Article based on a Sermon
3 November 2007

Loins Girt About With Truth

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

Last Monday on the 'Today' programme there was an interview between two experts on the Middle East. They both had seen the same facts. They both actually spent time down in the Middle East, down in Iraq. The interviewer said; "We have together two journalists who have spent a good deal of time in Iraq since the invasion in 2003. Bartle Bull the foreign editor of 'Prospect Magazine', and the editor of 'Middle East Monitor' and Patrick Cockburn of the 'Independent', who joined us on the phone from Northern Iraq where he is reporting at the moment. I asked Bartle Bull first of all, why he was, broadly speaking, optimistic?" This was the reply:

BB: "I think the basic case is that the big question after four and a half years of violence in Iraq - ongoing violence of course - but the big question is more or less resolved. Is the country breaking up? No. Has a civil war happened? Certainly not. Do we have an Iraq dominated by Iran? No. Has it created a region-wide sectarian apocalypse like many predicted? Certainly not. Might the Sunni's be able to re-impose the apartheid they enjoyed under Saddam? Certainly not. There will be trouble in Iraq for years to come, but the big questions have been resolved. In my opinion, the country is moving forward."

"Patrick Cockburn in Northern Iraq, what do you make of that?"

PC: "Well I think the best judge of what is happening in Iraq are Iraqis themselves. And fifty thousand of them are still fleeing their homes every month, according to the UN High Commission for refugees. Not quite two million have already fled, and the number isn't going down. It's going up so if what Bartle Bull said is true, then Iraqis would be going home, or at least less would be fleeing. So I think the perception of people here is that things really aren't getting better, nothing is resolved. The Iraqis I speak to say that the whole thing could explode again within a couple of days, and very likely will over the next year or two."

Two completely, total opposites. Both looking at the same facts. Both going into Iraq, both looking at the same thing. When it came to the end of the interview, he said: "I suppose the question for you both, Bartle Bull first, 'What will Iraq be doing a couple years from now? What do you think?'"

BB: "James, I agree, that's a critical question. Where Iraq will be in a couple of years from now is this; it will be a whole country, it will not have broken up, it will not be in civil war. There will still be, a fair amount of local violence, you know, local criminality, low sectarian frictions. Will it be a Lebanon? No, I don't think it will be even close to that. That is civil war, you know. Iraqis came close to that under the Sunni provocations, but they've stepped back from the brink and that is one reason things are getting so much better today. The country will be complete. It won't be threatening anyone else, and in it's way, which will always include violence, it will be moving forward."

"Patrick Cockburn, a complete country threatening no one?"

PC: "It won't be a complete country at all. Because at the moment in areas like Baghdad, the center of the country, where you have Sunnis and Shiites, they can't live in the same street, because they are terrified of the other community, and that they might try and kill them. This makes it a very incomplete country. Will there be something called Iraq on the map? Yes, but will it mean that you have people actually living together in the same district, on the same street? No, and that's a very divided country."

That was basically the essence of Iraq. You get this all the time. You listen to any kind of 'Today' program, any kind of interview., and they will always get two people who are totally different, totally opposites, and they will go ahead and question them. At the end of the entire interview, what are you left with? Do you have the truth? Is the truth there?

What I want to do today is to go into the first part of the armour of God: the loins girt about with truth.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [wicked spirits] in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..." (Ephesians 6:12-14)

That was the first piece of the armour. Abraham had his children come out of his loins, so the area is all this lower abdomen. The area right where the belt goes basically. The areas I want to examine:

A New World of Truth (PLAY FROM 06:04)

If we turn back to John chapter 8, we find Christ talking about this new age, and talking about the ones that will be prepared for this new age.

"As he spake these words, many believed on him." (John 8:30)

Now we find very clearly as we read in verse 45, they didn't believe Him. Christ points this out to them, that they only believed on Him. They said; "Oh, this chap is quite interesting, we will kind of tag along with Him." But John 8:31 says:

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my [students] indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

Now when we get together as a church, we sometimes come up to somebody new and a question we tend to ask is "How did you hear about the truth?" We use it all the time. What do we mean by the word 'truth'? It is more than just "When did you start reading the Bible?" There is more to it than that. It's "When did you start understanding what that book actually has to say?" That's what you really mean. "When did you hear the truth? How did you come to hear the truth? How did you come by the truth?"

Here it says, these disciples, these students - and they are students of a new age - they will know the truth, and the truth is what is going to make them free. Turn over to Romans 8:19, and just read and remind ourselves about this:

"For the earnest expectation of the [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the [creation] was made subject to vanity [or chewing], not willingly, but...in hope ... Because [or 'in hope that'] the creature [which was made subject to this vanity, this chewing, the survival of the fittest. The way it is now, not willingly, but in the hope that the creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8:20-21)

It is the liberty. What is it? What is it that gives us freedom?

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

It will give this liberty. And eventually when that truth is known and understood by these disciples - by these students of that truth - they will then go into the future, and teach that same truth. It is going to cause the world itself, to have the "glorious liberty of the children of God." Because it will be a new world, entirely and totally new, based on truth.

"Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word [you're not going to understand it because you are not able to actually hear and understand what He is saying]. Ye are of your father the devil [slanderer], and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him..." (John 8:43-44)

When we see today's society and today's world, and the interview on the 'Today' programme, and how these two totally opposed views are given airtime; what are we left with? What is the truth in there? What IS truth? We will look at that a little bit later. But here it says that he didn't abide in the truth;

"...because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not [it is not compatible with their thinking]. Which of you convinceth [or convicts] me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me [if what I'm telling you really is true, why don't you believe me]? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." (John 8:44-47)

Again you are looking at what Christ said right in the beginning in John 8:31-32, where He talks of continuing in His word, and being made free by the knowledge of the Truth. The truth will free you, and will also enable you to also take it, as students, in the future, and give the glorious liberty of the children of God. Because it's a new world that we are looking for, and a new world that will be based completely on truth.

So in this particular aspect of a new world based on truth, we need to understand something. I Corinthians 15:42:

"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a [life giving] spirit." (I Corinthians 15:42-45)

This life-giving spirit - this is a different type. A different kind, because this word 'soul' is a physical, breathing creature. The first Adam was a breathing creature. But this last Adam was a life-giving spirit.

"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven [from on high]. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." (I Corinthians 15:46-49)

When you think of this, just as there is the first Adam, and his wife Eve, so there is the second Adam, and He will also have His wife as the second Eve, which is the Church. The Church will be - eventually - the mother of all living.

We are looking at this second Adam, and the way in which Christ actually conducted Himself. He was filled with grace and truth. He lived by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God - that is how He specifically countered Satan's attack. Remember, what we are talking about is Ephesians 6 and the armour of God, and countering the various attacks from the satanic realm. Christ was living by every single word that proceeded from the mouth of God, and He is going to have to marry somebody of His same kind.

But what did Eve, years ago, do? Turn back to Genesis 3:

"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the [Eternal] God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [now that was a lie. He said, 'Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat, but not that one.' So, it was actually turned right around] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die [that was a blatant lie]: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil [so he appealed to her vanity]. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit..... "[and took the knowledge of good and evil to herself, and Adam as well] (Genesis 3:1-6)

So you've got the first Adam who dealt with Satan, dealt with a lie, dealt with the lack of truth in a certain way. But you are now looking at the second Adam, and the second Eve - the second woman, the bride of Christ - who is going to have to deal with Satan in a certain way, and now the loins are girt about with truth. The loins girt about with truth are able to counter what we saw happened in Genesis 3. This is what every single one of us has got to make sure we understand.

What is it that Satan did here? He basically appealed to her vanity by saying "You're not surely going to die. God knows when you eat this..." And what did she do? She "...saw that it was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, ...desired to make one wise..." (Genesis 3:6) It appealed to her vanity, and she succumbed to the temptation.

Christ was also tempted - how did He react? Satan said; "...If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones to be made bread. [Christ] said, ...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:3-4)

He countered Satan's appeal to vanity with truth. It is the same thing with us, and any appeal to our vanity. The madness of Satan, the arrogance of Satan, the idea that he could go ahead and elevate himself above the Eternal God, this is part of the broadcast that we need to be constantly aware of and has got be countered, and it can be - with truth.

Just what are we? We are lumps of clay. Even when we become spirit beings, part of the very God family, the Father and Christ are eternal beings, whereas we began life. Now whether there is some way of having an eternity that we don't understand, I don't know. But today we've had a beginning, and have to be brought into that family.

This new world of truth is going to be very, very different from that of today. In today's world we have to battle the vanity-filled mindset which so appeals to us human beings. We need to learn a different way! And one thing we have, to be able to fend off so many attacks, is this girdle of truth.

Why Loins? (PLAY FROM 18:02)

Why a girdle? Why loins? Turn to Jeremiah 13 and verse one.

"Thus saith the [Eternal] unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water. So I got a girdle according to the word of the [Eternal], and put it on my loins. And the word of the [Eternal] came unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the [Eternal] commanded me. And it came to pass after many days, that the [Eternal] said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing [it was rotten, it was in warm mud, the Euphrates presumably would be flooding and it got soaking wet]. Then the word of the [Eternal] came unto me, saying, Thus saith the [Eternal], After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, which refuse to hear my words..." (Jeremiah 13:1-10)

Do you see the parallel between what we are looking at in the case of Eve, and the ideas of Satan which are pride-based, and here when we are looking at the truth.

"This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle [sticks] to the loins of a man, so have I caused to [stick] unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the [Eternal]; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear." (Jeremiah 13:10-11)

You see, the reason why this girdle of our loins? In I Kings 18:46, you will find that Elijah when he was dealing with Ahab, he 'girded up his loins', and he ran to Samaria. Basically, he had a belt which was around his loins and in those days they had long flowing robes, so he pulled the robes up, and he tucked them into his belt. So he now has his running leg exposed, which is this top part above the knee. This is literally called in Hebrew, the running leg - translated as thigh. So now his robes are tucked into his belt, and he then ran all the way across all the mountain, and beat Ahab as he was going round the side of it in his chariot.

This girding up of your loins, tucking it all into your belt, is the way in which you are able to run. This is also how you can fight . Another thing about the girdle of your loins is the sword. Ephesians 6 talks about the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, which is also hung on the belt. The scabbard will hang on the belt - and that's the place for the sword. So you take the sword out and use it! But the word of truth is the girdle of your loins. It also allows you to get all these things that are flapping around and put them all in place.

Once you've got truth there, you don't have the stuff flapping around your ankles. You can run. You can do things. You can walk. You can fight. The analogy of it is very clear. If you've got a rotten girdle and the whole thing comes apart, you have your robes back down by your ankles again. How can you fight? How can you run? How can you do anything? Turn to Luke 12:32:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom [this new kingdom - based on truth, and a totally new way of life]. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when [you do not expect Him]." (Luke 12:32-40)

Now our house was broken up, our house was broken down. The house of God has been shattered. Yet, were we really ready? Did we have the truth as our girdle? Did we have our robes tucked into it so we were ready to fight? Were we ready when that happened? We weren't! We were caught with our proverbial pants down. How do you fight when you have your trousers round your ankles, and you try to run and fight at the same time? How can you do that? Impossible! It is the same analogy. Yet that is exactly what happened to us within the Church. We were caught, and we were not what it says here; "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;" (Luke 12:35)



Again it draws parallels to the ten virgins over in Matthew 25. But if those loins are tied around with truth, the robes can then be tucked in so you don't have all this stuff flailing around, and you can then move - and quickly if necessary. You can defend yourself. You've got somewhere where the sword can be hung on, and you can pull that sword out, which is the Word of God, which comes out of that belt of truth, and you can then fight. You also have all the stuff that flaps around stuck in that belt. We get so many ideas, so many contrasting ideas, that just flap around but the truth allows those ideas to be sorted out, some discarded, some put firm and put into perspective. Turn to I Peter chapter one.

"Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy [Spirit] sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." (I Peter 1:10-12)

So the Spirit is also involved with this truth. Therefore, because you've got this, because this truth has come down to you through the very Spirit of God with an understanding of what the prophets wrote of old, an understanding that wasn't there before;

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of [conduct]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (I Peter 1:13-16)

The same kind of truth that is in God Himself has got to be the truth that we also hold onto. This truth which we gird up in the very loins of our mind. It is a mental state of being, not a literal girdle around our middle. It's something which is mental, but it is a picture of what it would be like if it were physical. The picture is that you've got this belt, into which all the robes can be tucked, and from which the sword can be hung, and you then are enabled to fight, to run, to do whatever you need to do. We need to be like that. It is talking about the loins of our mind - the way in which our mind works.

When you go back to what actually happened within the Church, we were caught with our loins - of our mind - flapping. We were caught with the whole things, just loose. Our concept of truth was a loose one. We were not rooted and grounded in truth as we should have been. That was the problem. We didn't have somewhere to stick the various things that were flapping round our ankles. Our pants were down around our ankles and we were trying to run, and to fight. We had all this heresy coming in and we couldn't fight it.

We need to understand that, because as we are going on to see, the truth is also something that is vital as far as the world outside is concerned. The truth is not just this Word. There is more to it than that. The reality that we are in, the fact that this is a created reality is part of the truth. We will look at that as we go on. Now to Ephesians chapter four:

"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." (Ephesians 4:3-7)

We did not understand this! We thought that people could go ahead and look into this Word and they could decide themselves what this Word actually had to say. The fact is, this Word has got to be revealed, and it is the revelation that we were given which is part of the truth. Part of this girdle of truth that buckles up and the sword goes onto it.

"Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the [maturing] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:8,11-13)

So that unity is there. There is one way of looking at these words, and that way, and the only way, is God's way. That's what we had, we understood these words. But then to try and then insert something that was diametrically opposed, as 'just on the side', which is what happened, it didn't make sense. It has to fit in within the revelation that we were given.

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Because Christ was leading His Church, and we lost sight of this. We did not really understand it. And until we actually found ourselves in a position of a shattered state, and we said, "Look, we've got to get ourselves back on track, we've got to go to God and ask Him to help us and show us the means of getting back on track." Until we did that, and found: "Oh, Mr Armstrong said that, Oh, Mr Armstrong said this, Oh, Mr Armstrong said..." then we suddenly discovered what the truth was and where it came from, that ground of truth. Then we were no more children tossed to and fro. No more in a flap unable to run, unable to fight. No more with our pants down by our ankles somewhere, and trying to run. You know, like one of these sack races. Do you hop or do you run very, very little steps? How do you run in a sack?

So, why loins? Because it has a great deal to picture to us regarding to where truth has got to be. It has got to be there, into which other things are then tucked, allowing us to move forward in the way that we need to.

What Paul Saw in Ephesus (PLAY FROM 33:03)

Notice what it says here in Ephesians 4:

"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy..." (Ephesians 4:1)

If you go back a chapter to Ephesians 3 it says:

"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles." (Ephesians 3:1)

If you go forward a little bit to Ephesians 6 it says:

"For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6:20)

Now here we see that this book of Ephesians was written from Rome, and it was probably the first book that Paul wrote from Rome, when he actually arrived there for the first time. We see in this book the truth of the gospel being mentioned fairly regularly.

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)

In this book Paul mentions the truth in several places...(check Ephesians 4:15,21,25 and 5:9) ... the truth of the gospel and also regarding the fruit of the Holy Spirit and how we are being sealed by the Holy Spirit.

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation..." (Ephesians 1:13)

And where did that come from? Who was preaching the word of truth to the Ephesian Church? It was Paul - he was their apostle. Paul was the one that was preaching the word of truth. And he is talking basically, about the truth that they therefore received. Now this is important when you understand what Paul actually saw in Ephesus.

"And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." (Acts 20:17)

Here are the elders of the Church in Ephesus, the same church to which he wrote the Ephesian letter, in which has the armour of God, and talks about loins girded about with truth.

"And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and [trials], which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house [not teaching publically throughout house-to-house in the general surrounds, but to the elders of the Church], Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:18-21)

Now to verse 26:

"Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." (Acts 20:26-27)

You have had it all. The ground that you have now been given as far as the truth is concerned is all that I was required to go ahead and preach to you. You have had it. He is talking to the ministers. He is talking to the elders here.

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood [how were they supposed to be feeding them? Feeding them as they had been taught. He had not shunned to declare all the council of God to these men]. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:28-30)

Perverse from what? Perverse from all the counsel of God that Paul had declared to them. This is why it is important when you read in Ephesians 1:13 about the truth of the gospel, and then the Holy Spirit sealed this truth in these people. How they should be girt about with truth, with the girdle in which they can tuck all the other bits. He is talking about what he taught them. He was their apostle.

"Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things [that's perverse according to this ground of truth God had left them through him], to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." (Acts 20:30-32)

Because he knew that was the last time he was going to see them. "Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more..." (Acts 20:38)

This was the last personal time he was actually talking to the elders of the Church. The elders now that came to him from Ephesus, of which he said;"of your own selves you will have people rise up, not sparing the flock, speaking perverse things." Perverse according to what had been actually spoken to them - the ground of truth - all the counsel of God. The Word of God, what God was getting across to the people.

Now, did Mr Armstrong not also warn us? Did he not night and day get up there and hammer away about the Two Trees? Taking to yourself the knowledge of what is right and wrong - is that not the Two Trees? That is exactly what we've done!

We actually allowed somebody to come in who said, "The law is done away." What is right and wrong. What happened to us? Our pants were down around our ankles. We couldn't run, we couldn't fight, we couldn't do anything. Because the truth as a girdle wasn't in place, that was the problem.

Now as we come on, and we see that things that are going to happen in this world, we have got to learn from the past! If we do not learn from the past, we will suffer the same problem. The truth has got to be there, as a girdle, into which everything else can be tucked. On which the actual sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, can be hung. So you can then take it out and fight with it. That is why this is a vital analogy, that is given.

In II Corinthians chapter 11, Paul was dealing with some of these individuals that were causing problems. That were actually twisting the words that he had been given to leave with people. They came in and said, "Oh no, you don't want to listen to Paul. Has Paul said that you may not eat of all the trees in the garden?" That is basically what they were saying. It's the same old lie.

"For such are false [pseudo] apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (II Corinthians 11:13-15)

He was scathing at what these people had done. Taking what his words were and then twisting them. The Word had been delivered to Paul, to be delivered to the people. And they were to look to that Word, and to look to the truth that was within that Word, and tuck in all the other bits and pieces that needed to be tucked in.

What is our goal? Why do we do this? What are we doing having to fight like this? Why are we in this world that is governed by Satan, and yet been given the truth? It is so that we can then teach that truth in the future as kings and priests of that future time. It is a new civilization. It is a new kingdom. It is a totally different way of life. The goal is to be ready for that gospel of truth - that gospel of the kingdom of God.

Mr Armstrong warned us. He warned us over, and over and over again about the Two Trees. About taking to ourselves the knowledge of right and wrong, and what did we do? We did exactly that. I did - I took to myself what was right and wrong. I looked at the bits Mr Armstrong gave us, and I picked and chose, I cherry-picked, until I suddenly started to understand, and I said; "Hang on. What IS an apostle?"

That's the key. What is an apostle? What is the grace given to an apostle? What is the grace given to Jon Bowles? Jon Bowles doesn't have the grace of an apostle. I do not set doctrine in the Church, neither does anybody else! Apostles do. Because when you really start to understand what an apostle is, then you realize that an apostle is one that goes onto virgin territory, and actually gives the truth that God has given him. That is why it is so vitally important. Once you understand these things, you've got that girdle you can tuck everything else in, and you can run, and you can fight. Without that you have your pants around your ankles, and it's like fighting in a sack. Ridiculous, impossible, you can't run, you can't move.

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light [he looks so wonderful on the surface]. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (II Corinthians 11:14-15)

What Is Truth? (PLAY FROM 45:19)

So what is truth? We have alluded to it a fair amount. In John 18 you find this is the question Pilate asked of Christ.

"Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. [Then] Pilate saith unto him [he just threw up his hands and said Uh], What is truth?" (John 18:33-38)

Then he just stormed out. That was a carnal approach. "What's truth!" There's these vastly differing ideas about Iraq from either side. Where is the truth out of that nonsense? It was the same thing. Pilate also had seen these kinds of issues, and tried to make judgments, and he concludes, "There is no truth in the world."

And yet, there certainly is. You see, the truth is linked to the kingship. What is truth? Well, notice what it says here; "...Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth..." (John 18:37). That kingdom is going to be a kingdom based on truth. It is going to be something that is brought by God.

What is this world that we are in? It is a world held by the Word and the breath of God. What Christ as the Logos spoke and this is held in place by that. It is a reality; it is what we see, what we touch, what we handle. It is truth, a reality of where we are.

What we are looking at there is a reality where God has said, there is going to be a kingdom, and that kingdom is going to be based on the Law of God. He has spoken that word. That will be the reality. That will be true because He has said, because He has spoken. That is how He creates, that is what He does.

"And now come I to thee [Christ's prayer to the Father]; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled [filled to the full or filled to the brim] in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world [Pilate just threw up his hands, and said 'What's truth?'] I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one. [The loins girt about with truth is part of the way in which we fight that evil one and his ideas, which the first Eve didn't, but the second Eve has got to, the same way as Christ did]. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify [set them apart] them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:13-17)

What we need to understand, is that word of truth is a bit more than just this Bible, as we will go on and see. If you look at this natural world, it is held there by the Word of God, and that tells us about the Creator. That also is part of this Word of truth.

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:17-21)

Now here is Christ defining what is truth. "Your Word is truth." Whatever God says is, whatever God says is real, is true. It is what you can live your life by. "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4). Notice, it is by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

It is not just a case of what the scriptures say, although scriptures certainly are the Word of truth, but there is more than that. And there is a part of the Word of truth that every single human being on earth can understand, and yet it is being denied today. Remember; we were caught with our pants down in the Church. We need to be aware of the world today going in a certain direction, led by the same spirit. In a way which is a way of a lie, and we have got to use that girdle of truth to counteract that also. Notice: "The heavens declare the glory of God..." (Psalm 19:1). You can look up into the heavens and see that.

This section in Romans 1 sums up what we are looking at in the world today, and the lack of truth that we see today is coming from a certain mindset.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [suppress] the truth in unrighteousness [they suppress, they hold it back, they stop it from getting out]; Because that which may be known of God is manifest to them; for God hath shewed it unto them." (Romans 1:18-19)

Every single human being, including all these evolutionists can look at the same world that you and I look at. And we've got these two individuals - supposed experts regarding Iraq - coming to totally diametrically opposing views. So where is truth? Again, people see what is out there with their eyes, but they suppress that truth. They deliberately suppress it:

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead..." (Romans 1:19-20)

And it is that eternal power, and Godhead, and what He is as a Creator, that is being denied. It is being denied even in Catholic circles. They believe in evolution and that God then inserted the soul into the evolved animal. That is the way the Catholic church teaches and you can check it out on their website. Now we, who keep the Sabbath because of creation, can you see how that therefore goes against their understanding?

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," (Romans 1:20-22)

They became fools the same as the spirit that was guiding them. This foolish spirit that reckons it can be equal with the very Eternal Himself. Insane, ridiculous! And yet here are these people looking at the truth - and the truth is there to be seen - and yet, because they suppress that truth, coming to a totally different conclusion.

So it is not just the Bible that we are looking at. We are looking at the creation. The creation is also the Word of God speaking to mankind! Every single human being on this earth can see what is in creation, and should, as it says: "...God is manifested to them; for God has shown it to them." (Romans 1:19 paraphrased) It is there in front of our eyes every single day. The Eternal power and Godhead, the great designer, but it is totally pushed to one side.

"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are [being made] perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" (I Corinthians 2:6-7)

What we understand as truth out of this word, did not come by the wisdom of Mr Herbert Armstrong. It didn't come from Mr Herbert Armstrong. It came through him, but it didn't come from him. This is the great difference.

"Which none of the [leaders] of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him [that's a quotation from Isaiah]. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit..." (I Corinthians 2:8-10)

When we found ourselves within 'Worldwide,' and we came to the idea that we had the right to take the knowledge of good and evil to ourselves, we were doing exactly what Eve had done. And immediately truth went down by our ankles. Once that happened we were rendered helpless. But the things of God that we understand - the fact of the Holy Days, the fact of the Plan of God - they did not come from human sources. That understanding came from God, that is revealed knowledge.

"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? ..."(I Corinthians 2:10-11)

How does a man know about basket work, for example. He knows because of the spirit of man that is in him. Give the basket materials to a chimpanzee, see what you come up with! It will not be the same, and unless you can train the animal to do something in a completely mechanical way, it will not come out. But to the human being who applies the mind, it is the spirit of man that does it.

"For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God [the things that we understand which are spiritual came from God, they didn't come from Herbert Armstrong, it came through him, but it did not come from him]. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us [from] God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy [Spirit] teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (I Corinthians 2:11-14)

These things come from a spiritual source. It is truth. So, we are not looking only at the truth of this word. We are also looking at the fact that the Word has been spoken out there, and brought into being a creation. The world is without excuse looking at that creation and not recognizing the Designer that is behind it. That also is part of the word of God, the word of truth.

Again, you are also looking at this point here that when you understand spiritual things, there has to be spiritual revelation. It does not come from the mind of a man. A man's mind doesn't come up with such spiritual things. But there is a problem:

"For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ." (II Corinthians 2:17)

As if somebody is in the flesh of Christ, living the way Christ lived, acting the way Christ acted, with the very Spirit of God, with the understanding that God is watching what is being said and doing it faithfully and right correctly. For we are not as many which corrupt the Word of God, which twist it for their own ends.

"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling [or mishandling] the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (II Corinthians 4:1-2) Not as the god of this world, as it goes on to say in verse four.

So we see, that the word of God is truth. The creation itself is truth, and it also teaches truth. We also find, however, that truth is revealed, and it is revealed through the very Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth. Note that in John 14:17 it talks about the spirit of truth. I John 2:27 talks about the anointing by the Spirit of God, which brings truth and I John 4:6 talks again about the contrast between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things [these things that Peter was actually getting across to the people, that he was leaving them with], though ye know them, and be established in the present truth [that present truth was what they had been given from the apostles that were sent to them, be it Peter, Paul or whoever; for this particular group of people, it was Peter]. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father..." (II Peter 1:12-17)

He describes how he actually heard and was present at this vision.

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [we don't privately interpret it]. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 12-21)

So the same Holy Spirit has got to interpret that word also.

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (II Peter 2:1-2)

We do find that today, the way of truth is evil spoken of, and yet there is no reason for that at all. When you understand exactly what it was that was left to us, what we are trying to get back on track to, there is no reason for that at all.

So what is truth? Truth is whatever God says. "Your word is truth." It includes the natural world. It includes the word which is here, which is written in scripture. It also includes the word that is delivered to us by the inspiration of the Spirit, by the inspiration of the apostle that was sent. And all of that is this body of truth that we then girdle ourselves with. We can tuck everything in. We stop the stuff flapping around and we can then walk, we can run, and do what is necessary.

Truth - an End-Time Problem (PLAY FROM 1:05:15)

"Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:14-15)

So rightly and correctly dividing these words that have been given to us. We keep the Sabbath, and understand the reason we keep the Sabbath is because of the Creator, because we rightly comprehend what we see out of our eyes each day.

"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [verse 23] But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth [acknowledging what in fact has been delivered to them, so that they have something - a girdle of truth - that they can also tuck the various bits and pieces into]; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (II Timothy 2:16-17,23-26)

That is what we are fighting against....that is what the entire subject of Ephesians 6 is about. It is talking about the whole armour of God, of which this is one part. This one part, this girdle is the part that we can tuck all the other bits and pieces in, and that we can hang the very sword on.

"This know also, that in the last days [times of stress or] perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves..." (II Timothy 3:1-2)

Again, what is it? It is vanity. It is the same kind of thing that we find in Genesis 3, regarding Eve, the first Eve.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. [verse 7] Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses [these were the magicians], so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. [verse 13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;" (II Timothy 3:5,7-8,13)

Understanding where this truth came from. Go back to the source, and recognize that this did not come from a man. It came through a man, but it came from God.

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus [studying to show himself approved to God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, as it says in II Timothy 2:15]. All scripture is given by inspiration of God [it is God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:15-17)

Continue in chapter four;

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (II Timothy 4:1-4)

That context remember is, II Timothy 3:1; "...in the last days perilous days shall come." We are in that time. But with our loins girt about with truth we can tuck in the bits that need to be tucked in.

"Now we beseech you, brethren, [about] the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand [in other words, there was some kind of false letters that were being sent around at that time, things which were forgeries]. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [an apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (II Thessalonians 2:1-4)

Doing things that only God can do. Now, I personally, look at this verse, and I say, "Right, who is this? What is it talking about?" Now if you are looking at what Mr Armstrong told us about the temple of God, it is not talking about a physical temple. It is talking about a spiritual temple. So this individual, I believe, has come. He has already been, gone, and done it. He has in fact opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God. This man of sin that is mentioned here led God's people into sin. He made the choice between good and evil. He said, "You don't have to keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath is done away." That is sin. He was in the temple of God declaring these things as if he was God.

"Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what [holds back] that he might be revealed in his time." (II Thessalonians 2:5-6)

Now this is a dual prophecy, you are looking at the dual fulfillment. First of all, you are looking at the fulfillment at the time of Paul, in which Paul himself was holding things back. But you are also looking at the fact that when Mr Armstrong was taken away, that these kind of things actually came to the fore.

"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [lets or withholds] will let, until he be taken out of the way [probably a better way of translating it, is arises out of the midst] And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed [I personally believe, this is looking at a second individual, another individual, but it's an individual of the physical type, of the spiritual type that we have seen], 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 [if we have not got our belt of truth in which all the bits and pieces can be tucked, will we be deceived by this?], And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (II Thessalonians 2:7-10)

I don't think that means saved in a spiritual sense. I think it means saved from the problems that the entire world will slide into. Here they did not receive a love of the truth. As I said before, truth is not just this Word. We went ahead and accepted things we should not have accepted, because our belt, our robes were down by our ankles somewhere. We must not let that happen again.

We are looking at a time when people are no longer going to be recognizing the Creator. The Mark of the Beast is to do with the Creator. It is to do with Sunday worship. It is to do with whether or not the Sabbath is kept as a recognition of the Creation. Yet, it is obvious by looking out of our eyes that it is designed. It has got to have been designed! It didn't just happen, and then some god came along and stuck a soul in. That is not the way it works. This was designed from top to bottom. Yet, because they received not the love of the truth, they will not be saved out of what is coming.

"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be [judged] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (II Thessalonians 2:11-12)

So this love of the truth is missing. It was missing in the Church, and we got caught by it, and it is also missing in the world. The Word of God from all sources, whether it be from the Creation, the Mark of the Beast, and evolution. Be it the Bible and the scriptures, be it the restoration of truth through the end-time Elijah. These things in today's society - and within God's church - are missing. They are lying in the street.

Final Scripture; let's go back to Ephesians 6:10 and just remind ourselves how this all fits into it:

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil [the word devil means slanderer. The things that are going to war against the strength of the truth]. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore [because we do wrestle against this] take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..." (Ephesians 6:10-14)