EARTH-The THEATER OF THE UNIVERSE
God Loves You! Yes, I’m talking about YOU!!!
Back, long before our world Earth was created, God and His entire Universe lived in love, harmony, and peace. The Bible gives us the answers about the first beginnings, that God created everything in the Universe: billions of stars in each of billions of Galaxies(each one many light years across), our galaxy the Milky Way, the Black Holes. The size of it all makes our minds spin. The belief that it all just happened by a big explosion of something the size of a super compact walnut is ridiculous! Reminding me of a story. An atheist filed a lawsuit against holidays- (language root is Holy Days). In his Legal Brief he stated that the main holidays should be canceled because their origins were Christianity- Thanksgiving (Thanking God for His blessings, Christmas (celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ), and Easter (celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave). He stated that atheists don’t even have one holiday. In considering the matter the judge finally ruled that the case would be thrown out. The atheist was furious and demanded to know why. The judge said it was because the atheists do indeed have a holiday. The atheist responded bitterly, “And what holiday would that be?” The judge said “April 1st”- better known as April Fool’s Day. Psalms 14:1 says“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
God has many messengers in the Universe. His messengers are called "Angels". Angels go throughout the Universe taking God’s messages and do wonderful things for Him. Angels are God's Ambassadors. Angels do whatever God asks. Angels must not be worshipped, for they are created beings like humans. Angels appear in different forms. A major part of an angel's work is working for humans in this sinful world, earth.
[Hebrews 1:14] “What are the angels, then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by Him to help those who are to receive salvation.”
Back in the beginning, all was love and harmony. There was perfect happiness and perfect order in all God’s universe. There was one basic law -- LOVE. Since no one knew anything about "sin", God did not have to spell out a lot of "rules" to explain what love is, or is not. The few rules were obeyed because the beings saw the laws made "good sense". All created beings could see that God’s laws were really love in action!
2. WHEN GOD AND LUCIFER BECAME ENEMIES
At first, everything in the Universe was love and harmony. Every being loved and trusted all other beings. No being had ever died. No being had ever even dreamed about war. Everything was love! The Universe served God because of love and trust for God. God knew what was best for the Universe. The highest created being in the Universe was Lucifer. Lucifer was called the "Covering Cherub or the Morning Star". Lucifer was very beautiful!
Isa 14:12 Shining morning star (Lucifer), how you have fallen from heaven! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the earth.
Isa 14:13 You said to yourself: "I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above God’s. I will sit on the mount of Gods’ assembly, in the side of the North. Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High God."
But, for some reason -- that can never be fully understood here-- something changed in Lucifer’s heart and mind. He began to question God. Lucifer questioned God’s laws. Why couldn’t the angels all decide for themselves what was love? Why should there be "laws" in the Universe? Lucifer wondered...he questioned. Lucifer became proud of his beauty. He became proud of his own ideas and opinions. Lucifer wanted to be "like the Most High" [God]! Lucifer claimed that he had new ideas which would bring a new type of liberty and freedom to the angels and to the Universe. All heaven was upset. Was this true? Lucifer began to say that not only was there a better way, but that God was unfair. Finally Lucifer accused God of being a tyrant (wicked, selfish leader)! Many angels listened to Lucifer and also began to question God. The Father and Jesus met with the angels and tried to persuade the angels in the "rightness" of God’s ways. The Father and Jesus tried to show that they are truly love. God's laws are the explanation of love in the Universe. But, Lucifer’s arguments were clever and powerful. The angels could not see where all these arguments of Lucifer would lead!
Finally, God called for all the angels who wanted to serve God to make a choice. Would it be God or Lucifer? One third of the angels chose to join with Lucifer. War broke out in Heaven. Lucifer, who had now become "Satan", and his angels were all put out of Heaven. God could not allow "SIN" to continue in Heaven. [Luke 10:18]
Luke 10:18 “Jesus told them: I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.”
Why didn’t God just quietly kill Lucifer and stop sin before Satan talked to anyone? Up to these time, all created beings had served God because of love, not fear. Before
Lucifer sinned, all created beings served God because they wanted to. If God killed Lucifer, the created beings would serve God because of fear that God would kill them too. So, God would have to "let sin continue" until the whole Universe could see for themselves how bad and terrible sin really was. Yes, God would some day have to bring sin to an end. But, God could not do it while His love and reputation (character) were questioned. God would have to prove His love through the terrible experience of sin. It was when God was planning the creation of our world that jealously, pride, and sin came into Satan’s heart. Satan wanted to be included in the planning, but he was not God. The Bible says that Satan was put out of Heaven and came down to our world. How and when is not fully made clear. After Satan was put out, Satan & his angels must have watched carefully what God would do next!
Now that sin had started in the Universe, would it spread beyond the one-third of the angels that chose to be with Satan? Could Satan grab power in the new world he knew God was ready to create?
3. GOD CREATES A NEW WORLD!
God wanted to create a new world. He created beings in this world that have one very special ability that even angels do not have. The new human beings, because of the power God chose to give, could choose to create another new being to come into God’s Universe. They could have children. The Bible says that God created our world. It did not "evolve". A Divine Creator chose to speak, and it was done. God chose to separate time into day and night - 24 hour periods of time. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God chose to create our world in seven 24 hour days. The Bible says that there was light and darkness. [Exodus 20:11]
Exo 20:11 “In six days the LORD made heaven, earth, and the sea, along with everything in them. He didn't work on the Seventh Day. That's why the LORD blessed this day that He stopped his work and set this Sabbath Day apart as Holy.”
On the First Day, Genesis says God made light. There was something special in that "light", for God did not make our Sun until the fourth day. The Bible does not make it clear if at the beginning of "Creation Week" there was a dark earth of rock here (like the moon), or if God created the earth from nothing that first day. Regardless, God was the creator of earth and light. On the Second Day, God created air & firmament (space). The Bible talks about putting space between the waters that were above the land and the waters that were below. There was some type of an envelope of water around the earth. The Bible gives an interesting clue, but not all the answers. On the Third Day God separated the waters "below the heavens" into sea and dry land. God then started creating the most beautiful trees, ferns, flowers and grass. The dry land filled with the brilliant colors of nature.
God made the sun and moon. The plants now had a special source of energy to create the food for man and animals. Some time in Eternity, God made every star, Galaxy and all the other Planets. On the Fifth Day God must have had a wonderful time creating the fish and birds! God made many varieties of fish. God did not design the waters just to be empty, but filled them with billions of living things that move and wiggle! God filled the air with the sound of colorful singing birds! During the first part of the Sixth Day, God must have had fun creating so many different types of animals! His designing hand chose to create animals with long necks to allow them to eat leaves, or tails to swing in the trees. God knew just what was needed to balance everything out in a perfect world where there would be harmony, happiness and love. Then, as the crowning act of his Creation, God made man. God actually came down, took the elements of the earth in the form of "dust" and formed "man". God breathed into man the "breath of life". This spark of life was like the electricity in a light bulb. The first man, Adam, came to life and looked into His loving Creator’s face. Adam was not created like a baby, but as a full grown man. Man was given the power to think, to plan, to make decisions. Man was given the power to choose, to worship and to love! The Bible says that God asked Adam to name all the animals. All the animals had partners, for they were male and female. As Adam was naming the animals, Adam came to realize that He was alone. So, God performed another creation miracle. God put Adam into a very deep sleep and took a rib out of him. From that rib, God formed a female – a beautiful companion just for Adam! Think of the joy Adam felt when he first looked into the beautiful eyes of the woman (Eve) actually made from his own body. It must have been ‘love at first sight’! God created the Sabbath: At sunset that Friday evening, the seventh day Sabbath began. God came down and talked with Adam and Eve. God explained that each seventh day was sacred time and should be kept holy. The Sabbath was to be a time when man turned from daily activities, and talked with God. The Sabbath would give man time to worship, study, and pray. The seventh day Sabbath was always to be a memorial of Creation. The Sabbath was to be like a safety net, constantly pulling man's thoughts and loyalties back in love to his Creator. The seventh day would always be a memorial of God’s Creative power and Lordship of man's life. As man kept the Sabbath week by week, the family would be blessed! [Genesis 2:3]. Genesis 2:2, 3 By the Seventh day God had finished creating our world. On the Seventh day He stopped the work He had been doing. Then God blessed the Seventh day and set it apart as Holy, because on that day He stopped all His work of creation. Creation week was now ended. God was very happy with what He had created!
The Bible says that God shared Adam and Eve's joy every evening. God would come down personally and talk with them. God gave them a warning about sin and Satan........
4. SIN SPREADS INTO OUR WORLD
God must have told Adam and Eve many things in his special evening talks. How much God told Adam and Eve about sin or Satan is unknown. But, God did give them a test of obedience and love. God had given Adam and Eve everything that was needed for health, happiness & fulfillment. The "Tree of Life" gave something special that allowed Adam and Eve to live forever, as long as they ate it. God also placed another tree in the Garden: the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". But, God warned Adam and Even never to touch
the tree or to eat its fruit. In fact, to prevent temptation, they were not to go near the tree! Eating, or not eating fruit from the tree, was God’s special test of man's love, loyalty and obedience to the Creator! This forbidden tree was the only place in the world where Satan could tempt man. But, the Bible explains that one day Eve wandered near the tree. As Eve looked at the tree she saw a beautiful serpent (snake). Suddenly, the serpent spoke to Eve. The serpent said to the woman, "Did God say not to eat of the fruit of the trees in the Garden?" Eve replied that God said they could eat from any tree except from the tree in the middle of the Garden. To eat the fruit would bring death. The serpent immediately told Eve that she would not die. The serpent told Eve that IF she ate, she would come to know both good and evil, and be like God. Genesis 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Eve took some of the fruit & ate it. Eve felt so good about eating the fruit that she persuaded Adam to eat the fruit, too. Suddenly, the world had changed. Mankind had disobeyed God and failed the test. Sin had entered the world. Adam and Eve were afraid of God. Adam and Eve were no longer innocent and filled with love. Selfishness began to rule their lives. Satan became the new ruler of the world.
Of course, Satan and his angels were delighted. The War for the Universe was successfully started! Satan thought that the first world was in his hand. Satan thought he was one step ahead in his "Great Controversy" or "Battle with Christ". An unseen battle began for the mind and worship of man. The Great Deceiver was at war with his Creator! That night when God again came to visit Adam and Eve, they were hiding. Adam and Eve must have had a long and sad visit with God. God assured them that He still loved them dearly. To help them get an idea of the terrible result of their sin, God killed an
animal. God had said if Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, they would die. The killed animal symbolized a Saviour who some day would come and die for them. God explained that now they must also kill a lamb and confess their sins over the animals head. Adam and Eve must offer the innocent lamb as a sacrifice in faith pointing to a Saviour (Jesus) dying personally for their sins! Jesus would come as a child, and live with mankind. Jesus would live a pure sinless life, an example of what God can do for man. Then, Jesus would die on a cross for man. Jesus would die instead of man. He would pay the death penalty for man. [John 3:16] “God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never die!” But to receive the pardon, man must be willing to accept God again as ruler of his life. Then God would send His Holy Spirit to live in man. Man, combined with the Divine Spirit, could then live a life of love and obedience.
This Good News must have cheered Adam and Eve as they received the terrible news that they must leave their beautiful Garden home. Now thorns and thistles would make their life harder. Man would live by the "sweat of his brow". God put an angel to guard the entrance to the Garden. No longer could they eat from the Tree of Life and continue a sinful life forever. The process of death had now begun. After a time they would die. It must have been with heavy hearts that Adam and Even made a new home outside the Garden.
5. GOD’S PLAN FOR MAN HAS TO BE CHANGED
Now that sin had come, God's habit of directly visiting with man in the evening had to stop. God spoke to mankind through His prophets. God would still talk directly with man, but mostly at special times and occasions through these special men or women. Adam and Eve were made very happy with the birth of children. But, bitter disappointment came when their son Cain, killed another son Abel. Cain became jealous and very angry when God burned up Abel’s sacrifice of a lamb, but not his own sacrifice of fruits from his garden. God wanted the animal burned as a symbol pointing to Jesus future death for man. But, Cain offered God the produce from his work. He wanted to earn favor or merit with God. This – trying to save yourself by your own labors or good works, became the heart of all false religions. This story also became an example of the hate that many people would later have for the people who trusted in God completely for salvation.
Man, as he came from the Creator’s hand, was perfect. Mankind did not have the weakened bodies and minds that man has today. The Bible says that most of the people before the flood lived to be around 800 or 900 years old. Some lived long enough to share with 25 generations of their own grand-children. But, there was a problem. People lived so long that many became smarter and smarter in sin. The Bible says that man’s thinking was bad all the time. What would God do about it? [Genesis 6:5] “GOD saw that human evil was out of control. People thought
evil, imagined evil--evil, evil, evil from morning to night.”
God considered destroying man completely, but God's plan for saving man was not complete. Jesus had not come yet. God’s plan to show His love to the Universe was not finished. God decided to re-start the world again. God would provide a test of faith, loyalty and obedience for everyone living. Those who passed the test would be saved. God would destroy their beautiful world with a flood. But, God would lovingly provide a way of escape in a huge boat, the ark. That boat would be an ark of safety for those who believed.
God saw that one man (Noah) had enough faith that He could be trusted to build the huge boat. God talked directly to Noah and gave him the plans for the boat. The boat would be about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It must be big enough to carry pairs of all animals and birds. After the flood their babies would then again slowly fill the earth. Noah and his family, and some friends, worked hard on the huge boat. Noah worked and preached for 120 years. Most of the people laughed at him. The scientists said that a flood was impossible. God had watered the earth daily with a heavy early morning mist. Rain had never fallen from the clouds. Many people thought Noah was crazy. When the boat was finished, a miracle happened. From everywhere came animals and birds, all guided by an unseen hand. The "clean animals" came by "sevens" and the others came in pairs. Perhaps, for a little time, the people stopped making fun of Noah. This was amazing. But, when Noah made his final appeal to go inside, for the flood was coming; only his family of three sons and their wives went in with Noah and his wife. Then an angel came, and shut the door. Some may have thought they could "save themselves" by their own plans. It didn’t make any difference if the people left outside were sincere or if they really would like to follow God. If the people did not obey and go in, it was too late! Nothing happened the day the angel shut the door. People started to feel better – the memory of the animals miraculously going in the ark began to fade. The crowds began to cheer and tease the family inside. Six days this was repeated. Perhaps God was also testing Noah’s belief. Would God do what He promised? Finally, on the seventh day, the flood came. Water came from everywhere. It came in huge amounts from the sky and it came up out of underground sources. The wind and the waves were so terrible, that it must have made Satan scared for his life. The Bible says
that the waters reached to the top of all the pre-flood mountains. It took five months of floating back and forth before God brought the boat to rest on the mountains of Ararat. [On the borders of Turkey and Armenia].
This was the time the continents moved around; that some land went down; that other huge mountains were pushed up to the height of Mount Everest. The world would never be the same again. Now there would be rain and snow, very hot areas and very cold areas. Man would have new challenges and his life would be shortened to around 100 or so years. God took his time to settle the waters and do all He intended to do with the earth. It was just over 12 months before God finally gave Noah permission to leave the boat. What a relief they must have felt! But, this was not the beautiful earth they had left one year before. The earth looked so different, so rocky, and now there were large areas of water. But, Noah and his family were thankful to be alive and immediately offered a sacrifice of thankfulness to God! God rewarded their faithfulness with a "Rainbow". God promised man that He would never destroy the earth again with a flood. [Genesis 9:13-16]
Gen 9:13 God said, “I'm putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. Gen 9:14 From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, Gen 9:15 I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life.” Gen 9:16 When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I'll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth."
How wonderful if they had "all lived happily ever after". Both Noah and his son Ham made some serious mistakes. But, God does not give up! God works through men who still trust Him enough to love and obey Him -- even if others choose to rebel.
6. GOD CONTINUES TO WORK WITH MAN
It was not long before Noah’s son Ham started on the path away from God. Ham's son, Nimrod, became a great hunter and leader in his time. Nimrod built several cities. He also started a false religion. Nimrod set up the worship of the sun. Later, after Nimrod died, his wife Ishtar claimed that she had become pregnant through the rays of the Sun. She taught the basic principles of "reincarnation" claiming that Nimrod had now come back as a god in her son, Tammuz. [Ezekiel 8:14] “He took me to the entrance at the north gate of the Temple of
GOD. I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz, the Babylonian fertility god.”
This story, told in different ways and with different names, became the basic lie of many religions. Satan planned these false religions that would lead people to worship "him". Satan wants man's worship and the power to control us. Then we are in his hand, and Satan becomes our ruler, not God! Nimrod’s followers led the people to build a huge tower called in the Bible, "The Tower of Babel". Many of the people decided that they did not trust God. These people were doing evil things and were afraid God might bring another flood. They would build a tower so high that men would be safe if there was another flood. God saw their act of unbelief and their rebellious thoughts. God decided to spread the people at the tower around the world and that would help break up the rebellion against His ways. At Babel God changed the one language of the world, to many languages. The people working on the tower could not understand each other. The tower building stopped. The tower builders began to spread around the world. [Genesis 11:7, 8,9]
Gen 11:7 God said, “Come, we'll go down and change their languages so they won't understand each other."
Gen 11:8 Then GOD scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city. Gen 11:9 That’s how it came to be called Babel, because there GOD turned their language into "babble." From there GOD scattered the people all over the world.
Noah lived on after the flood for another 350 years. Noah did have one son who was faithful to the truth about God. His name was Shem and he lived for about 400 years after the flood. In fact, Shem was alive during much of Abraham’s life. God had a plan. He would find a faithful man. Through that man God would develop a faithful people who could take the story of the Good News of God’s love and Salvation to the world. In Abraham, God found someone who would be that type of man. But, God would have to work with Abraham to prepare him for this work. First, God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go on a long trip. But, God did not tell Abraham where he would end up. Abraham had to leave trusting that God was leading. Abraham went out and started on the long journey. Abraham settled here and there, but God kept moving him on.
Second, God told Abraham that He would build a nation through him. But, nothing happened right away. Abraham’s wife could not have any children. Abraham finally gave up waiting, and took his wife’s servant as his wife. Perhaps Abraham thought he would help God. Though Abraham got a son (Ishmael) this way, his short-cut to try and hurry God’s plans didn’t work. The "child of unbelief" would become a terrible disappointment. This experience would become a symbol of man trying to do things his own way, not God's. Finally, when Abraham's wife Sarah was about 100 years old, she did have the promised miracle child, Isaac. What excitement! But God was not finished with Abraham’s training. God would test Abraham with an ultimate (difficult) test. One night God told Abraham clearly what He must do. Abraham must take that special son, now a teenager, and go and offer him as a sacrifice. But, that just did not make sense. How would God give Abraham grandchildren, if he had to sacrifice his son. And....would God really ask Him to sacrifice his son when that is the practice that the
false religions did that God hated? But, Abraham knew God and trusted even if the clear instructions did not make sense to him right then. Abraham left secretly without telling Sarah. The father and his son Isaac headed to the mountain where God had told them to go. When they got there, Isaac agreed to be the sacrifice. Isaac was strong enough to run away, but He also trusted God’s instructions. At the last moment, just as Abraham was ready to bring down the knife, God told Abraham to stop. God knew that Abraham believed enough to obey under terrible circumstances. Father and Son then rejoiced in offering a ram from the bushes that God had provided for them! [Genesis 22:13]
Gen 22:13 Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
God’s plans continued on through Abraham’s son, Isaac, and Isaac's son, Jacob. Then comes the touching story of faithful Joseph. After a troubled childhood and youth, Joseph is sold by his brothers to be a slave in Egypt.
God had a special plan for Joseph. God prepared to use Joseph in a miraculous way because he was so faithful, even when things got very bad. Joseph was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison. But, God used the miracle of prophecy to bring attention to Joseph in prison. The Pharaoh (king) of Egypt had a dream that he could not understand. The king's cup-bearer suddenly remembered a dream Joseph had interpreted for him in prison. The cup bearer told the king his story. The king called for Joseph to be brought out of prison. Joseph gave the correct meaning to Pharaoh’s dream. Pharaoh was greatly surprised. Pharaoh liked and trusted Joseph. Amazingly, Pharaoh made Joseph Prime Minister of Egypt, next to himself. He asked Joseph to look after all the surplus food that would come in the next seven huge harvest years. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all the food during the seven famine years. During the seven famine years, Joseph’s brothers, who had sold Joseph as a slave, came to Egypt looking for food. After testing his brothers, Joseph finally told them who he
really was. Joseph invited them all to move to Egypt. Even Joseph's very old father, Jacob (given a new name-"Israel"), joined them in Egypt. Down in the land of Goshen, Joseph's brothers and descendants had many children. The "Israelite's" as they were called, grew and grew in number. But, all did not go well, many years later, a new Pharaoh came who did not remember Joseph. The new Pharaoh made some new plans for the "Israelites"!
7. GOD CALLS OUT A SPECIAL PEOPLE
God’s Plans have no hurry or delay. God’s goal was to prepare a people to take the knowledge about Himself to the world. But, God had a lot of preparing to do. This new Pharaoh decided to use the "Israelites" as slaves. The slaves built pyramids and huge buildings for Pharaoh’s glory. The Israelites suffered greatly. They were beaten and life became terrible. [Exodus 6:5,6]
Exo 6:5 But now I've heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I've remembered my covenant. Exo 6:6 Therefore tell the Israelites: "I am GOD. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment.
However, God was watching and heard the slave's prayer for help. Through a wonderful series of miracles, God saved baby Moses' life. God placed Moses in the court of Pharaoh to learn from the wisdom of Egypt. But Moses got ahead of his calling to deliver Israel when he killed an Egyptian. Moses had to run away to Midian, 400 miles from the Egyptian capital. Here, as a shepherd, God allowed Moses to learn in another "school" for 40 years. Here, just herding sheep, Moses seemed like a real failure in life. But, God still had a plan for Israel and for Moses. When both God and Moses were ready, God called Moses through an unusual "Burning Bush" experience, to lead His people out of Egypt. People all need to learn that God is in charge. God always has a super plan that He is working out. When God is ready, and when He sees man is ready, God asks man to join Him in that plan.
God’s people were not ready to leave Egypt! The Israelite slaves needed greater faith. The Israelite's must see God working through the "Ten Plagues" that God put on Egypt. When the tenth plague came, there was only one way for anyone, Egyptian or Jew, to escape. God gave a test to everyone. Every father must take the blood of a lamb and put it around the doorpost of their home. This blood symbolized their faith in the Saviour to come. If any family did not do as God asked, the first born son would die that night when the angel of death came by their home. This was a "live or die" obedience test of each Israelite or Egyptian family's love to God!
Of course, Pharaoh put no blood on his doorpost. When his oldest son died, he became terrified. At last, Pharaoh told the Israelites they could leave to worship God in the wilderness! The Israelites hurried toward the Red Sea. It was wonderful for the Israelite slaves to be free at last! But, how would they get across the Red Sea? As they camped by the Sea, the Israelites saw the dust rising from Pharaoh’s army. Pharaoh was chasing them! The Israelites were now caught between the army and the sea. Did God bring the slaves out to die -- caught between an army and the sea? God gave them a lesson of faith. Moses told the people to stand where they were, and watch what the Lord would do to save them. God said He would fight for them. Israel would not have to lift a finger to defend themselves. God then put a huge cloud behind them. That night- to Israel it was a cloud of fire giving them light, but to the Egyptians chasing them, it was a cloud of darkness protecting God’s people.
Moses held out his rod over the water. A huge wind started, and by morning there was a dry path for them to cross. Quickly they all moved over the dry sea bed. But, the
Egyptians started chasing them again. When Pharaoh’s army got to the sea, the army tried crossing too. But, when the army was in the sea bed, God let the waters come back. Every one of Pharaoh’s army died in the sea. God worked long with His special people "Israel". God tried to prepare Israel for the new land. God allowed them to have difficult challenges of food and water in the wilderness. God gave Israel a miracle food, "Manna", but with the food, a test. The manna came only six mornings a week. The manna would only keep one day. But on the 6th day (Friday morning), they were to collect twice as much and it would keep over-night, to be eaten on Saturday the Seventh Day. Why? God wanted His people to understand the importance of keeping His Seventh-Day Sabbath. On God’s holy time, the people had plenty to eat if they had obeyed and collected twice as much on the sixth day. They could worship God in peace and happiness. [Exodus 16:23-30]
Exo 16:23 Moses said, "This is what GOD was talking about: Tomorrow is the day of rest, the Holy Sabbath of GOD. Whatever you plan to bake, bake today; and whatever you plan to boil, boil today. Then set aside the leftovers until morning." Exo 16:24 They set aside what was left until morning, as Moses had commanded. It didn't smell bad and there were no worms in it. Exo 16:25 Moses said, "Now eat it; this is the Day, the Sabbath unto GOD. You won't find any of it on the ground today. Exo 16:26 Gather it every day for six days (Sunday thru Friday), but the Seventh day (Saturday) is Sabbath; there won't be any of it on the ground." Exo 16:27 On the Seventh Day, some of the people went out to gather anyway but they didn't find anything. Exo 16:28 GOD said to Moses, "How long are you going to disobey my commandments and not follow my instructions? Exo 16:29 Don’t you see that GOD has given you the Sabbath Day? So on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. So, each of you, stay home! Don't leave home on the Seventh Day!" Exo 16:30 So the people quit working on the Seventh Day.
Then came the time when God chose to speak in a huge booming voice from the top of Mount Sinai. It was such a special time with God that the people were given several days to prepare. A fence had to be built around the mountain so people and animals would not touch the mountain. God Himself would come to the mountain. Then, from the top of the mountain came the voice of God. God reminded them how He had delivered them from slavery. God personally spoke his Ten Commandments. He did not trust this to anyone. In fact, God wrote all the Ten Commandments with His own finger in stone.
The people promised that they would do everything God asked. But, the people soon failed because they tried to be obedient in their own strength instead of depending on God! You can read about the story of the Golden Calf and how many people lost their lives because of sin and rebellion. Moses threw down the Ten Commandments and broke them when he saw the people already breaking their promise to God. Later, God had Moses to bring another set of stone tablets up the mountain. With His finger, God again wrote the commandments on them. The new stone tablets were put into the sacred ‘ark’ chest in the most Holy Place of the sanctuary (temple). Above the commandments was the ‘mercy seat’ where God came with a special ‘shekinah’ or light. This all shows how important these commandments are. The Ten Commandments explain about God's love: what true love is, and what love is not! Jesus summed them all up by saying to love God first (first 4 commandments), and then love your neighbor as yourself (last 6 commandments). There is a deep lesson here for us. God knows we are very sinful. In our strength, just like the Israelites, we cannot keep His 10 Holy Commandments. We have an evil nature. Naturally, we want and like to sin. We sin just like the Israelites. But, if we will let Him, God will write His love and His laws into our minds. Then with His Holy Spirit’s help, we can obey God and become more and more like Jesus in character. God had to take other strong measures to help prepare Israel for their work in the Promised Land. Many lost their lives in the desert because of unbelief or rebellion. One time, God allowed many poisonous snakes to come into the camp. Many people were bitten and ready to die. God had Moses put up a test on a pole. The test was a snake made of brass. If the people trusted God enough to obey and look up, they lived, if not, they died. God’s special people were so rebellious that God had to let the older generation die before they were ready to go into their "Promised Land". Finally, God miraculously led Israel into the Promised Land. There, God still had many lessons of faith and obedience to teach Israel at Jericho and Ai. God wanted a people who He could trust to tell and live the good news of how man can be saved from sin. God wanted to place the Israelites in the important travel route between the greatest countries of the world at that time, Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. If Israel would be faithful, they could teach the world the truth about a loving God! [Exodus 19:5,6]
Exo 19:5 If you carefully obey me and are faithful to the terms of my promise, then out of all the nations you will be my own special possession, even though the whole world is mine. Exo 19:6 You will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.' These are the words you must speak to the Israelites."
If the people were unfaithful to live and give God’s love, many opportunities to share would be lost. Not only that, many would miss Heaven because of Israel's failure.
8. GOD ILLUSTRATES HOW WE ARE SAVED
God has many ways to teach people the truths about how man is saved. Perhaps the most beautiful example is the story of the earthly sanctuary (or temple). The first sanctuary was built out in the wilderness using God’s exact plans. Moses was told that the Israelites were to make a copy in the desert of a similar temple in Heaven. The system of sacrifices done in the earthly temple is a symbol of the real work being done by Jesus and the Father in Heaven. [Hebrews 8:1-3]
Heb 8:1 We have a High Priest-Jesus: authoritative right alongside God, Heb 8:2 conducting worship in the one true sanctuary built by God. Heb 8:3 The assigned task of a high priest is to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and it's no different with the heavenly priesthood of Jesus.
The earthly temple had an outer yard with a large altar and a "laver" (large bowl) for washing. The altar for burning sacrifices represented Jesus who would come and die for man's sins. The washing bowl represented how God washes or takes away people's sins. [Today’s symbol is baptism.] These symbols all show how God takes away sin, and counts man holy in his sight. [We are then justified–or counted as being made right with God!]
The inside of the sanctuary was divided into two parts: A. The "Holy Place": Priests went into the Holy place each day. There were three articles of furniture in the Holy Place: a candlestick, an altar of incense and a table with twelve cakes of bread. This area of the sanctuary symbolized how God changes us and makes us (in our characters) like Him. The golden candlestick (that burned all the time) showed how the
Holy Spirit is to come and live in us and give us power over sin and to make us lights for Him. The "altar of incense" (that burned all day) showed how Jesus intercedes (prays for us) every day in Heaven as we pray for ourselves. The special table with twelve cakes of bread (made without yeast), symbolized the life that Jesus lived for us. We can have that life in us as we "eat" His words through studying the Bible. Slowly, the Holy Spirit reprograms our minds (our mental computer program) and we become more and more filled with Jesus love. We live and become more and more like Jesus!
B. The "Most Holy Place" contained the "Ark of the Covenant". Here only the High Priest went one time each year on the "Day of Atonement". This was a very special day. The "two goats" and the special services on that day represented the time just before Jesus returns. Then God, as Judge and Saviour, judges the world. This is when the Heavenly Court looks at the books to see who is ready for Heaven. The two big questions are: (1) Who is safe to save, and take out of this world of sin for all eternity? (2) Who loves and trusts God enough to love and obey Him for all time? Before Jesus comes, the Universe must be able to see that God is fair in only saving the people who chose to love and serve Him.
This sanctuary or temple was made of cloth and animal skins that could be carried with Israel as they moved from place to place. Later, in the time of King David and King Solomon, a large new temple was built that was made of stone. God helped Israel prepare a special place to worship him. [Exodus 25:8]
Exo 25:8 God said, “Let them construct a Sanctuary for me so that I can live among them.”
God gave Israel many symbols and sacrifices to help in understanding the plan of salvation. But, Israel kept on forgetting to obey and worship God. Israel liked to "do their own thing (like most people today)!"
9. GOD’S PEOPLE COMPROMISE WITH THE WORLD
As humans, we are constantly influenced by the things around us. The "world" is around us. Israel was like that, too! [Ezekiel 11:12] Eze 11:12 “O Israel, You will realize that while you were following the laws and habits of
nearby nations, you were disobeying my Law and my teachings. And I am the LORD!”
Before the Israelites moved into Canaan, the land was full of people who worshipped sun gods, and combined sexual acts into their worship. Some pagan parents even killed their children when they sacrificed babies to idols (with fire in the idols red-hot arms). The people with these beliefs lived around Israel’s borders. The people of God were warned to be different and to be faithful to God. Israel was to have nothing to do with the pagan religions or ways. But, the worldliness around Israel crept in. God raised up "Judges" to help encourage the people of Israel to be faithful. Later Israel wanted a "king" like the nations around them. "A human king" was not God’s plan, but He reluctantly allowed Israel to have one. When Israel got a good king, the nation was led toward God. When God's special people had a king who wanted to be like the world around them, Israel usually left God. One king, Solomon, was the wisest man who ever lived. Why? When he was young, God talked to him in a dream. Solomon was given the choice of what he would like. So, Solomon asked God for "wisdom". This king's fame spread far and near. The Queen of Sheba came to see for herself. The Queen was amazed, and history tells us that she took back to Africa some of the principles of service to God. What an example of what could have happened to Israel. If only Israel had truly followed God, and given God the glory. God has always desperately wanted His people to be missionaries to the world (Even today.) God wanted His special people to tell the world about His Great Love for them. God also wanted Israel to live out that love so the world could see God's love in action!
But, Solomon began to glory in his own wisdom. Solomon was very smart. This king became extremely rich. Solomon got many wives and had almost everything his heart could want. Then Solomon woke up. He saw his foolishness. You can read what he wrote when he came back to God in his book of "Ecclesiastes" in the Bible. God sent special messengers, His prophets, to warn and teach the people. In Ahab’s time, the great prophet Elijah challenged the people to repent.
1Ki 18:21 Elijah stood up in front of all the people and asked them, "How long will you try to have it both ways? If the LORD is God, then follow Him; if Baal is god, follow him." The people nervously didn't say a word.
Elijah called the people to come and watch a test on a mountain top. The true God would miraculously burn the sacrifice provided. The priests of Baal called to their god for hours. Nothing happened. When Elijah offered a simple prayer of faith, God burned up not only the sacrifice, but the stones and the water poured over the sacrifice. God was trying to call His people back to serving Him. God loved Israel too much to simply let them go! God warned the nation, that unless they turned from their evil disobedient ways, He would allow other nations to come in and take Israel captive. The Northern Kingdom called Israel fell first, and was taken captive. The Southern kingdom called Judah lasted longer, but the king of Babylon finally came and took them captive as well. Daniel was one of the captives taken off to the huge city of Babylon. Here God used Daniel to bring special messages to the greatest King then living. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a large "image" that was destroyed with a huge stone. But, the King could not remember the dream, and threatened his "wise men" with death if the wise men did not tell him what he dreamed.
Daniel and his three special friends prayed. [Daniel 2:17-19] Dan 2:17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about this matter. Dan 2:18 He told them to ask the God of heaven to be merciful and to explain this secret to them so that they would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise advisers in Babylon.
Dan 2:19 The secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision during the night. So Daniel praised the God of heaven. God told Daniel all about the dream that He had given King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel then explained the meaning of the large image made of gold, silver, brass, iron and clay. The image was really God’s outline of the major kingdoms of the world between Daniel’s time and Jesus Second Coming. The large stone, cut out without hands, that destroyed the image in the dream, was really Jesus coming. Jesus would set up an Eternal Kingdom that no man would destroy! God gave Daniel great power and influence in Babylon. Even great king Nebuchadnezzar became a follower of God. God also gave Daniel many important visions that outlined details of church history to come. Daniel’s book was to be sealed till the "time of the end". Today is now that "time of the end". Daniel's book is now opened and able to be understood. Daniel, and the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, tells us much about what has happened and will happen in church history. These two books also outline many details of events soon to happen in our world today! The study of these two books is exciting! When we see prophecy fulfilled before our eyes, faith is built! These books warn us about many things the Devil is now doing, and will do. The Devil will try and deceive God’s final people on the earth. The Bible calls the final people a "Remnant". Later, God called his people out of the city of Babylon. God worked out events so the Jewish people could return to live in their homeland. Israel determined never again to become like the pagans in worshipping idols. But the Devil had two new traps for them. If Satan could not get them using the old methods of adultery and idolatry, he would now get them to slowly change their doctrines and beliefs. The ideas of the great Babylonian and Greek philosophers were very powerful. Slowly many of the Jews began to compromise (change) their beliefs. Some began to believe the Babylonian and Greek ideas that people don't really die, but continue to continue to live after death in either heaven or hell. God's people had never believed this before! Ecc. 9:5 says plainly “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not Anything! Neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”
In Job Chapter 14 it says, “If a man die, shall he revive?” “His sons come to honor him, but he knows it not.” Jesus Himself in the New Testament several times referred to death as a sleep. How much do you know when you are asleep?
There was another trap that was in the heart of paganism – trying to save yourself by your own good works, or "legalism". This time the Israelites were so determined to keep God’s Ten Commandments that they went too far. They made trying to keep the Commandments into a form of "legalism". This is what Jesus continually warned them against. Jesus tried to get them to see that the heart of the Law, the center of Christianity, is love. [Matthew 22:36-40]
Mat 22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in God's Law is the most important?" Mat 22:37 Jesus said, "First, Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' Mat 22:38 This is the most important. Mat 22:39 But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' Mat 22:40 These two commands are pegs; everything written in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
Love to God MUST be what motivates us to obey and follow Him! We then keep God’s laws, not to earn or buy our way to Heaven, but because we love God. The power to obey comes when God through the Holy Spirit, lives His life through us.
10. GOD COMES IN HUMAN FORM
God saw that the time was ready for Jesus to come to our world. Then the God of the Universe came down to become a man, Jesus. Jesus was born through a miracle with the Holy Spirit as His genetic (real) Father and Mary as his human mother. Jesus was both fully God and fully Man. Jesus shows us what God is like as a human being. Jesus shows us the love of God. [1 John 3:16] 1John 3:16 “We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave
his life for us. That means we must live our lives for others.”
Jesus grew up in a poor, but real human family. Jesus had brothers, and likely sisters. History tells us that Joseph’s first wife had died. Jesus worked with his father in the carpenter shop until the age of 30. At the age of 12, when he went up with his family to religious meetings in Jerusalem, Jesus began to realize more fully His mission in life. Jesus got into great discussions with the Jewish leaders. Finally in 27 A.D., right on time according to Daniel’s prophecy, Jesus went to the Jordan River where his cousin was baptizing people. John the Baptist was preparing people for Jesus coming. John the Baptist called the people to repent. As our example, Jesus was baptized. When Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit rested on him like a Dove. Right after His baptism, Jesus was led out into the desert. Here God allowed Jesus to be tempted directly by Satan. Satan knew that if He could tempt or trick Jesus into sinning, man would be his possession. Jesus and man would all die. This death would be an eternal death. The three separate temptations Jesus suffered in the desert are ones like our temptations. Jesus was tempted, but He answered Satan with an "It is Written" from Scripture. [Matthew 4:4]
Mat 4:4 Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.' "
Satan did not give up easily. As the master-mind of false Bible study and understanding, Satan also quoted the Bible. But, Jesus passed the test. By depending on His Father for power, Jesus showed us how we can also have victory over Satan’s temptations. Then seeing how weak Jesus was from his 40 day fast and the time of temptation, God sent an angel to give Jesus strength.
Jesus taught, preached, healed and He worked to prepare a small group of twelve "disciples". It was really Heaven’s University for training church leadership for God’s new plan. Jesus took the Disciples with Him from the Sea of Galilee in the North, to Jerusalem in the South. The disciples learned lessons of humility, courage, trust and
dependence on God. They were educated "on the job" with the world’s Creator as their Professor. Three and a half years later, again on time in God’s planning, Jesus was taken captive by the Roman soldiers. Jesus was given a mockery of a trial before the Jewish and Roman leaders. The Roman ruler, Pilot, did not really believe Jesus was guilty, but the leaders of the Jews said He was because of their intense and bitter jealousy of Him. Pilot bent to their pressure, and had Jesus crucified between two robbers. Here is how it happened. On Thursday evening Jesus had been seriously talking with and teaching His disciples; but as He came to a garden called Gethsemane he became unusually quiet. He had frequently come to this garden for a peaceful time of meditation and prayer; but now He began experiencing superhuman mental suffering. Previously He had walked in the assurance of God's presence. When men, inspired by Satan, opposed Him He could say, "The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." John 8:29. But now He felt shut out from God's supporting presence. Now God identified Christ with the most sinful men who had ever lived. Christ felt the terrible wrath of God against sin and cried out, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."
He came to give you joy, security, and peace of mind!
Jesus, the Eternal One, left the throne of glory as the King of kings and Lord of lords for the very purpose of coming into this world to carry the weight of the sins of the world-yours and mine. The result was that He went through a suffering that no one had ever gone through before or afterward. When He came to the garden Jesus said I am "exceedingly sorrowful even to death." He was full of sorrow, full of sadness, full of pain. He was not just full. He was "exceedingly" full, "even to death." The guilt and weight of the sins of every person who had ever lived, or ever would live, was heaped upon Christ--a weight so great it eventually crushed out His life. In great mental agony He fell dying in the garden of Gethsemane. "In anguish, he prayed more earnestly, He sweat great drops of blood falling to the ground" Luke 22:44 All of the mental pain and agony brought by every sin ever committed by each of the billions of people whoever would live, through all human history, was compressed together and heaped upon Jesus Christ as He prayed there in the garden of Gethsemane. The crushing weight caused Him to stagger and forced Him into the earth in prayer. The weight was so great that it ruptured small blood vessels in His face and forced drops of blood to run down his face and moisten the ground beneath Him in the garden where He prayed. He would have died right there on the spot in the garden, sweating great drops of blood, if an angel had not been sent to give Him the strength to delay His death until He reached the cross.
Later, when He was crucified, two thieves were also crucified--one on each side of Christ. The religious leaders wanted everyone off their crosses before sundown. The two thieves were still living, so their legs were broken before being removed. But Christ was dead already, so His legs were not broken. People usually survived the slow torture of the cross for days before finally dying. Why did Christ die so quickly? He took the death you deserve so that you can have the life He deserves!
It was not the nails through His hands and feet that killed Christ. It was not the Roman soldiers who killed Christ. It was not the religious leaders who killed Christ. It was your sins and mine that killed Him. You and I are responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. Everyone who has ever lived is responsible. It was our sins that caused His suffering and death. Jesus loves you so awesomely much that He took the death you deserve so that you can have the life He deserves! Jesus loves you that much! Jesus had not been arrested yet. He had not been whipped yet. He had not been nailed to the cross yet. No one had touched Him yet, but He was suffering so much that blood was forced out of His face and fell in drops to the ground. Isaiah, the prophet, predicted that He would come To be "PIERCED for our transgressions" And "CRUSHED for our iniquities." Isaiah 53:5 You see, the death of Christ was not caused by the Jews, and it was not caused by the Romans. The actual cause of His death was the crushing weight of the sins of the world-your sins and my sins. We are guilty of His death. It was for us that He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,"--as well as for the Roman soldiers and the religious leaders who wanted Him dead. The mental anguish, the mental pain that Christ endured, was so much greater than the physical pain that, when He died on the cross, He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" He could have left us to die the eternal death! He could have gone free!
In the garden of Gethsemane, Christ could have even then refused to die in our place. It was not yet too late. He could have wiped the great drops of blood from His forehead, and left us to die. He could have gone free. He could have said, "Let the guilty sinners receive the penalty of their own sin, and I will go back to My Father." He had that choice. He was innocent. He was sinless. He did not have to die. It was entirely His choice. He thought of you and me and made His final choice. He chose, if necessary, to be forever separated from God the Father. He made that choice for one reason and one alone. God loves you! It was love for those He made that guided His final decision.
Sin had brought death and He, the Eternal One, choose to enter this world as a little baby boy, live a sinless life, and die in place of guilty sinners, such you and me. His final decision is made. He will accept the baptism of blood and spit and sweat and tears and shame. He would save you dear reader, at any cost to Himself! In submission he trembles and prays, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." Matthew 26:42. Soldiers and religious officers from the chief priests and Pharisees came to the garden with lanterns and weapons. Jesus asked, "Who are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He," and an invisible angel pushed the troops back, forcing them to the ground. They looked up at Christ as he asked again, "who are you looking for?" and they answered again, "Jesus of Nazareth." "I have told you that I am He," Jesus replied, "so let my friends go free." Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant. Jesus reached up and touched the servant's ear and the blood stopped running down and the ear was healed. "Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will send Me more than twelve legions of angels?" Jesus asked Peter. Christ was first taken to Annas, Caiaphas's father-in-law, and then to Caiaphas, the high priest. Annas questioned Christ about His teachings. But Christ told him, "I spoke openly to the world. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard me. They know what I said." When Jesus had said this, one of the officers standing by hit Jesus with his hand and demanded, "Do You answer the high priest like that?" Next Jesus was taken to the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest. The chief priest and all the council tried to find people to testify against Jesus so they could have an excuse for condemning Him to death. Several spoke, but their stories did not agree. Through all of this, Jesus kept silent. The high priest tried to get Christ to condemn himself. He asked Him the all-important question, "Are You the Messiah, the Son of God?" In answering, Christ knew He was sealing His own death sentence, but He answered, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothing in mock shock, shouting, "Blasphemy--what do you think?" And they condemned Jesus to death. They blindfolded Him so he couldn't see, and then spat in His face and beat Him. Others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?" One of Christ's best friends, Peter, was confronted three different times: "You also were with Jesus of Galilee." Each time Peter denied it, saying, "I do not know what you are saying. I do not know the Man." And for emphasis, the third time he was accused of knowing Jesus, Peter cursed and swore as he denied it. Immediately, while he was still cursing, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered
the words the Lord had said to him: "Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times." So Peter went out and wept bitterly. Peter swore, cursed, and said "I do not know the Man." When morning came, the chief priests, and elders, and scribes, and the whole council tied Christ's hands and led Him to Governor Pilate's palace. "Are you king of the Jews?" Pilate asked. "Yes, I am," Jesus replied. Pilate said to the chief priest and to the crowd, "I find no fault in this man." But the chief priests and elders shouted "He stirs up the people teaching throughout all Judea and Galilee." When Pilate heard of Galilee he asked if Jesus were a Galilean. As soon as he knew that Jesus belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod who was visiting Jerusalem at that time. Herod was exceptionally happy to see Jesus, thinking that He would work some miracles for him. He asked Jesus many, many questions, but Jesus didn't answer any of them. The chief priest and scribes stood there shouting that Jesus deserved to die. Herod felt very angry that Jesus would not answer any of his questions and would not perform miracles for him. He thought that Christ would do anything to obtain His freedom. He was hopeful that Christ would entertain him by performing miracles like a magician or a clown at a birthday party. But Christ had nothing to say to the man who'd had John the Baptist beheaded. The very silence of Christ was the greatest rebuke that could have been given. Herod and his soldiers mocked Christ, dressing him in one of Herod's old kingly robes and sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate said, "Neither I nor Herod find any reason to put Him to death, I will therefore punish Jesus and release Him." It was a custom that one prisoner should be pardoned during Passover time. Pilate tried to take advantage of that custom and spoke to the crowd. "I have two prisoners and I will release one of them and let him go free. I will give you a choice between Christ, your king, and Barabbas, the murderer." Which one should I set free?" They all cried, "Barabbas! Set Barabbas free and crucify Christ." "By His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 Then Pilate's soldiers took Jesus into a building. They made a circle around Him and took off all His clothes. There He stood, completely naked. The soldiers took their whips, with pieces of lead metal embedded in the long laces, and lashed His back until it was in ribbons and the blood flowed freely. This was a torture so severe that 40 lashes was supposed to be the limit that a man could endure without dying. They lashed Jesus 39 times. Then they put a purple robe on Him. They twisted a crown of long, sharp thorns and jammed it down on His head--and placed a stick as a mock scepter in His right hand. They bowed their knees and mockingly worshiped Him, shouting, "all honor to you, King of the Jews!" Then they spit on Him and took the stick and struck Him on the head, driving the long sharp thorns into His head, causing blood to run down His face and beard. Then they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. The soldiers stripped Him of His clothing again and, after crucifying Him, divided up His clothing among themselves. Christ lay down naked on the wooden cross. The soldiers drove nails through His hands and feet and then lifted the torture device, the
cross, and let it fall into the hole prepared for it. This caused the most extreme pain to the Savior of the world. Nails tore the flesh in His hands and His feet leaving gaping wounds The wounds made by the nails tore the flesh in His hands and His feet as the cross thudded to the bottom of the hole prepared for it. The nail wounds gaped, and blood drops landed on the dirt beneath the cross. Christ prayed "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Rulers, religious leaders, people and soldiers passed by the cross, mocking Him and saying, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. You trusted in God--so let Him deliver Him now if He will save Him, for He said I am the Son of God." Even the robbers who were crucified with Him said the same thing. "If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." A sign was placed over Him--written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew--that said: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS! The sun was shining at its brightest. It was Friday 12:00 noon. One of the criminals who was dying on a cross next to Jesus said, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." The other said, "Do you not even fear God?" He turned his head toward Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "I say to you this day, someday you will be with Me in Paradise." Notice the paradox. Here was a man that was helplessly dying. He could do absolutely nothing except to speak a few words before dying. Yet this man found the secret to a life of ALL POWER. And that secret removed his fear of death and filled him with a new freedom that he never thought he would ever find in a million years. The thief received a life of all power. You may also! All of a sudden the sun seemed to be blotted out of the sky. From noon until 3:00 p.m. there was a strange darkness over all the Land. And about 3:00 p.m. Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" Psalm 22:1. Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, "Father into Your hands I commit My spirit." And then He breathed His last. Immediately, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom by the unseen hands of an angel. The leader of the soldier guard had heard Christ speak to the dying thief. He had watched as the sun was blotted out for three hours. He had just felt the earthquake that had thrown him to the ground, and he knew that this was truly the death of the King of kings. He felt he must share these feelings as he said, "This was truly the Son of God." Christ's last cry on the cross revealed the real cause of His death. The mental pain of being separated from God, the Father and carrying the mental and emotional pain of all the billions of people who would ever live was so much greater than His physical pain that it killed Him. He was killed by the weight of your sins and mine. The sins of the entire human race crushed out His Life. He died of a broken heart and, without the additional strength from the angel in the garden, would have lost His life before reaching
the Cross. He would have been crushed by sin while He was still in the garden of Gethsemane sweating "great drops of blood." Christ took your pain that you might have His victory. He wants YOU dear friend, to share His throne with Him forever! “He who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." Revelation 3:21. Why did the King of the universe leave His home to come to Planet Earth? Why did He choose to become a human--a little baby boy--and then grow up with the religious leaders hating Him? Why did He allow His enemy, Lucifer, to bring Him pain and suffering? Why did He allow those He made to spit on Him without retaliation? Why did He suffer the ultimate humiliation of dying naked on two pieces of wood--on "The old rugged cross"--hanging between heaven and earth? It was out of love for You my friend! And it was out of love for me. If you had been the only sinner who needed a bridge over "the valley of death," God would have done it for you alone. What would it be worth to you to have Jesus Christ in your home today? I mean to have Him really come walking up to your door and knock on it. What would you do if Jesus Christ, who loves you personally so incredibly much, walked up to your door and offered you a crown? What if He said, “Hello my friend!”--because He knows you by name!), “I just stopped by to bring you this crown. It is a much finer crown than has ever been worn by any king. Also I am inviting you to come to my house--to My mansion. I have a special place of honor for you for all eternity." "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." Revelation 3:21. "In My Father's house are many mansions." John 14:2, KJV. What would you do? I know what I would do--I would shout with joy! I would be excited! If you accept Jesus as your bridge over "the valley of death," He will one day be just that physically close. The Bible, God's Word, says that every person is a sinner. It says that sin is disobedience to God's Ten Commandment law. It also says that everyone must die because the just penalty for sin is death. There is a law that says that weight keeps an object on the ground. That law is the law of gravity. Yet we have discovered another law, the law of aerodynamics, which overcomes the law of gravity and allows very heavy objects, like airplanes, to fly through the sky. Jesus Christ offers you victory over death! Why not take it right now? People are trying every other option. Many of the other attempts to overcome sin or attain salvation have good sounding religious or psychological names. But the only problem is they don't work. The only one that works is Jesus Christ! It was Jesus who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." If you want to go to California, you had better get on the right highway. If you want to get eternal life, Jesus Christ is that highway. If it is truth you are after, you
will find truth when you choose Christ. If it is life that you want, you will find that in knowing Christ. It is Christ who says "I am the way, the truth and the life." Jesus says, "For God so loved you, dear reader, that He gave His one and only Son, that (by believing) in Him you should not die but have eternal life." John 3:16 Prayer is just talking to God as to a friend. When anyone offers you a gift, you have a choice. You can either take it or reject it. The thief on the cross chose to accept it. He asked Jesus to give him the gift of eternal life. If you have never asked for the gift of eternal life and want this wonderful gift, all you have to do is ask Jesus for it in prayer. Prayer is just talking to God as to a friend. God wants you to talk to Him every day. He wants to be your friend every day. To begin your friendship with God, you must invite Jesus Christ to be your Savior from sin. You must ask Him for forgiveness for your past sins. He says, "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."Isaiah 1:18 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. God offers us abundant life and a new beginning. Here is a suggested prayer. Christ knows you by name and loves you! Ask Him to forgive your sins. He will give you eternal life and peace of mind right now! "Dear Father, forgive me for my life of sin. I invite Jesus into my heart to be my Savior from sin. You promised that when I do this that You will make me 'clean' I believe You, and thank Jesus for cleaning up my life and coming into my life right now. In Jesus name Amen."
If you prayed that prayer, and meant it, you have just become a "born again" child of God--you are accepted as a part of the family of God. Now continue choosing Christ to be your daily Friend and Strength and you will grow in strength, in knowledge, in peace, and in joy! Jesus tells us that, "no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3. Now that you have been "born again," let Jesus write His law in your heart. Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into your mind, and write them on your heart, and I will be YOUR God, and YOU shall be my people.
Continue following Him daily, and you will one day sit with Christ on His throne throughout never-ending eternity! Revelation 3:21. You have just begun a life of ALL POWER!
To maintain your life of ALL POWER you must:
1. Let Jesus talk to you through DAILY Bible Study (Don’t neglect this, as this is how God speaks to us and where the power to live a new life comes from)! 2. Pray--talk to God, as to a friend, regularly throughout the day-asking for His help and guidance. 3. Help others find what you have found--a life of ALL POWER with Jesus Christ, the King of kings. Begin sharing your new faith today! One good way to do that is to share with them this study (make copies of this CD) and also the URL (web internet address) to the website [www.prophecymadeeasy.com ]. "The seed is the word of God". Luke 8:11. The Creator of the Universe was put to death by the people He created! Just imagine the feelings of rejection and discouragement that could have tempted Jesus. Satan spoke through the rulers when they told Jesus to prove that He was God. If Jesus would come down off the cross, the leaders said would then believe Him. What a temptation to prove His Divine power when any second Jesus could have called ten thousand angels there to help and deliver Him! Instantly, Jesus could have destroyed all those who had called for Him to be crucified! Why didn’t He? Because He was thinking of us – He must die in our place to save us. Jesus was the "Lamb of God" -- the Divine substitute sacrifice dying to take away our sins. This is the only way you and I could be saved!
Really, Jesus died not just an ordinary death like us, but the "second death" like the wicked will finally suffer. Remember how Jesus said that His father had forsaken (left) Him. Of course, the Father did not really leave Him. The Father was there watching and suffering with Jesus. But, your sins and mine so separated Jesus from His Father, that it seemed Jesus was left to die alone without His Father. This separation was what really killed Jesus! What beautiful love! I want Jesus and the Father to forgive all my sins. I want to follow Jesus for all time. I want Jesus to come and live in me through His Holy Spirit. Do you, too! If so, just offer this prayer:
"Dear Jesus, I truly have lived for myself, and not for you. Today I see my selfish ways are not right.
I can’t save myself, but you can. Please forgive my sins of breaking your 10 commandments. Come and be my Lord and King. Take my life completely into your care. I give the Holy Spirit permission to come and live in me. I ask the Holy Spirit to change me to be more and more like Jesus. Please don’t ever leave me, for I want to be fully yours. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen."
You sincerely offered this prayer? Then you now belong to Jesus!
** There are three ways to grow in Jesus. You will either grow or you will fall away: 1. Get to know Jesus & have a deep personal relationship with Him: through daily reading and studying His word, the Bible. [2 Timothy 2:15] 2. Go to a church that follows all the Bible. Be part of a Bible believing and obeying Christian fellowship. Is Christ the center of all their beliefs? Make sure they teach you to keep ALL the Ten Commandments (by God’s power and grace, including the 4th which starts with the word “REMEMBER”. You need other Christians as your "support group"! [Hebrews 10:25] “We should not stop gathering together with other
believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”
3. Sharing (called witnessing) what Jesus has done, and is doing for you! Yes, you may make mistakes and you may fall down. But, like a baby, a Christian gets up again when he falls (sins). A Christian asks for forgiveness and follows Jesus again. [1 John 1:9] “God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he
forgives them and cleanses us from everything we've done wrong.”
Share your new experience in Jesus with others. Do it with care and love. Don’t preach at people. People usually like hearing a personal story of victory if told at the right time and place. Lift up Jesus, not yourself! After Jesus died, He did not stay in the grave. Jesus was raised to life again. Jesus spent a short time teaching His disciples. He wanted all his followers to have plenty of
evidence that it was the same Jesus who came back to life. Jesus taught that His resurrection is a sample of how all God’s true follows will rise again in the great resurrection at Jesus Second Coming. About six weeks later, Jesus went back to Heaven. While Jesus followers watched Him go up, an angel told them that this same Jesus would come again, just like He left. That is the promise to help keep us holding on till Jesus returns! God had many plans for His disciples. They were to take the Good News of Salvation, the "Gospel", to the entire world.
11. GOD’S NEW PLAN FOR HIS WORK
From the beginning, the new church that Jesus set up had a struggle. The Gospel was a revolution to the Jews and in the Roman Empire. God poured out His Holy Spirit in a wonderful way with "tongues of fire" on the "Day of Pentecost". Jesus workers were given an explosion of power to witness about Jesus. This burst of God’s power led to miracles and healing. When needed, the workers were miraculously given new languages to share their faith. [Acts 2:1-4] Act 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Act 2:2 Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Act 2:3 Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. Act 2:4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak. Preaching had the power of the Holy Spirit behind it. But, the Jewish leaders tried to stop the work. Many Christians were put in prison. Later, some like Stephen were killed.
The Early Christian Church was filled with God’s power. Christians went as far as England & Scotland in the North. History says that Thomas went as far as India. Later some Christians went to China. Chinese writing today still shows the influence of the early church beliefs. Of course Satan did his best to stop the work. If killing Christians would not stop the work, Satan would find other ways. Some false teachers came in that tried to make Christians compromise with Jewish legalism. "Legalists" felt people should earn their way to Heaven by their works. But Paul warned the churches strongly about these problems in his books of Romans, Ephesians and Galatians.
Jesus closest friend, John, wrote a book called "Revelation". Revelation was a book of comfort and warning given by Jesus to John for the church. [Revelation 1:1-3]. Rev 1:1 A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah. God gave it to make plain to his servants what is about to happen. He published and delivered it by an Angel to his servant John. Rev 1:2 And John told us everything he saw: God's Word--the witness of Jesus Christ! Rev 1:3 How blessed the reader! How blessed the hearers and keepers of these oracle words, all the words written in this book! Time is just about up! Revelation outlines the story of church history from the time of the Disciples all the way through to the Second Coming of Jesus. Revelation ends with the story of the end of sin in the final "lake of fire" and the creation of the New Earth. Studying this book today shows many details of the struggle through the ages between Christ and Satan -- between truth and error. Studying this book builds faith, and warns against Satan’s plans of deception today.
12. A TIME OF COMPROMISE & PERSECUTION
The twelve disciples were living during the time of the first church. The Disciples had heard Jesus teach them personally. Then one by one the Disciples died. Each Disciple died for his faith except John. God saved John's life when he was put in boiling oil. God had the Disciples write books for the church. Twenty-nine of these books formed the "New Testament" to help guide the new church. Persecution (being killed for their faith) hurt the church, but the church still grew and spread everywhere. For every Christian that died for his faith, it seemed others accepted Jesus as Saviour. Satan knew that he must again apply the Satanic tool of "compromise" - combining truth and error together in a dangerous mix.
Both Christians and Jews were unpopular in the Roman Empire. After the terrible Jewish revolts of 70 AD & 130 A.D., laws were made against the Jewish religion. These laws made Sabbath-keeping more difficult for both Christians and Jews. Trying to avoid being classed as Jews, the Christians began to change their customs. In the early centuries, some Christians started to keep a weekly Sunday morning service to remember Jesus resurrection. Now some Christians said they should let this habit grow and keep Sunday as a holy day to differentiate themselves from the Jews. Sunday keeping was easy because Sunday was already the Roman pagan holiday to worship the sun. This is why it is called the Sun day! God’s Fourth Commandment states His will plainly and is easy to understand!
Exo 20:8 Remember to observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy!
Exo 20:9 Work six days and do everything you need to do. Exo 20:10 But the Seventh Day is the Sabbath unto the Lord, your God. Don't do any work--not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the guest visiting in your home. Exo 20:11 For in six days GOD made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; He rested on the Seventh Day. Therefore GOD blessed the Sabbath Day; and He set it apart as a Holy Day! By the way, did you notice that God made the Seventh Day Sabbath thousands of years before there even was a Jew, at the Creation of the World? It is not a Jewish institution; it is God’s memorial of His power to create, it is the birthday of our world! And even when we get to Heaven we will be celebrating the Sabbath. Please thoughtfully read these Bible texts.
Isa 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make in the future, shall remain before me, saith the LORD GOD, so shall your children and your name remain eternally. Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another Sabbath, shall ALL people come to worship before me, saith the LORD. Some Christians in the church reasoned that it was easier for the pagans to become Christians if more and more pagan customs were added.. They would change the pagan customs and now make them into Christian customs. These compromises all formed a dangerous pattern: worshipping on the first day- Sunday (instead of God’s Holy Seventh Day Sabbath Day), confession to a priest, the worship of saints (dead people), worshipping relics (things thought holy).
Around 320, the Roman Emperor Constantine appeared to become a "Christian". The Christian church now became popular. But, the price of popularity was cooperation with the government. Slowly church and government united in dangerous ways. Church leaders became more educated, and slowly accepted many ideas from the Greeks. The true Christian church symbolized in Revelation by a "white horse", became the black horse. [Revelation 6:5] The church got interested in trying to get control of the Holy Land in the "Crusades". The church began to oppose everyone who disagreed with their form of Christianity. Church and government combined together to bring persecution and death in the middle ages inquisition. The situation became very difficult for true Christians.
But, God did not give up on the church. There were some true Christians, like the Waldenses in Northern Italy. The Waldenses kept on preaching many truths of the Bible that others had compromised. Their story is amazing! Read it some time! (Google search Waldenses) God had plans to bring reform to the church.
13. GOD CALLS FOR A REFORMATION
In the 1300's in England, one of the brightest minds of Europe began to study deeply into the word of God. The man’s name was John Wycliffe. He began to see that the system of works, penances and relics in the Church of Rome was leading people in the wrong direction. Wycliffe studied the writings of Paul very carefully. Wycliffe saw that people are saved, not by doing works and acts of penance, but by the blood and grace of Jesus. This Reformer saw good works coming as a result of faith. Wycliffe's followers, the Lollards, spread his messages through the British Isles and over into Europe. In Europe, God was preparing other people to uncover the same truths and take away compromises with Paganism. In 1512 the great Martin Luther nailed a protest list of "95 Thesis" things needing changing to the door of the church at Wittenberg. Many German princes supported Luther, but the state church hated his new discoveries from the Bible. Luther was tried by the Emperor, but God protected him. Another "Reformer", John Calvin, who had been trained as a lawyer, also studied very deeply. He wrote the now famous "Calvin’s Institutes". Though Calvin's writings still did not remove all of the compromises in the Church of Rome, they still contained much truth. The Reformed and Lutheran churches began to bring true Reformation to Europe. But sadly, some of the Reformation churches then began to persecute the people who were taking the Reformation on further.
Some of the Reformers to escape came to North America. The Pilgrim Fathers fled Protestant persecution in Europe. Slowly the concept of "religious freedom" developed in Rhode Island with Roger Williams. He himself had suffered persecution for his beliefs right in North America. Then something very unusual happened. God influenced a humble American Reformer, William Miller, a former military leader, to study deeply into the books of Daniel and Revelation. Miller became absolutely convinced that Jesus would return at the end of the 2,300 year prophecy of Daniel 8 & 9. [Daniel 8:14] “And he said unto me, Unto two
thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (A day represents a year in bible prophecy)
Miller was right about nearly everything he taught. Miller discovered many wonderful truths, but he made one serious mistake. Miller thought the cleansing of the "Heavenly Temple" around 1844 would be God cleansing the earth by fire. Miller’s preaching seemed to be led by God. Thousands gave their hearts to God. But 1844 came and went and Jesus did not come. The Millerites had made one important mistake. The "temple" to be cleansed (made right or pure) was not the earth being cleansed and Jesus immediate return. The "cleansing" was a new and special work Jesus was beginning in Heaven. Jesus would blot out the record of man's sin in Heaven in a special judgment before He returns.
14. GOD CALLS A REMNANT
The next day after the Great Disappointment of 1844, God gave a very strong impression to one of those who had been disappointed. As Hiram Edson was crossing a field, God strongly impressed him with the real meaning of 1844. The earth was not to be "cleansed" by fire in 1844 and Jesus return to earth. The truth was that Jesus had just moved to His last work in Heaven -- a special "cleansing" judgment work. [Hebrews 8:1-6]
Heb 8:1 We have a High Priest: authoritative right alongside God, Heb 8:2 conducting worship in the one true heavenly sanctuary built by God. Heb 8:3 The assigned task of a high priest is to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and it's no different with the priesthood of Jesus. Heb 8:4 If He were limited to earth, he wouldn't even be a priest. We wouldn't need Him since there are plenty of priests who offer the gifts designated in the law. Heb 8:5 These priests provide only a hint of what goes on in the true sanctuary of heaven, which Moses caught a glimpse of as he was about to set up the sanctuary. It was then that God said, "Be careful to do it exactly as you saw it on the Mountain." Heb 8:6 But Jesus' priestly work far surpasses what these earthly priests do, since he's working out from heaven a far better plan!
The Earthly Sanctuary or temple studied earlier in Section 8, was a symbol of God’s work in the Heavenly Sanctuary or Temple. There was a yearly "Day of Atonement" in
God’s earthly sanctuary timetable when the earthly sanctuary was "cleansed". This represented a time of special cleansing of the Heavenly temple. How could this be? The Bible says that there is a record in Heaven made of every thought, action or motive. When we ask for "forgiveness", pardon is written by our name. We can rejoice that we are totally forgiven and clean. But, the forgiven record of our actions must still be in God's records until our name comes up in Heaven’s final judgment. [2 Corinthians 5:10, 11] 2Co 5:10 Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our thoughts and actions, either good or bad. 2Co 5:11 That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It's no light thing to know that we'll ALL one day stand in the place of Judgment. That's why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and how deeply we care! The Bible makes it very clear that everyone’s name comes up in the Heavenly Judgment. Before Jesus returns, the Heavenly Court must go over each person’s name who has accepted Jesus. The Universe must see that they are "safe to save for eternity". So that when taken to Heaven for eternity, this saved person will not bring the deadly infection of sin (selfishness) into the Universe again.
The Heavenly Court is judging each man by the law of liberty, the Ten Commandments. These Ten Commandments are summed up as simply this, “Love to God and love to Man!” However, in the middle of that law God has placed a sign of loyalty to Him in His Seventh-Day Sabbath. The Sabbath is a reminder of Creation, and of the new creation that Jesus wants to make in our hearts. Satan hates this sacred reminder. Through the years Satan has worked against God's law and the Sabbath commandment in every way he possibly can. God talks about a seal in Revelation that must go on the forehead (or in the mind) of everyone who will be saved. [Revelation 14:1] These people are God's final "Remnant" (His last people) on earth. Also, there is a Mark of the Beast (seal of falsehood) that everyone receives who does not receive God’s seal. [Revelation 14:9] In
the final hours of earth’s history, Jesus tells us in His book of Revelation that those who are sealed keep all 10 of God's commandments. [Revelation 14:12] “Here is the patience of the saints. Here are the ones who
keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
So then, those who receive Satan’s "Mark" are the people who have refused to keep God’s commandments & God’s true Sabbath.
This is a deep, but very important study. It is extremely important to all of us today, for Jesus Second Coming is very near. If we are alive when Jesus returns, each one of us will either have God’s Seal or Satan’s Mark. Some of the strongest words in all the Bible are in Revelation 14 and apply to those who receive Satan’s Mark! It is very important that we understand what is involved. Surely, none of us want Satan’s Mark! God wants to help prepare man physically, mentally, socially and spiritually for Heaven and the challenges ahead. God gives a wonderful message about how to have the best health to prepare for the future challenges.
15. GOD’S FINAL CALL TO MAN
Near the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 18, God talks about an angel giving a final call to God’s People. As one reads the call, one sees that at that time, many of God’s people are still in a system of false doctrine He calls Babylon (meaning confusion). This is the same basic system as in the time of Nimrod or during Nebuchadnezzar's time in Babylon. Here in Revelation 18, God calls ‘HIS PEOPLE’ to actually ‘COME OUT OF BABYLON’ this false beliefs system. Why?
Rev 18:1 Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded the earth with brightness, Rev 18:2 his voice thunderous: Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon is ruined! A ghost town for demons is all that's left! A garrison of carrion spirits, garrison of loathsome, carrion birds. Rev 18:3 All the nations drank the wild wine of her whoring; kings of the earth went whoring with her; entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her. Rev 18:4 Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven: Come out of her my people, as fast as you can, so you don't get mixed up in her sins, so you don't get caught in her doom. Rev 18:5 Her sins stink to high Heaven; God will remember every evil she's done. The Bible warns that if God’s people stay in the false system, they will receive God's punishments. These punishments will come in the "seven last plagues" for those who receive Satan’s Mark. Here we see a loving God, giving a final warning to man. God pleads: Please accept me!!! Please let me come and change your thinking and your life!!! I want to work through you to take my love and my gospel to the world!!! I want you to be my Ambassador to the world. I want the world to see through you a real demonstration of what I can do in and through a human being! But, if you stay in the false system of doctrine that compromised with the doctrines of old Babylon, sadly, I cannot save you. Come out and be separate. I will then be able to seal you as mine. The Three Angel’s Messages of Revelation Chapter 14 are the heart of that final call. [Revelation 14:6-12] The "Come Out call" of Revelation 18 is God’s last call to the world. God will finally be able to trust his "called out" people with an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. They will preach and plead with people as never before. God will also trust his remnant people with special power. God's remnant people will also demonstrate the practical love of Jesus to the world! They are God’s final demonstration to the world and the Universe! This is not because of their "own goodness", but because they have allowed God to work through them!
But, Satan is also trying to get a victory. He has always wanted power and control. More than that, Satan has wanted to be worshipped. One of Satan’s last acts in the drama is to come claiming that He is Jesus. Satan will appear to look like people think Jesus will
look. He talks like people think Jesus will talk. Satan performs miracles. [Satan does have limited powers, so miracles don’t prove a person is of God. Revelation warns of false miracles that lead people to become Satan’s followers.] For a time it looks as if Satan will win, and God's final remnant will all be killed. But, God is watching His people.
16. WHEN GOD SAYS "ENOUGH!"
The entire Universe is now watching. The book of Revelation tells us that in the Judgment court in Heaven God stands up. When a judge stands, he gives the verdict, and the Judgment is over. When the Judgment is over several angels come out of the Heavenly temple and they all have the same basic message: It is Harvest Time on Earth – Jesus is coming again -- Jesus is ready to come and take His people to Heaven! Rev 14:15 Another angel came out of the temple. He cried out in a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, "Swing your sickle, and gather in the harvest. The time has come to gather it, because the harvest on the earth is ripe!" The next two chapters of Revelation (Revelation Chapter 16, 17) tell the terrible story of God’s Final Judgments on earth. These Judgments are called the Seven Last Plagues.. The plagues that fell on Egypt were an example of the seven last plagues. Stubborn Pharaoh would not listen to God’s decree to "Let my people go!" Now, Satan is like the Pharaoh -- refusing to let God’s Remnant people go. Satan plans to kill every one of them! But, God’s judgments come sure and fast on land and sea, in the air, on people’s bodies and on cattle. God is withdrawing His Holy Spirit of protection from the earth. Perhaps man’s chemical, biological and other weapons of warfare backfire against those who made them. There is now nothing to stop evil spirits from controlling the minds of anyone who has received Satan's mark and rejected God. It is a time of terror! People wish they were dead.
However, God’s hand is over His people. They may suffer from a few of the results of some of the plagues going on around them. But, the sicknesses do not touch them. God has His hand covering them! Satan cannot kill them now! Their faith is tested, yes. It almost seems like God has let them go. It looks like evil men will kill them too. The remnant people hang on to God's promises when it looks like everything is lost. As God's people look around them, they see that God is protecting them. Not one of God's people is dying in the Plagues. God has withdrawn His protection from the world, but He has not left His people. God gives them hope and super human power to remain faithful!
Then a small black cloud appears in the Heavens, to find out what it is,
17. GOD SAVES MAN FROM EARTH
In the middle of the chaos and people dying, a small black could is seen in the distant sky. No, it is not an asteroid about to collide (hit) with the earth. The "cloud" is Jesus coming back as King. As the cloud gets nearer, it becomes brighter and brighter. Many of the wicked call for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them – they do not want to face
their Creator. The cloud is brighter than the sun. The Bible says the wicked who are still alive will be killed by the brightness of Jesus second coming to this earth.
Then something beautiful and wonderful happens. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul tells us that the righteous who have died are all sleeping in the graves. 1Thess 4:13 And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don't want you to be in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have no hope, as if the grave were the last word. 1Thess 4:14 Since Jesus died and was raised back to life from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who have died in Jesus and love him! 1Thess 4:15 And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence--we have the Master's word on it--that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on our dead friends and loved ones and leave them behind. 1Thess 4:16 The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first! 1Thess 4:17 Then the rest of us who are still alive at this time will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet Jesus the Master. 1Thess 4:18 Oh, we'll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words! At Jesus coming they are all raised out of their sleep of death. All around the earth, graves are opened. God’s people from all the ages are raised to life. Angels bring babies to their mothers. Husbands find their wives. Children hug their parents. The Bible says that these people start to go up to meet Jesus in the clouds. Paul makes it clear that the good people who are alive are not left behind. They also rise to meet Jesus in the air. [1 Corinthians 15:51-54] This "meeting Jesus in the clouds (sky)" is a test one can use to tell the difference between Jesus true coming, and Satan’s false coming. Satan will appear to people on the earth. Satan claims that he is Jesus. But, when Jesus returns the second time, Jesus does not touch the earth. We all go up to meet Jesus "in the air"!
18. WHEN GOD EXPLAINS EVERYTHING
Can you imagine the joy of that huge crowd as they meet Jesus? The saved are so excited to meet friends and loved ones they have known on earth! The Bible says they will know each other. Yes, we won’t be crippled, or have signs of aging, or false teeth, or any other reminder of sin. Jesus tells us that He is preparing "mansions" for us. [John 14:1-3] John 14:1 Jesus said to his disciples (and to us), "Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. John 14:2 There are many mansions in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you! John 14:3 After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together eternally! Right now the "New Jerusalem" is in Heaven waiting for us. Just think of arriving in Heaven, and being shown to our "mansion"! There are no locks, no robbers, no fear, and no sickness. Everyone trusts everyone else completely. Yes, there may be some people hugging each other as they claim forgiveness from each other. Many good people died before they could have the assurance of forgiveness from others. Many people were unable to personally ask for forgiveness--their relatives or
friends had died first. . There will be a wonderful time of heart mending and heart bonding. God will spend a lot of time just explaining things. Why did this happen? Why did God let that person die in an accident? We will be able to personally talk with our guardian angel. Our angels can tell us what they were doing "behind the scenes" to save us! Won't it be exiting to hear how they protected us so many times from death! God will open to us the secrets of what He was doing to save and protect His people! But, there is still another work of Judgment to do. Sin is not all ended. The wicked are now dead on earth. Revelation 20 tells us about Satan being ‘chained’ (restricted to this earth). For 1000 years Satan and his angels are still alive on earth. Why another Judgment?
The Bible says that the saved will "judge angels". Think of it this way. If God is going to have to destroy all sin forever, then He will also have to destroy everything that contains sin. There are still people and evil angels on earth that are full of sin. The earth is still full of pollution and the results of man’s approximately 6000 years of sin. Now during the last 1000 years before sin is destroyed, God asks all the ones who are saved to join Him in the final judgment. [Revelation 20:12-14] Rev 20:12 I also saw all the dead people standing in front of God’s throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been on earth. The books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done. Rev 20:13 The Sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done. Rev 20:14 Afterwards, death and its evil kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Yes, everyone will have relatives and friends who are not saved. God must let us take part in that judgment so we see why every person "lost" cannot be saved. The saved now can see inside the hearts of the lost with God’s heavenly records of each person’s character. Every motive, every action is seen for what it really was – good or bad!
We will see behind the scenes just what God, the angels, and Holy Spirit were doing to try and save every person who is lost. God's People see now why the lost cannot be saved. The lost would not be happy in the perfection of Heaven. God finally has to destroy every trace of sin. Those who chose not to part with their sins (selfishness), must be forever destroyed. In God’s great timetable, the end of the 1000 years of Revelation 20 marks the close of the "Era of Sin". God with the "Saved" -- now form a huge army to go back to earth. There is one battle left.
19. GOD ENDS ALL SIN AND SINNERS
The Bible shows that at the end of the one thousand year "Millennium" the Mount of Olives in the Holy Land splits in two and a huge valley is opened. It has to be large, for the New Jerusalem City will be 1500 miles wide and 1500 miles long.
Rev 21:10 Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the Holy City-the New Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven. Rev 21:11 The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone. Rev 21:12 The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Rev 21:13 Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. Rev 21:14 The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles.
Rev 21:15 The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city and its gates and its walls. Rev 21:16 The city was shaped like a cube, because it was just as high as it was wide. When the angel measured the city, it was about 1,500 miles high and fifteen hundred miles wide. Rev 21:17 Then the angel measured the wall, and by our measurements it was about two hundred sixteen feet high. Rev 21:18 The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. Rev 21:19 Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was agate, and the fourth was emerald, Rev 21:20 the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. Rev 21:21 Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal. Rev 21:22 I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb Jesus Christ were its temple. Rev 21:23 And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.
Think of how many people that will hold! And your Creator God desperately wants you to be there for all eternity!!! Won’t you cooperate with Him starting today? God raises the wicked. Jesus said that there would be a resurrection of the good and the bad. Now, the wicked are raised full of sin just as they went into the graves. [Revelation 20:4-8] They are not raised like the saved were, in perfect health. Satan knows that this is his "Last Chance". He gathers together all the wicked who have ever lived. Many of the generals of the greatest wars will be there with Satan. Satan tells his people that they deserve to live in the city. Satan claims that Jesus, and the people in the city really should not be there. Satan will have strong arguments. The Bible says that Satan goes out one last time to deceive all the nations. The Bible does not say how long they take to prepare for war against the city. It could be days, or months, only God knows. From the walls of the city, the saved inside watch as Satan prepares his army. Will Satan have some new inventions? How will he prepare them all? Some day, (if faithful), we will watch it all happen from the safety of the city. We can watch knowing God is our final protector!
Then something amazing happens! As the wicked rush in to attack the city, they are stopped. There in the sky above the city Jesus is lifted up high. (The Bible says the city will be at high as it is wide, Jesus could be on top of the city over 300 miles up in the sky). Everyone who has ever lived can see Jesus. Then God does something to answer everyone’s questions. Across the sky God shows the drama of the ages in the last act of the Theater of the Universe. God shows the actual story, divinely recorded, of every act in the drama of the "sin versus salvation" story. Satan is shown first tempting the angels in Heaven. God’s Divine 3-D Drama shows the Creation and Fall of man, the story of the Old Testament, the Death of Jesus and the glorious Resurrection. Everyone sees God’s recording of what actually happened! Every important part of the drama is shown across the Heavens. Every wicked person must see clearly what God was doing through the ages to save man. God wants everyone who is to be destroyed to know why they can't live in the New Earth. God wants the lost to know how hard He worked to save them, even to the giving of the life of His dear Son Jesus! The wicked must see how their own choices have led to their eternal destruction. In terrible anger, the wicked turn on Satan and their leaders. Then, in mercy, God totally destroys the wicked. Yes, the wicked may be sorry for the consequences or results of the sins they committed. But, the hearts of the wicked are still selfish and full of evil. The Bible says that fire comes down from Heaven and destroys them all. [Revelation 20:12-15] The Bible says that no part of them lives on in the fire. They are totally destroyed. They are [Malachi 4:3] "ashes under the soles of your feet".
There is no reason why a loving God would want to torture people for all eternity for a short life of sin here. Satan wants us to think God is a sadist, a tyrant, a terrible God to be feared. If Satan can destroy God’s reputation or misrepresent God’s character, he may get man to misunderstand and fear God. Satan has twisted the doctrine of a merciful God. If we don’t understand that God is truly loving, we may reject God. Satan wants man to be lost for eternity! This is why it is so important to have a correct understanding of the destruction of the wicked in Hell! The fires that destroy the wicked go on to destroy every bit of evidence of sin on the earth. We don’t know how God will do it. But, when every sinner and every bit of sin is gone, the earth is clean.
20 WHEN GOD RECREATES THE EARTH
What a fabulous day that will be! The Saved are all safely in the City with Jesus, and every bit of sin is gone. Then the Saved watch as God creates the surface of the earth over again. [Isaiah 65:17& Rev. 21:1,2] Will God again take seven days to re-create the earth like He did in the beginning, or will He do it all in one flash? Well, it does not matter! The wonderful thing will be to be there and watch as God creates a wonderful new world! What will we do in the "New Earth"? Will we just sit on a cloud and play a harp? No, no! Yet, surely there will be musical instruments of all kinds. Anyone will be able to invent one and then learn to play it. The Bible tells us about singing in Heaven. We can be sure that there will be lots of singing in the New Earth. We will each also be able to have a home in the city and in the country. We won’t have to worry about war, sickness, death, weeds and thorns, pesticides or herbicides. All will be healthy, free from disease, peaceful, loving and in perfect trusting harmony!
We will also get to meet those from other worlds who have never sinned. What will they look like? What things will they tell us? Did Satan try and tempt them, too? The lives and stories of the Saved will for Eternity be an insurance policy for the Universe. The saved will forever be a testimony to the horrors of sin, and the wonder of being saved from it. Knowing their story, no one will ever choose to sin again. We will never tire of praising God and telling what Jesus has done for us!
There will be one reminder of sin! Someone says, how could God keep one reminder? Our eternal reminder will be that Jesus forever keeps His human form, like us, and that Jesus has chosen to always keep the nail prints in His hands and His feet. Remember how Thomas said he would not believe until he could touch those scars with his finger. Jesus will always keep that reminder!
YOUR RESPONSE: We hope that this "Earth: Theater of God's Universe" drama has answered the three questions asked at the beginning:
1. Where did I come from? 2. Why am I here? 3. Where will I be going when I die?
Only you can give the final answer to that last question – because the answer depends on a choice, and it is your choice! If you have felt Jesus love and His Holy Spirit talking to you, don’t put off a decision for Jesus. Settle that question now of where will YOU be for Eternity!!! [Revelation 22:16-17] Rev 22:16 I am Jesus! I am the one who sent my angel to tell all of you these things for the churches. I am David's Great Descendant, and I am also the bright Morning Star. Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Everyone who hears this should say to others, "Come!" If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free! And remember the three necessary steps to growth as a Christian. 1. Study your Holy Bible every day and talk with God (praying)! He loves hearing from His children! Without doing this regularly your faith will wither up and die! (*Pray first-before starting to study God’s word, that the God who inspired men to write the Bible will help you to correctly understand it.)
2. Meet every week with fellow believers to encourage one another. Make sure they believe in the necessity of keeping All 10 of God’s Commandmentsincluding the long neglected 4th! (not just 9 of them) 3. Share your faith, as you do- your own will grow! As you bless others you yourself will certainly be blessed. Talk to people and loved ones. Buy pamphlets, books, or other literature and spread them like the leaves of autumn. One excellent place to order low cost witnessing materials is [www.familyheritagebooks.com ] Remember this one fact to encourage yourselfONE saved person in Heaven will at some time in the distant future outlive all the combined life spans of the lost! Amazing! PLEASE! Let’s save all the people that we can, ok? May our Wonderful God and Jesus our Dearest Friend Bless you and your family as you live your life for Him! I hope to see you in His Eternal Kingdom! I’ll be looking for YOU! 4. 4. For some excellent continuing studies I recommend this website. Cyberspace Ministry Online Lessons at http://www.tagnet.org/cyberspace/engstud.html or also Google Amazing Facts Ministries! 5. Please check them out, you will be so happy that you did! Another highly recommended site is God's Diary-Bible Condensed at http://www.wordsight.org/ 6. One Last Thing-Will you PLEASE send this article on to as many people as you can by e-mail so that they can be blessed also. What you do is save this file to your documents on your computers hard drive. Then compose a letter in your email and attach this file and away it goes. May our Loving God richly bless you!