Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Divine Drama Part 5, Why Suffering?

Sadly, most of the people that were members of The Worldwide Church of God, and are now in GCI, LCG, UCG, RCG, PCG, COG/Hulme or any of the hundreds of divided, spinters groups that were established since the break up of WCG, wanted to follow Jesus, without carrying a cross.  Yet, the Christian is commanded to take up his cross daily and follow Christ.

The cross, of course, is a symbol of suffering, but for true Christians it is also a reality that proves they truly belong to Christ.  Yet, the leaders of WCG feared persecution, and as a consequence, hid the cross behind The Plain Truth, Post Office Box 111, Pasadena California or Ambassador College.  And even if it was the Plain Truth, it would still have been wrong to hide the cross behind it, but it was far from the Plain Truth.

Now contrast the attitude and behaviour of the leaders of WCG with that of the Chosen Vessel. From the moment the great Apostle was called, he took up his cross.  In his Epistle to the Colossians, written from prison, he was inspired to write: "Who," or I, "now rojoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church"(Col.1:24).

Note the phrase, "fill up."  It means to complete or bring to fulfillment the balance of Christ's sufferings, which were left behind to be endured by his true followers, who take up their cross daily to follow him.  Also, in the great Apostle first Epistle to Timothy, note what this wonderful man wrote: "For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting"(1 Tim.1:16).  

"In me first," means that Paul was a role model of suffering for Christ true followers: "for a pattern," is something to copy or to follow, in this case, as a way of life.  A perfect example of how to follow a pattern, was when God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle.  God admonished Moses thus: "for see, said he, that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mount"(Heb.8:5).

Now, if Moses had deviated from the pattern God gave him, it would have been a grave act of rebellion.  Yet, the leaders of WCG ignored the pattern of suffering that God gave to his church.  In fact, I have reasons to believe they never knew of its existence, as most of them were and are completely ignorant of the wholesome teachings of the bible, but fully conversant with the intrigues of ambition, greed and the delusion power.

What sufferings did Christ leave behind for the Great Apostle to endure as a pattern to those, today, who daily take up their cross to follow Him into life everlasting?  Well, the best person to answer that question is the Great Apostle himself: "Are they ministers of Christ?  A question that all the ministers in all the divided churches ought to ask themselves. The narrative continues: (I speak as a fool) I am more.  How did the Chosen Vessel know that he was more of a minister than all those who were claiming to be ministers of Christ?

He knew it because he was able to say, "I bear in my body the marks of out the Lord Jesus"(Gal.6:17).  So he added: "in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes except one.  Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep.

In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own countryman, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness(2 Cor.11:23-27).

These were the suffering that were left behind by Christ for Paul to endure as a pattern to true Christians, and faithful ministers.  For Jesus was never in prison, or stoned, or shipwreck, or repeatedly beaten with rod, though he was scourged before his crucifixion, or  fought with a lion, as Paul did at Ephesus.

Now, the love of Christ constrains me (2 Cor.5:14) to ask, how many "ministers" in The Worldwide Church of God, GCI, UCG, LCG, PCG, RCG, COG/Hulme and all the other divided groups can identify with any of the sufferings of Paul?  If they can't echo the words of the Chosen Vessel thus: "I bear in my body the marks of our Lord Jesus," then, they are not ministers of Christ.

If you are a minister of Christ, tell us when you were imprisoned or beaten for defending the gospel?  On the contrary, you had a house, a car, a salary, the best caravans or hotels at the Feast and an expense account, so that you could live a comfortable lifestyle, while hiding the cross of Christ, and preaching heresy to God's faithful flock.  Therefore, you were and are a hireling.  

You hirelings have got some surprises coming, "for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether good or bad.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" (2Cor. 5:10-11).  He persuaded men not to hide the cross, and to stop living lives of greed, duplicity and deceit.


To be continued...

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Divne Drama Part 4, The Book of Life

As stated before, the divine drama was conceived and written in eternity in Christ Jesus, who was ordained before the foundation of the world to redeem God's children, who were made subject to vanity.  Also, in eternity, the book of life was created.  We will see how important is this book.  But first, let me prove from the bible that the world is unfolding in accordance with the will of God.  

On the day of Pentecost, Peter referring to the death of Jesus, stated: "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain"(Acts 2:23).

Please note the phrase, "determinate counsel?"  What does it mean?  determine means to cause to occur in a particular way; firmness of purpose, and counsel means to receive or give advice.  So by definition, God's counsel told him to sacrifice Jesus for the redemption of his elect.  But who or what is his counsel?  Well, it is best to let the Chosen Vessel answer that question thus: "God works all things after the counsel of his own will"(Eph.1:11).  So his will tell him what to do.  Isn't that an astonishing revelation!

So the death of Jesus was not an unforeseen event.  It was determined by God before the foundation of the world, to redeem his children, who are called, "Vessels of mercy"(Rom.9:23).  Also, at the Jerusalem conference to discuss whether the Gentiles should be circumcised or not, the Apostle James reminded the conference that, "Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world"(Acts 15:18).  And the Chosen Vessel, in his Epistle to the Romans, reminded the Jewish people that God has promised to  redeem those branches that were broken off from the olive tree(Rom.11:17), so that the Gentiles could be grafted in.  The narrative runs: "Although the works were finished from the foundation of the world"(Heb.4:3-4).  Nothing can be added or taken away from it.  So the divine drama was conceived by God, purposed in Christ, and implement in time by the creation of the world.  So God knows everything that will happen before it occurs, including every bird that falls to the ground and how many hairs are on every person's head. 

As part of the divine drama, a book called the The Lamb's Book of Life was created, and in it were written all the names of God's children, and these are the only people that will be saved when Christ returns(Dan.12:1); (Rev.20:15).

During Jesus' ministry he sent out 70 disciples to preach the gospel, and they returned rejoicing that the devils were subject to them.  But note Jesus' reply thus: "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not...but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven"(Luke 10:20).  That is , their names are written in book of life, and their salvation is assured.  Also, the Chosen Vessel, stated that certain women names are in the book of life(Phil.4:3).

Now Jesus is due to return before 2054, and by the time he comes most of the men who betrayed God's children for the sake of money, by failing to speak out against Tkach's spiritual poison will be long dead.  But can they go to the grave assured that their names are in the book of life?  On their death bed, can they echo the words of the Chosen Vessel, when he says: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing"(2Tim.4:6-8).

Have the hirelings "fought a good fight?"  My pastor, Peter Shenton, lamented that he only got £15,000 redundancy pay after 22 years in the ministry, and when I asked the local elder, Ian Martin, why he wasn't telling the congregation he disagreed with Tkach's doctrinal changes?  He replied, and I quote him verbatim:  "In this situation, every man for himself."  I shudder to think of the consequences of that reply.

However, as misery loves company, both Peter and Ian may obtain the delusional comfort to know that they are not the only ones  that are guilty of treachery, by failing to speak out against Tkach's spiritual poison.  For Les McCullough, Francis Bergin and Barry Bourne all visited the Birmingham, England, congregation in 1995, and delivered what could only be described as political sermons, designed to protect them from the wrath of Tkach senior.  But after the diatribes, they called sermons, were delivered, I asked both Francis Bergin and Barry Bourne, what was their attitude to the doctrinal changes?  Francis said, and I quote him verbatim, "At the moment, the situation is very difficult."  What on earth does that mean?  He may as well had said, "Tkach has a gun to my head, and I am not prepared to die for anyone."  

As for Barry Bourne, I hesitate to say what type of person he really was, as his wife with whom I shared many wonderful moments, is a kind, caring, loving, gentle woman: and though time has soften her grief, she might still be hurt by my comments.  Suffice to say, he replied, "People haven't stop to think."  Can you believe it?  When John was inspired to write: "Hereby perceive we the love of God because he laid down his live for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren"(1John3:16).  The term "ought" denotes duty and responsibility.  It is not optional!

All that I need to say about Les McCullough is that he was never ever able to keep a promise.  He accepted $60,000 severance pay on conditions that he didn't join UCG.  He banked the cheque, and when it cleared, he joined UCG. 

I wrote all of the above laughing.  Not because it is funny, but it was with that divine laughter, that laughs at the destruction of wicked(Pro.1:24-26); (Job 22:19); (Ps.52:6).
 
Have the hirelings "kept the faith?"  Sadly, most of the hirelings have no idea what is the faith.  And how can they received a "crown of righteousness,"  when their have lived lives of dishonesty, duplicity and deceit?  And what about loving Jesus' appearing?

Also, the rise of the beast power is just on the horizon, and John the Apostle was inspired to write: "All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world"(Rev.13:8).

The books are opened

In addition, the prophet Daniel had a vision, which cover the period from the Babylonian empire to the return of Christ.  The narrative runs: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and Ancient of days did sit.."  The phrase, Ancient of days, refers to Jesus who sat on his throne of judgment.  The narrative continues, "thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened"(Dan.7:9-10).  This is describing Jesus' coming with his mighty angels to judge the living and the dead.  

This same event was recorded by the Apostle John thus: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life"(Rev.20:12).

The first book is the bible, for that is the book God gave to humanity to teach them how to love Him, and their neighbours as themselves.  That book has been  rejected by humanity, who prefer to live lives of mutual deception.  These names will not be found in the book of life, so they will be cast into the lake of fire(Rev.20:15).

After the final judgment Jesus will established his eternal kingdom, and John was inspired to write with emphasis, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatsoever works abominations, or makes a lie:"   That rules out all of the hireling ministers, that repeatedly lied to the brethren, either by commission or omission.  "but they that are written in the Lamb's book of life"(Rev.21:27).  And the Lamb's book was written before the foundation of the world, and only the Vessels of Mercy names are in it.  They were predestined to be called, called to be justified, and justified to be glorified(Rom.8:30). 

The proof reader of my blog has deserted me, but I wish her no harm.
To be continued. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Another Astonishing Heresy, Part 2, Man has Free Will?

Despite the idiocy of Joe junior, who foolishly called Mr Herbert W Armstrong a charlatan and a false prophet, it is clear to the converted mind that Mr Armstrong was a true servant of God.  But the insanity of Joe junior blinds him to logic.  If Mr Armstrong was a charlatan and a false prophet, then logic leads us to conclude that Joe junior is not a Christian or a minister of Christ.  For God has never called anyone to follow or be ordained by a false prophet.  So we must logically conclude that Joe junior's calling, baptism and ordination, under the dispensation of Mr Armstrong was not of God.  Yet, while slandering God's servant, Joe maintains that his ordination is valid.  If that is not an acute form of irrational insanity, then I must be mad!  And therein lies the judgment of Solomon!

Also, Joe is happy to accept the assets that God's servant left for the benefit of the members of the church, which it is reported he sold for $109 million dollars. Why would a true Christian accept money and property from a charlatan and a false prophet?

However, because Mr Armstrong presided over the Laodicean era of the church, with its emphasis on materialism, it was prophesied that he would lack understanding of many doctrines.  One of the many doctrines he failed to understand is the doctrine of Free Will.  So he quoted Deut.30:19, and extrapolated from that text, that all men have free will.  But the opportunity to chose life and death, blessing and cursing was not given to all nations.  It was exclusively given to the people of Israel.  And even they, without the grace of God, were unable to chose life.

Now if we turn to what the bible actually teaches, instead of the misunderstandings, we learn that after Eve was deceived thus: "Adam was not deceived, but the women being deceived, was in the transgression"(1Tim.2:14): and she in turn deceived her husband, God fulfilled his warning, which was: "for in the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die"(Gen.2:17).  So even though Adam live for 930 years, that very day he spiritually died(Eph.2:1), as he was separated from communication with God, and cast out of the garden of Eden, which was the family home.

So Adam and Eve sin was a corruption of the root, from which humanity sprung, carrying the same diseases of disobedience and rebellion, "For as in Adam all die...(1 Cor.15:22); (Rom.5:17).  From that original sin until the coming of Christ, all humanity, including the children of Israel, were in bondage to sin, and therefore slaves of the devil.  Humanity, therefore, were not free to chose between good and evil.  The choice was between the degree of evil!

However, when God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus(Luke1:26-31), and to Joseph to reassure him that his wife was an honorable women, he told him:  "He shall save his people from their sins"(Matt.1:21).  Of course, the Jews thought that the Messiah was coming to save them from the Romans.  But our real enemy is the devil, who make us slaves of sin.

After Jesus' baptism and forty days of fasting being tempted by the devil, he returned to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.  He then went into the synagogue and proclaimed the fulfillment of a prophecy from the book of Isaiah thus: "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives...(Luke 4:18).

If man is a "free moral agent," as was proclaimed in WCG, who were the captives to whom Christ was sent to preach deliverance?  And later in Jesus ministry, he preached:  "If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed: And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"(John 8:31-32).  That text clearly teaches that unless a man is a Christian, that is, a disciple of Jesus, he is not free from the bondage of sin and lies of the devil, to do the will of God.  And the Chosen Vessel exhorted the Galatians churches to: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage"(Gal.5:1).

Sadly, many former members of WCG have departed from the wholesome teachings of Christ, and have been "entangled again with the yoke of bondage."  This is especially truth of the hirelings, who are motivated by money and the delusion of power.


****

By the way, in Mr Armstrong's booklet, The Middle East in Prophecy, he described the angel Gabriel as an Arch angel, yet nowhere in the bible is Gabriel called an Arch angel.  The only Arch angel mentioned in the bible is Michael.  Yet, none of the hireling ministers noticed the error to bring it to Mr Armstrong's attention.  Also, in the same booklet, Mr Armstrong stated that the abomination that make desolate, as mentioned in the book of Daniel, was fulfilled by the actions of Antiochus  Epiphanes.  Yet, in Matt. 24:15, Jesus stated that the prophecy had not yet been fulfilled.

(And believe me, these errors, as serious as they are, are minor in comparison to some of the major errors and decisions that led God to spew the church out his mouth.)
  
To be continued, as those who often asked me to go a mile with them demand by attention 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Another Astonishing Heresy

To continue the theme of heresy, that was endemic in The Worldwide Church of God: it was believed and subtly proclaimed, but sometimes openly promulgated, especially by Arthur Suckling, that God chose Abraham because of his obedience to God's instructions.  The text that was often cited by those who thought that God was an Englishman, or in some cases, even an American was Genesis chapter 12:1-4, with special emphasis on verse four thus: "So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken on to him"(Gen.12:4).  Other texts that were quoted in support of Abraham's justification by works or obedience are, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him...(Gen.18:19).  And when Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son Isaac, the narrative runs thus: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son..."(Gen.22:3).  So these texts, in particular, were cited to support what is called in modern language, racism, but what the bible calls, "respect of persons"(Rom.2:11), and to foolishly proclaimed that Abraham was chosen by God because of his obedience.

Of course, the subtext of the teaching of this heresy was, that the Gentile members of the church were descendants of tribes of disobedient, rebellious people, who hated God.  But can now count themselves "lucky" to be members of God's church.  But they still cannot be trusted to be obedient to the teaching of the bible.  So they have to be constantly watched, in case they bring the church into disrepute.  But, the hireling ministry, who claimed to have been descended from Abraham, were very successful in bringing the church into disrepute, because the watchman fell asleep.

However, the Great Apostle, loving called by his Lord and Master, A Chosen Vessel, in explaining the doctrine of grace posits this question: "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found?"  Firstly, we need to unravelled this knotty question, and rewrite it in clearer English.  The interrogative phrase, "what shall we say," is asking, what conclusion should we come to about the calling of Abraham?  Was he justified by works or by faith?  And the Chosen Vessel answered the question he posited thus: "For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God"(Rom.4:2).

That inspired text has been in the bible for nearly two thousand years, according to the Jewish calendar.  Yet, Arthur Suckling, a man of unstable character, a cabal of hirelings and Dr. Meredith, who likes to boast that he taught the Epistle of Paul at Ambassador College for 25 years, never read or understood it.  That is astonishing!  On second thoughts, perhaps it isn't that astonishing!

Anyway, after the Chosen Vessel went on to explain that God prophesied through David, that his elect will be justified by faith through grace, he prefaced his question thus: "For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness"(Rom.4:9).  Then he posits the question: "How was it then reckoned?"  And in the process of logical deduction, he asked: "when he was in circumcision, or uncircumcision?"  And the answer is: "Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision"(Rom.4:10).  What does it all mean? Perhaps we ought to ask Dr. Meredith, who taught the Epistle of Paul for 25 years at Ambassador College?

Firstly, however, let me deal with uncircumcision, which by nature is how every boy child in born.  So Abraham was uncircumcised, therefore, he was a Gentile: because that is the way he was born. Which means that Abraham was a sinner, like everyone else, in need of God's mercy.  But uncircumcision under the old covenant was a symbol of sin, as it goes back to the rebellion in the garden of Eden, where man lost control of his sexuality, and nakedness became shameful.  A subject that was never understood in WCG.

So under the old covenant, circumcision was a substitute for spiritual baptism, which came into effect, under the new covenant. So today, when God calls and redeems his elect, they go through the process of spiritual circumcision, not the cutting away of the foreskin, but the removal of the whole body of sin thus: "In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ"(Col.2:11); Rom.2:25-29), with special emphasis on verse 29.

So when Abraham was called and granted faith to believe in God, he was then circumcised to be transformed from being a Gentile to an Israelite, that is, to a man of God.  Today, the same is true of Gentiles.

NB. to be contined