BULLETIN

THE WORD OF TRUTH MINISTRY

228 NORTH EL MOLINO AVENUE, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91101-1675

Otis Q. Sellers, Founder David R. Hettema, Director

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Volume 2, No. 44    Jane Sellers Hancock, Editor    July 2008

Thoughts from the Editor
Jane S. Hancock

The Bible is a book that tells the message of the Kingdom of God. This narrative is spread throughout its pages, both in the Old and New Testaments.

Chapter 13 in the Book of Matthew is all about the Kingdom of God. It reveals certain truths about the Kingdom of the Heavens, which had been kept secret up until this time. Jesus relates a series of parables to His disciples. Many of the parables have to do with agriculture, with the production of food, because this was an agrarian society. Parables must reflect the times.

The first one (Matt 13:3-8) tells of a man who sows seed. And as he spreads the seed, some of it falls along the wayside and that seed is eaten up by birds. Some falls where there is not enough soil. That seed is parched by the sun and finally dies. Some falls where thorns also grow and choke the new plants. But the rest fall on the tilled ground, and that seed survives and grows.

I’m glad He interpreted His own parables for the disciples. We get to benefit from the explanations (Matt. 13:18-23) and we must not try to read into the explanations anything more than what is there. The sower is God, Jesus Christ. The field is the world. The seed refers to the words spoken about the Kingdom of God. Some truth falls by the side of the road because the hearer doesn’t understand it. Some words fall on hearts that accept it at first but when the going gets rough, gives up on the words. Some words are choked out by the things of the world. We need people to hear the Word, receive it in their hearts and their minds, and spread that Word. We need the seed to fall on good ground.

In Matthew 13:24-30 and 13:37-43, He tells his disciples (and us) what the Kingdom of God will be like. Again God sows the seed. But in the night, an enemy, Satan, comes and sows bad seed among the good seed. And when the crop springs up, both grow together. The servants report this to the farmer and wonder if they should remove the growth from the bad seed. But the answer is, “No, we don’t want to destroy the wheat plants along with the weeds.” And then comes the key line in which He says that when harvest time comes (the end of that eon), then they can gather the tares (gather all things that offend out of the Kingdom) and burn them and the wheat will be safe in the barn. This makes it clear that at some time evil will exist in the Kingdom of God.

Let’s continue. I like all these short parables, almost one liners.

  • The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Have you seen a mustard seed? It’s very tiny. In fact Jesus says in this parable that it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows, it is the greatest of all herbs (Matt. 13:31-32).
  • The Kingdom of God is like leaven (Matt. 13:33-43).
  • The Kingdom of God is like hidden treasure (Matt. 13:44).
  • The Kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price and when someone finds it, he sells what he has in order to buy it (Matt. 13:45-46).
  • The Kingdom of God is like a net cast into the sea. When the net is full, the good catch are kept and the bad cast away (Matt. 13:47-50).

So what do all these parables tell us about the Kingdom of God? They tell us that in the beginning God’s government on this earth will compare with a single grain of mustard seed. That government will grow speedily and steadily until all other governments are displaced by it. Like the mustard seed, it is insignificant at the beginning.

Then it will reach out until the whole earth is brought under God’s government. His rule will be like leaven. It will change the character of the whole earth.

Like hidden treasure, men will have to find it. Once they have found it, they will give up everything to possess it. This parable talks about the value of God’s government. And so does the next one. The pearl stands for Heaven’s government—a government without flaws, unlike governments today.

When God’s government comes upon this earth, everyone is caught in His net.

For Further Reading: If you want to read about these parables in detail, see The Secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens, by Otis Q. Sellers, and the Word of Truth magazine, Volume 12.

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FROM THE DIRECTOR

David R. Hettema

I’ve changed my thinking about the Second Coming. Years ago I was a young new believer associated with an active church that set forth believing in Jesus Christ was the way of salvation and taught that the present “church” was God’s instrument for His people in our times. I learned from God’s Word about Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to become our Savior and redeemer. This miraculous teacher could heal the sick and raise the dead. He could feed the hungry by thousands from the small lunch of a youth in the crowd. I also learned that this same Jesus who was crucified was raised from the dead and ascended up into heaven, leaving with mankind the still-standing promise that He is going to return to this earth.

The second coming, I was taught, was to catch-away the living believers of earth to meet the Lord in the air and then reunite (in Heaven) with those who had gone on before. The Calvinistic Churches (my Dutch grandfather’s church) taught that at His coming Christ would, at that point, first judge the earth’s living populations, separating them for eternity to either Heaven or Hell. Earth would then be destroyed. The “word” of teaching about the second coming was, “Be ready, He could come at any time.” But we discovered that the Bible states in more than seven occurrences this was not the order: But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool (Heb 10:12-13, NKJV).

As I grew older and continued in my Bible studies I puzzled about how and why in His earthly ministry Jesus Christ’s enemies hated Him so much and finally crucified Him. I concluded that those men were motivated by the same Satan that brought death to the human race in the Garden of Eden, the one who still relentlessly works to destroy God’s provision for the salvation of the world, Jesus Christ, the Seed of the Woman.

As I grew more knowledgeable about God’s Word, the truth became plain that one of Satan’s most effective methods of deceiving was to confuse believers with his lies. Amazingly the first lie that Satan told to Eve in the Garden of Eden, “You shall not surely die,” is still the most prevailing (false) idea which the greater part of mankind embraces. The major portion of Christianity has based its thinking and teaching on this belief, thus dimming the importance and the glory of Christ’s resurrection and making the promised resurrections of believers a non-event. The Platonic “never-dying soul” idea leads people into what seems logical to them, the dominant but false idea that at death the “immortal” soul of an individual goes to Heaven or it goes to Hell. The Word of God does not speak of these two alternative destinations as being the future abode of mankind. Hell is not a place; it is a condition. The word Hell in the Hebrew word is sheol in the O.T., and in the N.T. the Greek word hades is used to describe the state of death– that state or condition all of Adam’s descendants enter at death and from which every descendant of Adam and Eve will be resurrected, every man in his own order (1 Cor. 15:23). Those in the state of death who are worthy of the First Resurrection will all be raised from the dead to enjoy life upon this earth in the Kingdom of God before Jesus Christ sets foot upon this globe. It further states the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years (of His personal presence) were finished (Rev. 20:5, NKJV).

A multitude of unfulfilled prophecies must have their fulfillment before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When God determines that this present Dispensation of Grace has come to completion, the Kingdom of God will quietly but forcefully invade the entire earth (Matt. 12:18-21, and Dan.2:44-45). The God of every grace will then become the Judge of all the earth. Jesus spoke of that coming time as the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 13:11-17). He began to teach the disciples about the Kingdom and the many events that must take place in that time (about 500 years) before He would return to this earth.

In the first period of God’s government, about 430 years, when by God’s Spirit all wars will cease, the whole earth will display its freedom from Eden’s curses, animal life will change and all living things will be changed, just as Paul by inspiration wrote (1 Cor. 15:51-57). Ongoing resurrections will increase the populations of all nations until all those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead are living in God’s redeemed earth (Luke 20:35, NKJV).

Following that beginning time of 430 Eden-like years which the Bible calls “eonian life,” God will secretly remove His restraining Spirit from all living to test the hearts and minds of all people upon the earth. This unannounced freedom of a time of free choice without the help of the Spirit of God is the time of testing that is generally known as the Great Tribulation. This period of approximately fifty years begins quietly but as men and nations become aware of their freedom, wars and rumors of wars increase, as does the pressure upon Judah and Jerusalem (Matt. 24:4-14). This period of testing opens up the first of two final opportunities for Satan to attempt the destruction of Israel and the overthrow of the Seed of the Woman, Jesus Christ.

As the pressure of the surrounding nations increases upon God’s people in Judah and Jerusalem, Israel seeks relief by committing to a seven-year covenant with a Prince of other nations. The covenant will give them the freedom to continue their Temple worship including the daily sacrifices. As the halfway point of the seven years approaches, it becomes obvious that the covenant will be broken. The Lord warns his people to watch for this sign. When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20-21, NKJV).

The forces of Satan and the kings of the earth with their armies fiercely attack Jerusalem, overrun and occupy the Temple. The man of sin breaks his seven-year covenant with Israel and enters the Holy place of the Temple. He stops the daily sacrifice and desecrates the Temple of God by placing in it the abomination of desolation. Then he stands in the Holy place of the Temple declaring that he is God.

It is at this point in time that Satan and his angels in heaven are overcome and cast out of heaven, into the earth (Rev. 12:7-12).

The Temple area and the city of Jerusalem are occupied, looted, and pillaged for another three and a half years, the last half of the broken covenant. It is that point in time when our God, Jesus Christ, openly goes to battle with the evil forces of Satan. Read the figurative language of Revelation 19:11-21 and note that Israel’s God is the fighting force of God’s people. His weapon is the sword of His mouth, the breath of His lips. The same breath that gave the first man life will also destroy the last of His enemies.

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh (Rev. 19:20-21, NKJV).

The enemies of Jesus Christ are made His footstool (under His control). Immediately after the tribulation the sign of the Son of Man will appear in Heaven (Matt. 24:27-31). The second coming of Jesus Christ is not a one-day event. The glory of it will span a lengthy time, when the King of all the earth takes His rightful throne in Jerusalem.

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Those of us here at the home base of the Word of Truth Ministry gratefully acknowledge your response to the concerns that we expressed regarding the expense commitments for the coming years of the Word of Truth’s building lease. We are grateful to God and to our fellow believers for the financial response and the letters of encouragement that came from all points. You have relieved our concerns and have given us the courage to proceed with our plans–the continuing effort of proclaiming God’s amazing words that tell about the coming Kingdom of God, God’s government that will involve the entire earth.?

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NEWS BRIEFS

The Seven Pillars of Death Available

Having trouble ordering The Seven Pillars of Death? You can now order copies of Louis Tonetti’s book from our headquarters here in Pasadena. The cost of $15 includes packaging and shipping.

Writers Needed

If you would like to contribute an article to our Bulletin, we invite you to send it in. Contributions must adhere to today’s Dispensational truths and will be reviewed by our editorial board. We welcome short Bible studies, life experiences with Christ, personal stories from long-time friends of Otis and Mildred Sellers, stories about your personal journeys into the message of the Kingdom of God.

 

Conference Tour Recordings Available

Our Brother in Christ, Luis Casillas, recently sent Gwen Staiger nine tape recordings of Conference Tours Otis Q. Sellers made to New York City in the 1970s. She has converted them into seven MP3 disks:

NYC Fall Conference, 1975 (4 messages)

NYC Spring Conference, 1976 (12 messages)

NYC Fall Conference, 1976 (11 messages)

NYC Spring Conference, 1977 (12 messages)

NYC, Spring Conference, 1978 (10 messages)

NYC, Fall Conference, 1978 (5 messages

plus 3 radio messages)

NYC, Spring Conference, 1978 (7 messages)

and Fall Conference, 1980 (2 messages)

If you would like your own copies, please contact Gwen Staiger, 121 Wood Oak Drive, Joshua, TX 76058 or e-mail her at gsrecorder@sbcglobal.net and she will make them up for you. We suggest a donation of $5 for each disk. Make checks payable to: The Word of Truth Ministry.

The Word of Truth Ministry thanks Luis Casillas and Gwen Staiger for making these messages available.


The Dutch Lachai-Roi Web Site

Read Seed & Bread and One-A-Day in Dutch on the European Web site: www.lachairoi.org. Johan Hanson and his son, Arnoud, translated these particular Otis Q. Sellers’ publications because they appreciated his independent studies, finding answers to unsolved problems.


 

Simply Amazing Grace

By Joanne L.H. Johnson

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound!

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found;

Was blind, but now I see.

Amazing grace. A popular hymn was written about it. The writer of it, John Newton, did a complete 180 degree turn about from being a harsh slave trader in the 18th century to a man of peace and was amazed by God’s limitless grace. A PBS documentary was shown on television a few years ago about his life and how this hymn affected so many people.

What is so amazing about God’s grace? Maybe it is the fact that we don’t deserve it and it is freely given by God to all. The late Otis Q. Sellers liked to say that grace was “a love and favor to the undeserving [ones].” Somewhat like God’s infinite love for His creation, as so eloquently put in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

This grace is identified as one of God’s attributes in M.B. Hammond’s More Seed & Bread No. 278, God’s Attributes, where he identifies mercy and grace as two closely related attributes, found in Psalm 103:8: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Sellers’ resultant translation (Seed & Bread No. 59, Ephesians—Chapter Two, The Resultant Version) says it like this: “For in the grace are you saved, through faith, and this is not out of you; it is God’s gift, not of works, to that no one might boast.” It’s not the faith that saves you or the good works that you do, but the grace through faith that saves you from the permanent second death.

Sellers used to also say that grace is God’s present method of dealing with mankind and with the nations, hence the name for this time period in which we live: the Dispensation of the Grace of God. This is found in Ephesians 3:2 (Seed & Bread No. 60, Ephesians–Chapter Three, The Resultant Version): “Assuming that you surely hear of the administration of the grace of God, which is given to me for you” (see also Seed & Bread No. 56, Dispensational Truth, and No. 57, The Dispensation of Grace). This time period is where God’s judgments are not currently open for any to see or be judged by—they are secret, as explained so well in Ephesians 3 using Sellers’ translation. Also see Seed & Bread No. 64, God’s Present Purpose, where it says in Luke 6:35, “He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Consequently, it also says, “When God has finished His present demonstration of grace, never again can anyone question His grace. If they should, we can point to the record which will ever be positive proof that He is ‘the God of every grace’ (1 Peter 5:10).”

This period of grace is contrasted to the future Kingdom of God, where Sellers says it so well in Seed & Bread No. 64 that I can’t add anything to it: “Mankind is yet going to see and experience a complete and open demonstration of the government of God. He will experience its power and principle, its methods and morals, its justice and judgment, its light and life, its healing and health, its benefits and blessings. These will all be seen in manifest operation. . . . Under an administration of divine government, men will come to know from experience the Judge of all the earth and that He does right. They will in that day be able to make a full comparison between God’s government and man’s government and will repudiate the latter forever.”

So there you have it: the word “grace,” which was explained at length in the last Bulletin, and the “period of grace” in which we presently are living explained here. God’s simply amazing grace.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believed.

John Newton

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BIBLE STUDY AUDIO TAPES

By Otis Q. Sellers, Bible Teacher

The entire Tape Library (TL) series, consisting of numbers TL-001 to TL-570, is available on MP3 compact disks. A complete subjects list may be obtained from our Web site, www.seedandbread.org, or the home office in Pasadena, California, or writing/e-mailing:

The Word of Truth Ministry
Mrs. Gwen Staiger, Recorder
121 Wood Oak Dr., Joshua, TX 76058
E-mail: gsrecorder@sbcglobal.net