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What Is a REAL Christian?
Tomorrow's World Magazine
December 1969
Volume: Vol I, No. 7
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What Is a REAL Christian?
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

It's SHOCKING, but it's TRUE! Most professing "Christians" today are not REALLY Christians! Read this frank, vital article proving it — and find out what YOU need to be doing about it!

   WHAT IS A REAL Christian?
   Perhaps you've heard many different, conflicting definitions. I have. But have you ever heard the real BIBLE definition? It is time you understood the very basic, down-to-earth, FUNDAMENTALS of Christianity — the very HEART, the root and cove of the teachings of Christ!
   So listen! I want you to realize, once and for all, that most professing Christians today believe the exact opposite from the very SIMPLEST, the CLEAREST teachings of Christ! And so, let's go to the very basis of REAL Christianity — what is commonly called the "Sermon on the Mount."

The "Sermon" on the Mount

   Actually, the scriptures found in Matthew's 5th, 6th and 7th chapters are not a "sermon" though they have been labeled as such by men who did not understand the Bible.
   This is one of the very first opposite! you will see in comparing these plain, clear statements of Christ with the commonly accepted beliefs and practices of a modern 'Christianity."
   "And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain, and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him..." (Matt. 5:1). Yes, Christ wanted to ESCAPE the big crowds. Notice it!
   But haven't you always heard differently? Haven't you always taken for granted that Christ spoke in parables, similes, or analogies so the people could understand more easily? But that's NOT what Christ Himself said!
   "And the disciples came, and said unto Him, 'Why speakest thou unto them in parables?' He answered and said unto them, 'Because it is GIVEN UNTO YOU [His disciples] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; LEST at any time they should see... and should understand... and should be converted, and I should heal them"' (Matt. 13:10-11, 15).
   Christ said, in quoting Isaiah, that the people could not understand — that He deliberately clouded His meaning, LEST they should be converted!
   How UTTERLY DIFFERENT from what you've always assumed!
   You see, Jesus did not come to convert the world — then. He came to ESTABLISH HIS CHURCH, to DIE FOR THE SINS of all mankind, to commission His disciples who were to carry His MESSAGE to all nations. Christ came for MANY reasons — none of them to save the entire world at that time!
   He was a Divine Messenger, sent from His Father in heaven, to teach and train His disciples. "Disciple" merely means "student," or "learner."
   Notice then, Jesus "opened His mouth and taught THEM [His disciples, or His students] saying...."
   So, you see the "sermon" on the mount was not a sermon at all, but a private, personal lesson Jesus gave to His disciples. He was sitting down.

"The Beatitudes"

   The next few verses are among the best-known in the entire Bible. Perhaps many of you can say them by memory. That is exactly why I wanted to write this article. I wanted to ANALYZE, CAREFULLY, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! I wanted to take the CLEAR, BEST-KNOWN parts of Christ's teachings — and show you FROM THEM how UTTERLY REMOVED from true Christianity are most professing Christians today!
   Christ said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (verse 3).
   What does it mean, to be "poor" in spirit? Certainly Christ didn't mean to be LACKING in the Spirit of God, for He urges, through Peter, "GROW in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18), and inspired Paul to write, "Now if any man have not the SPIRIT of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). Jesus said, "If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father GIVE the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13.)
   No, Jesus doesn't mean to LACK the Spirit of God, as the foolish virgins, but means blessed are those who are truly LOWLY, HUMBLE, YIELDING in attitude of heart and mind!
   How MANY "Christians" are truly Christ like in spirit? Jesus was completely "poor in spirit"! He was completely HUMBLE! A greater man never lived — a man never lived who could exercise more gigantic, all-encompassing POWER than Christ! There never was a more dynamic, lively, energetic, personable, talented man! There never was a man with more REASON to get all "puffed up" and proud — filled with HUMAN VANITY! But yet — Jesus was humble! Paul wrote, "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits" (Rom. 12:16).
   Christ went about with publicans, sinners, harlots and the very lowest (in man's eyes) of the society of His day. For this He was constantly criticized by the haughty, proud, puffed-up denominational leaders of that time.
   What about OUR time?
   It just isn't too "popular" to help out a tramp, to comfort a diseased, afflicted person, to care for invalids, to GIVE something of yourself to someone who is really in need, is it? To be really poor in Spirit is a great RARITY today!

"Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven"

   Here is the next diametric opposite!
   Skipping ahead just two verses, Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: for THEY shall inherit the earth" Does Christ mean to imply the "poor in spirit" are going to "heaven," but the MEEK are going to remain on earth?
   Look at it! What does it SAY? IF Jesus promised HEAVEN to the poor in spirit — then it is VERY CLEARLY stated the MEEK are going to stay ON EARTH!
   But did Jesus promise "heaven" to the poor in spirit?
   NO! Nowhere in all the Bible is HEAVEN promised as the reward of the saved. Here is another GREAT OPPOSITE that is the very BASIS of "Christian" doctrine today — and did not come out of the Bible!
   Read it again carefully. Christ said, "Blessed are the poor in-spirit, for theirs is the kingdom '"OF ,'heaven" (verse 3). That little? word "OF" qualifies the verse, makes it plain! It is a KINGDOM God promises His elect — a kingdom ruled by God, FROM HEAVEN! It is a kingdom OF heaven — but not a kingdom IN heaven, and there is a great difference! Notice just a FEW of the HUNDREDS of Biblical proofs!
   Jesus is pictured in Luke 19 as a young nobleman who went into a FAR country to get for himself a kingdom — and to return! When He returns, he apportions RULERSHIP to His faithful servants over cities, on this earth! Read Luke 19:12-17!
   John was inspired to write, of the saints of God, "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign ON THE EARTH!" (Rev. 5:10.) Jesus promises, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in MY throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21). Christ came to inherit the "throne of His father David" (Luke 1:32) which is ON THIS EARTH!
   The Apostle Paul wrote of our citizenship which is IN heaven! He likened the saints to foreigners, as did Peter, and as strangers, sojourning in a strange country! "For our CITIZENSHIP [margin] is in heaven, FROM whence [He is to return to the earth] also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).
   Many prophecies illustrate the return of Christ to this earth, and His RULE over the earth. Daniel's second and seventh chapters both illustrate Christ RULING ON EARTH! "... And the stone [which is Christ] that smote the image became a great mountain [type of a kingdom — or a government], and filled the WHOLE EARTH" (Dan. 2:35). "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven... and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all PEOPLE, NATIONS and LANGUAGES, should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:13-14), People, nations and languages are ON THIS EARTH! "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth, but the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever" (Dan. 7:17-1 8). The saints take away the rulership OF THE EARTH from carnal-minded men!
   "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, shall be given to the people of the saints" (Dan. 7:27). UNDER heaven is on EARTH!
   Notice further! Isaiah prophesied of the setting up of the Kingdom of God ON EARTH! "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and ALL NATIONS shall flow unto it. And many PEOPLE shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for OUT OF ZION [in Jerusalem! on earth!] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:2-3).
   Notice Micah's 4th chapter! Read all of it! "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains... and people shall flow unto it... for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.... And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign OVER THEM IN MOUNT ZION from henceforth, even forever,"! (Micah 4:1-2, 7.)
   "Behold the day of the Lord cometh.... And His feet shall stand IN THAT DAY upon the MOUNT OF OLIVES, which is before Jerusalem on the east..." (Zech. 14:1, 4).
   Read the entire 14th chapter of Zechariah! "And the Lord shall be king OVER ALL THE EARTH"! (Verse 9.) "And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely INHABITED!" (Verse 11.) The remainder of the chapter pictures nations being punished to force them to keep God's annual feast to keep them in mind of the plan He is working out here below!
   Remember! The Bible does NOT contradict itself! The often quoted and well loved scripture in I Thessalonians the 4th chapter means what it says! But chances are you have not heard what it actually SAYS!
   And so now, after reading these MANY scriptural Proof that Christ is coming to this earth to REMAIN here ruling with His saints, let's candidly read this often-quoted, completely misunderstood text.
   "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall he caught LIP together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thes. 4:16-17).
   Notice there is not one single word about saints going to heaven!
   What this passage does NOT say is clear! It does NOT say the saints are going to HEAVEN!
   What it DOES say is equally clear! It DOES say the saints will rise to meet the Lord IN THE AIR! Notice it! Jesus is going to "DESCEND FROM HEAVEN" and the resurrected and changed saints will be caught up "IN THE CLOUDS, to MEET the Lord IN THE AIR!"
   Some time ago, my father and I returned from Rome to New York on a big Boeing 707 jet airliner. We were sped through the thinner upper atmosphere, HIGH ABOVE THE CLOUDS at the flashing speed of about 600 miles an hour! We actually flew in a manmade airplane MUCH HIGHER than your Bible says the saints will rise when Christ returns! The Bible says IN THE CLOUDS—NOT UP IN HEAVEN! This earth is enveloped by layers of air, composed of PHYSICAL SUBSTANCES, Air is composed of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and many types of gases. Clouds are merely formed of vapors and mists, the condensation of moisture when cold air masses meet warm air masses. As such, air and clouds are a PART OF THIS EARTH! They belong to EARTH, not to heaven, which is far beyond the outer reaches of man's telescopes which only begin to probe the vast, incomprehensible reaches of the universe!
   Think for a moment!
   If an intimate friend of yours were returning to stay with you after a long absence, and you went to the gate to meet the friend — wouldn't it be silly if you left your home, turned around and went back to HIS home with him? Christ is to RETURN to the earth, FROM heaven!
   Paul wrote, "... and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (verse 17). Yes — we shall be WITH the Lord, where HE WILL BE! And where will HE BE? ON THE EARTH, as you have already seen PROVED from your own Bible!
   Christ said, "... I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO! " John 14:3.) Where will Christ BE?
   Yes, here is another of the amazing, breathtaking OPPOSITES of your Bible from the commonly accepted and assumed teachings of the world. The ideas of men do not fit — even with the "Sermon on the Mount!"
   The Kingdom OF Heaven is a kingdom RULED by heaven, which is to came down OUT of heaven-to this earth! Just as the house OF John is not IN John, so is the Kingdom OF Heaven NOT to be IN, but FROM heaven!

"Blessed Are They That Mourn"

   "... For they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4).
   Surely you would believe there is no conflict HERE. Surely all professing "Christians" believe this scripture?
   I suppose hundreds of thousands do believe these words of Christ — but how many really discern their meaning?
   Jesus said, "... I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it move abundantly" (John 10:10). Christ wants us to have life brimful and running over with JOY! One of the FIRST attributes of God's Holy Spirit, the very mind and nature of God, is JOY! (Gal. 5:22.) But Solomon wrote, "For in much wisdom is much grief, and lie that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" (Eccl. 1:18).
   Christ was called a " rows, and acquainted with grief..." (Isa. 53:3). But why? Because of the EVIL of man! Because of SIN!
   When all mankind went the wrong way after God had revealed the RIGHT way to him, God "...saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented [made sorry] the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (Gen. 6:5-6).
   Yes, the One who became Christ was made MOURNFUL, and SORRY, when He saw the wretchedness, the sickness, poverty, squalor, war and death man was bring on himself! And so it is with a TRUE Christian! Even though Christ wants us to have more abundant life, He also inspired Solomon to write, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance..." (Eccl. 3:1-4).
   Yes, BLESSED are they who MOURN NOW! For they SHALL be comforted! They will experience GREAT JOY, happiness defying description in the Kingdom of God! Many mourn because of persecution! But do MOST modern Christians receive any persecution whatsoever for accepting the "modern" POPULAR concepts of "Christianity"? Certainly not! But Jesus said, "... In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
   No, rather than suffering persecution, being given cause to MOURN — most professing Christians today have come to believe the exact opposite! They feel, instead, that "belonging to a church" or "having some faith" will give them better standing in the community, result in better business relations, make them an accepted, integrated part of community life! This, too, is a direct OPPOSITE from the Bible teaching!

"Blessed Are the Meek..."

   There is a difference between being meek, and being weak! Jesus was MEEK but not weak! Even though he was weakened physical when suffering the terrible beatings and lashings prior to His crucifixion (Paul said, "For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God...") (II Cor. 13:4), Jesus was physically strong and healthy throughout His earthly life.
   Remember, Christ never sinned! He obeyed perfectly the physical laws of God which regulate health and strength, as well as the spiritual laws!
   What does it menu to be really meek?
   LOOK for examples in modern Christianity. Where do you find very much gentleness, kindness, yieldedness? To be meek means to yield rather than cause an argument or trouble. It means to be HUMBLE, to be LOWLY in spirit and attitude. A truly MEEK person will be CHRIST LIKE in character.
   Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart..." (Matt. 11:29). Paul was inspired to write, "I therefore ... beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and Meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love..." (Eph. 4:1-2).
   A truly meek person will not try to justify the self, to feel the self is "better" than others, to "get even" with others. Rather, a meek person will be imitating Christ.

(To be continued)

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Tomorrow's World MagazineDecember 1969Vol I, No. 7
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