Christ The Revelator And His Soon Coming Kingdom!









Jesus Christ and the Father's great design for His Children, and prophecy play a major role in our belief system, from Genesis to Revelation, His creation can be seen as a great tapestry and a gigantic puzzle that each one of us play a major role. Discovering what our role is in His Marketing Plan is indeed a fun and exciting venture in His success. The Old Testament was a foreshadow of the New Covenant of the Blood of Christ for the generation of this age. The link of this generation is in the blood of Jesus. We will cover the Faith of our fathers and the gospel and wisdom of the scriptures in prophecy to show the on-going plan of God for the legacy of our generations. The transformation we wait on is soon coming and the expectations of our change from this present life to a new creation in Jesus can at times overwhelm our senses. Praise the Lord!

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S P E C I A L

Proclamation for America

Father, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

Your Word declares that if we, Your people, who are called by Your name, will humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, then will You hear from heaven and You will forgive our sin and will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

We bow before Your sacred throne and humbly ask Your forgiveness for the sin of idolatry! Your word demands; “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, yet we have, under the banner of pluralism and hedonism, embraced and worshipped the gods of this world. Take us back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! (Exodus 20:3)

Through moral and spiritual compromise and complacency, we have allowed our nation to conform to the ways of the world by turning away from our spiritual roots found in Your Word. (Romans 12:2)

Our silence has produced a secular nation and all nations that forget You, shall be forsaken. We ask that You hear our cry, for we need You, in these desperate times, to lead us out of our politically correct fog of constant confusion and take us back to Your moral clarity. (Psalm 9:17)

O Lord our God, King of the Universe, we confess that America cannot survive without Your presence. Your statutes founded this blessed land and we look to You, Father God, to preserve it, for “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)

As commanded in scripture, we pray for all who are in authority who govern our nation; may their decisions be led by the perfect compass of your Holy Word which clearly discerns right from wrong. (I Timothy 2:1-3)

O Lord our God, You have promised to raise up righteous leaders into high places and to remove those who have displayed unrighteous authority. We earnestly pray that You will once again exalt the righteous and expose the deeds of the ungodly. (Proverbs 14:33-35)

America must have spiritual renewal for moral survival! In this season of prayer, we unite in humble heartfelt hope and ask that You forgive us and deliver us from the folly of our transgressions. Guide and sustain our nation as we turn from our sin and return to You, the God of our fathers. (Psalm 51:1-17)

The time has come to declare our trust in You to heal our land. (2 Samuel 22:2-4; Psalm 5:11-12; Psalm 57:1-3)

We pledge to exercise our God given rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in voting for future leaders from the county courthouse to the White House who obey and honor Your Word. (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 119:44-48; Psalm5:11)

We pledge to vote the Bible in selecting those that will govern our country. (Deuteronomy 16:18-20)

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. We petition heaven with our united prayers as we seek Your blessing, Your peace and Your protection for America. (I Chronicles 16:34; Numbers 6:22-26; Romans 15:13; Psalm 5:11)

May the Lord our God, be with us, as He was with our forefathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways... that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. (1 Kings 8:57-60) Amen

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Christ, Israel and Prophecy in History and our critical role....




Israel means Prince With God...chosen to be God's messenger. Also God intrusted the Jews to protect the Holy Scriptures. In Genesis, the 10 commandments, no other god was to be before Him, as the nations around them. Today this generation worships Gaia, mother earth, but deny the power of God who created all things. Israel was to be preservers of the Scriptures to prepare the way for the New Covenant in Christ. Other than pagan gods or emperors, the only option was the synagogues where they could hear the Scriptures. All Israel will one day believe Jesus.

The Disperstion of the Jews in 1948 was predicted by Ezekiel 4:4-6 The Balfour Declaration of 1917, gave Israel the right to immigrate to the British Mandate of Palestine. Five million square miles of the Otoman Empire got 99.8 percent of this land. The United Nations split this land up, and war broke out. Israel became a Jewish State in 1948.

1. Jesus foretold His death and resurrection in Matthew 20:17-19 During the first century and was fulfilled in about 32 AD. One of the unique qualities about Jesus Christ as a religious figure is that He prophesied His own death and resurrection. One example is found in Matthew 20:17-19. Each of the four Gospels of the New Testament, which were written by His followers and contemporaries, testify that Jesus was resurrected.

2. Jesus told Peter that the church would survive and thrive in Matthew 16:17-18 during the first century AD, and was fulfilled Throughout history. Jesus told the Apostle Peter (Simon) that He would be the rock or foundation on which Jesus will build His church, and that the church would not be conquered or wiped out by non-believers (as expressed in the phrase "gates of hell" or "gates of Hades"). Within a few decades after the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter was able to see firsthand that the early Christians would endure tremendous persecution. The church endured intense persecution for about three centuries by the Roman Empire. But, the church survived and thrived during that time, even though the Roman Empire itself disintegrated. Although the majority of the world's religions have died out, Christianity flourished to become the first religion to have spread worldwide.

3. The line of kings from David would endure forever 2 Samuel 7:16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. Samuel lived about 3,000 years ago and About 32 AD with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, this was fulfilled. This passage, and a few others as well, allude to King David's descendants having an eternal hold on the throne of Israel. King David lived and reigned about 3,000 years ago. His descendants continued to reign over all or part of the land of Israel until the time of the Babylonian conquest, which was about 2,600 years ago. But, aside from Jesus, there has been no king of Davidic descent since the time of the Babylonian conquest. Jesus is fully human and fully God. As a human, he is a descendant of King David. As God, he is eternal. Therefore, he is in a unique position to fulfill the prophecy in which David's throne is to be eternal.

4. The Great Commission, and its fulfillment Matthew 28:16-20 This was written during the first century AD and fulfilled Throughout history. During the first century of this era, there were evangelists who claimed to be eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus. These people, including Paul and the Apostles, were willing to risk their lives and travel throughout the Roman world, by land and by sea, to evangelize a religion that wasn't legally recognized by the Roman government. Their work allowed Christianity to eventually be taught to people throughout the world.

5. God's salvation would reach the ends of the earth Isaiah 49:6 Written between 701-681 BC and fulfilled about 32 AD. The prophet speaks of a servant of God who would be a light to Gentiles (non-Jews) so that God's salvation could reach the ends of the earth. Christians believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise. The followers of Jesus helped spread Christianity about 2000 years ago. Christianity is unique in that it is among the first evangelical religions in history, and the first to be taken to people all over the world. Christians believe that salvation, forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven are available to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their savior: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." - Romans 10:9-10

6. Jesus said His words would never be forgotten Luke 21:33 Written During the first century AD and is being fulfilled at this very moment as we speak. Jesus said that regardless of what happens to the world, His words will never be forgotten. Here we are 2000 years later and the words of Jesus are all around us: Christianity has spread to people around the world and the Bible is the world's most circulated book. Of all the people who have ever lived, can you think of a single person who could have made this claim more effectively than Jesus - that his words would never be forgotten? Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away"

CHRIST the REVELATOR

Millions are aware of the redemptive role of Christ. They know that Jesus died to reconcile man to God. But how many realize that their very Savior predicted today's chaotic world conditions in advance and foretold the outcome of it all?

Jesus Christ The Great Revelator

The first verse of the book of Revelation states: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. . . ." Jesus Christ was a prophet; Jesus Christ was a newscaster of future world events; Jesus Christ forecast the overall, general sequence of events that would characterize the world from His time to now and on into the future; Jesus Christ was an up-to-date futurist in the true sense of the term.

He talked not only of the mind bending, fast-moving, sometimes horrifying events to presage His second coming, but also of a wonderful world to come. Blessings to come. Go to the Gospel accounts. In their contents, Jesus spoke directly of an altogether different kind of society that would envelop the earth in future ages.

The religious set of Jesus' day thought they had Him cornered with a trick question about marriage and the resurrection. But He deftly answered their questions by informing them of the never-before-heard-of conditions of tomorrow's world.

He forecast: "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [Greek: age], and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more. . ." (Luke 20:35-36). Have you ever before heard of a world in which part of the inhabitants-the compassionate ruling class as other scriptures make clear-can no longer die?

Visionary futurists of our day contemplate a fantastic world with a vastly lengthened human life-span made possible by super-replacement parts for worn out body organs. But how many envision the ultimate: "... neither can they die anymore"? Matthew's Gospel account sheds still more light on conditions in this incredible civilization yet to come.

This particular scripture about tomorrow's world does have a definite negative connotation. However, it also has an unspoken positive side as we will show. Those that were hostile to (and attributed intentional indignity to) the Work that Jesus Christ was doing through the power of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming that future world would be on the outside looking in.

Notice Matthew's description: ". . . But whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Matt.12:32).

But on the positive side, the benevolent rulers will be composed of those who execute justice and judgment in their personal lives. David said: "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (II Sam.23:3).

Some specific positions in this future world have been preassigned by Jesus. To His apostles, Jesus promised: "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29-30).

The epistles written by Peter and John are a microcosm of the overall good character of the apostles. Dedication, loyalty and love earmark those remarkable letters. The Gospels are not the only biblical books whose contents reveal specific prognostications of Jesus Christ in His role as a prophet. As was pointed out, the book of Revelation is unveiled by Jesus Christ Himself.

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Ambassador College on: Jesus Christ

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Would you say that you know Jesus Christ? Or that you know about him? Or that you know nothing of him? What do you think of when you hear his name? How would you answer the question:

“Who is Jesus?”

In this class we’ll try to make Jesus a little less of a stranger, because to understand Christianity we must get to know Jesus Christ. It is from Him that the Christian faith takes its name. Rightly so, because He is the foundation of Christian faith, teaching and practice.

WHO WAS JESUS?

“The essence of Christianity is neither beliefs nor behavior patterns. It is the reality of communion here and now with Christianity’s living founder, the Mediator, Jesus Christ.” (Packer,J.I., (1995), Knowing Christianity, pp. 60-61, Harold Shaw Publishers).

So who was - and is - He? Here’s how Jesus described Himself…

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John’s Gospel records Jesus making a series of “I am” statements:

“I am ...

- the bread of life

- the light of the world

- the door

- the good shepherd

- the resurrection and the life

- the way and the truth and the life

- the true vine”

(John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1).

His followers - those who either lived with Him or immediately after Him and who wrote about Him - were clear about the fact that He was not just a man: - “My Lord and my God!” exclaimed His disciple, Thomas (known as “doubting Thomas”) (John 20:28).

- “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” said Simon Peter (Matthew 16:16).

When Jesus walked the roads of Judea and Galilee, the Jewish people were looking for a messiah. The prophets had said that One sent from God would come to save them. They had been disappointed on many occasions. From his prison cell, an uncertain John the Baptist sent his followers to question Jesus directly: “Are you the One who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” This was Jesus’ reply: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:2-5).

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Despite the great and good things He did, many opposed Jesus, particularly the religious leaders, who, well-versed in the Old Testament scriptures, believed they had the words of life. This is what Jesus said to them on one occasion: “Youdiligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life” (John 5:39-40).

The New Testament scriptures continued to testify about this Messiah. But now the writers call Him by name: “Jesus”. “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God - the gospel He promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-4).

Sometimes you’ll hear someone say that they are happy to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, wise guide, good man or prophet, but nothing more. They are happy to put Him on the shelf as a respected resource to consult on occasion, along with the great philosophers, thinkers, inventors, and leaders of history. But to suggest He should be worshipped, that He might have been “God with us”, or that He was our Savior - now, that would be truly embarrassing. And yet that is exactly the issue that confronts anyone who wants to find out about Jesus Christ. The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis, in his classic book Mere Christianity, addressed this notion bluntly: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

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You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity).

Indeed. What Jesus said about Himself, what those who knew Him personally said about Him, what those who came in their footsteps said about him, and what the record of his life says, demands our attention and our response.

Man of miracles

It’s been called “the greatest story ever told” - for good reason. He was born to a woman called Mary and her fiancée, Joseph, around 4 BC in Bethlehem. The family become refugees in Egypt following a threat to the baby’s life. He apparently grew up around his father, Joseph’s, carpentry business. At age 12, during a family visit to Jerusalem, Jesus stayed behind to talk with the priests in the temple, amazing them with His understanding. Sometime around age 30 we are presented with Jesus the carpenter from Nazareth embarking upon an extraordinary public life. His teaching is not like anything people have heard before. He teaches people to love one another, he tells stories about a kingdom, He comforts the suffering, He befriends the outcasts, He feeds the hungry.

But there is more to Jesus than good words and good deeds. His first public act appears to have been a miracle in which He turned water into wine at a wedding. A miracle. Miracles are not something we are familiar with in our lives - except maybe when a losing sports team beats a highly regarded opponent and we remark that the win was “a miracle”. That’s not a bad way to begin understanding miracles. The word miracle comes from a Latin word, miraclum, which means “something that evokes wonder.” “A miracle is an observed event that triggers awareness of God’s presence and power,” says J.I. Packer, theology professor and author.(Packer, J.I.,(1993), Concise Theology, p.57, Tyndale House).

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In a proudly rational world, miracles can be a bit embarrassing. Yet Jesus’ life confronts us with the presence of the miracle from his own birth. Theologians call Jesus’ birth the “incarnation” (incarnation literally means “in flesh”) - to describe the miracle of God the Creator making Himself a physical part of the created world. Jesus’ life on earth concluded with another miracle: the resurrection (resurrection means to rise from the dead). Thus, a life of miracles - for the purpose of triggering awareness of God’s presence and power - began and culminated in unprecedented miracles. These miracles - incarnation and resurrection - present us personally and powerfully with the presence of God. They are central to Christian belief, and the Scriptures provide us with significant record of each.

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about,” writes Matthew. “His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband [to be] was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David [an earlier King of Israel], do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:18-21).

In his Gospel, Luke records that the time of this miracle was when “Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) ... So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there ... she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7).

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“Whatever else they may mean, the birth stories of Jesus emphasize that the Christian belief that ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23) is not just a beautiful idea or an abstract theological truth. It happened! [The apostle] John also tells us that it happened when he says that the ‘Word’ (God’s self-communication, the Word that was God) ‘became flesh and lived among us’(John 1:1-14).

But Matthew and Luke tell us more specifically that it happened at a particular time, in a particular place, in connection with a particular mother.” (Guthrie, S.C., 1994).

It also happened as a fulfillment of a centuries-old prophecy: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:22-23).

Of the many profound and challenging things the Bible says, perhaps none challenges us so profoundly as this passage from the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men.... The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 9-14).

The remarkable claims of this passage go to the heart of the Christian gospel: That the Creator God at a point in time made Himself just like us - flesh and bone - and lived on earth among the human beings he created, and that the writer and others claim personal, real-life witness to these facts: “We have seen his glory...”.

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The four Gospel accounts - by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -provide four different authoritative perspectives or aspects of Jesus’ life on earth. One author puts it this way:

“King - Matthew presents Jesus as King. It was written primarily for the Jew, for He is the Son of David. His royal genealogy is given in chapter 1. In chapters 5-7, in the Sermon on the Mount, we have the manifesto of the King, containing laws of His kingdom.

Servant - Mark depicts Jesus as Servant, written to the Romans, there is no genealogy.

Why?

People are not interested in the genealogy of a servant. More miracles are found here than in any other gospel. Romans cared little for words; far more for deeds.

Man - Luke sets forth Jesus as the perfect Man. It was written to the Greeks; His genealogy goes back to Adam, the first man, instead of to Abraham [as in Matthew]. As a perfect Man, He is seen much in prayer and with angels ministering to Him.

God -"John portrays Jesus as the Son of God. Written to all who will believe, with the purpose of leading people to Christ (John 20:31), everything in this Gospel illustrates and demonstrates His divine relationship.” (Mears, H.C., (1998), What the Bible is All About, pp.365-366, Regal Books).

King, Servant, Man, God.

Each of these expressions of the Messiah were prophesied in the Old Testament: and Jesus vividly lived out each on earth. And the miracle of his life powerfully touched other lives. ”Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him” (Matthew 4:23-25).

- He fed thousands of people who had come to a remote location to hear him teach, by multiplying five loaves and two fish (Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6) and turned water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2).

- He walked on water (Matthew 14; Mark 6; John 6)

and calmed a storm (Mark 4; Matthew 8; Luke 8).

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-He touched and healed “unclean” people: outcasts with leprosy (Matthew 8; Mark 1; Luke 5);

those with paralysis (Matthew 9; Mark 2; Luke 5, 13; John 5);

the blind (Matthew 9, 20; Mark 8; Luke 18; John 9);

and people possessed by evil spirits (Matthew 17; Mark 1, 5, 9; Luke 4, 8, 9).

In one of the healings of a demon-possessed individual, the religious leaders challenged Him, saying that His powers of exorcism were those of the devil himself. Jesus responded by saying, “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? ... But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:26-28).

“The kingdom of God has come upon you.” In this powerful response, Jesus makes clear that his (kingly, godly) presence among us was ushering in a new order (yet in the form of a servant and a man). Nothing would ever be the same again. His birth, His teachings and His miracles were manifestations of “God with us”. As Jesus himself indicated, what other explanation could there be?

Friend

The powerful message of Jesus’ miracles, demonstrating the presence of God in the world, is beautifully accompanied by another message. Equally powerful in its implications, yet totally unexpected, was the message of love, care and acceptance Jesus conveyed in the way he mixed with humanity. Beyond the amazing image of the all-powerful, majestic, infinite God of heaven actually choosing to live alongside His creation, we are presented with God actually enjoying being with us! It was hard for many to make sense of: how could a Messiah, a Savior, a ruler, a King be so ... “down-to-earth”? It was unexpected, shocking and disturbing. And ultimately it was unacceptable to many who thought they knew what the Messiah “should” be like. One consistent and enduring picture of Jesus’ life on earth is His love of sharing meals with people - no matter who they were - and of expressing comfort to all.

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“One distinctive feature of Jesus’ ministry was His practice of a radically inclusive and non-hierarchical table fellowship as a central strategy in his announcement and redefinition of the inbreaking rule of God. In so doing, Jesus challenged the inherent exclusivism and status consciousness of accepted social and religious custom.” (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, (1992), p.796, Intervarsity Press).

We see Jesus at the wedding feast (typically a week-long event!), inviting Himself to a tax collector’s home for dinner (tax collectors were hated for their corrupt practices), eating His meals without washing according to the religious customs, sharing His last meal with His disciples, cooking fish for them on the lake shore after His resurrection. In one memorable event He shocked His religious hosts by allowing a prostitute to anoint his feet with perfume while He reclined at the table (Luke 7:36-39).

So customary was His habit of sharing meals that He was accused with being “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners”! Beyond mealtime fellowship, Jesus openly associated with and expressed care for social outcasts, like lepers, a woman caught in an adulterous act, a Samaritan woman (despised by the Jews). Two thousand years ago Jesus was an embarrassment. His casual, friendly, compassionate manner upset and offended many, which was apparently fine with Him. “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s [the tax collector] house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees [religious leaders] saw this, they asked His disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners’” (Matthew 9:10-13).

Jesus came so that we might get to know God, to know who He is and what He is really like - in a wholly unexpected way. God is not “somewhere out there”; He is close to each one of us. He knows us, He loves us and He wants us to get to know Him. That’s the good news Jesus brought, taught and lived on this earth.

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Having read about Jesus’ life and ministry and considered the material in this lesson, what are your personal reactions to:

- The story?

- The person?

- The actions ascribed to him?

Is it difficult for you to accept that Jesus was “God in the flesh”? If so, why?

If not, why not?

How would you describe the impact of Jesus in our world?

At this point in time, how would you describe the impact of Jesus in your own life?

Why Jesus is good news

“This sweet little baby lying in a manger with shepherds and angels gathered around Him grew up to be a radical subversive preacher who was all the more dangerous because He claimed that what He said and did is what God says and does. Jesus was not only the friend of sinners; He dared to forgive their sins, claiming to be able to do what only God has the right to do” (Guthrie, S.C.,(1994), p.242).

And so they killed him.

“Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on His head, and they put a royal purple robe on Him. ‘Hail! King of the Jews!’ they mocked, and they hit Him with their fists. Pilate went outside again and said, ‘I am going to bring Him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find Him not guilty.’ Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, ‘Here is the Man!’ When they saw Him, the leading priests and the Temple guards began shouting, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’ ‘You crucify Him,’ Pilate said. ‘I find him not guilty.’

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The Jewish leaders replied, ‘By our laws He ought to die because He called Himself the Son of God’” (John 19:1-7 - New Living Translation (The Book), Tyndale House Publishers).

Four centuries before Jesus, the philosopher Socrates had said that a truly righteous person would be so unacceptable to society that they would have to be killed. His claim proved correct. But Jesus’ death is only part of the story. This story of suffering has become a message of healing. This account of humiliation has become one of victory. The death of Jesus became an event proclaiming new life. How? The message of the cross “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Why?

Why did an evidently good man like Jesus have to suffer and be subjected to a painful and humiliating crucifixion - death on a cross? And why for sinners, of all people? What was the point? A quick look in our newspapers or at television news confirms that human beings “do not know the way of peace”, as the Bible tells us. (Isaiah 59:8-9).

The biblical record is one of people struggling - and failing - to come to grips with life. There’s something wrong with us. Something is broken. Something seriously needs fixing. But it’s not something we can do ourselves. It’s called “sin”. It was because of sin - our sin - that Jesus died on the cross. To understand this, we need to be clear in our understanding of who Jesus was - and is. As our introductory quote points out, Jesus was certainly not a simple fairy-tale character who only existed as a child in a manger surrounded by adoring angels and shepherds. The record of his life and teachings establishes Him as someone utterly unique: a radical teacher, a prophet, a king, a priest. He was all of these, but he was more: he was “God with us”: Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23).

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This is an issue of central and fundamental importance to the Christian faith. Indeed, it has been an issue over which the Church has fought epic battles with heresy over the centuries (heresy is a teaching that directly contradicts the teaching of the Bible, meaning that it resists God’s revealed truth). And a recurring heresy has been one that attempts to deny that Jesus was actually “God with us”: God in the flesh. That is the clear teaching of Scripture, as we have seen in previous issues (see John 1:1-14).

Christians through the ages have echoed the words of the disciple, “Doubting” Thomas, when he exclaimed of Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

The apostle Paul explained that “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him [Jesus] ...” (Colosians 1:19).

The Apostles’ Creed says, “[We believe] ... in Jesus Christ, His [God’s] only Son, our Lord ...”.

“It is no accident that the part of the creed dealing with Christ is the longest part. This one doctrine gives meaning and content to all the others. All the doctrines of the Christian faith are related to Christ as spokes to the hub of a wheel. We could not talk about who God is, how we know God, what God is like, and what God wants with us without talking about God’s self-disclosure in Christ. Nor could we talk about what it means to be human beings in the image of God and sinners who contradict their own humanity without talking about Jesus ... Everything else Christians believe stands or falls with what they believe about Jesus” (Guthrie, S.C., (1994), p.229).

We believe what Jesus’ disciple John urged us to believe: “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ...” (John 20:31).

He is simply echoing what he had heard his Lord say Himself: “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned ...” (John 3:16-18).

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God sent Jesus to “save the world” through Him.

Why?

Because He “so loved the world”. Matthew writes that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord,” writes Luke (2:11). “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).

But why did Jesus have to die?

“Because God cares for us too much to dismiss our sin and guilt with a flippant ‘It doesn’t matter’. Because words were not enough: action was necessary to prove that God’s love and forgiveness are genuine. Because God wanted to stand with us in the loneliness and alienation we bring on ourselves when we separate ourselves from God and other people. Because it is just when God comes to our side in our loneliness, alienation, and guilt that they are overcome. In the cross God says to us, ‘Yes, it is true. You have hurt and offended Me. But I still love you. Therefore I will make your guilt and its consequences My own.

I will suffer with you - for you - to make things right between us again” (Ibid., p.260).

Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross stands as an eternal reminder of two things of ultimate and profound significance to the human experience:

1. That God takes seriously - and personally - the matter of sin. “Sin” is a bit of an embarrassing concept these days. We joke about being “sinful” by having too much chocolate to eat. And even if we accept that some things are sins, most people would struggle to accept the label of “sinner”. Yet if we are to accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God - as God’s communication to us - then we have to face the issue and the charge of sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Paul in Romans 3:23. “All”. Everyone. It gets worse: “the wages of sin is death” Paul says a little later. (Romans 6:23)

That’s serious. The Bible tells us that we were created “in the image” of God (Genesis 1:27), by God’s own purpose and will. It also tells us that something has happened that has violated, damaged and broken that special creation.

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“We are the icons of God, creatures made with a unique capacity to mirror and reflect the character of God. In the fall of mankind, something ghastly happened. The image of God was severely tarnished. Our ability to mirror His holiness has been greatly affected so that now the mirror is fogged. The Fall, however, did not destroy our humanity. Though our ability to reflect God’s holiness was lost in the Fall, we are still human. We still have a mind, a heart, and a will. We still bear the mark of our Creator upon ourselves.” (Sproul, R.C.,(1992), Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, pp.131-132, Tyndale House Publishers).

Sin can broadly be described as being opposed to the will of God. (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels p.760).

“Scripture diagnoses sin as a universal deformity of human nature, found at every point in every person (1 Kings 8:46; Romans 3:9-23; 7:18; 1 John 1:8-10).

Both Testaments have names for it that display its ethical character as rebellion against God’s rule, missing the mark God set us to aim at, transgressing God’s law, disobeying God’s directives, offending God’s purity by defiling oneself, and incurring guilt before God the Judge. This moral deformity is dynamic: sin stands revealed as an energy of irrational, negative, and rebellious reaction to God’s call and command, a spirit of fighting God in order to play God.” (Packer, J.I.,1993, Concise Theology, p.82. Tyndale House).

This is what the story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit teaches us: that humanity from the beginning exercised the freedom to reject the will and the authority of God. This is what the term “original sin” refers to. It is not a biblical term, but it summarizes the human condition and reflects the clearly understood principle the apostle Paul wrote about: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned ...” (Romans 5:12).

And the biblical record - like the rest of human history - is a sad account of how ungodly human beings are to each other, regardless of circumstance, time, or culture. In relation to sin, the Bible refers often to God’s “wrath”. Wrath is another somewhat old-fashioned word. But it’s an important word when we consider the human relationship to God. The Apostle Paul said that we are all “by nature objects of [God’s] wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

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“Wrath is not a fitful, petulant, childish, immoral thing in God. Wrath is the moral and judicial attribute expressed in righteous judgment. It is holiness rejecting sin.” (Packer, J.I., (1995), Knowing Christianity, p.77, Harold Shaw Publishers).

“Holiness rejecting sin.” We become accustomed to our human weakness, faults and failings, to the point that the sheer depravity of the human condition fails to really impact us. It’s “just the way things are”, we tell ourselves. And yet it’s not the way a holy God would have them. He rejects it. Even if we tolerate it, He won’t. And if that were the end of the matter, then Shakespeare’s Macbeth would be morbidly correct:

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more; ‘tis a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Fortunately, sin is not the end of the story. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross reminds us not only of sin but of a divine response to it that is utterly unexpected.

God’s love for us is beyond anything we know. “[T]he wages of sin is death,” the scripture tells us. But it goes right on to say in that same thought, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In his letter to the Ephesians Paul wrote that we are all “by nature objects of [God’s] wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

That’s about the worst news you could get! But the good news immediately follows: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved” (vs. 4-5).

The word “grace” is central to the gospel. It means the unearned favor of mercy and forgiveness God grants to sinners who turn to Him and seek it. It changes everything. It is the ultimate expression of love. Despite our defiance of His perfection, our Creator God wants to forgive us, wants to save us, wants to give us the life for which He created us.

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And in order to do so He made Himself our Savior - our rescuer. And our personal sacrifice to satisfy the awful price of sin. And the cross of Jesus Christ - the rugged, splintered, bloodstained wooden stake to which His beaten and bruised body was nailed until He gasped His last breath - powerfully reminds us of that sacrifice. The unavoidable payment of sin - death - has been paid by God in an unprecedented expression of love. The familiar expression “to err is human, to forgive is divine” is profoundly true. And this message of the forgiveness of our sins is what the gospel is all about. It’s the “good news” (which is what “gospel” means) about what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. It’s the good news that a way has been made for us to be restored to the relationship with God for which we were created. It’s the good news that life doesn’t simply have to be “a walking shadow ... that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more ... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

This good news is made possible not by anything we can do, but because of God’s great love for us. “God our Savior,” wrote the apostle Paul to Timothy, “wants all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4).

“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance,” wrote one of Jesus’ disciples,

Peter the fisherman (2 Peter 3:9).

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance,” the apostle Paul wrote to the young teacher, Timothy. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

Despite the fact that we have sinned against God, he has not turned his back on us. Instead, he wants to save us, he wants to rescue sinners, he extends mercy, he has patience. Truly, this is a love beyond anything else we will ever know in our lives. And it tells us something important about God: “God is love,” the apostle John taught (1 John 4:16).

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“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins ... And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love” (1 John 4:9-16).

From death to life.

That God of love came to be with us in our earth-bound experience, and his mission was to win a victory for us. And that victory is vividly demonstrated in Jesus’ resurrection. This actual, and unique event is at the heart of the Christian faith. “Christianity rests on the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection as a space-time occurrence in history,” writes J.I. Packer. (Packer, J.I., (1993), p.126).

It was a personal victory for every person who believes: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” wrote the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth. “[T]hanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 57).

That victory was won in Jesus’ perfect life, His death to pay the price for our sins, and His resurrection from the dead to show His power over death for us. “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,” wrote Paul to the church at Corinth. “By this gospel you are saved ... For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures ...” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

“The God who is worshiped in the Christian faith is not the product of that faith nor the creation of theologians or philosophers. He is not a God who has been invented or discovered by human beings. He is the God who has taken the initiative in speaking to them, in revealing Himself in a series of redemptive events reaching back to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and beyond. God did not make Himself known through a system of teaching nor a theology nor a book, but through series of events recorded in the Bible.

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The coming of Jesus of Nazareth was the climax of this series of redemptive events; and His resurrection is the event that validates all that came before. If Christ is not risen from the dead, the long course of God’s redemptive acts to save his people ends in a dead end street, in a tomb. If the resurrection of Christ is not reality, then we have no assurance that God is the living God, for death has the last word. Faith is futile because the object of that faith has not vindicated himself as the Lord of life.” (Ladd, G.E., (1993), A Theology of the New Testament, pp.353-354, William B. Eerdmans).



Christ and His Resurrection: what it Tells Us



And that is exactly what the resurrection tells us: that Jesus is the Lord of life; that in Him we have life; that death is no longer the last word. Paul’s restatement of the core of Christian faith to the Corinthian church concludes with Him reminding them that Jesus “appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve [disciples]. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living ...” (1 Corinthians 15:5-6).

Paul isn’t even trying to “prove” the resurrection; he simply reminds his audience of readily available witness and testimony about the risen Christ. “We know who owned the tomb where He [Jesus] was buried on the Friday but from which the body was missing at first light on Sunday. Nor was He a nonentity; the tomb owner was an eminent citizen of Jerusalem, Joseph from Arimathea, a member of the Supreme Council. No problem tracking him down and getting the facts ... And we also know when, where and to whom the risen Jesus presented Himself. A mere twenty years after the event Paul states that more than five hundred saw him on one occasion, most of whom were alive at the time of writing ... The remarkable story is readily traceable at many points. This is not the stuff of urban myths” (Barnett, P., (1994), The Truth About Jesus, p.128, Aquila Press).

True, two thousand years on, our belief in Jesus’ resurrection must be an act of faith. But it is a faith based upon the Bible’s reliable record and its historical basis that was readily and easily tested at the time of its writing. This message of Jesus’ resurrection (rising from the dead) is the heart of the gospel. The cross may have killed him, but the grave could not hold Him.

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The message of Christianity is not a dead man hanging on a cross; it is a risen Lord who left us an empty tomb by which to remember His victory and power over death: a victory He won personally for each of us. “For He Has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colosians 1:13-14).

“He has rescued us.” Jesus came to save us, to rescue us, to restore us, to redeem us, to give us new life. That’s why He is good news! He is our Savior. He is our Lord.

-How did Jesus reply to John the Baptist’s question about whether or not He was the prophesied Messiah? (Matthew 11:2-5).

- How did the apostle Paul describe Jesus? (Romans 1:1-4, NIV).

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Basic Christianity, John Stott

The Lord was seen in over 10 separate appearances, one by over 500 of the brethren, and these were not hallucinations as some suggest as their faith was grounded upon hard facts and verifiable experiences as the historical documents of the Gospel prove.

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If you have a red-letter Bible--one in which the first-person quotations of Jesus are printed in red-you will be struck by the many prophecies spoken by your Savior. Further revelation on the world to come unfolds as you progress into its exciting contents. Specific rewards are prophetically promised to specific churches (and the Church as a whole) in chapters two and three.

"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations [in tomorrow's world]" (Rev. 2:26). Rulership-the reward for overcoming sin and doing Christ's Work-is promised to every Christian executing justice and judgment in his personal life. The Bible is chock-full of prophecies about this wonderful world to come. One scripture that perhaps best sums up the general conditions of the wonderful world tomorrow, and on beyond, was spoken by Jesus in Revelation 21:5. "... Behold, I make all things new." That statement is all encompassing. Our fragile, uncomprehending human minds could never fathom the depth and breadth of that prophetic promise. In keeping with Jesus' modus operandi in His message to the seven churches, we have first presented Christ as the Revelator of these good things to come. But he also is the Revelator of incredible prophecies of punishment to come on this world in the relatively near future.

Punishments to Come.

Jesus was both specific and general in His futuristic forecasts of various types of punishment for the world's sins. He directly foresaw the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The horrible picture was so vivid in His mind that He made great lamentation for what He knew would befall that city (Luke 23:27-31).

This stark prophecy was fulfilled (at least in part) in less than four decades. The historian Josephus recorded a vivid account of the terrible famine which ravaged Jerusalem: "It was now a miserable case, and a sight that would justly bring tears into our eyes, how men stood as to their food, with the more powerful had more than enough, and the weaker were lamenting [for want of it]. But the famine was too hard for all other passions, and it is destructive to nothing so much as to modesty; for what was otherwise worthy of reverence, was in this case despised; insomuch that children pulled the very morsels that their fathers were eating out of their very mouths, and what was still more to be pitied, so did the mothers do as to their infants: and when those that were most dear were perishing under their hands, they were not ashamed to take from them the very last drops that might preserve their lives..." (Wars of the Jews, book V, chapter X, section 3).

Josephus further described mass killings and deportation: ". . . So the [Roman] soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest; when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies" (Wars of the Jews, book V, chapter XI, section I).

"And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still remaining alive, Cae-sar gave orders that they should kill none but those that were in arms, and oppose them, but should take the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to slay, they slew the aged and the infirm. . .. Titus also sent a great number into the provinces, as a present to them, that they might be destroyed upon their theaters, by the sword and by the wild beasts; but those that were under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves. . . .

"Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege, eleven hundred thousand. . ." (Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, book VI, chapter IX, sections 2, 3).

The horrible happenings of A.D.70 are an apparent type of the even more grueling events of the end time. Perhaps the whole picture of these age-ending prophecies is best described and brought into proper focus in Matthew 24. The disciples asked Jesus: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [Greek aion, meaning age]?" (Verse 3.) Then Jesus proceeded to enumerate a series of general events and happenings that would characterize the times from the first century to now-actually intensifying to the extreme at the very end of the age. Among the things Jesus specifically mentioned were religious apostasy, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters here and there on the earth, and blatant religious bigotry finding its ultimate expression in countless brutal martyrdom.

Signs of Christ's Coming. Finally, the world would be so dominated by sin that even some Christians would begin to lose their first love and actually begin to betray, persecute, 'and cause to be put to death their own brethren. On the world scene, Jesus warned of several prophetic bench marks to precede His second coming-none of which has yet been fulfilled to the fullest extent.

(I) Publishing of the Gospel: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). When you see the true gospel beginning to be announced to the world's nations-when you see this prophecy in action on the world scene-you should increase your personal world watch and vigilance.

(2) The Abomination of Desolation: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. . . then let them which be in Judaea [the modern nation of Israel] flee into the mountains. . . ."For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be [again] " (verses 15-16, 21).

Jesus spoke of the vital necessity of understanding this "abomination" in the parenthetical phrase, "whoso readeth, let him understand" (verse 15). It appears to involve a great religious leader who would make his world headquarters in the Holy Land. This event's great import lies in the fact that it is a sign signaling the beginning of the great tribulation.

(3) The Hour of Trial: Jesus-the real Revelator of the Bible's last book-refers again to this utterly unique time in the world's history. Notice His message to the Church in Revelation 3: 1 0: "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." This hour of trial (an hour is a relatively short time in biblical prophecy) will not be a local upset done in a corner of Asia. It will be global in range-all the inhabitants of the earth will be affected.

(4)Jerusalem Surrounded With Armies: The companion prophecy in Luke 21 gives us an additional prophetic waymark to consider. "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (verse 20; Zech. 14:1-4; Rev. 16:16). But notice that this prophecy then parallels Matthew 24:16-20 as it describes the events just before the great tribulation: "Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto" (verse 21). Luke then describes the great tribulation in different words. "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written [in the Old Testament prophecies] may be fulfilled" (verse 22). (Jesus often used the expression "it is written" when quoting or paraphrasing a' passage from the Old Testament [Matt. 24:42; 25: 13; Mark 13:3337). As world events unfold, Christians (and especially the ministry-see Amos 3:7) should begin to match up the world scenario with the biblical prophecies. Jesus Christ-the Revelator of all prophecy and the living Word that inspired the whole Bible-enjoins the following very big responsibility on all Christians: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things [the end-time events mentioned in the preceding verses] that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21 :36).

Believe it or not, God is very concerned that His elect (any person or persons who will truly obey Him and help perform His Work upon the earth) not suffer with a disobedient, God-rejecting world. But the qualifications for physical escape are spiritual. Hoarding honey, soybeans and other food staples is not the right route to take. "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger," cried the prophet Zephaniah 2:3). A sermon-on-the-mount-type character is required. If you develop such Christlike character, the chances of your escaping the great tribulation are very good. God's anxiety for the physical welfare of His people is recorded by the prophet Isaiah: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past. For, behold [here is the reason for hiding], the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity..." (Isa.26:20-21). Notice that verse 21 ties right back into the Christian's prophetic responsibility: watching significant world events individually (and warning the world as a Church) as well as praying to be worthy to escape the punishments of God on this sick and dying world. Watch!

Keys To Understanding Prophetic Terminology

The major events that will make tomorrow's news headlines are already prerecorded in your Bible. Yet so few seem to understand these vital prophetic passages. To millions, that third of the Bible that is prophecy is a sealed book. Yet, never has it been more necessary to understand prophecy. Here are some keys that will help you unlock prophetic meanings.

To MOST professing Christians the writings of men like Daniel, Zechariah, Joel and John (in Revelation) are shrouded in mysterious symbolism and meaningless metaphor. So complete is this blindness that some "higher critics" have even dared to propose that such prophetic writings are merely the rantings of drug-driven hallucinations of antiquity! Prophetic Blindness Prophesied. God knew it would be this way! Notice how vividly and accurately He describes this spiritual blindness in Isaiah 29:10-12): "For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, the prophets, and covered your heads, the seers. And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, Read this, he says, I cannot, for it is sealed. And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, Read this, he says, I cannot read.' " That is, many of the learned theologians will claim that prophetic books are permanently "sealed" to understanding. Others who are lay people will claim ignorance due to a lack of such "education. " God simply has not given the understanding of prophecy to everyone! But Peter said, "WE have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto YE do well that YE take heed as unto a light that shines in a dark place" (II Peter 1:19).

The Holy Spirit must lead us into all truth (John 16:13). This includes that portion of God's Word that is prophecy! (John 17:17.) Those who do not yield to God and . submit to His way cannot hope to understand. Daniel wrote a great deal about future events. Yet he did not really understand just how his own prophecies would work out! "I heard this, but I did not understand it. So I asked, '0 my lord, what is to be the last phase before the end?' But he said, 'Ask no more, Daniel, for the revelation is to be kept secret and close, TILL THE CRISIS AT THE CLOSE' " (Daniel 12:89, Moffatt). He was speaking of the close of man's age-the time of the end! Then he said, ". . . the wise SHALL UNDERSTAND" (verse 10, KJV). In the opening verse of the book of Revelation we find these words: "The Revelation [not concealing-but revealing] of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, TO SHEW [not 'hide from'] HIS SERVANTS [not the whole world] things which must shortly [with speed-i.e., Matt. 24:34] come to pass." Prophetic meanings were not permanently sealed, rather they were to be revealed, but only to God's true servants-and that not until the end time!

You are living in that end time now!

About 90% of that prophetic third of the Bible is now well into the be-ginning stages of fulfillment! You need to understand! There are keys to assist in understanding. This article will explain some of the most important and basic ones. Prophetic Time Lapses. One of the most crucial considerations when studying prophecy must be the time factor. This has been a major stumbling block to many students of prophecy. Even learned commentators have failed to grasp the principle of prophetic time lapses. This is especially true in Isaiah, Daniel and Revelation.

An excellent example of such a time lapse may be found in Isaiah 61: 1- 3. In the first three verses we find a short prophecy concerning Christ and His commission. (Actually the complete prophecy continues to the end of the chapter, but the first three verses will suffice to illustrate the point.) Jesus Himself quoted this section from Isaiah when He had occasion to read in the synagogue in Nazareth. Notice it in Luke 4:16-20: "And he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up: and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Greek for Isaiah]. And when he had opened the book he found the place where it was written, The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. AND HE CLOSED THE BOOK. . ." Notice!

Jesus did not finish quoting the rest of Isaiah 61 :2! But why not? Simply because the first part of that prophecy concerned Christ's earthly ministry from 27-31 A.D. only! But the rest of the verse did not apply to the time of His first coming. The remainder of the prophecy starting in mid-verse-applies to Christ's second coming-the time known as "the day of the Lord" -or as Isaiah expressed it "AND the DAY OF VENGEANCE of our God. . . ." In other words, we see in one verse of Bible prophecy a prophetic time lapse of almost 2000 years between the fulfillment of the first and second parts of that one verse.

This principle is not uncommon in Isaiah's writing and in other prophetic books of the Bible. The longest single prophecy in the Bible (found in Daniel 11) covers a time period from the Medo-Persian Empire to the return of Christ in a mere 45 verses. In Revelation 12 we find a brief biography of Satan the devil from his initial rebellion many millennia in the past to the years and months just ahead in human events! And all in 17 short verses! Therefore, we see that it is very important when studying prophetic passages to get God's guidance in understanding the time element involved.

Prophetic Symbolism. But understanding the time factor alone is not enough. We must add to this a knowledge of God's use of symbolism. To grasp prophetic meanings God often uses symbols, analogies, metaphors and allegories in describing future events. It is critical to understand when such devices are being used and when a word is to be taken literally! Many have gone astray because they have failed to grasp the symbolic meaning of a word as opposed to a literal application. Bible Self-interpreting. As a case in point, notice Revelation 1 :20:

"The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. THE SEVEN STARS ARE THE ANGELS of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Here we find stars being used as a symbol for angels. In fact, the name Lucifer (the great cherub who became known as "Satan" after his rebellion) means "Shining One" or "Morning Star" (Isaiah 14:12).

Thus we find a principle of prophetic understanding. When a word is obviously used as a symbol, we must look elsewhere in the Bible for the interpretation or meaning of that symbol. The symbol for an angel is often a "star.

Other Common Symbols

God uses many symbols when describing prophetic events. In Revelation 17 we find two mysterious symbols used in portraying events which are not too far in the future. In verse 1 we read, ". . . I will shew unto you the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters." Here we must know the meaning o( "many waters" and just who this "whore" is if we are to understand the prophecy.

Verse 18 of the same chapter gives us the answer in part.


"And the woman [whore] which thou sawest IS THAT GREAT CITY, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Therefore, we understand that the woman, or whore, as GOD calls her, represents a city-centered entity which has influence over kings that, in fact, has ruled and will rule over other rulers! Verse 15 tells us what the "waters" represent. ". . . The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are PEOPLES, and multitudes, and NATIONS, and tongues." But to really understand the symbolism of the "woman" in this chapter, we need additional information.

We find that throughout the Bible the woman often is used to signify a CHURCH. The congregation of Israel was called the "church in the wilderness" according to Acts 7:38. And in describing how God brought Israel out of Egypt and made them a great nation the Bible uses the analogy of a female baby growing up to womanhood in Ezekiel 16. Notice the phraseology. ". . . Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem [representative of the whole nation of Israel] . . . thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and played the harlot. . . and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them... thou hast taken thy sons and daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me.... How weak is thine heart... seeing that thou doest . . . the work of an imperious whorish WOMAN" (Ezek.16:3, 15, 17, 20, 30). Therefore, we see the "church in the wilderness"Israel-was represented by a woman who became an adulterous wife to God. In the New Testament the true and false churches are also represented as women.

In Ephesians 5:22-32 Paul draws a parallel between the husband-wife relationship and Christ's relationship to the Church. Revelation 19 speaks of the "marriage of the Lamb" and the Church is represented as the bride of Christ. The true Church is called "Jerusalem which is above. . . which is the mother of us all" in Galatians 4:26. The principle is consistent. Bible symbolism often depicts a church as a woman. Getting back to Revelation 17, we can see, then, that the great "whore" which rules over nations and kingdoms must be a false church! It is called a "mother" in verse 5 and a "woman" in verse 6. When we understand the symbolism, then we can see that Revelation 17 is talking about a religious system, based in a great city, which exercises influence over human kingdoms and nations which speak various languages!

Verse 9 of the same chapter tells us the "woman" or church being referred to sits on seven hills or mountains. This may have a literal application and it may have a symbolic one. The Symbolic "Mountain." This brings us to another symbol often used in Bible prophecy. That of the "mountain." This term is often used to represent a kingdom or government. Jeremiah 51:24-25 provides a good illustration of this principle. Notice verse 24: "And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord. Behold I am against thee, 0 DESTROYING MOUNTAIN, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth." In a dream Daniel has a vision of terrible beasts arising out of the sea: These beast represent the four kingdoms of the statue that the vision Daniel describes and the "mountain" that will replace all these kingdoms and which will never end:

The Kingdom of God. Praise the Lord!



Here we find the term "mountain" used to describe the Babylonian kingdom. Again in Daniel 2 we find the same symbol used. Notice verse 35, last part: "... And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. " Now; if we try to understand this literally, it makes little sense! Normally, a literal mountain comes to a peak of some kind. Can you picture such an entity "filling" a round earth? Obviously, the term "mountain" is used symbolically here. Daniel has just been recounting to Nebuchadnezzar the dream he has had. The entire dream was based on symbols. Go back. and read verses 31-35 to get the whole picture.

Then God explains the terminology used in the preceding verses in verses 36-45. Note especially verse 44, which explains what the "mountain" that fills the whole earth is:
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." Now the meaning comes clear! God was showing the world's kingdoms by means of the image. The various parts of the image represent various world-ruling kingdoms, namely the Babylonian (which Nebuchadnezzar ruled over), the Medo-Persian (which followed it), The Greek and finally the Roman. Then the "stone" which grew into a "mountain" destroys the last of these kingdoms, which is the final "resurrection," or revival, of the end-time Roman Empire. Christ will return and set up His Kingdom, which will be a WORLD-RULING Kingdom that will endure forever! That is what is pictured by the "mountain" that fills the whole earth.

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In Revelation 9 we find still more mysterious symbolism. In verse 1 we again find the star symbol used for an angel. Here the "star" is personified and performs a certain duty for God. ". . . And I saw a star fall from heaven . . . and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit." The term "bottomless pit" is not a clear translation. It should more correctly be rendered "the abyssal shaft, " or "abyss," as other translators have done.

The next verses give a picture of billowing smoke emitting from the mouth of this abyss and darkening the sun. From the smoke emerge some very unusual locusts! Verses 3-10 give a full description of these bizarre creatures. They are described as having "tails like unto scorpions," a sting like a scorpion, being armor plated and having a roar like the sound of pounding battle horses! We are told that these nightmarish "locusts" are able to fly! It should be apparent that John is not describing literal locusts! Whatever he is describing seems to be controlled by men'(verse 7). Verse 11 becomes apparent that what John is seeing is modern military weaponry at its hideous worst! Today's frightening array of weaponry would give pause to the bravest man of our time, much more of John's time! And how else could the apostle describe it? There were not jet planes or rocket-launching helicopters in his days! The heart-stopping roar of hundreds of jet fighters and bombers was unknown at that time! To see men at the controls of such instruments of destruction would have been a shattering experience for any first-century fisherman!

Who in John's time could have envisioned laser beams and flame-throwing tanks? Could any have foreseen the advent of giant missiles being emitted from the bowels of a nuclear powered, under sea monster called a "submarine"? And what about the weapons John saw that we don't know of yet. Perhaps even more terrifying weapons are on the drawing boards!

Even if God had inspired John to write in modern military shoptalk, who would have understood any of it before the latter part of this modern age of space travel? John had to use the language of his day. Thus, the symbolism of great flying locusts. In verse 11 we find the motivating force behind this great military power described. "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit [abyss], whose name in Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon [Destroyer!]." This angel or demon is none other than Satan the devil-the Destroyer. He is the old serpent of Revelation 12:9, who is called the "god of this world" in II Corinthians 4:4. He is the same one who gives his power to a great end-time false prophet (II Thes. 2:7-9). He will stir up certain kings or rulers to amalgamate their military forces to become the greatest war-making machine in history! .Bible prophecy is coming alive in today's news! The world's "hot spots" are spreading and this decade promises to be one of the most traumatic in man's experience! You need to watch world events as they unfold, daily fulfilling the many intricate and specific prophecies relating to this pulsating twentieth century!

EZEKIEL'S VISION OF THE "WHEELS"

The prophet Ezekiel reported seeing an awesome "wheel within a wheel" that has served as an oft quoted precedent for unusual sightings in the heavens, such as UFO's. "The appearance of the wheels and their work was. . . as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up" (Ezek. 1:16-19, see also Ezek. 10). There is no need to make wild interpretations of these verses. Ezekiel 1:28 tells what it was that Ezekiel saw: "THIS WAS the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord"! What Ezekiel saw has often been described as a vision of a "portable throne" of God complete with representatives of the angelic host. There is no biblical reason to believe otherwise.

What is the end of the world?

MAKE NO mistake about it.

THIS IS THE END TIME!

But the world itself (the physical globe) is NOT going to end. Not soon-not ever! This planet has a permanent and vital place in the universe! Nor will mankind bring about his own extinction-almost, but not quite! There will be a world tomorrow! And it will be a UTOPIA of peace and plenty. Such a world is just around the corner. You can bank on it! But it will not be brought about by man's efforts1 It will be introduced in spite of him! Let's understand.

What, then, Does "End of the World" Mean? The expression "end of the world" needs detailed defining. Granted the Bible does use the term. Let's examine one such instance in Matthew 24:3: "... The disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us... what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the END OF THE WORLD?" Notice the phrase "the end of the world" is related to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. Does this mean Christ will return only to destroy this earth and blast to oblivion the planet He Himself created? Not at all! The word "world" in this verse comes from a Greek word, aion, which does not signify the physical globe we call the "world." It means "age" and has been so rendered by a number of translators. The return of Jesus Christ signifies the conclusion of this age and the commencement of another-a millennial age-upon this earth.

Beginning at His arrival, Christ will subdue all earthly kingdoms and assume the reigns of world government (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 11: 15). This will signal the opening of a thousand-year period known prophetically as the millennium. It will be a time of constantly increasing peace, prosperity and plenty. It will be a period of the rebuilding of this ravaged earth. Great ecological restorations will be enacted and after a while even some old cities of this present age will be rebult (Acts 3:20-21; Isa.61:4). Of course, this rebuilding will be done in an orderly and sensible manner. There will be no urban sprawl or slums in the cities of tomorrow. It will be God's world. And God is not the author of confusion! (I Cor. 14:33, 40.)

Today's cities are disorganized, confused botches on the face of the scarred and polluted landscape. Tomorrow's cities will be orderly and free of pollution. The End of This Age, Before Christ's millennial rule begins, however, man's allotted 6000-year age will come to a tumultuous climax!

Many prophecies will be fulfilled in a relatively brief period of time. In the Bible this mind-shattering climactic period is known as- "the time of the end." The Apostle Paul in describing this period said, "In the last days the time will be full of danger. . ." (II Tim. 3:I, Phillips translation).

Conditions on this earth will be so dangerous that ALL LIFE, human or otherwise, will be threatened with EXTINCTION! Only the intervention of the returning Christ will prevent global catastrophe. Notice, once again, how Jesus Himself described this now soon-coming period in Matthew 24:22, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive] . . . ." Christ will have to step in and save man from himself! Brink of Cosmocide In recent decades man's technological knowledge has rapidly increased at a staggering rate. But so have man's troubles.

Why?

Because man does not have the wisdom to rightly use the technology at his disposal.

For example, every new weapon that has been invented has eventually been utilized. Now man has the hydrogen bomb stockpiled in overkill proportions! And yet newer and more bizarre weapons of mass destruction are on the drawing boards. The military potential of orbiting satellites is inconceivable. Laser beams and bacteriological agents are weapons too horrifying for the average person to consider.

But the solution to war and international struggles and conflicts is not a change of weaponry to more lethal and devastating munitions. Nor is it the ever-growing stockpiling of existing weapons of mass destruction. It is a change of heart on the part of mankind in general.

MAN MUST DEVELOP THE WISDOM TO AVOID WAR-NOT THE WEAPONRY TO WAGE IT




As wise old King Solomon said centuries ago, "Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but [weapons in the hands of?] one sinner destroyeth much good" (Eccl. 9:18).

When Will Christ Return? This has been the question of the ages!

Great theologians have pondered this question. Wild-eyed religionists have cried "WOW' too many times. The public is skeptical about the whole subject. God, of course, prophetically anticipated this attitude. Notice the words of Peter, "... There shall come in the last days scoffers. . . saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation"

(II Peter 3:3-4). For centuries a wily and crafty adversary of God (Satan the devil) has sent his false prophets to delude man into expecting the imminent return of the Messiah. Always there has been a letdown. Christ did not show up when these misguided self appointed "prophets" said He would. Consequently, people have become doubtful that Christ really will ever return.

This is exactly what the devil has desired! Because when God's true servants stand up to announce the immanency of Christ's return, a "once bitten, twice shy" public will not believe it! They've been "had" too many times! But whom can you believe? Before you accept the words of any alleged servant of God, ". . . believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because MANY FALSE PROPHETS ARE GONE OUT INTO THE WORLD" (I John 4:1).

God dogmatically states whenever He does a major act He will inform His servants beforehand (Amos 3:7). God's Word, the Bible, tells how to recognize the conditions that will precede Christ's second coming. When the disciples asked what the sign of Christ's coming would be, He gave them a number of such signs! They are listed in the 24th chapter of the book of Matthew. He listed an ever- skyrocketing curve of wars and rumors of wars., famines, disease epidemics, coexisting with a dramatic increase in religious fervor which would culminate in the arrival on the world scene of one great false religious leader of enormous influence and power.

Read it for yourself in Matthew 24:3-15 and II Thessalonians 2:3-9. Accompanying this would be persistent rumors that Christ's return has already taken place (II Thes. 2:1-2). Notice also Matthew 24:23-24. Do not be deceived! God's Word plainly says, "Watch therefore, FOR YE KNOW NEITHER THE DAY NOR THE HOUR WHEREIN THE SON OF MAN COMETH" (Matt. 25:13).

This Work has never set an exact date for the return of Christ! After all, who are we to dictate to Christ when He must arrive on this earth? Though we cannot know at this time the precise day of the return of the Messiah, we can know the approximate time in history-"THE TIME OF THE END." We can watch the news of the world fulfill the specific and meticulous end-time prophecies of God's Word. When we see these prophecies being fulfilled (which they are!), we can also recognize that they are the signs of Christ's arrival. As John the Baptist prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus, this Work is preparing the way for His second arrival! (Mal. 4:5-6.)

What Prophecy Means to You!

Jesus Christ commissioned His Church to preach and publish the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all the world as a WITNESS (Matt.28:18-20; Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10). The Gospel is prophetic! It has to do with present-day world news, and the FUTURE of this whole earth! The whole meaning of the Gospel is PROPHETIC. Jesus Christ said: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass [that are prophesied-that are to happen in the FUTURE], and to stand before the Son of man"!

(Luke 21 :36.) And Bible prophecy is really coming alive! The world's "hot spots" are spreading and the coming years promise to be some of the most traumatic in man's experience!

You need to watch world events as they unfold, daily fulfilling the many intricate and specific prophecies relating to this pulsating twentieth century! Yes, you need to come to UNDERSTAND prophecy! Only by understanding the prophecies of the Bible can you intelligently watch-and Jesus meant watch world news. When you KNOW, in advance, what is GOING to happen-then you can be a real watchman of Almighty God! Spiritual Qualifications Necessary Too. But, realize there is also a spiritual ingredient involved in intelligently watching world news and correctly understanding biblical prophecy.

Let's understand what it is.

God told Daniel the words which he had received were closed and sealed-but only UNTIL a certain time. Read it! "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed TILL the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND" (Dan. 12:9-10). Who are the "wise"? God says, "The fear of the Eternal is the BEGINNING of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10).

Wisdom comes from God! "For the Eternal giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding"

(Prov. 2:6). The way to get wisdom-to come to understand the Bible prophecies-is to FEAR (be in awe of) Almighty God! Today people say, "Well, I know the Bible says that-but here's the way I look at it!" People do not seem to really fear to misapply, to misinterpret, wrest, distort and twist the sacred word of God! People do not really RESPECT the divinely inspired words of Almighty God!

That's why many people don't understand the Bible! You can come to understand the Bible, and biblical prophecy, ONLY when you begin to really FEAR and RESPECT what the Bible says! (Isa. 66:1-2)

It is only when one has been truly converted, has come to fear God, to OBEY God, has REPENTED, and received God's Holy Spirit, that true understanding of the prophecies of God can come. SO, STUDY YOUR BIBLE, PRAY for God to give you an obedient, humble, submissive mind. Giving you more and more a deep, respectful AWE of the Word of God! You can't afford NOT to. Your very life-your FUTURE is at stake! This is the End Time! Yes. But no "Doomsday"-and no end of the world either. It will NEVER occur. This world (physical globe) and the race of man that inhabits it both have a brilliant, glowing future! But only because a loving and compassionate Creator is waiting in the wings to save man. Soon!

WILL THE EARTH BE DESTROYED? II PETER 3: 10

Many wonder about II Peter 3: 10. Didn't Peter say this globe would be destroyed? Was Peter really talking about the total destruction of the earth? Notice what the context tells us: "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (II Pet. 3:7).

This fire is the Judgment of ungodly men. This is the Lake of Gehenna Fire which is the second death (Rev. 20: 14), the unquenchable fire that will burn up the unrepentant (Matt. 3: 12). Peter goes on to describe the effects of this unquenchable fire: "In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Pet. 3: 10). An unquenchable fire is one that cannot be put out. It merely burns until it has consumed all combustible material. Then it dies out for lack of anything else to consume. Everything will be burned up except for spirit beings who are not affected by physical fires.

He used the example of Noah's Flood as a type of the future cleansing of the earth by fire. "Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished" (II Pet. 3:6).

Just as the earth continued to exist after the Flood, so it will continue to exist after the coming worldwide Gehenna Fire. Continuing with the context of II Peter 3 we find in verse 13 that: "We. . . look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." In Revelation the new heaven and new earth are mentioned immediately after the account of the Lake of Fire. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away [by fire]; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. . . the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them [on the earth]" (Rev. 21:1-3).

The earth will still exist (Eccl. 1:4). The simple explanation of II Peter 3: 10 is that the surface of the earth and everything on it, including the incorrigible wicked, will be destroyed by fire. God will then remake the surface of the earth for a habitation for Himself and the rest of the God Kingdom (Rev. 21, 22).

THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS. . .

MEN HAVE been speculating on . the return of Jesus Christ for millennia. There were those in the latter part of Paul's day who thought the return of Christ was imminent. The apostle to the Gentiles had to warn the Church in his day not to be deceived by unfounded and unreliable information concerning the return of the Messiah. "And now, brothers, about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and his gathering of us to himself: I beg you, do not suddenly lose your heads or alarm yourselves, whether at some oracular utterance, or pronouncement, or some letter purporting to come from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way whatever" (II Thes.il-3, The New English Bible).

Christ WILL Return. But there is no doubt that the Messiah will return to this earth to set up the everlasting Kingdom of God! The Bible is filled with prophecies describing the second coming of Jesus Christ. Why? Because the heart and core of the New Testament message concerns HIS RETURN to this earth to set up a ruling, governing kingdom. The very first message that ever came back from heaven - after Christ began to ascend to God's heaven-was that He was going to return to this earth.

In Acts 1: 11, Christ's disciples were told: "Men of Galilee, why stand there looking up into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken away from you up to heaven, will come in the same way you have seen him go" (The New English Bible).

This scripture alone is conclusive proof of Christ's second coming to this earth. But, read just one more, this time in the King James version. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28). So the question is not whether He will return, but WHEN!

Human speculation on this has come to nothing. The truth must be revealed. Those sections of God's Word, the Bible, which reveal future events are known as prophecies. Only those who have been given special wisdom and insight by God are able to comprehend the meaning of prophecies and rightly use them.

" . . . None of the wicked [those not living in God's right way of life] shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12: 10). Peter, referring to the Church, said, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed. . . "(II Peter 1: 19). It is through this "sure word of prophecy" that we can understand the truth about the return of Jesus Christ. And the Bible reveals that Jesus Christ is likely to return to set up His world-ruling kingdom in your lifetime and mine. (That is, barring any unforeseen termination of your life or mine.) Christ's return will likely occur in this very generation. It is entirely possible that YOU, as an individual, will live to witness this great event! Jesus Christ personally stated, "Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt.24:34 ).

Moffatt has it: "I tell you truly, the present generation will not pass away, till all this happens." Phillips translates: "Believe me, this generation will not disappear till all this has taken place." Which Generation? But how can we know Jesus is talking about OUR GENERATION TODAY? How can we be sure He wasn't talking about the generation of His day? Let's get our bearings. Matthew 24 records what is commonly called the "Olivet Prophecy." It is so named because it was on the Mount of Olives that the disciples of Christ came to Him and asked about the prophecies concerning His second coming and of the end of the world [age-verse The whole prophecy is about the time of the end.

In answering the question about the end of the world, Jesus foretold a series of events that would intensify just before His return. He told about false prophets in this end time (verse 5). He talked about war and rumors of war, about world war (verse 6). He foretold famines, pestilences and earthquakes in different places (verse 7).

(Most have been occurring for 2,000 years, but the intensity will increase.) Then Christ explained that this Gospel of the Kingdom would be "preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END come" (verse 14). He foretold great tribulation and heavenly signs just before His return.

Then to make it abundantly clear what He was talking about, Jesus gave a parable of the fig tree. He said, "... When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (verses 32-33). Christ showed that when these great earth-shaking events began to happen the time of the end of the age was at hand. Today, these events are beginning to really intensify and come to a head.

We're in the time when God must intervene, or there will be no flesh saved alive. Jesus was talking about our day today. He said true Christians would know when He is about to intervene in world affairs by world conditions. And He said, "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation [during which you see "these things" occur] shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled"

(Luke 21:31-32). Other translators confirm this King James rendering. See Phillips, Moffatt, and The New English Bible. We have the SURE word of prophecy and it says all these things must come to pass first, and they haven't all come to pass yet. On the other hand, that same "sure word of prophecy" says the generation which sees "all these things" occur will not pass until Christ returns.

Here is Wisdom.......

God foretells the future

. God declares the "end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (lsa. 46: 10).

God has power over the nations

. God brings the counsel of nations to nothing, but His counsel stands for ever (Ps. 33:10-11).

. Why do the nations plot in vain? They counsel against God and His Messiah, saying, "Let us break their bands asunder." God laughs. He holds them in derision. (Ps. 2: 1-4).

. The nations are like a drop in a bucket. God counts them as less than worthless. He brings princes to nothing and strengthens those with­ out might. (Isa. 40: 15-29).

Principles of understanding prophecy

. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wis­dom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments" (Ps. 111: 10).

. Daniel's prophecy was closed up till the time of the end. The wicked will not understand, but the wise will understand (Dan. 12:9-10).

. God has revealed His wisdom to us through His Spirit, which searches the deep things of God. No one knows the things Of God except the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:7-11).

. "We know in part, and we prophesy in part." We see through a glass darkly (I Cor. 13:9.12).

. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

. He gives us the spirit of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7).

God's Church is unified in prophetic understanding

. We should not lean on our own understanding, nor be wise in our own eyes (Prov. 3:5, 7).

. God "will do nothing, but he revealeth h.is secret unto his servants" (Amos 3:7).

. "How can I [understand], except some man should guide me?" (Acts 8:31).

. We should speak the same thing, have no divi­sions among us, be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment (I Cor. 1: 10).

. We should remember those who rule over us, and follow the faith of those who speak the Word of God to us. We shouldn't be carried about with various and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:7,9).

. "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Pet. 1 :20).

Praise the Lord!

FAITH

One of the foundational doctrines of the Church Hebrews 6:1.

Faith Is necessary for salvation

We are justified by faith (Rom. 3:28, 5: 1, Gal. 2:16).

Righteousness comes by faith (Rom. 4:20-24, Gal. 5:5, Phil. 3:9).

Grace comes through faith (Rom. 5:2).

The promise of the Spirit comes through faith (Gal. 3:14, 22).

We are sons of God through faith (Gal. 3:26).

Salvation comes through faith (Eph. 2:8, II Tim. 3:15, I Peter 1:5).

Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).

Faith In what?

In Jesus' authority (Matt. 8:8-10).

In Christ (Acts 3: 16, 24:24, I Tim. 3: 13, II Tim. 1:13,3:15).

In God and His power (I Cor. 2:5, Col. 2: 12, I Peter 1:21).

Toward God (I Thess. 1:8, Heb. 6:1).

Source of faith

Through Christ (Acts 3: 16, Eph. 3: 12, Phil. 3:9, Heb. 12:2, Rev. 14:12).

By hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10: 17).

God gives faith (I Cor. 12:9).

Faith alone Is not enough

Faith does not abolish law (Rom. 3:31).

Faith must be with love (I Cor. 13:2).

Faith without works cannot save (James 2: 14 - ­24).

We should live by faith

The just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1: 17, II Cor. 5:7, Gal. 2:20, 3: 11, Heb. 10:38).

. We are commanded to have faith. (Mark 11:22, Rom. 14:23, Eph. 6:16, Phil. 1:27, I Thess. 5:8, I Tim. 6: 11-12, II Tim. 2:22, Jude 3).

Examples of faith II Chron. 20:4-22, Dan. 3: 16-28, Matt. 9:20-22, 14:25-31, 15:22-28, Luke 17:12-19, Acts 11:22­24,14:8-10, Rom. 1:8,4:18-21, Heb. 11.

REPENTANCE

To repent is to change from living our ways to God's way. Repentance comes when we see our sins, are deeply remorseful, stop sinning, resolve to obey God and, with His help, obey Him. Some see no need for repentance because they feel they have not sinned. Others think all one must do is believe or accept the truth aca­demically. Others confuse real repentance with temporary sorrow.

We are commanded to repent

"Repent ye, and believe the gospel" ( Mark 1:15). "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).

Repentance must be granted by God

"The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Rom. 2:4).

"Then hath God also to the Gen­tiles granted repentance unto life" (Acts 11 : 18).

The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

Sorrow that produces true repentance is far different than mere worldly sorrow

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (II Cor. 7:10).

Salvation requires obedience to God.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).

Repentance pierces deep into the heart and embodies an unconditional surrender from liv­ing one's own way to living God's way

It requires putting Christ above all else (Luke 14:26-33),

and hence in a symbolic sense sac­rificing your life (Rom. 12:1-2).

We cannot obey God without His help

"0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23).

Spiritual growth is a process and doesn't hap­pen all at once

"The Lord is not slack con­cerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Pet. 3:9).

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Pet. 3:18)

Repentance is often accompanied by deep emotion (Ps. 51).

Here are seven vital keys to answered prayer:

Seek God's will, not your own (Rom. 12:2).

This leads to answered prayers (Jas. 4:3).

You must put God's will ahead of your own (Matt. 26:39).

Believe God's promises; have faith that He can accomplish them (Rom. 4:20-21).

Without this faith you will receive nothing from God (Jas. 1:5-7).

If you permit yourself to have prolonged feelings of worry, anxiety or doubt, you are practicing the exact opposite of faith.

Be fervent (Jas. 5: 16).

In Greek, the words for "fervent" mean "without ceasing" or "with in­tensity or emotion." Make sure fervency is from the heart (Hos. 7:14)

and not feigned or insin­cere. Don't just temporarily work yourself up into an emotional frenzy. Follow through with determined, intentional action. Ask God to help you be consistently zealous and fervent

Humble yourself before God

Dwell on His great­ness

Recognize your insignificance in compari­son to Him; don't be proud and puffed up. See your faults and shortcomings (Luke 18:9-14).

Realize that God resists the proud but helps the humble (I Pet. 5:5-6).

Be persistent

Follow the example of the widow and the gentile woman-they both received answers because they kept asking (Luke 18: 1­8, Matt. 15:21-28).

Realize that God may be building your patience by delaying His interven­tion (Jas. 1 :3)

Also, realize that you may not be receiving answers simply because you aren't asking for them (Jas. 4:2).

Obey God

This is an absolute requirement for receiving answers to prayer (I John 3:22).

God cuts off those who disobey (I Pet. 3: 12, Isa. 59:2).

But He enjoys listening to the righteous (Prov. 15:8).

Pray to God the Father, but ask in Christ's authority (John 14: 13-14, 16:23-24)

This means to ask on the authority Christ has because He died for us and serves as our High Priest (Rom. 14:9, Heb. 4:14-16).

He lived as a human in the flesh and knows exactly what it's like to be tempted like we are. Because of this, Christ is willing to intervene on our behalf

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GOD DID NOT CREATE AN OPPONENT

God Created Lucifer for a Very High Position in Heaven Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardus, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workman­ship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created."

Was Near God's Throne

"You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones."

Was Created Perfect

"You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you."

God Casts Out Sin "By. . . your trading you be­came filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, 0 covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones." . Ezekiel 28:12b-16

WHAT INSTIGATED LUCIFER'S SIN?

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18

"'Your heart was lifted up be­cause of your beauty; you cor­rupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you." Ezekiel 28:17

The Rebel's Fate

"Y ou defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniq­uities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shal be no more forever. Ezekiel 28:18, 19

Any Creature Is to Be Subject to the Creator

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pas­ture Psalm 100:2, 3

LUCIFER'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

His Will Against God's Will "How you are fallen from heav­en, 0 Lucifer, son of the morn­ing! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the tars of God I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the ,Most High.' "

Works Destruction on Earth "Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and' destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?' " He Is an Abomination to God "All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; but you are cast out of your grave like an abom­inable branch, like the garment of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit.." Isaiah 14:12-19a

BEING INDEPENDENT OF GOD IS FATAL

In Lucifer First See Lucifer's five "I wills" in Isaiah 14:13-14,

And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." Luke 10:18

In Angels that Follow Satan God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment. 2 Peter 2:4b

In People Satan Can Deceive

Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride befall into the same condemnation as the devil. 1 Timothy 3:6

For by whom a person is over­come, by him also he is brought into bondage. 2 Peter 2:19b

"For false christs and false prophets will arise and. show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24

Heaven Must Have One Will, Only God's Perfect Will

And do not be conformed to this world, but be, transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

(Hell will have millions of wills hating each other forever.)

GOD'S RIGHT TO ALL WORSHIP

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bond­age. You shall have no other gods before Me." Deuteronomy 5:6, 7

Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! 1 Chronicles 16:29

"Worship Him who made heav­en and earth, the sea and springs of water." Revelation 14:7b

Then Jesus said to him, " Away with you, Satan! For it is written", You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. Matthew 4:10

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fel­low servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! Revelation 19:10a

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Genesis 1:2, Psalm 95:6

The Deceived Worship the Rebel

All the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon. who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast. Revelation 13:3b, 4a

DO NOT WORSHIP GOD'S OPPONENTS!

Satan and Demons Crave Worship

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." - Matthew 4:8, 9

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.-Revelation 9:20

God Destroys Such Worshipers

And a foul and loathsome sore come upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped .his image. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Ha­des were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. -Revelation 16:2b; 20:13b, 14 I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images. - Isaiah 42:8

CHRIST'S ANGELS AND SATAN'S ANGELS

The Lord's Angels Are Stronger Than Satan's Fallen Angels

Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. -Psalm 103:20

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the i dragon; . and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail. Revelation 12:7, 8a

God's Holy Angels Minister to and Protect the Lord's People

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? -Hebrews 1:14

For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. - Psalm 91:11, 12

Fallen Angels (demons)

Are Determined to Take Man- to Hell

" . . . and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself. . . . -Luke 11:26b

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will de­part from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. -1 Timothy 4:1

Who And What Satan Especially Hates

Man, Created in God's Image

And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and con­vulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father. - Luke 9:42

Families-God's Blessing "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."-Genesis 12:3

Christ (God in the Flesh), with Salvation -in His Very Person and Divine Blood

Then Herod... was exceeding­ly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. -Matthew 2:16

God's Word-Satan Contradicts It

"Has God indeed said...?" And the serpent said to the wom­an, " You will not surely die." -Genesis3:1b,4 Spirit-Born Believers Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.-1 Peter 5:8b

Satan, The Imitator

Imitates Mark of Ownership

And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads -Revelation 22:3, 4

Perverts the Gospel with Lies

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. -Galatians 1:6, 7

Imitates God's Ministers

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transform­ing themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. -2 Corinthians 11:13, 14

Imitates God's Miracles with Lying Wonders

(2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13, 14; 19:20)

Just as Christ takes dominion when one truly worships Him, Satan takes dominion when people worship him or his gods.

0 LORD our God, other masters besides Yon have had dominion over us. -Isaiah 26:13a

Keep Yourselves From Idols­

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. -1 John 5:21

" You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them." - Exodus 20:3-5a

Other gods are an abomination to God.

Human Sacrifices Forbidden

"You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served­ their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to fol­low them, after they are de­stroyed from before you. You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomi­nation to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods." -Deuteronomy 12:2 and 30a, 31

Shall I give. . . the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? - Micah 6:7b

Christ's blood washes away sin.

Idol Worship

The Folly of Idol Worship

Who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blesed for­ever. Amen.- Romans 1:25

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them -Psalm 115:3-8

Idol Worship Is Devil Worship

Flee from idolatry. But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with de­mons. -1 Corinthians 10:14b and 20

The Punishment for Idol Worship

"Idolaters. . . shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." -Revelation 21:8b

Idol (Devil) Worship Abhorred By God

You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visit­ing the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.-Exodus. 20:5

God Destroyed Nations for Their Idols-No Idols in Your House! "N0 one shall be able to stand against you until you have de­stroyed them. You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LoRD your God. Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to de­struction like-.it." -Deuteronomy 7:24b-26a

Why were so many in God's chosen nation demon-possessed during Christ's ministry?

Their forefathers worshiped devils! They served their idols, which became a snare to them, they even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance. -Psalm 106:36, 37 and 40

You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visit­ing the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.-Exodus. 20:5

All Witchcraft Is Sin

"You shall not permit a sorcer­ess to live." -Exodus 22:18

"Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them."-Leviticus 19:31a

I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no soothsayers.- Micah 5:12

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king." -1 Samuel 15:23

"When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giv­ing you, you shall not learn to fol­low the abominations of those na­tions. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcer­er, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you." -Deuteronomy 18:9-12

Necromancy: The art of predicting fu­ture events by conjuring up the spirits of the dead; black magic.

Fortelling the Future by aid of Devils

God Forbids Astrology, Sorcery, Cuttings and Marks on Flesh

"You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you prac­tice divination or soothsaying.,

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tat­too any marks on you: I am the LORD." -Leviticus 19:26 and 28 "Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers." -Jeremiah 27:9a

"I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulter­ers, against perjurers." - Malachi 3:5b

For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell, false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd. -Zechariah 10:2

Trust the True Shepherd Jesus said "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." John 14:1

Divination: Foretelling the future or unknown by false systems. Sorcery: Magic performed with the aid of evil spirits.

Renounce all Methods of Divination

Divining by Familiar Spirits

And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mut­ter," should not a people seek their God? -Isaiah 8:19a Using Body Organs, Images "For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks at the liver." -Ezekie121:21 , '

.

Divining by Rods

My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God. -Hosea 4:12

Punishment for Divination

So Saul died for his unfaithfulness, which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord.-1 Chronicles 10:13, 14a

"So the seers shall be ashamed, and the diviners abashed... for there is no answer from God." - Micah 3:7

Ways The Prince of this World Works

The Heathen Follow Astrology

Thus says the LORD: "Do not learn the way of t e Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dis­mayed at them." -Jeremiah 10:2

Do not trust in letters or objects for "luck," nor yield yourself to devilish music or evil pictures. "I will set nothing wicked before my eyes" (Psalm 101 :3.)

Forsake pride, hypocrisy, and dead religions.

"W oe to you, . . . hypocrites! . . . which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but. inside are full . . . of all uncleanness. Even

so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and law­lessness." -Matthew 23:27, 28

Suicide Is From the Devil

Do not believe lies from Satan or demons that killing yourself brings freedom from problems or guilt! "You shall not murder. -Exodus 20:1

Only Christ Frees From Guilt

The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation: He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and, I will exalt Him. -Exodus 15:2

Beware of Satan's Messages

Through False Prophets

And the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, com­manded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worth­less thing, and the deceit of their heart." . -Jeremiah 14: 14

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possi­ble, even the elect." - Mark 13:22

Through Talking with the Dead

Under inspiration of God, King David said of his son, "But now he is dead. . . he shall not return to me." -2 Samuel 12:23

Do not talk with evil spirits, except to command them in Christ's Name to leave. Put no trust in palm reading, oui­ja boards, charms, magic. "Deliverance . . is of the LORD" (Proverbs 21 :31 b.)

Destroy Idols, Satan's Books

Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they count­ed up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. -Acts 19:19,20 (Read Genesis 35:2-5 )

Christ Created Sex, Satan Perverts It

Sex Created for Marriage Only

Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. -Genesis 2:22 and 24

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but for­nicators and adulterers God will judge. -Hebrews 13:4

For this you know, that no for­nicator, unclean person, nor cov­etous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God., - Ephesians 5:5

N ow to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she do s depart, let her remain unmarried or be recon­ciled to her husband. And a hus­band is not to divorce his wife. -1 Corinthians 7:10, 11 (See Romans 7:2; Mark 10:9.)

Satan Is Behind Disobedience

He who sins is of the devil,'for the devil has sinned 'from the be­ginning.-1 John 3:8a

You Belong to the One You Obey

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey? -Romans 6:16a

Fornication and Adultery are Rebellion Against God

You shall not commit adult­ery." -Exodus 20:14

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should ab­stain from sexual immorality. -1 Thessalonians 4:3

"The man who commits adult­ery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death." --Leviticus 20:10

The Sin Against, Your Body

Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Do you not know that' your bodies are mem­bers of Christ? Flee sexual im­morality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.-1 Corinthians 6:13b, 15a and 18

Parents to Shield From Sex Sin

Do not prostitute your daugh­ter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wick­edness. -Leviticus 19:29

Fornication: Sexual relations on the part of any unmarried person.

Adultery: Sexual relations with other than marriage partner after-marriage.

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update to Page: 20 of 48 of the Cosmos

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Greetings! and welcome into the Body of Jesus Christ!

I Corinthians 12:26 tells us that the honoring of one member of God's Church is a time of REJOICING for all. And. so we are filled with gladness over the news of your recent repen­tance, baptism, and receiving of the priceless gift of God's Holy. Spirit!

This joy--which extends even to the angels. I believe this letter, will be helpful and encouraging to you in the new life which you have now entered:

GREETINGS! newly baptized brethren in Christ Jesus: There is joy and rejoicing among the angels in heaven over your repentance and having been begotten to a lively hope as a child of God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

­

And there is new joy in the hearts of ALL our true brethren and co-workers in Christ over your recent conversion from the desires and will of the flesh and the ways and customs of the world, to the Government of God in your life now, that you may have reward in His Kingdom at the coming of Christ, in the world tomorrow!

You have entered upon a new life--a life of great happiness and joy--a life to continue FOREVER--yet, in this present evil world it will not be an easy 1 i f e .

As a matter of fact, you have left behind the "easy way"--the popular, broad road that leads to destruction. You have passed the crossroads and turned off onto the narrow, rutty, bumpy, rocky and HARD and DIFFICULT road that very few people in this world ever are willing to enter--but that leads to SUCCESS; to USEFULNESS, to HAPPINESS, JOY and ETERNAL LIFE.

It leads to rewards--not of idleness and ease, but to usefulness and service and accomplishment and suc­cess--so great that I know your mind can't possibly grasp it, now, BUT YOU'LL HAVE TO PAY THE PRICE!

It won't come easy! All your temptations, trials, persecutions and hardships will come from other people--or from the devil--or from the consequences of sin, which means violations of God's laws and ways. You must remember you still have to live IN a world organized arid living in disregard of God's laws--a world governed by the sway of Satan, and according to the impulses of pride and vanity, the lusts of the flesh and the greed and tempers of human nature. '

If you were still OF this world, the world would love its own. But because you have renounced this world and its ways, and are no longer OF it, the world will hate you, persecute you, turn against you, even as it hated and persecuted your Savior before you. "My PEACE I give unto you. . . that my JOY might remain in you, and that your life might be full," said

Jesus (John 14:27, 15:11). "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have PEACE. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

You will meet many afflictions--trials, tests, troubles-- even more than before. But, if you trust in Him, the Eternal will deliver you out of them ALL (ps. 34:19);

ALL who will live godly in Jesus Christ shall suffer persecution (II Tim. 3:12).

But WHY? Because God has called you to surrender your life to HIM--to GIVE your life into HIS HANDS-­that He may transform you into a perfect, holy, righteous CHARACTER. God is CREATOR!

And CHARACTER means SELF-DIRECTION, WITH GOD'S HELP, INTO GOD'S WAY OF LIFE. You'll find it is a new and different way of life from the way you have lived up to now. It means SELF-DENIAL! It means SELF-DISCIPLINE! It means resisting all that is evil or wrong in your nature. It means breaking wrong habits--rooting them out of your life--and instilling into your life NEW habits--and making these newer right ways fixed HABIT.

­This is not easy. DETERMINATION.

It takes WILLPOWER.

It requires

Besides all this, God will permit trials and tests to come upon you--severe problems. He will permit CIRCUMSTANCES to drive you to HIM for HELP--for

deliverance! You may soon think no one in the world is troubled like you are. You will begin to wonder why you have greater trouble to face than anyone else on earth-- not realizing that all other real Christians are going through the same tests!

Perhaps closest relatives will turn against you, probably because of the Word of God--the TRUTH you have embraced and started to live.

But, if you learn the lesson of FAITH--and if you have PATIENCE--you may KNOW that you will be delivered out of every trouble that comes up. God has PROMISED to deliver you from every trial--if you obey and trust Him.

You see, you are now His very own child--actually begotten of Him just as much as you were begotten of your human father.

God gave you the precious gift of His Holy Spirit-­placed His Spirit within you to renew your mind, give you a sounder, more understanding mind, fill you with His love, faith, patience, power, goodness--His own character.

In short, you became an actual begotten SON--or daughter --of GOD. Not merely a creature or being He created--but His very own child, actually begotten of Him by His seed, so to speak--His SPIRIT, entering within you.

He is now your FATHER! Not figuratively, but actually--REALLY! Now you can go to Him just as any child can go to his father, for counsel and advice, for wisdom, for direction, for HELP in any time of need.

Would a good human father deny his own child any good thing the child might really need? Neither will your heavenly Father deny you anything that is really for your good.

If a human father heard the screams of his child, ran and found his child imprisoned in a burning building, would he break inside and rescue his child from danger? Your heavenly Father has given you His written PROMISE to deliver you from every danger, trouble or trial--if you call on Him, obey Him and RELY on Him!­

Since you are now a real begotten child of God-­now one of the FAMILY of God, which is His true Church--you are one of His heirs. Angels are not sons, but servants. And a servant is not an heir like a son. You are now a coheir with Christ, to inherit, with Him, ALL THINGS--eternal life, this earth as an everlasting possession, eternal happi­ness and joy! .

Think of what that means!

But we are now only heirs--only begotten sons. And just as it was'necessary for us to grow physically from the time we were begotten in our mothers' wombs until we developed ready to be born, finally sepa­rated from the dependence on the mother for nourish­ment and sustenance, and coming into individual and separate existence, so the begotten spiritual infant must grow and develop spiritually, being fed the spiritual food, the Word of God, by the mother of us all, the true Church, until, at the coming of Christ, we shall be CHANGED, finally BORN of God, to have eternal life inherent in ourselves, and to be actual INHERITORS and POSSESSORS of the wonderful Kingdom of God!

In order to GROW in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord (II Pet. 3:l8)--in order to develop spiritually and overcome, and have perfected in you the CHARACTER of God ready to be fully BORN of God--you must do two things daily without fail!

You must not only read, but eagerly, earnestly STUDY the Word of God to learn how to live--you must live according to God's teachings in His Bible--you must make it your guide for everything you do. In this way, God talks to you! But you must also talk to Him! You must go to a private place, alone with God, and have long talks with Him--yes, EVERY DAY! Unburden your heart to Him. Take all your problems, your interests, your plans, your troubles to Him. Talk over everything

with Him, continually. Then, even when going about your work--when walking down the street--when driving your car, or wherever you are or whatever you do, talk with God as you work, or as you drive or walk along. Go to a private place, and kneel in prayer (on both knees) as often as you can, and at least once every day. But talk with God often in between.

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Keep close to Him. You can't afford to be without the SECURITY of His constant guidance and protection. Please pray for me and this most important Work of preaching the Gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God. There is much work still to be done before the return of Jesus Christ, which is just ahead of us now!

God bless you and your family.

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FAITH God Is Love

. God is love (I John 4:8

. His love for us is detailed in Psalm, 103. He is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1 :3).

. His love "passes knowledge" (Eph. 3: 19).

. God laid down his life for humans (John 15: 13, I John 3: 16). We love others by laying down our lives for them.

. God loves us so much that he makes, us his children (I John 3: 1).

. Christ is not ashamed to be our elder brother (Heb. 2: 11).

. Christ calls us his friends (John 15: 14).

. He will do more for us than we can imagine (Eph. 3:20).

. Christ's love for us is as a man should love his wife (Eph. 5:25).

. We are a special people to God (I Pet. 2:9).

. God loved us so much that he suffered for us and died for us (John 3: 16, Gal. 2:20).

He wants to save us, not condemn us. (John 3: 17).

. Even when God corrects us it is in love . (Heb.12:6, Rev. 3: 19).

The correction is for our own good that we may grow in character (Heb. 12: 10).

. Christ understands everything we go through (Heb. 4: 15).

Whom does God love?

. God loved us even when we were "dead in trespasses" (Eph. 2:4-5).

. His love for us is according to his mercy, not our righteousness (Titus 3:4-5).

. God loves those who obey him. (John 14:21).

. . The Father loves those who love Christ (John 16:27).

. The Father loves us as he loves Christ (John 17:23).

. Christ loves the Church (Eph. 5:25, Rev. 3:9).

. Christ loved his disciples even in the final hours before the excruciating pain of crucifixion (John 13: 1).

. Christ will never forsake us: "I am with you always" (Matt. 28:20).

. Unlike all other forms of love, nothing can sep­arate us from God's love (Rom. 8:35-39).

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God Foretells the Future

. God declares the "end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (Isa. 46: 1 O) . .

God has power over the nations

. God brings the counsel of nations to nothing, but His counsel stands for ever (Ps. 33: 10-11).

. Why do the nations plot in vain? They counsel against God and His Messiah, saying, "Let us break their bands asunder." God laughs. He holds them in derision (Ps. 2: 1-4).

. The nations are like a drop in a bucket. God counts them as less than worthless. He brings princes to nothing and strengthens those with­out might (Isa. 40: 15-29

Principles of understanding prophecy

. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have they that do his commandments" (Ps. 111: 10).

. Daniel's prophecy was closed up till the time of the end. The wicked will not understand, but the wise will understand (Dan. 12:9-10).

. God has revealed His wisdom to us through His Spirit, which searches the deep things of God. No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:7-11). ,

. "We know in part, and we prophesy in part." We see through a glass darkly (I Cor. 13:9, 12).

. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

He gives us the spirit of a sound mind (II Tim. 1 :7). .

God's Church is unified in prophetic under­standing

. We should, not lean on our own understanding, nor be wise in our own eyes. Prov. 3:5, 7

. God "will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants" (Amos 3:7).

. "How can I [understand], except some man should guide me?" (Acts 8:31).

. We should speak the same thing, have no divi­sions among us, be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment (I Cor 1: 10).

. We should remember those who rule over us, and follow the faith of those who speak the Word of God to us. We shouldn't be carried about with various and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:7,9)

. "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Pet. 1 :20).

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FAITH: God's promises to Abraham

. Abraham would have many descendants, who would become many nations (Gen. 12:2, 13: 16, 15:5, 17:4-6, 22: 17).

. Abraham's descendants would be blessed with influence and prosperity (Gen. 18: 18, 22: 17, 24:60).

. The nations would be blessed in .Abraham's seed (Gen. 22: 18, 26:4).

. "Kings shall come out of thee"

(Gen. 17:6).

. Promises inherited by Isaac and Jacob (Gen.17:21, 26:3-4, 27:28-29, 28:3-4, 14, 35: 1,1).

Inheritance divided

. Reuben was born first, but the birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, and from Judah came a ruler (I Chron. 5: 1-2).

. Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to become great nations with Jacob's blessings (Gen. 48:15-19, 49:22-26, Deut. 33:13-17).

. The scepter will not depart from Judah until the Messiah comes (Gen. 49:8-10).

. David's throne was established forever (II Sam. 7: 12- 6, II Chron. 13:5, Ps. 89:35-37, Jer. 33:17-21).

. Even though most of the kingdom, including Ephraim and Manasseh, was given to Jeroboam, Judah was given to Rehoboam because of David (I Kings 11: 11-13, 31-36, 12:20).

Joseph's blessings delayed

. "And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins" (Lev. 26: 18).

. The northern 10 tribes of Israel were taken beyond the Euphrates; none was left but the tribe of Judah (I Kings 14: 15-16, II Kings 17: 18).

. The Israelites were to live many days without a king; they were sifted among the nations (Hosea 3:4, Amos 9:8-9).

. "When they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast

them away. . . I will. . .remember the covenant of their ancestors" (Lev. 26:44-45).

David's throne transferred to Israel

. A remnant from the house of Judah was to again take root and bear fruit (II Kings 19:30-31, Isa. 37:31-32).

. Jeremiah was set over nations to root out, to destroy and to build and plant (Jer. 1 :9-10).

. Johnathan took the remnant of Judah, including the king's daughters, to Egypt (Jer. 43:5-7).

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FAITH: To Honor Jesus Christ, Glorify God, Encourage Believers, & Warn All

This information is offered with the hope that YOU can come to KNOW the Lord personally.

WARNING: What good does it do to know everything there is to know about prophecy if YOU are LOST?

While the Jews were in their 70 year captivity in Babylon, Daniel identified and interpreted a dream that the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had. Nebuchadnezzar would not even tell what the dream was; he required that the dream itself AND the interpretation be presented to him by a "wise" man.

None of the King's "wise" men could give the dream and the interpretation. They told the king he had to give them the dream first. The king refused to give the dream and was going to have all the "wise" men killed, including Daniel. Daniel then asked the Lord and the Lord showed Daniel the dream and the interpretation of the dream.

One thing to note about this is that Daniel later has his own, similar vision which revealed more about the future end times. Nebuchadnezzar's dream is revealed to a non-Jew, a Gentile. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar's dream is the Gentile world view of the end time events. Whereas, Daniel's vision was the same time frame from the viewpoint of the Jews.

Since we are discussing the TEN KINGS here, let's focus on the "feet" of the image and its TEN "toes." The "toes" are the last part of the Nebuchadnezzar's image described. The image is described from top to bottom in chronological order. The head of the image was the Baylonian empire, followed by Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The "toes" of the image are for the end times. Therefore, the image represents Gentile "world" kingdoms which were to arise in the future. The last "world" kingdom (before the second coming of Christ) would be the kingdom represented by the "toes." The number TEN is not specifically mentioned in Nebuchadnezzar's dream and interpretation, but, it is implicit in the "toes."

Daniel says to King Nebuchadnezzar- Daniel 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

Daniel 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Daniel 2:31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. Daniel 2:32

This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, Daniel 2:33:

His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

Daniel Explains Nebuchadnezzar's Dream and the Interpretation Daniel 2:34

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

The "stone" that was "cut out without hands" Is Jesus Christ.

It is at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when Jesus destroys the last vestige of "world" Gentile kingdoms, the kingdom is broken in pieces by being smitten on its feet.

Daniel 2:35 then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Thus, Jesus Christ, at the second coming destroys the whole image forever and Jesus' own kingdom ("a great mountain") fills the "whole earth."

Daniel 2:41 "...And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, for as much as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay...".

What do we know about the last "world" kingdom? Please remember that though the third kingdom, for example, (of brass) is said to rule over "all the earth", in Daniel 2:39, this kingdom (Alexander the Great's) "potentially" ruled the earth. It did not in fact occupy and control the entire earth. This will be true of the last kingdom as well.

Daniel 2:42 "...And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

Even though this last kingdom is strong, it will have aspects to it that make it weak. The "weak" characteristic is not applied to any of the other kingdoms. Therefore, the last kingdom will not be a monarchy with a uniform iron clad rule over all the citizenry as the previous kingdom's had. It will have elements of "democracy" in that it will consist of somewhat ineffective joint rule by ten kings.

Daniel 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

The two elements of the kingdom, the iron and the clay, the strong and the weak, will mingle with the population of this kingdom; but the two elements will not "cleave." Thus, neither the autocratic, dictatorial nature nor the "democratic" nature of the kingdom will prevail. A good example of this type scenario might be post-war Iraq of June 2003. "Democracy" is being attempted to avoid another dictatorship. An attempt is being made to unify a country made of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. This unification was achieved previously only by a dictatorship. The "they" that mingle themselves with the "seed of men" (the different ethnic factions) apparently are the TEN KINGS because we read in the next verse that

Daniel 2:44 "...And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

In the days of THESE KINGS (apparently referring to the "themselves" of verse 43) is WHEN God shall set up His Kingdom that will stand forever.

Daniel 2:45 For as much as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Jesus Christ, the "stone cut out without hands", destroys the Gentile world kingdoms. It is worth noting that everyone of the kingdoms in the Gentile's (Nebuchadnezzar) vision were nations that captured the Jews: Babylon, Media-Persia, and Alexander the Great's Grecian empire. Taking the Jewish nation "captive" should occur with the TEN KINGS as well if the pattern holds true.

Daniel Has Own Vision - The Same Time frame from the Jewish Viewpoint

Daniel 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Daniel 7:8 I considered the horns , and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things .

This "little horn" as we will see is the first mention of the anti-Christ by Daniel.

Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

Daniel 7:19 "...Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

Daniel 7:20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Daniel 7:21 "...I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

Daniel 7:22 "...Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom..."

The "little horn" prevailed against the saints of God until Jesus returns. But, when Jesus does return there will be a kingdom with ten kings. The "little horn" is also called "another" in the next verse.

Daniel 7:24 "...And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

The "little horn" therefore will rise in significant power after the ten kings. From the verse above, Dan 7:8, we learned that the "little horn" rises "among then" (the ten kings). The "little horn" is then part of a loose confederation of kings. He is part of them, from their same reference point. There is no doubt he is the anti-Christ because he

Daniel 7:25 "...And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time (1 year) and times (2 years) and the dividing of time (1/2 year). This is a total of 3 and one half years - the exact time of the "continuance" of the anti-Christ.

In other words the persecution of the saints is to last 3 and one half years when worship of the anti-Christ is enforced through the mark of the beast program. (See Revelation 13). The world will be faced with awful choices at that time .

Daniel Has a 2nd Vision - the Little Horn is from a Part of Alexander the Great's Kingdom

Daniel again sees the "little horn" which grows from his home base in three directions. To read a thorough study of the location of the empire of anti-Christ, read this.

Daniel 8:9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east , and toward the pleasant land.

From what EXACT geographic location is the anti-Christ "waxing great?"

If this kingdom waxes EXCEEDING GREAT, TOWARD THE SOUTH, EAST, and the PLEASANT LAND (Israel/Palestine).

Follow me here: these directions point to 3 mutually exclusive compass directions. The kingdom is growing in THREE (3) directions. If the kingdom was West of Israel, EAST and the PLEASANT LAND would be the same direction. Therefore, the kingdom is NOT west of Israel. If the kingdom was North of Israel, the SOUTH and PLEASANT LAND would be redundant.

Therefore, the kingdom is not north of Israel. This leaves SOUTH of Israel and EAST of Israel as our 2 choices. We have to eliminate the SOUTH of Israel because the anti-christ attacks and conquers the king of the south - Egypt .

This leaves us with EAST of Israel as the place of the origin of the anti-Christ.

In case there is any doubt that this is the anti-Christ, we read in the next verse that the "little horn" takes away the daily sacrifice. This corresponds exactly to the acts described by Jesus in Daniel 9:27 - the abomination. Read this for a detailed description.

Daniel 8:11 "...Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

To make sure Daniel understands his own vision, the angel Gabriel is told to show Daniel the meaning of the vision.

Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

Daniel is told when the vision is for - "the time of the end."

Daniel 8:17 "...So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

Daniel 8:19 "...And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

Daniel is shown that the Media-Persia empire will succeed the Kingdom of Babylon.

Daniel 8:20 "...The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

Daniel is then shown that Alexander the Great, the king of Grecia, will conquer the Medes and the Persians.

Daniel 8:21 "...And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Daniel is shown that Alexander the Great's Kingdom is divided into 4 parts, which is exactly what happened.

Daniel 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

Now here is another key, in the LATTER TIME of the successor to this kingdom, the anti-Christ will arise.

Daniel 8:23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

Daniel 8:24 "...And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

The anti-Christ destroys by "PEACE". An extensive discussion of this "PEACE" is found here . In this discussion, you see that the anti-Christ enforces a "PEACE" covenant. We know that (from the New Testament) when they say "PEACE and safety then cometh sudden destruction" - the events of the Book of Revelation.

Daniel 8:25 "...And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many : he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

To see that the anti-Christ rises from Assyria, an ancient land that WAS conquered by Alexander the Great is shown here .

Further, it is clear from the following scriptures that the anti-Christ IS an "Assyrian".

When the Lord performs his WHOLE WORK on Jerusalem, he will punish the anti-Christ.

Isaiah 10:12 "...Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria , and the glory of his high looks.

A present day Assyrian king is described here .

Isaiah 10:24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.

So, we have shown the antichrist arises out of Assyria, a land conquered by Alexander the Great, and we have learned that the "the little horn" will arise AMONG the TEN KINGS in a "weak" confederation of states whose eventual purpose will be to enforce a Mideast "PEACE."

Consequently, we must conclude that the TEN KINGS are from the same vicinity (slightly enlarged) of the antichrist himself.

Where are these nations? In general they are - Egypt, Western Iran, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Southern Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia. Out of these (or nearbys) will arise ten kings.

Three of these will be a disruption to the covenant and have to be " plucked up by the roots." A lengthy discussion of this topic is found here . We already see signs of "regime change" such as occured in Iraq. This is just the beginning. Remember, the first act of the antichrist in Rev 6 is "conquering and to conquer". See this discussion on fighting terror. See also the "crown" to be given the antichrist . See also the wars of the antichrist .

There is another way of interpreting the expression, AMONG the TEN KINGS, Daniel 7:8.

The expression may not be only geographic, but, may be an expression of sponsorship and dialogue. Therefore, even though we know that the antichrist is an Assyrian and arises from this geographic territory, his sponsors could be from BOTH the eastern and western portions of what was the old Roman empire. The Roman Empire divided into East and West as represented by the legs of the image of Nebuchadnezzar. Therefore, it is not inconceivable that sponsorship of the antichrist could come from 5 "toes" in the East and five "toes" in the West.

Interestingly enough, however, the Strong's concordance word # 0997 is said to be closely associated with the word # 0996, which may be translated as "between" as well as "among ." " Among" or "between" has the connotation of the "midst".

In the geographic sense, this could mean there are kings to the East, West, North, and South, of the little horn . If the little horn is east of Israel (as we showed above), there are potential Kings as follows (omitting Europe proper):

Egypt (south of the little horn), Western Iran (east of the little horn), Jordan (at or near the "midst"), Iraq (east of the little horn ), Libya (west of the little horn ), Syria(west of the little horn), Lebanon (west of the little horn), Southern Turkey(north of the little horn), Israel (Jerusalem is less than 50 miles from Jordan's capital), Saudi Arabia(south and east of the little horn ).

Even though the United States is presently the dominant force in the Mideast, this may not be the case at the time the ten kings (aka "horns" and "toes") come to power. We know from Rev 17:12 that the ten kings receive power as kings one hour with the beast (antichrist).

Therefore, these kings receive power AFTER the rapture. The efforts begun in Iraq by the United States may well be continued by others (as US policy claims as its objective, "democracy"). This could well mean that after the Rapture, which assuredly affects the US proportionately more than other parts of the world, the role of the United States will be greatly diminished.

From the following website http://www.jordanembassyus.org/05092001006.htm We read of an original agreement

Four Arab states agree on free trade zone

By Souhail Karam

RABAT, May 8 (Reuters) - Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia agreed on Tuesday to set up a free trade zone ahead of the 2010 target for trade barriers to end in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

"Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt have decided to work to set up a free trade zone including Arab Mediterranean countries which would also be open to other Arab countries," Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa told journalists.

The agreement was signed by the four countries' foreign ministers at a ceremony in the southern city of Agadir. A Royal Palace spokesman said the accord was signed following an intiative by King Mohammed who attended the ceremony.

"Today's event is a first step towards setting up the Great Arab Free Trade zone. We are now in a new era ... ahead of the 2010 deadline for a free trade zone in the Euro-Mediterranean area," the spokesman said.

"We hope that our drive will not be limited only to accords. We hope it will translate into reality," the spokesman said.

Benaissa said the four-state free trade zone would "be ready in the short-term probably by the end of the year."

He compared the document announcing the free-trade zone between the four countries to Rome's 1958 Steel and Coal Pact, which eventually grew into the European Union.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abderrahmane Chalgam told Reuters the accord would change the way Arab countries deal with their main trading partner, the European Union.

"When Arab countries negotiate with the EU, they talk to a bloc, while they look on Europeans as bits and pieces," he said.

ZONE TO INCLUDE TEN ARAB COUNTRIES

Benaissa added that a team of experts from the four countries would meet periodically to define the technicalities

of the project.

"The free trade zone will be extended to the six other Arab countries ," he said in reference to Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

The EU has conducted negotiations with 12 Mediterranean states as part of the so-called Barcelona process of cooperation between the EU and its southern neighbours.

The association agreements call for closer economic, political and social ties. The ultimate goal is to establish a Euro-Mediterranean free trade zone of 27 countries by 2010.

Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan have already signed association agreements with the EU. Egypt is due to sign its own agreement in Brussels in the last week of June.

"There are bilateral (free trade) accords between Arab countries, and we want to broaden these bilateral accords to a common space containing the ten Arab countries ," Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said.

He said Tuesday's announcement would not be fruitless.

"My assessment of this is very positive. It's a crucial step in Arab economic actions. This starting point is important and practical," he said.

"This accord is also of high importance for Arab countries who have not yet signed an association accord with the European Union," Moussa added.

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Now we can read of more recent developments in this direction

from the following website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/news/ip04_256.htm

Commissioner Patten attends signature of Agadir Agreement IP/04/256 - Brussels, 24 February 2004

On 25 February, Chris Patten, External Relations Commissioner, will attend the signing ceremony of the Free Trade Agreement between Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. This agreement, known as the Agadir Agreement, is a crucial step towards the envisaged creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010. The Commission has been one of the main political supporters of this initiative since the Agadir Declaration was signed in May 2001 and it is also supporting it with a € 4 million programme funded under MEDA.

Speaking before his departure for Agadir, Commissioner Patten said: "I am delighted to witness the conclusion of the Agadir Agreement today. This agreement brings us closer to our joint objective of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010. It will create much needed momentum for Mediterranean regional integration and foster private investment in the region. I strongly encourage other Euro-Med partners to join this agreement."

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy added: "Tearing down barriers to trade and investment is part of the strategic partnership between the EU and the Mediterranean region launched in 1995. Trade is a vital boost for the development of this region and contributes to stability. Today we are a step closer to our goal".

According to Archer, Jr, Gleason L, Daniel, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992) -

"The text clearly implies that this final phrase [the iron and the clay of Dan 2] will be marked by some sort of federation rather than by a powerful single realm" (page 47).

"The whole earth" [that Rome was to devour in Dan 2] (kol-'ar'a') refers, not to all known parts of the inhabited earth, but rather (as in general OT usage) to the entire territory of the Near and Middle East that in any way relates to the Holy Land. The word ar'a' (and its Hebrew equivalent, 'eres) does not necessarily mean "earth" in the sense of "the entire inhabited globe" but - depending on context - might mean a single country...or a larger geographical unit, such as "territory" or "region"... here it is clearly tantamount to the NT oikoumene (the portion of the world included within the Roman Empire, or possibly the regions adjacent to it)" , (page 93).

From the following website we read of the beginnings of the 10-king confederacy- http://jordantimes.com/thu/news/news1.htm

Egypt tries to forge consensus on holding Arab summit

SHARM EL SHEIKH (AFP) — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak consulted here Wednesday with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan about moving an Arab summit to Egypt after the collapse of a planned gathering in Tunis . However, diplomats said Mubarak, hosting the talks in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, would still have to contend with Tunisia's stiff opposition, even if he wins broad Arab support for Egypt as the new venue.

Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, met first briefly with Mubarak at Sharm El Sheikh airport, during a stopover on his way to Austria, an AFP correspondent said.

Egyptian Information Minister Safwat Sherif said Mubarak and Prince Abdullah had stressed that " the Arab nation is going through a critical phase requiring total solidarity . "

The collapse of the summit in Tunis, which had been scheduled to open Monday, prompted widespread criticism that Arab leaders had failed to meet the challenge of standing up to Israel and embarking on political reform.

During a preparatory meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Tunis at the weekend, the Tunisian government said it was indefinitely postponing the summit because Arab countries rejected its proposals for democratic change.

Several Arab foreign ministers denied Tunisia's reason.

The Egyptian government daily Al Ahram said Wednesday that the summit will now be held in Egypt at the start of May.

The newspaper added that Mubarak's talks sought to "set a date for holding a meeting in Cairo of Arab foreign ministers to prepare for the summit."

An Egyptian official said, meanwhile, that Syrian President Bashar Assad, with whom Mubarak spoke over the telephone on Tuesday, would travel here on Thursday. Sudanese President Omar Bashir was also expected.

An Egyptian source said that, including Egypt, 10 of the 22 Arab League members had until now supported having the summit in Sharm El Sheikh. They were said to be Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Yemen, the Palestinian National Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali said the summit's postponement did not imply his government had abandoned its "right" to host the gathering.

"The holding of a summit in Egypt requires many efforts because Tunisia still has to be persuaded to take part in it," an Arab diplomat told AFP.

In line with Arab League statutes, "the summit must be held under Tunisia's chairmanship and it can only be held in the presence of President Ben Ali personally," the diplomat said. "It's either one thing or the other: Either Tunisia stops and agrees not to host the summit, or Egypt drops its proposal to hold it," the diplomat added.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohammed Benaissa said in Bahrain on Tuesday that "as long as Tunisia has not given up its right to host the summit on its territory, frankly I don't see how the summit can be transferred elsewhere."

His remarks appeared to limit his country's support for having the summit in Egypt.

Arab League chief Amr Musa, who met here Tuesday with King Hamad, was due to travel to Tunis on Friday as part of a trip that will also take him to Algiers and Rabat.

Musa will have "a difficult assignment," all the more so because the Egyptian president sharply criticised his Tunisian counterpart for his decision to postpone the summit, an Arab diplomat said.

Meanwhile, Qatar said it understood Tunisia's decision.

A statement following the weekly Cabinet said "ministers regret and understand the reasons that led to postponing the Arab summit," adding that the Cabinet "appreciates all efforts by the sisterly Tunisian republic to prepare for the summit.

"We hope Arab leaders can set a new date for the summit as soon as possible."

Middle East reform and an Arab response to a US initiative to spread democracy in the region were supposed to have topped the agenda of the Tunis meeting.

Although most Arab countries have opposed the US initiative, insisting that all reforms must come from within, Qatar has called for the US plan to at least be considered.

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The Ministry of Jesus ­

. Jesus begins His 3 -year ministry (Dan. 9:27)

with His baptism in October, A.D. 27 (Matt. 3: 13-17, John 1 :29-34);

He is almost 30 years old (Num.. 4:35,39,43,47).

. After baptism He fasts for 40 days and 40 nights; Satan tests Him (Matt. 4: 1-11, Luke 4: 1­-13).

. Jesus calls His first disciples (John 1 :35-51) and performs His first miracle(John 2: 1-11).

. Passover, A.D. 28-Jesus cleanses the Tem­ple (John 2: 13-22). .

. John the Baptist is imprisoned late- in A.D. 28. Jesus comes into Galilee in late autumn (Mark 1:14, John 4:43-45).

. He explains the Sabbath. The Pharisees plot against Him (Matt. 12: 1-14, Luke 6: 1-11).

. Jesus names the 12 apostles (Mark 3: 13-19, Luke 6:12-16). .

. He delivers Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

. A.D. 29-Jesus goes to Jerusalem about the time of the Feast of Trumpets (John 5: 1).

. Disciples are sen to preach the Gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons (Matt. 10: 1-42).

. The 12 disciples return; Christ, through a miracle, feeds at least 5,000 followers in winter in early A.D. 30 (Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-14).

. Passover, A.D. 30 (John 6:4).

. Feast of Tabernacles, A.D. 30-the transfigu­ration (Matt. 17: 1-9, Luke 9:28-36).

On the Last Great Day Jesus talks about the meaning of the day (John 7:37-39). .

. He enters Jerusalem, where He is recognized as the Messiah, and prophesies about the city's fate (Matt. 21: 1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19).

Later He delivers the Olivet prophecy (Matt. 24:3-25:46).

. Passover, A.D. 31-Jesus institutes the New Testament Passover service. He is betrayed and arrested (Luke 22:7-54, John 13: 1-18: 13).

. Jesus is crucified in A.D. 31. and resurrected. (Matt. 27: 15-28:8, Mark 15:6-16: 13, Luke 23: 13-24: 12, John 18:39-20:10).

. After His ascension to the throne of God and His return to earth (John 20: 17 , Matt. 28:9),

Jesus gives His disciples final instructions (Matt. 28: 10, 16-20, Mark 16: 14-18, Luke 24: 13-50, John 20: 19-23).

. He ascends to heaven 40 days after His resur­rection (Mark 16: 19, Luke 24:51, Heb. 10: 12).

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The Mind of Christ

The Bible is the Word of God in print (II Timo­thy 3:16).

Christ is the Word of God in spirit and was the Word in the flesh (John 1:1).

. The Bible shows us what the mind of Christ is.

. We are to develop the mind of Christ (I Pet. 4: 1, Phil. 2:5).

To do this we must search the Bible to see how Christ thinks and begin to think and act like He does.

. We show love toward God by keeping His com­mandments (John 14: 15).

. Mere obedience is not enough. God must be first in our lives (Mark 10: 17 -22).

. Obedience must be based on sincere love to­ward God (Mark 12:30, Rom. 12:9).

. We must commit our lives to God (Ps. 37:5).

. Through the Holy Spirit God gives us a new heart (Deut. 30:6, Heb. 8: 10).

. God is love (I John 4:8).

. We must love one another (Mark 12:31, I John 4:7-8, 11).

. We must love ourselves (Matt. 22:39).

. We must love our enemies and not seek vengeance (Matt. 5:43-44, Rom. 12:17-21).

. God hates evil (Rom. 12:9), but loves the sinner (John 8:2-11, Luke 7:36-50).

.. God doesn't deal with us according to our sins (Ps. 103: 10).

. He forgives, holding no grudges against repen­tant sinners (Matt. 6: 14-15, Rom. 8: 1).

. He looks on the heart (I Sam. 16:7).

Christ is:

. Our Creator (Col. 1: 16).

. The captain of our salvation (Heb. 2: 1

. Our Elder Brother (verse 11).

. Our friend (John 15: 15)

Our high priest (Heb. 4:15).

A Christian:

. Has the spirit of power, love and a sound mind (I Tim. 2:7).

. Desires righteousness (Matt. 5:6).

. Does not condone sin (Num. 14: 18).

. Loves enough to rebuke (Lev. 19: 17).

. Does not gossip (verse 16).

. Does not sow discord (Prov. 6: 19).

. Is a peacemaker (verse 9).

. Is hospitable (Rom. 12: 13).

. Goes to his brother alone when wronged (Matt.18:15-17).

. Keeps commitments (Ps. 15:4).

. Doesn't seek his own will (John 5:30).

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The Ruling Messiah

Christ Inherits the authority to rule.

.The Lord has said to Me, You are My Son. . . . Ask of Me, and 1 will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession (Ps. 2:7-8).

.He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice (Ps. 72:2).

.All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28: 18).

.He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1 :32-33).

.You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause 1 was born (John 18:37).

.They will see the Son of Man coming. . . 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 (Matt. 24:30-31).

.The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible (I Cor. 15:52).

.The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (I Thess. 4: 16).

. Christ will triumph.

. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, and. . . the Lord shall be King over all the earth" (Zech. 14:4, 9).

. The seventh angel sounded: The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15).

. Christ will rule.

.The Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him (lsa. 40: 10).

.The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed (Dan. 2:44).

.His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall. . . obey Him (Dan. 7:27).

.The Lord will reign over them. . . from now on, even forever (Mic. 4:7).

.He who overcomes. . . to him I will give power over the nations. . . as I also have received from My Father (Rev. 2:26-27).

.And He shall reign forever (Rev. 11: 15).

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Your Word ­

How important is your word to God?

It was once said that a man's word was his greatest possession. Today society places much less value on a person's word. Just how important is a Christian's word?

God is truth

In prayer the night before his crucifixion, Christ said God's word is truth (John 17:17)

Christ is called faithful and true (Rev. 19:11).

God cannot lie (Titus 1 :2).

After Abraham demonstrated his wil­lingness to obey God, even if it meant sacrificing his son Isaac, God promised him that his descendants would become as great in number as the stars. When God did so, he swore by his own name, (Gen. 22:16)

...because there is no one greater (Heb. 6:13­14).

As good as your word

God feels strongly about lying. The cornerstone of his law, the Ten Com­mandments, prohibits lying, which frauds your neighbor (Ex. 20:16).

.God commands us not to make com­mitments we can't keep and to keep those we do make (Matt. 5:33-37, Jas. 5:12).

.Speaking of Christians who leave the faith, Christ said that no one, "having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).

This scripture refers to individuals who turn away from their commitment to the Christian way of life. However, it can also be viewed as God's attitude toward breaking one's commitments.

.The righteous keep their commitments even when it's difficult. David said the righteous man will keep his word even when he suffers a loss by doing so (Ps. 15:4).

.It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay (Eccl. 5:4).

Vows are solemn, formal commitments, such as marriage and baptism, but the principle can be applied in a more general sense. If a Christian cannot keep his word, he or she shouldn't give it.

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The Seven-Fold Divisions of the Bible

The Greek word bib/is, originally used when referring to more than one book, has come to mean the collection of Scriptures recognized as the Bible.

.The Scriptures in existence at the time of Christ were divided by Jewish religious authori­ties into three categories:

The Law, the Prophets and the Writings.

The Writings usually begin with the Book of Psalms. Christ referred to this division in Luke 24:44:

"These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms [which' in Jewish usage could refer to the entire third sec­tion], concerning me."

Other references to a division of the Scriptures can be found in Matthew 5: 17; 11: 13 and Acts 13: 15.

Similarly, those books written after Christ lived as a human being can also be divided into four categories:

The Gospels (the life and teachings of Jesus)

Acts (a historical book)

The Epistles (let­ters to th churches) and

Revelation (prophecy).

Listed below is a sevenfold division of the Bible and the books

contained in those divisions. The Old Testament books are

listed in the order:

gen­erally preserved

.in the Masoretic (traditional He­brew) text.

. LAW:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

. PROPHETS:

Former: Joshua, Judges, I & II Samuel and I & II Kings.

Latter: (Major Prophets): Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

(Minor Prophets): Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah,

Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

. WRITINGS:

Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations,

Ecclesiastes, Esther,Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and I & II

Chronicles.

. GOSPELS: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

. ACTS

. EPISTLES: Epistles of Paul: Romans, I & II Corinthians,

Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II

Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews.

General Epistles: James, I

& II Peter, I, II & III John and Jude.

. REVELATION

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Study The Bible For Understanding

. Set aside a regular time for study.

Plan study time in advance, or other things might interfere. Pray for understanding. True understanding comes from God. Therefore, study the Bible in a prayerful attitude and ask God to reveal his will to you (Ps. 119:33-40; Proverbs 3:5-7; Jer. 9:23-24).

. Seek correction and instruction.

Study the Word with a humble, teachable attitude. The Word of God reveals flaws in our character. (Jer.10:23-24; Isa. 66:2; Rom. 8:6-9; Matt. 5:48; II Tim. 3: 16).

. Realize the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

It is God speaking to you. Therefore, let his word inspire and motivate you to grow in his likeness (II Pet. 1 :21; Phil. 2:5; John 6:63).

. Let the Bible interpret the Bible.

Although some passages may seem confusing, there are no con­tradictions in the Bible. Examine the context and gather all scriptures on a given subject or doc­trine. The clear passages will clarify those that are difficult to understand (II Pet. 1 :20; John 10:35; Isa. 28:9-10; John 17:17).

. Keep an open mind.

Because there is so much religious confusion, it is necessary to prove the truth and distinguish it from error. Keep an open mind and be willing to change wrong ideas.

. Prove God's way is right.

Practice the things you learn and acknowledge the blessings that result, and you will find your Bible study more rewarding (I John 3:22; John 10: 10; Mal. 3: 10; John 8:31-32).

. Study by subject.

Concentrate on one book, doctrine or subject and go into it thoroughly. This will help you grow in depth of understanding.

. Read the Bible through.

Read the Bible from cover to cover in addition to other study. This will broaden your perspective as to story flow.

. Mark key verses.

Develop a marking system. It will save time in locating scriptures and provides a quick recall of subject matter.

. Meditate and review.

Think about what you learn. Then reflect on how it can be applied in your life (Ps. 1: 1-3; Ps. 119:97-99; Ps. 139: 17 -18).

. Be familiar with study aids.

A Bible handbook can provide helpful background information. A concordance will help you locate scriptures. Bible maps provide topographical, geographical and historical information. Commentaries can be helpful, but exercise care, they contain a great deal of uninspired opinion.

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Where Will the Saints Live?

Will the resurrected saints live in heaven?

Some believe that I Thess. 4: 16-17 implies that the saints, rising to meet Jesus Christ in the air, will remain with him in the clouds, "and so shall we ever be with the Lord" in heaven.

. The answer is in where Jesus Christ will be dwelling after the resurrection of the saints, because Christ told his disciples that where he is they would also be (John 14:2-3, 12:26).

. Christ was last seen by the disciples before Pentecost, A.D. 31, and while they watched he was taken up into the clouds (Acts 1 :9).

Two angels standing by told the disciples Christ would return in the same manner as he had left-in the clouds verses 10-11).

This was confirmed during a vision to the apostle John (Rev. 1 :7).

. Christ will return in the clouds, and the saints, both dead and living, will be resurrected to eternal life (I Cor. 15:51-52 Matt. 24:30-31). As the saints rise they shall be gathered together to meet the de­scending Christ (Matt. 24:31, I Thess. 4: 16-17). Christ will receive the saints in the clouds.

. But Christ will not remain in the clouds.

The angels said to the disciples, " Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven"­ (Acts 1:11).

When the angels said this they were all standing on the Mount Olives (verse 12) Christ is not gomg to remain in the clouds but will return to earth, to the Mount of Olives.

. This triumphant return to the Mount of Olives was also foretold in Zech. 14:3-4.

. When Christ returns he shall not be alone, he shall come with thousands of his saints. (Zech. 14:4-5, I Thess. 3: 13, Jude 14).

. Jesus Christ shall be king on earth (Zech. 14:9) and rule from Jerusalem (Zech. 8:22).

. And the saints? Christ promised that where he is they will also be. The saints shall be co-rulers with Jesus Christ and reign 1,000 years on earth (Dan. 7:21-22, Rev. 1 :5-6, 20:4-6).

. The resurrected saints do rise into the air. They are gathered together and received by the return­ing Christ in the clouds, from where they all return to the Mount of Olives.

. "And so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4: 17). This phrase echoes the sentiment in John 14: 1-3. Christ told the disciples he was preparing a place for them so that they would always be with him. In other words, the saints shall never be separated from Christ again, and "so shall we ever be with the Lord [on earth]."

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God expects us to fast

It shows that we really want to humble ourselves and depend on God. (Matt. 6:16-18; 9:14-15).

. God was able to bless many people after they humbled themselves through fasting. King Ahab's life was prolonged (I Kings 21:17-29).

Nineveh was spared from destruction (Jonah 3:4-10).

Jesus was able to resist Satan's temp­tation (Matt. 4:1-11).

The early Church leaders were guided in decision making (Acts 13: 1-3). . The biblical example of a true fast is not par­taking of either food or liquid (Ex. 34:28). The Bible records one-day fasts (Lev. 23:27, 29).

It also teaches that two- or three-day fasts are appropriate on occasions (Esther 4: 16).

How­ever, a person's physical condition must be considered. If a person is not in good health, the advice of a licensed medical doctor should be obtained to determine if a fast is medically prohibited in his or her case.

. Avoid seeking your own pleasure, doing unnec­essary work or justifying your carnal ways during a fast. Don't view it as a form of penance. - designed to force God to do what you want .(lsa. 58:3-4).

Don't do it to be seen of me (Matt. 6:17-18). Rather, let God reveal to you any areas where you are self-centered or weak.

. Consider selecting a specific purpose to con­centrate on while fasting. It might involve over­coming a personal problem, receiving guidance in decision making, gaining better understand­ing or seeking blessings needed in God's work or in someone's life (lsa. 58:6-7; Esth. 4: 16).

. Pray, study God's Word and meditate. Admit where you have sinned (Dan. 9: 1-19).

Think about God's greatness and your need to de­pend on Him (Jas. 4:9-10; I Pet. 5:5-6).

Seek a deeper understanding of God's will and the strength to live it (lsa. 58: 10-11).

Make changes that will increase the love you show toward God and your fellowman (Rom. 13:8).

. After drawing closer to God, make your re­quests known. Also give thanks for your bless­ings (II Chron. 33:11-13; Phil. 4:6)

. Reap the rewards of a better attitude, more understanding and more direct intervention by God (Job 22:29; Ps. 9: 11-12; Prov. 22:4).

. Fast often enough to stay close to God. By doing so you'll be much stronger spiritually (Matt. 23: 12).

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Forgiveness

God forgives us

Our sins are forgiven when we repent and are baptized (Acts 2:38, Col. 2:11-14).

. God faithfully forgives us when we con­fess our sins to him (I John 1 :9).

. God is ready to forgive those who ask (Ps. 86:5).

. Jesus Christ has power to forgive sin (Matt. 9:6, Mark 2:10).

. Those whose sins are forgiven are blessed (Ps. 32:1). .

. All sins will be forgiven except blasphe­my against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31, Mark 3:28-29, Luke 12:10).

. There is forgiveness with God

It belongs to him (font color="red">Ps. 130:4, Dan. 9:9).

. We have forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ's blood (Eph. 1:7, Co I. 1 :14).

We must forgive others.

. We will be forgiven by God as we for­give others (Matt. 6:12, 14-15, Mark 11 :25-26, Luke 6:37, 11 :4).

. We are to willingly forgive others, even if they repeatedly wrong us (Matt. 18:21­22, 35, Luke 17:3-4).

. We are to forgive others because God has forgiven us for Christ's sake (Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:13).

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The Resurrection of the Dead

Several of the gospel accounts record controversy between the Pharisees and Sadducees about the resurrection from the dead and what Christ told them (Matt. 22:2 -33, Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-38).

The doctrine of resurrection from the dead is one of the foundational doctrines of Christianity.

. There is a resurrection to life and a resurrection to death (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15).

. The resurrection to eternal life wouldn't have been possible if Christ had not died to pay for our sins (John 3:16).

The death of Christ justi­fied us. But it was his resurrection to life that makes our resurrection possible (Rom. 5:10).

. Before we can be resurrected we must die. First we must give up our past way of life, symbolically dying and being resurrected in the ceremony of baptism. Then, after a life of overcoming, we can be resurrected to life when Christ returns (Rom. 6:5)

. There is more than one resurrection. The saints of God are to be part of the first and better resurrection. Better because death is never again possible after this resurrection (Heb. 11 :35, Rev. 20:4-6).

Being part of this first resurrection is the goal and hope of every true Christian (I Thess. 4: 13-18).

. God has established an order of resur­rections. His saints will be first, to be followed in a second resurrection by the great majority of humanity who didn't have a chance to know God's truth during their lives (I Cor. 15:20-26).

Finally, in a third resurrection, the wicked, ­those who did know God's truth and rejected it-will come up to face eternal judgment of death in the lake of fire (Rev: 20:15).

. When resurrected, the saints will be composed of spirit, not physical matter (I Cor.15:42-44). . . Those in the first resurrect on won't live as ­physical beings in a physical society. We'll live as eternal spirit beings in the family of God (Matt. 22:30; Luke 20:34-38).

We'll be filled with God's own character, incapable of sin.

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Laying on of Hands

.One of the foundational doctrines of the Church (Heb. 6:2). To set apart for special purpose

. Israel laid his hands on Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48:14-16).

. Bring the Levites before the Lord, and the chil­dren of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites" (Num. 8: 10)

"Lay your hand on him [Joshua] . . . and inaugu­rate him. . . Give some of your authority to him" (Num. 27: 18-23)

Sacrifices

. Hands laid on animal sacrifices (Lev. 4: 15).

. Hands laid on the live goat on Atonement (Lev. 16:21) and Satan as he is bound for 1,000 years (Rev. 20: 1-3).

Healing the sick

. "He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them" (Mark 6:5).

. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16: 18).

. Let them [the elders] pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5: 14).

Blessing of children . Jesus laid His hands on the little children (Matt. 19:13-15).

. Jesus took the young children up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them" (Mark 10: 16).

Baptism

. Peter and John laid their hands on the baptized Samaritans, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).

. Paul baptized and laid hands on disciples in Eph­esus and God's Spirit came on them (Acts 19:5-7).

Ordination

.When they had prayed, they laid hands on them [the deacons]" (Acts 6:6).

.Having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them [Barnabas and Saul] they sent them away (Acts 13:3).

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What the Holy Spirit Is .

. The Holy Spirit is the power of God (Luke:35)

. It is God's mind, energy, motivation and nature. The Holy Spirit is the force by which God creates (Genesis 1 :2, Job 26: 13),

..begets us as His children... (Ephesians 2: 18-22),

..in­spires us... (John 14:16-17),

..imparts His mind to us... (1 Corinthians 2: 11-12)

..and performs works that would be impossible physically (Zechariah 4:6).

What we must do to receive the Holy Spirit:

.. The Holy Spirit is a gift of God (Acts 10:45, 11 : 17).

.. We must repent of our sins and be baptized (Acts 2:38)

..We must obey God... (Acts 5:32)

..We must ask for it (Luke 11: 13). .

What the Spirit does in our lives:

.. It begets us with eternal life... (Romans 8:9-11, I John 5:11-13)

..And makes us part of God's family... (Romans 8: 16)

..It adds us to the Church... (I Corinthians 12: 13,).

...It gives us God's mind and helps us to be spiritually, not carnally, motivated (Romans 8:8-9).

. It helps us understand spiritual things (I Corinthians 2:9-11).

..It guides us into truth (John 16:13).

..It gives us the power to obey God (Acts 1 :8). .

..It gives us spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:4, 8-10).

How to use the Spirit:

. We must seek to be filled with it (Ephesians 5:18).

. We must stir it up (II Timothy 1 :6).

. We must act as the Spirit prompts us (Ro­mans 8:1, 5, 13).

Can we lose the Spirit?

. The Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). .

. The Spirit can be quenched (I Thessalonians 5: 19).

. The Spirit will not remain in us if we continue to sin (I Samuel 16:14).

..God will actually take it from us if we refuse to repent and do not keep striving to obey Him (Psalm 51: 11 ).

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