OPINION: Remember what was taught unto you. Hold Fast to it.

 Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote: “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” (1 Corinthians 4:14-17)

In the same way, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, the apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote: “I don’t know any reason why God should have chosen me. I’m no better than anybody else. I’ve known all kinds of people with more ability than I have, better personality, better appearance, better everything than I have. But God didn’t choose any of them. He hasn’t used any of them. So He had to take someone who wasn’t quite so good and use to bring YOU THE TRUTH THAT YOU HAVE HAD. And all of you directly or indirectly are my children in the Lord, because you got the knowledge directly or indirectly through me. Christ got it to me; but Christ is the living Word, and I got it through the living Word in print, in writing, just as the early apostles did.” (Sermon: The Need for Spiritual Knowledge, given August 29, 1981)

The Worldwide Church of God was begotten through the gospel preached through Herbert W. Armstrong, the apostle of Christ. Any true minister, or true brethren, will BRING YOU TO REMEMBRANCE of what Christ’s apostle taught! If he or she leads you to a group that teaches CONTRARY to what was taught, then they are not bringing you to remembrance.

REMEMBER WHAT WAS TAUGHT UNTO YOU. HOLD FAST TO IT.(Revelation 3:11) For the apostle of Christ has laid the foundation, which is Christ, and WE OUGHT TO GROW UPON THAT FOUNDATION FORSAKING NOTHING, NEITHER TURNING TO THE LEFT NOR TO THE RIGHT, BUT SOLIDLY BUILT UPON THE FOUNDATION, RIGHT IN LINE WITH THE MEASURING-LINE!    ]]>

Let God Fight Your Battles!

Let God Fight Your Battles! by Herbert W. Armstrong

Personal from HWA – Published in The Good News Magazine March 1985  

The world you live in today is a very troubled world. You not only have your own personal problems, but you also suffer from the deliberate OPPOSITION and ANTAGONISM of the world around you. It is time you considered how to conquer these troubles: ◘how to be FREE from them ◘how to let GOD fight your battles instead! One lesson not yet learned   First, understand this: If the WORLD today is not happy — if world conditions are in a chaotic state, if lives are empty and purposeless, if minds are filled with fears and worries, bodies wracked with sickness and disease — THERE IS A REASON! Conditions are exactly what we make them! Mortal HUMANS, groping in the darkness of confusion, have made conditions what they are. Humanity is REAPING what it has SOWN! Only the direct and all-powerful supernatural intervention of ALMIGHTY GOD can deliver this world from all its troubles. What the world doesn’t know is that God will not cause its present ways of wrong living to bring any human utopia. Rather, GOD ALMIGHTY WILL SOON HAVE TO STEP IN AND RULE OVER THE WORLD — bringing it INTO THE WAYS of His just laws, which alone can produce this happy TOMORROW! WE, TOO, AS GOD’S PEOPLE, HAVE LESSONS TO LEARN. Even though stubborn and rebellious mankind brings upon the world even DARKER days in the immediate future, REMEMBER — it’s DARKEST just before DAWN. Take hope in the SURE knowledge that the new world of GOD’S making and RULING — is VERY near today! But in the meantime, what about You and your own private life and problems? Let us consider some of your own private, personal TROUBLES. I know that you have them! And I want to tell you something — I want to tell you GOOD news. YOU are carrying, a lot of worries and fears and troubles that you don’t need to carry! Life is simply filled with private, personal battles. We have to battle fears and worries. Some-times it seems we have to battle PEOPLE who appear to be enemies – often it’s a husband, a wife or a mother-in-law — and whether you realize it or not, You also have to battle YOURSELF! It is like having to fight a host of ENEMIES — all these TROUBLES, these CIRCUMSTANCES, these adverse CONDITIONS, these TEMPTATIONS! But there is a way you may FREE yourself from these troubles that confront you. There is a WAY OUT! YOU can be FREE from fighting all of these enemies except just ONE — your own self – and you can receive a lot of HELP and KNOWLEDGE and POWER in doing that! Here’s where that help can be found! Jesus Christ is the deliverer   The eternal Creator-RULER of the universe — the God who gives you the very air you breathe — sent His own begotten SON, Jesus Christ, into this world more than 1,900 years ago to BRING YOU THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE from all your trials, your worries, your problems. WHY, then, do some of you not LISTEN to the way He taught us? And WHY do so many people think of Him as a dead Christ hanging on a cross? GOD ALMIGHTY RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD! Jesus Christ is our LIVING Savior and High Priest, just as the Creator is a LIVING RULER OF ALL THE UNIVERSE! Do YOU REALIZE THAT JESUS CHRIST, THE LIVING, RESURRECTED CHRIST, TO WHOM IS GIVEN ALL POWER, HAS A PRESENT MISSION TO PERFORM? Do you realize that His present mission is to FIGHT YOUR BATTLES FOR YOU — to DELIVER YOU — to FREE you from all your fears, your TROUBLES and even the circumstances that beset you? Thousands of you would come to me for help in your troubles if I had time to see and talk to you — you’d come with husband-and-wife troubles, funeral troubles — every kind of trouble. Yes, you’d come to me because I’m human – one you can see — whose voice you hear. But because I’m only human, I have not the ability, the strength nor the TIME to render such a personal ministry to so many in different parts of the world. Now think this over carefully, and ANSWER THIS! WHY do you fight your own battles, when HE — the LIVING Savior — is living in ALL POWER to fight them for you? He’s REAL. He’s DIVINE. WHY do some of you go on worrying, when HE is right there in ALL THE POWER OF THE DIVINE CREATOR to FREE you from all your worries? WHY? There is one of two reasons, Either you have not fully KNOWN of this great, all-encompassing DIVINE SOURCE OF POWER that you can call on at will — you have not REALIZED what ALL-CONQUERING HELP you can have — or else you have, through lack of faith or neglect, FAILED to CALL ON that supernatural HELP in your times of need! CAN I open your eyes to see that God is a God of LOVE — that God in all His supreme power wills above all things for you to PROSPER and BE IN HEALTH and to find the way to the HAPPY, FULL, ABUNDANT LIFE? That Jesus Christ is a LIVING SAVIOR, to whom you can go AT ALL TIMES — a Savior to save you from your present everyday fears and worries, adverse circumstances, troubles, sicknesses and trials, as well as to save you from eternal DEATH at the end? Notice what Scripture commands: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). God is interested in your life now   God’s salvation is NOT something you collect only after you die. IT IS A PRACTICAL, COMMONSENSE, USEFUL salvation that starts in your everyday life RIGHT HERE AND NOW! What needless pains some have been suffering. What NEEDLESS fears and worries you may have been carrying around. What WONDERFUL TIMES — what HAPPINESS you may have cheated yourself out of, just because you have not REALIZED and taken advantage of the very PRESENT and all-powerful HELP of your LIVING Savior! Actually what is happening is that you may have found yourself faced with foes far more powerful than you. These foes may come in forms of troubles, of unforeseen circumstances, of worries, of sicknesses or even of other persons. These foes NEED not make your life unhappy. Old Testament illustration   Did you ever really think through the full meaning of I Corinthians 10:11 that the incidents in the lives of God’s people of Old Testament times were written into the Bible for OUR LEARNING AND HELP? I want now to turn to the experience of a man who lived in that time. This man found that he could RELY on the almighty GOD. This man was faced with a FAR more terrifying trouble than has ever beset you. He found the HAPPY SOLUTION. His experience will show you what you can do, this very day! Once you UNDERSTAND, you will have to learn to TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD — TO CALL UPON GOD IN PRAYER — you will have to ASK GOD for what you need — and you may have to learn how to PRAY. GOD ALMIGHTY will actually intervene in your life and help you and fight YOUR battles for you. Remember, God is no respecter of persons. He will not do more for one than another. He will do as much for you as for any person who ever lived. He will do as much for you — if you obey Him and rely on Him — as for any ancient king of Israel or Judah! You may have a problem that completely overwhelms you. You may be at your wit’s end — you may not know where to turn or what to do! It may be a family problem, a personal problem, a financial problem, a problem of sickness or disease. But let me tell you now as Jesus Christ’s apostle of a man who came upon a situation probably far more terrifying than yours — one that would throw fright and terror into the stoutest heart. The solution this man used will solve YOUR problems — put an END to your troubles. The same God who heard and delivered him will hear and deliver you — IF you will obey Him and trust Him. The fact that this man was an ancient king makes no difference. God is no respecter of persons — He will do as much for you. God is the SAME today and tomorrow as He was yesterday. This man was King Hezekiah of the ancient kingdom of JUDAH. He was an ordinary human mortal, the same as YOU today. God intervenes for a man   The vast armies of Assyria were marching westward and southward to invade Judah. The Jews were greatly outnumbered. They had no army or power to stand up against such a powerful foe. They were HELPLESS. They faced certain defeat — just as You may feel HELPLESS in the face of your troubles today. If some of you try to solve your problem or overcome your bad habits or resist sin in nothing more than your OWN power and strength, you, too, will find yourself outnumbered, overpowered and doomed to defeat! You must learn, as this ancient king did, that GOD stands ready and willing to fight your battles for you. Read his experience in II Chronicles 32, from the Moffatt translation: “It was after this, after all this loyal service, that Sancherib king of Assyria invaded Judah, besieging the fortified towns and meaning to seize them. When Hezekiah saw that Sancherib had come determined to attack Jerusalem, he and his nobles and his chiefs agreed to stop the water of the fountains outside the town… . “Then, appointing officers over the citizens, he gathered them in the open space at the gate of the city, and encouraged them. ‘Be firm,’ he said, ‘be brave, be not daunted nor dismayed for the king of Assyria or for all his host; we have with us One greater than all he has; he has a mortal force, but we have with us the Eternal our God, to help us and to fight our battles’ ” (verses 1-3, 6-8). Continuing: “His officers said even worse things against God the Eternal and his servant Hezekiah. (Sancherib also wrote letters, insulting the Eternal the God of Israel and attacking him thus: ‘As the gods of the nations elsewhere in the world have failed to save their folk from me, so shall Hezekiah’s God fail to save his folk.’) The officers shouted aloud in Hebrew to the citizens of Jerusalem on the walls, to terrify them and scare them, that they might capture the city. They talked about the God of Jerusalem as one of the gods of the nations on earth, mere handmade idols” (verses 16-19). Now notice what the king of Judah did: “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz PRAYED over this and cried to heaven” (verse 20). They PRAYED for help. They did not know exactly HOW God would intervene. But they knew God would ACT! Here’s what happened: “Then the Eternal sent an angel who swept off all the gallant fighters, the leaders, and captains, in the camp of the king of Assyria, till he had to go home in disgrace. He [later] went into the temple of his god, and there his own offspring murdered him with their swords. So the Eternal rescued Hezekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem from Sancherib the king of Assyria as well as from all other foes, protecting them on every side”(verses 21-22). That experience was written into the very WORD OF GOD for your learning and to SHOW YOU THE WAY TODAY! Perhaps You are faced with a foe more powerful than you. It may be some TEMPTATION. It may be some circumstance or condition or trouble. Some serious WORRY. Then let me ask you, WHAT ARE YOU RELYING ON to withstand the siege of this trouble — to deliver you from it? Rely on God and His power What do some of you do when some fear, worry, trouble comes up against you? Do you not first FEAR AND WORRY, and then either try to RUN FROM this trouble or else try to meet it in your own power and strength — with your own thinking and planning and doing? Do YOU ever search your own heart and life to see if it is YOUR fault? In almost every in-law or marital trouble, for example, both are at fault. Did you never realize that the very CREATOR who caused you to be born — who gives you the life you have — who called you into His truth — is able and anxious to fight all these battles for you just as He did Hezekiah’s — if you will only turn to Him and ask Him for wisdom and guidance, RELY on Him and TRUST Him with the result? Two examples   I know of a lady who, when in her middle 20s, had a problem that was MOST SERIOUS in her life. Three times this girl had been disappointed in love. She had at last been tempted to marry a man she had no right to marry. She brought her problem to me, as God’s representative. I found she was looking ONLY AT PHYSICAL APPEARANCES. She reasoned that, so far as she could see, if she obeyed God and refused to marry this man, she might never be married. I counseled her to OBEY GOD — to stop looking at the material circumstances and using human reason to disobey God. I counseled her to do, first of all, WHAT GOD INSTRUCTS IN THE BIBLE, and then to TRUST HIM for the outcome. But that girl did not RELY ON GOD — she relied on her human reason. She obeyed impulse and temptation and married the man. He left her to commit adultery with another woman on their very wedding night. Her life became miserable, terribly unhappy. Then at another time, another similar case was brought to me. THIS young woman rejected the temptation — she obeyed God and RELIED ON THE ETERNAL to work out circumstances — she trusted HIM with the result. Her faith was tried and tested. God did not answer AT ONCE — but in due time, just the RIGHT man came into her life, they fell in love, they were married and GOD HAS BLESSED THEIR MARRIAGE WITH SUPREME HAPPINESS. The experience of King Jehoshaphat   Now I want to bring you one more case history — a REMARKABLE experience that will show you the way out of all your difficulties and troubles. If you will let GOD have HIS way in your life, then you will have begun to learn how to let Him fight your battles, solve your problems and deliver you from so many troubles you are suffering. Now, notice the experience written for OUR learning and help today: “It was after this that the Moabites and Ammonites, with some of the Meunim, made war on Jehoshaphat. Word came to Jehoshaphat that a huge host was moving against him from Edom, over the Dead Sea, and that they were already at Hazazon-tamar (or Engedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid” (II Chronicles 20:1-3, Moffatt). Is fear your usual reaction, too? But observe what the king of Judah did. “He resolved to have recourse to the Eternal, and proclaimed a fast all over Judah. So Judah assembled to seek help from the Eternal; people came from every town in Judah to worship the Eternal” (verses 3-4). Jehoshaphat did exactly what God wants you to do today when faced with any temptation or trouble — HE TOOK IT TO GOD IN PRAYER AND FASTING! And as he continued to ask God for help, he said (verses 6-10): “O Eternal, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven, and ruler of all realms on earth? Such power and might is thine that no one can resist thee. O our God, didst not thou evict the natives of this land before thy people Israel, giving the land to the offspring of Abraham thy friend, for all time? And they settled in it, they have built a sanctuary in it to thine honour, thinking that if evil befell them, the sword in judgment, or pestilence, or famine, they would stand in front of this temple and before thee (for in this temple is thy presence) and cry to thee in their distress, till thou didst hear and save them. “Now here are the Ammonites and Moabites and folk from mount Seir, whom thou didst not allow Israel to invade, when Israel came out of the land of Egypt — no, Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them!” There was no reason for these neighbors to be enemies. Sometimes your own neighbors become your enemies, too, don’t they? But notice what the king said to God: “Look how they reward us, coming to eject us from thy very own country which thou given us to be ours. O our God wilt thou not deal with them? We are helpless against this mighty host that is attacking us; we know not what to do, but we look to thee” (verses 11-12). God answers prayer   Now I want you to notice! Jehoshaphat cried out for God to come to their aid. Here is God’s answer (verses 14-17): “Jehaziel . . . was inspired by the spirit of the Eternal in the midst of the gathering to cry ‘Listen, all ye men of Judah, ye citizens of Jerusalem, and you, O king Jehoshaphat; the Eternal’s message to you is this: “FEAR NOT, falter not before this vast army; it is for God, not for you to fight them. March down against them to-morrow; they coming up by the ascent of Haziz,and you will come upon them at the end of the ravine in front of the desert of Jeruel. You will not need to do any fighting; take your position, stand still, and watch the victory of the Eternal,who is on your side, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not, falter not. Move out against them tomorrow, for the Eternal is on your side.” ‘ And notice that Jehoshaphat obeyed after God instructed him. Verses 20-23 declare: “Next morning they rose and moved into the open country round Tekoa. As they advanced, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen, men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! Take hold of the Eternal your God and you will keep hold of life; hold by his prophets, and you will prosper.’ “After this counsel to the nation, he appointed the Eternal’s singers to praise him in sacred vestments, marching in front of the army and chanting, Give thanks to the Eternal, for his kindness never fails. “As they began to sing and praise him, the Eternal set men in ambush against the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the folk from mount Seir, who had attacked Judah, and they were routed. The Ammonites and the Moabites turned on the natives of mount Seir, determined to wipe them out.” They turned against one another! That is how God answered Jehoshaphat. “And then, after destroying the natives of Seir, they all helped to kill one another. So when the men of Judah reached their post of attack looking over the open country, they saw the host were so many corpses stretched upon the ground; not a man had escaped” (verses 23-24). Jehoshaphat did not merely leave this trouble with God and then do nothing about it himself. First, he prayed and asked for wisdom, guidance and HELP. Then he DID WHAT GOD SAID. He had to do HIS PART but the BATTLE WAS GOD’S, and Jehoshaphat did not try to fight God’s battle. He merely did his own part. But he BELIEVED God, and RELIED on God. The point I want you to REMEMBER is that YOUR battles are not really yours, but GOD’S. If you look to Him, He makes them His battles, and HE fights them for you. How FUTILE for you to try to fight God’s battles for HIM. God says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). In the New Testament we read, “By GRACE are ye saved through FAITH” (Ephesians 2:8, Authorized Version). Yes, but the FAITH that saves us is a living faith that is practical — it WORKS — it really RELIES on God! So PUT IT TO PRACTICE! God does not promise us an EASY time during this life in this world. But He DOES promise to fight our battles for us to deliver us from EVERY trouble and affliction. WILL YOU LET HIM DO IT, AND LEARN HOW HAPPY YOUR LIFE MAY BECOME? GOD HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND!]]>

OPINION: S.T.P Implemeted in modern "Church of God" organizations.

The Systematic Theology Project, or S.T.P that slipped it’s way into the hands of the ministers of the Worldwide Church of God during the 1970’s is being implemented into modern churches! [NOTE: this is ANTI-STP not PRO-STP] A look into the modern “Church of God” organizations will shock older members of the Worldwide Church of God members!

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Pagan Holiday's – or God's Holy Days – WHICH?

[EXCERPT] Pagan Origins   Ancient Rome’s pagan holidays have been chained upon a heedless and deceived world. These include certain annual holidays—Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, as well as many more, every one a pagan day—every one used to stimulate the sale of merchandise in the commercial markets. Upon honest investigation, the earnest seeker after truth learns that these days are all of heathen origin and pagan significance. He learns that he can have no part in them.   But is the Christian of today left without any annual holy days? Did God never give to His people annual holy days, as well as the weekly Sabbath? Are not ancient Rome’s annual holidays mere counterfeits of God’s true holy days, exactly as Sunday is a counterfeit of the true Sabbath?     Pagan Holidays – or God’s Holy Days – WHICH?CLICK HERE  ]]>

Why Did God Raise Up The Nation Of Israel-And Deny Them Spiritual Salvation?

Why Did God Raise Up the Nation Israel — and Deny Them Spiritual Salvation?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

Published in the Good News Magazine, May 1984

Did anyone ever think to ask WHY God raised up the ancient nation Israel, denying them His Holy Spirit and eternal salvation – except their prophets only? Why “chosen people”? WHY were Old Testament Israelites called God’s “chosen people” —and still denied the Holy Spirit to beget them into eternal life? “Chosen”—for what? To be teacher’s pet? For special favors above other nations? Was God a respecter of nations? To understand, we need to start with Adam and Eve. It is an intriguing story, and I have never seen it put together in this manner before. The true reason for ancient Israel is an integral part of God’s supreme master plan.

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Ten Reasons Why I Don't Keep Christmas!

Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Keep Christmas! By David Jon Hill December 1971 – Tomorrow’s World Magazine Sour grapes? A bah-humbug Scrooge? Anti-establishment? Irreligious? NO! None of these. Here’s a plain speaking-out about a holiday nearly everybody keeps, religious or non-religious, and nearly no one seems to really understand why! Read this personal-experience article for understanding. It’s practical. logical. Truthful. Biblical. All of these! MANY years ago I stopped to ask myself — Why do I Keep Christmas? More people are unhappy, miserable, depressed, deep in debt, and violent during the holiday season than any other time of the year. There’s precious little peace on earth or good will among men. There doesn’t seem to be much of Christ in the commercialized Christmas that begins to be advertised each year before the last Christmas is paid for! For that matter, in what little reading I had done in the Bible, I never had read anything about Christmas. Where did we get all of these customs anyway? Why do I have to practice them just because everybody else does? What difference will it make if I don’t keep Christmas? At first I argued with myself that I would create problems with my friends and relatives, particularly the kids in the family, if I didn’t go along with the customs surrounding the twenty-fifth of December. But I was wrong! When I said I was sick and tired of it and determined not to have anything to do with it, I found many people who felt the same way. A great number of those who had in previous years felt obliged to trade gifts with me sighed in relief at not having that obligation. As for the children, when we took the time to look into the encyclopedia and the other reference works at the library, when we read with our thinking caps on the many articles that come out in daily newspapers during the Christmas season, we realized that the origins of these customs were not Biblical at all — and in fact, had nothing to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth! And children, until they are taught differently, have an inspiring respect for the plain truth! So looking back on the many years which I have, not kept Christmas, I can with happy hind sight give many more reasons now than when I first quit observing this’ outstanding holiday of the “Christian” calendar. Perhaps you will benefit by the cataloguing of some of those experiences and the reasons that I have learned over the years for not having to become involved in what is not only the least understood but the most misunderstood of social customs in the Western world. I Can’t Afford It! By the time you add up the cost of decorations, special meals, travel expenses, gifts and cards, time taken off from work during a forced holiday season, etc., etc., it can often — especially by the time you add carrying charges and interest on those things which have been put on credit — amount to nearly ten percent of your gross annual income that can be spent on this occasion. You just have to ask yourself — is it worth it? The answer I had to give myself was – absolutely not! By the time I examined my budget in the light of the rising, inflationary cost of living — by the time I realized the serious investment that has to be made ahead of time for my children’s education and for my own old age — by the time I added up all the deductions from my paycheck and then subtracted the absolutely necessary amounts for the basics of living — by the time I set aside a little for yearly family excursions to some place on this beautiful earth that I have not seen before – by the time I added in the expense of those things which are not necessary but which I would like to do and be FREE to do (not be forced to do) — by the time I set aside a little for unexpected occurrences and all the other picky things that belong in a budget, I realized that I had nothing left over to pay for financing the biggest business bust of the year! Whenever I mention this to other people, I usually get a hearty agreement and a wistful look from them that says they wish they had the gumption to cut free from this ridiculous expense themselves. Accent on Get! Materialism and commercialism so dominate this “season to be jolly” that there can surely be no soul so blind as not to see it! Although it is the season of giving — and everyone is propagandized to feel evil if they are not involved in that giving — the overtones, from the candy store on the corner to the department store that has everything and the mail-order-catalogue businesses, obviously put the stress on getting them more business during this time of year than any other comparable season. In fact, many commercial ventures rely on this season of the year for their survival. Whenever a question is asked after the twenty-fifth of December is past, it is generally, “What did you GET for Christmas?” Each vies with the other, determined to express the idea that he got more. Nobody likes to pay taxes and I’m sure that if there were a way out everybody would take it and cease paying taxes immediately. But taxes are demanded and it is a criminal offense not to pay them. Being taxed in addition to that by the crass commercialism and social pressure mounted at Christmas time is something I have found the strength to refuse. It is not a crime to refuse to go along with the crowds in their rush to fulfill the season’s demands — in fact, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction in having been able to be assailed with all of that accumulation of social trends and business furor and withstand it all, independent, watching the madness from the sidelines! There’s enough of the “go now and pay later” — the “put it on credit and don’t worry about payments until February,” the “why use cash when… you can use credit?” syndromes going on in the world as it is. I not only don’t have to worry about payments until February, but I don’t have to worry about payments even when it gets to be March or April or May or June or July or for however long those holidays may continue to cost the average person for his response to Christmas commercialism. Giving Is Special By withdrawing myself from the social demands of giving on command, of Chris being obliged to give things I can’t afford to people to whom I don’t want to give — who feel the same way about me and wouldn’t like what I give them anyway — doesn’t mean that I have given up giving. My children, my wife, my family and close friends receive gifts from me, or I do nice things for them, at spontaneous times that are special — just between me and the one to whom I give. That way the gift is much more special. The receiver realizes that it doesn’t have to be done. The thought behind the gift really does count more than the gift. All the giving is not done in just one season. Special joy comes from giving and receiving between people who love each other — and it is spread over the whole year. Because it is special, care and thought beyond the mad rush of the commercial season are lavished uniquely on the one gift at the one time for the special occasion which I find stands out much more in the memory of the giver and the receiver than any Christmas gift ever could. This way I’m free to give, not bound to give — and I find this freedom refreshing! Hypocrisy — the Spirit of Christmas “I hate Christmas,” said one department store manager in California. “I hate the hypocrisy, the one-day Christianity of Christmas; I hate the commercialism – and I’m part of it.” A seasoned divorce lawyer wrote, “Lawyers usually see an influx of new divorce clients immediately following the Christmas and New Year holidays. Too much holiday cheer touches off the smoldering conflicts that have been under control all year.” A psychiatrist says, “At Christmas, the lonely begin feeling lonelier, the tension prone tighten up as pressures mount and the illusion appears of ecstatic happiness for all just around the corner. Christmas is the worst season of the year for the mentally ill.” Even the Better Business Bureau warns, “Tis the season to be wary” — that is, it’s the season of shysters, shoplifters and sidewalk salesmen. They warn that those who plead for charity should be investigated before any donation is made — especially at this time of year. In a desperate effort to fit in with the “spirit of Christmas,” people smile when they don’t feel like smiling. They greet one another with old pagan slogans. They get increasingly concerned about the debts they are mounting up. They get into more and more of a hard faced, bitter fighting with their fellow Christmas shoppers as the deadline approaches and they desperately try to snap up the last few gifts from the counters which they know are going to offer the same items the day after Christmas for 30 to 50 percent off! Far too many try to get their Christmas spirits from the bottle, and either end up drunk with a hangover, or perhaps seriously injured or dead as a result of overindulgence while driving. So many so deeply wish they didn’t have to be involved in this season but are forced to by social custom. Hypocrisy stands as the hallmark of this season. I Hate to Lie — Especially to Kids! A famous physician says that the Santa Claus myth is a fantastic web of lies which can cause your child — “when he finds out” — confusion of mind, possible schizoid splits in his personality, or even a physical ailment resulting from the emotional letdown of “losing” so close a friend (Santa). One psychology professor even laid part of the blame for the generation gap and the emerging hippie subculture on the Santa Claus myth. In the parent-child relationship the TRUTH is the most priceless commodity that they must always share. How many times have you found yourself saying to your child — “Now you be sure to tell me the truth, young man (or young lady)”? We even want them to tell us if they have done something bad — which is difficult for anybody to tell. We want them to tell us about their grades in school, about their friends and what they do and think, whether they broke a neighbor’s window or took money from mama’s purse. We preach over and over to them that they must always tell the truth. And then we proceed in nearly every holiday season of the year to manufacture the most ridiculous falsehoods imaginable! Sober-faced and with our hypocritical spirit of Christmas wrapped around us, we tell them — and even associate it with God and Christ and the Bible — one blatant lie after another! Is it any wonder we have a generation gap! One of the biggest things that the young people of today are accusing the older generation of is hypocrisy — and I’m afraid that I have to agree with that charge for the majority of the people who live as slaves to the social system which surrounds us. Thankfully, I determined, before my children were old enough to talk to, that I was not going to tell them any lies about a fat man who dresses in a red suit, flies in some magical way on a sled led by a red-nosed reindeer and somehow manages to squeeze down my chimney on the dark night of the twenty-fourth to deposit gifts for all the good little children under some tinseled tree that I have trucked in. My children didn’t have to find out that dad was lying about Santa Claus. My children didn’t have to even think the thought in their minds which has been expressed by a few bold children – that thought: “If they lie to me about Santa Claus, what else will they lie to me about? Now I wonder about this whole Jesus Christ business!” This doesn’t mean that my children never have lied — I certainly don’t pride myself on being a perfect parent. But it does mean that they could not excuse any lying they did because they caught their mother or father telling them big whoppers — and doing it in the setting of religious worship at that! They know mom and dad don’t lie and this gives them a special respect and a special contact that is not only precious to my wife and me as parents but which we feel is a basic requirement and an indispensable tool of child rearing. It’s all too often that we run across the syndrome of people not practicing what they preach. You can’t ask your kids to do what they don’t see you doing, You can tell your kids, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say,” but it won’t work! Children have to learn to trust their parents — but I never knew an inveterate liar who could be trusted! Being forced by society to tell a package of lies at a time which is so special in the minds of children — when they are at their most tender and impressionable age — deals a crippling blow to child-parent relationships and creates a giant credibility gap between children and adults — no matter how much we might pooh-pooh the idea. As a child grows up, it leads to a cynical turn of mind. It gives him or her a set of values which is cheap and tawdry regarding the truth. Yet it is a reward no parent wants to miss to have his children come to him and ask any question they want to, in an open trust, knowing that they will be told the truth. You can’t buy that commodity. There’s no commercialism or materialism involved with it. It is the opposite of hypocrisy. And despite the fact that you cannot buy it, it costs absolutely nothing! The truth is that commodity which is most missing in today’s world, and it truly is the source and power of freedom — “the truth SHALL make YOU free!” Xmas Tree Bears Bad Fruit! Another reason I don’t keep Christmas is a logical, cause-and-effect reason. I look around me and it doesn’t take too much intelligence or research effort on my part to determine that the fruits of the Christmas tree are heavily seasoned with bitterness and violence, depression, depravity and debt. The Book my Maker gave me says that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. When I look at this Christmas tree, I see a great deal of bad fruit. It’s a paradox. At Christmas time, when millions of families are drawn close together, at least in physical proximity, it is also a fact that simultaneously more people are depressed, deep in debt, discouraged, drunken and dying during that time than any other month of the year. The FBI says, “The peak monthly rate [for murder and manslaughter} almost invariably occurs in December. This may have something to do with the approach of Christmas, which leads to an unusually large number of family rows… ‘Peace on earth,’ we say, but it looks very doubtful that we really mean it at Christmas. Not when families are suffering such heavy crime statistics. On a week for week basis more people commit suicide during this holiday season than any other period of the year.” A policeman writes, “I have been an officer for over 19 years… we get more calls from neighbors to go out and settle family fights on Christmas Eve than any other night during the year, including New Year’s. You walk into a house that is gaily decorated, the tree is aglow, beautifully wrapped gifts are under the tree and the husband and wife are throwing things at each other. The kids are crouched in the corner scared out of their wits.” A leading neurologist says, “There are certainly more depressions, suicidal gestures, cries for help at Christmas than at any other time.” Overeating, hives, crying jags, dishonesty, sexual deviation, playing with your neighbor’s wife, plain orneriness, a peak in highway accidents, and family murders are among the fruits of this season’s tree! Personally, for me, I thank God that the Christmas tree is not in my home to bear these bad fruits! Xmas Demands Intellectual Dishonesty! Beyond just plain lying to our children, coming up with reasons why we keep these holidays produces a prime example of either a bad case of intellectual blinders or outright intellectual dishonesty. It doesn’t take great, in-depth research to find out that the roots of Christmas — and for that matter every so-called Christian holiday on the calendar — are not found in the Bible, which is the handbook from the Creator. A little further basic research in encyclopedias will force a person to either rebel against the dictates of commercial society — or compromise his intellectual honesty. Take the Catholic Encyclopedia, for instance, under the article “Christmas.” It plainly tells us that many early church fathers condemned the keeping of this baptized Saturnalia and that it was not an acceptable “Christian” holiday until well into the fourth century. Even after that it goes on to show that many outstanding leaders in the history of that church as well as a Pope or two have condemned the practices of that season. It continues explaining that even the Parliament of England declared the holiday illegal at one time. It states very plainly that there is no Bible example of the observing of birthdays of holy men or saints but rather their death-days! It plainly points out that nobody really knows when Christ was born — that “respected authorities” can be found who place the birth of Christ in almost any month of the year. Further than that it plainly explains that if there is any one month when the birth of Christ could not have occurred it would be December! And on and on and on…. To think that in the light of these facts and many more — be sure to read Mr. Portune’s article on “Is Christmas Christian?” in this issue of TOMORROW’S WORLD — to think that in the light of all the information which is readily available any individual would continue to celebrate this festival seems to me to be blatant intellectual dishonesty. You always hear over The WORLD TOMORROW’S broadcast or see us say in the pages of WORLD TOMORROW’S. “Don’t believe us just because we say it, prove it yourself!” To be forced by social pressure to develop a study habit of rejecting or overlooking or compromising or ignoring or twisting plain facts is an exercise I do not want to enjoin on myself, my son, my daughter, my wife, or my friends! Christ Never Was in Christ-Mass “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas,” some say when they notice the commercialism. Yet this saying is of itself a sad commentary on the entire subject. When you put all your research together, looking at the Bible, looking at the readily available references in your public library and perhaps at the books on your own shelf, you can quickly see that the true Jesus Christ of Nazareth who lived in Galilee nearly two thousand years ago never was in Christmas! As you progress through a short study, you realize that His name was put into Christmas and accepted as the heart of the story of Christmas by about the fourth century. You realize the name of Christ was used and applied to this custom. But then, of course, you realize that the name of Christ was prophesied by Jesus Himself to be preached and associated with the deception of the many as one of the signs that would precede His coming and that He Himself gave this prophecy to His disciples in Matthew 24. As your study goes further, you realize that many attempts at reform were made at various times in both the Catholic and Protestant churches — feeble attempts to get back to the faith once delivered to the saints — attempts to not allow, as the early New Testament church did not, the name of Christ to be associated with this holiday with such a dubious background! It would be impossible to put the true Christ back into Christmas because the true Christ never was IN Christmas! Christ’s name has been used in vain to decorate that day, and so the third of the great Ten Commandments is broken. Jesus Christ is the Living Word — the personal, human and now divine expression of the living Ten Commandments. The keeping of this holiday breaks not only the third commandment but every other one! It’s obvious to see that the commandment against lying is broken here. Often the commandment not to commit adultery is broken especially on that day! It’s obvious to see that coveting is the universal principle of this season. It is all too sadly plain to recognize that murder is committed and a great deal of stealing goes on and children have a very difficult time honoring their parents. The Jesus Christ of Nazareth who gave His life to pay for my all-too-many sins — the Jesus Christ of Nazareth who by the Spirit of God is, according to the dictates of His Word, the Bible, supposed to be living His life style over in my life — that living Jesus soon to come to this world as its King of kings and Lord of lords will not give authority for His name to be associated with any aspect of this pagan holiday! It’s Pagan! In most any public library you can get proof of this in a book entitled Pour Thousal2d Years of Christmas by Earl Wendell Count. The very name of this book proves that the Christmas holiday isn’t Christian. It was celebrated two thousand years before the birth of Christ in honor of pagan gods! Therefore, it was and is idolatry. God very patently says, “Take heed… that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, How do these nations serve their gods? that I also may do likewise. You shall not do so to the Eternal your God: for every abominable thing which the Eternal hates, they have done for their gods” (Deut. 12:30-31). I Give to Christ! The excuse of giving gifts that comes from the story of the birth of Christ regarding the wise men giving Christ gifts is misapplied in our giving one another gifts! The reason the wise men gave gifts to Christ was because He was a King. He is much more a King now than He was then and He will be even much more a King in the soon-coming future than He is now. To give to every Tom, Dick and Harry and NOT to give to Christ, particularly at a season which claims Christ as its center, seems to me the worst hypocrisy of all. Having read and believed Malachi 3, which says that any individual or nation that does not give its tithes to God is guilty of grand larceny, of robbing God — I have dedicated that first ten percent and another generous amount of my budget to be given to God, to His Work on this earth today, to proclaiming the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God to rule over this world, to His representatives who preach and teach that truth which is the only source of freedom! I find many Biblical commands-in escapable — which require me to give and other statements which allow me to give freely of free-will offerings at any time or on special occasions. This kind of giving I can do with a completely free conscience. This kind of giving I will be able to justify when I look my Creator in the face. I may be faced with a few unpleasant comments from people and have to suffer ridicule or scoffing or accusations because I don’t keep the arch holiday which is designated by the name of Christ (taken in vain), but I will not have to stand before my Creator whose name is Jesus Christ and explain to Him why I kept Christmas. I don’t think it will be too difficult facing the judgment — to be able to say to my Creator that, instead of giving at a time of the pagan winter solstice, gifts I couldn’t afford, which were not appreciated, to all kinds of people in His name — that I have instead given directly as commanded (and I hope generously as free-will offerings) my gifts directly to the Work of the Living Jesus Christ! These are just ten reasons why I don’t keep Christmas — but I think they are adequate to explain my conduct. The freedom I enjoy, the good conscience I am able to have, the sincere friends who give to me of their time and effort and consideration as well as a little, physical gift from time to time — the security I feel at not having a mountain of debts to pay, the ability to look my son and daughter or anyone else in the eye and tell the truth — all these are priceless and indispensable factors that influence every day of my life. When I gave up Christmas, I didn’t give up anything but debt, materialism, hypocrisy, lying, bad fruits, intellectual, dishonesty and paganism! The freedom of the truth is rich and it gets richer every year. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Why don’t you join me in my freedom!]]>

Where Did Christmas Come From?

Where Did Christmas Come From? By Herbert W Armstrong The World Tomorrow Radio Broadcast And greetings friends, this is Herbert W. Armstrong with the good news of the World Tomorrow. Once again, let me ask this question, “Where did Christmas come from?” Many of you are going to be absolutely shocked and surprised when you learn the truth about Christmas. Did it come from the Bible, or did it come out of paganism? Do you know the origin of the Christmas tree? Where did Santa Claus originate anyway? And a lot of people would think, from what you see in the stores and what you see on the street corners, with men dressed up to let little children think they are Santa Claus, that it would be Santa Claus’ birthday that they are celebrating. And does Christmas really celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ? Was He born on December the 25th? You are going to be surprised if you are not afraid of being offended. Did Paul, the Apostles, the early church of the New Testament ever celebrate Christmas? Does the Bible tell you to celebrate Christmas? Do you know what the Bible says about the Christmas tree? — and it does tell you something about it. You know, if you’ll only stop to think, you’re doing a lot of things you don’t know why you do. You don’t know how you came to do them, but just like dumb sheep we follow the crowd, and other people are doing it and we all do the same. Now you were born in a world that was doing a lot of these things and you grew up doing them, but the day you were born you didn’t know anything. You didn’t have any knowledge whatsoever the day you were born. And you found people, as a little bit of a baby, observing Christmas. You found a Christmas tree in your home. You found that you would get toys and presents and gifts would be given on Christmas time, so you grew up thinking it’s a pretty good thing. And then you found somehow it was supposed to be a Christian holiday. And once in a great while you hear something about the fact it’s supposed to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, but you don’t hear too much about that. It’s the time to buy a lot of presents and create quite a shopping spree; a commercial season to make profits for the merchants of course. And it’s a time to get presents, or to give presents and to trade and exchange gifts all around, and everybody thinks it must be the thing to do. But why do we do it? Did it come out of the Bible? Did it come from the Church as Jesus Christ set it in the Church or as the apostles did under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? You would be surprised. Yes you will be surprised. Now the Protestant world really got it from the Catholics, and where did the Catholics get it? Well if you want to know what they say themselves in their own Encyclopedia where they got it — and they tell the truth about it, they’re not hiding it at all — you’ll want to read our most interesting booklet, ‘The Plain Truth About Christmas’. That is, if you won’t be offended at the truth because the truth is going to be a little bit shocking. Why don’t you write in for that booklet and just satisfy your curiosity about it. Where did the mistletoe come from, the holly wreath, this custom of exchanging gifts? Or you think the custom of exchanging gifts came because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus Christ? People buy presents lavishly, as they do every year at the Christmas season supposing that they are following the example of the wise men in giving gifts to Christ. Yet, without realizing it my friends, they are doing exactly the opposite. I’d like you to notice this, from the Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 12, pages 153 to 155, it says there, “The interchange of presents between friends must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans”; from the pagans, and the fact is, this custom of exchanging presents at Christmas time has not a single trace of Christianity about it, believe it or not. Did you ever attend a birthday party where all of the guests spent lavishly for birthday presents, then they came to the birthday party in honor of one who’s birthday it was, and then they began trading gifts back and forth among themselves and no-one had a single present for the person whose birthday it was? Wouldn’t that be an insult, or wouldn’t it be a little bit silly? Well my friends, that’s what everybody is doing today and they don’t realize they are doing it. I don’t think you ever stopped to think about it that way yourself, did you? Not The Birthday Of Christ Christmas actually does not honor Christ’s birthday because Jesus Christ was not born on December the 25th, or even in that time of the year. But whose birthday does Christmas celebrate, do you know? You’re going to be shocked when you find out whose birthday Christmas really does celebrate; and when you find out that it is an old festival that was in force and in effect as a custom in the pagan world for hundreds of years before Christ; and when you find out whose birthday it is supposed to celebrate. Well if you write in for that booklet — there’s no charge for it, it’s free – ‘The Plain Truth About Christmas’, you will get it. I’d like you to consider about this giving of the gifts to the Christ child. And I think it is about time we knew some of the things we do, or why we do them, and where they came from and whether we ought to be doing them. Of course I know most people say, “Well I don’t see that it makes any difference”. Perhaps it doesn’t to you. There’s going to come a time of reckoning my friends, when we’re all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. There is a judgment day coming, and whether we like it or not, my friends, and whether this is popular or pleasant or not to you, there is going to be a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth when that time comes. And a lot of people are going to see that a lot of things that they think now does not make any difference, make all the DIFFERENCE in the world. Not only to God ALMIGHTY, but to THEM and to their happiness and welfare because the laws of God and the desires of God, so far as your life and mine are concerned; is that you find the way to happiness and to peace. And the way we’re doing and the customs that men are following on this earth are not leading to peace, or to prosperity or to happiness or anything good. And we’re all wrapped up in a lot of customs we don’t know where they came from, and we look at the poverty, the squalor, the unhappiness, the empty lives all over this world and we don’t know why. Well I’ll tell you, in the broad principle, it’s all coming because men have departed from God and they think it doesn’t make any difference. And they are doing the things that seem right to men. Now I’m not saying that so far as Christmas observance and the trading of presents and all that sort of thing, that it has a direct bearing on all the war and the unhappiness and all that kind of thing in the world. But I do say that the law of God was set to give us the way to peace, the way to prosperity and to happiness. And in just a moment I am going to speak about prosperity and why so many of you do not have the prosperity that you think you ought to have and why you are having so many financial worries, and how you can be more prosperous and end your financial worries. And I am not going to give you any commercial for any loan company that will put a mortgage on your home or your automobile, or attach your salary or something and loan you money, because that is not the way out that I’m going to give you, but something that will really solve your problems and troubles permanently if you want to find that way. But it’s God’s way, and God’s way is our good and our happiness. God wants us to be prosperous. God wants us to be healthy. God wants us to be successful, and happy, and joyful. He wants us even, on occasion, to be merry and to really enjoy life to the full. Oh if we could ever realize that, and realize that God doesn’t want us to be long-faced and bored with life and unhappy and miserable. That doesn’t give God any happiness or pleasure, none whatsoever. Who Were The Gifts For? Well, now this thing about trading presents back and forth and following the example of the wise men. Let’s look into the Bible just a minute and see what really did happen. It’s in Matthew the second chapter and the first eleven verses. Now here’s what you read. Matthew 2, beginning with verse 1 and this is excerpts from the first eleven verses. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2) Notice they said, “…Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” Let’s go back and get a little of that again. “Now when Jesus was born [He was already born notice. This was after His birthday. He was already born] in Bethlehem of Judaea [it was] in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east…[now they didn’t even start their journey until they heard He was born. And they came] Saying, Where is he that is born [He was already born] King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2) He was born King, notice. Alright these wise men knew and they claimed that Jesus was born KING! Now continue the quotation. “And when they were come into the house [after they arrived where He was], they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts;” (Matthew 2:11) Did they trade presents back and forth among themselves and ignore Christ? Oh my friends, I wonder if you ever noticed that they presented their gifts to HIM? But why? Was this Christmas time? Was this His birthday? Were they doing it as a birthday present? Why not at all. I want you to notice something. Why did they give these gifts? And the first thing to notice is they gave them to HIM. They didn’t exchange or trade presents back and forth. It was not because it was His birthday because He had been born a good many days ahead of this time. This was days after His birthday, because transportation was very slow in those days and they had traveled all this distance from where they were way over in the east, after He had been born. They didn’t trade gifts among themselves; they gave their gifts to Him. But why? Yes, why? Well here’s the answer. Let me read it to you from the Adam Clarke Commentary, Volume 5, page 46, giving the commentary on this very passage by one of the great noted scholars of the past century. “The people of the east never approached the presence of kings or great personages, without a present in their hands. The custom is often noticed in the Old Testament and still prevails in the east.” That’s the end of the quotation, and there my friends, is the answer. The wise men were not instituting some new custom for Christmas time because there was no Christmas being observed, nothing called that. Christmas means Christ mass. It is something — that name, mass of Christ — was not started until hundreds of years after Christ was born, as a matter of fact. An Ancient Custom Although the custom had been in progress, and a custom among people but called by a different name, and not celebrating any birthday of Jesus Christ but another birthday that you’ll be surprised to learn in this booklet. It had been celebrated for hundreds of years before this. But these men had nothing to do with that. They had nothing to do with celebrating any birthday. They were not instituting any new Christmas time custom, because Christmas wasn’t even heard of until generations later. But they were following an ancient custom of presenting gifts to a king, whenever, no matter what day, what day of the week or the year or anything else they might come into his presence, they always gave a gift to the king. You’ll remember reading in the Bible how the Queen of Sheba brought gifts to king Solomon of Judah when she came to visit Solomon. He was the king. Do you know that many people today when they visit the White House take presents to the President of the United States? The White House staff is just busy receiving gifts and presents that people send from all over the United States to the President whether they even go to visit him or not, and many times when they visit. I know when foreign Royalty visits the President of the United States. When the King and Queen of England, King George, who has now died here some little time ago, it seems to me that I remember that King George and Queen Elizabeth presented the President of the United States with a gift and a present. Of course we don’t have a king but he is in the place of a king here, and we have a President instead of a king. Well that’s a custom. They were not giving gifts because of a birthday. It had nothing to do with Christmas and in trading presents around among themselves today people are not in any manner, shape or form, actually following what the wise men did. As a matter of fact, what they are doing is following an ancient custom that gravitated around a pagan custom hundreds of years before Christ, when it celebrated the birthday of something very pagan, and it was not Christ. Well, why don’t you get this booklet and read it. Well, you’ve heard a lot of funny stories about this thing of trading presents. And really, my friends, some of the things we do that we take seriously, we don’t realize how ridiculous sometimes some of these things are. Oh, I know, you think this spirit of Christmas, it’s a wonderful thing for the children. Well, you know one little child that heard all about Santa Claus and all these presents on the Christmas trees and everything, when he grew up, old enough to find out that Santa Claus was only a myth, and that his parents had really tricked him and deceived him, that there wasn’t any Santa Claus at all. You know he said to his little playmate, he says, “You know what I am going to do? I found out the truth about Santa Claus and now I’m going to look into this Jesus Christ business too. Maybe there isn’t any Christ. Maybe there isn’t any God. I found out there isn’t any Santa Claus.” Oh yes, it’s a wonderful spirit! My friends I wonder, can’t we teach our children the truth, and can’t we give our children the kind of happiness that they ought to have, and the kind of rearing that they ought to have without going into pagan customs? Do you know that the Bible says that if we bring up our children in the “nurture and the admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesian 6:4) and that we are to “live by every word… of God.” (Matthew 4:4) and we should teach our children so (Deuteronomy 6:7) and not CONTRARY to the word of God? Well at least “when they are old they will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6 paraphrased) I wonder, is that right? Or are you very angry at me because I told you the truth? And sometimes the truth is not pleasant, because my friends, this world is doing a lot of things that are not right and this world is REAPING A LOT OF RESULTS that are not right. Results of its own SOWING, and WHAT WE SOW WE SHALL REAP and we ARE REAPING. And this world is reaping a lot of mighty unhappy and unpleasant things, and there are REASONS. And yet people will hate the one that tells them the truth and shows them the things that are causing so much of it and the way out of all of this and into the glorious light of truth that would bring us all happiness. The Reason For Unhappiness Now let’s get back to this and see what Jesus Christ said about the financial situation. You know I think there is, I’ve mentioned before there is some kind of trouble and worry in every home, sickness or something. Now there are two things that seem to beset almost every family and every home, and I think in almost every home tuned in, or if you are riding along in your automobile listening at this moment — in your home there is some kind of sickness or trouble, or family troubles or something. Now I think the most prevalent are sickness and disease on the one hand, and financial troubles on the other. I believe we are burdened by those two things more than any other troubles that most of us have. You know, we have a little baby and it begins to talk and he whimpers and cries a little and we talk about him telling us his troubles. And of course we think that’s a lot of fun. But you know, it is serious to that baby, and we’re just babies grown up, and we have our troubles. And we all have them, don’t we? And they aren’t funny, they are real. And a lot of us have financial troubles. Well, in this teaching of Jesus when He was teaching His disciples, it’s been called ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’ It’s been acclaimed the greatest sermon ever preached. People don’t think it’s very practical. They don’t really believe it when Jesus said “Love your enemies”! (Matthew 5:44) People don’t think that’s a good thing to do, they’d rather hate their enemies. When He said, “If anyone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other and let him hit it too.” (Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29 paraphrased) Why of course that’s not very practical is it? People don’t seem to believe what Jesus taught. He said He didn’t come to destroy the law, that not a crossing of a {1} “t” or the dotting of an “i” will be removed until everyone is obeying it and it’s fulfilled by everybody. That’s the real meaning of the original Greek words there. And that “anyone that will break that law and teach men so will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven;” (Matthew 5:19 paraphrased) But he won’t be there; he’ll be called that by those who are there. “But he that will DO the commands of God and teach men so, will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19 paraphrased) Of course he won’t be called great by men here on earth and I have explained that before and I do, and a lot of people don’t think so highly of me, but I’m more concerned about what God thinks than what men think, frankly. And we depend on God and we rely on Him and not on men, and so we are able to serve God FAITHFULLY because we don’t have to depend on MEN! We don’t beg for money over the air, we just tell you the truth. Now in this message, this sermon, here we are, it’s in the sixth chapter of Matthew now and up to verse nineteen. This sermon had continued all the way through the fifth chapter and the sixth chapter up to here, and we’re still going on with it. Chapter six, verse nineteen. Get your own Bible. Look at this yourself, Jesus said here; “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth… But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where the moth nor rust doth consume, and where the thieves can’t break through and steal:…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 paraphrased) Now what did He mean by that? I’m going to hurry right over it as rapidly as I can now. But there was a rich young ruler who had no right to some treasure. He had a position; well he was a Levite, but he had no right to the money that he had — it was illegal in other words. Jesus said to him (he had accumulated a lot of money that was illegal) and Jesus said, “go and sell what you have, and give to the poor and lay up treasure in heaven:” (Matthew 19:21 paraphrased) Now the way you lay up treasure in heaven is by doing what you ought to do here and now, by obeying God. And when you obey God and keep His commandments; and after all, all of the commandments of God are merely love. It’s love towards God and love towards your fellow man, and that is love expressed to others and doing good in service and in helping others and making others a little happier. Well that is laying up treasure in heaven because everything we do is recorded. It’s recorded in heaven, but you’re not going up to heaven to get your reward, Jesus is going to bring His reward with Him when He comes. But you’re laying up the treasure in heaven and it’s going to come to you some day. You might lay up treasure in the bank but you’re not going to go and live in the bank all your life. You go and get the money out of the bank when you want to spend it, and go somewhere else with it. And that treasure is coming down out of heaven when we are ready for it. And it isn’t the treasure you lay up, it’s the good deeds and the things you do. Now: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) I want to tell you my friends that I have never yet found anyone whose heart can be in the work of God and who can remain a real Christian, whose pocketbook hasn’t been converted and whose money is not in the work of Christ also. I have never known a one, and I have known people that believed in tithing, that saw that tithing is ordained in the New Testament as well as the Old, as the Apostle Paul himself said, and who would tithe and they were very successful, and they prospered. Then they get to thinking, “Well I’m going to hang onto that money. Why should I give that away? Maybe I don’t like the way the preacher is handling it.” Or something like that. Well of course the minister, if he is God’s servant, is responsible to God, and they don’t realize that and they don’t realize that God could take his office away from him or strike him down quicker than you can bat an eye, any time God wants to! But people think they have to run God’s business for Him and so they get offended and then they withdraw their tithe money and they quit tithing and they keep it all for themselves. And I’ve known people like that, that went into every financial hardship in the world after they did it. But not only that, they spiritually shrivel up and die. I have never known an exception. The Tithe Belongs To God Now you can’t buy your way into the Kingdom of God but the first tenth of every bit of your income is not yours, it’s God’s. It belongs to Him and God says, we’re not honest, that we are thieves and we are stealing, we are robbing God. You know, the New Testament Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and [the] prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;” (Ephesians 2:20) And one of the prophets, the very last one in the Old Testament, is Malachi. And Malachi, one of the prophets on whom the New Testament Church is founded, says that we are robbing God in tithes and offerings whenever we don’t pay over our tithe faithfully. It belongs to God. Now anyone who does do it is going to be prospered by God and they’re going to get along alright, if they are diligent. I don’t mean they can get along alright if they lay around, and perhaps I should say lay instead of lie too, because that’s about what a lot of them do. I know a hen lays, but a lot of people do too sometimes. And so, I tell you my friends, if we just follow God’s way we’ll fare so much better. Now, “Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” (Matthew 6:21) That doesn’t mean that we necessarily worship money. You know, money is not the root of all evil, but “the love of money is the root of all evil:” (I Timothy 6:10) That’s what the Bible says. The Bible does not say that money is the root of all evil, it isn’t. Money can be a very good thing. Money of itself is not either good or bad. But it can be beneficial or harmful depending on how we humans use it and what use we put it to. Now let’s continue, I want to get to a little more of this if I can. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) And mammon there simply means money. If you’re going to love money, why you can’t serve God. “Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what you shall eat, what you shall drink…” (Matthew 6:25 American Revised Standard Version) Now the meaning of that, the Greek word there “take no thought” it is in the King James translation, and I’m reading it, the Revised, the old American Revised of about 1900 A.D. And it means to have that kind of anxious thought that is really a lot of worry and over-concern about your financial condition. Now here it says to not be overly concerned and burdened about it. And God doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned, because we should all be concerned and we should be careful in financial matters and all of that sort of thing. But I mean this worry and this concern where it weighs you down and becomes your whole life. “…of what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on [that’s food and clothing and drink and all that sort of thing]. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Behold the birds of the air, they don’t sow [that is they don’t plant seeds like a farmer out in the ground], neither do they reap, nor do they gather into barns, but your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not of much more value than they?”(Matthew 6:25-26 ARSV) Do you know why? We’re in the image of God and we’re to be begotten of God and later born of God and to enter into the very family, the KINGDOM of God. Of course we’re more valuable than they are. God Knows Our Needs “And which of you, being anxious [that is overly concerned now, so concerned that you have no time left for God or anything like that] can add one cubit [or that is one inch, let’s say in American; I don’t mean a cubit is an inch, but let’s just say an inch to his height or to his stature]. And why are you anxious concerning clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they don’t toil neither do they spin; and yet I say to you, that even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, oh ye of little faith?”(Matthew 6:27-30 paraphrased) “Be not therefore anxious [that’s overly concerned and just weighted down by this worry about money] saying, What shall we eat? What shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after these things do the Gentiles seek [unconverted people are just burdened down and worried about those things all the time, and a real Christian can be relieved from that, and from fear and from worry and from all of those things]. Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. But seek ye first His Kingdom…”(Matthew 6:31-33 ARSV) Or, as it is in the King James; “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33) And that is all of His commandments, Psalms 119: 172 “all of God’s commandments are righteousness.” (Psalm 119:172 paraphrased) And if you seek that; “…all these things [these material things of your clothing, your food, your shelter] shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be…. [it’ll take care of itself.] …Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:33-34 paraphrased) My friends, if we will only obey God, if we would only do His work, His way, and we are supposed to have our minds on what we do and use our minds intelligently and to be industrious and diligent, that’s true. We will be taken care of and everybody would be prosperous if we do it.]]>