Present Truth Articles Online
Unto the church which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:1) When you receive this paper my family and I will be in the western part of the United States holding meetings, as explained on page 12 of last months issue. At the same time, Pastor Allen Stump of Smyrna Gospel Ministries and Pastor David Clayton of Restoration Ministries in Jamaica will be holding meetings in several countries of Europeduring the last part of July and most of August. Please pray that their trip will be a blessing to many while they are there sharing the good news about Gods love in giving His Son to die for our sins.
In this Issue
by David Clayton
by Lynnford Beachy
by Alonzo T. Jones
by David Clayton
And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
When Jesus spoke these words, the Jews replied immediately: We be Abrahams seed, and were never in bondage to any man. (John 8:33) These were strange words coming from the Jews. How could they say such a thing? For four hundred and thirty years they had been slaves in Egypt, for seventy years they had been captives in Babylon, and at that very moment they were under the dominion of the kingdom of Rome. So why did the Jews make such a boastful and untrue statement?
The answer is to be found in their words, We be Abrahams seed. In these words we find the very foundation of the Jewish blindness. God had promised to bless Abraham and his seed forever, and the Jews were absolutely convinced that because of this promise they would be a sacred people, special and peculiar to God forever. They did not realize that this would only be true if they remained faithful to God and were obedient to His Word. They felt that they would never, ever, under any circumstances, be cast off or rejected by God, no matter how disobedient and unfaithful they were. So blinded were they by this false idea, that it led them to even deny the fact that they were in bondage at that very moment.
Therefore, the words of Jesus, Ye shall know the truth, annoyed the Jews. Here He was, suggesting that they did not know the truth, yet they were Abrahams seed! They believed they were the chosen people of God, belonging to the true church, and they could prove it. They could trace the history of their nation in an unbroken line, right back to Abraham who had been the friend of God. God Himself had given them many, many, promises that they misinterpreted to mean that He would never cast them off. (See Jeremiah 31:35-37.) He had even delivered to them, by His own mouth and by His own hand, His sacred laws. At that very moment, while Jesus was speaking to them, the Jews who heard these words were standing in the great temple, raised up by them to the honor and glory of God. If ever there was a people who had the truth, it was the Jews, and yet, here was Jesus suggesting that they did not know the truth, and that they were in bondage. The very suggestion filled them with anger.
But did the Jews really know the truth? What is the truth? Is it a set of carefully guarded doctrines? Is it the knowledge of Gods ceremonies and laws? Is it something which can be locked up within the walls of a certain church? In a general sense, when we talk about truth, we mean that which is not false. We mean that which tells us the reality about things. However, Jesus was talking about truth in a particular context. He was speaking about that truth which will enable us to achieve the whole goal and purpose of Gods plan for our lives; that truth which will enable us to become fully what God wants us to be. In the context of Christs discussion what, in fact, is the truth?
Well, according to Jesus, truth sets men free. Free from what? Jesus went on to say, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:34, 36)
Gods truth sets men free from sin! No matter what theories we believe, no matter what religious group we belong to, as long as we continue to commit sin it means that we do not know Gods truth. To know Gods truth is more than to have an intellectual knowledge of truth. It is an experience that we have with the truth that sets us free from sin. Whoever commits sin is in bondage. He does not know the truth! For hundreds of years the Jews had faithfully carried out their religious services; they had studied the laws and the sacred writings; they had jealously guarded against those who tried to change their faith but, despite all this, they did not know the truth, as demonstrated by the fact that they had not been set free from sin! They had never come to know the truth because Gods truth is not found in mere doctrine; truth is a person and that person is Jesus Christ. To know the truth is to have an intimate relationship and interaction with Jesus Christ, so fully that He lives His righteous life within us. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. (Galatians 2:20)
Jesus is the Truth
Jesus saith unto [Thomas], I am the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
The Jewish religion was not the truth, and it had never been the truth. Jesus had only intended that it should be a means by which they could come to know Him, because He, and He alone, is the truth. The Jews had missed the mark completely. They had come to believe that the system itself was truth, therefore they believed that by being a part of the system they had the truth! They naturally came to the place where they worshiped the system and they considered it the greatest heresy for somebody to speak against the system as Jesus did.
This, then, was the problem that the Jews had. They were so secure with what they had, so sure that they had the truth, that they saw no need of anything else. In their eyes, they were rich, and increased with goods, and [had] need of nothing. (Revelation 3:17) The system had blinded their eyes and, therefore, they could not see Jesus. The choice that faced them was: Jesus or the system? They could not be loyal to both because the system had taken the place of God. In order to take His rightful place in the hearts of people, it was necessary for Jesus to first destroy the reverence which they had for the church. But the leaders of the Jews recognized what Jesus was doing and so, to save the church, they crucified Jesus. In their zeal to preserve the truth, they murdered the Truth! (See John 11:49, 50)
Is it any different today?
Jesus is still the Truth. No system, no organization, no church can set men free. Yet, the great majority of those who claim to be Christians have diligently followed in the footsteps of the Jews. They worship their churches. They regard these systems as the sources of light and truth and they fiercely attack those who dare to criticize, or those who have truly found the truth.
But what is your hope of salvation? Is it the fact that you were baptized into a certain church? Is it because you have accepted the fundamental beliefs of an organization? Is it because you carefully observe the commandments as taught by your church? This is the position of millions of people today. They were made to believe that when they joined their church they were saved. They were told, Our church has the truth. We are the true church. And yet, although these people claim to know and to have the truth, they tell a lie because they are not free from sin!
Can your church take away your sins? Was it a set of doctrines that hung, bleeding on the cross for you? Is it a denomination that loves you with a love, stronger than death? No! It was Jesus, a living, thinking, feeling person. Therefore, the reality of Christianity is to know Jesus; no more, no less. You owe no loyalty to any human organization; do not follow them. But you owe your all to Jesus. Follow Him.
Over and over, God has sent holy men to the churches with messages to turn the eyes of the people to Jesus, and every time Jesus is lifted up, these modern-day towers of Babel (mans systems) are torn down. So the religious systems have never allowed, and will never allow, Jesus to be the ruler of the people. They have crucified Him again and again, as they have cast out, slandered and destroyed His servants.
Every time men have come to know Jesus, there has been a breaking away from the religious systems, as happened at Pentecost and during the Protestant Reformation. Each time there was also great persecution of the true Christians, by the religious organizations, as the leaders saw that the systems which they worshiped were in danger of falling.
Today, it is no different. When men come to know Jesus, there will be freedom and they will find the power to overcome weakness, temptation and sin. Without a blind loyalty to a denomination or religious group, people will understand the Word of God without prejudice or bias, and they will have the ability to be free from falsehood.
But the churches will unite to persecute and destroy those who dare to be differentwho dare to worship in a different way. Once again, as in the past, the established churches will view the work of Christ as a threat; as something which is dangerous, and they will rise up to persecute and to crush those who are determined to follow Christ alone, in the way of truth. Jesus testified that this is how the last great persecution will come against Gods true people. (See John 16:2.)
Friend, are you still enslaved or have you been set free? Your church cannot set you free; your doctrines cannot set you free. In fact, these may be the greatest obstacles to your freedom. There is one way, and only one way to salvation:
Ye shall know the Truth [Jesus] and the Truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
This is life eternal; that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
Do you believe that this is an unimportant matter? Gods Word tells us that in the last days people would not endure sound doctrine, but that they would find teachers for themselves who have itching ears, and they would turn their ears away from the truth and would believe fables. (2 Timothy 4:3, 4) Gods sure Word is, that because they did not love the Truth He would leave them to receive strong delusion that they should believe a lie, and the end result is that they all might be damned who believed not the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) My friend, the churches are full of false teachers; men who are only in the ministry to make a livingpeople who are seeking profit, who are paid to do their job. These men must teach what they are told to teach. They dare not teach the Bible as it reads, or it would cost them their jobs. You know in your heart that this is the truth. The bottom line, my friend, is that in most religions it is a matter of money. Can you afford to sacrifice your soul for another mans profit? Can you afford to lose eternal life because another man was securing his paycheck or his prestige, power and pride?
My friend, God wants you to be free. He is speaking to you now, through this paper. The whole world is in bondage, but do you want to be free? Do you wish to escape the great delusion which has blinded the world? Then please follow Christ and turn away from man-made systems, which only exist to glorify themselves. Turn to the Lord with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13) Make it the business of your life to spend much time in talking with God alone. Find a quiet place where you can reason with Him often. Open your whole life to Him and let Him take control. Develop the habit of communing with Him wherever you are and whatever the situation you may be in. Take the Bible as your only source of instruction. Feed upon it continually and ask the Lord to wash your mind clean from the empty traditions of men and their denominations.
My friend, this is life. This is your life. Eternity is too important for you to treat it lightly. May God set us free from mens systems that we may be able to find the real life and truth of God in Jesus Christ.
(This article was taken from a tract, written by David Clayton entitled, The Truth. This tract is available online at www.presenttruth.info. You may request printed copies by contacting David Clayton at PO Box 23, Knockpatrick, Manchester, Jamaica, West Indies. You can e-mail him at: email@example.com. You can call him at (876) 904-7392. Editor)
Something for the Young at Heart
This month we are continuing a series of crossword Bible studies that are based on the These Last Days Bible Lessons. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sectionsAcross or Down is indicated at the end of each line.
The Signs of the Times
Discerning the ____ of the times is more important than foretelling the weather. Matthew 16:2, 321 Down
Regarding discerning the signs of the times Jesus said, take heed that no man ____ you. Matthew 24:3, 4 2 Down
In Christs discourse regarding the signs of the times He foretold the destruction of ____. Luke 21:204 Down
Jesus said that when the city was compassed about with ____ then it would soon be destroyed. Luke 21:20 6 Across
Note: In October, A.D. 66, Cestius besieged Jerusalem. The Christians in the city recognized this as the sign given by Christ. When the Romans suddenly withdrew, the Christians fled, not one losing his life. Soon Roman armies led by Titus returned and, in A.D. 70, the city was destroyed. More than a million Jews perished.
After the city was destroyed great ____ would follow. Matthew 24:2118 Across
Note: For the next nearly 250 years the church suffered intense persecution from the Roman government. Christians were given to wild beasts, or smeared with pitch and lashed to poles to serve as torches for the arena. Three million were martyred for their faith in Christ. Then Constantine, realizing that Christianity could not be stamped out, staged a political conversion, and proclaimed Christianity (well mingled with paganism) to be the official religion of the empire. But the long centuries of enforced religion that followed produced even more severe religious intolerance, which took the lives of more than 50 million people. Not until after the opening up of the American continent were Christians finally permitted full liberty of conscience without threat of persecution.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun would be ____. Matthew 24:2917 Down
Note: The United States had barely been born when, on May 19, 1780, it witnessed what has been remembered in history as the great Dark Day. According to the Boston Gazette, there was the appearance of midnight at noonday. The darkness began around 10 a.m. Candles were lighted; animals thought it was night. The Connecticut Historical Collections describes the tension in the state legislature where, a very general opinion prevailed, that the day of judgment was at hand. The poet John Greenleaf Whittier called it a horror of great darkness.
The moon would not give ____. Matthew 24:293 Down
Note: The Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, referring to the Dark Day, contains this record: The darkness of the following evening was probably as gross as ever has been observed. . . . If every luminous body in the universe had been shrouded in impenetrable shades, or struck out of existence, the darkness could not have been more complete. A sheet of white paper held within a few inches of the eyes was equally invisible with the blackest velvet. This gross darkness held till about one oclock, although the moon had fulled but the day before.
The stars would ____ from heaven. Matthew 24:29 14 Across
Note: On November 13, 1833, from 2 a.m. until daylight, the sky all over North America was aflame with meteors. One observer remarked, It seemed as if the whole starry heavens had congregated at one point near the zenith, and were simultaneously shooting forth, with the velocity of lightning, to every part of the horizon; and yet they were not exhausted. Astronomer W. J. Fisher, in The Telescope, called it the most magnificent meteor shower on record.
According to Revelation, a great ____ would occur just before the signs in the sun, moon, and stars. Revelation 6:12, 137 Across
Note: One of the most extensively-felt earthquakes ever recorded occurred November 1, 1755. Extending over an area of at least four million square miles, it covered the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. Seventy thousand people were killed. In Lisbon, Portugal, violent shaking lasted for at least six minutes, destroying most of the city. The sea rose fifty feet above its ordinary level. Encyclopaedia Britannica called it the most famous of all earthquakes. G. A. Eiby, in About Earthquakes, referred to it as the greatest earthquake on record.
Jesus said that after these signs there would be ____ of nations. Luke 21:2520 Across
Because of the worlds condition mens ____ would fail them for fear. Luke 21:2612 Down
Scoffers will say that the Lords coming is far off because all things ____ as they always have. 2 Peter 3:3, 4 10 Across
The ____ of rich men will become corrupt and a curse to them. James 5:1-316 Down
Sudden destruction will hit the earth when men cry ____ and safety. 1 Thessalonians 5:322 Across
Among other things, in the last days men shall be lovers of ____ more than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:2-4 13 Across
In the last days many people in the church would only have a ____ of godliness. 2 Timothy 3:58 Down
The last days will be as it was in the days of ____. Luke 17:2611 Down
In the days of Noah (Noe) the thoughts of men were ____ continually. Genesis 6:515 Down
In the last days ____ will be increased and men will travel quickly. Daniel 12:49 Down
Jesus said that when we see these signs we would know that the kingdom of God is ____. Luke 21:3119 Down
The generation that sees these signs will not ____ until all is fulfilled. Luke 21:3223 Across
If our hearts are filled with the ____ of this life, we will be unprepared for the end. Luke 21:345 Down
To be prepared, we must ____ and pray. Luke 21:36 1 Down
Lessons on Faith (Part 10)
by Alonzo T. Jones
Faith is complete dependence upon the word of God only, for the accomplishment of what that word says.
This being so, it must never for a moment be forgotten that where there is no word of God, there cannot be any faith.
This is shown also in the truth that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) Since faith thus comes indeed by the very word of God itself, it is perfectly plain that where there is no word of God, there can be no faith.
This is beautifully illustrated by an instance in the life of David, because David had it in his heart to build a house unto the Lord, the Lord spoke to him by the prophet Nathan, saying, The Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.
Then David prayed and said, Now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified forever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel, and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
For thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant; therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue forever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed forever. (2 Samuel 7:11-29)
His prayer was altogether of faith, because it was altogether of the word of God: the word of God was the cause of it; the word of God was the basis of it; and the word of God was all the hope of David that the prayer would ever be answered.
He asked according to the will of God, because the will of God was expressed in the word of God. Having asked according to the plainly stated will of God, David knew that his prayer was heard. And knowing that his prayer was heard, David knew that he had the petition which he desired of him. (1 John 5:14) Therefore he said, So let it be. And therefore also the answer to that prayer was, and is, and forevermore shall be, sure unto David.
And this was written for our learning: that we might know how to pray in faith and how in prayer to cultivate faith. Therefore, Go and do thou likewise. Because the knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired.
(This article was first printed in the February 21, 1899 issue of The Review and Herald. It is also found on pages 34-36 of the book Lessons on Faith by A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. Editor)
Questions and Answers
by Lynnford Beachy
Question: When will Jesus come back?
Does the Bible tell us exactly when Jesus will come again? Who knows when Jesus will come again?
Jesus said that His Father is the only person who knows when Jesus will come back. He said, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:36 combined with Mark 13:32)
No, the Bible does not tell us exactly when Jesus will come again, but it does tell us many of the events that will transpire just before Christ returns. Here are a few:
Note: There will be no secret rapture that will rescue Gods people out of the world before the tribulation. Gods people will go through it, and He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
Note: The mark of the beast crisis will involve worship, and therefore must involve the first four of the ten commandments. This includes the true worship of the Father alone as the only true God, and the keeping holy of the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday). Only those who worship God exactly as outlined in the first four commandments will receive the seal of God rather than the mark of the beast. (See John 4:23, 24; 17:3; Revelation 14:6, 7; and Exodus 20:1-11.)
Note: To ensure that Gods elect people will not be deceived by this impersonation of Christ, Jesus said, If they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:26, 27) There will be no secret rapture, every eye shall see Him. (Revelation 1:7)
Many of these signs have already come to pass, but some of them have not. By studying the Bible and looking at the condition of the world today, we can be sure that Christ will come soon, but He cannot come tomorrow, for several things must transpire before He comes. The mark of the beast laws must be enacted and enforced by all the nations of the world. (For a detailed study into the mark of the beast crisis, please request the booklet entitled, A Time to Choose, or read the March and April 2003 issues of Present Truth, available by request, or online at www.presenttruth.info.)
I hope this helps to answer your question.
Question: Is 1 John 5:7 authentic?
Recently someone said that 1 John 5:7 is authentic because it appears in the Textus Receptus. Could you please comment.
You are right that it appears in the Textus Receptus, however, it did not appear there until the sixteenth century, even though the majority of texts which are often referred to as the Textus Receptus were in existence long before that time. The story of how 1 John 5:7 found its way into the Textus Receptus is very interesting.
One Bible commentary says, Erasmus did not have it in his first edition, but rashly offered to insert it if a single Greek Manuscript had it and [Manuscript #] 34 was produced with the insertion, as if made to order Some Latin scribe caught up Cyprians exegesis and wrote it on the margin of his text, and so it got into the Vulgate and finally into the Textus Receptus by the [irresponsibility] of Erasmus. (Robertsons New Testament Word Pictures commentary on 1 John 5:7)
Even if this text were considered to be valid, it does not prove a Trinity. For an explanation of this text, please read the Questions and Answers Section of the December 2002 issue of Present Truth, available by request or online at www.presenttruth.info.
Question: Into whose name should a Christian be baptized?
Matthew 28:19 says, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. I now still baptize in three of them. What is your idea on this? If someone wants to be born again, how must we baptize him?
Every time the apostles baptized in water after they heard the command of Jesus, they did so in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Acts 2:38; 8:6; 10:48; and 19:5.)
If we insist that a person must baptize in three names, then we must say that the apostles were wrong to baptize the way they did. Either we are wrong to insist on three names, or they were wrong to baptize in only one name.
Christs words were not a formula to recite at baptism but a command to teach, or immerse in the truth, about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all of which are vital in a Christians experience.
For further explanation of Matthew 28:19, please read the Questions and Answers section of the April and July 2002 issues of Present Truth, available by request or online at www.presenttruth.info.
Question: Why are there only 12 hours in a Jewish day?
Jesus said that there are twelve hours in a day but it is not like that in this our time for we have twenty-four hours and I want to know why it is so.
To the Jews, there were twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of night, thus making twenty-four hours total. During the winter months, when the time of daylight was less than night, their daytime hours were shorter to compensate. The Jews divided the day from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts. (Barnes New Testament Notes on John 11:9)
I hope this answers your question.
Question: Do you have two Gods?
Since both the Father and Jesus are called God in Scripture several times, how do you answer from the Scripture if someone says: Well then, you have two Gods?
This is an excellent question, and filled with far reaching implications.
In the Bible, the word god has several different meanings. In a very limited sense, men are called gods. Both the Greek word theos and the Hebrew word elohim, which are most often translated god are used in reference to men. (See Exodus 7:1; Psalm 82:6; John 10:34) When the word god is used in that sense, then there are hundreds and thousands of gods.
In a less limited sense, angels are called gods. David wrote about man, For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels [elohim]. (Psalms 8:5) The word angels in this verse comes from the Hebrew word elohim. The way elohim is used here it denotes a type of being that is higher than man but, it is still used in a limited sense, and with this definition there would still be many gods.
The Bible says, To us there is but one God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:6) So, to us Christians, there is only one God, the Father. If Jesus was exactly like the Father in every respect, then we would have two Gods, but He is not. Let me explain. In reference to Christ, the word god is used in a much less limited sense, to denote His nature as being on the same level as His Fathersomething that cannot be said about any other being in the universe. The Bible says that Christ was in the form of God. (Philippians 2:6)
But even when the word god is used of Christ, it is used in a limited sense, because Christ has a God who is the head of Christ, above all, and greater than He. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:6; and John 14:28) When the word god is used in its absolute and unlimited sense, there is only one person to whom it can apply, and that is God, the Father, alone. Jesus said that His Father is the only true God. (John 17:3) Paul said, there is none other God but one God, the Father. (1 Corinthians 8:4, 6) Of the 1,354 times the word god is used in the New Testament, more than 99% of the time it refers exclusively to God, the Father, while it only applies to His Son four times. (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:16)
So, to clarify, there are many gods when the word god is used in a limited sense, to include men and angels. When the word god is used as an adjective to describe the nature of God, as in John 1:1, then there are only two divine beings, God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. The Son of God is completely divine by nature because His Father is divine, just as I am completely human, because my parents are human.
When the word God is used in its absolute sense, to denote the most high God, the sovereign of the universe, or the only true God, then there is only one God; God, the Father, beside which there is no god.
I hope this helps to answer your question.
Due to deaths in our family George McDaniel, my father-in-law, was not able to write a health article this month. Lord willing, he will have one ready for next month. Editor
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