earth. “”We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the Earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation,” Both of the men have framed climate change as an urgent moral issue to address collectively.

Christian actor and activist, Kirk Cameron, said the following on September 3rd as a result of Hurricane Harvey and Irma:
“When he puts his power on display it’s never without reason. There’s a purpose. And we may not always understand what that purpose is, but we know it’s not random and we know that weather is sent to cause us to respond to God in humility, awe and repentance.”

“Here’s a city that has boasted of its LGBT devotion, its affinity for the sexual perversion movement in America. They’re underwater,” Evangelical radio host Rick Wiles said. While another prominent Evangelical says it is God’s judgment if America refuses to turn to him. With these acts intensifying, the lamblike beast will continue to speak as a dragon more and still more until the close of probation. These occurances are doubtless because God’s merciful restraint to hold back Satanic devices is being withdrawn, but these are not directly coming out from God’s hand; thus will Satan use his devices freely to deceive the world into a form of Christianity, without the power, inevitably leading them to the fiercest and most hostile enmity against the law of God’s government.

God’s hand shall not bring forth vengeance until His people are forced into a corner; then God will deliver with strong hand at the very closing scenes of this earth’s history, which will be the dawn of the crowning of the Son of Man; Christ shall come to take His people to Himself, that where He is, we may be also.