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Even today, there will be people who will react to the real Jesus Christ in the same manner as Paul did. Why? The reason being, is that the natural mind of man reads the scriptures, without knowing Satan is influencing their mind with a religious bias. Not until God opens the mind to see Satan's deception, can the natural mind of man begin to start comprehending the scriptures spiritually.
So why did God call Paul out of his way in religion and place His Holy Spirit in him? Understand God did this for a great purpose! The great purpose, was for the teaching of humanity, that people can be letter right in the law of their way in religion, but in the spirit of the letter of the law, their way in religion is wrong. Paul was letter right with the law before God, but in the spirit, he was wrong in the law before God. So Paul's life therefore, would become a pattern for those who are going to believe. "However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Timothy 1:16).
Think about it! Jesus Christ lived thirty three and a half years on this earth and only a hundred and twenty accepted the message He preached - the coming of the literal Kingdom of God. "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said," (Acts 1:15).
Understand this! The term disciples simply means: students being prepared for an office of rulership. Those students who qualify, will have rulership with Christ in the literal Kingdom of God. How do the disciples qualify? "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death" (Revelation 12:11).
Those disciples who overcome Satan by the blood of Jesus Christ, by the word of Holy Scripture, and by the giving up of their own life to do the will of God, will qualify to rule on the earth with Christ in the World Tomorrow. "And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).
Out of all human beings who have lived and those who are living today, there will only be 144,000 disciples who will qualify for the first resurrection. These disciples will qualify because they repented of self-reliance, and believed the true gospel. They have learned that it is the true worshippers, who worship God in spirit and in truth, who qualify for rulership in the Kingdom of God. "Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all? Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.
And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. So the scribe said to Him, Well said, Teacher, You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbour as oneself, is more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. So that when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, You are not far from the Kingdom of God. And after that no one dared question Him" (Mark 12:28-34).
Notice what Jesus Christ said to this scribe! He said that this scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God. What did Jesus Christ mean by this statement? Christ is telling this scribe that he was able to discern the letter of God's law, but he was not able to discern Jesus Christ as the spiritual fulfillment of God's law. In other words, the scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God, because Jesus Christ stood before him as the spiritual representative of the Kingdom of God. Likewise it is the same today, there are many modern-day scribes (who at one time supported Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong), who can discern the letter of the law, but they do not discern the spirit of the law.
First, this is vitally important to grasp! There will be only 144,000 firstfruits in the first resurrection. But Bible prophecy reveals, in the future, there will be another 144,000 from the literal tribes of Israel, along with the great multitude from every nation, who will repent and be willing to accept with sure living faith, this one thing that the Holy Bible makes absolutely clear - that the Light of Truth did dwell on this earth.
"While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? They said to Him, The Son of David. He said to them, How then does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool? If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his Son? And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore" (Matthew 22:41-46).
Mr. Armstrong made 170 telecasts after the age of 85 years till he died in 1986.
Addressing Plain Truth readers in Bangkok, Thailand
Realize this! The ordinary people gladly heard the words of life through Jesus Christ. But the self-righteous scribes resisted Christ's words. They would confuse the ordinary people by perverting what Christ said. Therefore, Jesus clearly said these false religious leaders will receive greater condemnation. "Therefore David himself calls Him Lord, How is He then his Son? And the common people heard Him gladly. Then He said to them in His teachings, Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the market places, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation" (Mark 12:37-40).
As it was in Christ's day, there are many modern-day self-righteous religious leaders who have the same evil attitude towards God's truth today. "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered. And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him"(Luke 11:52-54).
Consider this! Self-righteous scribes hated the plain truth message of Jesus Christ. Today, these modern-day religious leaders still cast their evil eye towards God's Church. They hold stubbornly to their teachings and strongly reject the true light of God's truth. "Have you not read this Scripture: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? And they sought to lay hold of Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away" (Mark 12:10-12).