How Does the Church of the Eternal God and its International Affiliates Differ From Other Christian Churches? (Part 3)


In the first two installments of this series, we emphasized that the Church of God must remain to be the foundation and pillar of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15); and that it has the responsibility to retain and preserve the Truth, in spite of tempting obstacles and the enticing spirit of compromise. We also discussed our belief in the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures; our doctrinal foundation; and our Church government; and we explained what the Bible means by stating that the Church is a spiritual organism. We emphasized that this fact does not exclude the necessity of physical organizations. In that context, we showed the importance of the Church’s correct biblical name.

Jesus Christ gave His Church an important commission, especially for these last days. When focusing on this commission and how it is being carried out, we find another identifying sign for God’s true Church. We describe this important task in our Statement of Beliefs, under “The Church’s Commission,” as follows:

“We believe that it is the Church’s commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness, to warn all nations, and especially the lost tribes of the house of Israel (mainly in the United States, Great Britain, certain Commonwealth nations and nations in Northwestern Europe) of impending danger, and to feed the flock of Christ – the Church – spiritually and physically.”

In this installment, we will focus on the Church’s commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness. In the next installment, we will address the remainder of the Church’s commission; i.e., to warn the nations and to feed the flock of Christ.

Rightly understood, very few can be identified as fulfilling the Church’s commission of preaching the gospel as a witness in the entire world. But we do read in the Bible about the responsibly of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God in this end-time, and once God determines this commission as having been fulfilled, Christ will return. Matthew 24:14 tells us: “And THIS gospel OF THE KINGDOM will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” Mark 13:10 confirms this: “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”

There is only one gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). It is identified in the Bible as the gospel OF THE KINGDOM OF God (Mark 1:14; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2, 60; Acts 1:3; 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 30-31).

Christ spoke many parables about the Kingdom of God. He did this so that only those whose minds were opened to the truth—the few—could understand His message (Luke 8:9-10).

First, note that it is the gospel, which must be preached. The word gospel means “good news” or “glad tidings.” As Christ came to preach the gospel or good news of the Kingdom (Matthew 9:35), so did the early apostles (1 Corinthians 9:16), and so must His Church do today. The fact that the worldwide preaching of the gospel is a sign for the soon-coming return of Jesus Christ shows us that it was not preached to the world for almost 2,000 years, after the early apostles had died.

Second, note that the gospel includes, among other aspects, a message about Jesus Christ (Luke 24:44-46); about the grace of God (Acts 20:24); repentance and forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47); the belief in and obedience to the gospel (Mark 1:15; Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8); our salvation (Ephesians 1:13), peace (Ephesians 6:15); the promise of eternal life (2 Timothy 1:10); rulership of Christ and the saints here on earth (Revelation 20:4, 6; Daniel 2:44; 7:21-22, 27); and a message about the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:11).

However, the gospel OF the Kingdom of God includes much more.

We read that it is the gospel OF Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 9:12) or Christ’s gospel (2 Corinthians 2:12). It is a message, which God the Father gave to Jesus Christ, the “Messenger” (Malachi 3:1), in order to proclaim it (compare also Revelation 1:1). But the gospel message was also Christ’s message, because it is called the gospel OF the Kingdom of God; and Christ is a member of the Kingdom of God.  God is a Kingdom or a ruling Family. The God Family is described in our Statement of Beliefs as follows, under “God is a Family”:

“We believe that God is a Kingdom or a Family, the Kingdom or Family of God (Ephesians 3:14-15); that God consists of the Father and the Son Jesus Christ, but with the potential of man to become part of God’s very Family (Ephesians 3:16-19); that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2).”

Both the Father and the Son have always existed as the God FAMILY. In addition, it is the potential of man to become part of the God Family; to enter the God Family as immortal God beings—born-again sons and daughters of God the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, composed of spirit, as God and Christ are Spirit.

The gospel OF the Kingdom of God is a gospel originating with the Kingdom of God—the ruling God Family. It is the gospel OF God the Father (Romans 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9); and OF Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

But it was also the gospel OF Paul (Romans 2:16; 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8), and it is also “OUR” gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:14). Here is why: If we have been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are spirit-begotten members of the Family and Kingdom of God. Then, we have received the great privilege and responsibility to preach the gospel or good news OF—emanating from—the Kingdom or Family of God; that is, of the Father, of the Son, and of us as begotten children of God. Once we have received the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us and leading us, then we have become part of the Kingdom of God, but only “in embryo.”

This gospel message includes our belief that Jesus Christ died for us as our personal Savior, and it includes the correct understanding as to who and what Christ was and is. We explain it in this way in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Belief in Jesus as the Messiah”:

“We believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Christ, the divine Son of God the Father; that He was in the beginning with God the Father (John 1:1), that He became Man (John 1:14), born in the human flesh of the virgin Mary; that He lived a sinless life; that He was crucified and died for us, thereby paying the penalty for our sins; that He was buried and dead in the grave for three days and three nights; that He was resurrected and ascended into the Heavens, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father; that He is now the High Priest of true Christians, intervening for them before God the Father; that He will come back at the ‘end time’ to establish the Kingdom and Government of God here on earth, by sitting on the throne of David (presently in Great Britain), and to rule all nations (Luke 1:32-33; Daniel 7:14).”

A careful review of these statements should reveal remarkable differences to most of the other “Christian” denominations. We clearly believe that the Bible tells us:

  1. that prior to Christ’s First Coming, He was God and always existed as God—a God BEING or PERSONAGE; which means, He was not an angel or created by God the Father; or some godly “thoughts” which were given a human body;
  2. that the Father was always the Father and that Christ was always the Son of God, the second Member of the God Family;
  3. that Christ became a Man, ceasing to be an immortal God being, which means that He was NOT fully God and fully man, when He lived here on earth;
  4. that Mary was a virgin and conceived Christ through the power of God the Father’s Holy Spirit; but that Mary did not stay a virgin; rather, after Christ’s birth, she and Joseph had four sons and at least three daughters;
  5. that Jesus Christ overcame sin in the flesh through the power of God the Father’s Holy Spirit living within Him; and that He never sinned once;
  6. that He was tortured, murdered and died;
  7. that He was dead, which means that He did not have an immortal soul which kept on living, and that He (His “soul”) did not go to “hell” to preach to the dead, while He was in the grave; nor do we believe the blasphemous idea that the “Son of God,” as part of an unchangeable “Trinity,” kept on living in Heaven, while Christ was dead on earth;
  8. that Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights, which means that He could not have been crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday; rather, He was crucified on a Wednesday and placed in the grave just before sunset, when the First Day of Unleavened Bread, an annual Sabbath, started on Wednesday evening, at sunset; He was resurrected to immortal life with the glory which He had before He became a Man; and He left the grave just about sunset, when the weekly Sabbath ended;
  9. that He ascended to God the Father in the Third Heaven where He functions now as our living High Priest, intervening for God’s people before God the Father;
  10. that He WILL return to this earth, as He has promised, to establish God’s rule on this earth; He will not rule from heaven over the earth;
  11. that He will return only once, visibly, at the time of the seventh or last trumpet; that He will rule from David’s throne which will be transferred from Great Britain (where it is now) to Jerusalem; that He will share His rule with the born-again immortal people of God; and
  12. that He and the immortal saints will rule IN the Kingdom of God as born-again members of the God Family, and that they will rule on earth, not from heaven over the earth, thereby ending all human governments.

God IS a Family of God beings, but the Holy Spirit is not God, a God being or a Person. This is another decisive difference between the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliated international organizations, and most other “Christian” denominations. We state the following in our Statement of Beliefs, under “The Holy Spirit of God”:

“We believe in the Holy Spirit which is the power of God, both of the Father and of the Son, given by God to a truly repentant person at the time of baptism; and that through this power, God the Father resurrected Christ from the dead and will likewise resurrect us from the dead (1 Corinthians 6:14; Romans 8:11). We believe that we are not true Christians, if the Holy Spirit of God does not dwell in us (Romans 8:9).”

This means that the Holy Spirit is NOT a person; and therefore, the wrong belief in God being a Trinity—“One Person in Three Persons”—must be rejected. Nor is it biblical to believe in only one God Being, consisting of three modes or “three hypostases” of this “one Being,” as God IS a Family, consisting of TWO God Beings, who are “one” or “unified” in purpose and mind; but with the goal of enlarging the God Family by adding many more members to it.

In this regard, we state in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Man’s Part in God’s Family”:

“We believe that it is the potential of man to become a born-again immortal and divine member of the God-Family; that God is in the process of reproducing Himself through man; and that those who have received God’s Holy Spirit are already the children of God, but they are not glorified yet (1 John 3:1-3; Romans 8:12-17). We believe that Jesus Christ, the ‘Logos’ or ‘the Word of God’ or ‘the Spokesman’ (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1-3; Revelation 19:13), the second divine member of the God Family, became Man, in order to overcome sin in the flesh and to die for us (Romans 8:3), so that man, accepting the sacrifice of Christ and letting Christ live His life in him, could become a divine member of the God Family as well.”

We are clearly told in God’s Word that we are to preach this gospel message of the Kingdom of God, and all that it entails, as a witness; this means, we are not to try to convert others to the truth, since we understand that God must call someone to the truth and that He must give the person the spiritual capability of understanding the truth. Accordingly, we say in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Proselytizing”:

“We do not believe in proselytizing. Therefore, we do not seek members by having people standing on street corners or going around neighborhoods knocking on doors. We carry out our various projects in an effort to freely give to all people regardless of their race, nationality, or religious affiliation. We believe in the godly way of helping others by providing the financial means by tithing and voluntary contributions.”

Rather than trying to proselytize or “convert” others, we are told to preach the gospel as a witness. The Greek word for “witness” is “marturion,” and means, literally, “witness” or “testimony.” This word is also used in Acts 4:33 where we read that “with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”

This Greek word is also used in John 3:11 where Christ says to Nicodemus: “We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not believe Our witness.”

In addition, Christ says the following in John 5:36: “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

A related Greek word is “martus,” which is also translated as “witness.” In Acts 1:8, Christ says to His apostles: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me [or: “My witnesses”] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Peter confessed that he and the other apostles and disciples were witnesses of Christ’s murder and His resurrection (Acts 2:32; 5:32; 13:31); as well as Christ’s very life as a human being (Acts 10:39, 41).  In addition, Paul was commissioned to be Christ’s witness (Acts 22:14-15; 26:16).

Since the Church has the commission today to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness, it too must speak with power of the things, which it knows and has seen. Nobody has literally seen Jesus Christ today, but those who have God’s Spirit dwelling within them have “seen” and “experienced” and “tasted” the powers of the age to come and the “good word of God” (Hebrews 6:4-5), and they have “known and believed” God’s love for us (1 John 4:16). They are to testify of the entire gospel message of the Kingdom with conviction and zeal, fully believing everything what the Bible reveals about it (Acts 24:14; 2 Corinthians 4:13). Their message must be proclaimed with boldness and clarity so that others, whom God wants to call, may come to the faith and believe (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

We are also told that once the gospel has been preached as a witness in all the world, then the end of this present evil age will come and Christ will return. Today, the Church of God preaches the true gospel in all the world, mainly through the various means of the Internet and fulfilling requests for hard-copy material.

This does not mean that every single person on this planet must have heard the gospel message; we read in Isaiah 66:19 that some will not have heard about God’s fame prior to Christ’s return. Christ also tells His disciples that they will not have been able to reach all the cities of Israel prior to His return (Matthew 10:23). God will decide when the Church’s commission of preaching the gospel in all the world has been sufficiently accomplished so that He can send back His Son. The Greek word for “world” is “oikoumene” and can be described as the habitable earth or land.  Sometimes, the Bible uses this word and the term “all the world” or similar expressions in a generic sense; notice this in Luke 2:1; John 12:19; Acts 11:28; 17:6; 24:5 and Romans 10:18.

Some may think that Christ will not come back for a long time, because in accordance to their view, the gospel has not been preached yet in all the world. But their thoughts may not be God’s thoughts, and we are warned that Christ will return when we do not expect it (Matthew 24:42, 44).

The Church of God must be watchful and zealous in fulfilling its commission of preaching the gospel. It must be committed to doing the Work of God (James 1:25). It must not become complacent and detracted, losing the focus on the most important Work of preaching the gospel by perhaps replacing it with other pursuits; such as, trying to make this world a better place by voting in governmental elections; joining the military; or by performing  “missionary works” in Third World countries.

In the next installment, we will discuss the other aspects of God’s ongoing commission for His Church; namely, to announce and warn the Israelite nations and the entire world that the end is near; and that terrible times of punishment will come upon the Israelite nations and the entire world due to their sins and abominations, without a willingness to repent and change their evil ways. To be able to proclaim that part of the gospel message effectively, God’s Church MUST have the Spirit of prophecy. We will also address the responsibility and commission of God’s Church to feed Christ’s flock—spiritually and physically.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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