Present Truth Articles Online
“Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:3-6) We had a wonderful camp meeting here in West Virginia. I would like to thank each of you who were able to come. It would not have been the same without you. The main theme of the camp meeting was revival and reformation. We focused upon our need for complete dependence upon God to do every good work in us. I would like to thank each of you who have been praying for my wife’s health. The Lord has been blessing. She is doing better, but she still needs your prayers.
In this Issue
by Lynnford Beachy
|Upcoming Meetings in Your Area|
by Curtis Kline
by Alonzo T. Jones
by Lynnford Beachy
|Something for the Young at Heart|
The Da Vinci Code Unmasked
by Lynnford Beachy
Since its release in 2003, forty-six million copies of The Da Vinci Code have been circulated. On May 19, Sony Pictures released a movie based upon this book. The main theme of this book is the portrayal of the greatest conspiracy theory of all time, concerning the identity of Jesus Christ. The Da Vinci Code is based upon some history mixed with a lot of fiction. The problem with this method of writing is that it is hard for the reader to discern where historical facts leave off and fiction begins. To make things even worse, the author deceitfully claims, All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate. (Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, Anchor Books, 2006, a page after the title page and acknowledgments—emphasis supplied) Most people are not familiar enough with history to discern the difference between fact and fiction in this book, and very few people will take the time to examine history to discover what is truth. Many will be left confused about Christ’s true identity and accept the theories put forth in this book as fact.
All of this would be of little consequence if it did not have such profound effects upon how we view Christ, and especially how we see Gods love for us in giving His Son. The author, Dan Brown, presents several theories in his book, mixed with some solid historical facts. Commenting on the pagan influences in Christianity, Christmas is mentioned. December 25 is also the birthday of Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. (Ibid., ch. 55, p. 252all page numbers referenced in this article are from the paperback edition.) This is historical fact, as well as the following: Originally, Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagans veneration day of the sun. To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday morning with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun gods weekly tributeSunday. (Ibid. ch. 55, p. 252)
Yet, mixed with these facts are some serious errors, of which the most notable are:
Let’s take some time to examine these theories to see if they are valid.
Can the New Testament be trusted?
In his book, Dan Brown claims, More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion The Bible as we know it today was collated by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. (Ibid., ch. 55, p. 251)
It is true that there were other accounts of certain aspects of the life of Christ, but they were never generally considered authentic works from the apostles, and they were definitely not considered for inclusion in the New Testament. This was because they were written long after the apostles were dead, and their accounts were contrary to the rest of the Bible and the early accounts of Christ’s life. These spurious gospels were given apostolic names to make them appear authentic. None of these supposed “gospels” were biographies of Christ’s life from his birth to the cross, as are the authentic ones. These spurious “gospels” are fictitious works focusing on some aspect of Christ’s life presented in a clearly anti-christian manner.
For example, a document given the name, “The Gospel of Thomas,” claims to portray the childhood of Christ as a powerful and evil person. It says, in part:
This child Jesus, when five years old, …having made some soft clay, He fashioned out of it twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when He did these things.… And Jesus clapped His hands, and cried out to the sparrows, and said to them: Off you go! And the sparrows flew, and went off crying.…
After that He was again passing through the village; and a boy ran up against Him, and struck His shoulder. And Jesus was angry, and said to him: Thou shalt not go back the way thou camest. And immediately he fell down dead. (A spurious Gospel of Thomas, Verses 2-4, found in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 8, “The Apocrypha of the New Testament.”)
In the first few verses of this supposed “gospel” we read of Jesus creating animals on the Sabbath and killing little children for interfering with his play. Both of these are clearly contrary to how the Old Testament Scriptures’, as well as the widely accepted New Testament writings, portray the character of God and Christ. Luke says that the child “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) He could not have increased in favor with men if he was killing their children.
This supposed Gospel of Thomas surfaced long after Thomas was dead, and it was never generally considered as a valid gospel. It was never considered for the New Testament as the The Da Vinci Code presents.
In keeping with the primary lie that the The Da Vinci Code attempts to establish, one of the characters proclaims, Any gospels that described earthly aspects of Jesus life had to be omitted from the Bible. (The Da Vinci Code, ch. 58, p. 264) This statement leads people to believe that there was a conspiracy to only allow gospels into the New Testament that portray the divinity of Christ and to keep those out which portray the human nature of Christ. Yet, we noticed that the “Gospel of Thomas” portrays Jesus with supernatural powers to create life and kill children, which is much more divine and less human than the authentic gospels portray, thus showing the fallacy of this claim. If this conspiracy theory were correct, “The Gospel of Thomas” would have been at the top of the list of gospels the conspirators would have chosen to be part of the New Testament.
There is at least one other document given the name, The Gospel of Thomas. It is one of the supposed gospels in the Nag Hammadi Library, mentioned in The Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code depicts these Gnostic documents in the Nag Hammadi Library as the original gospels, and the ones in our Bibles today as spurious. It espouses the idea that these Nag Hammadi gospels portray Christ as just a human and nothing more, while Matthew, Mark, Luke and John present Christ as the divine Son of God and deny his human nature.
The Da Vinci Code also makes the claim that Constantine decided which gospels would be in the New Testament and which ones would be left out. But most of the books of the New Testament as we have them today had been regarded as the legitimate Scripture for over a hundred years before Constantine came on the scene. Constantine had nothing to do with the decision of what books would be in the New Testament.
By AD 200, 20 of the 27 books of the New Testament seem to have been generally regarded as authoritative. (The Encarta Encyclopedia, article: Bible)
The gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were among these books that were all accepted long before Constantine came on the scene. These were all written during the lifetime of the apostles, by the apostles themselves, or by those closely interacting with them. If they did not portray an accurate account of Christ’s life, they would have been disputed and rejected immediately by those who were eye witnesses to the events. It would have been impossible to deceive the people who lived contemporaneously with the apostles by presenting a falsified account of Christ’s life. That is why all the spurious accounts of Christ’s life had to arise on the scene much later, because they were clearly out of harmony with the established and accepted history of Christ’s life. When these false gospels did arrive on the scene they were naturally rejected even though they were given names of the apostles, such as Thomas, Philip, Peter, James, Matthew, etc.
It is a serious charge against God to say, The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. (A fictitious character, Sir Leigh Teabing, The Da Vinci Code, ch. 55, p. 250) This idea charges God with the inability to divinely protect His word, and the irresponsibility of leaving the world with no way of knowing Him. This is a work of the devil to instill doubt in God, His word, and His love for us.
It is very odd that The Da Vinci Code attempts to establish the idea that Jesus was nothing more than a human, and relies upon the Gnostic gospels of the Nag Hammadi Library and other spurious gospels as proof for this assertion. The Da Vinci Code claims that Constantine omitted those gospels that spoke of Christs human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. (Ibid., ch. 55, p. 254) However, these spurious gospels present a much more supernatural Jesus than our current gospels, so this book relies upon evidence that proves the opposite of this claim.
Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?
The silence in the original gospels on this point should be enough to silence this question. There is absolutely no evidence in the Bible that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. When Jesus was upon the cross He took great care to provide for the needs of his mother, whom He was about to leave behind. The Bible says, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26, 27) Jesus, however, did not mention the needs of a widow or little children. Surely, if Jesus had left a widow and children He would have wanted them to be cared for as well, but He made no such provisions.
Was Jesus merely a human?
One of the leading characters in The Da Vinci Code says,
During this fusion of religions, Constantine needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicaea. At this gathering, Teabing said, many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon [including] the divinity of Jesus until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal. [Sophie says] Not the Son of God? Right, Teabing said. Jesus establishment as the Son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea. [Sophie says] Hold on. Youre saying Jesus divinity was the result of a vote? A relatively close vote at that, Teabing added. (Ibid., ch. 55, pp. 252, 253)
It is true that there was a vote at the Council of Nicaea (held in 325 AD) regarding the identity of Jesus Christ. It is also true that that vote introduced a new and heretical concept of Christs identity. But it happened differently than The Da Vinci Code portrays. It was not a vote to decide whether Jesus was the Son of God, but regarding the meaning of the words, “the only begotten Son of God.” The reality that Jesus is the Son of God was known and believed for centuries before this council was called. Hundreds of years before this council Jesus was declared to be of divine origin. The apostle Peter said to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Peter also said, “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69) John the Baptist said, “I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:34) The Apostle Paul “preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20)
The fact that God has a begotten Son was not a new concept at the Council of Nicaea. This understanding was an established fact long before Jesus came into this world. He said through Solomon, “Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth [literally: begotten or born].” (Proverbs 8:25) The Bible says, “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4)
The disciples and apostles of Christ’s day, along with the large majority of Christians who lived in the first few centuries after Christ’s death, understood Jesus Christ to be the literal begotten Son of God without any mysterious definition attached to these words. For example, Justin Martyr (110-165 AD), quoting from Proverbs 8, refers to Christ in the following statement:
The Lord begets me before all the hills. He adds: You perceive, my hearers, if you bestow attention, that the Scripture has declared that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created; and that that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets, any one will admit. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 129)
Novatian (210-280 AD) wrote,
God the Father, the Founder and Creator of all things, who only knows no beginning, invisible, infinite, immortal, eternal, is one God; of whom, when He willed it, the Son, the Word, was born the Father also precedes Him, Because it is essential that He who knows no beginning must go before Him who has a beginning; [The Son has] an origin because He is born, and of like nature with the Father in some measure by His nativity, although He has a beginning in that He is born, inasmuch as He is born of that Father who alone has no beginning. (Novation, Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, “A Treatise on the Trinity,” Chapter 31)
There are many more examples of early Christians, accepting the Word of God just as it reads, who believed Christ to be the literal begotten Son of God who was born before all creation.
Interestingly, the author of The Da Vinci Code refers to the spurious gospels in the Nag Hammadi Library and others as support of his theory that Jesus establishment as the Son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea. And that until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal. Not the Son of God? (The Da Vinci Code, ch. 55, pp. 253, 254) But when anyone turns to the Nag Hammadi Library to verify this claim (which can easily be done at www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html) he is faced with a multitude of statements that Jesus is the Son of God. For example:
Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. (The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles)
[Gods] only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, (The Gospel of the Egyptians)
Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior (The Teachings of Silvanus)
Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Melchizedek)
I am the first son who was begotten. I am the son of the Father. (The [Second] Apocalypse of James)
We give thanks to you and we celebrate the eucharist, O Father, remembering for the sake of thy Son, Jesus Christ Glory be to thee through thy Son and thy offspring Jesus Christ from now and forever. Amen. (On the Eucharist)
The Christ, the only-begotten God. He is! The Son of God! (Trimorphic Protennoia)
Truly he was the Son of God. (The Gospel of Peter)
All of these quotations are found in the Nag Hammadi Library, proving that these documents also taught that Jesus is the Son of God.
The Council of Nicaea
If, as The Da Vinci Code claims, the idea that Jesus is the Son of God first surfaced at the Council of Nicaea, then there would have been those at the council who did not believe in this doctrine before coming to the council. But history is clear that this was the very reason the council was called—to settle the debate over what the term, “the only begotten Son of God” really means. There was nobody at this council who believed that Jesus was just a man. The 318 bishops at this council were divided into three parties:
As you can see, the vast majority believed that Christ had a beginning by being literally begotten of His Father before anything was created. This was the commonly-held belief of the early Christians. Very early in the Council of Nicaea Eusebius of Caesarea, who led the largest group, presented a confession espousing his views, of which He stated that this confession of faith was one which he had learned in his childhood, from the bishop of Cæsarea, and one which he accepted at his baptism, and which he had taught through his whole career, both as a presbyter and as a bishop. (The Two Republics, by Alonzo T. Jones, 1891, pp. 347, 348)
Unfortunately, those who were in the minority gained the approval of Constantine, and used his power to force all to sign a creed condemning as heretics all who claimed that Christ had a beginning of any kind. This creed is known today as the Nicene Creed. The emperor commanded all to sign it under penalty of banishment. (Ibid., p. 350) With this measure all but two of the bishops finally signed the disputed creed, most of whom did so against their will. The two who would not sign under any circumstances were banished.
After this alarming use of force to secure conformity, one bishop complained, We have never heard, my Lord, of two beings unbegotten, nor of one divided into two; but that there is one unbegotten, and another truly from Him, We believe not only that His origin cannot be explained in words, but that it cannot be comprehended, (Letter written by Eusebius of Nicomedia as found in A Historical View of the Council of Nice, by Isaac Boyle, p. 41—emphasis supplied)
It is clear that there was a new teaching that arose and gained approval at the Council of Nicaea, but it was not the idea that Jesus is the Son of God. Instead, it was the idea that Jesus had no beginning whatsoever. This is the reality of what took place at the Council of Nicaea. The Arian controversy was between two extreme views of Christ, neither of which are taught in the Scriptures. According to the Bible, Christ is neither created out of nothing, nor is He without beginning but, rather, He was begotten “in the express image” of His Father before anything was created. (Hebrews 1:1-6; Proverbs 8:24-36; Colossians 1:15; 1 John 4:9, etc.) This is what was believed and taught by the majority of those at the Council of Nicaea.
This middle group, led by Eusebius of Caesarea, is an embarrassment to Trinitarians because it comprised the vast majority of the council and they maintained that Christ was truly begotten of God, rather than created or without beginning. Therefore, many Trinitarian historians completely ignore this group as if it did not exist, and when it is mentioned it is called the Semi-Arian group as if it were a group that came after, and sprang out of, the “Arian heresy.” However, the facts reveal that the belief that is called Semi-Arianism existed long before Arius was born.
As evidence of the widespread denial of this middle group, notice what one historian has to say:
The ancient and the Roman Catholic historians generally assume only two parties, an orthodox majority and a heretical minority. But the position of Eusebius of Caesarea, the character of his confession, and the subsequent history of the controversy, prove the existence of a middle, Semi-Arian party. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 3, Footnote on page 627)
The Council of Nicaea voted (by force) to proclaim Jesus Christ to be the same age as the Father. This council laid the foundation for the trinity doctrine, but there was no discussion or vote regarding the Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity. The idea that God is made up of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit did not arise on the scene until the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD.
The Catholic Church, who formulated the doctrine of the trinity says,
The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church…
The Church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarification, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons,the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Handbook for Todays Catholic, p. 11)
The idea that God is a trinity emerged upon the pages of history rather latefar too late to be considered part of the religion of the Bible. It is interesting that one of the documents in the Nag Hammadi Library says, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (The Tripartite Tractate) This proves that, at least this document in the Nag Hammadi Library, was written at a much later date than the writings of the apostles. The 52 [Nag Hammadi] manuscripts are in Coptic. Copied in the 4th century AD (as inscribed on some of them), (The Encarta Encyclopedia, article: Naj Hammadi)
(For further information on the history of the the various views regarding the identity of Jesus Christ, please contact us and request the booklets entitled, Gods Love on Trial and The Formulation of the Doctrine of the Trinity.)
Sadly, The Da Vinci Code is bound to have some success in convincing people that Jesus is just a man, because when people read the Bible to see if these things are so they will find that God is the Father, consistently, and not a trinity of persons. Many will think that they are left with only two choices: 1) Jesus is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, or 2) He was just a human. The Bible is clear that the first proposition is incorrect, so many will be drawn to the only other option they think they have. Yet, there is another option, the biblical view, that Jesus is the “only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18), who is divine by right of His inheritance from God, His Father. (Hebrews 1:3, 4) Knowing the relationship of Jesus to God is vitally important because it is the only way we can comprehend the love of God in giving His Son. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
Understanding this vital relationship is the only way that we can love God with all our hearts, souls, strength and minds. (See 1 John 4:16, 17, 19.) Every false theory about the identity of Jesus Christ distorts the love of God in giving His Son to die for our sins, and will thus limit our ability to love God in return and overcome when we are tempted. “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)
Beloved, I pray that the love of God will fill your hearts and flow out to all those whom you meet. I pray that Satan would not be allowed to cloud your minds with false theories about God and His beloved Son. For, in proportion to our limited view of God’s love will our ability to love God in return be limited. The view of God’s character that we behold is the character that will be reproduced in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) May we all be changed into the right image. May we all “see him as he is” (1 John 3:2), and not as Satan would have us see Him.
Fundamental Principles of Health
by Curtis Kline
Welcome once again from the Ministry of Healing and Restoration. This month’s topic is a very important one: we will be discussing air and oxygen. Air is the most vital element for the human body. You can go many weeks without food, maybe a week or so without water, but only a few minutes without air. Oxygen (which is the vital component in air) plays many major roles in the body. Oxygen is vital to the function and life of each cell in our bodies.
One of the main functions of oxygen at the cellular level is cell respiration. Our cells have a power plant called the mitochondria, that is responsible for converting the majority of glucose to ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This process is an aerobic process, meaning oxygen must be present for it to convert correctly.
Once glucose enters the cell it is broken down by a series of enzymatic steps into various compounds. Initially this is done without the use of oxygen, hence the name anaerobic glycolysis. If oxygen is not eventually supplied to the cell, the reaction will end by producing large amounts of lactic acid the substance that causes muscles to fatigue and ache with strenuous exercise. But should oxygen be supplied, the reaction enters a new phase. Here the end product of glycolysis spins through a cycle of biochemical reactions known as the Krebss cycle with the resulting release of enormous amounts of energy. (Excitotoxins, by Russell Blaylock)
Now the anaerobic part of this process renders two ATP molecules, however when enough oxygen and proper enzymes are present the aerobic portion of glycolysis will render up to 34 ATP per molecule of glucose, which is truly a large amount of energy. Another major advantage is that the “cleaner” the burn of the glucose into ATP, the less byproduct your body has to deal with as far as waste material. You could compare this whole process to a car with a “tuned up” engine as opposed to one with a clogged up engine. The results are very similar. The cleaner the burn the better your car runs with less maintenance.
Another important function of oxygen is as a free radical used by the body to destroy foreign elements in the body. A healthy human cell operates at a very high level of efficiency. Properly nourished, it provides itself with an antioxidant protective coating that will not be damaged by oxygen, especially the more unstable forms such as O1 and O3 oxygen. When oxygen is needed the cell membrane will open the calcium ionic channel and draw in what is necessary. Viruses, bacteria, and other foreign elements, however, are usually far less protected from the unstable oxygen molecule and, therefore, will become oxidized when brought in contact with oxygen. For this reason oxygen is an excellent support for the body to fight infection and disease.
Studies seem to indicate that after the flood of Noah’s day, the oxygen content in the atmosphere reduced on average at least 5%. For the point of illustration let’s say the oxygen content dropped from 26% to 21% after the flood (through my research I find these numbers to be close to correct although I’m not trying to make a scientific claim). This could be one of the reasons that man’s life-span has shortened so much since the flood. There is simply not an optimal amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Now let’s consider people who smoke and people who live in the polluted cities, breathing the further oxygen-depleted air (not to mention all the toxins that have taken its place). In big cities the oxygen content can easily drop into the teens. This could put the body in an extremely compromised condition at the cellular level, at least where oxygen is concerned. Is it any wonder that we have an increasing number of viral diseases, sicknesses, and a lack of energy in so many people today? If we are not eating the right food and breathing enough oxygen our bodies are surely going to reap the dismal results. The body needs OXYGEN.
Here are some tips to safely increase oxygen levels.
Make it a practice to breathe deeply.
Move out of the cities.
Visit the ocean or waterfalls where the oxygen content tends to be higher.
Oxygen bars, ozone, and oxygen therapies also seem to be safe and effective when conducted properly.
Spend more time outdoors.
Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors away from the pollution of cities and heavily traveled roads.
Keep your doors and windows open at least a little to let in fresh air.
Whatever the case may be, all evidence indicates that increased oxygen levels translate into more favorable health. When studying health it is beneficial to look at things from the cellular level because healthy cells mean healthy tissue, healthy tissue means healthy organs, and healthy organs mean a healthy body. Therefore, if you’re taking care of your body’s needs at the cellular level, than you are much more likely to be a healthy person (with the exception of trauma and injury).
(The above article was provided by Curtis Kline, Director of Ministry of Healing and Restoration, Canvas, WV. For more in-depth information he can be contacted at (304) 872-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. While we believe the principles in this article can be helpful, we are not responsible for any negative effects resulting from the use of remedies or recommendations herein. Use them at your own risk. Editor)
Dominican Republic Trip Report
by Lynnford Beachy
A co-laborer in the ministry, Pastor Pascual Flores, produces and distributes sermons on CDs. A minister in the Dominican Republic played some of these sermons on their radio program, and a group of believers requested Pastor Flores to come and preach to them on the subject of the truth about God. Circumstances prevented him from being able to go, so he asked me to go in his place.
Before leaving I prayed that the Lord would allow me to sit beside someone on the airplane with whom I could share the gospel. On one of my flights a lady was assigned to the seat beside me, but she moved to another seat before the doors were shut. Then some people flying standby boarded the plane and a young man sat beside me. He had with him a copy of the book, The Da Vinci Code. I asked him if he enjoyed the book, and then we began talking about the identity of Jesus Christ. He was very interested in the subject, and we had a good conversation the whole way. I gave him a copy of Gods Love on Trial, and he finished the first chapter before we left the plane, asking me questions about it while he was reading it. I saw this experience as a direct answer to my prayer.
I arrived in the Dominican Republic on Friday, June 2, and was greeted at the airport by Brother Gabriel, who escorted me to a hotel where I would be staying for the next three nights. Several brothers had gathered there to visit with me and to inform me about the meetings that would begin the next morning.
On Sabbath morning I spoke with my translator for the day and discovered that he is a Baptist, who strongly believes in the trinity. I informed him that he would probably hear things that are new to him, and that I do not believe in the trinity. He was shocked! He could not understand how anyone could reject this doctrine. I told him that he would find out more about it during the meetings.
When we arrived at the meeting hall we were greeted by about 50 believers who had gathered to hear the messages. I began with a message on the love of God, and then we let the Bible answer some of their questions on that subject. My translator did a fairly good job of translating, but there were a few times when Brother Gabriel helped him get the meaning across correctly. After the meeting it was decided that Gabriel would take over the translation work and, unfortunately, our Baptist friend did not attend any more of the meetings.
Afterwards a family graciously shared their lunch with me, which consisted of a variety of fresh tropical fruits. It was very nice. This family had some questions about the necessity of using Hebrew names for God and His Son, such as Yahweh and Yeshua. It was interesting that they pronounced these names quite a bit differently than I have heard them from English-speaking people. I explained some of the principles outlined in the November and December 2005 issues of Present Truth (available upon request). They seemed very interested and encouraged to learn these things that dispelled the myth that the name Jesus came from paganism. Even though I did not have a translator to explain these things, the Lord blessed us to be able to communicate in Spanish.
In the afternoon I shared two studies, the first on the one God of the Bible and the second on the Holy Spirit. We had time for questions and answers at the end of each presentation. They were happy to learn these things, and there was little opposition to the messages.
After a good night’s rest we returned for another day of meetings. I first shared a message on the importance of leaving the cities, pointing out what the Bible says about the perils of city life. One text we read was Isaiah 5:8, which says, “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!” The meetings were held in the midst of the largest city in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo (being interpreted, “Holy Sunday”). The people seemed to appreciate the admonition.
I then shared a message on the death of Christ that was received well but brought up several questions, which the Bible answered for us. In the afternoon I shared a message on the history of the trinity doctrine, and then answered some of their questions. After answering questions about 1 John 5:7 I was asked about Matthew 28:19. While I was showing them the example given on the day of Pentecost concerning baptizing in Jesus’ name, they became very excited. They wanted more evidence, so we read all the remaining verses in the book of Acts concerning baptism, and found that every time the apostles baptized they used the name of Jesus rather than reciting the formula, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Everyone seemed convinced that Jesus was not giving a formula of words to be recited at baptism, but rather a commission to teach people, fully immersing them in the truth about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had taught them. Jesus said, “Teach all nations… Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) Jesus consistently taught that God is His Father, not a conglomeration of three persons. Jesus said that we must teach people the same thing. Since baptism is a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3, 4), it only makes sense that we should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
After seeing all of this in the Bible for themselves, almost everyone wanted to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They were very excited about the opportunity. I asked them if there was a river nearby, and they assured me there was, so everyone got ready to leave. After driving around for about two hours, seemingly lost a good bit of the time, we finally found a pristine section of the river, where a portion of it had been diverted to form a shallow pool about 1Ĺ-2 feet deep. The water was very clean, and over 20 people were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
The following day I took a bus to Santiago where I was invited to be interviewed on live television concerning the date 06-06-06. It was 06-05-06 so there was a lot of interest on this subject. The host asked me if the Bible indicated that any special event would occur on this date. I informed him and the audience that the Bible says the number 666 is the number of the beast, and the number of a man, not the number of a date. I said that it is just a coincidence that June 6, 2006 happens to have the numbers 666.
The host then asked me what this number represents. This gave me the opportunity to share with thousands of viewers that the beast represents the papacy, and the number refers to the number of a man’s name (Revelation 13:17, 18). I pointed out that the name on the pope’s crown, Vicarius Filii Dei, adds up to 666 in Roman numerals.
The host asked me if a microchip placed under the skin may be the mark of the beast. I then informed the audience that receiving the mark of the beast is a matter of worship (Revelation 13:12, 15), so it must involve breaking one of God’s Ten Commandments that deal with worship. I pointed out that the only commandments dealing with worship are the first four commandments, and the most likely commandment that the beast will try to get people to disobey is the commandment concerning worshiping God on the Sabbath day. I explained that the Catholic Church has already claimed that they have changed the solemnity of the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week. I also pointed out that there is a movement in the Protestant churches, as well as in the Catholic Church, to legislate Sunday observance.
After this, the host asked people viewing from home to call the station to ask me questions. Almost immediately the phone rang, and we continued to have calls until the end of the program. I was asked several questions about the mark of the beast, the number 666 and the Catholic Church. All of these questions were addressed on live television, and I heard that people were still calling the station the next day, asking questions. The Dominican Republic has a very large Catholic population, so I am sure the program peaked a lot of interest.
The following day I returned to Santo Domingo where I was to leave early in the morning to fly home.
Please pray for the brethren in the Dominican Republic. They are working hard to spread the gospel through literature, radio and television. We are praying that they will get a print shop started there very soon, and we are going to do what we can to help them.
Upcoming Meetings in Your Area
Here is the currently-planned 2006 itinerary for Lynnford Beachy:
July 7, 8 Asheville, North Carolina, contact Carl Felts, 828-667-8156.
July 9 Hickory, North Carolina, contact Dr. Herb Cole, 828-322-5316.
July 27-29 Southern Maine Camp Meeting, contact Mervin and Rose Marie Shoemaker, 207-892-2338.
July 31-Aug. 6 Germany Camp Meeting, contact us here at Smyrna.
August 7-20 Denmark, Romania, Hungary and Poland visit, contact us here at Smyrna. (This visit may change.)
September 1-4 Eastern Pennsylvania Spanish/Portuguese Camp Meeting, contact Pascual Flores, 347-232-4151 or 718-453-3550.
Nov. or Dec. Southern California Camp Meeting, contact us here at Smyrna.
Note: The camp meeting in Southern California is tentatively planned for this fall, but dates have not been finalized. More meetings are being planned for September- December. Between these meetings we will be available to visit people in their homes and to have additional meetings. Check upcoming issues of Present Truth (available on our website) to keep informed about these meetings and others in your area. Please contact us if you would like to host meetings in your area.
Something for the Young at Heart
This month we are printing the final study in our series of crossword Bible studies that are based on the “These Last Days” Bible Lessons. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sections—Across or Down is indicated at the end of each line.
When All Religions Unite
John saw three unclean spirits, like ____ come out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. Revelation 16:1314 Across
The false prophet had wrought ____. Revelation 19:204 Down
Note: Those activities are done by the second beast of Revelation 13, the United States of America. (Compare with Revelation 13:14.) When referred to as a “beast,” as in chapter 13, the focus is on the political government of the nation. But when referred to as a “false prophet,” the focus is unmistakably on the religious element of the country. The primary religion in the United States is Protestantism. Revelation 16:13, therefore, describes the ecumenical uniting of three classes of religion: Paganism, Catholicism, and Protestantism.
Many Protestants do not realize or fear the steady, rapid progress of the papal power. Downplaying their differences, Protestant leaders have begun to court the favor of Rome, slowly playing themselves into the hands of the system their fathers gave their lives to resist.
Note: Spiritualism is here depicted as one of the greatest deceptions in the last days. Spirits of devils, working miracles, may appear as ministers of righteousness, heavenly messengers, or as departed loved ones. (See the crossword Bible study entitled, What is a Soul, in the March 2004 issue of Present Truth, available by request or on our website.) These miracles, performed by the power of demons, will be presented as proof of their divine origin. Our only safeguard against deception is a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
The belief that the dead are conscious, as held by nearly every Protestant denomination, lays the foundation of spiritualism, and is the first great error through which Satan unites the people under his deceptions. This, along with the errors of Sunday sacredness and the trinity doctrine, unites the denominations and binds them with Rome.
Note: “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces.… Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought.” (Isaiah 8:9, 10)
Say not, A ____, but rather Sanctify the Lord of hosts and let Him be your fear. Isaiah 8:12, 1313 Across
John was shown the judgment of the great ____. Revelation 17:11 Down
Note: We learned in the crossword Bible study, Gods People (in the February 2006 issue of Present Truth), that a “woman” in symbolic prophecy represents a church or religious system. While a pure woman represents God’s true church, a whore is the most appropriate symbol for a corrupt religious system. (Jeremiah 3:1-8, 20; Ezekiel 16:15-43; Jeremiah 13:27)
Note: No religious organization has historically been as entangled with the kings of the earth as has the Roman papal system.
Note: In Matthew 9:17 Jesus used the figure of wine to refer to teachings or doctrines. The “wine” of Revelation 17:2, which makes people drunk, would indicate false or corrupt doctrines.
This woman was arrayed gorgeously and decked with ____ and precious stones, and is holding a golden cup. Revelation 17:48 Down
This woman is drunken with the ____ of the saints. Revelation 17:6 10 Down
She is called the ____ of harlots. Revelation 17:56 Across
Note: The Creed of Pope Pius IV, Article 10, states, “I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church for the mother and mistress of all churches.”
Note: “As is the mother, so is her daughter.” (Ezekiel 16:44) Those denominations that have come out of Catholicism, yet which cling to her doctrines and follow her worldly practices are described in no more pleasing terms than their mother.
I will kill her ____ with death. Revelation 2:235 Down
Another angel followed saying, Babylon is fallen, because she made all nations ____ of her wine. Revelation 14:811 Across
Note: This text calls for a wider interpretation of the term “Babylon.” Because this angel announces Babylon’s fall, he must be referring to a religion which was once pure and has now become corrupt. This Babylon cannot be Catholicism alone; for that system has not made any changes.
According to this verse, Babylon is identified by her “wine,” which is a product of her fornication with the world. That description would apply to any organization that teaches doctrines which are contrary to the word of God.
The word Babylon, derived from Babel, denotes confusion. (Genesis 11:9) Does not this term describe the innumerable conflicting sects of Protestantism? This second angel is sent to declare the moral fall of all denominations that have departed from the pure doctrines of the word of God.
Note: This angel declares that spiritualism has infiltrated modern churches. “For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” (Revelation 18:2)
Note: “The wine.” Among the false doctrines which all nations have drunk, the most serious is that of the trinity doctrine, which was designed by Satan to hide God’s love. Satan also used this false doctrine to cause people to worship a strange God instead of the true God of the Bible (Daniel 11:36-39), thus trampling upon God’s first commandment.
A sister doctrine that is nearly as dangerous, is Sunday observance, which tramples upon God’s fourth commandment.
“The kings of the earth.” Protestants are becoming increasingly involved in government affairs. This relationship of religious groups with the kings of the earth is threatening the wall of separation that must exist between church and state. When this wall is removed, the results are fearful.
“The merchants of the earth.” Bible prophecy predicts that economic factors will play a significant role in end-time religious political issues.
What a sad picture of modern religion. Although the Protestant reformers followed light they received, the organizations that bear their names have failed to advance into fuller light and have fallen from the purity of the faith which they once held.
The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection (Part 4)
by Alonzo T. Jones
(We are continuing a series of studies on Gods plan of salvation as revealed in the sanctuary. We pray they will be a blessing to you. Editor)
Chapter 7—The Law of Heredity
“The Word was made flesh.” (John 1:14)
“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” (Galatians 4:4)
“And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
We have seen that in His being made of a woman, Christ reached sin at the very fountain head of its entrance into this world and that He must be made of a woman to do this. Also there was laid upon Him the iniquity, in the actual sins, of us all.
Thus all the sin of this world, from its origin in the world to the end of it in the world, was laid upon Him—both sin as it is in itself and sin as it is when committed by us; sin in its tendency and sin in the act: sin as it is hereditary in us, uncommitted by us; and sin as it is committed by us.
Only thus could it be that there should be laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. Only by His subjecting Himself to the law of heredity could He reach sin in full and true measure as sin truly is. Without this there could be laid upon Him our sins which have been actually committed, with the guilt and condemnation that belong to them. But beyond this there is in each person, in many ways, the liability to sin inherited from generations back which has not yet culminated in the act of sinning but which is ever ready, when occasion offers, to blaze forth in the actual committing of sins. David’s great sin is an illustration of this. (Psalm 51:5; 2 Samuel 11:2)
In delivering us from sin, it is not enough that we shall be saved from the sins that we have actually committed; we must be saved from committing other sins. And that this may be so, there must be met and subdued this hereditary liability to sin; we must become possessed of power to keep us from sinning—a power to conquer this liability, this hereditary tendency that is in us to sin.
All our sins which we have actually committed were laid upon Him, were imputed to Him, so that His righteousness may be laid upon us, may be imputed to us. Also our liability to sin was laid upon Him, in His being made flesh, in His being born of a woman, of the same flesh and blood as we are, so that His righteousness might be actually manifested in us as our daily life.
Thus He met sin in the flesh which He took and triumphed over it, as it is written: “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3) And again: “He is our peace,… having abolished in His flesh the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14, 15)
And thus, just as our sins actually committed were imputed to Him that His righteousness might be imputed to us, so His meeting and conquering in the flesh the liability to sin and in that same flesh manifesting righteousness, enables us in Him, and Him in us, to meet and conquer in the flesh this same liability to sin and to manifest righteousness in the same flesh.
And thus it is that for the sins which we have actually committed, for the sins that are past, His righteousness is imputed to us, as our sins were imputed to Him. And to keep us from sinning His righteousness is imparted to us in our flesh as our flesh, with its liability to sin, was imparted to Him. Thus He is the complete Saviour. He saves from all the sins that we have actually committed and saves equally from all the sins that we might commit dwelling apart from Him.
If He took not the same flesh and blood that the children of men have with its liability to sin, then where could there be any philosophy or reason of any kind whatever in His genealogy as given in the Scriptures? He was descended from David; He was descended from Abraham; He was descended from Adam and, by being made of a woman, He reached even back of Adam to the beginning of sin in the world.
In that genealogy there are Jehoiakim, who for his wickedness was “buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 22:19); Manasseh, who caused Judah to do “worse than the heathen” (2 Chronicles 33:9); Ahaz, who “made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD” (2 Chronicles 28:19); Rehoboam, who was born of Solomon after Solomon turned from the Lord; Solomon himself, who was born of David and Bathsheba; there are also Ruth the Moabitess and Rahab; as well as Abraham, Isaac, Jesse, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah: the worst equally with the best. And the evil deeds of even the best are recorded equally with the good. And in this whole genealogy there is hardly one whose life is written upon at all of whom there is not some wrong act recorded.
Now it was at the end of such a genealogy as that that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) It was at the end of such a genealogy as that that “He was made of a woman.” (Galatians 4:4) It was in such a line of descent as that that God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” (Romans 8:3) And such a descent, such a genealogy, meant something to Him, as it does to every other man, under the great law that the iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations. It meant everything to Him in the terrible temptations in the wilderness of temptation, as well as all the way through His life in the flesh.
Thus, both by heredity and by imputation, He was laden with the sins of the world. And, thus laden, at this immense disadvantage He passed triumphantly over the ground where at no shadow of any disadvantage whatever, the first pair failed.
By His death He paid the penalty of all sins actually committed, and thus can justly bestow His righteousness upon all who choose to receive it. And by condemning sin in the flesh, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, He delivers from the power of the law of heredity and so can, in righteousness, impart His divine nature and power to lift above that law, and hold above it, every soul that receives Him.
And so it is written: “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4) And “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for [on account of] sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3, 4) And “He is our peace,… having abolished in His flesh the enmity,… for to make in Himself of twain [God and man] one new man, so making peace.” (Ephesians 2:14, 15)
Thus, “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.… For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17, 18)
Whether temptation be from within or from without, He is the perfect shield against it all; and so saves them “to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” (Hebrews 7:25)
God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, Christ taking our nature as our nature is in its sinfulness and degeneracy, and God dwelling constantly with Him and in Him in that nature—in this God has demonstrated to all people forever that there is no soul in this world so laden with sins or so lost that God will not gladly dwell with him and in him to save him from it all and to lead him in the way of the righteousness of God.
And so certainly is His name Emmanuel, which is, “God with us.”
(To be continued)
(This article was taken from pages 40-44 of the book, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, by Alonzo T. Jones. Some editing has been done for this publication. Editor)
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