The Messenger Church of God keeps the festivals God commands his people to keep. The commanded festivals and annual Sabbaths are listed in Leviticus 23. They include, in addition to the weekly Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day, associated with the Feast of Tabernacles, but technically a separate feast. The 2022 festival observance planned by the Church for the commanded annual festivals is summarized below.Continue reading
Is it true, as has often been taught within professing Christianity, that the question of eternal salvation is sealed at the time of one’s death? Are some of your loved ones, simply because they did not profess faith in Christ during their earthy pilgrimage, destined to suffer eternal torment forever?Continue reading
“Firstborn from the dead” is how Jesus Christ is referred to in Revelation 1:5 and Colossians 1:18 (New King James and other translations, some translations into English phrase it somewhat differently, but with essentially the same meaning). In this article, I want to discuss the implications of the title “Firstborn from the Dead,” as it applies to Jesus Christ.
Is this term to be understood only as a title denoting preeminence, as some have suggested? Or does it also imply that Jesus Christ is the first, in time order, to be “born” from the dead, as a metaphor for the resurrection? We know that others were resurrected from the dead before Jesus Christ was. He himself had resurrected his friend Lazarus, who had died, and had also resurrected others from the dead during his ministry (Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25; 11:5; Luke 7:11-16, 22; 8:41-42, 49-56; John 11:11-45). So why is Jesus Christ called the “firstborn from the dead,” and what significance does that have?Continue reading
Since the year 1789, when the government of the United States began to operate under the newly adopted Constitution, there have been periodic elections to select a President as head of the executive branch of the Federal government, and representatives to serve in the Legislative branch.
Political parties emerged, led by influential politicians. Implied in this system of government is an appeal by the various office holders or would-be office holders to “follow me.”
Those chosen write the laws, set the policies, and administer the government in line with their ideas of how the nation should be governed. Fortunately, the framers of the Constitution had the wisdom to limit the powers of government, ostensibly guaranteeing certain rights to the citizens that the government could not impinge on, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, etc.
At times those rights have been respected, but on other occasions they have been violated. Under slavery those enslaved had no rights to speak of. Since slavery was outlawed, theoretically everyone is to have equal rights under the law, including individual freedoms recognized by the Constitution.
Today, in the year 2021 as this is being written, we live in a time when those who wield power over the country seek more and more aggressively to impose their views on its citizens with or against their will. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other individual rights have rarely been less secure on a national scale in the United States than they are today, because of the leaders the people, at least many of them, have chosen to follow.
Government oppression in the United States and some other western nations has not yet reached the level prevailing in many other nations, but it is headed in that direction. Oppression has been the rule among the governments of mankind throughout history.
Human beings are by nature social creatures. In any organized society there have to be leaders, and there have to be those who follow. Most of us function in some way as leaders in certain situations, and as followers in other respects.
We all make choices in whom to follow, and what to follow. The leader or leaders you choose to follow can have far reaching consequences on your own welfare. So, whom should you follow?
The Bible has a lot to say about leading and following. And the Bible is very specific in telling us whom to follow. We are to follow God. Any other choices about this question are subordinate to that choice. Either we are following God, or we are not. And the choices we make determine the answer to that question.
The title of this article is “Follow God.” And we will explore briefly what the Bible has to say about this subject.Continue reading
After Jesus died and was resurrected, according to the testimony of John, on the first afternoon following his resurrection he appeared to his close disciples, including the eleven who were to be sent out as apostles.
“Then, the same day at evening [or afternoon, as it could be translated], being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20).
However, when Jesus appeared in the room where they were gathered, one of the eleven was absent.
“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’“ (John 20:24-29).
Some have assumed from this example that believing in Christ without evidence is praiseworthy. Does God want us to have blind faith, faith without evidence?Continue reading