My kingdom is not of this world
John 18:36

Two weeks after my conversion the Lord began to speak to me about Christian participation in war. This was a totally new thought to me. In all of my previous 30 years of life I was not conscious of knowing one person who was a conscientious objector. I had never heard the question preached or discussed. I had never given more than a passing thought to the question and my verdict was that there were no conscientious objectors, only cowards.

And now, suddenly, I found that God was calling me out not only from my father's house but even from my country. Just as in the days of old, when God called Abram out of his country and made him to wander up and down in the earth as a pilgrim and a stranger and made him to confess that he was a citizen of a better country, a heavenly country, I found this same call upon me. This was not easy for me to give up to. I loved my country. I had even shed my blood in the Korean War in its cause. But now I came to see that Christianity means a total separation from the world and its affairs.

Oh, how I pleaded with God! For five days I presented to Him every argument of reason and Scripture that I could conjure. Patiently but firmly the Lord rejected each of these arguments as spurious, having their rise and ground in the lusts and affections of an unsanctified heart rather than a heart circumcised from the cares of this life and burning with divine love. Oh, this cross was hard to be borne! And not for me only. I have found that this is one of the greatest crosses for men converted out of the world to bear and that most will steadfastly refuse to pick it up.

After five days of resisting the hand of God, He let His displeasure be felt by me in an extraordinary way. Then when I saw myself in imminent danger of losing that wonderful grace that he had given to me, I bowed my heart before Him and yielded. "Oh, God! Thou who dost make a fruitful field into a wilderness and a wilderness into a fruitful field, Thou who dost kill and make alive again, unto Thee, oh great King, have I yielded this great idol in my heart."

The Lord gave me deliverance from this sinful thing just as clearly and definitely as from tobacco or cursing. Since that moment I have recognized myself to be in fellowship with dear Abraham. This is not my country. I am a citizen of the kingdom of Heaven and Jesus Christ the Righteous is my King. Glory to His precious and matchless name! I am an ambassador of my King to this land. I meddle not in the internal politics of this foreign land in which I am a stranger. I am an ambassador of peace, bringing a message of peace from the Lord. For He has a controversy with every nation in the world and He is coming soon to destroy them and to set up His own throne. (Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!) But He is offering terms of peace to the inhabitants of this wicked land, and I am merely a bearer of this good news of salvation from the terrible wrath to come.

This is a hard thing for men to bear. Just as it is difficult for most women to fully die to the fashions of the world, it is a great cross for most men to die to the nations and politics of this world. They may deny this all they like, but if this cross is strongly urged on them, the sparks are soon apparent. The lack of a Christ-like spirit is quickly seen in that they value a corrupt nation more than an immortal soul. They would willingly blow a man's head off and send his soul plunging into the eternal flames of hell in order to protect a nation which Jesus is going to destroy soon anyway.

Now, friends, perhaps you have been misled into believing that this is a Christian nation and has its foundation in Christianity. If so, you are greatly mistaken. The Spanish who settled in Florida and the Southwest were rapacious, greedy conquerors whose cruelties against the Indians are legendary. The French who settled in Maine, along the Mississippi valley, and in Louisiana were a very dissolute and wicked people. And what can we say about the English? Oh, how people love to talk about the godly Pilgrims and Puritans! But only read a little history and you will soon learn that they were a very cruel, hard-hearted, persecuting people. Most people would be shocked to learn of the cruelties they inflicted on dissenters: the cutting off of ears, the bloody floggings of men, women, and even children, the hanging of four Quakers in Boston, three men and one woman, for no other reason than that they were Quakers.

And consider the founding fathers. Most people are unaware that there was hardly a professor of Christianity among them. George Washington was one of the exceptions. But his fondness for parties, dancing, and women makes it difficult for any who know something of the holiness of God to take him seriously. As for Thomas Paine, he was an agnostic and an avid follower of Voltaire who was an avowed hater of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were deists who absolutely denied the divinity of Jesus. And the intervening years have not changed the situation. The number of truly God-fearing people in this country, and any other country, have always been few. Thus, the apostle John says,

The whole world lieth in wickedness
I John 5:19

Now I would ask any honest thinking person to explain to me how the whole world can lie in wickedness but our own country does not. Remember that this term world does not mean the earth. It means that system in which man carries on his affairs. In other words, it means all of our governments, financial institutions, educational institutions, sports, fashions, etc. This whole thing into which we are born and spend our lives is run by Satan and is wicked and Godless.

Why is it that most people do not see that almost everyone believes his own country is something special? In every war both sides believe that God is on their side. Both countries call upon the same God in prayer to give them victory over their enemy. In World War I while Billy Sunday was preaching that if you turned hell upside down you would see "Made in Germany" printed on it, every German soldier had "Gott Mit Uns" (God With Us) printed on his belt buckle. During the Civil War both sides believed God was with them, as is evident from the speeches and letters of the leaders of both sides. As a matter of fact, if anything, the Southerners were more religious, but they lost the war anyway.

Oh, why will not people see that God does not look at nations the way that man does? The prophet Daniel knew this. He saw clearly that God rules in the affairs of men and He puts into power whomsoever He will. Nebuchadnezzar thought that he had gotten his kingdom by his own greatness and might. But God told him that he would become like a lowly beast of the field,

Till thou knowest that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,
and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Daniel 4:25

But this is not all. He also says that He brought the above calamity on Nebuchadnezzar,

To the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. Daniel 4:17

Although this sentiment is stated four separate times in Daniel, people refuse to believe it. "What," they say, "do you mean to say that God put Hitler and Stalin in power? If that be so, then they are God's ministers and to fight them is to fight against the will of God." And this is precisely the case. Otherwise, what does Paul mean when he says,

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers (plural). For there is no power but of God: the powers (plural) that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Romans. 13:1-2

I believe this. I believe it means what it says and says what it means. Every power is ordained of God. Not just our government. Every government! If I resist any power, I resist God and receive to myself damnation. But, like Nebuchadnezzar, most people will not believe this. And also like Nebuchadnezzar, they shall incur the curse of God. But few professors of Christianity are willing to be pilgrims and strangers in this world. Jesus said that we are to be in the world but not of the world. But they love the world too much to openly declare themselves to be no part of it.

We must always trust the revelation of God even when our reason tells us that it is foolish. (Does not the Bible say that the wisdom of God is foolishness to the wise, reasoning part of man?) Human wisdom says that we must destroy the evil of the Hitler regime. It will go to great lengths to show that a Christian has an obligation to fight against it. But the Bible says that every power is ordained by God. He put Hitler in and He will take him out when he has accomplished the divine purpose. "What?" one may ask, "there was a divine purpose in the Hitler regime?" Of course there was! How else could God drive the Jews back to Israel? I believe that with just a little thought you can see that the Jews would never have returned to that desolate desert land except for Hitler. Was it not the same with Pharaoh? So to fight against Hitler is to fight against the purposes of God.

This same short-sightedness was evinced by the apostles when Jesus was taken prisoner. Some of the apostles pulled swords and Peter even cut off one man's ear? Isn't it only reasonable to protect our Master? Good sound reasoning said, "Oh, protect Jesus! Protect Jesus!" But Jesus told them, to their great surprise, to put up their swords. Matt 26:52. It was God's will that Jesus die on the cross. But that all-wise, all-knowing wisdom of man would have thwarted God's eternal plan of redemption if it had been left up to him. I think that God is quite capable of running things without our help.

For a moment imagine yourself to be a missionary in some foreign land. You have had the great pleasure of seeing several young men find God and walk in His ways. Then a great dispute develops between your country and theirs and you are ordered out of the country. Upon your return home you find that war has been declared and you must go into the Army. After several months of training your unit goes into combat. One day while on patrol you set an ambush and in the ensuing battle you kill an enemy soldier. After the battle you go up to search his body for papers and find that you have killed one of your young converts. How horrible it would be to kill one for whom Christ died. To protect a kingdom of this world that belongs to Satan, you would do violence to God's kingdom and kill one of His lambs.

Most people will not accept the fact that the kingdoms of this world (of which the U.S.A. is one) are not the kingdoms of our God. When Satan tempted our Lord, we are told,

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. Luke 4:5-7

Jesus did not say to Satan that the nations did not belong to him. After all, if Satan could not have given all of the nations to Jesus, where would the temptation have been? For although God rules in the affairs of men, He does so in such a way that they and Satan think that they are doing it themselves. He is a God that hideth Himself. And though God has given the world into the hands of Satan, He makes the hatred and wrath of men and Satan to work to His eternal purposes.

And does not Jesus Himself very plainly tell us that these things are true? He saith,

My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.
John 18:36

The people of the kingdoms of this world must fight to protect their kingdoms. Not so the servants of Christ. Paul very clearly says that the Christian's battle is not with flesh and blood but with wicked spirits. The reason is that our kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. But the contrary is the case with the servants of the rulers of this world. Their battle is most assuredly with flesh and blood. If they want to protect their country, they must fight. But Paul tells the Christian that he is not to use carnal weapons. But rifles and cannons are carnal weapons, so how is it possible to fight in a war and obey His command?

Let us get even closer to home. James tells us that war has its rise and ground in the lusts. Pray tell me, how can a man be cleansed from all lusts and, at the same time, participate in that which arises from lusts? Is not that a contradiction? But thank God there is deliverance from this. He can take the fighting and wars out of us.

Then also I would ask the warmonger how he would hope to enter the army without breaking the command of Christ in Matt 5:34 to "swear not at all." For no man can enter the army without taking the oath. But Jesus expressly forbids the taking of any oath whatsoever. And James the apostle repeats this command in James 5:12. Jesus tells us by his apostle that we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers but that we are to come out from among them and be separate. See II Cor 6:14-18. But in the army you are very unequally yoked together with very wicked and lewd unbelievers. There is no escape from it. You eat with them, sleep with them, work with them, and kill with them. But God receives only those who come out from among them and are separate.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Luke 6:27, 28

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Romans 12:14

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered of us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. I Peter 221-23

Many more Scriptures might I write to show how contrary the Spirit of Christ is to the war-like spirit. Jesus likens His followers to sheep and the world's people to wolves. The sheep is distinguished by its utter harmlessness and gentleness. There are few animals so defenseless and gentle. When attacked by enemies, they never fight back, not even to protect their young. But the wolf is just the opposite. When it is attacked, it fights viciously to protect itself, and even more so to protect its young.

Now, friend, of which spirit are you? Are you a lamb-like follower of the Lamb? Have you taken Him as your example or the great men of this world? Have you not yet felt the call out from your country to be a citizen of another country, a heavenly country? Are you not yet delivered from that lust from which springs wars and fightings? In short, are you a lamb or are you a wolf?

Finally, my friends, what was the doctrine of the primitive Christians, those of the apostolic church? Let me quote from the writings of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius, "I prayed to my country gods; but when I was neglected by them, and observed myself pressed by the enemy, considering the fewness of my forces, I called to one, and entreated those who with us are called Christians, and I found a great number of them; and I forced them with threats, which ought not to have been, because afterward I knew their strength and force; therefore they betook themselves neither to the use of darts nor trumpets, for they use not so to do, for the cause and name of their God, which they bear in their consciences." So this heathen Roman emperor bears witness to their peaceable doctrine and life. Or consider the words of Justin Martyr who was a disciple of Polycarp the disciple of John the apostle, "We fight not with our enemies." Or the answer of Martin to Julian the apostate as related by Sulpitius Severus, "I am a soldier of Christ, therefore I cannot fight." As a matter of fact, there is a uniform renunciation of war by the church fathers until the apostasy.

Let me close this discussion about war by quoting from that servant of the Lord, Robert Barclay. "The last thing to be considered is revenge and war, evils as opposite and contrary to the Spirit and doctrine of Christ as light to darkness. For, as is manifest by what is said, through contempt of Christ's law the whole world is filled with various oaths, cursings, blasphemous profanations, and horrid perjuries: so likewise, through contempt of the same law the world is filled with violence, oppression, murders, ravishing of women and virgins, spoilings, depredations, burnings, devastations, and all manner of lasciviousness and cruelty: so that it is strange that men, made after the image of God, should have so much degenerated, that they rather bear the image and nature of roaring lions, tearing tigers, devouring wolves, and raging bears, than of rational creatures endued with reason. And is it not yet much more surprising that this horrid monster should find place, and be fomented, among those men who profess themselves disciples of our peaceable Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who by excellency is called the Prince of Peace, and hath expressly prohibited his children all violence; but on the contrary commanded them, that, according to his example they should follow patience, charity, forbearance, and other virtues worthy of a Christian?"

Friends, along with all that has been said, consider the following Scripture verses and judge for yourself.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9

Having presented to you the many scriptures and arguments against a Christian participating in war, let us proceed to the question of participation in politics. Most of what has been said against war can be equally applied to politics. All citizens must be willing to defend their country, even to the death. This is what it means to be a citizen. So any man that will not fight for his country has no right to be a citizen. To me this is a self-evident truth. To expect to benefit from the blessings and the protection of ones country and to engage in its political affairs but not fight for its protection from outside forces is a totally nonsensical attitude. And to the credit of the few Christian conscientious objectors that I have known they do not engage in politics.

When I was a missionary in Guatemala, I never engaged in its political affairs. I never preached about politics and I never spoke in favor of or against any of its political figures. I was an alien. I was there only because the Guatemalan government permitted me to live there. I was not concerned with the improvement of the political life of the Guatemalan citizenry. My only concern was to offer terms of peace to all Guatemalans on behalf of my great Lord, the ruler of the universe. I was inviting people to emigrate to a better country, a heavenly country.

Most professing Christians think that they have a Christian duty to engage in the political affairs of their country. As a matter of fact, they think that anyone that does not do so is not a very good Christian. But this kind of reasoning comes from the mistaken view that nations can be godly. But only think about it and you will see the folly of such reasoning. All countries belong to Satan and always have. There never has been a Christian nation. It is true that some have been founded on Christian ethics, but there never has been one that was founded by God and that was truly godly.

The United States, the finest country ever devised by man, was founded on the principle that all men are created equal. But while the founding fathers were penning this idea, there lived here a large number of men, women, and children that were held in abject slavery within the boundaries of the land that supposedly believed this. They were dealt with by the laws of this land as though they were property, like horses or cattle. And they had no more rights than horses or cattle.

This example should be enough to prove that there is not now nor has there ever been a truly Christian nation. The United States was controlled by Satan from its very inception and is still controlled by him. It is not reasonable to think that God wants his people to labor to improve Satan's dominions. Especially since it is evident from prophecy that God will one day destroy them. A little study of the ministry of Jesus and the apostles will show anyone that is interested in the truth that they never made any attempt whatsoever to improve the Roman Empire or any of its provinces. Their whole effort was directed toward calling people out of this world. That is why the word for the church in the Greek was ekklhsia, which means the called out ones.

The most important reason why a Christian should not engage in politics is based on the simple fact that God's ways are not man's ways. God always performs His will in such a way as to confound the wisdom of man. In truth, we can not know what God wants in any situation. Thus, if we try to influence the situation by voting or fighting, we are more than likely to find ourselves fighting against God.

I have already touched on this idea above in reference to Hitler. If left to the Christian community, Hitler would never have gotten into power. Then, they would have kept him from his terrible persecutions of the Jews. The result would have been that there would be no Israel now because all of the Jews would be comfortably ensconced in their nice homes in Europe and Palestine would still be an arid land. Consequently, prophecy would not have been fulfilled and the coming of Jesus could not take place. The truth is that, like Pharaoh, Hitler was the instrument that God used to drive the Jews back to Israel.

I would like the reader to take an imaginary journey with me back in time and into the middle east. Let us think of ourselves as being in the Negev desert about 3600 years ago. It is a moonless night and we are near a small huddle of tents. As we near one of the tents, we can see that inside is an 18 year old boy bound hand and foot. His name is Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. This is his first night in his terrible captivity and he is afraid and lonely. He knows that he will be sold as a slave to someone in Egypt, but he can only imagine what life has in store for him.

As we watch this boy struggling against his bonds, we see that they are becoming looser by the moment. Soon he is free. Everybody in the camp is sound asleep. He carefully makes his way to the tent door. He looks out and sees nobody around. As he steps out of the door, he awakens one of the camp dogs. It is about to begin to bark and to awaken the captors.

Now it is in our power to stop this dog from barking. If we do, this poor boy will get free and return to his grieving father. If we don't, he will be caught by his captors and will never again have the opportunity to escape and his father will grieve for many years at the loss of his beloved son. As good Christians our hearts are melted within us by the plight of this young lad. So, we feel compelled by our Christian compassion to stop the dog from barking. Joseph escapes and returns to his loving father.

We think that we have done a wonderful Christian work and are sure that God is well pleased with us. We return to our present day homes filled with a holy satisfaction for a Christian job well done. We are so sure that God approves of our actions and we testify in church about our great adventure and the wonderful Christian service that we were able to perform. Everybody in the church is thrilled and rejoices with us. But little do we know that we destroyed our own salvation.

You see, since Joseph didn't go to Egypt, he wasn't there to interpret the Pharaoh's dream. Thus, he was not made the ruler of all of Egypt and wasn't able to save up enough food to last out the drought. He wasn't there to save his father and brothers and their families and they all died from starvation. So there was no nation of Israel in which Jesus would be born. Since Jesus was not born, he could not die on the cross for our sins. And if He did not die on the cross, we are yet unsaved. All of this simply because we thought that we knew what was the right thing to do and what the will of God was.

I have taken you through this hypothetical journey so that you can grasp the fact that we can never see God's plans and purposes in life. God truly works in mysterious ways and we cannot know what He wants. I may think that one man is the right person for the office of president, but God may want the other one for reasons that only He can understand. If I vote for the wrong one, then I am voting against the will of God.

Most professing Christians voted for Bob Dole in this last election, but God wanted Clinton to remain in office. How do I know that? I know it because God rules in the affairs of men and puts in power whomever He wants, often the basest of men. He wanted Clinton in office for His own purposes, most of which we are incapable of understanding. He will have in power the one that He wants whether we vote or not. He rules in the affairs of men! And if He rules in the affairs of men, we can neither help Him nor hinder Him.

As Christians we have a job to do. God never commanded us to straighten out the world. That is not our job, that is His. He has commanded us to carry the gospel to every creature in the world. That is a big job and if we conscientiously do that job, we won't have any time left over to play little political games, pretending to ourselves that we are doing Christian works. But the honest truth is that the reason why professing Christians engage so earnestly in politics and war is because they are not really delivered from Satan's kingdom. They have not really been transformed by the power of God and made into new creatures. They are yet in the world.

Of which kingdom are you? There are only two kingdoms, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of Satan. You are automatically in one or the other. You have no third alternative. Who is your king?


Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you.
Galatians 4:10, 11

A few years ago a certain Bible school girl was baby sitting for a Jewish couple. She and the man got into a discussion about her beliefs, and at one point he asked, "Why do you observe Christmas? By what authority do you keep this day?" or words to that effect. Needless to say, she was at a loss for an answer because they both knew that there is no Biblical command for it. As I recall, he pointed out the great inconsistency in claiming that the Bible is the foundation of her faith while making such a great thing out of the observance of a day about which the Bible is silent.

Surely no one would deny that the Bible nowhere commands Christians to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Although one may give many reasons for doing it, it can never be said to be scriptural. The Jews have scriptural commands for all of their holy days and feasts, but absolutely none are commanded for the Christian. On the other hand, this should not be surprising since the Jewish religion is a religion of outward observations and the Christian religion is a religion of inward righteousness.

After reading the clear and specific commands in the law of the Old Testament concerning the observance of holy days and feasts, can one seriously believe that God would have been silent on this question if He had wanted Christians to observe Christ's birthday? He spelled out in great detail all of the observations under the law, such as, when to observe the Passover and how to observe it. Would He have done less for the honor of His own Son if He had intended this day to be observed?

Nevertheless, we are given no such command and no such directions. On the contrary, He has made it impossible to observe Jesus' birthday because no one knows when it was. Just as God hid Moses' body so that the Israelites could not worship it, in His infinite wisdom He has hidden this glorious day from us so that we cannot observe it. Whatever else December 25th is, it would only be an accident if it were Jesus' birthday.

There are several reasons for believing that Jesus was born in the summer instead of the winter. For one thing the shepherds would not have been out in the hills with the sheep in the winter. Another potent argument against winter is that this taxing or census would never have been commanded in the winter months because the hardships of travel in those days were far too imposing. In this day of superhighways, cars, and airplanes it is difficult for us to grasp just how arduous travel in those days really was. We must remember that it was so hard that Paul always wintered somewhere, that is, he stopped traveling during that season. How much more difficult would it be with women and children?

If the Bible says nothing about the date of His birth and if the scholars have never found any way to determine it and if, in addition, we have other reasons to strongly suspect that this event occurred in the summer or fall, how was the 25th of December chosen as the date of that inexpressibly great event? How did this tradition arise? The answer is very simple and is to be found in any encyclopedia. We got it from the pagans! That is correct. This day that almost the whole world observes in one way or the other is of pagan origin.

This is what the American Peoples Encyclopedia sold by Sears, Roebuck, and Company has to say:

"Christmas, originally Cristes Masse, the mass or church feast of Christ, the English name for the season in which the birth of Christ is commemorated. It is apparent, however, that a festival was celebrated at this season long before it was held sacred as the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. The Saturnalia of the Romans and the winter festival of the heathen Britons were both celebrated about December 25; and later, the Roman festival in honor of the sun-god Mithra (instituted AD 273). From the latter this day came to be known as the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun; and after its adoption by the Christian Church in the fourth century as the anniversary of Christ's birth, this name was given a symbolic interpretation."

From the above it is clear that after Constantine the Roman emperor supposedly converted in 325 AD, the offense of the cross of Christ was removed and the persecutions ceased. Christianity became the state religion. Heathen joined the church in droves without converting, and as with all pagans in all ages they must have rites and ceremonies and festivals. To worship in spirit and in truth they could not bear. Thus, the apostate church adopted the birthday of Mithra as the birthday of their new God with the continuation of the usual festivals, and the lives of the people changed practically not at all.

It is also clear that the apostolic and primitive church did not celebrate Christ's birth. Not only is the Bible completely silent about this day but so also are the writings of the early church fathers. It is a historical fact that they observed no day as the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. It was not until the apostasy of the church in the fourth century that it began to observe this festival.

Let us look again at the encyclopedia, "The decoration of churches with mistletoe and holly is also a pagan survival, while the sending of gifts may be traced back to the Yule gifts of northern Europe and ancient Rome." And what can be said for the Christmas tree. According to the encyclopedia its origin is not certain, but some think it has roots in the ancient Druid religion. For my part I think that we can find its origin in the Bible. "For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." Jeremiah 10:3-4. Is this not a description of the Christmas tree? And in this place Jeremiah was lamenting the idolatrous practices of the Jews.

As much as it may grieve many people to think about it, it must be admitted that the day called Christmas is, from beginning to end, unscriptural and pagan. Isn't it marvelous how so-called Christians will cling to and perpetuate these pagan customs in the name of Him who abhorred such customs? But they not only perpetuate them, they vigorously defend them. They will not hesitate to brand as a heretic any man who scruples the practice of these pagan, unchristian customs. What strange beings we mortals be.

Is this Christianity? Is it possible that Jesus can be pleased by this kind of religion? Is Jesus glorified by these pagan traditions even though His name has been attached to them? Is sacrifice better than obedience? May He not properly ask, "Who hath required this at thy hand?" Is it not foolish to think that Jesus is pleased if we celebrate His birthday on the birthday of a pagan god? Let us consider that point. Suppose that a man's wife had had another lover before he met her and married her. And let us suppose that when she was attached to this other man she always observed his birthday with certain festivities and celebrations. Would this man be pleased if his wife insisted on observing his birthday on the same day as that of her former lover and with the same festivities and celebrations? Would he not rather be offended by her to the highest degree and question her faithfulness and devotion to him? Any rational and honest person knows the answer to the above questions. However, most people are so puffed up with pride that they think that they are doing God a favor by giving Him any recognition whatsoever. They think that He will gratefully accept anything that they condescend to throw His way. But how contrary is this opinion to the Truth! All through the Bible we see that He rejects the worship of man as idolatrous when not offered in accordance with His precepts.

One can't truly worship God without obedience to God. The worship of a sinner is an abomination to God. It is as though a member of the Mafia would claim to be a good citizen. God commanded the Israelites to offer their sacrifices at the Temple and, therefore, when they offered their sacrifices to Him in the high places, it was an abomination to Him. Why? Because worship without obedience is folly. Oh, why can't man see this? What good is the Bible to us if we won't learn from it? How foolish is the man who glorifies the Bible and exalts the Scriptures if he won't learn the lessons it holds for us. From the Scriptures it is clear that God hates that worship that is inspired by the fleshly, worldly nature of man. Only that which comes from His own pure and eternal Spirit is acceptable to Him.

I remember one time hearing from the pulpit something like this, "Some people think we shouldn't have Christmas trees and lights. But I love them. I'm glad that the world does these things because every time they light a tree or sing a carol or say Merry Christmas, they are acknowledging that Jesus really is the Christ." Without looking closely at it, this certainly sounds reasonable. But is it? Does not almost every deviation from God's pure and holy way seem very reasonable to the carnal mind? The serpent's arguments sounded very reasonable to Eve. But were they right? Was it well that she followed his suggestions?

If we look just a little below the surface, the whole picture begins to change. Is a criminal showing that he believes in this country merely by saluting the flag? No, a proof that a man loves his country is that he obeys its laws and is faithful to its constitution. When sinners light Christmas trees, are they acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ? Of course not! They just like the festivities of Christmas. If they really were to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ of God, they would fear and tremble and repent. If there were no festivities whatsoever, very few people would observe Christmas. True Christians observe Christmas every day of their lives. They don't need trees; they don't need lights; they don't need festivities. Jesus Christ abides in their hearts and the true Christmas spirit is there always.

Let us look just a little deeper into this question. Does God need and want the testimony of the wicked? The Bible plainly teaches that He does not. Jesus always rebuked the demons when they confessed that He was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. See, for example, Luke 4:41. And let us consider Acts 16:17. Paul and Silas were in Philippi in Macedonia. We read, "A certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us,..., the same followed Paul and us, saying, 'These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.' And this she did many days." Now according to the reasoning used by the preacher that I mentioned, Paul should have been very pleased by this, especially since everyone in Philippi believed in the sayings of this damsel. Well let us see what that great apostle thought about it, "But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her'"

The above mentioned preacher would never understand this. Wasn't the girl telling the truth? Wasn't she directing the people to Paul so that they might find salvation? Surely, this couldn't be bad. Well, no matter what our reasoning may be, it grieved the chief of the apostles. It appears certain that God does not want the testimony of the wicked.

The fact is that the Christmas spirit is not the Spirit of Christ, and this I well know by experience. For I partook of that spirit and loved that spirit, not only as a sinful and wicked Roman Catholic, but even as an agnostic. The world loves the Christmas spirit, and the world always loves its own. The world never has and never will love the Spirit of Christ because the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of holiness, a thing that the world has always hated. The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of the world all dressed up in Christian garb, like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Otherwise, how is it possible that the world would love Christmas so much, seeing that the Scriptures tell us that the whole world lies in wickedness?

This should be a thing that is self-evident. However, I am sure that it is not, or there would not be so many so-called Bible believing people partaking of this wickedness. If the professors of Christ could once come to see that the things of God are highly distasteful to the worldling, then they would have to confess that Christmas is not and can not be of God. The world is at enmity with God and hates everything pertaining to godliness. Yet, the world loves Christmas. Christmas is of the world and is permeated with the gay, light, worldly spirit. This spirit never leads to true godliness or devotion to God. On the contrary, it destroys sobriety and gravity and the fear of the Lord, and it leads into lightness, foolishness, partying, carousing, etc. There is no time of the year that is so filled with so much wickedness as the time called Christmas.

A few years ago one of my spiritual brothers was sued for divorce by his wife because he had become a true Christian. One of her witnesses while on the stand brought these charges against him to prove that he was an unfit husband: he would no longer smoke, get drunk, smoke marijuana, go to parties, go to movies, watch TV, celebrate Christmas, etc" but now he only wanted to go to church, pray, and live a holy life. It is obvious that the religious and the irreligious join hands on this issue in order to persecute the just.

Dear reader, is it a small thing to you that God has chosen to hide that glorious day from us? Is it a small thing to you that the apostolic and primitive church did not observe it? Is it a small thing to you that it is filled with paganism and was part of pagan worship? Is it a small thing to you that it was never celebrated by the Christian church until after it apostatized? Is it a small thing to you that the world loves it and that it fosters drinking and other sensualities? If so, then by all means continue in the custom. But as for us, the Friends of Jesus Christ, we shall serve the Lord.


For the kingdom of God is not in meat and drink; but in righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17

Food has always played a special role in the religions of the world. Even the religion that God Himself delivered to His people at Sinai contained certain rules and prohibitions concerning it. But I think that one can say that, in the light of the spirituality of the Christian religion, we ought to be able to see that these rules, as with all of the ritualism of the Mosaic institutions, were merely meant to be symbolic of the deep spiritual truths of Christianity.

The clean and unclean beasts had nothing inherently clean or unclean about them. The rabbit is an unclean beast, but it has the same diet as the cow which is pronounced clean. On the other hand, the chicken, which will eat anything and everything, was pronounced clean. It appears to me that since God declared to Noah that man could eat of all of the animals we must conclude that this whole idea of clean and unclean is purely symbolic.

I have heard adherents of the Seventh Day Adventist Church say that it is a fact that if one eats according to the precepts laid down by Moses in the Old Testament he will be more healthy, since God gave these laws to Israel because these foods are more healthful. Is this true? I bring this up because this is one of the religious groups that places a special emphasis on diet. Is it more healthful to eat beef than pork, seeing that pork is absolutely forbidden to the Jew? Well, if we are to believe the doctors who spend their lives studying such questions, the answer is no. Any heart specialist will tell you that beef is more dangerous to your health than pork. In addition, I have never read a medical report saying that Seventh Day Adventists live longer and have better health than other religious people.

In all ages man has been prone to believe that there is a connection between what you eat and who you are. Many of the ancient religions believed this, and even today in Hinduism you will find this belief. It has been taught for centuries in the East that meat eaters will be violent and that it is impossible to be truly spiritual and peace loving unless you are a vegetarian. "You are what you eat" is a standing axiom of certain religious philosophies and is found to be the underlying motivation of the modern health food craze.

This is pantheism, pure and simple, and this whole idea may be easily exploded with just two examples. First, who was the holiest man that ever lived; so holy, in fact, that the Christian world considers Him to be God incarnate? This man's holiness, spirituality, purity, and peaceableness is unapproachable by any other man in history or any god in any other religion. Of course, the answer is Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and the Son of God. Yet, Jesus was a meat eater. Second, who was the most beastly killer in modern history and perhaps in the history of the world? Of course, the answer is Adolph Hitler. Yet, this most bestial of men was a vegetarian.

The apostle Paul had many run-ins with this pagan idea which was constantly trying to find place in the Christian religion. Since the Gentile Christian church had been converted directly out of paganism, it was only natural that many people would remain somewhat tinctured by many of the religious ideas in which they were raised, especially that of gnosticism. In addition, the Jewish element in the early church tended to emphasize and insist on those parts of the Mosaic institutions. Thus, Paul had his work cut out for him.

The verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter shows plainly that Paul clearly taught that food plays no role whatsoever in the Christian religion. Rather, he insists that it rests on and is made up of only those truly spiritual attributes of right living, the testimony of a pure conscience, and the joy of fellowship with the Spirit of God. This, of course, is completely corroborated by Jesus in the following:

And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. Mark 7:14-16

Few men are able to receive a view that differs drastically from that in which they were born and bred, especially in religious matters. Even His disciples were so thick of understanding that they did not comprehend Him. So we find that Mark adds the following:

And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mark 7:17-23

I think that it can hardly be denied that Jesus' doctrine clearly states that food plays no role in His religion. I am neither more holy for eating or refraining from eating certain foods nor am I less holy thereby. Yet in these very last days there has arisen a food cult, a modern approach to the age old idolatry built around food, called health foods and vitamins. And what is even more surprising is that Paul himself distinctly warns us that just such a thing will occur in the last closing days before the Lord's return.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. I Timothy 4:1-5

It is obvious from the context that Paul is warning us that in these last days there will come forth into the Christian world a doctrine of devils that says that we should not eat certain foods because they are not good for you. This, of course, implies that we should restrict our eating to certain foods, approved foods, so to speak. Now would you not think that with such a warning right before our eyes, everyone who professes a high regard for the holy scriptures would be alert enough to avoid any new doctrine or idea that deals with food producing spiritual well being?

Yet, it is in these very last days that this craze of health foods has found its way into the Christian community. And in spite of all denials to the contrary, this whole thing is religious in its origin and intent. This whole health food and vitamin wickedness always creates spiritual pride in its advocates simply because it is for spiritual reasons that it is pursued. Some people even dare to claim that God Himself led them into it. This clearly shows the spiritual foundation of the thing. Yet, Jesus plainly taught that food has nothing to do with spirituality, but these deluded souls say, in spite of His clear statements, that God led them into it.

Now let us ask ourselves where this modern idolatry has come from. It had its rise from three sources. The Seventh Day Adventists have long been proponents of health foods and vitamins and many of the health food stores are owned by members of that sect. Second, it was and is pushed very strongly by the Rodale Press, Prevention Magazine, and other self-appointed experts on nutrition. Third, it came to real prominence in this country in the sixties with the rise of hippyism and its interest in Hindu religious thought and has been carried on by the proponents of the New Age religion.

I have already spoken about the view of the Seventh Day Adventists in connection with food. Their basic motivation for their views stems from their belief that Christians are not free from the Old Covenant requirements. They, walking in the footsteps of the old-time Judaizers that Paul fought so hard against, in their own way insist on bringing Christians into the yoke of Mosaic bondage. Thus, their insistence upon Sabbath observance on the seventh day of the week, tithing, etc. Their denial of a hell shows plainly that they are perfect strangers to the Holy Spirit and the new birth, for nobody who has met the Lord in His convicting power can doubt the existence of hell.

Let us examine for a moment the great crowd of health food witnesses that I will label, for convenience, the Prevention crowd. This group is made up of perhaps the most arrogant people in the world today. It is composed of a vast array of self-appointed experts on science, medicine, and nutrition. These wonderful experts come from every walk of life; housewives with less than a high school education, mechanics, truck drivers, dime store sales ladies, hippy doctors, kooks and crackpots of every description.

These priests of the health food cult dispense free medical advice and cures for every disease in the book. Their elixirs of life are 100% pure cow manure, herbs, and mega-doses of vitamins---the tools of modern day witchcraft. Armed with the latest findings of Prevention magazine they valiantly and arrogantly assail the most highly accredited halls of learning and research in the medical profession. Like the witch doctors of old Africa, they have a sure cure for every ailment known to man, and they have even invented a few ailments for which they also have the cures. They can tell you the use and magical qualities of certain vitamins that medical science has yet failed to demonstrate.

Medical researchers spend years and years learning the science and art of medicine. What a terrible waste of time. The poor fools didn't need to do so much studying. All they needed to do was read a few issues of Prevention and take the advice of the high priestess Adele Davis and top it off with a little Organic Gardening and they would have been fully prepared to heal one and all. Then if they find themselves in trouble on any case, there will always be one or two expert housewife-priestesses around for consultation.

About two years ago I met a man of about sixty years, normal and of at least average intelligence, whose wife is one of these wonderful priestesses of the health food and vitamin cult. Since this man seemed to be a rather astute man of the working class, I assumed that he was too wise to be taken in by such pathetic nonsense. But I soon found that that wickedness is able to blind the eye of even the wise. He was telling me about his poor brother who was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. He said, "He would get better if he would stop following the doctor's advice and take the vitamins that my wife told him to take."

Is not that truly amazing? Does not that absolutely boggle the mind? That man's wife did not even complete high school. Yet, not only does she think herself so much the expert on medicine and nutrition that she would actually advise someone to stop following the advice of a doctor who spent years and years studying and investigating. But her husband, who in all other respects is an intelligent man, has been so beguiled by that wicked religious cult that he also believes her to be more competent than the whole medical profession.

Now everyone knows that there are three things that cause man to become irrational: love, politics, and religion. This business obviously has nothing to do with love nor politics. Thus, it must be a religion. And I can vouch for the fact that it is a religion because I was caught in its web to some extent for about three years. And I had no doubt in my mind that I was doing it for religious reasons. Let the advocates of the Prevention group deny it all they will, I know that they think that "pure and wholesome natural foods and vitamins" are a source of spirituality. Walk into any health food store and you will immediately detect the feeling that you have just walked into a temple. It is idolatry, pure and simple. The moment that a man thinks that anything of the material creation can make him spiritual, he has made it into a god and entered into idolatry.

At least those health food addicts who are of the hippy mentality and of the Hindu persuasion or into New Age are not hypocrites. They will tell you right out that your spirituality is determined by your diet. Witches, necromancers, and herbalists will also tell you that certain foods have strange and mystical powers and that if you eat of these you will be more in tune with the spirit world. All of these fall into the category of good old-fashioned idolaters and are much more honest than the more modern variety.

I will not deny that there are a few bona fide medical doctors that are proponents of this cult. But that is to be expected. There are a few astronomers and physicists that believe in flying saucers. There are a few very learned men who believe in astrology. What does this prove except that in every profession or group there are a few kooks. The real question is what does the great bulk of the medical profession and its experts and researchers believe.

This can be answered very simply and easily. They believe it to be foolish and dangerous. Many are very concerned about mega-doses of vitamins. It is certain that overdoses of certain vitamins can be dangerous, even resulting in death. They are not even certain what, if anything, some of the vitamins do. Therefore, it follows that they are not certain about the effects of large doses. These are serious and very difficult medical questions that can only be determined by careful scientific investigations conducted by well trained and highly competent medical scientists, not by a bunch of housewives, mechanics, hippies, and country doctors.

The mistake made by these cults is the same mistake made by many people who take medicine. That is, if the bottle says take two tablets three times per day, then obviously taking four tablets six times per day will do you twice as much good. This is not only erroneous, but dangerous thinking. They reason that if a lack of vitamins cause certain diseases and ailments, then a lot of vitamins will work wonders for you. Well, let us extend this reasoning to oxygen. If a little bit of oxygen in the air is good for you, then pure oxygen should be even better. Is it? The answer is no. When Paul said that a little bit of wine would be good for Timothy's stomach, would he be pleased to find out that Timothy decided to take mega-doses of wine?

Most doctors recommend, at most, a one-a-day type vitamin for normal, healthy people. And if you ask him, he will tell you that normal people do not need vitamins at all. This does not mean that there are not unusual conditions of vitamin deficiency for which a doctor will give larger doses. Of course, these cases occur at times. But normal health is good health, and normal health requires nothing more than the nutrition of a normal diet. A concern about nutrition is totally contrary to the whole tenor of the Gospel which says "take no anxious care."

In defense of their cult the priestesses will say that we owe it to God to take the best care of our bodies that we can. If we can have better health by eating healthier and taking vitamins, we are obligated to do so. Well, let me quote the words of Great Physician, Jesus of Nazareth,

Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink...which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? Matthew 6:25,27

In addition to this I can only say that health food addicts get sick just as often and die of exactly the same diseases as we fools that just eat good old-fashioned food without worrying about it. There is not the slightest evidence that these people are one whit healthier than others. The great high priest and priestess of this cult both died of cancer just like many of the people of a normal diet. They do not live one bit longer.

As a matter of fact, I can say that from my own personal observations those people who merely eat normally always appear to be healthier, especially among old people. We once visited my wife's grandmother down in Kentucky. That morning before we arrived, she had been up on the roof of the house doing some repairs. She looked good and felt good. She was 84 years old and probably did not even know the meaning of the word nutrition. But almost every member of this wicked cult has an unhealthy, pasty look about them. And it appears to me that elderly people that get hooked by this cult become more decrepit and age faster than those that eat normally.

One final word on this subject. This is concerned with cost. Quite frankly, health foods and the so-called naturally grown foods and vitamins are expensive. Not only are they expensive in terms of money, but many times they are expensive in terms of the time necessary to prepare them. Can all of this concern about the life of the body be motivated by desires for heaven? Does not this health cult place an unholy emphasis on staying alive? What is the difference in the core of the matter between spending hundreds of dollars on jewelry to adorn and glorify the body and hundreds of dollars on foods and vitamins to glorify the body? This kind of concern puts the lie to any true Christian profession, since a true Christian is panting to leave this body and go to heaven.

I wonder in which health food store Jesus bought His natural foods and vitamins. I wonder in which health food store Paul made his purchases when he was in Corinth or Philippi or Rome. Do you suppose that Jesus owned a health food store while He was growing up in Nazareth? I have a feeling that His diet would be considered substandard today because the diets of bygone days were in fact below the standards of modern nutrition. This whole business of health foods and vitamins is nothing other than a modern form of idolatry, the idol being the person's own body.

I will conclude the chapter by saying a few words about dieting. This is a modern fad. At no time in history is it recorded that men and women dieted in order to obtain trimness. This is another form of self-idolatry that is the product of these last days. It stems from the lusts and sensual appetites of the flesh, especially among women who crave to be admired and desired.

I am not saying that there are no people that are dieting for other reasons. Obviously, when a doctor orders a person with high blood pressure to lose weight or a person with an ulcer to follow a strict diet, this is a legitimate reason for dieting. But, for every one person who is truly dieting for health reasons, there are literally thousands who are dieting to be attractive and alluring. And if it were not for the sex attraction of slimness, almost no one would ever diet.

In eating, the rule of God is moderation. Asceticism on the one hand and gluttony on the other have no place in the Christian religion. If a person eats in moderation, he will weigh his natural weight and have normal health. Every person has a weight that God has designed for him. It is not good to starve yourself in order to arrive at a weight that is far below your own natural weight. Some people are naturally heavy and others are naturally thin, just as some people are naturally tall and others are naturally short. It is the way that God has made us. To starve oneself to attain a thinness that is not normal is of the same spirit as the African women who stretch their necks and ear lobes and place large plates inside the lips to make them appear in an unnatural size.

The emphasis on thinness and making it the standard of beauty is a modern thing. In past ages beautiful women were a little more on the portly side. Perhaps that is because in those days men and women were less concerned about the lusts. Perhaps it was because the standard of dress was such that the body was not revealed to view as today. Whatever the reason, they just ate and where they landed that was where they lived.

There are few things more repugnant to the Christian mind than a professing woman dieting in order to obtain a more seductive figure. The desire to be seductive, and what other motive does one have when she diets for a trimmer figure, is as opposite to true spirituality as night is to day. No woman can give a godly reason for dieting in order to have a better figure, because there is none. One may as well try to justify fornication and adultery, seeing that they are in the same spirit.

I do not want any reader to think that I justify gluttony or over-indulgence in eating and drinking. A true Christian will flee from gluttony as from any other lust of the flesh. A true Christian will frequently practice fasting in order to keep his body under, as Paul said that he did. And when not fasting, he will always eat in moderation. One cannot imagine Jesus announcing to His disciples that he was going to have to go on a diet to lose some weight because He had been overeating. Nor can one imagine the blessed Mary, the mother of Jesus, going on some new diet that she just read about in a magazine so that she could have a more attractive figure. However, it is not very difficult to imagine Mary going on a fast and giving herself to prayer.

Prayer and fasting go together like pie and ice cream or coffee and a doughnut. The whole point in fasting is to arrive at a true spirit of prayer. The whole point in keeping the body under is the recognition that the spirit is often willing but the flesh is often weak. The flesh must be kept under and dominated or it will get atop and dominate us. The very desire to diet is an example of that power that the flesh can have over our minds if we are not careful. It stems from the fleshly, sensual nature and kills the spiritual part which alone can have communion with God.

Let us conclude the whole matter of health and diet in the Christian religion. The kingdom of God is not in food, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Freely eat all things because everything was given to us by God to be received with thanksgiving and prayer. And whether you eat or whether you drink, do all to the glory of God. Eat freely and in moderation and be content with the will of God, whether it be in health or sickness, whether it be in heaviness or thinness. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will give you whatever He sees best for you. This, after all, is the true Christian spirit.