THE JERUSALEM SENTINEL

VOL.9 NO. 1 © 2000

INTERNET EDITION


IN THIS ISSUE:

Feast of tabernacles 2000

Come Out of Her My People

Faith In Little

Place Of Safety?

The 613

Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up

The New School Prayer


THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2000

October 14th - 21st

by Mark Carr

PLEASE JOIN US!!! For Worship And Fellowship

This year's theme will be:

The Armor of God

We urge all of you to join us for eight days of worship and fellowship. This year there are two beautiful sites to pick from. Arrangements have been made to hold the Feast in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lake Worth, Florida. Both are attractive settings in which to keep God's Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day. Please make your reservations TODAY and let us know you are coming.

Observing the Feast of Tabernacles is an important spiritual event. Many other denominations recognize the importance of spending a week living in a temporary dwelling worshiping God. However, no amount of camp meetings, etc., can replace the eight days of exclusive worship that God commands us to observe at the time that He sanctifies. Only God can create "Holy Time". If we are faithful and obey His commandments, He will bless us spiritually. Please come and recharge your "spiritual batteries". The best way to do this is worship, relaxation and fellowship at the Feast of Tabernacles.

We must never forget that the Feast is a sacred celebration that God has given us as a gift. He hascommanded us to set aside a small portion of our wages each week so that in the fall we can spend eight days with our family and friends worshiping Him. No debt, no worries and no pressure. To assure our enjoyment, He commands us to take the money that we save and "buy whatever our heart desires" (Deu 14:26). What a great and awesome God we have! Why would anyone refuse to obey Him?

MYRTLE BEACH

To observe this sacred Festival we have made reservations at the beautiful Beach Colony Resort in Myrtle Beach, we hope you join us there. We have reserved two banquet rooms for our exclusive use. We look forward to eight days of worshiping God with singing, wonderful sermons, great Bible studies and fellowship with old friends & hopefully some new ones.

We have arranged for these beautiful accommodations through Myrtle Beach Connections. Call Mariane to make your reservations. Iím sure she will be very helpful. Her number is (1-800-867-8525), tell her you are with United Biblical Churches of God for the group Package. If you need a brochure you can call the resort at (1-800-222-2141), or visit their web site at: www.beachcolony.com

We have negotiated special rates, the fall rates drop beginning October 14th the first day of the Feast. We are listing both in case you arrive early.

ROOM TYPE

BEFORE OCTOBER 14TH

STARTING OCTOBER 14TH

Oceanview Studio

$41.25+3.92 tax=$45.17

$35.25+3.35 tax=$38.60

Oceanview Guest Suite

$55.50+5.28 tax=$60.78

$45.75+4.35 tax=$50.10

Oceanview 2 Bedroom Condo

$66.75+6.35 tax=$73.10

$54.75+5.21 tax=$59.96

Oceanfront 3 Bedroom Condo

$120.00+11.40 tax=$131.40

$105.00+9.98 tax=$114.98

Oceanfront 4 Bedroom Condo

$133.00+12.64 tax=$145.64

$120.00+11.40 tax=$131.40

 

The room Descriptions are as follows:

Oceanview Studio, 1 room with 2 queen beds, 1 bath. 2 adults, 2 children.

Oceanview Guest Suite, 1 bedroom with 2 queen beds, living room, kitchenette, 1 bath, private balcony. 2 adults, 4 children.

Oceanview 2 Bedroom Condo, 1 bedroom with 1 king bed, 1 bedroom with 2 double beds, living room, kitchen, 2 baths, washer/dryer, private balcony. 4 adults, 2 children.

Oceanfront 3 Bedroom Condo, 2 bedrooms with 1 queen bed each, 1 bedroom with 2 twin beds, living room, kitchen, 2 baths, washer/dryer, private balcony. 6 adults, 2 children.

Oceanfront 4 Bedroom Condo, 2 bedrooms with 1 queen bed each, 2 bedrooms with 2 twin beds each, living room, kitchen, 3 baths, washer/dryer, private balcony. 8 adults, 2 children.

Remember to bring your musical instruments for song services, special music and the fun show. Ideas and volunteers are needed for special events to be held each afternoon and evening. If your children are planning to participate in the children's services, please contact Mary Carr 7daycog@esper.com, Linda Lewallen emw@esper.com, or Pat Myers pmyers@esper.com, or mail them at PO Box 70635, Knoxville, TN 37938.

If you have any questions about the Feast, wish to volunteer for helping out or speaking, or have an idea to share, contact Charles Kimbrough at 352-621-7888 PO Box 547, Crystal River, FL 34423 unbc@sunco.com or Mark Carr 865-922-5420 PO Box 70635, Knoxville, TN 37938 jersent@esper.com

With lots of sunshine and reasonably priced attractions, we can look forward to having a great time this year. Please consider joining us in worshiping God this year. This could be the best site we have ever had. I hope to see all of you at the Feast this year.

LAKE WORTH

For those of you who choose south Florida, Neville Gilbert and the Lake Worth Church will be observing the Feast in Lake Worth again. They are a loving and caring group who welcome everyone. Give this site serious consideration, for more information, call Neville at (561) 585-4580.

COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE

by P Myers

Come out of her, My people... Come out of her... who? Us? Why? We were serving God. Why would He want us to come out of the church we were in? My husband, Paul, was a deacon, we were Sunday School teachers, and we were on just about every committee there was. Why wasn't God happy? Why weren't we happy? Something was missing, but we just couldn't put our finger on it.

It really all started when Paul attended a Promise Keepers rally a few years ago in Washington D.C. We knew something wasn't right in our walk with the Lord, and he went there seeking answers. After he came home, it wasn't too long till he heard, "And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.'" Revelation 18:4

The 7th Day Church of God, in Knoxville, TN airs a radio show called, The Simple Truth Bible Hour, and we had been listening to it for some time, but now, it seemed like they were talking directly to us . It was all starting to make sense to Paul, ...not to me. He was telling me that we were going to church on the wrong day of the week, that doing Xmas and Easter were all wrong, etc. Needless to say, I thought he had flipped, but together, we earnestly started seeking God's face and His will in our lives. " if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chr 7:14 Once God started to reveal Himself to us through the reading of our Bibles, we began to see things like, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15We realized that this was talking about people like our preacher. He wasn't really feeding us, instead, we were feeding him. We were supplying him with a paycheck, and what for? He certainly wasn't giving his flock the truth. It wasn't too long before we saw that we could no longer go to church on Sunday, and keep men's holidays, etc. We saw one scripture that really spoke to us: "He answered and said to them, 'Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?'" Matthew 15:3

What commandment was He speaking of ? How about all of them! "If you love Me, keep My commandments." John 14:15 Boy, that really told us something! We weren't doing at all what God wanted us to do. It was time to make a change. This meant we had to find a church that met on the Sabbath. We knew that The 7th Day Church of God met on Saturdays, so we went to check them out. We felt very welcomed and loved, and knew that was where God wanted us to be. But now we had a problem. There were still a couple of months till the church calendar rolled over at the Baptist church we were members of. We certainly didn't want to let God down by diving out, and leaving our Sunday School class without a teacher, and Paul was still an active deacon. What were we to do, except stick it out untill they could get replacements for us?

We actually thought that would work, so we attended church in Knoxville on Saturdays, and our old church on Sundays. That didn't work for long. We began to feel like we were literally cheating on God. We had tried to put off telling our church that there had to be a transition in our lives, because we knew what would happen, ...and it did. People were telling us that we weren't under that old burdensome law anymore. I guess they didn't realize that we weren't just dealing with the issue of being under the law, this was one of the Ten Commandments ! They all agreed on the other nine, but that fourth one, was one nobody wanted to discuss.

Then it got to the point that we couldn't stand to go to worship service after Sunday School, because the preacher would always stop one scripture short of the true meaning of the passage. We decided to just leave after teaching our class, but God wasn't happy with that either. We had to get out, ...NOW! When we finally did, it felt as if a tremendous burden had been lifted, and we were finally in the center of God's will for our lives.

I am writing this to encourage those of you that are struggling in your walk with God. Are you really doing what He wants you to do? Do you humble yourself and seek His face? Do you pray for His guidance in your life? Are you hearing His quiet prompting? If you are uncomfortable and feel like something isn't quite right, maybe it's time for you to make some changes in the way you worship Him. Have faith and God will help you. Have faith to step out of the boat. You will be surprised in the difference it will make in your life.

FAITHFUL IN LITTLE

by James Faulkner

Tell me, when we observe the Holy Days on a different date than the Jews keep the Holy Days, does that make us a bunch of lunatics?

Lev. 23:6, "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. :7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it."

Our calculated new moon calendars and even observation from the east coast of this country indicated that the new moon should have been seen in Jerusalem on April 5th, but then we received word from Jerusalem witnesses that it was not actually seen in Jerusalem. So, what should we do?

Encyclopedia Judaica - NEW MOON

...Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculations, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon. On the 30th of each month, the members of the High Court assembled in a courtyard in Jerusalem, named Beit Ya'azek, where they waited to receive the testimony of two reliable witnesses; they then sanctified the New Moon. If the moon's crescent was not seen on the 30th day, the New Moon was automatically celebrated on the 31st day. To inform the population of the beginning of the month, beacons were kindled on the Mount of Olives and thence over the entire land and in parts of the Diaspora. Later, however, the Samaritans began to light misleading beacons, and the High Court despatched messengers to far-removed communities. Those Jews who lived great distances from Jerusalem always celebrated the 30th day of the month as the New Moon. On those occasions when they were informed of its postponement to the 31st, they also observed this second consecutive day as the New Moon (RH 1:3-2:7). By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued. A relic of the original practice is, however, retained in the synagogue custom of announcing the New Moon on the Sabbath preceding its celebration...

Researching history shows us that in the Messiah's day, without two witnesses on the 30th day they would have delayed the new moon day to the following day. Hence, the Passover and Days of Unleavened bread would be delayed by one day as well. It is a little, controversial thing, that would be easy to just overlook for the sake of unity, however I have some points for us to consider.

He that is faithful in little will be faithful in much

Luke 16:10, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. :11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? :12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? :13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

How about an example? Guess who I am. One day I was wandering around on my palace roof and I noticed a woman bathing on her roof. Wow, what a woman! She was really built nicely and I wanted to know more about her. I inquired about her and found that she was married. Oh well, it doesn't hurt to look does it? It is just a small thing, what would it matter? You know she is so beautiful I would love to just see her up close. Just once, what could it hurt, it is just a small thing. Wow, up close she is even more beautiful and I sure would love to hear what she sounds like. Talking to her wouldn't be wrong, it is just a small thing, why not just talk to her? You know her voice is as lovely as her body. I sure would like to know what it would feel like to touch her. Not that I would have sex with her or anything. I just would like to see what her skin feels like and besides it is just a small thing and without sex it really wouldn't be wrong would it? You know, her skin is as soft and lovely as her voice and her body. I wonder what it would be like to kiss her. Of course not on the lips, just on the cheek and maybe a little hug. What could it hurt and besides, it is just a small thing. Wow, I had no intentions of having sex with her, but she was so desirable, how could I resist? Now she is pregnant and her husband has been away for a long time. I need to get him home. Lying to him wouldn't be so bad would it? It's just a small lie and it would be to his benefit, wouldn't it? I can't believe he wouldn't go into his wife just because his troops were at the front. He is probably one of the most dedicated men I have. Now what am I supposed to do? Well, if he were killed in action that would sure solve my problem. If I put him in the front and pulled back the troops that wouldn't exactly be murder, would it? Now that he is dead I can take the lovely Bathsheba as my wife. Now, who is that knocking at the door? Nathan, what on earth does he want?

How easy would it have been for me to turn my head when I saw the lady bathing, when it was a small thing. How easy would it have been to have told the lady to put up a curtain if she were going to bath outdoors? It would have been such a small thing for the king to ask. Instead, I let it grow into a catastrophic disaster of sin, where innocent people suffered and died. It just goes to show you that he that is unfaithful in little, will eventually be unfaithful in much. It was a hard painful lesson for me to learn.

How about a modern example of my former church, the Worldwide Church of God? One of the first changes that was made was our teaching and views of the medical profession. Some had taught that if you sought a physician except to set broken bones that it was showing a lack of faith and sometimes people were even denied anointing. This was changed and it was a needed change. The bible shows us we should do what we are able to take care of ourselves, but still look to God for healing when needed. This is a much more balanced approach in this area.

Then we began to water down the Sabbath. Some members in another country had to work a few hours on the Sabbath to receive government assistance for their families. What is wrong with that? We compromised, it was just a little thing.

Then we were told we shouldn't look down on others for eating unclean meats and then we were taught that maybe they weren't unclean anyway. Besides it was a little thing and we weren't supposed to judge others in meats as the scripture says, right?

Then we were told we really didn't HAVE to deleaven our homes for the Days of Unleavened Bread. It was just a small physical thing and with Christ as the reality, we didn't need to do this simple task anymore.

Then we were told the Holy Days weren't required for salvation, so we shouldn't judge others for not keeping them. They were just little things that Israel or the Jews did to point to Christ. Since we now had Christ, we no longer needed the Holy Days, but it was OK to keep them if you wanted to.

You know what, the Sabbath really isn't required for salvation either. Any day is as good as another to worship God. Yes, that's it, we should worship God every day and that would be even better than the Sabbath.

You know what else, God's not really a family either. He is a three coequal, coexisting, hypostasis. Now we are not saying he is a Trinity. Well, OK, maybe we are saying he is a Trinity, but only to simplify things. Now we can't prove it from scripture and you really can't understand it, but if all the Christian world believes it, then it must be true, right?

And another thing, we really shouldn't call the traditional Christian Holidays pagan. That's insulting and offensive and we shouldn't judge people. That doesn't mean we should keep these days, just don't condemn others who keep it, but on the other hand, if you wanted to keep them as well, that's OK too. Why, if you look at it, in a certain way, God's Holy Days really came out of paganism and God just copied them, so why not copy the other heathen days as well?

And on and on it goes. Little by little by little the doctrines of truth based on scripture were traded for fables and myths based on vain traditions of men. I saw this unfold before my very eyes in astonishment and I couldn't believe the people that accepted this garbage being taught. And I'm guilty as well and for a time they were really starting to confuse me. I really struggled with the Trinity and had come to the point of thinking what does it matter, it is just a small thing. So what if I don't understand it? It's just a little thing.

Luke 8:14, "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. :15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. :16 No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. :17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, noranything hidden that will not be known and come to light. :18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him."

2 Tim 4:3, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; :4 and they will turntheir ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."

I have witnessed this myself. People who had wonderful precious truth, totally lose it all and go back into the darkness of the world. They wanted so much to be a part of the world. It is a sad sad thing to behold. You know, I don't say these things about the WCG church in condemnation any more than I condemn David. I say these things for the same reason God gave us David's example that we can learn a very important lesson. He that is faithful in little will be faithful in much and he that is unfaithful in little will also be unfaithful in much. If you compromise with the little things, you will soon find yourself compromising with bigger and bigger and bigger things. Yes, what we do today is a little thing, but WE KNOW BETTER and that brings me to point number two.

To whom much is given, much is expected

Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? :43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. :44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. :45 But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, :46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. :47 And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. :48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."

Parable of James, Sandy, and Tracy:

Near Genius, Average, Mentally Handicapped. Sandy, my cousin, took a Physics class with me. We studied together and she made a B and was very discouraged. She made very few B's in college. I, on the other hand, made a C and was beside myself with joy.

Tracy who is also my cousin and Sandy's younger sister, will probably never be able to pass the course. Tracy is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet in your life and is always a pleasure to be around. If all three of us took the exact same Physics test, the results would be quite different and you would expect that. It would not be a shock and you would congratulate each accordingly, because you understand that to whom much is given, much is expected.

Brethren, we have been given much truth and we know better and God expects us to act accordingly.

What is more important to God, Unity or Truth? Continuing on in Luke 12:49 "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! :50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! :51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. :52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. :53 Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

You know brethren I have been told by a minister who keeps the holy days that I shouldn't follow the new moons for the sake of unity, as if unity were more important than truth. I just don't see it that way and I don't think Jesus did either and if your bible is a red letter edition you will notice this quote is in red indicating that it was a quote from Christ himself.

Are you jealous of your brother and sister in the faith because you think they have an easier path to the kingdom?

Mat 20:1, "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. :2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. :3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, :4 and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. :5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. :6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?' :7 They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.' :8 So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' :9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. :10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. :11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, :12 saying, 'These last men have workedonly one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' :13 But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? :14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. :15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' :16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."

Brethren, I am sorry to say I have seen to much of this attitude in God's church today. Most of us think that if we have to suffer a certain amount for salvation, then everyone else should have to suffer just as much or more. Were the servants thankful that the master did at least pay them what he said he would? Were the servants thankful that others were able to work and benefit? Were the servants happy to see their master get his vineyard harvested so that he to could prosper?

John 21:20, "Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, `Lord, who is the one who betrays You?' :21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, `But Lord, what about this man?' :22 Jesus said to him, `If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.' :23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, `If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?'"

How about us? Are we thankful when God calls another fresh convert into the faith, that they to will benefit from salvation? Are we thankful that the Messiah is reaping a more bountiful harvest? Or do we only care about our own salvation and how much more work we must do to also be a part of this great calling God has given us? You can answer for yourself.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees

Luke 11:37, "And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. :38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner. :39 Then the Lord said to him, `Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. :40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? :41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you. :42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. :43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. :44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.'"

Why was Jesus so upset with the Pharisees? I think of the wonderful healings that he performed and the Pharisees' response. A woman who had suffered for 12 years and they ridiculed him for doing this on the Sabbath. They should have rejoiced that a prophet had come and healed many people. They KNEW Jesus was a prophet sent from God, but instead of embracing him and supporting him and helping him, they persecuted him and eventually had him put to death. And why? Because they were jealous of him and afraid of losing their precious power. So they killed an innocent man that they knew was a prophet sent from God.

It is not enough to say you will obey God, you must really obey God. Rom 2:12, "For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law :13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; :14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,"

Parable of the 3 children told to clean their rooms: Oldest child says, "NO, I don't want to!" Two younger children say, "SURE!" Results later: Oldest child changes her mind and cleans her room wonderfully. Middle child gets interested in something else and doesn't even touch her room. Youngest child cleans it, but doesn't do a great job.

How do you feel about each of these children? Which one clearly needs the dicipline? Which one clearly deserves a big pat on the back? Which one needs complimenting, but also a little more training and teaching?

Mat 21:28, "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' :29 He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. :30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. :31 Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Him, `The first.' Jesus said to them, `Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. :32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.'"

You know brethren we can thank God for this. The great and the mighty of the world don't think they need God and they are not repenting. We are the nothing and the nobodies of the world, low down dirty sinners and we know it. We are willing to turn to God and repent and change and be a firstfruit. What an honor, what a privilege. None of us deserve it, but God has chosen us. For many are called, but few are chosen. YOU brethren have been chosen. Chosen to stand for the truth. It isn't always easy. It isn't always fun, but we must stand for the truth that God gives us. I'm glad to be with you here today and it is an honor to be able to speak to you. Let's keep striving to better understand and serve God and his people and be the example he expects us to be.

PLACE OF SAFETY?

by Mark Carr

Some Churches of God teach that in the end time there will be a "place of safety" where God will hide His people from the tribulation. Herbert Armstrong popularized this idea with his teaching that the members in good standing of the Worldwide Church of God would flee from around the world to Petra. Others have taught similar scenarios but have claimed it was Texas or various other places. Many people have been fooled and/or deceived by these teachings. Some are trapped, afraid to leave, thinking they will be denied protection because they would no longer be part of a certain group.

There is no such thing as group salvation! The protection we have is our personal relationship with God, through His son Jesus, our Savior, Elder Brother and High Priest. Anyone who intimidates others with deceptive teaching is like the false prophets of Jeremiah 23:25, "I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' :26 How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,"

We must never look to men or a group for protection. God is not pleased with people who claim to be prophets and raise a following for themselves. Jer 23:31 "Behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who use their tongues and say, 'He says.' :32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams, says the LORD, and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them..."

While it is true that people will be put to death (Rev 17:6), we should never forget that Ezekiel 9:4-6 tells us God will put a mark of protection on His people. Revelation 7:3-9 tells us there will be 144,000 and a great multitude of people too numerous to count who receive this mark of protection. So the question remains, where are these people who are protected?

We need to understand that there are two sets of instructions. One is for those who live in Israel and one for those who do not. Let's look at what we should do if we are living in the land of Israel. Matthew 24:16, "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

Where in the mountains should they flee? Daniel 11:40-41 tells us that three countries will escape from the king of the South, "Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon." Which one of these should God's people in Judea flee to?

If I lived in Israel, when the time to flee came I would go to Moab. The Bible tells us it will be a shelter for God's people. Isa 16:3, "Take counsel, execute judgment; make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day; hide the outcasts, do not betray him who escapes. :4 Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab; be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler. For the extortioner is at an end, devastation ceases, the oppressors are consumed out of the land."

The majority of us do not live in Israel. In fact, the Tribes have been scattered. So where is our place of safety? It is in our homes! Isa 26:20, "Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. :21 For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain."

It is so plain I don't understand why I never understood this verse until a friend showed me last November. In Egypt God protected Israel from the plague of the death angel in their homes. In the last days, many of God's people will be protected from the plagues in their homes. This is our "place of safety".

We do not have to be afraid! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego's place of safety was in the middle of the fiery furnace, (Dan 3:25-27). Psalm 91:5-12 tells us not to be afraid of the terror (plagues?) by night, or of arrows (missles?) that flies by day, or of the pestilence and destruction. We are told that a thousand will die at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand; but it will not come near us! This punishment is for the wicked. Because God is our refuge, no evil will hurt us, and the plagues will not come near our dwellings. God will give us angels to protect us.

That's right, we should not be afraid! I used to worry how God was going to protect us from what must be nuclear plagues in Zechariah 14:12. There we are told the Lord will strike people with a plague that causes their flesh to dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes to dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues to dissolve in their mouths. I remember seeing pictures of nuclear destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan as a young child in 6th grade history class at school.

I knew God could protect His people, but would He? In 1987 I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. This is about 20 miles from the National Labs in Oak Ridge where nuclear bombs and materials are produced and stored. In a war, it would be a target our enemies would surely try to destroy. What if a bomb was dropped so close to my house, would my family live? Would God protect us?

In August 1995 I was reading an article in the Adventist Review about a 50 member Sabbath observing Church in Japan. I no longer worry about nuclear plagues. The article said that a man named Sadamitsu Morita was the head elder at the Hiroshima, Japan Seventh-day Adventist Church. On the morning of August 6, 1945 the Morita's had family devotions. Then Yoshi, the son left for work at his factory job; Setsuko, the daughter left for school at a protestant misson education facility and Sadamitsu left last to sell dental equipment in the city.

Overhead the Enola Gay and the Great Artiste, flew by. Then the air raid sirens sounded and there was a blinding flash with a shock wave that knocked Sadamitsu to the ground. He saw a huge mushroom cloud rise over the city. Fearing the worst, Sadamitsu ran there to search for his children.

He found his daughter's school was totally destroyed. The smell of burned human flesh was everywhere. He then headed for the factory where his son worked. It too was destroyed. Giving up hope that his children were alive, he spent the rest of the day trying to help the survivors. That evening, he walked home to tell his wife what had happened.

As soon as he opened the door his wife said, Yoshi's here! Amazed, his son told him that he was standing at a long assembly line when the air raid siren sounded. The blast knocked him to the ground under the assembly line. The building had collapsed over the assembly table and formed a long tunnel. Yoshi said he crawled to the end of the line and squeezed out from under the rubble. He was the only survivor in the factory.

Sadamitsu and Yoshi immediately left looking for Setsuko. They searched all night without success. When they returned home the next morning Setsuko was sleeping. She had gotten home shortly after they left. She told them how her class of 90 girls were in the chapel when the air raid alarms sounded. They were heading to the bomb shelter when there was a flash of light. She found herself clinging to a support pillar for the building. The school had been destroyed with debris all around her. She was the only survivor in the school.

Almost 100,000 people died from the atomic blast. The amazing part of this story is that every single person from that Sabbath observing Church in Hiroshima lived. This is a testimony that should be shouted from the roof tops! God protects His faithful believers who keep His commandments! The plagues are not for us, they are for the ones who worship a false religious system (Rev 7:3).

What is happening on earth at the very end? What are God's people doing? Isaiah 24:1-7 tells us that God will destroy much of the earth making many parts an empty wasteland, scattering the inhabitants. He does this because man has violated the law. The plagues will devour the earth and many people will die so that only a few are left. Verse 14 tells us that in the middle of this destruction there are people who, "lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea." These are the faithful believers who have not taken the mark of the beast and have not been destroyed by the plagues! We are crying out in the midst of the destruction, praising God and singing for Jesus to come quickly because we know the time is at hand!

When does this begin? 1 Thes 5:2, "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. :3 For when they say, `Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. :4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief."

We are very close to this day. For the first time in two thousand years, man is getting ready to announce that there is "peace and safety" in Israel. Don't be afraid of what God says will come before Jesus returns. We are about to witness the greatest demonstration of God's power since He destroyed the earth with a flood. This time, we have been chosen to be the passengers on the ark.


THE 613 ... THEY STILL APPLY!

by Ted Maynard

When I first started attending church at the 7th Day Church of God, for Bible study we would go thru the 613 Laws, or 613 Mitzvot, a few each week, and discuss what the particular laws meant to us. Some did not seem to apply to us today. Yet, we are committed to keeping these 613 laws, which include the 10 Commandments, to show God that we love Him. But, maybe these Laws do apply to us today. In fact, maybe they are all vital to us today. We may just not understand how they apply.

For instance, there are laws about servants and slaves. When we read through these laws we were thinking that slavery was abolished in this country in the year 1860. So what do these laws mean to me? Let's read some of these laws so that I can show you what I am talking about.

Exo 21: 2, "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. :3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. :4 If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself."

Exo 21:7, "And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. :8 If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her.

Lev 25:39, "And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. :40 As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee.  :41 And then he shall depart from you -- he and his children with him -- and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers."

Deu 24:14, "You shall not oppress a hired servant [who is] poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. :15 Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you."

Deu 15:12, "If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you."

Exo 22:1, "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.  :2 If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.  :3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."

Exo 20:10, "but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates."

We don't have many servants and slaves today in the U.S., or do we? Every year a date is calculated that represents the day that your wages actually go to yourself. This year everything we earn until May 16 goes straight to our government, then after that we supposedly work for ourselves. But do we?

How are we paid? We are issued government script called dollars which are not backed by gold or silver. It is a debt instrument. This government script is only redeemable at government stores. This system is the same that some coal miners had to deal with, but on a much larger scale.

But this government money seems to work pretty well. NOT!! Do you realize that 3 cents in 1940 would purchase as much as a dollar will today. We have been experiencing runaway inflation for decades, but our wonderful govt tries to conceal this fact. Yes we get raises every year... 3 to 5% is typical. At this rate we fall further and further behind. Today, the husband and wife must both work in order to achieve a middle of the road lifestyle. It wasn't like this in the 50's, in the "Leave it to Beaver" era. The husband worked and the wife could stay at home, run the home and keep the kids straight. The government wants to destroy the family unit, and is succeeding. The Communists told us openly that all they needed were two generations of school kids to influence, and we could be taken over in a bloodless coupe. And guess what?...they did it. We have a communist president and government.

So you think that you have freedom and own private property? Even if you have paid off your house to the company store, do you think that you own it? Try not paying your property taxes and see who REALLY owns it.

There is not much we can do without government permission. You can't get married, run a business, own a handgun, fish, drive, burn trash, get medication, etc. etc. etc., without govt approval.

Are we free? Unfortunately, the answer is NO! You might be thinking, "I can quit my job anytime and get a new job". It is hard to quit these days with all the usury that we find ourselves a slave to. It is almost impossible to own a new car today without going into severe usury. We generally can't own a home without becoming an indentured servant to a bank, commonly known as a mortgage. Even if you change jobs, you are still trapped in the system. You are logged into it with your social security number. When you change jobs today, they run a credit check on you and check your medical history. Everyone has a big file with medical data that is widely available to employers, insurers, and govt agencies to view. Every doctor's visit adds more to the file. Even your so-called private consultations with your doctor done behind closed doors, finds its way to your file. I have personal experience to that fact.

More and more U.S. citizens are being incarcerated. Be careful clearing your property of brush. You may inadvertently run over some endangered rat species and be imprisoned. We have the highest rate of people that are in prison over any other country. There are plans to greatly increase the available number of cells. Prison inmates clearly are slaves and are subjected often times to slave labor. God never intended this. A thief had to restore what he robbed 7-fold, or maybe was stoned. God never intended for us to be put into prison.

So guess what? We are the slaves and the servants that these laws apply to. The rules for slave masters apply to our bosses at work and the govt bureaucrats that want to run our lives. These laws do indeed apply to us today. All the 613 laws are vital. We may not have full understanding of them all, but they are all relevant, they are all good.

Solomon, son of David, said that there is nothing new under the sun. And he was right. We had slavery in the past and we have slavery today. Most of us are slaves to this system, but our command is to:

Rev 18:4, "And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues".

How do we come out of her? I don't know. Moving into a commune and putting yourself under the control of a dictator as some have done, is not the answer. We are to render unto Caesar, what is Caesar's and we are to pay our taxes. And we are to obey God's laws, including the ones that apply to slaves and servants.

WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE STAND UP

by P Myers

There have been several families that used to be part of the Knoxville 7th Day Church of God, who have left our fellowship, and now deny Jesus completely. How could this happen? Boy, Satan must really be at work here. Or is he? It is so easy for us to blame Satan for works such as these, but I think we need to look in Gods Word, to see what is really going on.

We are told that there will be a great falling away that happens before the return of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." In order to fall away from something, they had to have been there first. We have to remember that nothing will happen, if God doesn't first allow it to happen. 2 Thessalonians 10:11, "and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie."

The people that this has happened to, have been deceived, and it seems very real to them because of the strong delusion. God has allowed this to happen! The question then arises, why would God allow something like this to happen? 2 Thessalonians 2:13, "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth."

Is this saying, that we were chosen at the beginning of time, to be saved? Ephesians 1:5 "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." Even so, Jesus' own disciple, Judas, betrayed Him. Matthew 26:24-25, "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, `Rabbi, is it I?' He said to him, 'You have said it.'" This is all part of Gods plan for salvation.

What is it like for people that have once known the Truth, who now turn their back on Him, and deny that He is God's Son? They never knew the real Jesus. They may have claimed to be Christians, but there was something in their soul that left them doubting Him. They were really only playing the part of "Christian." I even had one of them tell me, that she had accepted Jesus when she was a little girl, just so she would fit in, and then kept this up until a couple of years ago. She said she had always doubted that Jesus was the Christ, yet she came to church every Sabbath, and prayed through Jesus. To watch her, you would think, she was a Christian.

The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 2:20-22, "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'A dog returns to his own vomit, and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'"

These people have been deceived because of destructive doctrines, and we are told of this in 2 Peter 2:1-3, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who brought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of the truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgement has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber."

These people dismiss the New Testament, because if Jesus isn't real, the New Testament can't be real. Let's look to the Old Testament then. The promise of a Savior is so apparent. Psalm 22 tells of everything the Savior will go through, and we see this fulfilled in the New Testament. Who was this Jesus? Was He just another prophet who wanted to be noticed? Was He trying to glorify Himself? NEVER! Everything He did, was so that God would get the glory. Let's just say, that He was a prophet, wanting to be noticed. How was it then, that He could pull this off? And if He were a true prophet of God, why would He want to deceive so many, with the promise of salvation through Himself? How in the world would He have gotten other people to play into this, such as the Sanhedrin, and Pontius Pilate? Why would they go along with it? Let's look at all of the miracles Jesus performed, ...how? Ok, here's a good one: How about the Resurrection? Just how did He pull that one off? Remember, these events were all foretold in the Old Testament.

To me, if these people deny Jesus, they also deny God, and are calling Him a liar! Matthew 10:33,"But whoever denies Me before men, him I will deny before My Father who is in heaven." God promised salvation in the Old Testament, and then when it's delivered in the New Testament, people doubt Him. How can they even say they love God? Does this make me angry? It certainly does, although I have come to realize that these things have to happen, before the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My question to you is this: Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Do you depend on Him? Do you love Him enough to follow Him, no matter what the cost? Do you, know the real Jesus?

 

THE NEW SCHOOL PRAYER
Author Unknown

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

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