Saturday, June 22, 2024

Letter to our Friends - June 20, 2024

P.O. Box 6458

Leonard V. Johnson
Pastor and Founder

Dear Brethren, Friends, and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from West Central Florida.

In this week’s Sabbath sermon, I reference our English booklet titled “What Is the Kingdom of God?” And, we also have this same booklet in Spanish as well. We hope you had a most glorious and wonderful Day of Pentecost! We published an offertory short sermonette for the Day of Pentecost. We are working with VEED.IO – a simple but powerful video editor to create text for our videos (in any language) that are not published to our YouTube channel – but rather to video-sharing platforms that do not offer speech-to-text. Here is an example – “Are the Dead In Heaven” by Michael C. Garrett” The hearers of the Spirit-filled apostles in the Book of Acts 2:1 heard their proclamation of the gospel message in their own native language. Now, while Almighty God performed that special miracle then, we strive to bring to you as much as we can of the LORD God’s gospel message in your own native language. On our Soundcloud channel, we currently have several articles in 5 languages – and hope to produce more.

Our suggested Sabbath sermon this week is “True Conversion – Seven Signs of True Conversion” which is available now on our YouTube and UGETube channels. Again, I apologize for the sound quality in the sermon, we just ordered a new microphone. As you could have heard from the previous sermonette, the old mic continues to cut out at most inopportune moments.

New Equipment for the Ministry

L – clip-on microphone. R – umbrella lighting kit

The Day of Pentecost

The holy Day of Pentecost was from sunset on the 15th of June to sunset on the 16th of June. This meant that there were back-to-back Sabbaths!

To help aid you and your family as you learn about just what God’s living word – the Holy Bible – actually teaches, you may, in addition to listening to our video sermons, and or audio sermons, articles, booklets, and books, we also recommend checking out our A Morning Bible Studies! Here are a few recent ones in PDF –

As for the Day of Pentecost, the majority who profess Christ indeed know something about Pentecost─though very few of them keep it and celebrate it as a holy Sabbath. Most Pentecostals understand it as the beginning of the New Testament Church.

Notice that after our Lord Jesus Christ died, He came and presented Himself alive, being seen by them during forty days and continuing to speak to them things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, and telling them to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father –

“ … which,’ He said, ‘you have heard Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ – Acts 1:4-5.

And so they waited. Then –

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, …” – notice that it wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost had fully come. Notice this phrase, “had fully come” – So, the Day of Pentecost fully came at sunset when the first day of the week begins (dies Solis, Latin for ‘the day of the sun’). Here is what occurred then –

“ … they were all with one accord in one place. 2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole HOUSE where they were sitting. 3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues [surely representing different languages around the world], as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [other known languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Verse 38 – “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39) For the [Promise of the Father] is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’”

Verse 40 – “And with many other words he testified [he witnessed] and exhorted them, saying, ‘BE SAVED FROM THIS PERVERSE GENERATION.’ 41) Then those who gladly received his word WERE BAPTIZED; and that day [the holy Day of Pentecost] about three thousand souls were added to them. 42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine [which is our Lord Jesus Christ’s doctrine] and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Verse 47 – “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:1-4, 38-42, 47.

They received some of the power of God’s Spirit. The Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the greater majority of Protestants, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Church of God all believe that this was the beginning of the New Testament Church of God. And rightly so. The Holy Spirit (be sure to read or listen to our online booklet, “Is God a TRINITY?” We also have this online booklet translated into Kiswahili) was gifted.

There Is Much More to the Day of Pentecost!

Sadly, the majority of our peoples throughout the world do not understand that there is more to the Day of Pentecost than just the gifting of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Church.

Looking into the Old Testament we can glean some vital information concerning this most special of holy days!

The Day of Pentecost has been kept and celebrated since the initial one in roughly 31 A.D. The Apostle Paul continued to keep and celebrate the Day of Pentecost. Notice what he wrote – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit – in roughly 55 A.D. –

“For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8) But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.” – 1 Corinthians 16:7-8.

This clearly shows us that the Apostle Paul wanted his Gentile audience to understand when the Day of Pentecost was, as well as the Church in Ephesus. The Day of Pentecost was properly observed and celebrated by the Apostle Paul, as well as the Gentile converts in Ephesus and in Corinth.

Also, it was recorded for us that the Apostle Paul - in roughly 57 A.D. – wished to be in Jerusalem for the holy Day of Pentecost –

“For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.” – Acts 20:16.

Thus, true converts in Jerusalem were observing and celebrating the holy Day of Pentecost. Otherwise, there would have been no logical reason for the Apostle Paul to desire to be in Jerusalem on the holy Day of Pentecost.

So, the very name Pentecost is ecclesiastical Latin from Greek pentēkostē meaning ‘fiftieth (day).’ It’s derived from the Hebrew description of calculating the date. Notice the following directly from the LORD as He spoke to Moses –

“’ And you shall COUNT for yourselves from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: SEVEN SABBATHS shall be completed. 16) COUNT FIFTY DAYS to the day after the seventh Sabbath; …’” – Leviticus 23:15-16.

The Day of Pentecost within God’s living word goes by several names – the Feast of Firstfruits; the Feast of Weeks; the Feast of Harvest; and the Day of Firstfruits.

Sadly, grave confusion now abounds worldwide as to the proper date of the Day of Pentecost. The majority of our Jewish brethren do not keep and celebrate it on the same day as we of the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches.

Interestingly enough –
“The Sadducees [concluded] that “Sabbath” meant “Saturday.” Accordingly they would transfer the count of “seven weeks” from the morrow of the first Saturday in Passover, so that Pentecost would always fall on Sunday.” 1
However, just before this in the Jewish Encyclopedia is recorded –
“In post-Talmudic and geonic literature the biblical name “shabu’et” was resumed. Pentecost falls on the 6th of Siwan and never occurs on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.”
This date many of our Jewish brethren continue to use (which is a post- Talmudic interpretation which came together AFTER the Old Testament – it is not inspired scripture). It is a later date change and is not from the LORD God! We in the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches observe and celebrate the date given to us by the LORD God within the living word of God – the Holy Bible – not the Jewish Talmud.

True Christians should remember that our Lord Jesus Christ condemned the Sadducees and the Pharisees for relying too heavily on their oral laws over the LAW OF GOD (Mark 7:5-13). Our Master and Savior God told them they were ’ making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.’ – vs. 13.

Verily, when you count fifty days to the day AFTER the seventh Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread (also the “Sabbaths day,” see Luke 4:16, The Interlinear Hebrew/Greek/English Bible), you discover that the Day of Pentecost always falls on a Sunday. And the Day of Pentecost is celebrated from sunset Sabbath until sunset Sunday.

Firstfruits Unto the LORD

The very term “firstfruits” suggests a first harvest. And this is actually pointed out to us within the Old Testament – the Elohim spoke these words –

“’ and the Feast of Harvest [the Day of Pentecost], the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; …’” – Exodus 23:16.

And, the LORD said to Moses, to tell the children of Israel … “’ And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks [the Day of Pentecost], of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, …’” – Exodus 34:22.

And, the LORD said to Moses, to tell the children of Israel … “’ Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks [the Day of Pentecost], you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.’” – Numbers 28:26.

How does the idea of ‘firstfruits’ help us to understand the awesome meaning of this holy Day of Pentecost?

The glorious Day of Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits should always remind us that the LORD God is now calling only a small “firstfruits” of Their spiritual harvest at this time. There is going to be a much larger second harvest which the Last Great Day pictures. This spring harvest is but a few until the later fall harvest after the Millennium reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our resurrected Savior – our Lord Jesus Christ – was a type of firstfruits.

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21) For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23) But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” – 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.

Our Savior, High Priest, and Lord is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant wave sheaf offering recorded for us in Leviticus 23:10-11. He is the sheaf of firstfruits unto the LORD. He also fulfilled this role when He ascended into the upper heavenly realms on the Sunday (the wave sheaf offering was on a Sunday!) after He was gloriously resurrected unto life (John 20:1, 17).

However, neither He nor His true followers observed what is known today as Easter.

Notice that the Apostle James wrote – under divine inspiration – that our Lord Jesus “of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [creations].” – James 1:18.

Indeed, while our Lord Jesus is the original firstfruits to represent the Old Covenant wave sheaf offering, true Christians are a kind of firstfruits – represented by the holy Day of Pentecost. So, the word “firstfruits” represents that only a few will be a part of the first harvest in this present age.

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 “True Conversion – Seven Signs of True Conversion” delivered by Minister Leonard V. Johnson.
• Closing song.
• Closing prayer.

For audio articles in Spanish –
For audio articles in Khmer –
For audio articles in Dutch –
For audio articles in Swahili –

Some World News Concerning Biblical Prophecy

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korean Kim “the Rocket Man” Jong Un yesterday. They both signed an agreement which is intended to strengthen their military ties. (See: VOA“North Korea, Russia pledge mutual defense, surprising many observers”).

They are truly taking into effect the Latin phrase, “Amicus meus, inimicus inimici mei.” “My friend, the enemy of my enemy.”

Certainly, the United States of America has attempted to “punish” both North Korea and Russia with crippling sanctions over the years. And Russian President Putin warned the US about sanctions against their new friend back in 2017 (See: CNBC“Putin says pressure on North Korea is both ‘futile’ and a ‘dead-end road’”). And, this just in: BBC“Putin warns South Korea against arming Ukraine”). Could the newly elected US President Donald Trump come to be a wartime president!? Are these warnings from Vladimir Putin only saber-rattling!? Or is it but a prelude to Armageddon?

The very term Armageddon is only used once in God’s living word. It is associated with the sixth angel (messenger) pouring out his bowl of the LORD God’s wrath –

“Then the SIXTH ANGEL poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13) And I saw THREE unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet” – Revelation 16:12-13.

God’s living word shows us that there will come a time when “the kings from the east” – a massive Islamic army – will make its way to Tel Megiddo. Indeed, the “dragon” is Satan the Devil, the “beast” is the final end-time military leader of a future United States of Europe, and the “false prophet” is a great final religious leader of that European conglomerate. “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to battle of that great day of God Almighty” – Revelation 16:14. Speaking of the terrible Day of the LORD!

To Note: Islam is a major religious minority in Russia, and the country has the largest Muslim population in Europe, excluding Türkiye – approximately 14 million people! Notice this report from 2023: France24“Turning away from the West, Russia seeks to strengthen economic ties with the Muslim world”.

The name Tel Megiddo, or rather Har Megiddo. “Mound of the Governor.” Megiddo is a place up north of Jerusalem – a gigantic plain – “the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” For “the kings from the east” – referring to a collection of Islamic armies. And we believe that there’s a good chance – though we don’t know for sure – that this “200 million man army” will be attempting to attack European forces that have wiped out their Islamic brothers and cousins. This Belt & Road Initiative, known in China as the One Belt One Road and sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road will certainly make the crossing of the Euphrates easier for them. We believe the majority of these armies will be ISLAMIC! Tel Megiddo is in the tiny nation of Israel. Syria borders Israel to the northeast. We are witnessing continuing steps for such an Islamic confederation to come to pass, as well as a way to get to Tel Megiddo (Armageddon). Verily, the winds are blowing towards a new world order, and the United States of America will not be part of it!

In other world news – Saudi Arabia (along with many other oil exporters) only sold oil priced in US dollars. But, this has been drastically changing. Recently, there have been discussions about oil sales being priced in yuan instead of US dollars. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is in talks with China to sell oil and be paid in yuan instead of dollars. This will certainly further devalue the US dollar! (See: the Federalist“The End Of The Petrodollar Is The End Of America’s Global Dominance”).

A living dual prophecy of our LORD warns that creditors will rise up against a power “who increases what is not his … and one who loads himself up with many pledges!” – cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8. The United States of America (which is in debt for a whopping $34.8 TRILLION) continues to print money without gold-backing, and continues to issue “pledges.” Note: A treasury note itself is not a pledge agreement. However, when a financial institution accepts deposits of public money, the U.S. Department of the Treasury requires the institution to collateralize those deposits. Meaning – the institution must “pledge” certain assets to secure the funds beyond the limits of insurance.

According to a 2023 Investopedia report, “China is one of the United States's largest creditors, owning about $859.4 billion in U.S. debt. However, it does not own the most U.S. debt of any foreign country. … Japan commands the top spot among foreign creditors with $1.1 trillion—about 3% of total U.S. debt. … The other countries that hold the most U.S. debt include the U.K., with $668.3 billion owed; Belgium, holding $331.1 billion in debt securities; and Luxembourg, slightly behind Belgium with $318.2 billion of the United States' debt.” 2

There is coming a time when the United States of America will become a foreign power's “booty”! Certainly, it will be Japan! And certainly, it will be China!

Concluding Comments

Brethren, Friends, and Co-Workers, this year’s holy Day of Pentecost is now past. Let us continue in the strength of the LORD our God to face the issues in this world (such as work, school, relatives, financial issues, civil unrest, etc.).

Minister Michael C. Garrett wrote the following:
“Well, regardless as to the source of your problems, troubles, and afflictions, if you suffer for righteousness sake, and if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed. But understand that God the Father and Jesus Christ will be with you and they will reward you! Notice 1st Peter – there are several passages throughout the Book of Peter, where he talks about this concept. 1st Peter chapter 1, verse 3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, …” – and eventually Heaven will come to the Earth. Verse 6 – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the [appearing] of Jesus Christ, …” – so when Jesus Christ returns He will reward you for your faithfulness and your diligence, and for the battles which you fought. 1st Peter chapter 2, verse 19 – “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20) For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” …

Verse 21, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22) ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was [guile] found in His mouth’; 23) who, when He was reviled, …” – and this is tough as a human being. This is not easy – “…did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him [God the Father] who judges righteously; …” – that’s the example He set for us!”

(Garrett, M.C., Suffering for Righteousness Sake, 20 Feb. 2019)
While it is very difficult to rejoice in trials, God’s living Word says that we should (cf. 1 Peter 4:13; Matthew 5:11-12). Yet we, as the faithful did in the past, are looking far beyond anything in this world – we are looking to the glorious coming of the Kingdom of God (cf. Hebrews 11:4-40).

Let us rejoice in God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ!

In deep gratitude and love, in Jesus' name,

Bibliography and Sources

1 Mirza, U., The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol VIIII 1912, “Pentecost” pages 592, 593.
2 The Investopedia Team, How Much U.S. Debt Does China Own? Investopedia, 19 Aug. 2023, Retrieved 21 June 2024.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Why Aren't YOU Jesus Christ-Centered?

by Leonard V. Johnson

We speak of this all the time – in fact, in our last Think About This… that was a large part of the subject matter. A great many in the splinter groups of the Church of God are still living bound up, worshiping the Old Covenant way along with Old Covenant principles. And I had asked the question – Are you preparing to rule with Jesus Christ, or are you actually (even though you may not fully realize it) preparing to rule with Moses!? A metaphor for the Armstrong’s!? As in the Armstrong churches. There is one group that we know in which its leader doesn’t even acknowledge or speak our Lord Jesus Christ’s great and powerful name!

Are you ashamed of Jesus Christ? Are you afraid to even mention His glorious and holy name? Or are you fully and completely focused and centered on JESUS CHRIST?

We have been told that we speak of Jesus Christ too much! I don’t know how that is possible – but we certainly are accused of it – by our detractors. And we speak of our Lord Jesus so much, that one of this world’s 21st century witnesses was thrown out of an Armstrong church! Because they have delegated the name of our Lord Jesus to the realm of maudlin conversation – mostly during Passover.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us – “’ For WHOEVER is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes [with] the glory of His Father with the holy angels.’” – Mark 8:38.

Sadly, even TODAY, there are peoples in this world who spit, mock, and laugh at His most glorious name! I met one yesterday on YouTube – Sean Clark – a sad person who looks like a follower of Satan the Devil. And I’m certain he would be proud of that statement. But, he is not the only one – there are literally millions upon millions that continually mock our Lord Jesus! In fact, our Lord Jesus asks -

“ … ‘ Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” – Luke 18:8. 

And, as I’ve spoken of before – it’s not just faith in the religion of Christianity, but it’s more akin to faith in a Creator! Faith in God! According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of U.S. adults who believe in God has dropped to its lowest point since at least 1944. 17% of U.S. adults say they do not believe in God. That’s 45 MILLION U.S. Adults! 1

Why should a leader of any professing Christian organization squirm at the mention of our loving Creator, Elder Brother, and great High Priest!? Now, make no mistake about it ─ if you are expecting to be saved you had better begin acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ and His New Covenant Promises IMMEDIATELY in your life! Because –

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12.

Our Lord Jesus Christ alone is the only ONE that can rescue you from the inevitable penalty of eternal death which every single one of us has incurred! He is our only hope of ETERNAL LIFE!

For if you think that our Lord Jesus Christ is a joke, and if you think that He did not die, and if you think He was not resurrected unto life – no Savior – then “…’ you will die in your sins.’” – John 8:24. And, eventually ─

“ … ‘unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” – Luke 13:1-5.

Great confusion concerning the resurrection of the dead was occurring then in the Church at Corinth and is continuing to be taught by this world’s Mother Church and her daughter churches –
“Later New Testament writings offered assurance that the dead were with God, but eventually Christian theology was overtaken by the body/soul distinction found in Greek philosophy. The human self, who survives after death through the ‘soul,’ awaits the final judgment when the soul will be united with body.” 2
As usual, in Catholicism, confusion abounds! Their Catholic belief becomes even more confusing –
“Those who are in heaven will remain in heavenly bliss, but it will then be a bodily, physical bliss, not just bliss for their souls.” 3
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14) And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” – 1 Corinthians 15:12-14.

Words alone are not sufficient to magnify the supremacy, the majesty, the glory, and the meaning of our Lord Jesus Christ to those who will fulfill their ultimate destiny!

“ … God [God the Father] also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. 10) that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth [those that are currently dead and will eventually be resurrected unto life].” – Philippians 2:9-10.

ANYONE who DOES NOT acknowledge or speak our Lord Jesus Christ’s great and powerful name is not Christian at all!

The Apostle Paul was certainly the most Jesus Christ-centered of all the apostles. For he wrote – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit –

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21.

He was 100% with our Lord Jesus Christ! There is nothing more important to preach than to “ … ‘seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His [our Lord Jesus Christ’s] righteousness, …’” – Matthew 6:33. And, there is no other MORE IMPORTANT than our Lord Jesus Christ!

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2) For I determined not to know anything among you except JESUS CHRIST and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.

Our beloved Apostle Paul and the other apostles, and the early first-century true Christians were keenly aware and conscious of a living relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. “Now he who KEEPS HIS COMMANDMENTS abides in Him, and He in him. And by this, we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit [which] He has given us.” – 1 John 3:24.

The very mind of our Lord Jesus takes up residence within a true Christian through His Spirit! The Apostle Paul speaks of this – “ … Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:27.

We speak quite a bit about the concept of CHRIST IN YOU!

It actually comes from a phrase that we read about in Romans 8:10 when the Apostle Paul says, “But you are not in the flesh but IN THE SPIRIT, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if ANYONE does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” – Romans 8:9-10.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [children] of God.” – Romans 8:14.

And since JESUS CHRIST is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17) and your body is the temple of the Spirit – which is Christ in you, we must be nourished daily by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! Christianity is a growth process. The begotten child of God MUST grow! And this growing process requires TIME! We MUST overcome these three – Satan the Devil, this world, and our own SELVES!

How Does One Know What Righteousness Is?

No human being is righteous in the sight of God of and by himself. It is the righteousness of our Lord Jesus that makes us clean in the sight of God. “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no not one; …’” – Romans 3:10. We are all sinners – without exception. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – vs. 23. And without proper repentance and the belief in the gospel (Mark 1:15) we are all doomed to pay the ultimate penalty for our sins which is eternal death in the lake of fire.

But, the LORD God be praised from ages to ages, there has been provided – from the beginning – a Master Plan for the redemption of all mankind! Despite ourselves! Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “’ I am the Way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” – John 14:6.

THROUGH our Lord Jesus anyone can be made righteous in the eyes of God the Father!

How are we saved by our Lord Jesus!?

We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

“But NOW the righteousness of God apart from the law [the law of Moses] is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22) even the righteousness of God, THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; … 24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because of His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26) to demonstrate AT THE PRESENT TIME His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-22, 24-26.

“THEREFORE, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God [God the Father] through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2.

Our Lord Jesus Christ – and Him alone – is our source of salvation. This is why He is called the ‘Captain of our salvation’ – Hebrews 2:10.

Anyone who would be saved MUST be willing to recognize, acknowledge, understand, and admit that JESUS of Nazareth is their “Lord” or “Master.”

There is no other way through which one may obtain mercy, justification, and ultimately eternal salvation.

The keeping of the Law – or the law of Moses – will save no one!

The Apostle Paul makes this abundantly clear –

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20.

The Law of God (summed up with the Ten Commandments) merely points out what sin is. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” – 1 John 3:4. The Law of God simply convicts all of us of sin. We are condemned by the Law of God as SINNERS! Not one person – past, present, or future – has or ever will obey the Law of God perfectly – except our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” – Romans 11:32.

So, keeping God’s Law cannot make one righteous. It cannot justify past sins. It cannot save us from the penalty of past sins.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ alone can do that!

Our whole future is entirely in the glorious hands of our Lord Jesus Christ –

“For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, WE ARE THE LORD’S.” – Romans 14:8.

Anyone who is not CHRIST-CENTERED is not a true Christian!

The Apostle Paul writes, “And so there is no place for human pride in the presence of God. YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS by God’s act, for God has made Him our wisdom; He is our righteousness; in Him we are consecrated and set free. And so (in the words of Scripture), ‘If a man must boast, let him boast of the Lord.’” – 1 Corinthians 1:30, NEB.

Any righteousness that a true Christian may possess is not their own, but is of Christ Jesus!

It is our Lord Jesus who sets us apart (who sanctifies us), and purchases us from certain eternal death (who redeems us).

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Our Lord Jesus Christ – no man – is the Head of His Church which is the Body of Christ!

“And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” – Colossians 1:18.

Our Lord Jesus Christ leads His Church through His Spirit and the seven Spirits who are before His throne – cf. Revelation 1:4. THERE IS NO HUMAN MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN! “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5. This is the awesome meaning behind the ripping of the veil in the temple –

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51) Then, behold the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; …” – Matthew 27:50, 51.

Our relationship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is through JESUS CHRIST! It is not “filtered” through any man. We are fully accountable to our ultimate Judge (Jesus Christ) for our actions and our sins in this physical life. He will judge “the secrets of men” on the last day. He tells us, brethren, “’ Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown.’” – Revelation 3:11. Of course, our Lord Jesus has true servants, but there is no “Vicar of Christ.” Meaning, there is no person acting in place of Jesus Christ.

Saved By Jesus Christ

A true Christian must internalize his belief and his faith in Jesus Christ.

God the Father first calls out a begotten child for the kingdom and brings him to true repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands – receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. And once begotten, the true Christian walks in “newness of life” – Romans 6:4.

Then, a begotten child of God is “hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3. The begotten child of God believes explicitly in Jesus Christ to save him. He knows and believes that is only by faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood that he can be justified in the eyes of God for sins. The begotten child of God looks to no other for eternal salvation.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” – Hebrews 7:25.

The begotten child knows that “ … having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” – Romans 5:9.

And, the begotten child of God knows that “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [children] of God.” – Romans 8:14.

The shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ “cleanses us from all sin” – 1 John 1:7. We are reconciled to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We look forward to receiving the glorious promise of eternal life and immortality upon the first resurrection. □


1) Pitofsky, M. Number of US adults who believe in God has dropped 6% since 2017, poll shows, USA Today, 17 June 2022.
2) McBrien, R., The resurrection of the dead, National Catholic Reporter, 23 May 2011.
3) Nunez, JP, Understanding the Resurrection of the Dead, Catholic 365, 3 Aug. 2021.

Friday, June 7, 2024

What Happens After Death? (Sermon)

Leonard V. Johnson    About

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

GREETINGS Brethren and Friends in Louisville, Tennessee; Brussels, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; our brethren and friends in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Owensboro, Kentucky, and in Indiana! Welcome! Welcome once again to the taping of the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries, here in Spring Hill, Florida. I’m Leonard V. Johnson, and it’s a great pleasure and an honor to be here with you on this beautiful day! If you’re watching this on God’s holy Sabbath day – Happy Sabbath to Everyone!

Death – it’s inescapable. Whether we live out our natural life span, or whether our life is cut short by a tragic accident, an incident, or a disease – this physical life will come to an end.

And then what?

And it’s that “then what” that I would like to speak about today.

What Happens After Death?

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon – the wisest man of his time; under the divine inspiration of the LORD God, the family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, wrote in Chapter 3 – “To everything there is a season, A Time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; …”

You might also recognize this from the rock group from the ‘60s – The Byrds – “To Everything There Is a Season.” The lyrics are taken almost verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

But, from the very moment of our birth, our physical life is limited. Do you know why this is?

Well, human cells die, basically, because of Apoptosis. 
The process of programmed cell death. Very little was known about the mechanism until Doctor Robert Horvitz in 1968, along with other researchers identified and described the process of programmed cell death.

Doctor Horvitz identified specific genes that trigger cell death in the cells of a millimeter-long soil-dwelling nematode named Caenorhabditis elegans. Without these genes, Dr. Horvitz determined certain cells could live indefinitely. In subsequent studies, he showed that similar genes are present in humans. In essence, they commit suicide. By proving the genetic component, Dr. Horvitz demonstrated that programmed cell death is a normal, fundamental, and controlled biological process in cells. Human cells deteriorate, tissues deteriorate, organs deteriorate, and our body deteriorates. And this deterioration ends with death.

We will eventually all die.

So, one of the most important questions is – what happens after death!? If we all end up dying, what is the purpose of living!?

This truly is a question of the ages. As far back as recorded time, mankind has been concerned about death and an afterlife. Is there life after death!?

Ancient Egyptians were greatly concerned about death. And their attempts to solve the enigma of life and death went far and wide. They believed that death led a person to the afterlife, where the person would lead an immortal existence. But, for this afterlife to happen, it was necessary to preserve the body of the deceased, so that the soul could identify the body that it belonged to.

Every civilization that has ever existed, including down to our 21st century, has pondered about life and death. And, nearly everyone has their ideas and opinions on this most vital subject.

Why is there such grave (no pun intended) confusion!?

Where can a person find the clear and plain truth concerning life, death, and an afterlife!?

arious comments to her article illustrate the mass confusion concerning life, death, and an afterlife which is rampant in the world. One person commented, “But the universe will end and take all life with it. … Who knows.”

Another writes, “Life is all about new experiences and stuff, there is no purpose. It’s just that we were born and humans are who we are due to evolution. People try to find ways to comfort them about death, when you die, you die just like every animal too. So really, don’t worry about finding your worth in living, it’s just a coincidence we are here.”

And then another commented back, “Well at fundament, you live to pass on your genetics, that is your prime biological function. One could say those who dwell on such unanswerable things will eventually take themselves out of the gene pool or use it to find a more effective way of passing on their genetics.”

The fact is most people do believe in some kind of life after death.

But, isn’t it time to understand the TRUTH concerning death and what happens after death!? And, there is only one reliable source available for learning this truth about life after death – our LORD God – through the living word of God! The Holy Bible.

So, I hope you have your Bible handy today! Because we're going to be going through some Scriptures and allowing the LORD God to explain to us just what happens after death!

The Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ is the very Creator of all life! But, what He has to say is probably not what you want or think. The majority of people would be surprised to learn and discover what God’s living word reveals about life, death, and an afterlife!

Well, contrary to popular belief, God’s living word nowhere mentions that mankind has an “immortal soul”! However, His living word does say that man is a living soul.

Turning to the Book of Genesis chapter 2 -

Verse 7.

So, man is not an immortal soul, man is a living soul.

The very Hebrew word – let us not forget that the Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language – for the word soul is NEPHESH. Which is the same word used for beasts and creeping things.

And, God's living word says that a living soul can die!

Turn with me to the Book of Ezekiel Chapter 18.

Notice verse 4.

Also, verse 20.

So, the very false understanding concerning the idea that man has an immortal soul falls flat. This idea came straight out of ancient Babylon and Egypt. And, it was popularized to the masses through Greek philosophy – especially through the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.

Notice the 1912 Jewish Encyclopedia Volume 6 - and I'll leave a link below for you to go and research this yourself - but the 1912 Jewish Encyclopedia in Volume 6 writes concerning the soul -

“The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture. … The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic"

Orphic is an adjective that can mean related to Orpheus, a mythical musician, poet, and mystic entrancer.

Along with "Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended, …”

Now, as I have spoken of before, I had a friend who was an ordained minister from the Open Bible Churches, who was teaching that death didn’t mean death, but life – eternal life. However, in TRUTH, God’s living word reveals that when you die – you are dead. You do not reincarnate into another human body. You do not fly off to heaven. You do not go down into the depths of a hell. Recall, that we spoke about the subject of a hell last week - "What Is Hell?"

Sadly, this supposed heaven or hell scenario for an "immortal soul" is another of mankind's fantasies. According to God’s living immutable word, the dead do not see, do not hear, do not think, do not feel – the dead know nothing.

Turn with me if you haven't already to the Book of Ecclesiastes that we quoted at the beginning. This time chapter 9.

Verse 5 - 6.

Now, keep your marker here a moment, but turn with me to the book of Psalms chapter 146.

Truly at the moment of death – the body loses consciousness and life ceases. Along with thoughts and emotions.

Book of Psalms, Chapter 146, and notice verse 4.

God’s living word is clear and plain. It is not convoluted. Death is death. For when we die we go the way of all flesh, and in this respect, we are no different than any animal –

Here in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 again.

Notice verses 19 and 20.

Mankind, composed of dust returns to the dust of the earth. The man that returns to the dust is the soul which was. Therefore it is the soul that disintegrates into the earth. Notice the following verse – verse 21.

Yes, there is a spirit in man.

The Prophet Job speaks of this spirit in man. Turn to the Book of Job. Chapter 32.

Verse 8.

And, this spirit in man returns to the LORD God who gave it. Again, the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 this time.

Verse 7.

Animals do not have a spirit. Man needed this spirit to empower his brain with mind power. On your notepad, jot down for reference 1st Corinthians 2:11. This human spirit enters the human embryo at conception. Another reason why abortion IS MURDER! The spirit is like the “hard drive on a computer” – it stores information. The spirit essence is NOT an immortal soul or an eternal spirit. The spirit in man is NOT the man. It is something in the man. It has no life of itself. At death, it has no consciousness of itself, for it sleeps. Like a tape recorder, it forms a permanent record of the qualities of mind and character built by a man during his lifetime. And much like a used tape is stored lifelessly on a shelf till activated in a recorder, so also does the spirit of man “return to GOD who gave it” after death, until the resurrection when life is again given to a person. This was the way that our Lord Jesus Christ – through His servant – explained it to me and I hold fast to this that is good. Furthermore: the spirit in man was transmitted from Adam. Spirit comes from the father from a sperm cell – from Adam all down through all humanity.

Immediately after the Apostle Peter was filled with God’s Holy Spirit on Pentecost 31 AD, he spoke of King David –

Let's turn in our Bibles to the New Testament - the Book of Acts chapter 2.

Notice verse 29.

Also verse 34.

Notice what the Magnificent One - our Lord, Savior, High Priest, and Elder Brother says concerning this in the Book of John, chapter 3.

Verse 13.

A great many want to argue against our Lord Jesus Christ’s living word here – saying, “Jesus was only talking about His validity and His authority.” Well, listen to the context in which this is said – “’ If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?’” With eyes, you still do not see, and with ears, you still do not hear. Our Lord Jesus spoke with no ambiguity to those who are blessed and received the gift of the Holy Spirit – the very mind and power of the LORD God!

The LORD God – the family of God; the Elohim – said, “’ Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; …”

The ultimate potential for human life is to eventually be born into the very family of God! Not as one popular answer earlier states: “Life is all about new experiences and stuff, there is no purpose.” THERE IS A TREMENDOUS PURPOSE! And, sadly, it is a great mystery to the religions of this world! We are on this Earth for a stupendous reason!

Again, the Prophet Job. He knew why we are here!

He once reached a point in his life in which he lost everything he loved dear to him. He lost all of his children to a tornado, as well as all of his wealth and belongings to thieves and fire. He became afflicted - very possibly with what is now called hyper-Immunoglobulin E syndrome – a condition that affects several body systems, particularly the immune system. A condition called Job's syndrome or Buckley syndrome in certain medical circles.

“ … painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” He was physically stricken by Satan the devil. The idea of death must have seemed sweet to the Prophet Job at that time.

Notice again the Book of Job, Chapter 14.

Verse 14, and 15.

And, the Apostle Paul doesn’t want us to be ignorant –

Turning now to the Book of 1st Thessalonians, chapter 4.

Verses 14 - 15.

How is it that a man dead, in the grave, will live again!?

Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the answer! Not any man - not any Greek philosopher! Not any religious person! But the very Creator of all life - called the Word, now called our Lord Jesus - He gives us the answer Brethren and friends!

Let's turn again to the Book of John. Chapter 5.

Verses 28 - 29.

Speaking of two separate resurrections. And last week I mentioned that we do have an online PDF booklet entitled, "The Two Resurrections." I'll be sure to leave a link below to this God-inspired and eye-opening booklet today for you to go and read. "The Two Resurrections."

There is an accounting for your behavior in this life! And, you will be in one or the other resurrection. But, what does the LORD God mean by a resurrection!?

Let's speak of the first resurrection briefly. The Apostle Paul describes to us that a first resurrection will take place at our Lord Jesus Christ’s Return.

1st Thessalonians chapter 4.

He begins in verse 13.

Verses 14 - 16.

Turning now to the last Book of God's living word - the Book of Revealing - the Book of Revelation, chapter 20 we read The Apostle John speaks of this same FIRST resurrection -

Revelation chapter 20.

Verse 4 and 5.

Verse 6.

We see this first resurrection spoken about also in the Book of Romans chapter 8.

Verse 14.

And, as we’ve been mentioning for several years – the five cities on the plain of Jordan were allowed to be destroyed because there weren’t even ten righteous people in the city of Sodom. And, brethren, let us not sell ourselves short – but we should wonder – is it that Almighty God is holding back the utter destruction of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth of Nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand respectively – because there are maybe ten in one-million righteous people within these nations!? It should make us wonder. Is that number depleting as time goes by!? In prayer to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ – a thought crossed my mind – just before the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMP very few saints of God will be left. There will come a time when the LORD our God cannot find ten righteous people! As ‘this generation’ continues in many of these cities the cup of their iniquity becomes full. And the LORD God has no choice but to exact judgment upon that nation. It is something to ponder.

As our Lord Jesus says concerning the end time – “ … ‘ because lawlessness [sin] will abound the love of many will grow cold.’”

All those in the first resurrection will rise out of their graves as wholly spiritual sons or daughters of Father God and brothers or sisters to our Lord Jesus Christ! They will never have to face death again.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this in the Book of 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

Notices verses 50 to 54.

He is speaking of those who are called by Father God, and who wholeheartedly repent and change, who are properly baptized and had hands laid upon them, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit in this life – receiving the glorious promise of eternal life through the Holy Spirit which imparts the LORD God’s divine nature.

But, what about the billions and billions of people who had lived and had never even heard of our Lord Jesus Christ ─ the Savior for all mankind!? Or, never knew enough of our Lord Jesus' gospel message. All our peoples past, present, and immediate future, who were and are kept from the glorious knowledge of the Eternal One!?

What about them?

Let's speak about the second resurrection unto physical life - briefly.

The Apostle John was told by our Lord Jesus Christ, “’ What you see [in Spirit], write in a book …’” And he describes a SECOND resurrection

Turning again to the Book of Revelation chapter 20, about where we were earlier.

Verses 11 to 13.

Notice that the Book of Life is also opened. Meaning that they are then offered to receive eternal life. It truly will be a time when the whole of humanity will come to know the LORD God – the family of God! And a time when they are offered true and heartfelt repentance, proper baptism and of hands laid upon them, and the gifting of the Spirit of God!

Brethren and Friends - Our LORD God’s message is clear ─ and as the Apostle Paul admonishes, it’s time to awaken from the darkness and see and receive the Light!

The LORD God’s living word is sure! Do you believe it? Do you trust it? Because it will happen!

Any claiming to be an atheist, an agnostic, or even an atheist spiritualist (whatever that means), will not change the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God. His living word is sure! Nor will you claiming to be a humanist change the reality concerning life, death, and what happens after death.

Our LORD God even warns that just because one disbelieves, it will not be an excuse

Turning again to the Book of Romans, this time chapter 1 -

Verses 18 to 20.

The LORD God warns us in the Book of Galatians chapter 6 -

Verses 7 to 8.

Brethren and Friends - our potential is grander than anything even Hollywood could ever imagine! Life makes more sense... when you understand its purpose!

Thank you for being here with us on this beautiful day! We dearly love you and are praying for you. We hope that you continue to pray for us here! Until next week, this is Leonard Johnson for the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries signing off.

Goodbye for now.

God Speed.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Nicolaitans

Nicolaitans. Our Lord Jesus Christ says to the Church of God – a church group at that time in Ephesus (a city that was in Ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia, just southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey) –

“’ Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent [change] and do the first works [go back to the way you use to be], or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place──unless you repent.’” – Revelation 2:5.

‘Remove your lampstand’ – means you will simply cease to be a representative of our Lord Jesus Christ. And, many have asked, “Well, would the LORD God take a church group and disband it!?” Strike it down? Well, we certainly know of a church group that the LORD God allowed to be highly influenced by Satan the Devil and eventually disbanded! The Worldwide Church of God. Indeed, Worldwide at the ‘first works’ was blessed by the LORD God, it flourished for a long time. But eventually, its leaders began to think of themselves as being MORE IMPORTANT than JESUS CHRIST! Its leaders became fascinated with power and control. The Worldwide Church of God had its lampstand yanked out from under it and thrown away!

A great many people have said over the years, “Satan destroyed the Worldwide Church of God!” No, Satan could not touch Worldwide if the LORD God had not allowed him to. Our Lord Jesus Christ had enough of Worldwide’s hubris, arrogance, haughtier-than-Thou attitude, self-righteousness, self-lining of pockets, and the positioning of power!

Our Lord Jesus went on to say, “’ But this you have, …’” – speaking to His “little flock,” His sheep, those who hear His voice and His calling. “ … ‘that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.’” – vs. 6.

Who were the Nicolaitans? Biblical scholars the world over have pondered just who were the Nicolaitans. Many have always imagined that they were a small sect that disbanded from the great worldly Body of Christ. But, rather the Nicolaitanes were the greater Body of Christ that actually was disbanded from our Lord Jesus Christ’s “little flock.”

Let us remember that the Book of Revelation is a Book of prophecy.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [God the Father] gave Him to show His servants ──things which must shortly take place.” – Revelation 1:1.

The word Nicolaitans comes from two Greek words – the first part Nicoli or Nicolas means “to rule with authority or power.” The other word is laitans, and this is the same root of the word laity. The word laity means your everyday regular mom-and-pop church people.

So, ‘the deeds of the Nicolaitanes’ are those people who rule with an iron fist with great authority and power, and often with cruelty, over the regular mom-and-pop church people – the laity. And THIS TOOK PLACE within the Worldwide Church of God, and it continues to take place within the many splinter groups of Worldwide!

As we have said over and over – if the LORD God says something more than once, it’s well worth paying attention to. In the living word of God – the Holy Bible – when you see something repeated, you should realize that the LORD God is trying to wake you up and to understand that this thing that is being said IS VERY IMPORTANT! “’ But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’”

There is no ambiguity in what He is saying. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. The Prophet Ezekiel also wrote that our LORD God hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans – the shepherds of Israel (Ezekiel 34:1-11).

I know firsthand many of the despicable characters that were in the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God. And judgment from the LORD God eventually rained down upon the “greater Body of Christ.” The descendants that have flowed from Worldwide (and I wrote up not long ago a Personal From… entitled “Armstrong Religion” in which I speak of this very thing! – you can also listen to the audio version of this article), in that article I call this disbanded “greater Body of Christ” the Church of Armstrong.

Even today – because these churches of Armstrong, basically, do not grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - and are of the same lost flock that is but 'lukewarm'; and one group in particular DOES NOT even acknowledge or speak His great and holy name! – these splinter groups continue to be woefully ignorant of the great meaning of the Day of Atonement. They continue to waste their time talking about, “Well, we must be at-one-ment with God!”

As Minister Michael C. Garrett has often spoken about – the fact that you can take the English word Atonement and divide it up is just a sheer coincidence. The word basically means, “to be reconciled.”

“’ For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.’” – Luke 21:22.

Meaning – all the prophecies may be fulfilled. And we are certainly at the edge of that time.

Our Lord Jesus tells His servants to ‘be the servant, not the master.’ And this has not changed since our Lord Jesus spoke those words! But sadly, in the minds of the leaders of the churches of Armstrong with their various titles, they become drunk with power and with their own self-importance.

Returning again to what our LORD God said to the Prophet Ezekiel – the ‘watchman’ who had a great end-time job. The Watchmen of Revelation 11 – in which in all probability there will be twelve witnesses in the beginning – will carry an end-time gospel message (cf. Matthew 24:14) to the disbanded and now subjugated “greater Body of Christ” – to our Lord Jesus’ ‘lost sheep.’ And, ultimately the last two remaining Witnesses will carry an end-time gospel message lasting 3 ½ years in Jerusalem – to the Gentiles who “tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” Along with an end-time gospel message to the god of the earth, the end-time ‘beast’ and ‘false prophet’!

One of our great commissions is to ‘go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ We also believe that our Lord Jesus’ phrase, ‘lost sheep,’ as in ‘feed My sheep,’ is not only the physical people of the children of Israel – meaning, the foundational peoples of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth Nations – meaning 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire from which they developed – but in an even more spiritual sense, more heightened, and even more important sense, we believe our Lord Jesus Christ might well have been saying, “Go to the greater Body of Christ – My lost sheep. Go to those who believe they are in a good organization, those who want to show faithfulness to the Armstrongs but don’t realize their leaders are corrupt and are dying.”

We believe strongly – this has a double meaning!

But, they persecute us. They attack us. In an article entitled, “You’re Not Welcome Here!” I speak of this very thing! You can also listen to this article.

Notice Ezekiel chapter 3 –

Verse 25 – “’ And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them.’”

They not only persecuted the Prophet Ezekiel – but they continue to persecute anyone who tries to correct them. Our Lord Jesus spoke concerning the same people (the end-time teachers of the living Word of God, Truth of God, and the Plan of God, ‘they’re going to persecute you!’). Eventually, the LORD God will be through trying to reach them. He has been sending His ‘witnesses’ unto them, but they have turned away every time!

Verse 27 – “’ But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He [or she] who hears, let him hear; and he [or she] who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.’”

My brethren, you are living bound up, worshiping the Old Covenant and the principles of the Old Covenant. LOOK TO JESUS! Are you preparing to rule with Christ, or are you preparing to rule with Moses? – the Armstrongs!? They hated this message so much that the ‘witness’ was persecuted and thrown out of a splinter group of an Armstrong church! LOOK TO THE NEW COVENANT – look to Jesus! Look to our great High Priest, look to the glorious promises of the New Covenant – and you must sever this attraction of “wanting to be Jewish, or Jewish-like!”

The LORD God is telling us in this ‘beginning of sorrows’ – “’ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches [the Church of Jesus Christ]. To him who overcomes [those who overcomes the Nicolaitans] I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’” – Revelation 2:7. □