Christian Churches of God
(Edition 3.0 19940702-19991127-20070202)
This paper examines the Beatitudes and their meaning. Each of the Beatitudes is examined in order. The accuracy of a health-wealth or prosperity gospel is also examined. The place of the Church in the application of rulership is also discussed.
The Beatitudes are quite significant. This sermon by Christ at Matthew 5 has power and far-reaching impact.
The Beatitudes are the blessings to his Church, to his people. They are taken as a model or a guideline for the conduct of the elect. However, they are described by mainstream Christianity in a weak way; the principles are turned into a gospel of weakness. The purpose of this paper is to explain how we can draw lessons from the Beatitudes in terms of strength.
It says in Matthew 5:1-12:
Matthew 5:1-12 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. (RSV)
Christ speaks here to the Church, which is centrally or primarily to the disciples. He then goes on to talk about salt.
Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (RSV)
Christ does not finish here. Most Christians have heard these things before, but they are generally split up and put into little pockets. They are not to be split up. Christ is talking in a sequence with a definite message. He goes on to say:
Matthew 5:17-20 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (RSV)
There are people in the Church of God, and have been over the centuries, who have taught the diminution of the Law in various ways. They have taught that we don't have to keep one or another of a number of aspects of the Law. There are in fact some aspects of the Law that we do not observe today because of the customs of the society in which we live. However, that is not because those Laws were done away with but rather that society has made them no longer applicable. Yet, in the past, some of the Churches of God have used an argument that, because we no longer keep one aspect of these Laws, we don't need to keep any other aspect. For instance, it has been advanced that the Holy Days don't need to be kept because the section of the Law in which they occur is no longer applicable.
This reasoning is made on the basis that society prohibits the sale of daughters (Ex. 21:7) and polygamy (Ex. 21:10). The reasoning is then that the Holy Days (Ex. 23:10-19) need not be kept. This same logic process can be extended to the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17; 23:1-13). As we have discussed on previous occasions, the Law has not been done away with regarding polygamy, sale of daughters or regarding wearing blue ribbons on our clothing (Num. 15:37-38; see the paper The First Commandment: the Sin of Satan (No. 153)). The Law is there in its entirety and not one jot or one tittle has passed away. The sacrificial Laws are not being kept because we are the Temple. When the Messiah comes he will reintroduce the system. But it's not up to us. The Messiah was the atoning sacrifice and that is sufficient once and for all. That is the only Law that has been fulfilled in its entirety. The other Laws are not used because society doesn't sell daughters any more. The Law in Australia and most western countries does not allow polygamy but the Law is there for societies that do, and polygamy is not prohibited by the Bible. Rather, it is specifically regulated.
This example is used not to advance such a cause but rather to show the constant nature of the Law within the varying framework of human society. There will come a time when our society is not stable and God will deal with us in direct and devastating ways. He will allow us to be dealt with by the nations, under the blessings and the curses of Deuteronomy 28 (see the paper The Blessings and the Curses (No. 75)).
When our men are finally dead in their millions (Isa. 3:25) and women are walking around with illegitimate children all over our nations, they will grab hold of the robes of the few men who are left and say: "Take away our shame from us" (Isa. 4:1). That is Scripture, and Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35).
All of these things are done in order to fulfil specific purposes of the Messiah and to regulate human society in accordance with the will of God. That is why the Law was given to us.
We will examine the Beatitudes and go through the intent behind them and see the power they actually possess.
The first Beatitude is: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is an apparent contradiction. We are poor in spirit therefore we are going to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet everything we've been taught says that we have to be rich in spirit. We have to work and labour to fulfil and imbibe of the spirit and grow in the spirit. How can these things be? Is it simply that poor in spirit means, poor in terms of weak or low in spirit? No, it does not mean that. Being poor in the spirit means that we willingly sacrifice the good of ourself for our neighbour, our brother – that we are poor by choice in subjugating our self-interest to the people whom we serve. It means that wealth is not, in itself, an objective of the elect. This view strikes directly at the materialistic health-wealth gospel.
In recent years, various elements of the Church of God have taught that there is a health-wealth or prosperity gospel – a philosophy that sickness equals sin and that prosperity equals righteousness. The practice or doctrine that sickness equals sin is from Shamanism; and it is heresy. It is a doctrine of demons and we can find such doctrine in any tribe of the backward peoples of Asia who live under satanic systems of demonism. The sicknesses of this planet are the accumulated effects of 6,000 years of rebellion against God's Laws.
Some, if not all, of our people in some degree are genetically deficient because of these rebellions. Some people are forced by labour into situations that make them sick and they need help and compassion. Our people in the churches in previous eras were doctors. They spread the gospel across Europe by going into homes, healing and helping people. Sickness did not equal sin to our predecessors. They loved the people that they tried to save. They healed them, fed them, clothed them and risked their lives to deliver the word of God to them. They willingly laid down their wealth, sacrificed their self-interest, and travelled all over the world on foot, and they subjugated their lifestyles and their well-being out of interest for the people of the world. They tried to bring all men to Christ out of love for all men and total concern and love for each other, as brethren.
Our people have literally laid down their own positions and their own lives for each other over the centuries. In many of the first-century churches they held goods in communion. The Apostles set up that system where they literally gave all of their money into communal pockets or purses and lived together.
That leads to another concept. If we ever had to do that in this century a lot of people would run away before we ever started. We’ve heard it said, You love all the brethren, but with some people you love them from a distance. Such an attitude shows that there is a serious spiritual problem, not simply among those that hold the view, but also those that cause the view to be held. Some people are unaware of the impact of their own behaviour.
We can see then that the subject of being poor in spirit is not in terms of being low in spirit. It means being poor by the placement of the interests of others, and the work of Jesus Christ above our own personal or self-interest.
The second Beatitude is: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
From where do we get this concept of mourning? What is mourning? Why is it a blessing to mourn? Mourning is basically the loss of something; or is it? From Ezekiel 9:4 we get an idea of what is meant. Christ is actually expanding the concept of what Ezekiel was saying. We start from verse 1. The heading is Slaughter of idolaters.
Ezekiel 9:1-11 Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, "Draw near, you executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand." 2 And lo, six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, every man with his weapon for slaughter in his hand, and with them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his side. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. 3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherubim on which it rested to the threshold of the house; and he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his side. 4 And the LORD said to him, "Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." 5 And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity; 6 slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the house. 7 Then he said to them, "Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain. Go forth." So they went forth, and smote in the city. 8 And while they were smiting, and I was left alone, I fell upon my face, and cried, "Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all that remains of Israel in the outpouring of thy wrath upon Jerusalem?" 9 Then he said to me, "The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice; for they say, `The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see.' 10 As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity, but I will requite their deeds upon their heads."11 And lo, the man clothed in linen, with the writing case at his side, brought back word, saying, "I have done as thou didst command me." (RSV)
This process starts at the highest levels with the very elect and proceeds down through our people. We are marked on our capacity to mourn and to sigh, to cry, and to repent and overcome. Those who do not mourn and repent will be killed: men, women and children. This is not a message of weakness. The nation of Australia, for example, will be brought to its knees by the sword. The city of Sydney will repent of its Mardi Gras. These things are abominations in the sight of God and will be done away with; and it is not wrong to say that the word of God stands. These people call good evil and evil good. They are an abomination in the sight of God and a stench in His nostrils. God will allow them to be destroyed.
Our job is to warn the people and our indolence and postponement of action means children will die. That is why we are blessed if we mourn and sigh and cry. But we have to do it actively, not passively. We have to be pro-active in what we are doing, not reactive. It is not a matter of simply expressing dismay. We have to get out there and tell them. We have to call for the repentance of this nation – turn the hearts of the fathers to their sons and the sons to their fathers, or this land will die. That is not an inherent criticism of us but merely underscoring the urgency of the problem. Our capacity to exist as a nation and the number of our people in the Millennium depends upon what we do now. Even the number of Gentiles is dependent upon how well we do our task. We have limited resources and there are too many people crippled by the errors of the past, by and with indolent self-righteousness.
The third Beatitude says: Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Is it a contradiction to say we have to warn this nation and the world, yet we have to be meek? What does it mean to be meek? Is meekness weakness? No! Meekness is not weakness.
Moses was meek above all men, but no person, by any stretch of the imagination, would say that he was weak. In the same way, strength does not come from, and is not expressed in terms of, dogmatic assertions or power in the use of weapons, or the use of position, or the use of authority. Strength is not having an hierarchical position and kicking the intestines out of everyone under us. Strength is the capacity to die for our people. 1Corinthians 13 is the love chapter, as we all know. Charity, in the sense of love, is the unconditional agape love of God. It is the sort of love that was uttered from Christ's mouth on the stake when he said: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. This love is the sort of love that issued out of Stephen's mouth when they stoned him to death. He was given a vision of the Kingdom to get him through it. That is examined in the question of the last two Beatitudes.
From 1Corinthians 13 we can get an idea of what Christ is talking about in the way he speaks of this meekness and inheriting the Earth. It is the kind of meekness that comes from placing ourself below our brothers.
Though I speak in the tongues of mortals and angels, but do not have love I am a noisy gong and clanging cymbal.
There has to be a physical manifestation of our concern. It is empty words, simply clanging gongs, to talk about our faith and do nothing. 1Corinthians 13 is talking about prophetic powers, understanding mysteries and knowledge. It speaks of faith such to move mountains. However, if we don't have the love that must go with that our faith is misdirected, because all of the powers of the Holy Spirit are given to those people who can express it in meekness – in love for one another. We are not given the Holy Spirit in any real form or power until we know how to direct it to each other in love.
We will be given enough gifts to get us by. The less love we show, the more limited the Spirit will be. If we don't overcome that weakness, we will lose the Holy Spirit.
We have seen people tested on their understanding of the Godhead. Those who do not treat this test as they should and make a wrong decision, lose what they already knew.
The first stage is the First Great Commandment (expressed in the first four Commandments) that is: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul. Meekness is the form of behaviour that places everything in subordination to the First Commandment.
God’s people have placed aside their marriages, their brethren, their welfare, their wealth, and everything for the Church. Every one of us has been called upon to sacrifice something. Each of us has been called upon and given to each other so that we might develop love and power in the Holy Spirit. We will inherit the Earth because our Master, Jesus Christ, will be given, and has been given, that power and kingship and the authority as the Morning Star. We will be given it also, on his throne (Rev. 2:26-28; 3:12,21). We will do it because of our nature or capacity to subjugate our own self-interest, and serve each other.
We must develop this nature to the greatest of our ability. Sometimes it comes in seeing the needs of others. It is an expression of our love to anticipate the needs of others. We have an extended family and we should see the needs of each other before the person expresses it. That way it ceases to become the coldness of charity as the world sees it and becomes the product of outgoing concern. It is the capacity, by expression of love, to show that we care. To have seen and anticipated something is a gift beyond words, because we take away from our brother the necessity of having to ask. None of us should have to ask for anything.
Following on from the question of meekness, we progress into the question of battle. Our Master has the power to save or not to save. He has the power to deliver us or not to deliver us. He has the power to send us into captivity or not to send us into captivity. In the same way, those who rely on their own strength and do not serve God with all their heart and mind and soul, will fail in the end. They will go either the captivity of physical Israel, or the captivity of the Second Resurrection.
The Second Resurrection is a disciplined school whereby all men will learn to love God and they will see the results of what they do. Our Master paid a price to free us of that and to give us the opportunity to lead. We lead through our meekness and patient long-suffering.
From Revelation 6, we see how this concept is developed. The seals are examined in the papers The Seven Seals (No. 140) and The Seven Trumpets (No. 141). Here we are looking at a question of a failure to be meek. What happens in the progression of the seals is that the seals flow directly from the Beatitudes. The seals are specifically the result of the failure to keep the First and Greatest Commandment, and the Second Great Commandment, to love your neighbour as yourself. Together these are the grouping of the Ten Commandments (cf. the papers The Law of God (L1) and the Law series (No. 252-No. 263).
The first seal develops from false religion – from placing systems of government above the biblical structure and the Laws of our Master and our God.
The seals are progressively opened because of the breach of the Law and the restrictions imposed by the Beatitudes.
As they are broken, the first seal is opened to false religion because there is no meekness. There is no desire to subjugate self-interest and to help all men. Because false religion is set up there is no unanimity of mind in the service of the One True God and His Law-order. Division caused by hierarchical religious structures of empirical groups forces inequalities that flow again from the failure of the Beatitudes in our minds. Desire becomes lust, which results in struggle. War follows. From war comes pestilence, death and famine. These are the first four seals and they are exponential. As one goes, so goes the other.
It follows, then, that they break into the fifth seal of religious persecution, because if we have false religion we have two schools and a false god. With false religion we have the lust for power. If we have no meekness, we have persecution.
The fifth seal is a result of the persecution that arises, following on from an absence of meekness, and from a desire to hurt and harm those who do not agree with us.
The sixth seal is the heavenly signs. They show that Christ will deal with the issue and intervene imminently in progressive order.
By the signs, Christ indicates he will bring this world system to an end by the very drives and lusts and power of these people against themselves.
At that time they are all brought down to the Valley of Decision and destroyed through their own drives. Christ does not kill them, in the sense that he sets out under direct order of God to simply maim and kill these people. They are allowed to utilise their own weaknesses, which flow on from a failure to keep the Beatitudes. They will kill each other, man woman and child, in millions, almost destroying this planet.
The world is degenerating into tribalism. The English-speaking people are also degenerating in this way. The minds of our people are being systematically destroyed by Hollywood and the media, along violent and base lines.
Europe declared war on itself twice in the 20th century in acts of great insanity. It then followed a Cold War for 50 years as result of the Second World War. It is now about to plunge itself back into barbarism. It has again become racist. Our aboriginal people are attacked. The ethnic cleansing and tribal barbarism of the Balkan war is a precursor to the Third World War, as the Spanish Civil War was a preview of the Second World War. The political inability to control the Beast has set a series of things in motion. These people, driven by materialism and amorality, through their lusts, their power plays, and ambitions, will destroy themselves and this planet.
The meek will inherit the Earth because there will be nobody else left alive. Christ will intervene in this madness and cut it short for the elect’s sake in the Plan of God (Mat. 24:22).
During each of the phases of the seven seals the world could repent. In the seventh seal there are seven trumpets, then seven vials, and the seven vials represent the wrath of God. At each one it says: and yet they did not repent (Rev. 16:9). During this period no man is allowed to enter the Temple of God until the seven plagues are fulfilled (Rev. 15:8). They, thus, neither repent nor can they be converted.
In each one of those trials God allows a safety valve. It is the same situation where we have a person down in a headlock, and we say: “Do you give in?” And he says, “No!” In fact, humanity has put itself in its own headlock and is slowly choking itself to death, a self-inflicted wound. God effectively says, “Don't shoot yourself in the foot, it’s going to hurt”. The unconverted in enmity towards God say in response, “If I want to shoot myself, I will”. God is trying to save these people, but they keep blowing their feet off. That's the end of it all. That is why Christ said, “Blessed are you, you will inherit the Earth”, because we are not shooting ourself in the foot on a continual basis.
The fourth Beatitude is: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Such desire is to hunger and thirst for the knowledge of God. Psalm 119 shows the concepts in the Law, and righteousness follows from the Law. The elect are filled with the Holy Spirit and there is a diligence in their hunger and thirst. They do not eat physical food; they eat spiritual food.
The papers on The Holy Spirit (No. 117) and Fruit of the Holy Spirit (No. 146) should be viewed in relation to the Beatitudes and the filling. It is the Holy Spirit and all its fruits expressed in 1Corinthians 13, and in all the other texts on the subject by Paul, that are the filling that takes place.
The Beatitudes form a key, and there is a flowing on through them into our capacity to become the salt of the Earth and the lights of the Temple. We can become a light to the Gentiles.
However, there are not a lot of us. The salt is only a sprinkling on the food or a small portion in the ingredients. The same concept is found in the story of Gideon and the 300. We are very few; we are called one of a city, and two of a family (Jer. 3:14).
Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: (KJV)
That is why there are so few who understand and work over this last period. God pours out His Spirit on mankind firstly through the elect (Acts 2:1-33) and this continues during the Last Days (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21).
Elijah thought he was the last one left. In effect he was saying that: “There is no one else left. But God, I'm the only one here; I'm important”. He was puffed up with vanity because of his task. Paul killed Stephen yet he said, when it comes to the law - blameless (Phil. 3:6). He wrote that after his conversion and after he had murdered Stephen! There is one righteous man, Jesus Christ and all of us are sinners. Christ, however, said there was no one who is good only God (Mat. 19:16-17). All have fallen short of the glory of God, Paul included. Sin is sin and it proceeds from the iniquities of the mind. Some of the elect who preceded Messiah, such as John the Baptist’s parents, were blameless under the ordinances (Lk. 1:6). We are all to be blameless after our conversion (1Cor. 1:8; Phil. 2:15; 1Thes. 5:23; 1Tim. 3:2,10; 5:7; Titus 1:6,7; 2Pet. 3:14).
Paul, however, did come to understand later that he was the worst of sinners (Rom. 7:1-25).
Some of us sin in our minds. Some sin in fact and in deed. But we are being measured in our minds and not just in what we do. That is a frightening concept. The mind provides great opportunity for sin. Often we are surprised at the level of our own thoughts. The modern media presents opportunities for sins of the mind that exceed any previous time.
This question then follows on to the question of mercy. It is not accidental that mercy follows after hungering and thirsting after righteousness in the structure of the Beatitudes. We have to be meek to get to, or want to get to, the point of understanding that we need the Holy Spirit, the grace of God and the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. We need to be filled in order to subjugate the self. Our vanity and self-reliance is subjugated to reliance upon Christ. Some of us then have to be physically humbled in order to make it into the Kingdom of God. Some of us are allowed to suffer injuries and loss to get our minds to the point where we can be dealt with by God. All things work together for the good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
The fifth Beatitude is: Blessed are the merciful.
Zechariah 7:8-10 And the word of the LORD came to Zechari'ah, saying, 9 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy each to his brother, [True judgment is kindness and mercy] 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart." (RSV)
It has been a teaching of some Trinitarian churches that we do not have to keep faith with people who are not of our own denomination. They taught that we have a different standard of dealing with people if we are of the same faith. In terms of honesty and widows and orphans and the poor under the Law that is not true. God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
The aliens, the Gentiles, come to trust in us because we do not respect one over another in the Law. The judgments of the Law will go out across this planet regardless of race, colour of skin or social class.
Zechariah 7:11-13 But they refused to hearken, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts like adamant lest they should hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. 13 "As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear," says the LORD of hosts, (RSV)
There is going to be a time when the Lord of Hosts will not hear. He will not hear when the nation cries and it will be dealt with and turned over to other nations who will be given a heart of stone to deal with us.
Zechariah 7:14 "and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate." (RSV)
Desolation and war follow from a failure to heed the word of God.
Zechariah 8:1-6 And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3 Thus says the LORD: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain. 4 Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand for very age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. 6 Thus says the LORD of hosts: If it is marvellous in the sight of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in my sight, says the LORD of hosts? (RSV)
It may seem impossible to men, but it is not impossible to God. God can raise up children unto Abraham from the stones of the desert, and He will do so. We are in the build-up to the establishment of the Millennium. It all relates to Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Thus the question of justice and mercy follows on into our capacity to deal with one another in a just way.
The sixth Beatitude is: Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
By manifesting these qualities in the Holy Spirit as a baptised Spirit-begotten child of God, we will receive the seal of God. In receiving the seal we are able to achieve spiritual power and we will see God. Paul wrote that no man, no physical human being, has seen nor ever will see God (1Tim. 6:16). That's one concept that Paul and John laboured; that no man had seen God, because God is a spiritual power. We have to be in the form and capacity of spirit to see God, and no man can be that way. It is something to be achieved after the resurrection and we will achieve that distinction.
The seventh Beatitude is: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
The making of peace is a way of expressing the Holy Spirit. The bringing of peace is the capacity Jesus Christ exhibits to rule this planet. He rules by uniting his planet in one accord under God. Monotheism doesn’t mean that God is one by having three heads. Monotheism is that God is One, because everybody, Jesus Christ and all those included in the Host, subjugate their wills to God. They share God's will, form and power by desire and love. We are called into the system to share His will by desire and love. Jesus himself said: "My meat it to do the will of Him who sent me [and accomplish His work]" (Jn. 4:34). That should be the fundamental issue to us. That is what Monotheism is all about. We are all of one Spirit that emanates from God and makes Jesus Christ one with God. It makes us part of the Body of Jesus Christ who is our head, and makes us all part of God who is all in all (Eph. 4:6). It is not a Trinity; it is a multiplicity. The Trinity limits the capacity for us all to see God and be at one with God, in the same way Jesus Christ is one with God. Binitarianism achieves the same effect as Trinitarianism.
To be children of God we have to be peacemakers and demonstrate the fruits of the Holy Spirit. How do we become peacemakers? How do we solve the problems? Look to the need and look to the concern. We place ourselves below our brothers. We should say, “I do not want to achieve things at the expense of my brother. I do not want anything outside of the will of my Father. I do not want to place any system above that of the Body of my Master and the will of my Father. If my Father chooses not to intervene, and I die in that process, then that is the will of my Father, yet I will live and I will be stronger than they ever could have imagined”.
We make peace but not because we are frightened of any man on this planet. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of power and a sound mind – not a spirit of fear and timidity. That some of us are weak physically and cannot beat the heavyweight champ means little. We are all physically weak in some area but our strength comes from the power of God. The fact that Christ put us in a position where we cannot subjugate the nations (literally destroy this planet) is a virtue because there are many brethren who would judge unrighteously. If they were running the show there would be a lot of clones and a lot of dead people. Some of the churches would have burnt every book on this planet if they were running this show twenty years ago; and some may still want to do that. A lot of women would have been burnt at the stake as witches and there would have been a few less races around. As we are all aware, many atrocities have been committed in the name of God.
As the eighth Beatitude, Christ said: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Stephen's martyrdom in Acts is important. Stephen speaks to the council in Acts 7. When he'd finished, they became enraged and grated their teeth. What did he say? In Acts 7:51 he said:
you stiff necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears.
They knew what the circumcision of the heart was. Isaiah had told them all about it and they knew it wasn't some new teaching. Christ had already telegraphed his moves through the prophets. Some people think Jesus Christ started a new system. He did not. He spoke to Israel for hundreds of years through the prophets. They would not listen. That's what Stephen was saying and they didn't like it.
In Matthew 23:31,37 and Luke 11:50, Christ was effectively asking the Pharisees: "Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?" It was not said here, "I think you got most of them". He asked them to tell him which one they didn't persecute? All of the prophets and everyone who spoke in the Name of God were persecuted and are being persecuted. They killed those who foretold the coming of the righteous one whom Stephen said they had betrayed and murdered. He said: "You are the ones that receive the law as ordained by angels and have not kept it" (Acts 7:53). It was a condemnation of Pharisaic Judaism. They had the Law but did not keep it in the spirit.
When they heard these things they ground their teeth at Stephen but filled with the Holy Spirit he saw the glory of God. Look, he said, I see the heavens opening and the Son of God standing beside Him. But they covered their ears and with a loud shout all rushed together toward him. Then they dragged him outside the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man called Saul.
While they were stoning Stephen he prayed:
Lord Jesus please accept my spirit and he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice "Lord do not hold this sin against them". When he had said this, he died. Saul approved of the killing.
Saul approved of their killing him. The coats were laid at his feet because he was the Pharisaic witness or supervisor. It was required that a man be put to death under the gaze or jurisdiction of a witness, a delegate. In the Inquisitions the authority stemmed from Papal Legates. But Saul murdered Stephen as though he'd thrown the first stone and it was his job theoretically to throw the first stone. Basically, the witness was the one who sanctioned the killing. Without that, the killing of Stephen was without excuse. Paul should have fully repented of that fact instead of uttering the concept of blamelessness. He was not blameless because he broke the Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. He killed an innocent man.
At the end, at the ninth Beatitude, we read: Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely, on my account.
Christ personalised it. He centred the persecution on each and every one of the elect. The people who persecute the elect are those who are in authority or say they are in authority in what purports to be the Churches or Congregation of God. That was initially Judaism but the greater persecution came from so-called mainstream Christianity. It continues in the Protestant system and in the very Churches of God. These are they who say they are Christians, and are not. Those outside in mainstream Christianity that claim to be the Churches of God persecute the elect because they do not know our Master.
Isaiah 66:5 says:
Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your brethren who hate you and cast you out for my name's sake have said, `Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy'; but it is they who shall be put to shame.” (RSV)
In fact, the elect are rejected from the Synagogue by those who think they are doing Christ a favour. They try to put the elect to death. Who was it that killed Isaiah by allegedly sawing him in half? It was the priesthood. Who stoned Jeremiah to death? The traditions say that it was the prophets of Anathoth. The very people who say they are pillars of light are those who revile us most because they do not know our Master. They think they are righteous but do not have the Holy Spirit. They cannot keep the Law because the carnal mind is enmity towards God (Rom. 8:7). It is not a concept of people being enemies of God. Without the Holy Spirit and being close to God we cannot keep the Law because it emanates from the nature of God. What God is saying in effect is: “I have set up the system. I created you people and you are not all there without My Spirit”.
The analogy is very similar to having a ship in the harbour with the generator on. The lights are all on but it is not going anywhere and only the auxiliary motor is running. The main motor is not even turned on. These people can not help what they are. They have not even turned the turbines over. They are running on auxiliary and that's about the analogy. It’s not half power; they have no power. The lights are on, but there is no activity. It is when we start the engine up with the Holy Spirit that we then become operational. We can then leave port and sail anywhere within the will of our Father.
Uttering all kinds of evil against us falsely on Christ's account is not something new. The above are examples of the kind of reviling we were faced with over the centuries. Because we did not have the capacity to write the books, we could not get our version of things out. They burnt our writings, called what we did evil and said we did horrendous things like worship the One True God, fast, keep the Sabbath, and dress without ostentation. They hanged us and burnt us at the stake for these things. It was their fashion to dress like peacocks. Mainstream Christianity reviled us for all sorts of things. They had very little of which to accuse us as a Faith (see the paper The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170) and the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
Many of our people were called out of sin. Often the world condemned the sinners. However, they became converted and were accepted and forgiven by the Church as brethren. This unconditional acceptance of sinners into the saving grace of the baptism of Jesus Christ is the mark of the Church of God and the elect.
Christ said, “Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for as they persecuted the prophets who were before you, so also they will persecute you”.
Bear the persecution of the world in the light of the hope that lies within us. Strive hard to do the work of God.
We have to be the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and through us he spreads the gospel. God chose to use us more than any great work. He called us to confound the mighty. He called us in, the weak and base. Some of us are weak, some are base and some are both. But He called us in, not to leave us in that condition but to get us to a point of power through the Holy Spirit.
The measurements of that power are the Beatitudes and how we can subjugate our own self-interest for God and our partners in the Church. Those of us who are single are in families; those of us who have no children, are parents and those of us who are alone are no longer alone. All of us are one extended family, in power, through one Spirit. Christ tells us in his Beatitudes how to get there and how to do his tasks. We are called not to weakness, but to power.