The Bible Answers Your Questions
Good News Magazine
December 1964
Volume: Vol XIII, No. 12
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The Bible Answers Your Questions
Good News Staff  

Just what is a "saint"?

   According to Webster's Dictionary, a saint is "A holy or godly person; especially one regenerated and sanctified or undergoing sanctification." A saint is "One of the beatified souls" or "one who is canonized by the church. "
   Similarly, E. Royston Pike declares that the term "saint" refers to the BLESSED DEAD (see The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Religions). He explains, "... a saint is one, man or woman, who has been canonized for having displayed the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, prudence, justice, and fortitude in a heroic degree, and furthermore has performed miracles."
   Is this definition true? Not according to the plain Word of God! Notice what the Bible says!
   The Greek word in the New Testament translated "saint" is hagios and simply refers to a holy person or object (see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). Therefore, saints are simply those people who have been set apart by God for His purpose those people who have repented of their sins and have come under the government of God!
   The word "saint" merely means a TRUE CHRISTIAN
   The Apostle Paul called all the brethren in Christ saints. He wrote to the Corinthians, "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified {set apart for a holy use) in Christ Jews, CALLED TO BE SAINTS, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" (I Cor. 1:1-2).
   Notice! Paul calls all the Christians at Corinth SAINTS AS well as "all that in every place" call upon the name of Jesus Christ and serve Him!
   Furthermore, we read in II Corinthians 1:1 that Paul writes to "... the church of God which is at Corinth, WITH ALL THE SAINTS which are in Achaia." And, Paul also wrote the Romans, "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints..." Rom. 1:7).
   Writing to the Ephesians, Paul declared, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph. 2:19). And, Paul exhorted the Hebrew Christians, "Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the SAINTS. They of Italy salute you" (Heb. 13:24).
   How clear the word "saint" merely refers to a true Christian and "the saints" are true Christians everywhere!
   But what makes a person a saint? What "sets us apart," or makes us "holy" to God? Christians are sanctified or set apart from the world by one thing the INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!
   True Christians have been begotten by God's Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14; II Cor. 5:5 ). We become Christ's when we receive the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul explained, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE IS NONE OF HIS'! (Rom. 8:9.)
   How plain! Having God's Holy Spirit is what sets a person apart from the world makes him a true Christian and makes him a SAINT! All those people who are begotten by the Holy Spirit ARE SAINTS!
   Contrary to the definitions of men, and the opinions of men, a "saint" is NOT a "beatified soul," or an heroic individual "canonized" by the church for having lived an abstemious life and performing miracles. Such is not Biblical teaching!
   No, rather, if we are true Christians if we are truly Christ's then, brethren, we ARE saints!

If God changed His mind in Exodus 32 about destroying Israel, how can I be completely assured that He won't change His mind about healing me?

   First let's look at some of the examples in the Bible which record God changing His mind.
   In Exodus 32 we find God planning the destruction of all Israel. In fear of the entire nation being destroyed, Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights beseeching God for mercy. Then, in Verse 14, we find, "The Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."
   Another example is in Jonah 4. Again, God seriously considered destroying the entire city of Nineveh for their uncontrolled wickedness. But Jonah began to preach God's Word there and the people repented. Once again God changed His mind (Jonah 4:11).
   For one more example, turn over to II Kings 20 and read the account of Hezekiah. He was on his "death bed" and he cried out to God for help. He did his part; he exhibited the faith he needed. God not only healed him of his immediate illness but went above and beyond and added fifteen years to his life (II Kings 20:6).
   God only changes His mind about preserving and destroying a person or nation (Jer. 18:7-10). Even then He leaves the decision up to the particular person or nation. If that nation repents of its evil practices, God will forgive them and preserve them. And since God PLANS this change upon certain conditions it is NOT a change in the way we refer to a human being who is changeable it is a planned change based on prerequisites.
   Notice what God says in Exodus 15:26, "If you will... I give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee." If you obey God, He will watch over you and heal you of ANY disease you may have.
   Nowhere in the entire Bible do you find an account of God's changing any promise He has made, as long AS you do your part. He is not slack about His promises (II Pet. 3:9). God never forgets His promises to heal you. But you must come to Him and ask and also obey Him. Even then, you may not be healed instantly, because God doesn't promise WHEN you will be healed only that you surely WILL BE! Your own faith the faith of Christ in you is a vital factor (Matt. 9:29) If you aren't healed, examine YOURSELF, not God. Be faithful to God and He will ALWAYS be faithful to you (Heb. 13:8).

Recently, while reading the account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis, I noticed that there was light brought forth on both the first and the fourth day. This has me puzzled!

   Confusion arises from the translation of the verbs. In Verse 3 when God said, "Let there be light," the word LET from the Hebrew doesn't mean to create or make it means merely to manifest what was previously in existence.
   The Hebrew word for LET in Verse 14 is an entirely different word from that used in Verse 3. By this time the atmosphere had been completely purified and the heavenly bodies were now unveiled in all their glory.
   In Verse 16 we read, "And God made two great lights." Once again a clearer verb translation makes this plain. The Hebrew meaning is: constituted, appointed or ordained.
   Gods' creation progressed in this order: On the first day, from an already existing heaven (sun, moon and stars) and earth, God manifested light through the darkness of the clouded atmosphere. The firmament was divided on the second day. Dry land and vegetation appeared on the third day. Then on the fourth day, the sun, moon and stars became visible for the first time. They were then appointed or ordained for special purposes: for signs, seasons, days, years, etc. (Verses 14-18).

Should Christians today eat of that sinew which is on the hollow of the thigh of their cattle? Is this portion specifically proscribed in Genesis 32:32?

   The example of the Israelites abstaining from this particular portion of meat is not binding upon Christians today.
   Although this tradition was faithfully observed by the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ as is recorded in the Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus (Book 1, Chap. 20, Sec. 2), and is followed today by some Orthodox Jews, there is no record in the Bible that Christ ever observed it Himself. It was a tradition of men.
   You will notice that Genesis 32:32 shows that the children of Israel VOLUNTARILY took upon themselves the observance of this custom out of respect for their ancestor Jacob. Whether they did or not IN NO WAY affected the blessing he received for persevering while wrestling with the Messenger.
   It would not be wrong to observe this custom today. However, such an observance would be TOTALLY UNNECESSARY

In Matthew 16:28, Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Jesus' disciples died long ago and Christ still hasn't returned with His Kingdom. What is the meaning of this verse?

   The context of the verse clearly reveals the meaning. Notice that Jesus was talking only to His disciples (Matt. 16:21). Then in Verse 28, Jesus could hardly have made it more clear that He was referring to only some of His disciples by saying "some of them that stand here."
   Next, notice that Jesus merely said that they would "see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom" before they died. He didn't say He was actually going to come before they would "taste of death."
   The first verse of the next chapter begins with "and" it is a continuation of the same train of thought. The next few verses are still a part of the context of Verse 28 of the preceding chapter even though a chapter break was placed there.
   Continue reading: "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart." Here were some of Jesus' disciples going with Him.
   Now, notice the companion accounts of this occurrence in Mark 9:2-4 and Luke 9:28-32. Jesus went up into the mountain to pray (Luke 9:28). The next verse says, "And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering." Matthew describes this amazing miracle as a transfiguration, and says that Jesus' face shone as the sun! God was divinely intervening by His Holy Spirit to change the appearance of His Son!
   "Trans" means across or beyond, and "figure" means form, shape, or appearance. So Jesus was taken "across" or "beyond" in "appearance" to a FUTURE time!
   Notice, Verse 9 of Matthew 17: "Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man." Moses and Elijah were merely a VISION! The disciples saw Christ as He would look when He returns to this earth. But only in vision and not in reality!
   Revelation 1:13-16 describes Christ as He appears now "and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Verse 16). And Revelation 21:23 tells us that Christ will be shining with great light AFTER He has returned to earth to set up His Kingdom. This makes it clear that the transfiguration of Christ was a transformation of Jesus by God to give Him the same appearance He would have at His second coming! The three disciples were seeing Christ just as they were going to see Him again when He is "coming in His Kingdom"!

"Should Christian brethren close personal letters to one another 'IN JESUS' NAME'?"

   Just what does the phrase "In Jesus' name" signify? Do YOU know?
   God's ministers when performing the office of their ministry close their letters with this phrase. Mr. Armstrong closes his letters to Co-Workers and Members of God's Church this way.
   The phrase "in Jesus' name" is just another way of saying, "by Jesus Christ's authority," or "as the direct representative of Jesus Christ." The phrase is similar to a policeman saying, "Stop! In the name of the law!"
   When closing a letter, God's ministers use this phrase to signify that they are acting as representatives of Jesus Christ, doing the work of Jesus Christ and His True Church. It also shows that Jesus Christ the LIVING HEAD OF THIS CHURCH backs up what they have written in the body of their letter.
   To Almighty God in heaven a name has a great deal of meaning.
   It is so very important in fact that one of the TEN COMMANDMENTS warns, "Thou shalt not take the NAME of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his NAME in vain" (Ex. 20:7)! Jesus Christ's name identifies Him as our Saviour, God in the flesh. It conveys to our minds His reputation, and responsibilities. One of Satan's most diabolical plots has been to use Christ's NAME in His false religion to deceive the world!
   Yes, a NAME is important in God's sight!
   Since, when you are writing a personal letter to someone else in God's Church you are NOT ACTING AS CHRIST'S REPRESENTATIVE, it would be WRONG to sign your letter, "in Jesus Christ's name." If you did so it would actually TAKE CHRIST'S NAME IN VAIN! For the phrase "in vain" means "to no useful purpose"!
   However, it would not be wrong to close a letter to a friend with a phrase like, "in Christian fellowship" or "in Christian love." Using this type of closing to a personal letter is good. It conveys that close, truly DEEP relationship we have together in and through Jesus Christ, as members of His Church.

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Good News MagazineDecember 1964Vol XIII, No. 12