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Saturday, May 28, 2016

PHARISEEISM---IS IT LEGALISM?  BY STEVE FINNELL


A favorite defense for those who do not want to obey God's terms for pardon, is to label strict obedience to God as Phariseeism. Is Phariseeism keeping God's law to the letter?

LEGALISM DEFINED: Strict and literal adherence to law.

Were the Pharisees guilty of legalism? No they were not. The Pharisees practiced illegalism. They were not legal.

Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so they might put Him to death.

Is obtaining false testimony an example of strict adherence to God's law?

Matthew 28:11-13...the chief priests...12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers. 13 and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and sole Him away while we were asleep.'

Is conspiring to bribe men to lie, strict adherence to God's law?

Matthew 23:14[ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]

Was devouring widow's houses an example of legalism or illegalism? Were the Pharisees literally following God's law by devouring widows' houses?

Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law; justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Jesus did not reprimand the Pharisees for their strict compliance to God's law? No, it was the exact opposite. The Pharisees were neglecting strict obedience to the law.

THE LEGALISM OF THE PHARISEES?

The legalism of the Pharisees was because they followed man-made traditions, not because they followed God's law to the letter.

Mark 7:1-7 .....5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the traditions of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" 6 And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips. But their heart is far from Me, 7 'But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrine the precepts of men.'

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for teaching the traditions of Men. Jesus did not scold them for literal obedience to God's laws.

Mark 7:8 Neglecting the commandments of God, you hold to the  traditions of men."

The Pharisees were not practicing legalism by strict obedience to God's law. They were illegal for neglecting God's commandments and keeping man-made traditions.

Is teaching what Jesus said in, Mark 16:16, being Pharisaical.
(Mark 16: He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved....)

Would it be a tradition of men to say that "has been baptized shall be saved?" No it would not; it would the words of Jesus Christ.

To claim that Christians are practicing the legalism of the Pharisees because they say you have to be obedient to God's terms for pardon in order to be saved, is factually incorrect.

GOD WANTS US TO BE HIS LEGAL CHILDREN

ILLEGAL CHILDREN WILL BE LEFT WITHOUT AN INHERITANCE.

WHAT MUST MEN DO TO BECOME LEGAL?

A. FAITH: John 3:16
B. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38
C. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10
D. WATER BAPTISM: 1 Peter 3:20-21

Friday, May 27, 2016

CALVINISTS INTERPRET SCRIPTURE BY STEVE FINNELL  


God inspires Scripture, but Calvinists interpret.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God....(NKJV)

God's Scripture. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

The Calvinist interpretation. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He predetermined that a select few will believe and shall not perish; and the remaining will burn in hell forever.(Calvinist View)

God's Scripture. Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (NKJV)

The Calvinist Interpretation. Mark 16:16 He who God forces to believe will be saved. He who is already saved should be baptized. God will condemned all those whom He does do not force to believe.(Calvinist View)

God's Scripture. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (NKJV)

The Calvinist Interpretation. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit says expressly that if you depart from the faith you were not saved in the beginning. Christians cannot be deceived; because they are once saved always saved.(Calvinist View)   

Men have the free-will to believe the Bible or the interpretations of Calvinism. Who do you trust?     


 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dear Brother Carter: Could the apostles forgive sins? John 20:20-23 (Author Terry Carter. April 2016 "The Gospel Unashamed.")

 “20 When He had said this, He showed them [His] hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on [them], and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the [sins] of any, they are retained."”

 Answer: Here are a few things to consider here. 1. In this passage, Jesus is sending the apostles out as His ambassadors. This is what is indicated both by His breathing on them as a king would do when sending out ambassadors, and His statement in verse 23. The symbolism of breathing on your ambassadors was that you are putting your breath (words) into them and now they may speak on your behalf. Ambassadors could proclaim the terms of peace between parties. The Ambassadors did not determine those terms, but they were authorized to proclaim them to the “enemy”.

 2. It is clear that only God can forgive sins. Even the Scribes and Pharisees understood this.

 “5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." 6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this [Man] speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:5-7

 “20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you." 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"” Luke 5:20-21

 “2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." 3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!"” Matthew 9:2-3

 God is the one who is offended by our sins and only He can grant forgiveness. However, the apostles, as His ambassadors, were given the authority to announce the terms of forgiveness to man. This they did in the book of Acts.

 3. The book of Acts and the epistles give us no account or hint that the apostles could actually forgive sins like God. What they do show is that the apostles announced the terms of pardon, nothing more and nothing less.

4. A good case in point is Simon the Sorcerer. When Peter rebuked him for trying to buy the ability to pass on the miraculous gifts, he did not presume to absolve him of his sin. Instead, he told him to repent and pray to the Lord that if possible he may be forgiven.

 “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.” Acts 8:22

Simon responded by asking Peter to also pray to the Lord for him.

 “Then Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me."” Acts 8:24

 If Peter could actually forgive sins himself, this would have been a perfect time to do so. However, he left that to the Lord.

 5. A similar thing is seen in Paul’s ministry. He said that through preaching, Jesus’ forgiveness was proclaimed to them. He goes on to say that, by Him, everyone who believes is justified. Paul is not granting forgiveness, he is proclaiming the terms of forgiveness.

 “38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the  forgiveness of sins; 39 "and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:38-39

 Similarly, Paul tells Agrippa that Jesus sent him to the Gentiles to turn them to light that they may receive the forgiveness of sins.

 Again he is not granting forgiveness, but proclaiming the terms of forgiveness.

 “To open their eyes, [in] [order] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18

 Even when Paul recalls that all had deserted him, he doesn’t pronounce forgiveness upon them but prays that it not be charged against them.

 “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.” II Timothy 4:16

 6. This is the consistent pattern throughout Acts and the epistles.

 Even in Revelation as each of the seven churches is addressed, it is Jesus, not John, who is promising either forgiveness or judgment depending on their repentance.

 7. Also consider that Paul disciplined his body daily to keep it in subjection lest after preaching to others he would become disqualified.

 If he could forgive sins as an apostle, why would he have any worries about being a castaway? Couldn’t he simply have granted himself forgiveness?

 “But I discipline my body and bring [it] into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:27

 8. The apostle John writes that if we confess our sins, God forgives us.

Notice that God is doing the forgiving. Also notice that John says that “if WE confess our sins”, which includes him. If the apostles could forgive sins, then there’s no need for God to forgive sins. Further – John could forgive his own sin. But yet he includes himself as receiving forgiveness from God through confession of sin.

 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 9.

 Finally consider what some of the commentators have said on this topic.

“It is certain God alone can forgive sins; and it would not only be blasphemous, but grossly absurd, to say that any creature could remit the guilt of a transgression which had been committed against the Creator. The apostles received from the Lord the doctrine of reconciliation, and the doctrine of condemnation. They who believed on the Son of God, in consequence of their preaching, had their sins remitted; and they who would not believe were declared to lie under condemnation.” Adam Clarke

 “The power to forgive sin belongs only to God, but Jesus claimed to have this power and right (Mark 2:5-7). What he commits to the disciples and to us is the power and privilege of giving assurance of the forgiveness of sins by God by correctly announcing the terms of forgiveness. There is no proof that he actually transferred to the apostles or their successors the power in and of themselves to forgive sins. In Matthew 16:19; 18:18 we have a similar use of the rabbinical metaphor of binding and loosing by proclaiming and teaching. Jesus put into the hands of Peter and of all believers the keys of the Kingdom which we should use to open the door for those who wish to enter.” Robertson’s Word Pictures

 “The meaning of the passage is not that man can forgive sins--that belongs only to God, but that they should be inspired; that in founding the church, and in declaring the will of God, they should be taught by the Holy Ghost to declare on what terms, to what characters, and to what temper of mind God would extend forgiveness of sins. It was not authority to forgive individuals, but to establish in all the churches the terms and conditions on which men might be pardoned, with a promise that God would confirm all that they taught; that all might have assurance of forgiveness who would comply with those terms; and that those who did not comply should not be forgiven, but that their sins should be retained. This commission is as far as possible from the authority which the Roman Catholic claims of remitting sin and of pronouncing pardon.” Barnes

 “This text hath caused a great deal of contest. All remission of sins is either authoritative; so it is most true, that none can forgive sin but God; and if we had no Scripture to prove it, yet reason will tell us none can discharge the debtor but the creditor, to whom the debt is owing: or else ministerial; thus he who is not the creditor (amongst men) may remit a debt by virtue of a letter of attorney made to him, authorizing him so to do. The question therefore amongst divines is, Whether Christ in this text hath given authority to his ministers actually to discharge men of the guilt of their sins; or only to declare unto 3 them, that if their repentance and faith be true, their sins are really forgiven them? The former is by many contended for; but it doth not seem reasonable,

 1. That God should entrust men with such a piece of his prerogative.

 2. That God, who knoweth the falsehood of men's hearts, and the inability in the best ministers to judge of the truth of any man's faith or repentance, as also the passions to which they are subject, should give unto any of the sons of men an absolute power under him, and in his name, to discharge any from the guilt of sin; for certain it is, that without true repentance and faith in Christ no man hath his sins forgiven; so as no minister, that knoweth not the hearts of men, can possibly speak with any certainty to any man, saying, his sins are forgiven.” Matthew Poole

 I think the rest of Scripture is pretty clear. It is God that we will all answer to, not the apostles,

 “In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” Romans 2:16

 “10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12

 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things [done] in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” II Corinthians 5:10

 “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” II Timothy 4:8

 “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” I Peter 4:5

 “11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is [the] [Book] of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
Vol. 29 No. 2 April 2016 George L. Faull, Editor
IS GENESIS A MYTH?

 If one read the book of Genesis without pre-conceived ideas and as if he lived in 1400 BC, before so called modern science and dozens of unbelievers’ hypothesis, what would he conclude?

 No Doubt:

  That God created the heavens and the earth in six literal 24-hour days that had evenings and mornings and rested on the seventh day.

  That the Garden of Eden was unique from the rest of the world and had everything that was needed by man for contentment and peace with God.

  That Eve, the first woman, was deceived by a sinister personality and that her husband joined her in her sin.

 That in Noah’s day there was a flood that covered the entire world due to the wickedness of man’s evil imagination. Only eight persons were saved and life started all over again for mankind.

  That from these three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, came the origins of nations and a chronology of the ages of the earlier patriarchs who lived on this earth.

 That since the fall, the flood, the frustration at Babel, the famine, and the forefathers are mentioned that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Judah, were the generators of the Savior who was promised in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” To mythicize any of these is to nullify this promise.

 That the history of the men who are specifically highlighted in the book, stand or fall together as the narratives links them into one historical unit. If we remove any of these events or persons, you do not have a complete Mosaic. (Pardon the pun.)

 In light of the fact that Adam, Cain, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Melchizedek, Ishmael, Jacob and the twelve sons of Jacob and some of their wives and children are mentioned and are specifically mentioned in the rest of the Bible, it is groundless to say that any part of the book is not historical, but mythological.

 The fall, Cain’s murdering of Abel, the destruction of the world by a flood, the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham leaving Ur, His paying tithes to Melchizedek, the destruction of Sodom, and other such events, removes any doubt if they were historical events to the thinking man.

 Jesus and the apostles referred to all of these events. If one leaves out these historical accounts, you have a book with no plot and only a book using lies as illustration in the other books of the Bible. It’s like putting Jack and the beanstalk or Paul Bunyan in an American history or genealogical record.

 Genesis shows that man sinned and needed a Savior. Then it displays God’s sovereignty in electing certain men as the vehicles to bring grace to fallen man. It sets the stage for God’s work in the rest of the Bible by promising the race and nation from which He would come, the land in which it would occur, and the seed through whom all the peoples of the world would be blessed. Genesis 12:1- 3

 Frankly, no serious student of the Word of God can miss the underlying plot for the rest of the scenarios of the redemption of man. To remove these is to spoil the very basic theme of the Gospel. Paradise was lost and God’s plan for man to regain it requires that a man believe the entire book of Genesis.

 Without Genesis there can be no true foundation or theology, there can be no types, there can be no allegories or successive world history. To reject Genesis 1-50 is to put your soul in peril, because if it is true only in part, then one cannot trust the whole, nor Him who said, “Scripture cannot be broken!” (John 10:35)

 To reject it is to deny inspiration and revelation from Him who said, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” Acts 1:16 To begin a book that claims to be “THE TRUTH” with lies, myths, and deceptions, is ludicrous. For one to pick and choose what he will believe due to alleged new evidence rather than what is obviously meant to be revealed by the author of the book, does not appear to be an honest reading of the Holy Scriptures.

  It does not allow the Creator to tell His story as it happened. One may believe there is a God and deny the Genesis account but he cannot believe that the Lord is the God of the Bible, or that Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God. Jesus fully accepted the Genesis account. If one does not believe Jesus is the Son of God, he is condemned already.

 John 3:16-18, “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

 Better re-think your modernistic or humanistic position on Genesis!!!

 It is not called the “seed plot” of the Bible for no reason. First the seed, then the tree, then the bloom and then the fruit.

 The seed better not be imitation or there is not fruit to be enjoyed

SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT by steve finnell


At what point are Christians sealed with the Holy Spirit?

Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were seal with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of glory. (NKJV)

What must occur in order to be sealed with the Holy Spirit?
 You must hear and believe the truth in order to receive the Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?)NKJV

 You must obey in order to receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:32 "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.)NKJV

 On the Day of Pentecost the three thousand converts received the gift of the Holy Spirit after they obeyed God.
1. They obeyed by believing. (Acts 2:36 "Therefore let the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.) NKJV

2. They obeyed by repenting and being immersed in water. (Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.) NKJV

3. The promise of the Holy Spirit is for all who believe, repent, and are baptized. (Acts 2:39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call) NKJV Everyone who has hears the gospel has been called. Not everyone who has been called will accept the terms for pardon. Some reject God's free gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit of promise.

TERMS FOR PARDON. Faith John 3:16. Confession Romans 10:9. Repentance Acts 3:19 Water Baptism Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16         

  

  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

UNCONDITIONAL DAMNATION  BY STEVE FINNELL


The five points of Calvinism should be expressed as unconditional damnation.

The premise of Calvinism that men have no free-will and that men can only be saved if God predetermines each person for salvation.

Calvinism teaches that men are saved by unconditional election.

The antithesis of unconditional election is unconditional damnation.

THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM

1. Total Depravity: Man is totally depraved so he cannot choose or desire God. 

If total depravity is true, then unless men are unconditional elected for salvation, they are unconditionally damned to hell for all eternity.

2. Unconditional Election: God unconditionally elects those whom He has predetermined to save.

If unconditional election is true, then conversely all others are unconditionally damned, lost outside of Christ.

3. Limited Atonement: Jesus died only for those who have been unconditionally elected for salvation.

If limited atonement is a Biblical fact, then all who are not unconditionally elected for salvation will die in their sins because they will face unconditional damnation.

4. Irresistible Grace: When God calls the elect for salvation, they cannot resist.

Those who are not called by irresistible grace will be unconditionally damned and will spend eternity in the lake of fire.

5. Perseverance of the Saints: Once you have been unconditionally elected for salvation you can never be lost. Once saved always saved.

If God did not unconditionally give you the faith so you could believe and be saved, and you have no free-will to believe or reject Jesus; then you are unconditionally damned. You are once damned always damned.

God does not unconditionally save anyone nor is anyone UNCONDITIONALLY DAMNED.

THERE ARE NO POINTS OF CALVINISM THAT ARE SUPPORTED BY SCRIPTURE. [Read the whole New Testament and understand God's plan for mankind]   

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE A LIE  TRUTH IS OFFENSIVE by steve finnell


For those who believe or teach a lie, truth is offensive. Most church leaders who teach erroneous doctrine know it is not supported by the Scriptures.

Example 1. Those who teach that water baptism could be sprinkling, pouring or immersion know the Scriptures do not support that doctrine. To say that baptism is synonymous with sprinkling and pouring is to say sprinkling and pour are synonymous with immersion. The word, baptism, in Mark 16:16 is transliterated in most translations of the Bible. The translated word would be, immersed. Most church leaders know this to be true, however, they teach man-made church tradition as opposed to God's written word.

Mark 7:8 Neglecting the commandments of
 God, you hold to the tradition of men."(NASB)

If the doctrine taught in church is not found in Scripture it is MAN-MADE DOCTRINE.
FAITH AND WATER BAPTISM  by steve finnell

What is the function of faith and water baptism relating to the forgiveness of sin? Does water baptism mean being sprinkled or poured?

Faith and water baptism cannot be separated when talking about salvation. Jesus said it in Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved..."(NKJV)

Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with him by immersion, by which also you were raised up with him, through the belief of the strong working of God, who raised him from the dead.(TBVOTNT by Chester Estes)

Faith. Baptism by immersion. You cannot be buried by being sprinkled or poured.

Colossians 2:12 Ye are buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye also are risen with Him through the faith wrought by the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. (KJV)

Faith. Buried in baptism. You cannot divorce faith from baptism.

Colossians 2:12 You were buried with Him beneath the waters of the ceremonial washing called baptism and then were raised up with Him by faith in the resurrection power of God, who brought Him back from the dead.(VOICE)

Faith. Buried in water is baptism. Faith and baptism are linked together.

Colossians 2:12 You were buried with Christ when you were baptised. You were also raised with him to a new life when you were baptised. You were raised because you believed in the power of God who raised Christ from death.(WE)

Baptised by being buried under water. Raise to walk in a new life only after you believed and were baptized in water.

Colossians 2:12 When you were baptized, you were buried as Christ was buried. When you were raised up in baptism, you were raised as Christ was raised. You were raised to a new life  by putting your trust in God. It was God Who raised Jesus from the dead.(NLV)

Men are raised to a new life only after they trust God and are baptized in water.

Colossians 2:12 For in baptism you see how your old, evil nature died with him and was buried with him; and the you came up out of death with him into a new life because you trusted the Word of the mighty God who raised Christ from the dead.(TLB)

There is no new life for Christians until they trust God and are baptized into Christ.

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF FAITH AND WATER BAPTISM?

Colossians 2:13 And you, who were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with himself, and freely forgave us all our trespasses. TBVOTNT by Chester Estes)

Our trespasses were forgiven after faith and water baptism, not prior to faith, nor before baptism. (Note, we were dead through our own trespasses and not those of Adam and Eve.)

Colossians 2:13 You were dead because of your sins, that is, because of your "foreskin", your old nature. But God made alive along with the Messiah by forgiving you all your sins. (CJB)

God forgives us after faith and water baptism.

Colossians 2:13 You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God's people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins. (CEV)

Men are dead in sin because they sin and not because Adam sinned. Sins are forgiven following faith and water baptism.

Colossians 2:13 When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. (NCV)

Men are not free from the power of sin nor the punishment  of sin until they have faith and are baptized into Christ. Men are spiritually dead because of their own sins. No man will go to hell because Adam and Eve sinned.


Faith and water baptism precede forgiveness from sin.(Mark 16:16) Men do not walk in a new life prior to faith and baptism. (Romans 6:4-6)


Sunday, May 22, 2016

THE "MILLENNIUM" IS NOT . . .
by David Vaughn Elliott

    The very thought of a thousand-year reign of Christ excites the imagination. Usually this period is termed "the millennium" from the Latin meaning "one thousand years." This much-talked-about thousand years, or millennium, is named only six times in Scripture. Moreover, all six times are in the same text: Revelation 20:1-7. With such scant mention in the Bible, students should be very careful in trying to reach a conclusion regarding the meaning of this period of time. 

WHAT REVELATION 20:1-7 DOES NOT SAY

    Before examining what Revelation 20 does say, it is very enlightening to notice what it does not say: 
1 - It does not say where Christ is during this period, whether in heaven or on earth. 
2 - It does not say where the martyrs are during this period. 
3 - Although it does mention "the first resurrection" and "the second death," it does not mention "the second resurrection." 
4 - It does not say that Satan is powerless during the thousand years. 
5 - It does not say that the thousand years is a period of great peace with no persecution. 
6 - It does not even mention the Jews, Jerusalem or any temple. 
7 - It does not say that everyone on earth is in subjection to Christ during the thousand years. 
8 - It does not offer any "second opportunity" for salvation. 
9 - It does not say that the "reign" is a physical, earthly one, like David's reign.  

    There is so much that Revelation 20 does not say, one wonders where all the ideas about "the millennium" come from. The reply is simple: they come by connecting other texts to Revelation 20 (not to mention the addition of ideas that are not found anywhere in the Bible). However, before proceeding to other texts, there are further considerations to keep in mind. 

NO ONE INTERPRETS IT ALL LITERALLY

    The claim is made that the "thousand" years, and what is connected to the thousand years, must be understood literally. However, the text is admittedly filled with symbols, thereby placing in question a literal interpretation of those parts of the text that are not as clear.  

    No one understands that the dragon/serpent is literal. In fact, the book itself very specifically and very clearly says otherwise. In both 20:2 and 12:9, the inspired writer says that the dragon, the "serpent of old" is Satan, the Devil. 

    No one understands "the beast" mentioned in 20:4 as a literal four-legged animal. The reference, of course, is to chapter 13, which in turn is based on Daniel 7. Daniel 7:23 says, "The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth." Most interpreters recognize that the beast represents Rome at some time in history. Even those who do not apply it to Rome understand that the beast is a symbol of some anti-Christian power.  

    Then there is the chain, the key and the seal. Does anyone see them as literal? Is not Satan a spirit being, albeit an evil spirit? Can a physical chain bind an evil spirit? Would a literal, physical seal be any deterrent to him?  

    The book of Revelation is a highly symbolical book. Jesus himself explains that the seven lampstands are the seven churches and the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches (1:20). Whether one understands "angels" here as heavenly beings or earthly "messengers," Jesus confirms what is seen in other Bible prophecies--namely, that stars in prophecy often represent outstanding individuals, just like "Olympic stars" today.  

    Symbols continue throughout Revelation to the very last chapter, where Jesus calls himself "the Bright and Morning Star" (22:16). The next verse speaks of "the bride," a reference to Christ's church. With all this figurative language throughout the book and in chapter 20 itself, there is no inherent necessity that other elements in the chapter be interpreted literally.  

"THOUSAND" IN THE BIBLE

    English dictionaries give these definitions for "thousand": "a very large number," "a great number or amount." This use is very common in our daily language. Mom says, "I told you a thousand times to clean up your room." Or consider the "Thousand Islands" in the Saint Lawrence River, which include more than 1,500 islands.  

    There are several prophecies in Daniel and Revelation with numerical values: 3 1/2, 42, 62, 69, 1260, 1290, 1335. Such numbers are quite definite and specific. The number "1,000," however, is a very "round number," frequently used to express an indefinitely large amount, whether in English, or Spanish or Russian--or in the Bible. 

    In Deuteronomy 1:11, Moses expresses to Israel: "May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are." Israel at that time consisted of 600,000 men of war, not counting women and children. A very conservative estimate would be that, with women and children, they totaled two million. A thousand times two million is two billion! Was Moses literally wishing they would number two billion? Or was he simply using "thousand" like we often do? 

    In Psalms 50:10, God says: "Every beast of the forest [is] Mine, [And] the cattle on a thousand hills." How about the rest of the hills? Would anyone dare limit God's ownership to a strict 1,000 count? Certainly not. 

    Consider also Psalm 105:8,9: "He remembers His covenant [to Abraham] forever, The word [which] He commanded, for a thousand generations." A generation is the average span of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring, about 30 years. A thousand generations would be 30,000 years! Literally, the text says that God commanded (or remembers) His covenant for 30,000 years. But wait. There are no "generations" in eternity. Thus, if we force 1,000 here to be an exact number, the world must continue for 30,000 years from the time of Abraham, which is 26,000 years into our future. Unless you can accept that Jesus will not return for 26,000 years, you are forced to understand "thousand" in Psalm 105 as an unspecified large number. 

    In short, in the Bible, just as in common-every-day English, 1,000 is often used as an indefinitely large number. There is no reason why the same cannot be true in Revelation 20.  

OTHER SCRIPTURE MUST BE STUDIED

    From all the above, it is very clear that Revelation 20:1-7 cannot possibly be understood by itself. It raises too many questions. Everyone's explanation is based more on other Scriptures than on Revelation 20 itself.  

    There are at least two major views of the matter. On the one hand, there are those who connect "the millennium" to all the Old Testament kingdom prophecies. They say that Jesus did not fulfill those prophecies at His first coming. They say that because the Jews rejected the kingdom, Jesus had to postpone the kingdom's arrival. They believe in a literal future one-thousand-year reign, in which all the Old Testament prophecies will be literally fulfilled via an earthly kingdom centering around Israel, Jerusalem and a rebuilt temple.  

    On the other hand, there are those who also say that the "thousand years" is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the kingdom. However, they say that those prophecies are not something yet to be fulfilled in our future. They say that Jesus was not a failure--that He accomplished the work He came on earth to do. They say that God set up His kingdom on schedule just as Daniel and Jesus had prophesied. They say the kingdom of God is not a physical kingdom, nor a Jewish kingdom. They say the kingdom is spiritual, it is for Jew and Gentile alike and it is here now. They say that the expression "a thousand years" is a general term expressing an indefinitely long period of time.  

    It is clear that a person's understanding of "the millennium" is very much influenced by his understanding of the kingdom prophecies and their fulfillment. That is why the present Insight is not the first, but rather the sixth, in a series. A consideration of many facts about the kingdom, as examined in five previous long Insights, is absolutely necessary as a prerequisite to delving into something as difficult as Revelation 20.  

TWO FUTURE RESURRECTIONS?  
WHAT DID JESUS SAY?

    A superficial glance at Revelation 20 would appear to uphold the idea that there are two future resurrections, separated by one thousand years. It seems to say that there will be a "first resurrection," that of the righteous, before the thousand years, followed by a "second resurrection," that of the wicked, after the thousand years. 

    Such a concept, however, does not harmonize with Jesus' teaching on the subject. For example, Jesus taught that on "the last day," the righteous will be raised from the dead and the wicked will be judged. It will be the end. There is no room in Jesus' "last day" teaching for one thousand years to follow the resurrection of the righteous. Likewise, in the parable of the tares, Jesus clearly taught that saints and sinners must live together in this world until the end. Not only so, but He adds, "First gather together the tares." There is no way to harmonize this parable with the concept of taking the wheat out first, allowing the tares to continue in the world after that. (For greater detail on Jesus' teaching regarding "the last day" and the parable of the tares, see Insight #78: "The Rapture.")  

    The Judgment, as taught by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, leaves no room for two resurrections separated by a thousand-year reign. Verses 31 and 32 clearly identify the time of the judgment as taking place when Christ returns: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides [his] sheep from the goats." This judgment pronounces who will enter the kingdom (in its future phase) and who will not. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'... Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels' " (verses 34,41).  

    What did Jesus mean by "inherit the kingdom"? Not a mere thousand years. Listen to His final words regarding both goats and sheep: "These will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (verse 46). No millennium here. According to Jesus, the judgment is followed by eternity. According to Jesus, the future phase of the kingdom is equated to "eternal life." 

A RECOGNITION OF WHAT JESUS SAID

    In the January, 1999, issue of "Midnight Call," Norbert Lieth offered an amazing admission of what has just been said. Discussing the writing of 1 Thessalonians 4, he says, "Until then, the doctrine of the first resurrection had been a mystery. It wasn't taught in the Old Testament, nor in the Gospels." Referring to the writing of 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians, he says, "Only in them was the mystery of the Rapture revealed (1st Corinthians 15:51-53). Until then, it was believed that the resurrection of all the dead would take place on the last day (Daniel 12:2 and 13, John 5:25-29 and 11:24)." Mr. Lieth thus admits Jesus taught "the resurrection of all the dead would take place on the last day"!  

    According to the "Midnight Call," the Rapture was a new doctrine revealed 20 or more years after Jesus' ascension. There is no inherent problem with that--the Spirit was leading the apostles into all truth (John 16:12,13). The problem is that the supposed new revelation contradicts the clear teaching of Jesus. Mr. Lieth admits the contradiction. He admits that Jesus taught the opposite of two future resurrections. When Mr. Lieth says, "it was believed," according to his own context, he is saying, "Jesus believed." In other words, Jesus did not believe Mr. Lieth's doctrine.  

   It is plain for all to see that Jesus' doctrine says all the dead will be resurrected the same time, on "the last day." Therefore, the doctrine of two future resurrections, separated by "the millennium," is a doctrine that opposes the clear teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

THE KINGDOM IN REVELATION

    Previous Insights offered detailed evidence of the existence of the kingdom of God in the first century A.D.--evidence in the four Gospels, in the book of Acts and in the epistles of Peter and Paul. Now it is time to examine the book of Revelation, outside of chapter 20. 

    In the opening verses of the book (1:9), John says: "I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." John was already "in the tribulation"! John was already "in the kingdom"! 

    In 1:5,6, John speaks of "Jesus Christ... who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father." Some Greek manuscripts read "kings" while others read "kingdom." There is little difference in ultimate meaning. Revelation 20:6 says, "they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." "Priests and reign." That is practically a repeat of 1:6 "kingdom and priests" or "kings and priests." Moreover, 1:6 reads, "has made us." That is past tense. It expresses an accomplished fact, a present reality. We are reigning now!  

    Revelation 2:11 promises, "He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." Avoiding the second death is thus a blessing for all faithful Christians. Therefore, Revelation 20:6 is neither stating a new truth nor a truth reserved for a special group of Christians when it says, "Blessed and holy [is] he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power." This is speaking of all Christians. 

    Verse 1:5 also says, "Jesus Christ... the ruler over the kings of the earth." Jesus is ruler now! We all know what type of ruler He is: a King. Jesus is king now! In 3:21, Jesus says of himself, "I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Jesus is on the throne now! Under the seventh trumpet (11:15), there are "loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become [the] [kingdoms] of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" Whatever historical date one places on the fulfillment of the seventh trumpet, notice that Jesus' reign is "forever and ever." It is eternal, as Daniel 2:44 prophesied. Any interpretation of Revelation 20 that limits the kingdom of God and Christ to one thousand years is simply not in harmony with the rest of Scripture. 

RELATIONSHIP OF CHAPTERS 12 AND 20

    Revelation 12, regarding the woman, the dragon, the male child and war in heaven, is not without its difficulties; but consider verses 10 and 11: 

    "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.' " 

    First, note that salvation and the kingdom arrive at the same time--at the time Satan is "cast down" out of heaven. What is the earliest possible point in history for the arrival of salvation and the kingdom of God? Verse 11 says that the war was won "by the blood of the Lamb." So all of this must necessarily have taken place after Calvary.  

    A more difficult question: what is the latest possible point in history for the arrival of salvation, the kingdom and the casting down of Satan? Verses 13 and 14 say that, after Satan was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman and she fled into the wilderness, where she remained for "time and times and half a time." Therefore, salvation and the kingdom had to arrive some time before the persecution of the woman for "time and times and half a time."  

    It is generally understood by all that the "time and times and half a time" is a reference to 3 1/2 years, or 1260 days as stated in 12:6. Whether this is 1260 literal days, or a figurative day-for-a-year interpretation, is a question for another study.  

    The prevailing view among futurists is that the 3 1/2 prophetic years refers to the second half of "the tribulation," which is followed by the arrival of the kingdom in "the millennium." However, this does not agree with Revelation 12. Revelation 12 says that at the moment Satan is cast out of heaven, a loud voice in heaven declares, "Now salvation... and the kingdom of our God... have come." The persecution of the woman for 3 1/2 years comes after Satan is cast down, thus after the arrival of the kingdom. Futurists, however, teach that the 3 1/2 years take place before the arrival of the kingdom in "the millennium." Such an interpretation of Revelation 20, that places the 3 1/2 years before the arrival of the kingdom cannot harmonize with Revelation 12. 

    Chapter 12 clearly points to three events as simultaneous: the casting down of Satan, the arrival of salvation and the arrival of the kingdom. If the kingdom is not here yet, then salvation is not here yet. By the same token, if salvation is here now, the kingdom is here now! All this agrees exactly with what John had already affirmed in 1:9: "I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom." John, in 95 A.D. declared that he was already in the kingdom.  

THE MILLENNIUM IS NOT...

    Most of the beliefs that anyone has about "the millennium" are not based on Revelation 20. Beliefs about the millennium are derived from other sources. 

    Based on other Scripture, it has been shown that:  
1 - The millennium is not a period of time between the bodily resurrection of the righteous and the bodily resurrection of the wicked. 
2 - The millennium is not a yet future arrival of Jesus' kingdom in which he will fulfill what He failed to fulfill when He first came. 
3 - The millennium is not some time yet future when Jesus for the first time will sit on His throne and reign as King. 
4 - The millennium is not a period of time that will arrive 2,000 years after salvation arrived in the world.  

    What then is the millennium of Revelation 20? Future long Insights, Lord willing, will explore how the expressions of Revelation 20 can be harmonized with the rest of the New Testament. In particular, there will be a study on what the rest of the New Testament teaches about the first resurrection and another study on what it teaches about the binding of Satan.  
INSIGHT INTO BIBLE TRUTH #241
"WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT SUNDAY?" 
by David Vaughn Elliott 

Why do the majority of churches today have their most important and best attended services on Sunday? Where does that custom come from? Was Sunday a special day for the church of the first century? What meaning does Sunday have in your life?

Resurrection Day
The answer to all these questions takes us back to the most astounding event in history: the empty tomb. To correctly interpret the day of the resurrection, we must understand the numbering of the days of the week. Today, Saturday and Sunday are often called the "weekend," making Monday the first day of the "work week." However, from the time of the Roman Empire until the 21st century, Sunday has been and is the first day of the week. Just check your English dictionary.

Jesus often prophesied that after his death, he would "be raised again the third day" (Matt. 16:21; Luke 18:33). Not the third day of the week, but the third day from his crucifixion. What day of the week did this "third day" fall on?

Luke 24 tells of events "upon the first day of the week" (verse 1). Verse 13 says two disciples were walking to Emmaus "that same day." After they mention Jesus' death, the disciples add: "today is the third day since these things were done" (verse 21). Verses 7 and 46 mention Jesus' prediction: "the third day rise again." Carefully considering all five verses, we have irrefutable proof that the third day from the crucifixion was the first day of the week. Jesus rose on Sunday!

Matthew 28:1-8 and Mark 16:1-8 are parallel texts in which Mary Magdalene and other women visit the tomb around dawn "the first day of the week." On the way, they discussed who would roll away the stone so they could anoint Jesus' body. As Matthew reads, one can only conclude that Jesus rose from the dead precisely while the women were on their way. When they got to the tomb, the angel told them: "He is not here; for He is risen." Mark adds: "Jesus was risen early the first day of the week" (verse 9). Jesus rose the first day of the week: Sunday.

All history pivots around what took place that glorious Sunday. Jesus came out of the tomb never to die again. He did save Himself! He did it in a way far more powerful, glorious and meaningful than "simply" coming down from the cross. Neither the tomb nor Hades, itself, could hold Him! Jesus conquered death, sin, and Satan. This Good News has been proclaimed around the world for almost 2,000 years! Jesus is not dead! He lives! It happened on Sunday. Like a modern gospel song so beautifully  expresses it: "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming!"

"The Lord's Day"
The apostle John wrote that he received the Revelation "on the Lord's Day" (Rev. 1:10). What day did he mean? There are three possibilities to consider: 1) Saturday (the Sabbath); 2) the final Judgment Day; and 3) Sunday (the first day of the week).

As for the first possibility, Jesus was in fact the Lord of the Sabbath while He walked this earth. But John received the Revelation 65 years after the death of Jesus. As Paul stated, by means of his death, Jesus was "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances... nailing it to the cross" (Col. 2:14). A few examples of those requirements are given two verses later. Among others are the "Sabbaths." Jesus nailed them all to the cross! After that, the Sabbath could no longer be the Lord's Day.

As for the second possibility, various times in the New Testament, "the day of the Lord" refers to the Second Coming of Christ. But in Rev. 1:10, John says "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day," past tense. Since he is speaking of the past, he could not be speaking of the Second Coming, which even today is yet in the future.

This leaves only one possibility. John meant that he received the Revelation on Sunday. Sunday is the day on which the Lord Jesus Christ triumphed over all the forces of the evil one, rising from the dead. Sunday is the day He proved He was and is Lord. The first day of the week is, indeed, "the Lord's Day"!

Both the Romans of old and we in English today commonly call the first day of the week "Sun-day". Not so in Spanish. In Spanish the first day of the week is called "Domingo," which, coming from the Latin, means "the day of the Lord"!

The Lord's church and His New Testament became a reality on Sunday. It was at the Jewish feast of Pentecost (Acts 2). This feast was set by counting "the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days" (Lev. 23:16). The day after any Sabbath is the first day of the week. So, Pentecost fell on Sunday. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead on Sunday, but He started His Church on Sunday. It is the Lord's Day.

Rev. 1:10 speaks of "the Lord's Day" (Sunday). 1 Cor. 11:20 speaks of "the Lord's Supper" (communion). The Day and the Supper belong to the Lord. Let's see how they are related to one another.

"The Bread Which We Break"
"Breaking bread" has two meanings in the New Testament. In Acts 27:33-35, Paul broke bread for "health." That's the "daily bread" Jesus told us to pray for (Matt. 6:11). In 1 Cor. 10:16, the breaking of bread is "the communion of the body of Christ." This certainly is "the Lord's Supper."

In 1 Cor. 11:17-22, Paul admonishes the saints concerning what was happening "when you come together in the church." Using a question, Paul tells them where they should eat their daily bread: "Have you not houses to eat and to drink in?" Reproving them for not doing what they should have been doing in the church, Paul tells them that it should be "to eat the Lord's Supper." Therefore the pattern is: daily bread in their houses and the Lord's Supper when they came together as a church.

At the end of Acts 2, there are two references to breaking bread. A close look shows that they do not refer to the same thing. In 2:46, it is "breaking bread" "daily" and "from house to house." That would be "daily bread." But in 2:42,  "breaking of bread" is part of a list of spiritual matters in which the church "continued steadfastly." It must be the Lord's Supper.

All this should help to interpret Acts 20:7-12. "Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them. The disciples came together to break bread, and Paul preached a very long sermon. It all points to a spiritual meeting of the church. The natural conclusion is that the breaking of bread in verse 7 was the Lord's Supper.

But what of the breaking of bread in 20:11? One way to answer the question is to see what day it was. Paul was "ready to depart on the morrow" (verse 7). That would be the second day of the week. And, he did in fact leave at "break of day" (verse 11). So the text is clear that Paul left early Monday morning.

The breaking of bread in verse 11 was after midnight (verse 7), and before daybreak (verse 11). So it was on Monday. But the breaking of bread in verse 7 was on the first day of the week, Sunday. So, verse 11 is a second breaking of bread. The circumstances point to the breaking of bread in verse 11 as being a common meal, made necessary because Paul preached for such a long time.

The situation in Acts 20 is very similar to that in Acts 2. In each case the context points to a spiritual breaking of bread in the first mention and a physical breaking of bread in the second mention.

"On the First Day of the Week"
Common meals are eaten daily. But how often is the spiritual "breaking of bread" to take place? 1 Cor. 11:26 says "as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup." Acts 2:42 says that they "continued steadfastly... in breaking of bread." No schedule is given in either text, but the wording leaves the impression it was done frequently. How often?

The text most commonly quoted is Acts 20:7: "Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread." We have considered the evidence that this is the Lord's Supper. This is not a command. It is rather an example under the watchful eye of the apostle Paul. The natural sense of the wording is that this was their custom.

Also consider 1 Cor. 11:20: "when you come together therefore in one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper." Paul is saying they are not doing what they should be doing. They are not eating the Lord's Supper in the proper manner when they come together in one place. The wording gives the idea that the Lord's Supper was a regular part of what they should do when they come together in one place.

Does this same book give any idea of when that was? Indeed it does! Read 1 Cor. 16:1-2. Some people interpret verse 2 to mean the brethren were supposed to set aside money at home. The fact is that scholars have had trouble translating the middle part of verse. That can be seen by just comparing several versions.

But verse 2 must agree with itself. Scholars are agreed on the latter part: "that there be no gatherings (collections) when I come." Now, if everyone set aside money in his own house each week, then all that money would still have to be gathered when Paul came. But that is precisely what Paul wanted to avoid.

Paul wanted the collections made before he came. The only meaningful way and place to do that would be "when you come together in the church... when you come together therefore into one place" (1 Cor. 11:18-20). When and how often was this to be done? Scholars have no trouble with the opening words of the verse: "Upon the first day of the week" (1 Cor. 16:2).

When we combine the information in chapters 11 and 16 of 1 Corinthians, we come to the conclusion that the early church met together every Sunday. Among other things, they broke bread and had a collection/gathering.

Did the Catholic Church Change the Sabbath to Sunday?Sabbath keepers reject these arguments for Sunday. They claim the early Christians kept the Sabbath. They say the Catholic Church and the Emperor Constantine started worship on Sunday in the Fourth Century. Is this true?

Did the Catholic Church initiate the observance of Sunday? Roman Catholic sources can certainly be found which make this claim. But, we must understand what the Catholic Church means when it says that it changed Saturday to Sunday.

The Official Baltimore Catechism, Number 3, published in 1949, under question #235, says: "The early Church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday on the authority given to it by Christ. The New Testament makes no explicit mention that the apostles changed the day of worship, but we know it from Tradition." According to this Catholic Catechism, it was the early church that changed the day of worship to Sunday. In fact, so early, that it was the apostles of Christ themselves who effected the change. Who can argue with the apostles?

The Roman Church, of course, claims to have been founded by Christ. But, Sabbath keepers agree with us that the Catholic Church did not exist in the first century. Since the Roman Catholic church did not exist when the change took place, then certainly the Roman Catholic church did not make the change.

And what about the claim that the Emperor Constantine, in A.D. 321, instituted Sunday as a day of rest? Yes, he did. But this is a very different matter from instituting Sunday as a day of worship.

The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, in the article on Sunday, mentions "a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday." What does the decree establish? That all "should rest on Sunday."

Constantine, for the first time in history, legalized Sunday as a day of rest. He originated "blue laws." This was his idea of how to help the Christians do what they had already been practicing for three centuries: assembling for worship on Sundays.

Second Century Christians Speak
Let's listen to Christians of the second century, who lived before Constantine, and before the Roman Catholic Church. They were not inspired, but they tell us what the Christians then believed and practiced.

Ignatius lived from about A.D. 50 to 110. He was a disciple of the apostle John and died a martyr's death about 15 years after John wrote Revelation.

In Ignatius' Epistle to the Magnesians, (long version), chapter 9, Ignatius writes: "Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner... Let every friend of Christ keep the Lord's Day as a festival, the resurrection day, the queen and chief of all the days... on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ."

Notice that Ignatius speaks against keeping the Sabbath. On the other hand, he identifies "the Lord's Day" as "the resurrection day." Earlier we considered the Biblical proofs that "the Lord's 
Day" is the first day of the week. Now we have a companion of the author of Rev. 1:10, who identifies "the Lord's Day" as the resurrection day, thus the first day of the week (Sunday)!

Justin Martyr is a famous Christian writer of the second century. He was born about A.D. 110 and became a martyr about A.D. 165. Justin wrote: "But the Gentiles, who have believed on him... they shall receive the inheritance... even though they neither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts" (Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, chapter 26). Justin thus places Sabbath keeping in the same category as circumcision.

Justin also wrote: "On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memories of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read... when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought... and there is a distribution to each... and they who are well-to-do, and willing, give what each thinks fit... and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because... Jesus Christ our Savior the same day rose from the dead" (First Apology, chapter 67).

Justin is not just writing personal beliefs. He wrote this to the Emperor of the Roman Empire, explaining what the Christians in general were doing 50 years after the death of the last apostle. They were not Sabbath keepers. Rather, "Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because... Jesus Christ our Savior the same day rose from the dead." Among other things, in the assembly every Sunday, they partook of the Lord's Supper and had a collection!

Neither Constantine nor the Church of Rome changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. On the contrary, the Church of Christ, from the days of the apostles to the present time, has always gathered together the first day of the week, the day of the Lord's resurrection, in order to commemorate His death in the Lord's Supper. Every Sunday. Fifty-two times a year!

Sunday Is the Lord's Day
Sunday is the day our Lord rose from the dead. Sunday is the day the Lord's Church began. Sunday is the day the Lord's Supper is eaten. Sunday is the day the Lord's people give to help others. Sunday, in a word, is the Lord's day.

The true church remembers the death and resurrection of Christ 52 times a year. It has done so for 2,000 years! It will continue to do so till He comes!

If Jesus is your Lord, you will gather with the Lord's Church to partake of the Lord's Supper every Lord's Day.
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