Biblical ConfessionBiblical Confession of a Christian

SECTION 1 – Concerning the Bible

Trusting in the Bible as the verbally (every word) and plenary (completely) inspired Word of God as contained in the original manuscripts; that all portions of Scripture are equally inspired and contain no contradictions; that the Scriptures are to be the only rule of faith and practice for the believer in Jesus Christ; and that the Canon, the sixty-six books of the Bible, is complete. Nothing shall be added to it nor taken from it. The scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the Church. II Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:1,2; II Peter 1:20-21; Revelation 22:18, 19.

SECTION 2 – Concerning God

Knowing that there is one and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit Whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; that He is inexpressively glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love. Knowing that the Godhead eternally exists in three Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections; and are worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence, and obedience; they are equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. We know that Allah is not a name for God but that he is a demon or Satan Himself impersonating God but not the God of the Bible. Genesis 1:1; Exodus 15:11; Psalm 83:18; Matthew 28:19; Mark 12:29, 30; John 1:1; 10:30; 14:16, 17; I Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:18.

SECTION 3 – Concerning Jesus Christ

Trusting in the essential deity and virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; that He was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, not having human father, and is true God and true man; that He is man’s only hope of salvation from sin, being the only mediator between God and man; that he died, and was buried, and rose again the third day for our sins according to the Scriptures; that His return for His Church, the Body of Christ, which He will take with Himself into heaven is imminent; and that He will come to this earth to set up His millennial reign. Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18; John 1:1-4; 10:30; 14:6; I Timothy 2:5,6; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:4-6.

SECTION 4 – Concerning the Holy Spirit

Trusting in the Holy Spirit to be coequal with the Father and with the Son. He is a person. He came to this earth as the fulfillment of Christ’s promise. He convicts, regenerates, indwells, seals, fills, empowers, and guides the believer. John 16:7-13; 3:3-5; Acts 1:8; I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 1:13,14; Ephesians 5:18.

SECTION 5 – Concerning Man

Knowing that God created man in His own image and that man sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is a conscious and eternal separation from God. We believe that all men are born with a sinful nature, evidenced by sinful acts; that man is totally depraved; and that if he is not born again, he is eternally lost. Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Luke 16:23; Revelation 21:8; Romans 3:10-23; 5:12; I Corinthians 15:21,22; Revelation 20:11-15.

SECTION 6 – Concerning Salvation

Knowing that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through the mediatory offices of the Son of God, Who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature; that being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, yet without sin, He honored the divine law by His personal obedience and by His death made full atonement for our sins; that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with the divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be the suitable, and compassionate and all-sufficient Savior.

Trusting in the fact that a person is saved when he, in the simultaneous act of repentance and faith, accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord in all that He is without exception. The believer is kept by the power of God and is eternally secure in Christ. The basis of our salvation is the precious blood of Christ according to I Peter 1:18-19, which states that we are redeemed, “. . . with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Knowing that the scope of Salvation included forgiveness of all our sins, past, present, and future; a perfect standing before God as in Jesus Christ; and the changing of our earthly body to be conformed like unto the body of our Lord at His return for His own.

Trusting the fact that the attitude either of reconciliation or enmity toward God is eternally fixed at death. We further believe that there is an appointed day for the judgment of the wicked when they will be cast into the lake of fire, there to remain in everlasting conscious punishment and torment. John 1:12; 5:24; 10:28,29; Romans 6:23; I John 3:2; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; II Peter 2:9; Revelation 20:12-15; 21:8.

SECTION 7 – Concerning Justification

Knowing that the great Gospel blessing, which Christ secures to such as believe in Him, is justification; that justification included the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life in Heaven; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood, by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that justifications brings us into the state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity. John 1:16; Acts 13:39; 4:4,5; 5:1,2; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:6; Philippians 3:9; Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:24.

SECTION 8 –            Concerning the Freeness of Salvation

Knowing that the blessings of Salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by the cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation. Isaiah 55:1; Romans 16:25,26; John 5:40; 3:19; II Peter 3:9; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 1:12.

 

SECTION 9 – Concerning Grace in Regeneration

Knowing that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is affected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that it’s proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life. John 3:3; 3:8; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:16-23; I Peter 1:22-25.

SECTION 10 – Concerning Repentance and Faith

Knowing that repentance and faith are sacred duties and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God, whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness and of the way of Salvation by Christ; we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; and at the same time we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our prophet, Priest, and King, and rely on Him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior. Mark 1:5; Acts 11:18; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 2:37-38; Romans 10:9,10.

SECTION 11 – Concerning God’s Purpose of Grace

Knowing that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctified, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, God’s purpose comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that grace is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable; that grace utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence. II Timothy 1:8,9; II Thessalonians 2:13,14; Exodus 33:18,19; II Timothy 2:10; II Peter 1:10,11; Romans 8:28-30.

SECTION 12 – Concerning Sanctification

Knowing that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His Holiness; Knowing that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit – the Sealer and Comforter, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, Bible reading, and prayer. I Thessalonians 4:3; I John 2:29; Romans 8:5; Philippians 2:12,13; I Timothy 4:12,13; II Timothy 3:15-17; Romans 12:1,2.

SECTION 13 – Concerning Perseverance of Saints

Knowing that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their perseverance attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. John 3:21; I John 2:19; Romans 8:28; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 1:13,14; I Peter 1:7; Jude 1:24; II Peter 2:20-22.

 

 

SECTION 14 – Concerning law and the Gospel

Knowing that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their ability and to restore them through the mediator, to unfeigned obedience to the Holy Law and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church. Romans 3:21; 7:21; 8:7,8; 8:2,4.

SECTION 15 – Concerning the Church

Knowing that the local Church is composed of:

  1. A local group of believers who are autonomous and self-governing with no ecclesiastical organization in authority over them.
  2. Believers who are baptized by immersion;
  3. Believers who are organized; they have for their officers – pastors, deacons, and such other leaders as God has given special gifts to render as a ministry to the church;
  4. Believers who meet regularly for fellowship, worship, and Bible study.
  5. Believers who observe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord ’s Supper.
  6. Believers who carry out the great commission.

I Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:42-47; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 16:19; Acts 2:41,47; I Corinthians 12:13-18; Hebrews 10:25; I Corinthians 11:23,24; Matthew 28:18-20.

SECTION 16 – Concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Knowing that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. We believe that the Lord ’s Supper, in which the members of the Church by the sacred use of the bread and wine (grape juice) are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, is to be preceded always with solemn self-examination. Acts 8:26-39; John 3:22,23; Matthew 28:19; I Corinthians 11:23-28; Acts 2:41,42.

SECTION 17 – Concerning the Lord’s Day

Trusting the fact that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes by abstaining from all secular labor, except works of mercy and necessity; by the devout observance of all means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest which remains for all the people of God. Acts 20:7; Psalm 118:24; Isaiah 58:13,14; Hebrews 4:3-11; Matthew 28:1,2; John 20: 19,26; I Corinthians 16:2.

 

SECTION 18 – Concerning Civil Government

Knowing that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the kings of the earth. Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:19; Matthew 23:10.

SECTION 19 – Concerning the Righteousness and the Wicked

Knowing that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the
Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and that this distinction holds among men both in and after death. Malachi 3:18; I John 5:19; Luke 16: 25,26.

SECTION 20 – Concerning Satan and Fallen Angels

Knowing that Satan is a person. He is a created being who sinned and became the arch enemy of God and His creation. He is the chief adversary of God’s children. He seeks to keep man from the Lord; and when he cannot succeed in this, he seeks to weaken the testimony of Christians. He has at his command a great host of fallen angels and demons to carry out his purposes. He is not omnipotent and can be overcome by the power of God. His doom is sealed in the lake of fire forever and ever. Ezekiel 28: 12-19; Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:10; 20:10.

SECTION 21 – Concerning Last Things

Knowing that there will be a resurrection of all, first the just at the coming of Jesus Christ, and finally the unjust after the millennium. The saints are raised to be forever with the Lord, and the unsaved will be confined for eternity in the Lake of Fire. Trusting in the Blessed Hope, which is the personal bodily pre-tribulation, pre-millennial, and imminent return of our Lord and Savior for His Church (the Rapture) and His later return to the earth in power and glory with His saints to set up His Kingdom (the Millennium). John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9; 1:11; 24:14; I Corinthians 15:3-20; Philippians 3:20,21; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Hebrews 7:25; I John 2:1,2; Revelation 21:1-8.

SECTION 22 – Concerning the World to Come

Knowing that the end of this age is approaching (I Peter 4:7). Knowing that God will create a new heaven and a new earth; that we will dwell in heaven with Jesus forever, and will have access to the new heaven and earth; that we will never again see death or tears or crying, or pain or evil or sin; that all these will be passed away, that we will be united with loved ones and saints of all ages in heaven to live with our Savior forever and ever. John 8:51; 11:25, 26; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Corinthians 5:6-8; Revelation 21:1-27;22:1-5.

 

 

SECTION 23 – Concerning Separation

Knowing that God commands Christians to be separated people according to II Corinthians 6:17-18; 7:1. “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; And I will receive you; And will be a father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Knowing that a true Christian will be separated from all forms of apostasy and religious inclusivism. He will reject ecumenical movements which join all churches into one body regardless of doctrine or practice and the charismatic renewal movement with its unscriptural emphasis on tongues and healing. True Christians will enjoy fellowship with churches of like faith and order, but will have no part in any council of churches that is ecumenical in nature and thrust.

Knowing that Christians are to be personally separated from all worldly practices that hinder spiritual growth and stability. Knowing that God’s people should not love the world or the things that are in the world (I John 2:15-16). Knowing that a Christian should live a holy life and maintain a testimony consistent with the New Testament.

SECTION 24 – Concerning Christian Practice

A true Christian believes that a Christian should live a holy life, and be separated from the world, and maintain a testimony consistent with the New Testament. We also believe that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we all should walk together in Christian love, strive for the advancement of this Church in knowledge, holiness and godliness; hold a conviction that Christianity is a way of life and therefore should be propagated through Bible centered and Christ-centered Christian schooling; promote the prosperity and spirituality of this Church; sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; contribute cheerfully; and regularly support the Church with our tithes and offerings so that the ministry is supported, expenses are met, the poor are helped, and the Gospel is spread through all nations.

A true Christian encourages all of our members to maintain family and private devotions, to rear the children with Christian schooling from kindergarten through twelfth grade and then encourage the attending of a Christian college; to seek the salvation of kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; and be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to be zealous in our effort to win souls to Christ; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; and to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage, and from the improper sale and use of narcotics. Knowing that this use of narcotics extends to the almost drug like craving for Rock & Roll and any form of CCM music that has so permeated homes and churches in our time. Knowing that only music which has the “melody” that is referred to in Ephesians 5:19 can be truly spiritual music and that all music based on either harmony or more particularly rhythm are classified as worldly and unholy music.

We further encourage each member to show brotherly love toward one another; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.

Should the will of God direct any to move from his local area, each one should desire, as soon as possible to unite with some other church of like faith and practice and thereby continue living a testimony for Christ and living the principles of God’s Word. I Thessalonians 5:8-26; Galatians 6:1,2,10; Ephesians 5:1-10; 6:10-18; Philippians 4:8,9; Colossians 3:1-25.

SECTION 25 – Concerning Christian Education

A true Christian believes that the children of our families need an education that trains children not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1). The families need to obey Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Therefore A true Christian believes that it must provide a Christian School to train the young people and it must encourage all member families to enroll their children in a Christian School. Knowing that we must see that our children are protected according to Proverbs 19:17, “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”

SECTION 26 – Concerning Human Sexuality

Knowing that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity should be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Knowing that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. Genesis 2:24; 19:5-13; 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4.

SECTION 27 – Concerning The Beginning of Human Life

Knowing that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions or pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well-being of the mother are acceptable. Job 3:16; Psalms 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1,5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44.

SECTION 28 – Concerning Lawsuits Between Believers

Knowing that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or A true Christian to resolve personal disputes. Trusting the Church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s Insurance Company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. I Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32.

SECTION 29 – Concerning Giving

Knowing that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. Trust that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the spread of the Gospel. Trust that a Christian relinquished all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made. Genesis 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 4:28; I Timothy 5:17-18; I John 3:17.

 

what is a churchTHE LOCAL NEW-TESTAMENT CHURCH

written by  on the topic of Articles by Pastor Trieber on December, 2008

Today, I have the privilege to draw to your attention the New Testament local church. The church is under attack in this day in which we live. It is certainly under attack by the world and the flesh, but I also find that it is under attack from within. We have diluted our position and have become very worldly, unfruitful, and self-centered hearers of the Word of God.

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
– Acts 20:29-30

Therefore, because of the apostasy that is so prevalent in our churches today, I am desirous to come to you as the book of Jude says in vs. 3-4:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we consider the New Testament local church, I want to remind you of the importance of our name. We are not a—

  • Fellowship
  • Center
  • Association

We are a church. That means we are a called-out body of saved, baptized Christians.

Jesus did not give His life for the association, center, or the fellowship; but rather, He gave Himself for the church. Let us not become weak concerning our name.

In addition, I want you to remember our Leader.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. (emphasis mine)
– Ephesians 5:23

Our Leader is neither a charismatic and persuasive individual nor a denominational headsuch as an organization, a Bible college, etc. Our Leader is the Lord Jesus Christ.

I also want to remind you of our responsibility.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
– Ephesians 5:26-27

We are not to be a worldly church, but rather a sanctified church—a glorious church without any spot, wrinkle, or blemish. We are to be holy. May I remind you what the Bible says:

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
– Ephesians 5:3-4

Our purpose is to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
– Acts 1:8

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
– Matthew 28:18-20

Our financial program is that of tithes and offerings.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
– I Corinthians 16:1-2

I am so burdened for the New Testament local church. I see us wavering on so many fronts. In addition, I am very concerned with the philosophy that has invaded our churches.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
– Colossians 2:8

Somewhere along the line, we developed the idea that we can listen, read, and study neo-evangelicals and separate the bad from the good. It is not possible.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
– Acts 4:20

Many of us are witnessing the influence of user-friendly preaching, music, terminology, dress, and appearance that is not becoming of saints. May I remind my readers that we will never reach this world and rescue a nation for Christ by becoming like the world, but rather by being separate from the world. Why in the world would anyone want to be like the world? If a Christian were going to be just like the world, what would be the reason for leaving the flesh to come to a compromising church?

My prayer is that we will fall in love again with God’s institution, the church. We need to protect it and realize that, according to the book of Jude, the historic doctrines of the faith have been deposited into our care.

FOR A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH FROM THE TIMES OF CHRIST – The Trail of Blood

THE TRAIL OF BLOOD CHART THAT GOES WITH THE BOOK ABOVEThe Chart 

Read THE CHURCH ONLINE by my childhood hero

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2

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THE PRIESTHOOD

The Bible speaks of the ministry of the priesthood. This ministry consists of a group of people wholly separated from the world to serve God. They have no other occupation or duty other than to serve God. Such people are called priests in the Bible.

I. THE HISTORY OF THE PRIESTHOOD IN THE BIBLE

Beginning from the book of Genesis, we find God calling men to be priests. Melchisedec was God’s first priest. In Abraham’s time, Melchisedec separated himself and gave himself solely to God’s service.

A. From Genesis to the Period after the Lord’s Ascension

From Genesis to the forming of the nation of Israel and thereafter, the priesthood was always present. At the time the Lord Jesus was on earth and even after His departure from the earth, the priesthood did not cease. The priesthood has been on earth for a long time. The Bible shows us that even the Lord Jesus became a priest before God after His ascension to the heavens. He is there now fully consecrated for God’s service.

B. In the Dispensation of the Church

The priesthood continues throughout the dispensation of the church; there is no interruption of any kind.

C. In the Millennial Kingdom

At the beginning of the millennial kingdom, those who share in the first resurrection will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (Rev. 20:6). God’s children will continue to be God’s priests and Christ’s priests for a thousand years. They will be kings to the world and priests to God. This priesthood will remain unchanged; they will still serve God.

D. In the New Heavens and New Earth

In the new heavens and new earth, the term priest will cease to exist. At that time, all of God’s children as His servants will do nothing except serve Him. In the New Jerusalem “and his servants shall serve him:” (22:3). In other words, God’s children will continue to serve Him.

Here we must point out a most wonderful thing. The priesthood commenced with Melchisedec, the one who was without father, without mother, without genealogy, who had neither beginning of days nor end of life (Heb. 7:3), and it extends to the end of the millennium, which means that it extends to eternity.

II. THE KINGDOM OF PRIESTS BECOMING THE HOUSE OF PRIESTS

According to the revelation of the Scripture, God’s purpose is not to have only one or two persons as His priests. His purpose is to have all His people as His priests.

A. God Choosing the Israelites to Be a Kingdom of Priests

After the Israelites came out of Egypt, they came to Mount Sinai. God charged Moses to speak to the Israelites, saying, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exo. 19:6). God told the Israelites that they would be a kingdom of priests. This expression is somewhat difficult to understand. Why did God say that they would be a kingdom of priests? He meant that He wanted the whole nation to be priests. No one in the nation would be an ordinary person; the whole kingdom would be priests. This was God’s purpose.

When God chose Israel to be His people, He set this goal before them. This nation was to be different from all other nations on the earth. It was a kingdom of priests. All the people of this nation would be priests. This meant that every person in the nation would have one unique occupation, the occupation of serving God. God delights in separating men from the earth for His service. He delights in seeing men live solely for His affairs. God wants all of His children to be priests and to serve Him.

God told the people of Israel when they reached Mount Sinai that He would make them a kingdom of priests. This is a wonderful calling. We call England “the kingdom of the navy,” the United States, “the kingdom of gold,” China, “the kingdom of manners and virtues,” and India “the kingdom of philosophers.” But here is a kingdom which is called “the kingdom of priests.” This is a wonderful thing. Everyone in this nation is a priest. Men, women, adults, and children are all priests. Everyone in this kingdom serves only God. Both adults and children have only one thing as their occupation—offering sacrifices and serving God. This is a wonderful picture.

After God promised to establish Israel as a kingdom of priests, He told Moses to go up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments which were written upon two tablets of stone. Moses remained on the mountain forty days while God wrote the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets. The first commandment says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The second says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (20:3-4). It seems that God was dictating the commandments one by one.

B. The Israelites Serving the Idols

While Moses was up on the mountain, the people at the foot of the mountain wondered about his delay. They said to Aaron, “Up, make us gods, which shall go before us” (32:1). Aaron succumbed to their words, collected gold, and made a golden calf. The people then worshipped the golden calf and said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (v. 4).

They began to worship the idol. They sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. They indulged in great celebration. At last they had found a visible golden god for themselves. The God that Moses taught was mysterious; one could not identify where He lived or where He could be located. Even Moses, the one who worshipped this God, was nowhere to be found. Now there was a visible golden calf which they could worship. God had appointed them to be priests, but even before they were able to be His priests, they became priests to the golden calf. God’s desire was for them to be a kingdom of priests. But even before they could do that, they had turned to idol worship and served the golden calf. They established other gods and other forms of worship apart from Jehovah their God.

This is man’s concept of God. Man always tries to make his own god and worship according to his own ways. Man likes to worship a god created by his own hands. He does not accept God’s sovereignty in His creation. He does not like to acknowledge Him as the Creator.

C. God Assigning the Priesthood to the Tribe of Levi

While Moses was on the mount, God told him to go down. Moses turned and went down with the two tablets of testimony, the Ten Commandments, in his hands. As he drew near to the camp and saw the condition of the people, his wrath waxed hot and he cast down the two tablets. Standing at the gate of the camp he said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me” (v. 26). All the sons of Levi gathered around him. He said to them, “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor” (v. 27). Regardless of whom they saw, they had to kill them all. Because the people had worshipped the idol, the golden calf, those who were faithful had to draw their sword and slay them, no matter what kind of relationship they had with them.

Many people think that this order was too cruel. Who can slay his own brother? Who has the heart to kill his own friends? Eleven of the twelve tribes did not move. They felt that the cost was too high. As a result, only the tribe of Levi drew their swords, went to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slew about three thousand men on that day. Those slain were the brothers, relatives, and friends of the Levites.

Let us consider this a little. After the incident of the golden calf, God immediately told Moses that from that time on the nation of Israel could no longer be a kingdom of priests. Although nothing was said explicitly to that effect, God had reassigned the priesthood to the tribe of Levi alone. The priesthood was originally for the whole nation of Israel. Now, the priesthood was limited to the house of Aaron of the tribe of Levi.

D. God’s People and God’s Priests Becoming Two Separate Groups

From that time on, there were always two groups of people in the nation of Israel. One group were God’s people and the other were God’s priests. God’s original intention was for all His people to be His priests. God had no intention of separating His people from His priests. He wanted the whole nation to be a kingdom of priests. God’s people and God’s priests should have been one. Whoever were God’s people should have been His priests. As long as a person was one of God’s people, he should have been God’s priest. To be His people meant to be His priests. All His people were to be His priests. However, many loved the world and succumbed to human affection and turned away from faithfulness to worship the idol. As a result, God’s people and His priests became two separate groups. Henceforth, if a man did not love the Lord more than his father, mother, wife, children, brother, sister, and all, he became unfit to be a disciple of the Lord. Many could not meet this requirement or pay this price. From that day forward, the nation of Israel was divided into two groups—God’s people and His priests.

E. The Priesthood Becoming the Privilege of a Household

From that day forward, the kingdom of priests became a tribe of priests. The scope of the priesthood was reduced from a kingdom of priests to a household of priests. The priesthood became the matter of a household instead of a nation. God’s people and God’s priests were one and the same in the tribe of Levi; that is, His people were His priests. In regards to the other eleven tribes, God’s people were only God’s people; they could no longer be God’s priests. This was most serious. It is serious for a person to be a believer, one of God’s people, and yet not be a priest.

III. THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE PRIESTHOOD—BEING A MEDIATORIAL CLASS

From Exodus until the time of the Lord Jesus on earth, no other tribe could function as priests except the tribe of Levi. They could not offer sacrifices to God. Their sacrifices had to be made through the priests. They could not even come to God to confess their sins; they had to confess them through the priests. They could not separate themselves from the world because they had no authority to touch the anointing oil. The priests alone could anoint and sanctify a person. All the spiritual services had to be carried out by the priests on their behalf.

One special characteristic about the Israelites in the Old Testament was that God was far away from them. Not everyone could contact Him. In the Old Testament we find the evolution of the priesthood, which I call an intermediary class. Man could not go to God directly. God’s people had to go through the priests before they could draw near to God. They could not commune with God directly. God came to man through the priests, and man also went to God through the priests. Between God and man, there was a mediatorial class. Man could not come directly to God, and God could not come directly to man. Between God and man there was a mediatorial class.

This class was not found in God’s original design. God’s original intention was to approach His people directly and for them to come to Him directly. But now there were three parties. The people had to come to God through the priests, and God had to approach His people through the priests. God and man could no longer commune with each other directly. All contact became indirect.

IV. THE CHANGE IN THE PRIESTHOOD

For about fifteen hundred years, from the time of Moses to the time of Christ, God’s people were unable to come directly to God. Only one household was qualified to be the priests. A man had to belong to this household to come to God. If he drew near to God directly, he would die. During that period, the ministry of the priests became a very powerful ministry. Man could not come to God directly; he needed the intercession of the priests. How noble and great the priestly ministry was! There was no way for man to come to God without the priests. But with the coming of the New Testament age, we find salvation and redemption reaching all men. Now we hear the word: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5).

A. Every Redeemed One Being a Priest in the New Testament Dispensation

In 1 Peter 2:4-7 Peter tells us that Christ is the foundation of the church. He was the stone rejected by the builders who has now become the head of the corner. We have become the living stones and are joined and built up to become a spiritual house. We also have become a holy priesthood to God. It is as if a voice from heaven burst forth announcing, “All who are saved are now God’s priests. All the living stones, those who are part of the spiritual house, are now priests of God.”

B. The Church Recovering the Universal Priesthood Again

Right then a promise which had been set aside for fifteen hundred years was recovered by God. What the Israelites lost has been recovered by the church. The universal priesthood was lost to Israel. In the New Testament age, it is as if a voice from heaven bursts forth with the promise that the universal priesthood is with us once more. All the saved ones are called to be priests.

C. The Church Being a Kingdom of Priests

The same word can be found in Revelation 1:6, which says, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Originally, the whole nation of Israel were priests. Later, this changed. But what about today? Today the church is a kingdom of priests. What the Israelites lost in the presence of the golden calf, the church has fully regained through the Lord Jesus. Today the entire church has become priests. God’s ordained kingdom of priests has now been fully restored.

D. The Unique Occupation of a Christian—Serving God

What God could not secure among the Israelites, He is now securing through the church. The church today is the kingdom of priests. The church is a priesthood. What does this mean? It means that everyone who has tasted God’s grace has only one occupation left, that of serving God. I have said this before to the young people: If a person is a doctor before he believes in the Lord, his occupation is medicine; if he is a nurse, his occupation is nursing; if he is a teacher, his occupation is teaching; if he is a farmer, his occupation is farming; if he is a businessman, his occupation is business. But the moment one becomes a Christian, his occupation completely changes. Every Christian has only one occupation—serving God. From the time we were saved, we became priests to God. Henceforth, we have to serve God in His presence. This is our lifelong spiritual goal.

Every Christian has only one occupation, that of serving God. A Christian doctor can no longer expect to make a name for himself as a famous doctor; his practice as a doctor is only useful in sustaining his living. His real occupation is to be a priest to God. A professor or a teacher can no longer strive to be a famous or outstanding academician. Rather, he must now strive to be a proper priest before God. His teaching becomes merely his vocation; his main occupation is to serve God. Craftsmen, businessmen, farmers, and all the other professionals are no longer living for their own professions. There is now only one profession for everyone, that of serving God.

E. Only One Ambition—Pleasing the Lord

Every brother and sister should set aside their old occupation on the day they are saved. I hope that you will give up all your ambitions and aspirations the day you begin your Christian life. You should no longer aspire to be someone special. You should no longer strive to be someone outstanding or distinguished in your field or line of occupation. You should learn from Paul, who had only one ambition—to be well pleasing to the Lord. You should not have any ambition other than this. All worldly occupations should be put aside. You should no longer have any aspiration to be great or outstanding. You should only aspire to serve the Lord in His presence.

V. THE GLORY OF THE PRIESTHOOD

During the early years of my Christian life, I always felt that it was a hard job to exhort young believers to serve God. It seemed that I had to try very hard to beckon, beg, and plead with others to serve God. But God’s view is totally different from ours. God took the priesthood away from the Israelites when they sinned. In God’s eyes service is a great privilege and a high honor. If a man fails or backslides, God takes away the priesthood from him. God has no intention to persuade or beg man to serve Him. He has no intention of seeking man’s approval. It is man’s glory, not God’s, for him to be called to be God’s priest.

A. God Honoring Us by Calling Us to the Priesthood

Those who offered strange fire in the Old Testament were burned to death. Some died when they entered the holy place. Others died when they tried to offer sacrifices to God. God would not allow anyone except the priests to come to Him. In God’s eyes the priesthood is a trust He has placed upon man. He is bestowing glory and honor to man and uplifting man when He calls him to the priesthood. A person would die if he volunteered to take up the priesthood according to his own will. Uzzah, who stretched out his own hand to steady the ark when it tilted, was immediately smitten to death.

B. Foolish Men Considering Service to Be a Favor to God

There are many people who think that they are granting God a favor by offering themselves to Him. Over the past decades, I have always felt uneasy when preachers pleaded with believers in revival meetings to give themselves to serve God. Many people give a little money to God and think that they are doing Him a special favor. Many people offer themselves to serve God and think that they are doing Him a favor. Some people think that they are bestowing honor upon God when they give up a little position in the world. Their hearts seem to be saying, “I give myself, someone as important as I, to serve God today!” Some give up their little positions and think that they are exalting the Lord. But this is blindness! This is nothing but folly and darkness!

C. Our Greatest Honor Being to Serve God

If God in heaven has called us to be His priests, we should be on our knees before Him to receive His calling. This is our greatest honor. God has elevated us. We do not say that we can give anything to God. We say that our greatest honor lies in God’s acceptance of what we offer to Him. What a tremendous honor that persons such as ourselves can serve God. This is pure grace! This surely is the gospel! It is not only a gospel about Jesus’ salvation; it is a gospel that even persons such as ourselves can serve God. This is indeed the gospel, a great gospel.

VI. UPHOLDING THE PRIESTHOOD

A. There Being No Church without the Universal Priesthood

In the church today the priesthood is no longer restricted to only a few people; it has become a universal priesthood. The nation of Israel failed; the church cannot fail again. The nation of Israel failed in that God’s people and God’s priests became separated. May the Lord have mercy on us. May there be no separation between God’s people and His priests in the church today. In the church God’s people are His priests. All the people of God are priests of God. There must be as many priests as there are brothers and sisters. Everyone must come to God to offer up spiritual sacrifices and sacrifices of praise. Everyone should take part in spiritual service. This is not a selective ministry. Everyone should come to God to serve Him. A church that comes short of universal and direct access to God is not a church.

Please bear in mind that there is no church if the priesthood is not universal. The nation of Israel failed; the church should not fail again. During the past two thousand years, the scope of the priesthood has never been recovered to include all the people of God. The two thousand years of church history show us a frequent separation between the people and the ministry of the priests. An intermediary class has time and time again come between God and His people. This is the work and teaching of the Nicolaitans.

B. No Longer Tolerating the Intermediary Class

We can no longer tolerate an intermediary class. We can no longer accept a hierarchy. We can no longer allow priests to stand between God and His children; we can no longer accept an intermediary class. We need to see what the church is. The church is the place where every child of God is a priest. We cannot have one person or a few persons monopolizing spiritual service. They cannot be the only ones through whom God speaks or the only ones through whom we approach God to settle spiritual matters. Such an intermediary class cannot exist in the church.

Our controversy with denominations is not a matter of outward forms but a matter of inward content. Today there is a hierarchy in the denominations—one group of people is serving God, while the rest are merely pew members. One group of people is serving God as a profession, while the rest of the pew members, though equally born to be God’s children, need to approach Him through them. This hierarchical practice is tolerated by many organizations in Christianity today. But we cannot accept any intermediary class. We cannot set aside the grace given to the church in the New Testament. We cannot forsake it as the Israelites did.

C. The Intermediary Class Abolished When Everyone Serves

We need to abolish the intermediary class. In order for us to abolish this class, we all have to become part of it. When all of us become a part of that class, the hierarchy is gone. How can we make the three groups two groups? How can we turn three-way traffic into two-way traffic? How can these three—God, the priesthood, and the people—become two? There is no other way except to kneel down before the Lord and say, “Lord, I am willing to serve You. I am willing to be a priest.” When all of God’s children become His priests, the three parties will be reduced to two.

Hierarchy comes from the world, the flesh, idol worship, and the love of the world. If all the brothers deny the world and reject idolatry from the beginning, they will all offer themselves up to God. They will say, “From this day forward, I will live on earth for the sole purpose of serving God.” Then hierarchy will disappear spontaneously. If all the brothers realize that their sole occupation is to serve God and if all of them will serve God in coordination, the intermediary class will disappear!

D. One Needing to Be a Priest As Long As One Is a Christian

I hope you will not allow any intermediary class to come in. Uphold this from the very beginning. Only among the fallen and backslidden ones and among those who walk according to their own way could there be the resurgence of an intermediary class. Among those defeated ones, it is natural for some to serve the Lord and some not to serve the Lord. Those who do not serve the Lord attend to their own affairs, while those who serve the Lord take care of spiritual affairs. Those who do not serve the Lord, at most, offer some money to support those who serve. They may be businessmen, teachers, or doctors, but they all attend to their own affairs and walk their own way. They do not seem to have anything to do with God’s service. In this kind of setting, what does a person need to do to qualify to be a good Christian? He only needs to set aside a little time every week to attend a worship service. If he has some money, he only needs to offer a small portion of it. But this clearly makes God’s people and His priests two classes of people! Today we should realize that either we are not Christians at all or we have to be those who consecrate everything to the Lord. As long as we are Christians, we have to be priests to God.

VII. THE RECOVERY OF THE PRIESTHOOD

A. There Being No Problem in the Early Churches

The danger that haunted the nation of Israel is the same problem that has confronted the church over the past two thousand years. From the time of the Lord’s departure until the time of the writing of Revelation and a little beyond that point, all of God’s children were priests. Everyone who considered himself a child of God was a priest of God. There was no problem then. There was no problem from the first century up through the third century. Individually, there were isolated problems here and there, but as a whole there was no problem. Here and there some of God’s children refused to be priests, but as a whole we did not see any problem. As long as a person was a child of God, he was a priest of God.

B. The Church’s Nature Being Changed after the Roman Empire’s Acceptance of Christianity

When the Roman Empire endorsed Christianity, many people began to creep in. There were material benefits in believing in the Lord; one became a fellow believer of the emperor and a brother of Caesar. Originally, the Lord’s charge was, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). Now both the things of Caesar and the things of God were rendered to God. This indeed was a big victory for Christianity. Constantine was converted to Christ. The result was a gradual but significant shift for the church. Believers were no longer the same as those who professed their faith at an earlier age. During the ten periods of persecution under the reign of Rome, tens of thousands of Christians suffered martyrdom. It was not easy to pretend to be a Christian. But then the situation totally changed. It became fashionable to be a believer and to share the same faith as the emperor and to call him one’s brother. When this shift occurred, many decided to join Christianity. As a result, the number of people increased, while the number of priests remained the same. It is easy to creep into the Christian fold, but it is absolutely impossible to creep into God’s service.

C. A Separation between the Spiritual Ones and the Worldly Ones

The church witnessed a drastic change in the fourth century. During that period, many who joined the church were either unbelievers or half believers. They appeared to be believers, yet they held worldly power in their hands. They had no desire to serve the Lord in the church. At the most they were saved, but they could not serve the Lord. Spontaneously, some spiritual ones rose up to take care of the affairs of the church. The others then said, “You do it! Go and serve the Lord. We are the secular ones.” The word secular was introduced in the fourth century. Some would attend to earthly affairs, while others would attend to spiritual work. As a result many served God, but many more no longer served.

At the time of the apostles in the first century, every believer served the Lord. From the fourth century on, men began to say, “We are merely God’s people. We attend to our own affairs in the world and keep our positions in society. Once in a while, we give a little money. This should qualify us as Christians. Let the spiritual ones take care of the spiritual things for us.” From that time forward, the church followed the footsteps of the nation of Israel; it worshipped “the golden calf” and created an intermediary class. No longer were all of God’s people priests. Some became merely His people but not His priests.

Today, clergymen in the Roman Catholic Church are called priests. In China they are known as fathers. These so-called fathers are actually called priests. Some state churches follow the example of the Roman Catholic Church and give their pastors the title of priests. Those who tend to earthly affairs are called God’s people, while those who manage spiritual things are called priests. The church has been divided into priests and people.

D. The Lord Taking the Way of Recovery

There is something I would like all of us to see: In this end time, God is doing a work of recovery; He is taking the way of recovery. I believe God is leading all of His children up to this position in this last age. Here is one segment of the pathway of the church that is waiting for a fundamental recovery—the universal priesthood of God’s children. As long as a person is one of God’s people, he should be a priest. There are priests today. In the kingdom to come, there also will be priests. God wants to secure His priests. He wants all of His people to be His priests.

VIII. THE SERVICE OF THE PRIESTS

As soon as you become a Christian, you become a priest. If you want to be a Christian, you have to be a priest. Do not expect anyone to be a priest for you. You have to be a priest yourself. There is no intermediary class among us. No one will attend to spiritual affairs for us. No one will work for us. Among us we must not have another class of people called workers.

A. The Need for the Whole Church to Serve

If God is merciful to us, all the brothers and sisters will spontaneously be working, preaching the gospel, and serving the Lord together. The more universal the priesthood is, the more visible the church will be. Once the priesthood becomes non-universal, we have failed and our pathway has been corrupted.

B. God Honoring Us by Allowing Us to Serve Him

We are poor, weak, blind, and crippled. For the Lord to accept persons such as ourselves to be priests is an honor to us. In the Old Testament, such people could not be priests. All who were disabled, lame, or blemished could not be priests. However, today the base, the unclean, the blind, and the disabled have all been called by God to be priests! He is the Lord. I have said this before: We should gladly give ourselves to His service even if it means crawling to His feet to beg for service. We should be happy to kneel down to beg for this honor. I am happy to crawl on my knees and plead with the Lord, “Lord, I want to serve You. I gladly offer myself to Your service. You honor me by allowing me to come to You.” To be a priest is to draw near to God. To be a priest is to have no distance between us and God; it is to be able to enter in directly and to wait for no one. To be a priest means that we can touch God ourselves.

C. God’s Kingdom Realized When Everyone Serves

If one day all the brothers and sisters in all the churches rise up to serve, the kingdom of God will come among us. It will be a kingdom of priests; all the people will be priests. This is glorious. I look forward to the day when all idols are removed from among us. Before the Lord, we should pay whatever price it takes to achieve this. The Levites paid the price; they were faithful in setting aside their personal affection. Only such people can have a share in the priesthood.

D. The Basis of the Priesthood—God’s Acceptance

In order to fully understand the priesthood, we need to understand the way God dealt with the priests in the Old Testament. It is a great matter for God to allow a person to draw near to Him without being smitten. Only the priests could eat the showbread, serve at the altar, and enter the holy place. Only they could offer the sacrifices. Others died when they entered the holy place. God’s acceptance is the basis of the priesthood. Since God has accepted us, should we not enter in today? Formerly, anyone would die if he dared to enter in. But today God says, “You can come!” How strange it is if we still feel reluctant to come.

E. God’s Mercy Enabling Us to Serve in Grace

We need the Lord to open our eyes. It is grace in its highest form for a person to be given the privilege to serve Him. Those who really know God will say, “The grace that allows me to serve God is greater than the grace which brought me to salvation.” The dog under the table can eat the crumbs underneath the table, but it cannot serve at the table. To be saved by grace is relatively simple, but not everyone can serve by grace. Today in the church, everyone who is saved by grace can also serve. It is foolish not to consider this to be a great grace.

F. Rejecting the Principle of Having an Intermediary Class

Today’s Christianity acknowledges the presence of an intermediary class. Christianity as we see it today even divides God’s priests and God’s people into two classes. We look forward to the day when there is no more hierarchy among us. There may be one or two persons in the church who have failed. But the principle does not change. Today it is fashionable in Christianity to compromise principles. In principle, today’s Christianity has fallen and has taken the way of the Israelites—the people and the priests have become two. May we not fall into such a system!

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(Note – In the historical Baptist Church that has existed since the time of Christ, the pastor is the shepherd of the flock and then there are deacons and members. The pastor is similar to the High Priest of Israel.  This is God’s only hierarchy.  Every member is still a priest and they all have different gifts that are used in the service of God.  Even in Israel, the priests all had different jobs.  Some did the music, others offered sacrifice.  Some made and cared for the articles of the temple, and the HIGH PRIEST was the one that entered into the Holy of Holies once a year with the blood for the sins of the people.  Even though there were different positions and a hierarchy, they were still all priests.)

(Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  David Williams – site Admin.)

SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD

Scripture Reading: Exo. 10:8-11, 21-26; 12:6-11, 37-42; 2 Cor. 6:17

And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. (Exodus 10:8-11)

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither. (Exodus 10:21-26)

 

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover. (Exodus 12:6-11)

 

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. (Exodus 12:37-40)

 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Corinthians 6:17)

There are many commandments in the Bible concerning separation from the world. The Old Testament contains many examples and teachings concerning this. For example, Egypt, Ur of the Chaldees, Babylon, and Sodom are all types of the world. They show different aspects of the world. Egypt represents the joy of the world, Ur of the Chaldees represents the religions of the world, the tower of Babel represents the confusion of the world, and Sodom represents the sins of the world. A man should come out of Egypt and also out of Ur of the Chaldees, just as Abraham did. Lot went to Sodom, and the people of Israel fell into captivity in Babylon. All should come out from these places. The Bible uses four different places to represent the world and shows how God’s people come out from these different aspects of the world.

I. THE TYPE OF ISRAEL’S EXODUS FROM EGYPT

A. The Result of Redemption Being to Go Out

God saved the Israelites through the Passover lamb. When the messenger of God went forth to kill the firstborn in the land of Egypt, the angel of death passed over the doors which had the blood upon them. If there was no blood on the door, the firstborn of that house was killed. It had nothing to do with whether the door was good or bad, whether there was anything special about the lintel or the side posts, whether there was anything good about that family, or whether the firstborn child honored his parents. The issue was whether there was any blood. Whether or not you will perish does not depend on your family’s status or your behavior; it depends on whether you have the blood. The basic factor for salvation is the blood; this has nothing to do with us.

We who are saved by grace are redeemed by the blood. But please remember that immediately after being redeemed by the blood, we must move and go out. Do not think that we can buy a house and dwell in Egypt after we are redeemed by the blood. Those who are redeemed by the blood must set out that very night. The lamb was slaughtered before midnight, and the blood was sprinkled with hyssop. They ate their meal quickly, with their loins girded and their staff in their hands, because they had to leave immediately.

The first result of redemption is separation, that is, departure, a going out. God never redeems a person and leaves him in the old position to continue living in the world. There is absolutely no such thing. Once a person is born again, saved, he must take up his staff and set out. Once the angel of destruction has done his work of separating the saved from the perishing, the saved ones must leave. Once you have been separated by the smiting angel, you have to pack up and move out of Egypt.

A staff is for walking. No one holds a staff to lie down in bed. The staff is not a pillow; it is for walking. All those who are redeemed, old or young, must take their staff and leave the same night. As soon as you are redeemed by the blood, you become a sojourner and a pilgrim on the earth; you have to go out of Egypt and be separated from the world immediately. You must not continue to live there.

There was a sister who taught a class in a children’s meeting. Once she was telling the story of Lazarus and the rich man. She asked the children, “Do you want to be Lazarus or the rich man? The rich man enjoys himself in this age and suffers in the next. Lazarus suffers today and enjoys himself later. Which would you choose to be?” An eight-year-old girl stood up and said, “While I am alive, I want to be the rich man, but when I die, I want to be Lazarus.” Many people are like this. When they need salvation, they trust in the blood of the Lamb; but after they are saved by the blood, they settle down firmly in Egypt. They think that they can have the best of both sides.

Please remember that the blood’s redemption saves you from the world. Once you are redeemed by the blood, you immediately become a sojourner, a pilgrim in this world. This does not mean that you no longer live on the earth. It means that you are immediately separated from the world. Wherever redemption is applied, this is the result. As soon as a man is redeemed, his course is changed, and he has to leave the world. The separation of the blood separates the living from the dead; it also separates the children of God from the people of the world. Once we are redeemed, we can no longer remain in the world.

B. The Many Frustrations from Pharaoh

The story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt shows us how difficult it was for them to leave Egypt! Egypt tried to hold them back again and again. When the Israelites first wanted to leave Egypt, Pharaoh only allowed the strong men to go; the young and the old had to stay back. Pharaoh knew that if he could hold back the young and the old the strong men would not go far. After a while they would come back. Satan’s strategy is to prevent us from having a thorough separation from Egypt. From the very beginning, Moses rejected Pharaoh’s delays. If we leave one thing or one person behind, we cannot go too far; eventually we will turn back.

You may recall what Pharaoh told Moses the first time: “Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.” (Exo. 8:25). Later, he told him not to go too far. The third time he told him that only the strong ones could go. The fourth time, he told him that all the people could go but the cattle and the sheep had to remain. Pharaoh’s way was to persuade them to serve God there in Egypt. This was his basic premise. He was willing to allow a person to be God’s child as long as such a one remained in Egypt. He knew that if a person served God in Egypt, he would not have a testimony and he would have to serve Pharaoh in the end. Even though one wanted to be God’s servant, he would eventually end up being Satan’s servant.

If you try to serve God in the world, you will surely end up being Satan’s slave. You will have to make bricks for him, and he will not let you go. Even if he does, he will not let you go too far. If he lets you go, he may only allow the strong men to go; the rest will have to stay. Satan is quite familiar with the words in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The treasure and the person go together. He knew that if Pharaoh held back the cattle and the sheep, the people would not go too far. The people eventually would follow the cattle and the sheep. But God wanted the cattle and the sheep to follow the people. He wanted the people to be saved from the treasure.

After a person is saved, he must go out to the wilderness. Moreover, he has to bring all the people and all his treasures with him. Otherwise, he will eventually go back to Egypt, and there will be no separation from Egypt. God’s commandment is that those who serve Him must separate themselves from the world.

C. Our Way Being in the Wilderness

Just to confess the Lord with our mouth and say, “I have believed in the Lord today,” is not enough for a testimony. We must come out from the world and be separated. This takes us one step further than confessing Jesus as Lord with our mouth. We cannot be dumb Christians. However, opening up our mouth alone is not enough; we must be separated from the world. We cannot continue our previous friendships, social ties, or other previous relationships. Even our family relationships must be considered.  We must treasure our present position in the Lord and turn far away from our previous position. The person has to go out, and the possessions have to go out as well. Others may say that we are foolish, but we should not listen to them. Today we have to come out from Egypt. From the time we become a Christian, our way is that of the wilderness, not of Egypt.

In New Testament terms, both Egypt and the wilderness represent the world. Egypt refers to the world in its moral sense. The wilderness refers to the world in its physical sense. Christians are in the physical world but not in the moral world. We must see that there are two aspects of the world: the first as a place and the second as a system. There are many things related to the physical world which are attractive, which arouse the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the vainglory of life. This is Egypt. But there is another meaning to the world—the physical world as a place where one’s body resides.

D. Leaving the Moral World

Today we Christians must come out of the system and the organization of the world. Leaving the world refers to our deliverance from the moral world, not the physical world. We need to leave the moral world behind, not the physical world. In other words, we are still living in the world, but this world has become a wilderness to us.

What is the world to us? Mr. D. M. Panton put it well when he said, “While I am living, it is a journey to me; when I die, it is a tomb to me.” While a believer is living on this earth, the world is a journey to him; when he dies, the world is only a tomb in which he is buried. We must be separated from the people of the world. Every believer must be separated from the world. In the eyes of the world, we are in the wilderness; we are pilgrims. They are the ones who are in the world.

E. Sojourners and Pilgrims in this World

We must realize that we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world. As far as the moral world is concerned, we have come out of it. It wants to keep us, but if we stay, we will not be able to serve God. The world wants to be closer to us, but if we allow it to come too close to us, it will be impossible for us to serve God. The world wants to keep our people and our treasure, but if these things are kept in the world, we will not be able to serve our God.

We have been separated from Egypt, and our faces are toward the promised land. The basis of that separation is the blood, the blood that has bought us back. The Egyptians have not been bought by the blood; the worldly ones have not been redeemed. As redeemed ones, we have been transferred to another world. Therefore, we must leave this world.

Suppose you go to a watch shop to buy a watch. What do you do after you have bought it? Once the purchase has been made, you take the watch away. I should not buy the watch and leave it behind. I should not tell the proprietor, “Here, you use it!” This is not reasonable. Buying means taking away. Whenever there is a purchase, there is a taking away. If I buy a sack of rice, the rice is taken away from the shop. After one buys something, the purchased item is taken away. Please remember that since the blood has bought us, we must be taken away from the world. Once a person is bought by the Lord’s blood, he should leave for the promised land. As soon as one is bought, he should leave. Those who are not bought can stay behind. But as soon as a person is bought, he should leave. Once a person is bought, he has no choice but to go with the Lord. If I have been bought by the Lord, I must leave the world and go with Him.

II. AREAS THAT REQUIRE SEPARATION
FROM THE WORLD

You may ask what we should separate ourselves from. What things are considered the world? What areas should we be separated from? Before we touch any specific item, we should realize that our heart and spirit are the first things that need separation from the world. If a person’s heart is set towards the world, it becomes futile to speak to him about anything else. It is useless to try to be delivered from a hundred things if the person himself still remains in the world. First, there must be a deliverance of the person, a deliverance of the spirit, and a deliverance of the heart. Deliverance from matters comes later.

A man must be separated completely from Egypt; he must be separated from the world. He should not be afraid that others will criticize him as being peculiar. Then there is the need to take care of some principles. In some areas we should be separated from the world, while in other areas we should maintain peace with it. We have no intention to be contentious. In the family, in the office, and everywhere, we do not want to arouse controversy. Let us consider five specific things that need to be dealt with:

A. Things Which the World Considers
Improper for Christians to Do

We should refrain from anything that the world considers improper for Christians to do. Our Christian life at the minimum should meet the standard of the worldly people. Everyone in the world has set up a yardstick and a standard for Christians. If you do not meet this standard, you have failed them. When you do something, you should not give the Gentiles any ground to ask, “Do Christians do this?” If others say this, you are finished. As soon as you are rebuked, you are finished. Suppose you are caught visiting certain places. The Gentiles may say, “Do Christians come to places such as this?” There are many places Gentiles like to visit. If you tell them that it is wrong to visit those places, they may insist and argue with you. But if you visit those places yourself, they will ask, “How can you also go to these places?” Some matters are sinful. When the Gentiles do them, they keep quiet about it. But if you do the same things, they will speak up. Therefore, we must refrain from things that the Gentiles consider improper. This is a minimum requirement. When a Gentile says, “Christians should not do such a thing,” we should turn away from it immediately.

Some young people are saved, but their parents are still unsaved. Sometimes these children ask for something from the parents. The parents may say, “Do you Christians want these things as well?” It is most shameful for a Christian to find himself adjusted by the Gentiles. Abraham lied and was rebuked by Abimelech. This is a most shameful thing in the Bible. We must refrain from things that are considered improper by the Gentiles. We must stay away from things that the worldly people, the Egyptians, consider inappropriate for Christians to do. We must be separated from them.

B. Things Incompatible with the Lord

Anything that is incompatible with the Lord must also be removed. Since the Lord suffered humiliation on the earth, we should not seek glory here. Since the Lord was crucified like a robber, we should not seek to be welcomed everywhere. When our Lord was walking on the earth, He was accused of demon possession. We cannot allow people to say that we have the best mind, that we are smart, or that we are very intellectual. We have to pass through what the Lord passed through. Everything that is incompatible with the Lord must go.

The Lord said that a slave is not greater than his master and a disciple is not greater than his teacher. If the world treated our Master one way, we should not expect it to treat us another way. If it treated our Teacher one way, we should not expect it to treat us another way. If we are not treated the same as our Master, something is wrong with us, and something is definitely wrong in our relationship with the Lord. Whatever our Lord experienced on the earth should be our experience today.

To follow Jesus of Nazareth, one must be ready to suffer humiliation; this is not a thing of glory. To follow Jesus of Nazareth means to bear the cross. When others first came to the Lord, the Lord told them that they had to bear the cross in order to follow Him. According to the Lord, this is the main entrance. He does not wait until a person is in the room before He tells him this condition. Before we go in, the Lord makes it clear that we must bear the cross in order to follow Him. The Lord has called us to bear the cross. This is the way we are taking, and we can only follow the Lord according to this way. The Lord’s relationship with the world should be our relationship with the world. Our relationship with the world must be compatible with our Lord’s relationship with the world; we cannot take a different way.

Galatians 6:14 shows us that the cross stands between the world and the Lord. The Lord is on one side, and the world is on the other side. The cross stands in between. We and the world stand on opposite sides of the cross. The world crucified our Lord on the cross; therefore, the world is on the other side of the cross. Since I am on the Lord’s side, I would have to go through the cross before I could reach the world. There is no way to go around the cross because the cross is a fact; it is also history. I cannot annul this fact, and I cannot annul history. The world has crucified our Lord. I cannot take another way. If the cross is a fact, the crucifixion of the world to me is also an eternal fact. If I cannot annul the cross, I also cannot annul the fact that the world has been crucified to me. Today there is no way for me to go to the world’s side, unless I remove the cross. The cross is here, and I have no way to avoid it because the crucifixion of my Lord is a fact. Today, I am a person on the other side of the cross.

Suppose a person’s parents or brothers are killed. Others may offer a reasonable excuse for the murderer, but the person may say, “My folks are already dead. An excuse cannot change this fact. If my folks were not yet dead, there would be something to talk about. But now that they are dead, there is nothing more to say.” In the same principle, we can say that the cross is already here; what more is there to say? The world has already crucified our Lord on the cross. Today, we are on the Lord’s side, and we can only say, “World, from your point of view, I am crucified. From my point of view, you are also crucified.” Today, it is impossible for these two sides to communicate. It is impossible for the world to come over. It is also impossible for us to go over. The cross is a fact. If I have no way to annul the cross, I have no way to win the world over to my side. My Lord has died, and there is no longer any possibility of reconciliation.

Once we see the cross we can say, “I boast in the cross.” As far as we are concerned, the world is crucified on the cross. As far as the world is concerned, we are crucified on the cross (Gal. 6:14). The cross will be forever history and a fact. As Christians, we are on one side, while the world is on the other side. The cross is in between. As soon as we open our eyes, we will see nothing but the cross. If we want to see the world, we have to see the cross first.

A new believer must be led by the Lord to see that his condition should match the Lord’s condition. Some people ask many questions. They ask, “Will we touch the world if we do this?” And they ask, “Can we do that?” We cannot tell people what to do item by item. We only need to give them the general principle. The world is against the cross; it is against our Lord. If our heart is open and soft before God and if we go to Him, the difference between the world and the cross spontaneously will become clear to us.

As soon as we go to the Lord, we will find out what the world is and what the world is not. We only need to ask, “What is my relationship with this matter, and what was the Lord Jesus’ relationship with it while He was on the earth?” As long as our relationship with the world is the same as the Lord’s, we are all right. If our position is different from the Lord’s position, we have erred. The Lamb was slain, and we are the followers of the Lamb. We are those who follow the Lamb wherever He may go (Rev. 14:4). We take the same stand as that of the Lord. Anything that is not on the same ground as the Lord or that stands against the Lord is the world, and we must depart from it.

C. Anything That Quenches
Our Spiritual Life

It is difficult for us to point out the world item by item; the list is endless. But we should grasp one basic principle: everything that quenches one’s spiritual life in the Lord is the world. The world is anything that kills one’s zeal for prayer to God. The world is anything that takes away one’s interest in God’s Word. The world is anything that frustrates one from testifying before men. The world is anything that hinders one from coming to the Lord, anything that results in confession. The world is an atmosphere that chokes and dries a person up. It is anything that discourages a man’s heart from loving and yearning for the Lord. Here we see a broad principle—anything that quenches our spiritual condition before the Lord is the world. We must reject all of it.  This is one reason why we must consider the style of music that we like and decide to change our taste.  Larry Norman is wrong when he says, “Why should the Devil have all the good music.”  Carmen and other CCM musicians are wrong when they say that we can sing rock, jazz, rap, blues, disco, and all other worldly styles of music for the Lord.  Worldly music must go.

Some people say, “This thing is not sinful at all. Can you say that it is worldly?” Many things appear to be very good to our eyes, but they quench the fire within us after we touch them once or twice. Our conscience becomes weak before God. After we become involved with these things, our Bible reading becomes tasteless. We may have the time, but we no longer have the heart for reading. After we participate in such things, we feel empty inside and have nothing to testify before men. Such things may not be a matter of sin. Our question is whether or not these things are quenching our spiritual life. Everything that quenches our spiritual life is the world and must be rejected totally before the Lord.

D. Everything That Fails to Give Others
the Impression That We Are Christians

We need to mention one more thing—our relationship with other people. Any kind of social function, communication, or activity that causes us to hide our lamp under the bushel is the world. Many social friendships, functions, and contacts with worldly people force us to put our lamp under the bushel; there is no way under those circumstances for us to stand up to declare that we are Christians. When others engage in such conversation, you have to pretend to be courteous. You have to listen to them and laugh with them. You feel quenched within, but you have to put on a smiling face. Inwardly you feel that this is the world, yet outwardly you have to go along with it. Inwardly you know this is sin, yet outwardly you cannot say that it is wrong. You should not remain in this kind of social environment even if it involves relationships with family members. Many of God’s children are gradually sucked into the world through indiscriminate social activities and contacts.

All new believers must know where they stand from the very beginning, and they must make a choice. We are not trying purposely to be antisocial. We are not John the Baptist who did not eat or drink. We follow our Lord who ate and drank. But when we contact people, we must maintain our stand. No one should be able to insult our Christian stand. They should respect our stand. When I take a stand as a Christian, I must maintain my stand even if others criticize me.

If we really want to take the way of separation from the world, we must pay attention to our speaking. We must also show our Christian stand every time we are in the company of others. If we cannot maintain our stand as Christians, it is better to turn away from where we are. Psalm 1:1 says that we should not “stand on the way of sinners,/Nor sit in the seat of the scornful.” If we stand on the path of sinners, we will end up in their place sooner or later. If we sit in the company of scorners, we will become scorners sooner or later. Sin and scorning are contagious. We must learn to flee these things as if we are fleeing from germs.

E. Things Disapproved of by Weak Believers

Things which stumble a weak conscience are another class of things that constitute the world. God’s children must learn to turn away from them. The previous discussion concerns things which the world considers improper. Here we are talking about things which a young Christian considers improper. If a Gentile thinks that we should not do a certain thing, we will lose our testimony if we do it. Similarly, we should avoid anything that a Christian disapproves of, even if the one who disapproves is the youngest and weakest of all Christians. This is the biblical commandment. It is not the words of the strong Christian but the words of the weak Christian that should determine what we should or should not do. What they say may not be correct; what they consider forbidden may not be wrong. But we should not stumble them because their conscience is weak. They may think that we are on the wrong way. If we take such a way, we will stumble them. Paul said, “All things are lawful to me, but not all things are not expedient” (1 Cor. 6:12). All things are lawful, but others may consider these things to be a form of the world. Therefore, we should not do them for their sake.

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:9-12)

Paul spoke of the example of eating meat. He said that if eating meat would stumble a brother, he would never eat meat. This is not easy. Who can abstain from meat forever? Paul’s word does not suggest that one should not eat meat. In 1 Timothy he clearly said that it is wrong to abstain from meat. However, he showed us that he was willing to carry such caution to the extreme. It did not matter to him whether or not he ate meat. He might have been clear about what he was doing, but others who followed him may not have known what he was doing. We may know at which point we should stop, but those who follow may not know this. What would happen if they take a few steps further? There is nothing wrong if we eat meat, but after awhile those who follow us may go to the temple to eat the sacrifices or perhaps worship the idols as well. Many things may not be directly related to the world, but we should still exercise care in touching them because others may consider them a form of the world.

III. COMING OUT FROM THEIR MIDST
TO BE WELCOMED BY THE ALL-SUFFICIENT LORD

Second Corinthians 6:17-18 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

In the New Testament the words Lord Almighty are used for the first time in 2 Corinthians 6. Lord Almighty is Elshadai in Hebrew. El is God, sha is a mother’s breast or milk, and shadai means something that is with milk. In Hebrew shadai means “all-sufficient.” The words Almighty God in the Old Testament are also Elshadai, which should be translated as “the All-sufficient God.” The mother’s milk is all that a child needs. The mother’s breasts contain the milk; all the supply is in the breasts. The root of the word shadai is “the mother’s breast.” This means that with God we have everything.

Second Corinthians 6:17 tells us that if we come out from their midst and do not touch their unclean things, God will welcome us and be a Father to us. We shall be sons and daughters to Him, says the All-sufficient Lord. We can see that these words have not been spoken lightly. The Lord is saying, “Because of Me you have left many things. You have come out from their midst and are separated from them. You have terminated your relationships with them and are no longer touching their unclean things. Your two hands are empty, and there is nothing left in you. Now that you have done all this, I will welcome you.”

Please remember that everyone who feels welcomed by the Lord is separated from the world. Many people do not feel the excellency of the Lord when they come to Him because they have not counted all things as refuse. Those who have not counted all things as refuse surely consider earthly things precious. Such people do not know what it means for God to welcome them; they do not know what it means for God to be their Father and for them to be God’s children. They do not know that the One who spoke these words is the all-sufficient Lord. Can you see the special significance of the word shadai? The words Lord Almighty are used here because when a person has cast away everything, he needs God as the Shadai; he needs a Father who is all-sufficient.

Psalm 27:10 tells us that if our father and mother forsake us, Jehovah will take us up. In other words, He becomes our father. Psalm 73:26 says that when our flesh and our heart fail, God is the rock of our heart and our portion forever. Herein lies the sweetness of our experience. There must be loss on one side before there can be gain on the other side. The blind man met the Lord only after he was cast out of the of of the synagogue (John 9:35). If we remain in the synagogue, we will never meet the Lord. But when we are cast out, we see the Lord’s blessing upon us immediately.

As new believers we must come out from the world. Only then will we taste the Lord’s sweetness. Once we drop something on one side, we will taste the goodness of the Lord on the other side.  It is not a question of legalism as some weak and unspiritual Christians try to maintain, but it is leaving all the influences, styles, music, friends, family, and anything else that is of the world and moving toward the place of a Christian in Christ and in the family of God.

WANT TO KNOW JESUS PERSONALLY?  CLICK HERE

 Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

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