The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:)
Yesterday I had an experience that brought to mind the importance of not following one's feelings. I was feeling quite sickly, weak and very tired. I thought maybe I was coming down with the flue. I felt hungry, but the thought of food turned my stomach, that it wasn't going to hold down what it already contained.
But, in spite of my stomach's warnings, I ate a little supper. After a few minutes the sickly feeling left, my strength and energy returned, and my appetite took a quick "U" turn.
What I needed most, was the very thing my body was rejecting. All I had to do was eat.
How often do we do the same thing in other areas of our life?
When we have had a fight with our boss, or our spouse, or a policeman - the natural tendency is to either try and ignore the problem and hope it will go away, or to angrily blame the other person and avoid them altogether.
Inside we know we should confront the situation, but our feelings tell us otherwise and gives us plenty of reasons not to do that which we should. Like my losing my appetite when what I needed was food.
When I exercise I wear what is called a "Heart Monitor." The purpose of this monitor is to let me know how fast my heart is beating at any given time. The reason I wear this monitor is that my heart will occasionally go into overtime and beat twice as fast as it should. When you consider that double 130 beats is 260 beats, especially for someone my age, that could be dangerous. Of course you might think I could tell this is happening without a monitor. This is not so. The feeling is like little butterflies in my stomach that feel all the world like mild indigestion. In fact, now that I have the monitor, I find that it usually is nothing but indigestion or hunger tinglings.
If it does happen to be my heart, however, and I don't recognize it, I get a mild burning pain in my left arm where the blood is pumping too fast for the rest of the system to handle it. Mighty dangerous. (This usually occurs when I'm riding hard on the bicycle, and what it's telling me to do is to stop and let my system catch up with itself.)
Around my chest I wear what is called a "Transmitter." This transmitter relays the impulses of my heart to the watch I wear on my wrist. I discover that if the transmitter is a bit too high or too low on my chest it will give a false reading. Also if the battery is a bit weak it will tell me what isn't true.
Of course, I don't know the reading is false or distorted, except that if I should think it must be higher or lower, I place my finger to my temple and there I can get an accurate measure by which to confirm the reading.
Sometimes I find the reading is correct when I think it should be wrong. Other times the reading is wrong when I would expect it to be right.
ESOTERIC MEANING NOT PERCEPTIBLE TO THE UNINITIATED
How is that for a mouthful?
The above fancy words are saying that only those who have learned the codes or the secrets can understand what is meant. The above is from a description of freemason "Doctrine." But it could just as easily be a description of any Doctrine, especially that of those called "Cults."
Secret information and understanding appeals to our ego. We like to think we know something, or have something others do not have. Christians are especially susceptible to such an attitude, believing they have Eternal Life and a pathway to God that others do not - not even other Christians in the "wrong" Denomination.
Some churches have extra literature that is designed to explain what the Bible is actually saying. Anything believed other than that given in these books has got to be wrong. Usually members of these types of organizations will be very rehearsed in the extra books, while having much less familiarity with the Bible these books explain.
Conventional churches do the same, but much more subtly and deceitfully. These churches do not funish books to replace the Bible; instead they supply books that "explain" the Bible. These are called "Commentaries." Often these can be found page-by-page in the Bible itself. In fact, I have seen some Bibles where the running commentary takes up more space than the text of the Bible.
All these books and commentaries! I guess it is perfectly obvious that God did not know what He was doing when He wrote a thousand-plus pages of His Word. What would we possibly do without these brilliant men and women who understand God so well - all the thousands of different versions of what God actually meant.
My heart monitor has a translator in it that interprets the impulses sent by the transmitter around my chest. As long as everything is in sync, and the translator is functioning properly, my monitor gives an accurate "reading" of my heartbeat.
Computers are another item of daily use that needs a translator. Install a new program and it will ask for a "Driver." A driver is a decoder that tells the computer what various impulses, or signals mean. Like with languages where a word might have a certain meaning to a Frenchman, and the exact same word will mean something else entirely to a Spaniard. Although both are talking, they are not communicating.
The cults, organizations and "wisdom" groups mentioned above also use interpreters, or translators to decipher what God is saying to us. These translators are the books they provide for this purpose. In their mind it is impossible for "mere man" to understand God and His great universe without going through them, the possessors of God's Wisdom.
Of course to be in such an exalted position as to hold the Wisdom of God is a great honor not bestowed upon many. And those who hold such Godly Wisdom are not likely to "cast it before swine," that is, you and me, the uninitiated.
Every Denomination has its own set of wisdom that it provides through their own translator. And of course each Denomination believes their translator is the only one that is reading God's Word accurately. And this is to be expected. I should think if they believed otherwise, they would change their view to that which they believed is the correct one. But, not necessarily.
Computer monitors, and the monitor on my wrist, can do nothing without the transmitter. The transmitter is the part of the system that sends the signal to the monitor whereby we can see what the computer, or in this case my heart transmitter, is sending.
If for some reason the signal from the computer was to become distorted, or to become mixed with the signal from some other instrument, the monitor would give a distorted picture, a false reading; but the monitor would not know this. Therefore, the person viewing the monitor would not know this either and believe what he is reading is true and accurate.
Tangled and distorted signals might not mean so much if you are playing a video game or watching TV; but if you are a shuffling trains on a track or working in an airport control tower, misinterpretation could be disastrous.
We, the uneducated and unskilled trust the monitor. We have little choice. The one in the air control tower can not see those planes in the clouds traveling hundreds of miles an hour. He has to depend on the monitor in front of him.
If you belong to one of those "esoteric" (special or secret knowledge) groups, the way to know you have obtained that secret knowledge is to agree with the ones who have already obtained that knowledge. That is to say, those who either say they have that knowledge, or it is said of them that they have that knowledge. If your knowledge does not agree totally with theirs, then you are not one of the initiated, therefore wrong and not enlightened.
This is true of the religious groups who have guide books that tell their members what is true and what is not true. Disagree on a single point, even a little, and you are not on track and may very likely be set apart from those who are wise enough to fully understand and believe, that is - agree with the "truth."
All Denominational churches do the same, even those Denominations that go under the flag of "Undenominational." Some churches allow a little more latitude than others, but not much. For instance, what is Baptism? Is it sprinkling? Emersion? For babies? How about tongues in the church? Holy rollers? Rosary beads? Drinking? Smoking? And the list goes on.
Someone somewhere is now, or has in the past, supposedly heard from God and has all the answers one must know and believe in order to be a part of God's Body. And all who know and understand the "truth" must totally agree with that person.
That person is a translator. He or she has established what God has said and what we all must do in order to be "in God's will."
Man is fallible. Just like the transmitter and the translator on my heart monitor is fallible. In order to trust the monitor, I have to also not trust it. When it reads contrary to what I am experiencing, I have to check it for accuracy. I might find that my monitor is correct, but I won't know that if I don't check it. I am taking my life in my hands if I just totally trust the monitor without questioning it.
My heart monitor is not the only monitor I must question, and at times doubt when what I read for myself does not correspond with what my monitor reads. Preachers behind the pulpit, and those who write books, magazine articles, and yes, websites such as this one are just as likely, if not more so, capable of giving false readings as is my heart monitor. They all must be checked for accuracy.
If I misread my heart monitor that says my heart is beating at 150 beats a minute, and it is actually beating at 300 beats per minute, it might very well cost me my life.
My life. Such a small thing to worry about in contrast to my Eternal life!
I am careful to make sure my monitor is correct. And so would you be. But, tell me, how careful are you when it comes to other monitors such as the teaching of your Pastor, or church, or even your own readings of the Bible? Do you question them? Or do you just go through life blindly accepting what the monitor says because it's a lot easier that way?
What choice do we have? If we can't trust the monitor, and if we can't trust our own understandings of God's Word, than what else is there we can trust?
Nothing. That's all there is. So if you belong to any church, or organization, or philosophical group - go with it and believe everything they tell you. It won't matter in the end anyway. The result will all be the same. That dyed-in-the-wool Pentecostal preacher will be standing right beside you when the White Throne is presented.
However, should you be one who wants to separate yourself from all of society and its games; thereby being considered an outcast and a fool, then there is something you can do.
Or, in actuality, there is something you can stop doing.
Stop trying to do what pleases yourself and others, but rather turn around and begin desiring nothing but to please God.
By pleasing God rather than yourself, you will then open yourself up to the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to instruct us of His desires for us. And Jesus told us clearly that we are to listen to no man for His instructions, but rather to Listen to the True translator of the Word of God - the Holy Spirit.
HALF A MAN
You are but half a man. I know, "Them's is fighten' words, Bub!" but nonetheless, it is true. I am truly half-a-man because, being single, I must try to be both halves of a man, and failing in both.
God made Man. Then He saw His mistakes, and created Woman. But neither are complete in themself, but must be joined together (where they had been severed, woman having been taken from man, then given back to him) to be a whole unit.
Unfortunately our modern "enlightened" society has distorted the view of a man and a woman and tries to blend them into one, unidentifiable mess. Children are raised in such a way that they do not know which gender they are, or if there even is such a thing as a different gender.
Add to this yet another step toward the confusion of Man: cloning.
It would be bad enough if in this World we had such a mixed-up view of God's creation (the which we have taken the Creator out of), but we have allowed this attitude to infiltrate our churches as well.
We have made the churches just half a man by cutting the Body of Christ from His Head. The Head has reached perfection, but the body, the Church is told that it does not have to strive for perfection or be lead by the Head by way of the only communication we have, the Holy Spirit.
We are in the process of amalgamating all the churches into one hodgepodge of a wimpy organization that will be unable to serve the Lord for which it was created, nor itself for which it believes itself to have been created.
But, why not one huge church that believes nothing at all? Isn't that the way the Governments are heading? Isn't that just what Jesus said would happen just before He came again? Didn't Jesus say there would be one government all of one mind, worshiping the Beast? Didn't Jesus say there would be two churches when He came; the highly exalted Harlot Babylon and the True Church hiding in the wilderness?
One Government with but one thought: to be against anyone who refuses to be as they, the rest of the World are, and who chooses to follow Jesus instead of them. One church, who will be of one mind, and that against the Woman in the wilderness following Jesus into perfection through persecution by both the established church and the established government.
Just like it was when Jesus came the first time.
As for cloning, each church and Denomination is in the process of making every one like, and of the same mind set as the translator they have chosen to follow. Where Paul speaks of liberty by which we may, and must serve the Lord resisting opposition for our stance; the churches say we must listen to them and follow the rules they say are the right and proper ones to follow and obey. And when all churches are blended into one giant organizational body with no Spiritual purpose and no connection with the Head, all will be ready and willing to be cloned into whatever the system of the day says they should become.
When a Pastor or some other instructor of the Bible says anything at all to me about my writings (which is rare indeed), I hear "keeping to the simple truth of the Gospel." (2Cor 11:3 is what I suppose they mean). My assumption in this is that I am teaching "another Christ" or a "another Gospel" that is complex. I suppose I am teaching another Gospel than any of the churches are. In fact, I'm sure I am, come to think of it. The question is, out of the thousands of "Gospels" being taught, which one is the Gospel that Jesus taught? And how much "Simpler" can a Gospel be than this: get rid of self, and let the Holy Spirit lead.(?) And that is what I preach, the beginning and the end of it. Everything else is just trying to straighten up the confusion others have made of the Gospel.
In the early days of this country there was a common expression used by the Indians of North America that was particularly appropriate. The expression was generally directed toward the White Man, and for good reason. The expression was (in the White Man's vernacular): "White man speaks with forked tongue." If you have seen any of the old cowboy movies, you are probably familiar with the expression.
Although our understanding of the words are correct, our interpretation is not so accurate. The intent was not to say that the White Man has a tongue like a serpent, but rather that he has two tongues - one says one thing, and the other says something else. In today's culture we would say that the person is two-faced, or that he speaks from both sides of his mouth. In other words, he lies like a rug.
Off the subject a bit, but not inappropriate; the Indians also used this same principal to express doubt. If they were not sure of something they would (if using sign language) place their right hand loosely in front of their heart and with two fingers extended waver their hand back and forth slightly. This would mean they were of "two hearts," that is, of two opinions. If they were very uncertain they would extend and waver all five fingers indicating they were of many hearts, or opinions.
The days of expressing two opinions is far from over. We as a people, and especially as a nation are very prone to speaking out of both sides of our mouth. In fact, I believe I could go as far as to say we are many hearted.
Of course my intent here is not to teach you Indian sign, or to discuss the morals of this country. I have a thought in mind.
I am thinking about the importance of life, human life in particular.
We have a concept in this country that life is important, that life should be respected. This certainly is a noble attitude; but how well is it founded? And more to the point, how well is it followed?
One of the things that brought this subject to my attention was a headline on the front page of the newspaper. It said in bold letters that the languages of the world are disappearing very rapidly.
Is the disappearing of languages an important issue? Does it warrant front page space? Are we going to have groups of people "hugging" their favorite language so that it doesn't get cut down with the rest? This is one area I see where our use of two tongues can be implemented.
For the past few decades I have heard little else than that we should make everything uniform and without differentiation. That we should become One People United. That even the churches, which are as diverse as they can be should meld into a union of one, pasty-face church with no Spirituality or purpose other than to be another form of the PTA.
I read how large groups are concerned about protecting trees, and forests, and rain forests, and rural areas, and the quality of our food and water, and the old historical buildings, and the list goes on and on. Should these be protected? I certainly think so. As anyone who has read much of what I have written I prize nostalgia in any form, I have a great fondness for animals and nature, including people of all sorts. And if you caught the hint of it at the beginning of this article, I have a very strong affinity for history and for languages.
I do not question the value of protecting that which remains of the past. What I question is the priority we place on each of these; and I question our logic for that priority we do apply.
Languages, it seems to me, as interesting as they may be are very far down on the list of things that need to be protected. After all, if the people who speak the languages, and to whom their ancestry is attached do not care enough to protect the language (out of the many thousands there are), why should it be a concern of the World at large?
As an example: thirty some-odd years ago I was touring through the Indian Reservations. On one of those reservations I had the great privilege of having an interview with the Chief of the Nation. This was a tribe that took a lot of pride in their culture, and was one of the prime users of Indian sign language in its heyday. But I found that even by that time their use of the language had passed away, and their culture had become so lost as to be but a blend of what the White Man tourist expected of them. Long before this, other tribes, such as the South West Indians took up the wearing of Plains head bonnets and fringe that their ancestors had only seen when some enemy tribe was attacking them. Of course some "tribes" continued their celebrations in private, and probably still do.
PREDATOR AND PREY
So far I have discussed my philosophy concerning what I consider the low end of the priority chain. Now I would like to venture into the area I am particularly concerned about; and that is life. I will begin with life in the animal world.
Again, I start at the bottom of the chain; this time it's the food chain. I am opposed to killing any thing, even a gnat if I can help it. I am speaking for myself, I am not advocating the elimination of bug sprays and ant poisons. I just do not like to see even a caterpillar squashed on the road; it does something to me inside.
When I was growing up I lived on a farm with my grandparents. It was my job to kill the chickens and pluck them for our meals. I did so with vigor, wringing the necks of two at a time, one in each hand. And in my leisure hours I would venture into the fields of grain and catch grasshoppers the which I would pull off their legs and feed them to the enthusiastic chickens.
Something happened somewhere along my road to maturity that changed all that. I have no idea what it was. I only know the change took place.
I am enthralled with life. A butterfly or a squirrel I can watch for hours. Birds, puppies, kittens the same; and a deer or a horse can captivate me the entire day.
I am especially interested in the prey. Perhaps it was my feeling like the prey in my younger years that has caused my affinity with them, but for whatever reason, I enjoy them.
Predators, on the other hand, anger me. I regard them like the bullies with whom I contended throughout my life. It was not so much for myself I detested the bully, because being a farm boy I was fairly big for my age and was rarely bothered by the bullies. But others of my acquaintance (and even those I did not know) were not so fortunate as I; and I did, and still do empathize with them. Anything bigger that picks on those smaller then they, individually or in packs, stirs up the embers in me. When the kitten I adore becomes the predator to a mouse, I defend the mouse, even though I may well wish the mouse to be exterminated.
So now you know my stance on life in general. Now for life as it involves us humans.
LIFE AND VALUES
We, as a nation of people tend to be quite confused when it comes to human life. On the one hand we believe that life is of utmost value. This concept is held for two primary reasons. Firstly we believe that human life should be placed high on the list of values because if it isn't, we fear that our own life will be placed in jeopardy by those who do not place such a high value on our life.
It has not been but a short time since this attitude was not so prevalent in this country. In fact our great grandparents can probably remember the days when it was seen as acceptable to kill the natives of this land, merely because the natives wished to protect their land from what they saw as (and appropriately so) invaders.
And it has been well within my lifetime that blacks in the south were not given human rights, even to the extinguishing of their life if some White man thought he could do so and get away with it.
At this present time the Japanese and the Chinese live amongst us as one of us. In fact, certainly in many circles, the Oriental is rather highly regarded. However, it was but a short while ago they were bitterly looked down upon by "Americans," and considered as less than human, and deserved nothing better than a bullet. And, of course, that is the attitude the Japanese held for us during the War to end all Wars.
Though we are now a nation that values human life, should we officially go to war with another nation (I say "officially," because we are always Un officially at war with some body), we would revert in a moment into a people who would take the life of a "despicable" enemy without an iota of guilt.
LIFE AND LIBERTY
We, as a people, value life so highly that we will not even kill those who will without hesitation kill others. We will fight to the death to protect a man who hides on a hill and shoots up a grade school, or a student who carries guns and grenades to school with the intent of killing all they can before killing themselves. We would rather keep these predators in a cage for 50 years or so, rather then to carry the "guilt" ourselves of having allowed him to be executed by the State. This even though the predator has stated over and over that he would rather die, and had proven so by the fact that he tries to take his own life,
We feel so strongly about our "convictions" that we intrude our convictions on other nations, insisting they obey our desires for them and to follow our example; even though this same example has shown itself over and over again to be lacking in proven success.
On the surface this attitude of preserving the life of the wicked may seem humane and righteous. On the surface of it. But is this in fact our real attitude? Are we really so convinced, as individuals, that life is so precious that we will not even kill the killers?
I will paint a picture into which I will place you, the believer.
A criminal breaks down your door. He holds a gun at the head of your youngest daughter and says he will shoot her, your wife, your other children, and finally you. You find that in your hand there is a poker with which you had been stirring the ashes in the fireplace. The criminal turns his back to you. What do you do?
Now the picture has changed. The criminal is in court, either having survived your attempt on his life, or has been apprehended by the police in some other way. The criminal has made it perfectly clear that if he should ever gets out of prison he will finish that which he had begun, that is to kill you and all your family.
Today you learn that a famous lawyer has volunteered to defend this criminal, and it appears very likely he will be released. What do you do?
The high-priced lawyer has only been partially successful in his bid for the freedom of his client. There has been two options offered by the judge in regard to this criminal's fate: Life with the possibility of parol in three years (which escape is always a possibility); or the death sentence. The criminal scowls threateningly at you. The Judge turns to you and tells you that the fate of this man is in your hands. You can either send him to prison for a short time, withdraw your testimony and let the man go free, or you can have him executed. Which do you choose? Which choice do you think your family will be pleading for you to make?
Are we two-faced? Do we put others in fear and jeopardy in order to alleviate our own guilt?
And, in case you are wondering, I am in no way advocating the death penalty or any such thing. I am just using it to make my point that we, as humans, are two-tongued.
LIFE AND LAW
In the Old Testament the Jews were given a Law by God that if a man should take another's life, that man would be killed by the community at large. These Laws were so strict that even picking up sticks on the wrong day, or sassing your parents would get you stoned to death.
Rather strict, I would say.
We have come a long way from the Laws as they were set forth for the Jews. And to be quite frank, I am very glad we have. Had we not, and if we were still under that old Law, I am afraid I would have never survived adolescence.
But somewhere, between the strictness of God's Law and the anarchy some propose, a line must be drawn. Governments strive to find that line, and our government fluctuates from hither to yon as it follows the dictates of whatever opinion carries the greatest weight in our society.
AGREE OR DIE!!
This world is full of disagreement. Obviously in the church there is so much disagreement that even those churches under the same banner are at war with one another.
Nations who disagree go to war and fight to the death to prove their point. But not just nations and churches try to kill one another over points of view, but within the nations as well.
One for-instance that comes to my mind is the Civil War. Brother goes to war against brother, and father against son. Can you just imagine what it must have been like to live in the South and believe that blacks were equal and shouldn't be slaves? If you felt this way, you had to do one thing or another; move to the North, or keep your mouth shut.
Another for-instance in this country is the Native Americans. Once the Whites had gained control of the land, the only way for a Native American to survive was to become just as "White" as he could. This meant turning his back on his own people. You can just imagine what kind of reception this "Turncoat" received when he returned home to visit. This attitude of becoming "White" was so strong with the Indians that it is almost impossible for those with parents or ancestors of Native American stock to learn anything at all from their grandparents who have learned to deny their heritage. Now that it's "the thing" to have Native American blood in our veins, finding that blood is difficult at best.
In the church it is no better. Having the Root Stock of Jesus as a common ancestor is not enough to be considered in the same family. To be accepted you must be on the same tip if the twig as the church you have decided to attend to be considered part of "the" Church. Can you imagine what it must be like for a full-fledged Pentecostal to attend a Methodist church? Or vice versa? Or can you just see that same Pentecostal attending a Catholic Mass?
Of course these are extreme examples. But within churches even tiny disagreements in doctrine must be shielded if social acceptance is to be had. A for-instance or two is: what words to use at baptism, or should women wear a hat or makeup, or again, as in some churches, should a musical instrument be played.
Where does all this conflict come from? Is it just man's nature to be so contrary? I suspect our nature has a lot to do with these contentions, at least those in the world at large. But there is an even more clearly defined reason for conflict as it applies to the church and to families. Jesus expressed it like this:
32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. (Mat 10:)
Notice that Jesus not only told us there will be contentions, but why. Those who love Jesus more than his or her family is going to be hated by their family. And those who love Jesus less than their family, will be denied by Jesus. That's quite a conflict of interest, don't you think?
This statement does not only ring true in our family life, but in our church as well. Follow the dictates of Jesus as told to you by the Holy Spirit, and you will be denied by your church who only sees the Holy Spirit as some kind of spook that is supposedly given to them when they are baptized. And there is no church that I have seen or heard of who understands what the leading of the Holy Spirit means. They may talk a lot about the Holy Spirit, and they may display great signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit (Mat 7:21-23), but they don't know the One who is in fact producing these signs.
This is not to say that there is no True Christian, that is, followers of Jesus in any of the Church. There are a few, but they are quiet because to speak that which they know to be true will leave them without fellowship. But when the trumpet is blown for the followers of our Lord to "Come out of her (Babylon) my people" (Rev 18:4), they will recognize the voice and follow the call. Noah heard the Voice, Lot heard the Voice, Abraham heard the Voice, and the list goes on.
Will you hear the Voice? Or are you listening to the voices all around you on the well-lit and broad yellow brick road demanding you conform to their way of thinking?
Jesus was not exempt from the sword He brought into the world of religion. In fact, He, the Apostles, and anyone who earnestly followed Him were slain by that same sword. Whoever spoke against the will of the church of the day was to be slain. Since Jesus did not follow the dictates of the church as it had been established by the church leaders of the day, nor did He remain quiet about His beliefs, he was "quieted" with force.
In the developing church of the days that followed, that is the Catholic church, whoever rose up and spoke out declaring anything contrary to the doctrines the church supported were also slain by the sword of "righteousness."
And we read that in the days to come there will arise a force once more who will apply the sword to those who do not renounce the Lord and bow to his image, the Beast, the Ruler of the World. By that time most of the churches will have become so backslidden (as they are rapidly becoming today) that they will gladly turn themselves over to this new "Messiah," just as they did under Hitler merely a half-century ago.
What is it that separated those who were killed by the sword, and those who wielded the sword? Was it their belief in God? Was it their lack of "righteousness"?
Consider: it was the most righteous people of the day that did the killing of those who spoke out against them. And there certainly was not a difference in the way they worshiped, or Who they worshiped. Then, what was the difference between them?
It was (and is) the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was both born by the Holy Spirit at conception, and He received the Holy Spirit at His baptism.
And although the disciples were separate from the church of the day (the Jews) after Jesus died, they remained hidden and quiet about anything they may have believed that was different than that of the church; but when they received the Holy Spirit from Jesus Himself (John 20:22) they began to minister openly, and even more so when they were filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts chapter 2).
When all is said and done, it is not the churches we see day by day that will constitute the Church, that is, the Body of Christ, which Jesus will redeem when He comes again. It will be that body of True Believers indwelt and following the leading of the Lord by way of His Holy Spirit that He will take to Him. Jesus expressed it this way:
20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 22And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:)
For those of you with an intellectual bent; and those of you who have been convinced that Jesus was saying "Amongst" instead of "Within" you, consider this:
"Within" G1787 ?´? entos en-tos' From G1722; inside (adverb or noun): - within.
Do you see anywhere in this definition a hint of "Amongst"?
Well, maybe Jesus didn't know what He was talking about - or maybe Strong's was mistaken. Let's look closer.
There is one other place this word has been used. Let's look and see if "Amongst" might fit there:
39And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. 40Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? (Luke 11:)
What do you think? Will it fit?
Well, then maybe there was no other word the Greeks had with which to express "amongst," so they used "within" instead. Maybe that is how the Theologians came up with something other than what the Bible says.
Well, "amongst" has been used only twice, and they are both in the Old Testament Hebrew, so that doesn't help. But the New Testament has used the word "Among" over 150 times, and they used 17 different Greek word to express the meaning of "Among." So, as I see it, the Greeks would have had no trouble saying "Amongst" if they so chose.
Perhaps Luke was not aware of all those Greek words that he could have used, so he said "Within" instead. That must have been why the Theologians straightened him out.
Nope, Luke used the Greek language to express "Among" 29 times. I would say he certainly could have said "Amongst" if he wanted to.
Then why did the Theologians twist the words in verse 20 to say that Jesus will be coming "With observation" in the future (referring to the Rapture I suppose), even though He specifically said He won't be coming with observation? Why don't the Theologians want to accept that Jesus is saying that the "Kingdom of God" is within you? (To me the Scripture is saying now the Kingdom of God is here, through the Holy Spirit.)
If you know the answer, you're smarter than I am, because to me it's a beautiful picture they are covering up with their corrupt scene.
If Jesus meant that the Kingdom of God is something only in the future, which of course it also is, then that lets us all out. Jesus is the only member of the Kingdom of God to date. But, is that what the Bible says? Not my Bible. My Bible tells me that the Head of Christ is in the Heavenlies, where the Body will be when He comes for His Bride, the Church, which is here on earth functioning at this very moment and has been for 2,000 years. Is that the picture you have?
Paul tells us:
8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (1Cor 14:)
4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Heb 6:)
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