Well greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
Why is it, my friends, that today we believe exactly the opposite of that which Jesus Christ taught and of that which the Church, as it was inspired by the Holy Spirit in apostolic days, did believe — even the churches of Gentile-born converts raised up under the apostle Paul? Why is it that today we practice customs exactly opposite to those that they practiced? We do not follow the customs that they followed, that Paul taught the Gentiles, but those that he had abhorred, that he warned them against, that had been practiced by the pagans for many centuries before Christ. Why? Why is it that the Bible has been turned upside-down that so many people say, "I just can't understand the Bible?"
There is nothing more shocking than this. And, my friends, when we begin to open the Bible, when we begin to really see the truth, there is nothing more interesting, nothing more fascinating, and certainly nothing anywhere near as profitable if you can only know the truth, "because it is the truth that shall make us free." (John 8:32)
Keeping God's Holy Days Now we've been going through the life of Jesus Christ: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — to see what He did teach, the example that He did set, the customs that the early Christians, inspired by the Holy Spirit in the days of the apostles, did follow.
And we found here where Jesus had been attending the Feast of Tabernacles, which of course the professing Christian people don't think of attending today. They call that a Jewish holiday of some kind, or holidays, or season of holidays today, and would have nothing to do with it. And yet I tell you, my friends, if you're still living twenty-five or thirty years from now — I'm not setting the date. You may think it'll be forty or fifty years from now — but whatever time it is after the Second Coming of Christ, and it is going to be in the immediate future and before this generation ends, you will be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles — everyone of you! Yes you will!
Because if you don't, first you'll find that there is a drought and a famine. And then there will be plagues. And you'll start to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, because the whole world is going to do it when Christ comes to rule this world with a rod of iron! And the whole world is going to obey.
And then the nations are going to say, "Come, let's go up to the kingdom of God, to the house of God at Jerusalem [which will be ruling the whole world — with Christ as the Head of that kingdom], and we'll walk in his paths; we'll learn his ways, and do them, and the law of God" (Isaiah 2:3 paraphrased), that a lot of people just don't like at all today. "...the carnal mind is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God." (Romans 8:7).
When you find anybody opposing the law of God, you know there is a carnal mind; that is one of the ways that you can know. There is a carnal mind antagonistic to God; yes and that's one way you can know them. "...by their fruits you shall know..." (Matthew 7:20), and that's certainly one of the fruits.
But the whole world is going to seek God and His ways and the law will go forth from Zion and Jesus Christ will be rebuking strong nations afar off till they beat their implements of war into implements of production and of peace; and they shall learn war no more. (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3 paraphrased)
Well I'm very thankful that that time is coming in our generation. And a large portion of you now living and listening to my voice are going to live into that time, and see it, and experience it in your own lives. You don't realize the times we're living in.
You know, my friends, we see about the weather, the weather report that it's going to rain tomorrow, or it's going to be fair weather tomorrow, or we're going to have more drought, or we're going to have this, or that. And it usually happens. The weather man may be off once in a while, but some of us are rather amazed at how accurate he is.
Well there are signs by which he can know, and Jesus Christ Himself said that. But He said, "How is it that you don't know the meaning of this time" (Matthew 16:3 paraphrased)? And the world doesn't know anything about the significance of the time in which we live — these two world wars that we've already been in, and another world war now in the making.
There is a meaning to this time And there has never been a time like this on the face of the earth from the beginning of creation until now You're living in times that are totally abnormal, unnatural. There has never been a time like it.
You know that ninety percent of all biblical prophecy foretells this time and its meaning! But people don't know anything about it because they don't understand Bible prophecy! They don't understand the Bible, period.
Now we've been going through the life of Jesus. We've seen how, at this Feast of Tabernacles, on the day after, He had been talking to a group of Jewish people around there. Of course they were Jewish people at that time around Palestine. And because of some of the things He said many believed on Him, but they didn't believe Him. Even those who believed on Him, they didn't believe Him. They wouldn't follow Him. They rejected what He said.
It's always been the same; it's the same today. They still believe on Christ while they do exactly the opposite of what He taught and commanded. And they follow other precepts and other examples.
Jesus said He had set an example that we should do as He had done. And Peter wrote that we should follow His steps, that He set an example for us (I Peter 2:21). But they don't do it.
Blind Man Questioned Well after He had passed out of the Temple, and as He passed along, here was a blind man that had been blind from birth And Jesus had healed him. Now we're coming down to the ninth chapter of John — John's gospel, chapter nine, and now verse eight.
After He healed this man "...Whereupon the neighbors and those to whom he had been a familiar sight as a beggar said, 'Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?' And some said, 'It is.' And others said, 'No, but it's just like him.'" (John 9:8-9 Moffatt Translation)
They couldn't believe he was the same man because he wasn't blind anymore. No one had ever been healed who had been blind from birth that they knew about. They'd never heard of such a thing.
"He said, 'I am the man.' So they asked him, 'How are your eyes opened?' And he replied, 'The man they call Jesus made some clay and smeared my eyes with it, and told me, 'Go and wash them in Siloam.' And so I went and washed them, and I got my sight.'" (John 9:9-11 Moffatt Translation)
Now I explained in the preceding program in this series how the clay didn't heal him, and the waters of this river had nothing to do with it. There was no mystic, miraculous powers in that water or in that clay.
I might mention to you, incidentally, that clay, and especially if it's the right kind, does have a certain healing and soothing effect on skin sometimes and is a good thing. Most people don't know that.
For instance a man that I once knew, once upon a time, had been out in his field, and he had cut a great gash in his arm, or leg, I don't remember which now, on a barbed wire fence. And it was rusty, and he was afraid of poison. And it was bleeding very profusely. And there was a lot of clay around there, and he just plastered, shall we say, a big gob of that right on his hand, or leg, or wherever it was that he had been cut. And he left it there quite a while, and it coagulated the blood. It stopped the bleeding. And to his amazement it just healed right over.
Well we found later that was a rather special kind of clay. And I had some dealing with it for sometime. And that was a special clay that had been mined from thirty-five feet down in the ground in a certain place. We'd never found any other quite like it. A number of chemists were rather amazed and thought it contained two or three new unidentified elements that the chemists, or the scientists, had never discovered before. I think since those elements have been added, though, to the number of elements — at that time there were supposed to be ninety-two or ninety-three elements. And I haven't really kept up with that. I'm not a chemist professionally. I've known a little about it, as I think any layman should know a little of the fundamentals. And that's about as far as my chemical knowledge has ever gone. But nevertheless I know that there are more elements now, some more have been discovered in the past quarter of a century, or thereabouts.
Anyway, even ordinary clay is sometimes good. And a lot of farmers know that. They get out and get their feet in it sometimes, when they don't have their boots on. But nevertheless the point is that it is not just a healer. And the clay didn't restore his sight. And certainly I would think I was a little out of my mind if I tried to say that you can just pick up some clay and spit on it, and put it on your eyes, and if you're blind that's going to give you your sight.
The Healing/Saving Power of God No, it was the power of God through the Holy Spirit. But Jesus used that and told him to go and wash. It was merely a test of obedience.
It's like, I think I mentioned, that we're told on repentance, and on our faith in Jesus Christ, that we're to go and be baptized in water. But your being baptized in water doesn't save you. The water doesn't wash away your sins. And yet it is for the remission of sins.
Well it's merely the type, the figure, the symbol, and it represents that which does wash away your sins, which is the crucifixion, the death of Christ paying the penalty for your sins in your stead on the cross. And baptism, of course, going down into the water, pictures the death of Christ being buried under the waters, the burial of Christ. And coming up the resurrection of Christ and the type of our future resurrection!
Also it's the death of the old self and the burial of that old self typically, figuratively in the water. That's what it means. And you've got to really mean that in your heart! You have to believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior with all of your heart, or you're not ready to be baptized!
And I explained in the preceding program, I want to remind you of it, those of you who were listening, that your repentance does not save you. Your obedience to God and His commandments does not save you. And your faith in Christ does not save you.
Now your faith — you're to believe, not only on Christ, but also to BELIEVE CHRIST, that is believe His gospel, believe what He preached
Today people want to believe on Him without believing Him. In other words they believe on His person, but they don't believe His message.
Now you have to believe both in order to be saved, but that doesn't save you. Your faith in Christ, your faith in what He said and what He preached, and your acceptance of what He believed DOES NOT SAVE YOU, but your faith in Christ after you have repented of your sins, and in connection with your repentance of your sins, which is the transgression of God's law, which means your disobedience to God, and now your acceptance of God as Supreme Authority and His Word, the Bible, by which He speaks to us, as the Supreme Authority in your life, that you henceforth and forever will live according to every word of God, as far as you're able, that you will begin to study the Bible, to find out how to live and how God wants you to live, that you will tremble before the Word of God, that you will realize you're going to be judged by that Word. And it is that Word in you, which you sort of eat, so to speak, it's spiritual food and you eat it right out of the Word of God that is to feed you and nourish you spiritually.
Now your repentance and your profession of faith does not save you. It does reconcile you to God. And God will put His Spirit in, and thereby beget to eternal life, everyone who repents and who confesses and accepts Christ and His gospel and believes in it with all of his heart.
None can do that except the Spirit of the Father has called him. None can repent except God grants that repentance. None can come to that belief except God grants it. None can come to the Son except the Spirit of the Father calls (John 6:44). It is all the calling and the election of God.
Now of course many are called and few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). But when you have been called, when you have repented, your repentance, your faith does not save you, but it does reconcile you to God. And then God fills you with His Spirit. He puts His Spirit within you. And His Spirit is the faith of Christ. That is the faith that saves you. "...by grace are you saved through faith, and that faith not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. We are his workmanship, created in true righteousness, and holiness, unto good works, which God before hath ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8; 10). That's the next verse in that little passage, beginning in the eighth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians.
But it is the Spirit of God that imparts "...the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by his Spirit" (Romans 5:5 paraphrased) — the love that fulfills His law that thereby imparts God's righteousness.
Now of course if you're going to be a stubborn mule and balk and you refuse to keep God's commandments, God is not going to put His spirit in you. He can't; He will not use you as an instrument. But it is when you become a pliable instrument, receptive, teachable, to receive the spirit of God, and the love of God, and the understanding of God, to understand His Word, the Bible, the faith of Jesus — that's when you are finally converted!
And it is the righteousness of God, imparted to you through the love of God, the Holy Spirit, and the faith of Christ imparted to you by a divine miracle through the Holy Spirit of God — that my friends is what saves you.
Now I just wanted to remind you of one thing in that connection, because I spoke at some length on this in a broadcast just a day or two or three ago. You find a description of the true Church. Which is the true Church? Now you find a description of the true Church back here in Revelation, let me see, one place is in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, and the last verse, the seventeenth verse. It's the Church the devil is very angry with. The dragon is the devil here.
"And the dragon [or the devil] was wroth with the woman [that's the true Church] and went to make war with the remnant [that's the very last generation] of her seed [in other words, the last generation of the Church, which is now, today, in this mid-twentieth century AD], which [now here's the description of the Church] which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:17)
Now that is also described in the fourteenth chapter. And that is even better: the 'testimony' means the exact words of Christ and believing it. That is they believe His message, His words, which are in the Bible. But in the fourteenth chapter, here again is the description of the Church, in the twelfth verse.
"Here is the patience of the saints [the saints compose the Church] here are they [now here's the Church — the saints] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith OF Jesus." (Revelation 14:12)
The Faith Of Jesus Not that have faith IN Jesus, but have THE faith OF Jesus transplanted into them. There it is. That's the Church. It's the faith of Jesus and the righteousness of God — and you can't supply either one. You must repent of your sin, willing to keep the commandments of God — which you're unable in your own power and strength to do.
In the first place you don't have the mind power in your carnal mind to understand fully in the spirit and in the principle what the commandments are, and how to keep them. But God through His Holy Spirit will open your mind to understand if and when you study the Bible. Now that's after you're converted, that is after you receive His spirit, after you're begotten of God.
Then the spirit of God is also faith. That's one of the gifts of God. And the Holy Spirit is the spirit of faith — the faith of Jesus! It's the faith of Jesus and the commandments of God.
Now the commandments of God tell you what sin is. It is sin to transgress them (I John 3:4). Therefore repentance is toward God. And Paul went out teaching, to the Gentiles, repentance toward God — because they had violated the law of God, and you repent of that; and you don't want to do it anymore — and faith toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It's the faith OF Jesus.
You have your faith toward Christ in order that you may receive THE faith OF Christ. You find that in the third chapter of Galatians where it is explained.
But first your faith in Christ — that's a condition. And then God, on that condition, will give you the faith OF Christ. But provided also that you have repented and that you want to keep His commandments, you want to surrender to God, the law of God, the rule of God! God is the Supreme Authority. You yield your life and your will to His. And now you try to find His will, which is expressed in His law, and do it.
So my friends you have the commandments of God if and when you receive the Spirit of God, the divine love of God that comes from God which is the love that will keep His law and give you the understanding. And then you can say with David, "Oh how love I thy law!" (Psalm 119:97)
You know these people that get so angry at it — they can't love the law of God. And then again, you know, "Great peace have [all] they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." (Psalm 119:165)
Yes, if they only loved the law of God, they would have peace of mind. They wouldn't be so perturbed. Well Jesus said,"I am not come to bring peace, but a sword. And a man's foes will be they even of his own household." (Matthew 10:34; 36 paraphrased). And people do get angry at the truth.
Jesus is the light of the world, He said, as long as He was in the world (John 9:5). And now we are the light of the world. I explained that in the preceding program.
Well now let's go on. The people around here said to this young man who had been healed of his blindness — they asked him who had done it. And he just replied, "The man they call Jesus made some clay, and smeared my eyes with it, and told me, 'Go and wash them in Siloam.'" (John 9:10-11 Moffatt Translation paraphrased)
Now I was saying that the water didn't heal him, but his obedience to Christ did. If he had refused to obey, he would not have been healed. But when he obeyed, then the spirit of God, the power of God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, did the work of healing, because of the man's obedience.
And so there again, "What things soever we ask in prayer, we receive of him [why], because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (I John 3:22). That is the Word of God.
Jesus Accused of Breaking the Sabbath "So he said, 'I went and washed them, and I got my sight. Well where is he, they asked? [this young man answered]? I do not know.' Well they brought him before the Pharisees, this man who had once been blind, as it was on the sabbath day that Jesus had made the clay and opened his eyes, the Pharisees asked him again how he had regained his sight." (John 9:11-15 Moffatt paraphrased)
You know they were looking for some chance to get at Christ.
Now let me explain once again, as I have in past broadcasts when we come to this phase of the subject in the past, there was certainly nothing in the law of God prohibiting anyone from healing the sick on the Sabbath day. That is not part of God's law about the Sabbath at all.
But first the house of Israel, and then the house of Judah, had broken God's Sabbath and worshipped idols. And for those two cardinal, great sins, more than any other, they were driven out into the greatest punishment that God had ever meted to a people.
Now in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, let me see, that was what, about five hundred years, approximately five hundred, a little more than five hundred years before Christ, a portion of the Jewish people, of the house of Judah, went back to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.
They rebuilt the Temple and re-established the worship of God in Jerusalem. Only a portion of them went back. But when they went back again they began to break the Sabbath just as they had always done.
And then they were so sternly rebuked for it. And they were reminded of how it was because of that very thing that their forefathers, Nehemiah reminded them, he said here in Nehemiah's book, and chapter 13:18.
"Did not your fathers thus [breaking the Sabbath], and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? [and] yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath." (Nehemiah 13:18 KJV)
And after that they were afraid to break the Sabbath. And they became such strict Sabbath keepers that they began to do just what men always do: they go to one extreme or the other. They can't seem to get in the sound middle of the road. They have to go to one extreme or the other. And now they began to invent rules of their own, of human devising, of do's and don'ts to make such a strict regulation about the Sabbath that nobody could enjoy the Sabbath anymore.
Now "...The sabbath was made for man [Jesus said]...not man for the sabbath" (Mark 2:27). It was made to be a delight; it was made to be a joy, a day of physical rest, a day of fellowship with the brethren that you love more than anybody on earth, those brethren in Christ that, as it is in the New Testament time, and also the worship of God, the most delightful, enjoyable way that man can spend time, after he has worked at his, well, whether it be physical or mental labor through the week. And now he is resting from it. It was given as a great blessing.
Of course a lot of people just hate that today, and they don't see any blessing in it. And of course if you could twist it around and change it from the way God gave it and into some way that man wants to change it to a different day, or something like that, then maybe they could see a blessing in it, but certainly not the way it came from God.
Oh how men do hate God, and the ways of God. They think that man can always improve on God, somehow or other.
Well these men made it a yoke of bondage. They made it a terrible thing. And by the time of Jesus they had about 65 regulations binding the Sabbath on do's and don'ts until it made a man miserable to try to live up to them. And the Sabbath became a miserable thing.
And I guess most people look on that as if it came from God and still think of it as a miserable thing. Well they're just a little bit misled my friends. It's rather difficult in this day and age. We've been born in this age; we've grown up just being inoculated with these ideas of men today. And they're so much a part of us it's pretty hard to see anything in a different way.
But nevertheless Jesus did not obey those man-made rules! He did obey the very law of God and the Spirit and the meaning of the law of God! But these Pharisees, they went by the strict letter of their man-made rules.
Now they were looking for a chance to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. They would accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath if He broke their man-made rules, of course. That's what He did break, but He never broke the Sabbath — not God's law — because Jesus never sinned! And if He broke the Sabbath, then He sinned, but He didn't.
Now "...the Pharisees asked again how he regained his sight, and he told them, 'He smeared some clay on my eyes, and I washed them, and now I can see.' [well] Then said some of the Pharisees, 'This man is not from God, for he doesn't keep the sabbath.' [and] others said, [well] 'How can a sinner perform such Signs?' [And] they were divided on this." (John 9:15-16 Moffatt Translation paraphrased)
Yes, God always divides the opposition. Did you ever notice that? God does have Satan divided! Satan isn't going to divide himself if he can help it. But God has divided Satan so that Satan can't get the ascendancy; he's just trying to.
God Hears The Obedient "So they asked the blind man once more, 'What have you to say about him, you whose eyes he opened?' And the man replied, 'Well I say he is a prophet' [of course that was his opinion]. The Jews would not believe that he had been born blind, and had regained his sight, until they summoned the parents of the man who had regained his sight and asked them, 'Is this your son, the son that you declare was born blind? How is it that he can see now?' His parents answered, 'This is our son, and he was born blind. We know that![now that much they knew] But how he can see today, we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask himself, he is of age. He can speak for himself.'" (John 9:17-21)
"(His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews [in other words, in modern language, my friends, they tried to pass the buck. They were afraid of the Jews]. For the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed him to be the Christ should be excommunicated [cast out of the church — excommunicated, and that wouldn't be very pleasant. That was why the parents said, 'he is of age, ask himself.'") (John 9:22-23 Moffatt)
"So the man born blind was summoned the second time and told, 'Now give God the praise. This man, we know quite well, is only a sinner.' To which he replied, 'I do not know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that once I was blind, and now I can see' [the man knew that, didn't he? He was telling what he did know]. 'What did he do to you,' they repeated? 'How did he open your eyes?' He retorted, 'I have told you that already, and you would not listen to me. Why do you want to hear it over and over again? Do you want to be disciples of his?'" (John 24-28 Moffatt)
"And then they stormed at him: 'You're his disciple,' they said. 'We are disciples of Moses! We know God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this fellow comes from.' And the man replied to them, 'Well this is amazing. You do not know where he comes from, and yet he has opened my eyes. God, we know, does not listen to sinners! He listens to anyone who is devout, and who obeys his will!'" (John 9:28-31 Moffatt Translation)
I want you to get that. Even though this man said it, they all knew that! They knew that! And that is exactly what Jesus said Himself!
"This we know [in the King James translation] that God heareth not sinners [the minute you repent, though, and profess and accept Jesus with all your heart as your Savior, you're no longer a sinner, and then God'll begin to hear you. But until that minute, God will not hear sinners, even when they pray]: but if any man be a worshipper of God, AND doeth his will, him he heareth." (John 9:31)
Will you hear that my friends?