British Israel Church of God

Q. Is the British-Israel Church of God ( a cult? I don’t see them acknowledging the Trinity in their statement of faith.

A. I believe they are a cult. Their statement of beliefs is in their website:
They also have a PDF ( rejecting the claim that they are a cult.

But they do not believe in the Trinity, claiming that the Holy Spirit is not a person, only the spiritual extension of God. Neither do they believe in the immortality of the soul, as they believe in annihilation of the wicked in the Lake of Fire, not eternal punishment in hell. Furthermore, they hung onto OT laws such as keeping the Sabbath and festivals as binding on all Christians.

These put them at odds with historic orthodox Christianity, whom they assert to be non-biblical. But who is right? Orthodoxy which had been attacked over the last two thousand years and stood the test, or a deviant group who claimed to have found the “truth” by twisting the Bible? Search the Scriptures for yourself.


Worship Attitude and Choosing a Church

Q. What is the attitude to go to Sunday service? How do I pick a church to attend?

A. Regarding our attitude in worship, the following is representative:

Wholly devoted, no half-hearted
1 Kings 8:61 Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”
Joyful and thankful
Ps 100:1-2, 4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. … Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
Not in vain by neglecting the commandment of God to hold on the tradition of men
In spirit and truth
Jn 4:23-24 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Glory in Christ only, not self
Php 3:3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
With faith
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
With gratitude, reverence and awe
Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Be humble
Jas 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (also 1 Pet 5:5)

To choose a church to attend or join, consider the following:
1) If you already have a home church but are thinking of leaving due to some disagreement or dissatisfaction, it is better to resolve your differences than to carry your grievances elsewhere. What’s wrong may be with you, or your church, or both. God does not want us to walk away from problems, but solve them. Only when you are sure the fault is not with you but with the church, and they are not willing to correct what’s wrong, should you consider switching to another one.

2) Assuming 1) is settled and you need to change, examine what do the churches you are considering believe. Do they hold to the fundamentals of the faith? e.g. the authority of Scripture; the deity of Christ; salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone; the trinity etc. How does their statement of faith compare to the historic creeds e.g. Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed. If their beliefs are not in line with the Bible and historic Christianity, find another one.

3) Assuming their beliefs are consistent with conservative evangelical Christianity, what do they do? It’s one thing to believe the right things, but is theirs a living faith or dead orthodoxy? Do they preach the gospel? Are they zealous in evangelism and making disciples? Are they mission-minded? Do they serve the community in outreach and social action?

4) Assuming their practice is right with good programs serving different groups, do they have the right attitude? Right beliefs and behavior is good, but some churches have a toxic environment as their attitude is wrong. Do they love brothers and sisters and their neighbors? Are they accepting of newcomers? Do they encourage their people to grow, to serve, to be World Christians, or are they narrowly focused on their worship, their fellowship, and their programs?

Those are a few things to consider. Take your time to pray and ask God to lead you. He will guide you to one that’s right for you and your family.

His Kingdom and His Righteousness

Q. I have the following questions:
1. Mt 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. What are His kingdom and His righteousness?
2. What is the meaning of “If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.”

A. The kingdom of God means His rule on earth, His domain or realm:
Lk 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (among you, inside you)
• Rom 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

In other words, it is God ruling in your heart. For the person who repents and believes in the gospel (Mk 1:15), God gives him Christ’s righteousness. He has peace with God (reconciliation) and joy in the Holy Spirit. His relationship with the triune God is restored and he becomes a subject of God’s kingdom.

His righteousness means God’s righteousness made available to us through faith in Christ:
Rom 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
• 1 Co 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
• Php 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

So, seeking His kingdom and righteousness should be the most important thing in anyone’s life, because without that you are lost and alienated from God.

“My way, My statutes and My commandments” appears twice in the Bible, both times God speaking to Solomon:
• The first was when Solomon became king and God appeared to him in a dream, in 1 Kings 3:14 If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.”
• The second was when Solomon turned from God, and God warned him in 1 Kings 11:38 Then it will be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.

The meaning is clear. God has His ways, statutes, and commandments (Deut 26:17, 30:16; 1 Kings 2:3, 8:58; 2 Kings 17:13). If we keep them, we will live and multiply, the LORD will bless us, and we will succeed in all that we do and wherever we turn. If we don’t, we will be chastised and disciplined.

The Key of David

Q. Is 22: 22 God talks about Eliakim as a replacement for Shebna. He said, “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
Jesus used the same words about the church in Philadelphia in Rev 3:7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.
What is the meaning and significance of those words? What is the key to the house of David?

A. The term “key of David” appears only in the two passages you cited in the Bible. First, let’s note Is 22:22’s preceding context:
Is 22:21 And I will clothe him with your tunic And tie your sash securely about him. I will entrust him with your authority, And he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

The tunic and sash were symbols of authority worn by priests (Ex 28:4, 39, 40; Lev 8:7, 13; Lev 16:4), so was the key on the shoulders, which represents governing power:
Is 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Eliakim was master of Hezekiah’s household, entrusted with the king’s authority, and a “father” to Judah. This is similar to Joseph:
Gen 45:8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Just as Joseph was second-in-command after Pharaoh, Eliakim had full authority after Hezekiah. In this sense he was a “type” of Christ.

Next, let’s note Rev 3:7’s subsequent context:
Rev 3:8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

John used Isaiah’s imagery to convey the idea that Jesus is the Son of David who holds final authority over his house. He is the one who will sit on David’s throne forever (Lk 1:32). The key of David can, but need not be, a literal physical key.

New Jerusalem II

Q. Rev 22 says 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Is it not true that all the sinners have gone to hell by that time? Why would they still be outside the city? If outside the city is hell, why would those who wash their robes go in and out of the city?

Also, 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. What will they be reigning? Will everyone be a king?

A. According to Rev 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire, all unbelievers would have been cast into hell by that time.

Let’s dissect v 14-15 to see what it means. First, “wash their robes” is in reference to:
Rev 7:14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Washing their robes white in the Lamb’s blood is figurative, not literal.

Second, “tree of life” appears first in Revelation in:
Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
The overcomers are those who persevere and are victorious. Eating of the tree of life means being granted eternal life. I believe it is more figurative than literal.

Third, “dogs” appears 8 times in the NT, here and in:
Mt 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
• Mt 15:26-27 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (See also Mk 7:27-28)
• Lk 16:21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
• Php 3:2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

Except in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, all 7 references are figurative of the unholy, the Gentiles, the evil workers, the false people of God, the sinners, not literal.

Therefore I believe “outside” does not mean physically outside the city, but figuratively, barred from entering. Rev 22:14 does not say go in and out of the city, only “enter by the gates into the city” (NASB). Nor does Rev 21.

Next, reign. Besides Rev 22:5, believers reigning is taught in:
2 Tim 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
• Rev 5:10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”
• Rev 20:4, 6 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

Rev 5:10 refers to the men and women purchased for God with the Lamb’s blood from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Rev 20:4, 6 refer to those who were martyred, those who had not worshipped the Antichrist and received his mark. They will reign with Christ during the Millennium.

There are degrees of reward. In Lk 19:13 a nobleman gave 10 of his slaves 10 minas to do business. When he returned, he called them to give an account:
Lk 19:16-19 The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ 18 The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

Each slave was given 1 mina, and the reward is proportional to the results. The one who earned more was put in authority over more. I do not know what the specific duties of being “in charge” involves, only that they will reign, some with higher rank. I don’t think everyone will be a king. Some will be barely saved:
1 Co 3:14-15 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

New Jerusalem I

Q. Rev 21 describes the New Jerusalem. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

This seems to imply that not everyone will live inside the city and that ranks (kings) and nations still exist in the new world. If there are gates, there must be people going in and out of the city. Maybe the new Jerusalem is not where all believers will be. Any views on this?

A. Although I favor literal interpretation in general, you need to know the OT background to interpret properly. Rev. 21:24-27 draws upon the imagery in several passages:
Is 60:3 “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
• Is 60:5 “Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.
• Is 60:11 “Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession.
• Is 52:1 Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no longer come into you.
• Joel 3:17 Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, and strangers will pass through it no more.

First, the nations and kings are those who obey God, not those in rebellion and were destroyed:
Rev 16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
• Rev 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

Second, the gates will not be shut, but open continually. But notice who can enter:
• Nothing impure.
• Not the shameful or deceitful i.e. sinners.
• Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life i.e. saved. Rev 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
• Not the uncircumcised and the unclean i.e. the unrepentant. Circumcision here refers to the heart, by the Spirit (Rom 2:29).
• Not strangers i.e. not those to whom the Lord declares, “I never knew you”.

The unsaved will be in the lake of fire. So taken together I believe “entering the city” is figurative of “being saved”, and does not mean living outside the city and physically entering it.