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Number One
At the beginning of the New Year, God sent us our brothers and sisters from overseas to praise the glory of Heavenly Father and Mother, and allowed us to hear the joyful news that our church received awards from many countries. Seeing all these things, I believe that this year will bring forth the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy that God will give us honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth.

As we continue receiving awards on this earth which is a copy and shadow, I am more excited about the rewards in heaven. God definitely said, “I have rewards for you.” When viewed from space, the earth appears as a tiny dot—just one of numerous planets. So, the awards we receive on the earth, no matter how great they are, cannot compare to the rewards we will receive in the eternal kingdom of God. This year, too, let us diligently run toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God, as the people of Zion.

God is Number One

Being “number one” means being the best. Who is number one for us? It is our God.The Bible describes God as the “Most High.” God is the Supreme Being, who is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the high and lofty One (1 Ti 6:15; Isa 57:15). God created all things and governs them, and He Himself gives life and breath to all people. So God is worthy enough to be called Number One.

It is necessary for us to put God first in our life of faith. If we do not make God our number one priority, we will unknowingly fall prey to the wrong mindset like Judas Iscariot and will mistakenly think, ‘God will tolerate me even if I do not obey His word fully.’ However, God has said that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts, as the heavens are higher than the earth, and He has told us to forsake our thoughts and return to Him (Isa 55:6–9).

Mt 15:13–14 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Jesus said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” So it is only the holy will of God that will stand forever. Everything that God has not planted—everything that is of human origin—will end up being destroyed, but what God has planted will remain forever.

Ac 5:38–39 “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

If something is from God, it never fails. God’s word never fails or perishes. Can man destroy the world of God? Anything that is from God, who manages the whole universe and knows the end from the beginning, cannot fail no matter what hindrances may come from humans. As God’s children, we should always remember the greatness of God who said, “Apart from me there is no God,” and, “Apart from me there is no savior.”

The highest position

We are the children of God who is Number One. To God in heaven we are number one; God loves and cares for us more than anyone else. Just as parents love their children the most, our God who is Number One loves us the most. So what else do we need? The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” We must all go to the amazing and gracious world that God has prepared for us, with no one left behind.

If we have this hope, we can always live a joyful life. However, if we have no realization, we can’t help but live a painful life, failing to consider our blessings. We must have spiritual eyes.

Most people do not realize the spiritual world, and they aspire to hold higher positions and enjoy more wealth than others on this earth. However, we are all God’s children; God is preparing us for the blessing of reigning forever in the everlasting kingdom of heaven.

Rev 22:4–5. . . 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.

I once visited the United Kingdom to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the grace of Father and Mother. At that time I was invited to the Queen’s garden party at the palace, where I was able to see the eldest son of the Crown Prince up close. There was nothing special about his appearance, though he was a member of the royal family. However, many people envied him and treated him with respect.

He is envied and respected by people just because he is the grandson of the Queen. How much greater is the glory of the heavenly princes and princesses, whom God loves, in the great universe—the celestial world? We are God’s children through the gospel of the new covenant. Our position as God’s children is something that even angels envy, and it is a blessing that we must not lose.

We are doing the greatest work. The United Nations has adopted a set of 17 goals that aim to ensure people’s happiness. To achieve the goals, many people in each country are working hard in various fields, and some of them are awarded for their efforts. Then how much more valuable and greater is the work of preaching the gospel, which we are doing now to lead people to eternal life and happiness? Let us not just focus on the things of this earth, but graciously accept the holy will of God who manages the great universe. We need to be more diligent in the greatest work God has commanded us to do, so that all people can proceed toward the eternal world which God has prepared for us.

The greatest teaching

God’s word is the greatest teaching that stands forever. Many people in the world respect the words spoken by famous people like Goethe, Voltaire, and Socrates. However, the greatest teaching in the whole universe beyond the earth is the word of God.

The church we are now attending is the very church that has been established by God who is Number One, and the truth we are now learning is the greatest teaching that has been given by God who is the greatest in the whole universe. So, we must study God’s word every day to gain wisdom and knowledge. We also need to put God’s word into practice, instead of just listening to it, so we can live according to God’s word as the people of Zion.

Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Only those who put God’s will into practice can enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. Satan has devised numerous strategies to hinder people from going to heaven. Only God knows the way to heaven. It is impossible for us to enter heaven without following God’s methods and directions. So, Jesus has said that only those who understand the will of Father correctly and put it into practice can enter the everlasting kingdom of heaven.

God, who is Number One, has provided the best ways in the Bible for the children of heaven, so they can follow the will of Father and Mother fully enough to go to heaven. However, no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth can open the scroll or even look inside it (Rev 5:1–5). If we read a book, we can figure out the author’s intentions. However, the Bible is different from other books; it is not easy for people to understand the Bible no matter how many times they read and study it. The Bible records the things that the heavenly royal priests must learn. So, God has put the best security system on the Bible, so that not everyone can access it. Since God, who is Number One, has put His greatest purpose and will in the Bible, people cannot understand the words of the Bible with their own wisdom and knowledge; though seeing, they do not see. The Bible is such a mysterious book.

So the Apostle Paul said, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes” (1 Co 4:5). God has come to this earth in the flesh to let the children of heaven know the mysteries of the Bible which people cannot see, though seeing, and cannot understand with their hearts. According to the prophecy that God will teach us His ways (Mic 4:1–2), God has come and given us the greatest teaching.

Rev 22:18–19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

There is no other way for us to be saved except through God’s teachings. That’s why the Bible tells us not to add to or take away from God’s word. If anyone adds to or subtracts anything from God’s word, he will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. Every teaching in the Bible is the way to heaven, which God has opened for us. Keeping this fact in mind, let us not turn to the right or to the left but follow the path Father and Mother lead us on, so we can enter the eternal kingdom of heaven without fail. I give thanks once again to Elohim for giving us the words of eternal life and allowing us to live in God’s word.

The most complete beings through the new covenant

Those who believe that God is the greatest in the whole universe do not neglect God’s teachings. Only when we fully realize that God is the Supreme Being can we understand how great and valuable we are and the path we are now walking on is.

Isa 60:21–22 “Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.”

The words of the Bible are the teachings that Almighty God, who looks ahead to our future, has given us for our future happiness. Through the teachings of God, we are being recreated as the most valuable ones who will live forever in the kingdom of God. The Bible says that the people, the work of God’s hands, will display His splendor. Let’s see how God recreates them.

Mt 26:17–19, 26–28 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” . . . While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus gave His disciples the Passover bread, saying, “This is my body,” and offered the Passover wine to them, saying, “This is my blood of the covenant.” God has promised us eternal life by breaking His body—an immortal being—and letting us eat it, and shedding His holy blood and letting us drink it. So, God has given birth to us through the new covenant. God has made us the most complete beings by putting His flesh and blood into us, just as He said, “They are the work of my hands.”

2 Co 6:17–18 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

The Apostle Paul, who wrote 2 Corinthians, was under the new covenant, keeping the Sabbath and the Passover. Here, we can also see the words of God Almighty, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.” The children of heaven are God’s best work that He has made by His own hands.

Follow the guidance of God, who is Number One, to enter heaven

God trained the Israelites to obey His commandments in the desert, before they entered the land of Canaan flowing with milk and honey. He rained down manna upon them for six days, and on the seventh day He did not send them manna. Instead, He gave them twice as much manna on the sixth day—as much food as they needed for that day and the following day as well. The Israelites learned the will of God who said, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,” in their everyday lives for 40 years, so they could enter the land of Canaan.

It was the same with the Passover. God saved His people by letting them keep the Passover holy, but He punished the Egyptians who did not celebrate it and brought judgment on all the gods of Egypt. This fact was deeply inscribed in the minds of the Israelites. God let them keep the Passover holy before they entered Canaan, too. Only after celebrating it were they able to enter the land.

God taught His people to obey all His commandments and then allowed them to enter the land of Canaan. So we, too, must faithfully follow every teaching God has given us on this earth, so we can be worthy enough to enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. God is the Supreme Being, and God’s word is the greatest teaching, and our position as God’s children is the highest position. Preaching is the most valuable work in the world, which God Himself did as an example for us. To allow us to inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven as the royal priests, God has given us the mission of preaching, which only the children of heaven can do.

It is not easy to acquire the best things. However, God always helps those who do His will. That’s why our Church of God has now been able to preach the gospel to Samaria and even to the ends of the earth.

We believe God’s word. If we follow God’s word fully, we will be set high above all the nations on earth. It’s because God is Number One. There is nothing more precious than God’s word and no greater teacher than God. God’s word is essential in our lives on this earth, and it is also through God’s word that we can go to the eternal kingdom of heaven. Keeping this fact in mind, let us follow God wherever He leads us, not neglecting any part of God’s word, so that we can be fully changed and born again as the people of God day by day, month by month.

Our God is Number One. Let us take pride in the fact that we are God’s children whom God loves the most. I earnestly ask all of you, our heavenly family members, to obey the teachings of Heavenly Father and Mother based on the Bible, thinking about eternal things instead of just focusing on the things of this earth, and enter the eternal kingdom of heaven together.
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