Letters From Our Readers: May/June 2017

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Letters From Our Readers

May/June 2017

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Letters From Our Readers: May/June 2017

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March-April Beyond Today feedback

Just to add my opinion on the subject of articles about political topics in the letters section of the last issue: I like and appreciate those types of articles! They are always the first ones that I read when I receive a new issue. It doesn’t matter if we like or don’t like politics, they are always intertwined with our daily life.

Subscriber in Ontario

In the article “God’s Blueprint of Salvation Revealed,” published in the last issue, you quote the statement: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The scriptural references you cite for this quotation are Matthew 20:16 Matthew 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
American King James Version×
and John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
. The only mainstream translation that makes that statement in Matthew 20:16 Matthew 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
American King James Version×
is the King James Version, and it is wrong. And in John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
, that statement is not made. The only legitimate reference for that statement would be Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
American King James Version×
, and is the only one in the NT.

From the Internet

Thank you for your comments and question. In Matthew 20:16 Matthew 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
American King James Version×
, the New King James Version states, “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Some other translations, such as the New International Version, do not include the last sentence. These follow an academic reconstructed text based on certain ancient manuscripts. The majority of ancient New Testament manuscripts do contain the sentence. This is one of the minor differences in ancient copies of the New Testament.

Since Jesus also made the same statement in Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
American King James Version×
, with no manuscript differences here, we can be confident it was part of His teaching. What He was saying was that God calls many people, but not everyone responds. That should be evident by the condition of many in the world today—they profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, have a Bible in their homes, and may even read it occasionally. However, they do not follow God’s instructions for how to live.

Only a relatively few people are willing to obey God according to Scripture. Many are called, but to be chosen by God, they have to show willingness to live a life of obedience to Him and submission to His will. Jesus said as much by telling a rich young ruler, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17 Matthew 19:17And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
American King James Version×
). God’s gift of salvation is free—but we are expected to live a life worthy of that gift.

In the other scripture reference, John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This shows that it is God the Father who calls or “draws” us to Jesus Christ—no one is capable of coming to Christ unless the Father actively calls him or her. He then allows each person to decide whether to follow Christ—which means a willingness to obey God’s laws. If people decide not to obey Him, then they are among the many who are called but not chosen. If they decide to obey Him, then God chooses them, and if they remain faithful, Christ will “raise them up” when He returns (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
American King James Version×
).

Read the Questions & Answers section in this issue and search “How do people truly know if God is calling them? ” at UCG.org for more on this topic. We hope this has been a helpful explanation.

Happy to help the work of Beyond Today

As a regular donor to your work, I hope and pray that God continues His blessings on everyone who is preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom. I appreciate your magazine and all the study aids that I have received. They give joy, hope and nourishment to my soul. Thank you for your prayers, and may God richly bless each and every one of you for preparing the people of God.

Reader in Ontario

Expressing gratitude for Beyond Today TV

Your Beyond Today TV program “Dabbling With Demons” was absolutely outstanding in presentation quality and content. I had somehow missed it when it originally aired, but saw it today and am deeply grateful for the message. It is very timely with suicide by young adults and teenagers on a horrifying rise. The fact that your presenters are also pastors with years of experience adds to the quality as well. Please convey my gratitude and best wishes to Gary Petty for this program, as well as to the other presenters.

From the Internet

Thanks from around the world

I have just received my copy of the January-February issue of Beyond Today. I find the many topics very interesting and appreciate the amount of research that was put into writing them.

Subscriber in Guyana

I would like to express my gratitude. I received my second issue of Beyond Today, and the magazine is very educational, inspiring and spiritually uplifting. I have to reread most of the articles in order to get the points, but it is a real gift and blessing for me. God bless you!

Subscriber in Uganda

Seeking to keep the Sabbath and God’s other festivals

Who can I contact about joining and becoming a member of a United Church of God congregation in my area? After attending many churches in my 62 years, God has shown me that the Sabbath day is most definitely Saturday, and the majority of the world is in denial. When I read over the Ten Commandments—and especially number four—it makes me wonder why almost all the world refuses to follow it. Thank you and may God bless us all.

From the Internet

I would like more information on how to celebrate the biblical feast days. I just don’t know what to do on these days, but the Holy Spirit has placed it on my heart to start to incorporate this into my life. I live in the Los Angeles area and would also like to attend a feast-keeping church in my area.

From the Internet

Great news—there is a United Church of God congregation in your area! We keep God’s feasts and would gladly welcome you to come visit. You can find the location of the closest congregation at ucg.org/congregations.

Keeping God’s festivals is one of the most inspiring things you can do as a Christian. God has imbedded His step-by-step plan of salvation for all humankind into their meaning—a metaphorical road map that reveals how He will offer all mankind the gift of eternal life. Search “How do Christians observe the biblical festivals?” on ucg.org to learn more. Interested readers may wish to download or request our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.