There are a myriad of teachings or doctrines in the Holy Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. However, there are certain teachings that are vital to Christianity; many which have been called Fundamentals of the Faith and put into Creeds. The Bible says that “every matter is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses (2 Cor. 13:1; as from Deut. 17:6).” Every major, fundamental or principal doctrine (teaching) in the bible was taught by Jesus Christ and at least one prophet and apostle. After a brief introduction and comments on the Didache (Teachings of the Apostles), this article will reveal the most important teachings.
More than a hundred years ago, the newly established BIOLA (1908) university published The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth (1910-1915). It was originally a 12-volume set of 90 essays by 64 Protestants; including R. A. Torrey, Benjamin Warfield (Princeton) and G. Campbell Morgan. These essays spanned numerous topics; many to broad or outside the scope of the most important ‘elementary’ or ‘principal’ teachings of the Bible.
In the distance past (before Islam – faith of Muslims; Mohammedanism – began after 610 AD) the elders and bishops of the Christian Churches came together at Councils, such as at: Nicaea (Nicene Creed in 325), Constantinople (first in 381), and Ephesus to discuss serious religious matters. From these Councils came Creeds, various opinions, canons (rules) and edicts (decreed laws). Some of the most famous are the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed and the Canonization of the 27 books of the New Testament (Council of Hippo – 393; Carthage Council – 397; Chalcedon Council – 451). And today many Christian Denominations or churches will list their fundamental beliefs on their websites.
The Catholic Church put forth the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992); Lutherans had Martin Luther’s Catechism (1529), the Augsburg Confession (1530; by Luther and Melanchthon) and the Book of Concord (1580); the Swiss had Zwingli’s Sixty-seven Articles; the Anglicans (Church of England) had the Book of Common Prayer and …Sacraments (1549-1662) and its Thirty-nine Articles; the Scottish Reformed had Knox’s Scots Confession (1560) and the Book of Discipline (1561); the Presbyterians had the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647); the Baptist had the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), the Southern Baptist Convention has its ‘The Baptist Faith & Message (2000; adapted from 1925, adapted from 1689);’ the Methodists had Wesley’s Articles of Religion (1784); and today many post various statements of beliefs; such as the Assemblies of God Statement of 16 Fundamental Truths.
And the most important parts of these teachings are found in all of the accepted Creeds and statements of Truths and beliefs. Yet, denominations and people still argue and debate over serious topics such as baptism, the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) and requirements for Salvation. The purpose of this work is to reveal the most important teachings and offer support for them; after another brief section. The Bible or Holy Scriptures are the most important source; yet, it is useful to reference early church works that support or offer further explanations on certain topics, such as the Epistles of Clement of Alexandria (a disciple with the apostle Paul; mentioned in Philippians 4:3; two of his letters are in the appendix of the Codex Alexandrinus – one of the oldest surviving copies of the Bible); the Shephard of Hermes (in the appendix of the Codex Sinaiticus; one of three oldest copies of the Old and New Testament Bible); and the Didache.
(1611 King James Version; with Apocrypha in appendix)
The Didache (‘the Teaching’); also called ‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’
The Didache has been dated to about late first century and was included as an appendix in several ancient Bible Codices such as the Codex Hierosolymitanus (Jerusalem Codex; about 11th century). This Codex also has the Epistle of Barnabas and Epistles of Clement. The Didache is very important because it was written by ‘apostolic fathers,’ many who knew and learned from at least one of original 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. This work was mentioned by the renowned Christian historian Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (wrote Ecclesiastical History or Church History; ca. 324).
Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria (4th century), with the historian monk Rufinus, listed the Didache among the Apocrypha. However, the original 1611 King James Version included an appendix of Apocrypha; but by this time, only with those that appeared in the Septuagint (2nd century BC Greek version of Hebrew Old Testament), not the lost Book of Enoch (Jude 14), the Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18) or those written after the original apostles, such as the Didache.
The Didache gives instruction and teachings on topics such as baptism, fasting, prayer (including the ‘Our Father’), the Eucharist (‘thanksgiving;’ Lord’s Supper), and the second coming (return) of the Lord. It says in part:
“The Lord’s Teaching to the heathen by the Twelve Apostles: There are two ways, one of life and one of death… the way of life – ‘First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself…’ The second commandment of the Teaching. ‘Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not corrupt boys (homosexuality); do not fornicate; do not steal; do not practice magic… or sorcery; do not murder a child by abortion… Do not covet your neighbor’s property… do not bear false witness… Do not be greedy… or arrogant… flee from all wickedness… seek the company of saints (fellow believers)… do not hesitate to give… do not turn your back on the needy, but share everything with your brother and call nothing your own…
Do not neglect your responsibility to your son or your daughter, but from their youth you shall teach them to revere God… You must not forsake the Lord’s commandments… At the church meeting you must confess your sins…
But the way of death is this: …it is wicked and blasphemous: murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, sorceries, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, deceit, arrogance, malice, rebellion, greediness, filthy talk, jealousy, pride… Those who persecute good people, who hate truth… who are ignorant of the reward of uprightness, who do not abide by goodness or justice… but love vanity and look for profit, have no pity for the poor… or oppressed, ignore their Maker… may you be saved from all this!
See that no one leads you astray from this way of the teaching… Now about baptism… baptize in running water, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. If you do not have running water, baptize in some other… If you cannot then pour water on the head three times ‘in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.’ Before the baptism… the one being baptized must fast, and any others who can… for one or two days…
…You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. …You must not pray like the hypocrites, but pray as the Lord bid us in His gospel: ‘Our Father in heaven, holy be Your name; Your Kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven; Give us today our bread… and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but save us from the evil one; for Yours is the power and the glory forever.’ You should pray in this way three times a day.
Now about the Eucharist. This is how to give thanks: First in connection with the cup: ‘We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David, Your child, which You have revealed through Jesus… Then… ‘We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you have revealed through Jesus… as this piece (of bread) was scattered over the hills, and then brought together and made one, so let Your Church be brought together from the ends of the earth into Your Kingdom. For Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.’ You must not let anyone eat or drink of the Eucharist except those baptized in the Lord’s name…
After you have finished your meal, say grace in this way: ‘We thank You, holy Father… and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which You have revealed through Jesus… Almighty Master, You have created everything for the sake of Your name… You have given spiritual food and drink to enjoy… and eternal life through Jesus, Your son… Remember, Lord, Your Church, to save it from all evil and to make it perfect by Your love…”
And so the Teachings follow the examples written by Matthew and Paul, and of course Jesus Christ and other apostles. It has lines as from verses in Jude (Lord coming with His saints – ‘holy ones;’ here for angels; elsewhere can mean ‘holy ones’ being of His Church) or Paul’s admonishments to the Corinthians and Galatians concerning those that practice evil ways ‘shall not inherit the kingdom of Heaven (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21).’ The point is not to make the Didache sacred doctrine and only fast as it states or pray as it says; but to see that it teaches as did the apostles – simple messages, but principal doctrines and both on the way of eternal life and on the way of eternal shame.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TEACHINGS in the BIBLE
Before beginning, Jesus “opened the Scriptures (Luke 24:32)” for many to see; and He said, that “the words that I spoke… (and actions, were) that all things must be fulfilled which were written (prophesied) in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me (Luke 24:44).” Thus, Christ also said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17).” All the important teachings in the Bible both line up in agreement in the Old and New Testaments, and were spoken of and confirmed by Jesus Christ our Lord and the Holy Son of God, and by the apostles of Jesus.
NOW, in what we call the beginning of Hebrews chapter, 6 it says (from KJV, NIV, NASB): “Let us move beyond the principles (or elementary teachings about Christ or doctrine of Christ), let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from acts that lead to (spiritual) death, or repentance from dead works, and of faith in God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement (Heb. 6:1-2).”
The writer of Hebrews (many suggest someone near Paul such as Apollos or Barnabas wrote this) just before had said, “…God said to Christ, ‘You are my Son (Psalm 2:7)…’ Jesus …suffered and being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him… (Heb. 5:7-9);” by this time you ought to be teachers; yet you have need that someone teach you the elementary principles of the oracles (truths) of God, and you have come to need milk and not strong meat (deeper teachings; Heb. 5:12).”
Hebrews sets forth the four MOST IMPORTANT topics:
Faith in God (Maker/Creator; includes belief in His Holy Scriptures and His Son)
Eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Gospel, including Forgiveness of Sins)
Repentance from Sinful and Evil works that led to Eternal Separation from God
Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment (includes Heaven and Hell)
After these are several secondary, but VERY IMPORTANT topics:
Teachings On Baptisms (Cleanings, Water, Spirit, Body of Christ)
Laying on of Hands (Sending, Praying and Healing)
Prayer and Fasting
Worship and Fear of the Lord; see The FAITHFUL WORSHIPER of GOD
The Eucharist or Lord’s Supper (Communion; also related to Confession)
Types of Sins (Original, Trespasses, Sin and Iniquity)
see SIN: Trespasses, Sins and Iniquity
Creationism (History of the world, mankind and the Jews)
What is a human: Body, Spirit and Soul
The Commandments of God and Jesus Christ (includes Obedience)
Whole Armor of God (how to walk worthy and endure)
The Holy Spirit (teaching, convicting, guide, gifts, fruits, Sanctification, attributes)
The Church or Body of Christ (Communion of the Saints; positions, gifts, mission, duties)
Satan, the Antichrist and our enemy
The Great Tribulation and the Return of the Lord
Because the secondary Very Important subjects overlap or are associated directly or indirectly with the primarily four Most Important subjects they may be mentioned. However, it is the focus of this article to speak on those of primarily importance. Note also, that the Christian faith requires faith and belief, and actions connected with ALL of these Important subjects. For example, ‘faith in God’ alone is not enough for the Christian. As James says, “You believe God is one (referring to Deut. 6:4 and the Law of Moses); you do well. Yet, even the demons believe – and shudder (James 2:19)!” Thus, there is more required for all seeking God and the eternal kingdom.
FAITH in GOD
The Nicene Creed begins with “we believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, of all that is, seen and unseen…” Orthodox Jewish priest wore tefillin (phylacteries, leather boxes on head and one arm) with verses four sets of biblical verses from the Torah (Written Law, Pentateuch, Five Books of Moses: Gen., Exo., Lev., Num., Deut.). They did this in respect to the Law of Moses in Deut. 6:5-8. One of the verses was, ‘Hear (Shema) Israel… The Lord (HaShem; the Name) OUR GOD, The LORD is ONE. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might… these words …shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them to your children… (Deut. 6:4-7; compare Deut. 10:12-13).” The Ten Commandments say, “You shall have no other gods… (Exo. 20:3).”
It is interesting that the Protestant churches typically begin the First of the Ten Commandments with “Thou shall have no other gods before Me;” yet, the Jews begin with “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of slavery…” The Catholics say it is, “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.”
The writer of Hebrews says, “by FAITH we understand that the Universe was formed at God’s command… (11:3);” and then admonishes us saying, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (11:6).” Then the writer like many faithful in the Bible tells us of the History of many in the linage of Abraham and of their faith in God and actions done as a result of that faith. Noah ‘built an Ark;’ Abraham “obeyed and went…;’ Moses ‘kept the Passover…’ Thus, James says “Faith without works is dead (2:20).”
SO, ‘FAITH’ in who? Faith in God. THAT IS as in the Nicene Creed, belief that God, the Father, created the Universe. The apostle Paul wrote, “we give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… For by Him all things were created… (Col. 1:3-17).” For “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God… all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… (John 1:1-3).” Genesis tells (as Peter said, “by God’s word the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water” – 2 Peter 3:5) how God spoke the Universe into existence; but notes the Lord God saying, “Let Us make (Gen. 1:26);” revealing Jesus’ involvement.
SO, ‘FAITH in GOD’ involves belief that He is the One and only God; that He is the Father (by His Spirit) of Jesus Christ; that He, with Christ, created the Universe. And that we can only have salvation (eternal life in heaven) through Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But that is only a start in both learning who God is, and in receiving His spirit so that we can love and serve and walk worthy.
WHO IS GOD? “God is Spirit… (John 4:24);” yet, He can be seen, and He reigns from Heaven and in upon His Throne. He is “the Lord your God – God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes (Deut. 10:17).” In addition to reading the Scriptures, we can learn much about who God is by His names. In our article, NAMES of GOD & Why they are Important, you can find much more about God. For example, the Longest recorded Name of God:
‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation (Exo. 34:6-7).’
This reveals God is merciful and loving and “desires that none should perish.” He is truthful and just; and will judge mankind. It tells of sin and its relation to guilt; which relates to the need for both Christ Jesus and repentance.
If we read Isaiah and others, we learn from the Spirit of the Lord is Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord (Isa. 11:2). And we can study the importance of these things; even learning “the conclusion of the matter is to fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13).”
Now the writer of Hebrews also tells us God did not leave us to guess about these things. That “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in the past to the fathers (our ancestors; primarily the Jews here) by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, who He has appointed heir of all things, through who also He made the universe… (Heb. 1:1-2).” In the same manner the apostle Paul speaks of the “prophets in the Holy Scriptures (Rom. 1:2);” and of his ‘apostleship.’ Thus God has given us our history and His word in the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) through His prophets and apostles and more so – His Son.
Eternal Salvation through JESUS CHRIST
Nicene Creed: ‘We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being (Spirit – as in 1 John 5:7) with the Father; through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from Heaven, by the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate (embodied in flesh) from the Virgin Mary and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Now, one of – if not the – smartest of the apostles and prophets, the apostle Paul [of the tribe of Benjamin, who spoken Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; who was a Pharisee of the High Jewish Council; a former student of the renown Gamaliel who latter as a Christian was beaten and shipwrecked and suffer much persecution – later to his death (Acts 5:33-; Phil. 3:5; 2 Cor. 11:22-12:1-)] went on trial for preaching the Gospel. And most rational people accused or on trial and facing prison or death will offer their best defenses.
SO Paul being before a Jewish mob, testifies and says ‘brethren and fathers, hear my defense,’ and after showing that he was a Jew of the school of Gamaliel, following commands and the law, ‘zealous for God;’ even ‘persecuted this Way (people of the Way – Christians) to the death… and the Council of the elders can testify to this.’ Then Paul says, but I was on my way to “Damascus to bring those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. And it happened at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (Acts 22:1-6)
He continued, “And the men with me saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those with me, I came into Damascus. Then Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews there, came to me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ (Acts 22:7-13)
Soon after “I looked up at him and he said, ‘the God of our (Abraham; Jewish) fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One (Jesus Christ), and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard… Don’t wait… arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:14-16)
And Paul went back to Jerusalem and when he was praying in the temple, he fell into a trance and saw Christ saying, “’Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ And the Lord was with Paul and rescued him many times, but he suffered many things and later death for the sake of the Gospel.
But here on trial before governor Felix, Paul says, “…I went up to Jerusalem to worship God. And the Jews neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. But this I confess to you, that according the Way which they call a sect (Christians), so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God… that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust… Let them prove if they had evidence of any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the Council of Jews, unless it is for this one statement which I cried out… ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you… (Acts 24:11-21)’.”
And before being taken to Rome, Paul stood before King Agrippa in a pre-Trial and said, “My manner of life from my youth was spent among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. …I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers… to our twelve tribes… Why should it be thought incredible by you King Agrippa (also of Jewish descent) that God raises the dead? And I did many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth… in Jerusalem, and many (of His followers) …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… I persecuted them even to foreign cities… The one day as I journeyed to Damascus on orders from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun… I and those with me all fell to the ground… then I heard the Lord speaking to me in the Hebrew language… ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise… I will deliver you from the Jewish people… I will send you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me’ (Acts 26).”
And in this we see Paul’s primarily message – hope in God and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ and that as Job said, he would stand before the Lord after the resurrection of the dead. The resurrection of both the righteous/good/faithful and the unrighteous/unjust/wicked is spoken by all the apostles and most of the prophets and of course Jesus.
Paul and the apostles of Christ taught/teach that salvation in “by grace (God – Exo. 34:6) you are saved through faith (Eph. 2:8).” Faith in what: in God, His Scriptures and in “the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew and the Greek (barbarian, non-Jew). For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘the just (righteous) shall live by faith (Rom. 1:16-17; Paul quoting the prophet Habakkuk – 2:4).”
As John and Peter said, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him… shall have eternal life… (John 3:16).” “ (2 Peter 3:9) The Lord …desires that no one would perish, but that everyone would come to repentance” (and believe in the Gospel of Jesus: that He came and died for our sins and rose again and is in heaven and shall return with Judgment). And all the apostles taught that “there is salvation in no other name than Jesus; for there is on God, and one mediator between God and men – Christ Jesus (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5).”
Repentance from Sinful and Evil works that led to Eternal Separation from God
It is true we are “justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law (Rom. 11:6);” and it is “not by our works of goodness …but according to His mercy that He saved us (Titus 3:5).” Nevertheless, we will be “judged by our works (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:6, 14:12; Eccl 12:14; Rev. 20:12),” and if anyone does not repent, but “willfully and deliberately keeps on sinning after having received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left (for that one), but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God (Heb. 10:26-27).”
Remember how the Didache spoke of two ways, and of the actions that should be avoided. It follows Christ’s words, “…Wide is the way that leads to destruction, and many go in by it; because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false teachers and prophets… (Matt. 7:13-15).” And see how Jesus began His ministry, “Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘REPENT, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 4:17)’.”
We cannot save ourselves; we need a savior! However, we have freewill and can choose to disobey the commands of God and walk in a different and rebellion way. Giving God no worship and caring not for His commands, or His Holy word, or reject our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, sinful actions are so serious that Paul wrote in two different letters, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards… will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed and sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).” “The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred… envy, murders, drunkenness… and the like; of which I have told you… those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).”
And John says in Revelation, concerning the New Jerusalem from heaven, “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27; Jesus is also called the Lamb of GOD).”
Ezekiel 18 speaks to the way of life and choices. “The soul who (continues in) sins shall die… If the wick person turns from all their sins… and keeps the commands of God, and does what is lawful and right (see Gen. 4:7), they shall live (eternal with God)… But when a righteous person turns away from what is right and commits iniquity… all the righteousness they did shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which they are guilty and the sin… they shall die (eternal shame and separation from God).
The Shepherd of Hermas (whose letter was in an appendix of several early bible codices) wrote, “
“FIRST Of all, believe that there is one God who created and finished all things, and made all things out of nothing. He alone is able to contain the whole, but Himself cannot be contained. Have faith therefore in Him, and fear Him; and fearing Him, exercise self-control. Keep these commands, and you will cast away from you all wickedness, and put on the strength of righteousness, and live to God, if you keep this commandment.
“Restrain yourself in regard to evil, and do it not; but exercise no restraint in regard to good, but do it. For if you exercise restraint in the doing of good, you will commit a great sin; but if you exercise restraint, so as not to do that which is evil, you are practising great righteousness. Restrain yourself, therefore, from all iniquity, and do that which is good.” “What, sir,” say I, “are the evil deeds from which we must restrain ourselves?” “Hear,” says he: “from adultery and fornication, from unlawful revelling, from wicked luxury, from indulgence in many kinds of food and the extravagance of riches, and from boastfulness, and haughtiness, and insolence, and lies, and backbiting, and hypocrisy, from the remembrance of wrong, and from all slander. These are the deeds that are most wicked in the life of men. From all these deeds, therefore, the servant of God must restrain himself. For he who does not restrain himself from these, cannot live to God. Listen, then, to the deeds that accompany these.” “Are there, sir,” said I, “any other evil deeds?”
“There are,” says he; “and many of them, too, from which the servant of God must restrain himself–theft, lying, robbery, false witness, overreaching, wicked lust, deceit, vainglory, boastfulness, and all other vices like to these.” “Do you not think that these are really wicked?””Exceedingly wicked in the servants of God. From all of these the servant of God must restrain himself. Restrain yourself, then, from all these, that you may live to God, and you will be enrolled amongst those who restrain themselves in regard to these matters.”
Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment
Nicene Creed: “…I look for the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.”
Clement of Rome wrote (his Letter to the Corinthians was in the appendix of several early Bible codices), “Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those who have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith… Job says, ‘you shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things.’ …Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments.”
Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand on the earth at the Last Day. And though after my skin is destroyed by worms, yet in my flesh I shall see God (19:25-26).” Our article What is the Resurrection of the Dead? speaks on Resurrection of the Dead and gives several verses.
Nevertheless, concern the ‘end of time or this age (Matt. 24:3)’ and ‘the last day:’ it is written that, the “gospel of the kingdom (Jesus) shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14).” After “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, is set up in the holy Temple… there will be great tribulation, such as never has been since the beginning of the world, nor will ever be again… If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ Do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and deceive… Yet, as the lightning comes from the east… so will the coming of the Son of Man be… IMMEDIATELY after the TRIBULATION, the sun will be darkened… and the powers of the heavens shaken. THEN the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and THEN ALL the people and tribes of the earth will mourn as they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect (the church, children of God, holy/righteous)…” (Matthew 24).
And so Paul says, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him… be not troubled by spirit or by word or by letter… Let no one deceive you… for THAT DAY will not come unless the falling away (apostasy from the Church) comes first AND the man of sin (Antichrist) is revealed… who exalts himself… so that he sits as God in the Temple of God. …And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan (devil), will power and signs and lying wonders… and unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved… (2 Thessalonians 2).”
THEN, “when the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) comes in His glory with all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne and before Him will be gathered all the nations… He will separate people one from another… (Matt. 25:31).” To those on His right, He will welcome into His glorious eternal kingdom; and to the ones on the left, He will say, ‘depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels… to eternal punishment (Matt. 25:33-46).’
On “THE DAY of JUDGMENT everyone will give an account” for there self (Matt. 12:36; 1 Cor. 4:5). For “just as it is appointed for man to die once, after that comes judgment (Heb. 9:27).” “On THAT DAY God judges the secrets (see Eccl 12:14) of men by Christ Jesus (Rom. 2:16).”
Some Christians speak of two thrones of judgment, but the Bible only speaks of one great day, THAT DAY, when on THE DAY of JUDGMENT the “Ancient of Days will take His seat… and millions times millions will stand before Him… and the books will be opened (Dan. 7:9-10).” The accounts of all and the Book of Life and the dead great and small, good and evil, will be judged by what is written and according to what they had done (Rev. 20:12; Dan. 12:1-3; John 5:29).