BULLETIN

 

THE WORD OF TRUTH MINISTRY

228 NORTH EL MOLINO AVENUE

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91101-1675

 

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

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Volume 2, No. 50 Jane Sellers Hancock, Editor February 2010

 

THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR

Jane S. Hancock

Wonderful, wonderful Book divine!

Light from its pages doth brightly shine

Into the darkness of sin and woe;

Radiant with love is its clear, holy glow.

Wonderful, wonderful Book divine!

Now may our hearts to it truths incline;

Promise, and precept, and prophecy, too,

Thou wast intended our hearts to renew.

Wonderful, wonderful Book divine!

Heeding His truth will our hearts refine;

We are redeemed by the precious blood,

We are kept clean thru God’s own holy Word.

Mrs. C.D. Martin and Wendell P. Loveless

You who read this column regularly might wonder why I so often use a hymn as a starting point. It’s not intentional, not planned, not something I try to do. It’s just that as we sing together on Sunday mornings or as I sing at the piano at home, I am often struck by a line or a message in a hymn and I just have to write about it.

The line for this column comes in the chorus to the song “Wonderful Book!”: “Wonderful Book! Wonderful Book!/ Faultless and errorless Book divine/ Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Book!/ This treasure of truth is mine.”

Yes, this treasure of truth is mine and yours. It’s all we have in this Dispensation of Grace. And it is definitely divine because it comes from the inspired words of God. I guess it’s the word “errorless” that got to me last Sunday as we were singing. Because this wonderful Book, our Bible, is a translation, and as a translation it is not “errorless,” is it?

I like the King James Version, the King James translation. I think about this ruler who wanted the people to know the inspired words of God and authorized that it be translated from the Greek and Hebrew. What an undertaking! Not only the translating but the whole publishing aspect in that century. Are there errors? Of course. But the language is beautiful.

I belong to a book club, a group of friends who have been meeting together once a month for twenty years. One month we were reading a book by a German writer, translated into English. Except for one woman in the group, we all had purchased the same translation. Every time we would read out loud part of the text that we particularly enjoyed and wanted to talk about, she would say, “Wait, that’s not what it says in mine,” and she would read the same text from the translation she had purchased. It was so different in tone, vocabulary, beauty of language that she soon threw the book in the air and exclaimed, “I’m never going to read a translation again!” Of course, we have to read translations, particularly of the Bible unless we are fluent in ancient Greek and Hebrew, and even if we were, we could be guilty of mistranslating.

So we read whatever translation we like; we read many translations; we study to show ourselves approved unto God, and we make up our minds.

That is what Otis Q. Sellers did. He studied. He studied the words—in context, in their history, in their etymology. That’s what we do.

One of the first words he studied in depth was baptism. Here he was, an ordained Baptist minister, and he was leaving the Baptist church because the ritual of baptism just didn’t seem right to him. So he studied to find out exactly what the word did mean. And he found out “that the [Greek] words baptizo and baptisma are used in many occurrences to set forth the concept of an identification, and that this word includes the idea of a merger and an established relationship.” See Seed & Bread Nos. 135 and 136.

He learned that man does not have a soul but is a soul by studying the 754 times nephesh is found in the Hebrew Old Testament and the 105 times psuche appears in the Greek New Testament. See Seed & Bread Nos. 77 and 78.

He proved that the Greek word ekklesia should never have been translated church but should have been adopted in the English language, as so many words are. Of course, that would have kept the word church out of the Bible and the translators certainly didn’t want that. See Seed & Bread No. 120.

His study of sheol and hades eliminated the word hell from the Bible. Good riddance, I say. See Seed & Bread No. 82.

He studied the little words too. Little words can be extremely important. When the little word andeven, it changes the meaning of a sentence. (See Seed & Bread No. 122.) The Greed word kai, translated and, is often used to attach an explanation that follows. This is called the kaikai twice, so clear: Grace be to you, even (kai) peace from God our Father, even (kai) the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:2). means explicative principle and makes passages like this one, that uses the word

So yes, the Bible is a wonderful Book. It’s our text. We have nothing else. And if we take God at His Word, those words in the Bible, and act upon them, then we have faith; we are believers. Just make sure you know exactly what those words mean.

*****

FROM THE DIRECTOR

David R. Hettema

We are now in the year of 2010. The present Dispensation of Grace has been silently testing hearts and minds with His written Word for almost two millennia. When His present work of writing the record of His graciousness into mankind’s history is completed, God will suddenly, silently and safely assume complete control and authority over all the nations and peoples of the earth. God’s inspired Prophet Isaiah told it right: grace will not save a man unless he goes through the door of faith that grace opens and there he learns righteousness.

. . . For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord (Isa. 26:9-10, NKJV).

Those, who have become sincere believers in Jesus Christ in this time of God’s Dispensation of Grace, should realize that proclaiming the truth from God’s Word concerning God’s government can become a frightful experience to an un-initiated friend who is a church member, waiting for the rapture, to be in heaven with their long-departed loved ones.

We should emphasize these truths: the good news—God’s righteous government ruling this entire earth, that the reign of Jesus Christ has to do with the resurrection of the dead right here on this earth and placing those resurrected into a bountiful and ever-flowing life on this redeemed Eden-like earth—is a message that very few church members have heard. Truly those who proclaim the Word in truth today have a difficult assignment making God’s Word plain. We must show that the great gift of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ made it possible that the Kingdom of God became His plan for bringing about the salvation of this world.

As to proclaiming the Word:

I charge you therefore before God and (even) the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim. 4:1-5, NKJV).

Today is our time upon this earth, the Scriptures inform us that we are living in a very special time which is God’s present Dispensation of Grace. We are shut up to the Bible, God’s inspired Word, as the only source for any and all knowledge of what God has said concerning the present dispensation and the future of mankind and this earth. God’s government will rule this earth and all the peoples of every nation upon it.

As a believer in Jesus Christ and a teacher of the coming Kingdom of God which is the salvation of this condemned world, I want to see and experience earth’s restoration back to the conditions of our God’s perfect creation.

*****


THE INTERNET CORNER

By Bob Hammond
Web Site Celebrates Sixth Birthday

Our Web site, www.seedandbread.org, celebrates its sixth birthday. It is hard to imagine that our Web site is already six years “old.” The increasing number of visitors and materials usage is a good sign that the works begun by Otis Q. Sellers are drawing increasing interest as more people become aware of the site. Here are some statistics to date:

Year No. of Visitors Pages Downloaded

2006 7540 58,500

2007 8545 66,100

2008 12,600 124,700

2009 14,000 137,200

We are extremely grateful for the many new people who have “stumbled on” our Web site and stayed. In communicating with them, I’ve observed an often repeated story: 1) a person brought up to be a believer, 2) a person grows to adulthood, and is a church member, 3) a person becomes dissatisfied with his church or otherwise loses interest and falls away, 4) a person later comes back to the Bible and begins searching the Internet as well as other sources, and 5) the person stumbles onto our site (as well as others devoted to the Truth) and is enjoying its right division.

Seed & Bread Pamphlets in Dutch

We have enjoyed a close relationship with Mr. Johan Hensen of The Netherlands for some time now. He has recently placed all 199 Seed & Bread pamphlets onto the Internet in the Dutch language. We are presently linking his work with our site, too. Thank you, Johan, and may God bless your work!

The Dutch Lachai-Roi Web Site

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

*****


QUESTION: DID SELLERS BELIEVE IN THE TRINITY?

Answer: By M.B. Hammond

The Trinity is a Christian understanding that God disclosed Himself in Scripture as three distinct entities: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The term Trinity can be traced back to Tertullian, a third century AD Latin father who coined the word trinitas to express this divine inter-relationship. There is no explicit doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible but is a man-made attempt to combine the various ways that God presents Himself. And this is how it should be defined: the Father is God, the source of all that exists, but we are warned that He is invisible and inaudible to men, existing in a timeless condition.

The Son, Jesus Christ, is the specific source for this universe, as John 1:1-4 (NASB) suggests: “In the beginning was the Word, (or as J.B. Phillips says, ‘In the beginning God expressed Himself.’) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life and the life was the Light of men.”

The Holy Spirit is invisible but has special capabilities such as granting the manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit to all the out-called ones of the Acts Period, so they would be credentialed, and in this Dispensation of Grace, giving the gift of faith to men so that they can believe. This is called “divine generation.”

The term Trinity has served churches for hundreds of years as a short hand for the divine aspects of God, but it is not a term seen anywhere in the Scriptures. Men have built a doctrine around this term and used some Scriptures to justify this. Some passages include 1 Peter 1:2, Matthew 3:16 and 28:19, and 2 Corinthians 13:14. All three aspects of God appear in these passages, but there is also a problem with such passages as Genesis 1:26 (“Let us make man in our own image”) and Genesis 11:7 (“Come let us go down there and confuse their language”), which suggests a multiplicity of gods which is not true because there is only one God. The idea of a Trinity does not allow for God to take on any number of beings as He wishes. If you were to ask, “Can a man be God?” my answer would be, “No” but if you were to ask, “Can God be a man?” I would answer, “Yes, and anything else in His creation He wishes to be.” And that is why Otis Q. Sellers did not like the term Trinity because it is too limiting and God is not a simple singular personality, but rather, many at once, all contained within the concept of the great I AM.

*****


QUESTION: IS IT VALUABLE FOR THE STUDENT TO STUDY THE APOCRYPHA?

Answer: By Nathan C. Johnson


The Apocrypha is a collection of books written mainly in the period between the writing of the Old and New Testaments. These books were mostly written by Jewish authors, and were written in either Hebrew or Greek. Some of these books are included in the Catholic Bibles, and still more in the Eastern Orthodox Bibles. It is generally agreed that these books are not inspired, but those who include them claim they are “less” inspired, but still valuable.

For a believer, nothing can compare to the value of studying simply the words of the Protestant Bible, as God gave them to us. The apocryphal books, while interesting in some ways, cannot approach the value of the God-inspired words of the true Scripture.

If a believer already has a good, working knowledge of the Bible, however, there can be some value in reading the Apocrypha, in that I think it can help to strengthen our faith. Reading books written in the same language and style of Scripture, and yet which are not written by God, can help us to see how different from a human book the books given to us by the Spirit of God really are. But this only is valuable once we really have a good, solid knowledge of the words that God has given us to which we can compare the Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha does have a limited value for learning about the meanings of Greed words used in the New Testament. It can also be helpful in understanding the thinking of the Jewish people in the time period between Malachi and Matthew. 1 Maccabees is also a valuable history of part of that time period, though it is not inspired. Some of the stories of Jewish martyrs in the later books of Maccabees are also interesting, and can illustrate for us some of the things mentioned in Hebrews 11:33-38, which probably has the inter-testamental martyrs at least partially in mind.

Otherwise, there is not much of value in the Apocrypha. Not like the true Bible, which has the words of eternal (eonian) life! Those words are that to which all students should give the majority of their time and study, and only give spare time to the Apocrypha as a curiosity, and little more.

*****

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A ‘SAINT’?

By Joanne L.H. Johnson

The term saint is used in many religions to suggest someone who has great righteousness and done many good deeds in the eyes of men. But in the eyes of God, the Bible says, “To all the saints, the ones being and believing in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1, Otis Q. Sellers’ translation, see below).

A saint is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ rather than a person made out for service in a specific church. Remember, good deeds don’t count or make a saint; look at the example of what happened to Tabitha (Dorcas) (Acts 9:36-42)—she did many good deeds for others and fell sick and died. Then she was raised by Peter from the dead to minister to the saints. She had allowed her busy life of service to divert her from Christ her Savior.

The term saints is used in some salutations in the epistles, such as to the Romans (Rom. 1:7), 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:2), Ephesians (Eph. 1:1), Philippians (Phil. 1:1), Colossians (Col. 1:2) and Philemon (Phile. 1:5).

For instance, Ephesians 1:1 (KJV) is addressed “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” or the ones marked out for special service (saints)—or as Otis Q. Sellers translated it in his Seed & BreadEphesians-Chapter 1, The Resultant Version, “to all the saints, the ones being and believing in Christ Jesus.” Of note is that a number of manuscripts omit “which are at Ephesus” in Ephesians 1:1. Could that then include Dispensation of Grace believers like you and me? Also, Sellers mentions that saints is the Greek word hagios, translated holy 161 times and saint 61 times. He says, “It means separation, and is always related to service. Every believer in Christ Jesus is a saint.” For more information, listen to Sellers’ tape or compact disk on TL-260, Ephesians 1:1. No. 58,

Consequently, Philippians 1:1 is addressed “to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi.” This was written to all of the believers at Philippi.

Accordingly, 1 Corinthians 1:2 says, “Unto the church (out-called ones) of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord . . . .”

Some epistles have different salutations (the aforementioned verses are examples) in the New Testament (N.T.) from different time periods. A distinction is made between the specific two time periods. In the Acts Period, the saints were gathered together in the ekklesia or the assembly and were specifically selected for service to God in Christ—the manifest powers of the Holy Spirit were theirs and they could do such things as perform miracles, speak in different languages and prophesy.

For clarification purposes, the epistles of Paul that were written after the Acts Period were Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. All of the other epistles were written during the Acts Period. In the Dispensation of Grace, the saints were gathered together but not in the gifted ekklesia—after Acts 28:28 there were no more manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the saints and they were identified only now as believers in Christ Jesus.

In today’s world, the word saint has become corrupted. It’s another of those words like church and hell and baptism (see “Thoughts from the Editor” on Page 1) that have lost their true meanings through years of misuse.  Saints belong to Christ’s secret group ekklesia or out-called assembly. Only Christ knows who they are.

Those of us who are believers today are held in Christ until in resurrection in the Kingdom of God when we will be given as yet undefined responsibilities and likely also the powers of the out-called ones—we will be ekklesia men and women. Today we are believers who are waiting to be chosen for future service (such as in the Kingdom of God) in God’s mind.

The term saint is used in all religions of today in ignorance of God’s intentions and usage. Therefore, we, the believers, can use it with God’s grace, but we do not use it in ignorance except for God’s glory.

Yes, if you are a believer, you might be one of the future out-called ones, a saint. Do continue to be found believing and studying all about our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

*****