## When Christ Judges A Christian

“All the judgment a Christian will ever face was poured out on Jesus Christ at Calvary.”  I have heard that statement made many times by various Christian teachers, preachers and leaders.  It is, of course. a false statement, but one need change only one word in order to make it an absolutely true statement.  Change the word “will” to “need.”  All the judgment a Christian NEED ever face was poured out on our Lord at Calvary.  Ananias and Sapphira need never have been struck dead by Jesus Christ for lying to Peter, and hence to God, as to the price they received for a piece of private property they sold.  (See Acts 5:1-11).  Yes, ALL JUDGMENT, including the judgment of believers is in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (See John 5:22, 26-27 and Romans 14:10-12).  The apostle Paul cautions believers not to tempt Christ to destroy them as He destroyed Ananias and Sapphira AND THOUSANDS OF OTHERS, or have you never read I Corinthians 10:1 through 12???

The Corinthian text admonishes believers to heed the warning that our Lord can, has, and WILL destroy flagrantly disobedient believers, who persist in willful, continuing sin!  In the very next chapter (I Corinthians 11), Paul speaks of how Christ’s judgment had already begun to fall on some of the Corinthian believers, causing some to fall ill and others TO DIE!!!  (See I Corinthians 11:26-32).  Paul then comments, “If we (we believers) would judge ourselves (identify and abandon whatever continuing sin is in our lives), we should not be judged (by Jesus Christ).”  (see verse 31).

The confused beliefs of many professing Christians prompts me to believe most have never read the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation as well as the scriptures cited above.  In Chapter One of Revelation, Jesus Christ is pictured as the Living Head and JUDGE of the church.  He is the Almighty (Revelation 1:8) with eyes “as a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14), standing in the very midst of the churches (Revelation 1:13, 20).

There is a most misunderstood statement of Jesus Christ found in the 18th chapter of Matthew’s gospel account, verse 20.  In that verse, Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, THERE AM I IN THE MIDST OF THEM.”  That does NOT mean He approves or condones what He sees and hears!  Jesus Christ stood “in the midst” of the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3, but He commands that five of the seven REPENT!  He warns Thyatira that He is about to do with them as He did with Corinth and the Jerusalem assembly, putting some of them to death!  (See Revelation 2:19-23.  He warns Sardis that only a few of their number would walk with Him in white.  (See Revelation 3:4).  The fate of the majority of that assembly is discussed in many other scriptures.  Our Lord’s comment to Laodicea are legendary and chilling.  (See Revelation 3:14-22).  Peter understood a truth that more pastors need to understand today, “that judgment must BEGIN at the house of God” (See I Peter 4:17).  In all probability, Peter gleaned this truth from two separate sources.  First, when Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead, it was at Peter’s feet.  (See Acts 5:1-11).  And secondly, Peter would have had an apostle’s understanding of Ezekiel’s writings.  Hence, he would have known when God judged His people He commanded the destroying angels to “begin at my sanctuary” (See Ezekiel 9, especially verse 6).

How is it so many Christians believe themselves to be immune from punishment for their sins?  Is it because they sin and no punishment immediately follows?  Remember, God allows a space of time for repentance before He punishes.  (See Revelation 2:21).  Also, since judgment begins at the house of God, and one has sinned and continues to sin without judgment perhaps they are not a member of the house of God!!  Many false converts, even false prophets (preachers, teachers, ministers) think they are members of the body of Christ in good standing.  (See Matthew 7:21-23).  Scripture cautions, “If ye (you believers) be without chastisement (corrective punishment), whereof ALL (the children of God) are partakers, then are ye bastards (illegitimate children, false converts) and NOT sons” (See Hebrews 12:8).

Many fail to see the Bible’s clear teaching as to a believer’s judgment for sinning because they have been taught that upon “receiving Jesus” all sins, including FUTURE sins are forgiven.  I have heard it argued that when Christ died all of our sins were future and that this is proof God forgives future sins before they are even committed!  (How’s that for convoluted reasoning?)  Yet scripture plainly says, “If we CONFESS our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us…” (See I John 1:9).  Again, in James 5, we read: “Is any sick among you (among you believers)?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he has committed sins (meaning his sickness is corrective punishment) they shall be forgiven him (AT THAT MOMENT)” (verse 14 and 15).  If a believer’s sins are pre-forgiven, why strive against sin?  What God forgives He forgets.  He would then, indeed, take no note of a believer’s sins.  Yet Revelation 2 and 3, Acts 5, I Corinthians 5, 10 and 11, and many other passages clearly show that God does see a believer’s sins, and that they definitely are NOT pre-forgiven.  At the moment of our justification (what many refer to as the moment we are “saved”) we receive “remission of sins that ARE PAST” (See Romans 3:25).  Peter writes that we were “purged,” or cleansed from our “OLD sins” (See 2 Peter 1:0).  The Greek word translated “old” in that verse is palai (pronounced PAL’-ahee) and means “former” or “past” sins.  No scripture even intimates that upon surrendering one’s life and total self to Jesus Christ’s Lordship and guidance his future sins are, at that moment, forgiven.  That is ludicrous and a doctrine of demons!!

“For if we (we believers) sin willfully (voluntarily, with full knowledge that our act is seen as sin by God) after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin, but a CERTAIN fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries (those refusing to be corrected by God’s rod of discipline)….The Lord SHALL judge (and punish) His people.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (See Hebrews 10:26-27, 30).

“For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, AND EVERY TRANSGRESSION AND DISOBEDIENCE RECEIVED A JUST RECOMPENCE OF REWARD (A JUST PUNISHMENT), how shall we (New Covenant believers) escape (punishment for our sins) if we neglect so great salvation (supplied with the Holy Spirit to enable us to fully overcome and be more than conquerors over sin, the pulls of the flesh, Satans’ deceptions, etc.)…” (See Hebrews 2:2-3).

That is WHY Paul became indignant with any sin he found among God’s people, warning the Corinthians, “I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other (whose sins he might not yet know about), that, if I come again, I WILL NOT SPARE (but immediately disfellowship such carnal believers)” (See 2 Corinthians 13:2).

When believers sin they become adversaries of the Lord.  I speak of willful, voluntary sin here, the manner of sin spoken of in Hebrews 10.  Those who sin in such a manner counter-work the Lord.  The Lord as our High Priest, is striving diligently to bring us into holiness, instilling us with His own character through and through.  When we willfully, premeditatedly sin we do despite to the Spirit of grace given to keep us from sin and we trample underfoot the blood of Christ in that we eloquently show what little regard we have for our Lord’s agonizing sacrifice.  (Read Hebrews 10, verses 26 through 31 slowly and carefully).

The fact that there are dozens of very different churches and denominations that claim the Bible as the source of their beliefs and practices PROVES the Bible is not easily understood, else you would have only one or two denominations!  But there is one doctrine that is crystal clear in the holy scriptures, and that is the doctrine of God’s judgment on sin regardless of WHO the sinner is.  “But when we (believers) are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Corinthians 11:32).  Yes, there is marvelous PURPOSE and great LOVE in the punishment of a believer.  It is to prevent us from falling away and being condemned with the world!

“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you (Paul writes the Corinthians believers), and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife (such wording implying that it was probably the offender’s step-mother).  And ye are puffed up (believing they had God’s approval on their congregation), and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed MIGHT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM AMONG YOU.  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (with His full backing and support), when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (I Corinthians 5:1-5).

Disfellowship the offending member, but disfellowship him IN LOVE,  praying and trusting that such a harsh punishment will cause him to come to his senses and repent so that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord’s return!  When one is disfellowshipped from the society of God’s people Satan is instantly aware of the same and will move quickly to harass and trouble the offender, but, in most cases, this serves only to drive the offending sinner to his knees before the Lord in genuine, sincere repentance, thus, saving the spirit in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, does God see a believer’s sin?  Of course!  And, in scripture after scripture, He commands that the believer confess that sin, further commanding the believer to “Go, and sin NO MORE!”  (See John 8:31-36 and John 8:1-11).

Who does this Donald Wiley think he is to have the gall, the audacity, the impertinence to write articles and send them to literally HUNDREDS of ordained ministers throughout the United States, correcting them and showing them their errors??!!  Why the very nerve!  He thinks he has greater insight into spiritual truth than a Mormon bishop?  He thinks He understands better than a Roman Catholic cardinal?    Why he even has the temerity to correct a Baptist pastor!!!  How insulting can you get?
Folks, the average preacher doesn’t have the foggiest idea of just how the Lord “calls” someone to be a teacher of His Word.  I can’t count the number of times I have heard some preacher say, or write, how God called them to preach when they were nine, ten or twelve years old!  No wonder the Christian faith is divided and subdivided into scores of differing denominations, teaching a myriad of conflicting doctrines.  Bible colleges across America turn out “ordained” ministers by the dozens day in and day out, one teaching this doctrine and another teaching the opposite as God’s truth!
Anytime I hear some preacher say, “I don’t get my doctrine out of the Old Testament,” I know that I am listening to a grossly deceived individual.  Where on earth do they think the early church obtained their doctrine?  They had no New Testaments to flip through and quote.  Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (See Matthew 4:4).   Are the Hebrew scriptures inspired, or not.  When they wrote, “Thus saith the Lord,” were they kidding? dishonest? mistaken?  Did the words they wrote proceed out of the mouth of God or from their own deluded minds?
Few professing Christians really examine the scriptures closely thereby proving their beliefs.  They just gullibly, and yes blindly, accept whatever is spoon-fed them from the pulpit.  Their comfort level grows a thousand-fold when they realize most all of their fellow believers do the same and are in agreement with them as to what the Bible does and does not teach.  While whistling “Amazing Grace,” they slide deeper and deeper into confusion self-assured that all is well with their soul.
Folks, we had better heed the apostles’ counsel and warnings to prove all things of a spiritual nature, to test the spirits whether they truly are of God.  Just because someone wears the title “Reverend,” or “Bishop,” or “Father So-and-So” doesn’t mean they are in truth God’s anointed and chosen representative.  A word to the wise…….

## There Will Never Be Another You

Lyricist Mack Gordon wrote the lyrics to that beautiful melody.  I truly believe that our Creator could say the same to each and every member of the human family.  There will never be another YOU!  You are utterly and totally unique.  My mother  used to say of my Daddy, “When God created your Daddy he threw away the mold.” Well, when God created each of us He threw away the mold each and every time.  That’s what makes murder such a horrible crime.  The murderer is killing someone that is unique.  They cannot be replaced – only resurrected.  Parents who have lost a child and then go on to have other children realize the truthfulness in what I say.  They can have other children, children they dearly love and care for, but they know there will never be another child like the child they lost.  That child was unique and one-of-a-kind.
Just as there will never be another you, there will never be another me.  I, too, am unique.  We are all a right smart curiosity, as my Uncle Jesse used to say.
The prophet Jeremiah likens God to being a Potter.  We are the clay.  He is daily molding and fashioning us into the grand and wonderful  sons and daughters He wishes us to be.  But we must be pliable in the Potter’s hands.  We must let Him work.  We must seek His will and then do His will as God gives us the ability to see and understand what He desires to do both in and with us.
Many plod through life totally unaware that there just might be a purpose in their having been born.  To see one’s self as merely a human being, a cut above the animal kingdom – even detecting light years of difference between man and beast – is to miss entirely the reason for human life.  I will be writing more on this subject and posting it to my website.  I trust you and thousands of others will be immensely blessed thereby.

## The Cup Was Not The Cross

Jesus was as much a man as though never God, but He was always and ever the Son of God utterly, completely, totally, every moment submitted to the will of God and the task of bringing back a lost world to His Father.  There was never a split second when that was not true  not a billionth of a second.  He was the Good Shepherd eager, willing, committed to giving His life for the sheep.  The manner of His impending death did not phase Him in the least, nor did the duration of His agonies.  It mattered not to Him whether the agonies of the cross would last three hours, three days, or the full length of a human life span, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY” (Mark 10:45).  “Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I HAVE POWER TO LAY IT DOWN, AND I HAVE POWER TO TAKE IT AGAIN.  This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17-18).  That was one cup Jesus did not need to ask the Father to remove from Him.  He had long before received from the Father the final say in that matter.  He could go through with Calvary or decline the cross.  It was His call alone.

The word “cup” was a Hebrew idiom much like our English use of such words as “lot” or “portion.”  Jesus used that term to refer to two different events in His life.  When using it in reference to Calvary, He said, “Shall I not drink it?” (See Jon 18″11).  When using this word “cup” in reference to His betrayal and the loss of one of His beloved apostles, He asked the Father to remove it from Him if at all possible.

Additional light, piling scripture upon scripture, linking text with text, will not effect spiritual blindness.  Once one has bought into and embraced spiritual error in any area they will generally hold on to that error much like a dog will clench its teeth onto the rag you are trying to pull from its mouth.  That is why a Mormon lives and dies a Mormon, a Roman Catholic lives and dies a Roman Catholic, and the Amish live and die Amish.  They just will not let go of their spiritual error.  They have too many who agree with them.  They have their favorite spiritual leaders who supports them in their viewpoint.  Plain and clear scriptures can no longer illuminate their minds if they ever did at all.  In at least that one area they are indeed blind, and are generally blind in many other areas as well.

Do you know how many times Jesus Christ is called “the Lamb” in the Book of Revelation alone?  Twenty-nine times!  When Jesus first appeared beside the Jordan River where John was baptizing, John, upon seeing Jesus could have referred to Him as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” or “the Messiah,” or “Immanuel,” or “the Alpha and Omega,” or “King of Kings,” or a host of other names or titles.  But do you know what he called him?  “Behold the Lamb of God…” (See John 1:29, 36).  Of all born human, Jesus was the only man who was born TO DIE!  That was His mission and that was His glory.

A friend and I watched a video of Kathryn Kuhlman, the reputed “faith healer” who was enthralling the gullible with her particular brand of “Christianity” a few decades ago.  On this video, Ms. Kuhlman stated very dramatically that she was certain beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus did not want to die.  The Muslim Jihadist longs to die.  They will run toward a gunman firing at them instead of running in the opposite direction.  (That’s exactly what the Boston bomber did!)  A member of a Muslim militant group recently said: “The difference between Americans and Muslims is that the Americans want to live whereas we Muslims welcome death and embrace it!”  Ms. Kuhlman was WRONG in her assessment of Jesus Christ just as she was wrong in several other areas of her teaching and spiritual instruction.

Jesus knew His death was unlike any other death any human had ever died.  His death was a ransom to buy back a lost world.  “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY” (See Matthew 20:28).  Did you catch that?  Your Bible says Jesus came to give His life a ransom, TO DIE!  Yes, Jesus came to earth, taking upon Himself human flesh, for the purpose of dying!  That was His primary mission, His main objective, His cherished goal!

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same (that is, became human), that THROUGH DEATH (that is WHY He became human) He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels FOR THE SUFFERING OF DEATH, crowned with glory and honor that He by the grace of God should taste death (the second death, the death that pays the penalty for sin) for every man (dying for all the sins of mankind), for it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10).  This is but one of many scripture passages that state quite clearly that Jesus was born TO DIE – a death that would be the suffering of the second death FOR EVERY MAN, a death that would have the final result of bringing many sons and daughters to glory!

And notice that it says it was by the grace of God Jesus tasted death for every man.  He considered Himself favored by the Father in being granted the supreme honor of bringing many sons to God by His sacrificial death on the cross, knowing that three days later He would be resurrected and shortly thereafter rejoin the Father in heaven.  (Note the term “sons” of God in the scriptures when applied to humans always is inclusive of daughters, or females, also).

Again, “Wherefore when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering thou would not (or, did not really desire) BUT A (SACRIFICIAL) BODY HAST THOU PREPARED ME'” (Hebrews 10:5).  That is WHY, when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him at the Jordan River, He cried out, “BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD!”  Jesus Christ ever was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (See Revelation 13:8).

And again, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).  Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, knew that His shed blood would forever ratify the New Covenant, making millions, even billions, perfect.  He knew also that He would be brought back from the dead by the power of the Father.  To think that He would pray that the Father would remove this “cup,” this mission, from Him is absolutely ludicrous!

Jesus Christ was quite literally BORN TO DIE!  In fact, Jesus birth was not the beginning of a life, but a transition, a transition from immortal to mortal, from spirit to flesh.  When dealing with Jesus’ birth, we are dealing with something totally different from any other human birth.  I repeat, Jesus was literally born to die – a Lamb separated for the slaughter!

Remember, Jesus Christ prophesied again and again throughout His earthly ministry that He most definitely would be killed only to rise again the third day.  (See Luke 9:43-45 and Luke 18:31-34).  Had he tried to evade the cross He would have proven Himself a false prophet!  “While they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, ‘The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they SHALL kill Him, and  the third day He shall be raised again.’  And they were exceeding sorry” (Matthew 17:22-23).  Do you really think your Lord for one moment entertained the idea of becoming a false prophet?  If “take away this cup from me” translates to mean “save me from the cross,” then Jesus Christ DID pray that He would prefer to be a false prophet rather than to die for the sins of mankind!  What a ludicrous thought!  How satanic the idea,  yet wholeheartedly believed and taught to others by many preachers – men and women who claim to be Christ’s true representatives.

Toward the close of World War 2 scores of Japanese pilots volunteered eagerly to die.  They wanted to die for the emperor as Kamikaze pilots.  Are we to believe untold numbers of Muslims and scores of Japanese eagerly want to die for emperor and Allah, but Jesus did not want to die to save mankind?  Brethren, we must let the Word of God speak in these matters and glean our beliefs solely from Holy Writ and NOT from fellow human beings who can often be deceived and, thus, wrong.  Our ways are not God’s ways.  The “average” human doesn’t want to die, but Jesus was no average human.

“And as they did eat (the Passover meal),, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, ‘Take eat, this is my body.  And He took the cup, and when He had GIVEN THANKS, He gave it to them, and they all drank of it.  And He said unto them, ‘THIS IS MY BLOOD of the New Testament (covenant), which is shed for many..”  (See Mark 14:22-24).  Note well, Jesus said, “This IS my blood” and GAVE THANKS!  Jesus was glad to die as a ransom for man.  He GAVE THANKS to God that He could shed His blood for a lost and dying world.  And this just hours before Calvary!  Jesus eagerly wanted to die!  For, as the apostle Paul would later discover, it was through Calvary Jesus “made peace through the blood of His cross” and that “by Him” God the Father was able “to reconcile all things unto Himself…whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (See Colossians 1:20).  Jesus warned that “He that loves his life shall lose it…” (See John 12:25).  In looking to Calvary, Jesus said, “The hour is come that the Son of man SHOULD BE GLORIFIED!” (See John 12:23).  Calvary was Jesus’ glory.  He eagerly anticipated giving His life to buy back mankind from Satan’s grasp.  In suffering death on the cross, Jesus was thereby “crowned with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:9).  The prophets had long foretold “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:11).  God…raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory” (I Pewter 1:21).

Our Lord knew that through the cross He would forever triumph over all the powers of darkness and put them to an open shame.  Through the cross He would utterly spoil principalities and powers that had been assaulting His Father’s kingdom for ages!  (See Colossians 2:15).

“Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again.  No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power (authority) to lay it down, and I have power (Greek, “authority”) to take it again (or change His mind and NOT submit to death at the hands of the Jews and Romans).  This commandment have I received of my Father” (See John 10:17-18).  The cross was Jesus’ decision alone.  He says He did not need to ask the Father to spare His life, to remove THAT “cup” from Him.  He, Himself, had the authority to continue to the cross or to decline that glory.  The “cup” He prayed would be removed from Him was NOT Calvary.  Read your Bible.  The “cup” that Jesus definitely did NOT want to drink was the bitter cup of having one of His own hand-picked apostles betray Him into the hands of sinners.

Jesus knew the cross was not a tragic end to His life: “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…But He spoke of the temple of His body” (John 2:19,21).  Jesus said, “Go ahead and kill me.  I’ll Just come back to life and thereby open the gates for all mankind to inherit eternal life!!”

Anyone who says Jesus Christ tried to avoid the cross doesn’t know his or her Bible as well as they should.  Jesus Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (See Revelation 13:8).  Jesus made plans to die the moment Eve extended her hand to pluck the forbidden fruit.  And it was said of Him, “the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up (consumed Him, His interest, His all)” (See John 2:17).  Jesus zealously desired to redeem us from the enemy’s hands and present us to His Father as a sweet smelling offering.

If one will read closely the closing chapters of each gospel account, they will see that Jesus uses the term “cup” to refer to TWO different events, one being the cross, the other being betrayal by an apostle.  (Judas is called an apostle in Matthew 10:1-4).  The term “cup” was a Hebrew idiom much like our using the term “lot.”  It was Christ’s lot to die on the cross – something He welcomed.  It was also Christ’s lot to be betrayed by one of His own trained and lovingly nurtured disciples – something He shrank from and desired earnestly to see changed if possible.

Any suggestion to avoid the cross was seen as utterly satanic by Jesus Christ!  Notice: “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples how that He MUST go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, AND BE KILLED, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’  But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN: THOU ART AN OFFENSE UNTO ME, for thou savourest not (understand not) the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (See Matthew 16:21-23).

Had Jesus Christ tried to escape the cross He would have proven Himself a hypocrite.  Howso?  Because He said again and again, He that takes not his cross and follows after me (and my taking my cross), is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38).  Are we to believe the example He himself set was one of reluctance and hesitation?  Again, “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘If any man will come after me (be my follower), let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me!” (Matthew 16:24).

To even think the “cup” or “lot” Jesus desired to be removed from Him was the cross is ludicrous in the extreme – even a satanically inspired thought.  Any time such a thought crosses your mind you need to rebuke Satan instantly and put it out of your mind, so clearly reads the Word of God.  Yet how many pastors preach from the pulpit that Jesus Christ did exactly that.  Satan’s powers of deception are staggering.

When the mother of James and John asked that her two sons be granted the right and left hand seats beside Jesus when He inaugurated His kingdom rule, which she thought to be imminent, Jesus answered and said to them, “You know not what you ask (as they were unwittingly asking to be crucified on his left and right hand).  Are you able to drink of the cup THAT I SHALL DRINK OF, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’  They said unto Him, ‘We are able’ (again not realizing what this implied).  And He said unto them, ‘You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but to sit on my right hand, and on my left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father'”  (See Matthew 20:20-23).  And just a few verses later we read these words: “the Son of Man came not be ministered unto, but to minister, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY’ (verse 28).  Jesus Himself said He came to earth TO DIE!

When one says the cup Jesus Christ prayed would be removed from Him was the cross they are overlooking a plethora of scriptures scattered throughout the entirety of the Word of God.  (Pause and read the entirety of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah at this point before reading any further).  And worse, they are as much as saying Jesus Christ prayed that the Father would make Him a false prophet, as He had prophesied again and again that He would die and die on the cross!  Think about that for a moment.  No wonder scripture pointedly says any suggestion to avoid the cross was of satanic origin.

A mere seventy-two hours from the cross Jesus told His disciples, ‘The Son of man goes as it is written of Him, but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!  It had been good for that man if he had never been born” (See Matthew 26:24)  That was the bitter cup Jesus Christ did not want to drink.  He knew the horrible fate that awaited Judas should he go ahead with his betrayal.  Jesus knew that Judas’ offense was not merely the crime of the century, it was the greatest sin ever committed by a human being, a sin so great it would have been better if Judas had never even been born!  Jesus was not willing that ANY should perish, especially the greatest sinner of them all.  He desperately wanted Judas to rethink his course and come to repentance.  (See 2 Peter 3:9)  Jesus was very good at saving demon possessed men and women, regardless of whether they were possessed by seven demons, such as Mary Magdalene (see Luke 8:2), or a legion (thousands) of demons, such as the demented man who dwelled in the tombs (see Luke 8:30).

“Jesus knew from the beginning..who should betray Him” (John 6:64), and He worked long and hard to prompt Judas to rethink his course even appointing him treasurer for the twelve, perhaps to foster honesty in his heart.  (See John 12:6 and John 13:29).  He “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mark 14:33) when He realized Judas was dead set on his course of destruction.  Rising from prayer, Jesus then urged Peter, James and John to pray, too, lest they enter into temptation, like Judas.  Subsequent events proved that Peter was desperately needed to pray for divine strength to face what lay immediately ahead. (See Mark 14:33-38, 66-72).

Please read carefully Luke 22, verses 14 through 21.  Note well that “He (Jesus) sat down and THE TWELVE APOSTLES (Judas included) with Him.  And He said UNTO THEM (the twelve, Judas included), “‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…’  And He took the cup and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves (Judas included)’…and He took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for YOU (Judas included).  This do in remembrance of me.’  Likewise also the cup after supper saying, ‘This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood, which is shed for YOU (for you twelve and all others, Judas included), but, behold, the hand of him that betrays me is with me on the table (partaking of this bread and cup).”

Jesus died for Judas as fully as for John and James and all others.  He, therefore, longed to see Judas repent with life-changing godly sorrow and take full advantage of the sacrificial death He was about to die on Calvary.  Judas failure to do so was the bitter cup Jesus did not want to drink, not even a tiny sip.

When in the Garden of Gethsemane the temple officers came to arrest Him and Peter tried to prevent His arrest by lopping off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus said, “Put up again your sword into his place…Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently (instantly) give me more than twelve legions (72,000) angels, but how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?” (See Matthew 26:51-54).  Jesus did not need to pray three times for THAT cup to be removed.  One small cry, “Father, save me” and tens of thousands of angels would have instantly appeared on the scene preventing any harm coming to Him.  Jesus KNEW and had said before “the scriptures MUST be fulfilled.”  Though it might have been possible for Him to be delivered into the hands of the enemy by some other personage than Judas, there could be no escaping the cross if scripture prophecy was to find fulfillment.  No scripture prophesied that His betrayer must be one of the apostles – only a familiar friend.

Even on the cross when they tried to give Him a stupefying mixture of vinegar and gall to ease His pain and torment, “when He tasted thereof, He would not drink.”  (See Matthew 27:34).  Gall, a product of the opium poppy, acted as an anesthetic, dulling the pain of crucifixion.  Not only could there be no evading of the cross, there could be no lessening of the pain and suffering!  Our Lord demanded that His faculties remain sharp and clear throughout the entire ordeal of crucifixion.  THAT is the Christ who died for YOU!  God forgive those blinded ones who preach He tried to avoid the cross altogether.

On His final trip to Jerusalem, knowing He was going to the cross, scripture reveals “they were in the way going up to Jerusalem and Jesus went before them, and they were amazed” (See Mark 10:32-34).  He boldly led the way and they were amazed as He had already prophesied of the fate that awaited Him on this final trip to the holy city.  They were afraid and amazed that Jesus wasn’t.  But our heavenly Father had not given His Son the Spirit of fear.  (See 2 Timothy 1:7).  “Perfect love casts out fear” (See I John 4:18), and Jesus Christ ever and always had perfect love for His Father, saying, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29).

Each and every time Jesus told a sinner, “Thy sins are forgiven,” He was confirming once more His death on the cross for without shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins.  (See Hebrews 9:22).  And, yes, it had to be HIS blood.  Only the Creator’s life could suffice to atone for the sins of the whole world, the sins of all the ages.  Jesus knew this to the core of His very being.  I repeat, the cup He prayed to have removed from Him was NOT the cross!  ANYONE who says or implies that it was is deceived.  It doesn’t matter if he, or she, is a world-famed evangelist whose ministry is carried on a thousand radio and television stations.  In that regard they are utterly and completely deceived.

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up (lifted upon the cross, resurrected and then to ascend back to the Father), HE STEDFASTLY SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM” (See Luke 9:51).  He had long before counted the cost, and knew He had sufficient resources to finish His course.  (See Luke 14:28).  With  the greatest eagerness your Savior hastened to Jerusalem and the cross.  Never forget that.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he has sufficient to finish it?”  (See Luke 14:28).  I assure you Jesus Christ had counted the cost concerning Calvary, and I assure you He knew with every atom of His being that He had sufficient fortitude, commitment and faith to finish it.  I pity the preacher who thinks otherwise.  Even Jesus’ parables spoke of His sacrificial death and subsequent victory.  (See Luke 10:9-19).

At the Last Supper Jesus told His disciples, “For I say unto you that this that is written MUST yet be accomplished in me, ‘And He was reckoned among the transgressors,’ for the things concerning me have an end (and that end was to buy back a lost world)” (See Luke 22:37).

Following the Lord’s resurrection, Cleopas and another unnamed disciple are joined by Jesus Christ as they walk on the road to Emmaus and discuss the recent events that have transpired in Jerusalem.  Overhearing their doubts and perplexities, Jesus says to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (See Luke 24:13-27).  Yes, ought not Christ to have suffered these things?  He called them fools and hardheads (slow of heart) for not understanding this.  Jesus would say the same to any who foolishly believes and/or teaches that the cup He prayed would be removed from Him was the cross!!

At the very outset of His ministry, Jesus had told His disciples, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I WILL GIVE is my flesh (His human body given as a sacrifice), WHICH I WILL GIVE FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD” (See John 6:51).  Time and again Jesus prophesied that He would indeed die a sacrificial death on the cross.  “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…I lay down my life for the sheep…Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again.  No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power (authority) to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment I have received of my Father” (See John 10:11, 15-18).  Jesus did not need to ask the Father to remove this up from Him.  He had already been given charge by the Father to go ahead with Calvary or decline it.  And He was champing at the bit to get to the cross.

Less than a week away from the cross Jesus told Phillip and Andrew, “Verily, verily I say unto you, except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.  He that loves his life shall lose it, and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal…what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour, but for this cause came I unto this hour (to DIE and provide eternal life to billions)” (See John 12:22-27).

No, my friend, the cup Jesus Christ wished to avoid was NOT the cross.  He had come into the world to die for the sins of the world and thereby to present to the Father much fruit, bringing many sons and daughters to glory through the cross.  The thing that troubled Him greatly was the loss of Judas and His being delivered into the hands of the enemy by an apostle.  “He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you that one of you shall betray me” (See John 13:21).

Christ’s final words in the upper room before departing for the Garden of Gethsemane were “You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you.  If you loved me you would rejoice (not be sad), because I said I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it comes to pass (before His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension back to the Father’s side), that when it comes to pass you might believe.  Hereafter I will not talk much with you  for the prince of the world comes and has nothing in me (no place whatsoever to sow a second thought, a doubt, a rethinking of His commitment to die for the sins of the world).  But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.  Arise, let us go hence.”  And He led the way to the garden and thus to the cross.  (See John 14:28-31).  “Jesus therefore, KNOWING ALL THINGS THAT SHOULD COME UPON HIM (the beating, the rejection, the cross), went forth (meeting the arresting temple officers), and said unto them ‘Whom seek ye?'” (See John 18:4).  And when they said, “Jesus of Nazareth,” His immediate, unhesitating reply was “I am He!” (verse 5).  “That’s me, boys, Let’s go!!!”

If one will but read slowly and carefully the text of Matthew 26, verses 36 through 46 along with the text of Mark 14, verse 32 through 42, they will see that the cup (also called the “hour”) that Jesus prayed would be removed from Him was His betrayal into the hands of sinners by Judas.  That was His most bitter disappointment.  “While I was with them in   the world, I kept them in thy name.  Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).  That was the most bitter cup of all.  The cup He so desired that He might not drink from – the loss of a hand-picked disciple.

In Mark’s account, we read, “And He went forward a little (ahead of His disciples), and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the HOUR might pass from Him” (Mark 14:15).  What is troubling the Lamb of God so?  He was eager to go to the cross and redeem mankind.  After praying the third time that this “cup” pass from Him, He awakens His sleeping disciples telling them, “It is enough (or, you have had sufficient sleep) the HOUR is come (present tense), behold, the Son of Man IS BETRAYED INTO THE HANDS OF SINNERS” (See Mark 14:41).  He is still MANY HOURS from the cross.  What Jesus calls “the hour” in verse 35, He calls “the cup” in verse 36.  The cup He is then made to drink is betrayal by an apostle into the hands of the Romans.  (Remember, Judas is called an “apostle” in Matthew 10, verses 1 through 4).

Never forget that Jesus Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (See Revelation 13:8).  Calvary had been a foregone conclusion for thousands and thousands of years.  Even Satan understood that truth and tried his best to sway Jesus into reconsidering that long established decision, even using Peter to suggest He rethink Himself as to offering Himself as a sacrifice on the cross.  He failed.  Thank God and Jesus Christ – he failed!

Jesus may have been as much human as if He were never God during His earthly sojourn, but He was the most noble, most courageous, most unselfish, most caring, most loving human who ever lived or ever will live.  You detract from His glory when you say He didn’t want to die on the cross.  That was His finest hour!

I repeat, when Jesus said that Satan had NOTHING in Him, He meant it: no place for fear, no place for doubts, no place for second thoughts.  And, when on the cross, at the ninth and final hour of His agonies Jesus Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” it was due to the fact that at that moment in time He, who knew no sin, BECAME SIN for us! (See Mark 15:34 and 2 Corinthians 5:21).  “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).  Becoming sin for us at at that moment, our Lord was then separated from His Father.  Jesus KNEW this was what sin would do before ever going to the cross, causing even Him to cry out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  But those were not the final words spoken from the cross.  These were: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,’ and having said thus, He gave up the ghost (Greek, epneo, pronounced ek-PNEH’-o, meaning “to expire”).”

That’s what Jesus did for YOU and me.  Think about it.  The realization of what Jesus did for YOU ought to prompt you to cry out with Thomas, “My Lord, and my God!”  It ought to foster in your heart, mind and soul a vehement desire to learn more and more about Him and just what He expects of those whom He has redeemed.  There is a Christian song that has a verse wherein it is stated, “He paid much too high a price.”  The song goes on to say that if we give Jesus Christ only token obedience and devotion, then He, indeed, did pay much too high a price.  Jesus Christ counted the cost…….have YOU?

When the Spirit wishes to commune with me He always and ever awakens me at 3:00 a.m.  It matters not whether I have been asleep for an hour or several hours.  It doesn’t matter if I am in my deepest sleep cycle at that moment.  When the Spirit wishes to commune with my mind, I awaken at that hour and upon awaking I am just that – totally awake, no yawning, no sleepy-eyed inability to think clearly, but as wide awake as though I had slept a solid eight hours and had arisen from bed hours before.

Jesus was as much a man as though never God, but He was always and ever the Son of God utterly, completely, totally, every moment submitted to the will of God and the task of bringing back a lost world to His Father.  There was never a split second when that was not true – not a billionth of a second.

He was the Good Shepherd, eager, willing, committed to giving His life for the sheep.  The manner of His impending death did not phase Him in the least, nor did the duration of His agonies.  It mattered not to Him whether the agonies of the cross would last three hours, three days, or three thousand years: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17-18).  That was one cup He did not have to ask the Father to remove.  He had long before received from the Father the final say in that matter.  He could go through with Calvary or decline the cross.  It was His call alone.

The word “cup” was a Hebrew idiom much like our English use of such words as “lot” or “portion.”   Jesus used that term to refer to two different events in his life.  When using it in reference to Calvary, He said, “Shall I not drink it?”  When using it in reference to His betrayal and the loss of one of His beloved apostles, He asked the Father to remove it from Him if at all possible.

Additional light, piling scripture upon scripture, will not effect spiritual blindness.  Once one has bought into and embraced spiritual error in any area they will generally hold on to that error much like a dog will clench its teeth onto the rag you are trying to pull from its mouth.  That is why a Baptist lives and dies a Baptist, a Pentecostal lives and dies a Pentecostal, and the Amish live and die Amish.  They will not let go of their spiritual error.  They have too many who agree with them.  They have heard their “favorite” preacher preach a fiery sermon in support of their viewpoint.  Plain and clear scriptures can no longer illuminate their minds.  In at least that one area they are indeed blind.

Our Lord said, “One sows and another reaps.”  I am a sower of seed.  The dozens of Bible study articles that I write and send forth across the United States and to Chile, Peru and England is but the sowing of seed.  I do not concern myself with a harvest.  The harvest is in God’s hands.  I can only do what my Master and Lord has given me to do.  And I had better do it.  I have been duly warned that to whom much is given much is required.  This is not the only morning I have arisen at such an early hour and set down at this keypad to type a letter or an article.  It occurs quite frequently, and I learned several years ago to rise and work when the Lord sends forth the summons to awake and hasten to the fields.

Anytime a believer permits any manner of sin or disobedience to remain in their life, they then give place to the devil, and Satan never misses an opportunity to do his work of tempting and/or deceiving.  One cannot have one foot in the kingdom of God and one foot still in the world.  The stretch is too great, the gulf too wide.  No man can serve both God and his own flesh for no man can serve two masters – not when one of the masters requires it all.  Jesus warned, “If a man forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple.”  For Jesus knew a holding on to anything ungodly would always and ever give place to the devil and that the devil never missed a beat in thwarting the will of God in a human life.

On Christmas Day 2011 I came as close to dying as I have ever come in my entire life.  For three days I could not eat or drink, and toward the close of the third day I was having the greatest difficulty even breathing.  That is when an ambulance was called and I was rushed to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton.   At that time I was diagnosed with COPD, chronic bronchitis and gastric reflux.   And that is when I surrendered EVERYTHING to God, telling Him, “You have it all and you have it for all time.”   Within 72 hours I was healed of all three illnesses, none of which have ever returned.   And that is when the Spirit began awaking me at 3:00 a.m. from time to time, sometimes several days in succession and sometimes weeks apart.  But upon awaking me, scriptures flooded my mind, linked together in a cohesive fashion and it was as though someone was preaching inside my head and commanding me to arise, open my Bible and read, and then write, write, write.  God help you to understand is my prayer.

I trust that you have read carefully the preceding article on the subject “The Cup Was Not The Cross.”  Our Lord has been robbed of great glory for a long, long time by many, many preachers the devil has deceived into thinking He tried to evade Calvary if at all possible.  Calvary WAS horrible, but our Lord’s commitment to His divine mission was such that He would have endured a thousand Calvarys to win back a lost world to His Father and His God!  (See John 20:17; Revelation 3:12, etc.)

Christ’s Servant (Galatians 1:10),

Donald Wiley, 902 Pleasant Court, Brookville, OH 45309   Tel. No. (937) 270-5681

Email: donaldwiley797@yahoo.com

## Satan Blinds Christ’s Apostles!!!

Does the above title surprise you?  Does it seem blasphemous, even impossible?  Then, friend, read on:

Not only does Satan have the blinding POWER to prevent you from seeing something that Jesus Christ personally wants you to see, he exhibited such power over the minds of Jesus Christ’s apostles even though He was addressing them personally in a face-to-face meeting and emphasizing what He was saying.  Does that sound too fantastic to believe?   “And it came to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him, and He asked them, saying, ‘Whom say the people that I am?’  They answering Him said, ‘John the Baptist, but some say, Elias (Elijah) and others say that one of the old prophets is risen again.’  He said unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’  Peter answering said, ‘The Christ of God.’  And He straitly (stictly) charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing, saying, ‘The Son of Man MUST suffer many things and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, AND BE SLAIN, and be raised the third day'” (See Luke 9:18-22).  Note: All comments in parentheses are those of the author of this article).

Pretty plain language that, huh?  You would think that they would have understood and received what He was saying, right?  Well, nine days later we find this conversation recorded for our learning: “And they (the Jews) were all amazed at the mighty power of God (when Jesus rebuked an unclean spirit tormenting a man’s only child).  But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, He said UNTO HIS DISCIPLES, ‘Let these sayings sink down into your ears (or, listen to me and listen carefully), for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men, BUT THEY UNDERSTOOD NOT THIS SAYING, AND IT WAS HID FROM THEM THAT THEY PERCEIVED IT NOT, and they feared to ask Him of that saying (afraid He might be speaking literally and they didn’t want to entertain the thought for an instant that Jesus would be rejected and put to death)” (See verses 43-45, Luke 9).

Get out your Bible.  Turn to the passages I have just cited.  Read them from your own Bible!  Can you believe what you have just read?  Satan’s blinding power is so great, the human mind is so prone to deception, so tenacious its desire to continue believing that which it has been convinced of in the past that Jesus Christ IN PERSON can look you straight in the eye telling the truth in plain, clear unmistakable language, even repeating himself two or three times and yet still you won’t accept, believe or receive it!  That is exactly what happened with the twelve disciples in the passages I have just quoted from Luke’s gospel account.

Who do you think was HIDING this truth from the disciples?  Satan, of course!  And HOW was he doing this?  He was merely recalling a false concept, a long-held, widely accepted belief to their minds that when the Messiah appeared on the scene He would remain forever and would quickly re-establish David’s throne, kingdom and power.  Any idea or scenario contrary to that was simply rejected out of hand and could not be true.  They figured Jesus must be speaking in parables again.  Surely He could not mean that He would literally be rejected by the Jewish leaders, abused and put to death!

Jesus now allows more time to pass – a lot more time.  “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem (for the final time), and ALL things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  For He SHALL be delivered unto the Gentiles (the Romans), and SHALL be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on.  And they SHALL scourge Him, AND PUT HIM TO DEATH, and the third day He shall rise again.'”  And what do we read in the very next verse?  “AND THEY UNDERSTOOD NONE OF THESE THINGS, AND THIS SAYING WAS HID FROM THEM, NEITHER KNEW THEY THE THINGS WHICH WERE SPOKEN!”  (See Luke 18:31-34).

They didn’t know the things which were spoken as they had overlooked, or misinterpreted, the plain and clear prophetic texts that spoke of a rejected and dying Messiah.  (See Isaiah 53, for instance).  They saw clearly the texts that spoke of a conquering, ruling Messiah.  Those are the passages that had been hammered into their heads from the days of their youth.  Little, if any, attention was given to other texts that spoke of the first part of the Messiah’s mission.  If read at all, they were interpreted as figurative language and given an entirely different meaning than what they obviously and clearly said.

Christians today by the tens of thousands are doing exactly the same thing as was done by our Lord’s original twelve disciples in this instance.  They are permitting Satan to effectively BLIND them as to what the Bible actually teaches in many super-important subjects due to their preconceived ideas firmly fixed in their minds and thinking processes due to the fact that these beliefs they entertain have been accepted for generations by other Christians and Christian leaders and theologians.  And just as the disciples had many scripture texts to support them in rejecting the truth spoken by none other than Jesus Christ Himself in person, erring believers today have scripture passages they cite that they think nullifies and cancels out doctrines and teachings contrary to what they so wholeheartedly believe.  And in many matters they are just as wrong and deceived as were the original twelve disciples in the disciples’ inability to understand and comprehend what Jesus was saying to them when He told them plainly and clearly on at least three separate occasions that He would be rejected by the elders, abused and put to death!!

Following Christ’s resurrection, He encountered two disciples walking outside of Jerusalem, disciples that trusted it would be Jesus who would free Israel from Roman bondage, but were depressed and perplexed by the fact that He had been rejected by their elders and crucified and was now rumored to be alive.  “Then He said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken?’  And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?'”  (See verse 32, Luke 24).  Has He done that for YOU?  It is impossible for Him to open the scriptures to your understanding and comprehension if you do not read them, or if you refuse to believe what is recorded therein.

Reader, let me assure you of something and let me use the same plain language our Lord used with His disciples: Let these sayings sink down into your ears.  Satan’s blinding POWER is fantastic, staggering, far-reaching, all pervasive and directed at YOUR mind and beliefs.  Long-held, deeply cherished beliefs you now hold to be divine truth supported by a plethora of scripture can actually be gross error.  That is one of  the scary things about spiritual error.  It is unrecognized as such, but rather is seen as the plain and simple truth of scripture and what the Bible says.

And, don’t forget nearly all the Jews of Jesus’ day – and it may well have been all – agreed with the disciples in their profound error regarding the mission of the Messiah.  NONE looked for a rejected and publicly executed Messiah!  So don’t fall for the phony argument “all these believers can’t be wrong!”  If it is the majority who are generally right and correct in what they believe the Bible says and teaches, then the Roman Catholics have it right as there are more of them than any protestant denomination.  Roman Catholic seminaries have their Hebrew and Greek scholars as professors, too, so don’t think protestant theologians who boast such scholarship must be right in what they dogmatically say and teach.  A taxicab driver in Athens, Greece knows more Greek than you do.  Does that make him correct in whatever he thinks the New Testament Greek says?  A fruit stand peddler in Tel Aviv, Israel understands Hebrew, having spoken it fluently all his life.  Does that mean he has a better comprehension of the Hebrew prophets than some English-speaking child of God and teacher of the Word living in Ohio?

Friend, you better ask God for wisdom when you approach His book.  And you better be ready and willing to surrender your errors when the God of glory speaks plainly and clearly through His prophets, apostles and His Son.  And you need to realize that there are those on this earth yet today anointed of God to teach His Word to others.  That is their function in the body of Christ, the church.  Their comprehension of the scriptures is downright uncanny and will often be diametrically opposed to the popular and generally accepted teachings of their fellow believers.  Their human mind has been illuminated by the very Spirit of their Creator.  In every other way they are as unremarkable as the sales clerk at the local quicky mart.

Satan is alive and well on planet earth, and he is without peer in his ability to blind and deceive.  He deceived the first pair of humans who ever drew breath.  He deceived the wisest man who ever lived into embracing gross idolatry.  (See I Kings 11:1-10).  You are no match for him  No human being is.  Only total continued submission to Jesus Christ, doing what He says, following His counsel, can prevent you form being snared by Satan.  Any sin you commit provides Satan opportunity to move, the committing of that very sin shows graphically that he has already moved in some degree.  When Paul wrote, “Sin not…neither give place to the devil,” he knew what he was talking about.  (See Ephesians 4:26-27).  “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may DEVOUR!” (I Peter 5:8).  Satan is not just nipping at your heels.  He is trying to devour YOU, and he is good at his job.  (Consider the sins and deceptions embraced by Aaron, Solomon, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira, Demas, the Galatian believers, and those of Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea.  (See Exodus 32, Aaron; I Kings 11, Solomon; Matthew 26, Judas; Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira; 2 Timothy 4:10, Demas; The Book of Galatia and Revelation 2 and 3).

What if you lived somewhere in Syria and received this notice from a friend or relative: “Be sober, be vigilant, because ISIS terrorists are now in your neighborhood, seeking Christians to behead.”  Would you have a ho-hum mindset many believers exhibit when reading Peter’s warning about Satan seeking to devour them?  Friend, of the two warnings, the one you need to heed and act upon NOW is the warning given by Peter to ALL believers of every age and era.

I realize that some reading these words will have unwittingly, unknowingly been already devoured by Satan, already in his grasp, already firm believers of some of his deceptions and false doctrines.  Yet even they are not without hope.  The God of glory is the God of the impossible.  He knows how to rescue and deliver.  But to be rescued the drowning man must realize he is in imminent peril and grab the life preserver when it is thrown to him.  He dares not bat it away or struggle on  in his own strength, thinking, “I can make it.  The shore is not that far away.”  God’s Word, in a real sense, is the believer’s life preserver but we must not neglect reading AND OBEYING the same.  And I mean studying it in depth – ALL of it – both Hebrew and Greek scriptures, commonly called the Old and New Testaments.  To push the life preserving Word of God away, especially three-fourths of it, is to drown in error.

I recall the many tombstones and grave markers I have observed down through the years that have birth and death dates far too close together.  Multitudes have needlessly died much too soon.  My brother, who died at age fifty-four, could well have lived into his seventies or eighties, as longevity runs in my family.  Our death date is not fixed contrary to the false belief of many and is another error held by many believers as the teaching of scripture.  Obedience to God and keeping His commandments lengthens one’s life span greatly.  In Proverbs 3, verses 1 and 2, we read these words: “My son, forget not my law, but let thine heart keep my commandments, for length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to thee.”  Satan fully understands this promise of our Creator is given to those who keep God’s commandments.  So how does he move to shorten the lives of believers?  He introduces the false doctrine that God’s commandments have either been abolished, need not be kept, or either cannot be kept.  Do YOU want to live a long life, a life filled with peace and tranquility?  God cannot lie.  God says, “Honor my law and keep my commandments and you’ll be granted a long, peaceful life on earth…”  (The author of this article is now in his seventh decade of life, looking forward to his seventy-fifth birthday and perhaps beyond).  And, yes, there are exceptions to most every rule.  Some innocent ones die young and some ungodly evil men and women live to great age.  Still, God’s Word remains true and trustworthy.

But, returning to our theme, remember that Satan has the power to deceive, and, yes, to deceive Christians.  That is WHY we have dozens and dozens and dozens of dramatically different denominations in the Christian world.  He is the “strong man” Jesus speaks of in Matthew 12:28-30.  And he must be bound before we can retrieve from him what he has stolen from us.  One of the many things he has stolen from many believers is the truths of God.  And, of course, many do not even realize they have suffered such a loss.  They believe their house is in order, that it is the “next guy” who has suffered loss.  Until we bind Satan in our lives by continual, total submission to the LORDship of Jesus Christ, and until we study ALL of God’s inspired sacred Word in depth, we will be unable to retrieve our stolen goods.  Much truth of God will remain unreachable to us.  It will be as though Satan has locked it away securely in some inner vault of his dark and evil castle!

The average believer has no concept whatsoever of how much gross error is proclaimed from thousands of “Christian” pulpits across America and around the world at most each and every worship service.  And the average preacher is without a clue as to the fact that he, or she, is preaching satanic delusion in many of the things they utter when preaching to their respective congregations!

Jesus told His disciples, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will GUIDE you into ALL truth…”  (See John 16:13).  Note well that Jesus said the Spirit would GUIDE His followers into all truth – NOT force-feed.  Though one is guided into the scriptures that doesn’t mean that person will comprehend, believe or accept what they are reading.  If the mind is colored by a preconceived idea and belief that differs from the scripture then being read, then that person will be effectively prevented from seeing the truth plainly stated in the scriptures.  This was true with the original twelve disciples regarding the truth of Christ’s mission – that He was to be rejected, arrested and put to death.

And notice this truth.  Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide Christ’s spokesmen into ALL truth – ALL the Word of God, both Hebrew and Greek scriptures.  Paul wrote that “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine!” (See 2 Timothy 3:16).  Anyone who says they don’t get their doctrine out of the Old Testament is deceived by Satan and will be a virtual fountainhead of error in what they teach and proclaim.  God’s truly ordained spokesmen are guided by the Holy Spirit into ALL the scriptures, becoming as acquainted with Hosea’s writings as intimately as those of John, Paul or Peter.  They quickly become as familiar with the utterances of Isaiah as those penned by Jude or James.  If this is not the case, you probably have someone who has set themselves up as spokesmen of the Lord, and you can well believe much of what they say and teach is profound, yes, even satanic ERROR!  It matters not how many followers they have, or how many television stations carry their program.  They are deceived!

When Paul wrote Timothy, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom, PREACH THE WORD” he was clearly making reference to the Hebrew scriptures, that portion of God’s Word commonly called the Old Testament, as there was no New Testament at the time Paul wrote those words.  If one examines Paul’s letter to the Romans alone, they will find that Paul quotes directly from the Hebrew scriptures in that one letter FIFTY-SIX TIMES!  Little did Paul know that someday CENTURIES LATER leaders of the church would gather together letters written by Paul himself, Peter, James and others, declaring them to be inspired of God, put these writings all together and call them the New Testament!

Those who call themselves a “New” Testament church yet reject the writings of the Hebrew prophets in their teachings and doctrines are as deceived as those believers who accept the writings of Joseph Smith and Mary Baker Eddy (the founders of Mormonism and Christian Science) as inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Satan is not just good at what he does, he is a master, an expert, a specialist without peer.  Remember, he deceived the original twelve disciples into believing Jesus Christ was going to set up His kingdom THEN, during their own time and day, and kept them deceived in this matter right up until the time of Christ’s crucifixion even though Jesus told them again and again and again in the plainest possible language such was not the case, that He was going to be rejected and put to death and rise the third day.  (Read once more Luke 9:20-22, 43-45 and Luke 18:31-34).

God’s spokesmen are to study to show themselves approved by God, workers who do not need to be ashamed of their ignorance of scripture, rightly dividing the Word of God, intensely familiar with ALL the scriptures, teaching and proclaiming God’s truth from the Hebrew prophets as well as the writings of His apostles.  (See 2 Timothy 2:15).  Many preachers need to be ashamed AND AVOIDED, especially those who say they do not get their doctrine from the Old Testament.  In that very statement that contradict the apostle Paul as well as the Lord Jesus Christ and are utterly blind to the fact that they are not gathering God’s flock together but rather are scattering the sheep.  (See Matthew 4:4; Romans 16:25-26 and 2 Peter 3:1-2).

How can one “hold fast the faithful Word” if they don’t even read that Word?  They are then holding fast false doctrine.  Many modern day preachers, as well as many preachers from the past, never do come to see their many errors and continue to affirm and declare these errors to be God’s truth and what the Bible teaches.  In their minds, the deceived individual is always and ever “the other guy,” never them.

For God to make one an able minister of the New Covenant, that person must  come to know ALL of God’s Word intimately well, to accept ALL of God’s Word as inspired, and to glean the doctrines of God and His church from ALL of that inspired Word.  Show me someone who does not do this, and I will show you someone preaching and teaching gross error in many areas of their belief and doctrine.  One of the clearest PROOFS Jesus Christ is using someone as His representative to minister the Word of God to others is their uncanny comprehension and understanding of the Hebrew prophets as well as the writings of the apostles of our Lord.  Such a person will be the target of Satan’s most heated, continued and diabolical attacks.  If Satan cannot nullify and destroy the teachings and doctrines of God’s true spokesmen, he will seek to destroy the spokesman himself.  And character assassination is one of Satan’s favorite weapons.  And those “born after the flesh” (false converts) will always persecute those “born after the Spirit” (true converts).  See Galatians 4:29.  But let that troubler know that “he shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be” (See Galatians 5:10).

Paul warned Timothy that there were those “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (See I Timothy 1:7).  And there will always be those desiring to be pastors, ministers, teachers of the Bible, who likewise have no real understanding of God’s Word yet will boldly and loudly, and oftentimes convincingly, affirm that they are indeed ordained by God and true representatives of Jesus Christ.  Ask any preacher of any denomination or church if they are truly ordained by God and they will quickly reply, “Yes, indeed!”  Then compare their doctrines and teachings and see how widely they differ and even flatly contradict one another.  Someone is deceived, friend.  May God help you to believe, to prove ALL things of a spiritual nature and, hence, to understand the truth of God – the Bible.

## Is Sunday Observance Reasonable?

Think for a moment.  Is Sunday observance reasonable?  Would God, without any warning whatsoever, abolish His eternal sacred Sabbath, replacing it with observance of the day of the week honoring the mythical “sun” god, doing so in Jerusalem of all places?

In April of 1865, following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice-president assumed the presidency.  The Civil War had ended.  Now was the time for reconstruction.  Now was the time for the rebuilding of the nation, for binding up the wounds of war, for bringing about a more perfect union.  Come now, and let us reason together: Let’s say as President Johnson’s first executive order he had issued the following decree, “All southern states that had seceded from the union will henceforth be governed by freed black slaves.  All white governors of said states shall surrender their offices and powers to presidentially appointed former slaves beginning at midnight, January 1, 1866.”  Now let me ask you a question: Had Andrew Johnson, for whatever reason, issued such a proclamation, do you think it would have been well received by the South, or even by the North?  Do you think such an act would have assisted and contributed to a rapid assimilation of the southern states back into an integrated union with the northern states?  Or, do you think he would have had a major, far-reaching, gargantuan problem on his hands trying to effect such a drastic change with very little, if any, warning that such a change was coming?  I believe the answer is obvious to any thinking person.

Now let me give you a scenario that is even more ridiculous, absolutely ludicrous, a scenario that if enacted would have instantly created a massive, far-reaching problem for the church that was founded shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What if God had issued an unwritten, unspoken decree that following the death and resurrection of His Son His eternal holy Sabbath would be forever abolished, set aside and replaced with Sunday observance, a day that had for centuries been the day of the sun god, a pagan “holy” day?  And the observance of this new worship day would be inaugurated in the city of Jerusalem without fanfare, without explanation, without decree!  Do you think the church would have had a major, far-reaching, gargantuan problem on its hands trying to effect such a drastic change with very little, if any, warning that such a change was coming?  Again, I believe the answer is obvious to any thinking person.

Sunday observers seem to have no conception whatsoever as to why the Pharisees and Sadducees were so zealous about the sacredness of God’s holy Sabbath day and why they were instantly ready to condemn what they viewed as the slightest infraction in keeping that day holy.    Any Bible student having but a cursory knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures – the Old Testament – should realize that defilement of the Sabbath  day had strirred God’s anger to the point that He used the pagan Babylonians as His instrument to punish Judah, casting down David’s throne, destroying His own temple, and laying waste to the city of Jerusalem!   In reference to Sabbath breaking, God said, “the sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, with the point of a diamond…” (See Jeremiah 17:1).  It is the one sin God said, “I will not forget or overlook!”  (Read the entire 17th chapter of Jeremiah to see just how God viewed Sabbath breaking).

The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day new quite well how greatly Israel had been punished for their Sabbath violations.  Finally, after many long decades, even centuries, the sacredness of the Sabbath had been instilled once again in the consciousness of the nation.  Finally, Israel had been brought to see how zealous God was of His eternal Sabbath day.  Anything or anyone that even appeared to lessen the sacredness of that day was absolutely anathema to the people of God.  No one, nothing could be allowed to tamper with the Sabbath in any way to the slightest degree.

You who observe Sunday as “the Lord’s Day,” let me ask you a reasonable question: “Have you ever really sought out the truth regarding the Sabbath issue?  Or have you merely assumed that God indeed did change His holy Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to Sunday, the first day of the week?  Now I know Sunday observers (I was once one myself) have in their minds a few verses of scripture that seemingly do show that this change indeed did occur and was authorized by the Lord and/or His apostles.

Now let me give you just a few reasons why I, myself, am thoroughly 100% convinced that our Lord did NOT abolish His holy, eternal Sabbath and replace the same with Sunday, a day the pagans of both Rome and previous pagan empires had held sacred for centuries, even thousands of years!  And we will look at those verses of scripture that seem to imply that Sunday is truly the Christian Sabbath.

God gives foundational truth in the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament.  If one uses only the Greek scriptures, the New Testament, to guide them in their instruction as to how to worship God acceptably, they quickly find that those who use the entire Bible, all the Word of God, to formulate their beliefs, doctrines and religious practices differ greatly from them in those beliefs and doctrines they hold to be true and in force for believers to keep and observe today.

When anyone argues that the Sabbath is a Jewish holy day, given solely to the Jew and for the Jew to keep, they display a profound ignorance of scripture.  The Sabbath was not made for the Jew, but for mankind and was sanctified as such by the Creator at the very beginning of creation – many long centuries before the first Jew was ever born.  “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.  And ON THE SEVENTH DAY God ended His work which He had done, AND HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had done.  THEN GOD BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (See Genesis 2:1-3, New King James Version).

There is no scripture in all the Bible, Old Testament or New Testament, that says God at any time desanctified His holy Sabbath day.  No scripture says that after Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection the seventh day Sabbath became common and ordinary, no longer holy, no longer blessed just another ordinary day of the week.  And no scripture calls Sunday, the first day of the week, holy or blessed, or sets it apart from all other days of the week as a day of worship.  There are some modern editions of the Bible where the producers of such “Bibles” change the wording of some passages of scripture in the New Testament to make it appear that Sunday indeed did become the “Christian” Sabbath, but anyone who has an interlinear Greek/English New Testament, can compare these texts and see that these modern Bible “translators” have departed from the Greek \text and have paraphrased these passages, corrupting the texts.  (An interlinear Greek/English New Testament is a New Testament that is written in Greek with the English translation for each and every word printed below each Greek word.  I have possessed two such New Testaments, and they are invaluable in discerning just what the New Testament writers actually wrote.)

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others JEREMIAH (note that well) or one of the prophets.”  (See Mathew 16:13-14).

You, who fancy yourselves to be Bible scholars, to YOU I address this question: Why did some think Jesus Christ might be the long dead prophet Jeremiah?  After all Jeremiah had walked this earth, performing his ministry over SIX HUNDRED YEARS PREVIOUS TO CHRIST’S BIRTH!  The Jews of Jesus day and time knew that quite well.  Why on earth then would some of them upon hearing and seeing Jesus Christ have the thought pop into their heads, “Hey, that fellow reminds me of Jeremiah?!”  Jeremiah did no miracles, so it wasn’t their observation of Jesus’ miracle ministry that caused them to think of Jeremiah.  NO, IT IS WHAT HE SAID AND TAUGHT!!!!  That’s what caused many who HEARD Him to think, “This holy man sounds like Jeremiah,” so much so that some said, “He IS Jeremiah,” evidently come back from the dead!

It is through Jeremiah and Isaiah that your Creator spoke forth His mind quite clearly and dogmatically on how He viewed the Sabbath and all things holy.  The scribes of Jesus’ day, those who really had a keen knowledge of what God had said and revealed to His people through those prophets, when they heard Jesus teach, it is they who said, “It’s Jeremiah!”

Now let’s take the time to look at some of what God said through the pen and ministry of the prophet Jeremiah.  In the 4th verse of the 17th chapter of Jeremiah, God says to Judah, “You have kindled a fire in my anger which shall burn forever!”  What had they done that became the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.  After all, God had extended His mercy to them time and time again, generation after generation, century after century.  What had they done that caused God to finally say, “I am mad, and I am going to stay mad?!”  In the very next verse, verse 5, we read these words: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD.”

Do not let men decide for you what to believe.  Men are fallible.  We can err and err greatly.  Let God’s holy Word determine for you what you are to believe and  how you are to serve and obey God.  Billy Graham is flesh.  Jimmy Swaggart is flesh.  The pope is flesh.  Trust in God to reveal to your mind what you are to believe.  Listen to His prophets and apostles.  Listen to His Son, our Savior.

And then we read this dire warning from God through Jeremiah’s pen: “The heart (i.e., the human mind) is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS….” (verse 9, first part).  God warns us that one drawback to the human mind, or heart, is that it is subject to deception, yes, even above all other traits or characteristics.  The first pair of humans were deceived and deceived greatly because they did not listen to God, but instead chose to listen to another!  That is one reason why there are literally dozens and dozens and dozens of denominations and factions in the “Christian” religion, everything from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Roman Catholics, everything from Jim Jones and David Koresh types to Billy Graham and Benny Hinn!  You need to heed your Creator’s “warning label” about your mind.  Remember, He created it.  He knows quite well how the human mind works, and He says, “Watch out!”  That is WHY believers are under apostolic COMMAND to “PROVE ALL THINGS” of a spiritual nature.  (See I Thessalonians 5:21).  But how few professing Christians really do that.  Most buy hook, line and sinker whatever they hear coming from the pulpit of their particular denomination.  That is why most Baptists live and die as Baptists.  Most Presbyterians live and die as Presbyterians.  And most Roman Catholics live and die as Roman Catholics!!  Since these groups differ widely and dramatically in their religious views and practices, it is quite obvious somebody isn’t proving all things, isn’t it?

And what did an angry God tell His prophet Jeremiah to do?  Beginning at verse 19 of Jeremiah 17, we read these words: “Thus the Lord said to me, ‘Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem.”  Note well, God tells His prophet Jeremiah that the message He is going to be given is to be proclaimed in every gate in the city walls of Jerusalem, beginning with the gate the kings use.  After proclaiming God’s message at that gate, Jeremiah was to go to each and every gate in the wall and proclaim the same message unto ALL who went in and out of the city until all had heard the dire message he had been given from God for His people.

THE MESSAGE:  “And say to them, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates, Thus says the LORD: ‘Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.  But they did not obey nor incline their ear (they didn’t listen intently), but made their neck stiff (refused to bow their head to God’s instructions and do things God’s way) that they might not hear nor receive instruction.  And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,’ says the LORD, ‘to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it, then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes  sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, accompanied by the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; AND THIS CITY SHALL REMAIN FOREVER.  And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the Lord, but if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in the gate, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, AND IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED'” (See verses 20 through 27).

Note well, God does NOT say, “I will burn Jerusalem to ashes if you continue in your idolatry.”  Nor does He say, “I will level this city to the ground if you continue sacrificing your infants to Molech.”  The SIN that “broke the camel’s back,” so to speak, was their continued violation of God’s holy, eternal Sabbath day!  In effect, God  was saying, “I’ll do to you what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah!”

A question: Who was more jealous over the honoring of the Sabbath day, Jesus or the Pharisees?”  If you answered, “the Pharisees,” you were dead WRONG!  Don’t you realize that it was Jesus Christ Himself who gave this message to Jeremiah to deliver to His disobedient people?  Surely you’re not surprised at that statement, are you?  You do know your Bible, don’t you?  I don’t mean having the ability to name all the 66 books in order.  I mean knowing what it says and teaches.  When Jesus Christ told the Jews of His day, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day,” He could just as easily and truthfully have said, “Jeremiah” or “Isaiah” or “Moses” rejoiced to see His day!  “NO ONE has seen God (the Father) AT ANY TIME.  The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared (or revealed) Him” (See John 8:56 an John 1:18).  Note well, “NO ONE HAS SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME!”  Not in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, not at Sinai, NOT AT ANY TIME!  Adam and Eve, Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah – none of them saw and communed with the Father.  It was the One who would come to earth and be called Jesus the Christ, that is the One they saw.  (See Colossians 1:15-19).  The Word, the Logos, the Spokesman for the Godhead, or God Family, whichever designation you wish, is, was and, by all indication ever shall be, the Person we know as Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Therefore, when reading the Hebrew scriptures, every time you come across the words, “Thus saith the Lord,” you can read it as saying, “Thus says the Lord JESUS CHRIST” as that is exactly what is being said in each such instance.  Again, Jesus told the Jews who confronted Him as to His identity, “the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me, you (you Jews) have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (See John 5:37, not Moses, not Abraham, not Solomon – no Jew, nor anyone else!

The Pharisees didn’t have a very good understanding of many scriptures, but the Holy Spirit inspired John to record one area in which they DID have a good understanding: “Therefore some of the Pharisees said, ‘This Man is NOT from God, BECAUSE HE DOES NOT KEEP THE SABBATH!” (See John 9:16).  Of course they were WRONG in their appraisal of Jesus’ obedience.  Jesus NEVER once violated the holy, eternal Sabbath, the Sabbath He Himself had made, for there was NOTHING that was made save that it was made by and through Jesus Christ!  When they saw Jesus Christ performing a healing on the Sabbath, they said “He does not keep the Sabbath.”  They were wrong, for Christ said it is well to do good on the Sabbath.

God is not the author of confusion.  Does it make sense to you that God, without any warning whatsoever, would move His eternal, holy Sabbath day to the day honored by pagan sun worshipers for centuries, making that day His “new” Sabbath??!!  Such a thought is ludicrous in the extreme.  The blinding power of Satan the devil is awesome.  Such an act would have instantly alienated the Jew from listening to any teaching or instruction from Jesus’ disciples.  The followers of Christ would have been viewed as gross sinners.  Yet scripture says these believers continued “daily with one accord IN THE TEMPLE…praising God AND HAVING FAVOR WITH ALL THE PEOPLE (all the Jews in Jerusalem – that’s where the temple was).  (See Acts 21:46-47).  Had they abandoned Sabbath observance for Sunday observance THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN STONED TO DEATH – NOT PRAISED!!

After many long centuries of disobedience and spurning God’s prophets, after many horrible judgments from God had fallen upon the Jewish nation for their Sabbath violation, finally, by the time Jesus Christ appeared on the scene and had begun His ministry they had begun religiously keeping God’s Sabbath, even adding restrictions that God never approved in order to keep one from violating God’s eternal Sabbath.  Even dreaded afflictions could not persuade them to violate God’s Sabbath by bringing their sick to Christ on a Sabbath day.  (See Mark 1:29-34).  It was only “at evening, when the sun had set” and the Sabbath was past did they bring their sick to Christ to be healed.  Later on, through the teaching and instruction of Christ, they would learn that it was perfectly alright to approach Him for healing on the Sabbath days.  But at the outset of His ministry they did not know that.

Also, consider the fact that the New Covenant was completely and forever ratified by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  NOTHING could be added to that covenant subsequent to Christ’s death and resurrection, yet men claim Sunday worship was inaugurated and added AFTER Christ’s resurrection!  Again we see the blinding power of Satan in this matter, too.

Read Matthew 12, verses 1 through 14.  Here Jesus gives instruction about how to keep, or honor, the Sabbath, never once hinting it is to be changed or abolished!  He forewarned them the temple would be thrown down, thus clearly implying all animal sacrifices would end, but, in that same discourse, He urged His disciples to “pray that your flight may not be in winter OR ON THE SABBATH” (See Matthew 24:1,2, 20).  Jesus is stating quite plainly here that He Himself saw the Sabbath as still valid and holy, a day of rest many long years after His return to the Father’s side as He was prophesying the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman armies in 70 A.D., an event that would not occur for another forty years!

How do men miss these plain, clear revelations of scripture?  The reason is manifold.  They forget that Satan is a master deceiver and desires to sift everyone of us like wheat.  They fail to really prove all things of a spiritual nature.  They lean on the arm of flesh for instruction and counsel, looking to their Bible commentaries and revered spiritual leaders as the fountainhead of divine truth.  They have sin in their lives of some sort, sin that will effectively close their understanding of scripture.  And for various other reasons.

We need to take heed to something Daniel said in one of his prayers to the Most High, “we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might TURN FROM OUR INIQUITIES AND UNDERSTAND YOUR TRUTH” (See Daniel 9:13).  Trying to understand spiritual truth, having the Holy Spirit to move and open the mind, while simultaneously maintaining sin in one’s life quite effectively blocks the truth from entering the mind.  It is like trying to put gasoline in your car’s gas tank without removing the gas cap first.  You are going to have a problem.

Also, many believers refuse to allow God to illuminate their minds through the Hebrew scriptures.  Trying to understand the truths of God using only the Greek scriptures is similar to one looking through the keyhole in a door to see all that is in a room.  When the entirety of God’s infallible Word is consulted then, and only then, is the door swung wide open and the view unimpeded.  “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE!” (See 2 Timothy 3:16).  ANYONE who says they don’t get their doctrine from the Old Testament reveals their spiritual ignorance.

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time not only were well acquainted with the contents of Jeremiah’s writings, they also were well acquainted with this revelation given through the prophet Ezekiel: “He (God, the One who would come to earth hundreds of years later and be known as Jesus Christ) brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east AND THEY WERE WORSHIPING THE SUN TOWARD THE EAST” (See Ezekiel 8:16).  The Jews of Jesus’ day knew sun worship had contributed to their mind-boggling punishment in the past.  ANYTHING that even suggested sun worship, or honoring of the sun, to them would have been anathema, utterly repugnant and forbidden.  Sunday worship does just that.  So does an Easter Sunday sunrise service – NOT in the Bible folks!

## Refugee Crisis in Europe

Sometime back in one of my email mini-articles I spoke of how scripture prophesied of how Islam would spread to be the one world religion.  I figured, since this had not been accomplished through centuries of Islamic growth, the world’s population would have to be decimated in order to bring it to pass within a mere century or two.  I saw nuclear war erupting and shrinking the population globally.  I also mused that natural disasters would assist in this gargantuan feat.  It never occurred to me that Muslim immigration would also help in bringing to pass the inevitable – Islam’s worldwide acceptance.  Now with tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants pouring into various countries I see that Islam’s influence will spread ever more rapidly.  I spoke of how eastern Europe would fall under the Islamic umbrella before it spread to the West – the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, etc.  “Political correctness” is another tool of Satan that will help foster the spread and acceptance of Islam.
If more preachers would read the Book of Revelation, actually believing and accepting what they read there, they would cease preaching the “rapture” error and that the return of Jesus Christ is near at hand.  I repeat what I have said many times before, I doubt that there is an infant alive on earth at this moment who can possibly live long enough to witness the return of Jesus Christ.  There ARE millions of infants alive right now who WILL live long enough to see Islam the dominant religion in their land, but even they will be old men and women before that occurs.
Pope Francis will not be the last pope, nor will he be the most radical pope produced by the Roman Catholic Church.  There may well be several more popes before the return of Jesus Christ, and one or more of them will be far more radical than Pope Francis.  I am not a prophet.  I just believe scripture prophecy.
If the apostle Paul was resurrected and began preaching in the average “Christian” church today, he would be shouted down as a heretic and ushered quickly to the door of the church and told, “Goodbye.”  Of course, few realize that this was exactly what happened to him during his earthly ministry nearly two thousand years ago.  In his second and final letter to Timothy, Paul lamented, “This you know that all those (professing Christians) in Asia HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM ME!” (See 2 Timothy 1:15).  He then wrote, “Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching, for the time will come when they (professing Christians) will not endure sound doctrine (flatly refusing to believe the truth due to so much false teaching), but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears (always desiring to hear something new and different), they will heap up for themselves teachers (preachers of every stripe and color), and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned to fables” (See 2 Timothy 4:2-4).  The Koran is a fable.  God’s word is the truth.  Professing Christians will eventually reject the Bible for the Koran.  This will not happen tomorrow.  It will not even begin to occur in our lifetime, but it WILL occur.  The timeline of man’s ignorance and rebellion will run for quite some time yet – many, many decades – even a century or more.  Preachers who read and believe God’s word realize this as well as I do, but such are in the extreme minority.
Yes, I am back.  And the Spirit shouts anew, “Write, Don, write, write, write, write, write…..”  The healing hand of the Master has ministered to me once more and convinced me anew that I have many years to go before I sleep.

## Satan’s Greatest Deception

Jesus told the Jews the temple would be destroyed.  (See Matthew 24:1-2).  He told them Jerusalem would cease to be the worship center.  (See John 4:21).  But He never once even hinted that the Sabbath would be abolished or changed – not once!  HE DID THE OPPOSITE!  HE PROPHESIED THE SABBATH WOULD STILL BE VALID MANY LONG YEARS AFTER HE HAD RETURNED TO THE FATHER’S SIDE IN HEAVEN!!!  (See Matthew 24:20).  Look at Matthew 24:20 in context.  You will see that Jesus expected the Sabbath to be kept long after His ascension back to heaven.

Read your gospels slowly and carefully.  Notice how our Lord continually gave instructions as to how to properly keep the Sabbath.  (See Matthew 12:12; Matthew 15:3; Mark 6:2).  Your Lord continuously risked His life showing men how the Sabbath ought to be kept.  (See Mark 2:27 and Mark 3:1-7).  There is no Sunday commandment in all your Bible.  Not one verse, not one scripture authorizes believers to abandon God’s seventh-day Sabbath and to replace it with Sunday observance!

Christians religiously observe a day God did NOT ordain while spurning a day God DID ordain to be observed and honored FOREVER AND EVER!  And you don’t think Satan has the cleverness and the power to deceive THE WHOLE WORLD – even YOU?  (See Revelation 12:9).  How does one read Acts 20, verse 7, and get out of that verse, or entire chapter, the belief God’s holy Sabbath ended at the cross (or resurrection) and was replaced with Sunday worship?  First of all, the phrase “to break bread” is NOT synonymous with communion or the Lord’s Supper.  The term “to break bread” merely meant to share a meal, TO EAT!  (See Luke 24:30 and Acts 2:46).  Acts 20, verse 7, does not say, does not even imply Sabbath observance had been replaced by Sunday observance.  This verse does NOT say these believers assembled EVERY first day of the week to hear someone preach.  Read the entire chapter.  Look at the context.  Paul is passing through the area, telling the believers they will see his face no more (verse 38).  They would have gathered together on ANY day of the week under such circumstances to hear Paul preach one last time.  Notice verses 5 and 6.  Paul tarries at Troas, waiting for the believers to all get gathered together.  It takes them until the first day of the week (Sunday) to do so.  They then assemble together to enjoy a common meal and to hear Paul preach.  No scripture even hints this space of time was ever made holy by God or now became the “Christian” Sabbath.  That’s ridiculous!  God help you if you follow the majority just because they have traditionally been going in that direction for centuries!

Over and over your Bible says the seventh day is the Sabbath.  (See Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 16:26, 29; Exodus 20:10; Exodus 31:15; Exodus 34:21).  Never once is the first day of the week, or Sunday, called the Sabbath in the scriptures, or called holy time.  Over and over again your Bible says the Sabbath is the Lord’s day, that He is Lord of the Sabbath.  (See Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28 and Luke 6:5.  Your Bible clearly says the Sabbath was made FOR MAN – not just the Jew, but for mankind as a whole.  (See Mark 2:27).  The Sabbath was made when man was created, centuries before the first Jew appeared on the scene.  (See Genesis 2:1-3).

The average “Christian” hasn’t even begun to get a grip on how greatly Satan has deceived the world, yes, even the professing “Christian” world – and their ministry.  Most seem to think the apostle Paul mocks or puts down Sabbath observance in Colossians, chapter 2, verse 16.  Paul is not telling believers to abandon anything in that verse, or that we are freed up from any practice.  He is simply saying let no man judge you in such matters.  We prevent others from judging us when we do the right thing.  What if Paul said, Let no man judge you in respect to stealing, or lying, or fornication?”  He would not be saying the 8th, 9th and 7th commandments had been abolished and were no longer in force.  He would be saying the opposite.  He would be urging us to keep those commandments!  And when he writes: “Let no man therefore judge you…in respect of an holyday…or of the Sabbath days,” he is not saying the 4th commandment has been abolished and is no longer in force.  He is doing the opposite!  He is urging us to keep that commandment.
Never forget that Peter warned that Paul wrote some things hard to understand if one is unlearned in the scriptures, failing to consider the revelation of all of Holy Writ, and if a person is spiritually unstable, sinning one moment, repenting the next.  Notice, in the Colossian text, how Paul says the cross succeeded in “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that were AGAINST US, which were CONTRARY to us” (See verse 14 of Colossians 2).  This language could never be used of God’s Sabbath!  For God’s Word plainly declares “the Sabbath…is HOLY unto you” (Exodus 31:14).  “God BLESSED the seventh day” (Genesis 2:3).  Keeping the Sabbath PLEASED God (See Isaiah 56:4).  God COMMANDS us to call the Sabbath “A DELIGHT!”  (See Isaiah 58:13).  Anyone who says the Sabbath was, or is, contrary to us or called a “yoke of bondage” in scripture is either grossly deceived or horribly ignorant of the scriptures.
The ordinances that were against us were the ADDED laws, those laws called “the works of the law” – not God’s holy Ten Commandments.  Notice the context of Colossians 2.  The “mystery” to which Paul refers in verse 2 is the hidden mystery of how the Messiah was God’s sacrificial Lamb.  The apostles themselves did not understand this until after Christ’s resurrection.  Paul then writes “ye are complete in Him” (verse 10).  We need offer no further sacrifice.  He was cut off for us (verse 11).  His sacrifice was sufficient (verses 12 and 13).  All ordinances governing sacrifices and offerings have been blotted out, repealed (verse 14).  “Let no man therefore judge you in (respect to) meat (offerings), or in drink (offerings), or in respect of an holy day, or the new moon, or of the Sabbath days (when such offerings would ordinarily be made)” (verse 16).  Don’t you see it?  Paul is not setting aside Sabbath observance with the words he writes in verse 16.  He is merely saying no offerings or sacrifices need to be made on such days!!   These early believers were not to allow themselves to fall under condemnation by the Jews who insisted they must still offer sacrifices on the Sabbath.

I have just been meditating on a text in Numbers Chapter 23.  In that passage the prophet Balaam makes a statement that is profound in its implications.  The king of Moab had pleaded with Balaam to curse Israel so that he could defeat them in battle.  Balaam realizes that Israel has been blessed by God and is, therefore, not subject to such a curse.  He then says to the king of Moab, “Behold, I have received commandment to bless, and He (God) hath blessed (blessed Israel), AND I CANNOT REVERSE IT.” (verse 20).  Now look at Genesis 2, verses 1 thru 3, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.  AND GOD BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT, because that He had rested from all His work, which God created and made.”  Now, consider Balaam’s statement to the king of Moab: “He hath
blessed, AND I CANNOT REVERSE IT!”  No one has or ever will have the authority or power to interfere with or change, or alter, God’s pronounced blessing on the seventh day.  The seventh day is His Sabbath.  It was blessed at the time of creation of mankind.  None can reverse it.  NO ONE!

Nowhere in all the Bible do you find that God blessed Sunday, making it a day of rest and worship.  NOWHERE!  Nowhere in all the Bible do you find that God desanctified His sacred Sabbath, removing His blessing from it.  NOWHERE!  Sunday worship is an invention of Satan regardless of how many professing “Christians” honor it and spurn God’s Sabbath.  If a million Billy Graham’s place their blessing on it, it doesn’t change a thing.  If every professing Christian in the world begins honoring Sunday as the Lord’s Day, it will not change a thing!

The spiritual darkness that grips the minds of the professing “Christian” world is staggering.  Jesus Christ was crucified in a warm weather month.  It was imperative that they anoint the body as quickly as possible with the funerary ointments as corruption would be setting in quickly, yet since an annual Sabbath (NOT the weekly Sabbath) was fast approaching and would begin within an hour or so, “the women which came with Him from Galilee, followed after (Joseph of Arimathea, the man who was given Christ’s body by Pilate), and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid (unanointed), and they returned (to their homes), and prepared spices and ointments, AND RESTED THE SABBATH DAY ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT” (See Luke 23:50-56).  Note well, these followers of the Lord RESTED ON THE SABBATH DAY ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT even though it was imperative that the body of Jesus be anointed as quickly as possible.  Nothing Jesus had said during His three year ministry gave them any indication that God’s holy Sabbath was to be desanctified, made a common day, a day to be replaced by the pagan “day of the sun,” a day held sacred to the sun god for centuries, the day we moderns call Sunday!  They wouldn’t violate God’s Sabbath day for ANY reason, not even to anoint the crucified body of their Lord!  Think about that for a moment.  We had better stop listening to deceived men and let the Word of God speak to us and order our conduct.  “All these people can’t be wrong” is a phony argument.  Can all these Communists be wrong?  Can all these Mormons be wrong?  Can all these Muslims be wrong?

I expounded on the woefully misunderstood text in Colossians Chapter 2, verses 1 thru 16, a text many think sets aside the holiness and honoring of God’s eternal Sabbath day.  This text is misinterpreted by those who do not have a good understanding of how God viewed and spoke of the Sabbath day in the Hebrew scriptures (commonly called the Old Testament) and during the ministry of Jesus Christ in the gospels.  If they had a better idea of how God viewed this period of time from the days of creation forward, they would know that this text in Colossians 2 could not possibly be setting aside the sacredness of God’s Sabbath.  God does not contradict Himself.  He does not speak out of both sides of His mouth.  He does not have two bodies of believers comprising His church, one a Sabbath keeping body and the other a Sunday keeping body of believers. God says that someday “from one Sabbath to another, shall ALL FLESH (every Jew, every Gentile, every Baptist, every Christian, every Sunday observer) come to worship before me, saith the Lord” (See Isaiah 66:23).  That is a prophecy, a prophecy that MUST be fulfilled.

But, returning to the text in Colossians 2, a later translation of the original languages, the Revised Berkeley Version, makes this passage much easier to comprehend.  Verse 14 in that version reads: “Christ “cancelled the record of debt (all our sins) that stood against us (claiming our lives), WITH ITS REQUIREMENTS, and took it out of the way when He nailed it to the cross.”  The REQUIREMENTS for sins were “those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually” (Hebrews 10:1) on the holy days, new moons and Sabbaths!  The truth CAN be known, but one will have to be 100% surrendered to the LORDship of Jesus Christ in order for the Holy Spirit to lead and feed them spiritual truth as that person diligently studies God’s Word.  Fail to do that, fail to take that route, do your own thing, go your own way, follow the religious path you were merely reared in from years before, and I guarantee you that you will embrace gross, far reaching error.

Christianity was corrupted a long, long time ago.  (See 3 John 9-10, I John 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:13; Acts 20:29-30).  Things did NOT get better with each passing century.  They got worse – a lot worse.  Error became deeply entrenched, firmly held, widely believed.  The way of truth has now long been viewed as false Christianity!  God’s holy Sabbath has been replaced by Satan’s clever counterfeit.  “The prophets (preachers) prophesy falsely (preach false doctrine)…and my people love to have it so” (See Jeremiah 5:31).  Sunday observance is that “old time religion” for most, and ON THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD, I tell you it is a stench in God’s nostrils!  God have mercy on those who refuse to really prove all things, bowing to Jesus’ total LORDship and searching the scriptures daily as they may well live into that era when all who walk contrary to God’s way will pay a terrible price at the hands of God’s avenging army – the terroristic Muslim hordes!  Just as God used pagan Babylon and Assyria to discipline Israel He WILL use the satanically deceived Muslims to discipline wayward Christianity!