We have published a comprehensive booklet, titled, "Don't Keep Christmas," in which we explain, in detail, why Christmas celebrations are wrong and prohibited in Scripture. This booklet includes many quotes from historical records, proving that Christmas celebrations took place long before the birth of Christ. They were kept to honor pagan deities, such as the Persian sun god Mithras, who was born on December 25. By contrast, as our booklet proves on pages 23-25, Christ was not, and could not have been, born on December 25, or anywhere near that date.
Note the following quote regarding Mithras from pages 13 and 14 of our booklet, "Don't Keep Christmas," citing excerpts from an article of a popular magazine:
The origin and history of April Fool's Day [also spelled as "April Fools' Day"], also called "All Fools' Day," are not entirely clear. Many explanations have been advanced to explain its origin.
You are correct that Christ is indeed referred to as the "firstborn from the dead." Our free booklet, "Are You Already Born Again?", explains on pages 7 and 8:
"Christ... became born again when He was resurrected to Spirit. It was at that time that He became the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29 tells us that we are to be 'conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.' We also read in Colossians 1:15, 18: 'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation... And He is... the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.'
Before answering this question specifically, let us briefly review why children are being adopted. Adoption in this day and age is usually done because the couple do not have children of their own and want to raise one or more children, or, if they do have their own children, they wish to add to the family fold. This last possibility requires the co-operation of the other children, since it will impact them. In addition, single parents may also want to adopt children. An unfortunate modern trend is for homosexuals and lesbians to adopt children, bringing them up to accept their "alternative lifestyle," which is clearly condemned by God in the Bible, for instance, in Romans 1:24-27. This unbiblical development only compounds the problem by the social acceptance and proliferation of more
It is not! Nowhere is this concept taught in Scripture. Those who have this understanding and preach it, do so against the clear teaching of the Bible. Actually, the Biblical proof that true Christians do NOT die because of time and chance is overwhelming. For a thorough discussion of this important question, please listen to our sermon on "Time and Chance," which is posted on our Webpage.
When considering the relevant Scriptures and some external sources, we can, indeed, find out the approximate time of Christ's birth, but it is impossible to find out the exact date.
King David had divided the priests into several "courses" or divisions -- that is, each group or "course" of priests was to serve God for a specific period of time. David had established 24 of those priestly courses. Luke 1:5-9 shows that Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was of the course of Abijah (which courses are listed in 1 Chronicles 24) and that he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course or division. Each course lasted eight days -- from Sabbath to Sabbath.
We addressed this question in our new booklet, "Should You Fight in War?" We are bringing you the following excerpts:
We must be very careful that we don’t fall into the trap of trying to say that what Paul taught was just an instruction for his time, some 2,000 years ago--and that it is not necessarily binding for us today. This wrong understanding was epitomized by an Anglican Bishop who, when challenged on a particular issue a few years ago, wrote:
"My disagreement stems partly from my understanding of the way in which I read the Bible, praying that the Holy Spirit will enlighten my understanding of what statements are unchangeable and what are conditioned by social and cultural norms of the time in which God spoke to those involved."
The word Zion first appears in the Bible as the name of the ancient Jebusite fortress called the city of Jebus which was situated on a hill within the subsequent boundaries of Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 5:7 states: "Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)." Note that from this original conquest, the area was enlarged: "Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward" (2 Samuel 5:9; also, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9).
Before addressing 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, we need to give a brief background on Herbert W. Armstrong and the Biblical teaching about "apostles." Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) was led by God to establish the Radio Church of God in the early 1930's--later to be renamed the Worldwide Church of God. This powerful work focused on the Biblical guidelines that characterize the true followers of Jesus Christ. Mr. Armstrong's ministry was based on the understanding given to him, and he often spoke of his personal growth in understanding. He even mentioned in his old age that he had been learning more within the last year than ever before--and as it occurred, this was the last year of his life. He continually taught what the Bible records in 2 Peter 3:18: "...but grow in the grace
No, it does not mean that at all. Quite to the contrary, we are clearly told in Scripture, so that we CAN know, what our destiny is. We read in Ephesians 3:14-19 that it is our destiny to become spirit members within the Family of God, and that we KNOW that we are to be filled with "all the fullness of God."
1 John 3:2 does not tell us something different. In fact, this passage CONFIRMS, rightly understood, that we DO know what our destiny is. When we read this passage in context, it states:
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we KNOW that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
The question addresses a seemingly difficult passage in Exodus 4:24-26, which reads:
"And it came to pass on the way [to Egypt], at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses' [literally: his] feet, and said, 'Surely you are a husband of blood to me!' So He let him go. Then she said, 'You are a husband of blood!'--because of the circumcision."
In order to answer this question, we need to explain first what the two trees symbolized.
As we read in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis, when God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in a beautiful garden, called the garden of Eden or Paradise. In that garden, God had planted two special trees. Although these trees were literal trees, they also had specific symbolic meaning and significance. The two trees were called the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Biblical account of Noah's Ark is clearly factual. Some have advanced arguments saying that Noah could never have built the Ark, and that the Ark would not have been big enough to hold all the animals. Both objections are without foundation.
Some of the following material has been published in "The Good News" magazine, February 1980, and in "Exploring Ancient History--The First 2500 Years," Imperial Schools, 1967.
As we point out in our booklet, "Teach Us To Pray!", Christ's promise in Mark 11:24 is indeed subject to several conditions. In this passage, Christ is emphasizing the absolute necessity of manifesting living, unwavering and obedient faith in our lives (compare verses 22-23). Without faith that God will do what we ask Him for, we cannot expect to receive anything from Him (compare James 1:6-8). But godly faith alone is not sufficient, either. As explained in our booklet, additional necessary aspects of successful prayer include the need to ask; to ask in faith; to pray boldly; to keep God's Commandments; to bear the right kind of Christian fruit in our lives; to pray in Christ's name; and to pray always.
Even though our Western societies reckon days from midnight to midnight, and some even define a day as the period from morning to night, this is a purely human invention. The Bible is very clear that days are to be counted from sunset to sunset. For instance, the Sabbath, the last day of the week, is to be counted from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
Set forth are excerpts from our booklet, "God's Commanded Holy Days":
First of all, our stance against serving on a jury is based on many Biblical passages, not just on the requirement of two eye witnesses. Even if two honest eye witnesses were available to testify against an accused, a true Christian should still not participate in the jury system of this world. For a further in-depth discussion of this vital question, please read our Q&A's in Updates #289 and #66.
In Update #66, we state, indeed, the following, after having discussed numerous additional principles prohibiting true Christians to serve on a jury:
This statement by Jesus Christ highlights a misunderstood truth that very few have comprehended, about the purpose and message of Jesus Christ, as well as the conduct of His followers--those who would claim to be Christians.
In an earlier account, Jesus pointedly contrasted His origin to that of the Jews who heard His preaching (Compare John 8:21-30). What He addressed were their actions, their lifestyle--their very way of living. He plainly said that they were "'...OF this world'" (John 8:23); while, on the other hand, He emphatically stated that He was "'...NOT OF this world'" (Same verse).
To clarify, our stance against serving on a jury is based on many Biblical passages and principles, not just on the requirement of two witnesses. For an in-depth discussion on this issue, please read our Q&A in Update #289.
Even though many professing Christians believe that the Ten Commandments are no longer binding on us today, and although some Biblical "scholars" quote, amongst other Scriptures, the book of Galatians as evidence for such assumptions, the Bible totally rejects and disproves such ideas.
Even though the ancients in Old Testament times did swear, the New Testament tells us that we should not do so today.
We read Christ's words in Matthew 5:33-37: "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
We find that, in New Testament times, certain local congregations apparently had a Passover meal in Church before partaking of the Passover symbols of bread and wine, as can be seen in the passage in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 (Authorized Version):
The use of the term "Lord's Supper" for our observance of the New Testament Passover is not biblical--and it only adds to the confusion surrounding the CORRECT observance of the New Testament Passover.
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:23-24: "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He BROKE it and said, 'Take, eat; this is [meaning "represents"] My body which is BROKEN for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'"
John 19:31-37 reports that at the time of Christ's crucifixion, a soldier pierced His side with a spear and killed Him. When other soldiers came to break the legs of Christ and the two robbers, they noticed that Christ had already died. Therefore, they did not break His legs. Verse 36 informs us that "these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, 'Not one of His bones shall be broken.'"
When the disciples heard that marriage was for life, and that it can only be dissolved under very limited circumstances, they responded, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10). Jesus answered that "all cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given" (verse 11). He continued, in verse 12:
"For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it."
First of all, we need to understand that the Bible commands God's disciples to eat a piece of unleavened bread and drink a small portion of red wine ONCE a year--at the annual festival of Passover. When Jesus instituted the new symbols of bread and wine, replacing thereby the Old Testament Passover lamb, He did so during the evening of Passover (Matthew 26:18-20; compare Luke 22:11-20). Christ did not teach that we should partake of the symbols of bread and wine, in memory of His Sacrifice, any time we please. It is to be observed annually--once a year (compare Leviticus 23:4-5).
Let us read the entire context of Christ's sayings. Christ introduced the topic in reference to the scribes and the Pharisees (verse 2), but His application of His words were obviously much broader. He said, beginning in verse 6:
The Scripture in question is Matthew 23:10, which reads: "And do not be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, the Christ."
However, as you rightly point out, there are several passages, which speak of ministers as teachers.
For instance, 1 Corinthians 12:28-29 reads:
"And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers... Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?..."
Ephesians 4:11-13 confirms:
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith..."
The answer to this question might be quite surprising to some who have never heard the truth before. The fact is, a Roman soldier KILLED Christ by piercing His side with a spear. Notice what happened.
The following is excerpted from our free booklet, "Jesus Christ--A Great Mystery," pages 78 and 79:
"How Did Christ Die?
"... Christ died by shedding His blood (Mark 14:24), and it is through His precious shed blood that we can be saved (1 Peter 1:18–19).
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, "No."
Regarding pictures, images or statues of Christ (including those which picture Him on the cross), we clearly read that we are not to have images of God (Exodus 20:4). Since Jesus is God (John 1:1; Hebrews 1:8; Titus 2:13), the creation and use of images or pictures of Christ violates this express prohibition.
We don't believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, appeared to anyone after she had died in the first century. Mary is dead and buried, sleeping the sleep of death in her grave, and awaiting her resurrection to eternal life at the time of Christ's return. The Bible makes it very clear that all who died in Christ will be resurrected when Christ comes back to this earth--not before then (compare 1 Corinthians 15:22-23, 50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). As we explain in our free booklet, "Do We Have an Immortal Soul?", those who die sleep a dreamless sleep of death, without any knowledge, activity, consciousness or thought. For this reason alone, Mary could not have really appeared to anyone after she had died.
We read in Romans 8:29-30 that God will glorify those whom He has called in this day and age. It is explained in verse 29 that He predestined those whom He foreknew "to be conformed to the image of His Son." Even though the Scripture says, in verse 30, that He already "glorified" them, this is still a future event, but it is absolutely certain to occur.
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible explains that "they are already glorified in Christ, their head and representative... It is an observation of a Jewish writer... that a thing 'which is decreed to be', is spoken of in the past tense: 'this is the Scripture style concerning things decreed, and such is the glorification of all God's elect.'"
It most certainly is not, even though some within orthodox Christianity teach this false idea. The biblical teaching, however, is altogether different.
It is true that God WANTS those to be in His Kingdom whom He calls to salvation. And as we explain in our booklet, "Are You Predestined to Be Saved?", God is confident that His disciples WILL "make it" into His kingdom (compare Philippians 1:6). He knows that all those whom He has called now CAN make it. We even read that God has already "glorified" them (Romans 8:30), even though their glorification is still in the future. God is so confident that they will be glorified that He speaks of that future event as something which has already occurred (compare Romans 4:17).
Hebrews 10:24-26 reads, in context:
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins."
We can clearly see from this passage that Paul warns us not to forsake the "assembling of ourselves together," as the consequence of doing so could lead to our committing the unpardonable sin.
What is meant by, "assembling of ourselves together"?
Note the following renderings, which make the intended meaning clearer:
The short answer is, "Yes." Before discussing this biblical fact in more detail, let us just emphasize that there is hierarchy in God's Church. This is more fully explained in our Q&A on "hierarchical government." God has decreed that His Church be led or "governed" by His true and faithful ministry, as discussed in our Q&A on "ministerial authority."
With that background, let us answer the question regarding ranks within the ministry.
Especially two Scriptures, i.e. Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28, show that God has ordained ministerial "ranks" within His Church. These passages read as follows:
Understanding the true application of what Jesus stated is vitally important, and far too many people misapply what is meant.
The exact quote from Matthew 16:27 is as follows: “‘For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.’”
This statement is amplified by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
The implication of Paul’s teaching points to how Christians fulfill their calling as members of the body of Christ—the Church of God (compare Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:24).
It is a Catholic custom to abstain from eating meat on "Good Friday" and to eat fish instead. Where did this custom originate?
First, let us examine the precise nature of this custom.
We are quoting from an Internet Website:
In last week's Q&A, we addressed some general principles regarding the kinds of clothing and style that should be worn. We emphasized the importance of right balance and modesty.
Paul also instructed the Church of God regarding the length of hair that both men and women should wear:
“Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:13-16).
We find in the ninth chapter of the book of Genesis that, following the great flood by which God wiped out all existing mankind, save Noah and his family, God made a covenant with Noah. In that covenant, God emphasized the sanctity of human life.
Genesis 9:5-6 reads: “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning… from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.”
This question has been the cause of controversy for many centuries and generations. While one major Christian denomination teaches that the Holy Spirit only proceeds from the Father, but is given us through the Son, another major Christian denomination holds that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
To answer this question from the Bible, we must first of all realize that the Holy Spirit is not a Person or a Personage, but the POWER and the MIND of God. It is through the POWER of the Holy Spirit that God creates and acts, and mightily sustains what He has created. For more information on this vital subject, please read our free booklet, "Is God a Trinity?"
Although the biblical answer to this question is highly controversial, the Bible teaches very clearly that there is no other way to eternal salvation than through Jesus Christ. Non-christian religions reject this claim outright, and even many Christian organizations and denominations feel uncomfortable about this and think that they must apologize for the Scriptures and offer "alternatives," such as, "as long as we follow our conscience," or, "as long as we believe in someone or something," we are or will be saved.
Since we are not interested in humanly devised fables and interpretations, let us focus strictly on the clear teaching of the Bible.
The Bible does state that we can become part of the Israel of God in the following manner: “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
If we choose to follow the Way of God, completely and fully, by following the lead of God's Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then we are the Israel of God or, in other words, Godly Israel or Spiritual Israel.
Actually, the command to bless others even though they may not seem worthy of our blessing is to be found throughout the Bible.
We read in Matthew 5:44: "But I say to you, love your enemies, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Compare, Luke 6:27-28).
Romans 12:14-20 adds:
"BLESS THOSE who persecute you; BLESS AND DO NOT CURSE... Repay no one evil for evil... If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves... If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Understanding our part and responsibility regarding the work of God is a pivotal issue for those who claim to follow the Christian faith! The fact is that there is great confusion about exactly what the work of God means.
To truly comprehend what Jesus taught about the work of God, we must consider not only the verse in John, but, additionally, we need to compare other references in God’s Word. First, here is the text in question:
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’” (John 6:29).
We have discussed the issue of physical healing in several of our Q&As, http://eternalgod.org/qa/4963, http://eternalgod.org/qa/3221, http://eternalgod.org/qa/3749, http://eternalgod.org/qa/2842 , and also at length in our free booklet, "Sickness and Healing--What the Bible Tells Us."
The following issues will be discussed in this Q&A:
--OUR BELIEF ON PHYSICAL HEALING
--WHAT TO DO WHEN WE ARE SICK
--WHY ANOINT WITH OIL?
--THE USE OF AN ANOINTED CLOTH
--DOES GOD HEAL ONLY BAPTIZED MEMBERS OF HIS CHURCH?
In John 7:38, Christ spoke of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the apostle John added in verse 39: "But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom [better: which] those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
We are indeed close to the time of the year when people get all excited in anticipation of the Christmas season, complete with the hustle and bustle of shopping and, far too often, excesses both in over-spending, over-eating and over-drinking.
Far too many never seem to stop and think about the consequences of these excesses. Are people considering the fact that what is charged and overspent has to be paid back and sometimes at high interest rates, and that for a long time; also, that there are long range effects of excesses in eating and drinking to one's health; and finally, that there are terrible consequences for family relationships; especially, when arguments break out, leading to violence to the degree that someone loses his or her life?
In the book of Revelation, John is transported "in the spirit" to God's throne in heaven, from where he observes events which will take place shortly in heaven and on earth. The passage in Revelation 5:8-10 describes what John sees in heaven; it reads in the New King James Bible:
Surprisingly to many, the "magi" were neither "astrologers," nor did they visit Joseph, Mary and the Christ Child in the inn, nor is it biblically revealed how many there were. However, there are traditions which would support the idea that they were twelve, not three, as commonly assumed.
The ceremony of "laying on of hands" is mentioned as one of the basic doctrines of God's Church (Hebrews 6:2). However, when reading quite a few commentaries, the very existence of that doctrine is commonly denied--nor is there any understanding as to what this doctrine contains.
It is not. Paul clearly understood and taught that there is a Second Resurrection for all those who were never called to salvation in this life. This will include the multitude of the past and present houses of Israel and Judah, as well as the multitude of non-Israelite nations--the "Gentiles." Paul knew that today, only very few --the "firstfruits" (compare Romans 8:23)--will be called to salvation and the pre-millennial First Resurrection to eternal life. Paul knew that the Second Resurrection will not be to eternal life, but to a physical temporary existence, but with the potential to qualify for eternal life.
The passage in question refers to the time of the Millennium, after Christ's return, when the Kingdom of God will be established here on earth.
Zechariah 13:2-3 reads:
"'(Verse 2) It shall be in that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. (Verse 3) It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him,"'You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the LORD." And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies...'"
The Bible does indeed teach that every human being has a spirit, but that spirit is neither immortal nor a soul.
I. The Spirit in Man
We discuss the biblical concept of the "spirit in man" extensively in our free booklet, "The Theory of Evolution--a Fairy Tale for Adults".
In this Q&A, we are quoting the following excerpts:
It is true that most Jews today do not consider the passage in Isaiah 53 as a prophecy pertaining to the first coming of the Messiah. We will discuss their rationale later in this Q&A. First, let us briefly point out that Jesus Christ was and is the Messiah; and that He fulfilled precisely the prophecy in Isaiah 53.
For instance, Isaiah 53:1 ("Who has believed our report?") is quoted in John 12:37-38 in reference to Jesus.
Isaiah 53:3 ("He is despised and rejected by men") finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ (compare John 1:10-11; Luke 19:14; Mark 6:3).
Isaiah 53:4 ("Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows") is quoted in Matthew 8:17 in reference to Jesus.
The Bible teaches very clearly that Jesus Christ is God. As we will see in future Q&A's, the Bible also explains that Jesus Christ was God before His birth as a human being; who and what the Father is; and what is the potential of man. In this Q&A, we will address the biblical proof that Jesus Christ is God today.
In our free booklet, "Jesus Christ--A Great Mystery," we are stating the following:
We have discussed in previous Q&As http://www.eternalgod.org/qa/9508 http://www.eternalgod.org/qa/9483 that Jesus Christ was God before He came to this earth, and that He is God today. From this it follows that He was and had to be God--the "Immanuel" or "God with us"--when He came to this earth during His First Coming. As we saw in the last Q&A, He confirmed this fact to the Jews at His time, when He called Himself the "I am"--the Everlasting One--the God of the Old Testament.
As we explained in previous Q&As, (Who Was Jesus When On Earth?, What Was Jesus Before His Birth as a Man?, and Is Jesus God?) Jesus Christ--the Word or Logos or Son of God--was "WITH" God since all eternity, and He also "WAS" God. The difficulty in understanding this fact may be easily resolved when we recognize that the word "God" is a NAME that can refer to both the Father and the Son. It is, in fact, a FAMILY name. Ephesians 3:14–15 confirms this truth, telling us that it is "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole FAMILY in heaven and earth is NAMED."
The short answer is, no -- the Holy Spirit is neither God nor a Person. Rather, the Holy Spirit is God's POWER emanating from God the Father AND from God the Son.
To answer these and related questions, it is important to explain some of the background and to look at the context of the Scripture.
In Isaiah 45, “the LORD” (“Yahweh” in Hebrew) speaks to Cyrus and tells him that he will be an instrument in God’s hands to fulfill His Will. He specifically prophesies that and how Cyrus will conquer Babylon (compare verse 1) and that he will allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt and Judah to be released from captivity (compare verse 13). He also emphasizes that Cyrus did not know God, when He called him for his special mission (verses 3-5).
Many try to use this passage to “prove” that we are allowed today to eat whatever man in his twisted mind has decided to devour—including the meat from pigs, dogs, monkeys, rats, cats, squirrels, as well as frogs, snails, ants, scorpions, snakes, lobster, shrimp, shellfish and oysters, just to name a few. However, this is most certainly not what the passage conveys.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 reads, in context:
As many of our readers know, the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliates, the Global Church of God in the UK and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada, as well as the Kirche des Ewigen Gottes in Germany, observe the annual Festival of the Days of Unleavened Bread. God commands us that during the seven days of that Festival, all leavened products have to be removed from our houses, and that only unleavened products are to be consumed during that time.
1 John 5:4-8 reads, in context:
“(Verse 4) For whatever is born [better here: begotten] of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (Verse 5) Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (Verse 6) This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who [better: which] bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (Verse 7) For there are three that bear witness (in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. (Verse 8) And there are three that bear witness on earth): the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”
The Scripture that you are referring to is found in Leviticus 23:6-8, “And on the fifteenth day of the same [first] month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.' "
It is correct that we should be keeping this Feast as well the other five annual Holy Days mentioned in this chapter. (For more information, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.” ). But there are a couple of other points that are noteworthy.
God’s Church decided more than 70 years ago that we must follow the current Hebrew Calendar in order to be able to observe the annual Holy Days at their proper times. (For more information on God’s annual Festivals, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days”). However, over the years, some concluded on their own, without godly authority, that they should deviate from that decision. As a consequence, estimates suggest that there are no less than 500 versions of “calendars” in existence, all claiming that their version is the one and only correct one, and the result is utter confusion, while God states very clearly that HE is NOT the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
In our last Q&A, we explained why the Church of God has made the decision to accept and follow the current Hebrew calendar. The short answer is that God has entrusted the Jews—and no one else—with the preservation of the calendar and the determination and identification of the correct dates of the annual Holy Days.
We also explained that in AD 358-359 A.D., the Jews’ chief leader, Hillel II, carried out his God-given authority to present the Hebrew calendar throughout the future, and it is that calendar which we are to apply for the determination of the annual Holy Days.
In coming to an understanding of the events that transpired at the creation of man, we need to more fully comprehend how God created the first man and woman. Some believe that they were created in a “broken” state of being so that God could “fix” it later by grace. Others have concocted the idea that they were predestined to fail and that they had no other option in the matter. Then there are those who say that God created Adam and Eve in a holy state from which they “fell.” Still, some professing Christians think that nothing can be concluded from the Scripture regarding this matter.
In a recent Q&A ("Bound by Human Nature?") we mentioned the following in the context of the false concept that we are born with an evil human nature:
“Also, if it was passed on genetically, then Christ could not have lived a sinless life, having been born of Mary - but He did (Hebrews 4:15). Of course, we read that Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), as He was begotten in Mary's womb and born of her. He had human nature, but He never sinned, showing that His nature or flesh did not automatically force Him to sin.”
While many do not recognize this truth, they are willing to concede the fact that Christ was not born into a sinful situation though they believe that the rest of mankind was.
A “sect” may be defined as “a body of persons agreed upon religious doctrines usually different from those of an established or orthodox church from which they have separated; non-conformist or other church as described by opponents.”
The terms “cult” and “sect” are often used interchangeably; a sect is usually connected with religion and a cult may be – but many things outside the religious arena can also be classified as cultish. Certain television programmes may have a cult following – never a sect following.
In Acts 16:1, we meet up with Paul during his travels north and west of Jerusalem in modern day Turkey. While here, Paul meets an up-and-coming disciple we know as Timothy. Timothy had a good reputation among the brethren in the area – in the cities of Lystra and Iconium in particular. Paul was impressed with him as well and invited Timothy to join him on his travels through the region. However, before they commence their travels together, Paul has Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:3). While this might not seem like a significant detail, it is important to examine in context because the implications are significant.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 there is a falling away (“apostasia”) mentioned, which is defined by Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries (G646) as “defection from the truth, falling away, forsake.” This verse is in the section of Scripture (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4), which reads as follows in its entirety:
A fundamental statement of John the Baptist can be found in John 3:36 to the effect that he who believes Jesus Christ will inherit eternal life, but that God’s wrath rests upon a person who does not “obey” Christ (compare the correct rendering in the Revised Standard Version).
John had refused to baptize those who came to him without having shown fruits of repentance, challenging them with the question as to who had warned them to flee from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-17). In Matthew 23:33, Christ reiterated John’s warning, ultimately equating the wrath of God with the condemnation of hell fire. That is, if someone refuses to repent and obey God, ending up in committing the unpardonable sin, he will be destroyed in the lake of fire.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."-Matthew 5:14