And greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
And now continuing, my friends, in the actual life and the ministry of Jesus Christ to see why it is that He taught something entirely different than that we hear today.
You know that's the most astonishing thing of this time. That what we have accepted as the gospel of Jesus Christ is something altogether different than the gospel that Jesus Christ Himself taught, or the gospel that the apostles taught the world, or the gospel that the apostle Paul took to the Gentiles. Even the so-called Gentile Christians of that time did not believe what we are being taught today, neither did they follow the customs that we do today.
Now getting back, we were in Matthew 15 and beginning with verse 29. I hope you have your Bible. Open it with me — go through, see with you own eyes how different was the actual message, teaching, and the example set by Jesus from that of our belief today, that is the common popular belief that is suppose to be Christianity today and the customs that are followed by those that profess to be Christians today.
"Now Jesus departed and he came unto the Sea of Galilee and he went up into the mountain and sat there." (Matthew 15:29 paraphrased)
Always Jesus was trying to get away from the crowds. No place do you find Him trying to attract a crowd. Just the opposite, He sought to get away from them, but the crowds always followed Him, because of the miracles He performed. Because of the compassion He had on them, the good things He was doing to people, using the power of God to do it.
He said of Himself, He could do nothing, it was the Father that dwelt in Him that did the works (John 5:19 paraphrased). In other words everything He did was done by the power of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
And He said "the works that I do, shall you do also and greater things than these shall you do" (John 14:12 paraphrased). And the disciples, when they became the apostles, did do greater things even than Jesus.
And I was remarking, here the other day, that we hear today most people suppose that Jesus performed these miracles out of divine power, because He was God — and that of course we couldn't do such things that He just did things that no man could do. Well we came to the place where He was walking on the water, you remember, just a few broadcasts back here. And Peter said, "Well, let me walk on the water!" And as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he too was able to walk on the water.
Now that is about as great a miracle, I think as any, because certainly no one today would think they could just go out and walk on the water. Walk on a sea — just right on the water, but Peter did it, as long as he kept his eyes on Christ. But he began to look down and saw the waters and the weather condition and one thing and another. And as soon as he got his mind on the physical conditions and the material circumstances, well his faith fled and he had to cry out for help and Jesus picked him up and said: "Oh thou of little faith..." (Matthew 14:31)
Well that is why we don't perform miracles today — that is why the preachers don't. There is so little faith today. And Jesus looked down the stream of time unto our day and our generation - this end time in which we live - and He asked - would there even be faith on the earth when He comes again (Luke 18:8)? And He's coming in our time and our generation.
Well there is certainly very little today. I'm mighty thankful though, that through some of us, God is performing miracles. He is healing the sick. He is casting out demons and the gospel is being preached to the poor. The same gospel that was preached in the days of Christ - and it is going by the same power of God.
Well He went up to the mountain and He sat there. And there came unto Him great multitudes. As usual the multitudes came to Him. They didn't use their heads — they usually came without any provisions for anything to eat and anything of the kind. Now here's the second time this thing has happened. You remember just a few days ago, we were going into that where He fed the great multitude — 5,000 men beside the women and children. By performing a miracle, and His miracles were all done in carrying out the principles of the great spiritual law of God - of love to others, of compassion and mercy on others, of helping — not destroying, tearing down or taking away.
Nowhere can you find where Jesus performed a miracle to injure others, or to take something away from them and to benefit Himself. There was no selfishness. There was no greed. There was no vanity or pride. There was humility. There was always the saying that.. "Of myself I can do nothing" (John 5:19 paraphrased). "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). "The Father that sent me, he said, gave me a commandment of what I should say and what I should speak" (John 12:49).
Again He said, "I have kept my Father's commandments" (John 15:10). Always He humbled Himself. Always He was subservient and under His Father. And always He was helping others and doing good. That, my friends, is the ideal life. Why don't we see more of it today? We could call on the power of God more today, to help others, if we would.
Multitudes came to Christ Well the multitude came to Him, having with them the lame, the blind, the dumb, the maimed and others, and they cast them down at His feet - they were always coming for help and what they could get. Yes they heard what they could get from Him, so here they came - a great multitude — and He healed them. (Matthew 15:30) Insomuch that the multitude wondered when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing — and they glorified the God of Israel. (Matthew 15:31)
"And Jesus called unto him his disciples and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat: and I would not send them away fasting, lest haply they faint in the way. (Matthew 15:32 American Standard Version)
Well there's Mark's account of that same thing in the seventh chapter of Mark, and the — or the eighth chapter of Mark it is — in the first two or three verses — In those days; Mark 8:1
"In those days when there was again a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called unto him his disciples and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way. And some of them are come from far." (Mark 8:1-3 ASV)
Well his disciples answered Him, "Whence shall one be able to fill these men with bread here in the desert place? He asked them how many loaves have you [how many loaves of bread]? and they said seven [they had seven loaves of bread]. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he brake and he gave to his disciples to set before them; and they set before the multitude. And they had a few small fishes. (Mark 8:4-7 ASV),
Mark doesn't tell us how many. "...and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also before them and they did eat and they were filled and they took up of the broken pieces that remained over, seven baskets. And they were about four thousand: and he sent them away." (Mark 8:8-9 ASV) But He sent them away fed and filled.
Now going back to Matthew's account: "The disciples said unto him, Whence should we have so many loaves in the desert place as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus said unto them, How many loaves have you? They said seven, and a few small fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground and he took the seven loaves and the fishes; and he gave thanks and brake, and he gave to the disciples and the disciples to the multitudes. And they did all eat and they were filled." (Matthew 15:33-37 ASV)
Now I just want to pause to remind you of one little point here in how to understand the Bible. You know a lot of people think they find contradictions in the Bible, because one writer will mention something that another doesn't. One will mention a certain fact and another a different fact and they say there is a contradiction. Oh, there is no contradiction. They don't all tell all of the same facts and you have to add the writings of the different writers on the same subject - add them up and then you have the correct answer — the sum total of all of it.
Now, you'll notice here that according to Mark's account, He took the bread and blessed that first and then came the fishes as a separate operation later. Well now Matthew just bunched them all together, and just having that alone, you would think that He took the bread and the fishes all at one time and blessed them and gave it to them, but He actually didn't. He took the bread first, because that's the way Mark explains it. There's no contradiction, it just is that one will bring out details that the other does not. And that is why we need to read all of the gospels, to know what Jesus said. You need to read all of the passages on any one subject anywhere in the Bible, if you would know the truth of that part of the Bible.
Well Matthew concludes "They did all eat and they were filled and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men beside the women and children." (Matthew 15:37-38 ASV)
Now there, Matthew said 4,000 men beside women and children — it was customary in that day to count only the men.
And now, Mark didn't even mention the women and children. He took it for granted anyone ought to know that they don't count the women and children. It wasn't customary in those days. He said and there were about four thousand, and He sent them away. But when you read Matthew's account, he fills in a detail there that Mark did not fill in. So there possibly may have been eight or ten thousand people at least, if you add another four or six thousand or more of women and children. The number is not given, we don't know.
Religious Denominations Well now continuing in Matthew 15 and the next verse. Verse 39. "And Jesus sent away the multitudes and he entered into a boat and he came into the borders of Magadan. And the Pharisees and the Sadducees came tempting him." (Matthew 16:1 ASV paraphrased)
Now remember that they were the leaders and the organized religious sects and denominations. They had various church denominations then, just the same as we find them today. They were all, remember, in Palestine. They were Jewish — they were Jewish people and they were sects among the Jews. But the main sects were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Now we also find that there were Essenes and there were Samaritans and perhaps even others that are, were smaller sects, and are very seldom mentioned. But the main denominations were the Pharisees and the Sadducees and there were quite marked differences of doctrine and belief between them. They didn't believe the same thing. Now you see they didn't believe their scriptures, if they had they would have believed the same thing, but they didn't. Yet they all claimed to have their religion founded on the scriptures. You see they used the interpretation of men — a thing that we should never do.
The Bible should not be interpreted, my friends. Do you have to interpret every other book that you pick up? You pick up a book on ordinary history, you don't interpret it. You pick up a book on science, you don't interpret it. You pick up a book on philosophy, it's plain language — you know what the writer meant. Usually you just swallow it hook, line and sinker and the writer probably may not have known what he was talking about.
But in the Bible, you have the very word of God. And when it comes to the word of God, what do men do? They try to change it! What is interpreting the Bible, but a man putting his construction on it, and changing it's meaning to conform to what the man wants to make it mean. That's what an interpretation is. IT'S CHANGING THE SACRED WORD OF GOD. IT'S A MAN WRESTING IT, DISTORTING IT, CHANGING IT. Putting his idea into it and trying to make it say what he wants it to say instead of what GOD MADE IT SAY.
Now the only way to understand the Bible, is to receive it as God gave it to us. And I'll tell you, my friends - why you have interpretations and so many different doctrines today, if you turn with me real quickly, over here to the letters to Timothy. In II Timothy and the third chapter — and you'll read in the fifteenth verse, Paul said:
"...from a child thou has known the holy scriptures that [which] are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus." (II Timothy 3:15 KJV)
Now that certainly is the New Testament way of salvation, is it not? And that's what Paul was writing to Timothy, the young minister and evangelist that he was sending out. In giving him instruction of how to preach the New Testament gospel to Gentiles. And Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures from a child.
Now what scripture had he known from a child? Why, Paul in this letter, is writing one of the scriptures - the Bible hadn't been completed. This is one of the New Testament scriptures — this very letter that he was writing. And you know, Timothy hadn't known this from a child. The only scriptures that he had known from a child were what we now call the Old Testament.
Now you go into some churches today, now if this shoe doesn't fit, you don't put it on and wear it. And I'm not accusing anybody - I'm just giving some facts. And today they would say, why, you couldn't preach Christ — you couldn't preach salvation - and the New Testament gospel of salvation out of the Old Testament scriptures. Well apparently they don't agree with Paul. They must have some new idea of their own and I want to tell you, my friends, I wouldn't give you a snap of my finger for it, because they have no authority whatsoever. They are just blind leaders leading the blind — and if you follow men like that, you going to fall in the ditch.
All Scripture by Inspiration Now the apostle Paul was inspired of God. He wrote part of the scripture — you can rely on this — you can depend on it. And he said that the scriptures that Timothy had known from a child, which were the Old Testament scriptures - he said, "are able to make thee wise unto salvation". In other words, you can get saving knowledge, through faith, which is in Jesus Christ out of the Old Testament scriptures - it's about time we began to realize that.
Now notice the next words. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (II Timothy 3:16)
And that includes from the first chapter of Genesis and the first verse clear to the last verse of the twenty-second chapter of Revelation. All the way through the Bible, as some old-timers would say, from 'civer to civer.' It's just all the way through, my friends.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God [now that includes the Old as well as the New Testament]...and is profitable [so wrote Paul to this New Testament evangelist being sent to preach Jesus Christ and Christ's gospel to the Gentiles,...is profitable] for doctrine..." (II Timothy 3:16)
Why don't we get our doctrine out of it then, if that is what it is profitable for? Why do we get doctrines today that never came out of the Bible? My friends, when we can have the truth of God, of God Almighty, who knows everything — why do we reject that and turn to the ideas of men? Why do we do it?
Jesus said, "...in vain do they worship me, teaching instead of the truth of God, the doctrines, the customs of men." (Matthew 15:9 paraphrased)
I was giving that to you here just the other day and I've usually read it to you out of the King James. I was reading it to you the other day from the American Revised version. The old revised version of about 50 years ago.
"This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain [Jesus said] do they worship me teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." (Matthew 15:8-9 American Standard Version)
That's what they do today. They haven't changed. That's what the Pharisees did. That's what they do today. Now from a child, Timothy had known the holy scriptures, able to make you wise unto salvation. And all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine. My friends, that's where we should get our doctrines. And we should get it as it is, not twisting it around.
Now my friends, one cardinal doctrine, and of course a lot of you now, are going to become offended — any new listeners. If I don't preach to you, what you believe you will tune out. You don't like it any more. I preach to you what the Bible says and some of you don't like it.
The Bible says; "...the wages of sin is [not eternal life, it says it]...is death [D - E - A - T - H]...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Now there is death and life — life and death — opposites placed side by side. If you sin, you get death. If you obey, the gift of God is eternal life. And that certainly indicates you don't have it. You have to receive it as God's gift. And yet, what do you believe? You believe the preachers, the men, that distort that, that put their meaning into it — that interpret that and tell you that death doesn't mean death. Death means separation from God.
Now, I could have looked up that word in the dictionary, but I, I would dare say that no dictionary will give you that definition. I don't believe they do, if they do, I'll say the author of the dictionary is haywire, he's crazy, or he's just — doesn't know what he is talking about. Because that isn't what the Greek word that was inspired meant, that Paul wrote in his book to the Romans.
It means death...and the gift of God is eternal life. But today they say, oh no - you see the wages of sin is eternal life - just the opposite of what the Bible says - in hell fire. And death means separation from God. That's what a man says. AND SO, MY FRIENDS, THEY TAKE THE PRECEPTS OF MEN FOR THEIR DOCTRINES AND BELIEVE IT. And that is the kind of doctrines you have today.
Now the scripture is profitable for doctrine — get this — and for what, for reproof — reproof — and for correction, and instruction in righteousness. Oh do men love those things - I should say not. Do you? Do you like to be reproved? Do you like to be corrected and told you are wrong? Do you just love it, or do you smart under it and do you get a little bit angry — and try to run away from it, or try to change the subject, or go away from the person that's telling you? Well that's what people have done and the Bible corrects them and reproves them and they go away from the Bible.
And so, because they don't like the correction and reproof — and men don't like instruction. No they don't like instruction either — they just want to have their own way. Oh how they love their own way, but they don't like instruction. And right there is the whole answer, my friends, and that's why we have so many different denominations.
Because a man decides he wants to be a preacher. Well he wants to preach to the people what the people will like — what the people will support and pay for. Because he has got to earn a living — yes he has got to earn a living — he has a family to support.
And like one minister said one time, He said; "Well I tell you, I, I, I wouldn't dare preach some of these truths that I know are in the Bible. Why, in my congregation here in the very important, most important pews, I have some of our city's leading business men. And, you know, it's like the chamber of commerce or any club or any society, there are a little small group of people here that are fairly well-to-do. They pay in about ninety percent of all the money that runs it. Now just a small group of them, I can't offend them, because if I offend them why, there would go ninety percent of the money. We would have to close up our church. And then I couldn't do any good."
And so this preacher reasoned out; "Now since I can't preach that — I, I, I preach as much as they let me. I figure that I am doing some good and otherwise I wouldn't do any good." See he had it all reasoned around where it's alright to nullify the gospel of Jesus Christ and preach exactly the opposite, but pretend to the people he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Law of God Rejected Well now all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and that includes, of course, Isaiah and over here in the thirtieth chapter of Isaiah — Isaiah looked down into our time - this is a prophecy - he certainly had us pegged exactly correct. I mean humanity in general today, when he wrote this:
"Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever." (Isaiah 30:8 KJV)
Way into the future a prophecy. This is Isaiah 30, that was verse 8. Now verse 9:
"That this is a rebellious people [now in our day, the twentieth century] ..lying children, children that will not hear the law of the [Eternal]." (Isaiah 30:9)
Oh they don't like the law of the Eternal. Oh how angry some of them get at me, because I love the law of God — just like David did. I love it, because it is love. The very law is love and it takes love to fulfill it and it takes the love of God in our hearts. And do you know of anything better than the love of God in your heart, by the Holy Spirit, you tell me? Do you know of anything more valuable than having the love of God in your heart, by the Holy Spirit of God? I don't know of anything more valuable. And that love fulfills the law. That love is like living waters and it runs down a river bed and the riverbed it runs down is the Ten Commandments. That is the spiritual principles of the Ten Commandments. I don't mean ten literal letters, I mean the WHOLE principles that they involve.
Jesus magnified that law and made it honorable. He taught that law. A young man came to Him and said, "What [good] thing shall I do that I may inherit [have] eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16)
He didn't say, "don't you know that the law was going to be nailed to the cross right away, and there aren't any works for you to do at all. I'm doing it all for you and I'm going put you under grace and you just do as you please." He didn't say that.
He said: "...if thou would enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS." (Matthew 19:17)
The preachers don't preach that way today. No, because today they are a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Eternal, even if the minister will preach it.
"Which say to the seers, See not; and to the preachers preach not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, preach deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path [that is out of the way of God, out of the true way the law of God — out of the path that will lead to righteousness and to peace and to happiness and joy] cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us." (Isaiah 30:10-11 paraphrased)
Yes, in works they deny Him and they cause Him to cease. Titus the first chapter the sixteenth verse;
"They honor him with their lips, they acknowledge him with their mouths, but in works they deny him being abominable." (Titus 1:16 paraphrased)
A Sign Demanded Well there you are, now let's get back, the sixteenth chapter of Matthew now, the first verse:
And the Pharisees and the Sadducees came tempting Jesus as they did. And they ask Him to show a sign from heaven, but "He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, you say, it will be fair weather: for the heaven is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today, for the heaven is red and lowering. You know how to discern the face of the heaven, but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of Jonah, and he left them and departed." (Matthew 16:1-4 ASV)
Now in Matthew the twelfth chapter, thirty-eighth through fortieth verses, we have already gone through that — the sign of the prophet Jonah was this. And this was the sign — now a sign is a miraculous proof of identity involving a miracle to prove identity. And they said "We don't accept you as the Messiah. If you are the Messiah, if you are the Son of God, you give us a miracle to prove it. Give a miracle that will identify you and prove who you are and prove your identity as the Messiah!"
Jesus said "There will be no sign given, no miraculous proof to prove my identity as your Saviour, as the Messiah, except that of the prophet Jonah." And there in Matthew 12:28, or 38-40, you will find that as Jonah was three days and three nights in his grave; so should Jesus be three days and three nights in His grave. In the tomb in the heart of the earth hewn out in a rock. (Matthew 12:38-40)
Now people try to twist that, they try to distort it, they interpret that every way. If you would like the truth of that — how can you figure three days and three nights from Friday sunset — where He was supposed to have been crucified on 'Good Friday,' as they call it - and resurrected Easter Sunday morning?
I tell you, my friends, you have been misled! The crucifixion was not on Friday! 'Good Friday' is a myth and a pagan superstition. Jesus was not crucified on Friday — the resurrection was not on Sunday - and Sunday does not honor or celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You want the proof of that? Write for our booklet on 'The Resurrection.' Write for our booklet on 'The Resurrection.' It's free, there's no charge. And get the truth about that. Wake up and find out how you have been misled. How you have been deceived by men putting their meaning into the Bible and thereby writing their own Bible. That's exactly what they do. You shouldn't translate the Bible, it translates itself. You don't need to interpret, I mean, it interprets itself. Write in for that booklet about 'The Resurrection.' It's mighty important. And so, my friends now, this is Herbert W Armstrong saying, "Goodbye friends."
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