Thematic menu of biblical articles


The meditations on the letters of James, Jude, John and Peter, leading to maturity,

are after this article on the teaching of Jesus Christ

The teaching of Jesus Christ that leads to spiritual maturity

The Sermon on the Mount

(Matthew chapter 5 to 7)

Chapter 5 (Verse numbers are maintained)

To have inner peace in calamity through the Christian Hope

“When he saw the crowds he went up into the mountain; and after he sat down his disciples came to him; 2 and he opened his mouth and began teaching them, saying:

3 “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

4 “Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted.

5 “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.

6 “Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.

7 “Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.

8 “Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.

9 “Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God’” (Matthew 5:1-9).

We need to use our mental capacity to project ourselves into the future through joy in hope, which is part of the fruitage of the Holy Spirit: "On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,  mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22,23). It is written in the Bible that Jehovah is a happy God, and the Christian is preaching the "good news of the happy God" (1 Timothy 1:11). While this system of things has never been so much in spiritual darkness, we must be a source of light by means of the good news that we share, but also by the joy of our hope that we want to radiate to others: "You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when located on a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house.  Likewise, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens" (Matthew 5:14-16). The following video and as well as the article, based on the hope of everlasting life, have been developed with this purpose of joy in hope: "Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens” (Matthew 5:12)… Let us make the joy of Jehovah our fortress: "Do not feel sad, for the joy of Jehovah is your stronghold” (Nehemiah 8:10).

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Happy are those who have been persecuted

“10 “Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

11 “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. 12 Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

Jesus Christ drew the energy of his endurance in the trials, by the joy of the hope that was set before him. It is important to draw energy to fuel our endurance, through the "joy" of our hope of everlasting life set before us. As for our trials, Jesus Christ said that we must solve them day by day (Matthew 6:25-32). The principle is simple, we must use the present to solve our problems which arise as they come, trusting in God, to help us find a solution: "Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.  So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles" (Matthew 6:33,34). Applying this principle, will help us to better manage mental or emotional energy to deal with our daily problems. Jesus Christ advises against excessive, even morbid anticipation  of the problems or trials, that could clutter our minds and take away all spiritual energy from us (Compare with Mark 4:18,19). It is important to draw energy to fuel our endurance, through the "joy" of our hope of everlasting life set before us.

***

A disciple can save many human lives

through the ministry of the Word

“13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its strength, how will its saltness be restored? It is no longer usable for anything but to be thrown outside to be trampled on by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. 15 People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. 16 Likewise let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens” (Matthew 5:13-16).

The Greek word translated as "to preach" is "κηρύσσω" ((kēryssō) (Strong's Concordance (G2784)), "to herald as public screaming". Preaching is a public proclamation. Even though preaching is a simple teaching, it is not to be confused with the pedagogical basic teaching of the Bible, mentioned in Matthew 28:20: "teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20) ("teaching": (διδάσκω (disdasko) (Strong's Concordance "To teach" (G1321)). We can take two examples that show the simplicity of a message preached, often by a simple sentence, and a detailed teaching in the form of a public speech:

Preaching: "From that time on, Jesus began preaching (kēryssō) and saying: “Repent, for the Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near"" (Matthew 4:17). In Luke 10:9, as Jesus Christ sends 70 of his disciples to preach ahead of him. He gives them exactly the same simple theme of proclamation: "The Kingdom of God has come near to you".

The more detailed biblical teaching in the form of a speech: "When he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he opened his mouth and began teaching them (disdasko), saying" (Matthew 5:1,2). Thus, the Sermon on the Mount is not a mere public proclamation, but a detailed biblical teaching in the form of a public speech of about half an hour (in that case).

However, Jesus Christ used the expression "fine works", this spiritual light, must shine by our exemplary Christian behavior.

***

Let us imitate Jesus Christ in faithfulness in everything

“17 “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill; 18 for truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place. 19 Whoever, therefore, breaks one of these least commandments and teaches mankind to that effect, he will be called ‘least’ in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. As for anyone who does them and teaches them, this one will be called ‘great’ in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. 20 For I say to you that if your righteousness does not abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens” (Matthew 5:17-20).

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law given to Moses. Christians are not under the law given to Moses. Jesus Christ is the end of the law given to Moses: "For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness" (Romans 10:4). However, Jesus Christ urges us to be faithful in small things. “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10).


It is important to understand the point of view of God, on theft and lying.When Adam and Eve sinned by the impulse of the temptation of the devil, there was the lie of the devil and the theft of the fruit belonging to God, by Adam and Eve (Genesis chapter 3). Regarding this biblical narrative, Jesus Christ associated the lie of the devil with homicide: “you are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie” (John 8:44). Through this lie of the devil, sin entered the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam. The result was that death, spiritually and genetically, extended to all of his offspring (Romans 5:12; 6:23). To this situation which seemed hopeless for the whole of mankind,it was necessary for Jehovah God, the Father, to consent to the death in sacrifice of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), to save the humanity(John 3:16,36).


From this perspective, we understand better, the words of Jesus Christ when he connects the lie to homicide or murder. In the case of the devil, but also for the earthly son of Satan, who constantly sought to kill him (John 5:18; 7:1). Sometimes people say there are "little" and "big" lies. The problem is, that the "necessity" and the scale of the seriousness of the lies, are often set by the liars themselves. However, to get back to the important idea, it is necessary to know the point of view of God on this issue through the biblical accounts. A simple statement from Christ shows that humanly establishing such a scale of gravity is a mistake: "The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much" (Luke 16:10). This can be illustrated by the example of Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, who sold their property to give the money to the Christian congregation in the days of the apostles. However, the record informs us that they withheld some money from the sale for themselves, while leading the apostles to believe that they had given all of it. The result is that God put them to death for telling such a lie (Acts 5:1-11). The biblical observation is simple: lying can have disastrous consequences not only for the victims, but also for the liars themselves.

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Jesus Christ forbade murder, hatred and insults

“21 “You heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not murder; but whoever commits a murder will be accountable to the court of justice.’ 22 However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Ge·henʹna” (Matthew 5:21,22).

During his arrest which would lead him to death, Jesus Christ forbade the use of weapons, nor even to defend him or defend his cause: "Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword"" (Matthew 26:52). The murder and the homicide are forbidden, for both personal reasons, and even out of religious or state patriotism. This statement of Christ is a reminder of what it is written in the prophecy of Isaiah: "And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).


No longer learning war obviously supposes not to practice both combat sports or martial arts, even those, tinged with religious propaganda which would consist in saying that it is only with "defensive" purpose. Transforming a human body into a "defensive weapon" can quickly become "an offensive weapon" which can injure and until to kill... Christians should not see violent sports performances or films extolling gratuitous violence. This is completely detestable in the eyes of Jehovah God: "Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, And anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates" (Psalms 11:5).


The expression Gehenna of fire, used by Jesus Christ, has exactly the same meaning of everlasting destruction or death without the possibility of resurrection. Where was Gehenna? It was located in the south of Jerusalem, outside the city walls. It was simply the dumping ground for the city of Jerusalem, which existed in the time of Jesus Christ and was called, the Valley of Hinnon (Ge Hinnom) or Gehenna. The rubbish of the city were thrown and burned there, as well as the corpses of animals and criminals after their execution, unworthy of a burial (even, in the biblical collective imagination, unworthy of a resurrection ("With the burial of a donkey he will be buried, Dragged about and thrown away, Outside the gates of Jerusalem"(Jeremiah 22:19)).

The translation of the Bible into Latin has created confusion in the understanding of the condition of the dead. As we have seen, it is important to differentiate between the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek word Hades, on the one hand, with Gehenna on the other. In some translations of the Bible, these three words have been translated as the original Latin word hell (infernus). In doing so, it created confusion in the understanding of the word gehenna, becoming an unbiblical teaching of the existence of a fiery hell.

Jesus Christ used the word "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire," as a real place known to all his contemporaries, to illustrate the everlasting judgment and the idea of ​​destruction without the possibility of resurrection, the second death. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ referred to this place three times, without necessarily specifying its meaning. Why ? Quite simply, even in Galilee 100 km north of Jerusalem, this place of destruction was well known and did not require any description or explanation (Matthew 5:22,29,30). Gehenna is associated with a fire that does not put out, why? For the obvious reason that such a place, near a city would have represented a danger to the health of most inhabitants, if it had not been fueled by a permanent or constant fire, based on sulfur, in order to decompose all the waste of the city more quickly (Mark 9:47,48).

***

A good relationship with God,

goes through good relationships with our neighbour,

in correctly managing personality conflicts

“23 “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and you there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away; first make your peace with your brother, and then, when you have come back, offer up your gift.

25 “Be about settling matters quickly with the one complaining against you at law, while you are with him on the way there, that somehow the complainant may not turn you over to the judge, and the judge to the court attendant, and you get thrown into prison. 26 I say to you for a fact, You will certainly not come out from there until you have paid over the last coin of very little value” (Matthew 5:23-26).

Jesus Christ said it is better to settle a problem with your neighbor before praying to God. Jesus Christ explained that to have a good relationship with God, we must have a good relationship with our neighbour. We must solve our problems with our neighbor as soon as possible. Especially if we have sinned against him.


Also in this same chapter, Jesus Christ said to love our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). The verb "to love" in this context, is to be taken in the sense of a reasoned love, without necessarily being marked with affection towards our enemy. For example, when someone insults us or behaves badly towards us, the love based on Bible principles will prevent us from responding to insult with insult, or hatred with hatred. In this way, the vicious circle of hatred by hatred will be broken, by the virtuous circle requested by Jesus Christ: that is, to respond to the hatred of our enemy, by self-control, a love based on decorum, good manners , good education and common sense (Galatians 5: 22,23 "the fruit of the holy spirit"). Maybe this way of acting can encourage him to change his attitude towards us.

***

The motives of the actions (good or bad) matter

just as much as the actions (good or bad)

“27 “You heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If, now, that right eye of yours is making you stumble, tear it out and throw it away from you. For it is more beneficial to you for one of your members to be lost to you than for your whole body to be pitched into Ge·henʹna. 30Also, if your right hand is making you stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. For it is more beneficial to you for one of your members to be lost than for your whole body to land in Ge·henʹna” (Matthew 5:27-30).

The spiritual heart is the spiritual inner part of a person, made of reasoning, words and actions (good or bad). Without using the expression of spiritual circumcision, Jesus Christ explained what makes a person pure or impure, because of the state of his spiritual heart: "However, whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile a man" (Matthew 15:18-20). In this case, Jesus Christ describes a human being in a condition of spiritual uncircumcision, with his "foreskin of the heart", with his bad reasoning that makes him impure before God and not fit for life (see Proverbs 4:23):  "The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things" (Matthew 12:35). In the first part of Jesus Christ's statement, he describes a human being who has a spiritually circumcised heart.

***

The Point of View of Jesus Christ on Divorce and Remarriage

“31 “Moreover it was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 However, I say to you that everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31,32).

"And Pharisees came up to him, intent on tempting him and saying: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on every sort of ground?” In reply he said: “Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.” They said to him: “Why, then, did Moses prescribe giving a certificate of dismissal and divorcing her?” He said to them: “Moses, out of regard for your hardheartedness, made the concession to you of divorcing your wives, but such has not been the case from [the] beginning. I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery”" (Matthew 19:3-9).

Thus, the divorce and remarriage are only allowed on the grounds of fornication, that is, sexual practices that the Bible condemns, such as adultery, homosexuality and other perverse practices. What breaks up the bonds of marriage are the death of the spouse and fornication, usually adultery. Of course, in cases of adultery, divorce is not automatic. The offended spouse can forgive. In this case, by mutual agreement, married life can resume. In this situation, the previously offended spouse will not be able biblically to reverse his decision (and if this were to be the case (when there is no other finding of adultery), he could not remarry). In the case of a repeat offense with a finding of adultery, and this time the offended spouse does not forgive, he can divorce and remarry. For those who would make the perverse calculation of resorting to adultery, or manipulation to expose their spouse to adultery, to use the expression of Christ (by the sex strike, without any reason, in order to push the spouse into the need, to the fault), in order to break up the sacred bonds of marriage, then counting on the mercy of God to be forgiven, mislead themselves: "Let marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers" (Hebrews 13:4).

***

Respect for the Promise by Telling the Truth

“33 “Again you heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not swear without performing, but you must pay your vows to Jehovah.’ 34 However, I say to you: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 nor by earth, because it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor by your head must you swear, because you cannot turn one hair white or black. 37 Just let your word Yes mean Yes, your No, No; for what is in excess of these is from the wicked one” (Matthew 5:33-37).

And as for lying, it is written, "Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices" (Colossians 3:9). It is important to understand the point of view of God, on theft and lying. When Adam and Eve sinned by the impulse of the temptation of the devil, there was the lie of the devil and the theft of the fruit belonging to God, by Adam and Eve (Genesis chapter 3). Regarding this biblical narrative, Jesus Christ associated the lie of the devil with homicide: “you are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie” (John 8:44). Through this lie of the devil, sin entered the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam. The result was that death, spiritually and genetically, extended to all of his offspring (Romans 5:12; 6:23). To this situation which seemed hopeless for the whole of mankind, it was necessary for Jehovah God, the Father, to consent to the death in sacrifice of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), to save the humanity (John 3:16,36).

From this perspective, we understand better, the words of Jesus Christ when he connects the lie to homicide or murder. In the case of the devil, but also for the earthly son of Satan, who constantly sought to kill him (John 5:18; 7:1). Sometimes people say there are "little" and "big" lies. The problem is, that the "necessity" and the scale of the seriousness of the lies, are often set by the liars themselves. However, to get back to the important idea, it is necessary to know the point of view of God on this issue through the biblical accounts. A simple statement from Christ shows that humanly establishing such a scale of gravity is a mistake: "The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much" (Luke 16:10). This can be illustrated by the example of Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, who sold their property to give the money to the Christian congregation in the days of the apostles. However, the record informs us that they withheld some money from the sale for themselves, while leading the apostles to believe that they had given all of it. The result is that God put them to death for telling such a lie (Acts 5:1-11). The biblical observation is simple: lying can have disastrous consequences not only for the victims, but also for the liars themselves.

***

We must be peace-loving and peacemakers

“38 “You heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ 39 However, I say to you: Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him. 40 And if a person wants to go to court with you and get possession of your inner garment, let your outer garment also go to him; 41 and if someone under authority impresses you into service for a mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one asking you, and do not turn away from one that wants to borrow from you without interest” (Matthew 5:38-42).

During his arrest which would lead him to death, Jesus Christ forbade the use of weapons, nor even to defend him or defend his cause: "Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword"" (Matthew 26:52). The murder and the homicide are forbidden, for both personal reasons, and even out of religious or state patriotism. This statement of Christ is a reminder of what it is written in the prophecy of Isaiah: "And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).

No longer learning war obviously supposes not to practice both combat sports or martial arts, even those, tinged with religious propaganda which would consist in saying that it is only with "defensive" purpose. Transforming a human body into a "defensive weapon" can quickly become "an offensive weapon" which can injure and until to kill... Christians should not see violent sports performances or films extolling gratuitous violence. This is completely detestable in the eyes of Jehovah God: "Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, And anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates" (Psalms 11:5).

***

To be perfect like the Heavenly Father is perfect

in the manifestation of love of neighbor

“43 “You heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you; 45 that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. 46 For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary thing are you doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing? 48 you must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).

The verb "to love" in this context, is to be taken in the sense of a reasoned love, without necessarily being marked with affection towards our enemy. For example, when someone insults us or behaves badly towards us, the love based on Bible principles will prevent us from responding to insult with insult, or hatred with hatred. In this way, the vicious circle of hatred by hatred will be broken, by the virtuous circle requested by Jesus Christ: that is, to respond to the hatred of our enemy, by self-control, a love based on decorum, good manners , good education and common sense (Galatians 5: 22,23 "the fruit of the holy spirit"). Maybe this way of acting can encourage him to change his attitude towards us.

***

The Sermon on the Mount

(Matthew chapter 6)

Let us serve God with humility, modesty and discretion,

for the glory of God

“Take good care not to practice your righteousness in front of men in order to be observed by them; otherwise you will have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. 2 Hence when you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full. 3 But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 that your gifts of mercy may be in secret; then your Father who is looking on in secret will repay you. (...) 16 When you are fasting, stop becoming sad-faced like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full. 17 But you, when fasting, grease your head and wash your face, 18 that you may appear to be fasting, not to men, but to your Father who is in secrecy; then your Father who is looking on in secrecy will repay you” (Matthew 6:1-4,16-18).

Jesus Christ said that the human who works for his own glory to reap a form of recognition from men for the works he is doing, will only be rewarded with the vanity of the glory of men, very short, and not by God. The Heavenly Father only rewards humans who walk modestly with Him: "He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?" (Micah 6:8). The reward of God, because of our good works, done in the general ignorance of humans, is eternal.

Let us recall what Jesus Christ said at the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount: his disciples are the lights of the world, and the good works they do must give glory to his Father (Matthew 5:14-16). Therefore, let us be careful to ensure that the merit of our good deeds always give glory  to God: "Therefore, whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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Jesus Christ tells us how to pray to his Heavenly Father

“Also, when you pray, you must not be as the hypocrites; because they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the broad ways to be visible to men. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full. 6 You, however, when you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you. 7 But when praying, do not say the same things over and over again, just as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words. 8 So, do not make yourselves like them, for God your Father knows what things you are needing before ever you ask him” (Matthew 6:5-8).

"True worshipers" must worship God with "spirit," or spiritually, without idolatrous religious objects, such as crosses, statues, images, or medals connected to Marian worship or others "saints". If a Christian has such objects, he must get rid of them and destroy them (Acts 19:19,20). The Christian must worship God with the "truth" set forth in the Bible (John 17:17, 2; Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21). The Christian must not make gestures that are not suitable, biblically, before and after the prayer, such as making the sign of the cross. It is a non-biblical practice that did not exist in the time of the apostles. As the apostle Paul said, under inspiration: "Therefore, my beloved ones, flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14).

"True worshipers" must worship God with "spirit," or spiritually, without idolatrous religious objects, such as crosses, statues, images, or medals connected to Marian worship or others "saints". If a Christian has such objects, he must get rid of them and destroy them (Acts 19:19,20). The Christian must worship God with the "truth" set forth in the Bible (John 17:17, 2; Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21). The Christian must not make gestures that are not suitable, biblically, before and after the prayer, such as making the sign of the cross. It is a non-biblical practice that did not exist in the time of the apostles. As the apostle Paul said, under inspiration: "Therefore, my beloved ones, flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14).

Is it appropriate to repeat this prayer by rote, without thinking about it? On the basis of the declarations of Jesus Christ, it is obvious that no. We can read again what he said about not mechanically repeating, without thinking, always the same things, in our prayers: "When praying, do not say the same things over and over again as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words" (Matthew 6:7).

***

What lesson to draw from the model prayer?

“9 You must pray, then, this way:

“‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. 10 Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. 11 Give us today our bread for this day; 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’

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14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will yoir Father forgive your trespasses " (Matthieu 6:9-15).

We must pray to God with love and affection, as when a son and a daughter speak to their father whom they love deeply and sincerely. We must be concerned for His Name, to be sanctified, which includes the desire to defend the reputation connected with the divine Name. We must express to God our sincere desire that his righteous purpose be fulfilled on earth (Matthew 6:9,10). Jesus Christ makes it clear that our prayers, in general, should be an act of worship directed towards God, expressing to Him praises and deep gratitude for the many expressions of love that He manifests to us. The book of Psalms gives many examples of praises we can direct to Jehovah God, such as a pleasant spiritual incense for Him: "May my prayer be as incense prepared before you, My uplifted hands like the evening grain offering" (Psalm 141:2). Jehovah God is very sensitive to the fact that we love Him and that we make him know by our praises and our good conduct: "(God) showing loyal love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:6). Through our prayers and good behavior, let us respond to His Love, BY loving God in return. Psalm 145, is very rich in praise directed to God: "I will exalt you, O my God the King, I will praise your name forever and ever" (Psalms 145:1).

Then we can pray to God, referring more specifically to our personal needs, such as to ask God to help us spiritually and materially. We can share with God our most intimate feelings that concern us, or express to Him our joy in thanksgivings (The biblical book of Psalms is a precious poetic collection of feelings expressed to God). Jesus Christ, in the last part of the prayer, encourages us to ask God to help us to fight against our weaknesses, that the devil is exploiting to tempt us and thus undermine our integrity (Matthew 6: 11-13 Romans 7: 21-25).

In Matthew 6: 14,15, Jesus Christ shows that the quality of our relationship with God depends on the relationship we have with our neighbor: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;  whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 5:23,24; 1 John 3:15; 4:8).

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We must reject the love of money and the pursuit of wealth

We must make a choice, between serving God or Riches

"19 Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is simple, your whole body will be bright; 23 but if your eye is wicked, your whole body will be dark. If in reality the light that is in you is darkness, how great that darkness is!

24 “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches" (Matthew 6:19-24).

It is clear that the Bible does not condemn wealth, just as it does not encourage poverty. Jesus Christ warns against our relationship to wealth, put in perspective with our main purpose of serving God. Jesus Christ, like the Bible as a whole, condemns the love of money: “However, those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:9,10). By the expression "simple eye", it means sincere, all one way, in focus, generous, which is in conformity with the service for God. And a "wicked eye" is bad, envious, and has goals based on lust, greed, which is consistent with service to the god Riches.

Jesus Christ encourages being rich toward God: “With that he spoke an illustration to them, saying: “The land of a certain rich man produced well. Consequently he began reasoning within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, now that I have nowhere to gather my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my storehouses and build bigger ones, and there I will gather all my grain and all my good things; and I will say to my soul: “Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.”’ But God said to him, ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your soul from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’ So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).

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Jesus Christ encourages us to solve our problems day by day

“25 On this account I say to you: Stop being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not the soul mean more than food and the body than clothing? 26 Observe intently the birds of heaven, because they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses; still your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? 27 Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span? 28 Also, on the matter of clothing, why are you anxious? Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they are growing; they do not toil, nor do they spin; 29 but I say to you that not even Solʹo·mon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. 30If, now, God thus clothes the vegetation of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? 31 So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ 32 For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.

33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to you. 34 So, never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness” (Matthew 6:25-34).

It is normal to feel worried about problems, especially if they are serious. However, Jesus Christ says that excessive worry will not solve the problem. Besides, he asks this question, to show that excessive worry is fruitless: "Which of you, by worrying, can add a single cubit to his life span?" (verse 27). The best way to deal with worry is to trust that God will help humans who are doing His will, just as He cares for all of His creation: "A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, And yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, Nor his offspring looking for bread" (Psalms 37:25). Jesus Christ encourages humans to live in the present (bounded in this case, by the day) to solve problems because the past no longer exists and the future does not exist. This simple idea helps not to fuel excessive worry because "sufficient for each day is its own badness". In counsel on prayer, Jesus Christ said: "God your Father knows what things you are needing before ever you ask him" (Matthew 6:8). Regarding the need for food, it is written in the model prayer: "Give us today our bread for this day" (Matthew 6:11).

Therefore it is better to avoid excessive anticipation which can lead to morbid anxiety. Let us solve our problems as they arise, while trusting in God: "Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5,6).

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The Sermon on the Mount

(Matthew chapter 7)

Stop judging that you may not be judged

“Stop judging that you may not be judged; 2 for with what judgment you are judging, you will be judged; and with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you. 3 Why, then, do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the rafter in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Allow me to extract the straw from your eye’; when, look! a rafter is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First extract the rafter from your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to extract the straw from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

This exhortation not to judge is to be put in the context of the general human relationship and not in the normal framework of a court which requires the intervention of a judge to rule on the guilt or not of a person.

Jesus Christ says that the human who tends to systematically judge his neighbour, often forgets that he is in very exactly the same situation as the person he is judging: a sinner like all the other descendants of Adam: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ adds a second point showing that the person who is judging, puts himself in a very delicate situation from the point of view of the one who will exercise judgment, King Jesus Christ, especially shortly before the great tribulation: he will be judged in the same way how he judges others. So non-judgment, seen from this perspective, is a way of being careful. However, Jesus Christ said before, in his sermon, that we must be merciful and thus, it will be shown mercy to us. We must forgive, so God will forgive us our faults (Matthew 5:7; 6:14,15).

However, Jesus Christ goes much further concerning the person who tends to judge his neighbor, he says without hesitation, that he is a hypocrite. Indeed, he judges his neighbor by ignoring that he has faults, even much more serious; Jesus Christ says that the person judged has a straw in his eye while, by optical effect, the other, has a rafter in his eye. The expression used by Christ is completely in keeping with the person who regularly judges his neighbour: "Physician, cure yourself" (Luke 4:23).

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Do not give what is holy to dogs

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open” (Matthew 7:6).

Obviously the dogs and the swine symbolize physical humans whose behavior is not spiritual at all (1 Corinthians 2:16). However, in this specific case, Jesus Christ explains that these humans can cause injury or even death. What are "holy" or "pearls" are spiritual gifts connected to the sacred service for God, among other things, the proclamation of the good news and biblical teaching. Within the framework of the Christian ministry of the Word, the Christian must be cautious, and must have insight to know the time not to insist: "Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

All the people who refuse to listen for a time, the good news, or who have a different point of view or reject the Word of God, are not to be put in the category mentioned by Jesus Christ. He was with sinners in order to bring them back to the right path: "I have come to call, not righteous persons, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:27-32). In some religions or congregations, Christians are excommunicated for having a different point of view on the interpretation of the Bible. While these Christians are placed in the category of apostates, some go so far as to call them "dogs" and "swine", while their behavior has nothing to do with the dangerousness mentioned by Jesus Christ, namely to harm them or to endanger the life of those who are insulting them.

Regarding this painful situation, especially for people ostracized by a whole set of congregations, things are in the hands of King Jesus Christ, at the time of the judgment of the Christian congregations, shortly before the congregation (Matthew 25). For people who do not hesitate to insult them, according to Matthew 7:1-4, but also according to Matthew 5:22, they put themselves in an extremely dangerous situation, because if the ostracized person or persons were to to be exonerated, their good reputations restored, on the day of judgment, what will happen to the people who will have seriously insulted them? 


Here is a text of the prophecy of Isaiah which will be an encouragement for the honest people before God, who live this very painful situation: "Hear the word of Jehovah, you men who are trembling at his word: “Your brothers that are hating you, that are excluding you by reason of my name, said, ‘May Jehovah be glorified!’ He must also appear with rejoicing on your part, and they are the ones that will be put to shame.”" (Isaiah 66:5). If you are faithful to God and Jesus Christ and you will remain with this Christian integrity, until the end, God will ensure the rehabilitation of your good reputation that you already have before Him, this time in particular in front of those who infringe the dignity of your person:


"However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Gehenna" (Matthew 5:22).

***

Keep on asking, and it will be given you

“7 Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened. 9 Indeed, who is the man among you whom his son asks for bread—he will not hand him a stone, will he? 10 Or, perhaps, he will ask for a fish—he will not hand him a serpent, will he? 11 Therefore, if you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will your Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him?” (Matthew 7:7-11).

Jesus Christ says that if we want the blessing of God', we must insist and persevere in prayer. In another illustration, he showed how a widow, by dint of insisting before an unrighteous judge, was able to obtain justice: "Then he went on to tell them an illustration with regard to the need for them always to pray and not to give up, saying: “In a certain city there was a certain judge that had no fear of God and had no respect for man. But there was a widow in that city and she kept going to him, saying, ‘See that I get justice from my adversary at law.’ Well, for a while he was unwilling, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Although I do not fear God or respect a man, at any rate, because of this widow’s continually making me trouble, I will see that she gets justice, so that she will not keep coming and pummeling me to a finish.’” Then the Lord said: “Hear what the judge, although unrighteous, said! Certainly, then, shall not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night, even though he is long-suffering toward them? I tell you, He will cause justice to be done to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?”" (Luke 18:1-8).

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The golden rule

“All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean” (Matthew 7:12).

Jesus Christ states the commandment that upholds all of the Law and the Prophets, that is the royal law of love because he repeats the same expression in conclusion: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”" (Matthew 22: 36-40; James 2:8).

Still on the same theme of love of neighbour, he was asked the question about what the word “neighbor” actually means. Jesus Christ gave by an illustration to give the definition: "But, wanting to prove himself righteous, the man said to Jesus: “Who really is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jerʹi·cho and fell among robbers, who both stripped him and inflicted blows, and went off, leaving him half-dead. Now, by coincidence, a certain priest was going down over that road, but, when he saw him, he went by on the opposite side.  Likewise, a Levite also, when he got down to the place and saw him, went by on the opposite side.  But a certain Sa·marʹi·tan traveling the road came upon him and, at seeing him, he was moved with pity. So he approached him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine upon them. Then he mounted him upon his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two de·narʹi·i, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him, and whatever you spend besides this, I will repay you when I come back here.’ Who of these three seems to you to have made himself neighbor to the man that fell among the robbers?” He said: “The one that acted mercifully toward him.” Jesus then said to him: “Go your way and be doing the same yourself.”" (Luke 10:29-37).

Thus, as Jesus Christ pointed out, the golden rule must apply indiscriminately to all the humans, including also our enemies according to what is written in Matthew 5:43-48.

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Go in through the narrow gate

“13 Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

Jesus Christ repeatedly showed that the way to everlasting life would not be easy to enter and follow because he told about a door accessing a narrow way to eternal life. The path leading to destruction does not have these two difficulties mentioned, the door and the narrowness of the path, it is simply wide and easy to follow, it does not require any effort.

Jesus Christ underlined the difficulty of the Christian ministry in different ways, which corresponds to this path not easy to find and to follow: "Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men; for they will deliver you up to local courts, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. Why, you will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations" (Matthew 10:16-18).

Jesus Christ showed that being a Christian in this system of things would not be easy and would require a self-sacrificing spirit: "And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38). He showed the need to endure until the end to have the everlasting life: "But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).

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Be on the watch for the false prophets

“15 Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to you in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruits you will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? 17 Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; 18 a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. 19 Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.

21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:15-23).

Jesus Christ says that the danger of false prophets would be in their ability to seduce, to have a sheep-like appearance. They would therefore not be easily identifiable with their attitude based on mental manipulation to seduce, but with the final result of their bad actions, which would demonstrate in fact that they are rapacious and ruthless wolves who abuse the Christian congregation. Jesus Christ insists on the spirit of observation or insight which will make it possible to clearly understand that something abnormal is happening, in the presence of these false prophets, as if we were seeing grapes on thorns or figs on thistles.

The apostle Paul has been confronted with these seductive false prophets, who posed as super apostles: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Jesus Christ simply shows that the criterion of everlasting salvation is to do the will of God: "Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will" (Matthew 7:21).

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The conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount

"24 Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass. 25 And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass. 26 Furthermore, everyone hearing these sayings of mine and not doing them will be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. 27 And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and struck against that house and it caved in, and its collapse was great" (Matthew 7:24-27).

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Jesus Christ was teaching as a person having authority

“When Jesus finished these sayings, the effect was that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching, for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28 ,29).

Jesus Christ gave his Sermon on the Mount in Galilee, a region that was both agricultural and with fishing activity. Thus, he gave illustrations connected with their daily life, with many references to nature. Jesus Christ had grown up in Galilee, probably his listeners felt it, they realized that he was a man, although endowed with extraordinary divine wisdom, very close to the people and who loved them (Matthew 9:36). However, what most captivated his listeners was his frankness, his outspokenness, his benevolent authority towards the people.

In the Sermon on the Mount, we note that Jesus Christ illustrated all of his important ideas. This allowed his listeners to better memorize the key ideas of his speech. For example, remembering the word "happy" at the beginning of his sermon, the listener thought of hope despite his serious difficulties. The illustration of the straw and the rafter in the eye, do not judge. The gate and the narrow way, illustrating the necessity of perseverance until the fulfillment of Christian hope.

In the Sermon on the Mount, there are no hard-to-understand ideas, which doen not detract from the depth of the teachings. For example, in the laws prohibiting murder and adultery, Jesus Christ emphasized the intentions or motives that may precede these serious sins. Thus, he showed that to avoid reaching such extremes, it is necessary to act upstream. For example, to avoid anger, hatred and resentment and later, possibly homicide, Jesus Christ showed that personality conflicts must be resolved as soon as possible in order to avoid a deadly degradation of the human relationship. As far as the outcome or end result of a situation is concerned, Jesus Christ showed that it is not only the committed sin that is serious, but the intention, even if it did not happen materialized, as in the case of adultery. As for the golden rule, by the expression showing that all the law and the prophets hang there, he showed what was at the base of the laws, timeless principles such as love for God and neighbor. The law has a circumstantial value (it can be abrogated as for example the Mosaic Law and be replaced by another (Romans 10:4)), while the principle or the commandment is timeless or eternal, it is what shows the golden rule (Matthew 22:36-40).

Therefore, regardless of his audience, the quality of teaching was the same, however, when dealing with a group of people who were not very used to handling abstract ideas, then he used illustrations to clarify the meaning. The power of his way of teaching lay in his ability to explain deep and not always easy to understand ideas, in a simple way, with simple words and clear illustrations.

On the other hand, when he was in the presence of teachers, he could astonish them with the depth of his knowledge of the Scriptures. For example in his conversation with Gamaliel he spoke of the new birth. Gamaliel was completely destabilized by this expression in close connection with baptism, but also with the resurrection. Faced with this astonishment, Jesus Christ asked him this rhetorical question: "Are you a teacher of Israel and yet do not know these things?". And to add: "If I have told you earthly things and you still do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?". Said in another way, Jesus Christ showed that he did not have to force too much on the difficulty of the teaching, by sticking to the only earthly aspect, evoking that there was a heavenly aspect as well (John chapter 3).

Sometimes he asked a question that implied that the teaching had other corners of understanding. For example, the contemporaries of Christ called him son of David, which was both true, but in another context it was not: "Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him: “David’s.” He asked them: “How is it, then, that David under inspiration calls him Lord, saying, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’? If, then, David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And nobody was able to say a word in reply to him, and from that day on, no one dared to question him any further” (Matthew 22:41-46).

Sometimes his teaching could be very complex and difficult to understand, such as the prophecy regarding the last days in Matthew 24, 25, Mark 13 and Luke 21. In this specific case, to understand some biblical expressions, one must have a good knowledge of the prophecy of Daniel because he mainly referred to it.

Sometimes Jesus Christ created a selection in his audience, between those who listened to him superficially, without seeking to know more, and others much less numerous, like the apostles who questioned him to explain the symbolism of his illustrations (Matthew 13:10-15).

There would be many other things to say about the way of teaching of Jesus Christ, it is advisable to be inspired by it, particularly for the teachers of the Word of God, in order to make the teaching both deep and simple to understand in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible: "In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely" (1 Peter 2:21).

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Let us imitate Jesus Christ in Preaching the Good News of the Kingdom

The Witnessing to a Samaritan Woman

"A woman of Sa·marʹi·a came to draw water. Jesus said to her: “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone off into the city to buy food.) 9 So the Sa·marʹi·tan woman said to him: How is it that you, despite being a Jew, ask me for a drink even though I am a Sa·marʹi·tan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Sa·marʹi·tans.) 10In answer Jesus said to her: If you had known of the free gift of God and who it is who says to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. 11She said to him: “Sir, you do not even have a bucket for drawing water, and the well is deep. From what source, then, do you have this living water? 12 You are not greater than our forefather Jacob, who gave us the well and who together with his sons and his cattle drank out of it, are you?” 13 In answer Jesus said to her: “Everyone drinking from this water will get thirsty again. 14 Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” 15 The woman said to him: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may neither thirst nor keep coming over to this place to draw water.” 16 He said to her: “Go, call your husband and come to this place.” 17 The woman replied: “I do not have a husband.” Jesus said to her: “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ 18 For you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. This you have said truthfully.” 19 The woman said to him: “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.” 21 Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation begins with the Jews. 23 Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him: “I know that Mes·siʹah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one comes, he will declare all things to us openly.” 26 Jesus said to her: “I am he, the one speaking to you" (John 4:7-26. For the study of this text, the numbers marking the verses were voluntarily left).

To have a more precise idea of what can be said in the context of preaching, let us see how Jesus Christ informally preached to a Samaritan woman:

- Jesus Christ aroused an unusual double situation (verses 7-9): He was Jewish and spoke in public to a Samaritan woman. Jews and Samaritans hated each other so much that at the time, to insult one of their compatriot, they sometimes called him a "Samaritan" (see John 8:48, it is interesting to note that the illustration of "Good Samaritan", clearly fits in Christ's purpose, to subtly denounce this anti-Samaritan Jewish religious racism (Luke 10:25-37)). Moreover, Jesus Christ spoke in public to a woman, which was not the uses. In John 4:27, it is written that even his disciples were astonished at this situation. Be that as it may, in verse 16, Jesus Christ asked the woman to bring her husband for to continue the conversation. While Jesus Christ always had a chaste attitude towards women, he respected the customs regarding the relationship between men and women, and of course, of biblical morals.

Therefore, it is important not to have prejudices on the people to whom we are preaching the Good News. Jehovah God and Jesus Christ love all peoples and humans of all races, both men and women (Acts 10:34 "God is not partial").

- Jesus Christ continued after the first surprise effect, adding something strange (verses 10-15): He can give her water, while he has no bucket (verse 10) . Of course, it was a spiritual way. Without necessarily thinking that the Samaritan woman lacked shrewdness, because she did not know that he was Jesus Christ who spoke to her, she pointed out to him that he had no bucket. Nevertheless, without pointing her the lack of discernment, Jesus Christ added a third surprising idea, completely aberrant from a human point of view: he can give her water which she will not be thirsty anymore. One can easily imagine the Samaritan woman looking at Jesus Christ, wide-eyed replying: "Sir, give me this water, so that I may neither thirst nor keep coming over to this place to draw water". Clearly, the woman had not yet understood that Jesus Christ was speaking symbolically. He did not point out to her his lack of insight, because the goal he had set for himself was reached: to draw her attention.

First, to draw attention, use simple, (maybe, if possible) hard-hitting phrases that are out of the ordinary. It is necessary to arouse this innate curiosity to human beings, so that they can react and thus provoke spiritually interesting conversations. The second point is that Jesus Christ did not take back the Samaritan woman when she did not understand anything, he pursued his goal, he aroused her attention by creating a common ground between him and her.

- Jesus Christ refused to argue (Verse 20-22): The Samaritan woman opens a controversy over the different places of worship of Jews and Samaritans (verse 20). Jesus Christ did not enter into controversy by telling her that henceforth true worship would no longer depend on a particular holy place (verse 21). Having dismissed this pointless controversy, Jesus Christ nonetheless exposed the truth (Verse 22): "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation begins with the Jews". Salvation comes from the Jews because from this people (and not from the Samaritan people) would come the main means of everlasting salvation: Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

It is important to balance the fact of avoiding unnecessarily entering into pointless controversy, but also of the absolute necessity of exposing the biblical truth, as did Jesus Christ in this case.

- Jesus Christ spoke of "true worshipers" (Verses 23 and 24): The expression "true worshipers" has the advantage of its great simplicity: either we are, or we are not. Just as Jesus Christ said, there are only two alternatives, one that leads to life and the other to destruction (Matthew 7:13,14,21-23). Likewise, there are only two categories of worshipers: the true and the false. The true worshipers have been appointed by divine providence: Christians: "After he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year they assembled with them in the congregation and taught quite a crowd, and it was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians" (Acts 11:26). It is shortly before the Great Tribulation that Jesus Christ will make the difference between "true Christians" and "false Christians" (Matthew 7:21-23). Which means that if one were to replace the word "worshippers" or "to worship" with the non-biblical words "religion" or "religious", the situation will become (and it is) more complex: Indeed, how to recognize the "true religion" "among the millions of other religions that all call themselves "true"? It is better to remain on the simplicity of the term "true worshipers", used by Christ, or "Christian" used in the biblical book Acts (by divine providence). Clearly, Jesus Christ preached a message, the good news, rather than a "religion" (non-biblical generic word).

On the other hand, Jesus Christ has shown that his "Father is looking for ones like these to worship him", by means of human preaching, He is the One who is building up His Own People: "At that time those who fear Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance was written before him for those fearing Jehovah and for those meditating on his name" (Matthew 24:14, Malachi 3:16). Let us preach to the future great crowd that will survive to the great tribulation, the Day of Jehovah (Joel 2:1,2).

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The Teaching of Jesus Christ Through Illustrations

Who is my neighbour? The Good Samaritan

"25 Now, look! a certain man versed in the Law rose up, to test him out, and said: “Teacher, by doing what shall I inherit everlasting life?” 26 He said to him: “What is written in the Law? How do you read?” 27 In answer he said: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and, ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 He said to him: “You answered correctly; ‘keep on doing this and you will get life.’” 29 But, wanting to prove himself righteous, the man said to Jesus: “Who really is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jerʹi·cho and fell among robbers, who both stripped him and inflicted blows, and went off, leaving him half-dead. 31 Now, by coincidence, a certain priest was going down over that road, but, when he saw him, he went by on the opposite side. 32 Likewise, a Levite also, when he got down to the place and saw him, went by on the opposite side. 33 But a certain Sa·marʹi·tan traveling the road came upon him and, at seeing him, he was moved with pity. 34So he approached him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine upon them. Then he mounted him upon his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two de·narʹi·i, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, Take care of him, and whatever you spend besides this, I will repay you when I come back here. 36Who of these three seems to you to have made himself neighbor to the man that fell among the robbers?” 37 He said: “The one that acted mercifully toward him.” Jesus then said to him: “Go your way and be doing the same yourself”" (Luke 10:25-37).

This illustration is completely surprising. It is likely that this answer must have surprised the Jewish audience at that time. The Jews and the Samaritans hated each other so much, to insult one of their compatriots, they sometimes called him a "Samaritan": "In answer the Jews said to him: “Do we not rightly say, You are a Sa·marʹi·tan and have a demon?”” (John 8:48). By this insult, the Jews associated the Samaritans with humans under the influence of demons. Jesus Christ was not unaware of this situation. The illustration of the "Good Samaritan" is obviously part of the purpose of Jesus Christ, to subtly denounce this Jewish religious racism, anti-Samaritan. In John 4:7-26 we can read that Jesus Christ preached to a Samaritan woman, which demonstrates that he had no racial prejudice.

Jesus Christ went even further by contrasting the non-assistance to anyone in danger, of a seriously wounded Jew, on the part of a priest and a Levite, people supposed to be exemplary in the application of the Law of God, based on justice and mercy (Matthew 23:23). While the Samaritan, assisted this man in distress. The contrast is so surprising, between these two attitudes, that one wonders if ultimately Jesus Christ did not base himself on a news item that would have happened around Jericho. The very fact that Jesus Christ placed the drama very precisely on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, seems to indicate that sometimes travelers could be victims of robbers (Luke 13:1-5, sometimes Jesus Christ could illustrate his teaching with real events). The narrative shows that the interlocutor asked this question, not to sincerely inform himself, but “to prove himself righteous”. Jesus Christ perceiving this, showed him that this was not necessarily the case, because, in conclusion, he said to him: "Go your way and be doing the same yourself" (implying that he had to work on this point of racial prejudice between Jews and Samaritans).

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The lost and found sheep and drachma coin

"Now all the tax collectors and the sinners kept drawing near to him to hear him. 2 Consequently both the Pharisees and the scribes kept muttering, saying: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then he spoke this illustration to them, saying: 4 “What man of you with a hundred sheep, on losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine behind in the wilderness and go for the lost one until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it he puts it upon his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he gets home he calls his friends and his neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 I tell you that thus there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance.

8 “Or what woman with ten drachma coins, if she loses one drachma coin, does not light a lamp and sweep her house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it she calls the women who are her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the drachma coin that I lost.’ 10 Thus, I tell you, joy arises among the angels of God over one sinner that repents”" (Luke 15:1-10).

While Jesus Christ is with sinners, the Pharisees reproach him for having bad associations. Jesus Christ will answer them with three illustrations. The two illustrations of the lost and found sheep and drachma coin (above) and the prodigal son (below). Jesus Christ explains to the ruthless Pharisees that for God, the life of a single human being in danger is as valuable as those of other humans who are safe. In the illustration of the lost sheep, the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep in safety, to put all his energy to find and save the missing sheep. Jesus Christ shows that just as a shepherd or a woman would put all their energy into seeking what they have lost, so God wants spiritual shepherds to put the same energy into spiritually saving the humans under their care.

There are behaviors that Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ condemn. It is important to know them, and to gradually make the necessary changes to please God and his Son. The attitude of Jesus Christ towards sinners who lived in his day enables us to better understand how merciful and patient Jehovah God his Father is. Jesus Christ compassionately strove to help sinners to return to the righteous path of God. Let us take several examples showing both his compassion, his patience and his steadfastness.

The Gospel of Luke chapter (19:1-10), Jesus Christ comes to Jericho and there is a great crowd to welcome him. And among that crowd there is a little man, trying to see that famous Jesus. So he climbs on a tree which is on the way. Zacchaeus is a tax collector known for his dishonesty. As Jesus reaches at his height, he lifts his head and tells Zacchaeus, surprising every one, that he will come to eat at his home. It is written that people are shocked that Jesus go to eat at the home of such a sinful man. At the end of the narrative it is written the reason that Jesus did this. After Zacchaeus announced that he repented of his sins and that he would concretely make reparation for it, it is written: "For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).

The Gospel of Matthew (9:9-13), informs us that Jesus selected Matthew, a tax collector, as an apostle to follow him. For his farewell, it is likely that he organized a meal with his now former coworkers, as it is written: “Next, while passing along from there, Jesus caught sight of a man named Matthew seated at the tax office, and he said to him: “Be my follower.” Thereupon he did rise up and follow him. Later, while he was reclining at the table in the house, look! many tax collectors and sinners came and began reclining with Jesus and his disciples.  But on seeing this the Pharisees began to say to his disciples: “Why is it that your teacher eats with tax collectors and sinners?” Hearing them, he said: “Persons in health do not need a physician, but the ailing do. Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came to call, not righteous people, but sinners.””.

Let’s take a last example: It is written, in the Gospel of John chapter 4, that Jesus was very tired and he sat down near a well to rest. A Samaritan woman approached to draw water. Jesus started the conversation with her. During the spiritual conversation, Jesus told this woman that he was the Christ, something he rarely did (John 4:26). So Jesus did her a great honor by telling her this. However, in verse 18 of that same chapter, we can read that she lived in sin, for she was with a man without being married (John 4:18). From these three examples, among others, we see that Jesus Christ did not hesitate to rub shoulders with sinners to encourage them to take the straight path of God.

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The Mercy of the Heavenly Father Illustrated by the Prodigal Son

"11 Then he said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the part of the property that falls to my share.’ Then he divided his means of living to them. 13 Later, after not many days, the younger son gathered all things together and traveled abroad into a distant country, and there squandered his property by living a debauched life. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred throughout that country, and he started to be in need. 15 He even went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to herd swine. 16 And he used to desire to be filled with the carob pods which the swine were eating, and no one would give him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many hired men of my father are abounding with bread, while I am perishing here from famine! 18 I will rise and journey to my father and say to him: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he rose and went to his father. While he was yet a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was moved with pity, and he ran and fell upon his neck and tenderly kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Make me as one of your hired men.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quick! bring out a robe, the best one, and clothe him with it, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened young bull, slaughter it and let us eat and enjoy ourselves, 24 because this my son was dead and came to life again; he was lost and was found.’ And they started to enjoy themselves.

25 “Now his older son was in the field; and as he came and got near the house he heard a music concert and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants to him and inquired what these things meant. 27 He said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father slaughtered the fattened young bull, because he got him back in good health.’ 28 But he became wrathful and was unwilling to go in. Then his father came out and began to entreat him. 29 In reply he said to his father, ‘Here it is so many years I have slaved for you and never once did I transgress your commandment, and yet to me you never once gave a kid for me to enjoy myself with my friends. 30 But as soon as this your son who ate up your means of living with harlots arrived, you slaughtered the fattened young bull for him.’ 31 Then he said to him, ‘Child, you have always been with me, and all the things that are mine are yours; 32 but we just had to enjoy ourselves and rejoice, because this your brother was dead and came to life, and he was lost and was found.’”" (Luke 15:11-32).

Through the illustration of the prodigal son, Jesus Christ allows us to better understand the way of acting of his Father in situations where his creatures contest, for a time, his authority. The prodigal son asked his father for his inheritance and to leave the house. The father allowed his son to take this decision, to make his own path in life, but also to assume the consequences. In the illustration, after some time of dissolute living, the son decides to return to at home. He repents, the father forgives him and celebrates with joy his return. The father does not judge the motives of his son to come back. In the illustration the son returns to his father by force of circumstances, and he holds a reasoning based on practical wisdom. The message of Christ is to make it understood that the mercy of his Father will go so far as to accept this practical wisdom pushed by the force of circumstances which can lead humans to repentance.

The illustration has a second part which describes the indignant and jealous reaction of the brother of the prodigal son. He criticizes his father for having celebrated the return of his brother, whereas he himself has never been the object of such attention. We see another illustration of God's mercy and patience with hard-hearted humans. While his son is offended, the father goes to see him to resolve this situation. What the son says to his father, reveals his motivations: "Here it is so many years I have slaved for you and never once did I transgress your commandment, and yet to me you never once gave a kid for me to enjoy myself with my friends". Instead of focusing on getting his brother back safe and sound, he makes it a personal matter, based on completely egotistical reasoning, based on his own person. He says he worked "like a slave" without transgressing his command, demonstrating that loyalty to his father was formalistic and devoid of any feeling of love for him. Added to this, he has an absolute contempt for his brother, when he says to his father, "as soon as this your son who ate up your means of living with harlots arrived". He reminds him harshly of his brother's past conduct. He does not even say "my brother" but, "your son". In the father's patient response to his indignant son, he reminds him (indirectly) that if he is indeed his son, he is also his brother.

There is no doubt that this formalistic and ruthless son is a reflection of the harsh and merciless behavior of the scribes and Pharisees of the time of Christ: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness. These things it was binding to do, yet not to disregard the other things” (Matthew 23:23).

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A lesson in mercy

"36 Now one of the Pharisees kept asking him to dine with him. So he entered the house of the Pharisee and reclined at the table. 37 And look! a woman who was known in the city to be a sinner learned that he was dining in the house of the Pharisee, and she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. 38 Taking a position behind him at his feet, she wept and began to wet his feet with her tears, and she wiped them off with the hair of her head. Also, she tenderly kissed his feet and poured the perfumed oil on them. 39 Seeing this, the Pharisee who had invited him said to himself: “If this man were really a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman it is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40 But in reply Jesus said to him: “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He said: “Teacher, say it!”

41 “Two men were debtors to a certain lender; the one was in debt for 500 de·narʹi·i, but the other for 50. 42 When they did not have anything to pay him back with, he freely forgave them both. Therefore, which one of them will love him more?” 43 In answer Simon said: “I suppose it is the one whom he forgave more.” He said to him: “You judged correctly.” 44 With that he turned to the woman and said to Simon: “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet. But this woman wet my feet with her tears and wiped them off with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but this woman, from the hour that I came in, did not stop tenderly kissing my feet. 46 You did not pour oil on my head, but this woman poured perfumed oil on my feet. 47 Because of this, I tell you, her sins, many though they are, are forgiven, because she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her: “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Those reclining at the table with him started to say among themselves: “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 But he said to the woman: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”" (Luke 7:36-50).

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Forgive up to 77 times

"21 Then Peter came up and said to him: “Lord, how many times is my brother to sin against me and am I to forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him: “I say to you, not, Up to seven times, but, Up to seventy-seven times.

23 “That is why the kingdom of the heavens has become like a man, a king, that wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he started to settle them, there was brought in a man who owed him ten thousand talents [=60,000,000 denarii]. 25But because he did not have the means to pay it back, his master ordered him and his wife and his children and all the things he had to be sold and payment to be made. 26 Therefore the slave fell down and began to do obeisance to him, saying, ‘Be patient with me and I will pay back everything to you.’ 27 Moved to pity at this, the master of that slave let him off and canceled his debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves that was owing him a hundred denarii; and, grabbing him, he began to choke him, saying, Pay back whatever you owe. 29Therefore his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Be patient with me and I will pay you back.’ 30 However, he was not willing, but went off and had him thrown into prison until he should pay back what was owing. 31 When, therefore, his fellow slaves saw the things that had happened, they became very much grieved, and they went and made clear to their master all the things that had happened. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘Wicked slave, I canceled all that debt for you, when you entreated me. 33 Ought you not, in turn, to have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I also had mercy on you?’ 34 With that his master, provoked to wrath, delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay back all that was owing. 35 In like manner my heavenly Father will also deal with you if you do not forgive each one his brother from your hearts”" (Matthew 18:21-35).

Jesus Christ repeats a very important teaching point, to obtain the mercy of God, written in Matthew 6:14,15. He shows that the quality of our relationship with God depends on the relationship we have with our neighbor: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;  whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 5:23,24; 1 John 3:15; 4:8).

Is the Christian under the obligation to forgive everything? Like all biblical teaching, it must be based on the context of the statements of Christ. In Matthew 6:14,15, Jesus Christ shows that humans must absolutely forgive the sins of their neighbor. However, this injunction to forgiveness is part of a normal human relationship strewn, very often with tensions, with more or less serious offenses. Going back to the context of this commandment of forgiveness to one's neighbour, in Matthew 5:23,24, we have confirmation that this required forgiveness is in a daily framework of the human relationship, which very often needs adjustments to reach serene relationships, every day. And forgiveness helps to ease tensions, and to learn to bear with one another (Romans 15:1,2).

Going back to the question of 7 times forgiveness, mentioned by the apostle Peter, and Christ's response of 77 times forgiveness, Jesus Christ emphasizes more on the kind of forgiveness. Indeed, if a person says to himself, I will forgive him only 7 times, does he really forgive his neighbor, keeping an accounting of his neighbor's sins? Christ's response makes such a count more difficult. Which means that the person who forgives his neighbor will do so with all his heart, without residual resentment that would push him to make a count. If we have understood that Jesus Christ, in Matthew 18, insists on the good quality of wholehearted forgiveness, then we will also understand, according to the context of this same chapter, that is not an invitation to forgive everything.

The apostle Peter's question about forgiving seven times, comes precisely from a statement of Christ who describes a situation that could lead to not forgiving: "Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-17). This text is not to be confused with Matthew 5:23,24 because Jesus Christ, in Matthew 18, mentions that the kind of sins would require, in case of denial of the guilty, the intervention of two or three witnesses and then that of spiritual authorities of the Christian congregation. These are serious sins linked to slander that damage a person's good reputation, or even problems of debt recognition, maybe more serious, scams.

Added to this, are extremely serious sins (which do not fall within the context of Matthew 18:15-17, but which are the responsibility of police justice and that of the courts), blood and sexual crimes, such as rape and pedophilia. Obviously, the victims of such despicable acts, are not in the framework of the forgiveness mentioned in Matthew 18:21-35. In these extremely painful situations, it is the victims or the families of the victims who decide in conscience whether to forgive or not. In any case, it is God, through Christ the King, who will judge the work of each one: "So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God" (Romans 14:12).

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The Eleventh Hour Workers

The last ones will be first, and the first ones last

"For the Kingdom of the heavens is like the master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 After he had agreed with the workers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3Going out also about the third hour, he saw others standing unemployed in the marketplace; 4and to those he said, You too go into the vineyard, and I will give you whatever is fair.’ 5 So off they went. Again he went out about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did likewise. 6 Finally, about the 11th hour, he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day unemployed?’ 7 They replied, ‘Because nobody has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into the vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the master of the vineyard said to his man in charge, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last and ending with the first.’ 9 When the 11th-hour men came, they each received a denarius. 10So when the first came, they assumed that they would receive more, but they too were paid at the rate of a denarius. 11On receiving it, they began to complain against the master of the house 12 and said, ‘These last men put in one hour’s work; still you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat!’ 13 But he said in reply to one of them, ‘Fellow, I do you no wrong. You agreed with me for a denarius, did you not? 14Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last one the same as to you. 15Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye envious because I am good? 16In this way, the last ones will be first, and the first ones last" (Matthew 20:1-16).

It seems that Jesus Christ uses this illustration to clarify the meaning of this enigmatic phrase that he repeated several times: "The last ones will be first, and the first ones last". In the previous chapter, in Matthew 19:30, he utters this phrase, and in the verse above, he says that his disciples would have several trials, but then they would receive the fulfillment of their hope, the everlasting life. We find this same teaching in Mark 10:23-31 and Luke 13:22-30, concluding it with this same sentence. We can understand, by making the connection of the previous remarks to this expression, with the illustration of the workers of the eleventh hour.

The master who hires the workers, is Jesus Christ. The workers are the disciples of Christ. The work in the vineyard is the Christian ministry as a whole. The payment of the "denarius" is the fulfillment of the hope of everlasting life. The particularity of this salary is that it is fixed, one denarius for the working day, regardless of the number of hours. Of course, in this situation, it is the last recruited who are the most advantaged by this fixed remuneration, while the first recruited are those who are the least advantaged.

In the illustration, Jesus Christ makes the workers of the first hour react, who murmur against this arrangement, seeing that after having worked twelve hours, they find themselves with their denarius foreseen in the contract. Eleventh-hour workers get exactly the same pay: one denarius for a one-hour day's work. The master of the house, however, answers them with implacable logic: first, they had agreed on the price of a denarius, the day of work, regardless of the number of hours worked. The murmurs of the early workers suggest that the master has not been fair to them. Secondly, the master of the house answers them with an equally implacable logic: "Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye envious because I am good?".

Regarding the mercy of God, towards the last comers and the first comers, the illustration of Christ echoes the proclamation made before Moses, at the time of the manifestation of the glory of Jehovah God, the Heavenly Father: "I will favor the one whom I favor, and I will show mercy to the one to whom I show mercy" (Exodus 33:19). Jehovah God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, the Son, show mercy as they see fit, with humans of their choosing, regardless of how many years they have served God the Father and Jesus Christ the son. The price will be exactly the same: the everlasting life for both first comers and last comers.

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For everyone that exalts himself will be humbled

and he that humbles himself will be exalted

"7 He then went on to tell the invited men an illustration, as he marked how they were choosing the most prominent places for themselves, saying to them: 8 “When you are invited by someone to a marriage feast, do not lie down in the most prominent place. Perhaps someone more distinguished than you may at the time have been invited by him, 9 and he that invited you and him will come and say to you, ‘Let this man have the place.’ And then you will start off with shame to occupy the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, that when the man that has invited you comes he will say to you, ‘Friend, go on up higher.’ Then you will have honor in front of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone that exalts himself will be humbled and he that humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:7-11).

In another illustration, Jesus Christ shows how a person can be humble or proud, based on their view of themselves. This second illustration, will serve as a commentary on the first, especially since Jesus Christ concluded it in the same way: "But he spoke this illustration also to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and who considered the rest as nothing: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and began to pray these things to himself, ‘O God, I thank you I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week, I give the tenth of all things I acquire.’ But the tax collector standing at a distance was not willing even to raise his eyes heavenward, but kept beating his breast, saying, ‘O God, be gracious to me a sinner.’ I tell you, This man went down to his home proved more righteous than that man; because everyone that exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted”" (Luke 18:9-14).

What is true on an individual level is true on a congregational level. Just as a person may appear humble and modest or proud and presumptuous, so a congregation as a whole may have a reputation for humility or, on the contrary, arrogance. Let us take the example of two congregations among the seven that Jesus Christ disciplined: The congregation of Sardis and the congregation of Smyrna.

The congregation of Sardis had an arrogant attitude, and in his message Jesus Christ rebuked it very harshly: "And to the angel of the congregation in Sardis write: These are the things that he says who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, ‘I know your deeds, that you have the name that you are alive, but you are dead. Become watchful, and strengthen the things remaining that were ready to die, for I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God. Therefore, continue mindful of how you have received and how you heard, and go on keeping it, and repent. Certainly unless you wake up, I shall come as a thief, and you will not know at all at what hour I shall come upon you" (Revelation 3:1-3). Obviously, this congregation had the same mind-set as this very self-satisfied Pharisee, who denigrated those who were not like him.

The Smyrna congregation had a completely different mind-set: "And to the angel of the congregation in Smyrna write: These are the things that he says, ‘the First and the Last,’ who became dead and came to life again, ‘I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich—and the blasphemy by those who say they themselves are Jews, and yet they are not but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of you into prison that you may be fully put to the test, and that you may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations: He that conquers will by no means be harmed by the second death'" (Revelation 2:8-11).

Just as on an individual level we must be on the watch regarding our mind-set, on the appreciation that we have of ourselves, the same the shepherds of the different congregations, must take care to maintain a good mind of love. , humility and modesty, towards one another: "For through the undeserved kindness given to me I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has distributed to him a measure of faith. (…) Be minded the same way toward others as to yourselves; do not be minding lofty things, but be led along with the lowly things. Do not become discreet in your own eyes” (John 13:34,35; Romans 12:3,16).

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A lesson in humility

"Now, because he knew before the festival of the passover that his hour had come for him to move out of this world to the Father, Jesus, having loved his own that were in the world, loved them to the end. 2 So, while the evening meal was going on, the Devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Is·carʹi·ot, the son of Simon, to betray him, 3he, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he came forth from God and was going to God, 4got up from the evening meal and laid aside his outer garments. And, taking a towel, he girded himself. 5 After that he put water into a basin and started to wash the feet of the disciples and to dry them off with the towel with which he was girded. 6 And so he came to Simon Peter. He said to him: “Lord, are you washing my feet?” 7 In answer Jesus said to him: “What I am doing you do not understand at present, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to him: “You will certainly never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him: “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus said to him: “He that has bathed does not need to have more than his feet washed, but is wholly clean. And you men are clean, but not all.” 11 He knew, indeed, the man betraying him. This is why he said: “Not all of you are clean.”

12 When, now, he had washed their feet and had put his outer garments on and laid himself down at the table again, he said to them: “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You address me, ‘Teacher,’ and, ‘Lord,’ and you speak rightly, for I am such. 14 Therefore, if I, although Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash the feet of one another. 15 For I set the pattern for you, that, just as I did to you, you should do also. 16 Most truly I say to you, A slave is not greater than his master, nor is one that is sent forth greater than the one that sent him. 17 If you know these things, happy you are if you do them. 18 I am not talking about all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But it is in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, ‘He that used to feed on my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ 19 From this moment on I am telling you before it occurs, in order that when it does occur you may believe that I am he. 20 Most truly I say to you, He that receives anyone I send receives me also. In turn he that receives me, receives [also] him that sent me”" (John 13:1-20).

In Israel, at the time of Jesus Christ, the person who invited, used to arrange for his feet of the guest, to be washed (Luke 7:44). During the last Passover of Christ, the owner of the premises was not present. Therefore for an event as important as this celebration, it was necessary to respect this tradition of hospitality. In this case, one of the twelve could take the initiative, not necessarily to wash everyone's feet, but at least to take disposition, so that the others could wash their feet. None made the effort to put themselves at the service of others. The fact that Jesus Christ did so surprised the Twelve Apostles so much, that Peter felt very embarrassed (John 13:8).

By this most startling action on the part of Christ of washing the feet of his disciples (including those of the traitor Judas Iscariot), he showed that the need to be humble must not just be a view of the mind, but rather a view by actions. In the explanation of the meaning of what he has done, Jesus Christ showed that the disciple must be willing to serve his spiritual brothers and sisters, even in the most difficult work, see as devaluing as that of washing the feet of his neighbor.

To give just one example illustrating the values ​​of human sovereignty and the sovereignty of God, let us think about the function of minister or ministry. The Hebrew and Greek words have the meaning of servant, also as slave in the broad sense (someone in the service of a master). Thus, in many countries, when someone is a minister, in a government, one thinks of a very prestigious position, with all that goes with it. However, a minister and a Christian ministry, even if it is a very honorable office from the point of view of God and the one who exercises it, offers very little material advantages, little prestige, often none. The minister bears the financial and material costs of his ministry, which leads him to have a simple life in the service of others.

To put it simply, in human sovereignty, whether governmental, economic or financial, it is often the "ministers", the presidents who have their feet washed symbolically (or their shoes shined by others). The Christian ministry is exactly the opposite, it symbolically washes the feet of others. Jesus Christ showed that to be humble is to have this state of mind to help others.

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The rich man and Lazarus the beggar

"19 “But a certain man was rich, and he used to deck himself with purple and linen, enjoying himself from day to day with magnificence. 20 But a certain beggar named Lazarus used to be put at his gate, full of ulcers 21 and desiring to be filled with the things dropping from the table of the rich man. Yes, too, the dogs would come and lick his ulcers. 22 Now in course of time the beggar died and he was carried off by the angels to the bosom position of Abraham. Also, the rich man died and was buried. 23 And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments, and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in the bosom position with him. 24 So he called and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this blazing fire.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you received in full your good things in your lifetime, but Lazarus correspondingly the injurious things. Now, however, he is having comfort here but you are in anguish. 26 And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you people, so that those wanting to go over from here to you people cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us.’ 27 Then he said, ‘In that event I ask you, father, to send him to the house of my father, 28 for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness, that they also should not get into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these.’ 30 Then he said, ‘No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead’" (Luke 16:19-31).

In the illustration, Lazarus the beggar, represents the spiritually hungry people, without any concrete orientation: "Well, on getting out, he saw a great crowd, but he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things" (Mark 6:34). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ made this statement: "Happy are those who are beggars for the spirit, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them" (Matthew 5:3).

The rich, represents the men who were to take care of teaching the people and giving them a precise spiritual orientation in life by means of the teaching of the Bible. The death of the beggar and the rich, represents a change of condition, brought about by the ministry of the Word of Christ. This death, or change in spiritual condition, led the beggar Lazarus, the people eager to please God, to gain the approval of God (Acts chapters 1-3). On the other hand, the death of the rich, the class of men who were to teach the people, found themselves in a tormented condition of divine disapproval, which engendered in them a murderous fury (Acts 4).

The proclamation of the good news is a blessing, for those who represent "Lazarus the beggar", for those who suffer from the sovereignty of man on earth and who will eternally enjoy the blessings of God: "Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year" (Luke 4:18,19; Isaiah 61:1-4).

The proclamation of the good news is a curse, for "the rich", for those who do not want to obey God. Reading Matthew chapter 23, Jesus Christ made a proclamation of judgment against the spiritual ruling class, of the scribes and the Pharisees, for not having spiritually fed the people.

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The Sower of the Word of the Kingdom and the Three Grounds

"3 Then he told them many things by illustrations, saying: “Look! A sower went out to sow; 4 and as he was sowing, some seeds fell alongside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell upon the rocky places where they did not have much soil, and at once they sprang up because of not having depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose they were scorched, and because of not having root they withered. 7 Others, too, fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. 8 Still others fell upon the fine soil and they began to yield fruit, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty. 9 Let him that has ears listen.” (...) 18 You, then, listen to the illustration of the man that sowed. 19 Where anyone hears the word of the kingdom but does not get the sense of it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart; this is the one sown alongside the road. 20 As for the one sown upon the rocky places, this is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. 21 Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled. 22 As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 As for the one sown upon the fine soil, this is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty" (Matthew 13:3-9,18-23).

By avoiding to repeat the explanations of Jesus Christ, we will instead clarify some expressions. The sowing, much like that of wheat or other cereal, represents the activity of the public preaching of the good news with the word of God, the Bible, as Jesus Christ expressed it in Matthew 24:14. Jesus Christ sayd that this word is sown in the heart of the person. The symbolic heart is what constitutes the spiritual and mental inner part of a person, furnished with good or bad thoughts and reasonings.

In Matthew chapter 15 he simply explained the mental and spiritual activity of a symbolic human heart: "However, the things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things defiling a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”" (Matthew 15:18-20). In this case, Jesus Christ is describing a harmful spiritual activity of a human heart. In the illustration of the sower, he describes three kinds of hearts or qualities of ground, an insensitive heart, the road, a superficial heart, the rocky places with thorns, and a receptive heart, the good soil where the seed falls and sprouts.

Let us briefly exam on quality of the seed and the ground. Who ensures that the meeting of the two elements allows the seed to germinate in such a way that it bears fruits? It is God, as the apostle Paul pointed out: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow; so that neither is he that plants anything nor is he that waters, but God who makes it grow" (1 Corinthians 3:6,7). Does this mean that it is God who chooses the human heart where the seed of the kingdom will sprout? Yes it does. The book of Acts explains how God causes germination in the human heart, which He considers as good soil: "On the Sabbath day we went outside the gate beside a river, where we thought there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. 14 And a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple from the city of Thy·a·tiʹra and a worshipper of God, was listening, and Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things Paul was saying” (Acts 16:13,14). God has the ability to know the quality of a human spiritual heart as the apostle Peter briefly said in a prayer: "You, O Jehovah, who know the hearts of all" (Acts 1:24).

What do the fruits of the kingdom, produced by the person whose kingdom seed has germinated in his heart, represent? It is simply a Christian behavior that is a spiritual light that brings glory to God among the humans who observe him: "You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when located on a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house. Likewise, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens" (Matthew 5:14-16).

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The fine seed and the weeds

"24 Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. 25 While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat, and left. 26 When the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds appeared also. 27 So the slaves of the householder came up and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it come to have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ They said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ 29 He said, ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse.’” (...) 36 Then after dismissing the crowds he went into the house. And his disciples came to him and said: “Explain to us the illustration of the weeds in the field.” 37 In response he said: “The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world; as for the fine seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, 39 and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. 41 The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, 42 and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. 43 At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him that has ears listen" (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43).

This illustration is describing how Jesus Christ, as a sower, laid the foundations for the new Christian congregation, the fine seed, that is, the followers of Christ striving best to do the will of God. He first appointed twelve apostles, and at the Pentecost of 33 (C.E.), thousands of disciples of Christ constituted this excellent seed or Christian congregation (In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, there is the narrative of the birth of this Christian congregation).

The expression referring to the fact that men slept, could allude to two things. The men who sleep, would mention the death of all the apostles but also of the disciples who knew Christ and who were part of this healthy basis of the foundation of the Christian congregation. As long as these men were alive, they were a real bulwark against the diabolical infiltration of bad individuals within the Christian congregation. This expression mentioning the sleep of men, could also allude to the long night of spiritual obscurantism which darkened the whole of the Christian congregation. This spiritual night lasted for many centuries, and during that time, Satan the devil could very easily oversow many evil individuals who seriously corrupted the teaching within the Christian congregation.

The corruption of the entire Christian congregation by malicious individuals has occurred over many centuries in two different ways. A corruption of Christian teaching through the massive infiltration of pagan Greco-Roman teachings and philosophies, such as the trinity, the cult of the cross, the Marian cult, the cult of saints, the dogmas of the immortality of the soul, hell fire, purgatory and many other non-biblical teachings. The second major form of corruption in the Christian congregation has been the behaviour. There was the massive infiltration of idolatrous practices, sexual immorality and warlike violence, so-called "Christian" congregations organized crusades, and colonialist military campaigns, which massacred many people, in many countries and continents. During this period of thick spiritual darkness, it was very difficult to distinguish the fine seed from the weeds.

The Protestant Reformation, between the 16th and 17th centuries, made it possible to gradually put the reading and application of the Bible back at the center of concerns. Courageous men undertook the translation of the Bible into languages ​​spoken by the people. The invention of the printing press accelerated this widespread biblical instruction. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were other courageous Christians who, this time, began to phase out certain pagan teachings from instruction within some Christian congregations. In addition, some congregations have undertaken the preaching of the good news mentioned in Matthew 24:14 down to the present days. In these present last days, we can see the distinction between the good seed (Christians who sincerely strive to do the will of God written in the Bible) and the weeds (Christians who obviously do not want to do the will of God written in the Bible).

It is the king and judge Jesus Christ, who will make the judgment between these two categories of Christians, shortly before the great tribulation: "Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness" (Matthew 7:21-23).

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The mustard grain and the leaven hidden in the flour

"Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard grain, which a man took and planted in his field; 32 which is, in fact, the tiniest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the largest of the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and find lodging among its branches.”

33 Another illustration he spoke to them: “The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three large measures of flour, until the whole mass was fermented.”" (Matthew 13:31-33).

Before the explanation of these two illustrations, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of the biblical expression "Christian congregation". It is based on what is written in Acts 11:26: "It was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians". According to this text, it is God who chose the qualifier "Christian", designating the disciples of Christ. There is absolutely no biblical text that authorizes the change of such a title given by God, at the time of the apostles. Therefore, the other human denominations which replace this biblical title of Christian, given by God, are not and will not be used in the explanations.

The word "congregation" can mean "church" or "assembly" of Christians. The word "church", which is correct in itself, is often associated with a religious construction, so, it is not used. The word "assembly" is often associated with a large number of disciples, which is not always the case. The word congregation does not create these confusions in understanding, among Christians who are in different churches. Thus, the expression "Christian congregation" applies to all Christian congregations that claim this membership, regardless of their respective religious denominations. It will be up to King and Judge Jesus Christ to tell the difference between those who do or do not make the will of God (Matthew 7:1-5,21-23).

The two illustrations of the mustard grain and the leaven hidden, explain the previous two illustrations, of the sower dropping the seed on different soils and the fine seed and the weeds. When Jesus Christ says, "the kingdom of the heavens is like", it seems to describe situations regarding to "the kingdom of heaven."

In these two illustrations, Jesus Christ announces the exponential growth of the Christian congregation, worldwide. Indeed, according to the prophecy of Christ, the Christian congregation would grow from the stage of a small mustard grain, to a large tree or a large fermented mass of flour. And indeed, over many centuries, the Christian congregation has grown to encompass, globally, about 2.6 billion people, or about the third part of the present world population. This makes it the first world congregation, in number of people who claim the qualifier of Christian.

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The treasure hidden and the fine pearls

"44 “The kingdom of the heavens is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and for the joy he has he goes and sells what things he has and buys that field.

45 “Again the kingdom of the heavens is like a traveling merchant seeking fine pearls. 46 Upon finding one pearl of high value, away he went and promptly sold all the things he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:44-46).

These two illustrations seem to clarify what Jesus Christ said about the righteous. In the illustration of the fine seed he concluded by saying, "At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43). The glory of the righteous will reside in the fact that they will have known how to put spiritual priorities, those linked to the interests of the kingdom, in the first place: "Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). The man who knows that in a field there is a treasure and buys it or the man who want to buy a pearl of great value makes great sacrifices to have it, are the illustration of Christians, the excellent seed, who set kingdom priorities toward the fulfillment of the hope of everlasting life.

For this, the disciples of Christ are ready to make great sacrifices for the fulfillment of their hope, as illustrated, this time by the apostle Paul, in his lived experience. In the letter to the Philippians chapter 3, he wrote that he came from a very privileged and prestigious social background. He could have wealth and a prestigious social position. However, he gave up these temporary riches and prestige for higher spiritual reasons: "If any other man thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I the more so: circumcised the eighth day, out of the family stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born from Hebrews; as respects law, a Pharisee;  as respects zeal, persecuting the congregation; as respects righteousness that is by means of law, one who proved himself blameless. Yet what things were gains to me, these I have considered loss on account of the Christ. Why, for that matter, I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. On account of him I have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ  and be found in union with him, having, not my own righteousness, which results from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that issues from God on the basis of faith, so as to know him and the power of his resurrection and a sharing in his sufferings, submitting myself to a death like his, to see if I may by any means attain to the earlier resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:4-11).

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The fishing with the dragnet and the fishes selected on the beach

"47 “Again the kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet let down into the sea and gathering up fish of every kind. 48 When it got full they hauled it up onto the beach and, sitting down, they collected the fine ones into vessels, but the unsuitable they threw away. 49 That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things: the angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous 50 and will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be” (Matthew 13:47-50).

This illustration is describing a similar scooping and sorting action shortly before the great tribulation at Matthew 13:40-43. We find exactly the same sentences, in Matthew 13:42 and 50: "and (they) will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be". So the worldwide dragnet fishing, is obviously the preaching of the good news, because Jesus Christ compared this Christian activity to fishing for humans. Jesus Christ told his apostles that they would be fishers of men: "So Jesus said to them: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men”" (Mark 1:17). Jesus Christ said that this worldwide fishing would take place shortly before the great tribulation: "And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).

The worldwide selection of humans into two groups will take place during the judgment very shortly before the great tribulation. This is how Jesus Christ describes this selection in Matthew 24, in terms very similar to the sorting of fish on the beach: "For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:37-42).

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Wisdom is proved righteous by its works

"16 With whom will I compare this generation? It is like young children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to their playmates, 17 saying: ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance; we wailed, but you did not beat yourselves in grief.’ 18 Likewise, John came neither eating nor drinking, but people say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of man did come eating and drinking, but people say, ‘Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by its works" (Matthew 11:16-19).

In this text, Jesus Christ shows that whatever one can do, those who are against the good news of the kingdom, will always find an excuse to criticize. However, beyond this painful situation, these are the works and the time, that make it possible to see where the wisdom is. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said that the disciples would be insulted. He said this situation has been experienced by many prophets and servants of God in the past (Matthew 5:11,12). It is important to note that both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, did not seek to confront the slanderers, to denounce their lies, because they trusted that in more or less time, it is always truth and wisdom that triumph over lies and slander.

For followers of Christ who are enduring this emotionally difficult situation, there are two scriptures quotes, among others, that invite patience in waiting in Jehovah:

"Good is Jehovah to the one hoping in him, to the person who keeps seeking him. Good it is to wait in silence for the salvation of Jehovah. Good it is for a man to carry the yoke during his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silent when He lays it upon him. Let him put his mouth in the very dust; there may yet be hope. Let him give his cheek to the one striking him; let him have his fill of insults" (Lamentations 3:25-30).

"But as for me, I will keep on the lookout for Jehovah. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me" (Micah 7:7).

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By your words you will be declared righteous,

and by your words you will be condemned

“35 The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things. 36 I tell you that every unprofitable saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day; 37 for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-37).

Jesus Christ showed that the words reveal the state of the symbolic heart of the human: "A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).

Speaking of the eleven faithful apostles, Jesus Christ said that they were inner clean: “And you men are clean, but not all.” He knew, indeed, the man betraying him. This is why he said: “Not all of you are clean”" (John 13:10,11). Why were the eleven apostles clean? Quite simply, the intentions of their hearts were pure. Why was Judas Iscariot not inner pure? Because of the evil intentions to betray his master, Jesus Christ. A little later in the narrative of John 13, it is written that Satan "entered" into Judas (John 13:27). This does not necessarily mean that Satan was made master of the free will of Judas Iscariot, but rather that he allowed himself to be carried away by his diabolical reasonings to betray his master.Thus, as Jesus Christ again taught, it is the evil reasonings of the heart that make spiritually unclean a person (Matthew 15:17-19).

When the disciples of Christ, following the example of the eleven faithful apostles, have a clean heart, with good intentions then, to use an image of the apostle Paul, they bring Christ into their hearts and dwelling in them: "On account of this I bend my knees to the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name, to the end that he may grant you according to the riches of his glory to be made mighty in the man you are inside with power through his spirit, to have the Christ dwell through your faith in you hearts with love; that you may be rooted and established on the foundation, in order that you may be thoroughly able to grasp mentally with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness that God gives" (Ephesians 3:14-19).

In the teaching on the good and bad use of the tongue, the disciple and brother of Jesus Christ, James, in chapter 3 of his letter, wrote this: "So, too, the tongue is a little member and yet makes great brags. Look! How little a fire it takes to set so great a woodland on fire! Well, the tongue is a fire. The tongue is constituted a world of unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by Gehenna" (James 3:5,6). According to this text, the bad use of the tongue has the terrifying power to condemn to Gehenna fire, that is to say, to a death without possibility of resurrection, because, he wrote, "it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by Gehenna". So, to avoid such a dramatic end, we must cultivate wisdom from above: "But the wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace" (James 3:17,18).

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If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself (Matthew 16:24-27)

“24 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and keep following me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 Really, what good will it do a man if he gains the whole world but loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of man is to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will repay each one according to his behavior. 28 Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here who will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom.”" (Matthew 16:24-27).

This is a lesser known teaching point, the denial of oneself or our ego, for the benefit of Christ. By this statement, he makes his disciples understand that inevitably, at some point in their ministry, they will have to make a choice, between their personal interests and the interests of Christ. The disciple of Christ must be ready to deny himself, to the point of agreeing to give his life for Christ (whoever loses his life for my sake), to then be restored to him at the resurrection of the just (will find it) ( John 5:28,29). However, the disciple of Christ, who would be afraid of death, to the point of seeking to remain alive at the cost of a serious compromise, would definitively lose all hope of everlasting life (For whoever wants to save his life will lose it).

The same teaching point is repeated, this time from the point of view of love for Christ and the natural love for one's own family members: “Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his soul will lose it, and whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it" ( Matthew 10:34-39).

In this text, Jesus Christ explains that his teaching would inevitably cause in many families, splits, divisions which would put the faith of the disciples of Christ to the test. Jesus Christ makes it clear that his followers must not give in to the emotional blackmail of other unbelieving family members. He must put his love for Christ before his love for the members of his own family, not making compromises such as renouncing to follow in the footsteps of Christ, with all the trials that entails: "In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely" (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus Christ also repeats the comforting teaching point that the courage of Christ's followers will be rewarded with everlasting life (John 17:3).

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Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God

“20 And, after observing him closely, they sent out men secretly hired to pretend that they were righteous, in order that they might catch him in speech, so as to turn him over to the government and to the authority of the governor. 21 And they questioned him, saying: “Teacher, we know you speak and teach correctly and show no partiality, but you teach the way of God in line with truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay tax to Caesar or not?” 23 But he detected their cunning and said to them: 24 “Show me a de·narʹi·us. Whose image and inscription does it have? They said: Caesars. 25He said to them: “By all means, then, pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” 26 Well, they were not able to catch him in this saying before the people, but, in amazement at his answer, they said nothing” (Luke 20:20-26).

Jesus Christ said to pay back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's (Luke 20:25). The Christian who pays back to Caesar what is Caesar's, has a respectful attitude towards the authorities of his country. In 1 Peter 2:17 it is written to fear God and to honor the king. Depending on the context, the king is the repository of the authority of the country over which he reigns. The apostle Paul, in the letter to the Romans (13:1-7), encourages all Christians to respect governments and their representatives, that could be kings, princes, presidents, ministers, deputies… This passage shows that we must respect those who are empowered to enforce the law, namely the police, the military in some countries, judges and various representatives of administrations, such as, for example, teachers, professors, principals, tax inspectors… This being said, Jesus Christ added that we must pay back what belongs to God. Our body and the life in it belong to God. Therefore, if any human government ask us for our life or the life of our children, the answer will be the same as the apostle Peter said in a court: "We must obey God as ruler rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

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Let the young children coming to me

“13 Then young children were brought to him for him to place his hands on them and offer prayer, but the disciples reprimanded them. 14 Jesus, however, said: “Let the young children alone, and do not try to stop them from coming to me, for the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to such ones.” 15 And he placed his hands on them and departed from there” (Matthew 19:13-15).

Why did the disciples prevent parents with their children from approaching Jesus Christ, so that they would bless them? Probably they thought that Jesus Christ, a few days before his death in Jerusalem, was too worried to probably have to "endure" (according to the apostles), the presence of enthusiastic children, full of joy and maybe noisy. Two parallel narratives indicate that Jesus Christ probably was indignant of the severity of the apostles in keeping children from coming to him (Mark 10:13-15; Luke 18:15-17). How to understand that the "kingdom of the heavens belongs to such ones"? It should be clarified that Jesus Christ did not encourage the childishness or infantilization of Christian congregations or the worldwide people. The apostle Paul wrote that disciples must reach maturity, or spiritual adulthood (Hebrews 6:1).

In a question asked to him, Jesus Christ clarified the meaning of his teaching concerning children and the kingdom of heaven: "In that hour the disciples came near to Jesus and said: “Who really is greatest in the Kingdom of the heavens?” So calling a young child to him, he stood him in their midst and said: “Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the Kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one who is the greatest in the Kingdom of the heavens; and whoever receives one such young child on the basis of my name receives me also. But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him to have hung around his neck a millstone that is turned by a donkey and to be sunk in the open sea" (Matthew 18:1-6).

Jesus Christ often linked the "young children" with a humble and modest human, unconcerned with drawing the attention of others to himself. Jesus Christ said that his Heavenly Father, Jehovah God, reveals the meaning of his mind to the "young children", that is to say to the humble: "I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to young children" (Matthew 11:25). Jesus Christ indicates that to become like them, we must "turn around", that is to say, gradually fully change our mental patterns of putting our ego in the first place. After doing it, Jesus Christ indicates that we must become humble like children, in an authentic way.

The narrative indicates that Jesus Christ was deeply indignant at the way his apostles treated the enthusiastic children who approached him to be blessed. This information is a simple message toward who are currently harming children around the world: "But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him to have hung around his neck a millstone that is turned by a donkey and to be sunk in the open sea" (Matthew 18:6). How would that be more advantageous for someone who drowned at the bottom of the sea with a millstone tied to his neck, than for someone harming a child or children? The most logical answer seems to be this: the first would be resurrected in the future resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous (Acts 24:15). While the child homicide, the pedophile, the trafficker in human organs, the murderous merchant* of chemical products, who experiments on them, in orphanages in countries with little regard for child protection, all these animal humans who prey on children, will not be resurrected when they will be destroyed at the great tribulation (1 Corinthians 2:14 "physical man"  (animalis)"; (Matthew 24:21 "great tribulation").

* In Isaiah 5:20 it is written: "Woe to those who say that good is bad and bad is good, Those who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, Those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!". This text describes very accurately the perverse and demonic inversions of values ​​of these engineers of lies and murderous manipulation (John 8:44). These shepherds who are feeding themselves, have forbidden doctors to treat the elderly with inexpensive molecules. Then these same shepherds who are feeding themselves, ask the children to risk their own health, until their life, for these same old people whom they put in danger of death by forbidding the doctors to treat them. These same shepherds who are feeding themselves, ask children to risk their own health, until their lives, for adults when it should be the opposite, namely that it is adults who should be willing to risk their lives for children, representing the future of humanity...

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Take my yoke upon you


"At that time Jesus said in response: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes. 26Yes, O Father, because to do thus came to be the way approved by you. 27All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one fully knows the Son but the Father, neither does anyone fully know the Father but the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him. 28Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. 30For my yoke is kindly and my load is light”" (Matthew 11:25-30).


Jesus Christ deeply loves the human, humankind, he proved it by giving his life to redeem it (John 3:16). On earth, he was the full reflection of God's love (1 John 4:8). He loved the people, he was loved by the people and he mingled with them. Shortly before the healing of a woman, this is what we can read: "As Jesus was going, the crowds pressed in on him. (…) Peter said: “Instructor, the crowds are hemming you in and pressing against you”" (Luke 8:42,45). He lamented the state of spiritual abandonment of the people by the ruling class which should have given them spiritual guidance: "On seeing the crowds, he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). He did not hesitate to associate with people considered outcasts, with the aim of bringing them back to the right path of God (Luke 7:36-50; 15:1-10). While defending the people, he did not hesitate to denounce the hypocritical and merciless behavior of the class of scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23).

Jesus Christ said that following him as a disciple would cause trials and a need for self-denial: "And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38). So when he said that his yoke is kindly and his load is light, it is regarding to how Jesus Christ exercises his authority. First, Jesus Christ teaches the truth that release from human lies: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). This freedom is in the ability to perceive this biblical truth, by oneself, by meditating on what is learned. Jesus Christ taught his disciples to have this ability to think, in the very vast space of knowledge of God, based on truth. The question, "What do you think?", is an encouragement to make one's own opinion or revise it, based on the depth of wisdom of God's mind (Matthew 16:13; 17:25; Romans 11:33,34; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Jesus Christ took into account the feelings of his apostles and disciples. It was only shortly before that he revealed to them that he was to die in Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21). He endured the repetitive faults of his apostles who regularly argued over who was the greatest among them (Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48; 22:24-27; John 13:14). There is a prophetic text concerning Christ which very well and vividly sums up the mercy and compassion he showed during his earthly ministry towards people of humble condition: "Look! My servant, whom I support! My chosen one, whom I have approved! I have put my spirit in him; He will bring justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise his voice, And he will not make his voice heard in the street. No crushed reed will he break, And no smoldering wick will he extinguish. In faithfulness he will bring justice. He will not grow dim or be crushed until he establishes justice in the earth; And the islands keep waiting for his law" (Isaiah 42:1-4). Thus, we can better understand why the yoke of Christ is soft, light and pleasant to bear.


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Meditation on the Letter of James leading to Christian maturity


The disciple James is the younger brother of Jesus Christ, mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew: "Where did this man get this wisdom and these powerful works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?" (Matthew 13:54,55). Consequently, it is not to be confused with the apostle James, who is the brother of the apostle John (Matthew 10:2,3 (James the son of Zebedee and John his brother). In 1 Corinthians 15:7, it is written that Jesus Christ resurrected appeared to his younger brother James. It was probably from this apparition that he began to exercise faith in him, because it is written in the Gospel of John, that during the Ministry of Jesus Christ, his brothers did not exercise faith in him (John 7:5). A few years later, it was the disciple James who presided over the Council of Jerusalem to take a decision regarding the circumcision (Acts 15:12, it could not be the apostle James, because king Herod had killed him before this Council (acts 12:2)).


When we read the Letter of James, it is surprising to see the likeness of his way of teaching, with that of his older brother Jesus. He uses many illustrations as Jesus did. For indication, while reading meditation on the Letter of James, you can compare with the Sermon on the Mount pronounced by his brother Jesus in Matthew chapters 5 to 7. This letter is very easy to understand, that is why before each biblical quotes, there will be a simple introduction indicating the theme of the exhortation. When necessary, there will be a comment in order to specify the meaning of some expressions or comparisons.


Chapter 1:


"James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes that are scattered about: Greetings!" (verse 1). The twelve tribes seem to be the Israel of God, the spiritual Israel that represents the whole of the Christian Congregation (Galatians 6:16).


We must consider the trials allowed by God, as "testing quality of faith" in the ability to endure: "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials, 3knowing as you do that this tested quality of your faith produces endurance. 4But let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything. (…) Happy is the man who keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving Him. 13When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone. 14But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. 15Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn sin, when it has been carried out, brings forth death" (verses 2-4,12-15).


James explains that God is not the initiator of the trials because He does not create the problems in which his servants are. God only allows the trials. These problems or trials are the result of temptations. James gives the example of temptations aroused by bad thoughts. He explains the simple process that can lead to sin. Jesus Christ, in the Sermon on the Mount, showed how fertilized desire, gives birth to sin in the heart regarding adultery: "But I say to you that everyone who keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Jesus Christ gives an example of bad desire in the heart which gives birth to sin without necessarily being an action. The two teachings are complementary because James writes that it is the fulfilled sin that leads to death, while Jesus Christ says that the bad intention in the heart, is a sin in itself. The apostle John has also shown that bad intentions fed in the heart constitute a serious sin, concerning hatred which could lead to murder: "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has everlasting life remaining in him" (1 John 3:15).


We must ask with perseverance and faith, the wisdom of God: "So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6But let him keep asking in faith, not doubting at all, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and blown about. 7In fact, that man should not expect to receive anything from Jehovah; 8he is an indecisive man, unsteady in all his ways. (…) Do not be misled, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, coming down from the Father of the celestial lights, who does not vary or change like the shifting shadows. 18It was his will to bring us forth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (verses 5-8,16-18).


The doubt is a lack of faith, which is considered, from the point of view of God, as a sin: "Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please God well, for whoever approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him" (Hebrews 11:6).


Regarding insistence in the requests made to God, Jesus illustrates it in the Sermon on the Mount: "Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you; 8for everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking, it will be opened. 9Indeed, which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will hand him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, he will not hand him a serpent, will he? 11Therefore, if you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will your Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him!" (Matthew 7:7-11).


When James writes that God "does not vary or change like the shifting shadows", that means when He gives to his servants, He is always at the zenith, when He makes gifts, He gives the best for his servant.


The firstfruits of his creatures could refer to Christians who would be heavenly heirs with Christ, according to the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, he exclusively applies the expression "firstfruits" to Jesus Christ resuscitated and in Romans 8:23, he applies it to Christians heirs with Christ.


The poor man will be exalted, while the rich will be humiliated: "But let the lowly brother rejoice over his exaltation, 10and the rich one over his humiliation, because like a flower of the field he will pass away. 11For just as the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the plant, and its flower falls off and its outward beauty perishes, so too the rich man will fade away in the midst of his pursuits" (verses 9-11).


The poor man will be exalted, while the rich will be humiliated: "But let the lowly brother rejoice over his exaltation, 10and the rich one over his humiliation, because like a flower of the field he will pass away. 11For just as the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the plant, and its flower falls off and its outward beauty perishes, so too the rich man will fade away in the midst of his pursuits" (verses 9-11).


We must be careful with the use of the tongue: "Know this, my beloved brothers: Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, 20for man’s anger does not bring about God’s righteousness. 21Therefore, put away all filthiness and every trace of badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word that is able to save you. (…) If any man thinks he is a worshipper of God but does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he is deceiving his own heart, and his worship is futile. 27The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world" (verses 19-21,26,27, see also chapter 3).


We must put into practice the biblical teaching in our life: "However, become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself, and he goes away and immediately forgets what sort of person he is. 25But the one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does" (verses 22-25).

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Chapter 2:


We must not treat with partiality the rich and the poor: "My brothers, you are not holding to the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ while showing favoritism, are you? 2For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in splendid clothing comes into your meeting, but a poor man in filthy clothing also enters, 3do you look with favor on the one wearing the splendid clothing and say, “You take this seat here in a fine place,” and do you say to the poor one, “You keep standing” or, “Take that seat there under my footstool”? 4If so, do you not have class distinctions among yourselves, and have you not become judges rendering wicked decisions? 5Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor from the world’s standpoint to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom, which he promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you and drag you before law courts? 7Do they not blaspheme the fine name by which you were called? 8If, now, you carry out the royal law according to the scripture, “You must love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing quite well. 9But if you continue showing favoritism, you are committing sin, and you are convicted by the law as transgressors" (verses 1-9).


We must practice the whole Christian law and not forget to be merciful: "For if anyone obeys all the Law but makes a false step in one point, he has become an offender against all of it. 11For the one who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” If, now, you do not commit adultery but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of law. 12Keep on speaking and behaving in such a way as those do who are going to be judged by the law of a free people. 13For the one who does not practice mercy will have his judgment without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment" (verses 10-13).


Regarding mercy, Jesus Christ says in the Sermon on the Mount, that it will be shown mercy to the merciful and God will forgive those who forgive their neighbor (Matthew 5:7 and 6:14,15).


The living faith is authenticated by Christian works, but a faith without works is dead: "Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? 15If a brother or a sister is lacking clothing and enough food for the day, 16yet one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but you do not give them what they need for their body, of what benefit is it? 17So, too, faith by itself, without works, is dead. 18Nevertheless, someone will say: “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19You believe that there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. 20But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22You see that his faith was active along with his works and his faith was perfected by his works, 23and the scripture was fulfilled that says: “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he came to be called Jehovah’s friend. 24You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works and not by faith alone. 25In the same manner, was not Rahab the prostitute also declared righteous by works after she received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? 26Indeed, just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (verses 14-26).


The works mentioned by the disciple James, according to the context, are works of mercy and not the works of the Mosaic Law (see verses 15,16,25).


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Chapter 3:


The advice of the disciple James on the use of the tongue: "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. 2For we all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle also his whole body. 3If we put bridles in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide also their whole body. 4Look also at ships: Although they are so big and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the man at the helm is inclined to go. 5So, too, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it makes great brags. See how small a fire it takes to set a great forest ablaze! 6The tongue is also a fire. The tongue represents a world of unrighteousness among our body members, for it defiles all the body and sets the whole course of life on fire, and it is set on fire by Gehenna. 7For every kind of wild animal and bird and reptile and sea creature is to be tamed and has been tamed by humans. 8But no human can tame the tongue. It is unruly and injurious, full of deadly poison. 9With it we praise Jehovah, the Father, and yet with it we curse men who have come into existence “in the likeness of God.” 10Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, it is not right for things to happen this way. 11A spring does not cause the fresh water and the bitter water to bubble out of the same opening, does it? 12My brothers, a fig tree cannot produce olives, or a grapevine figs, can it? Neither can salt water produce fresh water" (verses 1-12).


The Gehenna is the symbol of death without resurrection, everlasting death. In verse 6, James shows that it is with the tongue that we can do the sins that can lead to the Gehenna, the everlasting death. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says the same: "However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; and whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Gehenna" (Matthew 5:22). And then, a little later, Jesus Christ says that a man can sin against the Holy Spirit with his mouth. The sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable, it is an everlasting sin: "For this reason I say to you, every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. For example, whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things nor in that to come. (…) I tell you that men will render an account on Judgment Day for every unprofitable saying that they speak; for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:31,32,36,37).


Let us reject the earthly and animalistic wisdom, but let us practice the wisdom from above: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him by his fine conduct demonstrate works performed with a mildness that comes from wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above; it is earthly, animalistic, demonic. 16For wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing. 17But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. 18Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peaceful conditions for those who are making peace" (verses 13-18).


There is the same kind of contrasting description between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit, written by the apostle Paul: "Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, and they are sexual immorality, uncleanness, brazen conduct, idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these. I am forewarning you about these things, the same way I already warned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:19-23).


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Chapter 4:


We must avoid having bad intentions: "What is the source of the wars and fights among you? Do they not originate from your fleshly desires that carry on a conflict within you? 2You desire, and yet you do not have. You go on murdering and coveting, and yet you are not able to obtain. You go on fighting and waging war. You do not have because of your not asking. 3When you do ask, you do not receive because you are asking for a wrong purpose, so that you may spend it on your fleshly desires" (verses 1-3).


We must avoid spiritual adultery, that is to say friendship with the world: "Adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is making himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you think that for no reason the scripture says: “The spirit that has taken up residence within us keeps enviously longing”? 6However, the undeserved kindness that He gives is greater. So it says: “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones" (verses 4-6).


Adultery represents the breaking of a promise of the permanent loyalty between a man and a woman, the two being married. Spiritual adultery is the breaking of a promise of the permanent loyalty made to God and Christ, with the Christian baptism (Matthew 28:19). Friendship with the world is defined more precisely by the apostle John: "Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever" (1 John 2:15-17).


We must subject ourselves to God and oppose the devil: "Therefore, subject yourselves to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones. 9Give way to misery and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into despair. 10Humble yourselves in the eyes of Jehovah, and he will exalt you" (Verses 7-10).


Who is Satan the devil?


Jesus Christ described the devil very concisely: “That one was a murderer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie" (John 8:44). Satan the devil is not the abstraction of evil, but a real spiritual person (Matthew 4:1-11). Likewise, the demons are also angels who have become rebels who have followed the example of the devil (Genesis 6:1-3, to compare with the letter of Jude verse 6: "And the angels who did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place, he has reserved with eternal bonds in dense darkness for the judgment of the great day").


When it is written, "he did not stand fast in the truth", it shows that God created this angel without sin and without any trace of wickedness in his heart. This angel, at the beginning of his life had a "beautiful name" (Ecclesiastes 7:1a). However, "he did not stand fast" in his integrity, he cultivated pride in his heart, and over time he became "devil", which means slanderer, and Satan, opponent; his old beautiful name, his good reputation, has been replaced by one of the everlasting disgraces. In the prophecy of Ezekiel (chapter 28), against the proud king of Tyre, it is clearly alluded to the pride of the angel who became "devil" and "Satan": "This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “You were the model of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eʹden, the garden of God. You were adorned with every precious stone —Ruby, topaz, and jasper; chrysʹo·lite, onyx, and jade; sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; And their settings and mountings were made of gold. They were prepared on the day you were created. I assigned you as the anointed covering cherub. You were on the holy mountain of God, and you walked about among fiery stones. You were faultless in your ways from the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you" (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Through his act of unrighteousness in Eden, he became a "liar" who caused the death of all of Adam's offspring (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). Currently, it is Satan the devil who rules the world: "Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19) .


Satan the devil will be permanently destroyed: "For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly" (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20).


We must not judge our neighbor: "Stop speaking against one another, brothers. Whoever speaks against a brother or judges his brother speaks against law and judges law. Now if you judge law, you are not a doer of law but a judge. 12There is only one who is Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy. But you, who are you to be judging your neighbor?" (Verses 11,12).


There is the same exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount: "Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with the judgment you are judging, you will be judged, and with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you. Why, then, do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye but do not notice the rafter in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Allow me to remove the straw from your eye,’ when look! a rafter is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the rafter from your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to remove the straw from your brother’s eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).


This exhortation not to judge is to be put in the context of the general human relationship and not in the normal framework of a court which requires the intervention of a judge to rule on the guilt or not of a person.


Jesus Christ says that the human who tends to systematically judge his neighbour, often forgets that he is in very exactly the same situation as the person he is judging: a sinner like all the other descendants of Adam: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ adds a second point showing that the person who is judging, puts himself in a very delicate situation from the point of view of the one who will exercise judgment, King Jesus Christ, especially shortly before the great tribulation: he will be judged in the same way how he judges others. So non-judgment, seen from this perspective, is a way of being careful. However, Jesus Christ said before, in his sermon, that we must be merciful and thus, it will be shown mercy to us. We must forgive, so God will forgive us our faults (Matthew 5:7; 6:14,15).


However, Jesus Christ goes much further concerning the person who tends to judge his neighbor, he says without hesitation, that he is a hypocrite. Indeed, he judges his neighbor by ignoring that he has faults, even much more serious; Jesus Christ says that the person judged has a straw in his eye while, by optical effect, the other, has a rafter in his eye. The expression used by Christ is completely in keeping with the person who regularly judges his neighbour: "Physician, cure yourself" (Luke 4:23).


We must avoid presumption and arrogance: "Come, now, you who say: “Today or tomorrow we will travel to this city and will spend a year there, and we will do business and make some profit,” 14whereas you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then disappears. 15Instead, you should say: “If Jehovah wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16But now you take pride in your arrogant boasting. All such boasting is wicked. 17Therefore, if someone knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him" (verses 13-17).


The comment of the disciple James on the fragility of human life, leads us to ask existential questions about its meaning. The biblical book of the Ecclesiastes is very exactly in the theme of the existential reflection of the meaning of life with some questions linked to death and hope. The Ecclesiastes puts them in two important perspectives: the description of the life which would be stripped of all spirituality, and on the other hand, which would be in a spiritual way of life.


The central theme is: "The greatest vanity!” the congregator has said, “the greatest vanity! Everything is vanity!" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). The theme of the absurdity of the current human condition is illustrated by many examples. The human condition that leads him inexorably to death, so what he will undertake, in the end, this will be useless.


There is not only this realistic but also dark observation, there is also the best solution, written in the last words in the chapter 12: "The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man. 14For the true God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad" (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14). If this book begins with a very dark aspect of existence, the counterpoint is the solution of the good relationship with God, that can get us out of this absurd cycle, of this existence, by granting us the everlasting life (John 316.36; 17:3). Throughout this observation of absurdity, there is an alternation between the spiritual darkness, our current human condition and the spiritual light, the fact that God can deliver us from this dead end.


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Chapter 5:


There will be a judgment of the rich men who oppress the poor and extort their employees: "Come, now, you rich men, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted, and your clothing has become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted away, and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh. What you have stored up will be like a fire in the last days. 4Look! The wages you have withheld from the workers who harvested your fields keep crying out, and the cries for help of the reapers have reached the ears of Jehovah of armies. 5You have lived in luxury and for self-gratification on the earth. You have fattened your hearts on the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one. Is he not opposing you?" (verses 1-6).


Jesus Christ says in the Sermon on the Mount that wealth has a temporary value, in a similar way: "Stop storing up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).


The apostle Paul writes that the money is not the problem, but the love of money: "But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains" (1 Timothy 6:9,10).


We must be patient in the Christian hope: "Be patient then, brothers, until the presence of the Lord. Look! The farmer keeps waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, exercising patience over it until the early rain and the late rain arrive. 8You too exercise patience; make your hearts firm, because the presence of the Lord has drawn close" (verses 7,8).


In this text, the presence of Jesus Christ is linked with the fulfillment of Christian hope. In this case, just when Jesus Christ will come to judge humanity, shortly before the great tribulation: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left" (Matthew 25:31-33).


After describing dramatic events before the end of this system of things, at a time which should be most distressing and, we are living now, Jesus Christ told his disciples to "erect and lift their heads", because the fulfillment of their hope is drawing near: "But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near" (Luke 21:28).


How to find joy in the midst of personal trials? The apostle Paul wrote that we must follow the pattern of Jesus Christ: "So, then, because we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also throw off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Indeed, consider closely the one who has endured such hostile speech from sinners against their own interests, so that you may not get tired and give up" (Hebrews 12:1-3).


Jesus Christ drew the energy of his endurance in the trials, by the joy of the hope that was set before him. It is important to draw energy to fuel our endurance, through the "joy" of our hope of everlasting life set before us. As for our trials, Jesus Christ said that we must solve them day by day: "On this account I say to you: Stop being anxious about your lives as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not life* mean more than food and the body than clothing? Observe intently the birds of heaven; they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span? Also, why are you anxious about clothing? Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not toil, nor do they spin; but I tell you that not even Solʹo·mon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now if this is how God clothes the vegetation of the field that is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to wear?’ For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things" (Matthew 6:25-32). The principle is simple, we must use the present to solve our problems which arise as they come, trusting in God, to help us find a solution: "Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you. So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles" (Matthew 6:33,34). Applying this principle, will help us to better manage mental or emotional energy to deal with our daily problems. Jesus Christ advises against excessive, even morbid anticipation of the problems or trials, that could clutter our minds and take away all spiritual energy from us (Compare with Mark 4:18,19).


Coming back to the encouragement written at Hebrews 12:1-3, we need to use our mental capacity to project ourselves into the future through joy in hope, which is part of the fruitage of the Holy Spirit: "On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22,23). It is written in the Bible that Jehovah is a happy God, and the Christian is preaching the "good news of the happy God" (1 Timothy 1:11). While this system of things has never been so much in spiritual darkness, we must be a source of light by means of the good news that we share, but also by the joy of our hope that we want to radiate to others: "You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when located on a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house. Likewise, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens" (Matthew 5:14-16). Let us make the joy of Jehovah our fortress: "Do not feel sad, for the joy of Jehovah is your stronghold” (Nehemiah 8:10).


We must endure the evil and be patient, like Job: "Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you do not get judged. Look! The Judge is standing before the doors. 10Brothers, take as a pattern of the suffering of evil and the exercising of patience the prophets who spoke in the name of Jehovah. 11Look! We consider happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful" (verses 9-11).


After a very severely disciplined against the three Job accusers, Jehovah God delivered Job from his tribulation, created by Satan the devil:


“After Jehovah had spoken these words to Job, Jehovah said to Eliphaz the Temanite:

“My anger burns against you and your two companions, for you have not spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has. 8Now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job, and offer up a burnt sacrifice for yourselves. And my servant Job will pray for you. I will surely accept his request not to deal with you according to your foolishness, for you have not spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has.”

9So Elʹiphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what Jehovah had told them to do. And Jehovah accepted Job’s prayer.

10After Job had prayed for his companions, Jehovah removed Job’s tribulation and restored his prosperity. Jehovah gave him double what he had before. 11All his brothers and sisters and all his former friends came to him and ate a meal with him in his house. They sympathized with him and comforted him over all the calamity that Jehovah had allowed to come upon him. Each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring.

12So Jehovah blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the beginning, and Job came to have 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 pairs of cattle, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13He also came to have seven more sons and three more daughters. 14He named the first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15No women in all the land were as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.

16After this Job lived for 140 years, and he saw his children and his grandchildren—four generations. 17Finally Job died, after a long and satisfying life” (Job 42:7-17).


We must respect our word: "Above all, my brothers, stop swearing, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your “Yes” mean yes and your “No,” no, so that you do not become liable to judgment" (verse 12).


Jesus Christ says exactly the same thing in the sermon on the Mount: "Again you heard that it was said to those of ancient times: ‘You must not swear without performing, but you must pay your vows to Jehovah.’ However, I say to you: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, since you cannot turn one hair white or black. Just let your word ‘Yes’ mean yes, your ‘No,’ no, for what goes beyond these is from the wicked one" (Matthew 5:33-37).


The blessings of the prayer of the righteous one and his teaching to bring back the sinner from his bad behavior: "Is there anyone suffering hardship among you? Let him carry on prayer. Is there anyone in good spirits? Let him sing psalms. 14Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call the elders of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, applying oil to him in the name of Jehovah. 15And the prayer of faith will make the sick one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also, if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore, openly confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. A righteous man’s supplication has a powerful effect. 17E·liʹjah was a man with feelings like ours, and yet when he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the land produced fruit. 19My brothers, if anyone among you is led astray from the truth and another turns him back, 20know that whoever turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save him from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (verses 13-20).


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Meditation on the Letter of Jude leading to Christian maturity


In the introduction of his letter, Jude writes that he is the brother of James, so he is also a younger brother of Jesus: "Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James, to the called ones who are loved by God the Father and preserved for Jesus Christ: 2May mercy and peace and love be increased to you" (verses 1 and 2 ; Matthew 13:55 "Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?").


The purpose of the letter of Jude is to warn against the infiltration in the Christian congregation, of individuals with twisted behaviors perverting the spiritual purity required by God and his Son Jesus Christ: "Beloved ones, although I was making every effort to write you about the salvation we hold in common, I found it necessary to write you to urge you to put up a hard fight for the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones. 4My reason is that certain men have slipped in among you who were long ago appointed to this judgment by the Scriptures; they are ungodly men who turn the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for brazen conduct and who prove false to our only owner and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Verses 3,4).


The infiltration of these individuals pretending to be Christian was prophesied by Jesus Christ in the illustration of the seed of wheat sown by him, and weeds sown by Satan the devil (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43). This infiltration of bad individuals started very soon after the beginning of the Christian congregation. For example, the apostle Paul had already mentioned the presence of people who began to mistreat the herd, posing as superfine apostles (2 Corinthians Chapter 11). The apostles were a rampart against such malicious men, but as Jesus Christ said in the prophetic illustration, after their death, the infiltration of these individuals would be increasing, by the fact of Satan the devil, during several centuries: "I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:29,30).


Currently, in Christian congregations in the world, there are wheat sown by Jesus Christ, Christians who sincerely endeavor to make the will of God, with the mind of brotherly love: "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves" (John 13:34,35). At the same times, there are obviously, in some Christian congregations, bad slaves, weeds, mentioned by Jesus Christ who beat with their tongue, their Christian fellow slaves, acting as oppressive wolves: "But if ever that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and he starts to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and he will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his place with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be" (Matthew 24:48-51).


Some of these malicious people "turn the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for brazen conduct", saying that God is so good, whatever we do, God will always forgive because he is love. The mention of "brazen conduct" alludes to the works of the flesh written in the letter of the apostle Paul: "Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, and they are sexual immorality, uncleanness, brazen conduct, idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these. I am forewarning you about these things, the same way I already warned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom" (Galatians 5:19-21). Those who practice the works of the flesh will not get everlasting life (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).


The apostle Paul showed how these voluntary sinners betrayed Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his life on earth for the everlasting salvation of humankind: "For it is impossible as regards those who have once for all been enlightened, and who have tasted the heavenly free gift, and who have become partakers of holy spirit, and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, 6but who have fallen away, to revive them again to repentance, because they impale the Son of God afresh for themselves and expose him to public shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6).


"Although you are fully aware of all of this, I want to remind you that Jehovah, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those not showing faith. 6And the angels who did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place, he has reserved with eternal bonds in dense darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7In the same manner, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them also gave themselves over to gross sexual immorality and pursued unnatural fleshly desires; they are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire" (verses 5-7).


Jude reminds that it is not because Jehovah God delivered his people from Egypt that he never exempted them from making an accounting of their serious sins. For example, shortly after the people got out of Egypt when they were at the foot of Mount Sinai, they made a golden calf. So, God has severely punished those responsible for this serious sin of idolatry (Exodus chapter 32). Jude gives another example of rebellious behavior, regarding spiritual creatures. Angels in the heavens took the human form, without divine authorization. They went down to the earth to have sex with the daughters of men, which constituted an immoral and "unnatural fleshly desires" (Genesis 6:1-8). Regarding the narrative of the judgment and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, it happened due to a shameful and revolting conduct of all of these inhabitants (Genesis chapter 19:1-29). The everlasting fire is the destruction by sulphur and fire of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is a definitive destruction of the inhabitants because of their bad behavior.


"Despite this, these men too are indulging in dreams, defiling the flesh, despising authority, and speaking abusively of glorious ones. But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.” But these men are speaking abusively about all the things they really do not understand. And in all the things that they do understand by instinct like unreasoning animals, they go on corrupting themselves" (verses 8-10).


The archangel Michael is obviously the angel who was going to come to earth as Jesus Christ. Archangel means chief of angels. In Revelation 19:11-21, in the description of King Jesus Christ, in verse 14, it is written: "Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen". This text demonstrates that it is the King Jesus Christ who is the head of the heavenly armies, the archangel. In Matthew 25:31, Jesus Christ announces that shortly before the great tribulation, he will come to judge the nations: "When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne". The expression "and all the angels with him", shows that he has all authority, as chief of the angels or archangel Michael. In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, it is written that Jesus Christ will use an archangel's voice to raise the dead: "Because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Therefore, there is no doubt that the leader of the angels, Michael, is King Jesus Christ.


The information given by Jude concerning the difference of the archangel Michael with Satan, is very strange because there is no data in the Holy Scriptures of such an event linked with the burial of the body of Moses. It is probably an information given by Jesus resurrected to Jude, when he was still on the earth. In 1 Corinthians 15:7, it is written that Jesus Christ resurrected appeared to his younger brother James. There is no reason to think that it did not appear also to Jude and as well as to his other brothers and sisters. The fact that Paul mentions only James is probably due to the fact that he was the best known among all the Christian congregations (in acts 15, it is written that James (brother of Jesus) presided over the Council of Jerusalem). It was probably during these times of the short presence of Jesus resurrected on earth, by conversing with Jude and James (and maybe with his other brothers and sisters), that Jesus Christ could have given this information.


The substance of the teaching of this example given by Jude, is that if the archangel Michael did not dare to bring a judgment against Satan, it is advisable not to murmur against the members of the Christian congregation, particularly against the administrators of the Christian congregation (despising authority, and speaking abusively of glorious ones). Even if it could be justified (as it was the case against Satan the devil). If a Christian had to be the victim of an injustice (according to him (true or not)) and could not be resolved within the framework of a healthy communication, then it is advisable to rely on the justice of God and his Son Jesus Christ, who will be exercised for sure, but later. In the meantime, the wisest way is to endure evil, by keeping silence, being waiting for Jehovah God: "Good it is to wait in silence for the salvation of Jehovah" (lamentations 3:26). "But as for me, it is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me" (Micah 7:7; Isaiah 66:5).


Those who would persist in these continual murmurs within the congregation, would manifest an earthly, animalistic and demonic wisdom: "These men too are indulging in dreams, defiling the flesh, despising authority, and speaking abusively of glorious ones" (verse 10). Disciple James, his brother, taught a similar idea in order to exhort to have a mind of peace within the congregation: "But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above; it is earthly, animalistic, demonic. For wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peaceful conditions for those who are making peace" (James 3:14-18).

Jude gives three others examples of bad people in the biblical history, as a warning against those who are murmuring in the Christian congregation: "Too bad for them, for they have followed the path of Cain and have rushed into the erroneous course of Balaam for reward, and they have perished in the rebellious talk of Korah! 12 These are the rocks hidden below water at your love feasts while they feast with you, shepherds who feed themselves without fear; waterless clouds carried here and there by the wind; fruitless trees in late autumn, having died twice and having been uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea that cast up the foam of their own shame; stars with no set course, for which the blackest darkness stands reserved forever. 14 Yes, the seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, also prophesied about them when he said: “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads 15 to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.” 16 These men are murmurers, complainers about their lot in life, following their own desires, and their mouths make grandiose boasts, while they are flattering others for their own benefit" (verses 11-16).


The first example of bad behavior is that of Cain. It is written in Genesis that Cain became jealous of his brother Abel. So, Jehovah God warned him not to continue in this murderous jealousy: "Then Jehovah said to Cain: “Why are you so angry and dejected? If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor? But if you do not turn to doing good, sin is crouching at the door, and its craving is to dominate you; but will you get the mastery over it?”" (Genesis 4:6,7). However, Cain did not take into account the divine warning and murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8).


The second example is the bad behavior of Balaam. The king of Moab, Balak, hired the prophet Balaam, to curse the people of God. While Balaam went to the king of Moab, Jehovah God warned him not to persist in this bad way. However, the words of Balaam were diverted by God, and became blessings for the people of Israel. But, Balaam gave a treacherous council to push the people of Israel to the fault, for to be punished by God: sending young and pretty Midianites women to young Israelites who fell, at the end, into sexual immorality. So, God punished the people of Israel (Numbers Chapters 22 to 25; 31:15; Apocalypse 2:14). At the end, Balaam has been punished by God by destruction (Numbers 31:8).


The third example is that of the rebellion fomented by Korah. He was a Levite who was part of the prestigious line of the Kohathites. Indeed, Moses and Aaron were grandchildren of Kohath, as well as Korah, who was, therefore, their first cousin. Korah was a prestigious man for the people and among the chieftains of Israel (see Exodus 6:18-24). Jehovah had granted the Kohathites the priesthood, but not for all, only for the house of Aaron (and not to that of Korah). He began to murmur and said that this divine designation of the priesthood given to Aaron was in fact a personal and biased decision of Moses to put his own brother in this prestigious position. This rebellion took serious proportions, because 250 chieftains of the people of Israel, joined Korah, against Moses and Aaron. However, God ended up destroying the rebels and confirming the appointment of Aaron and his house, as a permanent priestly line of the people of Israel (Numbers Chapters 16 and 17).


The disciple Jude gives these three examples of biblical history in order to illustrate that complaining in the congregation can bring fire and destruction from God in the future great tribulation. It is a serious act from the point of view of God and his Son Jesus Christ. Jude compares these individuals infiltrated in the Christian congregation to "rocks hidden below water at your love feasts while they feast with you, shepherds who feed themselves without fear" (verse 12). These people, who are murmuring, apparently have attractive personality, to the point to be invited for a meal. However, what characterizes them is that they do not love their brothers and sisters of the congregation, because they feed themselves (see Ezekiel chapter 34).


The prophet Enoch, is mentioned by Jude as fine example of courage. He was the great-grandfather of Noah (Genesis 5:21-28). This prophet prophesied the fulfillment of the judgments of Jehovah against the wicked generation of that time. He had the witnessing of God that he had his approval (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). The fulfillment of the judgment of God, announced by Enoch and Noah, took place during the deluge (Genesis chapters 6 and 7). Jude quotes this example to illustrate the fact that the judgments of God will always be fulfilled against the wicked people, infiltrated in the Christian congregation.


In the conclusion of his letter, Jude writes that this infiltration situation of bad individuals in the Christian congregations, was prophesied by the apostles: "As for you, beloved ones, call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 how they used to say to you: “In the last time there will be ridiculers, following their own desires for ungodly things.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, animalistic men, not having spirituality. 20 But you, beloved ones, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, and pray with holy spirit, 21 in order to keep yourselves in God’s love, while you await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view. 22 Also, continue showing mercy to some who have doubts; 23 save them by snatching them out of the fire. But continue showing mercy to others, doing so with fear, while you hate even the garment that has been stained by the flesh. 24 Now to the one who is able to guard you from stumbling and to make you stand unblemished in the sight of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority for all past eternity and now and into all eternity. Amen" (verses 17-25).


There is the warning of the apostle Peter, in his second letter: "However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These will quietly bring in destructive sects, and they will even disown the owner who bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. Furthermore, many will follow their brazen conduct, and because of them the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively. Also, they will greedily exploit you with counterfeit words. But their judgment, decided long ago, is not moving slowly, and their destruction is not sleeping. (…) First of all know this, that in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning" (2 Peter Chapter 2 ; 3:3,4).


This separation between animalistic men, devoid of all spirituality and spiritual men (verse 19) has been described by the apostle Paul: "But a physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man. For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).


Jude shows that the good cohesion in the Christian congregation requires encouragement, a mind of brotherly love and patience towards those who have a flickering faith. This encouragement, which build the Christian congregation, are based on prayer, a quality biblical teaching and the fact of testifying to brotherly love towards each other by acts of mercy (verses 20-25; John 13:34,35).


***

Meditation on the three letters of John, leading to Christian maturity


The writer of these three letters is John, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. He is also the writer one of the Gospel which bears his name and as well as the book of Apocalypse or Revelation. It is pleasant to read these letters because there are not difficulties of understanding, and it is also very instructive to strengthen our faith in the hope of everlasting life, by means of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (John 3:16,36). Each important idea written by the Apostle John will be introduced by a simple comment. Afterwards, there may be a comment that will allow to see how we can expand the meditation and the understanding linked to the teaching of the apostle John.


The first letter of the apostle John


Chapter 1:


The introduction of the letter simply explains the purpose of bearing witness of fellowship with God and his Son Jesus Christ, in view of the hope of everlasting life by means the sacrifice of Christ: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have observed and our hands have felt, concerning the word of life, 2 (yes, the life was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you the everlasting life that was with the Father and was made manifest to us), 3 that which we have seen and heard we are reporting also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 5 This is the message that we heard from him and are announcing to you: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. 6 If we make the statement, “We are having fellowship with him,” and yet we go on walking in the darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 However, if we are walking in the light as he himself is in the light, we do have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (verses 1-7).


Some people say that they have no sin and therefore they do not need the atonement value of the blood of Jesus Christ to obtain the forgiveness of sins: "If we make the statement, “We have no sin,” we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we make the statement, “We have not sinned,” we are making him a liar, and his word is not in us" (verses 8-10).


Jesus Christ during his discussion with the teacher of the Law, Nicodemus, said that those who refuse to exercise faith in his sacrifice, would incur the anger of God, and therefore would not have the everlasting life: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. (…) The one who exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; the one who disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him" (John 3:16,36).


It is possible that the people, who claimed to have no sin, thought that one can be righteous (with no sin) toward God, by a good conduct and thus obtain salvation, by deserved and without exercising faith in the sacrifice of Christ. Maybe some Jews of that time who did not exercise faith in Jesus and thought that salvation is only by means a good application of the Mosaic Law. Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote regarding this idea: "We who are Jews by birth, and not sinners from the nations, recognize that a man is declared righteous, not by works of law, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. So we have put our faith in Christ Jesus, so that we may be declared righteous by faith in Christ and not by works of law, for no one will be declared righteous by works of law" (Galatians 2:15,16).


In addition, the sinful condition does not only depend on the good or bad behavior toward God, but also, the fact that the sin is in the man, in his flesh, in his genes inherited from our common ancestor, Adam. In doing so, even if some people claim to have no sin because they would have good behavior toward God, that would not prevent them from undergoing the physical law of sin in them, in their flesh and in their genes, which leads them irretrievably to death: "That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned. (...) For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 5:12; 6:23). Therefore, to get out of this dark tunnel of sin that leads to the grave, there is no other choice than to recognize our sinful condition and to exercise faith in the sacrifice of Christ, to obtain the everlasting life (reasoning with the mind of practical wisdom).


Chapter 2:


We must exercise faith in the atonement value of the sacrifice of Christ, for the forgiveness of our sins, we must also observe the commandments of God: "My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. 2 And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s. 3 And by this we realize that we have come to know him, namely, if we continue observing his commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet does not observe his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in this person. 5 But whoever does observe his word, in this person the love of God has truly been made perfect. By this we know that we are in union with him. 6 The one who says he remains in union with him is himself under obligation to go on walking just as that one walked. (…) I am writing you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for the sake of his name. 13 I am writing you, fathers, because you have come to know him who is from the beginning. I am writing you, young men, because you have conquered the wicked one. I write you, young children, because you have come to know the Father. 14 I write you, fathers, because you have come to know him who is from the beginning. I write you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you and you have conquered the wicked one" (verses 1-6,12-14).


The disciple James exposed the same idea, namely the faith, in this circumstance, the faith in Jesus Christ, goes through a behavior in accordance with the will of God. A faith without works or without this good behavior is dead: "You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works and not by faith alone. In the same manner, was not Rahab the prostitute also declared righteous by works after she received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? Indeed, just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (James 2:24-26).


Christian love is incompatible with hatred: "Beloved ones, I am writing you, not a new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning. This old commandment is the word that you heard. 8 Again, I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in his case and in yours, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 The one who says that he is in the light and yet hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and is walking in the darkness, and he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (verses 7-11).


The Christian should not love the world: "Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; 16 because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. 17 Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever" (verses 15-17).


Disciple James also made the same recommendation with the fact of not loving the world: "Adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is making himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4). The love for the world is a spiritual adultery, that is to say, the breaking of the promise of loyalty made to God and to Christ, during the Christian baptism (Matthew 28:19).


The apostle John announces the presence of the antichrist and gives the definition. He encourages to remain in union with Jesus Christ: "Young children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from which fact we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us. But they went out so that it might be shown that not all are of our sort. 20 And you have an anointing from the holy one, and all of you have knowledge. 21 I write you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie originates with the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. But whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, what you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, you will also remain in union with the Son and in union with the Father. 25 Furthermore, this is what he himself promised us—the life everlasting. 26 I write you these things about those who are trying to mislead you. 27 And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but the anointing from him is teaching you about all things and is true and is no lie. Just as it has taught you, remain in union with him. 28 So now, little children, remain in union with him, so that when he is made manifest we may have freeness of speech and not shrink away from him in shame at his presence. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who practices righteousness has been born from him" (verses 18-29).


We recall the very precise definition of the antichrist, according to what it is written in 1 John 2:22,23: "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. But whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also".


Chapter 3:


"See what sort of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. That is why the world does not know us, because it has not come to know him. 2Beloved ones, we are now children of God, but it has not yet been made manifest what we will be. We do know that when he is made manifest we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. 3And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as that one is pure" (verses 1-3).


Are you a Son of God? "For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons" (Romans 8:14). This question is only in the biblical context, and particularly of the letter to the Romans, the chapter 8. The answer will be based on the context of chapter 8, in order to know if, the status of "son of God" is only reserved for a category of Christians, for example, those who have the heavenly hope of being one of the 144000, or to all Christians, including those who are an earthly hope (Apocalypse 7:1-8 (144000); 7:9- 17 (the great crowd coming out of the great tribulation). In order for the reader to check by himself, the context reveals two important points:


1 - The apostle Paul does not speak at any time directly, of two categories of Christians, but rather of two categories of humans, those who live according to fleshly desires and those (the faithful Christians) who live by being led by the Holy Spirit.


2 - The apostle Paul does not evoke the hope of everlasting life, by directly making a difference between everlasting life in heaven and everlasting life in the future earthly paradise.


It should be recalled that in Romans 8, the apostle Paul wrote that the "sons of God" are who live led by spirit, and this is quite the case of the faithful Christians who have the earthly hope. In addition, if it is obvious that the expression of "joint heirs with Christ" has a restrictive meaning in Romans (8:12-17), applying only to the 144000, this expression can be applied currently to the faithful Christians who have the earthly hope, in the broad sense of Luke 23:43: "You will be with me in paradise". The currently faithful Christians who have the earthly hope, will be, in a broad sense, "joint heirs with Christ", because they will be with Jesus Christ in paradise...


Finally, it is also good to remember how the Model Prayer begins: "Our Father in heaven" (Matthew 6:9)... If Jesus Christ asked his disciples to begin this prayer with the expression "Our Father", it is well proof that God will not wait a thousand years to consider, right away, that the faithful Christians who have the earthly hope, are their sons, the sons of God... "For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons"(Romans 8:14)…


Whoever practices sin, comes from the devil: "Everyone who practices sin is also practicing lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know, too, that he was made manifest to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Everyone remaining in union with him does not practice sin; no one who practices sin has either seen him or come to know him. 7 Little children, let no one mislead you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as that one is righteous. 8 The one who practices sin originates with the Devil, because the Devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, to break up the works of the Devil. 9 Everyone who has been born from God does not practice sin, for His seed remains in such one, and he cannot practice sin, for he has been born from God. 10 The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Whoever does not practice righteousness does not originate with God, nor does the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother. And for what reason did he slaughter him? Because his own works were wicked, but those of his brother were righteous" (verses 4-12).


The apostle John mentions the practice of sin, that is to say having a continuous and voluntary conduct in sin. In verses 7 and 8, he contrasts the man who practices justice as a way of life with the man who practices sin, as other and different way of life. Thus, the practice of sin is different from the fact of committing a single sin, resulting of a human weakness. The apostle Paul has shown, like the apostle John, that this kind of single sin, made by weakness can be forgiven on the basis of the atonement value of the sacrifice of Christ (Romans 7:21-25). John gives an example of practice of sin, a continuous feeling of hatred against his neighbor: "Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed over from death to life, because we love the brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has everlasting life remaining in him. 16 By this we have come to know love, because that one surrendered his life for us, and we are under obligation to surrender our lives for our brothers. 17 But whoever has the material possessions of this world and sees his brother in need and yet refuses to show him compassion, in what way does the love of God remain in him? 18 Little children, we should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth" (verses 13-18).


As Jesus Christ said, sin by intention in the heart, or by the expression of bad feelings of hatred in the heart, is a serious sin, even if it is not materialized in actions (like a homicide or murder) (Matthew 5:28). John writes that someone who has hatred for his brother, is already a homicide and therefore he no longer fulfills the conditions required by God, to obtain everlasting life.


Jesus Christ forbade the hatred, the insult, and the murder: "you heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not murder; but whoever commits a murder will be accountable to the court of justice.’ However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Gehenna" (Matthew 5:21-22).


Jesus Christ showed how to avoid this extremity, by trying as much as possible to resolve the personality conflicts: "If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and you there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away; first make your peace with your brother, and then, when you have come back, offer up your gift" (Matthew 5:23,24).


Also in this same chapter, Jesus Christ said to love our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). The verb "to love" in this context, is to be taken in the sense of a reasoned love, without necessarily being marked with affection towards our enemy. For example, when someone insults us or behaves badly towards us, the love based on Bible principles will prevent us from responding to insult with insult, or hatred with hatred. In this way, the vicious circle of hatred by hatred will be broken, by the virtuous circle requested by Jesus Christ: that is, to respond to the hatred of our enemy, by self-control, a love based on decorum, good manners , good education and common sense (Galatians 5: 22,23 "the fruit of the holy spirit"). Maybe this way of acting can encourage him to change his attitude towards us.


During his arrest which would lead him to death, Jesus Christ forbade the use of weapons, nor even to defend him or defend his cause: "Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword"" (Matthew 26:52). The murder and the homicide are forbidden, for both personal reasons, and even out of religious or state patriotism. This statement of Christ is a reminder of what it is written in the prophecy of Isaiah: "And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).


No longer learning war obviously supposes not to practice both combat sports or martial arts, even those, tinged with religious propaganda which would consist in saying that it is only with "defensive" purpose. Transforming a human body into a "defensive weapon" can quickly become "an offensive weapon" which can injure and until to kill... Christians should not see violent sports performances or films extolling gratuitous violence. This is completely detestable in the eyes of Jehovah God: "Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, And anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates" (Psalms 11:5).


God is greater than our hearts and knows all things: "By this we will know that we originate with the truth, and we will assure our hearts before him 20 regarding whatever our hearts may condemn us in, because God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. 21 Beloved ones, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have freeness of speech toward God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we are observing his commandments and doing what is pleasing in his eyes. 23 Indeed, this is his commandment: that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us a commandment. 24 Moreover, the one who observes his commandments remains in union with him, and he in union with such one. And by the spirit that he gave us, we know that he remains in union with us" (verses 19-24).


Sometimes our symbolic heart, which represents the source of our spiritual intuitions, can go wrong. He could condemn us with an excessive feeling of guilt, thinking, for example, that God has not forgiven us or that our sin is far too serious to be forgiven (Isaiah 1:18). Nevertheless, as the apostle John recalls, God is greater than our heart. Therefore, it is not because we have the bad intuition not to be forgiven, that God has not forgiven us. In a way, in this specific case, one could say that God is much more merciful than a heart which constantly feels guilty (read Psalms 51).


The narrative about King Manasseh, which has shed much blood, is the demonstration of how far Jehovah's mercy can be applied to sincere repentance. In the biblical narrative, it is written about wickedness of King Manasseh: "Ma·nasʹseh also shed innocent blood in very great quantity until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other, besides his sin of causing Judah to sin by doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah" (2 Kings 21:16). Because of his bad deeds, God punished him: "Jehovah kept speaking to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So Jehovah brought against them the army chiefs of the king of As·syrʹi·a, and they captured Ma·nasʹseh with hooks and bound him with two copper fetters and took him to Babylon" (2 Chronicles 33: 10,11). However, for as incredible as it may be, this king ended up sincerely repenting of his evil deeds and obtaining Jehovah's mercy: "In his distress, he begged Jehovah his God for favor and kept humbling himself greatly before the God of his forefathers. He kept praying to Him, and He was moved by his entreaty and heard his request for favor, and He restored him to Jerusalem to his kingship. Then Ma·nasʹseh came to know that Jehovah is the true God" (2 Chronicles 33:12,13). What is the reason for this biblical example?


Many men and women have made irreversible mistakes, such as killing many humans (in the context of conflict) or taking part in abortions, sometimes even late. Many of them think that it is impossible that God would forgive them. Add to this a deep feeling of remorse and indignity. Regarding Jehovah's immense mercy, this is what it says: ""Come, now, and let us set matters straight between us,” says Jehovah. “Though your sins are like scarlet, They will be made as white as snow; Though they are as red as crimson cloth, They will become like wool"" (Isaiah 1:18). This verse is especially addressed to those men and women who sincerely repent before God, asking for forgiveness: God forgives sincere repentance on the basis of the precious blood of Jesus Christ: "My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s" (1 John 2:1,2). Moreover, Jehovah God will resurrect the millions of dead who were victims of the many genocides (John 5:28,29). What is irreversible for man, is not for God (Matthew 19:26 "to God all things are possible").


It is possible that even if the mercy of God applies to sincere repentance, a feeling of remorse and indignity will continue to harass them. However, they must know that God is greater than hearts (1 John 3:19-22).


Chapter 4:


It is very important to test whether the teaching that we receive, as "inspired statement", is truly based on the Bible: "Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you know that the inspired statement is from God: Every inspired statement that acknowledges Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God. 3 But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You originate with God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in union with you is greater than the one who is in union with the world. 5 They originate with the world; that is why they speak what originates with the world and the world listens to them. 6 We originate with God. Whoever comes to know God listens to us; whoever does not originate with God does not listen to us. By this we distinguish the inspired statement of truth from the inspired statement of error" (verses 1-6).


How to "test the inspired statement" to see whether it comes from God? We have a concrete example written in the book of Acts: "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). The Bereans, while listening to the teaching of the apostle Paul, tested his "inspired statement", whether it was well based on the Bible.


In verses 2 and 3, John specifies his thought: "Every inspired statement that acknowledges Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God. But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world". Why does the apostle John insist so much regarding the faith in Jesus Christ? Because this is the central point of teaching, the central point of Christianity. By attacking this central part of this teaching that is both simple and very important, it can endanger the everlasting future of those who receive this false teaching which frankly denies the fact that Jesus is Christ.


However, it could be very difficult to detect this kind of false teaching. Let us take a concrete example in direct connection with the faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which leads to everlasting life. Let us talk about the celebration of the memory of the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus said to celebrate it once a year, on the date of the celebration of the former Jewish Passover, on the Nisan, 14, according to the Jewish calendar: "Keep doing this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). This Christian ceremony must be celebrated in the same way as the Passover, that is between faithful Christians, in congregation or in family (Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 11:33). After the celebration of Passover, Jesus Christ established the pattern of the future celebration of the memorial of his death (Luke 22:12-18). They are in these biblical quotes of the different Gospels: Matthew 26:17-35, Mark 14:12-31, Luke 22:7-38, John Chapter 13 to 17.


The apostle Paul also wrote this: "Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7). The modalities of this Christian celebration which replace the Jewish Passover, are very simple. The Passover Lamb is replaced by what symbolically represents the body of Christ: his flesh is represented by an unfermented bread; his blood is represented by the cup. Just as the circumcised Jews ate the lamb of Passover, thus the Christian is invited, by Jesus Christ to participate in the unfermented bread and drink the cup: "So Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink”" (John 6:53-55).


Currently and on a global scale, a human "inspired statement" claims that the faithful Christians who have the hope of everlasting life on earth, have no right to take part in the unfermented bread and the cup, contradicting in head-on way, the clear and precise declarations of Christ (Revelation 21:3,4 (Earthly Hope of Everlasting Life); John 6:48-58 (the injunction of Christ to eat the unfermented bread and drink the cup, symbolizing his flesh and his blood)). This dogma of the prohibition to take the emblems has absolutely no biblical foundation and is head-on against the teaching of Christ to take part in the unfermented bread and the cup. Now, taking part in the unfermented bread and the cup is the only visible way that the Christian can demonstrate his faith in the sacrifice of Christ and in the hope of everlasting life (John 3:16,36). Therefore, you, faithful Christians, who test the inspired statement, as encourages the apostle John, during the next celebration of the memorial of the sacrifice of Christ, what will you do?


If we love God, we must also love our neighbor: "Beloved ones, let us continue loving one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. 9 By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him. 10 The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are also under obligation to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we continue loving one another, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. 13 By this we know that we are remaining in union with him and he in union with us, because he has given his spirit to us. 14 In addition, we ourselves have seen and are bearing witness that the Father has sent his Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in union with such one and he in union with God. 16 And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. (...) If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this commandment from him, that whoever loves God must also love his brother" (verses 7-16a, 20,21).


John encourages us to love our neighbor in the way of God, that is to say by taking the first step: "The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are also under obligation to love one another" (verses 10 and 11). It was God who loved us first, when in the beginning, we did not love him. Jesus Christ expressed the same idea, namely to take the first step, to love someone who does not love us, as God did with us, but in a different way: "For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? And if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary thing are you doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing? You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:46-48). Thus, the manifestation of love, in the way of God, is sublimated by particularly in loving those who do not love us. Maybe, in their hearts, in return, it will born a brotherly love for us, as was the case for our love towards God and his Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).


Love for God is devoid of all fear: "God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in union with God and God remains in union with him. 17 In this way love has been made perfect in us, so that we may have freeness of speech in the day of judgment, because just as that one is, so are we ourselves in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts fear out, because fear restrains us. Indeed, the one who is fearful has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love, because he first loved us" (verses 16b-19).


How is it that the apostle John writes to love God without fear, while in other parts of the Bible, it is written that we must fear God (Proverbs 2:5 "The fear of Jehovah")? The fear of Jehovah God mentioned in Proverbs 2:5 is a feeling of deep respect and deference, a reverential fear. While the fear mentioned by the apostle John is incompatible with love for God because it is another kind of fear. It is a morbid fear, the fear of punishment which is completely incompatible with the love that we could naturally have towards someone who does not scare us and who comforts us.


Chapter 5:


The conquest that has conquered the world, our faith: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and everyone who loves the one who caused to be born loves him who has been born from that one. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and carry out his commandments. 3 For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome, 4 because everyone who has been born from God conquers the world. And this is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith. 5 Who can conquer the world? Is it not the one who has faith that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the one who came by means of water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. And the spirit is bearing witness, because the spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three witness bearers: 8 the spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement" (verses 1-8).


The witness of God about his Son is greater: "If we accept the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. Because this is the witness God gives, the witness that he has given about his Son. 10 The person putting his faith in the Son of God has the witness within himself. The person not having faith in God has made him a liar, because he has not put his faith in the witness given by God concerning his Son. 11 And this is the witness, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has this life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this life. 13 I write you these things so that you may know that you have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that no matter what we ask according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us concerning whatever we are asking, we know that we are to have the things we ask for, since we have asked them of him" (verses 9-15).


All unrighteousness is sin; and yet, there is a sin that does not incur death: "If anyone catches sight of his brother committing a sin that does not incur death, he will ask, and God will give life to him, yes, to those not committing sin that incurs death. There is a sin that does incur death. It is concerning that sin that I do not tell him to make request. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and yet there is a sin that does not incur death. 18 We know that everyone who has been born from God does not practice sin, but the one born from God watches him, and the wicked one cannot take hold of him. 19 We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one. 20 But we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us insight so that we may gain the knowledge of the one who is true. And we are in union with the one who is true, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols" (verses 16-21).


As the apostle Paul wrote, the wages sin pays is death (Romans 6:23). Thus, according to the apostle John, there is a sin that does not incur death, allowing the forgiveness of God, on the basis of the atonement value of the sacrifice of Christ. The sin which incurs death, according to verse 18, is the practicing of sin, in this case, the sacrifice of Christ does not apply, it is not even useful to pray for those who are practicing it. The apostle Paul wrote a similar idea on the practice of voluntary sin, which cannot be forgiven and which, therefore, incurs death: "For as regards those who were once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly free gift and who have become partakers of holy spirit 5 and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, 6 but have fallen away, it is impossible to revive them again to repentance, because they nail the Son of God to the stake again for themselves and expose him to public shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6).


The present system of things is under the domination of Satan the devil: "We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one" (verse 19).


The Christian should not practice idolatry: "Little children, guard yourselves from idols" (verse 21).

The second letter of the apostle John


This letter is addressed to a lady and her children (unless it is the metaphor of the Christian congregation (the Lady) with her children, the Christians who compose it):


“The older man to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I truly love, and not only I but also all those who have come to know the truth, 2because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever. 3There will be with us undeserved kindness, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, with truth and love.

4I rejoice very much because I have found some of your children walking in the truth, just as we received commandment from the Father. 5So now I request you, lady, that we love one another. (I am writing you, not a new commandment, but one that we had from the beginning.) 6And this is what love means, that we go on walking according to his commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should go on walking in it. 7For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

8Look out for yourselves, so that you do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that you may obtain a full reward. 9Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. 11For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.

12Although I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink, but I am hoping to come to you and to speak with you face-to-face, so that your joy may be in full measure.

13The children of your sister, the chosen one, send you their greetings” (verses 1-13).


This is a summary of the main theme of the first letter of John: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, so that you do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that you may obtain a full reward. Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son" (verses 7-9).


The third letter of the apostle John


This letter also could be named, the letter to Gaius:


“The older man to Gaius, the beloved, whom I truly love.

2Beloved one, I pray that in all things you continue to prosper and enjoy good health, just as you are now prospering. 3For I rejoiced very much when brothers came and bore witness about the truth you hold, as you go on walking in the truth. 4No greater joy do I have than this: that I should hear that my children go on walking in the truth.

5Beloved one, you show your faithfulness in what you do for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have given a witness about your love before the congregation. Please send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7For it was in behalf of his name that they went out, not taking anything from the people of the nations. 8So we are under obligation to show hospitality to such ones, so that we may become fellow workers in the truth.

9I wrote something to the congregation, but Diotrephes, who likes to have the first place among them, does not accept anything from us with respect. 10That is why if I come, I will call attention to the works he is doing in spreading malicious talk about us. Not being content with this, he refuses to welcome the brothers with respect; and those who want to welcome them, he tries to hinder and to throw out of the congregation.

11Beloved one, do not imitate what is bad, but imitate what is good. The one who does good originates with God. The one who does bad has not seen God. 12Demetrius has been well-reported-on by them all and by the truth itself. In fact, we too are bearing witness about him, and you know that the witness we give is true.

13I had many things to write you, but I do not wish to go on writing you with pen and ink. 14However, I am hoping to see you soon, and we will speak face-to-face” (verses 1-14).


The apostle John mentions the presence in the Christian congregation, of a harmful individual. His name is Diotrephes, who behaves like a tyrannical wolf, mistreating the brothers and sisters of the Christian congregation. In the letter from the disciple Jude, it is explained how the infiltration of these malicious people takes place, and how to identify them (the letter of Jude).


***


Meditation on the two letters of the apostle Peter,

leading to Christian maturity


The first letter of the apostle Peter


The writer of this letter is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. In the Gospels, he also has the name of Simon Peter (Matthew 4:18) and Jesus Christ gave him another name, Cephas (John 1:42). Among the twelve, he was one of the three closest apostles of Jesus Christ: Peter, James and John his brother. These three men saw the transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:1-10). There is no problem of understanding in reading the two letters of Peter. Nevertheless, sometimes Peter uses expressions which are linked to the Mosaic Law and particularly the former priesthood system, which will be explained without necessarily going into details. The purpose of this meditation is to understand how the advice of these letters can guide us towards Christian maturity and makes it possible to expand the reflection and the understanding, regarding the teaching presented by the apostle Peter.


Chapter 1:


"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the temporary residents scattered about in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, to those chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, with sanctification by the spirit, for the purpose of being obedient and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ: May undeserved kindness and peace be increased to you" (verses 1 and 2).


The expression of "temporary residents" is a metaphor to designate the Christians with the heavenly hope of everlasting life. The names of the different geographic places seem to indicate the territories of the Christian ministry of the apostle Peter. They are nearby the Black Sea, in Asia Minor, the geographic places of the current Turkey. In addition, in the conclusion of his letter, he addressed the greetings of the congregation which is in Babylon, the current Iraq (1 Peter 5:13). In the letter to the Congregation of Galatia, written by the apostle Paul, we read that he met the apostle Peter in Antioch, in the south of the current Turkey (Galatians 2:11). All this information, to note that it is very unlikely that Peter went to Rome, according to the narrative of the Bible (New Testament) because he developed his Christian ministry in Asia Minor (the current Turkey), up to Babylon, the current Iraq. It was the apostle Paul (and not the apostle Peter) who preached in the west direction, to Rome, according to the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles.


The expression "sprinkled with the blood" of Jesus Christ on these Christians, temporary residents, is another metaphor linked to the priesthood installation. In the context of this letter, the future heavenly priesthood of theses Christians. The same symbolic image of the outer garment of King Jesus Christ, stained with blood, in the book of the Apocalypse, which is described in his function of High Priest, during the great tribulation: "and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God" (Apocalypse 19:13; Exodus 29:21). Indeed, these Christians, who have the heavenly hope of everlasting life, will constitute a kingdom of priests in the heavens alongside the High Priest, Jesus Christ (Apocalypse 1:5.6; 5:9,10).


The Christian hope (heavenly or earthly) has a price, that of trials which refine the faith: "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for according to his great mercy he gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. It is reserved in the heavens for you, 5 who are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time. 6 Because of this you are greatly rejoicing, though for a short time, if it must be, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 in order that the tested quality of your faith, of much greater value than gold that perishes despite its being tested by fire, may be found a cause for praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you never saw him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, yet you exercise faith in him and are greatly rejoicing with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 as you attain the goal of your faith, your salvation" (verses 3-9).


Regarding the "new birth", Jesus Christ, during his conversation with Nicodemus, spoke about it: "In response Jesus said to him: “Most truly I say to you, unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter into the womb of his mother a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus answered: “Most truly I say to you, unless anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed because I told you: You people must be born again. The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who has been born from the spirit" (John 3:3-8).


During the baptism of the Christian who has the heavenly hope, the symbolism of the death takes place, leading to a new birth (his future heavenly resurrection) (Matthew 28:19). At the moment of the baptism, when the human body of the Christian is completely immersed in the water, it symbolizes the death of his old condition, and also his future death of his physical body. When he emerges from the water, which in the circumstances acts as a symbolic matrix, there is a new birth by water and also, before or after baptism, by the spirit. Jesus Christ says that we must both be born from water and spirit to inherit the kingdom of Heavens (John 3:5). The new birth from the spirit is a divine phenomenon that escapes to human understanding. It is God who anoints with spirit the one who will be born for the future heavenly life (John 3:8). The apostle Paul described this new birth which will be made in a tangible way, during the death of the faithful Christian and then, of his heavenly resurrection: "It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44a).


Can this process be applied to all human beings who will live forever on earth? Yes, but in a different way. Instead of the expression of new birth, Jesus Christ used the expression "re-creation", which is in itself, like a new birth with a new physical body without sin: "Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel"" (Matthew 19:28). Still in the same letter from the apostle Paul, concerning the different forms of resurrections, in the second part of verse 44, it is written: "If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one" (1 Corinthians 15: 44b). It is true in both directions: if there is a resurrection with a spiritual body, there will also be a resurrection with a physical body. The first will be born again from water and spirit (for life in heaven), and the other will be born again of water (symbolizing the immersion in death), and the rise of water by the resurrection with a re-creation of a new human body (for life on earth). We can even say that the future resurrected people will be borne by the effect of the Holy Spirit of God which will give them the life on earth (Acts 24:15).


Even the angels in the heavens have sought to understand the process that leads to everlasting salvation, by means the sacrifice of Christ: "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the undeserved kindness meant for you made a diligent inquiry and a careful search. 11 They kept on investigating what particular time or what season the spirit within them was indicating concerning Christ as it testified beforehand about the sufferings meant for Christ and about the glory that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were ministering, not to themselves, but to you, regarding what has now been announced to you by those who declared the good news to you with holy spirit sent from heaven. Into these very things, angels are desiring to peer" (verses 10-12).


Each Christian must improve their behavior before God and his Son Jesus Christ, in order to have the fulfillment of his hope of everlasting life (heavenly or earthly): "So brace up your minds for activity; keep your senses completely; set your hope on the undeserved kindness that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, stop being molded by the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all your conduct, 16 for it is written: “You must be holy, because I am holy.”

17 And if you are calling on the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your temporary residence. 18 For you know that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were set free from your futile way of life handed down to you by your forefathers. 19 But it was with precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, that of Christ. 20 True, he was foreknown before the founding of the world, but he was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. 21 Through him you are believers in God, the one who raised him up from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God.


22 Now that you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth with unhypocritical brotherly affection as the result, love one another intensely from the heart. 23 For you have been given a new birth, not by corruptible, but by incorruptible seed, through the word of the living and enduring God. 24 For “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like a blossom of the field; the grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 but the saying of Jehovah endures forever.” And this “saying” is the good news that was declared to you" (verses 13-25).


Chapter 2:


Peter refers again to the kingdom of priests, this time in the form of a building, a spiritual house, made with living stones (Christians having the heavenly hope), with this chosen stone, rejected by the builders, who is Jesus Christ: "So rid yourselves of all badness and deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all backbiting. 2 As newborn infants, form a longing for the unadulterated milk of the word, so that by means of it you may grow to salvation, 3 provided you have tasted that the Lord is kind.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen, precious to God, 5 you yourselves as living stones are being built up into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it says in Scripture: “Look! I am laying in Zion a chosen stone, a precious foundation cornerstone, and no one exercising faith in it will ever be disappointed.”

7 It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, “the stone that the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone” 8 and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They are stumbling because they are disobedient to the word. To this very end they were appointed. 9 But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies” of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 For you were once not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not been shown mercy, but now you have received mercy" (verses 1-10).


The apostle Peter does not designate himself as the cornerstone on which the Christian Church is built, but clearly shows that it is indeed Jesus Christ: "You yourselves as living stones are being built up into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in Scripture: “Look! I am laying in Zion a chosen stone, a precious foundation cornerstone, and no one exercising faith in it will ever be disappointed”" (1 Peter 2:5,6; Isaiah 28:16; Psalms 118:22: the chosen stone of the prophecy of Isaiah and the Psalms, mentioned by the apostle Peter, is Jesus Christ).


There is a series of recommendations to have good behavior in the situations of Christian life: "Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and temporary residents to keep abstaining from fleshly desires, which wage war against you. 12 Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, so that when they accuse you of being wrongdoers, they may be eyewitnesses of your fine works and, as a result, glorify God in the day of his inspection.

13 For the Lord’s sake subject yourselves to every human creation, whether to a king as being superior 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish wrongdoers but to praise those who do good. 15 For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorant talk of unreasonable men. 16 Be as free people, using your freedom, not as a cover for doing wrong, but as slaves of God. 17 Honor men of all sorts, have love for the whole association of brothers, be in fear of God, honor the king.

18 Let servants be in subjection to their masters with all due fear, not only to the good and reasonable but also to those hard to please. 19 For it is agreeable when someone endures hardship and suffers unjustly because of conscience toward God. 20 For what merit is there if you are beaten for sinning and you endure it? But if you endure suffering because of doing good, this is an agreeable thing to God.

21 In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely. 22 He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. 23 When he was being insulted, he did not insult in return. When he was suffering, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously. 24 He himself bore our sins in his own body on the stake, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness. And “by his wounds you were healed.” 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls" (verses 11-25).


These advices are particularly addressed to those who are suffering and enduring because of an unfair situation. This kind of suffering is pleasant in the eyes of God, because it makes the Christian who is enduring, someone better, like a refined gold by the fire of the tribulation: "For it is agreeable when someone endures hardship and suffers unjustly because of conscience toward God. For what merit is there if you are beaten for sinning and you endure it? But if you endure suffering because of doing good, this is an agreeable thing to God" (verses 19,20).


These sufferings because of injustice have been endured by Christ, which is the best pattern of endurance for those who suffer because of conscience toward God: "In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely. He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. When he was being insulted, he did not insult in return. When he was suffering, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously" (verses 21-23).


Chapter 3:


The married women of the congregation must continue to have their inner beauty, made of Christian qualities which can allow, to win an unbeliever husband: "In the same way, you wives, be in subjection to your husbands, so that if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, 2 because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct together with deep respect. 3 Do not let your adornment be external—the braiding of hair and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothing— 4 but let it be the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God. 5 For this is how the holy women of the past who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, subjecting themselves to their husbands, 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you have become her children, provided you continue doing good and do not give in to fear" (verses 1-6).


Then, the apostle Peter addresses the husbands: "You husbands, in the same way, continue dwelling with them according to knowledge. Assign them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one, since they are also heirs with you of the undeserved favor of life, in order for your prayers not to be hindered" (verse 7). We find the same advice in the letters of the Apostle Paul, towards the husbands, their wives and children (Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4). The husbands must "continue dwelling with them according to knowledge". Depending on the context, this "knowledge", does not seem to be a biblical knowledge or that could be read in a book, but rather discernment of what is femininity in the couple, which allows the husbands to understand the physical and emotional limits of their wives, and thus, to "assign them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one". Obviously, this "knowledge" is just as important in the other direction, concerning women towards their husbands. This is how there will be a mutual understanding in the couple (and not only in one sense).


The disciples of Christ must manifest a brotherly love with affection: "Finally, all of you have unity of mind, fellow feeling, brotherly affection, tender compassion, and humility. 9 Do not pay back injury for injury or insult for insult. Instead, repay with a blessing, for you were called to this course, so that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For “whoever would love life and see good days must guard his tongue from bad and his lips from speaking deception. 11 Let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of Jehovah are on the righteous, and his ears listen to their supplication, but the face of Jehovah is against those doing bad things”" (verses 8-12).


Jesus Christ said about what would identify the real disciples: "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves" (John 13:34,35). In some congregations, listeners sit down and receive the teaching, then they go home, by greeting in a superficial way those who meet in their path. In this situation, congregations are simple university campuses or classrooms where the professor gives his teaching, and then go home. In this case, where is the manifestation of sympathy and the brotherly affection? These two biblical texts clearly show that there must be a social life within a Christian congregation. It is made up of friendships, invitations to share a meal, reciprocal or not, of simple moments of happiness spent together on a walk or a picnic. Christian conviviality does not forget widows and orphans, divorced, separated and other people being in prolonged solitudes.


It is also important to remember the statement of the good Christian deeds of mercy, according to King Jesus Christ, during the future world judgment: "Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me’" (Matthew 25:31-46). We can see that in the list of these good Christian deeds, there is no good so-called "religious" action like listening biblical sermons, or going to preach and teach the good news. Obviously, we must also do these things, however, without missing the essentials, according to Jesus Christ: doing works of mercy. During this social life between the Christian brothers and sisters, it is important to "guard the tongue from bad and the lips from speaking deception" (verses 10 to 12; read also the letter of James 3:1-12 (Advices to "tame" the tongue)).


We must sanctify the Christ as Lord in our hearts, always ready to make a defense before any man: "Indeed, who will harm you if you become zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy. However, do not fear what they fear, nor be disturbed. 15 But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope you have, but doing so with a mild temper and deep respect. 16 Maintain a good conscience, so that in whatever way you are spoken against, those who speak against you may be put to shame because of your good conduct as followers of Christ. 17 For it is better to suffer because you are doing good, if it is God’s will to allow it, than because you are doing evil. 18 For Christ died once for all time for sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. 19 And in this state he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who had formerly been disobedient when God was patiently waiting in Noah’s day, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water" (verses 13-20).


When Peter writes "if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy", how can we be happy when we suffer? Jesus Christ shows  in his Sermon on the Mount that one can be happy in the perspective of the hope: "Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens, for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you" (Matthew 5:3-12). The Christian can be persecuted with false accusations and therefore, sometimes, he must appear before judicial authorities or speak before a representative of the police (a police officer, a judge, a tax official...). As written, the Christian must remain the master of his feelings and ensure to express himself with deep respect. In doing so, if he shows patience, it is very likely that the situation will turn against the false accusers, who will be ashamed of their bad behavior towards persecuted Christians. Obviously, when a Christian suffers because of an injustice, he must remember the pattern of Jesus Christ who also suffered because of injustice, until death (verses 18-20).


If the blood of Christ saves, Christian baptism, also saves: "Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is at God’s right hand, for he went to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him" (verses 21,22). By exercising faith in Jehovah God, the Father, in Jesus Christ, his Son, and in the Holy Spirit, they can be baptized and conform, their life according the biblical principles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things" (Matthew 28:19,20). It should be noted in the commandment of Christ, after the baptism, the new disciple must be instructed to observe all the things taught by Jesus Christ. The particular training of the new Christian disciple will take some time after his baptism.


Chapter 4:


The disciple of Christ should no longer live for the desires of men, but for the will of God: "Since Christ suffered in the flesh, you too arm yourselves with the same mental disposition; because the person who has suffered in the flesh has desisted from sins, 2 so that he may live the remainder of his time in the flesh, no more for the desires of men, but for God’s will. 3 For the time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have done the will of the nations when you carried on in acts of brazen conduct, unbridled passions, overdrinking, wild parties, drinking bouts, and lawless idolatries. 4 They are puzzled that you do not continue running with them in the same decadent course of debauchery, so they speak abusively of you. 5 But these people will render an account to the one who is ready to judge those living and those dead. 6 In fact, this is why the good news was declared also to the dead, so that although they are judged in the flesh from the standpoint of men, they might live in harmony with the spirit from God’s standpoint" (verses 4-6).


The desires of men represent, depending on the context, the debauchery. However, it can also represent our bad tendencies to naturally do what is bad because of our sinful human condition. The apostle Paul alluded to this inner fight against bad trends: "I find, then, this law in my case: When I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me. I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within, but I see in my body another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my body. Miserable man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death? Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, then, with my mind I myself am a slave to God’s law, but with my flesh to sin’s law" (Romans 7:21-25). This change in behavior will inevitably attract the attention of the people around this Christian. It is possible that he is undergoing very strong pressure from the group in the form of insults and mockery: "They are puzzled that you do not continue running with them in the same decadent course of debauchery, so they speak abusively of you" (verse 4). Preaching to the dead means a proclamation of the good news to the whole of sinful humanity condemned by the death inherited from Adam (Matthew 8:22; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12). This proclamation of the good news means that Christians are criticized or "judged in the flesh from the standpoint of men, they might live in harmony with the spirit from God’s standpoint" (verse 6).


The disciple of Christ must have a virtuous behavior and put his spiritual gifts in ministering their brothers and sisters in faith: "But the end of all things has drawn close. Therefore, be sound in mind, and be vigilant with a view to prayers. 8 Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 To the extent that each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as fine stewards of God’s undeserved kindness that is expressed in various ways. 11 If anyone speaks, let him do so as speaking pronouncements from God; if anyone ministers, let him do so as depending on the strength that God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. The glory and the might are his forever and ever. Amen" (verses 7-11).


Christians who have gifts granted by God, are administrators of them. These gifts are manifested in various ways (verse 10). The apostle Paul describes them more precisely: "Now there are different gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are different ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are different activities, and yet it is the same God who performs them all in everyone. But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose. For to one is given speech of wisdom through the spirit, to another speech of knowledge according to the same spirit, to another faith by the same spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one spirit, to yet another operations of powerful works, to another prophesying, to another discernment of inspired expressions, to another different tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. But all these operations are performed by the very same spirit, distributing to each one respectively just as it wills" (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Those who have particular gifts in the congregation must act in modesty by using them "as depending on the strength that God supplies".


Sometimes the disciple of Christ can be in a situation which seems "strange" to him, in the 'fire" of a trial that he did not expect: "Beloved ones, do not be surprised about the fiery trials that you are experiencing, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 On the contrary, go on rejoicing over the extent to which you are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ, so that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory. 14 If you are being reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy, because the spirit of glory, yes, the spirit of God, is resting upon you" (verses 12-14). These strange situations can be trials inside the congregation by the infiltration of spiritual wolves who are mismanaging the congregation (Matthew 7:15,16).


The sufferings of the disciple of Christ must not be the consequence of bad actions. The disciple of Christ must suffer as a Christian and not as a criminal: "However, let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or a wrongdoer or a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but let him keep on glorifying God while bearing this name. 17 For it is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God. Now if it starts first with us, what will the outcome be for those who are not obedient to the good news of God? 18 “And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, what will happen to the ungodly man and the sinner?” 19 So, then, let those who are suffering in harmony with the will of God keep on entrusting themselves to a faithful Creator while they are doing good" (verses 15-19).


Chapter 5:


The elders or the overseers of the Christian congregations must shepherd the flock of God: "Therefore, as a fellow elder, a witness of the sufferings of the Christ and a sharer of the glory that is to be revealed, I make this appeal to the elders among you: 2 Shepherd the flock of God under your care, serving as overseers, not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief shepherd has been made manifest, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (verses 1-4).


The elders of the Christian congregation are spiritual shepherds in ministering of the sheep which belong to God and to Christ. The Apostle Peter designates himself as elder. Before going up to heaven, Jesus Christ resurrected asked him to feed and shepherd the flock of God, the Christian congregation (John 21:15-17). Their spiritual pastoral work is to teach, as made by the apostle Peter, the disciple James and Jude, and the apostles John, and Paul. Their letters are examples of the kind of high quality of biblical teaching that each overseer must provide to the congregation. The spiritual pastoral work of the elder is also to create a brotherly relationship with the brothers and sisters of the congregation, making visits to encourage the sheep of God, under their care.


The apostle Paul, under inspiration, wrote the qualifications for the elders or the overseers of the Christian congregations: "This statement is trustworthy: If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having his children in subjection with all seriousness (for if any man does not know how to preside over his own household, how will he care for the congregation of God?), not a newly converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed on the Devil. Moreover, he should also have a fine testimony from outsiders so that he does not fall into reproach and a snare of the Devil” (1 Timothy 3:1-7).


"I left you in Crete so that you would correct the things that were defective and make appointments of elders in city after city, as I instructed you: if there is any man free from accusation, a husband of one wife, having believing children who are not accused of debauchery or rebelliousness. For as God’s steward, an overseer must be free from accusation, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy of dishonest gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, sound in mind, righteous, loyal, self-controlled, holding firmly to the faithful word as respects his art of teaching, so that he may be able both to encourage by the teaching that is wholesome and to reprove those who contradict" (Titus 1:5-9).


Here are also the qualifications for the ministerial servants, written by the apostle Paul, under inspiration: "Ministerial servants should likewise be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in a lot of wine, not greedy of dishonest gain, holding the sacred secret of the faith with a clean conscience. Also, let these be tested as to fitness first; then let them serve as ministers, as they are free from accusation" (1 Timothy 3:8-10). The ministerial servants help the elders in their ministry in the Christian congregation.


There is a concrete example of how the ministerial servants can help the elders, in the narrative of the book of Acts: "Now in those days when the disciples were increasing, the Greek-speaking Jews began complaining against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called the multitude of the disciples together and said: “It is not right for us to leave the word of God to distribute food to tables. So, brothers, select for yourselves seven reputable men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary matter; but we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” What they said was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit, as well as Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They brought them to the apostles, and after praying, they laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:1-6). In this situation, the ministerial servants helped the apostles who were also elders or overseers, so that they could be more available for prayer and for the ministry of the word.


Among these seven men who had the function of ministerial servants, there are two well-known men, according to the narrative of Acts: Stephen and Philip (Acts chapters 6 and 7 (Stephen); Acts chapter 8 (Philippe known as an evangelist, like the apostle Paul)). Given their wisdom, it is likely that they were also elders or overseers at the time of their appointment to distribute food. That means an elder can occasionally have the function of a ministerial servant.


We must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time, 7 while you throw all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. 9 But take your stand against him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by the entire association of your brothers in the world. 10 But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness, who called you to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish your training. He will make you firm, he will make you strong, he will firmly ground you. 11 To him be the might forever. Amen.

12 Through Sil·vaʹnus, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written you in few words in order to encourage you and to give an earnest witness that this is the true undeserved kindness of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is in Babylon, a chosen one like you, sends you her greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. May all of you who are in union with Christ have peace" (verses 5-14).

The second letter of the apostle Peter


Chapter 1:


The first part of this chapter is an encouragement to cultivate Christian qualities to prevent us from being either inactive or unfruitful regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Simon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have acquired a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ:

2 May undeserved kindness and peace be increased to you by an accurate knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 for his divine power has granted us all the things that contribute to life and godly devotion through the accurate knowledge of the One who called us by his own glory and virtue. 4 Through these things he has granted us the precious and very grand promises, so that through these you may become sharers in divine nature, having escaped from the world’s corruption produced by wrong desire.

5 For this very reason, put forth all earnest effort to supply to your faith virtue, to your virtue knowledge, 6 to your knowledge self-control, to your self-control endurance, to your endurance godly devotion, 7 to your godly devotion brotherly affection, to your brotherly affection love. 8 For if these things exist in you and overflow, they will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 For anyone lacking these things is blind, shutting his eyes to the light, and has become forgetful of his cleansing from his sins of long ago. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and choosing sure for yourselves, for if you keep on doing these things, you will by no means ever fail. 11 In fact, in this way you will be richly granted entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (verses 1-11).

We must be well-established in the truth: "For this reason I intend always to remind you of these things, although you know them and are well-established in the truth that is present in you. 13 But I consider it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you with reminders, 14 knowing as I do that my tabernacle is soon to be removed, just as also our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 I will always do my utmost so that after my departure, you may be able to recall these things for yourselves.

16 No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but rather, we were eyewitnesses of his magnificence. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory when words such as these were conveyed to him by the magnificent glory: “This is my Son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.” 18 Yes, these words we heard coming from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain.

19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place (until day dawns and a daystar rises) in your hearts. 20 For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. 21 For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit" (verses 12-21).


In verses 13 and 14 it is written: "But I consider it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you with reminders, knowing as I do that my tabernacle is soon to be removed, just as also our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me". The tabernacle mentioned by the apostle Peter is the metaphor referring to his human body. To be in the tabernacle means to live with the human body. The removed tabernacle means the death of it by ceasing to inhabit this body. This death will subsequently be followed by the heavenly resurrection with a spiritual body, no longer requiring inhabiting a human body (for those having the heavenly hope of everlasting life).


The tabernacle is a tent. Nevertheless, in the biblical context, it has a sense of a tent representing a temple (Exodus 39:32,40). The temple is built to worship God. This means that the human body has the sacred value of a temple, originally made to worship God, in recognition of the fact that he gave us the life (Apocalypse 4:11). The temple made with stones cannot be moved like a tent. However, the human body is a temple that can move, hence the expression of tabernacle. It shows how sacred are the human body and the life, in the eyes of God.


In verse 15 it is written: “I will always do my utmost so that after my departure, you may be able to recall these things for yourselves”. The apostle Peter wanted to give good training to the elders so that they could act in the same way as he did, by shepherding the flock of God. Especially since he knew that his death was approaching (verse 14). He was anxious to make them autonomous on a spiritual level, without the elders should have to depend on Peter, who was going to die.


In verses 17 and 18, it is written the narrative of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ, which apostle Peter witnessed, with the apostles John and James: "For he received from God the Father honor and glory when words such as these were conveyed to him by the magnificent glory: “This is my Son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.” Yes, these words we heard coming from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain”.


Here is the narrative of the transfiguration of Christ: "Six days later Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John along and led them up into a lofty mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone as the sun, and his outer garments became brilliant as the light. And look! there appeared to them Moses and E·liʹjah conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus: “Lord, it is fine for us to be here. If you wish, I will erect three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, look! a bright cloud overshadowed them, and look! a voice out of the cloud said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved. Listen to him.” At hearing this, the disciples fell facedown and became very much afraid. Then Jesus came near, and touching them, he said: “Get up. Have no fear.” When they looked up, they saw no one but Jesus himself. As they were descending from the mountain, Jesus commanded them: “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of man is raised up from the dead”" (Matthew 17:1-9). In verse 19, the apostle Peter explains that the purpose of the transfiguration was to make more sure the prophetic word of God, the Heavenly Father, as a guarantee of the fulfillment of the biblical prophecies by means Jesus Christ, His Son.


20 and 21 show that the prophetic words of the Bible are inspired by God. They are a guarantee of truth: "For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit”. The Bible is the scriptural deposit of the Holy Spirit, the active force of God.


Chapter 2:


The apostle Peter mentions the infiltration in the Christian congregation, of malicious individuals uttering slanderous words and with nasty behavior. For indication, this chapter, which will be quoted below, is very similar to the Letter of Jude, with the same theme and many same examples: "However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These will quietly bring in destructive sects, and they will even disown the owner who bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. 2 Furthermore, many will follow their brazen conduct, and because of them the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively. 3 Also, they will greedily exploit you with counterfeit words. But their judgment, decided long ago, is not moving slowly, and their destruction is not sleeping.

4 Certainly God did not refrain from punishing the angels who sinned, but threw them into Tarʹta·rus, putting them in chains of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment. 5 And he did not refrain from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a flood upon a world of ungodly people. 6 And by reducing the cities of Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah to ashes, he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly people of things to come. 7 And he rescued righteous Lot, who was greatly distressed by the brazen conduct of the lawless people— 8 for day after day that righteous man was tormenting his righteous soul over the lawless deeds that he saw and heard while dwelling among them. 9 So, then, Jehovah knows how to rescue people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people to be destroyed on the day of judgment, 10 especially those who seek to defile the flesh of others and who despise authority.

Daring and self-willed, they are not afraid to speak abusively of glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, although they are greater in strength and power, do not bring against them an accusation in abusive terms, out of respect for Jehovah. 12 But these men, like unreasoning animals that act on instinct and are born to be caught and destroyed, speak abusively about things of which they are ignorant. They will suffer destruction brought on by their own destructive course, 13 suffering harm as their reward for their own harmful course.

They consider it pleasurable to indulge in luxurious living, even in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes who revel in their deceptive teachings while feasting together with you. 14 Their eyes are full of adultery and are unable to desist from sin, and they entice unstable ones. They have a heart trained in greed. They are accursed children. 15 Abandoning the straight path, they have been led astray. They have followed the path of Baʹlaam the son of Beʹor, who loved the reward of wrongdoing, 16 but was reproved for his own violation of what was right. A voiceless beast of burden speaking with a human voice hindered the prophet’s mad course.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a violent storm, and the blackest darkness has been reserved for them. 18 They make high-sounding statements that are empty. By appealing to the desires of the flesh and with acts of brazen conduct, they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for if anyone is overcome by someone, he is his slave. 20 Certainly if after escaping from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they get involved again with these very things and are overcome, their final state has become worse for them than the first. 21 It would have been better for them not to have accurately known the path of righteousness than after knowing it to turn away from the holy commandment they had received. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire”" (verses 1-22).


There is a same teaching point mentioned both by the apostle Peter and the disciple Jude which is written in verses 10b and 11: "Daring and self-willed, they are not afraid to speak abusively of glorious ones, whereas angels, although they are greater in strength and power, do not bring against them an accusation in abusive terms, out of respect for Jehovah". Here is the similar idea taught by the disciple Jude: "Despite this, these men too are indulging in dreams, defiling the flesh, despising authority, and speaking abusively of glorious ones. But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.” But these men are speaking abusively about all the things they really do not understand. And in all the things that they do understand by instinct like unreasoning animals, they go on corrupting themselves" (verses 8-10).


The substance of the teaching of these two examples given by the apostle Peter and the disciple Jude, is that if the archangel Michael and the angels did not dare to bring a judgment. It is advisable not to murmur against the members of the Christian congregation, particularly against the administrators of the Christian congregation, the elders or the overseers. Even if it could be justified (as it was the case against Satan the devil). If a Christian had to be the victim of an injustice (according to him (true or not)) and could not be resolved within the framework of a healthy communication, then it is advisable to rely on the justice of God and his Son Jesus Christ, who will be exercised for sure, but later. In the meantime, the wisest way is to endure evil, by keeping silence, being waiting for Jehovah God: "Good it is to wait in silence for the salvation of Jehovah" (lamentations 3:26). "But as for me, it is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me" (Micah 7:7; Isaiah 66:5). Those who would persist in these continual murmurs within the congregation, would manifest an earthly, animalistic and demonic wisdom (James 3:14-18). The apostle Peter describes them very harshly in verses 12-22.


Chapter 3:


The apostle Peter writes about the presence of ridiculers who would insist that things have not changed, and that there is no indication that Bible prophecies will be fulfilled. The entire chapter 3 and a detailed response to these ridiculers with specific examples, taken from the biblical history, regarding the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. The chapter 3 will also be cited below in its entirety: "Beloved ones, this is now the second letter I am writing you in which, as in my first one, I am stirring up your clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder, 2 that you should remember the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 First of all know this, that in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires 4 and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning.”

5 For they deliberately ignore this fact, that long ago there were heavens and an earth standing firmly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; 6 and that by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was flooded with water. 7 But by the same word the heavens and the earth that now exist are reserved for fire and are being kept until the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly people.

8 However, do not let this escape your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. 10 But Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, consider what sort of people you ought to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, 12 as you await and keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens will be destroyed in flames and the elements will melt in the intense heat! 13 But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.

14 Therefore, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace. 15 Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking about these things as he does in all his letters. However, some things in them are hard to understand, and these things the ignorant and unstable are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 You, therefore, beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard so that you may not be led astray with them by the error of the lawless people and fall from your own steadfastness. 18 No, but go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen" (verses 1-18).


The presence of ridiculers, according to the apostle Peter, is within the Christian congregation. Depending on the context of this chapter 3, these individuals know the Bible, according to their remark on the verse 4. And Peter answers them with biblical examples.


Regarding Christian hope, it is written: "But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell" (verse 13). The new heavens represent the Kingdom of God, represented by King Jesus Christ and the 144000, the New Jerusalem which will descend from the heavens, to the earth. The new earth will be the new humanity, with the great crowd that came out of the great tribulation and the whole resurrected humanity: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away”" (Apocalypse 7:9-17 (the great crowd); 21:1-4 (the kingdom of God and the whole humanity in the earthly paradise)).


***

 Biblical teaching that leads to spiritual maturity

"Therefore, now that we have moved beyond the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works

and faith in God"
(Hebrews 6:1)

What is the maturity in the biblical spirituality? The Greek word for this Bible text is "Teleiotes". According to Strong's Concordance (G5047), the definition is: "(The state) completeness (mentally or morally), perfection (-ness)". In some Bible translations this word is translated as: "perfection" ; "maturity" ; "adult stage". In the King james version, it is written, about this same verse: "Let us go on unto perfection” (Teleiotes). In the Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew, which reports the words of Christ in his Sermon on the Mount (Jesus did not speak Greek, he spoke Hebrew), we find the same root of this word "Teleiotes": "You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). The adjective "perfect" comes from the Greek word "Téleios" (Strong's Concordance (G5046)). So, the mature man is someone who has reached the perfection in the expression of his spirituality (the expression "man", in this study, applies to both man and woman).


According to Jesus Christ, this spiritual state of "perfection" or completeness, expressed by love for one's neighbour, is quite accessible to humans, even sinners (Matthew 5:43-48). We can also see that Jesus Christ added to this "perfection" required, purity of the heart which is devoid of all bad intentions (John 13:10 "You men are clean" (pure)). And as for the apostle Paul, this spiritual state of "perfection" or maturity, allows him to be teachers of the Word of God, but also to have discernment as to what is good or bad. "But solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong" (Hebrews 5:14).


In the part of the Hebrew text of the Bible, the Old Testament, the word which would come closest to the Greek word for "maturity" or perfection, is the word "integrity", translated from the Hebrew "tummâh" (Strong's Concordance (H8538)), which also means "innocence" in the sense, there is not guiltiness. This Hebrew word comes from another root "tôm" (Strong's Concordance (H8537)), which can mean: complete, integrity, perfect, perfection, right, righteousness: "Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity from myself!" (Job 27:5). Thus, following the example of the faithful servant of God, Job, a human, man or woman, can reach completeness, perfection, integrity, in the eyes of God and of Christ, and this, despite our genetically and spiritually sinful state, inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12).

Let us look at some characteristics of the mature man. He has insight, discernment, he sees what is behind appearances, he has a great capacity for anticipation. He is not easily swayed by the opinions of others. He has a practiced critical (analytical) sense, which does not prevent him from perceiving the insight of others and humbly accepting their point of view. This "mature man" is a "spiritual man": "However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things, but he himself is not examined by any man" (1 Corinthians 2:15). The depth of his personality and his inner richness, shaped over the years, do not allow him to be quickly identified, or easily understood. He is inherently humble and modest, aware of his own limitations as a mere human being. Biblical spirituality, made up of prayers, meditations and regular readings of the Bible, help him in this way of life (Micah 6:8).

In terms of biblical spirituality, he does not constantly need laws written in the form of prohibitions or injunctions, because they are written in his heart and guide his conscience. He knows the substance, the underlying reasons, which allows him to discern what to do in intermediate, ambiguous, even unexpected situations. Moreover, in one of the prophecies concerning the New Covenant, this is what Jehovah God had recorded in the Bible: "For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people" (Jeremiah 31:33). From now on, the Christian is no longer under the authority of a Code of several hundred laws because Christ is the end of the Law; the Christian is now under the Royal Law of Christ (Romans 10:4; James 2:8). What does this mean concretely?

By reading the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5 to 7, Jesus Christ gives his listeners a lesson on how to pass from the application of the Law given to Israel by Moses, to that of Christ, by this time, the application of the substance of the divine law or of the everlasting principle which sustains it, such as love for example. The attentive reader will repeatedly note the expression, "However I say to you". It is a way of explaining what makes it its deep reason and a way of saying: "It is over practicing the law of God in a formalistic and hypocritical way", now it is by your motives and your thoughts whether you will apply or not, the Law: "However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Gehenna. (…) But I say to you that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (…) However, I say to you: Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him” (Matthew 5:22,28,39).

Therefore, if in one hand, the Christian has gained freedom, in the other hand, he has inherited a duty of responsibility, which obliges him by virtue of his conscience, depositary of this new code of Christian law, written in an invisible way, in the heart, the seat of the deepest motives: "For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died; and he died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15).

Maturity is not a finality, but a state that opens new spiritual perspectives for the Christian who reaches it, as the apostle Paul wrote: "For although by now you should be teachers" ( Hebrews 5:12). But how to reach Christian maturity? For this we will study a biblical text from the book of Proverbs:

"My son, if you accept my sayings And treasure up my commandments, By making your ear attentive to wisdom And inclining your heart to discernment; Moreover, if you call out for understanding And raise your voice for discernment; If you keep seeking for it as for silver, And you keep searching for it as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of Jehovah, And you will find the knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; From his mouth come knowledge and discernment. He treasures up practical wisdom for the upright; He is a shield for those walking in integrity. He watches over the paths of justice, And he will guard the way of his loyal ones. Then you will understand what is righteous and just and fair, The entire course of what is good" (Proverbs 2: 1-9). The spiritual maturity has two main purposes, the fear of Jehovah, and the knowledge of God.

The fear of God

The Christian who has reached spiritual maturity has wisdom, discernment, understanding, knowledge of God. This text explains the main reason that should encourage us to reach it: "you will understand the fear of Jehovah". Indeed, the search for these very desirable spiritual qualities should have as goal, our exclusive relationship with Jehovah God.

Of course, the "fear" of Jehovah that is mentioned in this text has nothing to do with a morbid fear of God, the constant fear of divine punishment. Such fear is incompatible with love for God: "God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in union with God and God remains in union with him. In this way love has been made perfect in us, so that we may have freeness of speech in the day of judgment, because just as that one is, so are we ourselves in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts fear out, because fear restrains us. Indeed, the one who is fearful has not been made perfect in love. We love, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:16-19).

Therefore, how to love someone you fear at the same time? Take the examples of a mountaineer and a sailor. These two people are in close contact with nature, and know their laws. They take it into account. The mountaineer knows that when the storm forms suddenly, it is essential that he finds a shelter to avoid the risk of being struck by lightning. The fear he has of these atmospheric phenomena such as thunderstorms or thick fog that could make him lose his orientation, or the risk of avalanches, will probably lead him to cancel a hike he had planned. Likewise for the sailor, there are certain seasons when storms are more frequent and therefore, as much as possible, he will avoid being in a situation that could cause him to lose his life.

In these two cases, even if it is not a question of a relationship with a person, but of places or natural phenomena, we can speak of a "fear" of the mountaineer or the sailor, of finding themselves in situations that can cost them their lives: "The shrewd one that has seen the calamity has concealed himself; the inexperienced that have passed along have suffered the penalty" (Proverbs 27:12). As this proverb shows, this fear which results in prudence, is the result of a long experience because it is a question of a "shrewd" or experienced man. If you were to ask this highlander and this sailor to talk respectively about the mountains and the sea, you will quickly understand that in general, they like these natural places, they feel a fascination, an attraction, and this, despite the salutary fear of dangerous climatic phenomena, specific to the mountains and the sea.

The wholesome fear of God can be said to be of the same or similar nature. We love God, but we know at the same time that we must not cross certain limits or do anything that could ultimately cost our lives. In Malachi there is a beautiful description of a peaceful relationship between God and a faithful servant, here is what we can read: "As for my covenant, it proved to be with him, [one] of life and of peace, and I kept giving them to him, with fear. And he continued fearing me; yes, because of my name he himself was struck with terror. The very law of truth proved to be in his mouth, and there was no unrighteousness to be found on his lips. In peace and in uprightness he walked with me, and many were those whom he turned back from error" (Malachi 2:5,6). It is written that this man is "struck with terror" because of the Name of Jehovah, he perceives his majesty and the wonderful power that it induces. Nevertheless, this "fear" does not prevent this man from being at peace with God and working with Him in harmony.

The Hebrew term "yirah", translated as "fear" of Jehovah, in the text of the Proverbs may have the meaning of "reverence", that is, reverential fear (Strong's Concordance (H3374)). This means that the person who has reached Christian maturity will understand that his relationship with Jehovah is a great privilege that God gives us. Moreover, when we approach God by prayer, we can do so frankly, but also with a reverential fear that is due to the most important Person of all visible and invisible creation (Revelation 4:11).

Finding the Knowledge of God

When the human begins to find the knowledge of God, that means that he is in a position to understand spiritually what God is teaching him. This knowledge mentioned in the text of Proverbs that we are examining, is both inherent to the person of Jehovah God (Yehowah Elohim), but also in what He wants to teach us. Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), told about this knowledge: "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ" (John 17:3 ). This knowledge of both God the Father and His Son Jesus, is a promise of everlasting life, provided if we remain faithful until the end (Matthew 24:13). The expression "taking in knowledge of" God, with that of Proverbs, to find the knowledge of God, describes a spiritual process which consists in being in phase of comprehension of the teaching of God and of Christ.

When the human is in this blessed spiritual situation, the knowledge of God and Christ becomes clear and comprehensible: "At that time, Jesus then said: “At that time Jesus said in response: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes"” (Matthew 11:25). Otherwise, the human fails to reach the knowledge of God. Maybe, he has access to the supports where the thoughts of God and Christ are written, he can understand them intellectually, however, he does not understand them spiritually (We will see, a little later, this difference between these two kind of understandings, with the example of Saul of Tarsus, who would later be called the apostle Paul).

One of the way to find the knowledge of  God is the Bible, the Word of God: "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17). But there is another way to know God, by observing and understanding His Creation.

Finding The Knowledge of God by Observing His Creation

The second way to find the knowledge of God is through the "book" of creation, which is a silent expression of the divinity of Jehovah God, the Creator: "For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable" (Romans 1:20). “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; And of the work of his hands the expanse is telling. One day after another day causes speech to bubble forth, And one night after another night shows forth knowledge. There is no speech, and there are no words; No voice on their part is being heard" (Psalm 19:1-3). Nature or creation, is a way that God uses to teach humans in and his servants in particular. Let's see some of these divine recommendations:

"There are four things that are the smallest of the earth, but they are instinctively wise:  the ants are a people not strong, and yet in the summer they prepare their food; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, and yet upon a crag is where they put their house; the locusts have no king, and yet they go forth all of them divided into groups; the gecko lizard takes hold with its own hands and it is in the grand palace of a king" (Proverbs 30:24-28).

"Go to the ant, you lazy one; see its ways and become wise. Although it has no commander, officer or ruler, it prepares its food even in the summer; it has gathered its food supplies even in the harvest. How long, you lazy one, will you keep lying down? When will you rise up from your sleep?" (Proverbs 6:6-9).

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said that his Father would deal with those who want to work for the interests of the kingdom of God. To support this guarantee, he showed how God takes cares of the animals and nature in general: "On this account I say to you: Stop being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not the soul mean more than food and the body than clothing? Observe intently the birds of heaven, because they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses; still your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span? Also, on the matter of clothing, why are you anxious? Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they are growing; they do not toil, nor do they spin; but I say to you that not even Solʹo·mon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. If, now, God thus clothes the vegetation of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things" (Matthew 6:25-32).

In Job chapters 38 to 41, Jehovah God uses the description of some aspects of his creation to teach and discipline Job. Through a few selected examples, God will invite Job to be a little more modest, being aware of his smallness and his great vulnerability, in view of the immensity and power of Creation of God. Let us look at some biblical quotes, mainly using the verses references: In Job chapters 38 to 41, Jehovah God uses the description of some aspects of his creation to teach and discipline Job. Through a few selected examples, God will invite Job to be a little more modest, being aware of his smallness and his great vulnerability, in view of the immensity and power of Creation of God. Let us look at some biblical quotes, mainly using the verses references:

First, Jehovah introduces his teaching by firmly asking Job to listen to him: "Who is this that is obscuring counsel By words without knowledge? Gird up your loins, please, like an able-bodied man, And let me question you, and you inform me. Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you do know understanding" (Job 38:2-4). Indeed, one need only look up to see thousands of stars and galaxies created millions and billions of years ago (Psalms 8:3,4). At Job 38:31-37, Jehovah points out to Job that he has no power over the stars, over the atmosphere composed of clouds of different kinds, that he is not able to direct them, nor even the energy of lightning. In chapter 39, Jehovah draws the attention of Job to the animal world, especially the wild one that does not need humans to live. Jehovah tells Job that humans cannot tame zebras, much less wild bulls (5-12). We can continue this reading until chapter 41, where Jehovah makes it clear, by many examples of creation, the smallness of the human, and that as such, he must remain humble and modest.

Therefore, Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ encourage us to observe the creation to learn more about to "fear God" (Proverbs 2:1-9). Science (or sciences) which consists in observing or studying in detail parts of the creation of God, is connected with the biblical spirituality. Science strives to explain the "how" and Bible-based spirituality explains the "why". Besides, by the way, regarding this knowledge, we must be humble, too: "Look! These are the fringes of his ways, And what a whisper of a matter has been heard of him! But of his mighty thunder who can show an understanding?" (Job 26:14 compare with Job 38-41). It is a simple invitation to modesty in the acquisition of biblical spiritual knowledge and the science. In the book of Proverbs chapter 2:1-9, we find four qualities necessary to understand what mean the fear of God and the knowledge of God.

Knowledge, understanding, discernment and wisdom

If wanting to reach Christian maturity requires effort and patience, according to this text of Proverbs, it can only be achieved with the help of God: "For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; From his mouth come knowledge and discernment" (Proverbs 2: 1-9). It is confirmed by Jesus Christ, that the acquisition of part of the wisdom of God, is not the result of an exclusive intellectual process: "At that time Jesus said in response: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to young children" (Matthew 11: 25). So before gaining wisdom, we must humbly, as "young children", ask God, by prayer: "So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him" (James 1: 5).

Nevertheless, God expects from us, according to the book of Proverbs, constant efforts, both to acquire it, but also to keep it: "If you keep seeking for it as for silver, And you keep searching for it as for hidden treasures" (Proverbs 2:1-9). Jesus Christ has shown that often the blessing of God is obtained by force of insistence, which is the visible manifestation that is close to our heart: "Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you; for everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking, it will be opened. Indeed, which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not hand him a serpent, will he? Therefore, if you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will your Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him!" (Matthew 7: 7-11).

Knowledge in relation to the understanding coming from God

The understanding in Proverbs 2:1-9 is not connected with the simple innate faculty of comprehension of knowledge. In the Bible there are examples of characters who had a great knowledge of the Bible, nevertheless, who missed the essential or had no understanding of the meaning of the message. Let us take the example of the apostle Paul, before he became a Christian: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Ci·liʹcia, but educated in this city at the feet of Ga·maʹli·el, instructed according to the strictness of the ancestral Law, and zealous for God just as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the point of death, binding and handing over to prisons both men and women, as the high priest and all the assembly of elders can bear witness. From them I also obtained letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way to bring those who were there in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished" (Acts 22: 3-5 compare with Matthew 23).

We can not deny that Saul of Tarsus, who would later become the Apostle Paul, knew the Bible and probably better than most Christians he persecuted. Nevertheless, he lacked the essential, the understanding that comes from God and that consisted of to accept in his heart that Jesus was (and is) the Christ. The narrative of Acts shows us how God gave him understanding through Jesus Christ, by literally making the scales of his eyes fall: "But Saul, still breathing threat and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that he might bring bound to Jerusalem any whom he found who belonged to The Way, both men and women. Now as he was traveling and getting near Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, and he fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He asked: “Who are you, Lord?” He said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Now the men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing, indeed, the sound of a voice but seeing no one. Saul then got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he did not see anything, and he neither ate nor drank. There was a disciple named An·a·niʹas in Damascus, and the Lord said to him in a vision: “An·a·niʹas!” He said: “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him: “Get up, go to the street called Straight, and look for a man named Saul, from Tarsus, at the house of Judas. For look! he is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named An·a·niʹas come in and lay his hands on him so that he may recover sight.” But An·a·niʹas answered: “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, about all the harm he did to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all those calling on your name.” But the Lord said to him: “Go! because this man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel. For I will show him plainly how many things he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:1-19).

There is therefore a difference between the knowledge available in the Bible and the intelligence or the ability to understand it, which is given by God through Christ: "For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Chris" (1 Corinthians 2:16). When a person understands by the acceptance in his heart of the biblical knowledge, it can be said that he manifests a faith in accordance with the will of God: "Faith is the assured expectation of what is hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities that are not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). The word "demonstration" regarding the faith presupposes "logical" knowledge, even if it is connected with unseen realities.

Knowledge and discernment

Discernment or insight is a higher degree of understanding, which allows to understand more complex knowledge, in biblical spirituality. In Paul's inspired letter to Hebrews, he refers in two forms of knowledge, the elementary teaching and the "solid (spiritual) food", which is a more complex knowledge. In the Greek text, there are two words that refer to these respectively two categories of knowledge. They are in the second letter of Peter, Gnosis and Epignosis: "May undeserved kindness and peace be increased to you by an accurate knowledge (Epignosis) of God and of Jesus our Lord. (...) For this very reason, put forth all earnest effort to supply to your faith virtue, to your virtue knowledge (Gnosis), to your knowledge self-control, to your self-control endurance, to your endurance godly devotion" (2 Peter 1:2,5,6) .

In this translation of the Bible, the expression "accurate knowledge" seems to illustrate the precision of a more complex, more detailed biblical knowledge. It allows knowing when the Greek word "Gnosis" (Knowledge) and "Epignosis" (Accurate knowledge), appear in the Greek text by means of this translation of the Bible. Nevertheless, any knowledge, no matter how difficult of comprehension it requires, should be "exact" (at least for its holder). Therefore, it is interesting to examine the definition of these two words and then return to Paul's inspired letter to Hebrews. The Greek word "Gnosis" is translated as knowledge in the general sense (in several fields) or science (Strong's Concordance (G1108)). The Greek prefix "Epi" (before Gnosis) has the general meaning of elevation or direction (Strong's Concordance (G1909)). Therefore, the Greek word "Epignosis" alludes to a "higher" knowledge, which requires a greater degree of intelligence, the discernment. The "directional" meaning of the prefix "Epi" indicates a more specialized, more detailed knowledge (Strong's Concordance (G1922)). Therefore, the understanding is to the knowledge (Gnosis), what is the discernment or insight to the more complex knowledge (Epignosis).

However, when we read the dialogue between God and Job, Jehovah God asked him about different areas of knowledge of creation, sciences, which implies a general knowledge of these things. For example, Jehovah God, in the various rhetorical questions that He asked to Job, addressing the knowledge of various sciences: Job 38: The original arrangement of the earth to receive life, and its general functioning, the creation of atmosphere, wind, clouds, rain, lightning, glaciers, snow, boundary between sea and continents, rivers and river systems (channel for flooding), source of light , astronomy through the study of the constellations. In Job 39, 40 and 41, the animal kingdom is described.

When Jehovah God asked Job about these wide-ranging areas of knowledge of creation and science, it is assumed that Job had knowledge of them in part, of course, without having the full knowledge of Jehovah God. All this to say that probably the contemporaries of Abraham, Moses, Job and Easterners in general, they had great part of this knowledge to be able to live in these geographical places. Thus, in some respects, to have a polyvalent or a general knowledge (gnosis), can turn out to be more advantageous than more specialized knowledge (epignosis), without this general culture. The two aspects of knowledge, polyvalent knowledge or general culture (gnosis) and specialty (epignosis), must be associated with each other, both on the individual level, as of the general instruction of peoples (even if, obviously, the text of Job is written in the Hebrew language, which does not have the same word, in that case, the idea of ​​"knowledge", must be contextualized, to have the precise meaning).

Returning to the letter to the Hebrews: "For although by now you should be teachers, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God, and you have gone back to needing milk, not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12). The elementary things are quoted: "Therefore, now that we have moved beyond the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works and faith in God, the teaching on baptisms and the laying on of the hands, the resurrection of the dead and everlasting judgment. And this we will do, if God indeed permits" (Hebrews 6:1-3). And the "solid (spiritual) food" is in almost all the inspired letter to Hebrews (chapters 1-13). Although very interesting, this deep biblical teaching is not always easy to understand at first reading, even to the very point that the Apostle Peter himself wrote about Paul's inspired letters: "Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote you according to the wisdom given him, speaking about these things as he does in all his letters. However, some things in them are hard to understand, and these things the ignorant and unstable are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:15,16).

Despite the fact that it is not always easy to understand at first reading this sometimes very deep Bible teaching, all Christians who aspire to reach Christian maturity, especially Bible teachers, must make an effort to understand it, praying for God's help (Matthew 11:25, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Hebrews 5: 11-14-6: 1-3). Returning to the letter to the Hebrews: "For although by now you should be teachers, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God, and you have gone back to needing milk, not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12). The elementary things are quoted: "Therefore, now that we have moved beyond the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely, repentance from dead works and faith in God, the teaching on baptisms and the laying on of the hands, the resurrection of the dead and everlasting judgment. And this we will do, if God indeed permits" (Hebrews 6:1-3). And the "solid (spiritual) food" is in almost all the inspired letter to Hebrews (chapters 1-13).

Although very interesting, this deep biblical teaching is not always easy to understand at first reading, even to the very point that the Apostle Peter himself wrote about Paul's inspired letters: "Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote you according to the wisdom given him, speaking about these things as he does in all his letters. However, some things in them are hard to understand, and these things the ignorant and unstable are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:15,16). Despite the fact that it is not always easy to understand at first reading this sometimes very deep Bible teaching, all Christians who aspire to reach Christian maturity, especially Bible teachers, must make an effort to understand it, praying for God's help (Matthew 11:25, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Hebrews 5: 11-14-6: 1-3).

It is important not to forget the purpose of the knowledge of God, in relation to intelligence and discernment, which is to seek to encourage our neighbor and our brother or sister in faith: "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1).

The wisdom given by God

In Proverbs 2:7 there is the expression "practical wisdom" as the practice of "knowledge". Indeed, Jesus Christ associated wisdom with the practice of biblical knowledge, in contrast with the foolish man who, having this knowledge, does not take it into account: "Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass. Furthermore, everyone hearing these sayings of mine and not doing them will be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and struck against that house and it caved in, and its collapse was great" (Matthew 7:24-27).

Nevertheless, given the general context of the Bible, one realizes that wisdom has a heavenly spiritual dimension that is not necessarily the result of the practice of an acquired knowledge, but rather a direct divine gift. Moreover, in Proverbs 2:6 it is written, "Jehovah himself gives wisdom" (Compare with Exodus 36:1-4 "Bezalel and Oholiab"). If indeed Jehovah's wisdom flows from the biblical deposit of knowledge, by putting it into practice, there are situations that require this heavenly divine flash of wisdom. Let's take two examples: Jesus Christ and king Salomon.

In a certain circumstance, king Solomon found himself in a human situation without solution, here is the biblical account: " At that time two prostitutes came in to the king and stood before him. The first woman said: “Please, my lord, this woman and I live in one house, and I gave birth while she was in the house. On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together, just the two of us; there was no one else with us in the house. During the night this woman’s son died, because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while your slave girl was asleep and laid him in her arms, and she laid her dead son in my arms. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead. So I examined him closely in the morning and saw that it was not my son whom I had given birth to.” But the other woman said: “No, my son is the living one, and your son is the dead one!” But the first woman was saying: “No, your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.” That is how they argued before the king.  Finally the king said: “This one says, ‘This is my son, the living one, and your son is the dead one!’ and that one says, ‘No, your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one!’” The king said: “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword to the king. The king then said: “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.” At once the woman whose son was the living one pleaded with the king, for her compassions were stirred toward her son. She said: “Please, my lord! You should give her the living child! By no means put him to death!” But the other woman was saying: “He will be neither mine nor yours! Let them cut him in two!”  At that the king answered: “Give the living child to the first woman! By no means put him to death, for she is his mother.”  So all Israel heard about the judgment that the king had handed down, and they were in awe of the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was with him to execute justice" (1 Kings 3:16-28).

This narrative and its conclusion, are the demonstration that the wisdom of God is not only the putting into practice of the biblical knowledge, but it has also a spiritual heavenly dimension, like a divine lightning, without knowing how, Jehovah God gives the miraculous solution, that no human on earth would have thought. This wisdom is not the result of a long career as a judge with a long history of judicial deliberations. Thanks to divine wisdom of God, the young king Solomon, in a flash, knew what decision to take to deliberate between these two women. This miraculous wisdom of this judicial decision, inspired by a completely heavenly wisdom, has plunged an entire nation of several millions of inhabitants into a reverential fear of this king. And we talk about it thousands of years later.

It is also interesting to note that when Jehovah gives a gift of wisdom to a human, as long as he remains faithful to Him, he does not take this gift from him, it is permanent. Thus, in this specific case, beyond the spectacular judicial decision of Solomon, God continued to give him this wisdom in abundance, in the continuation of his reign: "And God continued giving Solʹo·mon wisdom and understanding in very great measure and a broadness of heart, like the sand that is upon the seashore. And Solʹo·mon’s wisdom was vaster than the wisdom of all the Orientals and than all the wisdom of Egypt. And he was wiser than any other man, than Eʹthan the Ezʹra·hite and Heʹman and Calʹcol and Darʹda the sons of Maʹhol; and his fame came to be in all the nations all around. And he could speak three thousand proverbs, and his songs came to be a thousand and five. And he would speak about the trees, from the cedar that is in Lebʹa·non to the hyssop that is coming forth on the wall; and he would speak about the beasts and about the flying creatures and about the moving things and about the fishes. And they kept coming from all the peoples to hear Solʹo·mon’s wisdom, even from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom" (1 Kings 4:29-34). When Jehovah gives wisdom, he gives it abundantly and permanently.

Jesus Christ, on earth, had a power of wisdom directly divine and not always directly connected with the written deposit of the Bible, here is an example: "The scribes and the chief priests then sought to get their hands on him in that very hour, but they feared the people, for they realized that he told this illustration with them in mind. And after observing him closely, they sent men whom they had secretly hired to pretend that they were righteous in order to catch him in his speech, so as to turn him over to the government and to the authority of the governor. And they questioned him, saying: “Teacher, we know you speak and teach correctly and show no partiality, but you teach the way of God in line with truth: Is it lawful for us to pay head tax to Caesar or not?” But he detected their cunning and said to them: “Show me a de·narʹi·us. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They said: “Caesar’s.” He said to them: “By all means, then, pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar but God’s things to God.” Well, they were not able to trap him in his speech before the people, but amazed at his answer, they became silent" (Luke 20:19-26).

Christ's answer came directly from the heavenly wisdom of which his Father had endowed him. There are many other examples that show that the wisdom of God is a gift that is not systematically in connection with the knowledge and the understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Moreover, in a certain circumstance Jesus Christ said to his disciples: "And when they are taking you to hand you over, do not be anxious beforehand about what to say; but whatever is given you in that hour, say this, for you are not the ones speaking, but the holy spirit is" (Mark 13:11). The active force of God, the Holy Spirit, was to be the energy of divine wisdom power for the disciples.

Therefore, if we want to acquire wisdom, we must ask for it by prayer and put into practice in our life, the Word of God the Bible: "But his delight is in the law of Jehovah, And he reads His law in an undertone day and night. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, A tree that produces fruit in its season, The foliage of which does not wither. And everything he does will succeed" (Psalms 1:2,3).

The Path of Soundness of Judgment by a Good Bible-trained Conscience

"But solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong" (Hebrews 5:14). The expression "perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong", seems to allude to conscience. In another letter addressed to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul gives a definition of the conscience which decides between  right and wrong: "For whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused" (Romans 2:14,15). The apostle Paul defines in this text, a conscience in the general sense, as a divine gift for all of humanity. This awareness needs to be nurtured more specifically within the framework of family with the biblical spirituality or the will of God (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

A matter of conscience

The person who sincerely desires to please God by applying biblical principles may find himself faced with situations that are not always easy to make the best decision. This is why it is appropriate to take Jesus Christ as a pattern and mentor, in order to know how to make the best decisions, especially when biblical principles collide. This is why, first, we will classify the laws and commandments of God into several categories to understand the scale of priorities in the decision to be made.

Jesus Christ showed that the commandments and the laws of God have a point of convergence, love for God and love for our neighbour: "On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets" ( Matthew 7:12 (the golden rule); 22:36-40). Jesus Christ spoke of this same point of convergence, with different words, but which are aspects of the timeless commandments of God, based on love: "You have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness" (Matthew 23:23). Therefore, for each complex decision to be made, when a timeless (or eternal) principle (commandment) and a circumstantial law collide, it is the principle (the timeless commandment) that will prevail (we will illustrate this point little further).

Let us talk about the difference between a timeless commandment (principle) and a circumstantial law. In Genesis it is written that God forbids eating of the fruit of a tree: "But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die" (Genesis 2:17). In this text there are two elements: the eternal commandment is obedience to God (not written). The circumstantial law is not to eat the fruit of the tree. Which of the two elements is superior? If the question may seem strange, it will allow us to always have in sight the most important aspects in the difficult decisions to be made because, in exceptional situations, a circumstantial law can collide with a timeless command. Of course, in this situation it is obedience to God that is most important, while the ban on this tree can only be temporary, since a tree is not eternal and moreover, at any time God could lift the ban.

There are timeless circumstantial laws (commandments) that cannot change (this time written). The best example are the ten commandments in Exodus chapter 20. Why are these "circumstantial" laws? When Adam was sinless, did he need these laws? Not at all, because he naturally did good, without any need to legislate (to write these laws) to guide him towards good conduct before God. It was the appearance of sin in the world that made these laws necessary (Romans 5:12). In Romans chapter 7, it is written that sin causes humans to act wrongly before God. Circumstantial laws act as indicators for doing right before God. However, when humanity will have no more sin, at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ, these laws, although permanent or eternal, will no longer need to be part of a written code (or to be made explicit) because humanity will apply it naturally. Regarding the Prophecy of Jeremiah, about the new covenant, it is written that the law will be written in the hearts (or minds) of humans (Jeremiah 31:31-33). We are currently experiencing the fulfillment of this situation throughout the Christian congregation (Luke 22:20).

Finally, there is the provisional circumstantial law, for example the Mosaic Law, under the aspect of the laws regarding the sacrifices in the biblical books from Exodus to Deuteronomy. The purpose of this law was to show the necessity of human sacrifice, to redeem all of the offspring of Adam: "So the Law became our guardian leading to Christ, so that we might be declared righteous through faith" (Galatians 3:24). These sets of laws having served their purpose, they came to an end (Romans 10:4).

Let us see how Jesus Christ made his decisions in ambiguous or complex situations. While Jesus Christ, is in the presence of a man who has a withered hand, he asks the following questions about the Sabbath: "After departing from that place, he went into their synagogue, and look! there was a man with a withered hand! So they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them: “If you have one sheep and that sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath, is there a man among you who will not grab hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man: “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored sound like the other hand" (Matthew 12:9-13). The Sabbath was the day when all work was absolutely forbidden. However, if an animal and a human were in distress, it made sense to rescue them, even on the Sabbath. In this case, it was the timeless principle of mercy that prevailed over this Sabbath commandment, as Jesus Christ reminded us in Matthew 23:23. Common sense helps to understand where the priorities are in the decisions to be made (2 Timothy 1:7).

Another biblical example where a law and a principle can exceptionally collide. In Joshua chapter 2 we can read that Joshua sent two spies to the city of Jericho. They hid in the house of Rahab. The soldiers knocked on her door to ask her if the spies were at her house: "The king of Jerʹi·cho was told: “Look! Israelite men have come in here tonight to spy out the land.” At that the king of Jerʹi·cho sent word to Raʹhab: “Bring out the men who came and are staying in your house, for they have come to spy out the entire land.” But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said: “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And at dark when the city gate was about to be closed, the men went out. I do not know where the men went, but if you quickly chase after them, you will catch up with them.” (However, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among stalks of flax laid in rows on the roof.)" (Joshua 2:2-6). Rahab was faced with a dilemma, either to tell the truth and the two men would have perished, or not to report their presence and save their lives.

Going back to the three eternal principles of Matthew 23:23, mercy, justice and faithfulness, Rahab prioritized the eternal principle of the justice of God, to make this right decision: "In the same manner, was not Rahab the prostitute also declared righteous by works after she received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way?" (James 2:25).

Consider a last example where these three eternal principles were enforced over the Sabbath law. This passage will fully summarize what was previously written: "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples got hungry and started to pluck heads of grain and to eat. At seeing this, the Pharisees said to him: “Look! Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them: “Have you not read what David did when he and the men with him were hungry? How he entered into the house of God and they ate the loaves of presentation, something that it was not lawful for him or those with him to eat, but for the priests only? Or have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and continue guiltless? But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. However, if you had understood what this means, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless ones. For the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.”" (Matthew 12:1-8).

Now let us look at how to make a correct decision, based on biblical principles with a question as example: Can the Christian take drugs? One way to have a clear and precise answer is to ask the question what decision would Jesus Christ have made? It is interesting to note the decision that Jesus Christ made at the place of his execution: "They gave him wine mixed with gall to drink; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it" (Matthew 27:34). Jesus Christ wanted to have control of his mind until his death. The use of drugs acts on the mental state but also pollutes the human body. Here is what it is written: "Therefore, I appeal to you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason" (Romans 12:1). The service we render to God requires a self-control of our mental state by using our reason. Our body and our mind must be holy. Based on these two timeless biblical principles, holiness and the use of reason, allow us to know what decision to take.

Sometimes, on more complex questions, we can seek advice from Christians who have a long experience of applying biblical principles: "When there is no skillful direction, the people fall, But there is success through many advisers" (Proverbs 11:14). Of course, the adviser will bring out biblical principles with the aim that the person knows what he must do (and without necessarily "telling" him what he must do, but rather bringing him to "understand" what he must do based on the biblical principles involved). The goal of the adviser is to teach to find the biblical principles so that the person who reaches maturity can be autonomous in his ability to make decisions on complex situations, and no longer need, eventually, to constantly ask advice (Hebrews 5:14).

One last point, Jesus Christ showed that even if we are in our right, sometimes it is necessary to take into account the feelings of others, so as not to be a stumbling block for others. Here is the decision that Jesus Christ took in renouncing his right so as not to offend the person: "After they arrived in Ca·pernaum, the men collecting the two drachmas tax approached Peter and said: “Does your teacher not pay the two drachmas tax?” He said: “Yes.” However, when he entered the house, Jesus spoke to him first and said: “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive duties or head tax? From their sons or from the strangers?” When he said: “From the strangers,” Jesus said to him: “Really, then, the sons are tax-free. But that we do not cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a fishhook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a silver coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you”’ (Matthew 17:24-27) Jesus Christ made Peter reason that he did not have to pay this tax. However, he did not want to trip up these men who did not have all the information to understand why he should have been exempt from this tax.

Of course, in the context of Hebrews 5:14, the "perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong" or the conscience "exercised in distinguishing between good and evil", is the result of both a long life experience based on the application of biblical principles. He or she who has reached Christian maturity, on the basis of divine knowledge, discernment, insight and wisdom given by God, will demonstrate before God and men, that he has a well educated and well exercised conscience, to do the difference between good and evil, in ambiguous, intermediate and complex situations, a little like King Solomon and like Jesus Christ. In doing so, by his behavior full of divine wisdom, he will give glory to God: "You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. Likewise let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens" (Matthew 5:14-16).

The Casus Belli Against Human Body Integrity

in CBRN World War

(Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear)

(Ezekiel 34)

The shepherds, who feed themselves

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to the shepherds, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Is it not the flock that the shepherds should feed? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, and you slaughter the fattest animal, but you do not feed the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bandaged the injured or brought back the strays or looked for the lost; rather, you have ruled them with harshness and tyranny. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; they were scattered and became food for every wild beast of the field. My sheep were straying on all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the surface of the earth, with no one searching for them or seeking to find them”” (Ezekiel 34:2-6).

As we have seen above, the human body was created by God and given to us as a divine inheritance, to take care of it, like a temple that we inhabit and which should be inhabited by the spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 3:16 "The Spirit of God dwells in you"). This body and the life in it, do not belong to any state or entity that would like to be globalist, nor even to any religious organization. The human body we have and the life in it, belong to God, because He is the Source and Creator of the Life (Revelation 4:11).

Jesus Christ said to pay back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's (Luke 20:25). The Christian who pays back to Caesar what is Caesar's, has a respectful attitude towards the authorities of his country. In 1 Peter 2:17 it is written to fear God and to honor the king. Depending on the context, the king is the repository of the authority of the country over which he reigns. The apostle Paul, in the letter to the Romans (13:1-7), encourages all Christians to respect governments and their representatives, that could be kings, princes, presidents, ministers, deputies… This passage shows that we must respect those who are empowered to enforce the law, namely the police, the military in some countries, judges and various representatives of administrations, such as, for example, teachers, professors, principals, tax inspectors… This being said, Jesus Christ added that we must pay back what belongs to God. Our body and the life in it belong to God. Therefore, if any human government ask us for our life or the life of our children, the answer will be the same as the apostle Peter said in a court: "We must obey God as ruler rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

In what follows, it is not to encourage the disrespect to the governmental authorities in place, but to take note of a situation which seems to be like what it is written in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 34, quoted at the beginning of the article, and to take the necessary measures to respect the biblical principles on the sacred value of life and blood. What are the observable facts?

The world is currently living, since November 2019, in fact, a Casus Belli, a CBRN world war (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear), against the integrity of the human body of peoples (the lost and scattered sheep). The human body has been created by God and given to us as a divine inheritance, to take care of it, like a temple that we live in and which should be inhabited by the spirit of God: "Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you? " (1 Corinthians 3:16). This human body and his life, do not belong to any state, nor even to any earthly religious entity.

This worldwide Casus Belli against the integrity of the human body, which God has entrusted to us, is not made with tanks, bombs and cannons. It is organized against the backdrop of international trafficking of military viruses (leaving a P4-type laboratory (officially manufacturing military viruses in the context of CBRN-type wars)) and cleverly orchestrated propaganda (social engineering), with the aim of to terrify the people. The basic principle of these death labs is to collect viruses that are normally found in nature, in the animal reign, and which are basically harmless to humans; they are usually not transmissible and if so, they are usually not fatal. These demonic laboratories work to make these viruses transmissible to humans through "sequencing" with an extremely complex manufactoring process that can take several months. The diabolical purpose is to obtain a "gain of function", that is to say, in this case, to make so that this (or these) virus to be fatal for the man, while increasing, of the lethality of this manufactured military virus (references or patents for these military viruses can be found at NIH GenBank or somewhere in the WHO archives (at least from one of these countries). By the way, the NIH has suppressed information from Wuhan labs on the genetic sequencing of the military virus, according to Watchdog's FOIA (March 30, 2022)) (What is Happening in Shanghai?) (Chinese Style Social Credit, Begins in Italy (Bologna)).

(Social Credit with Chinese Style and the 2030 Agenda: This agenda was adopted by the UN in September 2015 after two years of negotiations including governments and civil society. The 2030 Agenda is part of a globalist ideology, particularly in the countries of the NATO zone and its partners (Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand...). It is in these areas of the world that the fundamentalist and sectarian ideology of "Covidism", which undermines the bodily integrity of peoples, has taken root (The situation in Shanghai (China) is an illustration of this taken to its extreme and in many respects, can give us a future glimpse of this kind of dictatorship on the scale of several united states, even world). Situations of a global “pandemic”, or of climate emergency, are ready-made pretexts to establish a dictatorship, in a progressive and hidden way, over all peoples. The “voluntary” establishment of “social credit” in Italy (Bologna and Rome (end of March 2022)), is only the beginning of this process, which is part of the future establishment, latent and perverse, of an obligation"...).

After its spread, obviously "fortuitous" (not checked in one, or the other way), of this lethal military virus, follows a world press campaign, which will certify, that it is a question of a "leak" as a type accident in a nuclear power plant. We must know that a P4 laboratory, is one of the most secure places in the world. They will say, for example, that it comes from the animal reign, which is a half-truth, because it is both true and false, therefore false (true + false = false). A second stage follows, essentially based on propagandist social engineering, based on fear with repeated morbid messages and reports, to frighten the people and above all, to insist on the fact that there is no medical remedy, or even any molecule to be able to cure this military virus. The only solution is to wait for the messianic injectable chemical that will save the life of mankind.

This Casus Belli is accompanied by an experimentation of mass gene therapy on healthy human bodies, not sick, on an international scale, on all peoples (scattered sheep), injectable chemicals, more or less coercive (in defiance of the Nuremberg Code - 1947 (see the 10 articles at the end of the page) (The current worldwide gene therapy, is still officially, in the experimentation phase, therefore, it fits perfectly into the legal framework of the Nuremberg Code - 1947)). Those at the head of nations or groups of nations, who order repeated injections of these poisons into healthy human bodies, have links of financial interest known to all, direct or indirect.

This CBRN-type wars Casus Belli uses the media corrupted by money and coordinated with one another as a propaganda tool with the Goebbel 's process of propaganda (spokesman for the Hitler Nazi regime). It is common knowledge that they are in the pay of many corrupt billionaire oligarchs, who also influence many governments (the shepherds who have been feeding themselves). They create a false reality (a surreality), to frighten the people (the scattered sheep), with the purpose to mislead them psychologically and mentally, in the aim to make them adopt irrational behaviors, by successive contradictory decisions and completely assumed lies. By the administration of this social engineering of harassment and long-term mental torture, these shepherds who have been feeding themselves, obtain the consent by nervous and mental exhaustion of the scattered sheep, with a more or less latent coercion (See Ezekiel 34).

In Isaiah 5:20 it is written: "Woe to those who say that good is bad and bad is good, Those who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, Those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!". This text describes very accurately the perverse and demonic inversions of values ​​of these engineers of lies and murderous manipulation (John 8:44). These shepherds who are feeding themselves, have forbidden doctors to treat the elderly with inexpensive molecules. Then these same shepherds who are feeding themselves, ask the children to risk their own health, until their life, for these same old people whom they put in danger of death by forbidding the doctors to treat them. These same shepherds who are feeding themselves, ask children to risk their own health, until their lives, for adults when it should be the opposite, namely that it is adults who should be willing to risk their lives for children, representing the future of humanity...

Many doctors, nurses, orderlies and housekeepers, working in medical care, were at the front to provide assistance to people affected by this military virus. Many have paid for it with their lives (What is happening in France regarding caregivers, firefighters and other people (in connection with the medical community), suspended and fired without pay, without unemployment, not reinstated, for refusing the experimental injection? (Video only in French language)). Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, will not forget them at the time of the resurrection (Acts 24:15; Hebrews 6:10). The courageous men and women who have so far denounced this Casus belli, have paid for it with their lives for some, with solitary confinement and imprisonment for others and they are treated as "conspirators", a coined term by the CIA in 1965, following the Warren Commission (official account of the circumstances surrounding the assassination of JFK).

By the way, the current senatorial commissions are, in fact, real morbid plays. We observe a diabolical role-playing games between these commissions of "inquiries", which make a game of finding fault to the people summoned and questioned, and the latter who, in the end, leave as they came in, that is free to continue their sordid works. These senatorial commissions bypass the role of prosecutors, judges and courts, who should imprison and judge these murderers, these sons of Josef Mengele, who carried out these experimental gene injections of masses, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children around the world, and millions of debilitating consequences for those who survived. These murderous liars apply the logic of the collective suicide of peoples, like Jim Jones and David Koresh, gurus who did not want to die alone, but who wanted to be accompanied in their madness by their hundreds of followers who committed "suicide". We also live, in a logic of global, economic, diplomatic massive destruction which causes wars and the destruction of peoples. They are in the same logic of murderous headlong rush, like these two sect leaders.

As we are very close to the Great Tribulation, a prophecy from Revelation and the book of Daniel is being fulfilled before our eyes: "He also tells me: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the appointed time is near. Let the one who is unrighteous continue in unrighteousness, and let the filthy one continue in his filth; but let the righteous one continue in righteousness, and let the holy one continue in holiness"" (Revelation 22:10,11). "Many will cleanse themselves and whiten themselves and will be refined. And the wicked ones will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand; but those having insight will understand” (Daniel 12:10). Until King Jesus Christ sweeps these scoundrels off the face of the earth during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 19:11-21), those who practice righteousness in their hearts pray this prayer to the Heavenly Father daily, Jehovah God: "Finally, brothers, carry on prayer for us, that the word of Jehovah may keep spreading rapidly and being glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be rescued from harmful and wicked men, for faith is not a possession of all people. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the wicked one" (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3).

In this worldwide diabolical situation, which attacks the bodily integrity of men, women, children and even, unfortunately, that of infants, what must the Christian do, to please Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ?

Jehovah asks everyone to take care of the human body as a temple: "Therefore, I appeal to you by the compassion of God, brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason" (Romans 12:1). This body has been created for a sacred service to God, that is, to conform to the purpose which he originally made at the time of the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26-28).

Taking medication is a personal decision, weighing the risks for our life. It must be done in a medical setting, to be treated. This medication should not be done under governmental or moral coercion, for example within the framework of a congregation. If this were the case, these governmental authorities, see spiritual, would go beyond article 1 of the Nuremberg Code - 1947, which forbids medical experiments under harassment (Reminder: the worldwide gene therapy in progress, is still officially, in the experimental  process, therefore, it fits perfectly into the legal framework of the Nuremberg Code - 1947): "The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion. (…)" (Extract from article 1, of the Nuremberg Code - 1947).

In the current context, Christians must double their vigilance. He should refrain from bringing in experimental chemicals, especially for reasons unrelated to their health and that of their own children. These experimental injectable products have so far caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people around the world, and made thousands more seriously ill (VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (www.vaers.hhs.gov)). Most of these gene injections are made for reasons that have nothing to do with the health of adults and even less that of children, but rather, under non-medical pretexts of privilege, to be able to go to restaurants, bowling or other places of pleasure, justified by completely fallacious arguments and in the form of blackmail. Others have been forced on pain of losing their jobs and source of income. The fact of requiring that in order to go to a place, to have an object or a product penetrate our body, is in no way a medical act, but an act of marking, as one would do for animals, before d to enter an enclosure ; it is a marked violation of the spiritual and sacred dimension of the integrity of the human body.

Parents should seriously consider this issue, for their children and for them, in prayer to face this strange and sometimes distressing situation. Teachers of the Word of God should think seriously, with much prayer, on this question because this situation is not trivial regarding the biblical spirituality and more generally ethics (Romans 14:12). It is quite normal to feel disoriented, perplexed and surprised when faced with this extremely perverse attack from Satan the devil and his human demons. Let us pray to Jehovah God, let us ask for his help, He is merciful. If we think at first that we have not made the best decision, it can happen to anyone. Jehovah God sees our good intentions. Let us be courageous, let us trust in Jehovah God and his beloved Son Jesus Christ and they will support us (Proverbs 3:5,6). Let us not be afraid and be strong, let us support each other, whether with family, friends, or in congregation, let us love each other (John 13:34,35).


Christian Shepherds, how have you behaved in this matter?


The world has been victim to a global experimentation with a chemical that was injected for reasons based on a false claim. Pfizer would not have tested the effectiveness of its vaccines on the transmission of the virus. However, many Christian shepherds have pressured the sheep in their congregation to be injected, based on this false claim of the "vaccine" which would prevent the transmission of the virus. Even more serious, this pressure was exerted on young people who were for the most part not in danger if they did not get injected.


Tens of thousands of people died as a result of this experimental injection. Millions of people around the world have had extremely serious consequences as a result of this experimental injection. And what about this excess of mortality observed in recent times, even among young people? However, to "weight" the seriousness of the after-effects, some analyze the situation in terms of statistics... But for Jehovah God, the death of a single innocent human being, is in no way a "statistic"... In other words, if a Christian shepherd encouraged such an experimental injection, on the scale of the congregation for which he would be responsible before Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, and that this would have caused serious after-effects, until the death of only one of his sheep, in what situation does he find himself before God and his Son?


Here is what we can read in Deuteronomy, regarding the discovery of the body of a dead man in the field: "If someone is found slain in a field of the land that Jehovah your God is giving you to possess and it is not known who killed him, your elders and judges should go out and measure the distance from the dead body to the cities that surround it. Then the elders of the city nearest to the body should take from the herd a young cow that has never been put to work, that has never pulled in a yoke, and the elders of that city should lead the young cow down to a valley running with water where no tilling or sowing of seed has been done, and they should break the neck of the young cow there in the valley. And the priests, the Levites, will approach because Jehovah your God has chosen them to minister to him, to pronounce blessings in the name of Jehovah. They will declare how every dispute involving violence should be resolved. Then all the elders of the city who are nearest to the dead body should wash their hands over the young cow whose neck was broken in the valley, and they should declare, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. Do not hold this against your people Israel, whom you redeemed, O Jehovah, and do not let guilt for innocent blood remain among your people Israel.’ Then the bloodguilt will not be held against them. In this way you will remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst by doing what is right in Jehovah’s eyes" (Deuteronomy 21:1-9).


For Jehovah God and his Son and King Jesus Christ, the death of even one of their congregational sheep is nothing trivial according to Deuteronomy 21:1-9. It is appropriate, that in each Christian congregation, the shepherds make their examination of conscience, regarding this affair and draw the consequences... Do they fulfill, yes or no, still the conditions of Christian shepherds (Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7) ?

The ten points of the Nuremberg Code - 1947

1 - The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.

2 - The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.

3 - The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.