Thursday, November 4, 2021

Are You But A Traditionalist?

Greetings Friends! Our Friends in Singapore, Ireland, Portugal, Honduras, and all throughout the United States of America. Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries, I’m Leonard V. Johnson!

Why in this world is there such grave religious confusion!? Also, why in these worldly churches do they look to a different Jesus than the living Jesus Christ of God’s living word!?

Now, did I lose you on that one!? Well, if you’ve ever entered into a traditional church building – i.e. the Roman Catholic Church – they have on their walls a Jesus hanging on a cross, or “a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”!? Do they truly understand and believe that the Jesus of Nazareth – the living Son of God, the soon-coming King of kings and Lord of lords – has been resurrected and is alive in full glory at the right-hand side of God the Father in the upper heavenly realms!? – cf. Romans 8:34. Because if they do – they don’t show it! Besides, the LORD God (the very Personal Being that would later become known as Jesus Christ) commands us NOT to make any graven image or any likeness of Him – cf. Exodus 21:4-6 – yet, they do!

Why is the very message that our Lord Jesus Christ brought from God the Father NOT being proclaimed in these worldly churches!? Now, last month, I had typed up a second part to a series of “personals” of which I am doing, and I speak of “What Gospel”!? As I said, over forty years ago I proved to myself – beyond any doubt – that these worldly churches are proclaiming a different gospel (“which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” – Galatians 1:7) than the gospel He brought from Father God.

Now, I have had people become downright belligerent and explosive with me when I explain to them the actual gospel message that Jesus brought and taught because they believe just the opposite. But, I’ve also had people be totally gobsmacked! Most of our peoples are but religious traditionalists!

Recall, the Lord Jesus answered the traditionalists of His day –

’ Well 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) And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’ 

8) For laying aside the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, you hold the tradition of men …’ – Mark 7:6-7, 8, NKJV throughout, unless otherwise noted.

The majority of our peoples today are conformed to ‘the traditions of men.’

Sadly, the majority of this world’s “traditional Christianity” is but from paganism. And, paganism is defined in the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as –
pa•gan \’pā-gən\ n [ME, fr. LL paganus, fr. L, country dweller, fr. pagus country district; akin to L pangere to fix __ more at PACT] (14c) 1: HEATHEN 1: esp: a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome).1
A follower of polytheism – the belief of many gods - as in the ancient Romans and Greeks.

So, I ask – will you open your ears to what the Spirit has to say!? And, open your eyes to what God’s living word has to say!? I want to take you through just what our Lord Jesus Christ taught, what He brought from the Father. And, so many of our peoples will but say – like a Roman Catholic vehemently said to me once – “That’s Jewish! O’ well, I speak to God in my own way!” As he proudly announced, “I am a Roman Catholic!”

Now, our Lord Jesus Christ indeed said that “’ for salvation is of the Jews’” – John 4:22b. But, we know that the glorious message He brought was the very message that was accepted and believed by Gentile converts – too.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek [or rather, the Gentile] – Romans 1:16.

And, from the very beginning of the Church which Jesus Christ built – they have held to the doctrines taught in His living word. And those who were Gentiles gave up their heathen ways so that many today might believe!

Turning to the Book of Mark chapter 8, we see that our Lord Jesus Christ (the Son of Man) would be –

“ … killed, and after three days rise again” – Mark 8:31.

Now, I have spoken of this at length in such articles as “It is a sign,” but there is absolutely NO WAY to get three days and three nights from a Friday sunset – what so many people call “Good Friday” sunset burial – to a Sunday morning sunrise! THERE IS NO WAY! Yet, what do the churches of this world teach? They teach that He died on a Friday and He was resurrected on a Sunday morning.

Now, our Lord Jesus clearly says –

’ A wicked and adulterous generation [and certainly a spiritually adulterous generation] seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40) For as Jonah was THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the heart of the earth’ – Matthew 12:39-40.

Our Lord Jesus was crucified on WEDNESDAY, the middle day of the week. He died shortly after 3 p.m. that afternoon, was buried before sunset Wednesday evening. His body was Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights in the grave – three nights. It also was there through the daylight part of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – three days. He rose Saturday – the Sabbath – late afternoon, shortly before sunset.

All peoples of the world should say – as I said to myself over forty years ago – “The traditions of all these churches in this world surely can’t be wrong!”? Because it can bring about a light-bulb moment!

Well, either they’re wrong or God’s living word is wrong, and our Lord Jesus Christ is wrong!

Now, in my library in the office here, I have a Catholic Challoner-Rheims Version of the Bible; one of the items my wife received after the death of her grandmother – and turning to Matthew 12:39-40 it says precisely just what I had quoted Him saying from the New King James Version. So, even though they see it with their own eyes, tradition couldn’t be wrong.

As I said earlier - the majority of our peoples today are conformed to ‘the traditions of men.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ was NOT a traditionalist. “ … in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’

Are you a religious traditionalist!?

Do you believe in just conforming to this world, or to these worldly churches’ traditions and laws!? Well, most people have.

Those that followed our Lord Jesus Christ had to brave terrible tribulations – and the things that others thought. He DID NOT teach what others believed. He DID NOT teach the traditions and customs of the innumerable denominations – even of His day.

The apostle Paul says in the Book of Romans –

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, …” – Romans 12:2.

That is the teaching of God! “be not conformed to this world.” Now, he was speaking to the Church that had been established there in Rome – and they were not all Jewish brethren.

He began in chapter 12 by saying –

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice …” – verse 1.

People didn’t want to do that then in the first century – and they don’t want to do that today. The majority of our peoples want to be conformed to this world; they want to be like everyone else. Well, God’s living word says – ’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ when they awaken and discover that they had been lied to.

The apostle John has told us, “many false prophets have gone out into the world” – 1 John 4:1. And I warn you this day – you had better find out just who are these false prophets!

Now, at your Sunday keeping church, do you do that!? There were a great many false prophets and teachers in the first century as there is today. How would you recognize a false prophet or teacher if you saw one!?

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us, ’ You will know them by their fruits’ – Matthew 7:16. In other words, by the fruits of their character.

Religious prejudism is very difficult to get out of the mind of many people – when they have been conformed.

The religious things that you believe – you didn’t believe them when you were born. You have grown up acquiring your religious beliefs because you heard them.

Now, I’m going to tell you a story. Back in 1992, I was told by a friend that I had been conformed to Armstrongism. At first, I was a bit befuddled, but then when my head cleared, I began to have a deep desire within myself to know whether he was right! “Was it true,” I thought to myself, “that I had just accepted and conformed to what I had heard!?” So, I was challenged – “Was the religion that I had heard in my youth nothing more than Christian fundamentalism!?”

Well, I have come to understand – based on forty years of involvement, interaction, Scriptural study, and hearing what God’s Spirit says – that the Church of God from my youth was based upon biblical truths and partial truths - there were some teachings that were not based upon a proper understanding of God’s living word. I’ve had nearly thirty years to think upon this. I had to begin to seriously contemplate and follow biblical truths and to distinguish them, to differentiate them, from biblical errors.

Recall, in the Authorized Version the apostle Paul tells us, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV. And, this certainly means to prove God’s Word!

But, I think I’m getting a little off subject here – let’s get back to Romans chapter 12 -

“ … present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And DO NOT be conformed to this world, …” – verses 1, 2a.

Here is a grave admonishment to us from the apostle Paul! – which is inspired by God!

“All Scripture [Greek graphē, meaning – holy, authoritative collection of writings] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” – 2 Timothy 3:16. 2

“ … but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, …” – verse 2.

And, this is the changing of your mind – this is getting all of these pagan doctrines, superstitions, errors, and false teachings that we have swallowed hook, line, and sinker all of our lives out of our mind! – i.e. the worldly holiday and the celebration of All Hallows’ Day – or rather Halloween!

Renewing our mind and receiving the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God – ’ And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ – John 8:32.

“ … that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” – verse 2b.

Now, just how many of our peoples all around the world truly want this today!? Well, I hope and pray that you do!

True servants of the LORD our God certainly need to talk plainly and boldly in this end-time, a world of such religious confusion – with all these worldly churches teaching something different.

Do you believe Jesus Christ!?

So, getting back to ‘three days and three nights,’ Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly said, ’ Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’ – John 2:19. The Jews (the traditionalists) didn’t believe Him – nor did they even understand what He was speaking about!

We are given the definition of just what a day is in Genesis chapter 1 –

“God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night” – verse 5.

And, both the Day and the Night is a twenty-four hour period of time! Our Lord Jesus confirms this by saying – “ …’ Are there not twelve hours in the day? …’

A great many of our peoples use this passage to preach what they want – and to mark out the other passages such as Matthew chapter 12:38-40!

Note: Leofranc Holford-Stevens, the author of the book The History of Time, as well as any good encyclopedia, shows us that it was always custom to end and to begin days at sunset – until a few hundred years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, the ‘third day’ includes three dark periods called Night, and three light periods called Day – ‘three days and three nights’ – a total of 72 hours! So, again, no matter how you cut it – you CAN NOT get ‘three days and three nights’ out of Friday sunset to Sunday morning!

Now, this was the ONLY sign that He gave that He was (and is) the Savior of all mankind. And I tell you the majority of our peoples DON’T BELIEVE HIM! They worship another Jesus! Whether they realize it or not. It’s just like the little Sunday-keeping ‘Open-Bible Church’ I visited back in 2014 – O’ they’re sincere. They are beautiful people. The people mean right, they’ve just been deceived. But, I think they are wholly sincere, and I know that God loves them and that the truth of God is the only thing that will make them free.

So, unless your eyes can be opened to the living truth of God – then you are a victim of a great conspiracy! A conspiracy which began, for sure, in the garden of Eden with the deceiving of Eve! A conspiracy which tried to enter into the Church of God at its infancy by Simon Magus – the first pope of Rome! – cf. Acts 8:9-24.

Although we here at the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches consider Justin Martyr a heretic, he was one of the first post-biblical writers to record statements about Simon Magus – the magician from Samaria. The Samaritans literally worshipped him as “’ this man,’ they said ‘is that power of God which is called “The Great Power”’ – verse 10, NEB. Imagine it! They called him god in the flesh! – cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

Justin mentions him in his First Apology:
“And, thirdly, because after Christ's ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome:

“Simoni Deo Sancto,”

“To Simon the holy God.”

And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; …” 3
Well, the blending of biblical truth with the ancient Babylonian mystery religion and a sprinkling of Greek philosophy is some of which the Roman Catholic Church and her daughter churches throughout the world accept – to a very large degree – and is what is considered “Christianity” today.

And, throughout these some 1,960 years (conservatively from 61 AD), we have been born into such a world, and the greater majority of us have accepted it, swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. And, there are truly good people, sincere people, who have just been deceived. And, it is a hard thing for human nature to admit that it is wrong. And to come to a place in one’s life where they have to renew their mind and to begin seeing the living truth of God, no longer being conformed to the religions of the world. To give themselves over to God, with an open mind, by the glorious power of God’s Holy Spirit, a spirit of a sound mind, and to see the real truth of God.

Let’s continue here in the Book of Mark chapter 8 –

“He [Jesus Christ] spoke the word openly. …” – saying that He would be crucified, and that after ‘three days’ He would rise again.

“ … Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him” – verse 32.

So, here was the apostle Peter rebuking the very Son of God! And note that just before this our Lord Jesus Christ had asked Peter, ’ But who do you say that I AM?’ And Peter “answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ’” – the Son of the living God! – see also Matthew 16:15; Luke 9:20. And our Lord Jesus said to him, ’ Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’ 

Now, we are giving you the very living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God – will you allow God to open your mind!? Will you allow Him to open your heart and rid you of any preconceived prejudices!?

So, our Lord Jesus Christ – the very Son of the living God – said that openly, and Peter rebuked Him for it. Understand – the apostle Peter had not been converted yet.

“But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’ – verse 33.

And, that – to a large degree – is the trouble with this world’s ministers today. They are minding the things of men, they are conformed to this world and its religions. Case in point: the Baptist churches in my area put on what they like to call “Trunk or Treat” for their Halloween celebration. THEY WANT TO FOLLOW MEN AND NOT TO FOLLOW GOD! Like what the prophet Elijah stated, “If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him.” But, if you truly follow God, you’ll be persecuted, you’ll be unpopular, you’ll even be hated – cf. Matthew 10:22.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” – 2 Timothy 3:12.

When you were celebrating this “Trunk or Treat,” did you suffer persecution!? “’ But all these things, they will do to you for My name’s sake, …’” Persecution for the belief of Christ Jesus! Persecution for His doctrine, His gospel, for all the things which He taught! Have you accepted His doctrine, His teachings – becoming a part of you to the extent that it offends the world!? Because the world is offended at God’s living truth! 


Because – “ …’ this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds [are] evil’ – John 3:19.

Men as a whole don’t like to be reproved. You have to admit that you have been wrong! You have to change your mind – for that is what true repentance is. This precedes even the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Savior!

Now, sadly, the larger majority of our peoples are trying to enter through a backdoor or ‘climb up some other way’ to salvation – cf. John 10:1. Like what Oprah Winfrey has been promoting, “There are many ways to God!” But there IS NOT any salvation in any of that! But, as our Lord Jesus Christ is clear in saying, ’ No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day’ – meaning the resurrection.

The apostle Peter came to understand, and proclaim – “there is no other name [but the name JESUS CHRIST] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” – Acts 4:12.

Eternal life is a gift of God – there being only ONE WAY - not the gift of any man or group with their wrong ideologies or focus.

Deny Thyself

So, here it was that the apostle Peter was minding the things of men – not of God. What about us!? Let us “run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.” Let each of us look in the mirror and see what we see.

“When He [Jesus Christ] had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’ – verse 34.

Now, this means also to disown your preconceived ideas and prejudices, and religious beliefs – of which you have just taken for granted without proof because it’s tradition. Understand – this world and its religions (which is Satan’s World) is going the WRONG WAY! Yet – and let us all THANK GOD – ’ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in [and on] Him should NOT PERISH but have everlasting life’ – John 3:16. He just isn’t forcing anyone to come to His living Truth, Word, and Plan in this world. 

Jesus says, ’ My kingdom is not of this world.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ is soon coming again – and then He is going to enforce the very eternal and immutable and very relevant Law of God and Way of God upon the world. For the Kingdom of God – the very government of God – will be set up in our time and in our generation on this earth!

Now, 1,991 years have passed – and our LORD God had allotted man 6,000 years to make their own decisions, their own governments, their own way – Recall, the LORD our God said to Adam and Eve, “’ Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, …” – well, man took unto themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil.

“ … ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, …’ – what!? “ … ‘deny himself, …’

Now also, there was “a certain ruler [a Jew] asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” And, to point out that the commandments He speaks of are God’s and not the Sanhedrin’s, He quotes some – “ … ‘You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ The certain ruler says, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” And, surely, with 603 additional ones.

“So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell [which certainly also means "deny"] all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’

Have you denied thyself!? Have you – as Abraham did – left your ‘father’s house’!? Have you taken up your cross!? And it will be a cross if you truly follow Jesus Christ! Recall our Lord Jesus Christ says, “’ Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. …’

And, think of this – every year men ignorantly sing “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” with the line – “of peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”!

“ … ‘I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household’ – Matthew 10:34-36.

Now, this is all throughout His living word!

Now I tell you – with all the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ – this world’s “Traditional Christianity” is NOT teaching you to follow Jesus Christ today! As an example: Our Lord Jesus Christ DID NOT keep any Christmas, or Easter, or even any New Year’s Eve! “O’,” you exclaim, “we want to follow the traditions of the world!” Those all originated from paganism. And, I tell you this day the majority of those calling themselves “Christian” don’t follow Him! They don’t observe the customs He did. And, they would be aghast to keep the seventh-day Sabbath along with the commanded annual feasts of the LORD – calling them ‘Jewish holidays.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “ …follow Me!” So, why don’t you look into your own life and then see what He did – and follow Him! Now, many think, preach and teach that one shouldn’t teach what the apostle Paul taught. Now, let it be known – I have come across in my research a great many churches of this world downright rejecting the apostle Paul. 

The Swedenborgian Church of North America (aka The New Church) does not include Paul’s writings in its bible – called the Arcana Coelestria. Also, a very demented Exodus 2 The Kingdom, an online blog, declares (with no subtlety) Paul to be Antichrist and rejects all Pauline writings. And, comments suggest that there are at least some people who agree! Of course, there are many more!

But, you will find that what the beloved apostle Paul taught was exactly the same that our Lord Jesus Christ did – and the example that Paul followed, exactly the same as our Lord Jesus Christ!

Two Groups

Friends, wake up and see the truth! And I know that will bring a lot of persecution of course. People are so prejudiced about what God’s living word actually teaches. And I ask you – is it not clear that there are, even today, two groups!?

What I mean by “groups” is that essentially, there were the true Christians – that had a direct connection to the apostle's John and Philip within Asia Minor, and then there were others which were associated with the Greco-Roman confederation of churches that began to emerge even in the first century in Alexandria, Jerusalem, and in Rome.

All throughout the New Testament, we can certainly see that God’s living word teaches that there would be two groups – each claiming Jesus. One true and the other false.

Notice that our Lord Jesus says –

’ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom [from] heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? 23) And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:21-23.

So, notice that there were to be two groups calling Jesus ‘Lord.’ One group that does the will of God the Father in heaven and the other which practices lawlessness.

In around 60 AD, the apostle Paul told the brethren there in Ephesus –

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18) having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” – Ephesians 4:17-18.

Yet, certain ones DID NOT heed his admonishment!

He also wrote in the first century –

“For the mystery of lawlessness is ALREADY at work; …” – 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

Sadly, very few properly understand the “mystery of lawlessness” which was already at work in the first century. The “mystery of lawlessness” is related to what I have been speaking about – “Traditional Christianity,” professing Christians who believe that they DO NOT need to keep God’s Ten Commandments, and etc. – and so while they believe that they have a form of God’s Law, they are not keeping the religion that our Lord Jesus Christ nor His apostles would recognize as legitimate.

In the fourth century there continued to be a separation of the two groups. Yet, one group obtained considerable Imperial favor after the sun-worshiping emperor claimed to have had a vision – Minister Michael C. Garrett speaks of this in the free PDF online booklet “Prophecy Series – The Last Crusade” page 5 – and in around 332 Emperor Constantine I decided to issue his “Edict Against Heresies” which resulted in the utter persecution of those who professed Jesus Christ who was not part of his group.

So, both groups, with all their numerous parts, have existed throughout this evil present age.

Both groups exist today.

Which group are you in!? □


1) Webster, M. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition, Merriam-Webster’s Incorporated, 1996, pg. 834.
2) Note: The Greek is never used of writings in general, but only of the sacred Scriptures. The New English Bible renders this as “Every inspired scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, …”
3) Justin. First Apology, Chapter XXVI. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight.

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