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In Peter's first epistle to the Church of God, he encouraged the brethren to live the same way of God's love, that he was taught by Jesus Christ. "For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - that as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God. Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king" (1 Peter 2:15-17).
Mr. Armstrong welcomes King Leopold to Ambassador College in America and
Prince Charles welcomes Mr. Armstrong in England
Those of the world who are not free from Satan's deception, will resent God's love, which comes from The Church of God, which is free from Satan's world of deception. "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:12-13).
All the faithful servants of God know they are free in the Lord, and rejoice, not using their freedom as a cloak for vice, even if they have to suffer, for living the way of God's love. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).
Why did Jesus Christ say, "So they persecuted the prophets who were before you"? What is His teaching? This teaching of Jesus Christ is clear. He is revealing, it is a blessing when those who are not free, exclude those who are free. "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake" (Luke 6:22).
Think on what Jesus Christ said! And consider this question. Who then, or what is, the main influencing force working behind the scenes that is actually causing humanity to accuse those who truly serve God? "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down" (Revelation 12:10).
How many truly believe that Satan the devil is the accuser and the destroyer? The Bible reveals Satan as the destroyer. "And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon" (Revelation 9:11). These two names for the devil simply mean: destruction and destroyer.
Only God's little flock knows and understands that Satan is their accuser. "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Jesus Christ encouraged His Church not to fear even though Satan does ask for servants of God. "And the Lord said, Simon. Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:31-32). Notice Jesus Christ encouraged Peter, that He had prayed for Peter's faith not to fail, and for him to strengthen the brethren - which is The Church of God.
In the short record of humanity's history, only a limited number of faithful servants of God have fully realized how Satan operates through his many systems of evil, to slander and accuse the one true Church of God. God's Church is always aware of the wiles of Satan. Although deceived human beings are influenced and used in the devil's scheming systems of evil, the true servants of God do realize they are dealing with the wiles of Satan's evil forces. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).
Paul's name was Saul before God called him. Saul, while living his life as a Pharisee, he did not know the wicked deception of Satan's evil forces working to stir him to persecute God's true way of life. "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women" (Acts 22:4).
Saul literally despised God's way of life. He declared war against The Church of God. "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison" (Acts 8:3).
Again let it be stated, before God called Paul, he did not know he was deceived; and through his deception, he received a prejudiced attitude towards other religions, but he had an exceptional religious bias of hatred towards those of God's true Church. And through his religious bias, he was very zealous in serving Satan, even though he thought he was serving God. "Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities" (Acts 26:9-11).
In Paul's epistle to the Church of God at Galatia, he warned them not to turn back to the yoke of bondage that would come on them again, if they served a false gospel. Also, he had to remind them of God's true gospel and how, in the true gospel, he was set free from the yoke of Judaism. "For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers" (Galatians 1:13-14).
There are so many in religion today with a biased attitude, just like Paul, who have been wrongly taught from their youth, the Holy Scriptures. "My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers" (Acts 26;4-6).
Now fully realizing it was through his exceptional religious bias, Paul became a very arrogant and violent man, before God called him out of his religious evil into the pure ministry of Jesus Christ "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formally a blasphemer, a persecutor, an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (1 Timothy 1:12-15).