ARTICLES

 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation (Act 15:31). 

Should Women Preach? 

Millions have been mixed up on this important principle a principle more far-reaching than you have realized. Here is GOD'S ANSWER clearly revealed in His Word.

   HERE IS a vital subject which greatly NEEDS to be understood in every home, in every church, in every nation. Untold misery and suffering can be avoided if God's truth is understood and obeyed! 
  The very fact of women preaching reveals a striking condition in our modern churches of which very few are aware. Thousands of people of both sexes have a prejudicial conception of this subject. In nearly every instance, they look on it as an isolated topic having little or no bearing on the gospel itself — or on the very purpose of our human existence. 
  But they fail to realize that this subject deals with the very FOUNDATION of the gospel itself — and that its proper understanding carries an URGENT message to our present society. 
  Before this world goes crashing to its doom, it's time to OPEN our minds to God's truth!

One Clear Answer

   Where should a Christian look to find the truth on this important subject — or on any subject for that matter? 
  Should you look to men, to groups of men, to the many differing churches of men? Where is basic truth to be found? 
  As a Christian, you should know that there is only one source of spiritual truth. Jesus Christ said, "Thy WORD is truth" (John 17:17). And God's Word reveals — IF we are willing to receive the truth — that the subject of women preaching is more far-reaching and more fundamental than you have probably realized. It is VITAL that every Christian man and woman understand the truth on this matter. 
  God's Word is clear and definite is revealing the status of women in the church, in society, and in the home. From Genesis to Revelation, the same principles are consistently revealed by God on this topic. Here is one subject upon which there is just no place for disagreement if we are to accept God's Word as truth. 
  Yet here is a matter upon which whole church denominations disagree — a matter which is causing much of the wretchedness and rottenness in our toppling modern civilization. 
  It's time to find the truth! Free your mind from blinding prejudice. Ask God humbly to open your mind to His truth as CLEARLY revealed in His Word, the Bible.

Why Woman Was Created

   After God had created the man, He said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an HELP meet [suitable] for him" (Gen. 2:18). Finding that none of the animal creation fitted this need, God created woman our of a part of man. And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Verse 23). 
  Notice that the very purpose of woman's creation was to provide a help for the man. But on the first occasion when man had a severe trial and needed help, what happened? 
 Genesis 3:1-16 shows that the woman allowed the serpent, representing Satan, to beguile her into disobeying her Creator, God. And she thereupon caused her husband, whom she was supposed to help, to disobey God also and cur himself off from God's blessings. 
  The woman had taken the initiative. She had tried to lead the man — a thing for which she was not intended nor equipped — and as a result the whole human family was cut off from God until Christ came to obey God and make reconciliation. 
  Because she had sinned in doing this thing, God told the woman, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall RULE over thee" (Gen. 3:16). 
  Plain words, these. And these are God's words — not human opinion. God had made the man first — in His direct image, as God is always spoken of in the masculine gender. God had made the man physically stronger, and with every necessary quality to be the woman's leader. Adam knew that the woman was to be his helper — and he her head. 
  But now that the woman had taken the initiative without consulting her husband, and had sinned and led him to sin in so doing, God made their status doubly CLEAR: "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall RULE over thee." 
  Adam had nor fulfilled his God-given responsibility to lead the woman in the right way, but had let her wrest the initiative from him. And so God told Adam, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Gen. 3:17). Yes, Adam was punished "Because," God said, "thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife" — and so had been led to disobey God. 
  It is easy for a man to bog down and let his wife "run things." Adam did — and Satan soon took over! Thousands of modern men are doing the same thing — particularly in America. And crime, almost universal corruption in every phase of life, broken homes, unhappy homes} and juvenile delinquency are abounding and growing EVILS which beset our society on every hand. 
  It's something to think about seriously! 
  In the final analysis, man will learn that when the God-constituted system of authority breaks down, real TROUBLE is in score. This pattern of authority is conspicuously violated today in the realm of the relation of men and women in society and in the home.

Consistent Principle

   The examples and teaching throughout the Old Testament reveal that the man was recognized as the head of the house, and was always designated and used by God to carry our any group project. The genealogy always came down from father to son. When Jacob was inspired to give prophetic blessings (Gen. 49), they were given co his sons, not his daughters in any case. 
  In other words, man was regarded as the direct representative of God over all the animate creation, and woman was recognized and respected as his helper. She derived her honor and blessings indirectly through her husband, her God-constituted head. 
  God called Moses to lead his people our of Egyptian bondage. And when ir came time to institute God's physical priesthood, God chose Aaron and his son (Exodus 29:9). 
  Note this point. In every case, God chose men — not women — to be the leaders and spokesmen, or preachers — if you wish to apply it that way. 
  What a striking contrast to our society where women are conducting themselves in a way that would have made their great-grandmothers blush! But let's get the point and not try to excuse ourselves. The contrast is not between us and what is termed "old-fashioned." It is between our way and GOD'S way as revealed in His Word, 
  God's Word is consistent in teaching that woman is to be in subjection to the man — never his leader or spokesman. Another point to notice is that while in both ancient and modern times the Gentile nations often had queens or women ruling over them, at no time did God ever appoint a woman as queen or to ANY administrative office either in the nation of Israel or in the church either in Old or New Testament times. That is God's way! If our own human idea or way is different, then it is we — not God — who should REPENT of this error and change our own carnal, human ways. 
  Are we going to defy our CREATOR on this point?

Prophetesses

   In both the Old and New Testaments, we find that God did use some righteous women in the office of a prophetess. If we study these examples carefully, we will see that their function has often been misinterpreted and that their office carried no administrative authority, but that they were simply used of God to convey a message to one of His servants. or to other people — but never in the capacity of preaching or exercising authority over them. 
 Exodus 15:20-21 gives the account of Miriam the prophetess leading the women out to dance and praise God in song. But she is nowhere spoken of as having preached or having had authority of any kind over the men. And any honest Bible student knows that it would have been contrary to existing mode of conduct, and to God's command, for her to have done so.

Deborah

   An unusual situation in Israel which in many ways parallels our own present day DEGENERACY is described in chapters 4 and 5 of the book of Judges. To properly understand this account, we need to realize that the entire book of Judges is primarily devoted to a history of Israel's mistakes because: "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:621:25). In Judges 4:1 we find that Ehud, Israel's present "deliverer" (Judges 3:15) had died, and the people began doing evil in God's sight. There seems to have been no man of real purpose and leadership to guide Israel at this time, and God sold them into the hand of the king of Canaan for their disobedience, 
  At this point, we read: "And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time" (Judges 4:4). Since no man had courage and leadership to master the situation and take the initiative, Deborah — being a prophetess and knowing God! will — reminded Barak, "Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded..." And she proceeded to remind him — not command him, because she had no such authority over the men — of what God had commanded should be done. 
  Barak, being a weakling and too fearful to exercise his God-given-responsibility of leadership, told her, "If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go" (verse 8). 
  Knowing full well that Barak ought to be man enough to carry out this responsibility without having to cling to the skirts of a woman, Deborah told him: "I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman" (verse 9). 
  Deborah herself — a righteous and God-fearing woman — had no desire at all to usurp man's responsibility for leadership. And her own words betray how ashamed she must have felt of her men, who were so weak that she had to "mother" them along to get them to carry out God's will. She later sang of this national tragedy: "The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel. until that I arose a MOTHER in Israel" (Judges 5:7).

Like Today

   This pitiful spectacle of men being too weak and too lazy to carry out their God-given responsibility for leadership is closely paralleled in America today — right now! And it is a growing trend in many other nations. It seems to be a part of our so-called "civilization." And it is wreaking havoc in our homes, our churches, our society. 
  Women preachers constitute only a small part of this general problem. The big problem is that men and women have departed from the WAY of God in their lives. They have forsaken the knowledge and practice of exercising the God-constituted authority He set in the home, in the church, and in society. 
  The divorce rate and the number of juvenile delinquents and criminals is constantly growing. And most people don't seem to know why. 
  Asked to account for the rise in juvenile delinquency, an expert on this subject, Police Commissioner Gibbons of Philadelphia, answered: "Throughout the country there is a general disregard for CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY. I think that goes for the adults and is reflected in the thinking of the juvenile." Yes, Commissioner Gibbons and many other men and women who are constantly dealing with this problem have been forced to realize that proper understanding and respect for authority is rapidly disappearing from our society. 
  In its wake, we find increasing violence, murder, rape, corruption! 
  Commenting on America's problem of growing juvenile crime, a famous visiting British general said that he remembered that when he was a boy, father's word was law and disobedience was quickly rewarded by physical chastening. But now, in both countries, most fathers just don't seem to care, and the mother is either unwilling or unable to properly handle the situation. 
  Yes, men used to feel their God-given duties as head of the house and exercise them. But now it seems they just don't care. 
  In fact, the whole population seems to delight in ridiculing man's position as head of the house. This attitude of contempt for what GOD has ordained is prominently displayed in comic strips, movies, radio, and now television — all of which like to portray the husband as a big, helpless dumb brute who has to be "managed" by his intelligent, "modern" wife. 
  A recent newspaper report says: "The United States is moving rapidly toward the 'woman's world' with diaper-changing husbands and independent wives." Yes, the weak, spiritless American husband is fast becoming the butt of every joke. The situation may strike some as being very funny, but it is an ABOMINATION to Almighty God! The lack of a real father and HEAD in every home is leading to more broken homes, broken young lives, and wretchedness than you have realized. 
  It's time to wake up and get back to the WAY of God.

Other Prophetesses

   There are a few other prophetesses mentioned specifically in the Bible, and in every case they were used as Deborah was — to impart knowledge to others as to God's will. In no case did they exercise authority. 
  We read of Huldah the prophetess in II Chronicles 34:22-28. Here we find that the King of Judah sent to Huldah to find out what Gods will was. But, upon learning be made the decision as to what should be done. 
  In Luke 2:36-38, we read of Anna, a prophetess, who was a widow 84 years old. She was a very righteous woman who "served God with fastings and prayers night and day." And so it was revealed to her that the child Jesus was the expected Messiah, and she was privileged to announce this to those who were gathered informally about Jesus and His earthly parents. 
  The four virgin daughters of Philip the evangelist are mentioned in Acts 21:8-9. The accounts says they "did prophesy," but we find an example of how this was often done in the following verses (10-12) describing Agabus, the prophet. Notice that Agabus did not preach to the group or have authority over them, but simply warned Paul personally, and those with him, of what God had revealed would befall him at Jerusalem. 
  So, although the word "prophesy" means to "foretell for God," whether in the sense of a revelation of future happenings or of inspired preaching, we see that the latter function was never exercised by women prophetesses, who never held authority over the men or the congregation, but only spoke privately to convey a message from God.

New Testament Teaching

   The New Testament teaching, example, and direct commands on this subject are very clear. 
  In I Corinthians 11:3-16, the Apostle Paul says (verse 3), "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the HEAD of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." 
  Paul says the man "is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of man" (verse 7). Man stands in the direct image and as the visible representative of God, and so should not have his head covered as a sign that he is in subjection to any visible being — as he is in direct subjection to the invisible God. 
  But the woman is to subject herself to the man; she was made "for the man" (verse 9). Therefore, she ought to have a sign, that she is under authority — on her head. If she acknowledges her subjection to the man by this outward sign, she will be granted special favor by the ministering and guardian angels, whose help the woman — as the weaker sex — is particularly in need of. 
  Notice that this symbol of being in subjection — this covering or veil spoken of — is the wearing of long hair by the woman. Some interpreters have falsely assumed that this covering was a veil or scarf, but this was not the custom of Grecian women, as they assume, and Paul clearly defines the woman's covering as her long hair, which he says is a glory to her (I Cor. 11:15). 
  Paul concludes this passage by saying that if anyone brings up a contrary idea, the churches of GOD recognize no such ideas of men. However, many of the churches of today have rejected these commands of God. Many unthinking modern women, kept in spiritual ignorance by their professing Christian ministers, now cut their hair short like a man — thereby dishonoring their human head, man and their spiritual head, Christ, whose command they are rejecting. 
  It's time to realize that true Christianity means OBEDIENCE to God's commands!

Paul's Inspired Commands

   The Apostle Paul was inspired to give directions for exercising spiritual gifts in chapters 12, 13, and 14 of First Corinthians. He concludes these instructions in I Cor. 14:34-40 by commanding: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (verse 34). Here is a direct command from God that women are NOT to speak in church even, in exercising the spiritual gifts of which Paul is speaking. The woman's praying or prophesying does not mean presiding over a group in these activities (I Cor. 11:5). 
  Their husbands are to study God's word and to be their head, their leader, in spiritual as well as physical matters. Thus, if women wish to ask questions, "Let them ask their husbands at home: for it as a SHAME for women to speak in the church." 
  Present circumstances are no excuse for disobeying the commands of God. Nevertheless, how many husbands are qualified to fulfill their responsibility as spiritual head of the family? 
  The shameful answer is: far too few. But this is no reason for women usurping this authority. For in I Timothy 5:12, God inspired Paul to write: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." He continues (verses 13 and 14), "For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." 
  The woman is not to have authority over the man, for she was created to be his helper. And this passage and others (II Timothy 3:6) indicate that women do tend to be more easily deceived than men. They were not intended by God to be physical or spiritual leaders over men — and most God — fearing women realize this and would be thankful if the men would AWAKEN to their God-given duty to guide the family and instruct their wives in spiritual knowledge. But — alas! how far men have fallen short of this CHRISTIAN DUTY.

God's Way Best

   Women preachers? Women leaders? The answer is abundantly plain if we seek God's way! 
  This knowledge should certainly cause no "battle of the sexes," but rather bring both men and women to the sober realization of how far we have departed from the ways and commands of God. 
  If men and women everywhere will both acknowledge the great error they have made, the great SIN they have committed in transgressing the commands of God in this matter — and will REPENT and turn from this wrong way, God will forgive and abundantly pardon. 
  Yes, we need to restore God's system of authority in our homes, our churches, our nations. Then growing children will be properly trained for life by firm but loving parents. And wives — as many of them secretly realize — would have a new respect and love for their husbands. And with people understanding God's authority and why, our church life would become cleansed of all the mixture of paganism and human tradition with what is left of real Christianity — the kind found in God's Word. 
  Society as a whole would be immeasurably benefited by a renewed respect for constituted authority — and the realization that authority comes down from God himself.

God Holds Men Responsible

   Women — and women preachers have taken unto themselves much authority that is not rightfully theirs. But in most cases they have done so because men were too lazy or indifferent to carry out the responsibility as they should. And so it is a situation for which we should all repent. 
  But you will have to realize that God at no time has used a woman as His minister in preaching or writing His word. Any woman usurping this authority was so doing in direct violation of the commands of God, and so cut herself off from God and from the Holy Spirit "whom God hath given to them that OBEY Him" (Acts 5:32). 
  And any church or denomination which continues to REJECT this truth is not being used of God at all, for He says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee" (Hosea 4:6). 
  Jesus Christ said: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4). 
  God's word is consistent. His will is clear. Where do you stand?

 

A NEW Look At Revelation 3:11

By Mr. Ellery Burgess

 

Revelation 3:7–13 is a message to the Philadelphia era (time period) of God's Church. But, verse 11 is directed to the following era, the Church of the Laodiceans. It is concerning holding fast to what was given in the Philadelphia era but it is directed to those in the Laodicean era.

 

We are living in the Laodicean era. Whether we, individually, are a practicing Laodicean or not is determined by our conduct as well as holding faithfully to the truth once delivered.

 

Revelation 3:11 says “Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” We will focus on “that no man take thy crown”. We will look at that phrase in a way that you may not have considered before.

 

The message to the Laodiceans starts with “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot” (Rev. 3:15). The reason that they are neither cold or hot is because Laodiceans do not understand what Christ's work is in this age. They are either trying to re-do the work of the Philadelphia era or just taking care of the people in their own groups, calling it “preparing the bride”.

 

It is not wrong to preach the good news of the coming Kingdom of God or to take care of those in your charge, so it is not cold. But it is not hot because it is not the main thrust of the work that Christ is doing in the Laodicean era. The work that Christ is doing today is: “knocking on the door (heart)” of every person who has the spirit of God residing in them, and Christ is measuring those who open and let Him in” (Rev. 3:20 and Rev. 11:1), preparing the temple for His second coming. That is the work of God today.

 

HOW CHRIST IS DOING HIS WORK TODAY.

But how is Christ doing that work today? Exactly the same way that He has always done it! By using the government structure that He has always used. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”. Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed “. Now, turn back to Hebrews 13, verse 7 “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their (conduct)”. Verse 9: “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with (foods), which have not profited them that have been occupied therein”. How did God work in the past? How did He work in the time of the Philadelphia era, which I often refer to as our living history?

The Bible tells us exactly how God works... “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph 2:20-22), read also Ephesians 4:1 – 6, 10-12. That is how He worked in times past, that is how He worked in the 20th Century, and that is how He is working today and forever.

 

God never changes, Christ never changes, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6). But, people sure do!

Now, in this Laodicean age, people look at it differently. Herbert W. Armstrong died and the ministry, as a whole, sold out the truth. From evangelists, down through every rank of the ministry, all the way to church elders, turned from the faith once delivered to them, to fables and lying doctrines.

Most of the ministry became all out apostates from the truth. So the Laodicean attitude set in.

Laodicea means the people judge, rule, and decide.

People caught up in this mind set just decided, well okay, we will become our own teachers. Lay members started their own churches, deacons started their own churches and became “preaching deacons.” Church elders started their own churches and declared themselves pastors.

Notice what Mr. Armstrong wrote in a Brethren Letter February 25, 1974... “There are no apostles nor evangelists in the local churches. ALL ministers, from Apostle on down, are called Elders in the Bible. It is evident that the Apostle Paul ordained some elders who were preachers, in charge of one or more churches. Also, that some who were not preachers were ordained elders, who were teachers but not preachers in the sense of inspired or pulpit preaching. Sometimes these were in a small local church where there was no preaching elder, but who presided at meetings, and sometimes they were under a preaching elder. Although the terms "preaching elder" and "local elder" are not specifically used in this manner, there is sufficient biblical example that the Church in our day has used those titles for rank of office.”

Mr. Armstrong also wrote in the same letter, about a liberal element that was creeping into the Church of God in 1974... “Those now advocating this Scriptural HERESY want to abolish all authority which Christ as our Head SET in His Church. Their contentions would lead to VOTING -- the "democratic way" – the very OPPOSITE of God's Way. They want to be "LIBERAL," and soon this liberality would lead into general and widespread SIN. They would become just a few more churches OF THIS WORLD – Satan's." These liberal ministers went underground, waiting for the apostle to die, as soon as he did in January 1986, they came out of their hiding and began to institute their evil agendas, and trap an unsuspecting flock. Their rebellion against God's government, is very evident in the United Church of God an International Association as well as COGWA and a few others.

 

The lowest rank of the ministry that Jesus Christ established to pastor a Church is that of preaching elder. Those holding the rank of church elder are not authorized by scripture to be pastors. I am ordained to the office of church elder. If something happened so that Mr. Venish was no longer here, I could not and would not attempt to pastor this Church. Because I have no authority to pastor.

So here, near the end of this Laodicean era, Jesus Christ is doing His work, the work described in the message to this era. He is knocking on the hearts door of each and every one of His people and if any will open, He will come in and begin the final preparing, the measuring if you will, of each one for entrance into His soon coming kingdom.

 

That is the work that Jesus Christ is doing now! The work of knocking and measuring is the work of God in this final era. Back to Rev. 3:11...“hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown”, I know that means to hold fast to doctrinal truth. But it also means to hold fast to following Christ as He does His work of knocking and preparing. To really follow Christ, we must be taking part in what He is doing, part of His work.

 

The phrase in Rev. 3:11 “that no man take thy crown” does have a meaning that most have not considered. Look at it like this: If we have a leader who is not teaching false doctrine, who is upholding the faith once delivered, who is doing the work of knocking and preparing, but we don't like something about him personally. We may consider that he did something that we consider “rude”, because I have heard that said. Maybe we just don't care for his personality. If that ever is the case, will we just turn and walk away from the very work that Jesus Christ is doing in this Church ?

If we do that, then I say plainly that we have let a man take our crown. There have been some who have left this little group knowing that here is where the truth is being taught. Knowing that the only true work of Christ is being done here, and to my knowledge, the only place where it is being done, but they still left because they did not like an administrative decision. That is putting a man's actions before the work of God and that is letting a man take away your crown.

“Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev. 3:11)

 

The final thing that Christ said to His people in the message to the Laodiceans was “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 3:22).

 

 

 

God's Ultimate Purpose - WHAT is IT?

By Mike Downing

 

Just what is the overall work of Almighty God? This work of God has not changed. God is reproducing Himself through mankind. He is developing His holy, righteous character in each individual that has surrendered to Him. Jesus said, none can come to the Father, unless the Father draw them (John 6:44, 65).

 

We are called by the Father for a supreme purpose. We have to keep this over-arching purpose firm in our minds, this is the reason why you were created. Notice Genesis 1: 26-27 “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His Own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” This is God’s overall, primary work. All the smaller secondary works, the great commission, Matthew 24:14, the knock of Christ and measuring, the work of the two witnesses, are all for the purpose of accomplishing God’s supreme feat: Reproducing Himself.

 

God’s ultimate goal is that all mankind receives eternal life in His Kingdom.

 

PREACHING THE GOSPEL

The church's commission of preaching the gospel is the means by which the Father calls and draws us, as Mark 16:15-16 states “And He said to them, Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

 

As God calls the individual, He starts to create righteous character within him. The church is the instrument God uses to help develop that character (Eph. 4: 11-16). Through the ministry we are taught Gods ways and laws. The ministry's duty is to teach and serve the flock of God.

 

We also learn from the example of our brethren, as well as encouragement. We are called now, in this church age, to be a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2: 9). We are to change our lives now, so that we in turn, can teach others when God opens salvation to them. Ask yourself if you are qualifying to do this? All those called today are accountable to God, we all have to improve spiritually and grow in Godly character and divine nature. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”(2 Tim. 2:15). We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We have to constantly be overcoming sin and our weaknesses. It is only by repentance and faith, that we turn our lives over to God, which He will mold and shape to be like Him, if we allow Him to do it. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

 

GET RID OF SIN 

Everyday we should be striving to rid ourselves of sin. And what is sin?

 

As 1 John 3:4 states, sin is the transgression of the law, when put together with Romans 7:7 it is very clear that sin is breaking the Ten Commandments. We must put on righteousness, “...and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). To put away our human nature, which is the old man (Rom. 6:6, Eph. 4:22, Col. 3:9) and put on the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We should be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). But just what does this verse mean?

 

I quote now from Herbert W. Armstrong in his booklet, "What is a real Christian"? “Being a real Christian involves developing the mind and attitude of Christ, thinking the way He did every moment of every day. Christ has revealed principles that bear on every facet of life. We are even to let our innermost thoughts be ruled by the Lord Jesus”.

 

We have to continually get our noses into the Bible to enable us to become authorities in the word of God, so we in turn can help, serve and teach others in the future. Salvation is between you and God alone, we are to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). We have to get ourselves right with The Father before we can help others. We all need to look in the spiritual mirror at ourselves and repent accordingly, as 2 Cor. 13:5 instructs us to examine and test ourselves.

 

Each individual has his own part to play in this character development. We have to choose God’s way, to allow Him to mold and shape us into His very nature. We do this by our willingness to obey Him. This is how we will be prepared and ready when Christ returns. God gives strong warnings to His end time church of the dominant attitudes that we, each individual need to be aware of (Rev. 3:16-17, 19; Luke 21:34: Matt. 25:5). 

 

MATTHEW 24:14

During the Philadelphia era of God’s church under Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, God raised up a mighty work to fulfill the prophesy of Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.” God opened doors and supplied means (money, helpers, ect) for Matthew 24:14 to be fulfilled. As it was being fulfilled, the church was also making disciples of all nations, many were called during this time. But the majority that heard the message did not grasp it, “it was as a witness unto them.” God is not at this time calling all mankind to salvation. Mr. Armstrong had clearly seen that God did open doors for him and the church to fulfill Matthew 24:14.

 

That door is now closed (Rev. 3:7). This fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 was a sign to the church that Christ’s return is very near and that the church needs to get prepared. The church continues to proclaim the gospel for all those God is calling. This is being done primarily today through the internet. There are numerous books, booklets, sermons and World Tomorrow broadcasts by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong explaining very plain the gospel of the kingdom of God and how we can be a part of it. The ministry also does this from the pulpit and each individual also does this by being examples and by our conduct.

 

Also during the Philadelphia era of the church, God restored vital truths to His church to prepare them for the return of Jesus Christ (Matt. 17:11, Mal. 3:1-3, 5-6). The prophesied apostasy which occurred after Mr. Armstrong’s death caused great division and confusion among God’s church. We as Christians need to return to and hold fast to the unadulterated truths and standards that were restored in the 20th century.

 

THE KNOCK OF CHRIST 

Christ is now knocking (Rev. 3:20) on the hearts of each person who has His Spirit. He is saying to His church “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me”. He wants us to repent of the lukewarm attitude and become zealous for the faith once delivered (Jude 3).

 

God is now sending out a midnight cry to His church (Matt. 25:6). He gives each of us counsel to help us which we can take now, or later during the time of Great Tribulation, the choice is ours (Rev 3:18). We have to make the decision now to allow Christ to work in us. We must strive with all our hearts and minds to fulfill God’s purpose for us, in creating His Holy, Righteous character within us.

 

As we respond to Christ by opening the door, we also need to show real Christian love to one another and have "the love of God shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom 5:5). By applying what has been written in this article the bride will have made herself ready (Rev. 19:7). The church of God is a spiritual organism. It consists of all those who have God’s Holy Spirit who are scattered all over the world, regardless of which group they attend. There is only one true church, it is those with God’s Spirit living and working in them, they are the church.

 

God is measuring each individual. Jesus Christ is the one performing the knock to the church in this end time. He convicts the mind of our need of repentance and where we need to overcome. Christ is at this time using a small group as a tool to deliver this knock and the midnight cry to His scattered church. To encourage them to repent, be zealous and to be watchful, to return to the truths that were restored. To hold up a measuring rod so that each Christian measures themselves to Jesus Christ and the truths and standards of Almighty God. We all in the Body of Christ are to model ourselves after Christ, He is our example, we are to copy Him, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (I Peter 2:21).

 

This is what we have to be focused on. We have to allow Christ to chip away at us, enabling us to be fitted into the Spiritual temple He is returning to. We, in this Vigilant Church of God, are a group of individuals within the scattered, divided church who have come to see our need of repentance and of returning to the faith once delivered.

 

We have a common goal, to prepare ourselves and help others prepare themselves for Christ’s return and entrance into the Kingdom of God. We are here to lead by example and by our willingness to obey and serve God. Hopefully this article helps each one of us to realize our purpose. That we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:23) with all our being.

 

Let us strive to fulfill God’s great purpose in us. To be born into the very family of God as children of Almighty God. In conclusion I quote from God’s word (Eccl. 12:13), “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”.

 

MAN'S INSOLUBLE PROBLEMS

by Herbert W. Armstrong

There seems to be no solution in sight today to the frightening world troubles with nuclear World War III threatening to blast all human life off this planet. But there is a solution and it's already underway, but the world doesn't seem to know it, or to understand it. 


Now the United States and the Soviet Union are not going to get together and solve it; the United Nations isn't solving anything; modern science is not going to solve it. They've only built the weapons of mass destruction that can erase all human life from the face of this earth, can destroy all human life. 
   Now there are some religious broadcasters who seem to think that just accepting Jesus Christ, just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and that's going to solve all of our problems. But I want you to notice what Jesus Christ Himself said and it's in Mark the seventh chapter beginning with verse seven, He said: 
  "Howbeit in vain do they worship me [not only accepting Him, not only believing on Him, but worshipping Him], teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:7
  If they don't live the way He said to live, and if they teach a different way of living, if they just teach about Christ. Unless you turn from the way you've been living it isn't going to help. And then He said: 
  "For [leaving] aside the commandment of God..." (Mark 7:8
  And they say that the commandments of God are done away, that Christ came and did away with His Father's commandments. But Jesus said He had kept His Father's commandments. He said; "Think not that I am come to destroy the law..." (Matthew 5:17), and yet they say He did. 
  "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men [the things that men say, but not the law of God, which they say is done away]... And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may [hold to] your...tradition." (Mark 7:8-9
  So, we have what we call, 'traditional Christianity.' And I want to tell you, that while it is necessary to believe on Jesus Christ, and He is the solution; but just believing on Christ, just accepting Christ alone isn't going to do it. It's going to mean that you have to change your life, and that's what He said, and that's what He came to teach. That's what He came to have us understand. Now in Matthew seven and verse 21 He said: 
  "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord [then accepts Christ, that believes on Christ; not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that just professes Christ, just says; 'I accept and I receive Christ'], shall enter into the kingdom of [God]; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21
  He that does; "...not [just] the hearers of the law...[shall be just, as we read in Romans again], but the doers of the law shall be [saved]." (Romans 2:13)

 

The Cause of Troubles and the Cause of Peace

   The troubles in the world have come from the way we have been living. We have been living the wrong way and that has brought all of our troubles on us; there has to be a cause for every effect. And if the world is in trouble today, if the world is unhappy today, if people are discontented all over the world, if half of the world is poverty stricken, living in filth and squalor, if half of the world is illiterate and can't even read or write, and that is true; then there is a cause. And it is the way people have been living, and it is because they have ignored the way of God. 
  Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel; and there is the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I've read so many times on this program, in Mark the first chapter beginning with the first verse. 
  And He... "came into Galilee, preaching the gospel [what Gospel? the Gospel] of the kingdom of God [that's the Government of God, to govern the way we live, to govern our lives], And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand..." (Mark 1:14-15
  The time was fulfilled, because He had just conquered Satan who has been ruling the world. And the Kingdom of God was at hand, because He had come to build the Church which was simply the Kingdom of God in embryo. But not the literal Kingdom of God as yet; just the beginning of it. So, then He said: 
  "...repent ye, [repent] and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15
  Believe this Government of God, and the Way of life of God. It is all a matter of the way we have been living. So, the cause is the way we've lived, the cause is what we have done. We've been transgressing God's Way of life. 
  And yet the Bible shows that we are going to have peace. Let me give you now the good news, it's in Isaiah in the second chapter, and it's also quoted in Micah, one of the prophets, just word for word. This is the second chapter of Isaiah beginning with verse two: 
  "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains..." (Isaiah 2:2
  Here 'mountains' is simply a symbol for nations. In other words; the Kingdom of God, God's nation, the Kingdom of God. That's what Jesus Christ came to preach, that's what He came to teach us, about the Kingdom of God. A kingdom of people which are ruled by God, and God's Way of life. And you don't hear that kind of preaching today, except on this program, if I may say so. And that nation will be: 
  "...established on the top of the mountains [or the nations, mountains is used here as a symbol], and shall be exalted above the hills [that's the smaller nations]; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [or the Kingdom] of the Lord [and], to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways [the way we live, of God's ways of living according to the law of God], and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2-3
  And you read in Isaiah, the eleventh chapter, that the earth will be as full of the Word of God and the Way of God, the Way of living of God, as the ocean beds are full of water. That's how it will be in the time just ahead of us when we're going to have world peace. Now listen to this: 
  "...for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among [many] nations [that's when the Kingdom of God is set up on earth], and shall rebuke many [nations]: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:3-4
  We're going to have world peace! And the time is now near; because this is the generation in which Jesus Christ is coming to rule. Now Christ is the solution yes, but He's coming as a Ruler and as Government. But Jesus Christ came to start it, and it started on the way by His Church. Now Jesus came into a world ruled as the world is going today; man going his own way, and going the wrong way and the way that is causing all of the troubles; everything that we're seeing today.

Christ's Church

   But, when Jesus came He said; "...I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18). He said He would build His Church. But He didn't build the Church with calling hundreds of thousands and millions of people immediately. Jesus came into a world such as we are living in now only it had not grown as big as it is now, there weren't as many people. The evils weren't as great as the evils are today, evils have multiplied, people have multiplied. It is just bigger in every way, but it is just that much more evil than it was then. 
  The word 'church' means; 'called out ones', the word 'church' means 'called out ones'. And so, you will read in Matthew four and beginning with verse 18. {1} Jesus didn't call thousands of people all at once but you will read how Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. I've walked by the shores of this same sea many a time - it has to be the same spot, there's only one spot where this could be. And He "...saw two brethren [brothers], Simon [who was] called Peter..." (Matthew 4:18
  That is, he was surnamed Peter, and 'surname' is a title. It's the title of leader, he was the leader of the apostles. To be an apostle but he wasn't an apostle at the beginning; he was a student or a learner. Or, as the Bible calls it a disciple, which means a student, or one who is learning. So anyway Simon was surnamed Peter: 
  "...and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers." (Matthew 4:18
  They were fishermen. Now, they didn't want to be preachers, they didn't want to be apostles; they wanted to be fishermen. And Jesus was not asking now for volunteers, He was calling. And so, He said, He called out to them and He said: 
  "...Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from [there], he saw other two brethren [two other brothers], James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, [and they were fishing there with their father in another boat]. And they immediately left their ships and their father, and [they] followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in [the] synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." (Matthew 4:19-23
  And you'll read in many other places how they were astonished at His teaching, at His doctrine, at the things He said; because He was teaching that they ought to live a different way. They were living the way that was causing all of the troubles in the world. And, He was calling them out of the world. The Church is merely the 'called out ones'. 
  Now Jesus didn't begin by calling everybody, and asking for volunteers and saying; "If you just accept me you'll go to heaven." But He called disciples, and He began to teach them a better way of living. He began to teach them about the Kingdom of God, the Government of God, and the way of life of God, God's way of life. And God's way of life is the way Jesus Christ lived when He was on earth. It's the way He and God the Father have lived for all eternity because they have lived forever. There never is a time when they began living, they have always lived. 
  Now let me explain something about the Church that you probably haven't heard before. He didn't just call for everybody to come to salvation; He called certain men, twelve men to be students, only twelve; and He began to teach those twelve. And after He had taught them for three and a half years, then He gave them the great commission, and I'm going to read that in just a moment. But Jesus was building the Church, and He was calling the Church out of this world, out of this way of living to God's way of life, as the beginning, and of the foundation of a different and a new world.

The Result of Adam's Sin

   Now, to understand the world that Jesus came into - what's wrong with the world, why we're having all the troubles we're having in the world. And we still are, because it's still the same world, only as I said a moment ago it is greater. The evils are greater, the troubles are greater, the population is greater. There's just more of everything today. 
  It all began with the incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Now in the Garden of Eden God had showed Adam and Eve the way of life, His Way of Life. Eve had strayed away just a little bit, and she came across a serpent, a snake. But Satan was in that snake, and Satan is the great former archangel, that is now Satan the Devil, who rebelled against God. Who was filled with vanity, who was filled with an idea of destruction, instead of construction and building. Who was filled with the way of rebellion against God, and God's way of living; against peace, against everything good, against happiness. And he misled her, he said: 
  "'Has God said that you could eat of all of the trees of the garden?' And she said; 'Well, He said we could eat of all of the trees, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But, He said; if we eat it we will surely die' [well then, here came the first lie; he said]. 'You won't surely die, you're an immortal soul, you're going to live forever.'" (Genesis 3:1-4 paraphrased) 
  And do you know that people have been believing — and even traditional Christianity believes that lie today? That you are an immortal soul; you won't surely die, you are going to live forever. Well I nail that lie right here and now, in the name and by the Authority of Jesus Christ. Satan is a liar and he is the father of it. 
  And that was the first lie told. Not by human man but by Satan himself. But Eve fell for it, and she swallowed it hook line and sinker. And she took of the forbidden fruit, and disobeyed God, and gave to her husband. She started the first ERA movement; and she took her husband by the nose and led him, when he was supposed to lead her in love, and in happiness, and in God's way. But he followed his wife and he disobeyed God; and that started another world led by Satan. They rejected God, and they rejected eternal life which God had offered them in the Tree of Life. 
  And God would have given them eternal life by and through His Holy Spirit. His life had to be injected into them, begotten into them; because humans have been made from the dust of the ground. God formed man after His own image, after His likeness, after the God kind. God is reproducing Himself, and He made man to become like God. But He made man of the dust of the ground; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became - the dust of the ground - became a soul. The dust of the ground became a soul, matter, not spirit. 
  But man disobeyed God, and Adam, the first man, could have taken of the Tree of Life. In other words, of the Holy Spirit of God, and that would have impregnated him with the life of God, and also with a mind like God, and with God's way of living. With an attitude like God, an attitude of love, of giving instead of getting, of obedience to God and God's way; which leads to peace, and happiness, and life, and good will, and joy, and everything that is pleasant and good, and wholesome and right. 
  But he went the wrong way, and that began a human civilization. There'd never been such a civilization on the earth - it was the first man, the first human, but that began this world. It was the foundation of the world at that time. And at that time, you will read in Revelation 13:8 that Christ, there called :"...the Lamb [of God, was] slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8
  In other words; it was determined that time would come when Christ would be the second Adam. That Jesus Christ would come as a sin bearer, and He would live a perfect life setting us an example that we should live as He did; following His Father's commandments, keeping the commandments of God, God's Way of life. A way that brings peace, that produces peace, and telling us to follow His example, and live that Way. And He would live in a perfect way, He would never commit a sin; therefore He would never bring a death penalty on Himself. But then He would give His life for you and me, and: 
  "...God [Himself] so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [Jesus Christ], that [we] should not perish..." (John 3:16
  You are not immortal, you would perish otherwise, except for Christ paying a penalty in your stead. And Jesus gave Himself to pay the penalty of sin that we do not have to die, but that we may yet have the Tree of Life opened to us. And receive the Holy Spirit, which Adam could have received and didn't, and made it available. But at that time God closed up the Tree of Life, and you read of that in Genesis three, verses 22-24, the last three verses of the third chapter of Genesis. Now also at that time, as you read in Hebrews 9:27, it was appointed that man should die because of Adam's sin, that human beings, man, should: "...once...die, but after [that] the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27
  Then in I Corinthians 15:22 you read, I Corinthians 15:222324, if you read right on from that point: "...as in Adam all die..." (I Corinthians 15:22
  And all do die, and all have been dying ever since Adam up to now. After seventy, eighty, some even a little over a hundred years. I'm not too far from it now myself but God has still given me the strength to talk to you, and give you His Truth. 
  After this the judgment, and: "...as in Adam all die...so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:22
  Everyone who ever died is going to be brought back to life by a resurrection.

God's Plan for the Future

   Now then, God had closed up the Tree of Life. It was not even open to ancient Israel, they had no salvation, no eternal life was ever offered to ancient Israel. But in Joel, one of the prophets, Joel 2 and verse 28 you read that the day will come, the time will come when God will again: "...pour out [His] spirit upon all flesh..." (Joel 2:28
  Now, that time had not come yet, but it was just beginning in the time of Christ. He taught His disciples and after He had taught them for three and a half years you read in Matthew 28 and the last three verses beginning with verse 18: 
  "...Jesus came and spake unto them [and this was after His resurrection, and], saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach..." (Matthew 28:18-19
  Now remember He had taught them, He was a teacher and He had taught them as students. Now they had graduated from that college, so to speak, and now they were going to be apostles. That was their degree, their college degree, so to speak. Now He said: 
  "You go, and teach [they now were to become teachers] all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them [they were to go and teach others, teaching them] to observe [what?] all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20 paraphrased) 
  That He had taught them! He taught them God's Way of life, and now He told them to go out and teach others God's Way of life. It's a lot more, my friends, than just believing on Christ and accepting Christ. That's the beginning. First you believe, or first of all you repent, and then you believe, and then you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now they started out on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came, and on that day the apostle Peter preached a marvelous sermon. And the people that were there, there were a few thousand people there, and they were pricked in their heart, and they said; Well: "...Men and brethren, what shall we do [now]? Then Peter said; Repent..." (Acts 2:37-38
  That is, change your mind, admit how wrong you are. Admit the way you've been living, you've been living the wrong way. Repent; and it means turn around and go the other way, and start living a different way, and believe on Jesus Christ: "...and [you] shall receive the...Holy Spirit " (Acts 2:38) he said. 
  Now when you receive the Holy Spirit you are not yet born of God, that is only the impregnation, you become a child of God, yes; but you are a begotten child. You are an heir, not yet a possessor of the Kingdom of God. 
  So, then after that what does one do? They were starting the Church, the Church started with Christ, and it started then with Him teaching twelve. And then those twelve went out and they taught thousands. There were three thousand that were converted and baptized in water on that day, and they received the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost. About a day or so later there were two thousand or more and the Church began to grow. 
  And the Church then become students. That is, they become disciples and the Church is founded on; "...the apostles and the prophets [the prophets of the Old Testament],...Christ...being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:20). And the Church itself will grow, and in the time of the Kingdom of God, when Christ comes very soon and Satan will be put away, the Church is going to teach the rest of the world how to live. And the earth will be as full of the knowledge of God and the Way of Life of God, as the ocean beds are filled with water, as I said awhile ago. And then at last we're going to have peace, and I read that prophecy just awhile ago. 
  The Church is the Kingdom of God in embryo, but only in embryo; and when you were an embryo on your mother's womb you weren't born yet my friends; and we need to learn that lesson. 
  Very few people understand the Church, and what it is, and why it is, how it was started, how it grows, the True Church of God. Oh, I wish people could just understand the real truth, if God would open our minds to see it. And certainly we can see the troubles all about us; certainly we can see the result of the way people have been living. And God's Way is a way that makes sense, it's a sensible way, and it makes sense, and it's the only way that does. And we're going to have to live the way that brings happiness, and peace, and joy. And then there will be great production and there will be everything good and that is the real Good News that Jesus came to bring, and the Gospel means Good News.

Related Reading

   I can't give you but a little of it on this program. I have a booklet here that'll tell you a whole lot that I couldn't explain today: 'Never Before Understood - Why Humanity Cannot Solve Its Evils.' Why they're not solving them. This will open your eyes, this will tell you all about that incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and what has happened ever since. Leading up to the time of the beginning of the Church, and you need it. JUST CLICK ON THE LINK TO ACCESS THE BOOKLET

WHO SHOULD GOD'S MINISTERS BE?

If the Bible truth were known, thousands would never have "chosen" the ministry as their profession! Should you teach, preach, or "witness" for the Lord? How does God call His true ministers?

   "I'VE BEEN called to preach!" said the eager young man to the elder pastor. 
  "HOW do you know you've been called to preach?" asked the dignified old gentleman. 
  "Well sir, I saw a vision in the sky," began the hopeful youngster, "and it seemed the initials 'P C' appeared to me. I saw them with my own eyes!" 
  "And what do you believe the vision meant?" asked his elder. 
  "PREACH CHRIST! " was the enthusiastic answer. 
  At this the old gentleman sadly shook his head. "No, my son — I'm afraid you've misinterpreted your vision." 
  "Huh?" came the quizzical reply. 
  "Yes — you see," he said gently, "the real meaning of the vision was that you should PLOUGH CORN"!

"A 'Calling' to Preach"

   This story serves to illustrate the manner in which perhaps many sincere people decide upon the ministry as their life's work. Undoubtedly, a number of the students in the theological seminaries of this world feel they have been given a special "calling" of God to preach. 
  Still, many others will readily admit they simply chose the ministry according to their aptitudes, much the same way a man might choose aeronautical engineering, civil service work, or farming. 
  Perhaps some of YOU, reading this article, feel you have been given a "calling" to preach. 
  But just what IS a CALL from God? Surely, should YOU be one who is presently teaching a Bible class, holding a study group, or in any way "witnessing" for Christ — you should want to know EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT IT, shouldn't you?

God DOES CALL His Ministers!

   It is GOD, not man, who chooses and calls His servants. Jesus said, "I will build MY Church" (Matt. 16:18). Christ DID build that Church, and is its LIVING HEAD TODAY! 
  Jesus intended certain GOD-GIVEN offices be established in His true Church for the CARRYING OF THE GOSPEL — which was the vitally important mission of that Church (Matt. 28:19-20). Notice how the apostle Paul describes the basic foundation of the organizational pattern of these offices: 
  "Now therefore ye (Gentiles) are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone" (Eph. 2:19-20). 
  Christ is the Head of the Church He built (Eph. 1:225:23), and therefore it is CHRIST who chooses His ministers and officers. 
  "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you..." said Jesus to His disciples (John 15:16).    "But now hath GOD set the members every one of them in the body (of Christ — the Church) as it hath pleased HIM!" (I Cor. 12:18).

False Ministers Prophesied

   Just as the early beginning of the true Church of God was fraught with many dangers from ravening men — men who would KILL because of religious hatred and bigotry — so IS OUR AGE! 
  When Jesus told His disciples of the times just before His return to the earth, He warned, "Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matt. 24:4). In His warning about deceptions, Jesus talked of false ministers who would be masquerading as true ministers of the Gospel, who would "show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). 
  This warning is about OUR TIMES — NOW! 
  And to WHOM was the warning given? 
  To the people of God! The students, learners — disciples of Christ! 
  Take warning now! 
  There is a very grave danger that YOU, as a "babe in Christ" could LOSE your salvation by failing to understand and heed these warnings about false ministers. 
  These false teachers who are working right now — as you read this article — will always despise the AUTHORITY of God's TRUE MINISTERS. They will PRESUME to 'themselves a position as leader and teacher of other people. Perhaps even in all sincerity, it simply begins as a Bible study group after a broadcast — but a certain dominant personality will always arise — and oftentimes today it is a woman — and begin to teach, explain and expound to the others — WHEN THERE HAS BEEN NO CALLING FROM GOD TO DO SO! 
  In the early Church, there arose false ministers and lay members, who began to set themselves up (note this well) as "teachers" and "leaders" of the people. 
  The whole theme of the New Testament, from the very inception of God's true Church to the end of the book of Revelation is one of APOSTASY, one Of God's true apostles and ministers constantly struggling against FALSE DOCTRINES creeping in, and against counterfeit ministers who were trying to lead off people after themselves. 
  Notice, the council at Jerusalem was held for this very reason! "And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, 'Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved'" (Acts 15:1). Notice further that these men wanted to ARGUE about the small, physical question of circumcision. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question" (Acts 15:2), 
  God's government went into effect, and, after hearing all the facts, and certain recommendations from other leading apostles, James, the chief apostle at Jerusalem (vs. 19) rendered a binding decision, which the others delivered to the churches as an authoritative DECREE! (Acts 16:4).

Paul's Experience with False Ministers

   In Paul's letters of correction and exhortation to the early Church, he was often forced to show them, by the manner of his calling and training, the real authenticity of his office. Notice how many of his letters begin with statements of divinely ordained authority. (See Rom. 1:1-5I Cor. 1:1II Cor. 1:1Gal. 1:24, etc.) 
  Almost immediately after the beginning of God's true Church, certain men arose who began to lead away followings after themselves. Perhaps they were sincere at first — wishing only to share with others their new-found truth. Perhaps they, like many today, only wanted to "witness" to others. But, they HAD NOT BEEN CALLED OF GOD! They let human nature, with its VANITY and LUST FOR POWER creep in. 
  The apostle Paul was constantly being criticized by unthinking, carnal-minded people who did not really fear God's government as they should have. 
  The Corinthians were accusing him of being covetous of what they supposed was their money (which was not theirs, but Gods). The whole underlying theme of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was concerned with this problem. "Mine answer to them" he had said in the first letter, "that do examine me is this, Have we not power (authority) to eat and to drink?" (I Cor. 9:3-4). He then proved the ministry should be supported from God's tithes. 
  The entire first chapter of Galatians is Paul's affirmation of the DIVINE AUTHORITY with which he spoke and wrote. 
  The important thing to realize is that this defense was necessary only because of the false teachers and "leaders" who were teaching the people — leading them in humanly devised "ideas" and traditions — trying to bring discredit upon God's true ministers. It is part of your nature to want to be important, well thought of, and approved by other people! 
  It has been said the busier a man becomes, and the more he accomplishes, the more criticism he will receive. God's word certainly affirms that statement! Jesus Christ was the busiest, and, at the same time, the most criticized man who ever lived.

Paul's Warning

   In some cases even the true ministers of God grew luke-warm, and dropped out of the Church. "For I know this," Paul said to the Ephesian elders "that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples [students, learners] after them" (Acts 20:29-30). 
  Paul told the young evangelist, Timothy, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times [now] some shall depart from the faith doctrine, body of beliefs, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons" (I Tim. 4:1). 
  After describing the very conditions which will be extant during this time in which YOU LIVE — Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, warned, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (II Tim. 3:13). 
  Remember, these letters to Timothy were concerned primarily with Church Government. Never forget even false ministers APPEAR, as the ministers of Christ. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).

Peter's Warning!

   Peter was not unaware of the undercurrent toward apostasy that was beginning then. He wrote, "But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (II Peter 2:1). 
  Paul had said the "falling away" from true doctrine was a mystery of iniquity, or LAWLESSNESS, that was beginning in his time! (II Thess. 2:7). 
  The entire second chapter of Peter's second letter is a grave warning against false teachers. 
  Notice, however, that there is always ONE THING THESE TEACHERS HAVE IN COMMON. Even Korah, and the ones he led with him in his rebellion against the authority of Moses, showed the same traits (See Num. 16:1-3). 
  "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh," who are concerned about the PHYSICAL SENSES, and the fleshly, carnal sensations, the vanity they might have in leading others — becoming their teacher — the popularity, or the money and the security they covet — "in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government" [AUTHORITY, RSV] (II Pet. 2:10).     Do you see? 
  "Presumptuous are they," continues Peter (II Pet. 2:10). Yes, they are always presuming to be a self-appointed leader over others, "self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities... but these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand HOT; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption..." (II Pet. 2:10-12). 
  Surprising though it may sound — some individuals are not afraid to deliberately misrepresent, and to CLAIM they represent The World Tomorrow program, or The Plain Truth magazine. There have been cases of some deliberately lying, simply because they know the scope and power of this work of God — and wish to begin to SET THEMSELVES UP as TEACHERS when there has been no calling of God! 
  God prophesied His true sheep would be SCATTERED, and FEW, the "salt of the earth" — not the great, organized, politically powerful machines of the world. It is because of this that many begin to yearn for physical fellowship with other human beings of like belief. This is natural. It is good. But, it is also something to be WARNED ABOUT FIRST! "BEWARE OF MEN!" said Jesus Christ (Matt. 10:17). And remember our first fellowship is with Christ! (I John 1:3). 
  Those who begin to teach others apparently do not even faintly begin to realize the GRAVE RESPONSIBILITY of such an action.

A Dangerous Position

   It is because the true ministers of God must labor in TEACHING OTHERS the WAY TO SALVATION — telling them of the things pertaining to ETERNAL LIFE, that God lays such a heavy responsibility on them. Notice Peter's exhortation: "The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder... feed the flock of God which is among you... neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock" (I Pet. 5:1-3). 
  To cause another human being to LOSE SALVATION is the most dastardly act a person can commit! Notice what Jesus said of such an act: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences (causing another to stumble — to go back into sin!) for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Matt. 18:6-7). 
  A minister can be responsible for converting people — for convicting them of sin and bringing them to Christ in real DOWN TO EARTH REPENTANCE! Or, he can, by teaching false ideas — by setting himself up as a leader when God has not called him — send people straight into the lake of fire — Gehenna fire! 
  But it is not only those who deliberately masquerade as the ministers of God, but ANYONE, be he false minister, professing teacher, deliberate liar, or INNOCENT LAY MEMBER simply trying to "do good" to others, but who teaches doctrines which LEAD THAT PERSON ASTRAY — who comes under the condemnation of the word of God — which says WOE unto that man! (Luke 17:1-2).

How God Calls His Servants

   It is GOD who chooses and calls His servants (Eph. 4:11I Cor. 12:38). The WAY He calls them needs to be definitely understood! 
  Notice, Jesus said to His disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you..." (John 15:16). When He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He said to Peter and Andrew, "FOLLOW ME, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). Notice, NOT ONE of Jesus' disciples whom He called and ORDAINED to the ministry CHOSE THEMSELVES! 
  I want you to think very carefully about this next statement! It constitutes a great principle of God's word — and a vitally important KEY to be used in God's true ministry! 
  THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE — ANYWHERE IN THE BIBLE, WHERE A CALLED AND CHOSEN SERVANT OF GOD CAME forward and VOLUNTEERED for THE OFFICE! 
  Moses argued that he was unfit for the job, Jeremiah said he was too young, Jonah ran away, Samuel was directly called of God, David knew nothing until Samuel announced it to him. All of the prophets say, "The Word of the Lord CAME unto..." them, not that they volunteered for the office! 
  Jesus called and appointed His true disciples. Paul was struck down by a miracle. Paul "took" Timothy unto him, and so it is throughout the history of God's Church. My father fought vigorously against the truth of God before He was finally called.

God Works Through Human Instruments

   But Jesus said, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them! (Matt. 7:20). The Scriptural QUALIFICATIONS imposed upon any person whom God is calling to the ministry are so absolutely RIGID. 
  One great principle that seems so difficult for some few to understand is that the Creator who gives us every breath of air we breathe accomplishes His plan here below — yes, and even governs His Church — THROUGH HUMAN BEINGS — HIS INSTRUMENTS! 
  God is now sending the Gospel of His soon-coming Government into many parts of this darkened world. But He is not yet shouting with His own booming, earth-shaking voice — He is sending the Gospel over the airwaves by the voice of HIS HUMAN INSTRUMENT, Mr. Armstrong! 
  He is seeing to it that YOU are receiving this magazine, to feed and nourish you in His truth, to warn you of impending dangers, to try to HELP each hungry "babe in Christ" gain an entrance into His glorious Kingdom. But the magazine is written, edited, typed, printed, and mailed by human instruments. 
  It is the same in calling His ministry! 
  Many have assumed the apostle Paul was the exception to the rule that ministers were always ordained through HUMAN INSTRUMENTS, by the laying on of the hands of the ministry! 
  That assumption is false!

Paul's Ordination

   Read the account of Paul's ORDINATION by human instruments with your own eyes! 
  Turn to Acts, the 13th chapter. Here, you see the gathering of the elders at Antioch, and the ordination of Paul. Paul had been struck down on the road to Damascus, blinded, and made willing to receive God's Spirit through a real REPENTANCE! 
  He was able to "preach Christ" to the Jews at Damascus then, "proving that this is very Christ!" (Acts 9:20 and 22). But notice that Paul was not a MINISTER — he was not an active member in the Governmental body of the Church — he was merely doing what ANY of YOU should be able to do — "... be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Pet. 3:15). 
  But notice — it entails giving an ANSWER TO THOSE THAT ASK — not the kind of door-to-door "witnessing" that is being done by many today. I remember a time when I was eating a meal in a restaurant. Two women entered, unnoticed in the crowd of others finding booths or chairs, and gradually made their way toward the rear of the small, somewhat crowded restaurant. Finally, taking up positions just behind the booth in which I was seated, with another minister, they began to SHOUT — at the TOP OF THEIR LUNGS, "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! is burning in the gates of HELL for every lost sinner!" 
  The near disastrous results could have meant a severe lawsuit for both of them. 
  The people in the restaurant were so shocked by the "FIRE" cry they didn't really hear the rest of it — which was just as well — and some of them began to hastily jump up to flee the place! They thought a customer had discovered a fire! 
  Scenes of this type bring a REPROACH on the precious word of God! 
  Should these women have been "witnessing"? 
  Mr. Meredith answered this question, in the article "Should Women Preach?" appearing in the February-March, 1955, Plain Truth. Your Bible says NO! "Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a SHAME for women to speak in the Church" (I Cor. 14:34-35). 
  After the short preaching at Damascus on the part of the apostle Paul, that Jesus was the true Christ, Paul went to Arabia (Gal. 1:17) and returned to Damascus (vs. 18). After three years (vs. 18), Paul then went down to TARSUS, the city of his birth. Prior to this time, however, Paul had been with the other apostles in Jerusalem, after Barnabas had told them of the miraculous way in which God struck him down. He learned from them how they carried out their offices in the government of the Church: "And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem" (Acts 9:28). 
  PAUL was TRIED AND PROVED in the actual ministry. 
  Notice how Barnabas, also a disciple of the Church, later took Paul with him when he went to Antioch, and they taught many people for another additional YEAR (Acts 11:25-26). It was only after this time of actual ministerial experience and training — having been alone with Christ in the desert of Petra — having been under the direct supervision of the headquarters Church at Jerusalem, then taken with Barnabas who was older in the faith, to Antioch, that God finally led His servants to ordain Paul! 
  Notice, as the elders were ministering to the Lord at Antioch, they were FASTING (Acts 13:2). During this time as they were in fasting and prayer — the "Holy Spirit said, 'Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them'" (vs. 2). 
  God's Holy Spirit directed the minds of His praying, fasting servants — His HUMAN INSTRUMENTS! For example, the Holy Spirit led Mr. Armstrong to separate Herman Hoeh, Roderick Meredith and others unto the work whereunto God had called them! He directly REVEALED to Mr. Armstrong — who could see by the FRUITS being borne of these men, by their consecration and dedication to God's work, by the need of the work — by their spiritual leadership and qualifications that God was doing the calling! 
  And so it was with the apostle Paul! 
  The ministers were told to "separate" Paul! A setting apart or a "separation" for an office is just another word for ORDINATION! Notice what happened! 
  "And when they had fasted and prayed (as in all cases of ordinations), and LAID THEIR HANDS ON THEM, they sent them away" (Acts 13:3). 
  There is the record of the ordination of the apostle Paul by HUMAN INSTRUMENTS, in the exact same way God always calls and chooses His true ministers — after conversion, a number of years of study and preparation, actual field testing and proving in the ministry, and final ordination when GOD shows His ministers His will! 
  Some, however, who are always looking for ways to GET AROUND the set and established ways of their Creator and RULER, want to "have their own way," and so try to achieve their own goals by wrong means!

False "Visions" and "Dreams"

   Frequently, some will get a certain "feeling" they are being called to the ministry! Setting their heart on the ministry, they DECIDE God has called them to be His stewards — and begin to FORCE THEMSELVES IN! Notice, they have NOT been trained — have NOT fulfilled the divinely imposed Scriptural qualifications, have NOT been observed, tested and proved by God's true ministers — they merely "make up their minds" and then VOLUNTEER! 
  BUT NONE OF GOD'S TRUE SERVANTS HAVE EVER VOLUNTEERED ON THEIR OWN. 
  Others have a "dream" and then come to the ministers, telling them God IS calling them to the ministry! But WHO HAD THE DREAMS IN THE BIBLE? The one being called? Or the human instrument used in the actual calling? 
  Notice! In the case of the apostle Paul, the miraculous vision on the road to Damascus WAS ALSO COUPLED WITH A VISION WHICH APPEARED TO ANANIAS — a truly converted man, who was already in God's Church — whom God used as the instrument in baptizing Paul. Ananias DID NOT ordain Paul — he merely baptized him! 
  God's true servants are not called by weird dreams and visions which God keeps HIDDEN from His already-called and ordained officers of the Church. 
  A lay member will not be called to the ministry without the MINISTERS being the FIRST ONES TO RECOGNIZE IT — BEFORE THE LAY MEMBER EVER DOES!

A Host of "Volunteers"

   The Bible is also explicit on a whole GROUP of men who "volunteered" for the ministry, or a prophetic office, or a position of leadership in the congregation! 
  "Now Korah... rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel... against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, 'You take too much upon you, seeing ALL the congregation are holy... wherefore then lift ye up YOURSELVES above the congregation?" (Num. 16:1-3). 
  Notice! Moses and Aaron were accused of having APPOINTED THEMSELVES and "lifting up themselves" over the congregation! You and I know, however, that Moses and Aaron were called of God! 
  But — as is nearly ALWAYS the case when a presumptuous person tries to USURP authority, he repudiates the office of the one in the already-established position, and accused that person of having arrogated the office to himself! 
  Let's never let this happen to any of us! Notice the fearsome END of Korah! "...the ground clave asunder that was under them, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods... and they perished from among the congregation" (Num. 16: 31-33). 
  Satan "volunteered" to take over the office of God! All the FALSE prophets set themselves up, claiming to be the true prophets of God! Adonijah, Solomon's half-brother, tried to set himself up as King over Israel, and was finally killed for his presumptuousness! Simon, the sorcerer, wanted the power of God, and tried to buy it with money! Peter said, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money... thy HEART IS NOT RIGHT in the sight of God" (Acts 8:20-21). 
  Any person who tries to arrogate to himself an office of the ministry joins ranks with Korah, with Adonijah and all the false prophets, and with Satan the Devil himself! 
  REMEMBER! There is not one single example in your Bible where the true ministers of God VOLUNTEERED OF THEMSELVES FOR THE OFFICE!

PROPHECIES Against PROPHETS!

   There are many thousands today who, even in innocence, have taken to themselves the prerogative of teaching God's word. And, it is a great SHAME to state the further truth — that HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF "TEACHERS" OF THE BIBLE TODAY KNOW LITTLE IF ANYTHING ABOUT THE BIBLE! THEY ARE IGNORANT OF IT, GROPING IN THE DARK, and because they have not realized the GRAVE WARNINGS about this very thing in the Bible itself — are heading for an awful END unless they REPENT of it, and CHANGE THEIR WAYS! 
  James warns, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation" (Jas. 3:1). In the King James English, this verse is a little obscure, but by taking other translations, and the original Greek, the rendering, in modern English, is this: "Do NOT MANY OF YOU BECOME TEACHERS, KNOWING THAT WE (WHO TEACH GOD'S WORD) SHALL RECEIVE GREATER JUDGEMENT! " 
  The entire third chapter of James — famous as the chapter about the tongue, and evil speaking of man — is directed as a warning to THOSE WHO DARE TO TEACH THE BIBLE TO OTHERS! 
  Jeremiah was a prophet of God. 
  God used Him to prophesy against other prophets — both past, PRESENT and FUTURE! 
  In Jer. 23, a startling prophecy is revealed concerning the' end times. You are now living in these end times — the time just before the INTERVENTION of Almighty God, and the return of Jesus Christ to this earth! 
  Let's notice the dire warnings contained in this prophecy about false teachers! 
  "WOE be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:1). Subsequent verses show God will bring the evil of their own doings upon them (even though they preach against any "works" ir is WORKS they'll be JUDGED BY!). But it is not only those who style themselves ordained ministers this prophecy is directed to. Notice! 
  "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed'" (Jer. 23:25). They say, "I know the answers! I can tell you what the Bible means" — but they DON'T KNOW! 
  "How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal" (vs. 26-27), 
  So they're not all standing in a pulpit, or holding an office — but some are simply teaching their neighbors! When God has NOT CALLED THEM! 
  Here is what God says: "Behold, I am against the prophets... that use their tongues, and say, He saith. "Behold I am against them that prophesy false dreams... and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:31-32). 
  Finally, when the KINGDOM OF GOD is established on this earth, we read: "It shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a hairy cloak (marginal reading) to deceive, but he shall say, 'I am no prophet! I am a FARMER, for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth!" (Zech. 13:3-5). 
  YES! In that day a man will aspire to be a FARMER before claiming to teach others in the name of Christ when Christ has NOT SENT HIM! 
  To those who CHOSE FOR THEMSELVES THE MINISTRY — WHO VOLUNTEERED FOR THE JOB — WHO SET THEMSELVES UP AS TEACHERS OF OTHERS — THESE SCRIPTURES GIVE WARNING! 
  You have read this article. You are now RESPONSIBLE for it. May God give you the grace and wisdom to be obedient to Him in ALL things!