Five Signals an Organization or Religious Sect is A Cult


FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT BEFORE JOINING A GROUP 

1. Has someone or a small group obtained excessive wealth through the organization? One sure sign a group is a cult will be someone or a small group at the top will be very rich at the expense of the members.

2. Do they use the name of Jesus but deny what the Bible teaches concerning Christ? The group may be using the name of Jesus and claiming to follow Biblical teachings while recruiting, but core teachings will follow man-made doctrine and always deny the true identity of Christ.

3. Are members being told not to read or listen to those outside the group? Asking questions is either discouraged or not allowed.

4. Does the organization discourage your association with family and friends? Relationships outside the group will be either frowned upon or disallowed.

5. Does the group go beyond suggesting what is good and acceptable behavior? There will be strict rules and requirements used to control the member’s conduct and what the members are allowed to read and view.

Warning – Some groups “love bomb” potential members before teaching all that is required of them in order to get them into the cult.

SEE ALSO:

Characteristics Associated With Cultic Groups

Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuses

Cult -An Outline Analysis

The Watchman’s Post

How can I recognize a religious cult?

What is a cult? Recognizing and Avoiding Unhealthy Groups

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Posted in Cults, Jehovah's Witness

A Covenant Relationship and Our Mediator – Stepping out of deception –


IDENTIFYING THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

Who mediated the Law Covenant according to the scriptures? JWs teach Moses did this, but I think this is one of the first steps taken in changing the gospel and New Covenant of the Lord Jesus Christ to what they teach as a “Kingdom Covenant.” Please stay with me and see what you conclude!

Search the scriptures and one will not find any covenant after the establishment of the New Covenant.

The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.) that there is only one Mediator between God and man. This is backed up by what Paul wrote to the Galatians. Christ has always been the only Mediator.

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DID MOSES OR CHRIST MEDIATE THE LAW COVENANT?

Christ wasn’t known in person when the law was given. However, it was by promise and the Law Covenant cannot be fully understood without understanding the first Covenant God made with Abraham, which was unconditional. It is found in Genesis 17 and explained in Romans 2:29. A careful reading of Galatians points to Christ as the Mediator of God’s covenants with mankind.

Galatians 3:15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”i meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. (God mediated the first covenant, and the last covenant. God in the Person of Christ is our Mediator.)

WATCHTOWER  ATTEMPTS TO TRANSFER ALLEGIANCE FROM CHRIST TO THE KINGDOM

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society on their website have a page called “You Will Become a Kingdom of Priests.” On this page they teach that there is a Covenant called “The Kingdom Covenant.” The only mention of this covenant is in their New World Translation where they have changed Luke 22:28-30The change is verse 29 which reads “29And I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father has bestowed on Me, which is changed to “and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom..” From this they teach the “Kingdom Covenant.” They have a purpose in making this change. The Bible does not teach anything about a Kingdom Covenant between God and men. The LORD, God Almighty established the New Covenant in Christ’s blood for the redemption of mankind.  Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke of it. Ezekiel called it the EVERLASTING Covenant. Malachi made sure the people would recognize Christ. Jesus was the writer of the Covenant with His own blood. Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:19-20, Romans 11:27.

On the JW website they make a bold statement. It reads, “There is no doubt that the Kingdom is the only solution to man’s problems.” Thus, allegiance is transferred from Christ to the kingdom for those who believe in and cling to Watchtower.

Those willing to transfer their allegiance from Christ and the New Covenant according to Watchtower and come under the Kingdom Covenant must make major changes to the gospel. Christ is no longer their mediator, but rather Watchtower teaches that the New Covenant was only instituted for 144,000 who will be priests for all who join Watchtower’s JW organization. They call them’ the great crowd or multitude’ mentioned in Revelation 7 who come out of the tribulation. (I don’t think JW recognize or teach Corinthians 15:51-53 or the Rapture.)

WATCHTOWER WOULD CHANGE THE ROLE OF CHRIST AS MEDIATOR AND ASSIGN IT TO THE 144,000

It is with this great heresy that they are then able to teach that Christ is only the mediator for 144,000 of the anointed JWs.

This may not be the first time this doctrine was taught, but in 1986 a Watchtower publication contained the following:

Jesus Christ is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members.” —Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace,” 1986, p. 10

WATCHTOWER SPEAKS OF GRACE, BUT BELIEVES AND TEACHES SALVATION BY WORKS

Here is a copied and pasted message from their web-site. I am going to underline and place in italics the lines that are either troublesome or are unsupported and need to be considered because they are used to rewrite the gospel. Keep in mind that JWs will be directed to the New World Translation that has been written to teach their doctrine. While JW deny they preach a salvation of works look at the last line of this passage.

14. Who clearly benefit from the new covenant? 14 Upon learning that the 144,000 are in the new covenant, some may have thought that only these benefit from it. Perhaps they thought so because only anointed ones are to partake of the emblems at the annual Memorial of Christ’s death, where the wine represents the “blood of the covenant.” (Mark 14:24) Recall, though, that those in the new covenant are to be associates with Jesus as the “seed” of Abraham, by means of which all nations will be blessed. (Gal. 3:8, 9, 29; Gen. 12:3) Somehow, through the new covenant, Jehovah will fulfill his promise to bless all mankind through Abraham’s “seed.” 15. What role are the anointed foretold to have? 15 Jesus Christ, the primary part of the seed of Abraham, serves as High Priest, and he provided the perfect sacrifice that makes possible forgiveness of error and sin. (Read Hebrews 2:17, 18.) Yet, God long ago pointed forward to “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Ex. 19:6) In natural Israel the priests were from one tribe, and the kings were from a different tribe. So how would this promised nation of king-priests come about? The apostle Peter directed his first letter to ones who were sanctified by the spirit. (1 Pet. 1:1, 2) He referred to such ones as “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession.” (1 Pet. 2:9) Anointed Christians in the new covenant will thus serve as underpriests. Think of what that means! We daily struggle under the influence of sin, which still ‘rules as king.’ Those serving as underpriests will have had a similar experience. (Rom. 5:21) They will be aware of how it feels to make mistakes and grapple with guilt. So along with Christ, they will be able to sympathize with us as we overcome sinful tendencies. 16. What encouragement can the “great crowd” gain from Revelation 7:9, 14? 16 At Revelation 7:9, 14, the “great crowd” are seen “dressed in white robes,” which implies a clean standing with God. To be in line to survive “the great tribulation,” that great crowd is now being formed. Hence, even now these gain a certain righteous standing before God. They are being declared righteous as Jehovah’s friends. (Rom. 4:2, 3; Jas. 2:23) What a benefit that is! If you are part of the great crowd, you can be sure that God is willing to work with you as you strive to remain clean in his eyes.

A major difference in what Watchtower teaches and what the Bible teaches is shown in how we become clean and are declared righteous.

Philippians 3:8-9 More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ  and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

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Christ came from heaven, the Word living in flesh to do the will of the Father. Jesus was His name on earth and He lived a sinless life only to be crucified by His own people. He died as our propitiation and was resurrected, overcoming death and the grave for all mankind. The entire Bible points to Jesus and teaches “whosoever will.”

In the New Testament Christ said our work is to do the will of the Father. In John chapter six, Christ tells us what that work is…

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent…

Our righteousness is found only in Christ. Those with white robes are cleansed, not by works, but by blood.

Revelation 7:13 “Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO PERVERT THIS GOSPEL?

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

STEPPING OUT OF DECEPTION

It must be a personal decision. The only way to be free of deception is to decide that Christ is the Savior/Redeemer of mankind and that the Bible teaches the truth – the written truth and the Living Truth. Refuse to add to or detract from God’s word or follow a group who would do this. Finally, repent (turn) and believe the gospel.

1 Timothy 2:For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the mana Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

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Posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christ, Christianity, Covenant Promises, Cults, Jehovah's Witness, Jesus, New Covenant, Watchtower Society

Who is justified before God? Christians are justified before God by faith in the blood of Jesus!


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD?

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According to most Bible dictionaries, ‘justification’ is the declaring of a person to be just or righteous. It is a legal term signifying acquittal. To be declared justified indicates there was once guilt. The Bible teaches that:

Isaiah 45:25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Jesus said:

Matthew 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Peter said:

Acts 13:37-39 But he (Jesus), whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

WHAT IS TRUE OF THE JUSTIFIED?

Three times in God’s word we are told that the just will live by faith.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him will become filled with pride, but the just in his faith shall live.

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Not only is it Christ who justifies us, it is the blood of Christ:

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

WHAT SHALL CHRISTIANS SAY WHEN THE WORLD CONDEMNS US?

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Posted in Bible, Bible Teaching, Biblical History, Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Covenant Promises, Grace of God, Israel, Jesus, New Covenant | 2 Comments

Who is the King of Glory?


Most of us know Psalm 23 from memory or “by heart.” It is a wonderful Psalm, but so is Psalm 24. In this day of cults and apostasy Psalm 24 can be a great help to those seeking to know the true God.

 

1 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

The psalmist tells us that the King of glory is the LORD of hosts. Isaiah identifies the LORD OF HOSTS.

6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
AND his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.

John is able to identify the One who is “the First and the Last” while on the Isle of Patmos. Jesus Christ is the Living One who was dead, but is alive forevermore…

Revelation 1:17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, 18 the Living One. I was dead, and behold, now I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and of Hades.…

 

Posted in Bible, Bible prophecy, Bible Teaching, Biblical History, Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Jesus

Why did Jesus say, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing?”


WHY DOES CHRIST SAY, “APART FROM ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING?”

There are many who are doing works in the name of gods other than the One true God. Some even work in the name of Jehovah, but will not use the name of Jesus. The works often appear good to men. So why did Jesus say:

For apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 ?

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I just watched a YouTube video of a young women who is working hard as a Jehovah Witness. Though handicapped, she has found a way to go door to door and make phone calls. The video title is: With Jehovah, I Can Do Almost Anything.

The Bible does not have a verse like that at all. Instead, the Bible says:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

and

Luke 1:37 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

WHAT HAPPENS TO WORKS THAT ARE NOT FOR JESUS?

So how do we explain the works of the sweet lady who has been taught to work for “Jehovah” yet never mentioned Christ? Sadly Jesus has the answer in John as well:

6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15

How can we have works that are not burned and thrown into the fire. We must look to every word that comes from the mouth of God. There is a purpose in the New Covenant, the New Testament, and the Book of the Revelation. God has said we are to be:

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the GREAT GOD and Saviour Jesus Christ; WHO gave HIMSELF for us, that HE might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 2:13‭-‬14 KJV

Jesus said that “I and the Father are One” and “the Father is greater than all.” If they are One and the Father is greater than all, then Jesus is greater than all. We cannot shun Jesus and expect to inherit eternal life because:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Please pray that those who are trying to inherit eternal life by doing good works for Jehovah will realize that God sent His Son that we might have life, even abundant life.

But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31

 

Posted in Bible, Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Covenant Promises, Jehovah's Witness, Jesus, Our World Today

What the Bible teaches about HEAVEN?


HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

This is one of the longest post I have published. If you are interested in knowing what the Bible teaches about how to enter into HEAVEN, please take time to read.

A book was recently published entitled Heaven Is For Real, but it wasn’t based on the Bible or what the Word of God tells us. It is based on a child’s experiences.

Many religions teach their ideas of heaven based upon what someone ‘thinks’ a certain verse may mean or what an organization teaches. JW’s witnesses, who believe in the teachings of Watchtower, believe heaven is only for 144,000. All other JWs will live on paradise earth. Mormons believe that all people lived in heaven prior to this life and will do so again. Catholics believe in purgatory, a sort of holding area where people will stay for an indefinite period of time. If you discuss this issue with different people you will get many different answers. Sadly, few people base their belief on the Bible and the words of Christ and/or the Apostles.

Regardless of how many non-biblical ideas are held regarding Heaven, the Bible is clear. Heaven is a real place created by Almighty God.

WHAT DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT TEACH ABOUT HEAVEN?

Since it is from the Bible that we learn of heaven, doesn’t it make sense that the Bible is the only reliable source of information to learn about Heaven and how to get there?

Our first glimpse of Heaven as a place is given in Genesis.

And he (Jacob) dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder [fn] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it [fn] and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed…And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:12-14, 17

In Exodus we learn that Heaven is above the earth. Here God is referring to the space He has created that contains stars and other heavenly bodies. In Exodus 20:22, God speaks to Moses about heaven.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Exodus 20:4

Later God shows that He speaks from Heaven.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven…Exodus 20:4

God dwells in Heaven where He reigns, but He reigns on earth as well:

Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire…know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Deuteronomy 4:36-39

There are levels in Heaven:

But who is able to build him (the LORD) a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? 2 Chronicles 2:6

From Heaven God watches mankind:

God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God. Psalm 53:2 

Heaven is God’s throne:

Thus says the LORD:
Heaven is my throne, Isaiah 66:1

The number of beings in Heaven cannot be counted:

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered…33:22

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES ABOUT HEAVEN?

I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 22:2The first mention of Heaven in the New Testament comes from John the Baptist when he is preaching that Christ will soon be made known to the people. Christ coming is referred to as “…the kingdom of heaven.” We know this from reading…

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’” Matthew 3

The next mention is when God’s voice from heaven identifies Christ.

…and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

In Matthew 5, Jesus describes rewards and some of the characteristics of people who will be found in heaven.

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We also learn that the old Heaven and Earth are going to pass away:

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matthew 5:18

We see that we will be considered greater in Heaven if we keep the commandments. Jesus doesn’t say keeping the commandments will get us there, but it will have an effect upon our status.

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19

TO WHOM WAS JESUS SPEAKING ABOUT HEAVEN?

The answer to this question is crucial to refuting the teaching that only 144,000 will be allowed to enjoy Heaven. Jesus would not have preached heaven to the ‘crowds’ if they had no hope of heaven. We find that He was speaking to the crowds in chapters 5, 6, and 7. 

And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. Matthew 4:25 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: Matthew 5:1-2 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 27:28-29

 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust [fn] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20 (Why would the crowds need to lay up treasures in heaven if there is no hope for them to ever go there?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21 24  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:40

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: [fn]
“I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” Matthew 13:31-35

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 (Why didn’t Jesus say this about men who are virgins rather than children if only male virgins are going to be in heaven?)

The passage that completely destroys Watchtower’s theory in my mind is found in Matthew 22. Notice how Christ describes the way He fills the banquet hall in Heaven. It isn’t with those who have joined the correct organization or those who have been anointed  to be in the 144,000. Look carefully at these people. They are those willing to come when called.

1 Once again, Jesus spoke to them in parables: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to call those he had invited to the banquet, but they refused to come. 4 Again, he sent other servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and fatlings have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they paid no attention and went away, one to his field, and another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as you can find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered everyone they could find, both evil and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 

WHAT DID THE APOSTLES TEACH ABOUT HEAVEN?

Paul taught:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.  Philippians 3:20-21

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. Colossians 1:3-7

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into HEAVEN itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly [fn] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  Hebrews 12:22-25

Peter spoke the following to a huge number of people. ( To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept IN HEAVEN for you, 1 Peter 1:3-4

THE VISION JOHN SAW WHILE ON THE ISLE OF PATMOS

John did see 144,000 Jewish men who were virgins in Heaven. The Bible identified them as being from the 12 tribes of Israel. They appear just prior to the opening of the seventh seal during the Tribulation period and an angel places God’s seal on their foreheads. Later we learn:

It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. Revelation 14:4-5

From where did these 144,000 come?

14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14

However, these were not all who John saw in Heaven:

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. And they fell face-down before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 13 Then one of the elders addressed me: “These in white robes,” he asked, “who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 “Sir,” I answered, “you know.” So he replied, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

There are still people on earth as we will see in the remaining part of Revelation 14. These are the ones who did not have their robes washed and made white by the blood of the Lamb of God.

14And I looked and saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was One like the Son of Man,c with a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. 15Then another angel came out of the temple, calling in a loud voice to the One seated on the cloud, “Swing Your sickle and reap, because the time has come to harvest; for the crop of the earth is ripe.” 16So the One seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. 17Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18Still another angel, with authority over the fire, came from the altar and called out in a loud voice to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the vine of the earth, because its grapes are ripe.” 19So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes of the earth, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and the blood that flowed from it rose as high as the bridles of the horses, for a distance of one thousand six hundred stadia.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TELL US WE MUST DO TO BE CERTAIN OF ENTERING HEAVEN?

Numerous, (too many to place here), verses tell us that to enter into eternal life, we must confess Jesus as Lord and believe in Him as Savior and Redeemer.  Below I have placed a part of the verses Jesus used to explain how we  can be assured of entering Heaven. Jesus made it clear that isn’t by works, but by doing the will of the Father.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21 …39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  John 6:40

Thankfully God has given us all we need to be assured that if we have saving faith in Christ we will enjoy eternity with Him in Heaven.

Posted in Bible, Bible prophecy, Bible Teaching, Biblical History, Christ, Christianity, Cults, Jehovah's Witness, Jesus, Watchtower Society

Recognizing the Father’s Love?


CAN ONE VERSE FULLY DESCRIBE CHRIST?

Is it safe to build your theology on one verse or to decide the Person of Christ based on one statement? What if in that verse Jesus says:

You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28

 There are differences in opinions about what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that “the Father is greater than I.” Did Jesus mean in rank, or essence? Below are some things Jesus said about ‘greatness.’

WHO WAS GREATEST IN JESUS’ EYES

The greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11

“But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater (megas), one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” – Luke 22:26-27

Jesus drove this lesson home to His disciples. He sat the example by serving them and even washing their feet.

I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you.John 13:14-15

Matthew 20:26 It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,

Matthew 23:10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Christ.

Mark 9:35  Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Mark 10:43 But it shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…

WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?

Jesus’ Disciples and we, His followers, are left to discern what Christ was then saying about the Father being greater. He has told us He and the Father are One. They share the glory of God, and what honors Christ, honors the Father. We know that anything we ask the Father must be asked in the Son’s name and that when we do this, the Father will grant our request. John said that Jesus is the Living Word become flesh and the Word is God. Peter said He has been given the Name above all names. So we are left to decide why Jesus said, “…the Father is greater than I.”

COULD JESUS HAVE MEANT IN SERVANT-HOOD?

Perhaps in heaven’s realm, and with those who understand a father’s love, this is a reality that is easily understood; that Jesus saw the Father as greater for the sacrificial love He bore? This isn’t a doctrinal statement, but rather a question…

We know the great love of One who lay down His life for His friends. The Bible says, “Greater love has no man…” Consider the great love to allow the perfect Son to leave heaven and suffer God’s wrath. Stuart Townsend, who wrote, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”  , realized the pain the Father must have felt. Not only did He see His only Begotten Son leave Heaven’s glory, He poured out His wrath upon the Son as Jesus became sin in our place.

We can only bow in awe of a God who would so love us that He would give His only Begotten Son to die for our sins – the Righteous for the unrighteous.

Posted in Bible, Bible Teaching, Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Grace of God, Jesus, Love of God, New Covenant | 2 Comments