- Crucial Issues for Today: Building and Gathering the Flock or Scattering the Sheep
Excerpt from article "Acts 22"
In preparing for this Bible Study and in anticipating it from Acts 21, I was quite assured that I would go through the entire grand message delivered by that mighty apostle, Paul, to the enraged mob of „religious‟ people, fuming and vengeful, utterly convinced of his being heretical and their righteous indignation, as they agitatedly stood in the plaza area of the Temple. Since they were so avowedly faithful to their religion, their Temple (cf. Jer 7:4,14; Mt 24:2), and their Jerusalem, they knew that Paul, who was a threat to their cherished beliefs, was a dangerous man rampaging against God‟s Truth and God‟s Religion! He had to be gotten rid of, this enemy of Truth!
- Paul and the Sanhedrin
Excerpt from article "Acts 23"
Just how important are the clashes with Christ, His followers and the Sanhedrin? What is its role and importance in the scheme of things in the NT? The Mishnah [oral traditions written down by Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi, c. 200 BC calls this assembly of 71 [presided over by the High Priest] the Great Sanhedrin, the Great Law Court, the Sanhedrin of 71]. About 70 BC Pharisees were admitted who were the lay theologians, scribes, lawyers, whereas the Sadducees were the priests and clergy (See The Jews from Alexander to Herod by D.S. Russell; OUP, 1967; pp 116-8; The New Testament Environment by Eduard Lohse, Abingdon, 1976; pp 74-83; New Testament History by F.F. Bruce; Doubleday, 1980; pp 69-81).
- Paul in Caesarea: Courage to Exploit Opportunities for the Gospel
Excerpt from article "Acts 24"
Though Acts 22-23 reveals the incoherence of the venomous anger of religious leaders against the Truth and the Way of life God calls us to, the good that is revealed through the experiences of the apostle Paul is daunting and awesome. We’ll see more evidence of that as we conclude chapters 23 and 24.
Acts 25 & 26
- Paul Before Festus and Agrippa -- the Spiral of Evil
Excerpt from article "Acts 25 & 26"
In this study we see the powerful unfolding of the prophecy of Jesus Christ given to the disciple, Ananias, in Damascus, regarding Paul:
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My Name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.” (Please let us pay very careful attention to what is said here and in all the Scriptures. Paul is chosen. He is to take the Name of Jesus Christ to Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. The further development of God’s Will is astounding!)
- By Ship from Caesarea to Malta Then Rome: A Parable of the Journey of Life
Excerpt from article "Acts 27"
In our previous Bible Study we covered chapters 25 and 26: Paul was brought before Festus, the governor of Judaea residing in the provincial capital, Caesarea, and King Agrippa II, the king of Judaea appointed by Rome. The result of this trial was that in response to Paul’s appeal he was to be tried before Caesar, the Emperor, Nero (54-68AD). This was the third farcical trial: two years before Paul was tried by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, then it was before the previous governor Felix with the kind-hearted accusers and others sent by the innocently scheming Sanhedrin. Now Paul was to be sent by ship to Rome. Prophecy was to be fulfilled. What an amazing journey it proves to be – begun about August of (probably, according to NJB footnotes) 60AD and ending in Rome during February-March of 61AD.
- Faithful and Enduring to the End
Excerpt from article "Acts 28"
Why is there such detail about what seems quite simple, but there is little apparent doctrinal teaching? The three-month stay in Malta takes the first ten verses. Verses 11-16 describe the journey to Rome; vv17-28 account for two meetings with leading Jews in the capital of the Empire, and the last two verses mention that Paul was in Rome for two years preaching the Kingdom of God. What has all this to teach us? As we go through we will re-emphasize the urgent teaching that Christians must live by every word of God — which is far more than what we see in print from the minds and hands of translators of the Bible (Matt 4:4; Lk 4:4; Dt 8:3).
As Balanced as Jesus Christ
Excerpt from article "As Balanced as Jesus Christ"
All of us have our own ideas of what balance means. What is balanced in matters of kindness, gentleness, reasonableness, generosity, humility, rebuke, correction — many will argue about. When is anger ungodly, as opposed to being timely and appropriate? When is happiness discordant? When is criticism fitting? How is the righteousness of Jesus Christ applied in all situations?
Aspects of Christian Judgement
Excerpt from article "Aspects of Christian Judgement"
Many who claim to follow Jesus Christ maintain that since Christ said that He did not come to judge the world but rather to save it, Christians today are similarly not empowered to make judgements of any great magnitude. Is this the biblical teaching? What sort of judgements do Christians make and what criteria are used in making them?
Aspects of God’s Foreknowledge
Excerpt from article "Aspects of God’s Foreknowledge"
The omniscience of God – His wisdom, knowledge and foreknowledge – is infinite. It is unsearchable, knowing no boundaries (Isa 40:28; Ps 147:5), and is not subject to man’s feeble attempts to define and/or to delimit it. This is the testimony of Scripture, and we see scattered through His Word glimpses of the extent of God’s ability to perfectly foresee the destiny of mankind. I would like to focus on a few more of these examples in this message and to stress once again the pervasiveness and the totality of the foreknowledge of God of even the decisions destined to be made by human beings. For us, as God’s people, this should be particularly encouraging.
Atonement and Azazel
- What Do These Mean?
Excerpt from article "Atonement and Azazel"
It is very daunting to attempt to give clear and full exposition to the most symbolically difficult and controversial of days in the biblical calendar. Renowned scholars are divided in their explanations. Theologians are divided in doctrinal interpretation of certain characteristics of the Day of Atonement. Christians observant of Yom Kippur, the day described in Lev 23:26-32, disagree, and it seems increasingly so, as to what the two goats that are described in Lev 16 represent. Its 34 verses give the longest ceremonial description pertaining to any of the sacred days of the calendar. The daily offering of bulls during the Feast of Tabernacles (Num 29:12-39) is probably the next longest ceremonial sacrifice given for any of the regular annual festivals.
Confidence in God
- Certainty about Christian Life
Excerpt from article "Confidence in God"
How can each of us know that we are indeed called and chosen? As I was doing this study my mind was extraordinarily busy grappling with and defining the question: How can each of us know, with practical certainty, that we are called, chosen, and faithful (Rev 17:14)? Can each of us know where we stand in the eyes of God? How can we really have confidence in God‘s calling, in His putting our names in the Book of Life, in His really giving us His Spirit? What is the solid evidence?
Conflicts of Interest
- And the Nature of Love
Excerpt from article "Conflicts of Interest"
I want to look at this interesting and absorbing subject, one that branches off from my last message dealing with deceit and deception—for deceit is indeed often a feature of vested interests which we prefer to be hidden. Can I appear to be noble and selfless, while all the time looking out for my slice of the pie?
Earth and Environment: Part 1
- Introduction and Principles
Excerpt from article "Earth and Environment: Part 1"
What should be the Christian perspective, a perspective that results in good fruits, with respect to immediate and global environmental issues? One of the finest pieces of information I have come across is from the Millennium Institute, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, whose president is Gerald Barney. He was director of the Global 2000 Report in 1980 for US President Jimmy Carter. He wrote the following in an article entitled: Global 2000 Revisited: The Role of Faith Traditions. It is probably deliberate that he chose his words “faith traditions” on the basis of personal belief that the Bible does not answer the hard questions he asks. Nor do more than 20,000 groups, sects, cults, denominations professing christianity seem to offer answers convincing enough to cause large-scale solutions.
This and two subsequent papers will show, from the Scriptures, that mankind will not co-operate on these global issues. In fact the developing international culture precludes viable answers. In consequence the monster-like machinery that is driving the global political/economic/cultural ideologies has apocalyptic end results.
Earth and Environment: Part 2
- Old Testament Prophecies and Principles
Excerpt from article "Earth and Environment: Part 2"
We are responsible for the well-being of the brotherhood of man (Gn 4:9), and must uphold the golden rule (Mt 22:35-40). The enormity of this responsibility will be further developed. We shall see more clearly the relationships between care and respect towards God’s Will and care and respect towards the entire earthly environment, which includes the other environments that encompass our lives: the intellectual, artistic, cultural, religious, economic, technological.
Earth and Environment: Part 3
- Old Testament and New Testament Prophecies
Excerpt from article "Earth and Environment: Part 3"
Scriptures indicate that with the global breakdown of real values (Dan 8:23a) the final attempt at international order (Dan 8:23-5, 7:23-5) will be an incongruous mix of iron and clay (Dan 2:31-3, 40-5) philosophically based on tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gn 2:9,17), a mix of goods and evils that will last but very briefly (Dn 12:4,8-11).
In this discourse I will comment further on OT prophecies showing that NT prophecies are consistent with predictions by OT prophets, who also spoke according to the Holy Spirit(2Pet 1:19-21), which is the power of God (Lk 1:35; 1Cor 2:10-4; 1Pet 1:2-5).
God and Evil
- The Christian Response to Sin
Excerpt from article "God and Evil"
Sin, as we should know, is at the root of all of humanity’s woes. God defines sin and evil with many scriptural references (e.g., 1Jn 3:4; Jn 8:44; Gn 2:9,17; Dt 31:19; Ps 37:27-9; Isa 7:15; Jer 17:9; Mic 3:2-4; Zeph 1:12; Rev 22:18-19). Today’s culture is increasingly unable to cope with the vast problems of evil. The churches are confronted with the same problems and seem to have just as many answers as the politicians attempting solutions.
The purpose of part one of this paper is to examine how God deals with evil through His perfect judgments. Part two argues that as Christians we must have the same perspectives and approach to evil and sin as our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have. This may necessitate changes in our attitudes towards evil and in how we deal with sin within our own lives and in circles of the society in which we live. Our human notions of good and evil, love and hatred, mercy, judgment and punishment may not necessarily be reflective of the mind of God. However, if we claim to be followers of the Way, our standards of righteousness must be in godly harmony with the perfect righteousness of God (Mt 5:48).
- Self-government, Church Government, World Government
Excerpt from article "God’s Government"
What does each of us think the much-used phrase, the Government of God, means? How would each of us describe the Government of God? What are its main biblical characteristics?
This message will show that what is so often called the Government of God is, by God’s standards, the rule of the Gentiles. Furthermore, the personal view each of us has of how we really govern ourselves, behind any facades and masquerades, reflects our view and application of government in our lives, homes, work, etc. The big question remains: What is God’s view of government among His people? Out of the abundance of one’s heart one governs.
Life Is Beautiful
- Or the New Jerusalem Seeing: The City of God
Excerpt from article "Life Is Beautiful"
The Plan of Salvation deals with:  the (Passover) Lamb of God, foreordained before the creation of the universe (1Pet 18-20; 2Tim 1:9; Tit 1:2; Acts 2:22-3; 15:18);  the people of God accepting the Redeemer, and willingly coming out of sin and Egypt (the days of Unleavened Bread);  the saints receiving the Spirit of Truth (Acts 2) and the Spirit of Power to overcome (2Tim 1:7; 1Jn 4:13) (Pentecost);  the saints anticipating the Messiah’s Coming (symbolized by the Day of Trumpets);  a foretaste of Satan’s end (Day of Atonement; Lev 16);  the rule of the Messiah, the Son of God, and His elect on the earth for 1000 years (Feast of Tabernacles). Admittedly, most scholars do not believe that there is to be a 1000 years of rule on earth by Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, we note that in the brief description of the Plan just given there is an incompleteness. So let us consider, in part, for we see through a glass darkly, or more accurately translated: we see in a mirror an enigma (1Cor 13:12).
Satan and History
Excerpt from article "Satan and History"
The Lamb of God was foreordained to be sacrificed at a particular time and place, namely in the first month of the biblical year outside the walls of Jerusalem—and these are contrary to the walls of the New Jerusalem. Those who accept the sacrifice of the only-begotten Son of the Father murdered outside the confines of established religion must then continue by the grace of God to live a Way of life not leavened by sin but by the unleavened Bread of sincerity, truth, and the Life and Power of Jesus Christ. Such saints also seek the Water of Life, the Holy Spirit, promised to all who repent and believe the Gospel of God. Forgiven and led by the Power of God, these saints resist the Devil and zealously pray for the Kingdom of God. The instruction in the Gospel, the warnings and declarations of the Gospel, the promise of the Father to send the Son to harvest the saints and the chaff are all aspects of the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets. Then surely there is also prophecy and parable about Satan in the Festivals?
- And the Hardening of the Heart
Hubert Krause - Oct 31, 1998
Excerpt from article "Spiritual Blindness"
Along with a suspension of our thinking processes, part of the legacy from our past experience in the so-called churches of God have been notions imparted to us of people somehow being less accountable because of some sort of spiritual blindness foisted upon them by God Himself or ideas that have God randomly blinding people to His truth in accordance with His timetable for the salvation of all mankind.
The Banquet of God
- The Wedding Supper of the Lamb
Excerpt from article "The Banquet of God"
Israel as the Bride of Yahweh is a prophetic theme throughout the Bible. Israel of old, put away by Christ for her repeated adulteries, will be restored, through the Church, as His wife. The Scriptures, employing some of the most beautiful imagery, attest to this. For instance, the prophet Hosea shows us how, after God’s judgement of His people in the “wilderness” (v 14), Christ will indeed marry his Church…
Those whom God has called to His Kingdom as part of the Bride of Jesus Christ are also summoned to the great wedding banquet, or supper, which is to follow. Much confusion exists over this royal banquet. When is it? Where is it? Who is in attendance? What should it mean to us? These are some of the questions I would like to address and attempt to answer in this message. A look at some of the ancient Jewish wedding practices and at the nature of feasting at the time of Christ sheds additional insight into this special event prepared for the saints of God.
The Biblical Calendar – Part 1
- Types of Things in Heaven
Excerpt from article "The Biblical Calendar – Part 1"
What is the true calendar described in Scripture and how can we be sure of it? The Western world has entered the year 2000, but more than 3 billion people—Muslims, Hindus, the Chinese and Japanese and others—have different calendars during which they celebrate new year at different times to Western Christianity. Can we know which calendar Jesus Christ observed and celebrated, and was it the same as the one Judaism observes today? This paper, first of a series of three, begins to describe the biblical calendar that God has established. Please carefully and reasonably consider what is presented.
The Biblical Calendar – Part 2
- The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
Excerpt from article "The Biblical Calendar – Part 2"
Has a new millennium begun? The deceived believers gathered at Megiddo, who are convinced that Jesus Christ will return today, will be disappointed, as will many others elsewhere. Arguments about when the new millennium—the year 2000—begins have not been resolved. Nevertheless, the Roman calendar our Western world uses says that today is 1-1-2000. Computers will register today, many still hope, as 01-01-00. In this confusing religious world, arguments about the calendar and its meaning will increase. The purpose of this series of messages is designed to truthfully inform and help resolve major questions.
This second study, the Heavens Declare the Glory of God, (the first was, Types of Things in Heaven), and likewise the third, illustrate that considered views, explanations, discoveries about calendar issues involve cycles of time in the observable universe and on earth. Theological, doctrinal, liturgical, eschatological and prophetic ideas emanate out of understandings and interpretations of calendrical cycles. Religion in the ancient societies of the Middle East (from Egypt to Syria to Iran) was governed by interpreting movements of the sun, moon, stars and constellations. What the Bible says about the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies in their relationship to time, worship, and eschatology (the study of the end of things in this earth and universe) is amazing and wonderful.
The Biblical Calendar – Part 3
- What Is the Biblical Calendar?
Excerpt from article "The Biblical Calendar – Part 3"
All scientists involved in the NASA space programme know that if they make one mistake that defies the laws of physics, chemistry, astronomy or mathematics then they may have a complete disaster in any of their rocket launches. God’s laws governing the thoughts, motives, feelings, words and actions of each human being do not seem to have the same zealous importance to man as do the exhaustive means used to grease and push the wheels of this world’s ways and to exploit and steal, to deceive, control the minds and property of others. Cursed is man who trusts in man, and blessed is each man who trusts in Jesus Christ (Jer 17:5-10). In being acutely mindful of these things we actively use our minds to consider (Dt 31:12; 32:29), to evaluate, to recognize implications, to anticipate eventualities of what we see, perceive, hear, read, understand, and do what is good. Please use these principles as you consider the following. Truth enlightens the heart. Deception avoids answering questions and insists on leading people into more of the darkness of Babylon’s delusions.
The Blood of Christ
Hubert Krause & Orest Solyma
Excerpt from article "The Blood of Christ"
The Day of Atonement is one of the two Holy Days of God during which the blood of Jesus Christ is the subject of special emphasis.
Hubert Krause & Orest Solyma
The Convocation and Assembly of the Saints
Excerpt from article "The Convocation and Assembly of the Saints"
All of us have gathered as a church group, have assembled in the Name of God, and according to the Word of God—so we all believe. Yet I’m still compelled to ask myself and you, and to answer the questions: Why are we here? Why have we gone to the many efforts required to gather together, at this time, and in the Name of the LORD our God? And how does the Almighty God respond to what we—children of the God and Father of Jesus Christ and children of the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Mother of us all, as Scriptures like Gal 4:26-27; Is 54:1-5; Rev 12:1-17 show—are zealously trying to do in sincerity and Truth?
The Immutability of God
- The Omniscience and Foreknowledge of the True God
Hubert Krause & Orest Solyma
Excerpt from article "The Immutability of God"
We may, then, sum up the historical situation by saying, first of all, that traditionally the church has affirmed the divine immutability/ impassibility almost without dissent. … since the turn of the century the traditional doctrine has come under increasing attack‖ (Jewett, ibid., p 400).
This paper proposes answers to these vital questions about the nature of God, the nature of His Son, the purposes of God in His creation by exploring the Scriptures which reveal God‘s views, and the views of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and the beliefs of the saints (Eph 2:20).
Hubert Krause & Orest Solyma
The Lesson of Israel
- And Lessons from Israel
Excerpt from article "The Lesson of Israel"
I wonder how many of us recall the following words, or words of a similar nature, which I am about to quote to you?
“Did anyone ever think to ask why God raised up the ancient people of Israel, denying them Holy Spirit and eternal salvation—except their prophets only?
Why were the Old Testament Israelites called God’s “chosen people”—and still denied the Holy Spirit to beget them into eternal life?
[God] was going to demonstrate to [the world] that the mind of man, with its one spirit and without the addition of God’s Holy Spirit, could not have spiritual discernment, could not solve human problems, could not cure the evils that were besetting humanity. The nation Israel would be His “guinea pig” to demonstrate that fact.
God let several generations of ancient Israel and Judah prove by hundreds of years of human experience that the best of humanity, without God’s Holy Spirit, cannot solve human problems and evils!
That lesson proved, God has given those in His Church the Holy Spirit!”
(Taken from an article by Herbert W. Armstrong in the May 1994 “Good News” magazine; pg. 1,24,25)
I think that most of us would agree that—and we shall briefly re-examine how—the Church today has extended to it the promises made to Israel of old (Acts 26:6-7; Ro 1:1-3), and also that the Scriptures point out to us that we have lessons to learn from the history of ancient Israel. For us at this time of Unleavened Bread, the Exodus and Israel’s wilderness experience are particularly pertinent: they left Egypt, as we leave this world of sin, and dwelt forty years in the wilderness, picturing the completion of our own exodus from sin and of our period of trial as Christians in this age.
However, do we concur with what was quoted above? Are the points made valid? If they are not, or are only partly so, and our understanding of the purpose of God in raising up ancient Israel has been distorted, then obviously also will have been the true nature of the lessons we are supposed to learn from their example. So I would like in this message to attempt to begin to set the record straight, to consider the purpose and the lesson of Israel as well as the vital lessons we need to learn in our age from their wilderness experience.
The Making of Men and Women
- Leaders for the Kingdom of God
Excerpt from article "The Making of Men and Women"
What is needed so that God may mightily use the faithful scattered saints, those who courageously struggle against the carnalities of daily life in the present evil world, and whose victory is by the grace, mercy, and power of the Almighty God?
What is needed so that God may make people, who were not wise according to the flesh, were not mighty, not noble, but were foolish, weak, base, despised, and even nothing — as 1Cor 1:26-31 describes — into saints who put to shame the wise of the world, and confound the mighty things honoured in the world (Lk 16:15)?
What must the saints be and do so that they are made into men and women delighting God by fulfilling His Will (Jn 5:30; 15:5)?
Let us, therefore, look at the making of women and men by the power of God!
When Is the First of Abib?
Excerpt from article "When Is the First of Abib?"
Arguments and disagreements about the calendar in terms of the Biblical Festival seasons abound. There also seem to be numerous “experts” and many who have studied the technical aspects of the subject—e.g., the moon’s phases—but who reveal disagreements amongst themselves. Many of us, in the past, have left it to the “experts”. There has been and still is almost blind reliance on the insistence of church and ministerial assurances that Judaic authorities have “the oracles of God” (Rom 3:2; Acts 7:38; Heb 5:12; 1Pet 4:11 [Gk logia]). These Scriptures, listing all the uses of the word in the NT, make it clear that the Jews who follow various forms of Judaism do not have the oracles of God. It is those who believe in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who have the Holy Spirit, who are whole-hearted disciples of Jesus Christ—these have the teachings (oracles) of God (Matt 5:48; 18:20; Jn 1:12,13; 3:18; 5:43,44; 20:31; Acts 2:21; 4:12; Rom 8:14).
Witness and Accountability
- Responses to the Gospel
Excerpt from article "Witness and Accountability"
The Scriptures reveal that God expects more of mankind than we may have previously imagined, and even more is demanded of those who have received the testimony of the Gospel. Yet the sad lesson of biblical history is that man too often chooses to reject God’s revelation. We, as recipients of His precious truth, the truths of the faith “once for all delivered” (Jude 3), have heard and accepted. Yet are our lives a living response to the testimony we continue to receive? Are we faithful witnesses to God and to His Word? And what can we learn from the biblical record of mankind’s resistance to the witness of God to help us comprehend more fully our obligations to live the message of the Gospel?