2 very common misconceptions about Jezebel (이세벨에 대한 2가지 일반적인 오해)/2Kings 9:30(왕하9:30)
2 very common misconceptions about Jezebel (이세벨에 대한 2가지 일반적인 오해)
When we think of Jezebel (as loyal believers in God and as Christians) there are two images that immediately spring to our minds. (1) we are convinced that she is a seductive temptress, so we kind of figure her to look like this young woman pictured here and we imagine our sons and/or women's husbands being "led astray" by them, as she ensnares them with her super-naturally enhanced charms. Well, this image has more to do with Hollywood's 1930's film "Jezebel" than with Biblical reality. Jezebel was definitely very "seductive" and "Adulterous" - but mostly in the spiritual sense. She led king Ahab away from the worship of God, and to Baal worship, then started systematically killing off God's prophets and removing all vestiges of worship of God from Israel. Look for that attempt in women who you have contact with - not at their appearances! The other image we conjure up in our minds, is based on what we feel she looks like if we could see her with "spiritual eyes". (2) we find her so repugnant that in our minds we conjure up images of her looking like some sort of evil, heinous monster, and as such we imagine someone who looks a lot like this photo below of a woman munching on a scorpion (My apologies to the lady in this picture who probably is quite a sweet person once you get to know her - at least she probably is someone with a good sense of humor although I'd have to say she is someone with rather questionable tastes in food) - anyhow, if we think of this woman as representative of what Jezebel likely looks like ... we would be very very wrong! However, if we could "see" her spirit, this scorpion-muncher would easily win the beauty contest when competing against Jezebel. The last person we would suspect (based on sheer looks alone) would be a beautiful lady dressed in white - almost angelic looking, like Ms Tymoshenko (below) who happens to have once been the Prime Minister of the Ukraine, and who is determined to get back into power. She was President Yushchenko's most fervent ally in the Orange Revolution, became his prime minister — and then a nemesis. Yushchenko fired her after just seven months in office, saying: "She often worked with the aim of solving her own problems rather than the state's." Tymoshenko, known for her steel will and hunger for power, is likely to try to get most of the key seats in the Cabinet for her party (Some ally - no give and take here) pushing Yushchenko's allies into less important positions. Her party's strong showing makes her a likely tough candidate in the 2009 presidential election.
So remember, Looks can be very deceiving!
We must judge them by their actions, not by their looks! (Photo of Jezebel's strategic alliance)
Jezebel-forges-strategic-alliances-with powerful people - but watch your back! Pretty soon a "power-play" turns the tables ... Here the President is kissing the prime minister's hand - one he appointed. He is dressed in Black, she in white. He has acne scars, her skin is silky smooth. He is graying, she has naturally perfect blond hair. She used him to leverage herself to power - she looks good, he looks bad. She gets into power, he loses it. She takes over the throne, he is cast aside. Clearly this is not an alliance worth making! This exact scenario is playing out now in the Ukraine - so we have "ring-side" seats in watching it all unfold.
Posted by Learn from Elijah Attack like Jehu ! Cast Jezebel out, then follow Jesus! at 15:31
Labels: Jezebel is often times quite beautiful.
Days Of Elijah(지금은 엘리야 때처럼) 영어 가사
Days Of Elijah
These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord
Behold, He comes riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call
Lift your voice, it\'s the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion\'s hill salvation comes
These are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant David
Rebuilding a temple of praise
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in Your world
And we are the laborers in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord
There\'s no god like Jehovah...
Girls, Gold, Glory/ 2008-09-20
Girls, Gold, Glory
Brief Prayer Requests
Israeli Elections – Tomorrow are to be primaries for the Kadima party. Olmert is expected to step down from being prime minister. The two main candidates are Shaul Mofaz and Tsipi Livni. This is the beginning of a new formation for the whole government. Netanyahu still leads in the polls for future prime minister, but it is not clear if there will be general elections yet. Pray for righteous government to be established in Israel.
Terrorism in India – This week a series of 4 bombs were exploded at shopping malls in New Dehli by Muslim extremists. 30 people were killed, more than 100 were wounded. The issue seemed to be the demand to turn the Kashmir area of India into a Muslim state. Pray for the destruction of Islamic terrorism in India, the continued spread of the gospel, and for religious freedom of expression.
Revive "Emissaries" – We believe in spreading the Good News from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Right now our team members are ministering in the following places: Idan in Germany; Shumuel in Ethiopia; Youval and Valerie in Switzerland and France; Liat in England; Shani in the U. S.; Yoni in Korea; Tal at the "First Nations" conference; Ariel in Japan; Matthew and Rebecca in Hong Kong; and others. We are "stretched" beyond our ability, and ask for you to stand with us in faith.
Physical Protection and Healing – Several of our team members have been attacked by health problems, including Patty, Rose, Asher, a number of our donors and volunteers, and others. Please agree with us that "by the wounds of Yeshua, we are healed" and that we "lay hands on the sick and they recover." Amen.
New Facilities – We are moving forward with our building plans for the new discipleship center, prayer and praise center, amuta ministry offices at the Yad Hashmonah kibbutz. We are excited about greater fruit for the kingdom of God produced here, and for cooperation with the other ministries located in the area. Please agree with us for all of God's plans to be realized in this new stage of our ministry.
Girls, Gold and Glory
If a man of God is to fulfill his destiny, if he is to bear fruit for Yeshua's (Jesus) Kingdom, if he is to walk in intimacy with God and integrity before men, he must watch out for three spiritual dangers that face every man. These three dangers may be seen as the three primary tests of discipleship. They represent the basic temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Therefore they are always present, no matter whether one is young or old. We can summarize them in this simple phrase, "GIRLS, GOLD and GLORY".
Here we are not talking about the blessed joys of sexual and romantic relations between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. That blessing comes from God and is found at the very beginning of Genesis. By "girls" here we mean just the opposite: the temptation of letting lustful thoughts carry a man across the line to sexual sin, or to dominate his imagination so that his personal relationship with God is weakened or destroyed.
Since the male–female relationship is such a foundational blessing from God, the temptation to go over board is equally powerful. Our relationship with God is also described as a "spiritual marital union". Therefore romantic fantasies are often difficult to control because they touch a part of the heart that is reserved for our intimate relationship with God.
We are "love beings", created to love God and love one another. The line between love and lust is clearly defined by covenant: the covenant of marriage and our covenant with God.
Lustful thoughts must be fought actively and aggressively. Settling for simply "not sinning" will not work. Yeshua rebuked the congregation at Thyatira for even "tolerating" the spirit of Jezebel and sexual immorality (Revelation 2:20). Timothy is instructed by Paul (Shaul) to "flee" from youthful lusts (I Timothy 6:11; II Timothy 2:22), not just to "not sin". The way to holiness is to "distance" ourselves from adultery (I Thessalonians 4:3), not just to "not commit" it.
A man should never let himself be alone in a closed room or building with a woman who is not his wife (or immediate family) at any time for any reason - including "prayer" and "counseling". In these days of rampant Jezebel spirits, the problem is not only one of sin, but also of accusation (and law suit) even when there was no sin committed at all.
God blesses us not only spiritually but also materially. That material prosperity is ultimately God's will for all of us as can be seen in the descriptions of the garden of Eden, the covenant of Abraham, the blessings of the Torah, the godly kingdoms of Israel, the new heavens and earth, etc. Yet that blessing also represents a temptation.
The past few years have seen an onslaught of court cases against Israeli government officials for financial corruption. The misuse of finances in Christian ministry has been embarrassing. Businessmen around the world are mistrusted because of greed. It is hard for God to find people whom He can trust with the resources of this world. (One of them I do know, - "D", a man with four young children, who gives away millions, yet works daily in humility; and his family lives modestly. It can happen.)
The use of finances in this world is a TEST of faithfulness to receive government authority in the world to come. ("Because you were faithful in little, have authority over ten cities" – Luke 19:17. "If you have not been faithful in unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? – Luke 16:11) There is not a lack of financial resources, but a lack of faithful stewardship.
It is not enough to simply "not steal". We must be aggressive and active in both generosity and integrity. When there are expenses in the ministry and cash donations, we must pursue the right receipting and accountability. We do not just "go along" with legal requirements; we seek to be an example of how to report correctly. ("I weighed out to them the silver and the gold… for the offering for the house of God… Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders" – Ezra 8:25-29. "Avoiding that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift, providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" – II Corinthians 8:20-21.)
We are not only willing to give, but focused to push money forward toward goals that will bless people and build the kingdom of God. It takes concentrated effort to give larger sums of money that will make a real difference in the world and bear much fruit.
The root of the rebellion of Satan was his jealousy over God's glory, particularly when he saw that God was willing to share that glory with someone else other than him (in this case, Adam). God is filled with glory, and our ultimate destiny is to be glorified with Him (Romans 8:30; Hebrews 2:10; I Corinthians 2:7). This huge blessing also represents a huge temptation.
Yeshua's own disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest at the very time He was explaining to them that He had to be crucified (Luke 22:24, Mark 9:30-35). Humility is the only way to go on to the great things that God wants for us. We have to humble ourselves, not wait for Him to do it for us.
John the Baptizer gives us a great example of how to stay humble in ministry. He was asked, "Are you the Messiah?" He answered simply, "I am not." "Are you Elijah?" Again he replied, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And again, "I am not" – John 1:19-21. John was not only being truthful, he was ruthlessly, repeatedly, relentlessly guarding himself from the encroaching influence of pride.
Yeshua taught us that whether we receive great honor or no honor, we should see ourselves as simple servants, preparing food for our master (Luke 17:10).
Lust is deceptive (Ephesians 4:22); money is deceptive (Mark 4:19); honor is deceptive (Luke 4:6). Let us not be fooled. As servants of the Lord, we are to be blind and deaf (Isaiah 42:19) - not spiritually or physically, but to the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. As men of God and disciples of Yeshua, let us walk in victory in these three basic areas: girls, gold and glory.
God Bless You at Christmas/ 2016-12-25
God Bless You at Christmas
The Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
1329 South Hope Street, L.A. Civic Center
Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
Dr. Christopher L. Cagan
Dr. Kreighton L. Chan
P. O. Box 15308
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: (213) 744-9999
The main event in our church this year was the revival that God sent down to us in the old-fashioned way.
My family and I were on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. I spent one of the days in the sun and in the hotel room
reading a book about the revival on the Isle of Lewis off the north coast of Scotland, which occurred between
1949 and 1953. My own soul was revived while reading it. I began to pray hard for God to send revival to our
church. When we got back I preached for three days and several young people were hopefully saved. But the big
revival came suddenly, later that summer. It was on Thursday evening, August 27. I had asked our young people
to memorize Isaiah 64:1-3, “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…” (Isaiah
64:1). Three young people recited those words. Suddenly a young man jumped to his feet and screamed, “I’m
lost!” He fell to his knees gasping and crying. It seemed totally out of place because there was nothing emotional
going on that night, not even singing. In those few meetings in January and August God came down and 22
young people were saved and 14 more people were revived and filled with the Spirit. I had witnessed three
powerful revivals in other cities, quite powerful, unusual and not seen today anywhere that I know of. But this
revival is the first one that God has sent to our church in 42 years. We had prayed for an outpouring of God’s
Spirit for all those years and then He answered our prayers. But in those few nights at least 36 people came under
conviction and 22 of them were saved – and 14 others were revived and restored from a backslidden condition.
This happened as I preached repeatedly on Isaiah 64:1-3 and each night the people sang the theme song of the
revival over and over, “Fill all my vision, Saviour, I pray, Let me see only Jesus today; Though through the valley
Thou leadest me, Thy fadeless glory encompasseth me. Fill all my vision, Saviour divine, Till with Thy glory my
spirit shall shine. Fill all my vision, that all may see Thy Holy Image reflected in me” (“Fill All My Vision” by
Avis B. Christiansen, 1895-1985). A few times in the revival the Devil came like a roaring lion but each time we
prayed he receded and the Spirit of God came back, drawing people to Christ. For those few days we experienced
living Christianity and those who were present will never forget it as long as they live. In the midst of all this two
young men surrendered to preach. One of them is our Chinese translator’s son, Noah Song. The other one is Dr.
Cagan’s 23-year-old son John Samuel Cagan, who just graduated from Cal State L.A. with a bachelor’s degree in
Criminal Justice. They are both very outstanding preachers. When John preached his first sermon it sounded like
he had been preaching for over twenty years, and Noah can even pick a theme song, be preaching hard, sing the
song and go back to preaching in the style of Dr. John Sung and Dr. John R. Rice. Unbelievable! Thank God for
these young men! John will be studying at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University starting in January.
Although he has only been preaching for three or four months, he has been invited to preach evangelistic meetings
in North India, the Dominican Republic and South India. I believe that he will preach world-wide as one of the
great evangelists of the twenty-first century. If you want to see one of John or Noah’s sermons, go to our website
at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. In the middle of the black page there is a red line which says, “For sermon
videos click here.” Click there and you will see buttons for each of the preachers in our church. Click on the
button for Dr. Hymers or the one for John Samuel Cagan or the one for Noah Song. There is a fourth button to
push to watch the sermons of other speakers who preach in our church.
The second greatest thing that happened this year was the birth of our first grandchild, Hannah Kim
Hymers. She was born on March 30 to our son Robert Leslie Hymers III and his lovely wife Jin. Hannah is a
beautiful baby and is able to pull herself up and almost walk in the crib already.
As I said, my wife Ileana and I took her mother Linda along with Jin, Leslie and Wesley down to Cancun
to play on the beach in January. We had a lovely time even though I wasn’t feeling too well from the treatments
I’d been having for cancer. By the way, the cancer seems to be under control and perhaps even gone. Only time
will tell, but I have lost 22 pounds of weight, which helps.
Take a peek at the “laundry list” of things that happened this year. Rose Chenault-Quinn passed away on
February 13 at the age of 97. David Ralston, Roland Rasmussen and Danny Thomas preached and provided
music in the Easter season and for my 75th birthday on April 12. Mrs. Hymers’ birthday followed on April 16
and her father Rafael Cuellar, who is 85 years old, flew up and spent a few days with us.
Then the next big thing happened. God showed me it was time to make some major changes in our
church. We added three young deacon candidates, Noah Song, Jack Ngann and Aaron Yancy. John Cagan
preached his first sermon on July 10 and Noah Song preached on the 17th. Both young men are outstanding
speakers – unbelievable! On July 31 Timothy Chan and Lara Escobar were married. On August 21 Peter Stephen
Ngann was born.
The second part of the revival began on Thursday, August 27. We have found in these special meetings
that when we pray carefully and maintain a spirit of prayer God is present in the services, but on alternate days
when we don’t focus on prayer God is completely absent and nothing happens. So this was a learning experience
for us, even though I had seen first-hand three major revivals, one of which brought in about four thousand people
to a Chinese church of which I was a member .
Dr. Neal Weaver, the president of Louisiana Baptist University, was with us for our Bible conference on
Labor Day weekend. On November 19 Wesley Hymers, Christine Nguyen, Adela Menjivar, Setsuko Zabalaga
and Virgel Nickell were baptized. In that same service John Samuel Cagan was licensed to preach the Gospel by
our church. The next day we had our Thanksgiving banquet with Ron Clark playing the violin and Geoff Merrill
playing the piano. What a time we had! Dave Shook is finally going to come back to sing country and western
gospel music for us at the Christmas banquet on December 18.
GOD OPENED THE DOOR FOR US TO ADD OUR 34TH LANGUAGE, NEPALI. The people of
Nepal can now read my sermons every week. Nepal is a very needy place, having had two earthquakes last year,
and we are delighted to have been able to add the language of this small country deep in the Himalayan
Mountains to our list of sermon manuscripts. Nearly every sermon I preach is now translated into all 34 languages
in manuscript form. All sermons are recorded with television-quality camera equipment and broadcast throughout
the world on YouTube and on our website in three languages, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English.
I don’t like to admit it, but I am growing older. I can’t play baseball as much as I used to, which wasn’t at
all, so I haven’t lost much! That’s the thing I miss most of all!!! My wife had nearly everybody in the church
over who didn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner. We always have a good time with these events.
It is our hope that Christ will be manifested in your home and in your life during this beautiful Christmas
season. God bless you all!
Dr. Hymers and Ileana with granddaughter
Hannah at about four hours old.
Yours in Jesus’ Name,
R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
D.Min., Th.D., Litt.D.
God Has A Wonderful Plan for You(하나님은 당신을 위한 놀라운 계획을 가지고 계십니다.)
God Has A Wonderful Plan for You
by the Dawn Bible Students Association
WITH all the scientific knowledge and technical ability displayed throughout the world, one might easily suppose that man is capable of doing almost anything and everything. But we quickly become disillusioned when we remember that, together with all the remarkable advancement within our generation, man has also been able to devise the potential for his own self-destruction. To forestall the possibility of this happening, America alone is spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year for defense purposes, and other nations sums in proportion.
Human selfishness is at the root of this problem, and science does not eradicate selfishness; it is only implemented. So when we look into the future, even the near future, and see ever-increasing speeds of travel, increasing plenty and luxury, more wonderful homes in which to live, and better ways of doing everything we have to do—many of them by automation—the thrill of anticipation is somewhat subdued by that other possibility that our cities, our country, our civilization, and even most of the human race itself, might be destroyed before the happy tomorrow fully matures.
We do not wish to be prophets of doom—far from it. We are merely calling attention to man’s shortcomings for the purpose of emphasizing the fact that where man will fail, God has a plan which will succeed, so that the future of the race, as depicted in the Word of God, far excels anything for which man has ever dared to hope.
This is a plan which cannot, and will not, fail; a plan in which man will be permitted to employ all his marvelous capacities and have them directed along lines which are unselfish. And then, over and above that, God will do for man what man cannot do for himself. The future, then, is very bright, much brighter by far than scientific knowledge would indicate. It is as bright as the promises of God.
In calling attention briefly to God’s plan we have chosen five illustrations, three of them depicting actual events recorded in the Bible, and two illustrating the prophecies and promises of the Bible. The first of these illustrations will be readily recognized. It is the temptation scene in the Garden of Eden. The \"serpent,\" which the Bible uses to symbolize Satan, is tempting mother Eveto disobey her Creator by partaking of the forbidden fruit. We all know the consequence of this. Eve did partake, and so did Adam, with the result, as foretold, that they were sentenced to death and driven out of the Garden of Eden to die.
However, what preceded the temptation is important to note. When God created our first parents in his image he commanded them to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Man was given dominion over the earth. However, he was told that if he partook of the forbidden fruit of the Garden he would die: \"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.\"—Gen. 2:17
In the command to multiply and fill the earth and have dominion over it, the divine purpose of the creation of the human race is revealed. Man was not created and placed on the earth temporarily, later tobe taken to heaven or consigned to purgatory or hell. When he sinned he did not lose a home in heaven but his privilege of enjoying a home on earth.
Satan, through the serpent, told mother Eve that she would not die if she partook of the forbidden fruit (Gen.3:4). From this falsehood there have developed, throughout the ages, the unscriptural theories that there is no death. Death, it is said, is not really what it seems; it is a gateway into another life. But the fact remains that death is a reality, and \"the wages of sin are death\" (Rom. 6:23). The reign of sin and death has been, and continues to be, a cruel one. God’s plan alone provides escape from it.
God’s Promise to Abraham
In our next illustration we are reminded of a wonderful promise God made to Abraham. This was subsequent to the Flood. He said to this faithful patriarch, \"In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed\" (Gen. 12:3). For two thousand years the human race had been dying, but here God promised that he would bless all the families of the earth. This was indeed a ray of hope.
Later, when Abraham’s son Isaac was grown, God asked Abraham to offer up his son in sacrifice. Abraham’s obedience to this request is portrayed in our second illustration- . God did not permit Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but provided instead a lamb to be offered as a substitute for him. Here is a beautiful illustration of the fact that before all the families of the earth can be blessed through the \"Seed\" of Abraham a loving Father must give up in sacrifice his beloved Son.
Jesus, The Promised \"Seed\"
In the New Testament we are informed that the \"Seed\" promised to Abraham, the Seed that was to bless all the families of the earth, was in reality Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, \"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.\"—Gal. 3:16
In the outworking of God’s plan for blessing all the families of the earth, Jesus is the appointed channel through which these promised blessings will flow. However, \"all\" the families of the earth include those who have died. Death came as a result of sin, and the condemnation of death rests upon the entire human race. In order for Jesus to extend blessings of life to the people it was necessary to give his own life for the sins of the world.
John the Baptist said concerning Jesus, \"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world\" (John 1:29). In Isaiah we read that Jesus was \"brought as a Lamb to the slaughter\" and that he made \"his soul an offering for sin\" (Isa. 53:7, 10). The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus \"gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.\"—1 Tim. 2:3-6
This great work of redeeming the human race from death was accomplished at Calvary. The Lord’s viewpoint on redemption is explained by the Apostle Paul. We quote: \"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.\"—1Cor. 15:21, 22
Thus we see the importance of the death of Jesus in the plan of God for the blessing of all the families of the earth. The promised blessing will be revealed to the people after their resurrection. Jesus’ death and resurrection guaranteed the restoration of life on earth (Acts 17:30,31). The people will be resurrected to life on earth as humans to receive the promised blessings.
Without further information concerning God’s plan for the blessing of the people we would naturally conclude that the work of blessing should have commenced soon after the death and resurrection of Jesus. We know that it did not. People still continue to suffer and die, even as before. The Bible explains why. The reason is that in his plan God provided a \"little flock\" of faithful followers of the Master selected from the world of mankind, who, when the time of blessing arrived, would be associated with Jesus in the work of dispensing peace, health, and life to mankind.
In Galatians 3:27-29 we are informed that true Christians, represented as those who are baptized into Christ, are one with him and are part of Abraham’s \"seed, and heirs according to the promise.\" For more than nineteen centuries the work of selecting these for their future work, has been in progress.
To these faithful ones Jesus promised to prepare a place, and, when he returned, to take them unto himself, that they might be with him in the kingdom (John 14:2, 3). Jesus said, \"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.\"—Luke12:32
The Kingdom Hope
A long chain of promises in the Old Testament, and continuing in the New Testament, reveal that God would establish a worldwide government and His promised blessings of life would be extended to the people. One of the promises of Jesus’ birth declares of this great One that \"of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.\"—Isa. 9:6, 7
The Scriptures reveal that while Jesus came at his first advent to suffer and to die for mankind, he returns at his second advent to set up his kingdom for the purpose of blessing the people. During the time of his second presence on earth as a mighty Ruler, \"the King of kings,\" the world will be enlightened concerning the true God and given an opportunity to obey divine law and live forever.—Rev. 19:16
The wonderful manner in which world conditions today are fulfilling the prophecies of the Bible gives us every reason to believe that we are standing at the threshold of the long-promised messianic kingdom. The Prophet Daniel identified our day as \"the time of the end\" and indicated that at this time there would be a great increase of knowledge and much running to and fro in the earth.—Dan. 12:4
The expression \"time of the end\" does not mean the end of time. Neither does it refer to the traditional burning up of the earth. Rather, it refers to the end of the reign of sin and death. The \"time of the end\" refers to the time of divine intervention in the affairs of men through the establishment of the messianic kingdom. All the evils, such as war, exploitation, hunger, sickness, and death will be brought to an end.
The Earth to Abide Forever
As far as the earth is concerned, the Bible clearly states that it is to abide forever (Eccles. 1:4). The Lord assures us that he did not create the earth in vain but formed it to be inhabited (Isa. 45:18). As we have learned, God’s plan is that man should live on the earth forever. This is his home. Man will not destroy himself with hydrogen bombs and even those killed in war will be restored to life in the resurrection.
When Jesus was asked concerning the time of his return, he foretold that there would be \"great tribulation\" —tribulation, or trouble, so great that unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would survive (Matt. 24:21, 22). This very situation is confronting the world today; but Jesus assures us that this time of tribulation will be shortened, that all flesh will not be destroyed.
Our Day in Prophecy
Essentially all the important world developments of our day are foretold in the prophecies of the Bible. We call special attention to the great increase of knowledge and rapid travel of our time, as foretold by Daniel. Our illustration tells the story more eloquently than would be possible with words.
The younger members of our generation may not realize that most of the things portrayed in this illustration did not exist until the twentieth century. Man has not attained these gradually through the ages of the past, but suddenly, and in our day. Thus we have a remarkable fulfillment of the Bible’s prophecy concerning the approach of Messiah’s kingdom.
Daniel also foretold, concerning this \"time of the end\" of the reign of sin and death, that there would be a \"time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation\" (Dan. 12:1). This is the \"great tribulation\" referred to by Jesus (Matt. 24:21, 22). Jesus also spoke of it as a time when there would be \"distress of nations, with perplexity,\" and when the hearts of the people would be looking forward with fear to the things coming upon the earth.—Luke21:25,26
This is an accurate description of our day. All nations of the earth are distressed, and fear of what may be coming upon the earth fills the hearts of people everywhere. The Scriptures do not reveal in detail how destructive the situation will become before the authority of Christ’s kingdom asserts itself and saves the human race from its own folly.
However, the Scriptures do make plain that man’s selfish, exploiting institutions are tobe destroyed. Our final illustration symbolizes the remnants of these institutions and the earnest seekers of the Lord’s blessings have turned their backs on them as they gaze out into the future age and its promised blessings.
In the distance we see the dim outlines of a city, the holy city of God. This, of course, is merely a symbol. In the Bible a city is used to symbolize a government. We are familiar with this use of language. To us \"Washington\" stands for the American government, \"London\" for the British, and \"Moscow\" for the Russian. So in the Bible, particularly in the Book of Revelation, we are told of a \"holy city\" which comes down from God out of heaven. This is God’s new government, and its Head will be Christ Jesus.—Rev. 21:1-5
Jesus said to Pilate, \"My kingdom is not of this world\" (John 18:36). So we are told that his government, his city, originates with God. It is not of human origin. It is not set up by the wisdom or power of fallen man. It is a divine government, and its laws will be God’s laws. Through obedience to these laws mankind will be blessed in fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham that through his \"seed\" all the families of the earth would be blessed.
The Water of Life
That blessing, we are assured, will include the destruction of sickness and death. Describing conditions in the earth when God’s holy city, or government, has accomplished the purpose of its reign, the Revelator said: \"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.\"—Rev. 21:4
In another promise of the messianic kingdom and its blessings, the kingdom is pictured as a throne—\"the throne of God and of the Lamb\" (Rev. 22:1). Flowing out of this throne is the river of life. On the banks of the river are trees of life. In addition to the life-giving fruit of these trees, we are told that their leaves are for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2). Truly the people of all nations now need to be healed!
This great blessing is soon to reach all mankind. Just as our first parents were driven out of their Garden home and deprived of the fruit from its life-giving trees, so during the messianic kingdom now near, and because Jesus took the sinner’s place in death, all of Adam’s children will be invited to come and partake of the fruit of life and the water of life freely.—Rev. 22:17
Dead to Be Restored
As we have already briefly noted, it is not only the living generation that will receive the life-giving blessings of Messiah’s kingdom. God has promised that during the reign of Christ all who have died are to be restored to life and given an opportunity to enjoy these same blessings. If this were not so, the plan of God for the salvation of the human race would come far short of the Creator’s loving purpose toward his human creatures.
The hope of the resurrection of the dead is centered in Jesus, the Redeemer (1 Cor. 15:21, 22). During his earthly ministry Jesus gave several marvelous demonstrations of the ability of divine power to restore the dead to life. One of these was the awakening of Lazarus from the sleep of death, the account of which is recorded in John 11:1-44.
Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha. They lived in Bethany. Lazarus became ill at a time when Jesus was conducting his ministry in Galilee, which was far north of Bethany. The sisters sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick, supposing that Jesus would come to Bethany as quickly as possible. He received the announcement, but instead of hurrying to Bethany and to Lazarus, he waited for two days and then said to his disciples. \"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.\" Jesus’ disciples thought that he referred to natural sleep and said to Jesus, \"Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.\" To them this was evidence that Lazarus was recovering.
The Sleep of Death
Then Jesus revealed to his disciples what he meant. He said to them, \"Lazarus is dead.\" In this brief conversation one of the most important truths of the Bible is brought to our attention, which is that those who die are not alive in heaven, hell, or purgatory, but are in a state of unconsciousness, which Jesus likened to sleep. Not only is sleep a state of unconsciousness, but those who sleep awaken from their unconscious state; and so it will be in the case of those who sleep in death. Divine power, exercised through Christ, will awaken all those who thus \"sleep.\"
The death that entered the world because of Adam’s transgression would have been permanent had it not been that divine love provided a Redeemer (John 3:16). Because Jesus took the sinner’s place in death, everlasting oblivion has been turned into a temporary sleep from which the Bible promises an awakening. In the case of Lazarus, Jesus gave us assurance of this by demonstrating the ability of divine power to fulfill God’s promises by awakening Lazarus from the sleep of death.
All to Be Awakened
On another occasion Jesus said: \"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment\" (John 5:28, 29 Revised Version). Jesus explained that those in this life who have \"done good\" according to God’s standards will, when awakened from death, immediately receive their reward of eternal life; while all others will be brought forth to a \"resurrection of judgment.\"
The Greek word krisis is translated \"judgment\" in the Revised Version. It has the same meaning as our English word crisis, namely, a time of testing. To pass a crisis means to pass through a severe experience successfully. So the unbelievers, when awakened from the sleep of death, will be subjected to disciplinary experiences designed to teach them the ways of the Lord. If they pass this crisis and learn to obey the laws of the kingdom, these too will have the opportunity of partaking of \"the water of life freely.\" —Rev.22:17
How God Answers Prayer(하나님은 기도에 어떻게 응답하시는가?)
How God Answers Prayer
by the Dawn Bible Students Association
How can we be sure that God will answer our prayers? It is not enough that we affirm our belief in prayer. Thousands of mothers, for example, have believed in prayer and have asked God to protect their sons on the battlefield, only to receive a message that they had been killed. Nor does affirming our belief in prayer explain why, when a whole nation prays for peace, it often finds itself caught in a whirlpool of war.
On the other hand, there are thousands who are eager to testify that God has answered their prayers for the safety of their boys. Other thousands will testify of the wonderful manner in which God has given them other special blessings they asked for. On the basis of experience alone, therefore, it may seem that God answers the prayer of some, yet does not answer the prayers of others. But this is not in keeping with what the Scriptures tell us about God. The bible says that he is no \"respecter of persons.\" So, there must be some good reason why God answers some prayers, and not others. If we can find that reason, it should help restore the faith of some whose prayers have seemingly gone unanswered.
Prayer is a very important phase of Christian experience. It is also practiced widely by the adherents of all the heathen religions. The desire to pray is an acknowledgment of our dependency upon a Higher Power, the expression of a realization that we need help from some source outside of and higher than ourselves. Doubtless God is pleased with the sincere desire of all who try to contact him in prayer, because to this extent at least it is a recognition of his sovereign power.
The almost universal urge to pray is due to the fact that originally man was created in the image of God. As a result of mans fall into sin and death the divine image in his character has been much blurred, in many cases almost erased, yet remnants of it still remain, and one of its manifestations is the urge to pray. There may be millions who never pray, yet often feel that they should, and have a sense of guilt because they do not.
Yes, God is pleased with the spirit of prayer on the part of his creatures. But why does he hear the prayers of some, while apparently other prayers go unheeded? Jesus hints at the answer to this question in his observations about the prayers of the scribes and Pharisees. They prayed to be seen and heard of men, Jesus explained, and thought God would hear them for their much speaking. By this we are reminded that there are proper and improper attitudes of prayer, as well as correct and incorrect methods. The heathen who spin their prayer wheels may be sincere, but their method is inappropriate.
The Scriptures also indicate that there are proper and improper things for which to pray. St. James wrote: \"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss\" (James 4:3) It is vitally important to ascertain what we have the privilege of asking God to give us in the way of favors. We cannot expect to ask God for things which our fancy dictates, and have our prayers answered.
The Purpose of Prayer
There is a divine purpose in prayer, and it is highly important that we keep this in mind if we are to understand why some prayers go unanswered. God did not design prayer as a means of finding out how he should manage his affairs here on earth. He is not looking to us to tell him what he should do. He has his own fixed plans and purposes, and if we are to receive the riches of his blessing it is essential that our prayers be in harmony with these. To use the language of James, we ask \"amiss\" every time we petition God for blessings which he has not designed to give.
In the Scriptures various types of prayer are brought to our attention. Foremost among these are prayers of thanksgiving. God is undoubtedly pleased when his creatures recognize him as the source of their blessings, and because of this lift up their hearts and voices to him in thanksgiving.
Then there are prayers of adoration, prayers which give recognition to the glorious attributes of the Creator\'s character-his wisdom, his justice, his love, and his power. The desire to glorify God should be the motive for much of our praying.
Prayers for God\'s mercy are also appropriate. The Scriptures urge all Christians to seek divine forgiveness of their sins through the medium of prayer. Paul speaks of this as going \"boldly to the throne of grace,\" there to obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Then, of course, there are the prayers which are requests for certain blessings, or favors from the Lord. It is with these that we are particularly concerned at the moment. Some pray for health, either for themselves or for others. Some pray for wealth. Some pray for protection while on a journey. Millions pray for peace. It has often happened that citizens of countries which are opposing each other in war pray that their respective armies will be victorious. We will assume that all who go to God in prayer are sincere, and of course they ask him for the things which to them seem the most important at the time. But does the Bible justify us in the belief that all these prayers should be answered?
It might be that God would answer a mother’s prayer for the safety of her boy on the field of battle. Or it might be that prayers for the peace of a nation might be answered. But if and when such prayers are answered, it simply means that it was in keeping with his will to do so. God has a fixed plan, in keeping with which he is mindful of the human race. That plan was not made to satisfy the whims and wishes of his human creatures, nor will any amount of praying change his plans.
\"Prayer changes things,\" they say, but it does not change God\'s plans. God is not looking to us, nor to the nations – not even to the United Nations to learn what changes he should make in order to better conditions for us or for the world in general. How little confidence we would have in a god whose opinions could be swayed or plans changed by the eloquence of his people’s prayers!
\"Thy Will Be Done\"
In their prayers, God’s people should have uppermost in mind and heart the desire that his will be done in all their experiences. We have an outstanding example of this in the case of Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when the Master was facing arrest and death, \"anguish and dismay came over him, and he said to them [his disciples] \'My heart is ready to break with grief\' ... he went on a little, fell on his face in prayer, and said, \'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Yet, not as I will, but as thou wilt:\' \" (Matthew 26:38, 39, N.E.B)
It was God’s will that Jesus suffer humiliation and death as the Redeemer and savior of men. This important feature of the divine plan had been foretold by the holy prophets of the Old Testament. And Jesus wanted above everything else to have the divine will accomplished, regardless of what it meant to him. He affirmed this later, when he was about to be arrested. Peter drew his sword to protect his Master, who said to him, \"Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?\" (John 18:10, 11)
The followers of Jesus have the privilege of suffering and dying with him. Paul spoke of being \"crucified\" with him, and he also wrote, \"To you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake\" (Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:29) We are called upon to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, so we know that it is not God\'s will to spare us from all hardship. Thus, as with Jesus, our chief concern should be that the Lord\'s will might be done in our mortal bodies. The Lord\'s will might be that for a time we enjoy certain earthly blessings, but the burden of our prayers should not be for these, but for his will to be done.
Jesus enlarged upon this point when he said to his disciples that as long as they were abiding in him and his words were abiding in them, they could ask in prayer for whatever they desired, and it would be granted unto them. (John 15:7) This might seem like an assurance that we are privileged to ask God for anything which we may happen to think of and want. But not so!
Note the condition attached to this statement by the Master -\"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you\" To abide in Christ means to be a member of his body, he being our Head. This means that his thoughts become our thoughts, and his plans our plans. If our wills have thus been wholly surrendered to God, through Christ, we will have no will of our own, hence our prayers will not be requests for what we want, but only for those things which are in harmony with the will of our Head. By thus praying in harmony with the Lord\'s will, we can be assured of favorable answers.
This is in harmony with another statement made by Jesus to his disciples in which he informs us that the Heavenly Father will be pleased to give the \"Holy Spirit to them that ask him\" (Luke 11:13) To be filled with the Spirit of God means to have his thoughts dominate our thinking, and for our lives to be conformed to those thoughts. Then we will not be asking God for blessings except those which he has promised to give, and so there will never be any question about ones prayers being answered.
\"Thy Kingdom Come\"
In response to the disciples\' request, \"Lord, teach us to pray,\" Jesus gave them what is now familiarly known as \"The Lord\'s Prayer.\" In this model prayer we are given a guide to what we may pray for.
An important part of this brief outline of prayer is the proper method of approach to God – \"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.\" (Luke 11:1, 2) In the Scriptures, Adam is styled a \"son of God.\" (Luke 3:23, 38) But when he sinned he lost his sonship, being alienated from God and sentenced to death. Adams children, the entire human race, are likewise aliens and strangers to God, so they cannot properly address him as \"our Father which art in heaven\" This is a privilege which belongs exclusively to those who have repented of their sins, accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, and devoted their lives to God in full consecration to do his will. Such are represented as having received God\'s Spirit of sonship, and thus have become his children.
As the children of God, these will desire above all else to honor the name of their Father. So by word and by action their attitude will always be, \"Hallowed be thy name\" To properly hallow our Heavenly Father\'s name implies that when we approach him in prayer we will do so in the manner outlined for us in the Scriptures by Jesus. He explained that our prayers should be offered in his name. (John 15:16)
There is a reason for this. As members of the justly condemned race, we have no standing at the divine throne of grace except through Jesus, our Advocate. But in his name, and through the merit of the shed blood, we are privileged to go \"boldly\" to the throne of grace to seek forgiveness, and all the other blessings which our loving Heavenly Father has promised to give. (Hebrews 4:16) If we properly hallow his name we will never presume to approach him except through Jesus.
When we follow the example of The Lord\'s Prayer, our requests will not be so much on our own behalf as they will be for the blessing of others. This is indicated in the opening petition: \"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven\" (Matthew 6:10) The answer to this request will be an answer to much for which people have prayed throughout the centuries. That answer will satisfy the legitimate desires of all people. It will mean peace, and health, and everlasting life for all who conform themselves to the righteous laws of the Lord\'s kingdom.
The blessings which the human race craves, and for which millions pray, were all anticipated by God and provided for through the kingdom which he has promised by all his prophets. In these promises we find many details of the blessings which it will guarantee to the people, including the restoration of those who have died. No, God has not been unmindful of the suffering of the people, nor has he turned a deaf ear to their cries for help; and his answer to their prayers, when in his due time it comes, will be far beyond anything that they have ever dared to hope.
Take the case of a mother who prays for the safety of her boy on the battlefield. She loves that boy, and nothing could mean more to her than his safe return to the family home. But he does not return, and her first thought may be that God doesn’t care, that he has no pity. How differently she would feel if she could believe that God has provided a homecoming far more satisfactory than ever entered her mind when she prayed!
How little does a mother sometimes know of the hardship and suffering her boy may be saved by falling asleep in death. After all, both the mother and the boy are members of a dying race, and the difference between dying on the battlefield and dying a few years later of old age is only a momentary one when compared with the endless stretch of eternity. It is from this standpoint that we must learn to view the subject of prayer and the manner in which God answers our petitions.
The very fact that we pray to God is acknowledgement of our belief that his wisdom and power and love far exceed our own. Yet we often forget this, and feel that he has not honored our prayers because he has not answered them as we would have, through the exercise of our own puny abilities. The length of our condemned life is very short. We judge accomplishments by whether or not they reach maturity within this short time of which we have knowledge. But we should not judge God\'s works from this standpoint.
The Scriptures speak of God as being \"from everlasting to everlasting\" (Psalms 41:13, 90:2) He is under no necessity to complete any particular phase of his plan within our short lifetime, not even if it has to do with our individual requests. If we prayed to God today for some special blessings which would be in keeping with his will, and the answer did not come until tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow, we would not lose faith in him, but would rejoice when the answer did come. Well, God has his \"tomorrows\" also. His days are not measured by hours, for they are ages, and in his \"tomorrow\" age, the thousand-year period of Christ\'s kingdom, all those blessings which the world has legitimately craved, and for which millions have voiced requests to God, will be abundantly showered upon humanity. In recognition of this, the people will then respond: \"Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him ... we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation\" (Isaiah 25:9)
\"As it Is In Heaven\"
We have already learned that God will answer no prayer which is not in harmony with his will. In the greatest of all prayers, The Lord’s Prayer, this principle is clearly set forth. It asks God for blessings upon the people of earth – not any sort of supposedly good things which they may crave, but things in harmony with his will. \" Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven\"
What great latitude he has given us about things in harmony with his will! God’s will is done in heaven, and it is his purpose it shall be done in earth to the same degree. We do not know, of course, all the ways God’s will is done in heaven, but we can be reasonably sure that the evils which now exist on earth do not plague the lives of those in the spirit realm we call heaven.
There is no war in heaven. War is an evil which is not in harmony with the divine will. Should we, then, pray for peace? Certainly! Indeed, we could not pray for God\'s will to be done in the earth as it is in heaven without praying for peace. But our prayers for peace should be in keeping with God\'s plan to establish peace, and that is his kingdom plan. He has promised to set up a kingdom, to establish a government. Jesus will be the King in that government. \"The government shall be upon his shoulder,\" wrote Isaiah, and \"of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end\" – Isa. 9:6, 7
Doubtless God looks with sympathy upon the yearnings of mankind to abolish war. When international tension is at a high pitch and war seems inevitable, devout people on both sides feel compelled to pray for peace. The differences which threaten to precipitate war may be resolved or they may not be, but we know that ultimately there shall be universal and lasting peace. Not because the nations will at last find a workable formula for peace, but because \"The Prince of Peace\" will take over the rulership of earth and the prayer \"Thy kingdom come,\" will be answered.
Christ\'s government is symbolized in the Scriptures as the \"mountain of the Lord,\" and in Micah 4:1-4 we read that the time will come when the people will say, \"Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the Law shall go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.\"
What a wonderful program for disarmament! It is God’s program, and when we pray for peace, and for the nations to disarm, let us do so with the assurance that God will hear, and that he will answer our prayers in harmony with his will, which will be the kingdom way. \"He maketh wars to cease\" prophesied David. – Ps. 46:9
\"No More Death\"
There is no death in heaven. Sickness and death have resulted from the sin of our first parents, and are among the evils which God has promised to destroy. Shall we, then, pray for health, and ask the Lord to save the lives of those near and dear to us who may have been stricken with serious illness? Yes, but always with the understanding that we want the Lord\'s will to be done, and with the knowledge that it may not be his will to grant health and life to those for whom we pray until these blessings are made available for all during the thousand years of Christ\'s kingdom.
We know that all diseases will then be cured. \"The inhabitant [in that day] shall not say, I am sick,\" wrote Isaiah. (Isa. 33:24) Describing some of the blessings of Christ\'s kingdom, Paul wrote that Christ will reign until all enemies are put under his feet, and that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Cor. 15:25, 26) When in vision the Apostle John saw the kingdom of God established on the earth, he discerned that as a result there would be no more death, \"neither shall there be any more pain.\" – Rev. 21:4
So when we pray for health and life, let us grasp the meaning of this larger provision the Creator has made to grant these blessings, not merely to us and to our loved ones, but to all of mankind who will seek them through humility and obedience during the thousand years of Christ’s reign. This we do when we pray, \"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven\" – Matt.6:10
\"From the Land of the Enemy\"
God’s ways, and the provisions he has made for his creatures, are always much better than those conceived by human wisdom. We pray for health, protection, peace, but who has ever thought of praying that their beloved dead be restored to them? None! But God, in his plan, has gone beyond what we have presumed to pray for. He has promised to bring back the dead!
How many mothers have been heart-broken over the loss of a precious little one. One of these is referred to by the Prophet Jeremiah. Her name was Rachel. Jeremiah wrote, \"A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted\" The Prophet continues, \"Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.\" – Jer. 31:15, 16
Death is man’s greatest enemy, and it is God\'s plan to restore to life all who are in the \"land\" of death. This great favor is also included in our petition, \"Thy kingdom come,\" for during Christ\'s kingdom all who are in their graves, in the condition of death, shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth. – John 5:28, 29
The restoration of man to life is described by the Apostle Peter as \"restitution,\" and he tells us that following the second coming of Christ there shall be \"times of restitution of all things,\" promised by all God\'s holy prophets since the world began. – Acts 3:19-21
Under Vine and Fig Tree
Many pray for wealth, or at least for economic security. There is a measure of fear, or uncertainty, on the part of nearly everybody as they face their declining years. Will we be financially secure when we reach the age when it is no longer possible for us to earn a living? It is understandable that anyone who believes in God and thinks of him as one who loves and cares, should look to him in prayer respecting his need of financial security.
We know, of course, that there are millions of people in the world who are not financially secure. There are millions who are literally starving and without proper food, clothing, and shelter. God loves all these, and while we would appreciate it if he blessed us with a more favorable situation in life, is it not better to rejoice in the loving provision he has made to care for all the poor and needy in his own due time and way? This is what he has promised to do!
In God\'s promises the thought of economic security is symbolized by the idea of dwelling under ones own vine and fig tree. The prophet declares that \"every man\" shall thus be blessed, and God\'s provision will be so complete that fear will be removed because \"none shall make them afraid\" –Micah 4:4
In the prophecy of Isaiah, a similar assurance is given us concerning God\'s blessings for the world in the age to come. This prophet of God tells us that then they shall not build houses for others to inhabit, and they will not plant and another eat, but the people shall long enjoy the works of their hands. And they enjoy the fruit of their labor forever if they continue to obey the righteous laws of the kingdom which then will be ruling the world. See Isaiah 65:20-25.
This chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy indicates that the blessings of God in that kingdom age will be poured out upon the people in answer to their prayers. \"Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.\" (verse 24) This has not been the experience of the vast majority so far, because his time has not come to extend the favors for which they have asked, and because he knows their experiences with adversity will help them to appreciate the blessings he will provide for them throughout the eternal years.
But when the kingdom is established, how different it will be. The blessings the dying race longs for will then become available even before they think of praying for them. \"Before they call, I will answer.\" And when they do learn to ask him for his bounties, the answers to their prayers will be so real and so immediate that it will seem as though they came before the petitioner had finished his prayer. \"While they are yet speaking, I will hear.\" – Isa. 65:24
\"Our Daily Bread\"
The answer to the prayer, \"Thy kingdom come\" includes many material blessings for which devout people of the world customarily pray, but so often fail to receive. We rejoice that the time is coming when these legitimate material blessings will begin to flow to \"all the families of the earth,\" as God promised Abraham. (Gen. 12:3) Meanwhile, it is well to consider how God answers the prayers of his consecrated people now, the prayers of those who have the privilege of addressing him as \"Our Father which art in heaven.\"
These, more earnestly than any others, have continued to pray for God’s kingdom to come. But at the same time they have had the privilege of asking God for their own immediate daily needs, since Jesus taught them to pray, \"Give us this day our daily bread\"
This is a very moderate request, and when made in the proper spirit, is acknowledgment that the Lord knows best what our daily needs may be, and that we will be satisfied with whatever provision he considers wise to make. Besides, for those who are walking in the sacrificial footsteps of Jesus, it is important to recognize that our spiritual needs are more important by far than the material. Bread is used in the Scriptures to symbolize truth, the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the Word, the truth of the divine plan. God has promised to feed us abundantly with this Bread of Life, so we can pray thus with full assurance, knowing that our petitions are primarily for the spiritual food which he has promised, and therefore in harmony with his will.
\"As We Forgive\"
\"And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us:\" This portion of The Lord\'s Prayer can be uttered sincerely only by those whose hearts are filled with the same spirit of love which prompted our Heavenly Father to send his Son into the world to be the Redeemer and Savior. This love provides for the forgiveness of sinners, who have trespassed against God by disobeying his laws. He is willing to forgive us, but only on the condition that we have the proper heart attitude toward those who sin against us. Certainly this is a searching test of our sincerity.
God forgives his people because he considers that their imperfections are concealed by the merit of the redeeming blood of Christ. This means that the one who prays is a wholehearted believer in Christ, whose acceptance of Christ is so unreserved that he has given up all else to follow his Master. Only such can go to God in prayer, asking forgiveness in Christ’s name.
\"Deliver Us From Evil\"
\"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil\" The first temptation mentioned in the Bible was that of mother Eve. She was tempted by the fallen Lucifer, through the serpent, to disobey the law of God. The transgression of God\'s law the Scriptures designate as sin, and the word temptation is used to describe any effort, allurement, or enticement to sin. The Devil is the greatest of all tempters, and he uses many and various agencies by which to present his sinful appeals to those he endeavors to lure away from God and into the paths of unrighteousness.
\"God tempteth no man,\" wrote James. (James 1:13) This means that we can depend upon it that God will not lead us into temptation; so in our prayers we claim this assurance.
And how hope-inspiring is the contrast to this-\"Deliver us from evil\" The Devil, the arch-deceiver, has throughout the centuries exerted his influence upon man, and especially upon the people of God, to alienate them from their Creator. The result has been tragic – a world largely controlled by sin and selfishness – \"this present evil world\" (Gal. 1:4) But God has promised deliverance from \"the snare of the fowler,\" and from the evil which the fowler has engendered in the world.– Ps. 91:3
God\'s promises of deliverance are of personal concern to all who are following in the footsteps of Jesus, for they assure such that Satan will not be able to ensnare nor entrap them. As individuals, God delivers us daily from Satan’s pitfalls of error and sin. \"The angel of the Lord,\" wrote the Psalmist, \"encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them\" (Ps. 34:7) What a reassuring promise, and how glad we are to claim it as our own when we pray, \"Deliver us from evil\"
But there is a still larger deliverance for the people of God, for the entire church of Christ in the \"first resurrection\" to reign with Christ. (Rev. 20:4, 6) Jesus said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his true church, and in fulfillment of this promise, the gates of hell-the death condition-will be opened wide, and all who have suffered and died with Christ will be released from death, and will be exalted to glory to reign with him throughout the thousand years of his kingdom.
For this glorious deliverance the church has waited throughout all the centuries of this present Gospel Age. The true disciples of Christ have known that this deliverance would not come until he returned. Paul knew this and wrote that a crown of righteousness had been laid up for him which he would receive at \"that day,\" and added that all who love Christ\'s appearing would likewise then receive a \"crown.\" – 2 Tim. 4:8
In Jesus’ great prophecy concerning this end of the age-the prophecy in which he identifies so many of the conditions in the world today-he said to his disciples, \"When ye see these things\" and his disciples living now are seeing them \"then look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption (Greek, deliverance) draweth nigh\" (Luke 21:31, 28) The fact that \"these things\" foretold by the Master signaling the near approach of the church’s deliverance from this present evil world are now clearly discernible in the daily parade of news, gives us confidence that very soon the last remaining ones of Christ\'s true followers will be delivered, exalted to glory, honor, and immortality with him, and that then the blessings of his much prayed for kingdom will begin to flow out to a suffering and dying humanity.
So we pray, \"Deliver us from evil,\" not only because we are longing to be free from an evil world, but also because we know the answer to this petition will mean the answer to our other petition, \"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.\" Thus viewed, even that part of a Christian’s prayer which means most to him is at the same time unselfish in outlook, since it also contemplates rich blessings for all mankind.
These are the prayers God is pleased with; that is, unselfish prayers. While God is pleased when his people seek individual guidance, forgiveness, and spiritual strength from him, he also wants them to be interested in all whom he loves, namely the entire world of mankind. We show our interest in his plan for blessing the people when we pray, \"Thy kingdom come,\" for it will be through that kingdom that he will provide a \"feast of fat things for all people.\" It will be in that kingdom that death will be swallowed up in victory, and tears wiped from off all faces. – Isa. 25:6-8; Rev. 21:1-5
Above all, let us continuously thank God for his love that made provision for the eternal joy of all. Let us not only praise him individually in our prayers, but also tell the whole world about his love. Tell them that through Christ provision has been made for them to live, and that soon his kingdom will provide peace through \"The Prince of Peace,\" and health and life for all through the Redeemer and Savior of the world.
Jesus the World's Savior(구세주 예수)
Jesus the World\'s Savior
by the Dawn Bible Students Association
\"Thou shalt call his name Jesus.-
for he shall save his people ftom their sins.\"
Never before in human experience has there been such a dire need for a competent ruler. We need one who is able to lead the hate-infected nations of earth out of the crosscurrents of selfishness and despair into the wholesome atmosphere of trust and goodwill. Without this there can be no lasting peace, or security, either for individuals or nations.
There are many outstanding heroes whose names and accomplishments glorify the pages of history. But none of them had to deal with such complex conditions as confront the world today, nor were their problems so numerous. Today every nation has its problems, and no one seems able to find adequate solutions. The world needs a superman, to lead it out of the chaos that has developed from two global wars. But where such a leader may be found no one will venture to say.
In the Bible, the Creator has given his people a blueprint of his plan for world peace. His Word reveals in clear terms that Jesus is the chief One in the divine arrangements for the blessing of the people. The song of the angels on the night Jesus was born is sufficient to confirm this, for they identified him as the Savior of the world, through whom God\'s goodwill would be manifested to the dying race. Those angels also prophesied that through Jesus there would come peace on earth.
But who is Jesus, and what are his characteristics? What reasons have we for believing he meets all the qualifications needed to restore peace to the chaotic world? We know no better way of finding the answers to these questions than to examine the prophecies and promises in the Word of God which speak of him and of his qualifications. As we do this, the plan of God itself, as it relates to Jesus, His son, will unfold before us in all its glorious harmony and beauty.
The Word (Logos) Made Flesh
Jesus had a prehuman existence. That fact is brought to light in John 1: 1-3. In John 1: 14 we read that \"the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth\" That the Logos was made flesh, that is, transferred from his prehuman state to the state of manhood, is revealed in the Bible to be a fundamental feature of the plan of God. Hebrews 2:9, 14 says that this was so he might die as a human being for the sins of the world.
In John 6:51 we find Jesus’ own explanation of the matter, and he says he would give his flesh for the life of the world. This sacrifice of Jesus’ humanity was as a substitute for the forfeited life of father Adam. Paul affirms that \"As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive\" (I Cor. 15:22) In I Timothy 2:6 the apostle explains that Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, and the Greek word here translated \"ransomn\" means \"corresponding price\"
Here, then, is the philosophy of God’s plan of redemption through Christ. His only begotten Son was made flesh-perfect flesh-that he might become a substitute in death for condemned Adam, and thus provide a way of escape from death for Adam and all his race. Thus did Jesus die for all mankind.
The whole world praises the spirit of sacrifice on behalf of others, and recognizes its value in those who would rule over the people. All know the evil that results from a ruler seeking merely his own interests, his own welfare, his own advancement, and the increase of his own power, regardless of how others might be affected. Perhaps one of the most praiseworthy characteristics, when possessed by those who attempt to administer the affairs of government, is willingness to spend and be spent in the interests of the people.
But in all the annals of history, no ruler, no statesman, no president, king, emperor, or dictator has ever matched Jesus in his spirit of devotion, first to God and then to mankind. He \"went about doing good,\" the Scriptures tell us. (Acts 10:38) He used his strength to teach others, as daily he carried on his ministry of self-sacrifice. And finally he completed that wonderful life of service by voluntarily giving himself up to that cruel death on the cross.
Thus did the man Christ Jesus prove his faithfulness. The world will be able to trust such a noble character as they learn about him when his long-promised kingdom is established in the earth and functions as a world government for the blessing of the people.
A Priest and King
The name Jesus means one who saves – a savior. But God\'s plan for saving the world from sin and death is so comprehensive that in order to help us understand all its implications God, through his Word, has given Jesus many and varied titles, each giving some particular viewpoint regarding the salvation brought by him to the dying race. One of these titles is \"priest\"
When we think of the title \"priest\" we are not to have in mind the misuse of this term by various denominational groups, but we should go back to the Old Testament and note the significance attached to its original use. God appointed priests to serve the nation of Israel in matters of worship. Their work was twofold – they offered sacrifice, and then extended blessings to the people, based upon the offering of sacrifice.
Thus it is with Jesus. He has already served as priest for the offering of sacrifice, and later will extend to the world the blessing of life everlasting, made available by the sacrifice he offered. In the case of the priests of Israel, they offered animals in typical sacrifice, but Jesus offered himself as the great antitypical sacrifice.
Jesus is also appointed by God to be King of earth, and in Hebrews 6:20; 7:1, 2 the apostle combines these two offices in the person of Jesus. Thus we are reminded that he will rule over the people and bless them. Concerning this priestly King the prophet wrote:
\"All kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight\', – Ps. 72:11-14
A prophecy of this kind can be appreciated only in the light of God\'s promise that Jesus shall reign over the earth for a thousand years. It is not a matter of waiting for the people to accept his kingship before he can rule. There is a definite time in the plan of God for the Kingdom to be set up in the earth. In a prophecy concerning Jesus as the new King of earth, we are told that first he will dash the nations to pieces as \"a potter’s vessel\" –Ps. 2:5-12
Another title which the Scriptures assign to Jesus is \"Judge\" As a judge he also will be a blesser of the people. The psalmist wrote concerning Jesus, \"He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.\" (Ps. 72:4) The great oppressor of the people throughout the ages has been Satan, the Devil. He has enslaved the minds of men through deceit, and thereby prevented them from knowing and serving the true God, whom to know and serve in the right way will mean life eternal.
Traditional misconceptions of the judgment day have hindered many from appreciating Jesus as the great judge of mankind. Instead of looking forward to the judgment day as a time of blessing, they have dreaded its approach, supposing it to be a time of doom for nearly everybody. Actually, the thousand years during which Jesus will \"judge the world in righteousness\" will be a time of blessing for the people. – Acts 17:31
When our first parents transgressed the divine law, they brought themselves and their offspring under condemnation to death. But Jesus’ death as mans Redeemer provided a way of escape from that condemnation. The benefits to be derived from the death of Jesus are available only through belief in him, and obedience to the divine will. But Paul raises the question, \"How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?\" (Rom. 10:14) Few, as yet, have heard of Jesus in the comprehensive manner necessary for them to believe in him. But the Scriptures reveal that they will have this opportunity during the coming judgment day.
The judgment day will therefore be a time of enlightenment for the people. Paul implies this in his sermon on Mars\' hill, in which he contrasts the \"times of this ignorance\" with the day which God has appointed in which \"he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained,\" Jesus Christ the Righteous. (Acts 17:31) That will be the \"due time\" when the great fact that Jesus died for the sins of the world will be \"testified,\" or made known, to all mankind. – I Tim. 2:4-6
That the work of judgment will include enlightening the people is indicated in Revelation 20:12, where we are told that the \"books\" will be opened and every man will be judged according to the things \"written in the books\" These books are by some erroneously supposed to contain the records of the past lives of the human race, and the opening of the books signifies to them that all will have their virtues and their sins reviewed during the judgment day, and thus be judged worthy or unworthy of everlasting life.
But there is nothing in the Scriptures to warrant this conclusion. The account declares that the people are to be judged by the things written in the books, and Jesus said that his \"word\" will judge the people at that time. (John 12:48) The opening of these symbolic books must therefore signify a revelation of the truth as the standard of judgment.
In Isaiah 29:11, 12 a similar thought is brought to our attention. Here a \"book\" is discussed. It is a \"sealed\" book, which cannot be opened either by the learned or the unlearned. But the prophecy shows that finally this book is opened, enabling the deaf and the blind to hear and see what is written in it. This prophecy reminds us of the spiritual darkness that enshrouds the people by the reign of sin and death, and assures us that the time will come when this darkness will be dispelled. Then the people will see and know the divine will.
It is this future day of enlightenment that the Bible designates the judgment day, during which Jesus will judge the world in righteousness. It will not be a time merely for giving awards and pronouncing sentence. The work of judgment includes a test under the enlightenment which will obtain at that time.
This will be the first real, full opportunity the world will have had for believing on Christ and receiving everlasting life. All came under condemnation through Adam, and the vast majority go into the tomb without even knowing that Christ died for them. But during the judgment day, they will be awakened from death, enlightened concerning Jesus and, upon the basis of that enlightenment, given an opportunity to accept God’s gift, obey the laws of the kingdom, and live forever.
Isaiah 9:6, 7 is a wonderful prophecy of the birth of Jesus and the worldwide scope of the government which he will preside over. To help us grasp more fully what his ruiership will mean for the people, this prophecy assigns him several meaningful titles. \"His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace\"
Some Hebrew scholars claim that no punctuation should follow the word \"Wonderful,\" that it is merely an adjective for \"counsellor\" We know, of course, that Jesus is \"Wonderfu\" No matter from what standpoint we view the Master, he is \"Wonderful\" But it seems that here the Lord is telling us that Jesus is a \"Wonderful Counsellor.\"
This term \"Counsellor\" means more than one who gives advice: it is more like our word attorney, one who represents a client before the bar of justice. Jesus will act in this capacity when he serves as \"Mediator between God and men\" (I Tim. 2:4-6) His work as Counsellor will be akin to his role as judge. In both respects he will deal with the people to effect their reconciliation with God, and thereby provide them everlasting life.
Jesus will indeed be a \"Wonderful Counsellor\" and a righteous judge. In another prophecy we read of this future judge, \"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth\" – Isa. 11:2-4
One with such qualifications will deal justly with the people, and under his administration those who desire to return to God and to receive the blessing of everlasting life on a perfected earth will be given every opportunity to do so.
The assurance that he will not judge after the sight of the eyes, nor according to the hearing of the ears is especially noteworthy. The most competent of all the judges the world has ever had have been limited in making their decisions upon what could be seen and heard they have been unable to look into the hearts of the people and there discover their hidden motives, or whether their words and conduct belied the real facts of their lives. But Jesus will be endowed with divine powers of perception. He will know the truth concerning all, regardless of their professions. No wonder Paul said that the world will be judged in righteousness by that man whom God hath ordained! – Acts 17:31
The Mighty God
Another title ascribed to Jesus is \"The mighty God\" (Isa. 9:6) This does not mean that Jesus is the \"Almighty God,\" but it does mean that he has been highly exalted in the divine arrangement and that the Creator is pleased to have him recognized as a mighty God and to be worshiped. In John 5:22, 23 we learn that the Heavenly Father has committed all judgment unto his Son, and that he desires all men to honor the Son even as they honor him.
In Isaiah 53:12 the high position of Jesus in the divine arrangement is again brought to our attention. In this chapter the suffering and death of the Redeemer of the world are prophesied. Because of his faithfulness the Creator promises, \"Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great\" This was fulfilled when Jesus was raised from the dead and highly exalted to the right hand of the throne of God. There he became \"The mighty God,\" the One to whom the whole world may properly look for succor, and from whom, as the representative of the Creator, they may properly expect the blessings of salvation from sin and death.
Another prophecy concerning Jesus foretold that his name would be \"Immanuel,\" which means, \"God with us\" (Isa. 7:14) This does not mean that Jesus is the Almighty God, the Creator himself, but that he would be the representative of God. Jesus’ coming to earth to die for the people was a wonderful manifestation of the love of God. (John 3:16) His miracles were an eloquent illustration of God-given power, which will be employed by the glorified Christ for healing all the sick and raising all the dead.
The Scriptures declare that so far as the person of Jehovah the Creator is concerned, no man can look upon him and live. (Exod. 33:20) But in Jesus men saw the glorious characteristics of God manifested. And through the laws of his kingdom they will recognize even more that through him the justice, wisdom, love, and power of Almighty God have become operative for their eternal blessing. Gladly, then, will the people recognize Jesus as God\'s representative, and the manifestation of God\'s presence in their midst.
Michael Shall Stand Up
In Daniel 12:1 another title is applied to Jesus, namely, \"Michael\" The term Michael literally means \"who as God\"-that is, one who acts as a representative of God. In this prophecy we read that when \"Michael stands u\" there results a \"time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.\" In other words, this title describes Jesus in connection with his overthrow of the kingdoms of this world, preparatory to the establishment of his righteous order in the earth.
We are accustomed to think of Jesus as kindly and peaceful. But the manifestation of his authority and power against wickedness and the wicked institutions of earth will cause trouble –\"a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation\" Even now we are witnessing the beginning of this trouble, due to come upon the nations of earth at the end of the age. Even in the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-9, where we read that Jesus will judge the poor with righteousness, it is also declared that \"with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked\"
It will be on account of his thoroughness in eradicating all wickedness and all evildoers from the earth that peace and tranquility will eventually come to the people. The universal state of happiness and good will which will follow the destruction of the enemies of God during the reign of Christ-even death itself (I Cor. 15:26) – is symbolized in the prophecy by the various animals of earth living peaceably together. The \"wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; ... and a little child shall lead them.\" – Isaiah 11:6
The Everlasting Father
Isaiah declares that Jesus will also be \"The everlasting Father.\" This does not mean, however, that he is the One whom we, as Christians, address as our \"Heavenly Father\" The term father means lifegiver, and an everlasting father would be one who gives everlasting life. Jesus will do this for all those who, during the thousand years of his reign, believe on him and obey the law of his kingdom. The life received by the people from their natural fathers has been uncertain and brief, but all who then come to Jesus will be given everlasting life.
Another scripture which throws light on the divine plan for giving life to the people through Jesus is I Corinthians 15:45, 47. Here the apostle refers to Jesus as \"the last Adam,\"\' and declares that in his resurrection from death he was made a \"quickening [life-giving] spirit\"; that is, a spirit being endowed with the power to give life to others.
\"The first man [Adam]\" was of the earth, earthy. He and his wife were commanded to multiply and fill the earth with their offspring. Thus he became the original father of the human race. However, because he transgressed the divine law, he brought the penalty of death upon himself This meant that he could transmit to his offspring only a measure of life, for they inherited his imperfection, and thus automatically came under condemnation to death. Thus it was that \"the first man Adam\" fathered the race in a dying condition.
But it will be different in the case of the last Adam. The last Adam will regenerate the children of the first Adam and enable them to enjoy everlasting life. Thus he will be \"the everlasting Father.\" And Jesus himself referred to the Millennial Kingdom as the time of \"regeneration\" – Matthew 19:28
In keeping with this, the prophecy of Isaiah 53:10 tells us that Jesus shall see his \"seed\" Verse eight of this chapter speaks of his being cut off from the land of the living, and says that there was none to declare his generation. That is, he did not marry and raise a family as men ordinarily do, hence there are no natural descendants of Jesus, no one to \"declare his generation.\"
Yet the prophet states, \"He shall see his seed\"; that is, children will be raised up to him-not in the ordinary way, but by virtue of the fact that as the Redeemer of the world he will be in a position to give the people life. He will be their lifegiver or father. And because of this, Jesus \"shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied\" – Isaiah 53:11
\"Travail\" is associated with the bringing forth of children, and here the prophet uses the term for the method by which Jesus gives life to the people. This travail is vividly described in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. He was \"despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief\' Also, he was led \"as a lamb to the slaughter,\" as well as being bruised and afflicted.
Yes, this was travail indeed, which continued with him all the way to the cross, ending only when, from his bursting heart he cried, \"It is finished\" But out of this travail will come a regenerated life for all of the first Adams children who will accept it on the terms of belief and obedience. Thus shall Jesus \"see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied,\" for countless millions will acclaim him as their father, their lifegiver, and with one accord will sing his praises, saying, \"We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation\" Praise God for his gift to men of \"The everlasting Father\"
The Prince of Peace
Jesus, the Savior of the world, will also be \"The Prince of Peace.\" (Isaiah 9:6) The angelic song which heralded the birth of Jesus features the happy theme of \"peace on earth,\" and finally this peace will become a reality. Jesus will be the great King when the \"mountain\" – kingdom – of the Lord is \"established in the top of the mountains, and ... exalted above the hills\" (Micah 4:1) When the nations of earth realize the utter failure of their own efforts to establish peace in place of the present distress they will say, \"Come, and let us go up to the mountain (kingdom) of the Lord ... he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths\" – Micah 4:2
When the nations thus seek the Lord’s ways and are willing to walk in them, they will \"beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks,\" and \"nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more\" (Micah 4:3) Thus will the Prince of Peace establish peace among the nations.
But he will do more than establish peace between nations. This would still leave strife and turmoil within nations. Jesus will establish universal peace, which will mean peace among and within nations-community peace, family peace, and most important of all, peace of heart.
This peace of heart will result from being at peace with God. The world of mankind today is alienated from God through wicked works. (Eph. 4:18, 19; Col. 1:21) But the Prince of Peace, serving as Mediator, Counsellor, and judge, will reconcile men to God. No longer will the human race be in rebellion against the Creator. And being in harmony with him and enjoying the sunshine of his favor, they will have life everlasting. – Psalms 30:5
Unto the Lamb Forever
Jesus, the Savior of the world, is depicted in Revelation 5:6, 11-13 as a slain Lamb. This symbolic description of Jesus is alluded to frequently in the Scriptures. In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah it is used extensively in a prophecy of Jesus\' suffering and death. The Apostle Peter explains that the prophecies not only foretold the suffering of Jesus, but also the \"glory that should follow\" (I Peter 1:11), and in Revelation 5:13 a beautiful description of his foretold glory is set forth. We quote:
\"And every creature which is in heaven and on earth, and such as are in the sea and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.\"
Here is an indication of a complete reconciliation so all-embracing that \"every creature\" will sing the praises of God and of the Lamb. This does not mean universal salvation regardless of belief or obedience, for another prophecy says those who will not obey \"shall be destroyed from among the people\" (Acts 3:19-23) But it does mean those who accept the opportunity in the kingdom will be restored to harmony with the Father, and will honor both God and his beloved Son, our Savior.
With the Lamb
The Lamb which was slain for the sins of the world and is now exalted to the right hand of God to be the King of earth – \"the lion of the tribe of Judah\" (Rev. 5:5; Gen. 49:9) – is later in the Book of Revelation pictured as standing on Mt. Sion. (Rev. 14:1) This is a symbol of his kingly authority and exaltation. (Psalm 2:6-9) In this Mt. Sion picture we are told that others are to be with the Lamb in that highly exalted position represented as the 144,000.
\"These are they,\" we read, \"which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth\" (Rev. 14:4) These are the same ones referred to in Revelation 20:4, who sacrificed their lives \"for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God\" Because of this \"they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years\" These are the ones mentioned by the Apostle Paul as the \"children of God,\" and \"if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ\" – Romans 8:16, 17
These, in brief, are the true church of Christ, called out from the world during the present age. For faithfully laying down their lives in divine service, they will share the kingdom honor and glory with Jesus. They will reign with him as priests and kings. (Rev. 20:6) They will be co-judges with him. (I Cor. 6:2, 3) They serve with him as \"ministers of reconciliation\" (2 Cor. 5:18) In short, they will share the high honor of all of Jesus\' high offices in the divine plan for reconciling a lost world to God. They will even share his heavenly home. – John 14:1-3
As the \"bride\" of Christ, the church will also share in that glorious future work of giving life and perfection of mind and body to the dying race. \"The Spirit and the bride say, Come,\" the Revelator writes, \"and let him take the water of life freely.\" What a glorious prospect! – Revelation 22:17
In Isaiah 11:1 Jesus is called the \"stem of Jesse\" (David\'s father) but in Revelation 22:16 Jesus is called both the \"root\" and \"offspring\" of David. So far as Jesus’ human life was concerned, he was a descendant of David, a \"stem\" But in his role of Savior and Lifegiver he becomes the \"root\" of David, that is, his source of life. And not only David, but all mankind, will have an opportunity to enjoy the everlasting life made available through Jesus\' redemptive work.
Mark 16(마가복음 16장)/ John Wesley(요한 웨슬리 역)
Mark 16(마가복음 16장)/ John Wesley(요한 웨슬리 역)
Verse 1. Matt. xxviii, 1; Luke xxiv, 1; John xx, 1.
Verse 2. At the rising of the sun - They set out while it was yet dark, and came within sight of the sepulchre, for the first time, just as it grew light enough to discern that the stone was rolled away, Matt. xxviii, 1; Luke xxiv, 1; John xx, 1. But by the time Mary had called Peter and John, and they had viewed the sepulchre, the sun was rising.
Verse 3. Who shall roll us away the stone - This seems to have been the only difficulty they apprehended. So they knew nothing of Pilate\\\\\\\'s having sealed the stone, and placed a guard of soldiers there.
Verse 7. And Peter - Though he so oft denied his Lord. What amazing goodness was this!
Verse 9. John xx, 11.
Verse 10. Luke xxiv, 9; John xx, 18.
Verse 12. Luke xxiv, 13.
Verse 13. Neither believed they them - They were moved a little by the testimony of these, added to that of St. Peter, Luke xxiv, 34; but they did not yet fully believe it.
Verse 14. Luke xxiv, 36; John xx, 19.
Verse 15. Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature - Our Lord speaks without any limitation or restriction. If therefore every creature in every age hath not heard it, either those who should have preached, or those who should have heard it, or both, made void the counsel of God herein. Matt. xxviii, 19.
Verse 16. And is baptized - In token thereof. Every one that believed was baptized. But he that believeth not - Whether baptized or unbaptized, shall perish everlastingly.
Verse 17. And these signs shall follow them that believe - An eminent author sub-joins, \\\\\\\"That believe with that very faith mentioned in the preceding verse.\\\\\\\" (Though it is certain that a man may work miracles, and not have saving faith, Matt. vii, 22, 23.) \\\\\\\"It was not one faith by which St. Paul was saved, another by which he wrought miracles. Even at this day in every believer faith has a latent miraculous power; (every effect of prayer being really miraculous;) although in many, both because of their own littleness of faith, and because the world is unworthy, that power is not exerted. Miracles, in the beginning, were helps to faith; now also they are the object of it. At Leonberg, in the memory of our fathers, a cripple that could hardly move with crutches, while the dean was preaching on this very text, was in a moment made whole.\\\\\\\" Shall follow - The word and faith must go before. In my name - By my authority committed to them. Raising the dead is not mentioned. So our Lord performed even more than he promised.
Verse 18. If they drink any deadly thing - But not by their own choice. God never calls us to try any such experiments.
Verse 19. The Lord - How seasonable is he called by this title! After he had spoken to them - For forty days. Luke xxiv, 50.
Verse 20. They preached every where - At the time St. Mark wrote, the apostles had already gone into all the known world, Rom. x, 18; and each of them was there known where he preached: the name of Christ only was known throughout the world.
Mark 16(마가복음 16장)/ Scofield(스코필드 역)/ 1917-
Mark 16(마가복음 16장)/ Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)(스코필드 역)
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
 And very early
For the order of events on the day of the resurrection, and for the order of our Lord\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s appearances after His resurrection, see,
See Scofield Note: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Mt 28:1\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" See Scofield Note: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Mt 28:9\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
Margin Ye seek
Jesus ye seek -- the Nazarene, the crucified; He arose! He is not here! The tone is of triumph. Cf. Ps 2:4.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
 Now when
The passage from verse 9 to the end is not found in the two most ancient manuscripts, the Sinaitic and Vatican, and others have it with partial omissions and variations. But it is quoted by Irenaeus and Hippolytus in the second or third century.
See Scofield Note: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Mt 28:9\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
A collective term, equivalent to \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"The Sanhedrin,\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"The Commons,\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" not necessarily implying that eleven persons were present. See Lk 24:33 1Cor 15:5 Mt 28:16 where \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"eleven disciples\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" implies a definite number of persons.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
See Scofield Note: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Rom 1:16\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirm!ing the word with signs following. Amen.
Peace, and the Legacy of Jesus – Perfect Peace(평화, 예수님의 유산:완전한 평화)
Peace, and the Legacy of Jesus – Perfect Peace
WHAT NATION today has peace? What nation is at peace with itself? What government has brought harmony to its people so they may live at peace with their fellows? What nation among the nations is at peace with its neighbors? Such questions direct attention to the fact that conflict continues in the human family.
Man subdues the earth, and it brings forth abundantly. Continents yield more than their people need. Food surplus is itself sometimes a problem. But even so, millions are dying from want of food. Military conflicts and political decisions prevent the distribution of life preserving supplies. The problem is well known, but the solution is elusive. Scholars plan for peace; statesmen convene to make peace, and warriors fight to enforce it. But still there is no peace.
And why is there no peace in the world today? Because most people are selfish and dishonest. Stern and harsh as such judgment may sound, it is nonetheless true: most people are really selfish. They have not yet learned to appreciate the blessing in doing good to others and living together in truth and harmony. But of course this condition is not unique to our time. The Bible shows that the same situation existed in Jerusalem when they were without peace in the time of Jeremiah. While selfish and dishonest people claimed there was \"Peace, peace,\" the prophet proclaimed that in reality there was no peace. (Jer. 6:13,14) And there could be no peace until the people responded to the instruction of God. \"For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them, every one is given to covetousness [every one is greedy for unjust gain - selfish], and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely [both the teachers and instructors of the people, and those who claimed to speak for God were dishonest].\"
Such accusation against that people was fair and proper, even as it would be against many in the world today. Human selfishness began in Eden, when our first parents chose to ignore God\'s law and break His covenant. (Hosea 6:7) That disobedience brought death, and mankind continues on the broad road to destruction. In view of man’s unhappy condition, peace is a desirable objective in this present evil world. It is therefore essential that we inquire of God regarding peace and His program for its gift to believers.
God the Source of Peace
Every attribute of God is itself a description of Him. We thus see the Almighty as the God of power; as the God of justice; as the God of wisdom; as the God of love. A special manifestation of one attribute may reveal God; even a prominent activity may seem to describe Him. God may, then, sometimes be thought of as a God of wrath; at other times, as a God of mercy. And because essential benefits extend to us from our Heavenly Father which reveal His gracious character, we may also properly think of Him as the God of light, the God of truth, or the God of all grace.
But more often Scripture refers to Jehovah as the God of peace. (Rom.15:33, 2 Cor.13:11, 1Thes.5:23) Every New Testament book except 1st John exhorts believers to the attainment of and growth in peace. And many New Testament books contain a salutation invoking a blessing of peace from our Heavenly Father. And the Old Testament contains many assurances of abundant peace to those who love and worship the LORD.
The fountain of all peace is God Himself From His own vast resources of power and wisdom springs God\'s peace. It is an ingredient of His inherent goodness. One has written: \"God is never confused, bewildered, perplexed, anxious or careworn, not in the least fearful that His plans will miscarry or His purposes fail. All power and wisdom emanate from Him. The scope of His mighty intellect reaches to the utmost bounds of possibility, comprehends all causes and discerns with precision all effects; consequently God knows the end from the beginning – a knowing which comes not only from philosophical principles which He Himself established, but also by intuitive knowledge. As the Creator of all things and the originator of all law, God is thoroughly acquainted with all the intricate subtleties of physical, moral and intellectual law, so that no problem could arise the results of which are not manifest to His mind.\"
But what, exactly, is peace? Peace is a moral quality of mind and heart. Peace is defined as a state of quiet or tranquility, freedom from disturbance or agitation. Such a state of mind is affirmed of God. He is never wearied nor perplexed by any of the cares of His vast dominion. Yet this perfect peace of God is not due to the absence of disorders in His realm. It is not due to an indifference to the pain or pleasure of others. The perfect peace of God stems from that perfect poise and balance of His glorious attributes which make Him master of His sovereign situation in the universe.
We do not think of God as developing peace or of growing in this quality, but rather of His complete possession of it. God rejoices when sinners repent, and He sorrows at acts of sin, even as does man whom He made in His image. God\'s peace has prevailed and been manifested during the discord, hatred, and rebellion in His family. Surely our God of peace has sorrowed with the discord within His creations. One of His sons became a tempter, an opponent, and a usurper. Another son and his family proceeded on a course of disobedience which has continued for many centuries. And angelic sons became allies of Satan. But God\'s peace has ever maintained; it rules in perfection amidst such rebellions. This is so because peace is compatible with godly sorrow, not overcome by it.
Peace With God Promised
Like all of His blessings, peace with God was made possible by the obedience of Jesus. In Romans 5:1 Paul teaches plainly that peace with God comes through His dearly beloved Son. \"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.\" This means we receive peace only by learning of, accepting, and joining the Son. Peace is developed in us according to our faith and acceptance of the principles taught by our Master.
The sacrificial death of Jesus enabled the blessing of peace with God. Those who are justified by faith have been reconciled. Paul refers to this reconciliation in Col. 1:20-22. \"And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him [Jesus] to reconcile all things unto Himself [God]; by Him [Jesus], I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death.\" Reconciliation marks a new relationship with God – we become His children – sons of God. This opens the way; then we receive and begin to grow in the true peace of God.
God inspires peace in others because He has peace, and is at peace. Paul suggests in Phil. 4:6,7 that we have peace when our considerations and meditations follow established principles. \"Be careful [that is, be anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.\" The Apostle would have us understand that we have the ability to restrict the peace of God in our hearts and lower its influence in our lives, or to improve its influence and increase its blessing in ratio to thoughts we encourage within ourselves.
\"My Peace I Leave Unto You\"
The world\'s greatest teacher of moral and spiritual values promised peace to His followers; it is the legacy of all who believe in Jesus. A legacy is something which is left behind by one who has died, for others to enjoy after him. Jesus promised such a gift just before His death on the cross. His words are in John 14:27. \"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.\"
No record employs the word ‘peace’ in connection with any of our Master\'s difficult experiences. But Jesus surely had peace. The Psaimist\'s description of those who h peace-\"Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them\" – includes our Master above all others. (Psa. 119:165) And all well know the promise in Isaiah 26:3 which affirms that the trust Jesus manifested in God led on to peace. \"Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in Thee. Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock.\"
Jesus was often under attack by His critics, by His detractors, by His enemies, by the servants of His wile adversary, the Devil. Amidst such circumstances however, our Master\'s confidence that His Father always heard Him (Luke 11:42) enabled Jesus to give wise counsel, express eternal principles, and proclaim important truths that pertain to salvation. Because such gracious words proceeded out of the mouth of the Son of God (Luke 4:22), we know that the peace of Christ was an inner peace – a peace of heart.
The peace Jesus left for us is the peace of God because Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus read and believed the testimony of faithful men of old who saw God\'s glory and power. His belief in the divine majesty of God enable peace to prevail in His every trial. More than this, His peace increased daily in a deepening appreciation God\'s wondrous character as it became known to Him through God’s revealed purposes.
Purpose In His Visit
Jesus came to spread peace in Israel. This was important in His ministry. He instructed His disciples to \'speak peace\'. When first entering a house, they should say, \"Peace be to this house, and if the son of peace be there, your peace shah rest upon it.\" (Luke 10:5,6) No wonder, then, that Jesus made special mention of this legacy; He regarded His peace as an essential blessing. Peace is received by the same rule as are other spiritual qualities – in the measure our faith permits: \'according to your faith be it unto you’. Jesus encouraged the faith of blind men with those words so they might receive literal sight. (Matt. 9:29) Much more, then, is faith required by believers who would receive spiritual sight and the accompanying peace which our dear Master left for us all.
His promise of peace as a legacy affirms its importance. Other aspects of His blessing did not receive a similar emphasis. He did not say He left His knowledge to us. But He would have us learn of Him. (Matt. 11:29) He did not say He left His wisdom to us. But He would have us be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matt. 10: 16) He did not say He left His power and abilities to us. But He did say that greater works than what He did we would do. (John 14:12) Peace is a practical quality. Its influence affects every aspect of our human and spiritual experience.
A discussion of peace should not overlook the occasions when Jesus, as God\'s representative, was deeply exercised in His opposition to the workers of iniquity. One such example was when he denounced the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23:29-38); another, when he drove out of the temple the money changers who had mad God\'s house of worship a den of thieves. (Luke 19:45,4 But such instances did not denote loss of peace or lack trust in God. On the other hand, His control in such circumstances demonstrated the preservation an expression of peace. We should all take comfort an courage from those records of His ministry whenever are required to stand firm in opposition to error or evil.
Jesus wept when he beheld deep sorrow in the Bethan family which He specially loved (John 11:35), but th did not diminish His peace. Surely he entered into th sorrow, even as we are counseled to \"rejoice with the that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.\" (Rom. 12:15) And we believe that when he \"was touched with feeling of our infirmities\" (Heb. 4:15), each experience brought forth intense resolve toward faithfulness. Jesus exampled the Father\'s power when he awakened Lazarus from the dead, thus demonstrating his basic objective the destruction of death, Such obedience to God’s will that day and each day even unto Calvary would assure His resurrection as the firstfruit from the dead. (1 Cor 15:20-23) But His faithfulness meant more than His own resurrection; it assured \"a resurrection of the dead, both the just and the unjust.\" -Acts 24:15
Our Part in the Legacy
God foreknew the sorrow which would be experienced by those who live in this \"valley of the shadow of death.\" (Psa. 23:4, Isa. 9:2, Matt. 4:16) But believers sorrow not as do others who have no hope. (I Thes. 4:13) The hope of those who have His peace is firm, as an anchor to our soul, sure and steadfast. (Heb. 6:19) Such can say, as one has written: \"Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within our being; we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remain firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to, not in an exemption from suffering.\"
It was fellowship and communion with God, and His faith and trust in the wisdom of God\'s purpose, that perfected peace in Jesus. And all who walk in the footsteps of our dear Master receive the peace of God through the same process.
We can learn from Peter how to attain abundance of peace. He wrote: \"Grace and peace be multiplied, unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.\" (11 Pet. 1:2) That, simply stated, is the process by which the peace of God becomes enlarged in our heart. We must read the Scritures read about God and about His Son; consider with attention the written testimony which explains the divine purpose and character; know the promises, believe the promises, claim the promises. In no other way can one receive the peace of God.
The Apostle Paul\'s counsel in Romans 15:13 is understandably similar. \"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.\" Paul links peace and belief We are to believe that all will come to pass which God says will come to pass, through the working of the Son in God\'s plan of salvation.
When Jesus promised His legacy of peace, He said He would not give it as the world gave. \"Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.\" Indeed the world\'s peace is given differently, because it considers peace from an external view. Fleshly comforts and calm surroundings are provided; untroubled serenity and quietness is arranged. And the world\'s peace is small in measure, limited in scope, perishable in quality, and short in duration. Thus does the world give peace.
Believers may be despitefully used (Luke 6:27) or persecuted (Matt. 5:44) by unbelievers or people of other convictions. Such experiences may try our faith, and godly peace may be disturbed. The following suggestions by a thoughtful writer may help in such a circumstance: \"The more quietly and peaceably we all get on, the better – the better for ourselves – the better for our neighbors. In nine cases out of ten the wisest policy is, if a man cheats you, quit dealing with him; if he is abusive, quit his company; if he slanders you, take care to live so that nobody will believe him: no matter who he is, or how he misuses you, the wisest way is generally to let him alone; for there is nothing better than this cool, calm, quiet way of dealing with the wrongs we meet with.\"
The God of Peace
It is but natural that one who senses God\'s displeasure will lack the perfect peace of him whose mind is stayed on God and on His promises. Note, therefore, Paul\'s simple, clear words which encourage obedience by all who seek the peace and presence of God: \"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.\" – Phil. 4:9
The Apostle seemed to joy in \"the God of peace\" expression, perhaps because it conveys the thought of one who arranges atonement, of one who plans to effect peace. Paul wanted us to be perfect in doing God\'s will, realizing that to all who were, the God of peace who brought Jesus from the dead would multiply peace. \"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.\" – Heb.13:20,21
Paul also used \"the God of peace\" expression in the promise of a most unpeaceful act – the destruction of a being. But the promised destruction is essential to eternal peace – \"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly\" (Rom. 16:20) God has authorized the destruction of the principal opponent of truth and righteousness. – Rom 20:10,14
Are We at Peace?
Paul advised in I Thess. 5:13, \"Be at peace among yourselves.\" This admonition continues appropriate to the entire Gospel church. Do we accept experiences with the brethren which may perplex, or be unpleasant, and not display or feel anger or malice? Then we have God\'s peace. Do we accept such experiences in a quiet, proper manner, while at the same time striving to clarify the issue? Then we retain peace. Do we promptly forgive a wrong in order to restore peace? Then we display the grace of peace. Do we set aside our preferences (not principles) in favor of those of others, in the interests of peace? Do we delay our plans or wishes in deference to those of others, and still keep our peace? These practices, if followed, may preserve and encourage peace among ourselves.
Having advocated peace among believers, Paul then listed activities in which it is important to manifest the peace of God: when we exhort others, warn others, comfort others, or support others. A flourishing peace among ourselves will help us to follow that which is good in many other activities: rejoice in service, opportunity and privilege; pray in spirit; give thanks, be zealous, accept admonition, prove all things, hold fast the proven, and abstain from every appearance of evil.
Lastly, the Apostle assures those who maintain peace in their Christian relationships, that \"the very God of peace\" will accept their service. God \"will sanctify, wholly\" the peaceful. Such are encouraged in knowing that those who God \'sanctifies wholly\' today will receive reward tomorrow - glory, honor and privilege. All of this is in 1\'I\'hes. 5:14-23.
Paul\'s consideration of the counsel of his Master may have led him to an appreciation of those precepts. Jesus said to His disciples, \"Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.\" (Mark 9:50) Salt preserves and purifies. Application of that instruction requires believers to deny themselves, put away pride, ambition, and contention. One who has received peace from the God of peace does not quarrel with other believers, nor does such an one struggle for place, honor, or office. All who keep that commandment will thereby encourage, the spiritual prosperity of the brotherhood. Disciples who employ its principles will learn how true is the saying that \"peace is rarely denied to the peaceful.\" Someone has well written: \"Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us: avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. If these enemies were to be banished, we should enjoy perpetual peace.\" Indeed, every faithful believer shall have perpetual peace. Through the power of the Lord, every enemy not subdued in present conflicts will be banished forever in the resurrection.
James 3:13-18 summarizes in a practical form the issues which involve Godly peace. \"Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the (unobtrusive) humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. \"But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal).
\"For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition) there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
\"But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned-free from doubts, wavering and insincerity.
\"And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God\'s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace - in themselves and in others, [that is,] that peace which means concord (agreement, harmony) between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts.\" – Amplified
Praise for Our God(우리 하나님을 찬양하라)
Praise for Our God
God has a wonderful plan that when completed will bring forth from the hearts of all his creation songs of joy and praise. Then all will . . ..
For further reading
on Gods plans
and Study Aids
The Bible reveals to us a God who has wonderful things in store for all of mankind. He has designed a plan through which all might come to know both the evil of sin and its consequences and the joy of living in harmony with him and his laws. We have the testimony of scripture that this plan will leave a lasting determination in the hearts of mankind to seek righteousness and harmony with God. Each heart will have the opportunity to taste of the goodness and greatness of their great God. The accomplishment of this plan will bring forth from every heart songs of praise to God as the source of all blessings.
The present effects of sin and it’s consequences are easily seen by all. Man has been learning a bitter lesson. What is God doing to remedy this condition? He has given us a great gift. This gift is his dearly beloved son, Jesus, who came to lay down his life as a ransom for all. Through his death Jesus has purchased Adam and all his descendants from the condemnation to death. This provides the basis of restored fellowship and relationship with God.
In 1Timothy 2:4-6 we learn that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” God has determined that eventually all will know of his saving grace through Jesus. To those who have the faith to believe, that time is now.
God purposed the rescue of man through his Son from the beginning, even before sin entered the world. We are told in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” John 3:16 tells us “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him would not perish (in death), but have everlasting life.” God’s great love is manifested to us by this gift of his Son. Jesus also demonstrated his love when he chose to freely offer himself up as that lamb. Yes, God has given us a great gift - the way back to him through his son. This is the answer to all who are“sin sick and weary”. This is the answer to our longing.
To those who have the faith, God has offered a grand invitation to come to him and through Jesus he claims us as his children. The Apostle Paul prayed for our faith that: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” God is ready to claim us as his own, to love, instruct and prepare our hearts for a future work in resurrected glory with Jesus!
Not only are there blessings now in faith-communion with our Father and His son Jesus, but there are promises of greater things in the future. If we remain in faith, and faithful to the Lord, we are promised joint-heirship with our risen Lord. This is the reward for exercising faith and trust in God and his Son at this time. Jesus speaks of those with faith as blessed - “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” And indeed they are! They have tasted and seen that the LORD is good. They have songs of praise in their hearts not only for their Savior Jesus, but for their Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow!
While we may rejoice to see the gift of God in Jesus, most of the world is still blind to this “good news”. What of them? In His wisdom God has allowed his creation free choice to learn about good and evil through experiencing the fruits of both. Man has learned and continues to learn a bitter lesson in the experience of sin and its effects. In fact this experience has brought with it a deep longing on the part of most for something better. The Apostle Paul writes of this: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now . . . For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Yes the world, though it knows not God\'s plans, longs for release from the condition it is in.
God intends yet to restore mankind to the moral and physical perfection that was lost in Eden. This will require the enforced rule of the glorified Christ and the risen Church over his earthly kingdom. Then will “all the families of the earth be blessed” through that benevolent rule. In Revelation 21:2-4 we are given a glimpse of this new arrangement: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This will be a time when the blindness of unbelief will be removed and mankind will see God as he is through the work of His son Jesus Christ and the Church.
The prophet Isaiah tells us: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” What a glorious prospect!
Will all welcome this new kingdom? It is hard to imagine that most would not welcome and rejoice in the long awaited blessings. The response of their grateful hearts will be as the words in Isaiah 25:9, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” There will be blessings poured out and instruction received for all to benefit from. After a period of opportunity for change, those who choose to continue with a disobedient heart will be cast into the symbolic “lake of fire”, second death, which represents the final condemnation to everlasting death (oblivion). Revelation 20:14 tells us, “death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Both Adamic condemnation and the condition of Adamic death are cast into this symbolic lake of fire showing their complete destruction.
What of Satan? He also will be destroyed in the symbolic “lake of fire”. This will be the culmination of God’s determined will for man as stated by the apostle Paul: “For he (Jesus) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death . . . And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
When this is accomplished, then all will have songs of joy and gratitude in their hearts. They will truly praise God from whom all blessing flow!
Search and See
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in his justice,
Though severe his judgments be.
Search the Scriptures, search and see
Wisdom’s wondrous harmony.
There’s no place where earthly sorrows
Are more felt than up in heav’n;
There’s no place where earthly failings
Have such kindly judgment giv’n.
Search the Scriptures, search and see
God in mercy judgeth thee.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
Search the Scriptures, search and see
God’s great kindness unto thee.
Teenager Nightmares: A Week without Cell Phones(십대들의 악몽: 핸드폰 없는 1주일간)
Teenager Nightmares: A Week without Cell Phones
The Youth Specialties blog is written by and for youth workers. As someone whose last involvement in youth ministry was attending youth services in high school, I find it a great place to read about the issues youth leaders face today.
In a recent post, Brooklyn Lindsey discusses some of her thoughts on cell phones and youth ministry:
I recently returned from a summer mission trip where we made the unfathomable decision to collect cell phones for an entire week. A few students needed us to help them through the night sweats and uncontrollable shaking, but for the most part, by day two, all was well in the world.
We ended up having a week of deepened relationships, focused conversation, and focused service to others. Students could call their parents from the adult leaders’ cell phones but other than that, they were free…so to speak.
Three days after our trip I found myself in our local college/ young adult ministry setting. We meet in a local coffee bistro with live music and awesome discussion. My husband is the leader, so I love the ministry, 30 Below is something I look forward to every week. However, one thing was really obvious to me after having a week free of technological interruption, everyone around me (dozens of people sitting around tables) sat in this all too familiar conversation with eyes darting every few minutes to their lit up phones. Even if it was to simply “check the time”, we were all there…but not really. I started to wonder if I too, if our phones have become our safety, our fall-out plan.
We’ve all been around someone who can’t stop fidgeting with their phone or some other piece of technology, and I’m sure we’ve all wondered if they were really paying attention or if they were off in another world. It’s interesting to hear of youth ministers physically taking devices from teenagers in an effort to bring about some semblance of normalcy to their lives. Perhaps it’s a discipline we should all practice from time to time.
Do you think technology can keep us from fully experiencing our relationships with people? Or do you think our relationships can be made better through the use of always-on tech? And more importantly, what about your relationship with God? How do those bundles of circuitry help or hinder your connection with God?
The Bible Viewed in the Light of Reason(이성의 빛으로 본 성경)
The Bible Viewed in the Light of Reason
"Joy cometh in the Morning\"
by the Chicago Bible Students
The Bible is the torch of civilization and liberty. Its influence for good in society has been recognized by the greatest statesmen, even though they for the most part have looked at it through the various glasses of conflicting creeds, which, while upholding the Bible, grievously misrepresent its teachings. The grand old book is unintentionally but woefully misrepresented by its friends, many of whom would lay down life on its behalf; and yet they do it more vital injury than its foes, by claiming its support to their long-revered misconceptions of its truth, received through the traditions of their fathers. Would that such would awake, re-examine their oracle, and put to confusion its enemies by disarming them of their weapons!
The Bible is the oldest book in existence; it has outlived the storms of thirty centuries. Men have endeavored by every means possible to banish it from the face of the earth: they have hidden it, buried it, made it a crime punishable with death to have it in possession, and the most bitter and relentless persecutions have been waged against those who had faith in it; but still the book lives.
The fact that it has survived so many centuries, notwithstanding such unparalleled efforts to banish and destroy it, is at least strong circumstantial evidence that the great Being whom it claims as its Author has also been its Preserver.
This book throughout constantly points and refers to one prominent character, Jesus of Nazareth, who it claims, was the Son of God. From beginning to end His name, and office, and work, are made prominent. That a man called Jesus of Nazareth lived, and was somewhat noted, about the time indicated by the writers of the Bible, is a fact of history outside the Bible, and it is variously and fully corroborated. That this Jesus was crucified because He had rendered Himself offensive to the Jews and their priesthood is a further fact established by history outside the evidence furnished by the New Testament writers. The writers of the New Testament (except Paul and Luke) were the personal acquaintances and disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, whose doctrines their writings set forth.
One plan, spirit, aim and purpose pervades the entire book. Its opening pages record the creation and fall of man; its closing pages tell of man\'s recovery from that fall; and its intervening pages show the successive steps of the plan of God for the accomplishment of this purpose. The harmony, yet contrast, of the first three and the last three chapters of the Bible is striking. The one describes the first creation, the other the renewed or restored creation, with sin and its penal-curse removed; the one shows Satan and evil entering into the world to deceive and destroy, the other shows his work undone, the destroyed ones restored, evil extinguished and Satan destroyed; the one shows the dominion lost by Adam, the other shows it restored and forever established by Christ, and God\'s will done in earth as in heaven; the one shows sin the producing cause of degradation, shame and death, the other shows the reward of righteousness to be glory, honor and life.
Though written by many pens, at various times, under different circumstances, the Bible is not merely a collection of moral precepts, wise maxims and words of comfort. It is more: it is a reasonable, philosophical and harmonious statement of the causes of present evil in the world, its only remedy and the final results as seen by divine wisdom, which saw the end of the plan from before its beginning, marking as well the pathway of God\'s people, and upholding and strengthening them with exceeding great and precious promises to be realized in due time. The teaching of Genesis, that man was tried in a state of original perfection in one representative, that he failed, and that the present imperfection, sickness and death are the results, but that God has not forsaken him, and will ultimately recover him through a redeemer, born of a woman (Gen. 3:15), is kept up and elaborated all the way through. The necessity of the death of a redeemer as a sacrifice for sins, and of his righteousness as a covering for our sin, is pointed out in the clothing of skins for Adam and Eve; in the acceptance of Abel\'s offerings; in Isaac on the altar; in the death of the various sacrifices by which the patriarchs had access to God, and of those instituted under the law and perpetuated throughout the Jewish age. The prophets, though credited with understanding but slightly the significance of some of their utterances (1 Pet. 1:12), mention the laying of the sins upon a person instead of a dumb animal, and in prophetic vision they see Him who is to redeem and to deliver the race led \"as a lamb to the slaughter,\" that \"the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,\" and that \"by His stripes we are healed.\" They pictured Him as \"despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.\" and declared that \"The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.\" (Isa. 53:3-7.) They told where this deliverer would be born (Micah 5:2), and when He should die, assuring us that it would be \"not for Himself.\" (Dan. 9:26.) They mention various peculiarities concerning Him-that He would be \"righteous,\" and free from \"deceit,\" \"violence,\" or any just cause of death (Isa. 53:8, 9, 11); that He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12); that He would be numbered among transgressors in His death (Isa. 53:12); that not a bone of Him should he broken (Psa. 34:20; John 19:36); and that though He should die and be buried, His flesh would not corrupt, neither would He remain in the grave.-Psa. 16:10; Acts 2:31.
The New Testament writers clearly and forcibly, yet simply, record the fulfillment of all these predictions in Jesus of Nazareth, and by logical reasoning show that such a ransom price as He gave was needful, as already predicted in the Law and the Prophets, before the sins of the world could be blotted out. (Isa. 1:18.) They trace the entire plan in a most logical and forcible manner, appealing neither to the prejudices nor to the passions of their hearers, but to their enlightened reason alone, furnishing some of the most remarkably close and cogent reasoning to be found anywhere on any subject. See Rom. 5:17-19, and onward to the 12th chapter.
Moses, in the Law, pointed not alone to a sacrifice, but also to a blotting out of sin and a blessing of the people under this great deliverer, whose power and authority he declares shall vastly exceed his own, though it should be \"like unto\" it. (Deut. 18:15, 19.) The promised deliverer is to bless not only Israel, but through Israel \"all the families of the earth.\" (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4.)
These writers point out the harmony of this view with what is written in the Law and the Prophets; and the grandeur and breadth of the plan they present more than meets the most exalted conception of what it purports to be \"Good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people.\"
The thought of Messiah as a ruler of not only Israel, but also of the world, suggested in the books of Moses, is the theme of all the prophets. The thought of the kingdom was uppermost also in the teaching of the apostles; and Jesus taught that we should pray, \"Thy Kingdom come,\" and promised those a share in it who would first suffer for the truth, and thus prove themselves worthy.
This hope of the coming glorious kingdom gave all the faithful ones courage to endure persecution and to suffer reproach, deprivation and loss, even unto death. And in the grand allegorical prophecy which closes the New Testament, the worthy \"Lamb that was slain\" (Rev. 5:12), the worthy \"overcomers\" whom He will make kings and priests in His Kingdom, and the trials and obstacles which they must overcome to be worthy to share that kingdom, are all faithfully portrayed. Then are introduced symbolic representations of the blessings to accrue to the world under that Millennial reign, when Satan shall be bound and Adamic death and sorrow wiped out, and when all the nations of earth shall walk in the light of the heavenly kingdom—the new Jerusalem.
The Bible, from first to last, holds out a doctrine found nowhere else, and in opposition to the theories of all the heathen religions—that a future life for the dead will come through a resurrection of the Dead.
The Case for Early Marriage
The Case for Early Marriage
Amid our purity pledges and attempts to make chastity hip, we forgot to teach young Christians how to tie the knot.
Mark Regnerus | posted 7/31/2009 09:43AM
Virginity pledges. Chastity balls. Courtship. Side hugs. Guarding your heart. Evangelical discourse on sex is more conservative than I've ever seen it. Parents and pastors and youth group leaders told us not to do it before we got married. Why? Because the Bible says so. Yet that simple message didn't go very far in shaping our sexual decision-making.
So they kicked it up a notch and staked a battle over virginity, with pledges of abstinence and accountability structures to maintain the power of the imperative to not do what many of us felt like doing. Some of us failed, but we could become "born again virgins." Virginity mattered. But sex can be had in other ways, and many of us got creative.
Then they told us that oral sex was still sex. It could spread disease, and it would make you feel bad. "Sex will be so much better if you wait until your wedding night," they urged. If we could hold out, they said, it would be worth it. The sheer glory of consummation would knock our socks off.
Such is the prevailing discourse of abstinence culture in contemporary American evangelicalism. It might sound like I devalue abstinence. I don't. The problem is that not all abstainers end up happy or go on to the great sex lives they were promised. Nor do all indulgers become miserable or marital train wrecks. More simply, however, I have found that few evangelicals accomplish what their pastors and parents wanted them to.
Indeed, over 90 percent of American adults experience sexual intercourse before marrying. The percentage of evangelicals who do so is not much lower. In a nationally representative study of young adults, just under 80 percent of unmarried, church- going, conservative Protestants who are currently dating someone are having sex of some sort. I'm certainly not suggesting that they cannot abstain. I'm suggesting that in the domain of sex, most of them don't and won't.
What to do? Intensify the abstinence message even more? No. It won't work. The message must change, because our preoccupation with sex has unwittingly turned our attention away from the damage that Americans—including evangelicals—are doing to the institution of marriage by discouraging it and delaying it.
Late Have I Loved You
If you think it's difficult to be pro-life in a pro-choice world, or to be a disciple of Jesus in a sea of skeptics, try advocating for young marriage. Almost no one empathizes, even among the faithful. The nearly universal hostile reaction to my April 23, 2009, op-ed on early marriage in The Washington Post suggests that to esteem marriage in the public sphere today is to speak a foreign language: you invoke annoyance, confusion, or both.
But after years of studying the sexual behavior and family decision-making of young Americans, I've come to the conclusion that Christians have made much ado about sex but are becoming slow and lax about marriage—that more significant, enduring witness to Christ's sacrificial love for his bride. Americans are taking flight from marriage. We are marrying later, if at all, and having fewer children.
Demographers call it the second demographic transition. In societies like ours that exhibit lengthy economic prosperity, men and women alike begin to lose motivation to marry and have children, and thus avoid one or both. Pragmatically, however, the institution of marriage remains a foundational good for individuals and communities. It is by far the optimal context for child-rearing. Married people accumulate more wealth than people who are single or cohabiting. Marriage consolidates expenses—like food, child care, electricity, and gas—and over the life course drastically reduces the odds of becoming indigent or dependent on the state.
It is, however, an institution under extreme duress in America. In the past 35 years, the number of independent female households in the U.S. has grown by 65 percent, while the share of independent male households has skyrocketed, leaping 120 percent. As a result, fewer than half of all American households today are made up of married couples.
Another indicator of our shifting sentiment about the institution is the median age at first marriage, which has risen from 21 for women and 23 for men in 1970 to where it stands today: 26 for women and 28 for men, the highest figures since the Census Bureau started collecting data about it. That's five additional, long years of peak sexual interest and fertility. (And remember, those numbers are medians: for every man marrying at 22, there's one marrying for the first time at 34.)
Evangelicals tend to marry slightly earlier than other Americans, but not by much. Many of them plan to marry in their mid-20s.Yet waiting for sex until then feels far too long to most of them. And I am suggesting that when people wait until their mid-to-late 20s to marry, it is unreasonable to expect them to refrain from sex. It's battling our Creator's reproductive designs. The data don't lie. Our sexual behavior patterns—the kind I documented in 2007 in Forbidden Fruit—give us away. Very few wait long for sex. Meanwhile, women's fertility is more or less fixed, yet Americans are increasingly ignoring it during their 20s, only to beg and pray to reclaim it in their 30s and 40s.
Where Are All the Christian Men?
Unfortunately, American evangelicals have another demographic concern: The ratio of devoutly Christian young women to men is far from even. Among evangelical churchgoers, there are about three single women for every two single men. This is the elephant in the corner of almost every congregation—a shortage of young Christian men.
Try counting singles in your congregation next Sunday. Evangelicals make much of avoiding being unequally yoked, but the fact that there are far more spiritually mature young women out there than men makes this bit of advice difficult to follow. No congregational program or men's retreat in the Rocky Mountains will solve this. If she decides to marry, one in three women has no choice but to marry down in terms of Christian maturity. Many of the hopeful ones wait, watching their late 20s and early 30s arrive with no husband. When the persistent longing turns to deep disappointment, some decide that they didn't really want to marry after all.
Given this unfavorable ratio, and the plain fact that men are, on average, ready for sex earlier in relationships than women are, many young Christian women are being left with a dilemma: either commence a sexual relationship with a decent, marriage-minded man before she would prefer to—almost certainly before marriage—or risk the real possibility that, in holding out for a godly, chaste, uncommon man, she will wait a lot longer than she would like. Plenty will wait so long as to put their fertility in jeopardy. By that time, the pool of available men is hardly the cream of the crop—and rarely chaste. I know, I know: God has someone in mind for them, and it's just a matter of time before they meet. God does work miracles. But the fact remains that there just aren't as many serious Christian young men as there are women, and the men know it.
enough. Life expectancies nearing 80 years prompt many to dabble with relationships in their 20s rather than commit to a life of "the same thing" for such a long time. Men have few compelling reasons to mature quickly. Marriage seems an unnecessary risk to many of them, even Christians. Sex seldom requires such a steep commitment.
As a result, many men postpone growing up. Even their workplace performance is suffering: earnings for 25- to 34-year-old men have fallen by 20 percent since 1971, even after accounting for inflation. No wonder young women marry men who are on average at least two years older than they. Unfortunately, a key developmental institution for men—marriage—is the very thing being postponed, thus perpetuating their adolescence.
Still, the data from nearly every survey suggest that young Americans want to get married. Eventually. That makes sense. Our Creator clearly intended for male and female to be knit together in covenantal relationship. An increasing number of men and women, however, aren't marrying. They want to. But it's not happening. And yet in surveying this scene, many Christians continue to perceive a sexual crisis, not a marital one. We buy, read, and pass along books about battling our sexual urges, when in fact we are battling them far longer than we were meant to. How did we misdiagnose this?
The answer is pretty straightforward: While our sexual ideals have remained biblical and thus rooted in marriage, our ideas about marriage have changed significantly. For all the heated talk and contested referendums about defending marriage against attempts to legally redefine it, the church has already ceded plenty of intellectual ground in its marriage-mindedness. Christian practical ethics about marriage—not the ones expounded on in books, but the ones we actually exhibit—have become a nebulous hodgepodge of pragmatic norms and romantic imperatives, few of which resemble anything biblical.
Unfortunately, many Christians cannot tell the difference. Much about evangelical marital ethics is at bottom therapeutic: since we are pro-family, we are sure that a happy marriage is a central source of human contentment, and that romantic love is the key gauge of its health. While our marriage covenants are strengthened by romance, the latter has no particular loyalty to the former.
Our personal feelings may lead us out of a marriage as quickly as they lead us into one. As a result, many of us think about marriage much like those outside the church—as a capstone that completes the life of the autonomous self. We claim to be better promise keepers, but our vision of what marriage means is not all that unique. When did this all change?
The shift has gone largely unnoticed over the past half-century. As we finally climb toward multigenerational economic success, we advise our children to finish their education, to launch their careers, and to become financially independent, since dependence is weakness. "Don't rush into a relationship," we caution them. "Hold out for a spouse who displays real godliness." "First loves aren't likely the best fit." "You have plenty of time!" we now remind them. "Don't bank on a mate." Even those who successfully married young now find themselves dispensing such parental wisdom with little forethought.
As a result, many young adults sense that putting oneself in the trust of another person so soon may be foolish and risky. Many choose to wait out the risk—sometimes for years—to see how a relationship will fare before committing. (We seem to have lost our ability to shame men for such incessant delays.) Consequently, the focus of 20-somethings has become less about building mature relationships and fulfilling responsibilities, and more about enjoying oneself, traveling, and trying on identities and relationships. After all the fun, it will be time to settle down and get serious.
Most young Americans no longer think of marriage as a formative institution, but rather as the institution they enter once they think they are fully formed. Increasing numbers of young evangelicals think likewise, and, by integrating these ideas with the timeless imperative to abstain from sex before marriage, we've created a new optimal life formula for our children: Marriage is glorious, and a big deal. But it must wait. And with it, sex. Which is seldom as patient.
Objections to Young Marriage
Now let's have a dose of that pragmatic reasoning, because there are some good reasons to avoid marrying young. Indeed, studies continue to show that early marriage is the number one predictor of divorce. So why on earth would I want to consider such a disastrous idea that flies in the face of the evidence? Two reasons:
First, what is deemed "early marriage" by researchers is commonly misunderstood. The most competent evaluations of early marriage and divorce note that the association between early age-at-marriage and divorce occurs largely among those who marry as teenagers (before age 20). Although probably all of us know successful examples of such marriages, I still don't think teen marriage is wise. But the data suggest that marriages that commence in the early 20s are not as risky—especially for women—as conventional wisdom claims.
Second, the age at which a person marries never causes divorce. Rather, a young age-at-marriage is an indicator of an underlying proclivity for marital problems, the kind most Christian couples learn to avoid or solve without parting. Family scholars agree that there are several roots to the link between age-at-marriage and divorce. I consider five of them here, together with some practical ways that parents, friends, and the church can work to turn such weaknesses into strengths.
(1) Economic insecurity: Marrying young can spell poverty, at least temporarily. Yet the mentality that we need to shield young adults from the usual struggles of life by encouraging them to delay marriage until they are financially secure usually rests on an unrealistic standard of living. Good marriages grow through struggles, including economic ones. My wife and I are still fiscal conservatives because of our early days of austerity.
Nevertheless, the economic domain remains an area in which many parents are often able, but frequently unwilling, to assist their children. Many well-meaning parents use their resources as a threat, implying that if their children marry before the age at which their parents socially approve, they are on their own. No more car insurance. No help with tuition. No more rent.
This doesn't sound very compassionate toward marriage—or toward family members. This is, however, a two-way street: many young adults consider it immature or humiliating to rely on others for financial or even social support. They would rather deal with sexual guilt—if they sense any at all—than consider marrying before they think they are ready. This cultural predilection toward punishing rather than blessing marriage must go, and congregations and churchgoers can help by dropping their own punitive positions toward family members, as well as by identifying deserving young couples who could use a little extra help once in a while. Christians are great about supporting their missionaries, but in this matter, we can be missionaries to the marriages in our midst.
(2) Immaturity: Even if economic security is not a concern, immaturity and naïveté often characterize young marriages. While unlearning self-centeredness and acquiring a sacrificial side aren't easy at any age, naïveté may actually benefit youth, since preferences and habits ingrained over years of single life often are not set aside easily. Let's face it: Young adults are inexperienced, but they are not intrinsically incompetent at marriage. So they need, of course, the frank guidance of parents, mentors, and Christian couples.
Women, however, do tend to exhibit greater maturity earlier than men. As a result, it shouldn't surprise us when a young woman falls in love with someone three, five, even ten years her senior. Indeed, two of the finest marriages I've recently witnessed exhibit nearly a dozen years' difference between husband and wife. While there are unwise ages to marry, there is no right age for which we must make our children wait. Indeed, age integration is one of the unique hallmarks of the institutional church, tacitly contesting the strict age-separation patterns that have long characterized American schools and universities.
One common way that immaturity reveals itself is when parents or children make marriage into another form of social competition or sibling rivalry. Modern adolescence and young adulthood read like one contest after another: the race to win in sports, to get good grades, to attend a prestigious college, to attract the best-looking person, to secure that coveted job. Where does it end? Not with marriage. Even college students who wish to marry are painfully (or proudly) aware of the "ring by spring" competition. Marriage becomes equated with beautiful, successful people. Weddings become expensive displays of personal and family status. Clergy often get caught in the middle of this, and feel powerless to contest it. My father, a minister, told me that he'd rather "bury people than marry people."
Such is the pressure cooker of modern weddings. None of this is good. Marriage is too important and too serious to be treated as yet another game to play, with winners and losers. It's a covenant of mutual submission and sacrificial love, not a contest of prestige, social norms, and saving face. A trend toward more modest weddings would be a great start.
(3) A Poor Match: Marrying early can mean a short search process, which elevates the odds of a poorer match. In the age of online dating personality algorithms and matches (see "Restless, Reformed, and Single," page 28), Americans have become well acquainted with the cultural notion that getting the right fit in a marital partner is extremely important. Chemistry is the new watchword as we meld marriage with science. Should opposites attract? Or should we look for common interests?
There is no right answer to such questions, because successful marriages are less about the right personalities than about the right practices, like persistent communication and conflict resolution, along with the ability to handle the cyclical nature of so much about marriage, and a bedrock commitment to its sacred unity. Indeed, marriage research confirms that couples who view their marriages as sacred covenants are far better off than those who don't.
Toward this end, pastors, premarital counselors, and Christian friends must be free to speak frankly into the lives of those seeking their counsel about marriage. While it may be nice to find an optimal match in marriage, it cannot hold a candle to sharing a mental and spiritual commitment to the enduring covenant between God, man, and woman. It just can't. People change. Chemistry wanes. Covenants don't.
(4) Marrying for Sex: One byproduct of the abstinence culture is that some marry early simply for the promise of long-awaited, guilt-free sex. After all, Paul told us that it's better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor. 7). And modern America certainly bears a striking resemblance to Corinth, whose church was confused about what to do with marriage. Its people were delaying marriage, just like we are. Yet in our culture of shallow marriages and easy divorce, marrying simply for the lure of sex is not what Paul had in mind. He reminded the Corinthians—and us—of the only two callings for believers in this matter: a season or lifetime of singleness, or marriage. In other words, our freedom to serve as singles or our submission as married people is never intended to be about us. It's about God. While I certainly understand the biological urge to mate, we need to remind young adults that values like generosity, courage, dependability, compassion, and godliness live on far longer than do high testosterone and estrogen levels. Simply put, family and friends ought to do their best to help young couples discern whether there is more to their love than sexual desire.
(5) Unrealistic expectations: Today's young adults show tremendous optimism about their own personal futures, leading many to sense they are entitled to a great marriage that will commence according to plan, on their timetable. Unfortunately, marital life often ends up looking different from what they had anticipated. Marriage is a remarkable institution in many ways, but it cannot bear all of the unrealistic expectations that we moderns have heaped upon it.
So enough of the honeymoon banter: insiders know that a good marriage is hard work, and that its challenges often begin immediately. The abstinence industry perpetuates a blissful myth; too much is made of the explosively rewarding marital sex life awaiting abstainers. The fact is that God makes no promises of great sex to those who wait. Some experience difficult marriages. Spouses wander. Others cannot conceive children.
In reality, spouses learn marriage, just like they learn communication, child-rearing, or making love. Unfortunately, education about marriage is now sadly perceived as self-obvious, juvenile, or feminine, the domain of disparaged home economics courses. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In sum, Christians need to get real about marriage: it's a covenant helpmate thing that suffers from too much idealism and too little realism.Weddings may be beautiful, but marriages become beautiful. Personal storytelling and testimonies can work wonders here, since so much about life is learned behavior. Young adults want to know that it's possible for two fellow believers to stay happy together for a lifetime, and they need to hear how the generations preceding them did it.
Enduring Gospel Witness
Abstinence is not to blame for our marital crisis. But promoting it has come at a cost in a permissive world in which we are increasingly postponing marriage. While I am no fan of the demographic realities I outlined earlier, one thing I will remember is that while sex matters, marriage matters more. The importance of Christian marriage as a symbol of God's covenantal faithfulness to his people—and a witness to the future union of Christ and his bride—will only grow in significance as the wider Western culture diminishes both the meaning and actual practice of marriage. Marriage itself will become a witness to the gospel.
Romantic relationship formation is what I study. I've spoken with hundreds of young adults about not only what they think or hope for, but also what they actually do. Time and again, I've listened to Christian undergraduates recount to me how their relationships turned sexual. One thing I never ask them is why. I know why. Because sex feels great, it feels connectional, it feels deeply human. I never blame them for wanting that. Sex is intended to deepen personal relationships, and desire for it is intended to promote marriage. Such are the impulses of many young Christians in love. In an environment where parents and peers are encouraging them to delay thoughts of marriage, I'm not surprised that their sexuality remains difficult to suppress and the source of considerable angst. We would do well to recognize some of these relationships for what they are: marriages in the making. If a young couple displays maturity, faith, fidelity, a commitment to understanding marriage as a covenant, and a sense of realism about marriage, then it's our duty—indeed, our pleasure—to help them expedite the part of marriage that involves public recognition and celebration of what God is already knitting together. We ought to "rejoice and delight" in them, and praise their love (Song of Sol. 1:4).
Mark Regnerus, Ph.D., is the author of Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford, 2007). He's an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Austin, where he lives with his wife, Deeann, and their three children. Download a companion Bible study for this article at ChristianityTodayStore.com.
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Forbidden Fruit is available at ChristianBook.com and other book retailers.
This story was posted with "Restless, Reformed, and Single." Christianity Today will also post three responses to "The Case for Early Marriage" on Monday.
Previous Christianity Today articles about singleness, chastity, or marriage include:
My Top Five Books on Marriage | By Charles W. Tackett, CEO of PursuingHeart.com (May 7, 2009)
Choosing Celibacy | How to stop thinking of singleness as a problem. (September 12, 2008)
Practicing Chastity | A lifelong spiritual discipline for singles and marrieds. Lauren F. Winner reviews Dawn Eden's The Thrill of the Chaste. (March 15, 2007)
30 and Single? It's Your Own Fault | There are more unmarried people in our congregations than ever, and some say that's just sinful. (June 21, 2006)
Sex in the Body of Christ | Chastity is a spiritual discipline for the whole church. (May 13, 2005)
Reflections: Sex, Love, and Marriage | Quotations to stir the heart and mind (February 1, 2003)
The Development of the Divine Plan(하나님의 신성한 계획의 발전 단계)
The Development of the Divine Plan
reprinted from \"Joy cometh in the Morning\"
published by the Chicago Bible Students
Since God tells us that He has a definitely fixed purpose, and that all His purposes shall be accomplished, it behooves us, as His children, to inquire diligently what those plans are, that we may be found in harmony with them. Notice how emphatically Jehovah affirms the fixedness of His purpose: \"Jehovah of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it be.\" \"The Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?\" \"I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me . . . My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure . . . Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.\" (Isa 14:24-27; 46:9-11.) However haphazard or mysterious God\'s dealings with men may appear, those who believe this testimony of His Word must acknowledge that His original and unalterable plan has been, and still is, progressing systematically to completion.
Therefore, as interested sons of God, and heirs of a promised inheritance, we apply to our Father\'s Word, that we may understand His purposes from the plans and specifications therein given. There we learn that the plan of God, with reference to man, spans three great periods of time, beginning with man\'s creation and reaching into the illimitable future. Peter and Paul designate these periods \"three worlds.\"
These three great epochs represent three distinct manifestations of Divine Providence. The first, from creation to the flood, was under the ministration of angels, and is called by Peter \"THE WORLD THAT WAS.\" —2 Pet. 3:6.
The second great epoch, from the flood to the establishment of the kingdom of God, is under the limited control of Satan, \"the prince of this world,\" and is therefore called \"THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD.\" —Gal. 1:4; 2 Pet. 3:7.
The third is to be a \"world without end\" (Isa. 45:17) under divine administration, the kingdom of God, and is called \"THE WORLD TO COME-wherein dwelleth righteousness.\" —Heb. 2:5; 2 Pet. 3:13.
The first of these periods or \"worlds,\" under the ministration of angels, was a failure; the second, under the rule of Satan, the usurper, has been indeed an \"evil world\"; but the third will be an era of righteousness and of blessing to all the families of the earth.
The last two of these \"worlds\" are most particularly mentioned, and the statements relative to them are in strong contrast. The present, or second period, is called \"the present evil world,\" not because there is nothing good in it, but because in it evil is permitted to predominate. \"Now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.\" (Mal. 3:15.) The third world or epoch is mentioned as \"THE WORLD TO COME—wherein dwelleth righteousness,\" not because there will be no evil in it, but because evil will not predominate. The blotting out of evil will be gradual, requiring all of the first thousand years. Evil will not rule then; it will not prosper; it will no longer be the wicked that will flourish; but \"the righteous shall flourish\" (Psa. 72:7), the \"obedient shall eat the good of the land\" (Isa. 1:19), and the \"evildoers shall be cut off.\" —Psa. 37:9.
Thus seen, the next dispensation is to be so dissimilar as to be the very reverse of the present one in almost every particular. Our Lord\'s words show why there is to be a difference between the present and the future dispensations. It is because He will be the Prince or Ruler of the world to come, that in it righteousness and truth will prosper; while, because Satan is the prince (ruler) of the present evil world, evil prospers and the wicked flourish. It is because, as Jesus said, the prince of this world \"hath nothing in Me\"-and consequently no interest in His followers except to oppose, tempt, annoy and buffet them (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 12:7)-that in this present evil world or epoch, whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, while the wicked flourish like a green bay tree. —2 Tim. 3:12; Psa. 37:35.
Jesus said, \"My kingdom is not of this world,\" and until the era or \"world to come\" does come, Christ\'s kingdom will not control the earth. And for this we are taught to hope and pray, \"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth.\" Satan is the .ruler of the darkness of this world,\" and therefore \"darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.\" He now rules and works in the hearts of the children of disobedience. —Eph. 2:2; 6:12.
There must be some very important part of the great Architect\'s plan for man\'s salvation not yet fully developed-else the new Prince and the new dispensation would have been long ago introduced. Why it was postponed for an appointed time, and also the manner of the change from the present dominion of evil under Satan to that of righteousness under Christ, are points of interest which will be more fully shown hereafter. Suffice it now to say, that the kingdoms of this world, now subject to Satan, are at the proper time to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. (Rev. 11:15.) The context shows that the transfer will be accomplished by a general time of trouble. In reference to it Jesus said, \"No man can enter into a strong man\'s house and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house.\" (Mark 3:22-27.) Thus we are taught that Satan must first be bound, restrained and deposed, before Christ\'s reign of righteousness and peace can be established. This binding of Satan is accordingly shown to be the first work of the new dispensation.-Rev. 20:2.
It should be remembered that this earth is the basis of all these \"worlds\" and dispensations, and that though ages pass and dispensations change, still the earth continues-\"The earth abideth forever.\" (Eccl. 1:4.) Carrying out the same figure, Peter calls each of these periods a separate heavens and earth. Here the word heavens symbolizes the higher or spiritual controlling powers, and earth symbolizes human government and social arrangements. Thus the first heavens and earth, or the order and arrangement of things then existing, having served their purpose, ended at the flood. But the physical heavens (sky and atmosphere), and the physical earth, did not pass away: they remained. So likewise the present world (heavens and earth) will pass away with a great noise, fire and melting—confusion, trouble and dissolution. The strong man (Satan), being bound, will struggle to regain his power. The present order or arrangement of government and society, not that of the physical sky and earth, will pass away. The present heavens (powers of spiritual control) must give place to the \"new heavens\"—Christ\'s spiritual control. The present earth (human society as now organized under Satan\'s control) must (symbolically) melt and be dissolved, in the beginning of the \"Day of the Lord,\" which \"shall burn as an oven.\" (Mal. 4:1.) It will be succeeded by \"a new earth,\" i.e., society reorganized in harmony with earth\'s new Prince-Christ. Righteousness, peace and love will rule among men when present arrangements have given place to the new and better kingdom, the basis of which will be the strictest justice.
Paul was given a glimpse of the next dispensation, or, as he calls it, \"the world to come.\" He says he was \"caught away\" (physically or mentally, or both, he could not tell, things were so real to his view) down the stream of time to the new condition of things, the \"new heaven,\" hence the \"third heaven.\" He thus saw things as they will be under the spiritual control of Christ, things which he might not disclose. (2 Cor. 12:2-4.) Doubtless these were the same things which John afterward saw, and was permitted to express to the Church in symbols, which may only be understood as they become due. John, in the revelation given to him by our Lord on the Isle of Patmos, was in vision carried down through this Christian age and its changing scenes of church and state, to the end of the present evil world, or epoch, and there in prophetic visions he saw Satan bound, Christ reigning, and the new heaven and the new earth established; for the former heaven and earth were passed away. —Rev. 2 1: 1.
The Kindly Yoke(친절한 멍에)
The Kindly Yoke
\"Come to Me, all ye labouring and burdened, and I will refresh you.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find your souls refreshed; My yoke is kindly and My burden light.\"
– Matt. 11:28-30 James Moffatt Translation
THERE COULD hardly be a more appealing invitation to Christian discipleship than the one presented above. Jesus Christ is inviting us to enter into a most rewarding relationship with Himself It is clear that the \'yoke\' of discipleship was never intended to be an oppressive thing. Rather, it was to be one of \'refreshment\' in the service of Him who is \"gentle and humble in heart.\" The \'burden that one thus assumes is spoken of as \'light\' and set in contrast to the burdensome condition in which most find themselves.
Regardless of our circumstances, there is an area in which all mankind can be spoken of as \'laboring and burdened’, and that is in the matter of sin. Young or old, rich or poor, we are all held firmly in the grip of\' sin. Sin is a great equalizer. As the Scriptures say, \"There is none righteous.\" – Romans 3: 10
There are those who take issue with this precept, however. They view themselves as relatively good and resent the label of\' sinner\'. This resentment stems from a misunderstanding of what sin is. The basic meaning of the Greek hamartia, translated sin, is \"a missing of the mark.\" (Expository Dictionary of N. T Words – Vine) The Bible explains that our parents Adam and Eve were created free of sin, but they became sinners when they disobeyed God. It was only after they entered into the state of sin and were condemned to death that they began to bring forth children. Thus the life they imparted to their children was dying life with inbred sinfulness. Because they had \'missed the mark’ of God\'s righteousness set for them, they could only generate a quality of life that fell short of God\'s standard. For this reason, all their descendants \"come short of the glory of God.\" – Gen. 3:1-20, Rom. 3:23
A Ray of Hope
These events that changed the human condition are documented in Gen. 3 and expanded upon throughout the remainder of the Bible. By sinning, Adam and Eve not only lost their precious relationship with God as children made in His image, but also they lost it for their offspring. The sin of a sinner overpowers that person’s merit or character as an individual. Even the most noble of the procreated children of Adam suffer the consequences of his wilfullness. Note how the Apostle described this in Rom. 5:12: \"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.\" – NIV
Were it not for God’s intervention in this matter, mankind would remain forever subject to sin and death. But God offered hope when He promised the coming of a \"seed\" that would \"crush completely\" the serpent, Satan (Gen. 3:15, Rom. 16:20, Rev. 20:10). Deliverance from bondage to sin had to wait the coming of the One appointed by God to accomplish this crushing. Godly men and women of former times looked for and patiently awaited the One anointed of God. Until His arrival, the details of His life could not be completely understood. The promises of God began to come into focus with the birth of Jesus Christ. His coming brought light and understanding upon that which previously had been only dimly perceived. He proved to be the \"light of the world\" and the One who would give His own righteous life to atone for the sin of Adam and for our sins (John 8:12, Matt. 20:28). The Apostle Paul explained in Rom. 5:18,19 how the sacrificed life of Jesus affected the tragic results of Adam\"s disobedience. \"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.\" - NIV
Though Jesus Christ died unmarried and childless, He is the \"last Adarm\" or father of all of the human family who believe (I Cor. 15:45). The life that He offered to God on behalf of mankind was no ordinary one. He was originally with God in heaven and through Him were all things created (John 1:1, Col. 1:15-17). He willingly divested Himself of His heavenly glory with His Father, and was born of the Jewish virgin, Mary (Luke 1: 26-35). This miraculous act of God enabled Jesus to be born without any taint of Adamic sin and condemnation. He lived a life of faithfulness despite repeated temptations and attacks by Satan to compromise His integrity (Luke 4:1-13). It was this obedient sin-free life that He offered in sacrifice as \"the lamb of God\" (John 1-29). God accepted His sinless offering as a propitiatory sacrifice covering over the indebtedness of Adam’s sin which brought upon him and all men alienation from God, condemnation, and death. – Heb. 2:17
The Son a Heavenly Priest
God resurrected this holy One and exalted Him to heaven, from which place at God\'s right hand He administers the benefits of His sacrifice. He is a priest of God on behalf of all who come unto God through Him (Acts 2:22-36, Heb. 2:17, 6:20-7:1). The apostle wrote in J’ohn 3:16,17 that Gods gift of His Son for the life of the world was prompted by love. \"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.\" - NIV
This gift was a costly one for both the Father and the Son. The Father surrendered His Son to the wrath of those who hated Him. The very ones to whom the Son willingly submitted for humiliation, reproach, and unjust treatment were of those whom Jesus was sent to save. And just as we enter into the pain and suffering of those we love, so the Father entered into the pain and suffering of His beloved Son. It is good for us to reflect on this Divine love. Only when we come to appreciate Gods love for us can we gratefully respond in kind. Love begets love; and God\'s love for us begets love for Him and His children. \"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. We love Him, because He first loved us.\" – 1 John 4,10,11,19
Redemption, Justification, Regeneration
It is important to understand how we appropriate God\'s gracious gift of forgiveness of sin and justification to life. The simple means by which we gain this reconciliation with Him is by believing – having faith in God\'s promise of reconciliation. There is no work by which we can be declared righteous except the work of faith. \"This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent\" (John 6:29). The apostle Paul is similarly emphatic in Romans 3:22,24: \"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.\" – NIV
During His earthly ministry Jesus declared the good news, the gospel of salvation through faith. And following His death and resurrection, He commissioned His followers to be His witnesses \"to the ends of the earth\" (Acts 1:8). His disciples soon came to be called Christians, and new believers were baptized in His name (Acts 11:26, 26:28, 2:38). just as Jesus warmly invited those to whom He preached to come to Him, so His disciples have urged people to come to Jesus and accept the kindly yoke of discipleship. They are nurtured and nourished for everlasting life through His teachings. In John 6:35,40 Jesus identified Himself. \"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.. For My Father\'s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day.\" – NIV
Repentance and Heart Baptism Essential
It is through our faith in Jesus Christ as the Father\'s means of salvation that we become \"born of God\" (I John 5: 1). We need not be confused by the phrase \"born again.\" It simply means that a regeneration has taken place in our lives due to faith in Jesus Christ. Once a person sees himself as God sees him and realizes that he needs redemption from sin and death, he experiences a conviction of sin and a desire to be cleansed, to turn away from what is bad. This change of heart is called repentance, and is a prerequisite to baptism (Acts 2:38). Those who voluntarily undertake the process of the baptism of their wills into the will of God are promised the gift of God\'s Holy Spirit. Without this spiritual re-birth one cannot enter the kingdom of God. The words of Jesus on this are in John 3:3,5: \"I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God .... born of water and the Spirit...\" – NIV
Those who accept the \'yoke\' of discipleship and the \'burden’; of responsibility as Christians will never be overburdened. Christians are not under law but under grace and privilege (Rom. 6:14). The basic motivation for all works of faith is love; and a labor of love is not burdensome. If our hearts are full of\' love for God and man we will not do those things that are unloving (Rom. 13:8-10). We need, therefore, to grow in love. To this end we need to give attention to the Bible as a source of invaluable counsel and insight. Association with other believers is important to the necessary cultivation of affection for the family of God.
In our walk of faith we are comforted by the hope of everlasting life which God has promised. We can be sure that the one who invited us to shoulder the \'kindly\' yoke will never abandon us. He is alive to plead for us before the throne of God (Heb. 7:2 5, 1 John 2:1,2). When only two or three of His followers meet together He promises to be in their midst (Matt, 18:20). As we learn from Him and live as He would have us live, we will experience joy and satisfaction. To be sure, there will be difficulties, but they will be seen, when rightly viewed, as challenges to our life of faith. Everlasting life awaits those who accept His invitation to discipleship and continue to worship God in spirit through the truths regarding His Son. John 4:24,25
Consider now His loving invitation if you have not already learned
The Permission of Evil(악마의 허가)
The Permission of Evil
\"Joy cometh in the Morning\"
by the Chicago Bible Students
Evil is that which produces unhappiness; anything which either directly or remotely causes suffering of any kind.—Webster. This subject, therefore, not only inquires regarding human ailments, sorrows, pains, weaknesses and death, but goes back of all these to consider their primary cause-sin-and its remedy. Since sin is the cause of evil, its removal is the only method of permanently curing the malady.
No difficulty, perhaps, more frequently presents itself to the inquiring mind than the questions, Why did God permit the present reign of evil? Why did He permit Satan to present the temptation to our first parents, after having created them perfect and upright? Or why did He allow the forbidden tree to have a place among the good? Despite all attempts to turn it aside, the question will obtrude itself—could not God have prevented all possibility of man\'s fall?
The difficulty undoubtedly arises from a failure to comprehend the plan of God. God could have prevented the entrance of sin, but the fact He did not should be sufficient proof to us that its present permission is designed ultimately to work out some greater good. God\'s plans, seen in their completeness, will prove the wisdom of the course pursued. Some inquire, Could not God, with whom all things are possible, have interfered in season to prevent the full accomplishment of Satan\'s design? Doubtless He could; but such interference would have prevented the accomplishment of His own purposes. His purpose was to make manifest the perfection, majesty and righteous authority of His law, and to prove both to men and to angels the evil consequences resulting from its violation. Besides, in their very nature, some things are impossible even with God, as the Scriptures state. It is \"impossible for God to lie\" (Heb. 6:18). \"He cannot deny Himself\" (2 Tim. 2:13.) He cannot do wrong, and therefore He could not choose any but the wisest and best plan for introducing His creatures into life, even though our shortsighted vision might for a time fail to discern the hidden springs of infinite wisdom.
The Scriptures declare that all things were created for the Lord\'s pleasure (Rev. 4:11) —without doubt, for the pleasure of dispensing His blessings, and of exercising the attributes of His glorious being. And though, in the working out of His benevolent designs, He permits evil and evil doers for a time to play an active part, yet it is not for evil\'s sake, nor because He is in league with sin; for He declares that He is \"not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness.\" (Psa. 5:4.) Though opposed to evil in every sense, God permits (i.e., does not hinder) it for a time, because His wisdom sees a way in which it may be made a lasting and valuable lesson to His creatures.
It is a self-evident truth that for every right principle there is a corresponding wrong principle; as, for instance, truth and falsity, love and hatred, justice and injustice. We distinguish these opposite principles as right and wrong, by their effects when put in action. That principle the result of which, when active, is beneficial and productive of ultimate order, harmony and happiness, we call a right principle; and the opposite, which is productive of discord, unhappiness and destruction, we call a wrong principle. The results of these principles in action we call good and evil; and the intelligent being, capable of discerning the right principle from the wrong, and voluntarily governed by the one or the other, we call virtuous or sinful.
This faculty of discerning between right and wrong principles is called the moral sense, or conscience. It is by this moral sense which God has given to man that we are able to judge of God and to recognize that He is good. It is to this moral sense that God always appeals to prove His righteousness or justice; and by the same moral sense Adam could discern sin, or unrighteousness, to be evil, even before he knew all its consequences. The lower orders of God\'s creatures are not endowed with this moral sense. A dog has some intelligence, but not to this degree, though he may learn that certain actions bring the approval and reward of his master, and certain others his disapproval. He might steal or take life, but would not be termed a sinner; or he might protect property and life, but would not be called virtuous-because he is ignorant of the moral quality of his actions.
God could have made mankind devoid of ability to discern between right and wrong, or able only to discern and to do right; but to have made him so would have been to make merely a living machine, and certainly not a mental image of His Creator. Or He might have made man perfect and a free agent, as He did, and have guarded him from Satan\'s temptation. In that case, man\'s experience being limited to good, he would have been continually liable to suggestions of evil from without, or to ambitions from within, which would have made the everlasting future uncertain, and an outbreak of disobedience and disorder might always have been a possibility besides which, good would never have been so highly appreciated except by its contrast with evil.
God first made His creatures acquainted with good, surrounding them with it in Eden; and afterward, as a penalty for disobedience, He gave them a severe knowledge of evil. Expelled from Eden and deprived of fellowship with Himself, God let them experience sickness, pain and death, that they might thus forever know evil and the inexpediency and exceeding sinfulness of sin.
By a comparison of results they came to an appreciation and proper estimate of both; \"And the Lord said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.\" (Gen. 3:22.) In this their posterity share, except that they first obtain their knowledge of evil, and cannot fully realize what good is until they experience it in the Millennium, as a result of their redemption by Him who will then be their Judge and King.
The moral sense, or judgment of right and wrong, and the liberty to use it, which Adam possessed, were important features of his likeness to God. The law of right and wrong was written in his natural constitution. It was part of his nature, just as it is a part of the divine nature. But let us not forget that this image or likeness of God, this originally law-inscribed nature of man, has lost much of its clear outline through the erasing, degrading influence of sin; hence it is not now what it was in the first man. Ability to love implies ability to hate; hence we may reason that the Creator could not make man in His own likeness, with power to love and to do right, without the corresponding ability to hate and to do wrong. This liberty of choice, termed free moral agency, or free will, is a part of man\'s original endowment; and this, together with the full measure of his mental and moral faculties, constituted him an image of his Creator. Today, after six thousand years of degradation, so much of the original likeness has been erased by sin that we are not free, being bound, to a greater or less extent, by sin and its entailments, so that sin is now more easy and therefore more agreeable to the fallen race than is righteousness.
That God could have given Adam such a vivid impression of the many evil results of sin as would have deterred him from it, we need not question, but we believe that God foresaw that an actual experience of the evil would be the surest and most lasting lesson to serve man eternally; and for that reason God did not prevent but permitted man to take his choice, and to feel the consequences of evil. Had opportunity to sin never been permitted, man could not have resisted it, consequently there would have been neither virtue nor merit in his right-doing. God seeketh such to worship Him as worship in spirit and in truth. He desires intelligent and willing obedience rather than ignorant mechanical service. He already had in operation inanimate mechanical agencies accomplishing His will, but His design was to make a nobler thing, an intelligent creature in His own likeness, a lord for earth, whose loyalty and righteousness would be based upon an appreciation of right and wrong, of good and evil.
The principles of right and wrong, as principles, have always existed, and must always exist; and all perfect, intelligent creatures in God\'s likeness must be free to choose either, though the right principle only will forever continue to be active. The Scriptures inform us that when the activity of the evil principle has been permitted long enough to accomplish God\'s purpose, it will forever cease to be active, and that all who continue to submit to its control shall forever cease to exist. (1 Cor. 15:25, 26; Heb. 2:14.) Right-doing and right-doers, only, shall continue forever.
God not only foresaw that, having given man freedom of choice, he would, through lack of full appreciation of sin and its results, accept it, but He also saw that, becoming acquainted with it, he would still choose it, because that acquaintance would so impair his moral nature that evil would gradually become more agreeable and more desirable to him than good. Still, God designed to permit evil, because, having the remedy provided for man\'s release from its consequences, He saw that the result would be to lead him, through experience, to a full appreciation of \"the exceeding sinfulness of sin\" and of the matchless brilliancy of virtue in contrast with it-thus teaching him the more to love and honor his Creator, who is the source and fountain of all goodness, and forever to shun that which brought so much woe and misery. So the final result will be greater love for God, and greater hatred of all that is opposed to His will, and consequently the firm establishment in everlasting righteousness of all such as shall profit by the lessons God is now teaching through the permission of sin and correlative evils. However, a wide distinction should be observed between the indisputable fact that God has permitted sin, and the serious error of some which charges God with being the author and instigator of sin. The latter view is both blasphemous and contradictory to the facts presented in the Scriptures. Those who fall into this error generally do so in an attempt to find another plan of salvation than that which God has provided through the sacrifice of Christ as our ransom-price. If they succeed in convincing themselves and others that God is responsible for all sin and wickedness and crime, and that man as an innocent tool in His hands was forced into sin, then they have cleared the way for the theory that not a sacrifice for our sins, nor mercy in any form, was needed, but simply and only JUSTICE. Thus, too, they lay a foundation for another part of their false theory, viz., universalism, claiming that as God caused all the sin and wickedness and crime in all, He will also cause the deliverance of all mankind from sin and death. And reasoning that God willed and caused the sin, and that none could resist Him, so they claim that when He shall will righteousness all will likewise be powerless to resist Him. But in all such reasoning, man\'s noblest quality, liberty of will or choice, the most striking feature of his likeness to his Creator, is entirely set aside; and man is theoretically degraded to a mere machine which acts only as it is acted upon. If this were the case, man, instead of being the lord of earth, would be inferior even to insects; for they undoubtedly have a will or power of choice. Even the little ant has been given a power of will which man, though by his greater power he may oppose and thwart, cannot destroy.
Many have imbibed the erroneous idea that God placed our race on trial for life with the alternative of eternal torture, whereas nothing of the kind is even hinted at in the penalty. The favor or blessing of God to His obedient children is continuous life-free from pain, sickness and every other element of decay and death. Adam was given this blessing in the full measure, but was warned that he would be deprived of this \"gift\" if he failed to render obedience to God-\"In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying, thou shalt die.\" He knew nothing of a life in torment, as the penalty of sin. Life everlasting is nowhere promised to any but the obedient. Life is God\'s gift, and death, the opposite of life, is the penalty He prescribes.
God assures us that as condemnation passed upon all in Adam, so He has arranged for a new head, father or life-giver for the race, into whom all may he transferred by faith; and that as all in Adam shared the curse of death, so all in Christ will share the blessing of life, being justified by faith in His blood. (Rom. 5:12, 18, 19.) Thus seen, the death of Jesus, the undefiled, the sinless one, was a complete settlement toward God of the sin of Adam. As one man had sinned, and all in him had shared his curse, his penalty, so Jesus, having paid the penalty of that one sinner, bought not only Adam, but all of his posterity-all men-who by heredity shared his weaknesses and sins and the penalty of these-death. Our Lord, \"the man Christ Jesus,\" Himself unblemished, approved, and with a perfect seed or race in him, unborn, likewise untainted with sin, gave His all of human life and title as the full ransom-price for Adam and the race or seed in him when sentenced.
And thus it is written: \"As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive.\" Corrected translation, 1 Cor. 15:22.
Those who can appreciate this feature of God\'s plan, which, by condemning all in one representative, opened the way for the ransom and restitution of all by one Redeemer, will find in it the solution of many perplexities. They will see that the condemnation of all in one was the reverse of an injury: it was a great favor to all when taken in connection with God\'s plan for providing justification for all through another one\'s sacrifice. Evil will be forever extinguished when God\'s purpose in permitting it shall have been accomplished, and when the benefits of the ransom are made co-extensive with the penalty of sin. It is impossible, however, to appreciate rightly this feature of the plan of God without a full recognition of the sinfulness of sin, the nature of its penalty—death, the importance and value of the ransom which our Lord Jesus gave, and the positive and complete restoration of the individual to favorable conditions, conditions under which he will have full and ample trial, before being adjudged worthy of the reward (lasting life), or of the penalty (lasting death).
In view of the great plan of redemption, and the consequent \"restitution of all things,\" through Christ, we can see that blessings result through the permission of evil which, probably, could not otherwise have been so fully realized.
It seems clear that substantially the same law of God which is now over mankind, obedience to which has the reward of life, and disobedience the reward of death, must ultimately govern all of God\'s intelligent creatures; and that law, as our Lord defined it, is briefly comprehended in the one word, Love. \"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.\" (Luke 10:27.) Ultimately, when the purposes of God shall have been accomplished, the glory of the divine character will be manifest to all intelligent creatures, and the temporary permission of evil will be seen by all to have been a wise feature in the divine policy. Now, this can be seen only by the eye of faith looking onward through God\'s Word at the things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began—the restitution of all things.
Three Gifts for Hard Times
Three Gifts for Hard Times
What I've learned as life has taken a turn for what most people think is the worst.
William J. Stuntz | posted 8/28/2009 09:36AM
Survivors of some horrible plague or battle often find themselves wracked with guilt: Why did I live while so many died? Though I had no battle scars, I used to feel a similar sense of guilt. I married the only woman I've ever loved. We have three terrific children. I have a secure job that I love and that pays well. Sometimes I would ask God: Why have you been so kind to me? Why have I gotten such an easy life?
I don't ask those questions anymore.
A little over nine years ago, while driving home from a family vacation, my car got a flat tire. When I started to change it, something nasty happened at the base of my back. Ever since, my lower back and the top half of my right leg have hurt. After two operations, dozens of injections, physical therapy, psychotherapy, and thousands of pills, my back and right leg hurt every waking moment, and most of those moments, they hurt a lot. Living with chronic pain is like having an alarm clock taped to your ear with the volume turned up—and you can't turn it down. You can't run from it; the pain goes where you go and stays where you stay. Chronic pain is the unwelcome guest who will not leave when the party is over.
A few months after my back turned south, my family and I moved when I accepted a job at Harvard Law School. Our family began to unravel. One of our children suffered a life-threatening disease, and my marriage fell apart.
Those crises faded with time but left deep scars. Early last year, in February 2008, another piece of bad news struck me: Doctors found a large tumor in my colon; a month later, films turned up tumors in both of my lungs. In the past year, I've had two cancer surgeries and six months of intensive chemotherapy. I've been off chemo for a few months, but I'm still nauseous much of the time and exhausted most of the time. Cancer kills, but cancer treatment takes a large bite out of one's pre-diseased life, as though one were dying in stages. Some of that stolen life returns when the treatment stops. But only some.
Today, my back and especially my right leg hurt as much as they ever have, and the odds are overwhelming that they will hurt for as long as this life lasts. Cancer will very probably kill me within the next two years. I'm 50 years old.
Such stories are common, yet widely misunderstood. Two misunderstandings are worth noting here. First, illness does not beget virtue. Cancer and chronic pain make me sick; they don't make me good. I am who I was, only more diseased. Second, though I deserve every bad thing that has ever happened to me, those things didn't happen because I deserve them. Life in a fallen world is more arbitrary than that. Plenty of people deserve better from life than I do, but get much worse. Some deserve worse and get much better. Something important follows: The question we are most prone to ask when hardship strikes—why me?—makes no sense. That question presupposes that pain, disease, and death are distributed according to moral merit. They aren't. We live in a world in which innocent children starve while moral monsters prosper. We may see justice in the next life, but we see little of it in this one.
Thankfully, God gives better and more surprising gifts to those living in hard times. Three gifts are especially sweet.
First, God usually doesn't remove life's curses. Instead, he redeems them.
Joseph's story makes this point. Joseph was victimized by two horrible injustices: one at the hands of his brothers who sold him into slavery, the other thanks to Potiphar's wife, who falsely accused him of attempted rape. God did not undo these injustices; they remained real and awful. Instead, God used those wrongs to prevent a much worse one: mass starvation. When Joseph later met with his brothers, he said this about the transaction that started the train rolling: "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." That doesn't mean that slavery and unjust imprisonment are good; rather, the point is that they produced good, and the good they produced was larger than the wickedness that was visited upon Joseph. Evil was twisted back on itself, like a gun barrel turned so that it aims at the would-be murderer firing the weapon.
Joseph's story foreshadows the central story of the Gospels. The worst day in human history was the day of Christ's crucifixion, which saw the worst possible punishment inflicted on the One who, in all history, least deserved it. Two more sunrises and the Son rose: the best day in human history, the day God turned death itself against itself—and because he did so, each one of us has the opportunity to share in death's defeat.
That is our God's trademark. Down to go up, life from death, beauty from ugliness: the pattern is everywhere.
That is our God's trademark. Down to go up, life from death, beauty from ugliness: the pattern is everywhere.That familiar pattern is also a great gift to those who suffer disease and loss—the loss may remain, but good will come from it, and the good will be larger than the suffering it redeems. Our pain is not empty; we do not suffer in vain. When life strikes hard blows, what we do has value. Our God sees it.
A change in suffering's character
The second gift is often missed, because it lives in salvation's shadow. Amazing as the greatest of all gifts is, God the Son does more than save sinners. Jesus' life and death also change the character of suffering, give it dignity and weight and even, sometimes, a measure of beauty. Cancer and chronic pain remain ugly things, but the enterprise of living with them is not an ugly thing. God's Son so decreed it when he gave himself up to torture and death.
Two facts give rise to that conclusion. First, Jesus is beautiful as well as good. Second, suffering is ugly as well as painful. Talk to those who suffer medical conditions like mine and you'll hear this refrain: Even the best-hidden forms of pain and disease have a reality that is almost tactile, as though one could touch or taste them. And those conditions are foul, like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard or the smell of a cornered skunk. Some days, I feel as if I were wearing clothes soaked in sewage.
Some days—but not most days, thanks to the manner of Jesus' life and death. Imagine Barack Obama putting on a bad suit or Angelina Jolie wearing an ugly dress. The suit wouldn't look bad, and that dress wouldn't be ugly. These are incredibly attractive people whose attractiveness spills over onto their clothing, changing its meaning and the way other people respond to it. If Obama or Jolie wear it, it's a good-looking outfit. If they wear it often enough, it becomes a good-looking outfit even when you or I wear it. God's Son did something similar by taking physical pain on his divine yet still-human person. He did not render pain itself beautiful. But his suffering made the enterprise of living with pain and illness larger and better than it had been before. He elevates all he touches. Just as his years of carpentry in Joseph's shop lend dignity and value to all honest work, so too the pain he bore lends dignity and value to every pain-filled day human beings live.
The Shawshank Redemption is about a prisoner convicted of a murder he didn't commit. That prisoner escapes by crawling through a sewer line until he's outside the prison's walls. The narrator describes the transaction this way: "He crawled through a river of [dung] and came out clean on the other side." God the Son did that, and he did it for the likes of me—so that I, too, and many more like me, might come out clean on the other side. That truth doesn't just change my life after I die. It changes my life here, now.
The God Who Remembers
The third gift is the most remarkable. Our God remembers even his most forgettable children. But that memory is not the dry, lifeless thing we feel when one or another old friend comes to mind. More like the passion one feels at the sight of a lover. When Jesus was dying, one of the two convicts crucified with him said this: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Jesus responded by telling him that he would be in paradise that very day. As we use the word remember, that story sounds off, as though the thief on the cross and the Son of God were talking past each other.
The story sounds off because to us, remembrance merely means "recall"—I remember when I connect a student's name to her face, or when I can summon up some fact or the image of some past event. That kind of remembrance is a sterile enterprise, lacking both action and commitment.
In the Bible, remembrance usually combines two meanings: first, holding the one who is remembered close in the heart, and second, acting on the memory. When God repeatedly tells the people of Israel to remember that he brought them out of Egypt, he is saying much more than "get your history right." A better paraphrase would go like this: "Remember that I have loved you passionately. Remember that I have acted on that love. Hold tight to that memory, and act on it too."
Job understood the concept. Speaking with God about what would follow his own death, Job utters these words: "You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin" (14:15-16). Notice how memory and longing are fused. Job longs to be free of his many pains, which occupy his mind like a sea of unwanted memories. God longs for relationship with Job, and Job knows it: hence, his belief that the Lord of the universe remembers each of his steps. He is the Lover who will not rest until his arms enfold the beloved. To Job, the curses Satan has sent his way are a mighty mountain that cannot be climbed, an enemy army that cannot be beaten. In the shadow of God's love, those curses are at once puny and powerless.
Philosophers and scientists and law professors (my line of work) are not in the best position to understand the Christian story. Musicians and painters and writers of fiction are much better situated—because the Christian story is a story, not a theory or an argument, and definitely not a moral or legal code. Our faith is, to use C. S. Lewis's apt words, the myth that became fact. Our faith is a painting so captivating that you cannot take your eyes off it. Our faith is a love song so achingly beautiful that you weep each time you hear it. At the center of that true myth, that painting, that song stands a God who does vastly more than remember his image in us. He pursues us as lovers pursue one another. It sounds too good to be true, and yet it is true. So I have found, in the midst of pain and heartache and cancer.
William J. Stuntz is the Henry J. Friendly Professor at Harvard Law School.
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Previous Christianity Today articles on suffering include:
My Top 5 Books on Loss | Nancy Guthrie, the author of Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, offers a list of new and classic titles. (August 4, 2009)
The Depression Epidemic | Why we're more down than ever—and the crucial role churches play in healing. (March 6, 2009)
Reflections: Suffering & Grief | Quotations to stir the heart and mind. (May 21, 2002)
When a Man Dies(사람이 죽을 때)
When a Man Dies
by the Dawn Bible Students Association
There are very few of the teeming millions of mankind who do not give some thought to what may be their lot when they die. Some wonder whether there is a future life. Others, believing in a future life, wonder whether it will be one of happiness or one of sorrow. The question, \"Where will I spend eternity?\" is one to which not many have found a definite and satisfying answer.
The question whether our eternal destiny is unalterably fixed at death is also of vital importance. If it is, then many questions are raised about God\'s justice and love, for millions have died who have never had a real opportunity to repent.
Many of these, by the standards of this world, are good and noble, yet they do not profess to be Christian. They are congenial as neighbors, fair in their business dealings, and are always ready to do a good turn to those in need; yet, according the standards of this to the biblical conception of Christianity, they are not good enough to go to heaven when they die. On the other hand, they are too good to be forever lost.
Also, there are many who profess Christianity who frankly admit they do not always live as they should, yet they are not what we would call wicked people. What about these? There is a story of one such whose name was Jack Dawson. Jack, it seems, dreamed that he died and appeared before the judge of all. Questioned as to his standing in the church, he could answer with assurance. Furthermore, he had enjoyed the study of the Bible. But it seems that when he got excited he did not always control his language as he should, and in his dream it seemed that this was to debar him from heaven. According to the story, Jack awakened from his dream screaming, \"Don’t send me to hell!\"
Of course this is only a story and, according to the Scriptures, not in keeping with the actual experiences of those who die. But it illustrates the fact that there are millions of people whose status in the future life is to them uncertain. Besides, there are the millions who have died without even hearing the name of Jesus, the only name given under heaven or among men by which anyone can be saved. What about these? It is fitting that both believers and unbelievers ponder well this subject of the hereafter, for it is an issue which ultimately must be faced. Eventually the Grim Reaper gets around to all of us.
In our present examination we will appeal directly to the Bible. Is there any scriptural authority for Jack Dawson’s fear of being sent to hell to be tortured forever by fireproof demons? When we examine the inspired records, this is what we find:
In the Old Testament (King James Protestant translation) the English word \"hell\" appears 31 times. It is a translation of the Hebrew word sheol. In addition to the 31 times this word is translated \"hell,\" it appears 31 times where it is translated \"grave\" and three times where it is translated \"pit\" It should be apparent to all that this Hebrew word must mean the same when translated by the English words grave and pit as when it is translated by the English word hell.
That the scholars who translated the Standard American Edition of the Bible recognized this fact is evidenced by their criticism of the English revisers, expressed in the preface to the American edition. We quote: \"The uniform substitution of sheol for grave, pit, and hell in the place where these terms have been retained by the English revision has little need of justification. The English revisers use sheol twenty-nine times out of the sixty-five times it occurs in the original. No good reason has been given for such discrimination. If the term can be used at all it is clear that it ought to be used uniformly.\"
The first of God\'s servants to use the word sheol was Jacob. This holy man of old was led to believe that his beloved son Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. It was heartbreaking news. When Jacob heard it, he declared that he would continue to mourn this tragic loss until he died. He said, \"I will go down into the grave [Sheol] unto my son mourning\'Gen. 37:35
The Hebrew word translated grave in jacous expression of grief is sheol-the only word translated hell in the Old Testament. By its use Jacob expressed his expectation of going to the only hell mentioned throughout the entire period covered by the Old Testament. Moreover, Jacob indicated that to his understanding Joseph was already in this hell, and would remain there, and that Jacob would join his son when he died.
Jacob was one of God\'s faithful servants; so was Joseph. It is unthinkable to suppose that when they died they went to a place of torture such as hell is often claimed to be. Like Jack Dawson of the dream, they were both entirely too good to go to a place of torture, and yet, according to Jacob\"s own testimony, he expected to go to hell when he died. What kind of hell was it to which Jacob expected to go?
Let us not assume to know the answer to this question, but instead pursue our investigation further. The Prophet job was another godly man. The Bible tells us that he walked \"perfect\" before God. (Job 1:1) Here was a man so holy that it would seem he should be qualified to go immediately to heaven when he died. He was not only too good to go to a traditional hell of torment, but according to the record his integrity was such that ordinarily we would suppose he was worthy of going directly to heaven to be with God and the angels. But job did not expect to go to heaven!
Although Job was accounted a righteous man, God permitted much calamity and suffering to come upon him. We have all heard of the patience of job in bearing these trying experiences. (James 5:11) But on one occasion job felt that it would be better for him to die than to continue enduring the tortures of disease and the ill will of his friends and relatives, including his wife. So he asked God to let him die. In fact, he urged God to destroy him, praying, \"O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past.\"
The Hebrew word used by Job, translated \"grave\" in the prayer just quoted, was sheol, the Bible hell. Truly truth is stranger than fiction! Here was a man who already was suffering untold agony of both body and soul. His children had been destroyed. His flocks and herds were gone. His wife had turned against him, and he was covered with a loathsome skin disease. Surely he would not ask God to take him to a place where his suffering would be increased, and where there would be no hope of escape! – Job 14:13
Why did job pray to go to hell? Because he knew, being one of God’s inspired servants, that hell is a condition of quietness and of rest. Solomon, the wisest man of the Old Testament, and one of God\'s inspired writers, declares of sheol, or hell, that there is no \"device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom.\" (Eccles. 9:10) Without doubt Job knew this, hence the reason for his prayer that God let him die and go to hell.
Job was weary of suffering and he wanted it to end. He knew that in death he would find relief from suffering, not an increase of it. In death, job declares, \"the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest:\' and the dead \"hear not the voice of the oppressor.\" (Job 3:13-19) It is apparent that his understanding of hell was quite different from that held by many today.
And still another point emerges from this inspired record. While job prayed to go to hell, it was not with the expectation that he would remain there forever. In his prayer he expressed his belief that later he would be called out of it. \"O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave [sheol, hell] ... until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint a set time, and remember me! Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.\" (Job 14:13, 15) Job wanted to remain in the Bible hell only until God\'s wrath was past, and then be called back to earth again. That Job was justified in entertaining such a hope is borne out by Jesus’ promise that a time would come when \"all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth\" – John 5:28, 29
As the faithful and inspired Job viewed the matter, the traditional view of hell is wrong in at least three important aspects. 1) It is not a place where God’s wrath is visited upon the sinner, but a condition in which both sinners and saints escape the suffering that is in the world due to God\'s wrath. (2) It is a condition of unconsciousness, hence of rest, and not a place of suffering. (3) Those who go to the Bible hell do not remain there forever, as usually believed, but will return and have an opportunity of living upon the earth at a later time.
Hell to Be Destroyed
Another truth-revealing promise of God recorded in the Old Testament is that of Hosea 13:14. Here the Lord assures us of his intention to destroy hell. \"I will ransom them from the power of the grave [sheol, hell]; I will redeem them from death: 0 death, I will be thy plagues: 0 grave [sheol, hell], I will be thy destruction.
Hell, sheol, is simply the death condition. And the Apostle Paul tell us that Christ will destroy death. (I Cor. 15:26) This confirms the words of the prophet, and gives us the assurance that it is not God\'s purpose to torment nearly all the human race in hell forever. Indeed, it is not God’s purpose to torment people at all. \"God is love,\" the Bible tells us, and there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that he has prepared a hell of fire and brimstone to torture his human creatures. (I John 4:8, 16) This view traduces the good name of the Creator of the universe.
Hell in the New Testament
The New Testament records concerning hell agree with those of the Old Testament. Originally, the New Testament was written in the Greek language, and it employs three Greek words which are translated hell in our English Bibles. One of these is tartaroo, and it is found only once in the Bible. The passage in which it appears is not discussing the death state of human beings, so we will not digress from our subject to examine the meaning of this word. Another Greek word in the New Testament translated hell in our Bibles is Gehenna. And there is still another, which is hades.
The Greek word Gehenna refers to the ancient Valley of Hinnom. This valley was located just outside the city of Jerusalem, and the people used it as a place to dump the refuse and offal of the city. Fires were constantly kept burning in this valley, since it served as an incinerator. The hell fire of the New Testament is therefore actually the fire that was kept burning in this valley and used to burn garbage.
Many wondered where the hell of fire mentioned in the New Testament is located. Well, here is the answer. It was located just outside the city of Jerusalem. But of course those fires are no longer there, and Jesus knew that eventually they would die out. Jesus did not want us to believe that all wicked people of the earth were to be transported to Jerusalem when they died and cast into the fires of the literal Valley of Hinnom. He merely used this valley as an illustration of destruction – the destruction of that which was useless – for such will all be who, when given a full opportunity for everlasting salvation and life, continue willfully to oppose God and his righteous laws.
The Valley of Hinnon, or Gehenna, does not represent a place. It is a symbol of destruction. We know this, for Jesus said to his disciples, \"Fear not them which kill the body ... but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna]\" – Matt. 10:28
Hades in the New Testament
Hades is also translated \"grave\" in some in. stances. This Greek word has the same meaning as the Hebrew word sheol, the state, or condition, of death. We know that hades (Greek) means the same as sheol (Hebrew) because the Apostle Peter quotes a prophecy from the Old Testament in which the word sheol appears, and he translates sheol by the Greek word hades.
Peter\'s quotation is in Acts 2:27, 31. The prophecy he quotes is from Psalms 16:10, written by David. In this psalm the prophet forecasts the death of Jesus, saying that his flesh would \"rest in hope\" and indicates that when Jesus died his soul went to sheol, the Old Testament hell. Peter quotes part of the prophecy and uses it to prove that Jesus had been raised from the dead, for the prophet had foretold that Jesus’ soul would not be left in hell.
Now this is very strange if hell is a place where wicked souls are tormented forever. According to the Prophet David and the Apostle Peter, the holy Jesus went to hell when he died, and was delivered from there on the third day after his death. This proves, first, that holy, righteous people go to hell as well as sinners, and second, that those who do go to hell do not necessarily remain there. As a matter of fact, we think it also proves that hell is not a place of torment at all, for we cannot conceive that the Creator would permit his holy Son, Jesus, to be tormented by the Devil and his imps-not even for three days.
The Keys of Hell
Traditionally, Satan was supposed to be the one who possessed the keys of hell. But this is also untrue. In Revelation 1:18, Jesus, speaking of his own death and resurrection, tells us that he has the keys of death and hell. This is both interesting and comforting; for we know that if Jesus possesses the keys of hell there is hope for those who are shut up therein. The loving Jesus who, without money and without price, healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, cast out demons from maniacs, and raised the dead to life, will surely one day use the keys of hell to unlock its gates and set its prisoners free. This, as a matter of fact, is exactly what the Bible tells us Jesus will do. It is this glorious work that is described in the Bible as the \"resurrection of the dead\" – Acts 24:15
Just as hades, or hell, is symbolically said to have keys, so Jesus speaks also of its having gates. A reference to the \"gates of hell\" is found in Matthew 16:18. \"... I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it\"
In what sense, then, is it impossible for the gates of hell to prevail against the church? Every Christian, every member of the true church of Jesus Christ, will be awakened from the sleep of death in what the Scriptures term the \"first resurrection.\" The gates of hell will not prevail to keep these in the death condition. Jesus himself was raised from the dead, and the power of God through him will be used to raise all his true followers from the dead, that they may \"reign with Christ a thousand years\" – Rev. 20:4, 6
But a first resurrection implies more to follow. And during that thousand year Kingdom, the remainder of earth’s dead will be raised again, on earth. This blessed assurance appears in Revelation 20:12-14. Here John tells us that in the prophetic vision given to him he saw death and hell giving up the dead which were in them.
They will return to be taught, corrected, and judged – to make amends for all misdeeds and willful transgressions. It will not be an easy road, for \"God is not mocked ... whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap\" It will be a time of correction in righteousness under the iron rule of the greatjudge, Christ. No favoritism will be shown to rich or poor, great or small. But all will have the opportunity, when humbly corrected, to enjoy everlasting life here on the earth, free of sickness, pain, and death. (Rev. 21:1-4) For then, \"Death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death\"-Rev. 20:14
We have now explained the general testimony of the entire Bible as it relates to the subject of hell, and have found that there is no authority from God for believing that a hell of torment exists anywhere in his great universe. And there is no text of Scripture, either in the Old Testament or the New, which is contrary to those we have examined, when properly understood. (See \"The Truth about Hell,\" published by Dawn Bible Students Association, East Rutherford, NJ 07073. It examines every text in the Bible in which the word hell appears. Ten cents.)
The origin of this teaching of torment is found in the first, the blackest, and the most far-reaching lie that ever fell upon human ears. This lie was invented by the Devil himself and communicated to mother Eve through the serpent. God had said to our first parents that if they disobeyed him by partaking of the forbidden fruit they would die. But Satan denied this, saying, \"Ye shall not surely die\" – Gen. 3:4 The Bible indicates that the Devil has deceived practically the entire world. Nearly all believe his lie, \"Ye shall not surely die\" They don\"t think of it in just these words, but the same erroneous viewpoint finds expression in all the various no-death theories of both heathendom and Christendom. Nearly all religionists, wherever found, attempt to believe that when they seem to die they do not actually die. There is no death, they claim.
Oh, yes, all admit that the body dies. It is just about impossible to deny this apparent fact. But the claim is that within our bodies there lurks an invisible entity which they call the soul, and the claim is that this soul escapes when the body dies and that it continues to live elsewhere. In fact, the claim is that the soul cannot die, that it is indestructible. It is often unscripturally referred to as the immortal soul.
\"But is there such a thing as an immortal soul?\" some may ask. To which we answer, \"No!\" This theory is purely an invention of misguided human wisdom. The expression immortal soul does not appear anywhere in the Bible. The term soul does appear in the Bible, but it is not descriptive of an invisible entity which dwells within us, and which can exist after the body dies. As used in the Bible, the term soul applies to our whole being. It means a living, sentient being.
In Genesis 2:7 the word soul appears in the Bible for the first time, and in this text we are told just how God created the soul, and of what it is made. We read, \"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul\" Notice that God did not breathe an immortal soul into man, but rather, as a result of the union of the body and the breath of life, man became a soul.
Hence, when man dies, the soul dies, for man is the soul. This agrees with Ezekiel 18:4: \"The soul that sinneth, it shall die\" Adam, the first human soul, sinned, and the penalty of death came upon him. All his posterity have also been sinful souls; hence the entire human race has been dying because \"the wages of sin is death\" (Rom. 6:23) It is plain, then, that death, not torment after apparent death, is the penalty for sin, and it is this penalty that is being inflicted upon the entire race. Graveyards, funeral processions, sickness, and pain, are all evidences of the fact that the wages of sin are being paid by a dying race.
The Sleep of Death
Throughout the Scriptures, in both the Old Testament and the New, death is referred to as sleep. Abraham, when he died, \"was gathered to his people\" (Gen. 25:8) Abraham’s people were heathen, yet faithful Abraham slept with them in death. King David also is said to have slept with his fathers. (I Kings 2:10) When Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, died, Jesus said of him, \"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth,\" (John 11:11) When Jesus awakened Lazarus from the sleep of death, the account says \"he who was dead came forth\" (John 11:44) The Bible does not say that he who was in purgatory returned, nor he who was in a place of torture came back. The simple truth is that Lazarus was asleep in death – unconscious – and when he was awakened, he who was dead came forth.
We have the biblical record of several who were awakened from the sleep of death, yet none of them ever said a word about being either in hell or purgatory. Obviously they could not make a report on either of these places, for the simple reason that no such places existed; and besides, they had been unconscious in death. They had not gone anywhere. They had been dead!
When a man dies, \"His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish\" – Psa. 146:4
There is hope of life after death-a glorious hope! But that hope is not based on the error that there is no death, but on the great truth that God will restore the dead to life.,Iob asked, \"If a man die, shall he live again?\" (job 14:14) job knew better than to ask. \"If a man die, is he really dead?\"Job knew that those who die have gone out of existence forever unless God restores them to life. This is the teaching of the entire Word of God. Paul affirms it, saying, \"If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen, ... then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished\" -I Cor. 15:13-18
Yes, the dead are to be restored. Jesus said to Martha, \"He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die\" Uohn 11:25, 26) Jesus has the keys of death. He will use them to unlock the great prison house of death and set its captives free.
Jesus\' Sacrifice Necessary
The sinful race would have remained dead forever had not the love of God made a provision whereby the penalty of death could be paid by another. That provision was through his own beloved son, Christjesus. That is why Jesus is called the Redeemer. He it is who ran. soms the world \"from the power of the grave.\"-Hos. 13:14
The Prophet Isaiah says concerning Jesus, \"He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed\" (Isa. 53:5) The Apostle Paul said of Jesus, he \"gave himself a ransom for all.\" (1 Tim. 2:6) Jesus said to his disciples, \"The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,\" (John 6:51) All of these inspired statements of the Word of God indicate that the first requisite to salvation and peace with God for any of the fallen human race is this provision the Creator has made through the sacrificial work of the Redeemer. The Apostle Peter declares there is no other name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved. – Acts 4:12
But the sacrificial work of Christ alone does not provide escape from death. In addition to this, it is necessary that the individual repent of sin and exercise faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Beyond this, it is also essential to strive against inherited sin and so far as possible to be cleansed from its defiling influence.
Purgatory Before Death
There is much said in the Bible about Christian cleansing, or purging from sin. But unlike the traditional view of purgatory, which claims that believers pass through purgatory after death and finally enter into heavenly bliss and glory, the Bible shows that the Christian’s purgation or cleansing takes place before death.
\"Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,\"\' writes the apostle. (2 Cor. 7:1) The Christian is expected to do this before he dies, not afterward. Jesus likened himself to a vine and his followers to branches of that vine. (John 15:1-8) Then he said that his Heavenly Father purged or pruned the branches in order that they might bring forth more fruit. Here again is described a work of purging which takes place in the Christian before death, not afterward.
The Apostle Peter said, \"Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ\'s sufferings.\" (1 Pet. 4:12, 13) Here is the unmistakable mention of fire in connection with Christian experience, but it has no reference to literal fire which it is alleged will torment people after death, but to the purging experiences which come to the Christian in this life.
The Apostle Paul wrote, \"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.\" (Heb. 12:6) There is nothing in this text to indicate that the scourging mentioned is to take place after death. Rather, the apostle is telling Christians what to expect in this life. If we love the Lord, and he loves us and is dealing with us, we must expect to be scourged or disciplined, in order that we might learn his will more perfectly and be trained to do it more faithfully.
Some of the purging experiences of the Christian are at the instance of the Lord, for by his kind providence his people are properly trained. But the Christian is also expected to take himself in hand and do some of the purging on a voluntary basis. Paul wrote, \"I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that bv anv means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.\" – l Cor. 9:27
All of these passages from God\'s holy Word indicate beyond doubt that purging work must go on in the life of every follower of the Master. The Scriptures also reveal that the great objective of this purging work is that Christians may be developed into the likeness of their Lord. Paul writes that it is God’s will that all who are called of him should be made copies of his dear Son. (Rom. 8:28, 29) And there are many promises in the Bible to indicate that those who repent of their sins, accept Jesus as their Redeemer, and then follow faithfully in his steps of sacrifice, striving to be made like him, will, when resurrected from the dead, share his heavenly home and reign with him for a thousand years for the blessing of the remainder of the world of mankind.
A Thousand Years of Purgatory
The purgatorial cleansings which we have just described involve but a very small minority of the human race. Jesus referred to this minority as a \"little flock,\" but he said of these, \"It is your Father\'s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.\" – Luke 12:32
We have already mentioned the thousand year reign of Christ. Now we learn from Jesus that his true followers during the present age, in passing through their period of cleansing, are being prepared, not merely to enjoy a heavenly home with him, but also to work with him to rehabilitate the remainder of the human race. Together, they will restore mankind to a worldwide paradise. This is the work to be accomplished by the kingdom of Christ. This gigantic undertaking, the Scriptures reveal, will require an entire thousand years for completion.
During that thousand years, mankind will go through their purgatorial experiences – their purging, or cleansing, from the imperfection due to the fall of Adam. This thousand-year period, during which Jesus and his church will be reigning over the earth, is also described in the Bible as a judgment day – this particular day being a thousand years long. – 2 Pet. 3:8; Acts 17:31; Rev. 5:10
The judgment work of that day will involve disciplinary training, or, as the prophet puts it, the Lord will \"rebuke strong nations afar off\" (Mic. 4:3) The Prophet Isaiah declares that when God’s \"judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.\" (Isa. 26:9) Jesus will be the great judge of that day, and concerning him the prophet declares, \"But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked\" – Isa. 11:4
Sleeping Ones Awakened
The blessings of the kingdom age will be available for those who have died as well as for those who are alive when it begins, for those who sleep in death will be awakened in order to share in those blessings.
We have already referred to some scriptures in Revelation which teach this. But other passages are equally clear on this point. The Prophet Daniel wrote, \"... them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.\" – Dan. 12:2 Jesus said the time is coming when all who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth. And then the master adds, \"Those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.\" John 5:28, 29, RSV
Those who have done good are primarily those who have followed in the footsteps of Jesus-those who have been purged or cleansed from sin in this life. In the resurrection, these will be raised immediately to heavenly glory, to reign with Christ. But those who have not done good, but evil, will come forth to a resurrection of judgment. That is, the judgment, corrective process of the 1000 year Kingdom, designed to reclaim mankind.
Their awakening from death will be only the first step on the return road to human perfection. Other steps will be taken as they pass the tests of obedience which will be given all individuals at that time. Thus their resurrection, or raising up to perfection, will be by judgment, or krisis (Greek); all of their cleansing and disciplinary experiences serving as tests will, as those tests are passed, result in their being raised a little nearer to the ultimate perfection which will be their goal.
There is every indication now that the time for the blessing of mankind –the living and the dead – is near. The prophecies of the Bible pertaining to the end of Satan\'s misrule are being fulfilled. This, of necessity, causes a great time of trouble throughout the earth, but soon the governing power of the kingdom of Christ will manifest itself, and the blessings of peace and joy and life will begin to flow to the people.
It is this glorious consummation of the divine plan of salvation that is expressed by those well-known words of the Lord\'s prayer, \"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.\" Let us, then, continue to offer this inspired prayer, in faith, believing that the answer to it is near.
You raise me up/ 2017-12-12
You raise me up
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up... To more than I can be
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up... To more than I can be
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up... To more than I can be
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up... To more than I can be
You raise me up... To more than I can be