Pastors Report - 9 Jun 2017

The God Who Cannot Lie...

"... In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began..." (Titus 1:2)

6,000 years of lies:

As this is being written, here in the UK we are in the closing stages of a general election. As anticipated, great rafts of promises have been made by all parties, very often with little regard to a realistic means to pay for such apparent governmental generosity. As Mrs Margaret Thatcher once said of socialist systems, "the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money". Although many will gravitate to and vote for those that promise the most, the more level-headed within the populace become increasingly cynical of such things. People are no longer surprised when politicians lie. Within such a godless political system as ours, self-seeking human beings are almost expected to casually lie with impunity. After all, doesn't everyone? And the politicians will most certainly do so, if they feel it is in their best interests, and they can get away with it:

We are witnessing in 'glorious technicolour' a society prophesied thousands of years ago and which is coming to full maturity:

  • For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the LORD
  • The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.
  • Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies.
  • They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!”
  • Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.(Psalm 10:3-7 NLT)
  • In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
  • And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
  • Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.(Isaiah 59:13-15)

This propensity to lie within politics – and society in general – should not really surprise us when we consider just where we find ourselves today. We stand today at a point 6000 years from when Adam – accepting the first lie – set mankind on the suicidal course of his own satanic-influenced way, opposed to the laws of God, and thereby poised before the greatest time of trouble this world has ever seen, or ever will see again (Matthew 24:21). The Great Tribulation will be brought about by spiritual forces – lying spiritual forces – working within the minds of men. Having recently been cast out from heaven, Satan and his demons are then prophesied to instigate the mayhem we are destined to have on this earth as described in the 12th chapter of Revelation:

  • Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (Revelation 12:12)
Fallen Angels:

We need to take heed that throughout the Great Tribulation there will be a dearth of God's truth, and a preponderance of signs and wonders – again based on lying spirits – and what will be the thrust of these lying wonders and miracles?

  • For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if ... [it were] ... possible they shall deceive the very elect . (Matthew 24:24)

Note: "it were" is not in the original text! It is the Church Satan has in his sights!

  • And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
  • Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
  • And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  • And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
  • That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thessalonians 2:8-12)

Jesus Christ labelled things for what they really were when dealing with the Jews of His day who were also very much under the control of this same deceitful being:

  • Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.
  • You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
  • But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
  • Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
  • He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."(John 8:43-47 NKJV)

And yet it appears that this "father of lies" almost certainly has his very existence resting explicitly on the truthfulness of God. For we are told, "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26) – which theoretically and technically would even include the destruction of Satan. But it is very clear indeed that God's truthfulness would not allow such a thing – as it seems our eternal life is also to be based on a virtually identical promise to that which must have at some time been given to Lucifer : " Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36)

WHY God Cannot lie:

The fact is, God is the Creator of all that is. That overarching activity defines Him. That's what He does – He creates and sustains – and the way He does it is by using speech, by commands – just as we find in the first chapter of Genesis. The individual who commanded, "let there be light" as the spirit hovered over the dark surface of the waters, was the Logos, the Living Word, that became Jesus Christ. But this was the process – shaping reality via the words that proceeded from His mouth – by which means, "all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3)

So whatever He says, IS! Whatever exists, and the way it exists – reality itself – is whatever His words define and it is for this reason that it is utterly impossible for God to lie. If He did, reality itself would become deranged and begin to disintegrate! For as we are told by the apostle Paul, "all things are upheld by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3 paraphrased)

  • For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
  • He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
  • By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
  • He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
  • Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
  • For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:4-9)
A Truthful Body:

Can we now begin to see just how vital it is that OUR words must also be truthful? We are destined to receive a spirit body of such awesome power that only those with the character to match could possibly be entrusted to receive such a creative masterpiece. The apostle Paul describes it at the end of a section in which he almost despairs of the satanic mindset within certain individuals. Note carefully when reading this passage, that the way all things are subdued before Christ is via the words that proceed from His mouth. The same process will be expected of each of us as His spirit born brothers and sisters. In our resurrected state what comes out of our mouths must be just as unerringly truthful as His:

  • Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
  • (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
  • Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
  • For our [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
  • Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself . (Philippians 3:17-21)

This is undoubtedly why God stresses on two separate occasions that there will be no liars permitted within the precincts of the New Jerusalem. In addition, liars are grouped together with unrepentant homosexuals, murderers and several other unsavoury categories in order to emphasise the need for this basic characteristic of total truthfulness within God's children:

  • And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)
  • For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)
National characteristics:

The problem is that within this satanic world we find ourselves having to live in a toxic environment as far as truth is concerned. Here in the liberal (more accurately described as licentious) West, both the society and the educational system that perpetuates it, are based on the misguided lie of a creation without a creator. That there is no Higher Power over us due to the enforced doctrine – rigorously promoted – of atheistic evolution. An entire society – complete with economics, politics, media, medicine, agriculture, industry, entertainment and morals – founded on a diabolical lie. And this then affects each of us within the church – often without us realising it. Atheistic evolution promotes an attitude of no Higher Power being over us. We thus become the supreme arbitrators of right and wrong. We, the people, decide. And in effect we're saying we want God to keep His nose out of our business!

In certain African cultures lying can be even more deep-rooted and blatant. Although they seldom have the blind acceptance of atheistic evolution currently found in the West, outright lying itself is SO pervasive that, on occasions, it is almost regarded as a sport. The bigger the lie you can get away with, the more impressive you are! Nothing can therefore be taken at face value. When dealing with individuals from such areas you find yourself continually asking what really lies behind every statement made. And just as we within the West struggle to survive in such a spiritually poisonous environment, church members in these areas find it has a huge detrimental effect on them also. All of us, and especially those living within such cultures need to remain fully aware and vigilant to this! Paul it seems had a similar problem within Crete – and had to warn Titus of this tendency within the area he was taking over. Note that this passage comes just a few verses after he makes the statement "... In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began..." (Titus 1:2) :

  • For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
  • whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.
  • One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
  • This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,(Titus 1:10-13 NKJV)
Godly character:

The development of unswerving truthfulness therefore – within our deceit-ridden societies – needs to be regarded as a major goal for all of us, a vital part within the culmination of a lifetime of growth. This Mr Armstrong brings out in his explanation of how our physical begettal, growth and birth is so precisely a mirror of the spiritual:

Are you really comprehending this? Are you? And mortal man, if he repents, surrenders unconditionally to God and God’s government, accepts in living FAITH Jesus Christ as personal Savior, can receive God’s gift of His HOLY SPIRIT – the very life, essence, nature, mind and power of God – BEGETTlNG him now as God’s own (yet unborn) Son! If he then GROWS spiritually (II Pet. 3:18), overcomes and endures, he shall – at Christ’s soon coming, be changed (or resurrected if he dies) from mortal to immortal (I Cor. 15:44-54).

And then – IF the very CHARACTER of God has been developed within him – his vile material body will be instantaneously changed (converted) into one “like unto his [Christ’s] GLORIOUS body”!(Phil. 3:21.) But your vile character will not then be instantaneously changed – THAT change must take place NOW in this life ! So THAT is the supreme heritage of MAN – if he is willing! ( Missing Dimension in Sex – chapter 5)

So, whether we live in the West or in the Third World, the 'need' to save face and present ourselves in the best light possible in no way justifies a worldly approach to the subject of truthfulness. It is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie. That impossibility must be our goal also, as the children of God. And yet "the way of lying" (Psalm 119:29) can be so subtle at times. In virtually all cases the use of make-up and/or hair dye comes from a similar mindset. It's a form of lying – pure and simple – which is partly why Mr Armstrong preached as he did against make-up on so many occasions. We must be prepared to always, "speak the truth in our heart ... to our own hurt if necessary – yet change not" (Psalm 15:2,4 paraphrased) . It is also the reason we should never need to reinforce what we say with an oath, but our yes should always mean yes, our no, no – "for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil" (Matthew 5:37)

Faith in His Word:

It is this unerring truthfulness of God that enables us to have absolute faith in His word. As He says, "yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." (Isaiah 46:11) . As the Eternal God who gave the prophetic words in the first place, Jesus Christ knew full well that when the time comes for them to be fulfilled, absolutely nothing can stop them. We can see this graphically illustrated in His words to the Pharisees on His entry into Jerusalem:

  • And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
  • Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
  • And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
  • And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:37-40)

The reason the stones would have immediately cried out had the disciples kept quiet was that the time for the fulfilment of a prophecy in Zechariah had arrived, so either the people of Jerusalem or the stones of Jerusalem had to shout:

  • "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zechariah 9:9)
A Sure Future:

The fact is, it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). Throughout our life He remains patient and long-suffering towards us, "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9) And provided we remain repentant, accepting Christ's shed blood when we fall so that we continue to be led by the spirit of God, we will remain as the sons of God – waiting for the resurrection, as we are promised "... In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began..." (Titus 1:2)

  • For this corruptible MUST put on incorruption, and this mortal MUST put on immortality.
  • So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then SHALL be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:53-54)

God certainly has a long-term perspective – very different from our own – after all, He is an eternal being who remembers the sun, moon and stars coming into existence at the word of the Logos. So when He makes promises like the following, it really means something! This is something you can "take to the bank".

  • Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
  • If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
  • Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)

As we can have full and total confidence in the sun rising tomorrow, we can have equal confidence that our God, who cannot lie, will fulfil other promises He has outlined in His word. Initially He warns us of the problems and upheavals just ahead of us now, but they are followed by the equally certain promise of absolute deliverance and the most marvellous future for all mankind.

  • And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
  • Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
  • And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
  • And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:25-28)

And here is Israel's redemption, as our faithful God promised via Jeremiah, within a clear end-time context:

  • Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
  • And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
  • And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
  • And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
  • Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
  • For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.
  • And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.
  • Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 32:37-44)