Christian Churches of God

No. 85

 

 

 

The Basis of Christian Living

 

(Edition 3.1 19941231-20060920-20070811)

 

This paper shows the biblical position to be that the Ten Commandments are the basis of Christian living. This is then discussed. It leads into the other works in the Grace-Law series.

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

 

(Copyright ă 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007 Wade Cox)

 

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 


 

 

The Basis of Christian Living

 


The basis of Christian living involves an understanding of right conduct, the basis of the Law and knowledge of the One True God. It is necessary that we produce this understanding in order to build on all of our other bases for further doctrinal positions on a sound foundation. Unless we have the foundation right we cannot understand how we should live our lives as Christians. The reason this world is in such a bad state is that so-called Christian faith is built on a foundation of sand; it understands nothing of the Laws of God.

 

The basis of Christian living is defined by Christ in the structure of the Law as given at Sinai when he spoke to Moses as the Angel of the Presence (or Angel of the Covenant) and gave him the Law. He listed the basis for the life that he himself would later lead as the Messiah when he became a man. The keeping of the Commandments is the prerequisite to eternal life.

Matthew 19:17  And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." (RSV)

 

The Church is committed to keeping the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The basis of the teaching of the Church is not only to be that of the Ten Commandments, but also the whole Law and the Testimony. If the teachers or leaders of the Church do not speak according to the Law and the Testimony, there is no light in them.

Isaiah 8:20  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (KJV)

 

The centre of the Law and the Testimony constitutes the Ten Commandments, which form the basis and central core of the teachings as laid down in the Law and the Prophets. All of the prophets take the Law, the Ten Commandments, on to their next level of understanding, and explain the Law in its spiritual intent. The Commandments are to be taught by all parents to their children on an ongoing basis. We are given the Bible and the writings that we might more perfectly keep the Law of God and more perfectly instruct our children to walk in the ways of God, and to overcome and see our own sins and weaknesses. All of us are called out of sin.

 

These Laws as taught are to be a sign on the hand indicating the things that we do, and on the forehead indicating our way of thinking and our emotional understanding, and placed on the door-posts of the house to regulate the entire household (Deut. 7:7-9).

 

Christian living is founded on the Law. Love of one’s neighbour is an essential part of the conversion process and follows upon the primary aspect of the love of God. If we do not love our neighbour whom we have met, how can we love God whom we have not seen? If we have not love, we do not know God. Christians are commanded to love God and love their neighbour as they love themselves.

 

Christian Love

 

God’s character can be summed up in the word love. His love is out-flowing concern for others: it is the way of giving, sharing, helping and serving.

1John 4:16  So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (RSV)

 

God’s Law is the way of God’s love. Jesus Christ summed up the Law of God in Matthew 22:34-40. That is the entire structure of the message of God and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in its essence. The entire purpose of the mission of Christ is that the world not be condemned, rather that it might be saved.

John 3:14-17  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (KJV)

 

The structure of the love of God is a very important text. On the question of the destruction of human beings, and in relation to the allegation that he was acting at Satan’s behest, Christ had one point to say at Mark 3:27.

Mark 3:27-29  No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (KJV)

 

The blasphemy in this case was against the Holy Spirit. God had chosen to call a number of people. Many others being called into the Church were subject to the Church, but they were not part of the ministry of God within the Church. Christ was saying that basically the sins of men – i.e. all sins – will be forgiven.

 

1Corinthians chapter 13 is described as the love chapter. It gives a view of our obligations to one another. God sent Christ because He loved the world, in that, as a Father He has a responsibility to all of the creation. It is not a matter of God being a respecter of persons in terms of love and our capacity to love one another. We need to have an understanding of how to relate to one another; how we should and should not view each other; and how to edify and help one another, giving no offence.

1Corinthians 13:1-13  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

 

The word charity here is substituted for the word love. We tend to think of charity as being cold, but we are talking about love.

 

The message of all of this text – of the entire Bible, of all the Law and all the Prophets – is that: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your mind, with all your heart, with all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself” (Lk. 10:27). If we do not do those things we have missed the nub of the Law. If we rejoice in the downfall of another – e.g. rejoice in racism or in the misfortune of those less fortunate – then we really have to look at what we are doing and where we stand with God, because that thinking is incorrect. We cannot prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God without thinking for the betterment and the welfare of all those around us.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

 

There were people who gave everything to the poor and they looked after many. Ananias had said that he would give all of the proceeds of the sale of his house to the Church. He was not required to do that; he could have sold it and given half the proceeds, but he wished to appear great in the eyes of the Church, and then he lied to the Holy Spirit. He and his wife withheld half of the proceeds. Consequently, Ananias was struck dead and his wife shortly thereafter, and they were carried out.

 

The Ananias mentioned in Acts chapter 9 was located in Damascus. He had been an elder of the Church, and he was the one whom God chose to lay hands on Paul for receipt of the Holy Spirit. The sequence appears to indicate that the Ananias in Jerusalem was killed prior to the baptism of Saul, but we have no actual proof of that sequence of events, or of the positive identification of Ananias. The point was that he blasphemed the Holy Spirit and he lied to the Holy Spirit, therefore, as an example to the elect God chose to kill Ananias and his wife in front of the congregation.

 

Many of us do not really understand that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Because some of our people have not been killed in the eyes of the congregation they think God is blind, or a respecter of persons. In the twentieth century God endured a condition in the Church of self-interest, and self-righteousness and accusation only so long as it was necessary; then He allowed a large part of the Church to be destroyed. That was a very traumatic and serious event for all the people involved. They allowed the Church to fall into a situation of self-righteousness and accusation wherein there was no love. We bore the brunt of that because of respect of persons, and a failure to extend our responsibilities in love to our fellow-man.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

 

We should be looking to extending longsuffering and kindness to one another. There should be no envy in what we do and no elevation of the self. This whole question of love is one of elevation of our brothers and sisters, seeing the good things in them, and positively looking for the good things in them. We should be asking what we can do to help them, and what we can do to lift a burden and encourage them.

 

Encouragement is the most important thing we can give to one another, especially since the Adversary and the world in general are looking to try to put us down all the time. They accuse us unjustly and that is the normal way of the world. We, however, should love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us (Mat. 5:44).

 

This whole question of love is the key and central element for all of us in the Church. Some people seem to have difficulty with understanding how God thinks. God is trying to get us to think like Him. The whole structure of the First Resurrection is to get us to a position where we can deal with the creation. It is a question of getting us in the mind of God. He says: my thoughts are not your thoughts (Isa. 55:8).

 

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

 

We also should be thinking about what we can do to make sure that people are cared for. Thinking no evil and not ascribing evil to others is important. Once we start ascribing evil intentions to others, we have division in the Church and people start to mistrust and hate one another. It is a very serious problem in trying to think well of all people. Christ knew Judas would betray him, but Judas was allowed to betray him. Judas repented, then killed himself when he understood what he had done. The point is that it was longsuffering on Christ’s part, knowing what would come. Often the obscuring of Truth has been a characteristic of the Church, wherein things are not openly examined and so people embrace fables.

 

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 

God tests us, but He leaves a way out that we can endure the testing He gives us. This believing all things is not a silly comment. It is not saying we believe everything we are told; rather, it is believing the Truth of the Bible and treating this as the inspired word of God. Hoping all things and enduring all things is in terms of the hope that lies within us. It is the whole structure of what we are told through the prophets, and our endurance is running the race to the end.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

 

Does this mean that prophecy can fail? Scripture cannot be broken, so these prophecies cannot fail. What it means is that the prophecies will run out, or be completed, and in the end there will be no prophecy – there will be no false prophecy. All prophecy will finish because we will know. Whether there be tongues indicates that tongues (languages) will cease, because God will give us one perfect system of communication.

 

Why will knowledge vanish away? It means the same as the term fail. It means it will come to an end and the process of learning will cease because we will know. The things that are unknown will cease, in that we will know. The whole question of education and knowledge is a question of acquiring things that we do not know. We will be given that knowledge and all of us will be spirit beings, so there will no longer be children learning. We will know!

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

 

So, that perfect system, perfect knowledge and perfect love does not need prophecy or a process of acquiring knowledge. It is already perfected and that is what we aim for.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

 

That is the process of us learning, like children learning. Unless we come into the Kingdom as children we simply cannot learn or acquire this knowledge. We need this thirst for knowledge that children have, this constant desire to learn and understand.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (KJV)

 

1John 2:10-19 explains some of these concepts. We cannot hate our brother or bear ill-will against any of the creation and be in the light.

1John 2:10-19  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (KJV)

 

Verse 19 is a very important test for the Church. Those who go out of the Church – in the sense of not keeping the Commandments of God and meeting together in the structure of the Church – are not of us. We are called sons of God and we know God, but the world does not know God and it does not know us.

1John 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (KJV)

 

The structure of the love of God is in us if we love our brothers and care for them. It is a whole process of caring for each other (cf. 1Jn. 3:10-19; 4:7-15). People within the mainstream churches tend to obscure the Commandments of God by concentrating on the love of God. The distinction is fundamental in those churches. By concentrating on the love of God they seek to do away with the Commandments. The writings of the New Testament texts are quite clear: the love of God is manifested by the ability to do the will of God, and to obey the Commandments of God and Jesus Christ, within the Testimony of Jesus Christ. We cannot do away with the Commandments of God by concentrating on the structure of the love of God, because the Law of God comes from the nature of God, therefore so does the question of love and the Commandments. The keeping of the Commandments of God and the love of God then are two aspects of the one structure.

 

The Commandments of God are a prerequisite to the retention of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to partake of God’s divine nature. The fruit of the Spirit imparts in us the ability to live and act in a godly manner. This is reflected in our own lives, and in the way we deal with each other. As Christians we should be exhibiting this fruit.

Galatians 5:22-26  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (KJV)

 

We should all be looking at how we deal with each other, and how to organise the Church of God around a structure of concern and love one for the other. We especially need to show due respect to those who instruct and lead us in the Faith.

1Thessalonians 5:12-18  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV)

 

Many of us have been put through severe trials in the past. Much of the Church was destroyed for respect of persons and lack of love. Respect of persons was the greatest sin of the Church in the twentieth century, and people did not understand it (see the paper Respect of Persons (No. 221)). We all have the opportunity of reorganising the Church and making it the fine receptacle for the Holy Spirit that it should be. It is not permissible to fail to meet together and to be on our own.

Hebrews 10:24-25  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (KJV)

 

It is not permissible to not participate in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God – the spreading of the Gospel to all nations. We have a job to do. We are all put together in the one body, and that body has an obligation to act together in concert. Christ said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mat. 12:50). All of us should be looking to those who do the will of our Father in Heaven. We should be helping one another and looking to put together a system that is able to endure.

Philippians 2:2  Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  (KJV)

 

One of the biggest problems we face in the Church is putting together a Church where the individuals actually love one another, and care about what other people do and think and are. Unless and until we can get to that stage we have failed in the First and Second Commandments.

Romans 13:8,10  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law… 10 Love worketh no ill in his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law,

 

As Stephen was being martyred he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. For those people who martyred him it was not held to their account (see Acts 6:54-60). The real point was that these people were not part of the elect; they were not called out. All of our fathers looked to a greater thing than they had in the nation of Israel. All of them were obedient to the Law but only a handful were selected; only certain prophets and Patriarchs were taken out and placed in the Kingdom of God, yet they had the Law. The majority will inherit the Kingdom of God at the resurrection, but they were not selected at that time. They did not have the capacity to call upon God as we do, and to receive the Holy Spirit and to become part of the Kingdom of God. That was not available until Pentecost at 30 CE.

 

This whole creation is to show us that the way which runs contrary to God’s Law of love is doomed. We are at the end of six thousand years now. Over the last ten years and for the next twenty years we will see this planet play out the problems of the Last Days. At the end of the war of the sixth trumpet over one third of this planet will be dead. All of that has nothing to do with God in terms of the concept; however, it is all allowed to happen. God is going to deal with this planet with love and correct education.

 

The understanding of the Bible is often used for the elevation of self, and there is no single weakness that is more abhorrent than self-righteousness. The biggest trap in the Church of God is that, because God has given us understanding and our minds have been opened, we tend to become self-righteous, even though this is through no virtue of our own.

Romans 15:1-7  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. (KJV)

 

We were chosen to be called, baptised, given the Holy Spirit, and our minds opened so that we could be given understanding. As we studied we were given more understanding; hence the diligence and obedience gave us an elevation of knowledge. God requires obedience rather than sacrifice. This knowledge of all prophecy and of all mysteries is nothing.

Colossians 3:12-14  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (KJV)

 

If we do not love each other we forfeit our position. It is a question of always thinking for the betterment of each other – how we can help, and how we can look after our brothers and sisters and prevent offence.

1Peter 3:8-9   Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. 9 Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. (RSV)

 

The real point is we should not have to think about how to love one another, for when we truly love each other this thinking process becomes automatic.

Romans 12:9-10  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (KJV)

 

All of the Law and the Prophets hang from the Two Great Commandments. All prophecy is concerned with some aspect of it; there is no teaching that is unconcerned with it.

John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (KJV)

 

It is not enough to love in silence; we must be seen to be doing and acting in love. Where possible we should physically help those in need and always be encouraging, compassionate, kind and gentle. It is easy to share in the happy times, but we should also be there for others in times of sickness, sadness and grief or misfortune. For those of us who have been richly blessed, we are expected to share with the less fortunate. We should be able to see these needs without being asked.

 

Our time is a very precious commodity also, and being able to give of our time to others is an essential ingredient in the practise of Christian love. This should not be only directed to those we feel comfortable with and know well. It is not always easy to love those who annoy and irritate us, but on the other hand we are admonished to even love our enemies. This is indeed a test of Godly love: For if you love those who love you what reward have you? (Mat. 5:46).

 

1John 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (KJV)

 

The love of the brethren for each other esteems others greater and is shown in love. The love of God is predicated upon the Truth. If we do not love the Truth we are given over to a strong delusion so that we might believe a lie (2Thes. 2:11).

2Thessalonians 2:9-12  The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, 10  and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, 12 so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (RSV)

 

These people then go on to a state of being outside of the knowledge of God so that their lives might be saved in the Second Resurrection (1Cor. 5:5).

1Corinthians 5:5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (RSV)

 

We have been saved through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God has chosen to use each and every one of us in His Plan. The use of sinners is done to confound the mighty.

1Corinthians 1:26-31 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; 27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 31 therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." (RSV)

 

Our wisdom and our conversion proceed from God. When we are baptised our sins are put as far from us as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). The function of the removal of sin is based upon the adequacy of Christ’s sacrifice. The condemnation of the elect based upon what they were before baptism is essentially an unconverted thought process. The love of God requires the elect to live a Christian life based upon the Truth and the Commandments of God in Christ Jesus. It is essential that the elect lead godly lives as an example to the world. Their example proceeds from their living in the world as sheep amongst wolves (Mat. 10:16; Lk. 10:3); indeed, wolves even enter among the elect (Acts 20:29-32).

 

The flock has a responsibility to be separate from the wolves among them, yet to remain in the world as sheep among wolves. Through the Commandments of God they are thus examples, showing by their love for one another the love of God whom they serve. We cannot serve worldly masters above the One True God. Daniel showed us what is expected of us.

Daniel 6:3-28 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom;

 

That is what Satan, the accuser of the brethren, seeks to do: to find a ground for complaint against us.

… but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."

 

That is where the errors were set up in the Church in order to pervert the Laws of God. The Ten Commandments were the subject of the attack of the false religious system centred on the Roman Empire.

6 Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, "O King Darius, live for ever! 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

 

This is the concept of the Beast system where nobody is allowed to worship God. They are going to make it impossible to do that.

8 Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict. 10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem; and he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

 

That tells us that the elect are to pray three times a day, and they are not to allow worldly ordinances to interfere with that.

11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the interdict, "O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that any man who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." 13 Then they answered before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no heed to you, O king, or the interdict you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." 14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed, and set his mind to deliver Daniel; and he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance which the king establishes can be changed." 16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!" 17 And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace, and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. 19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 When he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish and said to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" 21 Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live for ever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong." 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions -- they, their children, and their wives; and before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

 

The concept is that as they do to the elect, so the same will be done to them.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: "Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring for ever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." 28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (RSV)

 

The story of Daniel represents the gift of the Holy Spirit to the elect among the unconverted of the world’s empires. The unconverted mind seeks occasion against us and seeks to destroy us. The basis of the attack is centred on the First Commandment, which is the test of the elect even unto death.

 

Daniel did not know whether God would deliver him from death or allow him to become a martyr for the cause in the keeping of the Law (as was the case in Dan. 3:12-30). In this instance the salvation of Daniel was the example to the Gentiles that God reigns in Heaven. If the elect remain faithful then they and the people among whom they reside prosper. The failure of the Sardis and the Laodicean Churches contributes to the catastrophes of the Last Days. Israel falls largely as a result of the apostasy of the elect in the Last Days. The final work is done by a few when many are available to do the work, as the latter are silenced by apostasy and their desire to hear smooth things.

 

Christian living is living as Christ would have lived. Christ did not remain silent under the Roman Empire. He did not go along with the Pharisees of his day. He condemned the Scribes and Pharisees and he stood out against them and called them hypocrites. That involves placing the love of God before all else. From the love of God proceeds the love of man and the capacity to love one’s enemies. How many fast for their enemies as David did? David was a man after God’s own heart because, in spite of his grievous sins, he loved his people and his God, and placed justice and mercy above self-interest.

 

Materialism is the characteristic of the Last Days. It is almost impossible to develop a spiritual attitude being weighed down by the cares of the world, as many are in these times. Nevertheless, we must proceed together, free from apostasy and error. We ought to live for Christ and the Truth God has revealed through him over the entire structure of the Bible. We should hold fast to the Truth, and show by the love we have for each other that we are God’s people.

 

 

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