Letters From Our Readers: July/August 2017

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Letters From Our Readers

July/August 2017

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Letters From Our Readers: July/August 2017

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Feedback on most recent issue

Your article “How to Make the World Great Again ” explained the subject matter extremely well. I have enjoyed and been enlightened by it so much that I’m at a loss for words as to what to say exactly, except to just simply say “thank you.”

Reader in Zambia

In your article “How to Make the World Great Again” where you explain the Kingdom of God, you left out the location that Jesus stated it resides in Luke 17:20-21 Luke 17:20-21 20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
American King James Version×
: “… For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” I feel it is important to realize that “heaven” is not a locality but is a spiritual state of consciousness that Jesus was trying to teach us to attain. Do you agree?

From the Internet

Thank you for your comments. Many people believe Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of God is something that exists only in the hearts and minds of believers. They base this on Luke 17:20-21 Luke 17:20-21 20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
American King James Version×
, which says: “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.’”

Such assumptions are incorrect for several reasons. While the Greek word entos can mean “within,” as it’s often translated, a better translation in this context is “in the midst of” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Within”). Several translations, including the Revised Standard Version, English Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible and New English Bible, make this clear.

Jesus would not be telling the religious leaders who opposed Him that God’s Kingdom existed within their hearts or minds—after all, they wanted to destroy Him (Matthew 12:14 Matthew 12:14Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
American King James Version×
, Mark 3:6 Mark 3:6And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
American King James Version×
). Instead, in this passage Christ was pointing out the paradox that the Pharisees did not have the spiritual discernment to recognize that the message of the Kingdom of God was at hand or being offered to them (Matthew 23:13 Matthew 23:13But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.
American King James Version×
).

To punctuate this point, Jesus, referring to Himself, said, “The kingdom of God is among you” or “in your midst.” The spiritually blind Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the divine representative of that Kingdom. Rather than telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was something in their hearts, Jesus Christ warned them that their spiritual blindness prevented them from recognizing the personification of that Kingdom in Him.

The interpretation of this passage that the Kingdom of God resides in one’s heart is not biblically supportable. We invite you to request a copy of our Bible study aid The Gospel of the Kingdom to learn more about this important subject. Find it by searching online at ucg.org/booklets.

Compliments on biblical content

Beyond Today is an outstanding publication, which helps give me insight into the Holy Bible to an extent I could never attain on my own. It has immeasurably changed my outlook on life for the positive.

Reader in Wolverhampton, England

Thank you for your faith-based perspectives on life and the major dilemmas we face today in Beyond Today magazine. Your articles cause me to draw nearer to God, and have confirmed to me that there is a spiritual Body of Christ around the globe sharing the same spirit—God’s Holy Spirit. We are simply trying to be the five wise virgins who take along extra oil to make our lamp glow until we enter the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Subscriber in Indonesia

Thank you so much for your magazine and the articles within. It seems we are indeed in the last of the last days and God has chosen you to reveal His Word in regard to world affairs. May He bless you for your faithfulness. 

Subscriber in London

Encouragement in preaching the Word of God

I love the United Church of God and everything I’ve been learning from you. I am a different person now, and UCG has been the vessel that has been guiding me on my spiritual journey to be closer to God. I have yet to visit a congregation, but nonetheless consider myself a member of this church. My family and I watch the lessons taught on Beyond Today television every Saturday. We discuss the topic, how we feel about what we’ve learned, and the world today as it pertains to the Bible. I should thank God more often for this church because I couldn’t learn from a better source. Finally I found what I’ve been looking for. Thank you.

From the Internet

I want to encourage you in your proclamation of the most important message in the world—the gospel of God’s coming Kingdom! Since I live in Thailand, there is no UCG congregation near me, so the videos are vitally important to me. I am incredibly happy that I am growing in knowledge of God and Jesus Christ though your work.

I can tell that this is the true Church by the open, direct, helpful and powerful truths you regularly preach. Keep up this good work, as I know you will, and thank you so much to all of you working behind the scenes.

Viewer in Thailand

Looking for a congregation

I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I wish to inquire as to whether the United Church of God has any branches and/or church communities who meet regularly here in Kuala Lumpur. I am asking this as I am interested in keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day (Saturday) as directed by the Lord in the Ten Commandments. Your early reply will be appreciated.

From the Internet

Praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! I am excited to have discovered the website of United Church of God, and feel blessed with your teachings. I would like to know if you have a congregation in Uganda or in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From the Internet

We appreciate your interest in the United Church of God. We establish congregations wherever we have enough people committed to this way of life. As you know, a person only comes to understand the truth when God calls or draws him. Because of this fact, we cannot “grow” a congregation the way traditional Christian churches often seek to do. However, it’s entirely possible that there are others living near you who receive our materials and who share your convictions. We recommend that you contact our pastor who serves your region to discuss the possibility. You may also wish to arrange for him to meet with you when he is in your area. His contact information can be found at ucg.org/congregations. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can be of service from this office.

Delighted by infographic

I printed a copy of your biblical “Clean and Unclean Meats” infographic from your website. We are having it placed in plastic and framing it by the kitchen so our kids and grandkids can see why Grandma and Grandpa do not eat certain foods. Visual aids go a long way!

We are glad you found it useful! We have a small but growing collection of infographics on our website. Search “infographic ” at ucg.org to find more. Individuals are welcome to print off copies of them for personal use, and to share with your family and friends for non-commercial purposes.