Saturday, January 27, 2024

What is the TRUE GOSPEL?

Just what is the true Gospel that our Lord Jesus Christ preached? Did the apostle Paul preach a different gospel to the Gentiles? Here, made plain, is the truth about – what Gospel.

by Leonard V Johnson

During His ministry, our Lord Jesus Christ explained to His disciples (Luke 19:11-27) that He (this ‘certain nobleman’ in His parable) “ … ‘went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom …’” But that He would first have to return to God the Father in the upper heavenly realms – “ … ‘and to return.’”

Now, in the Book of Daniel, the 7th chapter is a vision that describes this coronation –

“I watched in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days [God the Father], And they brought Him near before Him, 14) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed” – Daniel 7:13-15.

In the upper heavenly realm, He will be given, officially, this Kingship; and there will supervise the Work of God in preparing and training brethren for His kingdom – to be co-rulers in His Government.

Jesus Christ’s Ministry

In the Book of Mark chapter 1 we read –

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And, this beginning began with the work of John the Baptist. He prepared the Way for Jesus Christ’s ministry, or mission, of which God the Father had given Him.

“As it is written in the Prophets …” – as in the Book of Isaiah.

“ … ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 3) ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the Way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’

Then follows the very beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry –

Verse 14 – “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15) and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in [obey] the gospel.’”

But, repent from what!? Repent of sin! In the 1st Book of John, we learn just what sin is –

“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” - 1 John 3:4.

Lawlessness against the Government of God!

Let us notice that our Lord Jesus Christ says that it is necessary that one repents! He also says that it is necessary for one to believe! Not only to believe in and on Him – but also to believe the gospel message.

What Gospel?

Back in the spring of 2018, a man on Facebook tried to tell me “the gospel that should be preached now is the Gospel of grace of God.” He also went on to say, “the gospel of the kingdom will be preached again after the rapture to Israel before the second coming. We cannot preach the gospel of the kingdom now because that was meant for the lost sheep of the house of Israel only.”

But, is this correct!? No.

Today, as it was so long ago (cf. Galatians 1:6-9), many preach a different gospel – “which is not another.” Some call what they preach, “the gospel of salvation,” “the gospel of the grace of God,” or even “the gospel of Proven Principles and of Winning Formulas,” “the gospel of Church and Christian Ministry,” along with “the gospel of the Great Man,” “the gospel of reincarnation,” “the gospel of political ideology.” Or even the Seventh-day Adventists’ “the gospel of the Three Angels”! Then, there’s the gospel, or rather the message, about going off to heaven. Then there are those who preach about Christ only – about His title. Now, they may call it the gospel of Christ – but none of these are the gospel that JESUS CHRIST taught and preached!

On the Internet it is replete with church organizations, of all kinds, falsely proclaiming “the fact that there are different gospels”! Which truly flies in the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as all the original apostles! One particular blasphemous site’s tagline reads – “Rightly dividing our walk!”

Now, our Lord Jesus Christ was crystal clear concerning just what gospel to believe and obey – “ … ‘the kingdom of God …’” The gospel of the kingdom of God! Our Lord Jesus Christ preached the gospel – the good news – of the soon-coming kingdom of God. The very Government of God which will be implemented upon the earth!

This is how we state just what gospel our Lord Jesus Christ brought and taught from God the Father –
“The very word “gospel” means good news. The Gospel is the wonderful, good news Message of God’s Master Plan of salvation for all mankind through the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ – “the Christ, the Son of the living God” – cf. Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20.

The New Testament calls this Message the Gospel of grace. The Gospel of grace is the good news that Jesus Christ is the Savior – the Messiah – of the world and that through His blood all who repent and believe on Him may have their sins forgiven and may enter into the family of God. The Gospel is also a Message about the soon-coming kingdom of God on EARTH.

It is the glorious, good news that when Jesus Christ returns to the earth, He will set up His kingdom – His government. He will rule all nations as King of kings and Lord of lords. The saints who are given eternal life at the first resurrection – who are changed from mortal to immortal – will be co-heirs with Christ and will be given authority to rule His kingdom as kings and priests alongside Jesus Christ. Through preaching the Gospel, God is preparing saints for His kingdom by calling those whom He chooses to repentance and conversion.”
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you rightly understand, clearly, just WHAT gospel our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brought from God the Father! Also, just WHAT gospel was sent unto the Gentiles. In the spring of 1981, I came to rightly understand that this world’s “traditional Christianity” teaches and preaches different gospels! Certainly, this is something each individual has to prove to themselves! And, your Bible says that Satan the devil has ‘deceived the whole world!’ – Revelation 12:9.

Now, our Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself –

“ … ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, …’” – John 5:19a. And, “’ I can of Myself do nothing’” – vs. 30. Along with, “ … ‘The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works’” – John 14:10b. And, continuing He says, “’ Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; …’” – and speaking mostly of the end-time prophets He adds, 2 “ … ‘and greater works than these he will do, …’”

“’ the Spirit of truth, [which] the world cannot receive, … for [It] dwells with you and will be IN you’” – John 14:12, 17.

So, at the very beginning of His WORK OF GOD, our Lord Jesus Christ taught His twelve disciples, which God the Father had called unto Him (cf. John 17:24) the very Message given to Him by His Father concerning the soon-coming Kingdom of God.

Then, after 3 ½ years, our Lord Jesus finished that initial phase of the Work of God, which Father had given Him to do. In His final prayer to Father, He says, “’ I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do’” – John 17:4.

Note: Daniel 9:27, a two-fold prophecy, speaks of a remaining 3 ½ years of an end-time work. I briefly mention this in the article “Satan’s World” section ‘Satan’s sign and lying wonders’. Minister Garrett also writes concerning this –
“Daniel 9 gives us a clue: Contains what is often referred to as the SEVENTY WEEKS PROPHECY. Verse 27 – Remember, verse 25 we see the word “Messiah.” That’s who we’re talking about here in verse 27. The “he,” who – JESUS CHRIST – “he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;”

Which in Bible parlance, one day for a year – this is SEVEN YEARS. “But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” Now, who was the ultimate sacrifice!? Jesus Christ. When did He die!? When was He executed!? He was executed on a WEDNESDAY, in the middle of the week. And, His human life ended after 3½ years of His public ministry. It was SEVEN YEARS He was supposed to have a very special dispensation. And He lived upon this earth for 3½ years, it begs the question: What became of the other 3½ years!? Well, the other 3½ years will be fulfilled in those events upon His return and for 3½ years the Millennium doesn’t really start, UNTIL AFTER 3½ years. Because Jesus Christ for 3½ years, is, as it were, remolding and reshaping the Earth – the people of the Earth. He’s getting the attitudes right. We are told “as a Rod of Iron.” And, Jesus Christ WILL wield that club, and we as members of the resurrected Family of GOD WILL in part wield that club, and here’s a part of the story – God uses the physical people of Israel as a part of His club. That’s a part of the story which has NEVER been told.” 

(Garrett, M.C. Notes Concerning the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, 28 Sept. 2019, pgs. 16-17).
However, just prior to our Lord Jesus Christ finishing that initial phase of the Work of God, He had said to His disciples, “’ Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send [It] to you’” – John 16:7.

So, after our Savior, Lord, and Master – Elder Brother – ascended to the very THRONE OF GOD, the very seat of the Government of the entire universe, He sent His Spirit. 3 And, about fifty days later – “when the Day of Pentecost had fully come” the Spirit of God was sent! And then His disciples became apostles!

Then, “having been built on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets [of the Old Testament], Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20) He built His Church. “In whom the WHOLE BUILDING, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (vs. 21) – which is composed of those called and begotten children of God who have received, and in who is dwelling, God’s Holy Spirit – they are the spiritual temple of God.

Now, the head of Jesus Christ’s Church is not – and never has been – any man, but it’s always been the living Jesus Christ!

Why the Church?

Notice that the Church is called “His Body” – “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23) which IS HIS BODY, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” – Ephesians 1:22-23.

Just why is His Church called “the Body of Christ”!? – see also Ephesians 4:12; 5:30; Colossians 1:24; 1st Corinthians 10:17; 12:27; Romans 12:5.

Well, because it is the SAME POWER that had worked mightily in our Lord Jesus Christ’s human physical body which then entered the collective body of His Church. The Church, led by JESUS CHRIST from the upper heavenly realm after His resurrection unto glory – which was led by the apostles who had been taught and trained directly from Jesus Christ, becoming the COLLECTIVE BODY empowered by God’s Spirit – is today still being led by JESUS CHRIST from the upper heavenly realm – CARRYING ON THE LIVING WORK OF GOD!

And, that work, initially, was the divine commission. Notice this –

“ … ‘Go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the gospel to every creature’” – Mark 16:15. The word “creature” in Greek is ktisis, meaning, “creation or governmental institution.” Along with, “’ Go therefore and make disciples of [meaning, teach] all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; …’” – Matthew 28:19, 20.

Minister Guy C. LaMar has given a very informative sermon entitled “The Goal Of The Church” which certainly speaks volumes of God’s living truth! We are reminded that since God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), His divine commission for His Church has not changed.

Many within this world’s “traditional Christianity” falsely teach that our Lord Jesus Christ turned over the Church to the apostle Peter (cf. Matthew 16:17-19) – to a human successor as voted by men. But God’s living word distinctly says, “And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, …” – Colossians 1:18. See also Ephesians 4:15; 5:23.

Just what is the purpose of Jesus Christ’s Church – even in this 21st-century world!? Well, in a nutshell – it is the same as it was in the 1st century! –

“For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST, 13) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” – Ephesians 4:12-13.

And, again, just what gospel did the original apostles proclaim!? It was – and is – the gospel of the Kingdom of God! Let’s go through some of the Scriptures that prove this –

“These TWELVE Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7) And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom [from] heaven is at hand’” – Matthew 10:5-6.

Minister Michael C. Garrett teaches an enlightening truth regarding “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” –
“This is an end-time prophecy! Even though the story started out in about 30 AD, the story became a prophecy for the end-time. … Now, think about that phrase, ‘lost sheep.’ Jesus said, ‘feed My sheep.’ Now in one sense, the physical people of Israel are the ‘lost sheep.’ But in an even more spiritual, more heightened, more intense meaning, I think Jesus Christ might very well be saying, ‘Go to the lost Church members.’ ‘Go to those people who thought they were in a good organization, they didn’t realize their leaders were corrupt and their doctrines were impure – or highly compromised.’ ‘Go to those lost sheep!’ I think it has a double meaning!” 

“He sent them to preach the kingdom of God …” – Luke 9:2.

“ … ‘and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” – Luke 10:9b.

“ … and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” – Acts 1:3b.

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, …” – Acts 8:12.

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God” – Acts 19:8.

“ … among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, …” – Acts 20:25.

“ … and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, …” – Acts 28:23.

“preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ …” – Acts 28:31.

“for the kingdom of God is not …” – Romans 14:17.

“For the kingdom of God is not …” – 1 Corinthians 4:20a.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” – 1 Corinthians 6:9. See also verse 10.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; …” – 1 Corinthians 15:50.

“ … those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” – Galatians 5:21b.

“For this you know, that no fornicator [whoremonger, meaning “pornos – one who is sexually immoral], unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” – Ephesians 5:5.

“ … These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God …” – Colossians 4:11b.

“ … that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, …” – 2 Thessalonians 1:5.

“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God [God the Father], and the power of His Christ [Jesus the Christ] have come, …” – Revelation 12:10.

And, let us always be reminded, that the apostle Paul WARNED that a DOUBLE CURSE would be pronounced on anyone preaching any different gospel – Galatians 1:8-9.

We – built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone – continue to bring you the great and awesome message of God - which is based upon the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God. Our mission and our purpose is to follow the admonition of Jesus Christ, when He said, “’ FEED MY SHEEP!’” We do the will of God the Father and Jesus Christ - to preach the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ, of His forgiveness, of His atoning sacrifice, of the opportunity for all of us, to have Jesus Christ as our great High Priest and to live under the promises of the New Covenant, and to someday be a part of the glorious Kingdom of God! □


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Again I say, Unity!

In the Book of Revelation, with the Apostle John’s vision of our Lord Jesus Christ, are a series of seven short letters written to SEVEN churches in Asia Minor, corresponding with modern-day Turkey – Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

Now, the Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches were written over a period of fourteen years to SEVEN churches scattered throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome.

Each church had its own issues. Each was an individual church with the same Trunk of the Tree foundation and doctrine.

They were all from the Church of God but were in various locations. Each was run in ways that had obviously mild differences – but still within the established doctrinal guideline (cf. Jude 1:3).

The Body of Christ is from ONE TRUNK OF THE TREE, but with many branches. These branches are in various areas, but all are connected to the Trunk of the Tree – our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church of God can be composed of 2 or 3 people who’ve come together in the same Spirit, in the worship of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth, and in fellowshipping. A group of spiritually like-minded people equals a Church family.

Throughout the world, many groups are doing their part by the portion of God’s Spirit that has been gifted to them. Each may grow to be stronger or weaker in a particular area in the glorious service of the LORD God (the family of God, at this time composed of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ). Sometimes one may go from one particular group and then “graduate” to a stronger and wiser-led group.

God the Father does the calling (cf. John 6:44). The LORD God brings who’s needed to each particular group. By Their indwelling of Their Spirit within the individual.

With that said, and with what our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us, ’you will know them by their fruits,’ we regard all churches of God that are led by the glorious Holy Spirit and who strive to help others with their spiritual knowledge and growth.

I, personally, won’t debate the matter, should someone be haughty in their thinking, that this or that group is the ONLY ONE and the rest are not. The groups who have a portion of God’s Spirit will be shining their light before men (cf. Matthew 5:14). The Spirit of Truth will be reminding them of all things that our Lord Jesus teaches (cf. John 14:26).

But, when churches have more emphasis on their church leader(‘s), especially the dead leader(‘s), which has been proven that they were IN BIBLICAL ERROR over a great many things – their prophecies and their doctrines, in their “date setting.” Then that group is NOT the living Church that our Lord Jesus Christ had started! Then that group is a ‘synagogue of Satan’ (cf. Revelation 3:9).

There is a huge difference between saying “can it occur” vs. “for a fact it will occur” when stating a date. Such was the blasphemous church leader(‘s) back in 1969 – by declaring that by 1972 (and then 1975) – the end of the age would occur! The now-defunct Worldwide at that time really duped a lot of people! Many people took out a second mortgage on their home to help support this church’s often nefarious efforts.

All their wealth showed for NOTHING by their human pride.

When churches think outside of God’s living word – the Holy Bible – with their own ideologies, then that church group is a ‘synagogue of Satan,’ and NOT the Church that our Lord Jesus Christ had started!

Such as so-called Christian churches that actually deny the living Word of God and embrace ideologies and traditions and other things they do (cf. Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:13).

The forgiving Spirit that our Lord Jesus Christ showed us with the woman who was nearly stoned to death because of her adulterous act – is NOT witnessed very much in these so-called Christian churches of this world!

As an example: When a person is attending one church group that obeys the teachings of our Lord Jesus and everything that His living word says, and then there’s another person who is attending a different church group that also obeys the teachings of our Lord Jesus and everything that His living word says, yet the two groups are insulting and name calling each other – it’s akin to the Church of God of Laodicea insulting and name calling the Church of God of Ephesus. They are the Church of God – even though the two church groups are in different locations! The Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15) that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” – Philippians 2:14-15.

Arguing, insulting, and name-calling amongst the churches DO NOT show the Spirit of God on display among the world.

Now, the churches do need funds for the meeting place. The churches do need funds for the minister(‘s) to travel to assist others in other areas. The churches do need funds for helping others, starting with the widows after they lose their husbands, and orphans when they are without parents. Then the Church should help the homeless. The minister(‘s) should be paid. All of this is biblically based. Does it happen!? Yes, in some of the Church of God groups. In the smaller groups not so much, unless they focus on growth.

There are always going to be those individuals who are against this or that. But, that’s not what is most important – what is important is that the Way of God is established – HIS WILL BE DONE!

Let us not forget, that the living Church of God is not based upon a title. It is based upon the SPIRIT WITHIN THE PEOPLE!

The original Church of God was founded on meeting in private homes of like-minded people. We continue to do this today. It’s going by the biblical example. However, we do get a meeting hall when we have members coming from various areas so that we find the best in-between area.

The Independent Christian Church of God’s goal for the future is to have a building in a good area with a banner out front showing everyone who we are and that they are welcome to visit with us. Also, an idea of having a banner in the lobby telling the people our statement of beliefs, and how our church service is conducted. I feel very strongly that soon this will be a reality – and a very successful one!

When some deny each other who are actually obeying the teachings of our Lord Jesus and everything that His living word says, but due to the title of the club they want nothing to do with each other – proves what spirit they have. And, IT’S NOT OF GOD. □

Other things to think about...

Unity!?October 31, 2021 ... For those who are of the glorious Body of Christ (Church of God), 95-99% of all the COGs believe the same salvation matters.
Beware of Wolves Among the SheepSo often in Church settings, a wolf will come along and will mingle their work with other true Church of God family members. And because this wolf doesn’t like this or that, the wolf will end up hating on the true Church of God family member, then they will begin to use others to work against the one in whom they feel has done them wrong. ...
Judgemental ReligionOF LATE I’ve been evaluating people that cling to the “deep depths” of their religion. ...

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A Morning Bible Study - How You Can Win - As A Christian

Leonard V Johnson   About

The LORD God’s living word tells us that all who follow our Lord Jesus Christ will have to face three deadly enemies! And, each of these three enemies tends to discourage us from overcoming and growing in the character of God. These deadly enemies can come between the LORD God and us. But, only if we allow them.

The eternal LORD God tells us that these enemies MUST be defeated, and we are told how we can do it!
1) Does the Apostle Paul show us that there is effort involved in living the Way of a true Christian!?
“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19) having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.” – 1 Timothy 1:18-19.

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” – 1 Timothy 6:12.

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4) No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please [H]im who enlisted him as a soldier” – 2 Timothy 2:3-4.

We, brethren, as soldiers for Christ Jesus, should not engage ourselves with the affairs of this life! God’s living word compares His true begotten children as spiritual soldiers for Jesus Christ. We must submit ourselves willingly to the Rock of our salvation. And we must endure hardships, persecutions of all kinds, deprivation, tribulations, and even severe temptations – if we are ever expected to receive our crown of life. We are highly admonished - “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might [the Holy Spirit]. 11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” – Ephesians 6:10-11.
2) Did the Apostle Paul steadfastly follow the LORD God’s Way of life – and did he know just before his death that he had won?
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8) Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day [the Day of the LORD], and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” – 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

Recall, our Lord Jesus says, ’ He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life IN THIS WORLD will keep it for eternal life’ – John 12:25.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says ’ Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man’ – Luke 21:36. And we believe this and we stand upon this promise of the LORD our God! That is our hope! That even in the midst of a world gone completely insane to where it will completely annihilate itself – we have hope that we will survive and that our families will be protected. And, I want you to understand – to not necessarily survive being alive – but more akin to what the Apostle Paul writes above at the end of his life.
3) Is this warfare against physical enemies, or is it a spiritual warfare?
2 Corinthians 10:3 – “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” – we fight our battles differently now! Verse 4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [meaty; just typical meathead human beings] but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” – and breaking down barriers and overcoming issues and problems.

Verse 5 – “casting down [imagination, false thinking, or a more common term – fake religious news] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” – that’s a meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Philippians 2:5 – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” – and how do you let the mind of Jesus Christ be in you!? Except the Spirit of God enter into you and grant you part of the mind of Jesus Christ. Again, symbolically that’s what the Days of Unleavened Bread are all about. The Unleavened Bread of sincerity and truth. The Unleavened Bread of the presence of Jesus Christ! Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, [brothers and sisters], by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [rational, logical, or spiritual] service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, …” – what do you mean, ‘the renewing of your mind’? Well, instead of having your old brain cells operate like human beings, have your brain be renewed, reenergized through the Spirit of God, through the mind of Jesus Christ, “…that you may prove [demonstrate] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Our FIRST ENEMY in this Way of life is our human nature with all its ungodly characteristics –

Galatians chapter 5, verse 19 – “Now the works of the flesh are evident, …” – and here’s a list by the Apostle Paul.

“ … which are: adultery [including, of course, spiritual adultery – going after false gods], fornication, [the Greek word porneia, meaning sexual immorality, prostitution, a generic term for sexual sin of any kind – Strong’s Concordance #4202] uncleanness, lewdness, 20) idolatry, sorcery [witchcraft], hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath …” – indeed, I would say what is happening in America today with civil unrest, the violent protesting would be considered ‘outbursts of wrath’ – wouldn’t you!? “ … selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21) envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” So, through the Apostle Paul inspired by God’s Spirit – if you do these things you’re not going to inherit the kingdom of God.

“’ The heart [the human psyche] is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?’” – Jeremiah 17:9.

Our human nature along with its ungodly characteristics can destroy us physically and spiritually unless we resist its strong and wrong impulses, which lead to sin. Notice, the Apostle James – “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” – James 1:14-15.
4) What is our SECOND ENEMY?
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4) who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from THIS PRESENT EVIL AGE, according to the will of our God and Father.” – Galatians 1:3-4.

Satan is the primary cause behind the wickedness that dominates human life – the cause of all the suffering and tragic circumstances that afflict so many. But Satan is primarily the foe of God’s chosen people – the modern-day nations of Israel and the Church of God. Thus, as Christians, we struggle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” – Ephesians 6:12. Satan is especially deceitful in the area of religion, and few realize just how deeply Satan’s deceptions have infiltrated even Christianity! He has the entire world duped as to the identity of the true God and how to rightly follow and worship Him. He even has his own ministers that look and sound like true ministers of God – but they are counterfeits – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. As God’s elect, we must be diligent to “put on the whole armor of God” in order to “stand against the wiles of the devil” – Ephesians 6:11. If we diligently resist Satan, he will flee from us! – James 4:7.

What should our attitude be, brethren, to this world, to its glitter and glamour, its alluring appeal?

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16) For all that is in the world─ the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life─ is not of the Father but is of the world. 17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does THE WILL OF GOD abides forever” – 1 John 2:15-17.

You must admit to yourself the true conditions of this present evil age! STOP living in your own little bubble – believing that “things aren’t really that bad!” Look into God’s spiritual mirror of His living word – and let His words reflect every rotting and putrefying sore you have – every evil, every deception, every resentment, every rebellion, or hostility of your mind and heart. Then REPENT unto God! It’s the only way of survival for you.
5) Should we, as true Christians, strive to avoid the evil that is in THIS PRESENT EVIL AGE?
Our Lord Jesus lived among nothing but rebellious people, but He showed us how to coincide with such people. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” – Romans 12:18. As long as our guard is up we can overcome. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14. We are told by the LORD our God to guard our minds – we need to take heed to simply NOT ALLOW ourselves to listen to people’s garbage. We true Christians need to stay in the Word and live by every Word! “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it springs the issues of life. 24) Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips away from you” – Proverbs 4:23-24.

Sadly, in this world in which I have lived for some 5 ½ decades, I have noticed that a great many people tend to be small-minded and live their lives in a type of individual “world.” They accept their own particular world in attitude and superiority and look with a kind of disdain at anyone outside their bubble of a world. It is a sort of self-centeredness. And it was in this kind of world that our Lord Jesus came as the Savior for all mankind. He came to begin an entirely NEW AND COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WORLD! He said, ’On this Rock I will build My church.’ And indeed He did! But this world hardly recognizes His living Church. The New Testament Church along with her teachings were suppressed all within 40 years – even as soon as AD 49, cf. Galatians 1:6 – and counterfeit gospels escalated into a great religion that calls itself Christian. And God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ tell us to “ ’Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.’” – Revelation 18:4.

Brethren, our Lord Jesus’ prayer recorded for us to Father God shows us that He doesn’t expect us to be like the Amish. Rather, we should strive to separate ourselves spiritually and refuse to participate in the sins of this present evil age.
6) Who is the THIRD GREAT ENEMY for every true Christian?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9) Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” – 1 Peter 5:8-9.

Passage after passage God’s living word WARNS us about being misled and deceived! 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 the Apostle Paul says that – referring to Satan as the ‘god of this world’ “has blinded, who do not believe, …” And then the Apostle John, in the Book of Revelation says – speaking of that great dragon in chapter 12, verse 9 – “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; …” 2nd Corinthians chapter 11 said, Verse 13 – “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14) And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15) Therefore [and HEAR THIS! – the Word of God!] it is no great thing if [Satan’s] ministers also transform [or appear] themselves into ministers of righteousness, …” – the Apostle Paul says, ‘there’s nothing shocking about that!’ And in Matthew chapter 24, our Lord Jesus Christ WARNED the people – ‘don’t be deceived, don’t be deceived!’ He talked about false apostles. And, how does a person discern between a false minister, a false prophet, or a true minister – a true prophet of Jesus Christ? And, this would be – if you’re comparing the Church of God to Protestant churches. One way – our Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew chapter 7 – ’ You will know them by their fruits.’
7) What else did the Apostle Paul say was necessary to win this Christian fight?
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might [the Holy Spirit]. 11) Put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, that you me be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 13) Therefore take up the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, that you me be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14) Stand therefore, having GIRDED YOUR WAIST WITH TRUTH, having PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15) having SHOD YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16) above all, TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

17) And TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the word of God; 18) PRAYING ALWAYS with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints─” – Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-18.

Brethren, we are to draw close to Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ in persevering prayer. Praying always for God’s begotten children all around the world, and for the living work of God.

This is how we can succeed in overcoming our own nature, this present evil world, and our adversary – Satan the Devil! Spirit-begotten Christians will have a continuous fight on our hands until our last dying breath – because we follow our Lord Jesus Christ. But with the living word of God as our sword and Their armor as our protection, and if we preserve to the end, we will triumph over all three deadly foes!

Like Sir Winston Churchill’s famous speech – as memory serves – let us brethren, “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never in nothing, great or small, large or petty never give in … never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Scriptural Index:

Old Testament - Proverbs 4:23-24; Jeremiah 17:9.
New Testament - Matthew 7:16, 20; 16:18; Luke 21:36; John 12:25; Romans 12:1-2, 18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 6:14; 10:3, 4, 5; 11:13-15; Galatians 1:3-4; 5:19-21; Ephesians 6:10-11, 12, 13-18; Philippians 2:5; 1 Timothy 1:18-19; 6:12;  2 Timothy 2:3-4; 4:6-8; James 1:14-15; 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9; 1 John 2:15-17; Revelation 12:9; 18:4.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Letter to our Friends - January 19, 2024


P.O. BOX 6458

Leonard V. Johnson
Pastor and Founder

Dearest Brethren and Friends:

Greetings, we hope you had a spiritually productive month.

We have been working on many things.

Is Matthew 24:14 being fulfilled – now!?

We see that a great many of the descendants of the old Worldwide Church of God are continuing the misappropriation of Matthew 24:14. And they are doing this for greed – for profit (cf. Jude 1:10-11). They continue to teach it as, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a WARNING and a WITNESS unto all nations, …” It does NOT say that! Jesus Christ says – quoting from the Authorized Version – ’ And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ The word witness is from the Greek word marturion, meaning testimony. And, testimony is almost always rendered “witness” in the Revised Version (RV). The New American Standard Bible (NASB) renders it, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ just said the TRUTH OF GOD will be preached. But human beings have incorrectly come up with the idea that THEY are going to be the ones doing the preaching!

Also, as I have personally noticed, many of the so-called ministers from many of these church groups are referring to the apostles on a first-name basis! As if they are on a par with the apostles of Christ Jesus! I say that this is borderline blasphemous! If you have noticed in our writings we have nearly always referred to the apostles as the apostles. We try to always show proper respect – they rightfully earned their title, apostle. Note: 2 Corinthians 11:12-15.

Back in 2018, I received a message via Facebook from a man who stated, “The gospel that should be preached now is the gospel of the grace of God.” And he quoted Acts 20:24 to try and prove his conclusion. Well, he is partially correct.

“ … so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” – Acts 20:24.

The Apostle Mark, under great inspiration of the Spirit of God, wrote in Mark 1:14-15, “Now after John [the Baptist] was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe [believe this great announcement] …’ Also, in Luke 4:43 – “but He [Jesus Christ] said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God …’ And then, after His human death and His glorious resurrection, Acts 1:3 – “to whom He [Jesus Christ] also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days …” and what was He talking about!? “…and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

The Apostle Paul, also, when he was under house arrest, fearing that he might die, Acts 28:23 – “… he explained and solemnly testified of the Kingdom of God, …” Also in Acts 28:31 we read, “preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

Indeed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of the kingdom of God, the good news of Jesus Christ our Savior, the good news that Jesus died for our sins, and that after three days and nights walked out of the tomb – establishing a pattern. And, it’s the good news of the New Covenant. A new contract, an agreement between Jesus Christ – our Elder Brother – and us. And, it’s the good news of God’s grace – the promise of eternal life.

O my! The kingdom of God – a beautiful and powerful soon-coming kingdom! And, that’s what all of us should be focused on! The kingdom of God! Jesus says, ’ But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [all our physical needs] shall be added to you’ – Matthew 6:33.

Our Lord Jesus Christ also says (and I use the word says and not said – because His word is living! It is a living word; He is continuing to say it to all peoples of the Earth!), ‘My kingdom is not of this world. …’ The word kingdom in Greek is basileia, meaning “the realm in which a king sovereignly rules.”

Yet sadly, like the man who wrote me back in 2018, so many people about the highways and byways of these worldly churches it’s not always clear that the people of God – those individuals whom Jesus Christ and God the Father have called and chosen to understand the Truth of God – are indeed to seek first and foremost the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Again, many of the descendants of the Worldwide Church of God continue to teach that they are the ones doing this great testimony – this witnessing. And in TRUTH – in the end-time – that TESTIMONY will come from Jesus Christ through His chosen ‘witnesses’ (possibly 12) – the “end-time prophets.” Friends, it is not referring to printing presses, or radio stations, or TV and all of that – as they continue to teach their members – “We strongly believe that whatever you send [speaking of you sending them money] is well spent to support the Philadelphian remnant as we work on Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ isn’t going to rely upon the sometimes half-hearted efforts of human beings! He’s going to take care of that job Himself! The Two Witnesses for 3 ½ years will have the power from God and Jesus to do untold miracles that this world has never seen or imagined! Jesus said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, … the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, …’ – John 14:12. Sadly, many of these remnant church groups continue to proudly proclaim, “Hey, we’ve got to pump out all this information. So send more money, send more money!”

Possibly twelve witnesses, which are martyred (cf. Matthew 24:9) down to what the Bible calls the ‘two witnesses’ (See: Revelation 11:3), are basically patterned after the historic work of Moses and Aaron. There were times when Moses and Aaron went to the house of the pharaoh and pronounced a decree. ‘Thus says the Eternal God!’ The end-time prophets will do that also! But these end-time prophets will also say just like Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go!’ ‘Let the people of Israel go!’ And so the end-time prophets – in this modern end-time – will be demanding the leaders of this soon-coming ‘beast’ power – this ten nation combine – ‘Let loose, let free, the captives which came from the house of Israel!’ (Be sure to read our FREE three-part series of booklets – Prophecy Series).

Also, I have personally noticed that a great many of these remnant church groups hypocritically quote our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘ … Freely you have received, freely give’ – Matthew 10:8. Stating to their members and followers, “Yes, we are to freely give. With your financial support, we have been able to give the world many truths from the Bible, proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God in over 1000 languages, reach people all over the world on radio as well as the internet, teach the youth, support the poor, and preach around the world.” And then, they sell their books and booklets at, Walmart,, etc.!! Our Lord Jesus says to them, ’ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [gehenna fire] as yourselves’ – Matthew 23:15. Of course, they have an excuse at the ready for this. They claim, “We sell not for the sake of building big profit for shareholders, but for the sake of investing in ministry for more and more distribution.” That, to me, is a hypocritical statement! As an example: the Apostle Paul wrote letters FREE OF CHARGE while earning money through manual labor.

Turn with me if you will to Revelation 11:4-7, concerning these end-time prophets which are martyred, leaving but the ‘two witnesses,’ which will also be martyred. These two are a modern-day type of Moses and Aaron when Israel was taken out of Egypt. That happened earlier, and it will happen again. As the physical people of the children of Israel were brought out of slavery and bondage, so too will the ‘elect’ (See: Matthew 24:22). A great many of the Gentile nations rise up against the nations of Israel, and greatly wound them, damaging them, destroying a great many people – and cause a state of captivity over the nations of Israel.

As I had written in May 2019 - Matthew 28:19-20, though preaching as a witness is included within the scope of the commission – it is actually placing MORE emphasis upon the ENTIRE PROCESS OF CONVERSION, of feeding, of growing, and of overcoming – than merely witnessing. The key phrase is “’ make disciples” – Greek mathēteuō meaning to instruct, teach.

Let us also notice in verse 20, where our Lord Jesus says: ’ Teaching them [the disciples that had been made] to observe all things that I have commanded you.’ The key phrase is “all things.” Now, that cannot be done by merely ‘preaching in all the world as a witness.’ As we are learning – a life-long project requiring the structure of the Church of God. This, friends, is the reason why the Church of God – the Body of Christ – exists.

We focus on what Jesus admonished us to do, ‘FEED THE FLOCK!’ And, though witnessing is included in it – it’s the feeding of the flock because it is the called, the elect – God’s children – who are God’s greatest concern. These are the ones who are being prepared for the Kingdom of God. And, it takes a lot of feeding and experiences with Almighty God and Jesus Christ, for Them to be formed in us. It is not to just send money to a church organization so that they can buy proselytes in places like Africa!

Prayer Request

Please pray for our dear Brother and Minister Michael C. Garrett. He has tweaked his lower back and is in great pain. Here is what he wrote:
“I request your prayers on my behalf. I have ‘tweaked’ my lower back/upper left hip. I have had intense, immobilizing pain all day. There is almost no position – sitting, standing, lying down – which allows me to have some relief. It has been HORRENDOUS.

Yesterday evening, I bent over and to my right. Upon standing, my lower back/hip area became very uncomfortable. This morning, it was all TERRIBLE.

I would suspect some type of a PINCHED NERVE. The skin on the outside of my left thigh is NUMB.

This has totally shut me down.

THANK YOU for your prayers.

Soundcloud Radio Channel

Our Soundcloud channel is not monetized. Having had our Soundcloud Radio channel up and running since March 5, 2019, with no marketing and no purchasing of followers, we currently have 51 followers!


As of January 19, 2024 –
Followers: 51
Tracks: 197
Total Plays: 1,098
Likes: 208
Reposts: 93
Top Seven Countries: USA, Ireland, Kenya, UK, Germany, Brazil, Spain

Analytics for this streaming server lists a great many more listening countries, including Colombia, Netherlands, Philippines, Canada, and Indonesia.

Top Three Tracks:

‘FALL HOLY DAYS – 2014 Part X’ by Michael C. Garrett – 66 plays.
Piga tarumbeta! – 55 plays

The COJCOM YouTube channel

For our COJCOM YouTube channel, search


As of January 19, 2024 –
Lifetime – June 28, 2015 – January 18, 2024, the channel has received 6.2k views.

Total Subscribed listeners: 32
Total watch time: 479.5 hrs.
Top Four Countries: USA, Egypt, India, and South Africa
Subtitles and CC: English and Indonesian.
Top Three “Cards”: TI CCOG, Enoch Walked with God and COJCOM

Non-Subscribers views 5,635. 336.9 watch time (hrs.), w/an average duration of 3:35 hrs.

The Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries website


As of January 19, 2024: analytics from website –
All time since January 10, 2019 – the website has received 194,878 views.

Top Seven Countries: USA, Singapore, France, Indonesia, Germany, Israel, Hong Kong.

Analytics for our website lists a great many more countries, including Canada, Russia, Nepal, China, and Türkiye.

Top Five Keyword Search: civil unrest in america, Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ, Enoch Walked with God sermon, Feast of Unleavened Bread 2020, Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ sermons.

Top Five Posts of All Time:

Suggested Sabbath Day Service

Here is our suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and friends around the world:

• TWO songs of praise. (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, is suggested, there are some Instrumental Accompaniment to the Bible Hymnal available on our website).
• Opening prayer.
• Announcements – from the deacon or pastor.
• Sermon – from the pastor or guest speaker. The one suggested for this week is “Know Your Enemy.” Delivered by Minister Leonard V Johnson.
• Closing song. May we suggest listening to “Love Can Build A Bridge” by The Judds!?
• Closing prayer.

In case you do not receive a ‘Letter to our Friends’ for any week, remember that there are many sermon messages on the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries’ UGETube channel. Also, we post all of our ‘Letters’ on our website:

Some World News In Relation To Biblical Prophecy

There are some that are believing and teaching that because of the wars and conflicts in the Middle East, Russia/Ukraine, and China/Taiwan – that World War III has started!

Certain people like Mike Snyder of End of The American Dream are speculating that we have seen the beginning of World War III. Notice:
“Did you see that we just bombed the Houthis? Each new day in 2024 seems to bring some sort of a new escalation, and for now most Americans can ignore all of the fighting because it is all happening on the other side of the globe. But how are they going to feel when the U.S. is actively engaged in multiple wars simultaneously and those wars are directly affecting daily life inside the United States? …

Most Americans don’t realize this, but this weekend Taiwan will hold an election which may determine whether the U.S. and China go to war.

In fact, China has literally framed this election as “a choice between war and peace”…

Meanwhile, the war in the Middle East just got even more “interesting”. It is being reported that a “U.S.-led coalition” just struck more than a dozen targets in Yemen…

Unfortunately, the truth is that World War III is already here, and soon global events will spiral completely out of control.”

Talk about a “Negative Nancy”! Indeed, there are wars, and there are threats of wars, and there are rumors of wars. These certain people – like Mike Snyder are right about that. However, regarding the current situation. IT IS NOT WORLD WAR III. Our Lord Jesus Christ says, ’ And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet’ – Matthew 24:6. This truly is part of what He has called, ‘the beginning of sorrows.’

So notice that our Lord Jesus says that wars and rumors of wars (like China possibly invading Taiwan) should not trouble His chosen people.

Also, notice that our Lord Jesus then uses the word “THEN” beginning in verse 9. We have spoken of this many times. The end-time prophets appear on the scene.

Verse 9 – ’ Then they will deliver you [pertaining mostly to the end-time prophets] up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10) And then many will be offended, will betray one another. 11) Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12) And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13) But he who endures to the end shall be saved.’ – and this we believe is the hope of every man. And they – possibly twelve end-time prophets – will be given power from God Almighty and Jesus Christ to begin prophesying – testifying - to kings, to world rulers, to the captured elect of God, to a great religious leader and political leader – standing before the god of the earth (Satan the devil) – WARNING for 3 ½ years!

Verse 14 – ‘ And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’ – and this ‘gospel’ is the announcement of the coming Kingdom of God! The Kingdom of God is the GOVERNMENT OF GOD – of which Christ was born to be the KING (Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 11:15). The end-time prophets will have the power from GOD to heal, to ‘shut up the atmosphere from rain, to turn waters to blood, and to strike the earth will all plagues as often as they desire’ (see: Revelation 8:7-12).

Concluding Comments

I was asked how it is that Satan the Devil and his minions have been attacking me personally these past five months.

Like the antagonizing youths who came from the city mocking the Prophet Elisha, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” (2 Kings 2:23). I – but a mere servant of the Lord Jesus Christ - am being mocked and falsely accused. And the person who is falsely accusing me – under the influence of the evil one – is trying to ruin my name and reputation! This person has falsely accused me of some most heinous of things.

One of the things that I am being accused of is advocating a different Jesus. As an example: In the sermon, “Son of God” I boldly and emphatically say, “To become the Savior of all mankind, He willingly divested Himself of His position in the God family, giving up His majesty, glory, and power, to become a fleshly human being, born of the virgin Mary and begotten of God the Father.”

Also in our article “Are You But A Traditionalist?” I opened up the article asking the question – “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!?” For it was said to me, “I spoke with my friend, and you’re in a cult! And you’re going to hell!” Of course, it’s not the worst thing that has ever been said to me – but, it came from my own mother-in-law! A great many people in this world believe and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was never human – including most Catholics!

Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us brethren, ’ If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19) If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world HATES you. 20) REMEMBER the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. 21) But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake [the name JESUS], because they do not know Him [God the Father] who sent Me.’ – John 15:18-19, 20, 21.

’ And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. … 25 … If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26) Therefore do not fear them. …’ – Matthew 10:22, 25, 26.

The stress of my mother-in-law’s drastic mood and personality changes, hatred, anger – a complete disregard for the consequences of her behavior – has greatly subsided. The test results from her neurologist showed nothing!

And the person that was falsely accusing me of the most heinous things is supposedly gone down the road living in his van down by the river. Of course, I prayed about it extensively to Father God and our Lord Jesus! And we are assured, “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape” – Proverbs 19:5.

In fact, I prayed for my mother-in-law and her “person of interest” who has been falsely accusing me – “ … ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.’ – Matthew 5:44.

The Apostle Paul wrote – through the inspiration of God’s Spirit – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and DO NOT CURSE” – Romans 12:14.

As we are aware, the Prophet Elisha “turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD.” – 2 Kings 2:24. Our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus DOES NOT want us to ask Them to strike our enemies with a curse of death or cause any kind of major calamity to occur in their lives. I’m sure I’ll put together an article shortly on this subject. But suffice it to say, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19.

Therefore, I just simply used the Apostle Paul’s example in speaking with Father God and our Lord Jesus – “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.” – 2 Timothy 4:14. □

With love and gratitude, in Jesus' Name,

Friday, January 12, 2024

Commentary: Revenge Is Malice

by Leonard V Johnson

You can also listen to this Commentary. Just click on the orange play button below.

One of the deep caverns of our nature is bitterness. And, when someone does us wrong – we tend to want revenge. Our Lord Jesus tells us that we, brethren, will have tribulations. We will have troubles before we – God willing – enter into His kingdom. “ … ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’” – Acts 14:22.

In the apostle Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he spoke of putting off our former conduct of “the old man.”

“If indeed you have heard Him [our Lord Jesus Christ] and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in JESUS: 22) that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts [including the lust of revenge], 23) and BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND, 24) and that you PUT ON THE NEW MAN which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:21-24.

Then, toward the end of the chapter, he focuses in on our terrible problems of bitterness, wrath, anger, and malice.

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice [the intention or desire to do evil; ill will toward another].”

Revenge is malice.

I speak of revenge because this subject came up recently. Should true Christians seek revenge? Our Lord Jesus teaches us, ’ You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [See: Leviticus 19:18 - In the Old Covenant, your love for the LORD God was measured by your hatred for those who hated God]. Our Lord Jesus changed this – ’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.’ – Matthew 5:43-45. Understand: the Old Testament NEVER teaches us to hate our enemies – cf. Exodus 23:4-5.

We’ve all heard it – “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live PEACEABLY WITH ALL MEN.” – Romans 12:18.

Of course, this command from the LORD our God is no small order at times for those of us trying to live the Way our Lord Jesus teaches!

As I wrote in our latest article “Be Not Ignorant of Satan,” this past year it seems as if Satan the devil has ramped up his attacks on us! And as we get closer to the end of this age it sure feels to be getting worse! Our life, brethren, is often inundated with sharp clashes of conflict. Family and friends attacking us verbally, accusatorily. Experiencing an uptick of anti-Semitism against us because we keep the seventh day Sabbath. Our enemies gather around us to deliver us to their councils and scourge us in their synagogues. Rejected by those claiming to be the “chosen begotten children of God.” The list is long. Conflict is very much interwoven into our lives as we “fight the good fight” to disengage ourselves from this “present evil age” – Galatians 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:10; Revelation 18:4. In truth, as stated earlier – true Christians will have tribulations! “ … ‘In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’ – John 16:33.

How then, can we fulfill Romans 12:17-18!?

Our Lord Jesus the Christ – the very One that Minister Garrett names THE MAGNIFICENT ONE – spoke to us the Way He wants us in His kingdom. He tells us that our righteousness must be genuine – not just external actions, but internal in attitudes. He wants us to grow spiritually so that our external actions and our internal actions match His character. And He gives us some examples:

Everyone surely agrees that murder is wrong. But, murder is merely the external evidence of an internal attitude. Our Lord Jesus says (and I use the word says and not said – because His word is a living word, His word is eternal) that it is wrong to harbor unresolved bitterness, wrath, anger, or clamor in your heart – even though it doesn’t lead to murder.

Also, a great many peoples recognize that physical adultery is wrong. But our Lord Jesus says that it is also wrong to lust sexually in your heart for anyone other than your spouse whom you married.

Furthermore, He goes on to speak about divorce. The LORD God (the family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus) does permit divorce. He goes on to say that it is wrong to just abandon your spouse and leave them unable to remarry because you’re tired of him or her. *

He also spoke concerning justice and revenge. ’ You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39) But I tell you not to resist an evil person.’ – Matthew 5:38-39. Our Lord Jesus rejected how people misunderstood the Old Testament manner of how people were taking revenge for a wrong done. People were acting on emotions without clear thought.

The LORD God has given us some legitimate avenues for justice here on Earth, ** but our Lord Jesus warns us that revenge is something completely different.

It’s true that we tend to want to hurt those that have hurt us. Often we talk about “getting even, and settling the score.” The whole idea is that because the person hurt us we now have the legitimate right to hurt them in return. Sadly, usually, getting even isn’t enough – often we want to add a little more. Like in the game of poker – I see your false accusation, and I raise you homelessness and sleeping in your van down by the river!

The LORD God’s statutes written for us in the Old Testament were written for the physical children of Israel – the Old Covenant had no promise of eternal life – was actually designed to prevent personal vendettas from inflicting more punishment than the criminal deserved. As an example: If someone blinded another, they shouldn’t be killed or tortured for it. They should be held accountable for only an eye. And, many times these debts were paid in coinage – whatever amount the eye was worth. God’s living word does support measured justice. But not revenge. Our Lord Jesus says, “Don’t fight back.” ***

“ … ‘But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40) If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.’ – Matthew 5:39, 40.

The Greek word for resist is anthistēmi, meaning “to oppose – to set against.” And it’s not about non-resistance, it’s about not opposing. It’s also not pacifism (cf. Luke 22:36. Many people believe He was speaking to His disciples metaphorically about buying a sword. No, maybe those who believe this haven’t read the following verse – verse 38). My sister has asked me in regards to self-defense. There is much in God’s living word concerning self-defense. Our Lord Jesus is not teaching to be aggressive either. He is specifically warning not to take any personal retribution.

When a person came to my home – that I had never met before – and abruptly and for no rhyme or reason suddenly got up from his chair and kicked me on the shin – I immediately threw him out of my home! Our Lord God had the answer –

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19.

Rather I “nipped it in the bud,” and forgave. That toxic person never came around again.

Sadly, the person died last October from a drug overdose.

Our Lord Jesus tells us to respond counter-intuitively. Instead of repaying evil with evil or with equal or greater force, He teaches us to resist an evil person with a different force: with good. Instead of paying back in kind, we are to pay back with kindness.

Many might say that it wasn’t kind to just throw him out of your home. But, that was the kindest thing I could do – to get him as far from me as possible. † The LORD God will take care of justice. It may not be when we want it. It may not be how we want it. But the LORD God will make sure that justice is done.

Brethren, this policy of our Lord Jesus is not a lack of justice. It’s a call for us not to take any personal revenge in order to get justice. Let’s leave justice and revenge to the LORD God.

Staying here in chapter 5 of the Book of Matthew, our Lord Jesus gives us some examples of this principle of answering evil with kindness. Such as physical assaults.

Verse 39 – “ …’ But whoever slaps you on your cheek, turn the other to him also.’

According to Wikipedia
“For the sages, it was deemed of utmost importance to avoid shaming another person. Hence, they sought to impose liability for humiliating personal injury, regardless of the physical effects of the injury. …

But for certain acts of violence that involve very little pain and no permanent disablement, but mainly disgrace, the sages fixed a scale of compensation, namely: for a stroke with the fist, one sela or shekel, for a slap with the open hand, two hundred zuzin, for a back-handed slap, or for pulling a man's ear or hair, or tearing off his cloak or a woman's headgear, or spitting at a person if the spittle reaches his flesh, four hundred zuzin.” 1
Apply the LORD God’s Living Law

Our Lord God, in the treasure chest that is the precious Word of the Eternal, unlocks insights into human behavior, that, when properly applied, steers a true Christian through much conflict – cf. Romans 15:4.

There are sound principles that, if applied, “give prudence to the simple, to the young man [the inexperienced] knowledge and discretion” – Proverbs 1:4.

Now, learning to handle or reduce conflict does require major changes in our mental and emotional approaches. We are to search out and apply these living laws of the LORD God.

To those who are willing to pay the price, the living word of the LORD God – our Lord Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace Himself – promises overall success in resolving our conflicts and tribulations.

Waste No Time On Revenge

The apostle Paul calls for us “to walk worthy of our calling with which [we] were called, 2) with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, …” – Ephesians 4:1, 2. The Greek noun for longsuffering is makrothymia, meaning patience, forbearance, and control.

Revenge is the direct opposite of longsuffering. Revenge only ups the ante in a dispute and leads to emotional escalation. Terrible and hurtful words said, which might not be forgotten. “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, …” – Proverbs 18:19. □

1) Wikipedia contributors. (2023, January 28). Damages (Jewish law). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 10, 2024.

* In my original writeup, I didn't speak about physical abuse inside a marriage, because that is a completely different topic from physical adultery. Of course, if physical abuse is occurring in a marriage - by either spouse - proper steps need to be taken to rectify and stop it. There should be no verbal or physical abuse in any marriage.
** My thought here was Romans 13:1-5. We all are to be subject to the laws of the land. And the LORD God has provided capital punishment (through many governing authorities throughout the world) for those that have committed terrible atrocities such as kidnapping, rape, and murder of our children. Revenge and torture are condemned by the LORD God.
*** The statement "Don't fight back" here does not mean not to physically protect yourself or your family. It is meant in terms of revenge or torture. We know that our Lord Jesus fought back against the merchants that had set themselves up in His temple - cf. Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-16. 
† I, of course, to extract him from our home, had to become very boisterous and loud, firm and unwavering. Just as our Lord Jesus had to become with the merchants that had set themselves up in His temple.