Audio - 18 May 2024

Latest Audio - 2024-05-18

mp3 rm
stream
Sermonette
by Andrew Munro
The Two Trees Of Politics And Voting
given Wales UK 18 May 2024
show/hide info
mp3 rm
stream
Sermon
by Jonathan Pippy
Living and Walking In the Way of God
given Peterborough Canada 2 May 2009 - played Wales UK 18 May 2024
show/hide info
News Review - 17 May 2024
News vs Reality

The problem today is that “news” is everywhere… Conspiracy theories abound… News has become “info-tainment”… News is social media fodder…

Is truth totally irrelevant? What is reality?

News vs Reality

In October 1978, an article entitled “News vs Reality - Reading between the headlines” was published in the Plain Truth Magazine. This article points out that the Media can create a false reality due to their lack of understanding.

This was written back in 1978. Today, we have social media, where anyone with a mobile phone and access to the internet can spread their version of events, in colour video, live!

This is what happened in the Hamas invasion of Israel last year - with terrorists putting out graphic videos too distressing to list here!

What Is Reality?

Reality is the state of things as they are, rather than as they are imagined to be - but…

Our concept of reality is often determined by what someone else says reality is. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of mass-media print and broadcast news journalism. The bulk of our news comes to us secondhand, neatly packaged on the pages of our morning newspapers or from TV. The news that makes it into the public consciousness often does so because somebody determined it was ‘fit to print.’ Only when we understand the message behind the medium can we appreciate that news and reality are often two distinctly different things.(The Plain Truth - Oct/Nov 1978)

Manipulated Media

The problem today is that ‘news’ is everywhere.

Over one billion websites claiming to be sources of news.

Over one billion opinions!

Over one billion versions of ‘reality’!

Conspiracy theories abound;

The truth is totally irrelevant!

News has become “info-tainment”.

As the following article points out, just six major corporations collectively own most of the major mainstream media outlets in the USA. They effectively control what people think.

They selectively craft the “reality” which is fed to the people!

The truth seems totally irrelevant!

“Who owns the media?

In 1983, the largest 50 corporations controlled 90 percent of the media. Today, as a result of massive mergers and takeovers, six corporations control 90 percent of what we see, hear, and read. Those six corporations are Comcast, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. In 2010, the total revenue of these six corporations was $275 billion. In a recent article in Forbes magazine discussing media ownership, the headline appropriately read: ‘These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies.’

No sane person denies that the media plays an enormously important role in shaping public consciousness and determining political outcomes. The current media situation is a very serious threat to our democracy.” (inthesetimes.com)

This becomes very obvious when we look at the situation in the Middle East in general, and the State of Israel in particular.

Does Truth Really Matter Anymore?

The world’s treatment of Israel since October 7th suggests it does not.

The Biden administration and European Union were equivocal from the start regarding Israel’s response to Hamas’s genocidal pogrom. Despite initially offering moral support, the Europeans immediately began exhorting Israel to respond ‘proportionately’ while voices from the White House imperiously demanded an untenable two-state ‘solution.’

Joe Biden at first spoke sympathetically about Israel’s need to eliminate terrorists and destroy their infrastructure, but administration mouthpieces soon began to blather about the need for restraint, citing as justification false Gaza casualty statistics lifted directly from Hamas propaganda.

In trying to placate anti-Israel progressives, prominent Democrats clearly have no compunction against undermining an ally and sacrificing truth to do so.

Real truth, however, is neither relative nor subjective, but rather implicates immutable fact; and the truth regarding the attacks perpetrated against Israel is neither ambiguous nor reinforced by false comparisons to alleged Israeli conduct, as many on the political left – including Barack Obama – disgracefully asserted before Israel could even bury her dead in October.

Israeli society, which had seemed so fractured before the attack, was unified by a sense of common heritage and national resolve thereafter.

The truth they conveyed provided stark contrast to the pro-Hamas propaganda, anti-Israel vitriol, and racist Jew-hatred that are driving the narrative in the US – where classical stereotypes and conspiracy theories abound and atrocities against Jews are legitimized as ‘resistance’ without shame or embarrassment in colleges and universities, city and town councils, Hollywood, and even the halls of Congress.” (israelnationalnews.com)

The West Does Not Understand Islam

“When you tell a Big Lie and repeat it often, it achieves credibility and legs of its own. In Islam, telling a lie to infidels for the sake of enlarging your own believers’ faith or defeating the infidel is acceptable, even desirable.” (templemountlocation.com)

The Evidence Of History - Set In Stone!

If we take an honest look at historical facts, we can see how the reality of today’s Middle East is based on lies and deception! The Romans celebrated their capture of the Jews and their Temple in 70 C.E. by carving it in stone on the arch of Titus in Rome! There was a Temple in Jerusalem - and it was destroyed by the Roman’s in 70 AD! This is truth. This is reality. But this was totally discounted by Yasser Arafat who claimed that there was no Jewish Temple - because it did not agree with his version of reality!

History teaches us that we do not learn from history.

(quoteinvestigator.com)

The Truth: Hidden In Plain Sight

“A quick trip through history reveals some startling truths which, if reported correctly by the media, would totally destroy the connection between Islam and Jerusalem, and Islam and the Temple Mount!

Today, the Muslims claim that the Jewish Temple did not exist. Yet in a 16-page 1925 booklet in English published by the ‘Supreme Moslem Council’ and titled ‘A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,’ Jerusalem contains a passage that directly endorses the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. On page 4, the guide discusses the location of the Temple Mount:

The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which "David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings."

Despite Arafat’s claim that there was no Jewish Temple, the Romans memorialized their capture of the Jews and their Temple in 70 CE by carving it in stone.” (eretzyisroel.org)

Jerusalem In Recent History

“Here are a few reports from people who visited Jerusalem from 1611 – 1867. They report little evidence of Muslim occupation.

Innumerable reports during these centuries from Western pilgrims, tourists, and diplomats in Jerusalem told of the city’s execrable condition.

George Sandys in 1611 found that ‘Much lies waste; the old buildings (except a few) all ruined, the new contemptible.’

Constantin Volney, one of the most scientific of observers, noted in 1784 Jerusalem’s ‘destroyed walls, its debris-filled moat, its city circuit choked with ruins.’

‘What desolation and misery!’ wrote Chateaubriand.

Gustav Flaubert of Madame Bovary fame visited in 1850 and found ‘Ruins everywhere, and everywhere the odour of graves. It seems as if the Lord’s curse hovers over the city. The Holy City of three religions is rotting away from boredom, desertion, and neglect.’

‘Hapless are the favorites of heaven,’ commented Herman Melville in 1857.

Mark Twain in 1867 found that Jerusalem ‘has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village.’

The British government recognized the minimal Muslim interest in Jerusalem during World War I. In negotiations with Sharif Husayn of Mecca in 1915-16 over the terms of the Arab revolt against the Ottomans, London decided not to include Jerusalem in territories to be assigned to the Arabs because, as the chief British negotiator, Henry McMahon, put it, ‘there was no place… of sufficient importance… further south’ of Damascus ‘to which the Arabs attached vital importance’.” (danielpipes.org)

“The Moslem Claim To Jerusalem Is Totally False”

“There were no mosques in Jerusalem in 632CE when the Prophet Mohammed died…

Jerusalem was then a Christian city within the Byzantine Empire

The Moslem ‘claim’ to Jerusalem is based on what is written in the Koran, which although Jerusalem is not mentioned even once, nevertheless talks (in Sura 17:1) of the ‘Furthest Mosque’: ‘Glory be unto Allah who did take his servant for a journey at night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque.’

But is there any foundation to the Moslem argument that this ‘Furthest Mosque’ (Al-Masujidi al-Aqtza) refers to what is today called the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem?

THE ANSWER IS, NONE WHATSOEVER.

Jerusalem’s role as ‘The Third Holiest Site in Islam’ in mainstream Islamic writings does not precede the 1930s.

It was created by the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini. The Mufti knew that nationalist slogans alone would not succeed in uniting the masses against arriving Jewish refugees.

He therefore turned the struggle into a religious conflict.

He addressed the masses clearly, calling for a holy war.

His battle cry was simple and comprehensive: ‘Down with the Infidels!’ From the time Herbert Samuel appointed him to the position of Mufti, Haj Amin worked vigorously to raise Jerusalem’s status as an Islamic holy center. He renovated the mosques on the Temple Mount, while conducting an unceasing campaign regarding the imminent Jewish ‘threat’ to Moslem holy sites.

In the days of Mohammed, who died in 632 of the Common Era, Jerusalem was a Christian city within the Byzantine Empire.

Jerusalem was captured by Khalif Omar only in 638, six years after Mohammed’s death. Throughout all this time there were only churches in Jerusalem, and a church stood on the Temple Mount, called the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian, built in the Byzantine architectural style.

The Aksa Mosque was built 20 years after the Dome of the Rock, which was built in 691-692 by Khalif Abd El Malik. The name ‘Omar Mosque’ is therefore false. In or around 711, or about 80 years after Mohammed died, Malik’s son, Abd El-Wahd - who ruled from 705-715 - reconstructed the Christian-Byzantine Church of St Mary and converted it into a mosque.

He left the structure as it was, a typical Byzantine ‘basilica’ structure with a row of pillars on either side of the rectangular ‘ship’ in the center. All he added was an onion-like dome on top of the building to make it look like a mosque. He then named it el-Aksa, so it would sound like the one mentioned in the Koran.

Therefore it is crystal clear that Mohammed could never have had this mosque in mind when he compiled the Koran, since it did not exist for another three generations after his death.

Rather, as many scholars long ago established, it is logical that Mohammed intended the mosque in Mecca as the ‘Sacred Mosque,’ and the mosque in Medina as the ‘Furthest Mosque.’

So much for the Moslim claim based on the Aksa mosque.(eretzyisroel.org)

News vs Reality

News and reality ARE often two distinctly different things – and this is a real problem for those searching for the truth. The Media does not understand what is going on in the world… they have no real understanding of where these events are leading. The reality which they have created is totally false!

Because mankind has rejected God, and the truth revealed in the Bible, they do not understand, cannot understand, what is going on in the world!

The Real Problem: Satan Is Real! Very Real!

Jesus Christ gave this warning about Satan, which few understand today:

“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.(John 8:44, NLT)

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.” (ll Corinthians 4:4, NLT)

We are told that "Satan has deceived the whole world". (Revelation 12:9)

He has been so successful with his lies and deception that most people don’t believe that he even exists!

Satan’s Lies Have Created Present Day Chaos In The Middle East

“Arab/Muslim claims on the ‘Holy Land’ is ‘one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world!’”

“There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct ‘Palestinian’ culture or language.”

“Jerusalem’s role as ‘The Third Holiest Site in Islam’ in mainstream Islamic writings does not precede the 1930s.”

“Mohammed could never have had this mosque in mind when he compiled the Koran, since it did not exist for another three generations after his death.”

The Media totally ignore the historical facts because the facts do not agree with the “reality” which they have created.

With the understanding of the Knowledge of God, which God’s people have, these facts confirm the scripture. In Revelation 12:9 we are told that Satan has deceived the whole world.

What we see happening in the world today is the fruit of that deception.

As Of Today - Nothing Has Changed!

The brutal attack by Hamas militants in Southern Israel back in October last year resulted in over 1200 mainly Israeli civilians dead with over 200 hostages taken. Some of these have already died.

Yet the world at large has attacked Israel - mainly based on the large number of women and children killed by Israel - based on “estimates” made by the United Nations (thegatewaypundit.com").

The truth is totally ignored - the way in which Hamas carried out the attack - how they viciously treated people - much of the evidence recorded on the terrorists’ own mobile phones.

Remember…

“When you tell a Big Lie and repeat it often, it achieves credibility and legs of its own. In Islam, telling a lie to infidels for the sake of enlarging your own believers’ faith or defeating the infidel is acceptable, even desirable.” (templemountlocation.com)

United Nations Reduces Estimated Number Of Women, Children Killed In Gaza

Now the estimates have been “revised”! Note: we are still not being given the truth - only UN estimates!

“The United Nations has seemingly revised the estimated number of women and children it believes have been killed in Gaza during Israel’s war on Hamas, blaming the ‘fog of war’ for the mistake.

The revision takes place as global tensions and backlash over Israel’s war against Hamas threaten to boil over, with many nations accusing them of committing genocide against the Palestinians, a charge that Israel and its allies have fervently denied." (thegatewaypundit.com")

No Real Understanding…

In December 1969, Mr Armstrong, writing in his ‘Personal’ article in the Plain Truth Magazine, stated:

“I know this may sound incredible, but it’s true. And it’s time the facts were understood! Editors, news-casters, foreign correspondents and reporters do not understand the real meaning of the world news they report, analyse and discuss.

Equally incredible – heads of governments are utterly unaware of the true significance of the world shaking events with which they deal. They have no conception of where these events are leading.(The Plain Truth - December 1969)

The Missing Dimension In News Analysis

“Real understanding of trends and events demands that we look at things from God’s viewpoint. That viewpoint is revealed in the Bible, and it systematically shows how God is working out His great purpose for mankind. The record of how God intends to do that is contained in Bible prophecy. Since the plan of God means everything to your eternal future, events which bear on that plan are the most important of events. But they are woefully neglected in the secular news media.

[Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, instructed us to]… cull out from the vast labyrinths of world news, and from the Bible, the real meaning behind these happenings - sifting out from the flood of nonessential, nonsensical and irrelevant so-called news of murders, divorces, scandals, politics, and social happenings, the significant items bearing on fulfilled prophecy.

Those items are important because they signify both approaching trouble and the eventual restoration of the government of God. Furthermore, by watching world news with an eye to how events fit Bible prophecy, we get our minds off the petty, mundane, trivial everyday events which take up so much space in the modern media, and onto the things of God.

Unless we remain alert, the traumatic events foretold in Bible prophecy may catch us unprepared. We do not know the day or the hour of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:42-44). Therefore we must have our minds on the coming of Christ and the prophesied events leading up to that coming.

Unless we are alert to the potential for fulfilled prophecy, there is a danger of neglecting the things of God altogether.

Christ put it plainly when He said, after enumerating a grisly series of events to befall the world: ‘And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man’ (Luke 21:34-36).” (The Plain - Truth Oct/Nov 1978)

Pastor’s Report - 10 May 2024
The Power and the Glory

The Power and the Glory

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)

So concludes one of the most well known prayers in the religious world – even being set to music. And it indeed is of great importance as Christ also encourages us, His disciples, to use the outline when we pray. What worldly christianity doesn't understand though is the far-reaching significance of this last sentence. I wonder if we do, even though the Bible is replete with glimpses of a glorious future for all mankind – a future that will include all three of the above aspects. The apostle Paul clearly mentions this to the church in Rome:

  • To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
  • But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Romans 2:7,10)

One major point to note in Matthew 6:13 is that the kingdom, power and glory are for God and Him alone to give: "For THINE is the kingdom ..." To have a goal in life that includes such things is obviously not wrong – but it could be if we want them for the wrong reasons. If our motive is entirely INcoming, then it is wrong. Yet power, glory and honour is the number one ambition of many people – and always has been, from Nimrod on. In fact, it was with the archangel Lucifer aeons before then, though at one time that is what he actually had, including immortality ...

  • Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:14)

... but he drastically lacked the character to go along with that power and glory. (Isaiah 14:12,13). In the final temptation thrown at Christ by Satan in the wilderness was the opportunity to have all three there and then ... but at Satan's behest, and under his control:

  • Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
  • And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
  • Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:8,-10)

As Christ was, we too must be in tune with the Mind of God and His timing:

  • "I'm not trying to bring glory to myself. There's one who is seeking to glorify me, and he's the judge." (John 8:50 CEB)
Moses' Request

Over a thousand years previously, Christ - as the God of the Old Testament – vividly demonstrated to Moses what is FAR more important in His sight than glory, and something we seriously need to take on board if we desire to be part of His universe-ruling government, with the glory, honour and immortality that will go along with it.

Exodus chapter 33 records that after the incident of the golden calf, God was very angry with "stiff-necked" rebellious Israel and commanded Moses to remove the tabernacle to outside the camp. He also indicated that an angel would accompany Israel to the Promised Land rather than Himself. We're told in verse 11 that "... the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" , and it seems Moses took advantage of this in his following request:

  • And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
  • Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. (Exodus 33:12,13)

Moses desired a deeper understanding of this great Being's "way" ... His manner, habit, course of life (Strong H01870, Genesis 6:12, 18:19). The chances are that God had revealed a certain amount of His Plan to Moses, including the REAL Promised Land and the resurrection to eternal life – the "incredible human potential" – and that is possibly why Moses added another request: "And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory." (Exodus 33:17,18). Who wouldn't want to know what is ahead for us in the resurrection – the kind of body we will have? Christ's response was basically that "the way" of God is of much greater importance than glory of and by itself. It is the understanding of this Way, this character of God what really counts:

  • Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
  • But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23,24)

But because of the close relationship they enjoyed, Christ agreed to let Moses have just a glimpse of a truly glorified God being:

  • And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
  • And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
  • And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
  • And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen (Exodus 33:20-23)
  • And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
  • Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6,7)
"And Proclaimed the NAME of the LORD"

The LORD, The LORD God:

In the Old Testament God revealed Himself to Moses as YHWH -"I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14). It is used thousands of times in the Hebrew scriptures but eventually it became to be considered so holy that pious Jews would not pronounce it, so today we are not certain how it was pronounced. The Hebrew at the time did not use vowels in its writing so we only have the four consonants, called the Tetragrammaton. Although we are not 100% sure, "Yahweh" is likely to be close, and LORD is often translated as the Eternal ..."The One who was, is and will be."

But the pronunciation of God's name is not the point. The various names God uses to describe Himself helps us to understand His character – the essence, the nature of the Being we are dealing with, and Who is dealing with us. In fact, God wants us to deeply reflect on His name:

  • Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. (Malachi 3:16)
  • Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (Psalm 91:14)

"Thinking upon His name" – what He is all about, what the Plan is that we are intrinsically part of. The astounding understanding that we can become part of that God family, because like Moses, we too are known by name. (John 6:37,39,44,65)

You and I should have been already begotten into that Family. And we shall ... If we overcome, if we are filled with the Spirit of God, if we grow (in knowledge and character, in grace, in spiritual character) and endure until the end – we shall also become members of the God Family. We shall be God in the sense that we are part of the God Family, the same as the Father is and the Son is now. (What If Adam Had Not Sinned - 13 Jun 1981)

So Christ continues to describe the qualities that constitute these two God beings – and therefore all future members of the God family.

"Merciful and Gracious"

Mercy:

So important is mercy as part of God's character that right after giving us the sample prayer, Christ immediately returned to the forgiveness aspect:

  • For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
  • But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14,15)

In the section in Romans 2 quoted above regarding glory and honour, Paul is contrasting the eventual outcome of the righteous compared to what some of these Jews might expect, with their harsh, UNmerciful attitude to others: "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." (Romans 2:1)

Nehemiah chapter 9 contains many references to the mercy of God with unruly and rebellious Israel, citing instances of His mercy from Abraham to that very day:

  • ... but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. (Heb: a God of pardons}
  • Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;
  • Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: (Nehemiah 9:17-19)
  • ... and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.
  • But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; (Nehemiah 9:27,28)

But this aspect of God's character isn't always appreciated! A prime example is in the book of Jonah:

  • And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
  • But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
  • And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. (Jonah 3:10, 4:1,2)

Knowing the prophecies regarding Assyria being used to punish Israel, Jonah's reaction is humanly understandable. But the final two verses give us a deep understanding of God's merciful mindset:

  • Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
  • And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (Jonah 4:10,11)

Gracious

When we think of "a gracious host" what comes to mind is an individual who would put you at ease, show interest in you as a person, and have your enjoyment at the forefront of his mind. Someone who is considerate, approachable, courteous, with what we might call "a generosity of spirit". The Greek (Strongs 5485) also mentions goodwill, loving kindness, favour. In other words, the kind of person we'd all like to spend time with. It's no wonder then that Luke records; "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God ... and man" (Luke 2:52) . From the gospel accounts we can see His natural compassion exhibited in the miracles performed, and that He appears to have been a most popular individual – except with the religious leaders!

  • And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

From Genesis to Revelation, the grace or graciousness of God is mentioned well over a hundred times. It's part of who He is – a Being who cares for the oppressed, for instance:

  • If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:
  • For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious. (Exodus 22:27)
  • The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
  • He made known his ways unto Moses, (see Exodus 34) his acts unto the children of Israel.
  • The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (Psalm 103:6-8)

Abraham was gracious to his nephew Lot, when he gave him first choice over which part of the land he wanted to settle in (Genesis13:8). Christ was gracious – compassionate – and willing to put Abraham's mind at rest regarding the possibility of sparing Sodom, rather than total destruction. (Genesis 18) This Almighty God calls us His friends (John 15:15, James 2:23) and unlike the pagan gods, or demons who demand total control above all else, our gracious God wants to "walk among us", be with us, have us share eternity with Him, be "fully paid up" members of His family. And during that eternal existence:

  • Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11)
"Longsuffering"

This particular attribute of God Paul forcefully brought to the attention of the Jews in Rome:

  • Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering (G3115); not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4)

The Greek also implies endurance, constancy, steadfastness. God has the "end game" in mind. As king David mentions in Psalm 139, God knew our frame in the womb when, for weeks, we didn't even resemble a human being. But keeping in mind what we could become, we were allowed to grow and develop until ready to be born. How much more in the spiritual aspect of our lives? God sees the end from the beginning, and thankfully has great patience with us:

  • For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. (Psalm 103:14)
  • The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

Christ explained this particular character attribute to Peter, who reputedly had a "short fuse" when it came to anger and retribution:

  • Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
  • Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21,22)

The apostle Paul freely admitted the kind of violent individual he used to be, but years later – benefitting personally from the longsuffering of God – we can see a 180 degree turnaround in his approach, as he mentioned to Timothy: "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience ... (II Timothy 3:10)

"Abundant in Goodness and Truth"

Goodness

God wants only good things for His creation, as any loving parent would. He is the great giver, who wants us to take of the Tree of Life: (John 10:10)

  • If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11)

The Garden of Eden was no doubt stunningly beautiful and a joy to live in, as will the land of Israel in the future, under God's direction:

  • Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
  • And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
  • And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. (Ezekiel 26:33-35)
  • And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.
  • For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids. (Zechariah 9:16,17)
  • The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
  • Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel. (Psalm 128:5,6)

Truth

At this end time – with the dubious "benefit" of the internet and accompanying media, we live in a world saturated with outright lies and half-truths. Who really knows which news report to believe, when they contradict one another so often? Many no doubt echo Pilate's cynical question ... "what is truth?" This would apparently even include thousands who were associated with the church in Mr. Armstrong's time, who also ask that question when it comes to doctrine and prophecy – not always cynically, but often dispiritedly.

We have Christ's assurance that "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17), but since it is NOT open to interpretation by all and sundry – as that would end up in "every man doing what is right in his own eyes" as in the time of the Judges – how then do we "rightly divide the word of truth"? (II Timothy 2:15) God gives us the solution in Mr. Armstrong's sermon " How You and I Came to Be Here":

That’s what I wanted you to know, and I wanted to give you this message. How you get the truth. How you came to be here. It comes from God. It comes through Christ. Christ has imparted it to His apostle. I don’t know of any apostle from the time of the original apostles until today and where Christ Himself … Christ taught me by this Word. But He taught me in a way that I had to rid my mind and sweep it clean of EVERY religious belief and doctrine, and thought, that I ever had; and get it out of the Bible, pure and simple. That’s what I am passing on to you.

Brethren, I hope you realize how we are organized. There have been times when every man went his own way, the way that seemed right in his own eyes. One man this way, another man that way, another man this way – every one going off his own way. Paul teaches us we must all speak the same thing. That thing comes from God the Father. It comes through Christ. It comes through the apostle. Through the apostle it comes down through your other ministers, and through our literature, and our magazines, and our ways of printing that we have today – to you, so that you get GOD’S TRUTH pure and simple. (How You and I Came to Be Here – Melbourne Australia May 16, 1981)

A loving God would not leave us wallowing around in confusion as to what the truth is, when it really is a matter of life and death, but He gives us this assurance:

  • Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
  • Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
  • And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:4-6)

And that promise we can take to the bank!

  • " The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." (Psalm 12:6)
  • As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. (II Samuel 22:31)
"Keeping Mercy for Thousands..."
  • "... forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:7)

At first reading it seems difficult to equate this merciful and forgiving God with a Being that would punish the "innocent" right down to great-grandchildren! To really understand this verse – and the outgoing concern involved – we must first understand the Plan God has for all mankind.

Since the Tree of Life was shut off to the vast majority of mankind, God has had the "hands off" approach to humanity in general. It's not a matter of God deserting His creation, but allowing the wretched consequences of sin of all kinds to be reinforced so strongly in our minds, that we never, ever want to go back to that way of life. And witnessing how our sins, our "missing the mark" in various areas – promiscuity, divorce, alcohol/drug misuse etc, – have negatively impacted not just us, but also our children, their children, and even the following generation effectively demonstrates in a very personal manner the evil of going along with Satan's mindset. These 6000 years of Satan's rule have been allowed for an eternal purpose: Aversion Therapy. To limit the repercussions to just 3 or 4 generations is, in fact, very merciful.

  • Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)
  • I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (Deuteronomy 30:19)

But for those that love God and keep His commandments, there is the unbreakable promise that we will see God's mercy upon our children and their children, to a thousand generations. And not just during the millennium, but on and on ... into eternity.

  • As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed‘s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. (Isaiah 59:21)
  • The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
  • Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
  • Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
  • A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time. (Isaiah 60:19-22)

What Christ revealed to Moses in Exodus 34 should greatly encourage us as to the kind of God we serve, but more than that, we also need to realise that these attributes need to become ours also, if we are to share in His kingdom, power and glory, for ever and ever:

  • I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
  • A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened ...
  • ... I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
  • And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed ...
  • ... But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:9,10,13,14,18)
Transcript - 31 May 2022

Latest Transcripts:


HWA Bible Study:
I Corinthians 1 and 2 20 Jul 1980
Site Last Updated...

1 day, 19 hours and 4 minutes ago

To be notified by email whenever this site is updated, contact email

“Just what is an APOSTLE?”
Just what is an Apostle?

Today we find the Church of God in a “wilderness of religious confusion!”

The confusion is not merely around the Church – within the religions of the world outside – but WITHIN the very heart of The True Church itself!

Read online or contact email to request a copy

Listen to Me, You who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My Law: …I have put My words in your mouth, I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “you are My people” (Isaiah 51:7,16)