General introduction

 

 

 

 

Rome, 20 July, 2007

 

 

One day the apostles Peter and John were brought before the chief priests and the elders of the Jews to be examined of the healing wrought in the name of Jesus on a lame man who was at the gate of the temple which was called ‘Beautiful’, and among other things they said very clearly: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), and even though they were threatened by their enemies they continued to preach the Gospel that people might be saved.

Those words which they spoke express very clearly our attitude toward the things that God has done in our life as well as in the life of other people, that is, the things we have seen with our eyes and the things that other people have told us: we want to proclaim them, or rather, we must proclaim them, to the glory of the true and living God who has redeemed us from the hand of the adversary and has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Amen.

I have said that we must proclaim the works of God, for the Scripture commands us to tell the great things that God has done for us and for others. For instance in the Psalms it is said to those that have tasted the goodness of God and have experienced His powerful deliverances: “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing” (Psalm 107:22), and in another place it is written: “Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings” (Psalm 9:11), and again in another place: “Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:3.). Actually this is what the Psalmist himself did; listen to his words: “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16); “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD” (Psalm 118:17); “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth [I will tell of] all thy marvellous works” (Psalm 9:1). But this is what other people also did.

King Nebuchadnezzar, after God restored him to his kingdom (for God had punished him for his arrogance by taking away his understanding and sending him to dwell with the beasts of the field for a certain period of time), wrote to all nations to make known to them the signs and wonders that God had wrought on him. Here are his words: “Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him; This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniel 4:1-37).

The demon-possessed man of the country of the Gadarenes, after he was delivered and had received from Jesus Christ the command to go home to his friends and tell them the great things the Lord had done for him and how He had had compassion on him, “departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:20).

Peter, after the Lord delivered him from prison through one of His angels, declared unto the brethren “how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren” (Acts 12:17).

When the apostles Paul and Barnabas had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and “they declared all things that God had done with them” (Acts 15:4), and during the meeting in which they discussed whether it was necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to command them to keep the law of Moses, Paul and Barnabas declared “what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them” (Acts 15:12).

The apostle Paul, after he returned from one of his apostolic journeys, while he was in the house of James, where all the elders were gathered, “declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord” (Acts 21:19-20).

Furthermore, we must not forget that Luke in his first book to Theophilus (the Gospel of Luke) declared the powerful works of God which he had heard from others, as he wrote: “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1-4), and we can say that also about a part of his second book; I say, ‘a part of his second book’ because Luke was an eyewitness of some of the powerful works recorded in the Acts of apostles.

Therefore, in the light of the Scripture, if we keep silent we will be considered disobedient by God; if we hide within our heart the great things that God still today, and I say it again, still today, works, we will be regarded as rebels by Him. So God wants us to proclaim, in the midst of this world of darkness, in the midst of this wicked world, His works, which are powerful, terrible, great, just, holy, good, faithful, true, wonderful and glorious. We must proclaim them to our brothers and sisters as well as to those who don’t know God. To the brethren in order to edify them, to comfort them, to strengthen them, to encourage them to believe in God’s precious promises, in other words, so that they may be confirmed till the end and they may glorify the Holy Name of God. To the unbelievers that they may know that our God is alive, almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, ready to forgive, to heal, to save people from all their distresses, to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him, and to do what is impossible with man, and they may repent with a broken heart, they may turn to the living and true God from their evil ways, to serve Him and to wait from heaven for His Son Jesus Christ, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

For this reason we have opened this section dedicated to the works of God, because we want to proclaim them to all nations, so that His name may be glorified. And not only glorified, but also feared. And we are sure that the lowly in heart will glorify and fear Him. On the contrary, those who are full of pride and haughty, and the hypocrites and those who claim to be wise, when they read certain things will remain indifferent, or rather they will laugh because they don’t believe that God can do such things. What then? As far as we are concerned, our wish and our hope is that someone among these arrogant people may repent and realize that God has not changed and does the same things that He did in ancient times.

With these words we leave you to the reading of the testimonies.

 

The grace of the Lord be with you who are in Christ Jesus.

 

Giacinto and Illuminato Butindaro

 

 

 

 

 

WE WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ….

 

A) The fact that we have put a testimony of a brother or a sister on this site, does not mean at all that we necessarily agree with everything he or she does or believes (what we believe and teach is clearly written on this site). We will give you a few examples: the fact that we put the testimony of the conversion of Martin Luther doesn’t mean we agree with Luther on the ‘baptism of the infants’ or on the doctrine of the real presence of the body and of the blood of Jesus in the bread and in the wine of the Lord’s Supper; the fact that a brother says: ‘I went into the church’, or ‘I came out of the church’, does not mean that we accept this expression because we believe that the Church is not the place of worship where the believers gather together but the body of believers.

B) If in this section we have put a testimony of the conversion of someone, or of the vision that someone had, or of a healing received or wrought by someone, or of some other personal experiences concerning someone who afterward erred from the truth, that testimony does not cease to be true, because no one can deny the work which God did in his life o through him when he was in the faith and truth. I will give you an example taken from the Bible, so that you may understand this principle: we cannot deny that God one day spoke to Solomon in a dream just because when he was old his heart turned from the Lord for his wives turned his heart after the gods they worshiped; nor can we deny that God one day spoke to Balaam just because afterward the prophet forsook the right way.

C) We have accepted as true each testimony we have put on our site. Love thinks no evil, and if there are no clear and decisive proofs that a testimony was invented, we cannot doubt it. As we don’t want other people to doubt our personal testimonies, so we must not doubt the testimonies of other brothers. However, if a testimony was invented, then it must be rejected without hesitation, even though from a biblical point of view the testimony is sound.

D) In certain cases some testimonies are in one category rather than another, but they could be collocated also in the other category. It is therefore relative that in certain cases a testimony is in one place rather than the other.

 

 

 

 

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