Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reader Email - Hymn book and the Deity of Christ

I received an email from a reader and I would like to make some of my response available on the blog.  For the sake of privacy, the email and the name of the person will be left out.

Reader Question 1: My guess is that a JW is allowed to cut off dialog and not answer questions and walk away if the questions can’t be answered.  So is that what’s happening with me with JWs I've met, that is, my guess is correct that they can wipe the dust off their feet and walk away?

Answer 1:  If a Witness feels threatened, or if they perceive that you are out to convert them, they will leave.  They say they are looking for "Sheep" which means to them, people who are not going to argue back and people who are not going threaten them. They are going to try to find people who are submissive.  They are the teachers. You are the person who needs to be taught.  If you try to change that, they'll take their leave of you. 


Reader Question 2: I have read on the Internet that there is a hymn in a JW hymnal that has worship to Christ in it – here’s what the source quote on this:

Theocracy's Increase

Hail the Theocracy, ever increasing!
Wondrous expansion is now taking place.
Praise to Jehovah is sung without ceasing
By those who walk in the light of his face.
Long years ago saw the humble beginning
As our Redeemer a lowly way trod.
Now a great crowd join the remnant in bringing
Praises to him at the right hand of God.

So my second question is finding out if this is true.

Answer 2: That song is not one I am familiar with.  The Watchtower has changed their hymnal a few times.  They did so again recently.  So the hymnal that I grew up with is no longer used.  So I am not sure if this is a hymn in current use.  It may reflect on old hymn, and judging from the words I think it is.  I think the Society has taken great care in recent editions of the hymnal to write any reference to praise or worshiping Jesus out.  They've replaced him with the Organization itself, the Society. 

Reader Question 3: Finally my third question is are there any hymns in a JW hymnal (I think they call it Kingdom Songs) that are borrowed from evangelical hymnals?  Or another way of asking do they use any hymns that an Evangelical would use?  Also if I were to find a JW hymnal to purchase do you have suggestions of where to find (ebay maybe) and what’s the title of it?

Answer 3:  No, there are no songs that an evangelical would be familiar with or that you would find in any Evangelical, Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox hymnals.  They are all unique to the Witnesses.  This hasn't always been the case.  Back in their early days they used many of the more famous hymns.  I once had a recording of the Bethel Choir singing Holy Holy Holy.  They reworked the lyrics though. Instead of "God in three persons blessed Trinity" it was "Glory in the Highest, blessed majesty."  Sneaky.  But they stopped using those also.  They want to distance themselves from anything that would remind anyone of "Christendom".  Also, as I mentioned, they've changed hymnals since I left so I am not sure of the name of the new one.  The one I grew up with was "Sing Praises to Jehovah".  The easiest way to get one is to ask a Witness to bring you one. The other way is the check the Book department of your local Thrift stores.  Sometimes they have Watchtower books in the religion section. And, ebay, kijiji and craigslist are also good places to look. Also, get your hands on "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation".  It is produced by the Watchtower and has the Greek and NWT side by side and it is great for comparison to show how bad the NWT is.

Some additional thoughts:

You mentioned in your email about discussing the Deity of Christ.  You went to John 20:28 as a proof text.  I just had some thoughts I have on that:

Sometimes it is more productive to beat your head against a brick wall then to talk to a Jehovah's Witness about the Deity of Christ.  Proof-texting won't work.  They are prepared for most of the major proof texts like John 1:1 and John 20:28.  Their book "Reasoning from the Scriptures" has responses to each of the standard texts you'd use.  So one has to either know how they are going to respond and know the counter argument, or you'll have to think outside the box.  The "Reasoning Book" is the JW Brain.  If you approach a subject in a way that the Reasoning Book doesn't address, you'll save yourself much headache.

That said, you can't just proof-text a few verses. I am against citing a single verse. Greg Koukl has a handy phrase, "Never quote a Bible Verse". Why? Because citing a solitary verse removes it from it's immediate context.  So site large sections of Scripture.

In regards to the Deity of Christ and the Trinity, I'd suggest building your case block by block.  The place where you want to start is Monotheism - there is only one God in existence. For this, you may want to turn your focus on Isaiah 40 through 48. As you read large sections of these chapters with them, emphasize these verses: Isaiah 40:25-28; 41:4; 42:5-8; 43:10-11; 44:6-8, 24; 45:5-7, 14, 20-23; 46:8-10.  Emphasize Monotheism: There is only one God.  The argument against the idols and idolatry in this section is essentially "Don't worship idols because I am the only God that exists".  Emphasize the constant "I am he" phrase that God uses.  Now go to John chapter 8.  Emphasize every time Jesus says "I am he". Go to John 1:3 to show that Jesus created everything that was created.  And tie in Isaiah 45:20-23 with Philippians 2:5-11. Other passages or ways you can add on to this is the fact that in Romans 10 Jesus is refereed to as Jehovah. Another passage is to look at Isaiah 6 and compare with how John quotes that text and applies it to Jesus in the last half of Chapter 12 of his Gospel.

You're line of argument should be like this:  If there is only One God. All other gods are false gods.  You're either the true God, or a false god.  There are no other Gods.  Jehovah alone is God. No one else. So in the New Testament, Jesus is clearly called God.  Is he a true God or a false God? Even if Jesus is "a god" or "mighty god", he must still be the same God as the Father because there is only ONE God.

Also, remember, the Witnesses and the Watchtower don't understand the Trinity.  They'll constantly mistake what you believe as "Modalism" or "Oneness". They'll say things like, "Jesus and the Father are different persons", and "Jesus wasn't praying to himself". To which we respond sarcastically, as a teenager might, "Well duh!" Of course Jesus isn't the Father and of course he wasn't praying to himself.


Those are just some thoughts. Hope they help!
Matt

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Of God's and Men

This coming Friday I'm having a sit down with some Mormon missionaries.

I've decided to focus my critique on their doctrine of God. Specifically, I had in mind the following quote from the King Follett discourse delivered by Joseph Smith. (http://jon.swelter.net/king_follett_discourse.html)

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, -- I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form -- like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.

In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see."

Here there is also that little catch-phrase:
"As man is, God once was;and as God is, man may become."

However, I will bring Isaiah chapters 40-48 to bear on this teaching. Here are a list of verses that teach the exact opposite, that there is only one God. There are no other gods. He alone is God from all eternity. He created everything Ex-Nihilo, out of nothing, simply by the power of his Word.

To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God"?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable. - Isaiah 40:25-28 ESV

Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the LORD, the first,
and with the last; I am he.- Isaiah 41:4 ESV

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
"I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,

to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols. - Isaiah 42:5-8

"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD,
"and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior. - Isaiah 43:10-11 ESV

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
"I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any."- Isaiah 44:6-8 ESV

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
"I am the LORD, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself. - Isaiah 44:24 ESV

I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things. - Isaiah 45:5-7 ESV

They will plead with you, saying:
'Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
no god besides him.'" - Isaiah 45:14 ESV

For thus says the LORD,who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
"I am the LORD, and there is no other - Isaiah 45:18 ESV


"Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.

"Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
'To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.' - Isaiah 45:20-23 (Compare with Philipians 3)

Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, 'My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,' - Isaiah 46:8-10 ESV
I think the words recorded here are sufficient enough to establish a view of God that is incompatible with the statements of Joseph Smith.

It should be noted that much of the language here is used of Christ.  Notice the frequent "I am he" in Isaiah 40 through 48.  Jesus uses this language of himself in John chapter 8. "Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins".  John 1:3 says that Christ made everything, "and without him was not anything made that was made".  Colossians 1:16 says that by him, Jesus, everything was created. Hebrews 1:3 says that the whole universe is upheld by Christ. 

Compare these passages above with the testimony of the New Testament about the person and nature of Christ and you will be forced by consitency to confess the Holy Trinity in it's undivided Unity.

Here is an extensive interview on Mormonism with Dr.  James White on the Way of the Master show:

Part 1 -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i29nHMGOdA
Part 2 -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-YkuZSvN4g
Part 3 -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQxvWLMfdoM

Matt

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Faith in what...?

Where, or to whom, should our faith be directed?

Anyone who has casually read the Bible or knows anything about Christianity knows the very clear answer to this question.

The first of the Ten Commandments reads thus:

"I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands." - Exodus 20:2-6 HCSB

Luther comments on this passage: "What does this mean? That we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things."

When it comes to man-made Organizations, should we put our faith and trust in them?

Listen to the Watchtower's answer:

“If one renders obedient service to someone or some organization, whether willingly or under compulsion, looking up to such as possessing a position of superior rulership and great authority, then that one can Scripturally be said to be a worshiper.” (WT, 9/1/61, p 525)

“Then note what happened to these idolatrous worshipers of a man-made organization.” (WT, 12/1/71, p 723)

“where should your faith be placed - in a religious organization or in God?” (WT, 1/15/70 p 37).

“We cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry - be it worshipful gestures toward an image or symbol or the imputing of salvation to a person or an organization.” (WT, 11/1/90, p 26)

Notice, in these quotes they agree with Holy Scripture. It is idolatry to place our faith in, or look to salvation from, a human Organization.

With that in mind, look at these shocking quotes:

The cover of the March 1, 1979 Watchtower boldly proclaims, “Put Faith in a Victorious Organization!” The accompanying article repeatedly drives home the theme of having faith in the organization:

“Faith in Jehovah’s theocratic organization... Did the remnant of spiritual Israelites and their theocratic companions, the ‘great crowd’ of Christ’s ‘other sheep,’ have such victorious faith? Yes!... Witnesses have kept their faith in Jehovah’s organization.” (p 18)

The article poses the question, “Is there any cause for us to lose faith in Jehovah’s visible organization...?” The answer is given, “Absolutely Not!... Our unwavering faith will be rewarded with victory and the crown of life.”

The same was stated in the Nov. 15, 1981 WT, p 21, where it says, “come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation”.

Worshiping the Organization, putting faith in the Organization, or imputing salvation to the Organization, is idolatry. Here is a classic example of how the Watchtower will speak out of both sides of their mouth. This is another reason why the Watchtower Society is dangerous and deceptive. One minute they'll agree with you, the next they'll deny what they just said. Besides contradicting themselves, they also deny Holy Scripture which says, "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12 ESV

Often when one threatens to leave the Watchtower Society, they ask, "Where will you go? What church or organization is as pure and good as we are." It's not a matter of where, it about to whom shall we go. "So Jesus said to the Twelve, 'Do you want to go away as well?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.'" - John 6:67-69 ESV

Let us fear, love, and trust in God above all things and look only to his Eternal Son for our salvation! "And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." - 1 John 5:11-13 ESV

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Christ's Sacrifice isn't enough," says WT.

Christians love to hear the message that their sins are forgiven by Christ. It's our oxygen. We breathe it in. It is the fuel that powers Christian living. To know that all of my sins, past, present, and future, have been forgiven because of Christ's death in my place gives tremendous comfort to broken reeds and smoldering wicks.

The Watchtower's "gospel" does not bring comfort. In fact, it crushes. It leads to despair or pride those who swallow it. I was one of those who did swallow it for twenty years, and I have not got away unscathed. The Watchtower gospel is not good news, it's really bad news. The Gospel ends up being something you have to do.

Notice, the June 1, 1995 Watchtower, p 30, says, “Certainly we do not expect that in the present system Jesus would apply to us the full merit of his sacrifice. Even if he did, we would still not have everlasting life.”

Notice here that everlasting life is not at all dependent on the death of Christ in your place for your sins. How do these two sentences even logically follow? If Jesus death is applied to us and we don't have eternal life, then what in the world does it do?

The article continues to talk about the account with the paralyzed man to whom Jesus said, "your sins are forgiven you" (Luke 5), the article states, "What Jesus said did not mean that the man got eternal life on the spot. But the man was blessed with a degree of forgiveness.”. This is just silly. What good does a degree of forgiveness do? If Jesus only gives a degree of forgiveness, then there is still a degree that isn't forgiven. If there still is a degree of sins that remain unforgiven then God the just judge will have to execute justice upon them. A scary thought that! Also Jesus didn't say to the man, “some of your sins are forgiven you”, and he didn’t say, “some day your sins will be forgiven you.” He said, “Your sins are forgiven you.”

The article also teaches that:
1. Jesus does not apply to us the full merit of his sacrifice in the present system
2. Just a degree of our sins are forgiven in the present system
3. We do not get eternal life in the present system

Holy Scripture firmly says otherwise.

All of our sins are forgiven us through Christ.

1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Acts 13:38-39 ".. through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses.”

The basis for this forgiveness is the death of Christ.

Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace”

1 Peter 2:24 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."

Eternal life and forgiveness of sins is a present reality for all those who have turned to Christ in repentance and faith.

1 John 5:11-13. “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life...”

John 6:47 “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

I hope this is sufficient to demonstrate that the Watchtower is not teaching the Good News as Holy Scripture reveals it. They teach a legalistic righteousness that is based upon my performance. The death of Christ for them is just there to give you the opportunity to earn forgiveness and salvation by your deeds. That is not the Gospel.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Salvation is not "Quid Pro Quo".

In the April 15, 1999 Watchtower, the article entitled "The Only Way to Everlasting Life" asks, "What is the only way to everlasting life?"  What's their response? How would you respond? The article provides a quotation from Romans 6:23, “The gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord”.  A good answer right?  You may have answered the same way.  Don't be fooled. 

What the Watchtower appears to give with one hand, they mercilessly take away with the other. Notice what they say next,

"Would you expect to receive God’s grand gift of everlasting life in Paradise without any effort on your part?  Is it not reasonable that God would require something?  Surely it is. God does not, in effect, just throw the gift at us.... effort is involved. Are you not thrilled that a Savior has been provided?”

Your Savior has provided?  Effort on your part?  If you have to do someting in order to get something else, then it isn't a gift. You've earned it.  It's a wage. 

"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.' Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.'" (Romans 4:2-8 ESV)

Notice how the Watchtower continues:

"You may ask the same question the rich young ruler asked Jesus:  ‘What good must I do in order to get everlasting life?’ or that the Philippian jailer asked Paul, ‘What must I do to get saved?’"

The article then goes on to list the standard conditions for salvation that are usually given by the Watchtower, viz. take in knowledge, exercise faith, preach, etc.

"Taking such steps is completely reasonable... Staying on this cramped road takes real effort!”

This is nothing but the Law.  This isn't good news, this is not the Gospel.  The Law says, "Do this and live".  The Law works in a "quid pro quo" kind of way. It's an "If you then God..." formula. 

"For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.' Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith.' But the law is not of faith, rather 'The one who does them shall live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:10-14 ESV)

This kind of teaching is only going to condemn you, because the law demands perfection and we by our own fault are not perfect. "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:47-48 ESV).  "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20 ESV) "So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24)  The law shows us our sin with the express purpose to despair of ourselves and make us cling to Christ. 

The Watchtower teaches a salvation that is dependent on human ability and achievements.  They teach a salvation conditioned upon our ability to live up to God's commandments.  This is nothing but a curse and condemnation, and there is no need for a crucified and risen savior.

Now, finishing off with a rabbit trail, most Christians can see how a proper distinction between the Law and the Gospel is essential if we are to understand the Gospel.  But when it comes to sanctification, it seems many Christians are content to be put right back under the Law again. 

Notice what Paul says though:

"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness'?" (Galatians 3:1-7 ESV)

Sanctification is not what you do to become more holy.  It's what God the Holy Spirit does to conform you to the image of Christ. But it seems that we have to contribute something. We think this way because the Law is etched on our conscience since creation.

But I believe the Scriptures teach that the more we grow in grace, the more we despair of ourselves and recognize our need for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit make us lose all self-confidence so we might trust in Christ alone. The foundation of our growth in grace is to despair of all hope in self and, as Paul said, to have "no confidence in the flesh".  The only way to get there is through the proper preaching of the Law, that is, show us our sin.

The gospel is the power and motivation for holy living because it points away from us to Christ. Our sanctification is no more grounded on our ability than justification. Christians should and do live lives of obedience.  Cows moo, dogs bark, and a true Christian obeys. The law commands us to live a certain way, but does not give us the power to do it. The fault is not with the law but with us. The obedience that is required of us by the Law has already been rendered by Christ. The Spirit now works in us, through the Gospel, faith and trust in the promise of Christ.  Christian obedience to the law, which has lost its condemning power, is now and always done in light of and motivated by the Cross. The Cross is the central mantle piece in true Christianity.

Christianity is not ultimately about us or about our piety, (although our piety is important), but about Christ and what He has accomplished outside of us. This destroys our pride because it crushes self reliance and removes every possibility of human contribution. Apart from this Christocentric understanding in both justification and sanctification, the law can only lead us to either hopelessness or self-righteous pride.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Te Deum - We Praise You and Acknowledge You

Here is an awesome version of "Te Deum".

Te Deum Laudamus, is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, rendered literally as "Thee, O God, we praise". Authorship is traditionally ascribed to Augustine on the occasion of the baptism of Ambrose.

This versification is done by Pastor Stephen Starke, a prolific hymn-writer.  The tune is from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, specifically the movement “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity.”

MP3 - Te Deum - We Praise You and Acknowledge You - LSB 941

We praise You and acknowledge You, o God, to be the Lord, the Father everlasting, by all the earth adored. To You all angel powers cry aloud, the heavens sing, the cherubim and seraphim their praises to You bring: "O holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth; Your majesty and glory fill the heavens and the earth!"

The band of the apostles in glory sing Your praise; the fellowship of prophets their deathless voices raise. The martyrs of Your kingdom, a great and noble throng, sing with the holy Church throughout all the world this song: "O all majestic Father, Your true and only Son, and Holy Spirit, Comforter -- forever Three in One!"

You, Christ, are King of glory, the everlasting Son, yet You, with boundless love, sought to rescue everyone: You laid aside Your glory, were born of virgin's womb, were crucified for us and were placed into a tomb; then by Your resurrection You won for us reprieve -- You opened heaven's kingdom to all who would believe.

You sit in splendid glory, enthroned at God's right hand, upholding earth and heaven by forces You command. We know that You will come as our Judge that final day, so help Your servants You have redeemed by blood we pray; may we with saints be numbered where praises never end, in glory everlasting. Amen, o Lord, amen!