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. 46 Jane Sellers Hancock, Editor January 2009
Thoughts from the Editor
Jane S. Hancock
When the Lord said in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build My church,” what definition of church was He thinking of?
Main Entry: church
1: a building for public and especially Christian worship
2: the clergy or officialdom of a religious body
3: often capitalized: a body or organization of religious believers: as a: the whole body of Christians b: denomination <the Presbyterian church> c: congregation
4: a public divine worship <goes to church every Sunday>
5: the clerical profession <considered the church as a possible career>
(From Merriam-Webster OnLine Search.)
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” (Lewis Carroll: Alice In Wonderland.) My dad, Otis Q. Sellers, called church a Humpty-Dumpty word. He also called it a chameleon word because a chameleon changes its color to suit its environment.
When I tell my friends I can’t join them on a Sunday morning outing because I go to church, I do it because it’s a word they understand. Or they think they understand. What they probably are seeing is a building built in a style defined by the word church, not a room in a one-story office complex. They probably see pews and a robed choir and a robed preacher or priest, not just a few chairs, a piano, and a plainly dressed speaker.
So how did the word church come into our vocabulary? And why is it in the Bible? Why did the King James translators choose that word to replace the Greek word ekklesia? Because the translators wanted to get their religious organizations into the Bible. (The same way Easter got into the Bible!)
Since no word in the English language (or apparently any other language) fits the true meaning of the Greek word ekklesia, one idea would have been to transliterate it, adopt that word into our language. When we at The Word of Truth Ministry read out loud from the Bible and come across the word church, that’s what we do. We say ekklesia because we know what that word means.
Sellers says in Chapter 20 (Issue No. 20) of Seed & Bread, “My findings . . . have convinced me that the ekklesia of the first century was totally different in every respect from that which is called ‘the church’ in both the Roman and Protestant camps today. Certainly in the Roman church and in the Protestant churches we see something that men have built, and it borders on blasphemy to say that this is what the Lord meant when He promised to build of Himself His ekklesia (Matt. 16:18).”
He continues: “An untranslatable word should be brought into our own language; that is, it should be transposed, and a meaning based upon its usage should be attached to it. And since the word ecclesiastical has long had a place in English, we should have no trouble making a place for ekklesia. This word means ‘out-positioned,’ and is used to describe individuals, companies, or nations which have a position out of another. Its highest use is when used of one who has a position out of God.”
In looking at the etymology of the Greek word ekklesia, we find that it comes from the Greek verb kaleo which means to name, to designate, to position, to appoint, or to establish. In government this amounted to an appointment which could not be refused. Kletos is the descriptive adjective which describes the person or persons named to a position. The prefix ek added to kletos gives us ekklesia, out-called ones—ones called out from a group that has already been called.
No one today can say that. We are living in the Dispensation of Grace and no one mediates between God and man except Jesus Christ.
So when the translators took the word ekklesia in the New Testament and translated it as church, they muddied the waters, making it more difficult for readers of the Bible to understand the true meaning of the word. Look again at the dictionary definitions of church. Certainly none of these was meant when the Lord said in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build My ekklesia.”
When I say, “I am going to church,” I am going to a building (such as it is) for public worship, for Bible study, for delving into the book to find out what words like ekklesia really mean. That is what the Lord would want me to do. Study to show myself approved unto God.
For further information about the words church and ekklesia, see Seed & Bread Nos. 87, 97, 115, 120, 131, 141, 158, 198.
From the Director
David R. Hettema
Special greetings to everyone as the calendar turns. May God grant to all earth’s dwellers the privilege of experiencing “our blessed hope even the glorious (epiphaneia) blazing forth of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” What a wonderful expectation God has given to us, even in a sick and troubled world! We also are admonished to live upright and Godly lives while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12-13).
As this New Year begins, I would like to echo that precious greeting that Otis Sellers’ repeated whenever he began to record a time of Bible study: “I greet you in the faith and fellowship of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, whom we love and whom we serve.” It is true that it is the Lord Jesus Christ that our eyes and ears and our hearts be centered upon. He is our Lord and Savior.
We had hoped to announce the availability of our two new Seed & Bread volumes that are being printed in a new format. There are some problems and delays with the production of the covers that we hope to work out with the Book Publisher and be able to soon announce that we are taking orders.
We have ordered both volumes in soft cover that will be priced at $16.00 each, plus mailing, or you can order the two volumes for $30.00 plus mailing. We will also offer both volumes in hard cover priced at $25.00 per volume, plus mailing, or you can order both hard cover volumes for $44.00, plus mailing. Mailing costs will be $4.50 per package.
The new book size is 6 x 9 inches. The new format of the books makes for easy reading. Our prayer is that every one of these 199 studies in Biblical truth will continue to open up the Word of God to those who are hungry for the truth of God’s Word.
Are you working on a Bible study that you would like to share with others?
We welcome the opportunity to hear from you. Submit your typed article or manuscript in 12 point New Times Roman (or any regular font, nothing fancy), preferably by email. Articles for Seed & Bread run about 1800 words. We can edit down if you go over. Bulletin articles can be any length as long as they don’t exceed 1000 words.
Express yourself in the Truth you have learned. Email manuscripts to Editorial Group, The Word of Truth Ministry, at email@example.com or mail to Editorial Group, 228 N. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.
Milton Hammond’s Wife, Betty Ann Hammond Dies At Home
Beloved wife, mother and grandmother, Betty Ann Hammond, died quietly in her home on January 11, 2009. She was 79 years old. She had battled Parkinson’s disease for 12 years before passing away. She was a long-time and faithful associate of The Word of Truth Ministry. She was preceeded in death by her oldest daughter, Dianne. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Milton B. Hammond, one daughter, Joanne Johnson; three sons, David Hammond, Mark Hammond, and Paul Hammond; two sisters and four grandchildren.
Betty loved people and their stories. She loved good Bible studies. She and Milton used to read together their Bibles every morning at 9 a.m. for years. She was an avid listener and was very attentive. She also had a very funny sense of humor. She laughed at good jokes. She will be missed by many people for her winning smile and kind words. Her hope and expectation was for resurrection in the Kingdom of God. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Word of Truth Ministry, 228, N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101-1675. The family wishes to thank all those that have already donated to the Ministry.
BIBLE STUDY AUDIO TAPES
By Otis Q. Sellers, Bible Teacher
The entire Tape Library (TL) series, consisting of numbers TL-1 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, CA, or writing/e-mailing:
The Word of Truth Ministry
Mrs. Gwen Staiger, Recorder
121 Wood Oak Dr., Joshua, TX 76058
The Internet Corner
By Bob Hammond
Website Upgrades Completed
If you have not looked at the site lately, we ask that you try it. It’s been changed to a digital format called Joomla. The content is the same, but a bit more dynamic and an easier format to maintain.
iPod Technology Tip
Gwen Staiger reminded us some time ago that all of Sellers’ written and audio materials (about 23 GB) will fit on a single iPod. She would be glad to help you put it on yours. Just write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The kids will think you are really “cool”—but if they only knew HOW “cool”!
We’ve observed that our website suddenly “took off” in the month of August 2008. The number of unique visitors went from 990 to 1,475; the number of visits from 2,300 to 3,080 and most interesting is that the number of pages viewed went from 8,100 to almost 20,000! But, this is not just one month; it has established a new paradigm, and the following months are now at these higher levels. Of greatest importance to us, though, is that our “statistics machine” estimates that over 300 people have put us on their “favorites” list. That means they will be back!
One of our faithful people, who had purchased the entire 570 message collection of Sellers’ Audio Ministry, informed us that his copy of disk No. TL-381-390 was unintelligible. Looking into it, we found another eight such disks. They have been purged from the stock. Thanks Herb! And, if you have got a bad disk, let me know at my e-mail address, email@example.com, or send it back to our Ministry. The disks, of course, are fully guaranteed against such defects.
Most all of activities here on the Internet go on with almost zero feedback from our audience. That will not stop us, but we are always concerned that what we think to be good is falling short, or there are better ways/topics of interest. Please talk to us by writing or e-mailing; we’d love to hear from you!
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God . . . and not another . . . .”
Job 19:25-27, NKJV
Bible Study Satellite Group Locations
In California (Los Angeles Area):
The Word of Truth Ministry, 228 N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Sundays from 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mr. David Hettema and Dr. Milton Hammond take turns at presiding. Hettema may be reached at (626) 794-0819. Hymn “sing-a-long” before service. “We continue studies based upon the Biblical records of our Bible, and written/spoken words of the late Otis Q. Sellers.”
In New York (New York City Area):
The Chelsea Studios, 151 West 26th Street (Room No. 609), New York City, the last Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. Mr. Luis Casillas, moderator. Contact Mr. Mike Steele by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. “We use O.Q. Sellers’ Seed & Bread leaflets (found on www.seedandbread.org) as a guide for our discussions.”
In New York:
Endicott, No regular schedules. Contact Mr. Robert Briggs at (607) 748-4870 for information.
In New Jersey:
430 Boulevard Ave., Pitman, Mondays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Mr. Sam Marrone presides as host and may be reached at (856) 589-6256. Marrone notes, “Bring your Bible and a hunger for the Word.”
In Texas (Houston Area):
5847 Chinaberry Drive, Houston, Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 or 1 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Don Black are hosts and may be contacted at (713) 462-2250. “We usually listen and study one of Otis Sellers’ tapes.”
In Minnesota (St. Paul Area):
622 Selby Ave. (Room above Mississippi Market Food Co-op), St. Paul, Every other Friday, 6 p.m. Mr. Nathan C. Johnson presides and may be reached at (651) 737-0144 (work). Johnson encourages: “Please contact me, and come enjoy your time around God’s Word with our group.”
A Brief History of the Prophets
By Joanne L.H. Johnson
When you read through the last half of the Old Testament, you encounter what is commonly called “the Major and Minor Prophets.” What is their history? Who were all these prophets? Who were their contemporaries? And when did they warn Israel and Judah to worship God instead of idol worship? When did they prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem?
The first of these prophets was Jonah, who came around 790-775 BC, and was sent to warn the Assyrian city of Nineveh that they would be destroyed by God. They repented of their sins and were spared by God. Then came Joel and he prophesied during 840-830 BC to the 10 northern tribes after Elijah.
Next comes Amos (770-750 BC) who wrote his prophecy “concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, son of Joash, king of Israel” (Amos 1:1).
Hosea (750-720 BC) wrote his prophecy “during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, and during the days of Jeroboam, son of Joash, king of Israel” (Hos.1:1). He probably saw the exile of Israel to Assyria. Micah and Isaiah were his contemporaries.
Isaiah (745-695 BC) begins with: “The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isa. 1:1).
Micah (735-720 BC) is next. “The word of the Lord came to Micah of Moreseth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem” (Micah 1:1). Like Isaiah and Hosea, he too saw the exile of Israel into Assyria (720 BC).
Now, there appears to be a period of prophetic silence, which extends from Isaiah to Zephaniah for 70 years. Zephaniah started prophesying about 630 BC and the first verse says: “The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah, son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah.” Zephaniah and King Josiah were distant cousins through King Hezekiah.
Next comes Nahum and he produced a warning that was sent to Nineveh that they were to be destroyed which occurred about 620 BC.
Jeremiah comes to the scene, prophesying about 627-586 BC. “The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the 13th year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the 11th year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the exile of Jerusalem in the fifth month” (Jer. 1:1-3). The last chapter of Jeremiah deals with the final destruction of Jerusalem (587 BC).
Then comes Habakkuk and he warns (about 610 BC, shortly before the battle of Carchemish) the Jews that the Chaldeans were going to take Judah into exile. This book represents a final warning to the kings of Judah who continued to ignore the prophets, like Jeremiah.
Obadiah’s prophecy (about 586 BC) is a warning against Edom, arch enemies of Judah. They joined with Nebuchadnezzar in the final destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Edom’s demise is told, which came at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar a few years afterward.
Daniel deals with many future subjects during the reigns of four foreign kings (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus). He starts with: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah (606 BC), Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it” (Dan. 1:1). He must have been nearly 100 years old when he died.
Ezekiel was taken to the land of the Chaldeans (Babylon) in the second deportation in 597 BC, before the destruction of Jerusalem. His prophesies, and future prophesies found, similar to those in Revelation, cover about 21 years, from 593 to 572 BC.
Ezra and Nehemiah are not books of prophecy but are histories of what transpired during the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, due to Cyrus’ proclamation (536 BC). They had set out to rebuild the temple and encountered a hostile populace. They started on the foundations of the temple but it lay unfinished for 16 years, until the prophets Haggai and Zechariah came along. The prophets were charged by God to foretell its completion and get the people back to work. They again got the support of King Darius and the temple was finished in four years (about 516 BC).
The prophecy of Malachi took place about 420-400 BC, following the time of Nehemiah, about 100 years after the first exiles had returned from Babylon. Malachi, like Ezra and Nehemiah, had to decry the priest’s insulting the law of God by making blemished sacrifices and unlawful intermarriage with the peoples round about them. There also seems to be 400 years of silence between Malachi to Christ’s actual ministry.
This brief study of the history of the major and minor prophets recognizes Israel’s frequent involvement in the worship of idols with occasional return to their God. Most important however is God’s continued dedication to Israel and God’s promise of restoration in the future. This led to Otis Q. Sellers’ discovery of the Kingdom of God—a future righteous eon in which we of the nations will have a share in glorifying the God of every grace.
(The dates in Joanne Johnson’s article, A Brief History of the Prophets, are courtesy of Milt Hammond’s More Seed & Bread on Dating the Prophetic Books of the Bible and Dating the Kings of Judah and the New American Standard Bible.)