Study the Scriptures to Show One Approved from Bible Universe











study outline

...............................................................

Special Proclamation study Prayer for Today

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 worshiped 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, as we study Your word, 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, study, 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

................................................................



study to show yourself approved to God






study and be dilligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15


Scriptures and study lesson questions, click the writing feather....



study lessons from the Holy Scriptures



study lesson one: Millennial Man

As we study the vast kingdom of Babylon, we see that they were opulent and prosperous, yet Nebuchadnezzar the king stirred in his royal bed. How long would this golden era last, he wondered, and what would become of his powerful empire when he was gone?

With these disturbing study questions in mind, the mighty monarch drifted off to sleep. That night, a vivid image of a towering multi-mineral man flashed into his mind with a panorama of color unlike anything he had ever experienced. Throwing aside his embroidered covers, the king jumped out of bed and shouted to his bodyguards: "Call all the magicians and astrologers to come at once. I must know the meaning of this dream!"

The king's wise men were roused and herded into the presence of the bewildered sovereign. "And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream." Daniel 2:3. One of the phony prophets smugly responded, "Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation." But as often happens with dreams, the details had already grown cloudy in Nebuchadnezzar's mind.

These men had claimed divine insight, but the king was beginning to doubt their abilities. This would be the perfect test. "Tell me the dream and the interpretation, and you will be rewarded," the king told his counselors, "otherwise I will cut you in pieces and turn your homes into dumps!"

The magicians and astrologers had no choice but to admit that they were powerless to explain the king's dream without first hearing it. Furious with these imposters, the king commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be gathered for execution. However, the Lord still had one person in Babylon who could explain the dream of the colossal Millennial Man.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 2: Back to Jerusalem

In our study we see the disciples of Jesus were completely devastated. All of their hopes and dreams for the new kingdom of God had been nailed to a cross the previous Friday. Reeling with grief and confusion, Cleopas and his companion slowly made the seven-mile trip from Jerusalem down to their home in the little town of Emmaus. As the sun was setting that Sunday afternoon and they trod their way down the bumpy road, a stranger drew near to journey with them. Little did they know that this new traveling companion was the resurrected Lord Himself. Paying little heed to their fellow pilgrim, the two dejected disciples rehearsed the staggering events of the weekend, feeling more despondent with every step.

As Jesus silently listened, He desperately longed to reveal Himself to His downcast friends. But the Lord deliberately shielded His true identity because they needed now, more than ever, to understand the Scriptures. If Christ had allowed these two faithful followers to recognize who He was, they would have been far too excited to listen to the important truths He had to share.

Even after three and a half years of listening, and to study His teaching and preaching, they still did not comprehend the nature of His mission. He had plainly told them, "The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him." Mark 9:31, 32. Jesus gently interrupted their sad conversation, and for the next two hours He gave them the keys for understanding to study all Scripture and prophecy.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 3: The Coming King

As our study continues, we see Athaliah, the ruthless queen of Judah, was even more wicked than her mother Jezebel. When her son Ahaziah died, she quickly seized control of the kingdom by executing all of her grandsons who might reign in her place. "But Jehosheba, ... sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and ... they hid him ... from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land." 2 Kings 11:2,3.

For six years only a handful of trusted people knew that the royal child was living and hidden in the temple of God. Jehoiada, the high priest, loved and trained young Joash as his own son. For six years Jehoiada planned and prayed for the best moment to present this rightful heir to the people. Finally the old priest secretly summoned trusted captains in the army and showed them that the youngest son of Ahaziah was still alive. They decided to wait until Friday evening, when all of the faithful people would come to the temple for Sabbath worship, to present the young king to them. With hundreds of armed soldiers on every side, Jehoiada brought the heir of David's throne before the crowd and introduced him. At first the people were astonished, but when they saw the royal crown placed upon his head, "they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king." 2 Kings 11:12.

Now when wicked Athaliah heard the noise of trumpets and all the people rejoicing, she came running into the temple only to discover that her reign of terror was through. That day she and her followers were slain, and Joash was given the kingdom.

The Bible study tells us that another son of David will soon emerge from the heavenly temple amidst the blowing of trumpets to receive His rightful kingdom and to destroy the wicked.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 4 : The Rebellious Prince

Next in our study, we note that Absalom was the most handsome, cunning, and ambitious of David's sons. The Bible says, "But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him." 2 Samuel 14:25.

But this determined young prince wanted more than just the admiration of the people for his stunning appearance. He wanted the power of his father's throne. He wanted to be king of Israel--at any price. First Absalom killed his older brother, Amnon, after Amnon mistreated his sister Tamar. Amnon was David's firstborn son and in line to follow David as king. Then, after Absalom wormed his way back into his father's favor he began to sow subtle seeds of doubt throughout the kingdom about David's leadership, judgments, and laws until he "stole the hearts of the men of Israel." 2 Samuel 15:6.

Finally, his sinister plan erupted into a full-blown rebellion as Absalom tried to assassinate his own father and kidnap the kingdom. David and his followers were forced to flee from Jerusalem. But after a severe battle a few days later, David was once again secure on his throne, and handsome Prince Absalom was slain.

A sad story indeed, but this was not the first such royal family feud. In another great kingdom long ago, very similar events led to the most tragic rebellion of all time. The kingdom was called--heaven!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 5: The Supreme Sacrifice

The sky was still dark when the old patriarch clearly heard God speak. "Abraham, ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Genesis 22:1, 2.

In our study we see Abraham began to tremble when he considered the staggering consequences of this command. God had promised that through Isaac he would father a mighty nation. All of Abraham's hopes and dreams were set upon this miracle son given to him and Sarah in their old age. He didn't understand why God was asking him to do this strange act, but he had learned to trust and obey his heavenly Father--even when perplexed.

So Abraham gently awakened young Isaac and two trusted servants, and the small company began the three-day trip to Moriah. As they neared the mountain of sacrifice, Abraham instructed his servants to wait for him and Isaac to return. Then he placed the wood on his son's back, and together they started up the mountain.

Sensing that something was wrong, Isaac said, "Father, we have what we need to start a fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham replied, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering."

When they reached the top, Abraham tearfully explained the reason for their mission. Willingly Isaac submitted to God's command. After the last embrace, the father tenderly bound his son and laid him upon the rock altar. Abraham raised the knife, but suddenly he was stopped by an angel and directed to sacrifice instead a wild ram that was trapped by its horns in a nearby thornbush.

This moving study story was not the only time a father had to make a painful decision to sacrifice his beloved son.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 6: The Law of the King

After Darius, king of the Medes and Persians, had conquered Babylon, he executed all Babylonian government officials, except one. That fortunate man was Daniel, our study shows us a servant of the true God. Seventy years earlier, he had been carried from Judah to Babylon as a captive and made to serve in the palace as an advisor to the Babylonian kings. Daniel became known throughout the kingdom for having "an excellent spirit." Daniel 5:12; 6:3.

Not only did King Darius spare Daniel, but he "thought to set him over the whole realm." Daniel 6:3. When the Medo-Persian officials learned that the king was going to promote an old Hebrew captive to rule over them, they were jealous and outraged. So they plotted to entice Darius to sign a law that for the next 30 days, anyone who petitioned any god or man except the king would be thrown into the lions' den (Daniel 6:7). Apparently these men knew that Daniel was unswerving in his study and prayer life and firmly committed to obeying the law of his God, which forbids worship of any other gods (Exodus 20:3).

Just as they expected, the officials caught Daniel praying to God from his open window. When King Darius discovered that he had been tricked and that his old friend was headed for the lions' pit, he tried every possible angle to deliver Daniel from the foolish law he had signed. But the law could not be changed. Daniel went to the lions' den, and God rewarded his faithfulness by sending an angel to shut the lions' mouths (Daniel 6:22).

When we study Prophecy, it tells us that in the last days, God's people will have to make a similar decision regarding which king and which law they will obey.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 7: Bricks Without Straw

Before Moses approached the king of Egypt to seek freedom for the children of Israel, he and his brother, Aaron, met with the oppressed leaders of Israel. During this meeting, Moses and Aaron encouraged the people to consecrate themselves to the Lord and told them God was about to deliver them from slavery with a mighty hand.

Our study shows the Israelites had been laboring seven days a week to maintain their heavy workload for the Egyptians. But after this meeting with Moses, they apparently decided to begin resting again every seventh day. This is why the furious Pharaoh later said to Moses and Aaron: "Ye make them rest from their burdens." Exodus 5:5. (The Hebrew word for "rest" used here is "shabath." It means "to cause to keep sabbath.")

The angry king knew that he must do something drastic to hold this nation of slaves under his control, so he decided to drown them with work and crowd both God and worship from their thoughts. He said, "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not diminish it." Exodus 5:7, 8, NKJV.*

As in the days of Moses, God is about to do great things for His people. Soon they will be delivered from the slavery of sin and journey to the heavenly Canaan. And once again, God is now trying to turn the minds of His people toward the importance of the Sabbath rest.

* The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (c) 1979, 1980, 1982, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 8: The Glorious Kingdom

After Solomon was established as the new king of Israel, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask what I shall give thee." 1 Kings 3:5. The young king could have requested money, fame, or long life, but he didn't. Instead, he asked for wisdom to justly govern God's people. In answer to that humble and heartfelt prayer, the Lord gave Solomon tremendous wisdom and perception--surpassing every other human. On top of that, God also blessed him with fame, riches, and long life.

In our study During Solomon's reign, Israel enjoyed unparalleled peace and prosperity. Precious metals were so abundant in Jerusalem during his time that silver was considered as common as stones (1 Kings 10:27). In addition to the magnificent temple of marble and gold that Solomon built for God, he also constructed a lavish palace and courtyard plus entire cities to house his chariots and horsemen. Splendid flowering gardens with rare trees graced every town. Monarchs, nobles, and royalty came from around the world to visit and bring gifts. They longed to hear the profound wisdom that God had put in Solomon's heart (1 Kings 10:24).

Among the many regal visitors was a rich and beautiful queen from the far-away land of Sheba. She wanted to see firsthand if the reports about Israel's king were true. The Queen of Sheba tested Solomon with many hard questions and was stunned by his brilliant answers. Everywhere she looked, her senses were dazzled. But even Israel at its zenith was as nothing compared to the glorious kingdom God has prepared for you!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 9: The Witch of Endor

King Saul was at his wit's end and trembling with fear. The entire Philistine army had gathered to attack Israel's smaller and weaker troops. Saul moaned, "If only Samuel were here, he would tell me what to do." But the great prophet of Israel had died a few years earlier.

The aged monarch tried desperately to find some advice or guidance from other prophets or priests, but the Lord would not speak to him. As a young man, Saul had been close to God. But after ascending the throne, he became cruel and rebelled against God's Word. Once he even had a whole village of priests murdered. King Saul had persistently refused to listen to the Lord, and now in his distress, God would not answer him.

"Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her." 1 Samuel 28:7. God had clearly commanded His people never to consult a witch or medium as our study shows. (Leviticus 19:31; 20:27), but Saul now had little regard for God's implicit instruction.

Upon finding a woman in Endor who claimed to consult with the dead, the king disguised himself and went to see her. He said to the medium, "Bring me up Samuel." The witch went through her spells and enchantments until an apparition claiming to be Samuel the prophet appeared and gave the king an utterly hopeless message. It predicted that Saul and his three sons would die in battle the next day.

The following day Saul's sons were slain by the Philistines, and afterward the wounded and discouraged king fell on his sword and took his own life (1 Samuel 31:2-4). Who spoke to Saul through the witch--a resurrected prophet of God, or a devil in disguise?

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 10: Cities of Ash

Abraham knew that his nephew was making a big mistake when Lot chose to move his family to Sodom. The cities of the lower Jordan valley were beautiful and lush, but they were also very corrupt. "The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." Genesis 13:13. Finally, as our study shows, God decided to destroy these sinful cities for their abominations, but first He sent two angels to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family.

Before entering Sodom, these angels took on the appearance of two wayfaring men. Lot saw the two handsome strangers when they first entered the gates, and knowing that the streets of that wicked city were far from safe at night, he urged them to find refuge in his home. But wicked men were watching, and that evening they gathered about Lot's door and insisted that he bring out his guests so they might abuse them. Lot tried in vain to reason with the perverse mob gathered at his door. Their demonic obsession only intensified, and soon the crowd began to threaten Lot as well! At this point, the angels could no longer conceal their true identity. They pulled Lot inside the house to safety and struck the maddened mob at the door with blindness.

Early the next morning, the angels told Lot and his family, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you. ... Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." Genesis 19:17, "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." Genesis 19:24. Only Lot and his two unmarried daughters were spared, for his wife looked back to Sodom with longing and was turned into a pillar of salt. God's Word tells us that in the last days, world conditions will resemble that of Sodom-and so will the punishment!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 11: A River of Life

Naaman was a brave, rich, and famous commander for the armies of Syria who contracted leprosy, the most dreaded disease of Bible times. Leprosy meant isolation from loved ones and a slow, wretched death. A Hebrew slave girl who worked in Naaman's house said that if her master would only go to the prophet Elisha in Israel, he would heal Naaman of his leprosy.

Willing to grasp at any thread of hope, Naaman made the long trip to Israel. With him was a small band of personal bodyguards and a king's ransom to pay for this miracle of healing. When Naaman finally stood before the humble house of the prophet, Elisha would not come out. Instead, he sent his servant with these simple instructions: "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." 2 Kings 5:10.

The prophet's command to wash implied that Naaman was dirty! Being told to wash seven times--and in a muddy river, no less--was too much for the proud Syrian general. In a rage, Naaman spun his horse around and began riding home. But in order to reach Damascus, Naaman had to ride by the Jordan River. As he passed by, Naaman's servants urged him to try the prophet's advice. So he stopped his horse, slid down, and laid aside the armor that covered the awful evidence of his leprosy. Naaman slowly stepped down into the waters of the Jordan. Six times he plunged under the water with no results, but when he came up the seventh time, the leprosy was gone! His skin was as pure and healthy as a baby's.

Just as Naaman experienced restoration, you too can have a healing new-birth experience!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 12: Resting the Land

Our world was first created with a perfect balance in nature. Man, animals, and plants lived in total harmony. But with the entrance of sin, everything changed. Man started eating animals, and animals began eating each other. Thorns and thistles sprouted everywhere. The scourge of sin depleted even the soil. God told Cain, "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength." Genesis 4:12.

This is one reason the Lord commanded the children of Israel to rest the farmlands every seventh year (Exodus 23:10, 11). It would give the ground a chance to recover its vitality and provide a volunteer crop for the poor to eat. But most of God's people ignored this law in study or simply refused to obey it. Then came a day of awful judgment. Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, came to Judah and executed those who had rebelled against him. Others were carried off to the golden city of Babylon. Meanwhile, the land of Israel lay quietly in ruins, "until it had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath." 2 Chronicles 36:21. At the end of 70 years, the survivors returned to Canaan to replant the promised land and to rebuild Jerusalem.

For 6,000 years now, Jesus has been sowing the seed of the gospel. The Bible tells us that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years." 2 Peter 3:8. Soon King Jesus will come to harvest the world. Some will be slain by the brightness of His coming, and the rest will be carried off to His golden kingdom. Then this tired old planet will keep a 1,000-year Sabbath!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 13: Bowing to Babylon

King Nebuchadnezzar gave the signal, and as the music from a thousand instruments began to swell, the curtain fell, exposing a dazzling, 90-foot image of gold glimmering in the sunlight. Then, according to King's command, all the officials who had gathered on the plain of Dura fell prostrate to the ground in devout worship. All bowed down except three young Hebrew men, who were servants of a greater King.

Nebuchadnezzar was beaming with pride and satisfaction--until it was reported that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had refused to bow and worship his image. Astonished that anyone would dare to disobey, Nebuchadnezzar assumed these young advisers must have misunderstood his decree. So he offered them one more chance to bow down--but they refused! Now the king's expression turned to rage. He ordered his soldiers to heat the nearby furnace seven times hotter than normal. As fuel was piled onto the fire, the three men were firmly tied with ropes. The resulting heat was so intense that it killed the soldiers who threw them into the blazing inferno.

As the king peered into the roaring furnace, his mouth suddenly fell open. With a trembling voice he asked, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" His counselors agreed that they had. Then the king said, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Daniel 3:25.

God delivered those brave young men in the fiery furnace because they stood up for His truth. In the last days, study tells us that God's people will have to face a similar test.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 14: The Mark of Cain

In our study of Adam and Eve's first two sons differed vastly in their personalities and behavior. Cain longed to farm and build, while Abel loved to roam the hills and meadows with his flocks.

After sin entered this new world because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, God established a sacrificial system and explained that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Hebrews 9:22). He told them that these sacrifices pointed forward to the time when Jesus would become a man and die as the Lamb of God for the sins of the world. Abel faithfully brought a young lamb as a sacrifice for his sins, but Cain thought it was unnecessary to obey God's command so precisely. He considered the sacrificial system to be messy and reasoned that as long as he brought an offering and worshiped God, the details wouldn't matter. So he brought an offering of his own works, some produce from the field. Cain watched with jealous anger as fire came down from heaven and consumed Abel's sacrifice but left his own offering untouched. The Lord lovingly urged Cain to humble himself and obey, but Cain stubbornly persisted in his rebellion. Abel also tried to gently reason with his older brother, but Cain flew into a rage. By the time he regained his senses, Abel's bloody body lay still at his feet. God pronounced a curse upon Cain, and when Cain complained about his sentence, the Lord placed a mark upon him lest future generations take revenge for this first homicide.

The book of Revelation tells us that, in the last days, there will again be a battle between Christians regarding how and when to worship. Soon everyone will be identified either by the seal of God or the mark of the beast.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 15: A Heavenly Model

Never before had the Lord manifested such mighty signs and wonders as when He delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Plague after plague fell upon the Pharaoh's kingdom until he was forced to release his captives. Then the Lord parted the Red Sea and led the young nation to freedom, while drowning their pursuing enemies behind them.

After entering the wilderness, God surprised many of His people by leading them south--in the opposite direction of the Promised Land. The Lord knew that before they would be prepared to receive their inheritance, they must be organized and taught to trust Him. As they journeyed to Mount Sinai, God supplied their every need. When they became hungry, God fed them with bread from heaven. When they became thirsty, the Lord brought water cascading from a boulder. When suddenly attacked from behind by an enemy, they were given a miraculous victory.

Finally, the Israelites camped at the base of the holy mountain. There God did something He has not done before or since. He spoke, in the hearing of a whole nation, His covenant, the Ten Commandments. After the Lord audibly spoke His law, He called Moses up Mount Sinai to receive a transcript written in stone. But God also gave him something else. While on the mountain with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, Moses received detailed instructions to build a beautiful, portable temple for God. It would be a small model of His actual dwelling place in heaven. This unique structure was to serve as a three-dimensional object study lesson to the whole world of God's plan to save us from sin.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 16: Cleansing the Temple

Jesus was visibly grieved as He entered the temple courtyard and surveyed the turmoil. On every hand He saw pens filled with sacrifice animals and heard salesman shouting and bargaining with visiting pilgrims for the highest price. The cooing of doves, bleating of sheep, and lowing of oxen mingled together with the odors of a barnyard to form a concert of chaos.

This bedlam was never God's plan. When Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem, there was such respect for God's house that not even the sound of a hammer could be heard during its construction. All the stones and boards were precut elsewhere, then brought to the temple site and quietly assembled (1 Kings 6:7).

Jesus found a handful of cords used for restraining the sheep and tied them into a small whip. Then the Son of God called out in trumpet-like tones: "Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." John 2:16. "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Matthew 21:13. Moving from one booth to another, He then released the animals and overturned the moneychangers' tables.

Sensing they were in the presence of Omnipotence, the terrified merchants fled from the temple courtyard without looking back. Jesus wanted more than anything for people to have a clear concept of His heavenly Father's love and purity. This is why it broke His heart to see the holy temple turned into a flea market.

Many years earlier, the prophet Daniel had foretold of another time when the temple would be defiled, God's truth would be distorted, and His people oppressed. And once again, the Lord would come to cleanse His sanctuary.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 17: A Tale of Two Women

A hush fell over the royal judgment hall, and all eyes were fixed on King Solomon. His servants wondered how the young monarch would resolve this perplexing case.

Two single mothers were sharing a room, and each gave birth to a baby boy at about the same time. During the night, one of the mothers had accidentally turned over and smothered her son. When she awoke early and saw her child was cold and still, the distraught woman took her roommate's sleeping baby to herself and laid her dead baby in its place. Later the other mother awoke, saw the dead baby, and began to wail with grief. But after examining the infant, she quickly realized that it was not her child. Across the room, she could see her roommate tightly clutching her baby.

Now both women stood before the king, tugging for possession of the living infant. "This child is mine!" one shouted.

"No, the dead baby was yours!" the other countered.

How would the king determine which was the true mother? Solomon interrupted their debate and told a guard to take a sword and divide the living infant in two. At first the soldier thought the king was jesting, but Solomon began to glare at the guard's hesitation. Slowly he drew his sharp, gleaming sword and made his way toward the woman holding the baby. Suddenly the true mother threw herself at the king's feet and pleaded,?"Let her have the child, but please do not slay it!" But the other woman said, "Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it." Now Solomon knew without a doubt who was the true mother.

In prophecy, a woman is a symbol of a church (Jeremiah 6:2). With so many churches in the last days, how can we distinguish the true, last-day church that has the living Son from the counterfeits? Like Solomon, we must use the sword of God's Word (Hebrews 4:12)!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 18: Windows of Heaven

Jacob had never felt so destitute and alone--and it was all because he had been devious and greedy. First Jacob had bribed Esau, his elder twin, into selling his birthright. Then, with his mother's help, he tricked his blind father, Isaac, into giving him the paternal blessing that rightfully belonged to Esau.

Now Jacob was fleeing from home, partly to escape the murderous threats of his offended brother. He bowed his head and cried when he thought of how all his grasping plans had backfired. Alone in the wilderness, with only a stone for a pillow and a stick for protection, Jacob tried to rest. He wondered if he would ever see his parents again--and if God would forgive him. Exhausted, Jacob drifted off to sleep. Soon he found himself bathed in the brilliant glow of a vivid dream. He saw a blazing light streaming from the open heavens, with a beautiful stairway spanning from the glory above to the earth below. There were countless shimmering angels traveling up and down this ladder.

Then Jacob heard the Lord speak from heaven and promise to bless him in his journey. The Lord also confirmed with Jacob the same covenant He had made with Abraham and Isaac. When he awoke, Jacob fell on his knees and made a vow to abandon his greedy ways. He promised, "Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Genesis 28:22.

God accepted this vow and opened the windows of heaven so that when Jacob returned home 20 years later, he had become a very prosperous and generous man.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 19: The Daughter's Dance

King Herod's wife, Herodias, hated John the Baptist. The desert-dwelling prophet had dared to call her an adulteress for leaving her husband Philip to marry his evil but wealthier brother. Now the wicked queen determined to use her influence over Herod to get even with John. First, she persuaded him to have John imprisoned. Then she asked to have John executed, but Herod refused. He knew that John was a true prophet and feared political backlash from the people.

Finally, Herodias developed a fool-proof scheme. She threw a party for Herod's birthday and invited all his friends and the nobles from his realm, then she arranged for her beautiful daughter Salome to dance in a seductive, captivating style. Herodias hoped that after Herod had a few glasses of wine, he would ask Salome what reward she wanted for her enchanting dance.

Her sinister plan worked. After Salome's dance, Herod made a pompous oath: "Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." Mark 6:23. As the inebriated guests were applauding the king's generosity, the girl stood ready with her reply. Then she shocked everyone by asking for the head of John the Baptist on a platter! Herod was stunned by the gruesome request, but all of his shocked friends were watching for his response. Afraid that he would appear weak if he refused, the proud king reluctantly gave the order. That very day the mighty prophet John was beheaded alone in prison.

This was not the first time that a mother and daughter team used the government to persecute God's people.

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 20: Ten Times Wiser

When King Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city of Jerusalem, thousands of Jews were taken away captive to Babylon. The king instructed his servant, Ashpenaz, to select gifted young men from among the Jewish captives who would come to the palace for three years to learn the language and wisdom of Babylon so they could serve the king.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah caught the attention of Ashpenaz and were taken to the king's palace. But there was a problem. The menu of rich meat and wine appointed for the young men contained many items forbidden by God's Word.

Without wanting to appear ungrateful, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be given a vegetarian diet to eat and water to drink. At first the king's servant resisted their request. "You can't stay healthy by eating like that!" he exclaimed. "You'd get sick, and then the king would have my head." But Daniel gently persisted, suggesting a trial period of 10 days, after which their visible health could be compared with the young men who ate from the royal cafeteria.

This plan was agreed upon, and for 10 days the four young Hebrews drank water and ate a simple vegetarian diet. At the end of the trial period, Daniel and his three friends "appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat." Daniel 1:15.

Three years later, these four young men were tested by King Nebuchadnezzar, and it was declared they were 10 times brighter then all the wise men in Babylon. The Bible tells us that Daniel lived to be approximately 100 years old. What helped give Daniel and his friends such profound wisdom, health, and long life?

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 21: Voice in the Wilderness

Jesus said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." Matthew 11:11. What do we know about this solitary man whom Jesus called the greatest of the prophets?

When John began preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, people came from miles around to hear this powerful, fearless, and humble messenger. In glaring contrast to the religious leaders of the day, his life was marked with holiness and simplicity. While the priests wore luxurious clothing, John wore a modest garment of camel hair with a leather belt. While they were feasting, John was fasting or eating locusts (carob pods) and wild honey. He refused to drink any wine or strong drink, that he might be filled with the Spirit of God (Luke 1:15). Rather than ornate synagogues, John chose the rivers and rocky valleys as his cathedral for preaching. Soon people were asking, "Could this man be Elijah?"

John did dress like the Old Testament prophet, but he was not Elijah reincarnated. The angel Gabriel had explained to John's parents before his birth that he would go "in the spirit and power of Elias [the Greek word for "Elijah"] ... to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:17.

The key to John's ministry was that he would have the same power of the Holy Spirit as did Elijah to cause a revival among God's people. His special work was to preach repentance for sin and prepare people for Jesus' first coming.

The Bible says there will be an entire army of Elijahs and John the Baptists in the last days to do a similar work in preparing the world for Jesus' second coming. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Malachi 4:5. (See also Joel 2:28-31.)

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 22: Proving the Prophets

Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, wanted to recapture the town of Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. But he needed help, so he asked good King Jehoshaphat of Judah to join his campaign against their common enemy. Jehoshaphat said he was willing to join forces with Ahab, but that they should first seek God's counsel.

Ahab had forsaken the Lord years earlier to worship the pagan god Baal, so he called in 400 hired prophets to come before the two monarchs. With dramatic display, these false prophets said, "Go and fight the Syrians, and you will be victorious!" But King Jehoshaphat requested to hear from a true prophet of the Lord. Ahab said that there was one prophet of Jehovah left whose name was Micaiah, but he added, "I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil."

At Jehoshaphat's insistence, Ahab reluctantly sent a servant to fetch Micaiah. The brave prophet came and made a very unpopular prediction. He told Ahab that he would die in the battle with Syria. Now Ahab faced a tough decision. Should he believe 400 prophets who say nice things, or one lone prophet of the Lord?

Stubborn King Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to disregard the warnings of the prophet Micaiah and join him in the war. He thought he could outsmart the Lord by dressing in full armor and avoiding the front lines of battle. But Ahab learned too late that you can never escape the Word of God. During the battle, a stray arrow flying through the air struck Ahab in the joints of his armor, and he bled to death in his chariot.

Jesus warned that there will be many false prophets in the last days (Matthew 24:11). That is why we must know how to distinguish the true from the counterfeit. It may be a matter of life or death!

.................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 23: A Jar of Oil

Elisha could see that the young widow was desperate. She threw herself at the old prophet's feet and sobbed, "The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves!" The woman's husband had died unexpectedly and left her with a huge debt. In Bible times, a lender had a right to repossess property and even take children as payment if a family could not pay the bills (Job 24:9).

"What do you have in the house?" Elisha asked the distraught mother.

"I have nothing in the house but a jar of oil," she replied. Little by little she had handed over all the furniture and valuables in her home to the cruel creditor until nothing remained but her two boys and this little jar of oil. Olive oil was considered a most basic essential. It was used for lighting, heating, cooking, and healing.

Elisha told the widow and her boys to go and borrow as many empty vessels as possible from their neighbors. They should bring them home, shut the door, and then pour the oil from her little jar into the empty containers. They did as Elisha instructed, and a wonderful miracle occurred. The oil in the little jar continued to flow out until all the vessels in the house were filled!

"What shall we do now?" the young mother asked the prophet.

"Sell the oil, pay your debt, and then you and your sons can live on the surplus," he said. This woman and her boys left Elisha's presence rejoicing and free because of the miracle of the oil.

The Lord wants to free you from a ruthless creditor named Satan. This miracle will happen when He fills your cup to overflowing with His special oil!

...................................................................................................................................................

study Lesson 24: Above the Crowd

Peter loved Jesus, but he also loved the approval of the crowd. During the last supper when Jesus warned the apostles that they would all forsake Him, Peter jumped to his feet and brashly vowed that even if all others would be offended, he would never forsake Him. Jesus replied, "This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice."

Peter meant well, but he did not recognize the pride in his own heart. Later that night when the mob came to arrest Jesus and all were watching, Peter pulled out a sword to defend His Master. But just a few hours later at His trial, as Peter was being mocked by the enemies of Jesus, he denied three times that he even knew Him. Each time Peter became more bold, until he finally denied Him with swearing and cursing .

Then the rooster crowed. At that very moment, Jesus was in the judgment hall, being beaten by the guards. Peter saw Jesus turn and look at him with love and compassion, and it broke his heart. "And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." Luke 22:61, 62.

From that day forward, Peter was a different man. He no longer lived to please the crowd, but was determined to please only God. After his conversion, when brought before the Jewish council and threatened with beating if he continued preaching about Jesus, Peter fearlessly answered, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29. Peter forever proved his loyalty and love for Jesus when he chose to be crucified upside down by the Roman emperor Nero rather than to deny his Lord again.

......................................................................................................................................................

How to \study the Bible

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

1. We must believe that the whole Bible is the inspired word of God, and we must be willing to abide by it's teachings, even if they go contrary to our own personal ideas and practices.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16,17.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4.

2. We must be humble and teachable. However great and extensive our knowledge and educational achievements, we must come humbly to the word of God, not seeking to study it from a secular standpoint as a scientific or philosophical work, and with a dependence upon human intellect.

Trusting in intellectual pride and humanistic opinion will prevent us from being able to understand the deep spiritual truths of the Bible. God requires us to come humbly and with a teachable attitude, sincerely and prayerfully seeking to understand His word.

Jesus said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them unto babes." Matthew 11:25.

3. We must compare scripture with scripture, letting the Bible explain itself. It is common to find individuals and groups of people who build a whole theology upon one single statement of the Bible. This can be very dangerous and misleading, depending upon the method of interpretation employed in their Biblical research. The only correct and safe way of securing an understanding of a particular truth is to study everything that the Bible has to say about that specific topic.

"Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine?… For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line, here a little, and there a little." Isaiah 28:9,10.

We must study broadly, permitting the Bible to define its own terms. This will preserve us from the practice of some, in taking an isolated passage and twisting it to fit or "prove" their own ideas. We should always approach the Bible with an open and honest attitude, willing to lay aside any established beliefs and practices, whenever we find them to be without scriptural foundation.

4. We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we study the Bible. Though written by men, the Bible has been supernaturally inspired. We therefore need the Holy Spirit, the author of all scripture, to guide and instruct us as we study. Prayer for divine instruction and enlightenment should always precede a study of God's word.

Without heaven's assistance to render our minds spiritually receptive, it is not possible to properly interpret and appreciate the truths of the Bible, which are often "hidden beneath the surface" and readily missed by the casual, superficial approach.

"(For) no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God…The Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:7-14.

5. We must truly want to know the truth before we can know the truth. Our motives for studying the Bible must always be honorable and acceptable to God if we would receive instruction and guidance from the Holy Spirit. If it is our determined purpose to research the Bible in order to find an argument against the truth, God will leave us to our own devices.

For example, some people use a few scriptural verses to supposedly prove that God's law was abolished when Jesus Christ died upon the cross. A proper method of research will clearly demonstrate that such is not the case, and the verses used to substantiate this idea are found to be unsuportive when placed in their proper context.

Only those who are willing to love and accept the truth when it is made plain, and do not seek to construct arguments against it, will be preserved from the dangers of self deception. God will not force us to believe anything against our will. However, His word clearly describes what will happen to those who still choose to believe, contrary to what He has plainly said:

"Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." 2 Thessalonians 2: 10,11.

6. Bible study must become a priority in life. Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to "A merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45,46.

We must earnestly search for truth, recognizing that it is worth more than anything else in life. This quest must be made priority, especially when other things seek to crowd out the time that should be allocated to Bible study.

God's promise to us is that, "You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13. Our desire, our relish and our love for the Bible will strengthen and deepen as we discipline ourselves to study it every day.

7. We must live up to all the light we have before God will teach us more. As truth is opened to our understanding, we should determine by God's grace to walk in its light. God has set before us an upward pathway and it is His will that we should walk in His footsteps.

As our Savior therefore leads us further along the pathway of advanced truth, we must determine to follow if we would keep in step with Him and remain His disciple. Also, living according to the truth that we already have qualifies us to receive more light and truth from God.

"If you abide in My Word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31,32.

Why study Bible Prophecy?

And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe." John 14:29

"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." Luke 24:25-27

"Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" 2 Peter 1:19

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation 1:1-3

.................................................................................................................................................

Sponsored by Ken Copeland Ministry

..........................................................................................................................................................


Sign up for PayPal and 
start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Google



Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone

.....................................................................................................................................................

Be sure to go back to the Ventures In Success Home Page and sign up for the 5 Pillar Affiliate Marketing Plan and receive your 224 page "Bible" for your ventures in design mission, its FREE! Click on "Tank" the turtle for more information and God bless!

.....................................................................................................................................................

Trends Express

.....................................................................................................................................................




Bible study resources on Ventures Home page, click here