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 Reve