Revelation 6:7-11 RSVA When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” (8) And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. (9) When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; (10) they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (11) Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
There may be no better Bible Study Rule than to gather all the information on a subject BEFORE you come to a conclusion. That is an interesting rule. One I wish everyone followed. One of the reasons people find the Bible difficult to understand is the fact, they have to forget so much before they are ready to take a look at what the Bible is actually saying. With that said, let’s see what this chapter is telling us, and how the chapter explains what all those signs, visions, and symbols actual represent.
This chapter of course deals with a series of seven seals. The seals are of course symbolic. The Lamb is symbolic, and of course everything in the vision John saw is symbolic. There is no doubt, John saw those visions in Heaven. There shouldn’t be any doubt, that after each of those visions, someone in Heaven came to John to explain what those symbols represented.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:13-17 RSVA).
At times an angel in Heaven explained one detail. Other times an angel had to go back in history to explain how certain events unfolded, and why the world is going to find itself in some rather precarious positions. The key to understanding Revelation is to pay attention to each vision, and the beginning of each explanation. The entire book follows a pattern of, visions then an explanation for each vision. Common sense tells us the angels provided John with a detailed explanation of the vision he just saw. Why would an angel in Heaven begin a conversation about some unrelated series of events when John expected to hear an explanation for the question at hand? But that’s what some people believe and teach. John saw a vision, then an angel in Heaven came to John and began a conversation about some unrelated event. On the contrary. John did not record a book with the idea of hiding or withholding any information. John did not record a series of events placed in some random, hidden, or coded order. The book of Revelation was recorded with every detail John saw in the order those events unfolded in Heaven. The conversations John experienced in Heaven illustrate Heaven’s perfect order and ability to answer questions. God’s intention was to tell this world what will happen and the sequence those events will follow. God did not lie, and neither did any of those angels. The only deceivers are those people who claim John’s book is a set of events presented in some unknown, mysterious order, and God left this world on its own to figure out the proper sequence.
In other words, the visions John recorded in Revelation are events that would happen in the future, after John wrote his book. Most visions were followed by an explanation. Those explanations backed up in history, then led to the time frame of the vision John had seen. With that in mind, the Book of Revelation begins to clear up. For some reason that seems to confuse people.
The events in Revelation chapters 6 and 7 all pointed to future points in history. An angel asked John what he saw. Of course John didn’t know what any of those symbols represented. So the angel explained what those people in the white robes represented. In this case both the vision and explanation are based on future events. But they are the same event. This writing style is common throughout the Bible beginning in Genesis where chapter 2 added more details to chapter 1. At the very beginning of the scriptures, God explained how all the scriptures are interpreted. One chapter provided an introduction and the following chapter added details. God used this pattern as a type of signature or fingerprint on His Word. That is one method scholars used to verify authentic inspired books and weed out copies, or commentaries non inspired authors wrote. There are of course other patterns and fingerprints God used to verify the books He inspired.
John was not given a specific time frame in this vision. The events could have taken place any time after John wrote his book. Some people think those events happened in our past. Other prefer to think the are going to happen in our future. And some think those events will repeat themselves over time. When we look at a few facts, we can see how death and pestilence have been repeated since John’s time, and even before Johns time. The fifth seal is a controversial issue.
The fifth seal has some facts to consider. “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”
When we see souls in Heaven, we tend to jump to the world and its views to interpret scripture. But we are not going to do that here. We are going to allow scripture to interpret scripture. Where does the Bible tell us who those souls are, and what they are doing in Heaven? Let’s look at a few details.
No time frame is given. Without facts from the Bible, all we can do is guess. We also have to remember, those souls are symbols. By rule, a symbol always points to something far greater. Some people prefer to think those souls are not symbolic, but are physical. We have to consider all the facts to determine if those souls are physical or spiritual.
The souls are under the altar. What altar? If we began to guess or assume, we may be playing with fire. The Tabernacle had two alters. The sacrificial altar that was outside the tent. And the altar of incense. If we assume the altar of incense, what did that altar represent? We only have to look back one chapter to see that explained.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; (Revelation 5:8 RSVA).
Now we see how the Bible explains the Bible and how symbols are interpreted within the story they are found in. There is never any reason to guess. Now we notice that those souls cried out to God. When we put two and two together, we see how the alter is the altar of incense, and the souls under represent those who pray earnestly to God.
After listening to them, God gives them white robes, and tells them to rest a little longer. We are given the first time frame in this section of Revelation. “Rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete.” From that we know this event takes place before the judgment process is complete.
Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:2-3 RSVA).
After John saw those seals opened, he saw a new vision with four angels holding back the four winds. We know those winds are also symbolic. What about that seal in the saints foreheads? I’ve seen thousands of people studying and telling the world what they think the mark of the beast is. But how many people study God’s seal? Something seems rather strange about that.
Since some people receive a seal, and other people do not, there had to be some sort of decision process before this event. Can we call that a judgment process? It seems as if Revelation is getting ahead of itself. And to a certain degree, it is. But the entire Bible is written with examples showing how God provided a series of warnings. All those warnings pointed to the same event. Each successive warning contained more details. Put them all together and what do you have? A clearer picture of what is about to happen in the future. But there is a catch. No one seems to understand a prophecy until it has been fulfilled. That’s just the way this world is. We have to accept that fact.
So far John was shown a series of visions that eventually led to a brief introduction to the judgment process. Remember, we are going to stick to the judgment process in this series of studies and not get side tracked by guessing at any particular event, or attempt to rely on what the world has been teaching about the symbols John say and wrote about. Instead we are going to allow the Bible to slowly reveal each and every event and symbol concerning the judgment process. I have to warn you. The temptation to interpret symbols based accumulated knowledge is great. And most times nearly impossible to avoid. Let’s be honest about how how the the world views the judgment process. For one thing, very little is known about the actual judgment process God inspired authors to write about. On the other hand, man made concepts thrive in this world. Some people are hooked on the concept, their understanding of the judgment process plays a part in their salvation. Look at how human nature exposes its flaws. Some churches claim they are God’s chosen church. Their proof is rather flimsy to say the least. They claim to hold a sort of key by claiming God revealed more to them then to other churches. But what is that truth they cling onto, and exactly how did God reveal that extra bit of truth to them? I’ve heard churches or at least evangelists claim they have all the truth. If they had all the truth, they would have no problem explaining the law of the prophets Jeremiah wrote about, nor would they have any problem explaining exactly what method God used to provide the exclusive information they are privileged to have.
Thus far we have looked at one example showing how the Bible is designed to answer questions. We have also seen how visions John saw in Heaven were explained by angles and other beings living in Heaven. Based on the few facts the Book of Revelation has revealed, we can fasten onto a few basic study concepts. Symbols are explained in the story they are located. Angels and other beings in Heaven understand the visions and symbols John was shown in Heaven. That tells us not only how the Bible is interpreted, but where to go for those interpretations. No where does the Bible tell us to rely on this world, its teachers, evangelists, or preachers. John never told us, one person or institution will understand his letter, and the rest will be lost. That is a man made concept. If you are stuck on that concept, you have to work to get yourself out of that belief. If you prefer to rely on the world to interpret John’s book for you, that is your loss.
I am going to skip over a great deal of Revelation so we can stick to the judgment at hand. The next mention of the judgment is in chapter 11.
Revelation 11:15-19 MKJV (15) And the seventh angel sounded. And there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. And He will reign forever and ever. (16) And the twenty-four elders sitting before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, (17) saying, We thank You, O Lord God Almighty, who are, and who was, and who is coming, because You took Your great power and reigned. (18) And the nations were full of wrath, and Your wrath came, and the time of the judging of the dead, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to the ones fearing Your name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those destroying the earth. (19) And the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His covenant, and there occurred lightnings and voices, and thunders and an earthquake, and a great hail.
Some people may argue the point, how can anyone jump from Revelation chapter 6 all the way to chapter 11 and possibly explain God’s judgment process? This is really following basic Bible Study concepts. Search the Book of Revelation yourself. The judgment is found in chapters 6, 11, 14, 16, and 17-20. I didn’t write the Bible. God did. And that is the way He laid out the judgment process in Revelation. I know we slipped over some of the favorite chapters some people claim to have studied. I hear it all the time from PhD’s and well as common people. There are a number of chapters I skipped over that people talk about all the time. Some churches hold seminars based on some of those chapters. Some churches hang their claim to fame on some of the chapters I skipped over. And yes, some will claim those chapters hold the key to understanding the judgment process. Well they don’t. Go ahead and search the words judge and judgment in Revelation. They jump from chapter 6 to 11. That’s just the way it is and all the arguing isn’t going to change a word in scripture.
After writing a number of chapters on how to get saved, and what Paul, Peter, James, and John wrote about faith, salvation, and the quest to draw closer to God, I have to leave the major part of this study in your hands. I know how people will question this book based on the fact, it covers Revelation, but not the chapter they are familiar with. They will question how anyone can make a comment on God’s judgment process without their coveted chapters.
I’ve attended a lot of seminars, watched a lot of videos, and listened to a lot of sermons on those chapters I decided to omit. I’ve heard so much about those chapters, I could write a dozen books on each of them. But after preparing the material for this book, leaving it sit, praying about it, and waiting for an answer, I decided to go with what was recorded in Revelation and how John recorded it. As I look back at what was covered in those other chapters, I could see how answers the world is familiar with concentrates on the best guesses on what is going to happen in this world. When I follow the sequence John laid out in this book, I can see how we should be concerned with what is happening in Heaven. In my book we will stick with what is happening in Heaven.
The seventh trumpet is the last trumpet in this sequence of events. Like many other books in the Bible, and the collection of books found in the Bible, facts are offered here and there. And it is up to us to gather those facts, verify that they are discussing the same subject, then look at the subject the hand with all the facts we’ve gathered. We aren’t supposed to stop, then look at facts the world has to offer, or tends to offer. Whenever we deal with a future event in prophecy, we are supposed to rely on the Bible and Bible only. I think we can all agree with that fact.
The seventh trumpet obviously points to the closing moments of this world. It is safe to assume, since we are still here, the events symbolized by the seventh trumpet are in the future. When we see something mentioned in the Bible like, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. And He will reign forever and ever.” What are we supposed to do? Number one, admit we don’t know the answer. We can look at different scenarios, but we still have to keep the door open to information we find in scripture at a later date. What could John mean when he makes reference to the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of the Lord and Christ? Obviously the introduction of the seventh trumpet is pointing us to a time when God gives the kingdoms of this world over to Christ. That is a good place to begin a study on that time period and events describing that particular period. That I can leave up to you so you can hone your skills.
Once we identify a particular time frame, do we guess at the actual events? No. We stick to the facts. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:15-16 KJV).
Of course it helps when you know where to look. The Book of Revelation tells us, King of Kings is a title Jesus will wear. The seventh trumpet pointed us to Jesus’ return. And the Book of Revelation chapter 19 explained why the seventh trumpet introduced the concept of God taking possession of the kingdoms of this world. Of course Revelation chapter 19 contains a lot more details you can read on your own.
John mentioned one important event, the judgment of the dead. Why only the dead? This is showing an import part of the judgment sequence. Those people symbolized by death receive judgment. Saints receive a reward. If we gathered all the facts on this subject, we would find a judgment period only the lost will face.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15 KJV).
So far we have seen how the Book of Revelation introduced one judgment period and explained what that judgment period was in a later chapter. This is not unusual for the Bible to explain itself. And for books in the Bible to explain the symbolism they contain. There is another event or symbol we have to look at. “And the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His covenant, and there occurred lightnings and voices, and thunders and an earthquake, and a great hail.”
What event was this describing? We know the Tabernacle was designed to explain events in Heaven. Many of those events were to be fulfilled long after the Tabernacle disappeared. One service in the Tabernacle describes how the high priest is to enter the Most Holy place once a year.
And he shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times. “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood within the veil, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat; thus he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which abides with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. (Leviticus 16:14-16 RSVA).
Once again, it is up to you to read the entire chapter. If you do you will see numerous parallels to the few chapters in Revelation mentioned in this chapter. An atonement is a covering. Plain and simple. Strange as it may seem, the same Hebrew word for atonement was also used to describe the covering of tar Noah used to cover his ark. If you think of that and give it some time, you will see a host of underlying spiritual parallels between the flood and Jesus’ return. Also the cleansing of the sanctuary that once a year ceremony inside the Tabernacle represented.
As we move forward in our study on God’s judgment, we have to realize one simple fact. The Bible can and will point us in the right direction to answer questions, identify symbols, and events. That is just what the Bible was designed to do.
In the previous chapter we looked at why it is so important to study the Bible with God’s Spirit. That requires a high degree of communication with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Moses learned to increase that communication skill. But Moses was restricted by the group he had to serve. But how far can we get with our communication with God? We’ll never know until we try.
Most Christians know the stories about Israel crossing the wilderness was a lesson. All those people didn’t die for nothing. We have to learn to look back at a few of those lessons. Israel turned their backs on God. Israel rejected God. Israel second guessed God. They also decided to look at the promised land based on their own senses and ignore God’s command to walk right in and take it over. Israel could not get past their worldly, human senses. That is one lesson we have to learn before we can understand the judgment system.
There’s no doubt, God judged Israel and the outcome was not good for the people who decided to put Moses between themselves and God. All the people who chose to accept the eyewitness account of the promised land over God’s view lost their lives. They never made it to the promised land. Which of course is a symbol of reaching eternal life in the Promised Land. Here we will take a look at a few of the warnings God shared with Israel.
Deuteronomy 28:44-48 NLTse (44) They will lend money to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail! (45) “If you refuse to listen to the LORD your God and to obey the commands and decrees he has given you, all these curses will pursue and overtake you until you are destroyed. (46) These horrors will serve as a sign and warning among you and your descendants forever. (47) If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, (48) you will serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The LORD will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you.
See entire chapter
What does that have to do with God’s judgment process? We have to look at the lessons that were supposed to be handed down from one generation to the next. Whenever we place anyone between us and God, who are we serving? Are we serving God with joy and enthusiasm? Or are we looking for an easy way out? Are we serving God or the person we place between ourselves and God?
Do you know how to test what you are taught by human beings? Do you read the entire story they quote from? Do you compare what they tell you to other stories in the Bible? If you’re not, all you are doing is taking the easy way out. You are cheating yourself of time with God. And cheating Jesus who is patiently waiting for you to spend time with Him.
You will be left spiritually hungry, thirsty, and naked. Where will that leave you? When you hear something new, will you reject it? Or will you run to your teacher to have them test it for you? Neither one of those choices does nothing to get you closer to God. In a sense, you are serving an idol. Is that idol yourself or another person you put in place of Christ? Let’s take a look at another part of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 29:17-21 NLTse (17) You have seen their detestable practices and their idols made of wood, stone, silver, and gold. (18) I am making this covenant with you so that no one among you–no man, woman, clan, or tribe–will turn away from the LORD our God to worship these gods of other nations, and so that no root among you bears bitter and poisonous fruit. (19) “Those who hear the warnings of this curse should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.’ This would lead to utter ruin! (20) The LORD will never pardon such people. Instead his anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them, and the LORD will erase their names from under heaven. (21) The LORD will separate them from all the tribes of Israel, to pour out on them all the curses of the covenant recorded in this Book of Instruction.
Here is a reference to God’s judgment. Taking your name out of the names under Heaven is a rather serious action. It points to a loss of eternal life. When we look at those lessons under the viewpoint of the judgment process, we can see a few spiritual lessons. Idols and false gods take on a whole new meaning. False gods can be anything. Money, items, people you idolize, sometime it can be beliefs or doctrines contrary to the Bible. Those can be muddy waters.
A stubborn heart can be an idol and false god. Those are the ones we have to learn to put away. Do you know everything about God’s judgment? Of course you don’t. If you did, you’d know exactly what Jesus is doing today. There are a lot of questions we don’t have the answer to. We have to learn to be patient. We have to learn to be open. We have to learn to know God’s voice and instructions. We don’t seem to hear God’s voice the way Israel did. But we have the New Testament with a much clearer view of God’s plan of salvation. We have all that information at our finger tips, but what are we doing with it?
The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37 RSVA).
Jesus built upon those lessons Moses recorded and explained those lessons in plain, easy to understand language. A good man does good. A evil man hands out evil. That includes all kinds of problems. In the end, your words will either justify you, or condemn you.
Do your words really justify you? That all depends on what your words are. If your words plead with Jesus to forgive you and claim His blood and sacrifice as your shield and protection, you will be forgiven. And on the other hand, of you depend on yourself, you think you have everything figured out, and try to appear like you know it all, you better watch out. Let’s take a look at the next story in Matthew chapter 12.
Matthew 12:40-45 KJV For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (41) The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (42) The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (43) When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. (44) Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. (45) Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
We see the word judgment pop up in this story. It appears some of the last people we would expect to see in Heaven will he there judging other people. We can take a closer look at that process later. The point here is, the judgment process is noting like any of us imagine it to be. When it comes to God’s plans, there are always twists and turns we find difficult to wrap our human minds around.
Then Jesus told a story about a demon leaving a person and returning with seven other spirits. In other words, when you begin that transformation process, that preparation process to accept the scriptures, don’t turn back. The devil is patiently lying in the weeds ready to send out reinforcements.
John 14:1-31 NLTse “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.Trust in God, and trust also in me. (2) There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? (3) When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (4) And you know the way to where I am going.” (5) “No, we don’t know,Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (6) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (7) If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (8) Philip said, “Lord,show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” (9) Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? (10) Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. (11) Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. (12) “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. (13) You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. (14) Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! (15) “If you love me, obey my commandments. (16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. (17) He is the HolySpirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. (18) No, I will not abandon you as orphans–I will come to you. (19) Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. (20) When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (21) Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (22) Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” (23) Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. (24) Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. (25) I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. (26) But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the HolySpirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (27) “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (28) Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. (29) I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe. (30) “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, (31) but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.
This is the beginning of three of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Jesus told His disciples about God, His Kingdom, the disciples role, and how God’s Spirit will help them. Those chapters also tell about Jesus’ love for this world in greater detail than any other story in the Bible.
We’ve seen how John can get into details. He surpassed himself in those three chapters. I have no idea why other authors didn’t record any of those details, but they seem to be the focus of John’s book.
Jesus got right to the point. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” Jesus doesn’t want us to worry. If we can’t physically see Him, we can be sure we are on His mind. The symbol of building a home shows how much He cares. It used to be a tradition for a man to build a new home for His wife to be. It was a pledge to his future wife as well as a form of security to her parents. This was Jesus’ way of introducing the concept of an engagement and with it comes a commitment. We all know how Jesus feels about divorce. Because an engagement involved such a commitment, it was viewed much like a marriage. Look back at Jesus’ conception. Mary wasn’t married when she became pregnant, but since the engagement was set, Joseph would have to go through the same process as a divorce to put her away.
We don’t have to worry about any divorce. As long as we remain committed to Jesus, He remains committed to us. Those who wonder away aren’t necessarily put out of His mind, memory, or concern. He will do anything to get them back. Hence the parable of the lost sheep, and other parables.
Did you ever talk to Jesus about the house He is building for you? Did you every talk about the layout, features, and colors? I’m not sure of the layout, but I asked for jasper with the ability to change colors. Can you imagine crystal walls with all kinds of different colors? Why is Jesus building a home for you?
When everything is ready, Jesus promises to come and take us all home. Just think, no more mortgage or rent to pay. No more taxes, electric bills, phone bills, freezing cold and unbearable heat will be a thing of the past. No more food bills. We can walk out the door to a feast of fresh fruits, nuts, and can you imagine your garden? God planted one for Adam and Eve. We’ll all have one. Can you imagine the taste with no fertilizers or pesticides. I don’t know about you, but I want to go home soon.
The best part is, we can talk with Jesus and other people we’ve read about in the Bible. I don’t know about you, but I have about a million questions. I hope I remember all of them. I’m not worried, I’ll have an eternity to think about those questions.
Jesus said we should know where He is going. What does He mean by that? Jesus doesn’t just mean the destination, He means the details He wants to tell you about now. He doesn’t want us to wait to hear the details. He is as excited about sharing those details as I am excited about being there. I hope you are to.
“No, we don’t know,Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” It seems strange to see Thomas didn’t know what Jesus was talking about, where He was going, or how to get there. Jesus had to remind them. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
I guess that answered the question. Do you understand now? If your a little foggy on the subject, your not the only one. Philip said, “Lord,show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Those two disciples showed the misunderstanding many in this world will have in every generation. It’s rare to read or hear about visions of Heaven. What are those preachers doing if they don’t have enough time to spend a few minutes with Jesus to talk about Heaven? I’m not sure what their priorities are, but I hope they get them straightened out.
Jesus couldn’t figure out why His disciples couldn’t understand. Weren’t they listening? Didn’t they care? Were they happier on this world? What was the problem? Jesus had to resort to the same method He used with the Pharisees. Jesus began repeating Himself. “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”
I don’t comprehend why the disciples didn’t understand. It doesn’t make sense. When I look at the gospels, I see time frames in between the stories. What did Jesus talk to them about during those periods? There must have been times Jesus reminisced about home. Didn’t they see a vision of Heaven in the day to day events and blessing while they were with Jesus? They always had food. God provided everything they needed. They saw a bit of Heaven when Jesus fed thousands. They experienced the joy of Heaven when they saw Jesus heal people. How many times did they witness the love from Heaven? After seeing all of that, His disciples said they didn’t know. What about all the things Jesus told them?
“The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.” Jesus had to remind them. He paused for a long time giving them time to think. Jesus knew He didn’t have to explain everything. Then it was time to get to work.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” Sounds simple enough. If we need anything to do work for God, all we need to to is ask. I can tell you for a fact, I am trying that right now. I’d like nothing more than to retire, write all day, and do a full time ministry teaching people how to get closer to God. But I guess Jesus is already Taking care of that.
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the HolySpirit, who leads into all truth.” That shouldn’t be to difficult. But why aren’t any of us able to keep all the commandments? We can try, but we always seem to fail. Maybe that’s why we don’t get everything we ask for.
This is one of my favorite parts. The promise about God’s Spirit. Imagine a full time guide, friend, and protector. That is when we listen. Listening can be as difficult as keeping all the commandments. Has anyone been able to get a perfect score on both for an entire day? I doubt it.
Before we get too far into this chapter, let’s look at how John led into this chapter. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter–before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me. (John 13:34-38 NLTse).
John ended the previous chapter with the same theme in this chapter. Love each other. Then Jesus told about how Peter would deny Him. We see that theme continued here when Jesus’ disciples didn’t know where Jesus was going, or how to get there. Imagine, Jesus was going be in this world as a mortal man for a few more hours and His disciples still don’t understand.
Did the disciples know more about God’s Spirit than they knew about where He was going? What is God’s Spirit? Is it a manifestation or extension of God? It is God’s way of communicating with us? Is the Holy Spirit brought to us by God’s angels, those Nathaniel was told he would see going up and down from Heaven? Or is God’s Spirit a combination of all of them? If it’s one thing I’ve learned is not to guess at details we cannot be sure of. And never to claim to know everything about an Infinite God.
Jesus told us, the first role of God’s Spirit is to guide. He leads us into all truth. A guide is not a teacher. I’ve seen too many people confuse the definition and purpose of the two. Jesus claimed and fulfilled the role of teacher. Even though Jesus received His instructions from God, Jesus has been and will continue to be our Teacher. Principals and school board leaders don’t teach. They may be administrators. They may determine what classes are offered and to a great degree determine how subjects are taught, but teachers have direct contact with students and are responsible for results and failures. Jesus is the only one who came here, experienced and suffered through life in this world, and the only one equipped to teach us. Jesus has a special bond with us and is a conduit between us and God.
What does it mean to guide? If you study the Bible on your own, you should know that answer because you’ve heard the whisper in your ear to look back a few verses, compare another verse, look up the definition of a word, and the many other instructions God’s Spirit uses to guide. But it is still Jesus and His experience that teaches. Why do you think He gave His disciples the instructions, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. (Luke 24:44-48 NLTse). Jesus pointed them back to the experiences recorded about Him. Jesus had more to teach about God’s Spirit.
The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. God’s Spirit covers the world like water covered the world before creation. His Spirit is everywhere, but can’t reach everyone. Not everyone will accept God’s Spirit who only guides, but will not force people to follow. Jesus’ sheep follow Him because the hear His voice, but Jesus doesn’t force them to follow.
How do we … I’m not sure of the proper words except to say, work with those conditions? I know the answer is not, tell people your doctrine and tell them they’re lost if they don’t believe. Belief has nothing to do with man made doctrines, no matter how many proof texts they collect. Jesus never provided a list of doctrines or told anyone to believe in anything more than God, Himself, God’s Spirit, God’s Kingdom, and eternal life. There may be a few others, but that covers the majority of the list. Jesus also told His disciples and all of us to follow God’s commandments. But Jesus didn’t make a doctrine out of it because that is part of His teaching job. Not our job. That is another role people are confused about. They confuse the gift of teaching with the authority to teach. We can or should only teach what God’s Spirit has guided us to, Jesus and His Word has taught us, and God has verified. Here again, one out of three in the process is not good enough.
Jesus made a promise not to abandon anyone. He also told them this world won’t see Him much longer. That’s why He promised to send God’s Spirit. He wants us to know He is with God. Then Jesus said something hard to understand, “and you are in me, and I am in you.” Jesus is in us now, not some time in the future. Some people want to wait. I’m wondering what they’re waiting for. Most people know Jesus is within us. A lot of people say Jesus is in their hearts, but really don’t know what that means. All they do is repeat what they’ve been told, but don’t know the love it takes to hold Jesus in their heart, or share that love.
The other part of that statement is the difficult part to understand. We are in Jesus. Not many people preach this, or know what it means. I can’t really be sure, except to point to Hebrews 10 where it shows how Jesus died to open a direct path to God’s throne. Spiritually we are meant to be with Jesus. All I can say is, that is a personal experience. I can include a short list of steps I take to approach God’s throne.
Pray to Jesus in the evening and the morning and throughout the day.
Pray out loud whenever you can.
Night time is time to rest and get away from this world.
Take this time to reconnect with God.
God can reach you through His Word.
Read scripture in the evening and in the morning.
Keep in contact with God like a friend.
God communicates through a series of events.
Look for patterns in His Word, your life, and world events.
Pay attention to conversations with people. God also communicates through people.
Approach God’s throne by praying to Jesus to cleanse you with His blood.
Lay your sins in front of Jesus.
Listen to what He has to say.
Ask Jesus to purify you and place you at the foot of God’s throne.
Ask about a few subjects one at a time and wait for an answer.
Ask God about scripture you are studying.
Listen to scripture that comes to mind.
Pay attention to parallel themes.
Pay attention to parallel events in your life and the world related to the subject your studying.
Learn to identify and suppress distractions while in prayer.
Don’t let your mind wonder.
Repeat the details you learned.
Write to keep a record.
Other details will come out while writing.
Learn to share.
When Jesus talked about love, He included the commandments and obeying.
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.
All who love me will do what I say.
Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.
Jesus also explained the direct connection between loving Him and His Father. They come as a package deal. If we love Jesus, He will love us and so will His Father. This shows the love Jesus and His Father share. A love we have to go to Him to learn about. We have to give up a lot to learn about and experience that love. It is the most expensive purchase you will ever make. You have to give greed, envy, contempt, hatred, and of course fear. Don’t take that list as a complete list. I’m sure once you talk to Jesus, He will have more details to add. Listening to Jesus is the most important aspect of a relationship with him.
I wonder why one of the disciples asked the question he did. Jesus just explained the love relationship between Himself and His Father. Jesus also explained their love for us. Then one of His disciples asked, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” What would you have asked Jesus if you were there?
If Jesus was talking about love, I would have asked Him to tell more about that love. What it really is. How we receive it. How we share it. How do we experience the fullness if that love? How do we make sure we never loose it? There are so many questions. I doubt if I would of asked why much of the world can’t see that love.
I think Jesus viewed that question much the same way. Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.” We see Jesus repeating Himself again. That tells us how important this subject is. There is no subject more important than love. When we consider the love from Jesus and God, we have to see, it is what made the air we breath, water we drink, the sun that warms us, food we eat, everything in this world. Love is what makes the world rotate. Love is what keeps God from destroying sinners who cause many of us so much pain and sorrow. Love is what gives thieves, adulterers, and those who force people into slavery and prostitution one more day to live. Love is what brings a man and wife together in an emotional and spiritual state we are meant to live. Love is what sent Jesus to the cross.
I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the HolySpirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Here we see God’s Spirit in the role of teacher. We have to look at what He is teaching. In this example the Spirit is reminding them about what Jesus told them. It is more of a role of a substitute teacher reviewing what has already been taught. Of course there is more to His guiding and teaching role. There is a lot of individual guidance required in your life. Questions to be answered, problems and defects to straighten out, people to guide you to, and messages to deliver. All of those things are details of a personal nature between you and Jesus.
Jesus wanted His disciples to be happy He was going back to His Father. At that time they didn’t know where Jesus was going. But we do now. And we should rejoice in it by learning more about what Jesus is doing in Heaven right now. How else can we share in His joy and what He is experiencing? But when Jesus was telling them this, He still had a major trial to face, and He knew what the enemy was planning. “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.”This was only the beginning of Jesus’ lesson and His introduction to God and His Spirit.
I think this is a good chapter to introduce another rule of context known as the Five W’s, Who, What, Where, When, and Why.
This is one Bible Study method many people are familiar with. It is refereed to as the 5 – W’s of Bible Study. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Each question is listed and answered. Make sure you stick to information in the Bible and do not add in outside reference material. Think of using this method to place God’s Word on trial. Think of yourself as cross examining God’s Word. Anything outside the Bible is circumstantial evidence and not allowed. This can take some digging, but as a general rule, answers are found by looking back a chapter or two. References can also be used from other books in the Bible.
If you ever searched the Internet looking for information on Inductive Bible study, you have seen rules of the five “W’s” Who, What, When, Where and Why. Has anyone explained how to draw information from Scripture in a manner you can understand and apply? We will dwell on each of these points in an effort to provide an example you can understand.
I prefer to use the term personality. In this example the major who is easily answered Jesus. There are three of His disciples we should also examine. But where do the names get you? There is another important rule to follow. The rule of context. To understand the texts you have to answer each question, who, what, when, where and why in context. What does that mean? When answering the question who, we have to determine at least a few very important details. Where is the person on their spiritual walk? What events led to the circumstance or event being studied? What lesson did the person in the story learn? How did the lesson make them stronger? How does the lesson apply to their spiritual walk and yours?
In this case, where is Jesus as the spiritual leader and the disciples are His pupils as the name implies?
This may be the most difficult to explain. Look at what is happening. Jesus is teaching His disciples.
The question of when is closely related to who. Many studies concentrate on the date. The date is what? A value set by the world. A date is fine if you are studying a president, king, or general, but Bible study should center on the spiritual lesson. In this example when is answered in in the previous chapter.
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. (John 13:1 NLTse).
The physical location is easy to find. It’s found in the previous chapter in verse 2. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. (John 13:2 NLTse). In this case, John blended a strange fact with the location. John wanted us to understand what the disciples were up against and how Jesus was threatened. Remember, a Bible study will always look for the spiritual lesson being taught. There is a reason God went to great lengths to record specific locations. More of the spiritual lesson is understood when the story is studied as a whole.
This question can only be answered by reviewing previous texts, which brings up another important detail of Bible study. The context of the chapter is found in the first and last few verses of the chapter. Because we had to look back at the previous chapter to gather details, we can see Jesus having an intimate dinner with His disciples while Satan was present.
We can begin by reviewing a few details about Jesus. Because the time and location drew us back to chapter 13, we have to consider details introduced during that dinner. One was Judas possessed by the devil. Jesus introduced the symbol of wine, blood, bread, and His body. Those were reminders of what Jesus taught them. Jesus also washed their feet, a new tradition Jesus introduced to remind how He served them and how they are to serve each other.
Jesus also reminded them, God gave Jesus His authority and He wouldn’t be with them much longer. Jesus also told them, the world will know them by their love for each other.
Judas is one of the disciples introduced. He was the one with the devil in him. Judas is the one who turned Jesus over to the religious leaders. He did it for money. Jesus used the sign of eating together to identify the traitor, showing how someone close to Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean they know Him. When Judas left, the other disciples assumed he went out to give money to the poor. In fact, Judas was taking away the greatest treasure those poor people would ever see with their own eyes. Through God’s grace and plan, they would receive the greatest reward anyone could receive.
Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. He thought it would be to embarrassing. After Jesus explained, Peter wanted Jesus to wash his hands and head. He wanted more than the other disciples were getting. Later, after Jesus told them He was leaving and they couldn’t follow, Peter insisted he would follow Him even onto death. That’s when Jesus told Peter he was going to deny Him three times.
It may seem strange why chapter13 ended with Jesus telling Peter he will deny Him three times, but when we get to the what and why, we can look at the reason behind why this story is arranged like this. At this point you should be noticing why it is important to look at those chapters as one story. After all, John wrote a book, and books have chapters that all relate to the same story line. Many books finish chapters with one sort of climax or another, leading to the next event in the story.
After Peter, Thomas told Jesus, he wanted to know where Jesus was going. Thomas also asked the way. Jesus’ explanation was simple. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
The next disciple we see in this story is Philip. He wanted Jesus to show Him the Father. Remember, Jesus told Philip’s brother, he would see a stairway between Heaven and earth with angels going up and down.
We also have to take a look at Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name). He wanted to know why Jesus was only going to reveal Himself to them and not the whole world.
Much of the what has already been explained when I listed the names. I’m sorry for getting ahead of myself in this lesson, but now you can see how exciting it is to get into the details. If your not ready to jump in with both feet, your not connected with God’s Spirit.
What was Jesus doing? What He does best, teaching. What was He teaching? All kinds of spiritual details and lessons. Remember Jesus was teaching a group of people. Some caught onto some parts of the lessons, other people understood other details. Jesus taught about humility, helping each other, and that He was soon going away. Jesus also taught about His love and connection with God and how they both shared the same love with this world.
It was during a dinner the day before the Passover. I can’t be sure if it was the Passover dinner, or a preparation for it. Some people say it was the Passover, but Jesus actually died the next day on the Passover. Some say Jewish custom celebrated the Passover a day early when it fell on the Sabbath so there wouldn’t be a conflict between the celebration and Sabbath. That’s not an important detail. What is important is, this is what Jesus was teaching a few hour before He was arrested. Jesus was putting a summation on His ministry with His disciples.
This scene took place around a dinner table. This draws us all the way back to the Tabernacle with the table set as an invitation. That table in the Tabernacle was a symbol of not only that dinner, but Jesus’ invitation to share meals with us.
I could add another nine pages to why. But like we’ve seen, Jesus taught a series of topics to reach each person in a different way at different times. As we can see when we read the story, the disciples didn’t understand.
We can see Judas didn’t understand a whole lot. He ignored what Jesus taught because he already had his mind made up. That’ why the devil inside Judas was introduced at the beginning of the story. The devil could have influenced any of those disciples. He would have had his way with Jesus if there was an opening. We can see different degrees of influence the devil had on some of those disciples. It’s easy to see how Judas didn’t listen. If we look at little closer we can see how other disciples had a difficult time listening.
Peter was mentioned in a few parts of the story. He didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet because he didn’t understand the lesson. Jesus had to remind him, feet are something that can get dirty very fast. Jesus washing their feet was a spiritual lesson. A spiritual cleansing.
Peter was also told he would deny Jesus. Looking back a few verses we see why. Jesus just told them, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLTse). Jesus tells them to love each other. He not only tells them, He commanded them. Suddenly Peter jumped in and asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” (John 13:36 NLTse). Jesus gave a new commandment about love, and Peter asked a question about what Jesus was talking about a few sentences ago. This showed how Peter’s mind was working a little slow. It also showed how all the disciples and we think on different levels and at different speeds.
Why may be the most difficult answer to look into. It does require to most amount of prayer. It takes Jesus to open up a vision to His life and ministry. It takes a prayerful and open heart to see why Jesus was at that dinner.
Why would Jesus leave His throne in Heaven to be at that dinner? Why would God’s Son listen to people doubt Him? Why would He stand there while people argued with Him? When we look back, we see those religious leaders and all kinds pf people arguing with Jesus, doubting Him, and leaving Him.
We have to look back to see Jesus sitting on His throne in Heaven. His Father and Him created a vast universe. Together they ruled and stayed in constant contact with all their creation through their Spirit. Jesus knew everything that was going on. Jesus had a relationship with all those created beings in the universe they created. Then God decided to create one more world. God simply spoke everything into existence and it appeared just the way He wanted it. Everything was perfect. In this new world, God knelt down to form a new creature from the dust. He fashioned every detail by hand. When it was completed He called this new creature man and named Him Adam.
God showed all of His new creation to Adam. Although Adam only knew God for a few hours, God gave everything in this new world to Adam. After a while, Adam noticed there wasn’t any creature like himself. Something wasn’t complete. He didn’t have a mate. God took a rib from Adam and used it to form him a new wife named Eve. Adam gave everything he received from God to Eve and she returned all of it to him. All she wanted was to be by his side, where she came from. To be there and complete Adam as a creation of God.
It didn’t take long for Eve to stray, make one mistake, then another. This world was far different than the others when sin set in. Blame was the first negative effect. The universe watched in horror as God sacrificed the first animals to make coats for Adam and Eve. Why didn’t God just create coats like He did everything else? What did they need thick heavy coats for? No one else in the universe needed them. Sin changed this entire world. Everything from man to the elements suffered.
Jesus could have ended it all right there. One word, one thought could have cast this planet into the cold darkness of space or towards the sun. This world would have melted quicker than a single snow flake drifting into a raging fire. Why was this planet allowed to exist after that first sin?
Jesus tried to explain why. Every time He explained a portion of the subject, one disciple or another would change the subject, or ask a question about something Jesus previously explained. Just like those religious leaders and other people who walked away from Jesus, His own disciples questioned Him. They just weren’t questioning Jesus, they were questioning His love for them.
John 13:34-38 NLTse (34) So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (35) Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (36) Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” (37) “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” (38) Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter–before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.
John 14:1-31 NLTse “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.Trust in God, and trust also in me. (2) There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? (3) When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (4) And you know the way to where I am going.” (5) “No, we don’t know,Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (6) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (7) If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (8) Philip said, “Lord,show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” (9) Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? (10) Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.
John 14:20-24 NLTse (20) When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (21) Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (22) Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” (23) Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. (24) Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.
To understand why, we have to look at the pattern. We have to understand who asked the questions, what those questions were, when they asked the questions, what was the the response, and why. Peter of course had a habit of trying to be the first to ask a question or offer an answer. We have to look at what Peter said and when.
Jesus gave them a new commandment: Love each other. Jesus used His love for them as an example. That love was proof they were Jesus’ examples. What would you have asked Jesus? Wouldn’t you ask Him to explain every detail of that love? Wouldn’t you do everything to learn more about a love that created and looked over a universe? Wouldn’t you want to learn about a love that brought Jesus to this world instead of destroying it and starting over again? But what was Peter’s response to the love Jesus wanted to teach them? Peter asked where Jesus was going? Wasn’t that reaction a little selfish? Wasn’t it a little out of context?
Peter didn’t have the love Jesus talked about. He tried to prove his love in a different way, his own way. Peter told Jesus he would die for him. Of course Jesus knew better. Now we can see when Jesus met with Peter after His resurrection, He asked Peter if he loved Him, not once, but three times. Jesus had to teach Peter not only how to think about love, but how to pray about it.
Immediately after Jesus told Peter how he was going to deny he knew Him, Jesus told them not to worry. Jesus told them about a place He is going to personally prepare for them. “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” At that point Thomas had to tell Jesus, he had no idea where Jesus was going nor did they know the way. Once again, how would you have reacted? If they really believed Jesus is God’s Son, wouldn’t a more appropriate response be centered on details about that new home? Imagine the God who created the universe building a new home for you. That sparks a thousand question in me. Is Jesus going to speak it into existence or build it by hand? How will it look? Where will it be? What about the rooms, the view, the yard? Who is gong to be my neighbor? Think of a thousand other question about the plants and animals around the house. But Thomas asked which way Jesus was going. His response seems as out of place as Peter’s question.
Jesus wondered why they didn’t understand. Why they could see how He was, “the way.” Did they miss something in the parable about those sheep following the good shepherd? Sheep don’t ask questions, they just follow.
Jesus didn’t let the interruption slow Him down or knock Him off course. Jesus only had a few more hours to explain those details. He told them about knowing His Father. “If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.” This confused Philip. His response was also out of place. “Lord,show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
What had Jesus been showing them over the past few years? Why did He leave Heaven to talk to those people, perform all those miracles, freeze in the cold, sweat in the summer, face threats, and live like one of the poor people on this planet? Jesus did all of that and more. But they still couldn’t understand. “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?”
Jesus only told them a few details about what was going to happen in a few hours. Then He got right to the point. “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” It was pretty simple. We show Jesus we love Him by keeping His commandments. Jesus already pointed them to God’s commandments, and there was no need or time to repeat Himself on the subject. That’s when Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
Was this question also out of place? Did Jesus leave Heaven to come here and teach only a few people? Did Jesus intend on showing only a few people God and His love? Why was Judas out of place? Why were those disciples out of place? Did they have trouble hearing or understanding?
Let’s look at this short sequence of events from Jesus’ perspective. He taught them about the love between Him and His Father, and the love the two have for those disciples, and all of us of course. Then Jesus talked about knowing His Father. If they knew Jesus, they knew God. Knowing someone has a lot to do with loving them. How can you love someone if you don’t know them?
Jesus wanted to show how much He loved them. He told them He was going away to build a new home for them. This should have drawn them back to creation when God formed Adam by hand. Jesus continued to teach them about seeing God’s personality and know all about His personality from what they’ve learned and the type of life He led. Also the way He washed their feet a few hours ago.
Finally Jesus told them the connection between God and His law and the connection between His love and His law. Jesus began with love and finished with love. In between Jesus explained how we can see God’s love and what He will do for each of them and us.
I would suggest you do what Jesus wanted them to do. If you can’t see God through what has been recorded about Jesus’ life and ministry, you should be praying, talking to Him, and listening to what He has to say. All I can tell you is, Jesus is waiting to share details about His love you can’t imagine. I’ve seen more. A few I’ve been able to explain. There is so much more words cannot properly explain. And a special type of love the world is not ready to accept. This world is not ready to understand. I have no idea what you’re ready for. But I know Jesus knows exactly what you are ready to listen to and except. So far this story has shown us how Jesus’ disciples weren’t ready to accept that love. I can tell you, John didn’t include all the details. There is much more. And we’re not done this this story yet. There are a few chapters that follow.
I wanted to jump right to the sequence of the judgment. That sequence is in the Bible and it is written out. And written out in order. It is so easy to find. And when you read it, the sequence makes total sense. The problem is, the sequence God had recorded in the Bible is not the sequence of events most people believe in, accept, and teach.
As I was lying in bed praying, I could go through the sequence of events recorded in the Bible. I could see how I could quickly introduce that sequence, show you where it is, and explain how most people do not and will not accept the order of events God recorded. Then comes the hard part. You have the sequence in front of you. You read it. It is there in black and white, Every detail is backed up by scripture. I don’t need to add a thing or comment because God put it all together. The problem is, the chances of that sequence agreeing with what you’ve been taught is from slim to none. Even if you accept the sequence taken straight out of the Bible, there will be details you’ve been trained to add. And you will think, there are a few details that need to be rearranged because God doesn’t understand this modern world. And there are a few symbols you think you have figured out. The Bible will show how those symbols existed in the past, but not in the modern age. That doesn’t matter. A good threat from the past is a good threat to keep your eyes on today. There may be million reasons for you not to accept the judgment process God recorded in scripture. There may be a billion reasons why one person or another, or the next person will not accept that sequence of events. I have no idea knowing why one person will accept that sequence and why a million people will reject it. All I know is, the sequence will be rejected for one reason or another.
How do I know that? It’s simple. I prayed about it. Before I prayed, Jesus set up a sequence of events in my life to confirm the answer He gave me. That may all seem simple, but I suppose a few people will need an in depth explanation. So bear with me while I explain the prayer process I use and how it was confirmed before I prayed.
Prayer is simple. Prayer is talking to the ultimate source of knowledge in the Universe. Prayer is talking with God. I think everyone will agree with that. But 90% of prayer is listening. That is that hard part. For some people listening to God is nearly impossible. Moses wrote four books showing how difficult it was for the vast majority of Israel to listen to God. So we have more than adequate information from the Bible showing us, listening to God is an acquired skill. Moses had to learn how to listen to God. If you read the books Moses wrote, you will see how Moses began with fear, and wound up knowing God as the best friend He could not live without. Along side of that is a story about the majority in Israel who either didn’t want to talk to God, were afraid to talk to God, or didn’t believe a human can hear God. The devil took off on those human traits and created a few beliefs and doctrines designed to discourage people from listening to God. The term, “fear of God,” is one of them. People say they are God fearing. What does that mean? They can’t explain it. All they know is, other people say it. What they don’t know is, if they never grow and mature past that fear, they will never learn to listen to God.
Another monkey wrench the devil threw into the mix is the term Trinity. Is there a Trinity? All I can say is, I’ve seen too many people wasting too much time on the subject. They love to appear as if they can explain everything about an infinite God. A God they never met, talked to, or obviously listened to. The fact of the matter is, if they knew God, they would actually be able to explain God, and how He communicates with this world.
Abraham talked with God. God told Abraham to go there. And Abraham packed up and moved. One day Abraham saw three people coming down the road. They turned out to be angels on their way to Sodom to destroy the city. Abraham tried to save the city and everyone in it. Now think about that for a moment. Abraham a mere human negotiating with an angel. How does that happen? And what does that teach us? We can and should communicate with Heaven. If Abraham could do it, why not us?
Some people think one of those angels was Jesus. Some believe one of those angels was God in the flesh. At any rate, either God or Jesus took on a human form and talked face to face with Abraham. What about that old saying, “if anyone looks upon God, they will die.” Is that true? What scripture is that based on? I’m going to copy that phrase, “if anyone looks upon God, they will die,” and paste it into an Internet search engine. I suggest you do the same.
Take a look at a few of the comments and studies on the Internet. What did you find? I found a few people who looked at both sides of the subject. The Bible has a few verses telling us, no one has seen or can see God. Is that in the physical or spiritual sense? Does the context of the story center on communication, choices, or the gulf between human and Heavenly understanding? You would have to open your Bible and read the entire story to find out the answers to any and all of the questions drifting through your head. But wait. There is another way to answer all those questions. You can rely on your memory, what you read, heard, been taught, what you were thinking at the moment, and a host of other, well earthly ways to come to a conclusion. In other words, form a personal opinion. Is your personal opinion based on – whatever – the same as an answer from Heaven? People may think so. People like to believe their thoughts are totally in line with Heaven. People like to believe they think exactly like God. Or is that the other way around? Does God modify His thoughts, actions, and plans to agree with this world? Come on now. Investigation is investigation. Research is research. Are you going to investigate a question or rely on a gut feeling? No wonder why no one can see God. If they ever listened to God and took God at His word, that person would die of embarrassment.
In fact, we can use science to prove God exists. Some people do. But other people use science to prove other theories. The problem is, people are focused on proving whatever it is they want to prove. If they want to prove evolution, their mind is focused on evolution and will not accept one shred of evidence God does exist. People like that are bound and determined to skip over, miss, and reject every shred of evidence proving God created this world and the Universe. On the other side of the coin, a person dedicated to proving God created the Universe will be so focused on their train of thought. They can and will miss the majority of information and facts that should have been obvious. The point is, we have to train our minds to be open to Jesus when we are talking with Jesus. And we should be listing as well as expecting the unexpected.
Lesson number 1. We have to have an open mind. Lesson 2. We have to focus on the subject Jesus is teaching. Take the Trinity distraction. Imagine yourself opening the Bible to go over the same subject over and over again to prove your point. Is that Bible Study? Not by a long shot. That type of study cancels out common sense. Let’s use Abraham’s story as an example.
Does it matter if God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit took on a human form to talk to Abraham? It doesn’t matter. Whoever it was, they were on a mission from Heaven. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all agreed on the outcome, the reason behind it, the lesson that event would teach, and how that lesson would be used in the future. It wouldn’t matter which one you talked to, God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. You would get the exact same answer. I know it may be difficult for people to envision such an agreeable nature. But Heavenly beings are not human. We have to accept that and get onto more important issues. Like how Heaven communicates with this world. And why the devil wants to obliterate or at least confuse that communication. Now we can look at one of the ways Satan introduced static to God’s communication with this world. Or better yet, one of the ways God does communicate with this world. Through His Word.
The concept of dying if you ever look upon God is based on two verses. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (Exodus 33:20 KJV). No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18 KJV).
Let’s take a look at those two verses. First of all, we have to agree on a study method. Using a Concordance to research the definition of key words seems to be one study method most people agree on. In Exodus 33:20 we will look at two key words, face and live.
H6440 פּניםnnpa^ni^ym paw-neem’
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פּנה pa^neh, paw-neh’; from 6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.): – + accept, a (be-) fore (-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront (-part), form (-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him (-self), + honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look [-eth] (-s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, prospect, was purposed, by reason, of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them (-selves), through (+ -out), till, time (-s) past, (un-) to (-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with (-in, + stand), X ye, X you.
As you can see, the word face has many different meanings. Which one do we choose? How do we know which definition to use in that particular story? When we look at the definition of the word face, we see a host of words related to emotions. Accept, against, anger, battle, employ, endure, inquire, heaviness, and honorable are related to emotions in one way or another. When we see a Hebrew word that focuses on one aspect, and was translated outside of that realm, we have to ask why. Was God focusing on the His emotional aspects or the physical face? To answer that question we have to look at the context of the story. In other words, back up a bit and look at what lead into that particular event.
After Moses had gone in, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the door of the Tent, and the LORD would speak to Moses from the cloud. As soon as the people saw the pillar of cloud at the door of the Tent, they would bow down. The LORD would speak with Moses face-to-face, just as someone speaks with a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp. But the young man who was his helper, Joshua son of Nun, stayed in the Tent. Moses said to the LORD, “It is true that you have told me to lead these people to that land, but you did not tell me whom you would send with me. You have said that you know me well and are pleased with me. Now if you are, tell me your plans, so that I may serve you and continue to please you. Remember also that you have chosen this nation to be your own.” The LORD said, “I will go with you, and I will give you victory.” Moses replied, “If you do not go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you are pleased with your people and with me if you do not go with us? Your presence with us will distinguish us from any other people on earth.” The LORD said to Moses, “I will do just as you have asked, because I know you very well and I am pleased with you.” Then Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.” The LORD answered, “I will make all my splendor pass before you and in your presence I will pronounce my sacred name. I am the LORD, and I show compassion and pity on those I choose. I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive, (Exodus 33:9-20 GNB).
At first glance it appears the Bible contradicts itself. In fact we could say, Moses contradicted himself. Moses wrote the Book of Exodus. Why would Moses contradict himself? Especially on such a serious subject. Would you say anything like, “I talked to God face to face.” Then later tell people, “God told me, I can’t see His face. Because if I did, I would die.” That doesn’t make sense. So the problem must be in the translation.
If the word face was actually meant to be something along the lines of emotions, we would see that in the previous conversation. As a matter of fact we do. Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.” The entire conversation dwells on the emotional level. Moses does not want God to depart or leave. Moses relies on God’s presence, instructions, guidance, and protection. All of those words are related to other aspects found in the definition of the word translated as face in this story. If the entire story dwells on emotions, why would the main focus suddenly switch to God’s physical face? Before we can answer that question, we have one more word to look at, live.
A primitive root (compare H2421); to live; causatively to revive: – live, save life.
Maybe revive would have been a better translation in this verse. If Moses ever saw all of God’s emotions, would he ever revive? Would Moses ever return to the same person he used to be? Did God need Moses with all of his faults? Was Moses a sort of bridge between God and Israel? Of course he was. Israel rejected God. Israel turned down the offer to talk directly with God. Israel wanted Moses between themselves and God. Israel demanded a man with faults. What would have happened if Moses saw all of God’s emotions and spirituality? That would have changed Moses forever. God knew what Israel needed and could only take Moses so far. God could only take Moses as far as Israel permitted. In a sense, Israel held Moses back. And we tend to face the same problems today. We can only tell people what they want to hear about God. We can only teach people what they are ready to accept. We need the Holy Spirit to prepare people for a message. If people aren’t ready, the message will be lost, disregarded, slandered, and trampled.
How do we get people past their fear of God? How do we get people past that belief that no one sees God, and that God doesn’t really talk to people? We can point out a few verses like the one in Exodus where Moses talked to God face to face like talking to a friend. We can show people a few of David’s experiences with God. We can show how God communicated with every prophet in the Bible. Some prophets received messages in visions, dreams, and some heard God’s voice. The Bible is filled with examples of people communicating with God. Not only prophets, but other people. Sometimes God sent angels as messengers. Pick a story. Any story. A story you can relate to. It’s up to you to either prove or disprove the fact, God has and continues to communicate with this world.
When I pray, I keep it simple. I ask to be forgiven. I think every Christian asks Jesus to be forgiven. At least those who plan on seeing eternal life. After that, I throw in a few sentences to remind me, Jesus created this world, the Universe, and everything in it. That sets my mind on the fact, I am communicating with a higher form of intelligence. Of course I thank Jesus for a few things that I remember at that particular time. Then I go over a list of details to pray about. You know, work, bills, income, and of course a list of people to pray for. Going over that list in my head shows me how little I remember. That opens up my mind to the next phase of prayer. What does Jesus want to talk about? What does Jesus want to tell me, teach me, warn me about, and in many cases, review a few details about my life. Ouch. That one can hurt. That is only a portion of the fear we have to learn to overcome.
When I open the floor to Jesus, I can hear His voice. Or at least thoughts that for the most part, are more detailed and make more sense than my usual thought patterns. In this case I focus on one subject. This book and this particular subject. I wanted to do one thing. But that didn’t turn out to be a very good idea. I had a conversation with Jesus that went like this.
Me: “Thank you for that list of events in the Bible that shows the process you are going to follow in the judgment process. As soon as I get this written out and posted, it will change the world.”
Jesus: “Go ahead. Copy and paste that sequence in our book. But what are you going to do after that?”
Me: “I don’t know. I guess I really don’t have to do a thing. You already explained everything.”
Jesus: “And how long has that been sitting there?”
Me: “About 2000 years.”
Jesus: “And didn’t you just write a chapter about all the different beliefs? Didn’t you just read about how all those denominations changed the sequence of events, added to it, omitted important details, wrote cannons and doctrines on the subject?”
Me: “Well yes I did. But we agree on most points.”
Jesus: “You already know, when you agree with people, they consider you a reliable source of information. As long as you agree with them, you are a genius. But as soon as you bring up one point they don’t agree with, you turn into an idiot in their eyes. You go through that almost everyday. Haven’t you learned anything from those experiences?”
Me: “Well I guess I did. So what do I do next?”
Jesus: “ How did you end your last chapter?”
Me: “ With some scripture about you being the all knowing God, and people in this world have a difficult time accepting that fact.”
Jesus: “Can you tell me that story word for word?”
Me: “Well no.”
Jesus: “I can.”
Me: “Okay. So what do you want me to do next?”
Jesus: “The reason people do not seek my knowledge is because they don’t understand how to communicate with me. So you have to explain how you communicate with me.”
Me: “That makes sense.”
Jesus: “So we agree. That sequence of events has to wait. There are steps people have to learn before they can, for lack of a better term, open their minds and hearts to understanding.”
Me: “I see.”
Jesus: “Are you ready now?”
Me: “Yep. Now I am.”
Jesus: “Then let’s get to that book.”
Me: “Okay. Where do I start?”
Jesus: “By admitting you had the wrong idea.”
Communicating with Jesus is not very difficult. But there are a few things you need to learn to put together. One of those things is the way Jesus sets a course in your life. Before you can hope to accept and understand the sequence of events concerning the judgment process, you have to learn how Jesus establishes events in your life for a purpose.
During this past week I was thinking of William Miller. You can search William Miller on the Internet and do some research on his life. You will notice, a lot of articles are biased. They either support Miller, or totally reject him. Why? William Miller is mostly known for his prediction of Jesus’ return in October of 1844. Of course Miller was wrong. We are still here. That is about all most people know about William Miller. But what prompted Miller to make that prediction? That is where the story gets interesting.
There is a popular second level some people follow William Miller on. That is based on the field and study of prophecy. Some people dwell on that level and never get past it. They think if they are able to see a few details in the future, they have some sort of security. I’m not sure what that is.
William Miller was a self taught student of the Bible. Or at least that is what main stream religion wants people to believe. Although William Miller was focused or restricted to time studies in the Bible, he did come up with s number of interpretations that are now accepted by quite a number of major denominations. Those denominations had to either rewrite a lot of their beliefs or add to them. It’s sad to think people focused and restricted their view on Miller to prophecy when Miller had so much more to offer.
Before Miller, the subject of Bible study had few if any rules. Miller came up with a set of Bible Study Rules. He published that list of Bible Study Rules with the scripture to back them up. Those rules became the back bone of theology institutions all over the world. The sad part is, people either ignored, or were afraid of Miller’s explanation of how he found and gathered that list of Bible Study Rules.
Main stream Christianity saw or created a threat out of Miller’s explanations. William Miller was not self taught in the art of Bible Study. Miller never claimed to be self taught. Miller never took an ounce of credit. Miller gave all the credit to God. Miller explained how God took him from one step to the next. There is a book called the Memoirs of William Miller. It is a great book and I would suggest you read it. That was one of the ways Jesus communicated with me throughout the week and confirmed our conversation before we had it. After about 3 years, I ran across my copy of the book, The Memoirs of William Miller. I gave it to a friend. I had no idea I gave away that book. It is a great reference source. A book I read three times. You see, William Miller was not ashamed to describe how Jesus communicated with him. Miller was not afraid to tell the world, Jesus taught him how to study the Bible. Miller was not afraid to tell the world, Jesus gave him that list of Bible Study Rules. Miller gave all the credit to God. I have no idea why main stream Christianity is afraid of a guy who gives all the credit to God. But that’s the way it is today. We just have to learn to deal with it.
To make a long story short, William Miller thought he was working on a prophecy about Jesus’ return to this world and end of this world as we know it. He worked out so many details, it sort of spun his mind around. Miller made one fatal error. He set his mind on proving something he believed was true. Miller was convinced he was working on a prophecy about the end of the world. The prophecy was about cleansing the Sanctuary. Miller interpreted the Sanctuary as the earth. Cleansing the earth has to point to its destruction. But of course the Sanctuary pointed to the Heavenly Sanctuary. And cleansing the Sanctuary pointed to the beginning of the judgment phase of Jesus’ ministry in Heaven. We will look at more of that later.
The point is. William Miller wrote a book about how Jesus communicated with him, taught him, and every detailed step. That scares the stuffing out of religious institutions. William Miller is one of the few modern men to write an account of how he communicated with Jesus. And that information is being buried. Why? I really don’t care to ask why. I am more concerned with reviewing Miller’s book and learning from it.
Some institutions actually support Miller to one degree of another. They mostly rely on the prophetic interpretations Miller recorded. But to keep Miller’s communication with God at a minimum, they slice out the prophetic portions of his book, claim their highest ranking theologians studied his book, and saved you the problem of reading all 400 or so pages. Gee thanks. Those institutions made prophecy a path to God’s throne. They made prophecy the main focus and basically used prophecy as a smoke screen to hide the lessons Miller really focused on, his relationship with Jesus. The institutions replaced a relationship with Jesus with a handful of prophecies and the idea they can see into the future.
The fascinating part of the story is, Jesus allowed Miller to follow his idea in one particular area. The belief that the prophecy was about the end of the earth. History shows us, Miller was wrong on that detail. History also shows us, no one was able to explain the prophecy actually pointed to Jesus entering the Heavenly Sanctuary to begin the judgment process until after that prophecy was fulfilled. That is just the way God works. No one is certain about any prophecy until after it is fulfilled. The Bible contains over 300 prophecies about Jesus’ ministry on earth. No one was able to understand any of them until all were fulfilled, and Jesus rose from that grave and went back to Heaven. We just have to accept the fact, that’s the way God operates.
So do we condemn a man because he was wrong on one point? That’s ridiculous. Many of the prophecies Miller interpreted are accepted by many major religions. It took some time, but people began to see, you can’t argue with scripture. When Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary, it was basically a repeat of history. No one understood the prophecies about Jesus’ ministry on earth until after they were fulfilled. Only a small number of people grasped onto the truth at the very beginning. It took years for other people to catch on. The same pattern was followed for Jesus’ ministry on earth, and His ministry in Heaven.
Here is an interesting fact I want to add here. Miller had between 50,00 and 500,000 followers world wide. Out of all of those people, only about a dozen took his Bible Study Rules and the information Miller taught about his relationship with Jesus seriously. That is well under 1%. Some groups accepted Miller’s Bible Study Rules and tried to continue the studies. They soon fizzled out. Other groups concentrated on the relationship side of what Miller taught. They didn’t last long either. The few who kept the two combined, in other words, Bible Study with Jesus’ Spirit, went on the write hundreds of books, teach a handful of other people, and see the world accept portions of Miller’s interpretations for some of the major prophecies in the Bible. It took time and the learning process it not over.
I thought it would be interesting to look at a few other facts. I looked up the book ranking on The Memoirs of William Miller. Here are the numbers.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,360 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#332 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Denominations & Sects > Protestantism > Seventh-Day Adventist
#440 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Denominations & Sects > Protestantism > Seventh-Day Adventist
#446440 in Books > Religion & Spirituality
Surprisingly, the book ranks rather high. The book is also available as a free PDF download from a number of sources. The question is, if this book is that popular, why do we hear so little about the relationship William Miller had with Christ? The only logical reason is, people reading that book focus on the prophecies in that book and are not interested in the parts about his relationship with Christ Miller painstakingly recorded. Just another fact showing how the mind can quickly be closed to learning.
How do you begin writing a book about God’s judgment? That is a great question. On one hand the judgment is a simple subject. On the other hand it has more facets than most people imagine. Then again, how many people talk about the judgment of this planet? Why do people avoid the subject? Why do few people study the subject? Let’s begin by taking a look at what the Greek definition of judgment is. Did you know John used three different Greek words for judgment in the Book of Revelation? Krima, krino, and krisis are the three Greek words John used in specific stories in Revelation. Let’s first begin by establishing John’s book and the Bible as inspired writings or revelations from Heaven. We are never going to get anywhere unless we approach the Bible as an inspired book written by the living God who created this world, the universe, and something referred to as the plan of salvation. In plain and simple terms, if we want to search the truth, the best place to begin is the original author and architect of not only this planet but the plan to save it. With that being said we can open up a Concordance and look at the definition of the three Greek words John used for judgment.
From G2919; a decision (the function or the effect, for or against [crime]): – avenge, condemned, condemnation, damnation, + go to law, judgment.
Properly to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish: – avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.
G2920 Rev_14:7 Rev_16:7 Rev 18:20 Rev_19:2
(Subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension a tribunal; by implication justice (specifically divine law): – accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
After looking at those three words there has to be a few thoughts drifting around in your head. The first may be, the word krisis is really close to the English word crisis. Why is that? Maybe the word crisis came from the Greek word krisis. I don’t know. I am not about to get side tracked by looking at the development of the English language. Although there are a few details we will examine. The first detail in the English language will look at is the modern definition of judgment.
Worldly Definition of Judgment
the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
“an error of judgment”
discernment, acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, sense, common sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, acuity, discrimination, reckoning, wisdom, wit, judiciousness, prudence, canniness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic; More
a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.
“the crash had been a judgment on the parents for wickedness”
One detail I noticed is the fact, there are two ways to spell judgment. With and without the extra – “e”. Why? I don’t know. Maybe that’s God’s way of showing us, the world cannot even agree on how to spell the word judgment.
The main difference between God’s judgment and the world’s view of judgment is the outcome. Of course the world is going to disagree with the outcome of God’s judgment. This world as we know it will be on the loosing end of the judgment, They are not going to accept the final decision without a lot of screaming and kicking.
Looking at the definition of the three Greek words, krima, krino, and krisis, we should see something missing. When we look at the worldly definition of judgment, we see there is always a chance the final decision will fall in our favor. No one would proceed with a court case without hopes and thoughts the judge will agree with them and condemn their opponent. In human understanding, there has to be a winner and looser in every judgment. But when we look at the definition of those three Greek words John used, there is no winner. All three of those Greek words agree. Judgment only leads to condemnation, sentencing, and damnation. What happened to the winner? I have news for you. Based on the inspired word of God, there is no winner. If you reach the point of being judged, you are already a looser. Does that mean God’s court of law is fixed? That’s what the devil wants this world to think. He has been busing trying to convince the world they have a chance when they face God’s judgment, In plain and simple terms, the devil wants to defend you in God’s court of law. How do you feel about that? I’m sure you never heard that one from any preacher. But those are the cold hard facts.
Satan had to change the worldly view on the word judgment. Satan wants the world to believe they have a chance in God’s court system. After all, don’t we serve a loving, forgiving God? Of course we do. God made the sunshine, flowers, cuddly little animals, and a host of other things. Why would God just condemn this planet?
It boils down to a basic understanding of God’s plan of salvation. Most Christians agree Jesus came to this world, died for our sins, and if you believe in Jesus, or call on His name, you are saved. The one part most churches don’t teach is the fact, when you follow Jesus, you completely skip that judgment process. Only the losers face any type of judgment. Let’s look at that from a perspective much easier to understand than the worldly definition of judgment and much easier to understand than any court system in this world. Let’s look at the obvious example. Does everyone on this planet have to appear in front of a judge and defend themselves in a trial? No. Common sense tells us, only people who have been accused of a crime have to prepare to defend themselves in front of a judge. So let me ask you a question here. Why does the world think God’s judgment or court system is different? Why do we hear so many Christians walking around preaching that everyone stands in front of God? Why does the world teach us, you have to stand in front of God to be judged. And there are winners and losers. That’s not what John said. That’s not what the definition of not only one or two, but three Greek words tell us. Nothing in the Bible tells us, Jesus’ followers will be judged. I got news for you. Only the condemned will be judged. So if you are preparing your case to present in front of God, the outcome will not be good.
Okay so there are a few verses people can pull out of the Bible and argue that point. I’m not going to look at those just yet. Let’s just say, those verses used different Greek words and refer to different aspects or points of time in the plan of salvation. We will cover those verses in later chapters. At this point we will keep the plan simple and look at a few key thoughts.
John 5:20-30 RSVA For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. (21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. (22) The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, (23) that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (24) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (25) “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (26) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, (27) and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. (28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice (29) and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. (30) “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
This sums up the judgment process in a nutshell. There are two choices. The resurrection of life, and the resurrection of judgment. Here John used the Greek word krisis. Which we know means only condemnation and damnation. There is no chance of a good outcome, second chance, or a defense that will somehow get you off the hook.
The world likes to teach something along the way of, “believe in Christ and be saved.” Of course there are 100 versions of that. But we are not here to study all the different versions or flavors of salvation. We are here to take a series look at judgment and what it means.
When it comes to the subject of judgment, the world has a variety of ideals and concepts to choose from. I looked the judgment up on the Internet and was, well a little surprised at what I found. Few people are able to stay on track. In other words stick to the subject. They swerve off in all kinds of directions. We are not here to examine every belief the world has. That would be a waste of time. It may result in a best selling book. But I want to keep this book rather brief, to the point, and Biblical as possible. Later we will look into scripture explaining the judgment process in more detail. Today we you can look at some of the beliefs the world teaches about God’s judgment process. One of the best sources I found on the Internet comes from all places, Wikipedia. Here is the link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Judgment
You can look at the site yourself. It lists many of the modern day beliefs and doctrines on God’s judgment. Going through those I noticed, most of the Christian religions agree on about 80% of the points. But they vary on a few points. I’m not going to get into those disagreements but only point out the fact, for the most part Christian religions have a lot in common on the judgment process. Something in the back of your mind should be telling you, that opens a ton of doors to reach people. As a matter of fact, the Wikipedia article lists a few non-Christian religions that share some major points. That opens up a few extra doors.
Paul wrote a few letters showing how the subject of God’s judgment should open doors for discussion. We will examine those letters in later chapters in this book. For now we will look at a few basic concepts you have to know to number 1, understand the judgment process, and number 2, be able to teach what that judgment process is. Let’s look at the one of those criteria.
1 Corinthians 2:7-16 RSVA (7) But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. (8) None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (10) God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (11) For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. (13) And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. (14) The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (15) The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. (16) “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
The first concept you have to know, understand, and accept is, this world knows about God’s judgment but doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of explaining what God’s judgment is, the process, sequence, or anything else. We’ve already showed how the devil got into the mix, changed the definition of the word judgment, and gave this world a false hope of defending themselves, looking for a favorable outcome, and in the long run, changed one word to create dozens of new worldly beliefs about the judgment process. After looking at the article on Wikipedia you would agree.
The point is. We don’t stand a chance of getting on track if we don’t have the Spirit of God to guide us and explain God’s judgment process. That goes without saying. Another important point to consider is, we cannot avoid the judgment and condemnation that goes along with that process if we don’t know Christ. Without Christ we are going no where. So let’s get in tune with the Spirit, get to know Christ, and start our education process on God’s judgment.
In about the ninth generation from Adam, (based on the bloodline of Seth) God decided to destroy the earth. Only one man his wife,his three sons, and their wives were chosen to survive. That’s not to say only eight people were worthy to survive. Other people found God’s favor, but were not allowed to see the other side of the flood.
How much information and technology made the journey across that flood? We really can’t answer that question. But we can look at what it took to build that one ship and get a tiny glimpse of the technology and skills involved.
I’m sure most people reading this book have been brainwashed into thinking Noah used a few wooden tools to make that huge ship. It may be difficult or even impossible for some people to see Noah living in an advanced society. Maybe more advanced than the society we live in today. I’m not talking computers and cell phones. We have not doubts, people in those days were blessed with great memories. Adam could remember the name of every animal on this planet. I’m sure those memory skills made it to and past the ninth generation. What about other skills? Mathematics is one of them. Let’s take a look at the ark to see mathematics come alive in the Bible.
Genesis 6:13-22 NLTse So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth! (14) “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. (15) Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. (16) Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat–lower, middle, and upper. (17) “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. (18) But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat–you and your wife and your sons and their wives. (19) Bring a pair of every kind of animal–a male and a female–into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. (20) Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. (21) And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” (22) So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
Of course I used a Bible version that translated the size of the ark into feet. Something I can understand. For those of you on the metric system. Three feet and three inches is a meter. The ark is basically 138 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 14 meters high.
450 feet is as long as one and a half football fields. That is one long ship. It is not too wide, only 75 feet. Which just happens to be one and a half times as wide as a football field. This will make the size of the ark easier to envision. Since we are using a football field as a guide, the average football stadium can seat 80,000 people plus a host of vendors, security personal, over 100 players,plus hundreds of other people for support. Now we are getting the size of the ark in perspective. The ark was about four stories high.
Exactly how big was Noah’s ark? Let us start by defining a cubit. A Biblical cubit is considered the length between the elbow of an adult and their fingertip, which is calculated to being 18 U.S. inches (roughly). Quite a few scholars who study the Hebrew Bible believe a cubit was somewhere in between 17.5 to 21.5 inches long. If we conservatively assume that a cubit was 18 inches (U.S.), we can conclude that the ark piloted by Noah was about 450 feet (U.S.) long, 75 feet (U.S.) wide, and 45 feet (U.S.) high.
The interesting thing about Noah’s ark its construction was on a 1:6 ratio. Naval architecture reveals that this is the most stable ratio for an ocean-going vessel. It could have easily survived even big ocean waves and would be next to impossible to capsize. The amount of water the ship would displace, given a draught of 15 cubits, exceeds 22,000 tons.
The total volume of Noah’s Ark was roughly 1.5 million cubic feet, which is equal to the total capacity of more than 570 standard stock cars used on a typical railroad. The floor space would be above 100,000 sq. ft. (9,383 square meters). What God had Noah make would be nothing less than the BIGGEST ship of its kind for many, many years until man began to build even bigger ships in the late 1800’s A.D.! (Source).
I’d like to get a little deeper into the actual size and weight of the ark to look at a few details most people tend to neglect. One of those details is the length. The longer a ship is, the greater the tendency for that ship to crack during a heavy storm. Let’s look at that storm.
There is really no way to gauge the force of the storm Noah’s ark faced. All we can do is look at the world’s largest tsunami and let our imaginations fill in the rest.
On the night of July 9, 1958, an earthquake along the Fairweather Fault in the Alaska Panhandle loosened about 40 million cubic yards (30.6 million cubic meters) of rock high above the northeastern shore of Lituya Bay. This mass of rock plunged from an altitude of approximately 3000 feet (914 meters) down into the waters of Gilbert Inlet (see map below). The impact generated a local tsunami that crashed against the southwest shoreline of Gilbert Inlet. The wave hit with such power that it swept completely over the spur of land that separates Gilbert Inlet from the main body of Lituya Bay. The wave then continued down the entire length of Lituya Bay, over La Chaussee Spit and into the Gulf of Alaska. The force of the wave removed all trees and vegetation from elevations as high as 1720 feet (524 meters) above sea level. Millions of trees were uprooted and swept away by the wave. This is the highest wave that has ever been known. (Source).
I have no way of estimating what percentage of the earth caused that wave and flooding. But let’s say 1%, That would make the storm Noah faced 100 worse than the worst tsunami ever recorded.
With that said, Noah’s ark had to be stronger than any wooden ship ever constructed. Keep in mind, Noah’s ark was the first ship of its kind ever constructed and it had to be right the first time. The difficult part with this book is finding a good recommendation for the thickness of the hull. This is the best I could find.
The wooden portion of the laminated structure is preferably at least three-fourths inch in thickness, and generally ranges to about six inches, and greater. More preferably, the wooden planking ranges from about one and one-half inches to about four inches, and most preferably from about one and one-half inches to about three inches in thickness. Commonly, wooden planking of three-fourths inch or greater thicknesses is employed on boats up to about thirty feet length, and wooden planking of two inch or greater thickness is employed in boats of up to about seventy-five feet in length. Wooden planking of about two to two and one-half inch thickness is commonly used in large trawlers, and wooden planking of from three to four inches thickness is commonly used in North Sea trawlers. The laminated structure of this invention has been found admirably successful in the construction of boats of these sizes, and types. (Source).
Based on the information above, my best guess is the hull of the ark had to have been at least 6 inches think. That adds in a minimum safety factor for the stresses that boat had to face. Without getting into complicated calculations, my gut feeling tells me the actually thickness of the hull had to be 9 to 12 inches thick. But I am using a conservative guess so I do not exaggerate the actual weights.
I am not going to guess at the type of wood the ark used. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. (Genesis 6:14 KJV). No one knows what gopher wood is. Popular belief is that it was a wood of denser fiber and stronger than any wood we find today. In any case, I am going to use the weight of oak for my calculations.
The fact of the matter is, men lived longer is Noah’s day. There must have been trees thousands of years old when Noah began his project. Those trees must have been huge. That left Noah with the option to build large wooden sections. On the side of argument, I am going to use a few basic, nominal sizes to collect a few figures.
If the hull was 6 inches think, the boards may have been up to 18 inches wide. To keep the weight at a minimum, the boards may have been 20 feet long. I am going to use the basic weight of 45 pounds per cubic foot for normal oak. A 6 inch x 18 inch board 20 feet long would weigh 675 pounds each. I have no idea how many boards Noah required to complete the project, but lifting 675 pounds 4 stories in the air was a feat for anyone.
What if Noah and his sons were larger than the average human being? What if they were on the average, 12 to 15 feet tall? The best guess I can find on the Internet for a 12 foot man is about 800 pounds. If that were the case, each piece of wood would be close lifting your own weight. Try and do that all day long. In any case, what about using simple tools like a hoist? That would mean Noah had enough knowledge to make a wheel. Ropes also had to be fabricated. Because men weighed at least 800 pounds, one or two men would have been able to hull a plank of 20 foot long wood up 4 stories with no problems.
What about the inside structure? Those beams and columns would have weighed much more than planks for the hull. The inside columns would have been much thicker than the hull. I would estimate their size to be at least a foot thick. If those columns were fabricated in one piece, they would have weighed 2025 pounds a piece. It would have been impossible for even 15 feet tall men to put those columns in place, and balance a piece of lumber three times their height. Noah had to build something to aid construction.
Keeping to basic terms and questions about the construction of the ark, how did Noah fasten those pieces of wood together? Some people insist Noah had a primitive mind and skills. Some people suggest he used wooden pegs to hold the ark together. Would you trust wooden pegs in a ship that would sail through the worst floods this world had ever seen? I wouldn’t. Modern wooden ships use brass screws. They do not rust and are strong enough to withstand some shocks. Noah had to posses the technology, tools, and machinery to make screws. If people could build cities with doors, they needed hinges, along with other accessories. I’m not suggesting Noah had lathes and milling machines. But he could have had cutting dies and other simple tooling. This required a material harder and stronger than brass. The iron mentioned earlier in Genesis had plenty of time to be refined, fine tuned, and fashioned into a number of different qualities based on their use and available alloys.
The decks inside the ark could have been designed to use an interior support system made of a three piece column. This would have required a wider column to allow for a stronger attachment point, and designed with gussets for additional strength. In either case, beams between the columns would have been made in a single piece offering the greatest degree of stability. I would estimate those 75 foot long beams to be at least 12 inches think by 24 inches high. They would weigh 6750 pounds a piece. That would require some heavy lifting in anyone’s book. In the very least that would require a double pulley system.
Once it was fabricated and lifted, each column and beam had to be placed in the proper position. Chances are, all of those pieces were notched in one way or another to offer the greatest amount of strength and a stable fit. That would have required basic tools and jigs. Masters had to be fabricated for both male and female parts of each joint. Noah had to have access to, or the ability to make reliable cutting tools.
Glue and adhesive may have been another added feature in the ark. Many glues are made from plants. That was also a likely possibility in Noah’s day.
Some people think the ark was a basic square shape. I believe the ark was fashioned more like a ship utilizing curves and angles. I’m sure God chose a man with the basic concept of geometry and trigonometry. Noah would have taken all of those skills and knowledge with him into the ark and the newly formed world.
Let’s look at the shape for a moment from an engineering concept. Would a square shape float? Of course it would. As a matter of fact a square shape would offer more room. Then why are ships curved? Ships are curved in the front to cut down on friction and allow the ship to slice through water. The curved and angled shape helps increase the speed the ship can travel through water. Although Noah wasn’t concerned with speed, because God guided the ark with His hand, a curved bottom and bow would reduce stress on the hull and structure. When a wave hits the left side of the boat on a square ship, the boat has no choice but to displace that amount of water on the opposite side. With a curved hull the boat can slice through water with reduced friction and of course reduced stress on the hull and structure.
It would be more labor intensive to build a curved hull. Columns would have to be designed to precise dimensions. Some of the columns would be the same size, but many would have different curves. At best, the back of the ship would have a number of columns sharing the same size and shape. As Noah progressed along the shape of the curved hull, he would have to calculate, fabricate, and install the next set of columns, so on and so forth. I’m not sure exactly how ships are designed and built. With a scaled drawing, the correct sizes may be able to be produced and installed the first time. Without a precise drawing, it boils down to trail and error. Based on the fact Noah had no ship building experience, the square shape appears to make more sense.
But when we consider the unimaginable forces on the hull and structure, fastening and reinforcing corners on a square ship would have been a nightmare to the most experienced ship builder. How would you prepare the corners of a square ship to face the forces of the world’s greatest flood? Do you butt the corners together and hope for the best? Do you miter or notch them? Notched, glued and fastened corners offer the greatest strength, but would take the longest amount of time to manufacture and fit. In either case, the ship had to be water tight as well as exponentially sea worthy.
Let’s take a brief look at a few other factors God had to help Noah set up to build that huge ark. When God said, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 KJV). That has to conjurer up images in everyone’s mind. Personally speaking, that sets up an image of government control, laws, rules, regulations, and of course taxes. To build an ark of that size it required a large space and a lot of wood.
It is nearly impossible to set an accurate date, I mean year when Noah began building the ark. Look on the Internet and you will see dates varying by thousands of years. We can agree, Noah was the 9th generation from Adam. That safely places Noah about 1000 years after creation week.
Another factor we have to consider whenever we study any subject in the Bible is the general attitude the subject and scriptures are approached with. If you have your mind set on evolution, you are only going to look for facts supporting evolution. Even if you believe in creation, you run the risk of having bits and pieces of evolution creep into your subconscious. In other words, mainstream thought runs parallel to evolution. The idea that people before the flood were primitive, almost stone age is generally acceptable. Although that stone age mentality flies in the face of a Creator God who spoke the world, including the sun, moon, and stars into existence in less than a week, people are constantly striving to reach compromises between creation and evolution. The gap theory that places thousands or millions of years between certain verses in Genesis chapter 1 is one example. Movies, books,pictures, and cartoons that depict Noah and his sons in stone age clothing using wooden hammers and wooden pegs to assemble the ark are factors that help sway the mind into an evolutionary thinking mode. Let’s face it, getting rid of that evolutionary train of thought is difficult if not impossible. Even the most devout Christian has the tendency of replacing evolutionary thought patterns with the, “I don’t want to offend anyone,” mentality. Let’s get rid of those evolutionary thought patterns for a moment and concentrate on a positive creational investigation.
We can pick a date for the ark. Since I like round figures, let’s choose 1000 years. Noah lived about 1000 years after the creation of this world. Let’s be serious and give God the benefit of doubt here. God created Adam the first man in His image. In the Image of the God who designed, engineered, and created all the grass, plants, trees, flowers, insects, fish, birds, and animals in the world. God is an artist, engineer, mathematician, creator, and God did every right the first time. God had infinite knowledge to teach and share with Adam, who was intelligent enough to name all the animals and remember each of those names. There is not doubt Adam had a brain. There is no doubt God could design and calculate complicated equations much faster than any Windows or Apple computer could ever hope to achieve. God gave Adam a mind much sharper and quicker than any computer.
Let’s take a look at how far this would could have advanced in 1000 years. Before the flood people lived much longer. People lived for 700 years and longer. That is generally about 10 times longer than the average human today. So advancements would have come at a much faster rate than scientist today are able to estimate.
The United State was once known as the new land. The US was settled a well over 200 years ago. Let’s look at the past 200 years of America’s history. The Revolutionary war was fought with muskets and cannon balls. Look at what we have for weapons of war today. 200 years ago ships had sails. Today they are made of special steel alloys and are nuclear powered. 200 years ago only a small portion of the US was settled. Today we have roads and railway tracks stretching from one ocean to the other. We have planes that fly from one coast to the other in a matter of hours. We have cell phones with reception in the majority of the land. All of that happened in about 200 years. How far did mankind advance in 1000 years since Adam?
Once again, we have to put that evolutionary mentality behind us and examine a few facts in the Bible. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17 KJV). It took only 2 generation for Cain’s descendants to begin building cities. A few generations later we see brass, iron, musical instruments, and weapons of war introduced. ‘
If we can remove the worldly views of a primitive, backwards tribe roaming a desert wilderness to eek out a living, we can begin to image the world the way God created it, and what mankind did with all of those resources. God did not create a world with one garden surrounded by desert wasteland like we see in movies and cartoons. The entire world was covered with vegetation. The earth’s axis was not tilted until after the flood. There were no seasons of temperature extremes like we see today. For us, that is difficult to imagine. But I want to concentrate on a few other details.
“The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 KJV). That tells me God had other plans for this world. God had a civilized society in mind for this world with everyone living in harmony. That requires laws. Not long after leaving Egypt, God gave Israel the Ten Commandments. To build a new nation, Israel needed laws. Moses spent more than a month on that mountain receiving a set of laws directly from God. To think those laws and commandments were not in place before the flood is ludicrous.
Because Cain and his descendants turned their backs on God, Cain was likely to reject God’s law and create a set of his own. The Bible testifies to that fact. After a few generations of marriages between the descendants of Cain and Seth, God’s laws were compromised, altered, added to, and in the eyes of mere humans, improved. When evil thoughts step in, those improvements to God’s law benefit whom? The few in charge of course.
In other words, we have to consider the fact Noah had to face a structured government and work within their laws to get land and permits to build his ark. And I would bet, the government didn’t like or appreciate Noah’s ideas.
God had to be on Noah’s side to choose and purchase the right site to build that ark. The land had to be flat and contain enough of the right type of trees to get the job done. Land had to be purchased and permits obtained. Look at the US. There are more regulations on timber than cigarettes, alcohol, and firearms combined. Of course I’m exaggerating. But you get the point. God had to set up a ton of details in the background to get that ark off the ground.
I wish we knew more about the tools and technology Noah had to build that ark. But the Bible provided few details. We do have one thing. We do have the ability to remember details like Adam had when he named all those animals. That memory has been digressing over the years. Today the younger generation has little need to exercise those memory cells in the brain. All they want to do is pick up a cell phone and say, “hey Google.” The image of God we were created in has been replaced by the largest advertising agency this world has ever seen. I wish we knew what all those evil thoughts before the flood were about. That way we could at least try to avoid that path. But it seems like we are left on our own. To think, Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden for eating a fruit that gave them the knowledge of good and evil. Notice that was good and evil. It appears that 9 generations after Adam this world forgot the good and only remembered or worked on the evil. Where are we now on that line between good and evil?
How quickly did man digress? To find a clue all we have to do is look at the next story in the Bible. Adam and Eve had two sons. The first was Cain and the second was Able. Long before God formed Adam in His image, God had a plan. If and when sin entered this planet, God would send His Son to die for man’s sins. Cain and Able were told about that plan. They were told to offer a lamb as a sacrifice. That lamb was a symbol pointing to the sacrifice of God’s Son. That was all rather simple to understand. But Cain, the older brother decided to substitute some fruit and grains. Was that a proper symbol for the sacrifice of God’s Son? No it wasn’t. But Cain was stubborn. He thought he could make a few changes and those changes were as good as God’s original plan. Cain wanted to prove his point. He was so infatuated with his idea, he killed his little brother Able in lieu of admitting he was wrong. In a sense, Cain was a spiritual symbol of modern day science dedicated to destroying God at any cost.
In one generation mankind wanted to change God’s plan of salvation. Mankind wanted to alter God’s plan, come up with a better plan, and forget everything God taught. That is how fast mankind was able to digress.
Was mankind able to do anything with the skills God gave to Adam? I want to point out a few very important passages in Genesis.
And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. (Genesis 4:19-25 KJV).
In just a few verses we are shown how Cain’s sons mastered the art of metallurgy, musical instruments, tent making, raising cattle, and murder. What a combination. We are also shown how mankind was given the ability to master arts and the tradition of passing those skills to their sons. Each family specialized in one particular art. Where did they acquire those skills in only seven generations? Science wants us to believe it took thousands or millions of years for mankind to learn those skills. But lets take a look back at one previous verse. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17 KJV). Enoch, the second generation from Adam had the skills to build a city. Someone had to teach Enoch how to build houses, streets, warehouses, and maybe walls and gates. We are not given specific details about that city like what materials were used to build houses and other structures. But a lot of planning goes into any city. Enoch must have learned those skills from his father Cain. Cain had to learn those skills from his father Adam. The only one who could have taught Adam was God. In just a few short chapters the Bible confirms that mankind had the ability to build structures and cities. Skills were passed down from one generation to the next. It didn’t take thousands of years for mankind to master simple tools, instruments, and detailed planning.
Many scientists and archaeologist like to claim iron came along well after brass. They all seem to have their own dates when iron showed up on the scene. It seems all of them chose to ignore a few facts in the Bible. What about those musical instruments? What were they made out of? Were those harps and organs made from wood, or a combination of wood and metal? Maybe copper, brass, silver, gold, or other specialized alloys. If they were made from wood, how did they form those instruments into such delicate and precise shapes? What about those tents? What were the tents made from? If they used animal skins, what did they use to skin the animals? If the Bible says a man was a teacher in brass and iron, that would lead us to believe they perfected a number of smelting, casting, and forming techniques for both of those metals. How advanced was man just a few generations after Cain? Was mankind using skills passed down from God to Adam, or was mankind inventing new techniques?
If we know the Bible mentions brass and iron in the same sentence, why do we allow scientists to tell people, “iron came generations after brass?” Why do we allow scientists to tell people the Egyptians only had brass tools to work on the pyramids and other projects? What are scientists afraid of? If they admit iron existed long before the flood, are they admitting God does exist? Talk about a cover up.
We also know that men lived for nearly a thousand years before the flood. And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. (Genesis 5:6-11 KJV).
If people had brass, iron, musical instruments, and other tools to build cities in the third and forth generation, what could they develop in thousand years? What would you do with all that time on your hands? The industrial revolution began in basically 1900. I like using round figures. By that time we had ships to sail the oceans, guns to keep people under control, and a handful of other inventions. The automobile was just getting its start, Airplanes were in their infant stage. Electricity and communication were hot topics. Between 1900 and 2000 man added rockets, went to the moon, developed jet airplanes, broke the sound barrier, created and used the atomic bomb, and the world seemed to perfect, of all things, war and killing. It seems we have not advanced past Lamech’s mentality. On the other hand, the computer and cell phone were also developed. Was that a good thing?
In 100 years mankind took giant strides. That was in a time when the average lifespan was about 70 years. That left investors and scientists about 50 years to learn from the past and develop new inventions for the future. Now multiply that time by ten. What was the lifespan before the flood? People lived to the ripe old age of 700 or more. What did they do with all that time? What was mankind able to develop before the flood? Let’s first take a quick look at another story in the Bible that explains why the earth was destroyed.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Genesis 6:1-7 KJV).
There is a lot to digest in just a few sentences. We will take one at a time. God looked down on this planet He created and didn’t like what was going on. Mankind used the skills handed down from one generation to the next to gain an advantage over other families or tribes that they were actually related to. Men could not get along. Cain’s way of handling a problem appeared to overwhelm all of his descendants. It seemed to be in their genes. God was faced with a decision. God could either wait for the world to destroy itself, or He could destroy most of it and start over.
There seems to be a common belief among many Christian denominations that God will one day step in to destroy the world a second time just before mankind wipes it out in a great war. That brings up the old saying, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NLTse). A popular point of debate is centered around the term, “sons of God saw the daughters of men.” Some people are convinced that term refers to angels coming to this planet to mate with humans. Are there any facts to back up that claim? If we looked at the term, “sons of God,” we would see a few verses where Heavenly beings are referred to as, “sons of God.”
Job_1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Job_2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
There are only a few verses that mention Heavenly beings as God’s sons. The only book in the Bible that recorded that was Job. On the other hand, there is more than a handful of verses that call men, God’s sons.
Hosea 1:10 RSVA Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Sons of the living God.”
John 1:11-13 RSVA He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. (12) But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; (13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Romans 8:14 RSVA For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Galatians 4:6 RSVA And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
1 John 3:1-2 RSVA See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (2) Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
We can either base your decision on a few verses or investigate the question on the sons of God a little deeper. What other stories help explain the issue? One aspect to look at is the continual list of warnings Israel was given. God told Israel not to marry Pagan women. Otherwise they would run the risk of accepting false worship, gods, and idols.
You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. “You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them. Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods. (Exodus 34:14-16 NLTse).
When God ties that warning to a command, we have reason to pay attention. The question is, is that warning about intermarriages directly related to the sons of heaven and daughters of men in Genesis chapter 6? Looking back a few chapters we see two distinct directions mankind took. Cain who killed his brother raised a clan going one way. Later Adam and Eve had another son, Seth. Seth’s generations were much closer to God than Cain’s descendants. The end of Genesis chapter 4 summed up that division.
Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say: I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:23-26 RSVA).
Genesis chapter 5 contains a list of Seth’s sons and explains how closely some followed God. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24 RSVA). Other stories in the Bible show the results of marrying outside family descendants who didn’t follow God.
So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods. The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight. They forgot about the LORD their God, and they served the images of Baal and the Asherah poles. (Judges 3:5-7 NLTse).
The list goes on and on. Now to make a decision. Did God warn Seth’s descendants to stay away from Cain’s descendants? Was this warning summed up with the terms, “sons of God,” and “daughters of men?”
When we examine the Bible for proof we have to keep in mind, the story we are reading was written in one language in a totally different generation. Common sayings, cliches, and words had quite different meanings. We also have to be careful. The basic meaning of many words has been changed over the years to support one belief or another about some Bible passages. Is that the case with those sons of God found in Genesis chapter 6? What about those giants the debate is centered on? Let’s look at the original Hebrew meaning for the word someone translated as giant in the KJV.
From H5307; properly, a feller, that is, a bully or tyrant: – giant.
When we look at the original Hebrew meaning, the Hebrew word nephil had nothing to do with giants. Nephil was used to define a bully or tyrant. Someone decided to substitute the English word bully with giant. Giant is nothing more than an English substitute for the Hebrew word nephil that means bully. Some people clung onto that idea of giants so hard, they came up with a new version of the Bible and created a new word to go along with that new concept. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:4 RSVA).
The word Nephilim is only found in a small number of Bibles. And only found in two verses in those transactions. It seems someone decided to take a few sentences out of one story in the Bible and create a new race. That new race required legends and stories. Legends and stories not found in the Bible. To be perfectly fair, we have to look at the root word used to make the word nephil.
A primitive root; to fall, in a great variety of applications (intransitively or causatively, literally or figuratively): – be accepted, cast (down, self, [lots], out), cease, die, divide (by lot), (let) fail, (cause to, let, make, ready to) fall (away, down, -en, -ing), fell (-ing), fugitive, have [inheritamce], inferior, be judged [by mistake for H6419], lay (along), (cause to) lie down, light (down), be (X hast) lost, lying, overthrow, overwhelm, perish, present (-ed, -ing), (make to) rot, slay, smite out, X surely, throw down.
Now that we have the exact meaning for the word nephil, we can take a fresh look at that story and see what Moses was talking about when he recorded it. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:4 RSVA). Moses didn’t record a story about giants roaming the earth. Moses used a Hebrew word to show how bullies wandered the earth. Were they giants? There have been dozens of large skeletons unearthed all over the world. Were they pre or post flood skeletons? There is no doubt they are old skeletons. There is no doubt giants roamed the earth after the flood. David and his men killed a number of giants. Other stories written by Moses and found in Joshua describe giants. I may be wrong but, giants always seem to be associated with Pagans, false gods, and other races who opposed God.
Another question that comes up is, are angels able to breed with humans? Some people like to say Jesus answered that question. “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Mark 12:25 RSVA). Some people may debate this. But in the Bible there is one word for marriage, knew.
The Bible doesn’t contain any ceremony for marriage outside its use of the word knew. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (Genesis 4:1 KJV). Although the word knew does not define a sexual relationship, the context in the sentence points to only one thing. Conceived and bare do have a direct connect to a sexual relationship. The Bible offers no evidence of angels having any such physical contact with women. The Bible contains only one story that has both an angel and a physical encounter with a woman.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-35 RSVA).
When we take a close look at this story we can’t help but see, Gabriel delivered a message. The power of the Most High created a baby. The power of creation remained with God.
One of the main reasons God destroyed the earth was to reduce the number of years man would be allowed to live. This is direct evidence showing how mankind digressed over the years. The minds of men drifted over to sin. They were controlled by sin. Men from Cain’s descendants turned their hearts to sin until it consumed them. Men and women intermarried Both sides, the descendants of Cain and Seth began to decline and drift away from God. Does sin lead to the advancement of mankind or its fall? That point may be debatable. Let’s face it, some of the greatest inventions in our generation are linked and credited to wartime developments.
Living shorter periods of time didn’t really hold sin in check. It did limit the amount of information passed along from one generation to the next. We will never know what kind of technology Noah and his sons brought over on the ark. We can only imagine. To get a general idea, we can look at what it would have taken to build such a boat, and what that boat had to survive.
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened–those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (Hebrews 6:1-6 NLTse).
What have you learned from the Bible lately? Anything at all? Now be honest. Has God shown you the riches and glory embedded in His Holy Book, or did someone tell you something they thought was significant? And was it something from God’s Word with His Word explaining every detail? Or was it more along the lines of pulling out a scripture or two and making a long winded speech about what they thought it meant? Is that really Bible Study? The world seems to think so.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. (1 John 3:1-7 NLTse).
This world has experienced battles over the Ten Commandments for generations. Have a talk with God about it. I’m sure He will tell you the same thing He told me. There is no problem with His original Ten Commandments. The problem is with the thousands of amendments people added.
What about those other laws? The KJV was translated in a very particular and accurate manner. When the original Greek referred to the Ten Commandments, they always used the word commandments. For laws Moses recorded, the KJV always used the word laws. And when the writers referred to man man versions of the laws, they always used the words doctrines or ordinances.
In this case we see John used the word laws. But which laws? How many people study the books Moses wrote to understand those laws? How many of them allow scripture to explain those laws. What about other laws recorded in the Bible? What about the laws of the prophets? Those are laws all of God’s prophets followed. Following those laws identified them as God’s prophets. Who knows anything about those laws?
When we look at what John wrote, we can see he was pointing us to those laws. As God’s children, it is His job to protect us. God doesn’t look at protecting us as a job. We can’t imagine how God feels about protecting us. We didn’t create mankind and everything in this universe. There is no way anyone can understand God’s concern. Our biggest downfall is not spending time to listen to how much God cares for us when he tries to explain it to us. He tries to reach this world in many ways. God send angels who willing offer protection. God talks to people willing to listen through dreams and visions. And God gave us His Word to show His concern. Not all of those together begin to show us what really lies within God’s heart or why He turned all His attention to one fallen planet.
One way God showed His concern is through His laws. God wrote those laws to protect us. Some people look at those as restrictions. There are more views and opinions on God’s commandments and laws then there are laws. But why waste time debating man’s opinions on those laws? It doesn’t matter where people are on the issue. God has a plan to bring them along into a better understanding.
One of the most powerful laws designed to protect us is one of the most neglected and misunderstood laws. That is the law of God’s prophets. Most people have heard about the law of the prophets. Most Christian organizations have one or another version of that law. But do they understand it?
I’ve questioned people about that law over the past few months. Most answers are pretty much the same.
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20 KJV)
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:32-33 KJV)
So we see one point made. Of course prophets have to speak according to God’s law. What do we learn from that? Over half the sermons in churches, on TV, radio, and the Interest contain one or two verses, then a long winded explanation of what they think it means. They used God’s Word. Does that make them legitimate prophets?
What about Satan. He quoted scripture. If we limited an explanation of the law God’s prophets follow to that simple explanation, we are in trouble.
Jeremiah gave us one of the best summaries for the law all of God’s prophets followed. “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the LORD burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden! The LORD says he will abandon you!’ “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the LORD,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the LORD.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ (Jeremiah 23:33-37 NLTse).
To the unwary eye, this may not appear to be much. But when we apply God’s laws of context, the important details stand out. Look at what the author repeated to draw attention to. ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ Now listen to God’s Spirit who is telling us to look into the original language. You should always double check. Especially when you feel that nudging from God’s Spirit when your in His Word. What does that word what actually mean?
WHAT H4100 מה מ־ מ־ מה מהmâh mah mâ ma meh
A primitive particle; properly interrogative what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively thatwhich); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses: – how (long, oft, [-soever]), [no-] thing, what (end, good, purpose, thing), whereby (-fore, -in, -to, -with), (for) why.
It’s not by accident that little word contains a number of meanings. The first is HOW. God’s prophets have to be able to explain how God talked to them. The second is why. God’s prophets have to be able to explain why God talked to them. The third is when. God’s prophets will identify when God spoke to them.
Look at all the prophets in the Bible. Did they follow that rule? Pick one out and look.
Haggai 1:1-3 NLTse On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the LORD gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. (2) “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.'” (3) Then the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai:
Hosea 1:1-2 NLTse The LORD gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. (2) When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods.”
Joel 1:1-3 NLTse The LORD gave this message to Joel son of Pethuel. (2) Hear this, you leaders of the people. Listen, all who live in the land. In all your history, has anything like this happened before? (3) Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.
Daniel 4:1-5 NLTse King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! (2) “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. (3) How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations. (4) “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. (5) But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed.
Daniel 8:1-2 NLTse During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. (2) In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River.
We can see, even Nebuchadnezzar followed God’s law for His prophets. Why do we see God’s prophets consistently explaining how God communicated with them, but today it seems to be another one of those laws people claim is no longer required.
This contradicts a number of prophecies where God promised to send an outpouring of His Spirit. “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants–men and women alike. For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the LORD’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.” “And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken! (Joel 2:28-29, Isaiah 44:3-5, Isaiah 59:21 NLTse).
When God promises something, He intends to deliver, whether we are ready or not. But how many people are prepared? How many people are able to distinguish between God’s prophets, those speaking for themselves, prophets sent by the enemy, and everything in between?
Think about it. What good is a prophet if they can’t explain how God talked to them? Then look at the main role of a prophet, which is to lead people back to God. Which is to lead people into a personal relationship with God. What prophet would lack those qualities? Only prophets looking out for their own interest, or working for the enemy. They have no interest or ability to lead people to God. They won’t explain how God communicated with them, how God communicates with this world, or any other aspects about a real relationship with God.
Let’s take a second look at that answer other people gave. The problem I see is, people see one aspect of a law and think they know every detail. They fail to pray, listen to God, and search His Word like looking for hidden treasure. Let’s take a deeper look at Jeremiah 23 to see how a prophet explained God’s law. The first detail to check of course is the introduction, which establishes the main theme.
Jeremiah 23:1-2 NLTse “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people–the shepherds of my sheep–for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD. (2) Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them.
The first thing we notice is how Jeremiah used the symbol shepherds. Jeremiah clearly identified that symbol by defining it as leaders. Jeremiah also used a contrast. God often used contrasts to teach lessons. Which makes the use of proof texts so dangerous. Many people use the contrast and teach a lesson it was never intended to teach. In this case the contrasts are scatter and caring, or safety. Leaders will either lead people to safety or destroy them. God used such a clear contrast for a reason. People may think they are doing good, but in fact they are causing harm they can’t hope to estimate. Look at the related words Jeremiah used.
Sorrow, destroyed, scattered, deserted, destruction, and evil.
Care, caring, and safety.
The good aspects are easy to follow while the negative aspects have a tendency to grow on their own. We can learn a lot from the simple lessons in God’s Word when we follow the laws of context. Jeremiah included a prophecy about Jesus in that chapter.
Jeremiah 23:3-7 NLTse But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. (4) Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD have spoken! (5) “For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. (6) And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. (7) “In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’
The prophecy included a promise to fix the problem. That problem was, leaders misleading people. How did Jesus fix the problem? Jeremiah listed two details. Jesus will gather His flock together. Once again, we’re given a detail, but not the step by step process Jesus will use. That’s one aspect of prophecies people have to realize. Prophecies seldom contain details showing exactly how they will be fulfilled. To find the answer, we have to follow the laws of context to locate and study the recorded fulfillment. When we look back at the one sided definition of a prophet the world leans on, we now can see how that detail can be explained.
It seems most people claim to know, God’s prophets will speak according to God’s Word. But what does that mean? What good does it do if you can’t explain what that means? How do you explain how modern day prophets need to follow God’s Word and law? Jeremiah included that law when He recorded a prophecy about Jesus. That prophecy has a recorded fulfillment found in 1 Timothy 6.
1 Timothy 6:8-16 NLTse So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (9) But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (11) But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (12) Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (13) And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, (14) that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (15) For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (16) He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.
Once we compare prophecies with their recorded fulfillment, we see how they react with one another like a chemical reaction that brings an unexpected result. In this case we’re shown how money plays a part in making those shepherds mislead people. We also see how Paul included a list of attributes God’s preachers and prophets must have and practice.
We find recorded fulfillments by paying attention to key words in the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment. But the laws of context don’t stop there. Introductions and summation to both chapters are compared to make sure they both address the same theme. Those are the laws of context God’s prophets will know and understand. Following those laws will prove if a prophet is speaking according to God’s Word or another source.
Jeremiah filled in a few details about false prophets. That’s what most people concentrate on. As a matter of fact, Jeremiah pointed that out. Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets: “I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets that wickedness has filled this land.” This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD! (Jeremiah 23:15-16 NLTse).
What does it mean to be filled with bitterness and poison? Listen to some of the world’s most popular preachers. You’ll find the answer in minutes. Look at how they pull out a few little texts, then without a shred of evidence, cast insults and accusations on other religious groups. They talk about those groups as if they were once leaders in those churches, claiming to know about secret plans, and how those other groups think. They desensitize the issue by leading people to believe all those people live and think alike. They make it appear they are doing Jesus a great service by grouping all those people together, making Jesus’ job of judgment easier.
Is that what a teacher or prophet from God is supposed to be? Jeremiah called that kind of teaching, “futile hopes.” On the other hand, those preaches fill people with the attitude salvation comes from joining their club. Jeremiah called that a false promise of peace.
They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The LORD says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ “Have any of these prophets been in the LORD’s presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? (Jeremiah 23:17-18 NLTse).
Jeremiah described their messages in plain simple, easy to understand terms. Those people despise God’s Word. They don’t know it, nor do they have any intentions of following God’s Word. They want the freedom to pick and choose what they want to teach and when they want to teach it. What kind of Bible would we have today if God’s prophets had that attitude? God made it clear, those preachers and prophets are acting on their own. They didn’t go to God for their messages.
Since false prophets refuse to approach God’s throne, His prophets must be willing and excited to stand before God. Since it is something they experience, they should be able to explain the experience, and teach people how to meet at God’s throne. If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds. Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the LORD. “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:22-24 NLTse). God made it plain, He is ready and available any time.
Do your preachers and prophets teach you how to comfort people asking for prayer? Do they teach you how to encourage people to approach God’s throne for the answer? Or do they tell you to say, “I’ll pray.” And break your vow quicker than it took to make it?
Nothing happens without God knowing about it. Nothing happens without God having plans to use the worst trials to increase understanding and teach a number of lessons. What are those lessons? Are you prepared to endure a major trial and waste the opportunity to learn how it fits into God’s plan of salvation by relying on human wisdom for an explanation? Or are you going to boldly approach God’s throne to learn the full story only He knows?
Going to a person for answers is like buying a product in a huge box. opening that box, looking at the last line of the instructions, and calling the 800 number to ask how to assemble the product. Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to read and follow the instructions? Going to God’s Bible when you face a problem is another way God communicates with us and confirms His message.
This brings us right back to the popular definition of a prophet. If they speak according to God’s Word, they should be able to explain how God’s Word works in people’s lives. How God’s Word comforts as well as directs. Think of the world we might have today if preachers and prophets spent more time teaching what they should be teaching, and less time spreading their own thoughts and agenda. How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal. (Jeremiah 23:26-27 NLTse).
“Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word burn like fire?” says the LORD. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? (Jeremiah 23:28-29 NLTse). Jeremiah included some good advice. Compare your own feelings between those man made messages and your personal contact with God. There is only one that burns inside you. There is only one that will make a real difference in your life. There is only one that will draw you into a closer relationship with God. All those others are designed to draw you away from God and into chains forged by this world.
Jeremiah followed up with another list of what false prophets do. Those are the verses they like to concentrate on and use to point a finger at other people, churches, and religions. But do all their complaints and accusations ever accomplish anything in God’s plan of salvation? Jeremiah repeated those warnings about those false prophets because of what they do. Because of what they add to their negative messages. They add an imagine of a false hope. They claim to have truth. The only evidence they provide is a long list of things they claim everyone else does wrong. But that never solves a single problem. But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the LORD!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the LORD,” even though I warned you not to use it, I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.'” (Jeremiah 23:38-40 NLTse).
God doesn’t mix words in the summary in Jeremiah 23. If they don’t want to listen to God, He will expel them from His presence. If they are not getting their message from God, where are they getting it from? And where will it lead?
If your wondering how God communicates with this world, read Daniel’s book. It is a manual showing how God communicates with this world. It also serves as a test for God’s prophets. Wannabe prophets in this world love to impress people with their so called knowledge of Daniel. They constantly try to interpret Daniel, but look at how they do it, and compare the methods they use to those methods Daniel recorded. Prophets who don’t know how to approach God’s throne, or wait on God for the answers will do the only thing they know. They go to the world for answers. Pay attention to the answers they give and if your wise, you’ll see the patterns they use.
To understand Daniel, most people have to forgot everything they’ve been taught from that book. Most of the information they’ve been taught is superficial at best. To get past the messages the world wants you to see, and into the spiritual lessons Daniel recorded, you have to learn how to set the world and its beliefs aside.
When Gabriel was sent to Daniel, he was afraid. Daniel hid his face in the ground. Gabriel told Daniel to take his face off the ground, look up and learn. Gabriel then repeated a series of words involving communication. Gabriel repeated words like listen, hear, pay attention, and message.
We have the choice to either continue to listen to those self proclaimed preachers and prophets with their faces on the earth, relying on this world for their interpretations, or we can learn how God communicates with us from Daniel and some of the other reliable prophets.
I decided to do something a little different this time. I decided to write a chapter in a new book and post it on the Internet. I want to get some feedback. I want to see if people think this is the sort of book this world needs at this time. It would be great if people took the time to contribute some constructive thoughts. It would be great if we could witness God’s Spirit working all around the world to bring together a number of ideas.
I’ll post sections on some social media sites. But you have to go to the website page to read the entire chapter. You can leave your comments there. That way I will have a reference in one general location.
This book is going to take a look at how mankind has been digressing over the years. Are computers and cell phone making mankind smarter or dulling our God given senses? We will also take a look at how much mankind has forgotten over the years. When we put this together the facts will amaze you.
Adam and Eve
To understand how the earth is digressing, we have to look at how man began on this planet. The only reliable record we have of creation is found in the Book of Genesis.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27 KJV).
No one can argue the point, man and women were created in God’s image. What is God’s image? Can anyone say they are an image of God? Is any leader today or any historical figure an image of God? Take a look in the mirror. Can you say you are an image of God? Let’s take a look at the Hebrew definition of image.
From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: – image, vain shew.
It’s not by accident the word image was derived from an unused root meaning. Think about that on a spiritual level for a moment. We were created in God’s image. By the time the Bible was translated into English and supported by Hebrew and Greek dictionaries, the word used to describe our origin was an unused root meaning. That should give us a clue showing us how far this world has digressed. Let’s look at a few other words used to define the word image.
To shade, a phantom. That does not sound like a direct copy of God, but only a shadow of God. Were we created as a direct image of God or a mere shadow of our Creator? The words shadow and phantom are followed by the word illusion. What is an illusion? Wikipedia describes an illusion as:
“An illusion is a distortion of the senses, which can reveal how the human brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. Though illusions distort our perception of reality, they are generally shared by most people.”
As this world digresses, senses are lost. Before we can relate to how senses have been lost or altered from the time of creation, we have to understand a bit about creation at the very beginning. Let’s see how the Bible described creation.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5 KJV).
The first thing God did was create light. How did God create light? Has any man created light? Sure we have light bulbs in all shapes and forms. Fire also sheds light. But how was light actually created? Did God create light on the first day so He could see what He was doing? Or was light created on the first day to shed a little spiritual light on the subject? Let’s take another look at those few verses.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Let’s compare darkness to light. They are opposites. In the spiritual sense darkness and light oppose one another. What does that tell you about what happens when God steps onto the scene?
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
\(Luke 11:34-36 NLTse).
We could write an entire sermon on light and darkness. But that is not the intent of this book. For the time being we will concentrate on finding God’s image. An image that has been all but lost in this day and age.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 KJV).
There could be a lot of different takes on this part of creation. People have a difficult time distinguishing between light and darkness. Now we get into the subject of earth and sky. But wait. There is no earth yet. All we have so far is water covering the earth and a mist of water above the earth God called Heaven. There is another clue showing what we are missing today. Look at the Internet. What do you see? We see people all over the world using the earth, or earthly wisdom to interpret the Bible. When the earth began, Heaven was above the earth in both the physical and spiritual sense.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. (Genesis 1:9-13 KJV).
On the third day God took the earth that was under the water and brought it to the surface. What question does this raise today? This verse flies in the face of science. Most scientists disagree with the flood. They know if a flood can be proven, God could be scientifically proven. Science wants us to believe water just happened to be on this planet. That is why it is so important for science to prove water exists, or did exist on other planets. Why do you think they spend billions of dollars to go to Mars to look for that? Water. How smart is that. We have more water on this planet than we know what to do with. Why travel millions of miles to go to a planet with no sign of water to look for water? Some scientists will stop at nothing to prove God does not exist. But God had them figured out long before He created Adam. God had water to prove He exists. He also has light to prove He exists. And it gets better as we move along in the creation story.
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:15-19 KJV).
This is where is begins to get really interesting, when God created all the planets and stars. Let’s take a quick look at those stars. We know the earth is round. Well most people believe the earth is round. We’ll stick with that belief for now. The earth rotates on its axis we refer to as the north and south poles. Those poles have magnetic fields. We normally concentrate on the north pole. We use that magnetic field to navigate. For generations people have been using the sun to tell time, and stars to navigate by night. We know the earth rotates and has been rotating at a consistent speed and in a consistent orbit for as long as anyone can remember.
At this point we could get into hundreds of scientific fields to prove God exists. But all we want to do for now is gain a better understanding of God to see what image Adam was created in. All of those stars, plants, moons, and galaxies required a complicated set of mathematical equations before the first series of stars and planets could be hung in the sky. God created and hung all of them in one day. No one can even count all the stars. God created all of them and placed them in individual orbits in one day. That proves, God know His mathematics, Not even a computer could calculate all that information in one day.
So far God has light, water, and now mathematics to prove He exists and created this world and the universe. But some scientists want people to believe all those stars and planets just happened to form in perfect orbits. If the earth’s orbit varied by just a few degrees, this planet would either burn up or freeze to death. Science could tell you that if they wanted to. But for some reason, science doesn’t think it can exist along side of God the Creator.
There is a little story in the Bible explaining why mankind has a difficult time accepting God without question. You see, Adam and Eve were not alone on this planet. There was a snake in the grass. Actually a serpent in a tree. God placed one tree in the middle of the garden He arranged for Adam and Eve. It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And that tree was off limits.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17 KJV),
Why did God decide to place a tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden, then tell Adam, if he ever ate from it, he would die. That sounds rather drastic. There had to be a good reason for that type of test.
It just so happened that one day Adam’s wife Eve decided to listen to that serpent hanging around in that tree. The serpent was Satan in disguise. But Eve had no way of knowing. Or did she? Eve did know that there was something in that tree she didn’t have, and she wanted it. Eve didn’t know anything about good or evil. That is rather difficult for us to imagine. But taking that fruit somehow gave her knowledge about good and evil. At first Eve had something Adam didn’t. So she convinced Adam to eat some fruit. That would once again level the playing field between the two of them. All it did was got them kicked out of the garden. Instead of living in a garden with all the fruit, nuts, and grains they could ever want, Adam had to sweat his butt off to put a meal on the table.
Now we have to look back and look at a few facts. Adam was created in God’s image. He was only a shadow of God. But did God explain to Adam, those stars were in the sky for a reason? Did God give Adam insight into how those stars moved and how Adam could tell the time and seasons by looking at the stars? Did God go as far as giving Adam the ability to understand the complex mathematical equations it took to put all those stars in planets in their perfect orbits? Was Adam a mathematical wizard? We have to look at a few pieces of evidence in the Bible to figure that one out.
We also know God created all the grass, trees, flowers, plants, insects, fish, birds, and animals on this planet. To create a bird that could fly, God had to know about the physical, scientific laws of gravity, lift, and what we refer to as flight. God had to create wings that worked. And worked the first time. More proof God is a mathematical genius. Some insects can walk straight up walls. The earth has this thing we refer to as gravity. Those bugs had to be engineered with the strength to grip what appears to be smooth surfaces, and the tools to grip them with. Those insects had to have a brain to decide where to move and how to control legs, eyes, and other senses. Some lizards have pads on their feet that can grip glass. Some animals climb trees. God had to calculate and design hands, feet, and tails so those animals could move through trees with ease. Then we have flying insects with wings that fold under hard protective shells. Some scientists insist it is mathematically impossible for the bumble bee to fly. Maybe there is something they don’t know. God created muscle systems and a system to power those muscles. In short, God created living machine that are still impossible for men to duplicate.
When it came time for Adam to leave the garden and eek out a living in this world now altered by sin, did God teach Adam the skills required to survive? There is a little side story I’d like to look at. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 KJV).
God killed the first animals, skinned them, and sewed cloths to protect Adam and Eve from the coming cold. Can you image a God working with His hands to kill an animal He created, take off its skin, and sew those skins to make a set of clothing for the human beings that disobeyed one simple command? It seems we can learn a lot about God when we read what is written about Him.
But what about those skills? What evidence do we have in the Bible that shows us Adam had a brain and knew how to use it?
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; (Genesis 2:21 KJV).
Not only does the Bible tell us God had surgical skills, the Bible also tells us Adam had to possess quite a brain to name all those animals. There had to be hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Adam not only had to come up with all those names, he had to remember all of them. Sit down and see if you can write out a hundred names. How long would that take you? Adam did it in one day. We have the evidence, God gave Adam a brain with the ability to think, and remember.
Science tries to convince us that man evolved from lower life. So thousands or millions of years later, someone developed the ability to speak and communicate. According to the Bible, Adam was able communicate on day one.
We still have to take a look at what God would have taught Adam and Eve. At first they tended the garden God planted for them. God must have taught them gardening skills. But did it stop there? Was that all Adam and Eve knew? They had to know much more than gardening to survive alone in the world. What about shelter? Did God build Adam and Eve a house? Did they figure that one out on their own? Or did God teach Adam a few basic construction skills? Don’t forget, we have to prove every detail from the Bible.
For generations it was traditional for fathers to teach their sons the family trade. Jesus’ father was a carpenter. Joseph taught Jesus how to be a carpenter. We also have tons of verses in the Bible describing mankind as a form of God’s son. God looked at Adam as a son. After making clothing by hand, God would not have turned Adam out into the world without teaching Adam. When we look at the beginning of Genesis, what was God’s trade? What was God’s job? God was an inventor, engineer, and Creator. That tells us, God would have passed those skills onto Adam. We know Adam had a mind to think, and a great memory. The only thing we don’t know is, how much information about creation and science God shared with Adam. Scientists like to insist their brains evolved without any influence, guidance, or help from God. Scientists insist mankind developed over long periods of time on their own. If God was willing to kill the first animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve, do you think the support from God stopped there? Or do you think that was only the beginning?
The only evidence we have that Adam was thrown into this world with no skills is the word of scientists and philosophers. Not one of then was there at the time. Not many of them bother to read the Bible. The majority of them dedicate their lives to disproving the Bible. In other words, even if they approached the Bible, it would be with a pile of preconceived ideas. They would take out a few sentences and twist them around to support their personal theories. In the end, we would get no where, and their man made theories would prove nothing. Do you really believe man evolved from lower life forms? Do you really believe that this Universe was created from a mass of nothing that somehow condensed and exploded? Do you really believe that explosion placed all the stars and planets in perfect orbits around one another? Where did the oxygen, helium, hydrogen, and other elements come from? Do you really believe a set of basic elements can meet in a pond of water someplace and decide to combine in a specific order to create a single cell living organism? If evolution is true, why don’t we have living, thinking oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen molecules able to combine with other molecules at will to create new forms of life? If those elements had billions of years to learn how to create living organisms, why did they decide to give up that learned skill? And how did simple one cell organisms decide they needed eyes, feet, legs, ears, hands, and other appendages to be able to compete in a world they were creating? I remember hearing a story that went much like this.
A group of scientists got together to match their combined wits against God. They told God they could do anything He could. Without a word, God knelt down on the ground, gathered a mound of dirt, formed it into an image of a man, and breathed on it. The scientists looked a the man stand up, and began having a conversation with God. After a short time, God turned to the scientists and said, “your turn.” The scientists gathered around each other to have a private conversation. After some time one of the scientists approached God and said, “we can do it, but it will take some time.” With a smile on His face, God said, “okay, but you have to get your own dirt.”
How little we know about dirt. How does dirt give life to plants and trees? How do trees and plants produce seeds and fruits from elements inside dirt? How do plants convert simple elements into edible food? Plants and trees have some type of internal factories to convert elements from the ground and air to create life. Plants can do more than the greatest minds in the world. God placed that knowledge inside those plants and trees.
Without a doubt it takes a great degree of faith to believe in either a living God with the ability to speak life into existence, or basic elements with the ability to either create life through planning, or by a complete accident. We either have to accept a Creator God who came from, no one really knows or is able to explain. Or we can choose to believe in the ability of basic elements to combine and reconfigure themselves into what ever shape they choose. Or whatever shape they happened to form by accident. In either case, man still has a mind to gather evidence to make a choice.
People seem to be fascinated by images and prophecies in the Bible. Many mainstream churches strive on this fascination and to one degree or another take advantage of it. Make up the biggest, most unbelievable story and people will flock to your doors.
In the world of prophecy two books in the Bible stand out among all others, Danial and Revelation. It’s common to see these two books combined and studied together to one degree or another. In this case, we will look at a couple of the most common images in those two books. We will compare the image Nebuchadnezzar built and compare that to the image designed by one of the beasts in Revelation chapter 13.
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:1 NLTse).
I wanted to use a Bible version that listed the dimensions of the statue in feet. The important thing is, the ration of 10 to 1 between height and width. I’ve seen many people teach on this chapter using an artist conception or drawing of the statue depicting it as a a man. Nebuchadnezzar in particular. In those studies, philosophers tell people, “Nebuchadnezzar was told he was the head of gold in Daniel;s dream. And that head of gold would give way to a chest of silver. So Nebuchadnezzar believed that if he built a gold statue of himself, his kingdom would last forever.” Of course nothing like that was ever recorded in the Bible. Philosophers took one sentence out of the Bible and mixed in what they considered to be a little common sense. But wait. The statue in Daniel’s dream was a symbol created in Heaven. No one will argue with that. On the other hand, the statue Nebuchadnezzar made was physical, created on earth. Now we are beginning to get somewhere.
What happens when people begin mixing spiritual symbols with physical things? People will read and teach the entire chapter in Revelation 13. They all seems to agree that chapter uses symbolism all the way up to the mark of the beast. Then they insist that has to be a physical mark. According to them, the story quickly and unexpectedly changed from spiritual symbolism to physical. Why? No one is going to try to explain why. That would ruin their entire concept on prophecy. Those philosophers just want people to take their word. No questions asked.
There is another image or statue in Revelation chapter 13 we should look at. We’re not told a lot about that image, but we know who designed it.
And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and lived. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause to be killed as many as would not worship the image of the beast. (Revelation 13:14-15 KJV21).
We know the lamb with two horns had people make an image to the first beast. The key phrase here is, “an image to.” They didn’t make an image of the first beast. People build an image to the first beast. What is or was that first beast?
We know that beast looked like a leopard. Which makes me think the beast is good at one thing, camouflaging itself. In other words, it doesn’t want to be seen or noticed until it is too late. It appears the camouflaging didn’t work because the beast suffered a wound to the head.
We don’t have to identify the first beast or the second beast to understand the symbolism for both of those images or statues. All we have to do is look at a few recorded facts about those beasts.
Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. (Revelation 13:5-9 NLTse).
We know the beast speaks out against God. How does he do that? We aren’t given any specific details. We are just told this beast slanders God, and those who live in Heaven. What does that mean? We know all the visions and images in Revelation originated in Heaven. We also know, no one in Heaven had any problem understanding any of those visions or images. If we mixed in a little common sense, wouldn’t great blasphemies against God pointing to people who want to add their own interpretations to the Bible without consulting God or His Word? We will cover more on that later.
The lamb with two horns is another spiritual symbol. It looks like a lamb but does not act or sound like a lamb. In other words, the lamb is more of a disguise.
And it exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and those dwelling in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And it does great wonders, so that it makes fire come down from the heaven onto the earth in the sight of men. And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the miracles which were given to it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling on the earth that they should make an image to the beast who had the wound by a sword and lived. (Revelation 13:12-14 MKJV).
The lamb is much like the first beast. It seems Satan’s first plan didn’t work. So he had to come up with a new plan. The key word here is, “deceives.” In other words, the lamb misleads people. How does he mislead them? That’s where we have to look back to the previous story, in this case beast to find a clue. “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” This leads us to a few interesting stories in the Bible. Jesus quoted those words from Isaiah.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, “By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:9-15 MKJV).
We gather a host of details when we look back and read the entire chapter in Isaiah. Do you see how the Bible provided its own answers?
In the year that King Uzziah died I then saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphs; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of Hosts; the whole earth full of His glory. (Isaiah 6:1-3 MKJV).
Isaiah had no problem telling people exactly where he got his information from. Isaiah got all of his information from Heaven. Lesson 1. Reveal your source. Tell people if your information is from Heaven or earth. In plain simple terms, is your information from God or Satan who rules and directs the beasts in Revelation?
And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me! And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:8-10 MKJV).
Isaiah is basically told, no matter what message he delivers, people will not believe it. They are stuck on their stories made up on earth. We are also told that the messages Isaiah receives and is sent to earth with are directly from Heaven.
So where does this all get is with the story about Nebuchadnezzar’s statue? Lets look at those dimensions again. Ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. Those are not the dimensions of any man on earth. The proportions are not even close. We can look at a few examples to see how some people tried to work around that problem. Why? To make the rest of their stories appear believable. Are those messages from Heaven or earth. From earth of course. The same place those beasts in Revelation 13 originated. Is this coming all together?
Now let’s look at the exact proportions of that statue Nebuchadnezzar had made. What does it look like? A tall, skinny statue. Like a pole of some sort. Okay, so some people try to go over a host of roads explaining what a pole is supposed to represent using the world to explain it. But let’s look at the war that God and Satan are fighting. Revelation tells us, it is a war of words. There is one word shaped like that statue Nebuchadnezzar build. It is the word, “I.”
People make up stories to attract attention to themselves. They want t be noticed. They want to figure out things in the Bible no one has been able to understand. They want to be the first to come up with some clever answer. They are worshiping the biggest idol of all – I.