Getting a Grip on Loss

It is an obvious truth that every human being has to deal with one type of loss or another as he goes through life. It is natural to feel some grief over a loss, but sooner or later one learns to deal with the loss and move on.

One of a child’s first experiences of loss is losing a “baby” tooth or more. I’ve heard of kids who bawled a long time while looking in a mirror and seeing themselves missing a tooth or more. The kid may endure some teasing by friends and folks about his “new look.” A caring parent or adult companion would easily calm the kid by explaining that soon a new, permanent tooth or more will grow in place of the one or ones he lost. And when the new – proportionately larger — tooth or teeth do appear, the kid would often flash a big smile and brag about the new growth.

As we move on through life, we experience all sorts of losses: a favorite toy or book, some well-kept money, a dear friend who moves somewhere else, a pet dog or cat that dies. Some children have to face the early death of a parent or both, a brother, sister other relative or friend. Often adult folks would encourage the child, themselves and others by saying that the departed loved one has “gone to a better place.” [See: “What Happens to Man After Death?”]

As we reach our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, we deal with the loss of the “glory” of youth – beauty and strength (Proverbs 20:29). Some may experience the loss of one’s tight, taut skin, muscular tone, a lot of hair and, yes, some of our permanent teeth. Many can and do avail themselves of remedies that the cosmetic arts offer.

Mid-life often brings about loss of health and vigor through diseases such as diabetes, resulting in damage to eyesight and other vital organs. Then there is the much dreaded loss of memory – dementia or Alzheimer’s disease among the elderly.

Besides health some experience the loss of a job, the loss of some property through robbery or theft, a fire, flood and other natural or man-made calamities.

Eventually, each of us has to face “the grim reaper” –whether or not we reach or exceed the God-allotted “three-score-years-and-ten” (Psalm 90:10, KJV) [NKJV, “70 years” — the average lifespan of man]. While it is natural and healthy for loved ones to grieve this loss and other losses, it is unhealthy to be too depressed, engage in self-pity,  and bitterly blame people or circumstances for a long time.

A wise man’s way to cope with change or loss

I suppose many of you have heard or read about a famous quotation called “serenity prayer.” It is attributed to the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr as the author, and has been popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous [AA]. [See: https://www. google.com/search?client=&q=”serenity+prayer”+author.] The prayer goes:

God, grant me the humility to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

God’s word – the Holy Bible – affirms the principle in the above “formula.” God knows there are things we cannot change because they are inherent in our nature, such as the natural color of our skin. Jeremiah 13:23 asks: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.” One may use a bleaching product to whiten one’s dark skin, but after the product’s effect wears out, the natural skin condition reappears! So also does man’s evil “human nature” make it impossible for a man do good. The apostle Paul dealt with this human dilemma, in Romans 7:14-24.

On the other hand, the Bible is mostly about God’s call for man to change! Because all men have sinned or transgressed God’s holy laws (Romans 3:23; 1 John 3:4), God commands all to repent – change from sinning, to obeying God’s laws. The prophets of the Old Testament preached that message. The greatest of prophets – Jesus Christ – tells us emphatically, “…unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).

A noble “loss”

In line with His message to repent, Christ also said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost [KJV: “loses his soul”]” (Luke 9:25)? He earlier said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [by his own efforts] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” [KJV: “will find it”] (Verse 24).

The apostle Paul, who is assured of receiving “a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:9) and life everlasting (Revelation 2:10), confessed (Philippians 3:7-11): “But what things were gain to me [Verses 4-6], I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things lost for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

The greatest Old Testament prophet, Moses, decided to lose the glory and riches of Egypt – which included the “pleasures of sin” – in order to gain Christ. Hebrews 11:24-26 says: “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the [greater] reward [from Christ].” [See: The Deceitfulness of Sin.]

Because it is impossible for man to obey God’s laws on his own merits, God offers His Holy Spirit as a gift to help man live righteously. [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the Spirit, Breaking Down our “Walls of Jericho,”  Does God Require us to Do the Impossible? and “Be Holy, for I Am Holy.”]

The greatest loss of all

The greatest loss that could ever befall a man is to lose the opportunity to enter the kingdom of God and receive everlasting life through Jesus Christ because of a sin or sins not repented of and forgiven. Paul warned: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Revelation 21:8 reveals the dire fate of such  unrepentant sinners as above, and other incorrigible sinners: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 22:15 reinforces God’s judgment that such sinners will be excluded from God’s holy city. This death is final – without hope of ever being given life again in the future.

Malachi 4:1-3 adds, “‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble, And that day which is coming shall burn them up.’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness [Christ] shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

For those struggling with some serious sins but desire to be saved and not lost, the following articles would be of help:  Should Everyone Be Allowed to Be Who They Are? The Rainbow Connection, The Conversion Therapy Controversy, and Overcoming Temptation.

This being the case, it behooves all Christians to make their election sure (2 Peter 1:10), by observing the things listed in Verses 5-8, and by knowing Christ through His word, the Bible, and – more importantly – that Christ knows us and will acknowledge us at His soon return. [See: “I Never Knew You!”]

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
27042023

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day, Advent [ weeks before  December 25 or Christmas], New Year’s Day, and Feast of the Epiphany (January 6).

J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].

I submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:  https://www.britannica.com/topic/holy-days-of-obligation.

One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held them in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage. Instead, Christians are supposed to observe  holy days and festivals honoring Christ.

Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part 1, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part 2, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part 3, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?

In addition, I might refer you to WCG literature that reveals the pagan origins of many of the holy days and festivals of the RCC and Protestants. See: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, choose “Books & Booklets,” and scroll down to the booklets titled “Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which?”  “The Plain Truth About Christmas,” “The Plain Truth About Easter,” and “Easter Is Pagan.”

As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.

J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].

I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:

One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held them in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.

Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed?God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part 1, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part 2, God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 3, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?

As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants Keeping Roman “Holy Days”

As my previous article discussed [see: Protestants and Sunday Keeping], Protestants have blindly followed the Roman Catholic Church in observing Sunday as their day of worship. In this present article I submit that Protestants have also blindly followed the RCC in observing several of the Roman holydays, festivals, and obligatory celebrations. Notable among these are Palm Sunday, Lent [including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday], Easter, Feast of Ascension, Pentecost, All-Saints Day, and All-Souls Day.
J.Michael Feazell and company asserted that now deceased WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had falsely and wrongly taught that what mainstream Christianity has observed as holy days are unbiblical or unscriptural [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God].
I| submit that Protestants keep these holy days not because these are commanded in the Bible for Christians to observe, but as commanded by the RCC hierarchy and observed by Roman Catholics. For a history and basis of these RCC holy days, see this link:
One of the arguments posed against observing the holy days and festivals commanded in the Old Testament is that God supposedly meant these to be observed only by the Jews or Israelites. That these were part of the O. T. laws that held then in bondage, but that now Jesus Christ has freed them, and Christians, from that bondage.
Rather than repeating myself here, let me just refer you to my past articles covering the subject: Freed From Bondage, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part I, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part II, God’s Feasts and the Jews – Part III, and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?
As spring has come upon us, God’s spring festivals will also be observed by faithful members of the Church of God in a few more days. If you are one of these brethren, here’s wishing you all, “Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover, Night to Be Much Observed, and Feast of Unleavened Bread!”

Pedro R. Melendez, Jr.
19032023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants and Sunday Keeping

 

In my last article [see: The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God] I mentioned that J. Michael Feazell and his company of high-ranking former WCG leaders asserted with absolute certainty that the late WCG founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong [HWA] had been in error in accusing Protestants of keeping the wrong day of the week [Sunday] as holy time to worship God.

In this present article, I will show you what the Roman Catholic Church testifies on this very matter! It will come as a surprise that the RCC itself has become an unlikely ally of HWA in this issue!

The details of the RCC’s argument are found in this link:

https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Reference Materials,” and scroll down to the article titled “Rome’s Challenge to Protestants –Why do Protestants keep Sunday?”

In Rome’s own words, here is the introductory paragraph, which summarizes the argument:

“Most Christians assume that Sunday is the biblically approved day of worship. The Roman Catholic Church protests that indeed, it is not. The Roman Catholic Church itself without any Scriptural authority from God transferred Christian worship from the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday, and to try to argue that the change was made in the Bible is both dishonest and a denial of Catholic [that is, papal] authority [emphasis and bracketed words, mine]. If Protestantism wants to base its teaching only on the Bible, it should worship on Saturday [emphasis supplied].

I strongly suggest that you read the rest of this reference material, as well as a related one, titled “Roman Catholic and Protestant Confessions About Sunday.” I believe this literature presents a telling rebuttal to the accusation made by Feazell and company against Herbert Armstrong on this matter.

One of the reasons advanced for Sunday worship is that Christ supposedly rose from the dead or the grave on a Sunday morning. A thorough understanding of the exact time of Christ’s resurrection as infallible proof of His being the Messiah can be had by staying on the HWA link and choosing “Books & Booklets,” and scrolling down to the booklets titled “The Crucifixion Was not on Friday” and “The Resurrection Was not on Sunday.”

An honest and unbiased student of the Holy Scriptures will find Herbert Armstrong to have preached and taught the truth of God, while the young turks who have accused him of having been a heretic and a false prophet to have been sorely misled and deceived!

My prayers and desire for them to change remain.

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
19022023

 

The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God

 

In 2001 J. Michael Feazell, a former high-ranking assistant to the Worldwide Church of God’s [WCG’s] late founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong [HWA] and his successor Joseph W. Tkach Sr., wrote and published the book titled The Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God.

The author’s main point is that the WCG members as led by Mr. Armstrong had been in bondage or in some kind of prison because of the supposedly “deceptive”and untruthful teachings which he handed to them. [If you wish, you may search Google as to how you can obtain a copy of this controversial book.]

A related video titled “Called to Be Free” [search Google for free video view – caller to be free, and select te site that works] shows how Mike Feazell along with other former top leaders of the WCG [Joseph Tkach Jr., Dan Rogers, Greg Albrecht, Bernard Schnippert, Randal Dick. Ronald Kelly, and several others] one day came together and, without previous consultation with one another, they came to a unanimous conclusion that the teachings which HWA left behind were heretical, not true to the Holy Scriptures, and deserved rightly to be demolished and junked. Thereby, they advanced, the WCG and members would be “liberated” or “freed” from the bondage to former false teachings, as Mike Feazell confidently declares in his book.

By accepting the teachings of mainstream “Christianity” as “absolute truth,” the WCG and the brethren are pronounced by these leaders as now “liberated” and “free!”

The WCG members’ reaction to the book and the video has been, understandably, mixed. Those who feel they had been oppressed by the former church beliefs and practices expressed joyful thanks for the relief afforded by the new perspective. Those who have held HWA in high esteem felt mortified and incensed. The rest have tried to walk the tightrope between the two extremes — terribly confused!

I would like, in this present article, to make sense of this turn of events and train the lens of God’s Word on the issues raised by this actually revolutionary occurrence in the WCG.

My view is that the so-called liberation of the WCG has actually resulted in the “reformed” WCG becoming bogged down in a different kind of bondage or prison. I say, the WCG needs to be “de-liberated!”

The law of God — burdensome, or not?

Feazell and company maintain that WCG members had been needlessly burdened by their keeping of God’s “Old Testament” or “Old Covenant” laws and commandments. But these leaders contradict the plain testimony of 1 John 5:3 that God’s commandments are not burdensome! John here affirmed that we love God and the brethren by keeping His commandments.

These leaders also contradict Jesus’ plain testimony that “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me” (John 14:21).

Jesus’ commandments are not simply all His instructions as recorded in the New Testament. If we understand that the LORD who gave the law to ancient Israel was the same God Being who later became the God-man Jesus Christ, we will know that He meant to include that law among His commandments. [See: The True Christ, The Law of Christ, and The Four Dimensions of Christ’s Love.]

We can sing to Christ “I love You, Lord” all we can, and still not have a real personal relationship with Him unless we keep His commandments! Jesus called such worship according to the commandments of men to be but “vain” (Matthew 15:9). [See: True Worship.]

While these leaders consider the apostle Paul as their ally in teaching about liberation from the “Old Covenant” law, they blindly forget that Paul considered that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12), and that it is “spiritual” (Verse 14).  Paul affirmed that we do not make void the law through faith, but rather that we thus establish the law” (Romans 3:31)!

Paul admitted that by his own strength and merits he could not keep God’s law, despite his good intentions (Romans 7:15-24). He thanked God that through Jesus Christ and His spirit, he – as all others who are in Christ – can be subject to [or obey] the law of God and thereby please God (Romans 7:25; 8:1-14).

Paul also taught that, as we are led by the Spirit of God and thus are able to obey His law, we do not receive the “spirit of bondage” but rather the “Spirit of adoption” or sonship (Verse 15), whereby we become the “children of God” (Verse 16), who when glorified together “will be delivered from the bondage of corruption [evil and death] into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Verse 21).

Paul agrees with James 2:12, which affirms that God’s law is ‘royal” and is a “law of liberty.” Psalm 119:44-45 assures: “So shall I keep your law continually forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.” Keeping God’s law is not bondage!

By keeping God’s law [what HWA called “spiritual” law as distinct from “ritual” or “ceremonial” law – such as various laws on animal and other offerings and sacrifices], we are freed from the condemnation which we rightly deserve for sinning or transgressing God’s law (1 John 4:3; Romans 6:23).

Will we “become God as God is God?”

Feazell and company painted as odd and ego-boosting HWA’s teaching that, as children of God we will become “God” ourselves. What’s so off about saying that the children (or offspring) of dogs are also dogs? Why can’t the same logic apply?

However, the statement that “We will become God as God is God” needs to be qualified! HWA always taught that God is eternal or ever-living – with no beginning or end. The same cannot be said of created mankind. But, once made immortal through the resurrection or change at Christ’s return to earth (1 Corinthians 15),  true Christians will receive everlasting life such as God the Father and Christ enjoy.  And for what purpose?  So we can work with God in finishing the creating of “all things”– the whole vast universe – “new” (Revelation 21:5).  [See: Are We All God’s Children? and “He Marveled”.]

“New Covenant” Christians, like most evangelicals, have insisted that the New Covenant that Jesus Christ entered into with Christians does not require them to keep the laws of the Old Covenant.  However, Hebrews 8:10 affirms that, under the New Covenant, God will put His laws in the people’s mind and write the same laws on their hearts.  Jesus has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill His promise in Ezekiel 36:26-27 – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh [a soft heart].  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”  Jeremiah 31:33 also has God promising the same.  In Hebrews 10:16 we find this promise fulfilled.   How can we justifiably throw away something that God has put or written in our heart and mind? And Jesus clearly said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18, NKJV).

For more on this subject, let me refer you to my previous articles on this website: Freed From Bondage, Barking up the Wrong Tree, Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries? Law Added to Law Transgressed, The Law of Christ, No Such Thing as Sin?  Just What Do You Mean — Legalism?  and A Great Omission in Doing the “Great Commission.”

Feazell and company also singled out the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Old Testament Festivals, tithing and the food law as no longer necessary and required of Christians.  [See: What if the Sabbath Is Still Holy? God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be observed?   The New Testament Teaching on Giving, Did Christ Cleanse all Meats? and True Worship.]

The same group of leaders has also taken the belief in the Trinity to be “absolute truth.”  I challenge anyone to read my article “The Trinity Doctrine Reconsidered” and show me where I have been flawed in my reasoning as I prove this doctrine to be rank heresy!

Another claim of this same group is that we are saved by grace alone and are not required to do good works or keep God’s “Old Covenant” laws.   [See:  Saved for Good Works, Being and Doing, and The Law of Christ.]

This group also dressed down HWA for teaching the despised “theory” of “British-Israelitism” in his book The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy as one of the strong pillars of the WCG’s faith.   [See: God’s Kingdom and Israel and https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the above-mentioned book.]

Since Jesus had commanded His 12 apostles to go and preach the gospel to the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6), an idea about where those apostles went can give us a strong clue as to where those tribes could have settled after their Assyrian captivity.  Ambassador College history professor Dr. Herman L. Hoeh discussed this in his astounding article “Where Did the Twelve Apostles Go?” [see:  https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Plain Truth (1934-1986),” then 1960-1969, and scroll down to the May 1964 issue, pp.7-12, 23-26].

No doubt Dr. Hoeh’s research work helped HWA in crystallizing the teaching on who and where the chief tribe of Israel are today.

The “divine healing” issue

This issue was brought up in Feazell’s book and in the video.  This is an issue that boils down to the person’s perception of his own faith and God’s supreme will.  God plainly reveals that He is our Healer (Psalm 103:3; Exodus 15:26).  But God’s Word also reveals that not all who believe in God are healed of every disease. We have the case of the apostle Paul, who had an affliction (a ‘thorn” in his flesh that he attributed to Satan) which God did not take away for Paul’s greater good,  despite Paul’s repeated faithful intreaty to God (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

I would suggest that you check out my following articles, for a broader perspective on health and healing:   Pandemic Pandemonium! and The Omicron Scare.

Feazell and company have also remarked about the authoritative and persuasive way HWA preached, and decided that people who believed his teachings were simply so blind and “theologically ignorant” that they couldn’t tell the difference between truth and falsehood.   I find this remark personally insulting!   If this group claims to have prayed for God’s Spirit to guide them in coming to their conclusions about all of HWA’s teachings, I too prayed for God’s Spirit and guidance as I took HWA’s dare to not believe him until I had proved from the Bible that what he taught was right.  This group cannot claim exclusive right to or the corner on God’s inspiration and sound, logical thinking!

I have personally witnessed the humbler side of HWA, despite his seemingly “autocratic” manner, as some accuse.   I recount this in my article Two Goats Together, particularly the box captioned “Reexamining the Roots of our Beliefs.” Here I challenge the reader to overhaul his or her understanding about the “azazel” goat in God’s plan of atonement as taught by HWA, in the same way I challenge those who blindly believe in the trinity doctrine.

As this website purposes, I hope that as you read my articles God will give you eyes to see His pure truth and that you will truly be set free (John 6:32).   [See: About Pool of Siloam.]

On the Day of Judgment Feazell and his company of former WCG leaders will have to give an answer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for having done as warned and prophesied by Ezekiel 23:38 –

They have defiled My sanctuary and profaned My Sabbaths.

Also Ezekiel 22:26 –

Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

And 2 Peter 2:18-19 —

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness [KJV, “lasciviousness” or lawlessness], the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

Jesus warns us that, at His return, He will reject many who profess to believe in Him as their Lord while practicing lawlessness, and tell them to depart – go away – from Him, saying, “I Never Knew You!”

Let us hope and pray that this group will see the error of their way and repent before it’s too late and their day of reckoning comes, when God will pour out His indignation and consume them with the fire of His wrath, and recompense their deeds on their own heads (Ezekiel 22:31).

And don’t you be deceived by their crafty and high-minded teachings, and save yourself from the condemnation that awaits them, unless they return to the truth.

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
17012023

Overcoming Temptation

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As a follow-up to last month’s article [“On Earth Is Not His Equal”], I would like to refer you to a little booklet which I discovered among my books recently. For its tiny size [4” x 8” and only 34 pages long] it is packed with big-time help for people struggling with a mamooth-sized challenge. It’s titled — as is this present article I’m writing – “Overcoming Temptation, A Practical Guide,” written by R.B.Gorrie, and adapted and published locally by OMF [Overseas Missionary Fellowship] Literature, Inc. in 1974 and last reprinted in 1995.

Because of its timely and much-needed pointers, I wish this booklet were available to you on-line. Unhappily, I couldn’t find this booklet offered on OMF’s sales lists. However, if you make a Google search on the same subject, you could find a good number of helpful links. But this booklet, to my mind, has most if not all the elements or essentials mentioned in those links.

The booklet has five chapters, with the following headings: 1. The Battle You Fight, 2. The Enemy You Face, 3. The Right Strategy, 4. Right Tactics, and 5. Summing Up.

A comment on the back cover of the booklet says: “This practical guide has been much in demand, for the serious Bible student, as much as for the new young Christian.” I really hope I can get the author’s or publisher’s permission to republish the booklet in its entirety as a resource material on this my website.

Meanwhile, I might also recommend that you check this link: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Good News (1950-1989),” then 1980-1989, then the August 1985 issue, and scroll down to the article titled “How to Be an Overcomer,” pages 2-3, 19.

God bless you with victory in your struggle against your share of temptation!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
14122022

 

“On Earth Is Not His Equal”

Thus declares the well-known hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” written by the founder of the Protestant movement Martin Luther, about Satan the Devil.

If we look around – as well as inside – ourselves, we cannot but agree! Indeed, as 1 John 5:19 testifies: “The whole world is under the sway of the wicked one [Satan].” Satan is the “god of this age [KJV ‘world’]” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NKJV) and chief of the “rulers of the darkness of this age [‘world,’ KJV] and… spiritual hosts [armies] of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV).

Thus some may find themselves ensnared in a habit or addiction to something that God forbids in His word — a sin. It could have something to do with lust or some sexual sin that one succumbs to, try as one might to overcome it. As the hymn says about Satan, “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate.” That’s why there is no earthly or human power equal to him.

The thought of it could become very depressing. Indeed, Luther continued: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.” But then the good news: “Were not the right Man on our side – the Man of God’s own choosing.” Luther asks and answers: “Dost ask Who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He: Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same. And He must win the battle!”

There is indeed a great battle going on in the heart and mind of people – Christian or not, but especially Christian – between right and wrong, good and evil. The apostle Paul was well aware of this tension. He wrote: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these two are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17, NKJV).

In Romans 7:14-25 Paul expounded on this battle —

For we know that the law [of God] is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am  doing I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If. then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do. It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight n the law of God according to the inward man, But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The key to victory for a Christian in this dilemma is nothing or no one else but Jesus Christ – and His Holy Spirit. As “Lord Sabaoth,” Jesus heads hosts of heavenly armies – more, in fact, than the demonic forces Satan has with him. Revelation 12:4 reveals that Satan drew 1/3 of the angels of God to follow him in his failed attempt to overthrow God from His throne |(Isaiah 14:12-15). [See: Where Did the Devil Come From?]. That means that 2/3 – the broad majority– of the angels have remained faithful and loyal to God. Indeed, as Israel’s prophet Elisha assured his servant about this ratio: “…those who are for us [God’s loyal angels] are more than those with them [Satan’s angels or demons]” ( 2 Kings 6:16). 1 John 4:4 further assures:  “He who is in you [God] is greater than he who is in the world [Satan].”

Therefore, though on earth Satan has no equal, in the heavenly realm, he is no match to our Supreme God at all – or ever! This should give anyone struggling in the snare of Satan’s temptations great hope and courage to face his challenge, and trustingly look to God to bring forth or pluck his feet out of Satan’s “net” or snare (Psalm 25:15). This is especially relevant in today’s cyber world, where Satan is all over the internet! A multitude of worldwide web (www)  sites have been Satan’s agents to proliferate his evil scheme with all humanity!

But before Christ can come to our aid, we must be single-minded and fully committed to follow Him in everything He commands in His word. Jesus said: Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:32).

In this regard, here is a helpful quote from the article by Clayton D. Steep titled “What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know,” which appeared in the March 1985 Good News Magazine [see: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select Good News 1951-1989, then 1980-1989, and scroll down to the March 1985 issue, pages 9-13:

Do you know that, if he must, Satan is even willing to allow you to obey many of God’s laws? As long as there is at least one point of the law – whatever it may be for you – that you refuse to obey!

The reason is that Satan knows God has ordained that to break one point of His law of love is to break all of it (James 2:10-11)! Therefore, to refuse to submit to one point is to rebel against God’s entire code of behavior. Anyone guilty of such an attitude of rebellion obviously is not totally submitted to God.

That is good enough for Satan (Page 12, emphasis mine).

This same issue of the Good News contains Mr. Armstrong’s powerful must-read editorial titled “Let God Fight Your Battles” (page 1).

May the above dire warning help in your overcoming and make you become even more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). To help you further, see: God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the Spirit, and Breaking Down Our “Walls of Jericho”.

God bless you!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
21112022

P.S.                                    A Great Irony

While Martin Luther protested against the non-Biblical teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church of his time, where he had been a priest, ironically Luther ended up himself straying from the true teachings of the Bible. Except for some specific points [such as confession to priests, granting indulgences, praying to dead saints], Luther followed much of the teachings and practices of the RCC anyway! These are the same teachings and practices which most Protestant or evangelical churches and denominations follow today! [See: What If the Sabbath Is Still Holy? God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers – or to Be Observed? Did Christ Cleanse All Meats?  Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?  Freed From Bondage, The Law of Christ, Law Added to Law Transgressed, and Saved for Good Works.] This shows just how cunning and crafty Satan is in his purpose to destroy mankind — to keep men from inheriting everlasting life in Christ’s kingdom!

Because of this, Protestants or evangelicals have become, in effect, the “wayward daughters” of the RCC! Unless they repent and change their non-Biblical ways, they will undergo the same punishment that spiritual Babylon will get at Christ’s return (Revelation 18-19).

Tragically, since the death of its founder and pastor-general Herbert W. Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God – under the leadership of his successor Joseph W. Tkach and then his son Joseph Jr. — has now turned completely Protestant or evangelical in its theology and practice. [See: Where Is God’s Church Today? and a bit of its history since the 1990s in About the Author; The De-liberation of the Worldwide Church of God.]

The good news, however, is that Christ will not allow His church to perish, but will do all in His power to save as many as are willing to submit to Him fully! Hallelujah, Amen!

Good News –End of the World!

 

Yes, you read that right – the good news is: this present world is coming to an end – and that soon! By that the Bible means this present age or world order [or disorder?] — not the world as the globe we call earth! The word “world” in the question that Jesus’ disciples asked [“Tell us, when will these things be?  And what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age {KJV, “world,” from the Greek aion} (Matthew 24:3)?] is better rendered as “age,” as the NKJV has it. Ecclesiastes 1:4 assures:  “But the earth abides forever.”

Why should this come as a surprise to many people? It is because most people know this present world to be the only world they have and hold on to. They haven’t yet heard that there is a new — and better world coming soon.

The cold truth is that there are just too many things wrong with our present world: despotic, oppressive governments, nations warring against other nations, rampant criminality and immorality, disease epidemics and pandemics, an atmosphere becoming increasingly toxic, people going hungry and dying everywhere. Indeed, as Galatians 1:4 describes it, this present world is evil! 1 John 2:16 cites the make-up of this present world that renders it evil: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” James 4:1-3 points to lust as the cause of wars and fights.

The word of God – the Holy Bible – assures us that Jesus Christ, our Creator and God, will come down from His heavenly throne to this our beleaguered earth, to bring to mankind the greatest relief effort it has ever seen! Not just simple relief, but salvation and refreshing.

This is what the “gospel” or good news of Jesus Christ is about. Jesus preached, as have His faithful servants: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” |(Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:16-40; 3:19-21; 8:12; 14:21; 16:6-10; 17:16-18, 30-31; 19:8; 26:18-20; 28:23, 30-31, etc.).

Our present world will come to an end, for one, through powerful forces unleashed by armies of nations in their last-ditch effort to defend themselves from their enemies. We have known that for years now many nations have a stock of nuclear weapons that can pulverize this earth many times over. The good news is that Christ will step in just in time before that could ever happen (Matthew 24:21-22, 29-31).

Christ will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). He will destroy wicked men and nations with the intense fire of His coming (Isaiah 66:15-16). Then He will take over the control of all government and dominion of this earth |(Revelation 11:15).

Christ’s kingdom or government, which will be run with the help of Christ’s resurrected or glorified saints (Revelation 5:8-10; 20:6), will promptly go about to “refresh” the earth. Acts 3:19 talks about these “times of refreshing” that Christ will bring to this earth at His return in glory.

First, Christ will need to refresh the earth’s atmosphere, which will have been spoiled by the aftermath of nuclear explosions by nations at war, and the pollution from man’s factories, vehicles, and other pollutants. Mankind, needless to say, cannot survive without pure, clean air to breathe. Almighty God has the power to cleanse all this filth with one whiff of His breath.  By the fire of Christ’s coming the land, too, will be cleansed of the filth left by the bodies of dead men and beasts. Mass burying of carcasses, plus the clean-up work of carrion-eating birds and beasts (Ezekiel 39:12; Revelation 19:17-18) will complete the job.

Next, the metallic debris of warfare will be recycled into agricultural machinery instead (Isaiah 2:4). God will also purge the soil of deadly pesticides, herbicides and other  toxic chemicals, thereby opening the earth to productive agriculture to nourish surviving mortals (Isaiah 24:8; 6:11-13).

Then the seas and rivers will be cleansed of the filth of dead aquatic life (Revelation 8:8) and man-made pollutants by a stream of “healing waters” that will flow from Jerusalem out to all the waters of the earth, thereby restoring healthy marine, river and shore life (Ezekiel 47:1-12).

Mankind given a new heart

The greatest and most basic work of refreshing will be that the human heart, mind, soul and spirit. As Jesus perfectly understood it, out of the human heart proceed all sorts of evil (Matthew 15:18-20) that have caused misery everywhere.

This great re-education and reformation of humanity will be carried out by Christ through His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-12), with the help of His glorified saints, who will serve as “kings and priests” in His kingdom (Revelation 5:10).  As priests, they will teach God’s laws to the mortal subjects of the kingdom (Malachi 2:7). As a result, the pure knowledge of God will saturate the earth, “as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

God’s perfect law of love for God and for fellow-man will be taught and enforced throughout the world. God’s Ten Commandments will be the basis of all legislation. As people everywhere learn about God’s law, they will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-3). “But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid… For all people will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever” (Micah 4:4).

Christ and His saints will rule the world with a “rod of iron” in such a way that evil will be nipped in the bud before it can cause damage to anyone (Revelation 2:27; Isaiah 30:20-21). People who will willfully rebel against and will not be corrected by Christ’s rule will be put away. Thus peace and joy will reign on earth (Proverbs 11:10). Isaiah 35 and 14:6-7 paint a magnificent picture of everlasting joy when humanity and the earth will come under the rule of Christ. [See: When He Rules the World.]

After the “Last Judgment,” only the righteous will enjoy everlasting life in Christ’s kingdom (Revelation 22:14). All the incorrigibly wicked will be destroyed forever in the “lake of fire,” which is the “second death” (Revelation 20:13-15; 21:8).

That same fire will them consume the earth’s atmosphere and surface, thereby purging it of all that human hands have touched (2 Peter 3:10-12).

Then God will create “new heavens and a new earth in which [only] righteousness dwells” (Verse 13). Revelation 21-22 gives graphic details of that new creation. “New Jerusalem” will be the eternal dwelling place of all the saved of mankind.

Will you be there? Make sure you will!  [See:  Saved for Good Works and Are We All God’s Children?]

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
16102022

 

The One Requirement

 

When I took up a pre-medical course in a Protestant [or evangelical] school, Silliman University, in Dumaguete City, Province of Negros Oriental on Negros Island in the Visayas Region, in the late 1950s, I was required to enroll in several religion classes. One subject of such a class was a survey of the Old Testament.

One particular OT verse that stood out for me was that from the book of the prophet Micah (6:8, NKJV): “He [God] has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to have mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The small word “but” implies that God requires just one thing or a series of connected things that a man is to fulfill, in order to do what is good. This was a bit of a shock to me, because – growing up in a staunch Protestant home [See: http://www.pool-of-siloam.com/about-the-author] — I had assumed that one only needed to believe in Jesus in order to be saved (John 3:16).  Later I learned about the teachings of the protestant movement’s founder, Martin Luther, on salvation by grace through faith alone – not through works (Ephesians 2:8).  This is the banner which many evangelical groups carry when preaching the “gospel” to all the world.  One particularly active such group is “Evangelism Explosion [or EE; see:  https://evangelismexplosion.org/about-us/.]

Through time, however, it seems that some evangelical groups, such as the church I and my siblings grew up in, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines [UCCP], have intertwined these two divine “mandates” and have come up with a “social gospel.”  They believe that they should follow their Lord Jesus’ example of not only preaching the gospel but also doing good by helping the poor, healing the sick, raising the dead, liberating those oppressed by demons, etc.  Thus, the UCCP promotes active participation in labor movements, charities, mission hospitals, relief efforts during calamities, etc.  My elder brother, a labor union lawyer, spent himself defending the rights of laborers.  My elder sister, a public health nurse, was at the forefront in seeking the welfare of health workers.  As the delegate for the medical sector to the 1987 Philippine Constitutional Convention, she made sure that the constitution made provisions for their benefit.  My father, the first lawyer of his indigenous tribe, the Bukidnons,  spent most of his years and energies defending the rights of his fellow-tribesmen to their ancestral lands, which “Christian” settlers were trying to take away from them.

Amos 5:23-24 shows that true worship requires justice and righteousness. Isaiah 58:6-10 teaches that true humility requires one to “loose the bonds of wickedness, undo heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, break every yoke, share one’s bread with the hungry, offer one’s house to the poor, cover the naked, take care of one’s family,” etc.

Jesus taught a similar thing, in Luke 3:10-14 and Matthew 25:31-45. The apostle Paul, under Christ’s inspiration, taught that “…as we have [the] opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith [fellow-Christians]” (Galatians 6:10).

Micah 6:8 speaks volumes of our main Christian duty: to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. In fulfilling this one requirement, we will also be able to comprehend and practice The Four Dimensions of Christ’s Love.

For further insights into this topic, see: Saved for Good Works, Being and Doing, and A Short and Sweet Psalm.

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
16092022

 

A Short and Sweet Psalm

Psalm 15 is a short and sweet psalm of just two stanzas, as rendered in the Scottish Psalter:

O Eternal, who shall dwell in the temple of Thy grace?Who shall on Thy holy hill have a fixed abiding place?He who walks in righteousness, all his actions just and clear; He whose words the truth express, spoken from a heart sincere.

He who ne’er with slandering tongue utters malice and deceit;
Who will ne’er his neighbor wrong, nor a slan’drous tale repeat.
Who will claim no usury, nor with bribes pollute his hand;
He who thus shall frame his life, shall unmoved forever stand.

This is one of several Scripture passages that tell us that, in order to live forever in God’s house [or kingdom], we must do certain things. It’s saying that it’s not enough to simply have “faith” or “believe” and do nothing else whatsoever, which summarizes the battle cry of the “saved by faith alone” protagonists.

The psalm begins by affirming that God’s dwelling place is a “temple of grace.” A true Christian [a true follower of Christ] begins by receiving God’s grace [unmerited pardon for one’s sins through Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary] and remaining in it,  is ultimately assured of a place in God’s kingdom. How?

The “sweet psalmist” [Israel’s King David] then enumerates a number of actions or deeds one must do: walk in righteousness, be just and clear in actions, express words of truth from a sincere heart, keep from slandering others with malicious and deceitful words [not gossiping], not exacting usury on money or goods lent, not perverting justice through bribes.

The psalmist did not intend that the above-mentioned deeds are all that one has to fulfill. These are but a few examples of how to “walk in righteousness.” Psalm 119:172  declares that “all Thy [God’s] commandments are righteousness.” Verse 142   also affirms that God’s “law is truth.” Jesus expanded this by saying “Thy [God’s] word is truth”(John 17: 17 ). Indeed Christ affirmed the Old Testament scripture [Deuteronomy 8:3] that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“Evangelical” believers often refer to Ephesians 2:8-9 as their proof that we are saved by grace alone through faith.  However, they fail to emphasize as well verse 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The apostle Paul amply wrote that being justified through God’s  grace in Christ by faith, we “should be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:7-8).  He taught that we are purified to become God’s “special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

These “good works” include deeds we do for God and toward our fellowmen. Jesus summarized God’s “great commandment” as loving God above all and loving one’s neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:37-38).

For a fuller exposition of this topic, see:  Saved for Good Works and  Being and Doing.

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr. 09112022

 

Is Mankind Inherently Evil?

 

Did God create mankind as an evil creature? Is every human child born already a sinner? These are questions that have baffled some, if not many. Some perceive the Bible as supporting those questions with a “Yes!” —
• The [human] heart is deceitful all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
• Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then you may also do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23)
• For out of the heart [of man] proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:19)
• For from within the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. (Mark 7:21)
• Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5)
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)

On the other hand, some Bible verses seem to answer with a “No!” these same questions:
• Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”…..Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Genesis 1:28, 31)
• Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2)

How reconcile these two views?

Genesis 1:26, 31 [quoted above] must be our starting point in understanding how God created man – “very good,” not evil like some defective product. Otherwise that would be a bad reflection on God as our Maker – just as a defective product [such as a piece of appliance] would be an embarrassment to its manufacturer, who could be sued for some “malpractice.”

As the wise King Solomon of Israel pondered: “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, but they [human beings] have sought out many schemes” [KJV, ‘inventions’] (Ecclesiastes 7:29 NKJV).

Just as a perfectly manufactured product can become defective through misuse, abuse or simply aging, so upright man [fittingly called Homo sapiens erectus by scientists] has become flawed and faulty through the misuse or abuse of man’s freedom of choice. [See: What Is This Thing Called “Will?“My Brain Made me Do it,” and “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”]

The same was the case with Lucifer, an archangel or cherub whom God created “perfect” in his ways (Ezekiel 28:14-15). Yet Lucifer allowed pride and vanity to well up in his heart) until he thought to overthrow God and take over the reins of the whole universe (Verse 17; Isaiah 14:12-14). But Lucifer was no match to God’s infinitely superior power. He was cast back to the earth, along with his angels (Revelation 12:9). He became Satan the devil and his angels became demons. [See: Where Did the Devil Come From? and https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select Books & Booklets, and scroll down to the booklet titled “Did God Create a Devil?”

As a result of Lucifer’s rebellion, and his being cast down to earth, the earth became a waste and void. Genesis 1:1-27 relates the story of God “re-creating” the earth and life therein, before He created mankind. [See: The Comings of Christ.] Lucifer has since become Satan the devil, and his angels now demons. Satan is called the “tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1Thessalonians 3:5). He is behind every sin that takes place in human society.

Mankind’s first parents [Adam and Eve] sinned through Satan’s machinations, and had to be cast out of God’s garden, Eden (Genesis 3). But God’s love compelled God to save mankind by “fixing” man’s heart, mind, and spirit. He did this, and continues to do so, through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). [See: Two Goats Together, The True Christ, God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the SpiritAre We All God’s Children? and Christian Formation, and The Flaming Sword East of Eden.]

A child’s heart

Every human baby born into this world starts out as “innocent” – not knowing what is right and what is wrong. That is one sense in which we can understand the “foolishness” in a child’s heart that leads him to many troubles, from which he has to be delivered and taught.

When Israel’s King David repented of his double sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11-12), he said that his mother had conceived him in sin (Psalm 51:5). That’s the way all of us were begotten/conceived and born – by sinful fathers and mothers. But we were not born as sinners. It is as we grow up in an imperfect family and in a sinful society that we “catch” and learn sinful ways, as egged on by Satan, the “tempter.”

The young King Solomon of Israel admitted that he was a “little child” and asked God to give him an understanding heart so he could discern between good and evil (1 Kings 3:7-9). Little children are also described as persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left (Jonah 4:11).

Numbers 14:29-31 shows that God looks on as “little ones” those below 20 years of age, whom He allowed to enter the Promised Land, while most of those older and who sinned were excluded from entry.

Does this mean that a child or even a teenager can go scot-free with any mischief or rebellion even after being chastised? No. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 commands that such a son [or daughter] be put to death.

When Jesus urged people to “become as little children” (Matthew 18:2), He meant that they should emulate little children in their humility, trust and faith in God. This is not to say that children are born perfect, despite their humility and trust in their parents’ provision. Children do commit things against God’s law – commit sin – more from ignorance than bad intent. Still they have to be taught and learn obedience. [See: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets, and scroll down to the booklet titled “The |Plain Truth About Child Rearing.”]

I trust that this article provides some added dimension to my previous articles Is There Ever Any Good in Man? and A Law-abiding Universe – But Man!]

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
17082022