Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

            Perhaps some of you were subjected to learning the catechism when you were young as I was.  My father wanted my siblings and me to know about God.  So during our meals we memorized Bible verses in English and Japanese since we were missionary kids growing up in Japan right after World War II.  We also were taught the catechism which is a handbook of questions and answers designed to teach the principles of religion.

Question. The first question was, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Yes, I could recite the answer, but I had no idea as to what it meant to glorify God in my life.  The Bible doesn’t make sense to those who aren’t saved (1 Corinthians 2:14).  If someone were to ask you about God’s glory, what would you say?

Purpose. Maybe you’ve asked yourself these questions:  “Why am I here on earth?” Why am I here on earth at this time in human history?” Where did I come from? Where am I going when you die?  These are very important questions that need solid, reliable answers from the Scriptures.

God. Some people say, “I don’t believe God exists. If He did, He’d do something about the chaos we find in this world.” What are your thoughts about God?  Are they accurate?  How can you be sure?  If God exists, does He have a grand purpose?  If so, what is it?  How do you and I fit into it?

Lucifer. He goes by a lot of other names and titles.  But is he real?  Is he to be feared or ignored?  Does he have an agenda and if so, how can we learn about it?  How does he differ from God?  Is he Jesus’ brother as one cult teaches?

Man. Many people could be described as “wandering generalities” rather than as “meaningful specifics.” Which one of these describes you better?  Do you have a clear purpose in life?  By when do you hope to achieve it?  What obstacles do you face in the pursuit of your dreams?  What people, groups, and organizations do you need to help you achieve your dreams?  What additional skills do you need to develop?  What specific steps do you need to take in what order?  And finally, what is your reason for pursuing your dream(s)? – Adapted from Zig Ziglar

Motivation. Fame, fortune, power, and pleasure motivate many men and women as they pursue their objectives, goals, and dreams in life.  But is there a higher and more fulfilling motivation in life?  If so, what is it?  Are there some things for which you’d be willing to die?  If so, what would they include?  Is there life after death?  Are heaven and hell real?  How does one enter heaven and avoid hell?  Are there rewards for faithful service on earth?  How can you be sure of your eternal destiny?

Value. What things have real value – things that are seen or unseen?  Are you desperately pursing only temporal things that can be lost, stolen, and destroyed by others ?  Would you like to learn how to have real love, joy, peace, contentment, and other spiritual qualities?  Do you know how to secure them?

Church. What is it – a building or people?  What kind of people should make up a local church?  When did the Church come into existence?  Who is the rightful Head of the Church?  What is/should be its purpose?  Why do/should Christians assemble together?  What should they do when they meet?  What makes up genuine worship?  What teachings in the Bible are to be believed and what teachings are to be believed and practiced?   What is the difference between Israel and the Church?  What constitutes true fellowship?  What significance is associated with the Lord’s Supper?  How many of the eight ways of communication with God do you use when you pray?   Should Christians be engaged in pragmatic, ecumenical evangelism?  How important is Bible prophecy?

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Are you interested in making a change in your life? Are you tired of living in misery and sorrow without hope for the future? Is your life boring and uneventful or filled with  what you call “bad luck”? Would you like to add some happiness and zest to your life? Perhaps you’ve tried many things without success. “Success is the continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you set.” – Dr. Charles Stanley

Transformed lives glorify God and demonstrate His power (Romans 1:16, 17; Ephesians 3:20). The creation of the heavens and earth involved His finger works (Psalm 8:3). But God’s greatest demonstration of power was displayed when God the Father raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. This proved to us that He (the Father) had accepted Christ’s payment for our sins (Romans 4:25; 6:23). Now all we have to do to be saved is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ through the Gospel message. My friend, you’ve sinned like all the rest of us have (Romans 3:1-23). We all deserve to be separated forever from God in hell (Romans 6:23).  But Christ died for sinners and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

Throughout the pages of the Scriptures we find examples of people whose lives where dramatically changed for the better once they were saved. Consider the following examples:

Peter. He was very self confident and claimed that he would never deny the Lord, but he did three times (Matthew 26:31-35). Satan demanded that he be allowed to tempt all of Christ’s disciples.  But Jesus only permitted him to tempt Peter as he did (Luke 22:31). This same man later became one of the Lord’s chief spokesmen on the Day of Pentecost (Luke 22:32; John 21:15; Acts 2:14ff; 3:12ff). He even wrote two letters to the early church.

James, The Lord’s Half Brother. Here was a man who grew up with the Lord and observed everything He did and said. In spite of this, He and his other siblings didn’t believe that He was the promised Messiah until Jesus appeared to him after His resurrection (Mark 3:21; John 7:5; 1 Corinthians 15:7). But later he played a significant role in the early church (Acts 15:13) and wrote a letter to some Hebrew Christians (James 1-5).

Thomas, The Doubter. He has had this title attached to his name ever since he doubted the word of the other disciples who claimed to have seen Jesus while he (Thomas) was absent the first Sunday evening when the Lord appeared to the other 10 disciples (John 20:24-29). But when the Lord appeared again to them a week later, when Thomas was present, He believed and declared Jesus to be God (John 20:28).

Saul (Paul). He was a religious Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians (Acts 7:58; 8:1ff; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13). He referred to himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). But when the Lord encountered him on the road to Damascus his life was forever changed. He was selected by God to be the steward (household manager) of this dispensation of grace in which we now live (Ephesians 3:2). As such he penned most of the instructions that we have to govern our daily lives. In the early days of his Christian life he struggled greatly with his sin nature as we do.  He ended up doing many things that he (his new nature) didn’t want to do (Romans 7:15-25). But he learned the secret to victory (Galatians 5:16, 25; Ephesians 5:18) and that no temptation is too great for Christians (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The Eleven Disciples. After declaring to His enemies that He was the eternal “I AM” (Jehovah God) and causing them to fall down to the ground (John 18:6), Jesus demanded that they let His disciples go their way (John 18:4-9). When they did this His disciples fled and left Him all alone (Matthew 26:56). But after witnessing His resurrection from the dead they became faithful witnesses of this fact and went to the far corners of the earth spreading the Gospel. From church history we learn that most of them died as martyrs. (See “Fox’s Book of Martyrs.”) But they believed that the sufferings of this life weren’t worthy to be compared to the glory that would follow when they too would be resurrected from the dead (Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52).

The Five Hundred Brethren. They also witnessed his bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). Did you know that the first Christians were all Jewish (Acts 2:5, 41)? The Lord instructed them to  evangelize the Samaritans, who were half Jewish (Acts 8:5ff), and the non-Jews (Acts 1:8; 10:1ff). When they were reluctant to do this, God allowed them to face intense persecution.  When they were scattered from their homeland they introduced Christ to the “heathen” and shared the Gospel with them (Romans 1:16, 17). Surprisingly they even rejoiced when they suffered for the cause of Christ (Acts 5:41; 16:25). Would you do that or whine and complain (1 Corinthians 10:10)? Godly Christians should expect to be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).

You And Me. We are hopeless (Ephesians 2:10), and helpless (John 15:5; Romans 5:6) until we place our faith in Him alone for our salvation. But once we’re saved, He begins the work of transformation so make us like Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:1,2; Galatians 4:19).  He never gives up on His own (Philippians 1:6). If you’re not a true Christian yet, why not become one today?

Changed? If you’re saved, what positive changes have taken place in your life?  What do other people see taking place in your life (Romans 12:1, 2)? Are you growing in the Lord (2 Peter 3:18), and serving Him and others because you love God and His children (Galatians 5:13; 1 John 4:20, 21)? Are you glorifying God by your lifestyle and with your lips (words)?

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After the seven years of “The Tribulation” on earth (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth and crush His enemies with a righteous rod of iron and establish His 1,000 year reign (Psalm 2:9; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Daniel 2:44, 45; Revelation 20:1-7).  All unbelievers will be removed from this earth (Matthew 25:40, 41).  Vengeance belongs to Him and He will repay in His own time and way (Romans 12:19).

Topography.  We understand that some of the continental shifts took place after the universal flood of Noah’s day during the time of a man called Peleg (Genesis 10:25). The continents are still moving slightly to this day even though they are slowing down. This movement causes earthquakes to happen from time to time. During the Tribulation (before Christ returns) great earthquakes will take place all over the world (Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11). The skyscrapers in the cities will come tumbling down (Revelation 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18, 19). So great will be these earthquakes that the valleys will be filled and the mountains brought low (Isaiah 40:4; Luke 4:35).  The Richter scales will go crazy during this awful time on the earth.

Inhabitants.  The inhabitants of the refurbished, leveled earth will include the believers who physically survived the seven years of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:13, 22; Zechariah 12:10). They will be the ones who will repopulate the millennial earth. But not all their children and grandchildren will become believers in Christ. In fact, most of them will be outwardly submissive to the rules of Christ (Matthew 5-7) but will jump at the opportunity to make a final attempt to overthrow God at the end of the millennium when Satan is released from the Abyss (Revelation 20:7-10). Think about this – the Old Testament believers from Abraham until the Day of Pentecost (when the Church began – Acts 2), and the Tribulation martyrs (Revelation 6:9; 20:4) will be raised from the dead 75 days after the Tribulation is over (Daniel 12:12) and live on the earth with people who are still in their mortal bodies. Some of these resurrected believers will serve Christ as rulers and judges (Matthew 25:21-23). God the Holy Spirit will also be resident on earth during this time (Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10).

Satellite City.  We believe that the place Jesus said He would go to prepare for the New Testament believers (the Church) is the New Jerusalem described for us in Revelation 21:9-27. At the end of the Tribulation it will come down from the third heaven toward the earth and it will be the sign miracle Jesus will give in response to the disciples second question, “Tell us, when will these things be?” (Matthew 24:3, 30). Because of its size (1,500 miles high and 1,500 miles square at the base – Revelation 21:16), we believe that it will most likely be a satellite city to illuminate the earth during the millennium because the sun will have gone out by the end of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 8:12; 16:8). It could be in the form of a cube or more likely a pyramid. The light that comes from Christ Himself, who has a garment of light (1 Timothy 6:16; Acts 9:3), will illuminate this city and the earth itself (Revelation 21:24).  One mathematician calculated that it would need to be at least 17,000 miles above the earth, circling the earth at the equator, to illuminate half the earth at one time.  We also believe that the resurrected Old Testament believers from Adam to Abraham will reside in this satellite city (Hebrews 12:23).  But the most important residents of this city will be God and Son and God the Father (Revelation 21:23; Matthew 24:30).

Conclusion: “In a world filled with chaos, despair, corruption, violence, and rampant evil, the certainty of the Millennium offers us assurance that God’s prophetic program has not been abandoned. There really will come a day when Christ will rule the world with righteousness and justice. Because of this, Christians today need not have anxiety or fear. Our ‘blessed hope’ is Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13), and we can have confidence that His kingdom will indeed come.” Dr. Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, Charting The End Times, p. 72

Application.  When we live in the light of Christ’s any moment return (1 Thessalonians 1:10), we will live differently. The Rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:17) is a blessed hope (Titus 2:13), a comforting hope (1 Thessalonians 4:18), and a purifying hope (1 John 3:3). Do you have this hope (confident expectation)?  Are you absolutely sure you will go to heaven the moment you die?  Why should God let you into His heaven?  If you believe that you are going to heaven, is there anything you could do or fail to do to lose your salvation?  As the Apostle Peter wrote, “Make your call and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

The Gospel.  The “Good News” is that the Lord Jesus Christ (the virgin born, sinless God-man) died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried for three days, and rose again bodily according to the Scriptures on the third day.  He was seen after His resurrection by over 500 witnesses before ascending back to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  It’s not enough to know and believe the facts to be true.  We must personally place our faith in Him alone, not our good works, if we want to be saved (Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8, 9).

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The Second Coming Of Jesus Christ

            All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ will come back as He said He would (John 14:1-3; Matthew 23:39; Acts 1:10, 11). But there isn’t agreement among them as to when this will take place. Some believe that Jesus will return to earth at the very end of time. Others believe that He will return at the end of the Tribulation, and still others believe that He will return before the Tribulation.

            Confusion. Part of the confusion stems from a failure to understand that the Rapture of the Church to heaven and the second coming of Christ to earth with the Church to reign for 1,000 years are two separate events. A careful student of the Scriptures will recognize the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming.*

            Anticipated. The Jews who understood the interpretation to King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, that was unveiled for him by the prophet Daniel, were looking forward to God’s establishing a real kingdom here on earth after He destroyed all the kingdoms of mankind (Daniel 2:44, 45). Daniel’s vision went on to convey to the Jews God’s program for the future. It involved “Seventy Weeks” of years (490 years) in which God would accomplish His plan and the promised Messiah would come to rule over this earth (Daniel 9:24-27).

            Parenthesis. Because most the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah and had Him crucified by the Romans (John 1:11; Luke 19:14; Acts 4:27, 28), God postponed His program for the Jews and the setting up of Christ’s kingdom on earth (Matthew 16:20; 23:39; Zechariah 12:10). But God isn’t finished with the Jews as a nation (Romans 11:1). Since the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) God has been showing special mercy to the Gentiles and saving many of them.  He’s making them a part of a new creation that consists of believing Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14-22). This new creation is called “The Christ.”  Jesus Christ is the Head of the true Church that also is called the “Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 1:22, 23). Shortly after the true Church is taken from earth to heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52), God’s time clock with the Jews will start up again as soon as the Antichrist makes a seven year covenant with the Jews (Daniel 9:27).

            Rescued. Toward the end of the Tribulation, when a remnant of the repentant, believing Jews are about to be annihilated by the invading armies of the world at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), the Lord Jesus Christ will return with His bride, the Church, from heaven in the nick of time.  The believing Jews will cry out to Him for help (Zechariah 12:10-14). His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives and it will split in two. He will destroy and take righteous vengeance on His enemies with a very gruesome death (Zechariah 14:1-15; Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).

            Purpose. God’s primary purpose is to demonstrate to mankind that He alone is the living and true God (Genesis 15:7; Ezekiel 6:2-29; Isaiah 45:5, 6; Jeremiah 10:10). He will keep all His promises whether we believe them or not. He is the truth and always tells the truth (John 14:6; 17:17).  He is also all powerful, good, righteous, omniscient, holy, and love. These attributes all work in harmony with each other.

            Promises. God promised Adam and Eve that He would crush the devil’s head (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 20:1-10). He promised Abraham that He would give to him and his descendants the land that extends from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18-21; Deuteronomy 30). He promised to restore His theocratic kingdom rule to this earth (Psalm 2; 2 Samuel 7:16; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Daniel 7:13, 14). He promised to remove the curse from nature and cause the desert to blossom as the rose (Genesis 3:17; Isaiah 11:1-9; 35:1ff; Romans 8:22). All these and many more promises will be fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth after the seven years of tribulation on earth. For 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-7) this earth will enjoy a time without any wars (Isaiah 2:4).

            New Jerusalem. During the seven years of the Tribulation, Christ and His bride (the true Church) will reside in the New Jerusalem that will be located in the third heaven. It is the place that Jesus went to prepare for us (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:9-27). We believe that this city (1,500 miles square at the base and 1,500 miles high, either in the shape of a cube or a pyramid) will descend from the third heaven with Christ and the Church when He and His Bride, the true Church return to earth to reign over all the earth (Matthew 24:29, 30). Because of the size of this city, we believe that it will be like a satellite that circles the earth every day and will be visible to the inhabitants on earth. It seems to us that the intense light from the person of Christ (1 Timothy 6:16; Acts 26:13; Psalm 104:2), that shines through this city of transparent gold, will be the source of light for the earth during the millennium (Zechariah 14:6, 7; Revelation 21:23, 24). Since the sun will go out at the end of the Tribulation (Isaiah 30:26; Revelation 16:8, 9; Matthew 24:29), it seems logical to conclude that the earth will need such a light as this for men, animals, and plants to live on earth.

            Rebels. Some believers who physically survive the Tribulation and who enter the millennial kingdom will have children who may not place their faith in Christ alone for their salvation. Outwardly they will need to be submissive to Christ or suffer terrible consequences (Matthew 5:29, 20), but inwardly they will be rebelling against the Lord. Even though the devil will be bound in the sides of the Abyss for 1,000 years, and all of man’s physical needs will be met, man’s sin nature (1 John 1:8; Jeremiah 17:9) will be active and alive and resist the Lord. When the devil is released from the Abyss at the end of the millennium, he will gather all the rebels who will follow him in one final attempt to overthrow God. But that rebellion will be crushed quickly and the devil and all his followers will be cast into the lake of fire to suffer forever (Revelation 20:1-15; Matthew 25:41, 46).

            Choice. Right now, before the Rapture and the Tribulation take place, you have a choice to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior or not. Those who believe on Him will not perish, but have everlasting [eternal] life (John 3:16, 18, 36).  Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day.  Trust Him today!

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* Contrasting the Rapture with the Second Coming

   Many people are wondering what the Bible says about “Things To Come.”  We believe that the following information is the result of a normal interpretation of the Scriptures.  Take time to look up the verses used to confirm these truths in your mind.

The Rapture Of The True Church

John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Church = Believers from the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture

 The Seven Years Of Tribulation

“Daniel’s 70th Week” Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24; Revelation 6-19

After the Rapture but before the Tribulation –

  Most Jews must be in the land of Israel for the signing of a 7 year peace agreement.  Daniel 9:27

  Ten Kings from the Revived Roman Empire must be in power. Revelation 17:13

  The world wide harlot religion must be in place and have power.  Revelation 17:3

 The First 3 ½ Years Of The Tribulation

Jews will be at peace and protected by the “Man of Sin” until the middle of the Tribulation

The Seven Seal Judgments. (Revelation 6:1-16; 8:1) Coming upon non-Jews

  1. White Horse – False peace. Covenant between Anti-Christ and Israel. Daniel 9:27

  2. Red Horse – War.  Anti-Christ vs Three kings. (Jews safe) Daniel 2:43; 7:23ff 

  3. Black Horse – Famine

  4. Pale Horse – Death. (¼ of population dies) (Later 1/3 more die. Revelation 9:15)

  5. Martyrs – Gentile believers who oppose the apostate church

  6. War. Russians versus Anti-Christ who is killed and raised. Revelation 13:3, 12, 14; Ezekiel 38:2, 22; Russia’s Allies:  Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Libya,  Gomer (Turkey) Ezekiel 38:5,  vs. Western confederacy: Ezekiel 38:13;  Revelation 6:12  Sun darkened. Nuclear war.  vs. Sun blows up and goes out at end of Tribulation.  Revelation 8:12 (4th Trumpet); Matthew 24:29

  7. Silence in heaven. (8:1) When the Anti-Christ gains world domination. 1st time in human history.

 At The Middle Of The Tribulation

Anti-Christ will break his covenant, stop the sacrifices, have his image placed in the rebuilt Temple. Matthes 24:15; Daniel 9:27

Anti-Christ will rule the world for 42 months = 3 ½ yrs. Revelation 13:5, 18; Mark=666)

144,000 Jews will be sealed. Revelation 7 (12 Tribes) Preach Gospel of Kingdom. Matthew 24:14

Satan will be cast down to the earth. Rev. 12:7-10 (Tries to destroy Jews)

Two witnesses will be in Jerusalem for 3 ½ years. Revelation 11:3; Malachi 4:5 (Elijah + ?)

Jews will flee to the wilderness. (Petra / Selah). Matthew 24:15;  Isaiah 16:1; Revelation 12:6 (3 ½ yrs)

Jews will realize that God is dealing with them. Ezekiel 39:7  (Not today. Romans 11:25)

 The Last 3 ½ Years Of The Tribulation

The Seven Trumpet Judgments (Revelation 8:2-9:21; 11:15-19) (Primarily for the Jews)

The Seven Bowl Judgments (Revelation 15, 16) (Primarily for the Gentiles)

 The Second Coming Of Christ – 1,000 Year Reign

Matthew 24:29, 30; Revelation 19-22; Isaiah 2:4; 11:1ff; 35:1ff

 Eternity Future

Isaiah 65:17; 1 Corinthians 15:28; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1

  To get our FREE “Dispensational Chart” or to read “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation” go to  You won’t want to be on earth during the Seven Years of Tribulation.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day.  Do it now!  Our salvation is not of works lest we should boast.

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Exodus.  God had used Joseph to preserve His chosen people, the Jews, in Egypt during a seven year famine that covered the whole world (Genesis 50:20).  Isolated by themselves in the land of Goshen, the Jews multiplied greatly.  A new Pharaoh feared them and wanted to keep them from siding with Egypt’s enemies in the event of a war.  So he ordered the Jewish baby boys to be killed so the remaining Jewish girls would be forced to marry Egyptians and thus lose their unique identity as Jews (Exodus 1).

Moses.  After spending many years as slaves in Egypt, God used Moses to deliver His people from bondage.  The ten plagues brought the Egyptians to their knees and Jehovah God demonstrated to them that He alone was/is the true and living God (Exodus 5-12).

Sinai.  Moses led the Jews through the Red Sea to Mount Sinai where they received the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 20).  Even before they knew what would be required of them, the Jews presumptuously said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8).  History records for us that they didn’t keep God’s commandments which led to their being dispersed among the nations (Deuteronomy 28).  But God will bring them back to the land that He promised to give to them as an everlasting possession (Genesis 15:18-20).  His initial rule over them will last for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-6; Isaiah 2:4; 9:6, 7; Zechariah 14) after they have gone through “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27) known also as the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 6-19).

Spies.  Moses then led the Jews to a place called Kadesh Barnea and sent twelve men to spy out the land in which the wicked Canaanites lived. When the spies came back they reported that it was a land flowing with milk and honey.  But they informed the people that their cities were fortified and that there were giants in the land. Two of the spies said, “We can take the land.”  Ten said, “No we can’t.” So they had a congregational meeting, to determine whether or not to posses the land. The people voted, and said, “No, we won’t go.”  God said, “Because you voted no, all those twenty years old and upward will die in the wilderness” (Numbers 13, 14).

Wilderness.  So, for forty years the Jews wandered around until all those twenty years old and older died in the wilderness.  This meant that one person died about every twenty minutes for the next 38 years.  Then Moses led them to Mt. Pisgah where he also died (Deuteronomy 34:5).  Do you know why he didn’t enter the Promised Land at that time (Numbers 20:7-13)?

Joshua.  He was appointed by God to lead the people of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, where he divided the land among the twelve tribes.  It was time for the wicked people living in Canaan to be displaced by the Jews (Genesis 15:16).  Rahab, the harlot, and her family were spared because they believed in the God of the Jews (Joshua 2).  She became an ancestress of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

Judges. After this, the nation of Israel went through a period of seven social, spiritual, and economic ups-and-downs under the Judges. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes and things really got ugly and very bad toward the end of this period (Judges 19-21).

King. Then the children of Israel said, “We don’t want any more judges. We want a king like the nations around us” (1 Samuel 8:5).  There were three kings that ruled over all Israel: Saul, David, and Solomon. Because of the sin of Solomon, the kingdom was divided. There were ten tribes in the north known as “Israel.” Their capital was Samaria. Two tribes were in the south. They were known as “Judah.”  Their capital was at Jerusalem.

722 B.C.  This is when Shalmaneser, the King of Assyria, took the ten tribes of the north into captivity (2 Kings 18:9-11). They were dispersed among the provinces of Assyria and never heard from again.  Although they have been called “The lost tribes,” God knows where all of them are and will bring them back to the Promised Land some day (Ezekiel 36, 37).

605 B.C. Then Nebuchadnezzar came from Babylon and took the two tribes from the south into captivity. They were there for seventy years. After this period of time, Ezra and Nehemiah led about 50,000 Jews back to Jerusalem with the approval of Cyrus, king of Persia (Ezra 1:1).  They rebuilt the city walls, their houses, the temple, and re-established the worship of Jehovah.  And this is the chronological end of the Old Testament.

Silence.  There were no messages from God for the next 400 years until the angel Gabriel announced to a Jewish priest by the name of Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth would have a son who would be the forerunner of the promised Messiah (Luke 1:5-25) as predicted by the prophet Malachi (3:1).  Six months later Gabriel was sent to the virgin Mary to announce to her that she would be the mother of the Messiah (Luke 1:26-38) as predicted by the prophet Isaiah (7:14; 9:6, 7; Matthew 1:23).

To be continued.

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     Have you ever wondered how the early church was able to turn the world upside down in a short period of time (Acts 17:6)? They didn’t have radio, television, jet planes, printing presses, and all the other things that are available to us today.  Those who spread the “Good News” concerning Christ either had seen the resurrected and glorified Christ themselves or had believed the testimony of those who had seen and heard Him (John 20:31; 1 John 1:1, 3).  Christians today fit in the latter category.  

     Guarantee.  His resurrection from the dead guarantees that everyone (believers and unbelievers) will be raised from the dead someday (1 Corinthians 15:20-24).  We will spend eternity with God or apart from Him in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).  What about you?  Are you absolutely sure?

     First Love.  Like some of the early believers in Ephesus, many Christians in churches today have left their first love (Revelation 2:4; 2 Timothy 4:8).  The spark and fire have dwindled or gone out.  They have little or no testimony for God. Who/what dominates your thoughts and time?

     Rekindle.  To reignite the fire we once had (if we’re Christians) and run the race and finish well, we need to have a fresh –

     Vision.  This is accomplished by faith (Hebrews 11:1).  It must include God and our fellow man.  When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up on His throne, his life was dramatically changed (Isaiah 6:1ff).  The same kind of thing happened to the Apostle John (Revelation 1:10-18).  The true and living God is awesome (Psalm 4:4; 33:8).  There is none like Him (Exodus 9:14; Isaiah 14:9).  He deserves our worship and our praise (John 4:24; Psalm 96:9).  As human beings, we’ve all come short of God’s glory and deserve to be separated from Him in hell forever (Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23).

   Love And Power.  God the Father loved the world (i. e. the people caught up in the devil’s system) and sent God the Son (who volunteered for the task –Hebrews 10:5-7) to die for all our sins.  To prove that God the Father was satisfied with the payment that the Lord Jesus Christ made on our behalf, He raised Him, the God-man from the dead (Romans 4:25).  He is able to save any and all who come to Him by faith and trust in Him alone for their deliverance from hell to heaven (Hebrews 7:25).  Once saved, all Christians have God’s resurrection power available to them so they can do the things that will please God and bring happiness into their own lives (Philippians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:9). 

     Simple.  God’s plan of salvation is so simple that most people have a hard time believing that faith in Christ through the message of the Gospel is all that is needed for a person to be saved (Acts 16:31).  They want to work for their salvation.  But God won’t accept the good works of unbelievers as payment for their salvation (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; Isaiah 64:6).  Those who add to or subtract from the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) or who change the way of salvation (by grace alone through faith alone in the Christ of the Scriptures alone) have a curse resting on them (Galatians 1:8, 9;2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15).  They will spend eternity in the lake of fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 46; Jude 1:13).  Beware of false teachers!

     Good Works.  Once a person has been saved, he/she can do good works for rewards, crowns, and praise from God (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15). The Christian’s good works will be rewarded if done the right way (Hebrews 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:5).  Will your good works endure the fire?

     Dedication.  One of the first things a Christian should do after he is saved is to present his body to God as a living sacrifice so God can use him for His glory and the believer’s happiness (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 John 1:4).  A “Crown of Rejoicing” awaits those who lead other people to Christ for salvation (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20).  Have you ever done this?  Would you like to have a part in delivering someone from hell?  Think of your family members, your friends, fellow workers, and neighbors.  Do you care about them?  God places Christians in strategic places at specific times for us to bear witness to the saving grace and power of God.  Will you make yourself available to God and report for duty each day?  There is no greater joy than leading someone to Christ and seeing that person growing in Christ and walking in truth (3 John 1:4). 

     Suffering.  While every true Christian suffers “with” Christ (2 Timothy 2:12), not every Christian suffers “for” Christ (2 Timothy 3:12).  Whatever unjust persecution the believer suffers for Christ will be noticed by God and compensated by Him (Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 4:15-19).  The “Crown of Life” awaits such people (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

     Quote. “A church on the move must major on the Word of God, teaching and preaching the Word and (most of all) obeying it…[It] must confront reality and meet people where they are.  Separation is not isolation-it is contact without contamination.  Jesus was the friend of publicans and sinners.  Many church members dont’ have any unsaved friends, or if they do, they keep them at a distance…Many churches today have abandoned the marketplace and spend their time reminding one another of the gospel.” – W. Wiersbe

     Question.  Are you looking for a fellowship of authentic Christians?  Is this the cry of your heart?  “O give me a church where folks in the lurch are encouraged, then healed from above; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the truth is modelled in love.” – Chuck Swindoll.  If you’re looking for a “perfect church” don’t join ours.  We’re not sinlessly perfect in our practice yet.   We’re in the process of being conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

     Questions.  If you have questions or comments, we invite you to call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at  If you’re interested, you can listen to messages on the Internet.

     When I was going to seminary in San Francisco, I was an associate pastor in “The Little Brown Church” by the sea in Pacifica, California.  Then I pastored a church in the valley in Delano, CA.  Today I enjoy pastoring a church in Paso Robles where we have beautiful hills to enjoy.  I often think of the words of the Psalmist who wrote, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills.  From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2).  Yes, He did (Genesis 1:1).  As I look out at the hills I realize that between the two peaks there is a valley that may be large or small.  When we get to the top of one peak we can see what is in the valley.

     Foggy.  God gave the Old Testament prophets information (revelations) of things to come.  They failed to realize that between the two mountain peaks there were valleys where things would be going on.  They wrote about the coming of the Messiah and saw it as all happening continuously without any valley or break between His first coming and His second coming.  So far there has been about 2,000 years.  But not to worry – a day with God is like a 1,000 years to us (2 Peter 3:8, 9).  He’s long suffering and may be waiting for you to trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.  Think about that.

    Illustration.  Jesus illustrated this for the people of His day when He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and read a portion from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1, 2).  But He didn’t read the whole section because He knew that the rest of Isaiah’s prophecy about Him would have to be fulfilled when He came back to earth a second time (Luke 4:18, 19).  They became very upset with Him and wanted to kill Him for saying that it referred to Him.

     Progressive.  God didn’t reveal all the information in Scripture at one time.  It was written by about 40 authors over 1,500 years.  God the Holy Spirit superintended their writings to insure that what they wrote would be what God wanted us to know.  Amazingly, all the writers in the Bible point to the One whom the Scriptures called “Immanuel” – “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). 

     “The Word.”  Jesus Christ, the God-man, was the Spokesman for the Godhead (John 1:1-18).  He came to reveal to us humans what God is like.  After living a sinless life for 33 years, He died on a cross for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave with a glorified, resurrected (not resuscitated) body (1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Luke 24:33-43).  Yes, His resurrected, glorified body in heaven has flesh and bones, but no blood (1 Corinthians 15:50).  Those who deny that Jesus Christ is coming back in the flesh (i.e. with a real body) are deceivers and antichrist (3 John 1:7; Zechariah 12:10). 

     Church.  The true Church was a mystery in the Old Testament (Ephesians 5:32).  It had its beginning on the Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago (Acts 2).  It exists in the valley between the first and second coming of Christ.  It is made up of Jewish and Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:15; Romans 1:16, 17).  When all whom God the Father has given to God the Son have come to Him, Jesus will come back to meet His Church in the air and take us to the home He has been preparing for us (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 21:10ff). 

     Steward.  The Apostle Paul refers to himself as the steward (household manager) of this “Dispensation of Grace” (Ephesians 3:1-12).  He was the primary one who passed on to Christians the Grace principles that are found between John 13 and Revelation where we can find our “Rules for Conduct” for today.  (Dispensations are not different ways of salvation.)  Peter, John, James, and Jude gave supplemental information to us Christians.  We are not under the Old Testament rules – the Mosaic Law (Exodus 19-Matthew 12) or under Kingdom rules – the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  Those who try to live by them allegorize (change the meaning) the words of Jesus.  Who have you seen with an eye or hand missing to avoid his being cast into hell (Matthew 5:29, 30)?  See our “Dispensational Chart” for more information.

     Clock. God’s time clock with reference to the Jews will start up again when the Antichrist confirms a 7 year peace agreement with the Jews after the Church has left earth (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 3:10).  The Gentiles (non-Jews) will suffer terribly under the 7 seal judgments during the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation (Revelation 6). Then, in the middle of the 7 year tribulation, the Jewish people will enter into the “time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” when they refuse to worship the image of the Antichrist that will be set up in the rebuilt Temple (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15ff).  All the nations of the world will come against the Jews to try to annihilate them in a place called Armageddon in northern Israel (Revelation 16:16).  They should forget it; it can’t be done (Psalm 2). Those who try will be doomed.

     Salt.  The Jews are the salt (i. e. the preservers) of the earth (Matthew 5:13).  They are the reason the earth hasn’t been destroyed.  A believing Jewish remnant will survive the holocaust and enter Christ’s millennial kingdom to repopulate the earth along with some believing Gentiles – non-Jews (Matthew 24:13; 25:34-40).  Right now the Jewish people have been temporarily set aside until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:1, 25). 

     Land.  God promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants the land that extends from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18).  They will get all of it when Christ returns to set up His 1,000 year kingdom on earth when peace finally will prevail (Isaiah 2:4; 11:1ff; 35:1ff; Revelation 20:1-7). 

     Timing.  Although we don’t know the exact day of Christ’s return, we do believe He said what He meant and meant what He said (John 14:1-3).  Do you belong to Him or are you still a child of the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8-10).  You can be delivered out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).

     Method.  It’s quite simple.  Admit that you are a sinner who deserves to be separated forever from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23).  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily from the grave (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  Don’t trust your good works to save you.  They can’t (Ephesians 2:8, 9). 

     Help?  If you’re not sure of your eternal destiny, we’d be happy to share more information with you so you can be sure even before you die (1 John 5:13).  Call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site: These articles are usually a summary of our talks on Sundays and can be heard on the Internet. If these articles help you, please let others know about them.

     “Interest in the occult and paranormal is on the rise today.  The movie industry has certainly capitalized on this heightened curiosity, not to mention the numerous television programs, newspaper columns, magazine articles, game manufacturers, and book publishers that have hyped these topics as well.  Unfortunately, the fragments of truth that are sometimes communicated about the demonic world are frequently lost amidst sensational stories and exaggerated remarks.  Consequently, many people have a distorted understanding of the satanic realm.”  C. R. Swindoll. 

     Reliable.  The Scriptures are a reliable source of information concerning the unseen world.   Daniel chapter 10 sheds a lot of light on the activities of angels and demons.  So, let’s discover what God’s Word has to say.

     Dreadful. When a person encounters an angel that comes in humanoid form, the experience can be very frightening. This happened to the Roman guards that were assigned to protect the tomb of Jesus from intruders (Matthew 28:2-4). Although generally unobserved by humans, they are numerous, powerful, and real (Hebrews 12:22; 13:1; 2 Kings 19:35). They learn about the wisdom of God by observing Christians (Ephesians 3:10).

     Demons. Some of the angels from the lower two categories (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16) were persuaded by Lucifer to follow him in his rebellion against God and to act independently of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-10; Revelation 12:4). He tempts us to do the same thing today. But apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5). Demons are powerful and can inhabit the body of any unbeliever if they choose to do so (Luke 8:30). They can negatively influence and tempt Christians (Ephesians 6:12; Luke 22:31, 32), but they can’t indwell them (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).

     Christophany. In the Old Testament times the pre-incarnate Son of God (the Lord Jesus Christ) appeared on several occasions as “The Angel of the Lord” to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses and others (Genesis 12:7-9; 16:7-14;18:1-33; Exodus 3:2-4:17; John 8:58). We believe that the One who appeared to the prophet Daniel was none other than the Son of God Himself (Daniel 10:4-9). See a similar description given to the Apostle John (Revelation 1:12-18). Notice their responses to this One.

     Information. The prophet Daniel wanted to know more details about the suffering of the Jews in the days that followed the 70 year Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10). Although they had been freed by the Persian (Iranian) King Cyrus to return to Israel (Ezra 1:1-4), most of the Jews chose to stay in Persia (Iran) and become “shop keepers” rather than “sheep keepers” as they had been in Israel.

     Delayed Answer. Although an angel had been dispatched from God as soon as Daniel had made his request, he didn’t get to him until three weeks later. He had encountered a demon (fallen angel) who wanted to prevent him from giving to Daniel the information he had requested. So Michael the archangel came to the angel’s assistance and enabled him to finally get to Daniel with the message from God concerning the future suffering of the Jews.

     Shock And Awe. So upsetting was the information that he could hardly believe it (Daniel 11). But he declared that it was to be believed because it came from God through an angel to him. Much of what was predicted by Daniel has already happened and can be verified by secular history. But what is still out in the future is even more distressing. It will be the final “holocaust” just before Christ returns to earth to set up His millennial kingdom. The information given to Daniel is amplified in the Book of Revelation.

     Caution. We must be extremely careful today lest we be deceived by a fallen angel (demon) or by a false teacher who may appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). God is not giving out any new revelation (information) today. He hasn’t done so since the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation. We have all that God wants us to have in the 66 books of the Bible (2 Peter 1:3, 4). Don’t follow those who add to or subtract from the Word of God (Revelation 22:18, 19).

     Satan’s Kingdoms. When he encountered Jesus in the wilderness, the devil made a legitimate offer to Him. He offered to Him the kingdoms of this world (that he owns and controls now- 2 Corinthians 4:4) if only Jesus would bow down and worship Him (Matthew 4:9). Had Jesus done this, He could have avoided the painful cross. But it wasn’t God the Father’s plan for Jesus to get control of the kingdoms of this world that way. First He would need to die for the sins of all mankind, rise bodily from the dead, and offer salvation to sinners for a limited time (2 Corinthians 6:2). There are no second opportunities to be saved once you die (Hebrews 9:27). Where will you spend eternity? Are you absolutely sure?

     Return. At the appointed time Jesus will return to this earth and take the kingdoms of this world by force from Satan and then cast him and his followers into the lake of fire to suffer forever (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 19:16; 20:1-10). You don’t have to end up with him and his followers if you will place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ exclusively. Stop trusting in any of your good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5)!

     Extent. How much longer will the Jews continue to suffer at the hands of God’s enemies? Sadly, it will go on until Jesus Christ (Messiah) returns to rescue the believing Jewish remnant at the end of the seven years of the tribulation (“the time of Jacob’s trouble” – Jeremiah 30:7; Zechariah 12; 14). God’s time clock with the Jews will resume when the Antichrist confirms a peace treaty with the Jews for seven years (Daniel 9:27). This will happen shortly after the true church has been caught up to meet the Lord in the air (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Romans 11:25). Are you ready for this event? It’s imminent. “Perhaps Today” in spite of what the mockers say (2 Peter 3:3-9).

     Replaced? The church has not replaced the Jews. Both groups are distinct in God’s eyes (1 Corinthians 10:32). There will be a believing Jewish remnant that will repent and turn to God and be saved (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 10:13; Matthew 21:9; 23:39). Those people and nations who mistreat the Jews will experience God’s judgment (Genesis 12:1-3; Romans 12:19). Pray that our people and leaders don’t do this to the Jews.

     Destiny. Like a ship headed for a specific destination, so God’s plan for the Jews and His plan for the church cannot be thwarted. The believing Jews have been promised the earth (Matthew 5:5). Do you know how much territory they will get in the future (Genesis 15:18)? Jesus also said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Do you belong to it? Are you absolutely sure you will go to heaven the moment you die (1 John 5:13; Philippians 3:20)? Why should God let you into it? Is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation? If so, what would that be?

     Victorious. Every Christian can/should be victorious over the temptations that Satan or his demons hurl at us. We don’t have to be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). What do you know about the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)? Are you tired of being Satan’s victim (2 Timothy 2:26)? Would you, as a Christian, like spiritual help to live victoriously? If so, ask.      

     Contact.  You may get in touch with us by calling 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at  We have “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation” in 24 languages and other information for Christians to grow. These weekly articles usually correspond to our talks on Sundays and can be heard on the Internet.

Just before going to the cross to die for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), Jesus met with His disciples in an upper room and gave them a New Commandment (John 13:34, 35).  He didn’t say that all men would know that they were His disciples by their being serious students of the Word, by fasting twice a week, by attending seminars or conferences, or by giving generously to the work of the Lord.  Instead it was their love for other Christians that really mattered.  When the people of the world see this, they will be drawn to God.

Church.  Would you like to have an active part in a church where folks in the lurch are encouraged and healed from above; where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the truth is modeled in love?  Yes, that’s the kind of church I want too.

  Considerate Members.  Strong, maturing Christians have been called upon to help the weaker Christians who haven’t learned the new “Code of Conduct” for Christians very well yet (Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:1).  As Christians, there are many areas that were once forbidden in the Old Testament times under the “Mosaic Law” that are permissible today under the Grace “Code of Conduct.”  No longer does a Christian have to offer bloody sacrifices to God or observe days, months, and seasons or wear certain kinds of clothes Galatians 4:10).  Dietary restrictions have been removed (1 Timothy 4:4).  The place of worship has changed (John 4:21-24). One of the Commandments has been eliminated.  Do you know which one?

Christian Liberty. We have been told to “Stand fast…in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1)  This refers to the Mosaic “Code of Conduct” that cannot bring a person to spiritual maturity (Hebrews 7:19).

  Kingdom.  Furthermore, the “Sermon on the Mount”  was addressed to the Jews (not to the church) who were anticipating the rule of the heavens over the earth (Matthew 5-7; Daniel 2:44, 45).  Because of the Jewish leaders’ rejection of their Messiah, this offer has been postponed until a later date when Christ literally returns to set up His 1,000 reign on earth (Matthew 23:37-39; 24:29ff; Revelation 19:16; 20:1-7).

Grace.  Living under “Grace principles” doesn’t give a Christian the right to behave any way he wants.  His rules for living can be found generally between John 13 and Revelation 3.  Ask us about this and our FREE “Dispensational Chart” that could help bring clarity to this issue of “How then should we live?”

Knowledge.  Bible knowledge is a great thing to have.  But if it’s not regulated by love for others, it can cause a lot of harm (1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:15).  “All Scripture is [God breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete [mature], thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3;16, 17).

  Idols. Many people have them and worship them.  Some are made of metals, wood, or stones.  American idols keep us from serving the true and living God who alone deserves our love and worship (1 John 5:21).  They include fame, fortune, power, and pleasure and other things or people.  “Celebrities” who allow others to worship and adore them will eventually come to ruin.  There is only one true and living God who was displayed to mankind in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18).  He alone is the God-man and is worthy of our worship (John 20:28; Revelation 4:10).

Influence.  Your family and friends probably know about your idols – the things to which you devote you time, talents, and treasures.  Your children and grandchildren will probably follow in your footsteps.  Will that make you happy or sad?

Doubtful Things.  A stronger Christian should be willing to avoid questionable practices that could cause a weaker Christian to stumble.  “To be absolutely sure that our influence registers on the positive side, we must take periodic ‘readings’ of our practices, habits, associations, and activities.  Remember, ‘love [edifies].’  We prove that we love our brethren to the extent that we forego some harmless pursuit to avoid wounding his conscience.” Paul Van Gorder

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