THE WORD OF TRUTH MINISTRY
228 NORTH EL MOLINO AVENUE
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91101-1675
Otis Q. Sellers, Founder **** David R. Hettema, Director
Volume 3, No. 3 Jane Sellers Hancock, Editor December 2010
THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR
Jane S. Hancock
The designation of Christian should neither be given nor taken in a loose or arbitrary manner. To do so is in reality taking the name of the Lord in vain. No man has a right to be called a Christian or to call himself a Christian just because he was born and lives in a so-called Christian country, or because he is a part of a so-called Christian family, or because he is a member of some so-called Christian church. A man can be called a Christian, or may call himself a Christian, only if he has become related to God through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Quoted from The Christian in Military Service by Otis Q. Sellers (OQS), published in 1952 (now out of print).
A couple of events started me thinking about the words Christian and Christianity and how unspecific they are. As a teacher, I suggest to my students that a specific noun is always better than a general noun. Specificity helps the readers see what you want them to see. A simple example: I had cereal for breakfast. Or: A lone tree stood in the front yard. Depending upon what you like for breakfast, you might picture the writer eating oatmeal. Someone else might picture a bowl of Fruit Loops. As for the lone tree, was it an oak, a weeping willow, or a pine tree?
So when someone asked me not too long ago if I thought a certain baseball player was a Christian, I had no answer. First, I didn’t know. Second, even if I did know, which Christian would he have been: the one who prays before every game, the one who crosses himself before he comes up to bat, or the one who carries a Bible with him on road trips?
In August, 2010, novelist Ann Rice declared she had quit being a Christian and it made the front pages of newspapers and the lead stories on cable television. According to the Los Angeles Times, Rice had been raised Catholic, became an atheist, returned to Catholicism 12 years ago, and then decided she couldn’t be a Christian any more. Her decision had more to do with politics than with a change in her beliefs. She says that she still believes in God but that “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.” Of course none of these issues has anything to do with being a Christian. She also says that she can’t find a basis in Scripture for an anointed hierarchical priesthood.
The reporter asked Rice, “How do you follow Christ without a church? Are there rituals that you intend to maintain?” Oh, what a question! It shows how little he knows. And her answer was fine, as far as it went. “I think that the basic ritual is simply prayer. It’s talking to God, putting things in the hands of God, trusting that you’re living in God’s world and praying for God’s guidance. And being absolutely faithful to the core principles of Jesus’ teachings.” But her answer wasn’t complete enough.
The intimate relationship which God has made possible between Himself and man is not an ecclesiastical relationship. It has nothing to do with churches. It is a personal and individual relationship. It has to do with the personal faith of an individual, and it is founded wholly and solely upon the work of Christ. OQS.
If I tell someone that I’m a Christian, that word “Christian” could bring up all kinds of connotations, none of which would describe me. However, I have to use the word—by default. I can say that I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ but what does that mean to anyone? My God knows and that is what counts. Christians say all kinds of things, and do all kinds of things, that separate them from me.
A TV pundit says, “We know the Old Testament is full of stories. It’s the New Testament that we need to read.” He should study with us some time. He’d find out how wrong he is. But I can’t blame him for thinking that. It’s exactly the same thing my religion professor said when I was in college. When I couldn’t take his remarks any longer, I received permission to quit the class and took ethics instead for the credit I needed. Is the TV pundit a Christian? He says he is. Was my religion professor a Christian? He was a Methodist minister! Yes, he’s a Christian.
Hence the term “Christian individualist,” which Otis Q. Sellers coined years ago. And it doesn’t do the job either. Sellers says, “In the sight of God each man exists as an individual and he is dealt with as such. . . . Christian individualism as a way of life for the active believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is being practiced by many who have discovered that their loyalty to God’s truth has brought them into conflict with the practices of the organizations that call themselves ‘churches.’” (See “Christian Individualism” in One-A-Day by OQS.)
So who am I? I am an individual believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe He is God. I am a student of the Bible, the inspired words of God. I believe that we are living in a time when God is silent. I believe that the Kingdom is coming. There is no specific noun that describes me.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
David R. Hettema
Greetings from this Director, and also a salute from Rusty (Russell Hancock), who is currently working alongside this Director to take full charge of the business side of The Word of Truth Ministry.
This shared responsibility has been very helpful in many ways—such as responding to e-mail requests and getting out the receipts promptly to the faithful supporters of this Ministry. This has also given me more time to study and search in God’s wonderful Word, bringing the new and the old from God’s Word to those who listen to our Sunday morning Bible classes. We are continually learning and seeking more about our salvation and the coming Kingdom of God.
A Chronology of the Kingdom of God
One of our recent and ongoing study projects has been to search out from God’s Word a Biblical order of events that will take place in the Kingdom of God. I refer to this study as “a chronology of Kingdom events” that mark their time and place in the coming Kingdom of God.
Our studies search out the time factors of each step that God’s Spirit reveals in His Word, from day one of God’s intervention, such as the Daniel 2:44-45 and Isaiah 2:2-4 Kingdom-opening prophesies. The closing days of the world-wide testing will be the believers’ way to a wonderful future as those who have “endured to the end” will be graduated into the New Heavens and New Earth. At that terminus it will have been almost 1,500 years since God intervened and brought in His government. It is then that the world’s redeemed peoples are introduced to the New Heavens and New Earth, as God’s Word promises. (See Revelation 21.)
The following short paragraphs are a brief notation of the chronological order of the events that follow the opening day of God’s government on Earth. These events cover a total of 434 years of the Kingdom of God, with just 56 years remaining of Israel’s 490, seven of which are to be the greatest testing for Israel, God’s people.
From the first day of the Kingdom to the starting day of Israel’s 490-year clock, there is a short unmeasured period of time, days full of resurrections and God’s righteous judgment involving all the living and raised, of Earth’s populations.
In this beginning time of God’s government there will be a flood of great and wonderful changes, resurrections, and righteous judgment, many events that all the living and the resurrected will be going through. God’s long-time people of Israel have priority; all of their dead and their living will have prior attention until God has completed His desired plan and place for all of them in the land of Israel. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 says, When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
Daniel 9:25 reveals that the order to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem will begin when God issues a decree to begin. A man chosen by God named Cyrus is commissioned.
There will be a seven-times-seven or 49-year period to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, then dedicate the completed Temple to God and celebrate the coronation of David as their king just as God had promised to His scattered people of Israel.
Read Isaiah 44:26 through Isaiah 45:5 to understand why God wants Cyrus to be His appointed man. He is to build the city of Jerusalem and lay the foundation for the Temple. Cyrus does not build the Temple, someone else will. (I like to speculate that it might be the resurrected David. He could be given this opportunity since God would not allow David to build the first Temple, even though David had planned and gathered the materials to build God’s house. David accepted God’s words when God told him that his son, Solomon, would build it in Solomon’s time.)
In the plans of God’s Kingdom, there is a period of 49 years for the building of Jerusalem and the glorious new Temple, which closes out with a dedication of the new Temple. At that time, David will be crowned King, as promised, and will sit on the throne where Jesus Christ will later be seated in great honor for His glorious parousia, reigning over all the nations of earth for 1,000 years as The King of the Earth, as well as The King of Heaven.
After the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem there is a long session of peace. Blessing and enlightenment continues up to year 434 of the Kingdom (62 weeks). Every day of those years every person upon God’s earth has God’s Spirit as teacher, guide and councilor. At this 434-years’ point in time, the Holy Spirit as man’s advocate will be taken out of the way to test the minds and hearts of all living, including God’s people Israel. There are just 56 years remaining of Israel’s 490-year testing period.
The God of Heaven, King of the Earth, undertakes at this point to test the peoples of the entire earth. He does this by removing His guiding Spirit from every person in His Kingdom, a test of their ability to live as God’s Spirit has taught them for 434 years. This is that great hour of testing that God reveals in Revelation 3:10: That hour which is about to come upon the whole earth to test those who dwell upon the earth.
The result of mankind becoming their own guides is a great falling away from God, with much envy and hatred boiling up against Israel. Read Thessalonians 2:3-10, when wars and rumors of war begin to cover the earth after God has given every man the opportunity to choose their own ways.
Soon after this, the nation of Israel will have to go through the seven years of the “broken covenant,” the last three-and-one-half years of the “week” will be a time of extreme pressure and suffering. The faithful in Israel cannot fight the invaders, for he who lives by the sword will die by the sword. Israel could be destroyed. God’s people turn to their Lord and Savior; God will defend them.
I truly believe that the long-promised Day of the Lord has its beginning after the first three-and-one-half years have passed. This is the moment when the enemy nations openly break the seven-year covenant with Israel. The Man of Sin is revealed by his entering and polluting God’s Temple and altar, declaring that he is God. (See 2 Thess. 2:3-9.)
This is the point in future history when God will stand to finish the battle. The Creator fights for His people Israel. (See Rev. 19:10-15 then 2 Thess. 1:7-2:4, also read Zech. 14:1-11.)
The Day of the Lord is prophesied as a notable, but future event many times in the Old Testament. Many connected events will precede the Day of the Lord. I am convinced that the very center point of Israel’s seven years of tribulation marks the starting point of the Day of the Lord. This period of time will bring about God’s victorious climax to the evil and rebellious war upon Jerusalem and His people Israel. The time period of the day of the Lord will extend through the promised return (parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His 1,000-year reign. It also continues through time to the New Heavens and the New Earth.
When God begins the Day of the Lord in the Earth, all the forces of His creation, the sun, the moon and the stars will do His will, used as God’s weapons to counter and destroy the enemies of Israel.
The final bloody battle for the city of Jerusalem and the great victory for God and His people can be seen in the record of Revelation 19:11-16 and Zechariah 14:1-9. Read these portions and discover how God, in the Day of the Lord, uses the sun, moon and stars—all items of His creation—to dim the lights in daytime or turn up the lights in darkness to gain the victory. Satan is defeated and imprisoned. The residents of God’s Kingdom on Earth have been set in order (judged) and are now looking for the return of Jesus Christ, the Creator and the Savior of the world.
I believe that the “truth seeker” who knows and uses these “time frames,” of the Kingdom from God’s Word, will have a better framework on which to build with additional truths.
Bible Study Audio Disks
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, CA, or writing/e-mailing:
The Word of Truth Ministry
Mrs. Gwen Staiger
121 Wood Oak Dr., Joshua, TX 76058
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.
BIBLE STUDY SATELLITE GROUP LOCATIONS
In Southern 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 presides; Dr. Milton Hammond alternates. 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.”
Portland, No regular schedules. Contact Mr. Bob English at (503) 357-8449 for information.
DO YOU NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?
By Joanne L.H. Johnson
Have you ever been introduced to the rite of baptism? Have you ever been faced by preachers or well-meaning people who would tell you that you can’t be saved without that rite? What do you think? Does it do something for you? Has it the power to bring you to salvation or is it an empty ritual?
I have run into many occurrences with Christian friends who would insist that without being baptized you couldn’t be saved. What does Scripture say? What does “baptize” mean?
Many pastors have said they always baptized their members with water at their church to save them from their ‘original sin.’ If you are not baptized you would be unsaved and lost. You may question why you had to be baptized at all. The word used in the Scriptures is baptizo in the Greek and, as Otis Q. Sellers used to say, has to do with the dyer’s art of dying or identifying different cloths with various colors. The idea of identification comes into being when you dye a cloth a certain color, for example the color purple, which is then identified with that cloth. Years ago, purple cloth was the choice color of royalty. Kings and queens would use it in their robes and dresses and crowns.
The idea of being identified with Christ is what we are looking for. Yes, John the Baptist baptized with water while he was alive and proclaimed the coming of Christ. That was for the Jews back then and has nothing to do with us. Some people have asked why won’t they be lost. It is because we live in a period of time called “the Dispensation of Grace” and it is not a time of automatically and magically being saved by being baptized with water. As Paul said in the epistle of Ephesians: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). It is the faith given by grace that saves you and not the baptism. Your identification with Christ is very important. You identify with Him every time you pray to Him. You identify with Him every time you read the Word of God and maybe even seek out the words of Christ. You identify with Him whenever you share the Word of God with other people. We are identified with Jesus Christ both in His death on the cross and in His resurrection.
Many people have never understood how simple it is to just believe in Jesus Christ without having a water ceremony.
Sellers always preached about the kingdom of God and how important it was to be identified with Christ Jesus. He had started out as a Baptist minister and had left the church. He had studied the Scriptures for the truth and didn’t agree with the rite of baptism, a man-made rite that doesn’t affect your salvation. See Seed & Bread No. 134, Concerning Baptism, Seed & Bread No. 135, What Does Baptizo Mean?, Seed & Bread No. 136, Baptism Means Identification, Seed & Bread No. 137, The Baptism of John.
Here’s a familiar verse: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Note that Christ did NOT say: “. . . whosoever believes in Him AND is baptized . . . .” You and I as believers in Christ are identified (baptized) with Christ in His death and in His resurrection. Also, you and everybody else are identified with Jesus Christ when you have taken the faith offered by Christ’s grace. This is your belief in Christ as your personal Savior. You don’t need anything else. To keep and continue your faith, all you need to do is to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
People today are saved by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by believing in Him and don’t need a water baptism ceremony. And the only thing we need to do is keep on believing. Like Jesus Christ said, “. . . He who believes has eternal life” (John 6:47).