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This Article is offered to all, being the Bible’s answer to important topical questions raised on our page in THE RUGBY REGISTER magazine distributed monthly in Rugby, Warwickshire.  This month’s question is repeated below with a biblical analysis to stimulate, often challenge, our thoughts, and give us hope in the turmoil of our troubled and worrying world.

Understanding the Bible – May 2022

The Bible is the most widely circulated book in the world. Yet despite sitting on more bookshelves than any other book, its contents remain a mystery to many. This need not be the case for you. Whilst it is not an easy task, it is possible for virtually anyone to grasp the basic themes of the Bible. It requires time and dedication, but the great treasures to be discovered there can thrill and amaze the reader. Detailed study reveals the Bible to be an intricately woven tapestry of interlinking ideas in repeating patterns that reinforce the reliability of the whole.

Understanding the Bible

Just as a single atom provides a pattern for a vast solar system, so the Bible reveals patterns that are embedded in the finest detail and in its.

READ THE BIBLE YOURSELF

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Perhaps the most important step to take in approaching the Bible is to recognise that the more you put in to reading and studying it, the more you will get out of it. Investing your time in this way brings the reward of knowing that the task is done properly, thoroughly and to your personal satisfaction. There is no substitute for finding the message of the Bible for yourself.

“These [the Berean Jews] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11

This is a task that requires hard work and individual care and commitment.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”                                                                            2 Timothy 2:15

Jesus tells us this literally means ‘ploughing a straight furrow through the word of truth’

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”                                                                     Luke 9:62

DON’T RELY ON ANYONE ELSE

Writers of commentaries or paraphrase versions of the Bible tend to impose their own views, or those of the organisations they represent, upon the Bible. Using such sources alone is very unlikely to accurately reflect the contents of the Bible.

Today there are many versions of the Bible. The serious Bible student must use one that remains faithful to the original language. The publishers of these “Stepping Stones to Truth” use and recommend the well established King James, or Authorised Version of the Bible. When using any additional material apply the test that the Bible itself advises …

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

START WITH AN OPEN MIND

A good deal of ‘misinformation’ is spread about the Bible, generally by those who are not familiar with its contents. As you begin the task of reading and understanding the Bible try to put aside whatever you may have previously heard about the Bible and come to it with an open mind ready to accept what it really says.

Jesus encouraged this approach when he said:

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”                                                                                Matthew 18:3

Like a child, read with eager curiosity, and a mind ready to absorb all that it encounters. Come to it with an enquiring mind for Jesus promises,

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7

The relationship that we can build up with God through the Bible is summed up by Solomon in the book of Proverbs,

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25:2

This verse shows that God has deliberately made the Bible a challenge to prove our commitment to understanding His ways. It also hints that the reward for successfully searching for Him and finding his purpose is a position of rulership.

DON’T TRY TO MAKE THE BIBLE PROVE ANYTHING

To take an idea of your own and then try to find verses that prove it, generally leads to confusion. Maybe a verse can be found that can be interpreted in a way that seems to support your idea. The problem is that this interpretation, more often than not, contradicts other scriptures and obscures the Truth. It is almost as though the Bible has been written in such a way as to catch out people who attempt to impose man-made ideas upon it. The Apostle Paul commented on this:

“… because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

Over the centuries, by misquotation and abuse, the Bible has been used to justify all manner of atrocities and corrupt behaviour. You must simply and honestly search for the Truth the Bible contains. If you respect the Word of God and accept its Divine origins, the contradictions and confusion disappear.

READ THE WHOLE BIBLE

Like any major task, it is essential to use a well structured plan, which breaks it down into manageable pieces. [See the Bible Reading Plan offered at the end of this presentation]. Perhaps because the Bible is so large, many people cut corners and concentrate on certain parts, ignoring large sections of it.

For example, the Old Testament is often seen as irrelevant to an understanding of Christianity. This means the reader is accepting some parts of the Bible and rejecting others. The Old Testament is as vital a part of the message of God as is the New Testament, which quotes extensively from the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul says.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

Understanding the law, the name the Jews give to the first five books of the Old Testament, greatly enhances our understanding of Christ and his teachings.

Jesus rebuked the men and women of his time for not paying enough attention to the Old Testament. He said:

Search the scriptures [the Old Testament when the New Testament was written]; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39

If we search the scriptures as Jesus counselled, we will find how wonderful the word of God is.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”                                                            Psalm 19:7-9

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WHAT NEXT?

Time is precious – we need to use it well. Check our Article Index for other articles on many subjects relevant to our day and age.

Or, tell us your chosen subject, in our “Contact us” box at the top of this page on the right (Please use red arrow). 

VERY IMPORTANT  If you contact us we promise we will only contact you to reply to your  request.  We will not pass your details to anyone and WE WILL NOT CONTACT YOU AGAIN UNLESS YOU REQUEST US TO

We have many titles in the ‘Stepping Stones’ series available free of charge. We will search our data base of over a hundred articles and send you a link to one or, if you prefer, a printed copy to read.

You can then keep the link on your phone, or one of our mini booklets in your pocket to occupy those spare waiting moments, in a queue, over a coffee, after a meal, or on a journey.

ALSO AVAILABLE

A Bible Reading Plan and Guide consisting of fourteen booklets each containing guidance notes for four weeks of the twelve-month plan.

God offers men and women a part in His marvellous purpose with the earth that He reveals in His word, the Bible. Since benefiting from the great blessings God offers is dependent upon fulfilling certain conditions He lays down, it is essential that all who would have a part in His glorious purpose read and understand the Bible for themselves. This plan is therefore designed to introduce the reader directly to God’s message and the accompanying guidance notes highlight the straightforward teaching of the Bible, deal with difficulties which people have expressed in the past and draw attention to many examples of divine authorship which reinforce the absolute assurance that this is the Word of the Living God.

A copy of the first issue, together with a bookmark of the year’s reading plan. Questions about what you read in the Bible can be asked in the Contact Us” box top right of this page.

 

Reliability of the Bible – April 2022

The following Bible presentation can be read as standing on its own, or, as a continuation in a series that sets out how you can avoid the terrible consequences of sin which are ruining our world.

Introduction

This presentation relates to a series of regular messages in The Rugby Register magazine which can be read by visitors to our website. It is written in response to the increasing troubles in our world, where there is so much suffering, poverty, killing and several billion people starving that now grows worse with Russia attacking Ukraine. This overshadows the continuing destruction of the environment that is so bad that the Secretary General of the United Nations recently said, “We are on a catastrophic path. We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future,” with the Guardian newspaper adding to that report, that the majority of scientists consider “the world’s governments are currently failing to avert a grim fate.”

Therefore, we, as a community of Christians, want to spread the ‘Good News’ that the rot that seems to have set in will be reversed by the Creator for those who trust Him and follow His son. The presentation you are about to read will refer to things covered earlier in the series and a link is provided to that article by its month in case you want to refer to it. God has extensive, amazing plans for the earth and will not allow it to become uninhabitable by men and women.

18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.                                     Isaiah 45

29  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. Psalm 37

We started with the common criticism often thrown at Christians, “Why does God allow suffering?” and, “If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, why do bad things happen to people?” Our series of monthly Bible presentations show that present events are an inevitable part of God’s amazing, wonderful purpose with the earth. You can go to the Articles INDEX🡸 to find any of the presentations in “The way to Salvation”🡸 series. The link on the left takes you to the first, published in October 2021, and the one above it to a list that allows you to choose any of the presentations, or work through them in chronological order at your leisure. And now we offer this month’s Bible presentation.

The reliability of the Bible.

This subject is fundamental to Christianity and is regularly referred to and demonstrated by our community of true believers, Bible students, and this website. The greatest proof of the truth of the Bible is prophecy.

Jesus knew that he was going to be crucified because he had come to serveJanuary his Heavenly Father and that he would be rejected by the Jews religious leaders. When he prepared his disciples for his departure he told them … … …

28  Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29  And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. John 14

That is the purpose of prophecy – that the hearers and the readers of the prophecy will believe the prophet’s message – especially if it is for their benefit. The reassurance of that promise of Jesus is only of value if the hearer and the reader believe in the truth of his words spoken and recorded in the scriptures. Therefore God, the author of the scriptures, has provided a number of ways to show His word – the Bible – is true.

19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1

Our great and wise, all-powerful God and creator, says, such are the wonders and intricacies of the smallest organism to the most complicated known galaxy He has made, that it is obvious there is a Creator God who is in control. This is not the time or place to discuss evolution beyond saying that an interesting article published by the New York Times in 2019 is very compelling.

The author described several dazzlingly beautiful creatures in nature saying,

“This extravagance is also an affront to the rules of natural selection. Adaptations are meant to be useful — that’s the whole point — and the most successful creatures should be the ones best adapted to their particular environments.”

God, however, filled the world with beauty for His own enjoyment and for the pleasure of those that believed in Him and His word of truth.  Sadly, man has ruined many of the areas of beauty in the earth, but fortunately these will be restored to their full glory when Jesus comes back to the earth as we’ve told you before.November 2021

21  But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Numbers 14

Beauty is for men and women who can appreciate, especially in the natural world; it is a demonstration of God’s desire for beauty in all of His creation as the psalms quote,

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19

But the beauty he particularly wishes to see is in the character, desires and conduct of men and women.

4  For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. 5  He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. Psalm 33

It is wonderful that such a great and powerful God of Wisdom, righteousness and justice can be so compassionate toward mankind,

8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. … … 11  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103

What does God looks for in us? We have the answer in 1 Samuel 16. The prophet Samuel was given the task of anointing one of the sons of a man called Jesse to be the next king.

6  And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. 7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16

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Having said that prophecy is an important proof of ”The Truth’ of the Bible, we wish to show you a prophecy that can be proved to have been written before it happened. We are very fortunate that in 1947 some very old scrolls of the Old Testament were found in caves very near the Dead Sea.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious manuscripts first found in 1946/47 at the Qumran Caves in what was then Mandatory Palestine. … Dating back to between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most important finds in the history of archaeology. … About 40% are copies of texts from the Hebrew Scriptures.”

Above left: Some of the scroll jars. Middle right: An Isaiah scroll (Old Testament)

Bottom right: some of the Qumran caves where scrolls were found

There is more detail about the Dead Sea Scrolls February 2021 in an earlier presentation, but the important thing for us is that the scrolls contained many prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus written at least 250 years before Jesus was born at the beginning of the 1st century AD.

Here are a couple of examples.

Soon after the birth of Jesus wise men came to see the child. When Herod heard Jesus was born to be king he saw him as competition and tried to kill him. But an Angel warned Joseph of the danger and sent him to safety In Egypt. [An interesting account to be found in Matthew 2]

Prophecy: Hosea 11 1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Fulfilment: Matthew 2 14  When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Reading Matthew 2 leads us to another prophecy about the birth of Jesus.

Prophecy: Micah 5: 2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Fulfilment: Matthew 2 4  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

It is clear that even the priests, that turned out to be very hostile to Jesus, knew about this prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and were expecting him, but did not appreciate Jesus’ mission.

Many regular readers of the Bible find that the more they read it the more of its pages carry a ring of truth. Let us endeavour to give you a brief taste of its qualities under these seven pillars of truth.

1. The UNIQUE nature of its TEACHINGS:

Readers will find there is so much in the Bible that is unique in the sense that the knowledge it contains was first being given by the prophets, apostles or teachers of God’s message and later published in the Bible.

  1. There Is Only One God Who Exists.

10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. Isaiah 43

  1. The One God Is a Personal and Loving Father.

4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Ephesians 2

  1. The one God offers Life Beyond the Grave.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. Act 2  

2. The Bible is INDESTRUCTIBLE: Another amazing fact about the Bible is that many have tried to destroy it. Thousands, may be millions of copies have been destroyed. Men who translated for readers to understand, who distributed it, and who printed it have been wickedly put to death, yet it remains the most widely circulated book in the world. Why? Because it is under the care of its author – the Almighty, all wise God.

3. It contains AMAZING EVIDENCE OF PROPHECY: Much of it indisputably written well before the event has been fulfilled in every detail. Cities, nations and individuals preserved or destroyed all as predicted by Almighty God – never once has the Bible been shown to be wrong.

4. It is a CREDIBLE record: Its teachings are unique. No non-Christian religion teaches anything like true Christianity. The record chronicles failings and achievements of nations and peoples without fear or favour, completely unlike the way human authors record the history of their nations.

There are not enough superlatives to describe the amazing proofs of the truth of the Bible.

5. It is HISTORICALLY ACCURATE. The accuracy of scripture is revealed whenever it is possible to compare the record with genuine archaeological findings and other ancient records. Sometimes events, people and places described in the Bible have at first been declared mythical because nowhere else is there evidence that it happened. This was claimed as evidence the Bible is a book of fiction, until the archaeologists spade discovered evidence of the contrary. Babylon is an example of this.

6. INTERNAL HARMONY stands out: It is a harmonious whole. Despite being written over a period of 1,500 years by at least 40 men from hugely varied backgrounds and in widely spread locations, it has stood firm against all efforts to undermine it’s integrity because its writers were inspired by God.

7. Finally, it is SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE. Whilst the Bible’s prime concern is to reveal God’s purpose with his people and the world, where matters of record relate to the workings of nature it is always accurate, in some cases long before men understood the matter. A few examples.

Natures water cycle

6  The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7  All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Ecclesiastes 1

The Earth hangs in Space

7  He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. Job 26 [The oldest book in the Bible]

The Earth is round

22  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: Isaiah 40

All this is true because God created and controls all things. Anything He wants to happen will certainly happen because He has ensured His message is accurately recorded and unerringly preserved by putting the words and thoughts into the minds of men.

So we have every reason to believe what the Bible tells us because it enables us,

2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; … … 5  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. Proverbs 1

There is a very helpful proverb in the 9th chapter of that book.

1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars. Proverbs 9.

It assures us that the wisdom of the Bible, supported on these seven pillars, provides the protection we need from the weaknesses and temptations that our nature brings upon us. And once again we come to the only solution available to us if you wish to escape from the inevitable end of life without God …

9  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9

The most important relationships we can have are with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for …

23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14

6  Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. 7  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. Psalm 36

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This presentation is one of a series.  The subjects included in it are listed below.  Please Ctrl+Click on any you wish to go to.

The Way to Salvation

  1. Why does God allow suffering – October 2021
  2. Remarkable changes are coming – November 2021
  3. He is risen (resurrection) – December 2021
  4. The Good Shepherd of his sheep – January 2022
  5. Following the Good Shepherd – February 2022
  6. Earth full of knowledge of God’s glory – March 2022

PLUS two reasons why we know THE BIBLE IS TRUE.

Who knows the future? – February 2021 
How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

Earth full of knowledge of God’s glory – March 2022 … No.6 “The way to salvation”

 

The following Bible presentation can be read as standing on its own, or, as a continuation of a series on sin and it’s consequences which can all be found immediately below the present one if you wish to read them before this one.



Introduction

We intend to tell you about things that in the light of conditions today could seem impossible – a fairy tale – even fantasy.  So, we will start with one that is sadly all too realistic, but happily can lead to infinitely better things.

One day towards the end of his ministry when Jesus was prophesying of times to come, he said …

9  But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. 10  Then said he unto them, earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.                                       Luke 21
Jesus went on to describe coming troubles at different times that would get worse and worse reaching their climax in the battle of Armageddon in the Middle East.  But this is not the time, nor do we have the space to look at the prophecies of wars at that terrible time when many nations will suffer greatly.  Our interest now is in how Jesus told the crowd before him those wars would conclude … …
25 … … and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;26  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.                                                                                    Luke 21
Jesus will then return from heaven to save his people from destruction
30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.      Matthew 24
This seeming digression from our main subject is necessary so that you appreciate the huge changes needed to bring the world the state God ultimately intends for the earth …
15  … the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.                                                Revelation 11
This long awaited part of God’s purpose will certainly happen.  The scriptures tell us these changes are huge!  But we have the assurance from His past actions that they will occur…
37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.                                           Luke 1
After all, He did create the Universe and mankind upon Earth!
We can show from the scriptures how these essential great changes will be achieved. For this will necessitate the removal of power and influence from  wicked, godless world leaders, it being transferred to Jesus Christ, the son of God, who will rule over God’s Kingdom on earth. But this requires a separate presentation.  Let us know if you would like to see this, but for the time being the subject we wish to deal with is …   

The earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD

In this series of Bible presentations, (listed at the end of this one), we have seen that a loving God created the world, and men and women in it, who are like himself to the extent that they can communicate with Him intellectually and appreciate what He has done and is planning for them.  He reveals His great work of creation and the amazing benefits of being part of His plans for the future, there will be some who will grow to put their trust in Him and love HimOctober 2021 as a child does his father by appreciating what He is doing for them; choosing to obey Him because they want to contribute to making His plans a reality; believing in His mercy that they may have  part of the glorious new world that will, in due time be, “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD.”  So, let us now look at what God promises those who follow His Son faithfully to the best of their ability.
Clearly the first thing that needs to be changed for the Earth to be filled with “the knowledge of the glory of God,” is man himself.  We know, and have discussed in this series of presentations, the strong-willed nature God has given man to enable him to show the genuineness of his love for his Heavenly Father. But we also know that man is capable of great evil as well. We may remember that the apostle Paul describes his nature like this … …
18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.   Romans 7 
God created the world for His own glory as our header quotation shows.  We have seen that believing men and women have an essential a part to play in that purpose. Clearly it will be necessary to remove from this world  sin and death.  The process begins with the selection of those who are to assist Jesus in establishing the Kingdom of God on the Earth.  Step one is a marvellous miracle.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.                                                                            John 5
Now many men and women will have responded to the call of God, in the Old Testament through the prophets, in the New Testament through Jesus and the apostles, and since their day through the reading of the Bible. But not all will have remained faithful so there will need to be a judgment of the faithful and unfaithful.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.                                       2 Corinthians 5 
The unworthy will be returned to the grave as God decides, but we are interested now in the future promised those judged worthy of the amazing blessings of eternal life.
20  We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.      Philippians 3
We are promised the same everlasting body Jesus received  when resurrected to eternal life – a most remarkable and marvellous change.
16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3
This means we are no longer subject to sin and death, pain, suffering and much more.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.                                               Isaiah 40
Many are the practical benefits of all those for whom a merciful Jesus forgives weaknesses and failings. Additionally they will enjoy  the companionship of their fellow ‘Saints’ who are not chosen by the religious leaders of the day, but by our Heavenly Father.
5  Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.                                                                              Psalm 50
There are many scriptures describing the earth under the reign of Jesus Christ. The following is a good outline for our purposes in this article.
13  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man [Christ and his saints now resurrected with immortal life to work for God’s glory] came with the clouds of heaven,[with God’s angels a glorious host] and came to the Ancient of days, [Jesus fulfilling his Heavenly Father’s long promised plan] and they brought him near before him. 14  And there was given him dominion, [rule over the whole earth as his empire] and glory, and a kingdom [Israel, the Kingdom of God, centred in Jerusalem as capital of the world], that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.         Daniel 7

We will pause for a moment to consider the personal benefits of eternal life.
♦ Freedom from temptation, pain, suffering and death.
♦ No more anxiety, stress or worry.
♦ Never being lonely, having many loving, lovely companions.
♦ Being reunited with loved ones who have believed the Gospel.
♦ The ability to meet those remarkable characters we have read about in the Bible and grown to know and love.
♦ The ability to enjoy the unspoilt beauty of nature, the sunrise in the mountains, animals at play, dolphins leaping in the seas, bird song filling the air, the splendid colours and perfumes of flowers, shrubs and trees in a world free from pollution.
♦ Being able to teach an eager mortal population to know, reverence and worship, the one true and glorious God.
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.            Revelation 14
[Note: the Greek word translated Angel actually means messenger and isn’t always an Angel from God. We anticipate from other scriptures that the Saints will assist in this work.]
♦ The honour of assisting Christ in the government of the world.
26  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.                                                               Revelation 2

How will we be occupied in the Kingdom?
Bearing in mind that Jesus is to return to the world when Israel is under attack from the nations around her and she is about to be destroyed, his first task will be to conquer the enemies of Israel.  The way God has decided to carry that out is a long story which we must leave for another occasion, for the task of overcoming the many nations that will oppose him will be huge and too complicated to describe now but we are prepared to tell you on another occasion.  What is important is that the surviving mortal population will be those that accept Jesus and his rule. So the world will undergo drastic change.
3  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.                                             Isaiah 2
The honour and satisfaction of helping Jesus in the great works to be achieved will surely be great. Particularly because under the rule of Jesus, peace and harmony between peoples will be the key to life.
4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.                                                                         Isaiah 2

This means the removal from the world of …
♦ All the horrors of war.
♦ Every sort of armament and weapon.
♦ The heartache of caring for the victims and associated loss of life.
♦ A massive saving in resources and manpower.
And the conditions in the world will be changing as the peoples of the world set about clearing away all evidence of evil, wickedness and godlessness.

The following scriptures describe in lovely language some of the marvellous changes it will be a joy to experience throughout the world in the Kingdom Age.
1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Isaiah 35
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.               Isaiah 11

♦ 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. Amos 9

  • 12 For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. Zechariah 8
  • 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. Micah 4

There is much more information given in the scriptures about the future and therefore please ask about anything you want to know, bearing in mind our promise that if you contact us we only respond to questions and comments and will not approach you again unless requested.

Please remember that throughout the Bible God’s promise is that …

20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy  Psalm 145.

The ultimate purpose of God is realised at the end of Christ’s millennial(Revelation 20:4) rule over the World after the second judgement  has taken place of all the mortal people who have lived during the Kingdom. Only then will the earth be finally ”filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the seas. “

3  … … Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.                       Revelation 21

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This presentation is one of a series.  Those before it are listed below.  Please click on any you wish to go to.

1. Why does God allow suffering? – October 2021
2. Remarkable Changes are coming – November 2021
3. He is risen (Resurrection) – December 2021
4. The Good Shepherd of his sheep – January 2022
5. Following the Good Shepherd – February 2022

PLUS two reasons why we know THE BIBLE IS TRUE.

Who knows the future? – February 2021 
How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

Following the Good Shepherd – February 2022

The following Bible presentation can be read as standing on its own, or, as a continuation of a series on sin and it’s consequences which can all be found immediately below the present one if you wish to read them first.
You may notice in this article references to earlier subjects in this series that follow this one in date order.

Introduction

If this is the first time you have seen one of our regular messages in The Rugby Register magazine or visited our website and read one of our monthly articles, you may be wondering why we are recommending that you ‘follow Jesus Christ’, who was born over 2000 years ago. Well, it is because in this troubled world, where there is so much suffering, poverty, killing and several billion people starving, plus continuing destruction of the environment that is so bad that the Secretary General of the United Nations has said, “We are on a catastrophic path.  We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future,” with the Guardian newspaper adding to that report, that the majority of scientists consider “the world’s governments are currently failing to avert a grim fate.”
Therefore, we, as a community of Christians, wanted to show our readers, the rot that seems to have set in will be reversed by the Creator. He has amazing plans for the earth and will not allow it to become uninhabitable by men and women.

18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.                                  Isaiah 45
29  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.      Psalm 37

We started with the common criticism often thrown at Christians, “Why does God allow suffering?” and, “If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, why do bad things happen to people?”  That was in October last year since when we have developed a series of monthly Bible presentations to show that it is an inevitable part of God’s amazing, wonderful purpose with the earth.  To read them you can go to the October 2021 presentation below, and work chronologically through them all there.

Following the Good Shepherd

So far in this series of presentations we have shown that a loving God created the world and men and women wishing that some, appreciating what He is doing for them, might show Him their love. October 2021  Unfortunately, we find creating men and women with the freedom to love also leads to many problems caused by those who don’t love Him.

We have seen in recent months that God gave the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, a simple, but important command, breaking of which meant they would die.  Sadly, they disobeyed and death for all was brought into the world. (November 2021)  Fortunately, God had foreseen this would happen and had provided in His plan the means to overcome sin and break down the barrier to future life enabling God to reward those who loved and served Him. (December 2021)  This hard-won victory was achieved by God’s own son, Jesus Christ, who did no sin and became the first to be resurrected to eternal life. (January 2022)  Now we need to deal with what men and women must to do to gain the same reward as Jesus – resurrection to eternal life and an amazing future life.

We have already seen that Jesus likens himself to a shepherd and those who believe in him are his sheep that follow him.  We have many examples in the Bible of how Jesus collects his followers.  At the beginning of his ministry Jesus collected many followers. For example, there were James and John, two of his twelve special followers and disciples

21  And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.                                                                                                       Matthew 4

That did not mean they gave up fishing completely.  They still needed to contribute to the family income, but they now had a new priority in life.  They learned the gospel Jesus taught, watched how he lived, and strove to obey him.  On one occasion an interesting young man to see Jesus.

16  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  17  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.                           Matthew 19

They discussed what the commandments were.  Then …

20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.            Matthew 19

Jesus could see that his possessions were more important than the commitment that was necessary to follow him.

Clearly, to follow Jesus we need to know how he lived. So, let us look at how Jesus started his ministry.

13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.                        Matthew 3

How important this event was to Jesus!  He was baptised by full immersion in water to fulfil all righteousness as his first public act and his Heavenly Father witnessed to the fact that Jesus was uniquely His Son and what He had done had well pleased Him. 

Then Jesus was led into the wilderness for a final period of preparation after which …

14  … Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.                                                            Mark 1

And in view of the importance his Father had attached to baptism we find …

1  … that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2  (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)              John 4

So began a great work for Jesus and his disciples, the apostles and faithful men and women down the ages to the present day.

14  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.                                          Matthew 24

What do you know about baptism?  Probably, that it is carried out in various different ways in churches and ‘Christian’ communities as illustrated.

The apostle Paul spent many years bringing men and women to salvation through Jesus Christ and we feel that it is very useful to look at an example that took place in Philippi where Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison for preaching the gospel in that city.

25  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed. 27  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.                                          Acts 16

The jailer was about to kill himself because any Roman soldier who had prisoners in his care and allowed any to escape was put to death.  The record continues.

28  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Paul and Silas had been in the city for a good few weeks and spread their message far and wide amongst the population. Clearly the jailer had heard and understood he needed to do something to be saved

31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.     Acts 16

Paul and Silas made sure that all the household knew and understood the gospel and only then were they baptised being taken to where there was sufficient water for immersion  As Jesus had said, …

 

5  … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.                             John 3

Baptism is a rebirth to new life in Christ in which the oen baptised promises to obey Jesus and his commandments .

There is a true saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so we are going to use some to demonstrate that the four principles involved must be understood and therefore can only apply to an adult mind and full immersion.

We hope that all who have read this article carefully will appreciate that Bible baptism, as preached by Jesus and the apostles, must be by total immersion as no other way can be an effective seal of the covenant the candidate needs to make with the son of God.  Here is a summary of the four steps.

After all, the benefits being offered for faithful service to Jesus and his and our Heavenly Father are enormous. But that is another story as this presentation has reached its limit in length. So, our intention is to deal with that next month. Please remember any questions regarding this presentation or any Bible matters including those dealt with on our website, in our comments box top right, will be welcomed and answered.

Please be assured that we only respond to questions and comments and will not approach you again unless requested.

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This presentation is one of a series.  Those before it are listed below.  Please click on any you wish to go to.

1. Why does God allow suffering? – October 2021
2. Remarkable Changes are coming – November 2021
3. He is risen (Resurrection) – December 2021
4. The Good Shepherd of his sheep – January 2022

PLUS two reasons why we know THE BIBLE IS TRUE.

Who knows the future? – February 2021 
How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

 

Jesus the Good Shepherd of his Sheep January 2022

 

This article can be read stand alone, or, as the next in a series on ‘sin and it’s consequences’ which can be found immediately below the present one if you wish to read them first.
You will see in this article references to earlier subjects,  They follow in date order

In our previous article we looked at how Adam and Eve brought death into the world by not obeying God’s simple command.

17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.              Genesis 2

When God speaks, it will happen or He would make Himself a liar which He is not.

19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?         Numbers 23

So, as we saw last time Adam and Eve had decided their future and ours.  As God explained to Adam … …

17  Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, … …  19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.                Genesis 3

And so all Adam and Eve’s descendants inherited their mortal nature.

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.                Romans 5

Eventually, the day came when the angel appeared to a virgin called Mary and spoke with her as recorded in Luke 1:26-38 which we recommend you read as it says so much about the mission of Jesus.  Some key extracts are …

31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32  … the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33  … of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Here, Mary interrupted to ask,

34  …, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

A wonderful miracle – God’s power the Holy Spirit was to cause the conception. But what would her fiancé, Joseph, think about it?  God had anticipated his reaction as Matthew informs us..

20  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.                        Matthew 1

So much Information is contained in these verses that we must pause and take stock.

Jesus was Son of God, uniquely, miraculously conceived by the power of God, and Son of man through Mary.

4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.                     Galatians 4 

This meant he was born to carry out his Heavenly Father’s purpose to “save his people from their sins.” AND he had the nature of man being “made under the law”meaning he lived under the same condemnation as Adam, Eve, and all men and women.  Let’s be clear what that meant for Jesus.

 14 Since then we have a great high priest, … … Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.                                                                                                                   Hebrews 4

It means that Jesus was a man a mortal being.  He had the same nature as all of us, being subject to temptation, pain and suffering, and he would in due course die.  And he born with a unique mission.

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.                 John 5

This meant that whatever he said – all his teachings – he had learned from his Heavenly Father.

49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  50  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.                                                                                                                                John 12

We hardly need remind you of the contrast between Jesus and other men and women, but I will to emphasise the contrast.  Firstly the universal situation.

12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:                 Romans 5

You might think to yourself, it’s one thing to say such words came from God, but how do we know that is true.  The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy, was inspired to write to a young, but fellow teacher.

16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.                       2 Timothy 3

Inspiration is how God breathes into the minds of His writers what He wants them to set down in His book, the Bible.  Therefore God was  in control of all those who wrote His important message to man kind.  (We have two articles in this series that demonstrate the truth of the Bible. See the end of this presentation.)

The Apostle Peter informs us how it happened.

20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  21  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. (better ‘Spirit’).                    2 Peter 1

Therefore, they cannot write their own ideas because God’s Holy Spirit is their guide, as you see in the quote above.   God’s power will not let them write anything except His true message.

Now let us think about Jesus and compare him to all other members of the human race.

 

 

 

 

 

JESUS                                  MEN and WOMEN

Why subject to death?       Because he had Adam’s         Because they had Adams                                                                       mortal nature.                         mortal nature.

What was the                      “Tempted as we are,                     ALL HAVE SINNED
fundamental difference      YET WITHOUT SIN.           and all short of the glory of God
between them?                       Hebrews 4:15                                 Romans 3:23

Law: “the wages
of sin is death”                     NOT AN OFFENDER                   ALL ARE OFFENDERS
Romans 6:23

Law: “God, that                   Whom God hath raised up           
cannot lie, promised …”     loosed the pains of death                Therefore all die                              Titus 1:2                            not possible he holden of it.                                                                     

Before Jesus was born all who worshipped God were governed by the law of Moses or it’s earlier equivalent. But that law only contained rules about how to live and the punishments that went with them if they were disobeyed.  So, as Paul wrote to the Galatians2:16,  “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,” he went on at length in his epistles to describe how God made it possible for men and women to escape from condemnation under the law.

Reading all of the quotation above from Titus, it is easy to understand why God, seeing, a man or woman who was really working hard to please God, could not just say, “I’ve changed my mind about sin and death, I’ll give you eternal life.”

2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;   Titus 1

God’s promises are precious.  He promised Adam and Eve death if they broke His law.  We have already seen that God has promised that eternal life is something that He will give to certain men and women.  So, we can see that if God could just change a promise He has made about death, He could change His promise about a way to receive eternal life. That would mean that future life and all things are uncertain.  So we need to know precisely how the life of Jesus changed things.

In our table above we can see clearly man stays in his final resting place because of his sins. Jesus, as he lay in his tomb had nothing to condemn him except his inborn nature as Paul tells us,

3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:                         Romans 8

Jesus, in the same body of mortal nature as we have, overcame sin in a unique victory.  He was tempted precisely as we are and yet totally sinless, in thought word and need.  He obediently gave to his Heavenly Father his human body as a perfect sacrifice despite false accusations, unjust punishments and the most severe physical and emotional pain and suffering we can imagine.

Jesus submitted to death because He had mortal nature.  But he was not personally worthy of death.  He was a righteous man.  He died to destroy temptation and condemn sin.  He was the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, therefore His Father could not justly allow his to remain in the tomb and he was resurrected to eternal life.

18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:                1 Peter 1

So Jesus has redeemed us.  He gave his life for sin to save those who are striving to overcome sin in their own lives, and in that way has brought the hope of life and immortality to light through his Gospel.

10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:             2 Timothy 1

This information was not new when Jesus was born into the world. Those who listened to the prophets knew he was coming.  We would recommend reading Isaiah 53.  For instance, speaking of our redemption he wrote,

4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. … … 11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.                             Isaiah 53

What an amazing man Jesus was when we consider what he was willing to do to make possible the forgiveness of our sins and give us a hope of life.  Surely, that thought alone makes us want to follow our shepherd as obedient sheep that we may share with him the joys and wonders to come when Jesus returns. See what encouragement the apostle Paul gave his friend Titus and is willing to give to all men who read his letter.

14 … … Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.                 Titus 2(NKJV)

A people who are,

13  looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, Titus 2

We look forward, God willing, to explaining  how we become faithful followers, and disciples of Jesus whom he will bless with the marvellous reward of eternal life in his glorious Kingdom in our February Rugby Register message and linked article on this website.  If you wish to contact us before then on this subject you can do so on our contact us/ask questions panel at the top right of every webpage.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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Please bear in mind  that these are short articles designed to whet the appetite of the reader for deeper study.  So please be ready to ask questions in the Comments Box at the top right of this page using the arrow on the right. We only respond to questions and comments and will not approach you again unless requested.

1. Why does God allow suffering? – October 2021
2. Remarkable Changes are coming – November 2021
3. He is risen (Resurrection) – December 2021

PLUS two reasons why we know THE BIBLE IS TRUE.

Who knows the future? – February 2021 
How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

Happy and contented reading.  But if not content, please remember our   Comments Box   and if Happy, tell us that too. 

 

He is risen (resurrection) December 2021

The following article can be read as standing on its own, or, as the next in a series on sin and it’s consequences which can be found immediately below the present one if you wish to read them first.
You will see in this article references to earlier subjects in this series that follow this one in date order.
The object of this article is to answer the question posed above which, is how did Jesus overcome the seemingly impossible situation when God’s  law decreed that “the wages of sin is death”?

Our regular readers may recall God had declared that the of purpose His creative work is that  [see October 2021 suffering]

14  … the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.                                                              Habakkuk 2

The most important aspect of His work was the creation of men and women of whom He was going to require much more than any other creature …

27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.                    Genesis 1

‏This means that He needs thinking beings that are able to understand Him.  The word ‘image’ in the original Hebrew צֶלֶםmeans similar, not identical as God and the similarities He gave him included a mind that could think, reason, and have emotions in the same way as God, and have the ability to communicate with Him.

Man’s creation happened like this …

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2 KJV

Follower by the forming of the companion God gave him,

21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.                                     Genesis 2

Above all He wanted the more perceptive of human beings to grow to love Him and obey him as best they can.

21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.                                               John 14

The original New Testament was written in Greek which has three words for love.

‘Eros’ which stands for sensually motivated lust and is never found in the scriptures, indicating that there is a great difference between the loving relationships associated with the Christian way of life and a selfish worldly way.

‘Phileo’, used 25 times in the New Testament, meaning to be a friend to another, to be fond of (have a liking for) an individual or an object, to have or show affection. In some contexts it means to kiss another as a mark of tenderness for that person.

‘Agape’ is the word for Christian love and is used 115 times in the New Testament.  It means undefeatable goodwill; it describes the way we respond others which, no matter what they do will always seek their highest good and will accept all the difficulties, problems and toil which the relationship may bring. Agape love is the deepest king of love that can be exhibited one towards another.

However, all men and women have been given freewill, and the way they react to certain situations will show agape love is at work, for there will be times when the easier option will be to be selfish and refuse to help.  To exhibit the kind of love God wishes to see requires motivation and effort and God through His Word shows us the king of people He wishes us to be

A good example of agape love is the love God has for His people Israel. They have been so often disobedient, rebellious and with not a care for God, yet he cared for them … …

37  … because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;                                                                                         Deuteronomy 4

As Jehoshaphat, one of the kings of God’s people in praying for God’s help said

7  Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?                                                             2 Chronicles 20

That is the deep, loving, visible relationship that God requires of men and women through Christ if they are to be resurrected and given Eternal Life in the glorious, peaceful Kingdom of God.

So, let us now focus on how the relationship between God and men and women, all started.

The creation of the earth and all that is upon it is a marvellous work of beauty and wonder. But God wanted to include intelligent beings with the ability to appreciate His work and the life He gives them who can, and some will, grow to love Him to the best of their ability. For them it will be God’s pleasure to lavish upon them His love with the most wonderful reward imaginable.

It all began like this … …

Genesis 1  1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. … … 26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. … … … Genesis 2  8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. … 16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die* [The Hebrew, literally, “dying thou shalt die.”]

God created man with freewill as we have explained, with the ability to love Him with a deep agape love.  Also, to be obedient and respect Him.

So God immediately set the scene for a test.  If they were to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die.  And eventually, we don’t know how long after, the test came. God used a creature called a serpent to suggest the women disobeyed God’s commandment.

1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.              Genesis 3

The serpent directly challenged God’s command and His promised consequence.  The serpent used a lie which the woman found too attractive to resist.  “Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”  She ate the fruit and gave it to her husband who also ate and their idyllic life in a beautiful garden with everything provided for a comfortable life was to end.

17  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.                    Genesis 3

Thus was established the rule for all men and women – “The wages of sin is death”. In the words of the apostle Paul,

12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:                        Romans 5

There are two reasons why men and women are condemned to die. First, they all inherit a dying nature from Adam, so it is not our fault we die.  Even Jesus, who inherited human nature from his mother Mary, was condemned to die.

14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; Hebrews 2

Secondly, we all sin and therefore cannot escape death and the grave. But in this respect Jesus was different to us.

14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.          Hebrews 4

There are several verses that tell us Jesus did no sin and therefore he is in a different position to all other men and women.  Because Jesus did not sin and God is a just God, it was wholly right that Jesus did not remain in the tomb.

24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.                  Acts 2

Jesus had done a wonderful thing for us all!  Let the apostle Paul tell us what it was.

3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:                             Romans 8

How did the law, which governed God’s people, work?  It was a collection of laws setting out how God wanted His people to live with appropriate punishments if they failed to do them and the consequences are clear. ”Sin is the transgression of the law”1 John 3:4 and  “the wages of sin is death”Romans 6:23 but this law provided no way of escape from death, only punishment if broken.

All men and women sin, some more some less, except Jesus.  He, by a huge effort, had his Heavenly Father’s support through His Angels, did no sin.

6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.                       Psalm 34

Jesus did not deserve the wages of sin, so God, who is a just and righteous God resurrected Jesus, showing through Jesus that it is sin that condemns men and women to death.

To explain how, remembering what we learnt earlier in this article, Jesus, like us all, had to die because he had the same nature as Adam, being formed of the dust of the ground”But, Adam and Eve both sinned and their punishment, was “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” So, Jesus too, like us, had to die, but by being SINLESS which is the mark of RIGHTEOUSNESS and PERFECTION, whilst bearing our detestable mortal nature, Jesus met sin on its own ground and overcame it, even though tempted precisely as we are. Being the only one ever, who has been totally sinless even though tempted. Christ brought his sinless life to God in the earthen vessel of human nature.  Thus, he broke the power of sin and opened the doors to endless life.  He turned God’s original purpose into reality.

9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.                  2 Timothy

What a wonderful achievement by Jesus and marvellous blessing for all men and women who are willing to listen to and follow Jesus today.

So our advice to all who read this article is to follow the advice of Jesus as the apostle John recorded it.

12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8

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We hope that you enjoyed this presentation.  It is the third in a short series of monthly presentations.  If you would like to read them they follow below starting with October 2021.

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Please bear in mind  that these are short articles designed to whet the appetite of the reader for deeper study.  So please be ready to ask questions in the Comments Box at the top right of this page using the arrow on the right. We only respond to questions and comments and will not approach you again unless request.

Happy and contented reading.  But if not content, please use our Comments Box to tell us why and if Happy, tell us that too. 

Remarkable changes are coming – November 2021

This article can be read as standing on its own to deal with ‘The changes coming to the earth very shortly’, or as a follow up to last month’s, “Why does God allow suffering?” which can be found immediately below the present one if you wish to read that first.

The object of this article is to show you how God has promised He will change the Earth because it is the reason He created the Earth. This is stated in a very familiar verse to many regular Bible readers.

14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.        Habakkuk 2

So let us show you what God says in His Word, the Bible, about what the Earth and its population will be like when He achieves His purpose.

Now it is clear that the state of the world in which we live is nothing like the glorious place the Creator intends it to be. The work to be done to achieve that change is huge and He has told us who will do that work for Him.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.         John 3

The explanation of how Jesus’ sinless life makes our escape from death possible begins here.

21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.                      2 Corinthians 5

But we must expand on that another time.  Here we need to tell you about the coming changes in the Earth.  Staying with Jesus, as soon as his Heavenly Father introduced Jesus to the world he immediately set about the work God had set him.

9  And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10  And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11  And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. … … 14  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.          Mark 1

An important part of that work was searching out a people who would respond to the call of God through a desire to please Him and be part of His eternal purpose which involved the “Kingdom of God”. He started with Israel because they were the Lord God’s Kingdom in the past. David had acknowledged this many years before.

5  And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.           1 Chronicles 28

When Jesus appeared in Israel they were ruled by the Romans who had conquered them 100 years or so before. Israel’s Old Testament prophets had promised that God would send them a saviour. So when Jesus came teaching about God’s coming Kingdom they quickly began to anticipate that he would restore the Kingdom of Israel there and then ridding them of their Roman overlords.  After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, when his disciples had overcome their amazement at seeing him again, they questioned him aboutthe

6  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  7  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.          Acts 1

After a gentle rebuff and the promise that the Kingdom will come, he told them it was not the time to establish the Kingdom.  Rather, that they must continue his work of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.  Then something amazing happened to Jesus!

 9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

They now understood that Jesus would definitely return to the Earth to carry out the work of establishing the Kingdom AND fill the Earth with the glory of God.  But how and when that happens is a long story and we must continue, as promised, telling you about the remarkable changes that are coming.

There is a huge amount of work to be done when Jesus returns and he will need the help of his faithful followers who are called in the Bible ‘saints’.  We therefore need to be clear what the Bible means by a saint.

5  Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.             Psalm 50

This verse shows that a saint is not a person some church official or committee has chosen. They have always been chosen by God and are those who have made a promise – a covenant – a commitment – to obey God.  For us that means following Jesus – the son of God – and obey his commandments.

Very helpfully, the apostle Paul tells us that God has said, when Jesus appears to the world on his return, he will gather his saints – all the faithful believers – to him.

13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.         1 Thessalonians 3

That means his return will be in two stages. First in private to collect together the faithful.  This is called the resurrection and judgement.

10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.     2 Corinthians 5

16  In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.    Romans 2

This only involves those who have known God and his laws.

11  For there is no respect of persons with God. 12  For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13  (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.              Romans 2

Those who did not know and obey God’s laws, what ever sort of life they have led, will not be called to judgement, they will simply die.

20  Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish. …  ….  14  Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.  Psalm 49

Sadly, those that are found to have failed to faithfully obey God’s laws will return to the Earth. But we don’t want to dwell on failure. We are considering the wonders and joys our Heavenly Father has reserved for those whom Jesus welcomes at the judgement to join him in his kingdom.

The faithful followers of Jesus will experience a remarkable change of nature described by the apostle Paul like this.

42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.                                               1 Corinthians 15

Man is born with a dying nature, given to corruption, often dishonourable, weak and human.  But if chosen by Jesus, when he returns to help him change the world, they will be raised to incorruption, glory, power, and a spiritual body.  Free from temptation, sin and death.  Not subject to pain and suffering but experiencing joys unimaginable.

4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.                         Revelation 21

It is difficult to imagine the change we will experience if Jesus chooses us because things will be so different from this life.

10  And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.         Isaiah 35

We hinted earlier that Jesus has made possible our escape from death.  Those chosen are called ‘ransomed’ because he has paid the dear price to rescue them from death, a process we need to describe in another article soon.  Meanwhile Paul gives another description of the amazing change from mortal to immortal that will take.

54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56   The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. .            1 Corinthians 15

What an amazing and marvellous change that will be.  Now let’s go on to consider the ‘new’ world that is to be created when Jesus returns.   There isn’t the space in this article to describe the situation that brings Jesus back to the Earth and how he and his Saints will deal with the modern world in which many will resist him. We must jump forward to get to the remarkable changes in the Earth.

We pick up where all resistance to the arrival of Christ and the saints to rule the world has been dealt with.

27  And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.                      Daniel 7

The mortal population will have accepted the Lord Jesus and his saints as their rulers.  In a peaceful and settled world the saints, under the direction of Jesus, will establish a government.  It’s duty will involve teaching the mortal population God’s laws and guiding, and directing how they worship Him and live.  This phase of the Kingdom of God will last 1000 years and is called the Millennium Age.

2  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5  O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.    Isaiah 2

it will be a joy to have a part in this new age.  The saints will have their own community and territory in the restored Kingdom of Israel with Jesus ruling from Jerusalem. The mortal population will enjoy great benefits from Christ’s righteous rule.

21  And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.         Isaiah 65

The mortal population will be responsive to the saints, eager to learn God’s laws and the way they must live; they will restore the environment, rebuild their homes, and remove all armaments and evidence of war.  A new temple will be built and, no doubt, local places for true worship and the joint study of God’s word and much more. There will be one language thus allowing world wide harmony and religious belief to be achieved

9  For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.                    Zephaniah 3

The world as a whole will be changing. Nature and agriculture will be very successful and beautiful with the animal Kingdom at peace.

1  The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. 3  Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7  And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.                    Isaiah 35

The countryside worldwide will be beautiful and agriculture bountiful. The mortal population shall live  long and healthy lives, continuing family life in accordance will God’s laws, and having a life expectancy of about 100 years or more.

But Jesus and the saints will live forever. At the end of the Millennium there will be a second judgement of those who have lived during the 1000 years when the disobedient will return to the grave and finally the whole population will be immortal.

2  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  2 Peter 1

What happens next is not detailed in the scriptures. It could be that what God intends to do is so wonderful that with our present capacity of mind we could not understand it.

God plans are so amazing they cannot be thought of or worked out by men or women.  They can only be known when God reveals them.

We must wait to understand what God intends for Jesus and his Saints at the end of the Millennium.  But be sure you are doing your very best to make sure you are there to experience the wonders and joys to come.

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Meanwhile, we recommend that you go to our index page to select more good things to read about the Word of God.

 

Why does God allow suffering? – October 2021

Are you surprised that we should suggest that we ask God for the answer to the above question?  Well, before we ask the question we need to explain a little of the background to why this is valid approach to the question!

1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.           Genesis 1

So, the next question seems obvious.  Why did he do it?

14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.                                                                  Habakkuk 2

That is why Jesus tells us that one day soon a host of the faithful, in praise of God’s blessing of them, will call in unison … …

11  “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”     Revelation 4

Did you notice that the prophet Habakkuk said God wants the earth to be full of the knowledge of His glory?  That means that He needs thinking beings that are able to understand Him and think like Him as he describes in the opening of his book wehich is why man was different to the rest of his creation

27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.                                                          Genesis 1

The Hebrew word translated image there is: ‏צֶלֶם‎ (transliteration: Ṣelem) and Strong’s Hebrew/English Dictionary defines Selem as …

So, man was not the same as God, but he had similarities to God – especially a mind that could think, reason, and have emotions in the same way as God, and the ability to communicate with Him and one another, and much more.

Now, God has given men and women a great deal – life, an amazing body, and, we find as we read more of His word, for those who love Him and use this life to please Him, the promise of a wonderful reward.

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,                                    1 Peter 1

A wonderful inheritance that is beyond the conception of the human mind, but that is revealed to those who read His word carefully.

9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.                                               1 Corinthians 2

Just six short passages of scriptures reveal to us that God is the creator of the universe and that He has a special purpose with the planet we live on that reflects His glory, the wonder of which will be appreciated by the inhabitants – those who have shown they love God by living a life that pleases Him.

But you may well say, “How does this fit in with our world today – full of suffering, poverty, killing, and so much destruction of the environment”?

A very reasonable question with a straightforward answer. It is the only way that God could achieve His purpose!  You will remember that his purpose was that …

14  … the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.                                                                      Habakkuk 2

And we are given a big clue as to why suffering, hardship, wickedness and much more distress is involved, by the apostle Paul, writing to faithful converts, in just one verse.

13  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 ESV

Love is a freewill offering.  It involves choosing to do things for others, when we have the natural choice is not to do them. So, to achieve His purpose God needed to create man with a make up, a nature, often called Human Nature, that has the freedom to act without any constraint.

Wikipedia defines Freewill as follows,

The apostle Paul describes how he finds controlling the nature of man, which has powerful urges to rebel against restraint, difficult to achieve.

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.               Romans 7

Putting it simply, He finds life is a battle between his own desire to please God and the nature he bears very hard because his nature – “the flesh” – prefers to go it’s own selfish way. In other words, it wants to please itself rather than Paul’s desire to please God. When you think about it, for love to be valid it has to be that way. Equally, God’s reward for those who show love for Him, is to love them, and give them a far better way of future life, than those who love their own way. This is why the apostle Paul wrote,

7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,                                     Philippians 3

Everything this world had given Paul in the past and could give him in the future was the lowest form of rubbish he could think of, compared to the excellence of escape from sin and death and to receive eternal life with freedom from pain and suffering in the glorious Kingdom of God free from all forms of evil.  Peter, another apostle much loved by Jesus, wrote in similar terms of all the glories promised to those who truly love Him.

3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.                                             2 Peter 1

If service to God, bringing such a wonderful reward that nothing in the present way of life can compete with,  is new to you and difficult to believe and understand, we need to tell you more about that reward.  However, these are short articles designed to whet the appetite of the reader for deeper study and there is so much to what God promises, as a caring and loving Father, that we cannot even begin to describe it here. Therefore we intend to put together further articles to introduce the reader to the huge benefits of serving God as their Heavenly Father, and following to the best of their ability the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, if you’ve not already read them, below are some of our existing short essays on important aspects of putting your future into the hands of our Heavenly Father that might interest you.  Also, we have available leaflets and booklets all free of charge that cover the sort of subjects in this series of essays. Simply request a copy telling us the subject of interest to you in the Comments Box at the top right of this page.  There, you can request that we provide you a phone number, or an email or postal address for communication.

PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT we only respond to questions and requests and WE WILL NOT APPROACH YOU AGAIN UNLESS YOU REQUEST US TO.

GO TO LIST … …

Who knows the future? – February 2021

How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

True Faith – September 2021

As we say in the message above, it is sad when we are discussing an important subject and the other person uses a simple word, but we don’t know what they mean as is the case with the word ‘Faith’.  The Oxford English dictionary that we quote in the above message defines it as, ‘a certainty’ OR ‘an unproven conviction’ !  Not very helpful with an important subject like this.  We know that, with the passing of the years, words change their meaning.  But to have two opposing definitions in use at the same time is hopeless.

Faith is used 247 times in the King James Version of the Bible and when we add other words containing ‘faith’, like faithfully, etc., it rises to 360 times.  Other English translations use the word extensively as well.  The New International Version for instance, uses Faith 270 times and the group total is 443.  So, we need to know which definition applies to this group of words in the Bible. Is it a certainty or is it an unproven conviction?  For instance, look at the opening words of the Bible.

1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1 (NKJV)

Is it a certainty or is it an unproven conviction?  The whole status of the Bible depends upon it for God, through the prophet Isaiah says,

12  I have made the earth,  And created man on it. My hands stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded.                Isaiah 45

Let’s see if the Bible defines the word faith as it is used in His word, because,

20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21  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

The power of God’s Holy Spirit in directing what men say is amazing. Jeremiah was a prophet that was given the task of telling Israel they were wicked and must listen to God’s message or their capital city – Jerusalem – would be destroyed, many of them killed, and the survivors taken captives to Babylon.  But the people rejected his message, abused and persecuted him.

So Jeremiah said to himself, “They don’t want to listen to my warnings because they don’t believe them or care because they enjoy the ways of idol worship.  I need not go on repeating this message. The suffering their response causes me is too much for me cope with.”  But see what happened …

9  Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.  Jeremiah 20

When God needs His message to be proclaimed no man can stand in its way – a fact many other scriptures confirm.  Thus, making clear God’s word should be trusted as absolute truth.

19  “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23

Therefore, what God says has, and will always be fuilfilled and having faith in the Bible makes that faith a certainty.

9  Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;    Deuteronomy 7  

There is one problem remaining for those new to the Bible.  We need more than the Bible telling us it is certainly true because many people today think it is not a reliable book.  We need independent evidence that it is true, which is readily available, but we don’t have the space in this article to demonstrate that.

An exciting way of showing the Bible is true is through ‘fulfilled prophecy’.

But sceptics claim that the prophecies were written after the event took place.  However, there is excellent well-founded proof that this is not true.

There are many prophecies that were predicted in the Old Testament that have been fulfilled in the New Testament and scholars using scientific methods are able to show us evidence that the Old Testament was complete before the birth of Christ which was predicted in many parts of the Old Testament.

We have articles in this series which demonstrate that the New Testament was written after the Old Testament and we recommend that you read these as soon as is convenient.  These confirm that the Bible is to be trusted as the true foundation of ‘True Faith.’. 

We recommended two of those articles which are

Who knows the future? – February 2021 and
How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

“How can Israel be God’s Witnesses?” and if you click on the article title you will be taken to the one requested.  Please bear in mind that these short articles are designed to whet the appetite of the reader for deeper study.  So please be ready to ask questions in the Comments Box at the top right of this page.  We only respond to questions and comments and will not approach you again unless request.

 

 

 

God Cares – August 2021

We want to present to you what the Bible says about God’s purpose in creating the Earth.  Ah, yes, we do believe that the Bible shows very clearly that God created the Earth and we have recently published two articles demonstrating the Bible is a book of truth.  So, we are not going to do it again here.  But we will give you links to those articles at the end of this account so that you can, if you wish, read those as well.  Our object in this article is to show you why God says He has created the Earth and everything on it.

He directed the prophet Isaiah to present Him to Israel like this.

11  Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12  I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.           Isaiah 45

And this revelation to Israel is equally relevant to all humanity as is shown throughout scripture.  Here, for example, is a description of God by the Apostle Paul.

15  …, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.          1 Timothy 6

I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that the Creator is all wise and powerful since the whole universe is His work.  Furthermore, it is wholly logical that the Creator would have some object in mind in doing so great a work which, He declares through the prophet Habakkuk this time,

14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.           Habakkuk 2

So He created the planet Earth to be full of glory and beauty for His satisfaction, but He wanted more than this.  God wanted it to be “filled with the knowledge of” His glorious work.  That clearly means He wanted people to exist that would see and appreciate His work.  What sort of creatures did the Creator design?  He tells us from the start that He had decided they should be like him in many respects calling them ‘man’ as he confirmed in his word.

27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.             Genesis 1:27

So what was it that God wanted men and women to do in response to the knowledge of His work and purpose?

29  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. … …

It did not stop there for the next verse goes on …

,,, ,,, 31  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.            Mark 12   

God wanted the Earth to be filled with men and women that love Him and one another.  Aah, you say, then He has miserably failed.  But wait a minute. Think about this.  What must go with love for it to exist?  It requires free will.  For love is a person’s response, they need to be able to choose and therefore they must be to free not to love.  Free to reject others, to hate one another, to be unkind, to be selfish, and much more as well as to exhibit the good attributes that are love. The contrast between love and the uninhibited freewill of man in action, called in the scriptures “the works of the flesh” are clearly to be seen in the world today and plainly described in the scriptures. For example,

19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.      Galatians 5

The “works of the flesh” can be very ugly in the extreme as can be seen today in the many trouble spots around the world, and, if we are honest, are in evidence in some measure, in all of us. But when men and women listen to the “Spirit” through the words of God, the teaching of the Lord Jesus, and the example of faith men and women in the Bible, we see a total contrast.

22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.             Galatians 5

Thus we see that men and women at large have a choice.  They can live a life focused on their own will, guided by their own judgement, or they can look around at the amazing natural world from the tiniest creature to the vast universe and be moved by the wonder of it all as was the Apostle Paul to live as God wanted us to live according to His wishes.

18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.          Romans 1

The Great, all-powerful, wise God is invisible, as is His power.  But His work of creation, when seen by an unbiased mind, is the evidence that He is there and His amazing mind and wisdom designed and created everything; setting the unchanging myriad of rules that enable the Earth to support the multitude of life forms, amazingly dependent upon one another, so that men and women can live there and fulfil His purpose.

We rejoice that God cares for those who recognise there is a God having learnt from the Bible His desire and purpose, and strive to please Him and has instructed the Angels to support them.

6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. 8  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.            Psalm 34

However, there is a big BUT.  God, of course, knew the battle those who strive to please Him have to fight against their nature of flesh would be a huge struggle.

9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.           Jeremiah 17

We can see from the scriptures that God clearly understood the kind of creature He was creating in man.  He knew also that He had the power and wisdom to finally free the Earth of wickedness and evil and fill it with His glory, at the same time raising those men and women who love Him and the works of His hands to glorious eternal life.

38  But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.  39  But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.           Psalm 37

This is a big subject that we have started upon, but our article has reached its limit, therefore, we have brought our article to an encouraging conclusion.  The faithful followers of Jesus can look forward to the day that Jesus promises …

4  … God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.              Revelation 21

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We are eager to tell you more about the hope that Jesus promises his followers and there are many articles on our website that do that.  So, please feel free to have a look at them now, or during a future visit.  Especially, if you want to see some of the evidence for The Truth Of The Bible.  As mentioned at the outset, we have two articles in this series which do that.  Just click one of the boxes below to go to one of them.