“White Christian America is dying”

Robert P. Jones is the CEO of he Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and author of the book, The End of White Christian America. In an interview with him by John Sides, an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, regarding his book, Hones spells out the profound social implication of a new reality: America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.


“Let’s start with a graph from the book … tell us what you see and how you interpret it.

“The chart below reveals just how quickly the proportions of white, non-Hispanic Christians have declined across generations.

“Like an archeological excavation, the chart sorts Americans by religious affiliation and race, stratified by age. It shows the decline of white Christians among each successive generation.

“Today, young adults ages 18 to 29 are less than likely to be white Christians as seniors age 65 and older. Nearly 7 in 10 American seniors (67 percent) are white Christians, compared to fewer than 3 in 10 (29 percent) young adults.

“Although the declining proportion of white Christians is due to large-scale demographic shifts—including immigration patterns and differential birth rates … the other major cause: young adults’ rejection of organized religion. Young adults are three times as likely as seniors to claim no religious affiliation (34 percent versus 11 percent, respectively).


“What’s the broader implication of this generational pattern?

“The American religious landscape is being remade, most notably by the decline of the white Protestant majority and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated. These religious transformations have been swift and dramatic, occurring largely within the last four decades …


“I think the decline in the ‘white part of White Christian America is well known, given the country’s obviously increasing ethnic diversity. But let’s talk about the ‘Christian’ part and particularly the increasing number of people who aren’t affiliated with any religious tradition. Why are the ranks of the unaffiliated increasing?

“The rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans over the last few decades is one of the most important and dramatic shifts in American religious history. As recently as the 1990s, less than 1 in 10 Americans claimed no religious affiliation …

Looking ahead, there’s no sign that this pattern will fade anytime soon. By 2051, if current trends continue, religiously unaffiliated Americans could comprise as large a percentage of the population as all Protestants combined—a thought that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. …”

Source: The Washington Post: White Christian America is dying,

August 15, 2016

A dad who makes a difference

A father has to work hard to provide his family with all the things they need to survive and, hopefully, thrive in this harsh world. It is tough being a father; a father must always make sure that everyone at home has enough food to eat and clothes to wear, and provides his wife and children with a decent and stable home. He also has to insure that all his children get the best education they can to help them have a bright and prosperous future. A good father does more than those things.

A good dad provides for the spiritual needs

Though it is important to make sure that our children have all the material things they need in this life to live comfortably, we should realize that is not the only thing that should concern us. As fathers, we have an even greater responsibility to them, and that is to help make sure their spiritual needs are provided for; that they are taught the true religion. That is not a personal opinion; that is what the Holy Scriptures teaches:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with loving kindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4 Amplified 2015)

The apostles advise the fathers inside the true Church Of Christ that they are to bring up or raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. As fathers, we are not to let our children  grow up without any meaningful parental guidance or instruction. Though there are plenty of books and videos out there on the subject of raising kids, what we should take and hold on to as the ultimate guide or final authority in raising our children are the teachings and instructions of the Lord God, recorded in the Holy Scriptures (III Tim. 3:15-17). If ever the advice offered in a parenting book, video, or online post contradicts the sound or solid advice in the Holy Scriptures, we should choose to—without any hesitation or mental reservation whatsoever—follow and implement what the Scriptures say, for that is surely the right thing to do. A father will not go wrong if he sticks to or does what the Bible says is right.

       We should teach our children the laws of God, as fathers, not only once in a while or when the mood strikes us. We should do this consistently or on a regular basis, at all opportune times:

      “You and your descendants must respect the LORD your God as long as you live. You must obey all His laws and commands that I give you today. Be sure to teach them to your children. Talk about these commands when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:2, 6-7, Easy-To-Read Version)

We should realize, however, that our duty as fathers or parents is not done by simply telling our children what to do or by teaching them God’s will. We should be considerate and understanding with our children, and help them to know and understand the will of God. Be a patient and gentle teacher (II Tim. 2:24-25; I Thess. 2:11-12). We should also supervise or monitor their activities to make sure they are living the right way, that they are upholding a way of life that is consistent with the gospel of God.

Parents are to supervise the activities of the members of their family. We should ask ourselves: Are we doing this? Are we aware who their friends are and the people they hang out with? Is everyone living a lifestyle that conforms to God’s will or teachings? If not, what actions do we take to help them back on the right track? Parental instruction and supervision is vital for the happiness of the family within God’s nation. As dads, we must make sure that such instruction and supervision is done.


A good dad upholds biblical principles

The kind of leadership that, we fathers, provide within our home should be one that is firmly based on sound principles. The principles we uphold are a reflection of the things that matter most to us. For members of the Church Of Christ, the nation of God in the Christian era, a principle that they uphold and instill in their children is that—they will serve God. This is what God’s servant, Joshua, a family man himself, declared:

“But if you don’t want to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!” (Joshua 24:15, Contemporary English Version)

Joshua said these words when he, as the leader of God’s people, challenged the Israelites to make up their minds about whom they were going to serve: the false gods that others had served before them, or the true God? For this father, his mind was already made up. He led his family in deciding to stand on God’s side and serve only Him. He declared with conviction, “My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!” That principle is what we, as fathers of the Church Of Christ, want to uphold in our life, no matter how turbulent at times life may be; we are ready and willing to lead our wife and children in serving the one true God forever, even if it involves making sacrifices on our part.

To help encourage and convince our family to stand with us in upholding that principle, we should be willing to take the time to relate to them the wonderful things that God has done for us, our family, and the entire nation of God. This was instructed to parents in God’s nation before:

“You must be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves, and tell your children and grandchildren as well. …And what makes us greater than other nations? We have God who is close to us and answers our prayers.” (Deut. 4:9, 7, Ibid.)

That is why it is important that we remember the good things that God has done. We are not only talking about the incredible things that God did for His ancient people; we are also talking about the amazing things that He has done for His people today. How greatly has God blessed the Church Of Christ and made it successful in all its endeavors since its establishment in 1914, more than 102 years ago? How wonderfully has He cared for us, the members? This shows how God has been so close to His people. When our children understand this, when they have this firmly embedded in their hearts and minds, it will produce in them an eagerness and enthusiasm to take their stand in the side of serving the one true God. This is what we want to see happen, as good fathers.

It is not enough, though, that our children just know about the one true God. To show that we have taken our stand to serve God we should be filled with determination to lead our wife and children to attend worship services to honor and praise Him for all His goodness.

“The Lord will choose a single place where He is to be worshiped, and there you must bring to Him everything that I have commanded: your sacrifices that are to be burned and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, and those special gifts that you have promised to the LORD. Be joyful there in His presence, together with your children …” (Deut. 12:11-12, Good News Translation)

Good dads in the Church Of Christ always make sure that all the members of their households are fully dedicated to attending the congregational worship service. They see to it that no matter how busy life gets, everyone in the family regularly attends the worship service, to give glory to the Lord God.


A good dad defends his wife and children

A good dad is a protector of his family; he does everything he can to keep them safe. For example, he is ready to defend them from bad people who want to hurt or take advantage of them. But, most of all, he will defend his wife and children from anything that could call them to be turned away from God. This is what the Bible says:

“Make sure that no man, woman, family, or tribe standing here today turns from the LORD our God to worship the gods of other nations. This would be like the root that grows to be a bitter and poisonous plant.” (Deut. 29:18, Ibid.)

What causes people to be turned away or separated from God is sin (Isa. 59:2). So, we want to make sure that no one in our family is doing anything that is sinful in the watchful eyes of the Lord God. We want to help our children cultivate in themselves the ability to refuse (or say no) to do anything evil when people, like friends, try to get them to do it. Solomon, a king and a father himself, told his own child:

“My son, should your less honorable peers pressure you to do what is wrong, you should be strong enough not to go along.” (Prov. 1:10, The Voice)

We want to see our children grow and learn to be able to stand on their own feet. We want them to succeed in getting a good education and a gainful job or career that can provide for their needs and their future families. But, most of all, we want them to be spiritually strong as members of the Church Of Christ. But that will happen only when the true word of God, has found a home in them or lives in them. This is what Apostle John wrote:

“I write to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One. Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world.” (I John 2:14-16, GNT)


A good dad and his family will be blessed

As good fathers who diligently and patiently teach the true religion to our household, who lead our wife and children to live a life of obedience and loyalty to the Lord God, we will see Him bless our entire household. We will enjoy happiness and blessings from God even in this life:

“Happy are those who obey the LORD, who live by His commands. Your work will provide for your needs; you will be happy and prosperous. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your home, and your children will be like young olive trees around your table. A man who obeys the LORD will surely be blessed like this.” (Ps. 128:1-4, Ibid.)

But that is not all. For the ultimate happiness or blessing that awaits a family that has been taught the true religion—where the father has done his duty to make sure his family has learned and abides by the true word of God—is the reward of salvation and everlasting life in the Holy City (Rev. 21:1-4, 14).

If we and our whole family have served God loyally all the days of our lives and, thus, make it to the Holy City, then what more can we say? As imperfect and flawed as we are as men, we have done our job as a father and could ask for nothing more. So, let us be the father that God wants us to be.



Praying for the dead: Biblical or not?

Why don’t Church of Christ members pray for their dead?

   Members of the Church Of Christ do not pray or their dead because it is not prescribed by the Bible. Not only is this practice unbiblical, but it is also pointless. This is so because the Bible says:

“For the living know hat they will die; But the dead know nothing. And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished: Nevermore will the have a share in anything done under the sun.” (Eccl. 9:5-6, New King James Version, emphasis ours)

Those who die return to dust (Gen. 3:19), lying in their graves until the heavens are no more, or on Judgment Day, the time when they will rise again to face judgment (Job14:112; II Pet 3:10; John 5:23-29; Matt. 25:31-34, 41, NKJV).

Indeed, praying for the welfare of the dead is in vain. Clearly, there is nothing the living can do that will benefit the dead. For these reasons members of the Church Of Christ do not pray for their dearly departed.

Source: God’s Message Magazine

Pursuing wisdom wisely


PROVIDING GOOD EDUCATION is one of the responsibilities of parents to their

children. This is why responsible parents strive not only to send their children to good schools but consistently encourage them to give their best in their studies. For without it, one’s bid for a bright future might be jeopardized. Truly then, the pursuit of wisdom is vital in achieving ones dreams. Whereas others suffer because of outright failure to obtain a good education, others do because, although they are learned, they use their wisdom wrongly. Worst of all, many have failed to discern which knowledge man needs the most As true Christians, we should be able to avoid such follies Thus, it would greatly hep both the parents and children to keep in mind and heart the following:


Invest in education

The Bible tells us, thus: “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Prov. 4:7, New International Version). Thus, parents should save up (II Cor 12:14) for their children’s education In extreme cases where parents ae incapable of sending their children to school, the latter should strive by themselves by working part-time or studying short-term or vocational courses.


Learn well

One cannot hope to become skilled in his or her chosen field without studying well. It pays that one truly devotes himself to his studies because the Bible says: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Prov. 22:29, NIV). Clearly, one gains a more favorable status when he is a skilled worker or professional. Thus, the youth should strive to gain competence and expertise in their chosen career or vocation.


Don’t use your wisdom to sin

We should not allow our own wisdom to mislead us into committing sins This is what God tells those who use their wisdom to commit evil, thus: “You felt sure of yourself in your evil; you thought that no one could see you. Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray and you said to yourself, ‘I am God—there is no one else like me.’ Disaster will come upon you, and none of your magic can stop it Ruin will come upon you, and none of your magic can stop it Ruin will come on you suddenly—ruin you never dreamed of!” (Isa.47:10-11, Ibid.). Thus, parents should not stop giving their children admonition just because they have already grown up and already in school. On their part, Christian youth should stay humble enough to heed God’s teachings imparted by their parents.


Don’t make human wisdom the basis for faith

In I Corinthians 2:4-5, Apostle Paul an ambassador of Christ, says: “And my teaching and message were no delivered with skillful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God’s Spirit” (Ibid). Thus, no matter what one learns in school , he should remain faithful to the commandments of God. No matter how lofty one’s educational attainment gets a true Christian will never give up the true faith and will never turn to man’s hollow and deceptive philosophies (Col. 2:8, NIV)


Seek God’s wisdom over and above human wisdom

We should never forget that over and above all knowledge is the wisdom of God contained in the Holy Scriptures which can lead man to salvation (II Tim. 3:15, TEV). Hence, true Christians  should seek and value God’s words above human wisdom.



Seek refuge in God and not in human wisdom

The Bible records a prayer of a true servant of God, thus: “LORD, I have come to you for protection; never let me be defeated! Because you are righteous, help me and rescue me Listen to me and save me! Be my secure shelter and a strong fortress to protect me; you are my refuge and defense. … Sovereign LORD, I put my hope in you; I have trusted in you since I was young” (Ps. 71:1-3, 5, Ibid.). The same conviction should be seen in us, members of the Church of Christ Thus, parents should constantly remind their children that more than human wisdom, more than a good education, a truly bright future depends on the mercy and grace of God. The youth should learn to place their complete trust in God. 

Aaron’s wooden rod


THEN THE LORD SAID TO Moses, “Tell the people of Israel that each of their tribal chiefs is to bring you a wooden rod with his name inscribed upon it. Aaron’s name is to be on the rod of the tribe of Levi.  Put these rods in the inner room of the Tabernacle where I meet with you, in front of the Ark. I will use these rods to identify the man I have chosen: for buds will grow on his rod! Then at last this murmuring and complaining against you will stop!”     

So Moses gave the instructions to the people, and each of the twelve chiefs (including Aaron) brought him a rod. He put them before the Lord in the inner room of the Tabernacle, and when he went in the next day, he found that Aaron’s rod, representing the tribe of Levi, had budded and was blossoming, and had ripe almonds hanging from it! When Moses brought them out to show the others, they stared in disbelief! Then each man except Aaron claimed his rod.

The Lord told Moses to place Aaron’s rod permanently beside the Ark as a reminder of this rebellion. He was to [bring it out and show it to the people again] if there were any further complaints about Aaron’s authority; this would ward off further catastrophe to the people. So Moses did as the Lord commanded him.

(Excerpted from Numbers 17:1-11, Living Bible)

About the love of money


IS THE BELIEF that money is the root of evil all true? Isn’t money essential? Don’t we use it to obtain our basic needs, to take care of our family, and also to help other people in need? “So how an it be the root of all evil?,” one may argue.

What does the Bible say regarding this? Apostle Paul declared: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10, New King James Version, emphasis ours).

The “root of all kinds of evil then is not money per se but the “love of money”. People, especially in these last days, will become lovers of money. The Bible foretold through the same apostle that” … people will love only themselves and their money …” (II Tim. 3:2, Living Bible).

Our Lord Jesus Crist warned against being too occupied with gaining material riches, saying, thus:

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36, NKJV). Indeed, the Bible clarifies, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath” for neither their silver nor their gold can save man in “the day of the LORD’S wrath” or Judgment Day (Pro. 11:4; Zeph. 1:18; II Pet 3:7, 10 Ibid.).

That is why our Lord Jesus Christ gave this warning: “… Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a person’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be” (Luke 12:15, Today’s English Version).

One’s love or excessive desire for money is shown in the manner by which he obtains and uses money or material wealth. It is people’s love of money that has made the present times perilous, for others will lie, cheat, bribe, slander, and even kill just to get it. That is why Apostle Paul said: “…in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money …” (II Tim. 3:1-2, LB). He also said, “Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment” (I Tim 6:17, Ibid.).

For true Christians, money is primarily used for a higher purpose—in giving glory to God. Apostle Paul teaches: “Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven—it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well” (I Tim. 6:18-19, Ibid.)

The Signs of the End Times


“ I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, New Living Translation)

THE CONFLICT IN SYRIA that saw hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed and displaced; the more than 8,000 dead in Nepal after a magnitude 7.8 quake; the collapsing economy of Greece, stock market crash in China, debt crisis in Puerto Rico, and the economic meltdown in South America; and 795 million people hungry throughout the world. These and similar tragic events that we have recently witnessed have caused anxiety and concern to many, these should not come as a surprise.
When the Lord Jesus was asked by His disciples on when His Second Coming would be, He already told them of such events, thus:

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, ‘Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the sign that you are coming again, and when will the world come to an end?’ …’In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the door.’

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Don’t be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don’t mean that the end has come. Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are only the beginning of pains of the end.” (Matt. 24:3, 6-7, God’s Word)

Man’s condition in these last days
The Bible is replete with pronouncements about what our situation in life would be in these days:

Will be full of danger. “But your must realize that in the last days the times will be full of danger.” (II Tim. 3:1, Phillips Translation)
Apostle Paul made this pronouncement as he foresaw the kind of people who will be living in these last days, that is, prior to the end of the world. In face, he prophesied that people in the last days would be selfish, greedy, boastful, conceited, insulting, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, irreligious, unkind, merciless, slanderers, insolent, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with pride, and lovers of pleasure rather than of God (II Tim. 3:2-4).

Many trials and sorrows. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, New Living Translation)

Although world leaders have persistently attempted to design solutions to the problems people face today, their well-meaning efforts, unfortunately, have been a dismal failure. But this is not something to wonder about since our Lord Jesus already foretold that people would experience tribulations in this world.

The rise of false religions. “ Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won’t be real.” (II Tim. 3:5, Contemporary English Version)
Apostle Paul warned about the kind of religiosity that would prevail in these last days. This is the result of the proliferation of false preachers today who would lead people astray or away from the true religion: “And many false religious teachers will come. They will fool many people and will turn them to the wrong way” (Matt. 24:11, New Life Version).

Unrest, sickness, and hunger. “There is fighting in the street, and sickness and hunger in the houses. Anyone who is out in the country will die in fighting, and anyone in the city will be a victim of sickness and hunger. … Everything is in confusion—the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence. … Despair is coming. You follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in.” (Ezek. 7:15, 23, 25-26, Today’s English Version)

The unrest being felt in different places is to be expected. Even the hunger and malnutrition that millions of people around the world suffer now are fulfilment of what the Bible foretold. The Bible forewarned that this world would suffer from despair even at a period when people seriously adopt ways to promote peace and prosperity on earth. As the end of the world draws near, the condition of man’s life will surely worsen despite man’s efforts to improve it (Isa. 24:18, 20, Ibid.).

Prepare while the signs are unfolding
As we see the signs of the times, we can never deny that Christ’s Second Coming is indeed very near and coming very soon. But while these unfortunate things are happening in this world, there will be an end of all of these on the great day of Judgment (Acts 17:31).

Hence, let us prepare for the Lord’s return as we see these signs unfold before our very eyes. Let us remain steadfast and endure as we look forward to the glorious day when our sacrifices will be rewarded:

“When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near.” (Luke 21:28, TEV)

In order for us to be certain of salvation on Judgment Day, we are instructed to be ready always. The Lord Jesus tells us: “So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him. … No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.” (Matt. 24:44, 36, Ibid.).

Though we do not know the exact day and hour when judgment will be meted out to this world, we are however certain that that day is very near. That is why we are told to be ready always. Apostle Peter gave the answer on how we can prepare ourselves for Judgment Day: “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” (II Pet. 3:14, New King James Version).

We are instructed to be found in peace as we look forward to Christ’s glorious return (II Pet. 3:14). That peace can be found in the body or the Church:
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Col. 3:15, Ibid.)

“And He is the head of the body, the church …” (Col. 1:18, Ibid.)

Hence, whatever one experiences or encounters in this life, he should strive to enter the Church headed by Christ or the Church of Christ (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)

Remain until the end
While there are many things that bring us anxieties, because they are the fulfillment of the signs of the times, the Lord Jesus Christ gives us a very timely advice: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will drink; not about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?… “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:25, 31-33, Ibid.).

Even if living in this world today is a big challenge—as we see the sufferings of a great number of people from poverty, injustice, terrorism, violence, calamities, dreadful illnesses, and all kinds of difficulties—we should never conform to the standards of this world (Rom. 12:2, TEV). We should never be afraid or lose courage because time will come when God will rid us of all our sorrows and burdens (Zeph. 3:16-18,The Message) Instead of losing hope, let us remain members of the Church of Christ until the end so as to be saved.

“But the person who holds out [i.e., of this time of severe persecution will be saved from destruction]” (Matt. 24:13, An Understandable Version)

by Siegfred T. Gollayan
Source: God’s Message, June 2016

God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah

ALTHOUGH THE LORD GOD is a loving and compassionate Father, He is also just and does not tolerate evil. While He rewards those who do good deeds, He punishes those who do evil. What happened to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah illustrates the terrible consequence of being disobedient or of living in sin, such as immorality.

    “The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting near the gate of the city. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords, he said,” please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night here. Then you can go on your way early in the morning.”

      “No,” they answered. “We’ll spend the night in the street.” But Lot wouldn’t give up. So they went with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them. He baked bread without using yeast. And they ate. Before Lot and his guests had gone to bed, all the men came from every part of the city of Sodom. Young and old men alike surrounded the house. They called out to Lot. They said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us. …But don’t do anything to these men. I’ve brought them inside so they can be safe.”

      “Get out of our way!” the men of Sodom replied. They said, “This fellow came here as an outsider. Now he wants to act like a judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept trying to force Lot to open the door. Then they moved forward to break it down.

      But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house. They shut the door. Then they made the men who were at the door of the house blind. They blinded young and old men alike. So the men couldn’t find the door.

      The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here? Do you have sons-in-law, sons or daughters? Does anyone else in the city belong to you? Get them out of here. They are going to destroy this place. There has been a great cry to the LORD against the people in this city. So he has sent us to destroy it.”

       Then Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law. They had promised to get married to his daughters. He said, “Hurry up! Get out of this place! The LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

       The sun was coming up. So the angels tried to get Lot to leave. They said, “Hurry up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out! If you don’t, you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

       Lot didn’t move right away. So the men grabbed him by the hand. They also took hold of the hands of his wife and two daughters. They led all them safely out of the city. The LORD had mercy on them.

       As soon as the angels had brought them out, one of them spoke. He said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anything in the valley! Run to the mountains! If you don’t, you will be swept away!” But Lot said to them, “No, my lords! Please! You have done me a big favor. You have been very kind to me by sparing my life. But I can’t run to the mountains. This horrible thing that’s going to happen will catch up with me. And then I’ll die.

       “Look, here’s a town near enough to run to. It’s small. Let me run to it. It’s very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” The LORD said to Lot, “All right. I will also give you what you are asking for. I will not destroy the town you are talking about. But run there quickly. I can’t do anything until you reach it.” The town was named Zoar. Zoar means “small.” By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD sent down burning Sulphur. It came down like rain on Sodom and Gomorrah. It came from the LORD out of the sky. He destroyed those cities and the whole valley. All of the people who were living in the cities were wiped out. So were the plants in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back. When she did, she became a pillar made out of salt. (Excerpted from Genesis 19:1-26, New International Reader’s Version)

The tragic fate of Lot’s wife, who was already on her way to salvation but turned into a pillar of salt when she disobeyed the angels’ instruction for them not to look back, shows how crucial it is to follow instructions from God through His messengers. The Lord strictly commands us to carefully observe what He says, without adding to or taking away from it (Deut. 12:32) Failure to fully obey what God commands will result in receiving plagues or curses, and in having one’s name taken away from the book of life in heaven (Rev. 22:12-13).

The Knowledge That All Must Seek

THERE IS NO WAY to overemphasize the importance of knowledge in our lives. Knowledge is power, so the saying goes, which is why many people aspire for it. And throughout history, it is the  unrelenting pursuit of knowledge that has brought progress to man. A great portion of knowledge an wisdom has been transmitted in various institutions of learning. Some have been discovered through efforts and experimentation of persistent people. Although much of the knowledge discovered and acquired by man has contributed greatly to his welfare and progress, not all kinds of knowledge are beneficial to man. There are some that result in the destruction of lives and properties.

On the other hand, there is this kind of knowledge that is far more important and beneficial than any worldly knowledge. This is what we should seek and aspire for However, this knowledge cannot be learned in school and one’s intelligence is not a guarantee to enable him to know and understand it. Apostle Paul enlightens us:

“And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Jesus Christ [that is, through the learning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. Every scripture is God-breathed–Given by His inspiration–and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience,  and for training in righteousness [that is, in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action].” (II Tim. 3:15-16, Amplified Bible)

Knowledge of the sacred writings or the Holy Scriptures can give us the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus. This makes such knowledge different and unique from any worldly knowledge man has and can acquire. Although the knowledge that is learned and acquired from educational institutions may bring progress and make life easier for man, this cannot lead him to the salvation of his soul. But this does not mean that anybody can gain right knowledge and understanding of what the Bible teaches concerning God and salvation. The Bible is not like any ordinary book that can be easily understood by anyone who knows how to read. Apostle Paul teaches in I Corinthians 2:6-7:

“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, or the rulers of this age, who care coming to nothing. But we speak of the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages of our glory.” (New King James Version)

Right understanding of God’s wisdom cannot be gained by just reading the Bible for this is hidden in mystery as has been ordained by God.

Unraveling the mystery
Although God’s wisdom and knowledge contained in the Holy Scripture is hidden in mystery, this can be unraveled and understood for the welfare of man’s soul. For us to understand and benefit from this, the Apostle Paul gives us this guide in I Corinthians 2:11-12:

“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (Ibid.)

Apostle Paul has made it clear that no one knows the things of God except His Spirit. Thus, only those who have received the Spirit of God can understand and explain His wisdom and knowledge which He has hidden in mystery. Only they can unravel and reveal to us the mystery of our Lord God for our own benefit. And indeed, there are people who have been given and have received the Spirit of God and, thus, have understood and are able to explain the words of God, although it is hidden in mystery. Foremost among them is our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to  heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”  (Luke 4:18, Ibid.)

Our Lord Jesus Christ was sent by God. He received the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit, hence, He was able to understand and preach the Gospel, which He is during His ministry here on earth. Thus, the messenger of God, inasmuch as He has the Spirit of God, can understand and preach the Gospel. He is the one who can explain the mystery of God’s knowledge and wisdom. No wonder the inspired preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ elicited awe and amazement from the people, particularly the Jews. John 7:15-16 narrates the following:

“The Jews were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’ Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me’.” (New International Version)

The Lord Jesus did not learn or get His knowledge of God’s words from the learning institutions of this world. So although He did not undergo formal education from any school, He was able to preach and explain God’s words by virtue of His commissioning. The same could be said of the other messengers of God, for instance the apostles. Inasmuch as they learned from our Lord Jesus Christ and they, too, received the Holy Spirit from God (John 20:21-22), their preaching also elicited like response and reactions from those who heard him preach. Recorded in the book of Acts is this:

“They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:7-13, NIV)

Not based on man’s understanding
Knowledge of God’s words that gives one understanding for salvation is not based upon man’s own wisdom as proven in the aforementioned cases. It is not gained through persistent studies and having doctoral degrees from theological schools. As Apostle Paul state, “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7, NKJV).

One’s educational attainment, however high it is, does not guarantee that a person can already understand God’s teachings and can preach the pure gospel. “And how shall they preach unless they are  sent?” Apostle Paul asks rhetorically (Rom. 10:15, Ibid.).Therefore, one needs to be a messenger o f God to be able to preach His words. This does not mean, however, that no one among the messengers of God was schooled or educated. This is proven by Apostle Paul, no doubt a messenger of God, when he said of himself in Acts 22:3: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today” (New American Standard Bible).

Apostle Paul was educated and learned, having had formal education but he did not preach based on human wisdom. He did not use his worldly education as basis of his authority to preach and in converting people to Christ. In Galatians 1:11-12, he said:

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (NKJV)

Apostle Paul testified that the gospel he preached was not according to man but he received it from God through the revelation of Jesus Christ. His authority to preach was given to him by our Lord God. And being one of the true messengers of God, he was able to preach and explain His words that would lead man to salvation. Thus, for man to gain knowledge and understanding concerning God and to receive salvation from whom should he seek such knowledge? In the book of Malachi 2:7, the Bible teaches this:

“It is the duty of priests [Jewish Priesthood] to teach the true knowledge of God. People should go to them to learn my will, because they are the messengers of the LORD Almighty.” (Today’s English Version)

If man wants to gain true knowledge about God and to learn His will that he must follow in order for him to attain salvation, he must seek such knowledge from the messenger of our Lord God. Listening to the preaching of God’s messenger is very important, for it is from the messenger that one can gain the true and right knowledge concerning God. Such knowledge, if he accepts and believes, can assure him of eternal life.

The knowledge to eternal life
What then is the true knowledge concerning God taught by His messengers that will lead man to eternal life or salvation? Cited earlier was Malachi 2:7 and verse 10 of that same chapter says the following:

“Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?” (Mal. 2:10, NIV)

The Prophet Malachi, one of God’s messengers, taught clearly that the Father is the one God who created us. This is the true knowledge concerning God taught since the time of His early messengers, a teaching that has endured up to the time of the Christian Era as testified to by Apostle Paul, another messenger of God: “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (I Cor. 8:6, Ibid.).

And why did Apostle Paul say that “for us,” referring to the Christians, to whom he wrote this epistle, “there is but one God, the Father?” Because for others, this is not the knowledge that they have known about God: “But not everyone knows this” (I Cor. 8:7, Ibid.), Apostle Paul said further. That’s why there are those who teach that, aside from the Father, who is the true God, there is also God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But this teaching is unbiblical. The Bible, the book that contains God’s revealed knowledge and wisdom, teaches clearly that the Father alone is the true God. This is the knowledge concerning God taught by His messengers and learned by the true Christians. This is also the same knowledge about God that the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest of God’s messengers, taught:

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, an said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, … And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent’.” (John 17:1,3, NKJV)

In teaching that the Father alone is the true God, Christ did not teach that He Himself and the Holy Spirit are Gods. And how important is it to possess such knowledge about God? Christ emphasized that this is the knowledge that will lead to eternal life. This is the knowledge that all people must seek and know, which only the genuine messengers of God have been able to teach throughout history.

Source: God’s Message Magazine