Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

God’s Throne in Revelation Rev Ch 4

When we turn the page and begin to read the story in Revelation chapter 4, we are tempted to begin interpreting the passages based on what we’ve been taught. In this case, we are going to look at a few details, and also look for key words that need an explanation. Then we are going to gather all the information on those key words.

Revelation 4:1 MKJV After these things I looked, and behold, a door was opened in Heaven. And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you what must occur after these things.

The first words, “After these things,” establishes a timeline. To find out what details this event follows, we have to look back at chapter 3.

Revelation 3:20-22 MKJV (20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me. (21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne. (22) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Bible is telling us, we can’t hope to understand this story unless we understand the previous story. In other words, we have to learn to listen to Jesus to progress through this series of visions and symbols. We just learned another important Bible Study lesson. How to follow directions.

We have to be in tune to how the Bible is designed to direct us to one place or another for answers. Answers to what? Answers to questions the Holy Spirit places in our heads. The Holy Spirit uses printed words in the Bible to place questions in our heads. Those directions show us how to locate answers. It is as simple as that.

The simple Bible Study method learned at the beginning of Revelation chapter 4 is, this book is written as a book. It is designed to be read as a book. Like any other book, it can only be understood as a whole. No book or novel in this world can be explained by pulling out a single sentence and adding preconceived ideas about what the reader thinks the rest of the story is trying to convey. No one would do that with any of the classic novels. Why do people give Jesus less respect than an author who has sold millions of books? The Bible is and always will be the best selling book in the world. The major difference is, the Bible is the only inspired book from cover to cover. The Bible deserves more respect than any book in this world. Jesus earned respect in ways no other author has been able to earn or convey in words. It’s time we place the Bible where it should be. In terms of its literary style, each book in the Bible follows the same literary rules as all other books. Each chapter and story has an introduction and a summary. Each book in the Bible uses repetition to draw the reader’s attention to important details. Each book in the Bible describes the scene before explaining what happened at that location. The difference is, the Bible shows bits and pieces of the future. The Bible was inspired by the only living God who can look into the future. That does not give readers literary freedom to take a sentence about the future then attempt to explain that scene based on their personal feelings. That my friend is leaving the original Author behind while attempting to play god.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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When we read the Bible, we have to be aware of our senses. Every author wants to take the mind of the reader out of their environment and into the scene where the event they described takes place. That’s exactly what a great author does. Book publishers look far and wide for authors with that special gift. What the world doesn’t understand is, that gift comes from God. The same source that inspired the Bible.

When we open a book, we are placing our minds in the hands of the author. Yes, words can and will influence our thoughts and imagination. Every great author knows how to captivate the imagination. If the Bible is not doing that for you, that’s because the world has done something to steer your imagination away from God’s inspired Word. When you turn your imagination away from God, your heart is not far away.

What turns people away from God? Let’s look at the facts. The devil watches every move you make. The devil closely observes every influence in your life. When the devil sees circumstances in your life turning you towards God, Jesus, and His Word, the devil sends ten detours to deflect your path. How does the devil do that?

Maybe your first introduction to Jesus and the Bible was at a funeral. When you were a child, your grandmother died. You loved her. Death was a new experience for you. Your mind told you, this life will never change. The times you spent with your grandmother were the happiest moments of your life. You talked, laughed, cooked, and gardened together. You could still smell the flowers and see the colors swaying in the summer breeze. There was not a subject in the world your grandma could not explain. Then suddenly that security and happiness were gone. You went to the funeral. The preacher opened the Bible and read a few words. You didn’t know anything about the Bible, but the preacher told you God took your grandmother away from you. The devil was also there. He took a few words from that preacher and introduced thoughts he wanted to stick in your mind for the rest of your life. You looked at God as someone who only takes. You looked at that large black book the preacher read from as a book of horrors. In one scene the devil branded the depths of your mind and soul for eternity. What was natural event in life was twisted around by the devil as an unnatural form of pain and revenge sent from God. You only received a small part of the story of life and death found in the Bible. An example showing how the devil uses tiny parts of the Bible to introduce concepts he wants to paste into your mind and imagination. The devil doesn’t want anyone to read the Bible. Little bits and pieces are okay as far as the devil is concerned. If the devil makes you think all you need is little bits and pieces of the Bible, he accomplished what he set out to do. The devil convinced you to disrespect God’s literary skills.

Other people are given different impressions. Events the devil uses to set their minds against God and the Bible. The devil prefers to scar people for life at an early age. Then pick at those wounds day after day for the rest of their lives. The devil looks in your brain, knows how it functions, and knows how to place memories in just the right spot so when the Holt Spirit wants to leave an impression, the devil has his scar tissue covering the most sensitive and impressionable sections of the human brain, mind, and emotions.

When Jesus walked this world, He healed the most serious illnesses and deformities. Jesus cured the blind so they could see. Jesus relied on God’s power, who knows how the eye is designed, and how the devil was able to either injure or mutate those eyes. Jesus cured lepers, a woman suffering from defective reproduction organs, a woman hunched over from bone disease, paralyzed men, and a number of other diseases.

Each of those diseases carries a sort of spiritual concept or idea. Each is designed to reach people who were attacked and wounded by the devil long before they opened the Bible for the first time. Before anyone opens the Bible, the devil has already been hard at work for years to set up different types of mental prejudices and preconceived ideas to mislead people in the scriptures. Without the Holy Spirit, the devil has no way of knowing exactly how the Bible works. The Bible proved, the devil has no way of knowing how any prophecy will be fulfilled. So the devil uses a shotgun approach to mislead people. He introduces as many false beliefs, concepts, ideas, and doctrines as he can. The devil may not know what the Bible is actually saying, but he can come in with with a million wrong concepts.

God always has a plan on the spiritual level. Everyday the Bible reaches people on a spiritual level the devil can’t figure out, and can’t properly prepare for. Some people see their lives in the blind man in one story. Or maybe it is in the woman who is rejected by society because of her bleeding issue. Maybe one of the stories about a leper described how a person felt when they finally turned to the Bible for an answer. People turn to the Bible for answers at the lowest moments of their life. And the Holy Spirit supplies the answers they are looking for. The Holy Spirit directs them to a spiritual symbol in the Bible, and circumstances in life reveal the spiritual meaning. Anyone and everyone can have that connection with the Holy Spirit. But not everyone does. Too many people allow the devil to keep picking at the scars the devil placed on their mind and heart so they never heal.

Some people are in fact reached by a sermon in one way or another. Let’s look at the facts. The person giving that sermon doesn’t know a thing about the scars you carry. They may not even know about the concept of how and why the devil covers people with scars. Somehow the Holy Spirit was able to reach that preacher when they were writing down that sermon. Actually that preacher has no idea what part of their sermon will reach an individual or how it will touch them. But the Spirit does. The Spirit is working working overtime to reach not only you, but a number of people sitting in those pews. You have no idea how other people are influenced by the words that preacher is saying. But that is only the beginning. Expecting a sermon to remove those scars is like looking at a bottle of medicine and saying you have faith it will heal you. Opening the Bible with the Holy Spirit at your side is like diving into that medicine and allowing that healing power to flow into every part of your body. So why do so many people allow the devil to convince them, the preacher has all the answers? Why do so many people stop at the first healing step, and allow the devil to stop them in their tracks? The Spirit is opening doors, windows, taking the roof off your soul to open your mind to concepts that preacher never saw, and you could never expect to see. Something is holding you back, and that something is not God. It is you and your cooperation with the devil.

Now let’s take a look at how the Holy Spirit works with an individual when they open the Bible. In Revelation chapter 4 we have an introduction. John is introducing us to God’s throne. A door is open in Heaven. Are you walking through that door, or are you going to allow fear to hold you back? Or is the the devil using the things he taught you over the years to hold you back? The author of Hebrews also wrote about God’s throne. We should take a look at what the inspired word says about God’s throne.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLTse).

Whoever wrote the Book of Hebrews knew something about the healing power that emanates from God’s throne. It’s time we stop thinking that power comes full strength from any other source, and go the only source of healing that can and will remove all those scares from our body, mind, heart, and soul.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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Jesus opened another story for us by sending us back to the Tabernacle. I’ve written a number of books on the Tabernacle, but every time I read the story in the Bible, I find out I missed 99% of the spiritual meanings locked inside those stories. That is another feature that makes the Bible unique.

The Tabernacle has an alter in the outer courtyard. It is the first thing you would pass if you were to walk through the Tabernacle. In short terms, the alter represents Jesus’ sacrifice outside the city gates. Outside the walls of the stone temple.

Past the alter is the Tabernacle tent. The tent is designed with two chambers, the Holy and Most Holy. The first room contains a few important items, the lamp, incense alter, and the table. The lamp sheds light. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119:105 RSVA). The alter represents prayer, which is communication with God. “The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.” (Revelation 8:4 NLTse). The table is set with bread, bowls, and eating utensils. The table represents an opportunity to sit down with Jesus, where He will illuminate your mind and prepare you for the next step. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 RSVA).

The last room is the Most Holy room. “Place the incense altar just outside the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant, in front of the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–that covers the tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. I will meet with you there.”

(Exodus 30:6 NLTse). The Most Holy room contains the Ark of testimony with the Ten Commandments covered by the mercy seat. Now comes the hard part.

Why are some people afraid to approach God’s throne? Is it because the devil has trained them to fear God and His Ten Commandments? Israel displayed that fear when God spoke to them and gave them those Ten Commandments for the first time. Israel told Moses to go up to God, then come back and tell them what He had to say. That explains a lot. The devil saw how effective fear can be. The devil found how easy it was to use God’s Ten Commandments against Him. And the devil is still up to his old tricks.

You are either going to fear or respect those Ten Commandments. Don’t give me that baloney about fear means respect. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. (Deuteronomy 6:13 KJV). In this context the word fear means to reverence. It also means to be frightened. But which one do you choose? Are you afraid of God and His law, or do you reverence God and His law? Let’s examine the facts.

The Most Holy room represents the judgment process that takes place in front of God’s throne. People are either judged by the law, or Jesus stands in their place. That is the simple explanation Christians have to be taught to accept. In one sense it is true. In reality it doesn’t tell the whole story. Fear without reverence amounts to nothing. One without the other is useless. You have to learn to understand fear. That is why the lamp, incense alter, and table is in front of the thin curtain that separates the Holy from the Most Holy place.

When we take a second walk through the Tabernacle, we first notice the alter of sacrifice. Many people never get past that alter. That’s all they’ve been told about the plan of salvation. That is as far as Satan wants people to go. People have been trained to think that’s as far as they need to progress. Beyond that alter is a water basin called a laver. The laver represents cleansing and humility. Two attributes a person must posses before entering the first room in the Tabernacle. Since many people have been taught to remain at the alter and progress no further, they are satisfied with thinking, all they need to do is claim Jesus’ sacrifice and they are safe. That is stopping at the alter of sacrifice and progressing no further.

People have a tendency to jump from the alter of sacrifice into the mysterious inner room containing the Ark and Commandments. All they know is fear. They skipped the cleansing, which is removing misleading concepts the world teaches. They skipped the humility part of the Tabernacle. They also skipped over the light, the learning process with Jesus, and the prayers. Of course many people tried that concept of prayer, but we have to remember, the disciples were smart enough to ask Jesus how to pray.

When people make a process of their own, or accept a man made process over the progression designed into the Tabernacle, of course they are going to be consumed by fear when they decide to jump in front of God’s throne without following proper protocol. That is only natural. But when we do stop at the alter, study and understand Jesus’ sacrifice, go to the laver to be cleansed and humbled, return to that alter to review what we’ve learned, then progress into the first room, we are ready to be illuminated, fed by Jesus, and pray before approaching God’s throne.

Here is one example showing how the Spirit guides us through His Word. I turned to Revelation chapter 4. This time I was guided to the word, “throne.” I used a Bible program to provide a list of verses the word throne is found in the Book of Revelation. The information I found surprised me.

Taken from the MKJV

Rev_1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne;

Rev_3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne.

Rev_4:2 And immediately I became in spirit. And behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and One sat upon the throne.

Rev_4:3 And He who sat there looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. And a rainbow was around the throne, looking like an emerald.

Rev_4:4 And around the throne I saw twenty-four thrones. And on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white clothing. And they had crowns of gold on their heads.

Rev_4:5 And out of the throne came lightnings and thunderings and voices. And seven lamps of fire were burning in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

Rev_4:6 And a sea of glass was in front of the throne, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind.

Rev_4:9 And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

Rev_4:10 the twenty-four elders fell down before the One sitting on the throne. And they worshiped Him who lives for ever and ever, and threw their crowns before the throne, saying,

Rev_5:1 And I saw a book on the right of Him sitting on the throne, written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

Rev_5:6 And I looked, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, amidst the elders, a Lamb stood, as if it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev_5:7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him sitting on the throne.

Rev_5:11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and the living creatures and the elders. And the number of them was myriads and myriads, and thousands of thousands,

Rev_5:13 And I heard every creature which is in the Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all who are in them, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.

Rev_6:16 And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;

Rev_7:9 After these things I looked, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands.

Rev_7:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb.

Rev_7:11 And all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God,

Rev_7:15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple. And He sitting on the throne will dwell among them.

Rev_7:17 For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will feed them and will lead them to the fountains of living waters. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Rev_8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer. And many incenses were given to him, so that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar before the throne.

Rev_12:5 And she bore a son, a male, who is going to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

Rev_14:3 And they sang as it were a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousands who were redeemed from the earth.

Rev_14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile, for they were without blemish before the throne of God.

Rev_16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom became darkened. And they gnawed their tongues from the pain.

Rev_16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air. And a great voice came out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done!

Rev_19:4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God sitting on the throne, saying, Amen! Hallelujah!

Rev_19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His servants, and the ones fearing Him, the small and great.

Rev_20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and Him sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And a place was not found for them.

Rev_21:5 And He sitting on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, Write, for these words are true and faithful.

Rev_22:1 And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Rev_22:3 And every curse will no longer be; but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will serve Him.

32 verses found, 40 matches

Revelation 32 verses found 40 matches

The first thing I noticed when I looked at this list was the description of God’s throne and court in chapter 4. That is followed by a list of actions originating from that throne. Another detail I noticed was the sequence Revelation followed. First we saw a description of Jesus, followed by a description of God on His throne. There may be a very good reason for that. John recorded a lesson Jesus taught. God was very pleased with Jesus’ ministry, efforts, ability to follow directions, and of course His sacrifice. God gave everything to Jesus. Jesus gave all the credit to God, and returned all the power and control to God. It was a lesson in giving. The story also showed how God and Jesus are of one mind, set on a single goal.

We also see how Jesus wrote Revelation with the same flow all novelists and writers use. They first describe a scene, then tell you what occurred at that scene. We have evidence that Revelation is not a book of hidden mysteries, but a story written by God’s Son. Jesus wrote that book to be understood.

We see, the “throne of God,” repeated a number of times. Keep in mind, Revelation was constructed and written by Jesus. Here we see the respect Jesus has for His Father, and the type of respect we should have for God.

Putting verses together has a unique way of bringing out facts and details. But we have to be careful when we approach a study of this type. If we only look at one sentence in a story, we run the risk of missing 99% of the facts. One sentence will never show us the context the sentence was used in. We also miss important details linked to other parts of Revelation as well as other books in the Bible designed to provide answers. In short, we can easily fail when we rely on single sentences.

This list was provided to support a point we are looking at. We can take one word or phrase, quickly find where and how that word or phase was used in the same Bible book, and other books in the Bible, and continue our research. Computer programs have revolutionized Bible Study, making it much easier and quicker to put lists and facts together. But we have to take the next step. We have to determine which sentences have a direct bearing on the subject at hand, go to those chapters, read them, determine if the context is the same, and put those entire stories together. We have to look at the events involved. We have to examine the timeline by looking at connecting factors and surrounding events. We may only know the timeline of one event mentioned in each of those stories. That will help establish the relationship between two series of events. We have to look for references to other books in the Bible, and read those stories. All in all, with a good computer program, we are only a click away. Links between verses are placed in those programs for a reason. We have to learn how to use the tools we are given, and the common sense God placed within mankind at creation.

Another detail we have to think about for a moment. Satan’s throne is mentioned only once in Revelation. What does that tell us? We have 31 verses with God on His throne, and only 1 verse with Satan on his throne. But where is the majority of study focused today? On Satan and his throne. Doesn’t that show us how misguided this world is? Doesn’t that make a point we should heed? If we are seeking truth, do we go to men or groups focusing on a single sentence in Revelation? Or do we listen to those who focus on Revelation as a whole?

It’s interesting to see how one word can open a floodgate to information and facts we never considered before. That’s the way the Bible was written. The Bible needs to be absorbed. Or as Jesus put it, consumed. Not just a line or two, but the entire story the way Jesus had it recorded.

The 5 W’s of Bible Study

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 as placing 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.

The key point to using the 5 W’s is to stick to the Bible. This Bible Study method can and will sharpen your Bible Study skills. You learn to look back, review, research, list, and in most cases, write down what you find. All of those steps are designed to slow you down so the Holy Spirit can get in a few words, comments, and ideas.

Who seems to be the easiest question to answer. in most cases you will be studying a person in a story. In most cases the name is prominent and repeated throughout the story. Which should make the name easy to find. This helps you to focus on a single subject. In this case a single person. We all need practice at focusing when we study scripture.

What may be a little more difficult to explain. That is why this book is packed with actual Bible Study examples showing how each rule is applied and used within a Bible Study. What is usually linked to the subject, or event the person is going through.

When can be expressed in a date, time, or series of events. Dates can be found at the beginning of the story, and at times, the beginning of a book in the Bible. When can also be an explanation of the previous event. This event or story followed that event. Try to avoid commentaries when trying to place a date. In many cases commentaries can be nothing more than guesses or personal opinions.

Where is generally the location. Where can be a city, field, mountain, or other physical feature that may have a spiritual bearing on the subject and lesson at hand. Concentrate on the location and let your mind linger on the scene. This often helps to see reactions on the faces of people involved. The scene can also get your mind into the political or religious motives at that particular time. Where will help tie together all the W’s.

Why is where you want to spend your majority of time. As soon as the first 4 W’s are tied together, the why will begin to reveal itself. Why is normally found with a combination of stories that led into the event being studied, and later chapters or stories that recorded the results. Why takes a lot of time and study. Why is listed at the end of the 5 W’s because it takes the What, When, Who, and often times the Where to understand the Why. As soon as you examine the Why, you will see how they all fit together.

The 5 W’s also help identify a loose, sloppy Bible Study from one that put in the right combination of study methods. Many word studies and proof text studies take little or no effort. And as usually designed to convey a preconceived idea. On the other hand, studies like the 5 W’s show a level of interest, time, and attention not found in every Bible Study.

Bible Study For Real For Eternity

There is Always Hope with God

There was no need for any government until people began to disagree. This world started out with only two people. 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 KJV21). There was no need for any type of government with only two people. The world needed something to disagree upon before the concept of a government could be conceived.

The first disagreement was with God. And He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat? And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:11-12 MKJV). The very first political move in this world was of course the blame game. Adam blamed his wife, the only other person on earth. As time marched on so did the blame game and politics.

When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. Abel also brought a gift–the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (Genesis 4:3-7 NLTse).

Disagreeing with God started with Eve, spread to Adam, and of course worked its way into Cain. Freedom of choice and the blame game blended into one early in history. The Bible recorded a series of events spanning generations to show us how things turned out when people followed God and how things turned out when people made their own decisions. Cain’s decision led to the murder of his brother. Cain was banished. But the LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” (Genesis 4:10-12 NLTse).

The earth had two groups of people. Those residing with Adam and Eve, and those who lived with Cain. It didn’t take long for their numbers to grow and their differences to divide the two groups. One day Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; listen to me, you wives of Lamech. I have killed a man who attacked me, a young man who wounded me. If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times, then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!” (Genesis 4:23-24 NLTse). Those who followed Cain looked at murder as a way of life. The earth faced differences we take for granted today. It always seemed like war and violence have always been the only way to solve disagreements. People banned together for protection.

Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.” In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times. The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. (Genesis 6:1-5 NLTse).

Marriage between the two groups seemed to be the logical solution. Instead it bred warriors. People bent on destruction and control at any cost.

God didn’t have perfect people to led. But God worked with the best He had. Noah followed orders, built an ark following specifications and plans from God. Noah and his family made it through the flood. Later we see Abram. One of the few who listened to God and followed orders. Abram made mistakes. He lied about his wife not once but twice. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sar’ai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful to behold; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.” (Genesis 12:11-13 RSVA). For some reason Abram left Egypt and Negeb with more than he came in with.

We see one of the most important lessons about following God and following your own ideas between those two stories. Abram’s and Lot’s flocks grew. Lot decided to take the best land. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zo’ar; this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomor’rah. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other. (Genesis 13:10-11 RSVA).

How did that work out for Lot? Lot walked into Sodom a rich man. A group of kings came in and took everything. When Abraham heard about the attack, he went after the world’s largest army with 318 men. When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Genesis 14:14 RSVA).

It had to take a supernatural faith for 318 men to go up against the world’s largest army. Abraham’s government was simple. He led people to God. Abraham returned Lot to his home and returned all his riches. Later Lot lost everything when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot lost all his flocks, all his riches, his home, most his family, and his wife. Lot was left with two daughters and how did that work out. Where did Lot’s decision get him?

The agreement between God and Abraham was simple. When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” (Genesis 17:1-2 RSVA). Even though Abraham worked with God, he wasn’t a perfect man. After seeing God work miracles, Abraham displayed little trust. He lied about his wife a second time.

Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.”

(Genesis 20:5-7 RSVA).

Those two lies are arranged like bookends to show us an important lesson. Abraham was not perfect, but God still worked with him and blessed Abraham beyond imagination while Lot, who trusted in his decisions lost everything. Abraham of course made poor decisions and paid the price, but never gave up on God.

We would be hard pressed to find an example of a perfect government on earth in the Bible or in history. Was Egypt a fair or corrupt government? Egypt was one example, there is always hope with God. After 400 years God took the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. We were given an example showing how a corrupt government does not like to loose and will do everything in its power to hold onto total control with no compromises.

After Moses led Israel out of Egypt, he was a part of a simple government with God in charge. As usual, people objected. Moses’ brother decided to follow suggestions from the radicals. How did that work out?

While Moses was on the mountain receiving instructions for the Tabernacle and specific instructions for Aaron to preform his duties as high priest, Aaron was at the bottom of the mountain building a new god.

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, “Up, make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made a molten calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

(Exodus 32:1-4 RSVA).

After making all the furnishings and erecting the Tabernacle, Aaron assumed his duties as high priest. That didn’t seem to be enough for Miriam who rebelled against Moses. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed; and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. (Numbers 12:9-10 RSVA).

The simplest form of government was rejected by Israel. They wanted to make their own decisions and be just like the nations who threatened their existence.

Moses faced his share of opposition. Eventually leadership was passed onto Joshua. Like Moses, Joshua was reluctant to lead and needed encouragement. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. (Joshua 1:5-7 RSVA).

All God really wanted was a leader who depended upon Him to lead. When Moses faced a problem, he went to God for the answer. Joshua followed orders and the walls of Jericho fell. Joshua and his generals were instantly over confident and lost the battle at Ai. So about three thousand went up there from the people; and they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six men of them, and chased them before the gate as far as Sheb’arim, and slew them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. (Joshua 7:4-5 RSVA).

The push to be like other kingdoms reached God’s ears. Eventually God had no choice than to let them have their way and learn lessons the hard way. Israel’s first king was reluctant in the beginning. Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my family the humblest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” (1 Samuel 9:21 RSVA). But that was soon to change. Saul had problems taking orders. All Saul had to do was obey a few simple commands. But that proved too difficult for Saul. So he lost his kingdom. Did Saul lead a good government or a corrupt government?

What about David? As a boy David had great faith in God. As a boy alone in the fields, David had time to reflect, think, pray, and listen to God. David had the faith to slay giants. Then something happened. It took time for David to relearn how to listen to God. David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; and he said to Abi’athar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” (1 Samuel 23:9 RSVA).

David went from a boy who talked with God to a man who waited for yes and no answers using the two stones on the breast plate. David had to relearn communication with God. When we look at David’s history we see how David had instances where he relied upon his own judgment, the opinions of those around him, and God’s commands. We have a rich history to look back on and study. We can see the results when David made his own decisions, and when He followed God. When David followed God, he was safe. But when David ignored God, or tried to distance himself from God, things didn’t go well. David had Uriah killed so he could marry his wife Bathsheba. That cost them the life of their first born. David decided to number Israel. And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1 KJV21). Following Satan was not the best decision David made. So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel, and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. (1 Chronicles 21:14 KJV21).

We can see the lessons accumulate. We can see where the ideas and temptations come from. We see the situation repeat itself throughout Israel’s and Judah’s history. At the end of David’s reign one of his sons attempted a coup. And Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king. And he prepared himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. (1 Kings 1:5 MKJV). So were governments in those days corrupt or good?

Solomon made mistakes. He was convinced the best way to protect his kingdom was to marry women from other countries to establish treaties. Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The LORD had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the LORD. (1 Kings 11:1-3 NLTse). Solomon began his reign by ordering a number of assassinations. And now, do not hold him guiltless. For you are a wise man, and you know what you ought to do to him. But bring his gray head down to the grave with blood. (1 Kings 2:9 MKJV). Are governments getting better or drifting further away from God?

Was David’s kingdom a good kingdom or was it corrupt? What about Solomon’s kingdom? Solomon built the temple using slave labor. Solomon also built a new palace and homes for his wives. After Solomon we see taxes were an issue. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?” The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!'” (1 Kings 12:9-11 NLTse).

God saw that coming and decided to divide Israel.

One day as Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh met him along the way. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone in a field, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten of these pieces, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and I will give ten of the tribes to you! But I will leave him one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. For Solomon has abandoned me and worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians; Chemosh, the god of Moab; and Molech, the god of the Ammonites. He has not followed my ways and done what is pleasing in my sight. He has not obeyed my decrees and regulations as David his father did. (1 Kings 11:29-33 NLTse).

You would think Jeroboam would have been thankful and followed God’s commands. Instead Jeroboam decided to set up his own religion, his own gods, and his own government. Was that a good or corrupt government? Look back at Egypt. If we follow the story, we see Jeroboam spent some time in Egypt and learned their ways. Nothing changed in Egypt over the years. Egypt still had the same gods and Pharaoh was looked at as a god. Jeroboam decided to follow that pattern when he set up his government. In modern times we saw this same system was used in Japan before and during WWII. It is difficult for Christians to wrap their minds around that concept. But we can look back and see how people were willing to sacrifice their lives for their emperor and god. Something takes hold of those people and their leaders. We see governments have different degrees of control and none are perfect.

Israel’s government, the ten northern kingdoms was focused on false gods. The Christian mind naturally focuses on those false gods and rarely considers the concept behind them. Egypt taught us one aspect of that concept. Governments are famous for using religion to control the masses. On the top the leaders made themselves gods. That is what we need to examine. Today we have corrupt leaders who stand against every form of religion. In a sense they make themselves gods. In general those leaders suffer from a inferiority complex. They live in total fear and hatred. They use that fear to control people. Fear becomes their god and the god of the people they control. That is only one aspect of an inferiority complex.

Hatred is another symptom of an inferiority complex. In sever cases people live, breath, and eat hatred which becomes their overall controlling factor. From a spiritual view we see hatred is used to suppress their conscience. God’s Spirit is always reaching out to people trying to convict them of their sins and repent. The earliest lessons in history show how people decided to oppose God, second guess God, and make their own decisions. We’ve seen how things turned out when people decided to strike out on their own. It is also human nature to blame others when their mistakes come to the surface and the time comes to pay for their mistakes. Instead of learning from their mistakes, they blame those mistakes on anyone and everyone. That inferiority complex now controls their every thought and action. They become their own god. They are self centered, self serving, and care about no one. They make promises, lie, and do anything to increase their power, control, and wealth. They make empty promises and fill their lives with empty hope. They shun God and His promises replacing them with worldly power, control, and riches. In short, they loose their view of Heaven and eternal life. Which is sad, but a reality since the establishment of earth’s earliest governments.

This world has never established a perfect government. We can look at the Bible in the Old Testament and New Testament. Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the others faced corrupt governments. You can search every history book in the world. The perfect government never existed. So why do people in the US today think a revolution will lead to the perfect government? What are their plans? Who can they really trust? If the devil could reach David, what chance do the rest of us stand? People can do their best, but they will also fail to one extent or another. That is human nature. There is little we can do about it.

When I look at what is happening in the world in 2020 and 2021 I have to admit. If God wanted to make a point, He would allow the corrupt people to take total control. No one wants to listen to God and learn the easy lessons. We can look at the Bible all we want. We are going to see example after example showing us how great things worked out when they did follow God. We can see how God protected them. We can see how God knew exactly what was going to happen. Then we see how people accepted God for a time, then wandered off on their own. That is human nature. We all do it to one degree or another.

God allowed the left to take total control. We have to ask why. If we refuse to listen to God, and most of this world has made that choice, God has no other choice than to let the world learn from the choices they make. So what does that mean?

Millions of people remain uninformed, misinformed, and for lack of a better term, have given up hope, or cling onto false hope like people in the Old Testament clung onto false gods. God knows how to wake those people up. God knows how to push those people away from the influence of those offering false hope and a modern version of false gods. Put the liars in control and let the world witness their skills, dedication, compassion, wisdom, or lack thereof. When people want to place their hope on worthless factions, what choice does God have other than let them have their way and learn lessons on their own.

Chapter 5 How Are We Judged?

How are we judged? When we look at the many different beliefs in this world today, we are going to get dozens of different explanations. Christian denominations read the same Bible, the same books in the Bible, compare the same proof text, and come up with a wide range of conclusions. The strange thing is, other religions parallel Christian beliefs on how this world will be judged. Or in some cases, has been judged, or is being judged. How do we determine which explanation is true, and which explanations added to, or subtracted to the Bible? The first step is to remove all those explanations and start from scratch with an open mind, and a vision of learning at Jesus’ feet.

This may seem rather strange to you at this time, but look at the John’s Gospel as a whole. John’s Gospel seems to be the easiest story to follow. Jesus taught in a particular sequence. How many times did Jesus quote scripture? How many times did Jesus tell His followers and His enemies, He was doing His Father’s will. That included teaching this world about Heaven, and the judgment process in particular. When you read John’s Gospel with an open mind while focusing on the judgment process, you will see dozens of references Jesus made to the judgment process. Every time Jesus mentions the judgment process, let you mind go over previous stories, parallels, chapters, and explanations Jesus offered. You will find yourself putting the judgment process in the prospective Jesus explained it. All those cloudy areas will disappear.

Jesus emphasized another important subject. Being born again. Hearing the Shepherd’s voice, born of water, living water, and other stories all were focused on that subject. The need to put aside preconceived ideas. That included all the ideas and concepts men taught about the judgment process. When we take one little portion of a story and attempt to explain what it means, we will fail. When we try to explain a story in the Bible based on our limited human knowledge, we will fail. Why is that? Look at how Jesus taught. Jesus did repeat lessons to His followers. That was because they weren’t listening. Jesus explained subjects to His enemies once. Later Jesus built on those lessons. Why? Jesus didn’t feel a need to repeat Himself because His enemies were not listening, and would not listen. Why repeat yourself when the other person or party refuses to listen? The subject matter was important and had to be covered. Jesus had no choice but to offer the information. It was up to the listener to either accept or reject those messages. Chances were, if they missed the first lesson, the second, third, and all future lessons were lost. It was up to the individual to go over the entire process and put all the pieces together. In other words, look back. We have the opportunity to look back when we read John’s Gospel as a whole. We can compare one story with previous stories and see the spiritual meaning unfold. Bits and pieces should be fitting together. We should be able to see how Jesus added to subjects such as the judgment process. The moment we think we have it all figured out, we loose our connection with the Holy Spirit, our guide and teacher. We are left on our own. Whether or not we admit it, subjects become confusing, out of sequence, and difficult to explain. Why? Explanations in the Bible do not agree with what we have been taught. We lost our ability to look back and see how Jesus was given one subject from His Father, and added to that subject at a later date. Why did Jesus teach that way? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worked as a team. God gave the messages to Jesus who of course delivered them. People needed time to digest messages, and time for the Holy Spirit to work with them. Some people took advantage of that simple process while other people rejected the Holy Spirit, and of course they rejected Jesus. They thought they were serving God. They convinced themselves they were following God, but in fact they rejected God.

The same is true with the Holy Spirit. Try arguing or correcting the Holy Spirit during a study and the Spirit will withdraw. That’s it. You can continue to study, but everything will be interpreted by you and what the world has taught you. There is little chance any of your interpretations will be correct. They may sound good. The world may accept them. But that does not make them right.

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We will begin our study in John’s Gospel. We could look all the way back to chapter 1 to see where this discussion actually began. But that is a task for you to accomplish. I will take a look back at the previous chapter so I can add a few examples showing how information in the Bible is introduced and build upon.

John 12:37-50 NLTse But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. (38) This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “LORD, who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” (39) But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, (40) “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts— so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” (41) Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. (42) Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. (43) For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. (44) Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. (45) For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. (46) I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. (47) I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. (48) But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. (49) I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

This story makes a distinct reference to previous stories in the Bible. We should know what miracles Jesus performed and why they were rejected. When we look at the beginning of the chapter we see the story about Lazarus. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. Isn’t that a direct reference to the judgment? Of course it is. This is one example showing how Jesus taught in a particular sequence. First Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. That of course was an example showing Jesus had the power and authority to raise the dead. Of course Jesus needed His Father’s cooperation as well as permission. This also showed how they worked together.

Looking back a few more chapters we see Jesus also healed a blind man. That attracted the attention of the religious leaders who questioned and rejected that miracle. In chapter 12, Jesus quoted a few places in Isiah where he predicted that would happen. Now we not only have a prophecy and its fulfillment together, we also have something in Isaiah to consider. But first, let’s look at parallel chapters a moment. Parallel chapters are the prophecy matched to the fulfillment recorded elsewhere in the Bible. They are parallel chapters based on the fact, the

two chapters cover the same subject.

They will have similar introductions and summations.

When you study those chapters together, the Bible will reveal more than ten time the information you ever expected to see. That’s one of the ways the Bible works and confirms itself. Now we can look at a little bit from Isaiah.

Isaiah 53:1-6 NLTse Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? (2) My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (3) He was despised and rejected– a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (4) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (5) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (6) All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.

Many Christians are familiar with Isiah chapter 53. This chapter explains how Jesus was executed. What would have happened if His followers and enemies read this chapter? Would they take it to heart? Isiah was telling the future. Jesus was showing people the future. Of course we can look back and see how all of this was planned, and how it turned out. But if we are in fact more advanced than those people who missed the message Jesus gave, why aren’t we using this knowledge? The Bible just showed us a simple way to study the Bible. Why don’t we all take that lesson and put it into action?

In terms of the judgment, Isiah also offered some information.

Isaiah 53:10-12 NLTse But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (11) When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (12) I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

In simple terms, Isiah explained how Jesus died for our sins and how this was part of God’s plan. We are not given a great amount of detail, but when we see additional explanations given in John chapter 12, we should be able to see the pieces of the puzzle come together.

I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. (48) But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. (49) I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Now we have a few pieces of the puzzle in writing to examine. Jesus died for our sins. That is true, but there is more to it than that. Jesus had to earn the authority to judge. The Father granted Jesus that authority. But with authority comes responsibility. Jesus was also responsible for telling the world about God’s plan of salvation. We can’t be held responsible for a plan we don’t know. On the other hand, ignorance is no excuse.

We are not judged by our knowledge of this plan. But we are judged on our willingness to either listen to that plan, accept, or reject that plan. Why do you think Jesus and the prophets talked about that plan so much? That plan was introduced through baby steps over a great amount of time. People in the Old Testament understood next to nothing about the plan of salvation. They did have the responsibility of knowing God, His laws and commandments, and obeying those laws. Of course everyone failed at that task. That was why Jesus had to come to this planet to die. But what about those people who knew the laws and ignored them? What about those people who never heard about God? What happens to them? I hope you don’t expect me to answer that question. But maybe with a little more studying, we can begin to get a clearer view on that subject.

What about those people who never heard of God or Jesus? Let’s talk another look at that list of religions and their beliefs on the judgment in Wiki. They all seem to be pretty much the same. Christian religions should be the same. They all got their information from the same book. On the other hand, what about those other religions? How did they get a concept on God’s judgment if they never heard about God or Jesus? They must have gotten their information from somewhere. That brings us to the obvious answer.

We can all agree God’s judgment is in the future. Where did all those religions get the ability to see into the future? We have only two choices. Either God or the devil told them about the future. Of course the devil lacks the ability to see into the future. The devil didn’t see how Jesus defeated him in the wilderness. The devil had no idea Jesus was going to raise from that grave. Those simple facts leave us with one conclusion to draw on. Only God could have reached those people with ideas and concepts on the judgment process.

Judgment must be a rather important subject for God to reach the entire world on the idea and concept of judgment. So where does that leave us on our search to find out what happens with those people from other religions? They seem to be in the same boat as all the different Christian religions. All the Christian religions claim to communicate with God in one way or another. So why do they all seem to have different concepts on what God told them? Easy. Some people listen better than others. And of course some people like to add their own ideas to what they heard. Others prefer to eliminate a few details because they don’t entirely agree with God. Where does that leave us?

Look at how much Jesus blended the judgment process with the Holy Spirit, listening to the Spirit, and learning from the Spirit.

If anything, this book has shown how the judgment process is learned step by step. People don’t tear apart a V8 engine without first starting on a small single cylinder engine, learning the concepts, and moving onto bigger and better things.

What makes people think they can master the plan of salvation after a five minute conversation with God?

It may seem rather strange to some people when a modern writer talks about the connection between the Holy Spirit and the judgment process. Can we call it God’s plan of salvation for a moment? I’m not making this stuff up. I’m taking popular proof text major Christian denominations use to explain the judgment process and reading a few extra sentences found in those chapters. In other words, I am simply doing what every good Christian should do. I am testing what is being taught, preached, and spoon fed all around this world. Is it a crime to go a little further in the Bible. Or in most cases, review the introduction to that popular proof text? I don’t think so.

John recorded a lot about what Jesus taught on the judgment process. To me it would be a crime not to look at what John and other inspired authors wrote about the judgment process and study exactly how those inspired authors introduced and explained this subject. You see, I know I have two choices. I can either accept what people are teaching. Since I already know different religions have different concepts on the judgment process, I feel it is my responsibility to look into this subject myself. Not by myself. But as the Bible teaches, and the point Jesus tried to make. I want to study along side the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7-13 KJV Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

I decided to use the KJV for this part of the story because I know there is at least one word we need to look up in the Greek dictionary. If you didn’t see at least one word to look up, you’re not listening to the Spirit. That is one thing the Spirit does during Bible Study. The Spirit will tell you to look up certain words. When you follow instructions, you’ll see how the definition of certain words in the Bible have been twisted around. In this example we will look at the word REPROVE.


G1651 ἐλέγχω elegchōb el-eng’-kho

Of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: – convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.

And when church is come, the church will rebuke the world of sin

In most cases the definition of the word reprove many people use and teach will omit that part about conviction and telling a fault. When we look at the word sin, we can see how conviction falls into place. But when we get to the word judgment, that conviction part of the definition is often left out, or is changed to something along the lines of, “we can prove we are right and the world is wrong.” But who is right and who is wrong? Why did Jesus tie in judgment with a word that means, “to tell a fault.” Common sense would tell us, judgment has a very close relationship to pointing out faults. But who is supposed to point out those faults? It has become common practice for churches to substitute words and phrases like, “church, God’s chosen people, and the saints,” with what John actually recorded. Take a look at what John recorded. Jesus said, “the Comforter.” Who of course is the Holy Spirit. Go ahead. Check the chapter. Jesus was talking about an increased relationship with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not teaching about some modern church age with some new enlightenment that somehow replaced the Holy Spirit. To a large degree it has become acceptable for the modern church to replace the Holy Spirit with one term or another pointing to their particular term for a church, is that correct? And is that acceptable in Heaven’s court?

When we look at how Jesus presented His defense to the Jewish authorities, we not only see Jesus answering their questions based on their level of knowledge, but we see Jesus going far into the future establishing a new set of warnings for a church that was not even conceived in the mind of a single person back in those days.

Jesus introduced the concept of the Holy Spirit early in His ministry. One night a religious leader by the name of Nicodemus came to see Jesus. Jesus tried to explain the concept of the Holy Spirit to Nicodemus,who seemed rather lost on the subject. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? (John 3:10 NLTse). Was Nicodemus saved at that moment? We have to admit, Jesus did explain the concept of being saved to Nicodemus. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. (John 3:14-18 NLTse).

One of the most famous verses in the Bible is found in John chapter 3. But most modern Christians start and stop at one verse, knowing little to nothing about the rest of the story that spans more that one chapter. Looking at the context, which is the verses around John 3:16, we can’t help but see there is much more to the story that most modern philosophers are able or willing to explain. We see how Jesus pointed Nicodemus back to a rather short story Moses recorded. This brings up a few valid points to consider. Jesus sent an advanced student of the scriptures back to a story he needed to review. Something was in that story Jesus knew Nicodemus didn’t understand. The story is short and blunt. Israel was once again complaining about the long journey and the manna they grew tired of eating. We know manna was a physical bread from Heaven and also contained a spiritual meaning. It wasn’t by chance that Jesus also sent Nicodemus to a story about that spiritual bread and also talked to Nicodemus about spiritual water. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (John 3:3-6 NLTse).

Many people will miss the majority of those points because they don’t understand how Jesus and the scriptures point willing students to the right information at the proper time. As Jesus made clear to Nicodemus, you may think you are an advanced student of the Bible, but you will never stand a chance of understanding the Bible until you make a connection with the Holy Spirit and learn to follow directions given by the Spirit. Jesus followed those instructions and was able to give Nicodemus the instructions he needed to open his mind and heart to the Spirit. Between John chapter 3 and chapter 7 we find evidence showing us how the Nicodemus established a connection with the Spirit and the effects of that connection. Much like Jesus, Nicodemus was able to send the Pharisees back to the right scripture at the proper time. Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” (John 7:50-52 NLTse).

It took more than an understanding of the spiritual water Jesus talked about. Nicodemus also had to read the story about the snake Moses made and see the connection between salvation and the living bread Jesus also talked about. Jesus added more information about the spiritual the second time we see Nicodemus mentioned in John’s Gospel. On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-39 NLTse). That reminded Nicodemus about their first meeting when Jesus introduced the living water. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (John 3:3-6 NLTse). When we put those two stories together we can see how the Holy Spirit had been teaching Nicodemus to see the spiritual meaning behind that living water and how to put real life events together to see the deeper meaning of spiritual symbols.

Jesus used more than water as a spiritual symbol. Jesus mixed the spiritual water with the spiritual bread. When Nicodemus had only one symbol to consider, he was confused. When Nicodemus put the bread and water together, he began to see spiritual lessons his counterparts could not understand. Jesus and the Holy Spirit placed Nicodemus in a unique position. Nicodemus could see and understand spiritual symbols. Nicodemus could also see how his fellow teaches misunderstood and misused those symbols and other information in scripture.

No one can argue the point, it is easy to see how Jesus pointed out the symbol of living water. John recorded that portion of the conversation. It may be a little difficult to see where the bread comes in. That takes a bit of investigation. Which is what faith means, an investigation. We how see Jesus point directly to bread when He told Nicodemus about the bronze snake Moses made.

When we look at how this information was presented, we have to ask why. Jesus of course was trying to teach Nicodemus how to connect with the Holy Spirit. Jesus used some of the best teaching methods known to mankind. Jesus used actually life examples. In this case, a real life experience. The lesson goes much deeper than that. When the Spirit uses life experiences to teach, the student has to learn how to look back at events. Bible study follows the exact same standard. Notice how the story in John chapter 7 references miracles. Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?” (John 7:31 NLTse). To find out what miracles they were referring to, we have no other choice but to look back in John’s Gospel. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. (John 6:11 NLTse). With a free meal comes a free lesson. That is the way Jesus operated. Jesus physically and Spiritually fed people.

After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. (John 6:31-36 NLTse).

Jesus went a step further by tying in spiritual bread with spiritual water. No one made that connection except for Jesus. Now we have a direct connection between spiritual bread, water, and of course the Holy Spirit. We also see how scripture established a connection between spiritual bread, water, the Holy Spirit, salvation, and judgment. According to scripture they are all related, connected, and need to be studied together. Which is what we are doing after we see how those subjects have been linked in scripture.

What does all this teach us on the subject of judgment? There is no doubt, everyone will be judged. It doesn’t matter what denomination you are, or what religion you are. It doesn’t matter no much or little you know about the judgment process. What matters is, the connection you establish with the Holy Spirit and how much you are willing to learn. Is there salvation without a learning process? Based on the evidence we gathered from two short stories about Nicodemus, we see there is a learning curve. We also see two sides of the story. The Pharisees and other religious leaders rejected the Spirit. They wanted to kill Jesus. They questioned everything about Jesus and judged Him based on their personal understanding of the scriptures. When we look deep enough, we can’t help but notice how the groups disagreed and had different views on the Messiah. They went as far a contradicting themselves. We have to read the entire story to see that. Based on what we’ve seen and read, we should begin to see how those stories not only showed the mentality in Jesus’ day, we also see a prophetic warning for our day.

Denominations still can’t agree on who Jesus was, His role in Heaven, nor the judgment process. That is a living fact today. We cannot trust anyone. We owe it to ourselves to investigate the judgment process by teaming up with the Holy Spirit to find out what that process is, what role we play if any, and exactly what we need to do to be saved? Is that so difficult to understand?

As students of the Bible, we also want to exercise our freedom, privilege, and responsibility to check other sources. Up to this point we have been looking at information provided by John, Isaiah, and of course Jesus. What did Paul add to this subject?

1 Corinthians 6:1-6 KJV (1) Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? (2) Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (3) Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (4) If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. (5) I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? (6) But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

Paul pointed out the responsibility we will take on in the judgment process. We will judge the world as well as angels. That explains why we have to develop an understanding of that judgment process. It is not as simple as some people make it sound. Maybe those people do not want to face or take on the responsibilities. That does not add up to a valid excuse for anyone to use.

Paul is not giving the church any authority to judge, but simply pointing out how important it is to study the subject. “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13 NLTse). Paul pointed people back to Deuteronomy chapter 22 which has a collection of laws. Most of which dwelt with adultery. Which has a spiritual meaning all its own. Along side of those laws on adultery are a number of other laws. Some are plain and simple to understand. Others seem to have more of a spiritual meaning than a physical real life application. The lesson is. The Pharisees couldn’t agree on all the laws. The Pharisees often twisted laws to suit their own ideas. In any case, an honest Christian with an open mind should see how confusing those laws can be and the point Paul was making. When it comes to the law, we need help from Heaven. We also need help from Heaven to understand any type of judgment. In short terms, no one with less than a perfect understanding of the law should be judging anyone. If the Pharisees couldn’t understand the law, what chance do we have? Sure you can go with the old excuse, “we have Jesus and the New Testament.” Well ask yourself this question. Do you really have Jesus? Or do you have the word of a modern day teacher of the law? Do they have it right? Are they correctly interpreting the New Testament? In most cases, I could prove them wrong. I’m not bragging. Based on what you learned from this book, take those Bible Study concepts and go over what people teach. Test them yourself. Get into the Bible yourself. Not by yourself, but with Jesus. You see, having Jesus is the main thing. The most important thing. The only thing that will keep you on the right side of the judgment process. The only side you want to be on. We don’t have to understand every detail about the judgment process. But based on what we’ve read and studied in this chapter, there is a lot more to the judgment process that most Christian denominations are wiling to teach. The easy way draws crowds, new members, and money. That’s a sad fact in modern Christianity, but it is true. Christians have been making their own brand of nets for hundreds of years. When Jesus called His first disciples, they dropped their nets, their main source of income, and left them behind. Today the fondness of income has become a necessary evil. Income at all cost has become the driving force for some denominations. You know who they are. At least the worst offenders. But how much of that drive has your church borrowed from the money making prosperity movement? I’ve studied the history of a few major denominations to see how they grew from their original conception when they were called from God to break away. Sad to say, they seemed to loose touch with God after a while. Then began to form their own opinions, write their own rules, doctrines, whatever you want to call them. They broke away from the world, then rejoined the world to a degree they felt was safe. Like Cain, they each compromised on the sacrifice they owed God. How could this be? We call that human nature. We go so far with God then reach a point where we say, “God really doesn’t understand how this world works.” That’s when we join with the world to better reach the world. It seems like a plan that cannot fail. It seems like a good plan. We may be able to collect a hand full of scripture to build a base concept. But when YOU look at what they used for proof text, I can bet that the context will show it was from something similar to Paul’s letters where Paul used a man made concept as an example to show what NOT to do. I see that happen all the time. That is what makes proof text so dangerous. A dusty Bible on a shelf may look harmless and innocent, but the devil has uses dusty Bibles to steal eternal from more people than you can imagine. You’ll never know. You’ll never have an idea how much control the devil has been enjoying in this world until you pick up your Bible and begin reading.

Chapter 7 The Saved

After looking at the lost, there has to be the lingering question on your mind, how are you saved? Of course that’s the goal. The goal is to make it Heaven, to see God’s throne, to meet Jesus, receive your crown, and a stone with your name on it. At least that is what we learn in nominal Christian circles. Why don’t we talk more about Heaven? Why don’t we study more about Heaven? What is with this world? We explore the oceans, dig in the earth for fossils, and remnants from lost civilizations, we’ve even sent people to the moon. We have telescopes and cameras all over the universe, but few people search out a distinct and clear view of Heaven. Why is that so?

I’ve already written a book based on visions of Heaven found in the Bible. I would consider those visions clear and accurate. It was an interesting book to dwell on and write. But books about Heaven just don’t sell. Not at all.

This chapter may not give a view of Heaven, but we will look at what the Bible says about people who are saved. How are they saved and why are the saved? This of course will not be a complete view, but a look at some of the most popular scripture on the subject. Our journey begins in Romans.

Romans 5:15-21 RSVA But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (16) And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. (17) If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (18) Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (20) Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (21) so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I’m sure most of you have read this chapter, or at least a few sentences from this chapter. There are three main themes many Christians concentrate on in this chapter. The first is, sin entered this world through one man, Adam. Actually sin came into this planet through Eve, then Adam. The point is, this story leads us back to another story in the Bible found in Genesis.

The part about this story that has confused me for some time is the part about sin entering this world through one man, and grace through of course, Jesus, who is mentioned as one man. What is Paul trying to get to? I had to read this many times and pray about the information Paul presented before I could begin to understand it. Paul is using a simple example. An example we should find easy to understand. To get the meaning of the story, we have to go back a review the story Paul pointed to and used as an example.

Eve was the first person to sin. Eve was of course tempted by Satan. Eve gave into a minor suggestion. Satan appeared to offer more than what God had given Adam and Eve. And Eve fell for that deception. That of course was the first sin. As far as we know, the first sin in the Universe. But Satan was busy in Heaven questioning God, looking for more, and for lack of a better term, plotting a rebellion in Heaven. We have no idea how many years of experience Satan accumulated in Heaven. We do know, Satan became an expert in deception in Heaven. Satan was in daily contact with God. Satan knew Jesus. But Satan decided that was not enough for him. He convinced himself, then thousands of angels that there was more than what God had given them. We don’t know what Satan saw, believed, or was after. That information was not recorded in scripture. We do know, Satan was able to deceive angels. Angels who saw and knew God. Angels who once worshiped in front of God’s throne. If Satan could accomplish that, what chance do we have?

There is something in the fact, Satan was able to deceive Eve. Why didn’t Satan go after Adam? When we look at scripture we see, God warned Adam about the fruit on that tree. It was Adam’s job to inform and protect Eve. Did Adam do his job? There is something mysterious about those circumstances.

Eve was the first to eat the forbidden fruit. Somehow Eve was able to convince Adam to eat the fruit. In other words, Eve was able to accomplish what Satan was unable to do, or maybe afraid to try. Adam took the word of his wife over God. In short, Adam sinned on more than one front.

Paul used Adam as an example for a reason. Is it because Adam took the word of the only other human being on this planet over God’s word? That could be one of the reasons. But to get to the facts, we have to follow that story a little further.

Sin of course introduced a set of curses. On the surface those curses may look simple to understand. But do we look at those curses based on the way this world chose to understand them? Or do we look at those curses from a point of view from Heaven? After all, those curses did originate in Heaven.

Genesis 3:14-19 RSVA The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. (15) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (16) To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (17) And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; (18) thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. (19) In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

We all know, that first curse on Satan was a prophecy. It had a spiritual meaning. Why would God move from the prophetic and spiritual state to a physical state of thinking at this point? When we look at the curses as book ends, we find the answer. Adam and all men and women will return to dust. Satan will crawl along his belly and eat the dust of the earth. Put the two together and what do we have? We have Satan eating up people. Is that true? If it is, we can continue along this train of thought.

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Satan has one goal in mind. To take as many of us into the pit he is responsible for making. He goal is to eat up people, the dust of this earth. Now let’s go onto the next curse.

There will be a hatred between Eve and Satan. Eve is given the role of a warrior. Her hatred for Satan is the key Eve needs to protect her family. Eve made a mistake she can never make up for and she can never correct on her own. But one of her offspring will crush Satan’s head. Satan heard that. Satan knows that. And of course, Satan did everything in his power to save his own skin. But he failed.

Eve was also cursed with the pain of giving birth. Every woman who has given birth knows about the physical pain. Every good husband has witnessed that suffering and knows how unqualified he is to relieve that pain. There are a host of spiritual lessons attached to those physical attributes. After birth, Eve had to protect her sons and daughters from Satan’s relentless and never ending attacks. Let’s look at the odds. A third of the angles in Heaven were cast down to this planet. They had nothing better to do than to tempt and torture a few human beings. Can you imagine the pressure Adam, Eve, and their family faced? Can you imagine the spiritual pain and suffering Eve had to face everyday of her life knowing she was responsible for the condition of this world. Eve had no choice but to live with it. We can see how that child bearing pain went way beyond the few hours it takes to bring a new life into this world. The curse was no doubt spiritual.

The curse on Adam was of course also spiritual as well as physical. God reminded Adam, he listened to his wife, and took her word over the direct instructions he received from God. In a sense, that hurt God. That struck at God. Adam didn’t fall to the temptation Satan laid on Eve. Adam received his temptation second hand. That made it worse. Sin was rolling downhill and gaining momentum. Now we can begin to see one of the points Paul was making in Romans. People have a choice. They can follow after Adam and take the word of someone who has not received a direct command or message from God, or we can go to Jesus who has chosen to live every minute of His life on this planet being open, willing, and able to receive instructions, knowledge, and wisdom from God. In most cases, which path do people prefer to choose? How can we miss that point in the example Paul laid out for us in Romans?

The curse on Adam gets deeper. The soil Adam, the tree, and that fruit came from was cursed. When God created soil, it was good. Sin changed all of that and more. Thorns and thistles popped up all over the earth. A direct reference to other stories in the Bible and a clear description of the fallen angels who now had a new planet to call their own.

Adam was sentenced to a life of toil. A life of hard word. How else would you describe the relentless attacks those fallen angels launched on the only two people on this planet. Raising a family was not going to be easy. In modern terms, we can never hope to remove all the thrones and thistles in our hearts and lives. That is a never ending battle. Caring for a garden is a prime example. Pull out all the weeds, and you are sure to miss a few. After a few weeks, new weeds pop up all over the place and you find yourself back on your hands and knees sweating just like Adam. At times it all seems hopeless. Paul offered an alternative. The God who created the ground knows how to clean it up once and for all.

Eventually Adam would physically return to the dust God formed him from. The Lord gives and takes away. God knew how to make a man out of dust. And God knew how to make dust out of men. Something we should never forget. God didn’t want Adam to forget about Him. God didn’t want Adam to forget who created him, and who is always in control. That was one of the points Paul was pointing to on his letter.

Paul also mentioned grace in his letter. If we base our salvation on a few choice verses, Romans chapter 5 would contain one of them. Some people look at a verse or two and walk away with the impression, Jesus died for their sins. Jesus fixed what was broken by Adam and there is nothing for anyone to do. That’s not what we learned in previous studies in this book. Finding out about Jesus is only one step in a long journey. Jesus talked about that journey and John recorded key components to that process in his Gospel. But who wants to learn about a process with a number of key steps when the church down the street advertises an easier one step process.

It seems we have a choice. We can follow Adam’s lead, and take the word of another human being, or we can choose to accept what God has told us with His own voice. But this world seems to teach us that, God has left this world on its own. Is that true? Did God leave Adam and Eve on their own? Or did He continue to look over them, and talk to them? If Adam heard God, why don’t we accept that aspect of Adam and make it part of our own lives? God talked with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, a host of prophets, Jesus, the apostles, and more. Why not you and me? Is God selective, or is it one of our problems? We do have a host of religions who insist, God only talks with a few choice people. Or, after the Bible was finished, there was no reason for God to talk to anyone on this planet. There are a million excuses and false conceptions people have about God. Just because they have a license to preach, a wall full of diplomas, and other credentials handed to them from who knows where, does that mean they have an open line to God we can’t have? Come on now. Let’s look at God and accept Him and His written word with an open mind. Does God love any less than He loved Adam, Eve, Samuel, David, Moses, or His own Son? Could God love one person less than He loves another? Does God have a way of measuring His love and rationing it out? If God’s love is limitless, so is His communication.

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Paul outlined a choice. We can either choose to face death, or the free gift of righteousness. Do we need to work for that free gift? What happiness do we receive from any gift if we don’t open the package? Is there work involved in the free gift Jesus has prepared for us? We would have to dig into the subject to find out. Now to ask one question. Is studying the subject of grace work? Would studying grace and learning more about God, Jesus, the plan of salvation, and other related subjects disqualify us from receiving the the salvation Paul wrote about?

Romans 11:29-36 RSVA For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. (30) Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, (31) so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. (32) For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all. (33) O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (34) “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (35) “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” (36) For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.

It wasn’t by mistake Paul blended mercy with the unsearchable wisdom, knowledge, and judgments of God. It’s true, God has to make a decision. Not everyone will be saved. Paul tells us, we are not going to find that judgment process easy to find nor understand. God’s judgment is way beyond the understanding of this world. Does that mean we give up? Does that mean we leave the search to qualified and specially trained individuals? Who do you think Paul was wring this letter to? When we look at the last chapter in Romans, we see Paul wasn’t writing to institutions of higher learning or church leaders. Paul was writing to common, everyday people. Paul was writing to people who didn’t have all the answers, but were interested in finding them. As a matter of fact, Paul sent them to a place in scripture so they could find a portion of that answer.

Isaiah 40:10-18 RSVA Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. (11) He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (12) Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? (13) Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as his counselor has instructed him? (14) Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? (15) Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the isles like fine dust. (16) Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. (17) All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. (18) To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?

We can instantly see the connection between Romans chapter 11 and Isaiah chapter 40. We should be able to see how Paul was influenced and inspired by Isaiah. We know God is coming. We know God’s strength. Or at least how God’s strength exceeds anything and everything in this world. We also know how Jesus feeds and cares for His flock. What we have to learn is, how this world fails to know God. We have to face the fact, many people prefer to rely on themselves. We learned this lesson when we looked at Genesis. Adam took Eve’s word over God. After that, God explained that mishap in a number of different ways. It is repeated in the Bible so many times, we know this is an important point. No one can do what God has done, can do for us, or is going to do with this world. All we can do is hope to find God, and gain a little more understanding about God. Is that what being saved is all about? Would you consider that a form of works? Of course – searching for God requires a bit of effort. But when Paul tells people to search out God, and blends it in with grace and salvation, do we start messing with the ingredients, or do we follow the recipe?

Who is saved? Paul and Isaiah agree, that is not for us to decide, and difficult for us to understand. Do we avoid teaching about subjects we don’t understand? It is wrong to present yourself as an authority on a subject you know little about. On the other hand, it is healthy to share. There is so much information on the subject of salvation, none of us could learn all the details in a lifetime. But we can share what we know. And we can learn from other people. Isn’t that what Paul told us to do?

Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Genesis Through Numbers

Exodus 16:21 Manna

Exodus 16:21 KJV And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

After a number of plagues Pharaoh finally gave up for a time, letting Israel go free. It was an answer to a question Moses asked when he first approached the man he grew up with as a brother. To me it rose the question, why couldn’t Moses reach someone he grew up with as a brother? Look at the discussion when Moses first approached Pharaoh. After his presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went to meet with Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.” “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2 NLTse).

What is the lesson? We all seem to experience the same problem, members of our own family do not know God. It seems this is a lesson repeated time and time again in Israel’s journey through the wilderness. With all the miracles God performed before their eyes, Israel’s faith remained small. God gave the head of the household the responsibility of performing the detailed ceremony for the Passover to show them the role of the priest in the family was not only a right, but a requirement.

After going through all of these experiences, many of the Israelites showed how much their confidence grew in God. As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'” (Exodus 14:10-12 NLTse).

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Looking back a few verses we see how some people doubted, being more concerned about themselves more than God’s plan. Not only had they failed to see God’s power, they also misunderstood the reason behind the sequence of events. “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:2-4 NLTse).

Don’t we often have the same problem. Isn’t this the reason many people try to avoid God when a trial first arises? We try as hard as we can to fight and worry our way through a problem while the Creator is only a prayer away. We trust and rely more on our limited wisdom than our original manufacturer. If only we knew the plans and details God puts into solving our problems. If we did, we may never worry about, or let those situations get to us.

As Israel journeyed to the promised land it became evident they had not planned properly for the trip. After all, they had no idea where they were going or how long it would take. After a few days the little food they brought ran out. They went to Moses, complaining as usual. If one man’s faith was growing, it was Moses. He turned to God and prayed. He knew God would answer. Moses knew God had a plan.

As God looked down at the more than one million people following Moses out of Egypt, He knew exactly what He was going to do. Part of His plan was to wait a little bit to test each individual faith. Some were going to complain no matter what happened. Others waited for real trials to show up before complaining. Many of them could endure the trial for a time before eventually joining what seemed to be the majority of complainers. How many endured until God moved His hand? Did their joy and praise reflect their faith in God? In a way there is a parallel between testing of Israel’s faith and Jesus’ parable of the sower.

When the time was right, God brought bread from Heaven. We are told the Israelites had no idea what it was and called it manna, which means, what is it? Is this also a type of prophecy? John explains what this manna from Heaven represented. It was not only physical food, but also taught a spiritual lesson.

John 6:33-35 KJV For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. (35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

It seems the simple message about this bread is often misunderstood. Jesus had to explain exactly what this means. Today everyone claims to know what the bread represents but do they understand what it means to never hunger or thirst? This was such an important point, Jesus went on to explain it in more detail.

John 6:49-51 KJV Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

When we look at what Jesus is explaining, we see He is referring to His sacrifice, which gives us eternal life. The flesh Jesus gave was His life. How do we eat Jesus’ flesh, His life? How many aspects and details does this cover? All of them?

We need to have Jesus living in our hearts, minds, every part of out physical body and spiritual life. We consume Him through His word, like this study. Every time we open His Word, the Spirit prepares a feast. Jesus comes to our hearts, knocks, and can’t wait to sit down and dine with us. This spiritual connection feeds our faith. He answers our prayers, solves our problems, send us blessings though nature, relationships with others, unexpected blessings, every aspect of our lives. Like Israel’s journey through the wilderness, God knows the trials we will face long before we see them.

What other ways do we take Jesus into our lives? How do we take in His spiritual bread and water? What would our lives be without His influence in our life? Are their parts of our lives we still insist we can manage better than Jesus? Why did the manna in the wilderness melt away when the sun rose.

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Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 1 The Beginning of Rules in Revelation

What sets this book of Revelation apart from thousands of other books? Number one, this book is not written to reveal anything about Revelation or any type of future prophecies. On the contrary, the Book of Revelation reveals the meaning of the visions John saw, the symbols God uses, and the timeline recorded in Revelation. The Book of Revelation is designed so we see exactly how John’s book explains each and every detail. It is not my intent to guess at any prophecy or insist I have any type of special gift available to a select few people. I do not rely on the world to fill in the blanks people claim the Book of Revelation has. John’s book has no blank sections. John recorded exactly what he was told to record in the order Jesus provided the information.

Within Revelation is a series of lessons showing us how to read and study the book. As well as other books in the Bible. One of the most important rules is to gather all the information on a particular subject. When chapter one is combined with chapters two and three, that rule is evident. The remainder of Revelation further verifies that rule.

Revelation Bible StudyMy intent is to go through the Book of Revelation from cover to cover showing how John’s book reveals a few easy to use study rules that must be followed. The entire Book of Revelation was inspired from Heaven. Jesus wrote the entire book and placed special instructions throughout the book. In fact, those same instructions and rules are found throughout the Bible.

One of the first rules we want to test is, the rule of introductions and summaries. The first few sentences in a chapter or book sets the theme for that chapter and of course introduces the main idea. What do we find in the first few sentences in Revelation?

Revelation 1:1-3 NLTse This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, (2) who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (3) God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

Like many other books in the Bible, John sets the tone for an inspired manuscript by explaining how he received this message and who gave him that message. In this case the message was given to John by Jesus. This should peak our interest. Jesus pointed out one important detail at the beginning of His message. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.”

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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We have to first READ the Book of Revelation. Jesus described the Book of Revelation as one long message. No where in Revelation does Jesus tell anyone to separate or segregate one prophecy in Revelation from the others. The timeline in Revelation is very important. Without the other prophecies, the timeline is lost. That is one thing that causes most of the problems we see in modern day interpretations. The world has adopted a study method not found or explained in the Book of Revelation or anywhere else in the Bible. The art of taking one or two sentences out of the Bible and running to the news media in this world, or any other source originating in this world is a man made study rule. It is a rule designed with no rules at all. Taking one or two sentences out of scripture and using the world to interpret that passage is a free for all, no holds barred form of Bible Study. In this book we will take the Book of Revelation step by step to see how Jesus explained sound study methods. After all Jesus, “blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says.”

One of the first things you want to do when you begin studying anything in the Bible is to look at the introduction. We already saw why that is important. Now we can look at the last few lines in Revelation chapter 1 to see what details Jesus added to His opening message.

Revelation 1:17-20 NLTse (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (19) “Write down what you have seen–both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Jesus introduced Himself to John by using a few symbols. This is important. When we see Jesus using symbols to introduce and describe Himself, we know how Jesus set the tone for the entire book of Revelation. Jesus introduced symbols. Jesus knows how to use those symbols, and Jesus knows how to explain what those symbols mean. In short, Jesus is the source of those symbols, and the only reliable source who can explain the meaning of each and every symbol in Revelation. Going outside that source is turning your back on Jesus. Going to other sources can be compared to idol worship. Even relying on yourself crosses the line Jesus established in His conversation with John.

Jesus explained exactly what those seven stars, angels, and lampstands represent. Jesus is the author of Revelation. The author chooses which symbols they will use, and what those symbols represent. No one else in the world can over ride the author. And in this case, the Author of Revelation is the One who will decide the final outcome of the judgment process. When we put the introduction together with the information found at the end of the chapter, we can see the warnings involved. Along with those warnings, we see specific instructions designed to keep us inline with the wishes of the Author. Jesus wants us to understand every detail in Revelation. And Jesus established the foundation of that understanding.

If we were to turn the page, we would see how the end of chapter 1 introduced the subject matter in chapter 2. That tells us, Revelation was written much like any other novel. You would never skip a chapter in a novel that interests you. So why skip chapters in Revelation?

At this point we are going jump to the very end of Revelation to see how it parallels the summation in chapter 1.

Revelation 22:18-21 NLTse (18) And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. (19) And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. (20) He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (21) May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

By design the warning at the end of the book echos the information at the beginning of the book. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” The introduction to Revelation contains the blessing. The end of Revelation contains the curses. Put the two together and we see how the first few and last few sentences create book stand to hold the entire book together. The warning in Revelation is obvious to most people. But its spiritual meaning is lost without the blessing. Without the blessing, what do we have?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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The blessing establishes the Christlike attitude we need to approach the Book of Revelation as well as share the information revealed. When we put Jesus in the center of our studies, we can’t loose. We may not have everything revealed to us on the first, second, or even twelfth attempt. But we will continue to see details we missed. That is one way Jesus keeps us humble. Don’t forget, Revelation is an inspired book and we have to accept lessons designed for personal, spiritual growth.

We don’t want to skip over any details in Revelation chapter 1. This chapter sets the ground work of understanding. Jesus told us, this book is designed for those in His church to read and understand.

Revelation 1:4-6 NLTse This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; (5) and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. (6) He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

When we see the word, Amen, that tells us, this is a good place to stop, go back, and review the information presented. We see how John introduced himself as the messenger. The one who penned the inspired words. We see how John introduced Jesus using a series of symbols. It may seem rather strange to see how Jesus used those same symbols at the end of the chapter to describe Himself. We have to look at a number of reasons why chapter 1 used that particular pattern.

The Bible uses something referred to as repetition. Certain words or phrases are repeated to attract the readers attention. In most cases, those words and phases carry a spiritual meaning the casual reader will miss. It may seem rather strange for John to introduce Jesus with a set of symbols, then to see Jesus repeat that same series of symbols. Jesus is establishing a few general rules here. Jesus knows the meaning of each and every symbol. In this particular example, Jesus is using John to show us how He is able to meet and work with us on whatever level we are on. Yes there are different levels of learning. There are different levels of spiritual awareness. It wasn’t by accident that Jesus used spiritual symbols to emphasis that point. We know it is an important point based on the fact we see those words and phrases repeated. So remember, the author repeats words and phrases to catch our attention. At that point we have no other choice than to review the information so we do not miss its spiritual meaning.

We also saw how we had to gather all the information in the chapter before the spiritual meaning was unlocked. Collecting all the information on a subject is another important rule we need to follow.

We have the opportunity to collect information. The kingdom of priests is a phrase used in only a few stories in the Bible. The first time it was mentioned was a short time after God freed Israel from the slavery in Egypt.

Exodus 19:3-6 NLTse Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: (4) ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (5) Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. (6) And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”

Of course Israel instantly accepted the invitation. But after hearing the Ten Commandment, most of the Israelites changed their mind. They told Moses to talk to God and fill them in on the details.

We just leaned another valuable lesson. The term, kingdom of priests led us to another story with a vital connection. Jesus asks us to follow His commands as a condition to understanding the message. When we look at the original offer to becomes God’s kingdom of priests, we can’t help but notice the Ten Commandments. A link no one in their right mind could deny.

That’s exactly what we are looking for. Links in the Bible that explain the spiritual meaning of the message at hand. What is a priest dedicated to God? The Bible tells us, it is a person who keeps God’s commandments. That is one clue. Of course some people will argue, that is only for the Old Testament people. Is it? We can look at a few additional facts from the Bible.

1 Peter 2:5-10 NLTse And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. (6) As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (7) Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” (8) And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. (9) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (10) “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

Peter tied in God’s holy priesthood with the spiritual temple designed with Christ as the corner stone. Once we examine the link between these books, we can’t help but find how one story explains the other. Some people find it difficult to explain what that spiritual temple is. When we look at what Peter explained, and what Christ added in Revelation, there is no other definition than God’s people who take up the priesthood originally offered when God took Israel out of Egypt.

Some churches have long drawn out rules and regulations describing what they think a priest is, who can be a priest, and other aspects about priests and pastors they claim are Biblical. The fact of the matter is, Peter described a priest as a part of that spiritual temple. Jesus described that priesthood as anyone who reads and understand His message in Revelation. That can be a can of worms in modern Christianity. Almost every church claims they can read, understand, and interpret Revelation. Many churches claim their powers of interpretation prove they are some type of chosen or special church. Some claim to be the only true church. Many of those claims are centered on the Book of Revelation. Those claims are based on a few select lines in Revelation. When we look at those sentences as they were recorded, and where they lead us, we see quite a different story.

Some of the most popular priests or pastors today host television shows that concentrate on Revelation and prophecy. Week after week they make predictions. Week after week they prove their spiritual connection with Jesus is false and misleading. Their predictions rarely come true. Or as so vague, they hold little water. When we look at the kingdom of priests Jesus, Moses, and Peter described, we see the Biblical meaning of a priest. Which of course is far different than the earthly definition. The same is true for the majority of visions, symbols, and prophecies taken from Revelation and interpreted using any other method than those described in the Bible.

Based on the fact most churches boast about their knowledge of Revelation, no one can argue the fact, Jesus’ priests are those who read and understand His message. There is no other source of training required outside the Bible. With that in mind, we will continue to look at Revelation chapter 1.

Revelation 1:7-8 NLTse Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him– even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! (8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.”

John took a giant leap from his time to Jesus’ return. John must have jumped ahead for a reason. Remember how we jumped ahead to look at the last few sentences in Revelation? We followed a study rule. Look what we found. Now we find John sending us to the last chapter in Revelation. See how those connections exist inside scripture? We have a guide in Jesus’ Spirit. What more do we need?

Revelation 1:9-11 MKJV I, John, who also am your brother and companion in the affliction, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the island that is called Patmos, for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (10) I came to be in the Spirit in the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (11) saying, I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Also, What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Jesus being the first and last, the Alpha and Omega repeat throughout the first chapter. We can’t ignore that fact. We have to put that information in its place. Jesus is the Teacher. He is the first and last source of information for us to rely on. We don’t need any other source of information. We also see how this letter was to go out to the frontier of the Christian world. There is a lesson is that. We still have Christian frontiers.

The testimony of Christ is another phrase we have to look up. It is mentioned in a couple of stories in Revelation. This gives us the opportunity to look at other parts of the story, put the details together, and see what they say.

Revelation 6:9-11 MKJV And when He had 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 testimony which they held. (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Until when, Master, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? (11) And white robes were given to each one of them. And it was said to them that they should rest yet for a little time, until both their fellow servants and their brothers (those about to be killed as they were ) should have their number made complete.

When we read the description of the fifth seal, we see the price may be rather high. Following the testimonies of Jesus, which is described as reading and understanding His message is not going to be a bed of roses, or an easy road to travel. If we were merely reading Revelation, it would have taken us five more chapters before we got to that part of the message. Collecting all the information on what Jesus’ testimony is took us directly to that information.

Revelation 12:15-17 MKJV (15) And the serpent cast out of his mouth water like a flood after the woman, so that he might cause her to be carried away by the river. (16) And the earth helped the woman. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. (17) And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Here John once again tied in God’s commandments with Jesus’ testimony. None of us made that connection a second time. Jesus the Author did. Again we see how rough the road is. We also see who is responsible for adding all those bumps and pot holes in the road. We also see why the devil is angry. He tried to kill the baby Jesus. Satan is angry because he failed. So Satan took that anger and focused it on the people who continued to follow Jesus.

Revelation 19:7-10 MKJV (7) Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. (9) And he said to me, Write, Blessed are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God. (10) And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Of course Jesus is going to describe the benefits in store for those who follow His Word. The road may be rough, but the destination is well worth the journey. Jesus doesn’t hide anything. He gives us the good news, and the warnings. Jesus tells us how rough the journey is going to be before He explains the benefits.

What is that prophecy John is trying to explain here? When people take that one line out of the story, they tend to drift off in different directions. In most cases they attempt to link that one line about Jesus’ testimony and prophecy to their church, and the advanced knowledge they claim to have. Thus far we have seen no evidence to support such a claim. On the contrary, we have written evidence telling us, Jesus’ church is made up of those who accept the role of priest with full knowledge of the pitfalls and benefits. There is no mention of weekly paychecks, degrees, retirement funds, collecting funds, and the other roles mankind has attached to the priesthood. You won’t find those roles in Revelation because that was never part of Jesus’ message.

On the other hand, understanding this letter is a part of Jesus’ promise, and a part of the benefit package. Not the way the world understands, or tries to explain John’s book. but the way Jesus designed Revelation to be explained and understood. The more we study Revelation, the more will will see and understand that difference.

John Chapter 8

What does a misunderstanding of the commandments have to do with Jesus’ return? John covered the subject in detail. Preachers today fail to make the connection. Why? Preachers today teach one subject at a time. They fail to cover material designed to lead into the next subject. Once they miss the introduction to a subject, they miss the entire spiritual message contained in the next story. That is one general rule of Bible Study many people miss. Why? There are factions in this world who stand against Jesus’ return and are working hard to spoil that return in any way they can.

John 8:1-59 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (11) “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (12) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (13) The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” (14) Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. (15) You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. (16) And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. (17) Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. (18) I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” (19) “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” (20) Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come. (21) Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” (22) The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going‘?” (23) Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. (24) That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (25) “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. (26) I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” (27) But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father. (28) So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. (29) And the one who sent me is with me–he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” (30) Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. (31) Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (33) “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” (34) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (35) A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. (36) So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. (37) Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. (38) I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” (39) “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. (40) Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. (41) No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” (42) Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. (43) Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! (44) For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (45) So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! (46) Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? (47) Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” (48) The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” (49) “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father–and you dishonor me. (50) And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. (51) I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” (52) The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ (53) Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (54) Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ (55) but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

I have to admit. I spent years looking forward to writing about John’s book. I always considered John’s Gospel the most passionate of the four gospels. Some of his chapters capture a unique relationship with Christ as well as the necessary and personal connection God is looking for from each of His servants. But those last two chapters and this one paint an entirely different story.

John has been focusing on frustrations Jesus faced throughout His ministry. The disappointment Jesus faced when dozens of His followers walked away. John wrote about the human side of Christ. You can imagine what He felt when those people turned and walked away because they either didn’t get their way, or couldn’t understand. Jesus felt that sinking, empty feeling in His chest. His heart ached. Jesus felt the sting of rejection.

After spending generations planning each event, talking with His prophets, and recording every detail, Jesus finally came to this world. He had to grow up like every other child. He worked in the home and helped His mother like any little boy. Jesus worked with His father like any other young man. Finally His Heavenly Father told Him it was time and Jesus began the ministry He trained for all His life.

Jesus had hopes and dreams like all of us. He had a desire to succeed like most people do. Jesus wanted to make a better life for His family like every father sets out to do. This world is Jesus’ family. All of us are like brothers and sisters to Christ. We are more important than children to His Father. Jesus dreamed of success. He thought of how the day would go, always expecting the best. Constantly praying and most importantly, listening to God’s voice and of course following directions. Jesus knew if He followed each and every step in the plan of salvation recorded in scripture, everything would work out. Of course Jesus knew He had to suffer. But could anyone or anything prepare Jesus for the continual heartache and disappointments He faced day after day?

The Word was God
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Jesus was constantly hounded and hunted by religious leaders of all types. Those religious leaders couldn’t agree among themselves on hardly any subject, but something brought them together. They united to put an end to Jesus’ ministry and His life. But that wasn’t the tip of the iceberg when it came to disappointments and set backs Jesus had to endure. People constantly pierced His heart and tried to nail His hands and feet long before they put Him on that cross. Not physically restraining Jesus, but spiritually.

Priests tried to stop Jesus from using His hands to heal because he healed on the Sabbath. Pharisees tried to stop Jesus from moving forward when they questioned His view on the law. Other religious factions attempted to hold Jesus back in every way they could imagine. All of them were guilty of condemning Jesus without a trial. But this was only a small portion of the trials Jesus faced.

People from the town He grew up in doubted Him and spread rumors about Him. They focused on the miracles and how they could profit from them. They insisted Jesus was born in Galilee and joined the priests in hiding His real birth place, Bethlehem. If people knew, it wouldn’t be good for business.

People followed Jesus around because of the miracles He performed. Gentiles and even the Samaritans turned away from Jesus as soon as the miracles passed. It was like a repeat of the Exodus when Israel and all the people with them forgot the miracles they saw in Egypt. No wonder Isaiah told us the path to God’s throne is on a mountain. It always seems like an uphill battle. If life’s road is not that easy, why would the path to eternal life be any easier?

A Woman Caught in Adultery

John 8:1-11 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (11) “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus returned to Jerusalem after the Festival of Shelters. Also known as the Festival of Tabernacles. He wasn’t going to give up. The previous chapter showed how Jesus was rejected by groups of religious leaders as well as people He grew up with in Galilee. Was Jesus returning to face more of the same treatment? How many of us would have given up?

One strange thing I’ve noticed about John’s style of writing over these past few chapters is Jesus’ disciples are hardly mentioned. John called attention to the people Jesus was trying to reach. John put the emphasis on how Jesus was able to reach people and what He had to deal with when people didn’t want to accept Him or His message. It’s evident, John left us with a valuable training tool.

Were the disciples there when those religious leaders brought that woman to Him? We don’t know for sure by only looking at John’s book. What we see is a few words and phrases Jesus and John repeated to focus our attention. We see the words taught, teachers, and teacher. So we know those words are drawing attention to a lesson.

We also see the phrase, “caught in adultery,” repeated. We should ask how the Pharisees caught the woman in the act and what happened to the man? Doesn’t adultery take two? Those are the types of questions most people ask and preach on. It’s only natural. Those are details on the surface. But we are searching for the spiritual messages in each story.

Looking at other key words, we find an unusual combination in accusers and condemn. When we look at the story, we can see how the Pharisees wanted Jesus to either condemn the woman or let her go. If Jesus forgave her, the Pharisees would have accused Jesus of acting like he’s greater than the law and condemned Him.

How did this woman get herself in that position. She was at the mercy of the Pharisees who put her at Jesus’ mercy. In later chapters we will see the same attempt at shifting responsibility in condemning a person. John didn’t tell us how the woman got into that position, but we can look back to see how John led us into this story.

Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home. (John 7:50-53 NLTse).

John wanted to make it evident those religious leaders condemned people without a trial out of habit. You might say it was one of their traditions. Now that we have that information, we can see one of the reasons they didn’t want to listen to Jesus. That’s one major reason He had such a hard time reaching them. What lesson can we learn from that?

Look at people you’ve tried to reach. It seems for the most part, Christians reach out to other Christians. There seems to be three major groups. People who support you, who actually support one another. People who are looking for help and answers. The third group is Christians with all the answers who look for people to either debate or argue with. The Pharisees belonged to which group?

People who like to argue also tend to condemn people without knowing them. Like those Pharisees, their mind is made up and no one is going to change it. They may also try to trick you so they’ll have something to use against you. I think of those people as modern Pharisees. I think you’ll agree, they can’t see that in themselves. I have no idea why.

I wish we knew what Jesus wrote in that dust. But John doesn’t seem to give us any hints. If we followed general rules of context, we can look back to see if John included any hints. We can take a look at a list of verses that may give a clue.

My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.

Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.

Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves

Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly

These are only a few. Other texts may be in previous chapters. Part of the answer may be seen later in this chapter. So far we see, Jesus had a message. He wanted to get that message across to them. Jesus knew their pride. Maybe if they wouldn’t listen to His messages, they might read them in the dust on the ground. Whatever He wrote, it made them leave. The older, wiser men left first, followed by younger Pharisees. Jesus got them to look below the surface. There is one more place we can look for an answer, in the summation.

Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

We don’t see a lot here telling us what Jesus wrote in the dust, unless it had something to do with Abraham. But we see something. They couldn’t stone the woman, so they picked up stones to kill Jesus. Another example of playing judge, jury, and executioner. Jesus kept returning because those Pharisees needed a lot of help. In a way, Jesus took the place of that condemned woman.

I Am the Light

John 8:12-20 NLTse Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (13) The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” (14) Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. (15) You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. (16) And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. (17) Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. (18) I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” (19) “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” (20) Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.

When John pointed out Jesus spoke to the people once more, he showed us how much Jesus cared. He wasn’t about to give up. He couldn’t give up. Jesus introduced another new symbol, light. Jesus kept this new symbol simple and provided the spiritual interpretation. Jesus is the light given to this world. He is the light that leads to eternal life. What Jesus didn’t do was repeat the word darkness, nor did He define it. That’s not to say He didn’t point to it’s interpretation. But the emphasis is on Jesus the light that leads to eternal life.

The Pharisees had no idea what Jesus was talking about. What happened to that lesson they learned when they dropped their stones and walked away? That was the problem. As soon as they began learning, they walked away. After showing they understood what Jesus wrote in that dust, it didn’t take long for them to go back to their way of thinking and way of doing things. Who was really guilty of adultery?

Jesus fired back at the Pharisees with the truth, they didn’t really know Jesus. They already showed they didn’t know where Jesus was born. Or they wanted to hide that information. Their comments showed how they didn’t understand what Jesus taught, or didn’t want to hear. Jesus pointed out their ignorance in a way they didn’t understand.

Jesus also pointed out their flawed judgment. It was only human. If those Pharisees were honest, they would have found one point they could agree with Jesus. But their instincts put them on the defense.

Jesus also told them how He and His Father are one and how God is His witness as well as He is God’s witness. This is a new concept for everyone in Jesus’ time. I don’t know why Jesus kept introducing new concepts at such a rapid rate. John chapter 7 and 8 took place over a few days. Over that time period Jesus introduced quite a number of subjects. He told them He brought a message from God. His teaching is from God. God sent Him. He will return to God. Jesus introduced the symbol bread and living water. He also told them to search scripture for proof of what He told them. Then Jesus told them, He is the light.

Jesus could have explained a lot more details about all the subjects He was teaching. If only they would listen. Jesus couldn’t force them and Jesus couldn’t wait for them to decide when they wanted to learn. Jesus was on a tight schedule. Another subject those religious leaders didn’t understand.

Jesus couldn’t make it any clearer. If they didn’t know Him, they didn’t know the God. It was true when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem and it’s still true today. There is a process with specific steps. God works with people where they are, but the goal is always the same. People have to know Jesus to be saved. They have to know both Jesus and God to get ready for eternal life.

You Cannot Come Where I Am Going

John 8:21-32 NLTse Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” (22) The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going‘?” (23) Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. (24) That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (25) “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. (26) I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” (27) But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father. (28) So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. (29) And the one who sent me is with me–he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” (30) Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. (31) Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We suddenly see a pattern forming here. As we look back, we can’t help but see the same event occurring. Jesus talks to people and they walk away. A group of Jews and Gentiles sailed across the lake, found Jesus in Californium, listened to Him, then walked away. Jesus’ brothers told Jesus what they thought He should be doing, then left for Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. Jesus went to Jerusalem, talked to one group of religious leaders after another, and many groups of people. Jesus introduced one symbols after another, and one piece of a puzzle after another that would open up their understanding of the plan of salvation, and understanding all the prophecies about the Messiah. They all walked away. They all had one thing in common, none of them understood. They all questioned Jesus because they didn’t understand. Instead of listening to Jesus and learning about the Spirit He was trying to point them to, they walked away and left Him and His message behind. Instead of opening scriptures Jesus sent them to, they shut the door to understanding and God’s Spirit.

The scary part about this whole situation and one of the lessons in this story shows how all those religious factions united against Christ. Something drew them together to destroy and silence Him. This created a new religious movement known as unity. The first man made religious unity put Jesus on that cross.

That man made unity was broken when Jesus rose from that tomb defeating death and the grave. Jesus gave the world a clear and unmistakable view of God’s Spirit. After all those prophecies were fulfilled and Jesus, along side of God’s Spirit explained how and why each of those prophecies were fulfilled on time and to the letter, people could see solid evidence of God in His Word. For the first time in world history since Enoch, people had an understanding of God and how to communicate with Him. The new Christian church grew at a rapid pace because they knew how to teach others how to communicate with God.

Generations later, people began to forget how to listen to God’s voice. They forgot how to understand His Word. Men introduced their own messages one after another. Some groups clung to one message, others to another message. The church became fragmented. The work slowed. It finally stood still. Without God’s Spirit, the work stopped and so did the message which was soon forgotten.

No one knows where it started or who came up with the idea, but it made sense to a lot of men. If people all worshiped the same thing at the same time, God would once again hear us. The world thought a universal church where everyone followed the same course would bend God’s ear to this world once again. It sounded like a good idea, so a central church was formed, approving what they referred to as a unified form of worship.

A committee wrote out a step by step form of worship distributed throughout the world. When the world united in a single form of worship, God would once again hear us. Everyone who agreed followed their step by step worship service and preached the same message week after week. But there was no evidence God heard. So they standardized the way priests dressed, the appearance of the churches, and created new traditions for people to follow. One detail was added upon another in the hopes it would please God and they could find His Spirit once again.

Finally they decided what they really needed was to follow one man. So they elected one man to be the source of communication between Christ and His church. That seemed to work. People were so far removed from God’s Spirit and His word, they thought that one person who they choose could hear. When that one man told them he heard God, they believed him.

To them all of that made sense. After all, God had one service for His Tabernacle in the wilderness. But they forgot how that Tabernacle was arranged so every item, detail, and color pointed to Christ and His ministry. God dressed all the priests alike. But they forgot how that priestly order was abused and Christ died to put and end to it. They borrowed other points from scripture and changed them around to suit their needs and concepts of worship. But without God’s Spirit, all they had was one more man made from of worship. Copying it thousands of times did nothing to please God. What they needed to do was get back to what Jesus came to teach. They also needed to go back to understanding prophecies Jesus fulfilled. The prophecies taught by the early church at Jesus’ command.

Every change initiated under the disguise of unity shut God’s Spirit out of worship and sucked God’s Spirit out of each member of what they called their church. There was no way for people to communicate with God’s Spirit when every facet of worship and study was locked in chains of human control. Men recreated the system Jesus came to abolish.

Jesus warned about a big change about to come. People will search for Him but not find Him. We can’t restrict that search to Jesus’ resurrection. People didn’t stop searching for Him after His resurrection. Common sense tells us, that is when people began searching for Jesus. That was one giant landmark in earth’s history that changed this planet forever.

Jesus told them one important detail about their search. “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not.” There is no way anyone is going to find Jesus if they don’t put away their worldly views and what the world told them about searching for Jesus.

I’ve noticed one thing most preachers have in common. Some are very good preachers. They can cover a lot of good points in their sermons. They tell people not to trust any man, or woman. They tell people to search scripture. They tell people how their lives depend on it. They don’t have a problem backing up what they say with scripture. But what most preachers can’t do is teach people how to study God’s Word on their own. They have no idea how to sit down and show people the step by step process. Most preachers follow a particular process to study but they don’t have the ability to sit down and show people what they do. That is a different spiritual gift from the same Spirit.

They may also have a great relationship with God. They may pray 90-99% of the day. They know how to see God in His Word, see Him in action in this world, wonder about Him in nature, and praise Him in song and prayer. But few pastors are able to preach a sermon telling people the step by step process to read and understand God’s Word.

This book is designed to show you patterns in God’s Word so you can learn to use them in your own studies. Like in this section of the book. You can see how I’ve taken my time over these last three chapters. It takes 1-3 days to write a chapter. That gives God’s Spirit a long time to confirm what He is telling me. I’ve had people call me and confirm what I was thinking about or writing at the moment. I’ve chatted with people half way around the world who were influenced at that moment to share details I was just about to write about or had written a few minutes before. None of those people had any idea what I was writing about. God will always confirm His message.

Look at the Old Testament. How many prophets did God send to the Jews when Jerusalem fell? I never counted all of them, but there is a whole list of them. What about the time they spent in Babylon and scattered all over the world? Got sent prophets where they were. God confirmed His messages then and He still follows guidelines He established. And He will continue to do so no matter what men think or say.

That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” Is there a difference between accepting Christ and knowing Him? How can you accept Jesus if you’ve never known Him? How can you know Jesus if you’ve never met Him or His Spirit? How do you meet the Spirit Jesus promised to send?

I hope I’m not getting ahead of God or John’s book at this point, but there are a few details I think we need to cover. God still speaks to us as clearly as Jesus spoke to those crowds. The problem is, we spend too much time arguing or making excuses. In other words, the lack of reception is our fault. God didn’t loose control or have His connection go bad. We’re at fault. Admitting we’re the problem is the first step.

I don’t really think it matters what you do to talk to God. Everyone I’ve talked to about this subject has their personal way of talking with God. All of them are simple. Some people actually use a prayer closet. Other people find a quite place. The key is a quite place to listen. When people begin to listen to God the enemy is there with a thousand demons to shut out God’s voice, which is like a thought, but clear, unexpected, and if you listen to those preachers who back up what they say with scripture, you better get ready to listen to the Preacher who wrote the book. He is going to flood your mind with so many pieces of scripture you’ll think your swimming in it. Every scripture will be related to the others in ways you never imagined. Things you didn’t understand will become so clear you’ll feel like smacking yourself because you didn’t see it before. You’ll hear God’s voice as soon as you learn to shut out distractions from the world. It takes a little practice.

As you progress, scripture will have a new meaning on everyday life. You’ll see connections you never imagined. You are going to places most people never thought about or knew existed. You’ll see how God’s Word lives, breaths, grows, and multiplies, all without leaving the page. Congratulations, you just found Jesus!!! You are finally following Him.

One thing I need to warn you about. Your meeting with Jesus is personal. Like everyone who talks with Jesus, you’ll remember a great deal of the information He shared with you, but you’ll only be able to explain about 10%. But when He gives you a message to share, He will always confirm that message. Jesus will confirm the message in His written Word. When you read the Bible you’ll see the exact same message within a day or two. Jesus will also send His followers, your friends with faith will confirm the message, and you’ll be able to freely discuss it with them.

Keep in mind, almost all the messages Jesus gives you will be close and personal like the examples we’re seen with Nicodemus and the women He met at that well. And don’t forget, some people will immediately understand the message while other people will be like Nicodemus and take years to understand.

I found out writing is a good way to talk with God. It slows me down. He has a way of showing when it’s time to stop. That’s a signal it’s time to pray or go back and read scripture for the day as I read through the Bible in about 6-9 months. I don’t know how He does it, but He always seems to have a part of the lesson I’m working on in the scripture I read that day.

Sometimes life events blend into the lesson God is teaching at the time. So I have to wait to go through a personal experience before I understand what lesson God is teaching at that moment. Or like I’ve mentioned before, God will send someone with that missing piece of the message.

This may all seem strange to some people but I know, this is the way God works and I know why. God’s method of talking to us and teaching us is designed to keep us humble all the time. When I receive one message from 3-4 different sources, it can never be my message. Only God could have arranged all of those events. We can see the events of our lives unfold and pages of our life story turn like pages in scripture. God is perfectly consistent with the methods He uses. If God created the perfect method of teaching in His Bible, how could he improve on it when it comes to teaching us lessons in our own lives?

Now you can see why I keep showing the simple methods of looking back and comparing scripture, and looking for connections. Those study methods aren’t only used to study the Bible, they are used to listen to God when He teaches us about lessons we need to learn in our lives.

I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” Jesus doesn’t condemn, but I have to warn you. When you first begin talking with His Spirit, Jesus can be surprisingly honest. I’m talking about an honesty that cuts to the bone and pierces the heart. Jesus used that method with that woman at the well. He will tell you personal details only you know about.

Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me.” This shows how we won’t understand what Jesus tells us until after we experience it. And like the Gospels tell, Jesus will have to explain those details.

None of those people understood what Jesus was talking about until after His resurrection and He explained all the details to them. Jesus will share details you won’t understand at the moment. You’ll have to be like His disciples and the rest of those people and wait until the event unfolds. Then you’ll have to return for another talk so Jesus can explain all the details in your life.

The one who sent me is with me–he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” All the messages you receive from Jesus will be directly from God and will follow all of God’s laws. This is also why important lessons will be verified with scripture.

Many who heard him say these things believed in him. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

But remember, only a few understood while many walked away. Not everyone will accept messages you deliver even when your certain they came from God and have been verified a number of ways. Look at the process and learn from it. God put people in your life you can share your success and disappointments with. Look how many times Jesus was disappointed over the past few chapters. Don’t expect your path to be all downhill. The only path up God’s mountain is uphill. God be with you.

We Are Descendants of Abraham

John 8:33-41 NLTse “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” (34) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (35) A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. (36) So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. (37) Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. (38) I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” (39) “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. (40) Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. (41) No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”

John showed the selective memory those people had. If we look back a few verses, we see Jesus was talking to the people who believed in Him. We also see an illustration of selected beliefs. People listen to Jesus up to a point. They listen to what sounds good to them and what they agree with. But when something gets a little rough, they change their minds about Jesus.

Those people forgot the Jewish captivity in Babylon. They mentioned Abraham. That goes back generations before the captivity in Babylon when most of the Jews were carried away as slaves. Jesus had to explain, He was talking about being slaves to sin.

Before Jesus was telling them they were going to die in their sins. Now He is telling them they are slaves to sin. Put the two together and you have people dying as slaves. What a life to live. But people don’t feel like their slaves. I’ve heard dozens of people say, “God gives us freedom of choice.” I often wondered what people meant by that. I finally found out when my ex-wife started an affair then filed for divorce. I couldn’t believe people in church thought that cliché took precedence over God’s law. Jesus had another definition for it. He called sin slavery leading to death. Jesus never called sin an option.

Of course Jesus had His own way of explaining this new symbol He introduced. Jesus used the illustration of a family. Some people own slaves who are in their homes but not really part of the family. Slaves are bought and sold. Some owners treat slaves well, other not so well. You can imagine. But children are family. Compared to a slave, family is free. We have to remember, Jesus is talking about being part of God’s family. We can’t confuse God’s family with any family in this world, no matter how good they may be. Jesus used family as another illustration to remind us, we have to leave the world behind when we consider spiritual matters and lessons.

Some of those people in that crowd wanted to kill Him. Jesus was addressing a wide range of personalities. Some accepted His message while others ignored it. What was He supposed to do? Jesus couldn’t make people listen. I guess that was the freedom of choice people were talking about. Jesus summed up that choice in His own way. “I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” You are free to choose who you want to listen to.

It didn’t matter what Jesus said or how He tried to reach them. Those people who made up their minds to kill Him thought they were following God and everyone else was lost. I’m sure you’ve faced the same dilemma. Not much has changed in two thousand years.

Children of the Father of Lies

John 8:42-47 NLTse Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. (43) Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! (44) For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (45) So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! (46) Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? (47) Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

This is a subject I looked at, and didn’t really want to get into. My marriage and divorce keep coming to mind. I wonder how a woman can be married for six years and live what was nothing less than a split personality. She eventually told me, she never intended to stay married. Her plan was to marry and have me support her while she finished her degree and got a job. She told me it was all my fault it took her six years to finish her degree. She planned on only two years, three at the most. So she blamed me for the delay. And took her anger out on me in ways I never imagined anyone was capable of.

Her mother and sister told me, it was tradition from where they came from. They were never meant to remain married to American men. It was their custom to marry American men until they were ready to move on. Even though my ex-wife had been in the US since she was eight years old. Those traditions were still strong. Stronger than common sense. Stronger than God’s law.

God only wrote ten commandments. One of them tells us not to lie. Since when is tradition an excuse to dishonor God’s law? I was shown how lies lead to breaking all the commandments. Lying dishonors God and parents. In her case, lies led to adultery which led to more and more lies. In her anger, she made twisted attempts to drive me over the edge. To use my emotions against me. She went as far as trying to push me into taking my own life by using more lies. She tried to commit murder. Lies also led to character assassination. She tried to do those things because she had no idea Jesus was a far greater force. I saw how Jesus used truth to battle lies. He brought back to mind all the warnings He sent me before I married her. It was not easy to take, but I could not argue with the truth.

I often look at presidents. They look young or at least normal when first taking office. But after four or eight years in office, they often leave, looking like tired old men. Especially now when I see a president younger than me looking so old. Hair turns gray. Faces develop lines. Their bodies show a distinctive stoop. Many people say it is the pressure from all those decisions they have to make. I wonder if it is pressure from trying to keep tract of all the lies they tell.

I saw my wife once, just before she filed divorce papers. I took a few pictures. I was still deeply in love and as we know, love can be blind. I looked at those pictures after I came to terms with the divorce and saw how old she looked. Those lies took a deeper toll on her than they did on me. I healed, but she still lives with the effects of all those lies.

Jesus called the devil the father of lies. He didn’t call him the father of lies to set up a comparison with His Father. Jesus would never compare the two. Not even in a contrast. Jesus called attention to the way the devil spawns lines. The devil cannot create anything. He doesn’t have power to create. All he can do is manipulate. Jesus referred to his followers as children. This is a contrast to God’s children like life and death are contrasts. But the devil cannot produce children. Looking back a few verses we see, all he can do is change them into slaves. His slaves.

The point Jesus was making is, the more we hear lies, the harder it is to hear God. The difference between lies and truth isn’t like a light switch where we have control to turn one on or off. It’s not like we flip a switch and suddenly our lives are filled with light and truth. It is an uphill battle to get away from those lies. This is the point Jesus was trying to make when He said, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not.”

People can and will get so deep into lies they control every aspect of their lives. One little white lie turns into another. I don’t have to explain the process or effect. What people don’t realize is how the devil uses lies to turn people away from God. How lies make people mistrust God to a point, they are repulsed by God because He is truth. “Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

Anyone Who Obeys Will Never Die

John 8:48-59 NLTse The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” (49) “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father–and you dishonor me. (50) And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. (51) I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” (52) The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ (53) Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (54) Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ (55) but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

Those people proved the point. As soon as they were faced with the truth, they were repulsed by it. Notice how they changed the subject? Jesus just told them the devil is the father of lies. They didn’t take it well when Jesus called them his children. That struck a sour cord. They shot back without thinking. They called Jesus a Samaritan devil. A little while ago they said Jesus was from Galilee. Now they claim He is from Samaria. Which is true and which is false? Notice how they jumped into a lie to defend themselves?

Now we see how far lies will draw people away from God and what they do to people. Those people showed they had no concept of eternal life. Those people showed how little they knew about God. In this lesson Jesus told the cold, hard truth. Something few people are able to accept. Lies pull us away from God as well as eternal life and and understanding of both. Lies distort our concept of right and wrong just like they did in Eden.

Satan wasn’t trying to give Eve anything. He wanted her to serve him. Like Jesus pointed out, Satan wanted to make Eve his slave. That tree didn’t do anything for Eve other than show her what it was like to sin and eventually the consequences. It didn’t give any special powers to her to be like God. She knew the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. But one lie from Satan made the sin look more attractive then the consequences.

How far did the truth get Jesus? He tried to tell them He is the living water. They couldn’t go where He was about to go. They would search for Him but not be able to find Him. For that they tried to arrest Him. Jesus told them if they never sinned, they have the right to cast the first stone. Jesus told them He is the light to this world. He has been given the right to judge, but He prefers not to judge people. Jesus gave them one view of His ministry after another using signs and symbols. But those teachers and priests couldn’t understand.

Jesus once again told them, they couldn’t follow Him to where He was going because they were going to die in their sins. They already proved they were sinners when they dropped those stones and walked away. But they couldn’t bring themselves to accept Jesus and all He was offering them. A portion of their sins were lies, which led to other sins and more lies. Their thoughts proved they were sinners and in need of healing and a savior. They just didn’t want to be saved in the manner Jesus offered them.

Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies. You love evil more than good and lies more than truth. You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! (Psalms 52:1-4 NLTse).

Jesus knew all of those trials and disappointments were coming. They didn’t take Jesus by surprise. Neither did their answers or the way they tried to change the subject. Jesus knew what was behind their lies and mistrust. Jesus knew money and status played a major role. But what could Jesus do? He kept on course and introduced lessons they had to hear. Yes, God gave us freedom to choose. Look at the choices those religious leaders and other people made. We see how they made those choices and if we look a little deeper into those stories, we can see why they made those choices.

Finally those people wanted to pick up stones and kill Jesus. They couldn’t do that to the woman caught committing adultery, but they wanted to stone Jesus. Why? Who was committing spiritual adultery in Jerusalem that day?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

How to Approach God’s Throne

I felt I had to take a break from Revelation to add in a sort of educational chapter. After reading and writing about Revelation chapter 4, I asked a number of people if it was still possible to approach God’s throne. For the most part, people didn’t want to answer, or didn’t know the answer. But a few did.

Approaching God’s throne is a personal matter. Each person has their own unique way of approaching God’s throne. Some people skip God’s throne while still meeting personally with Jesus while others grasp onto the theme in Hebrews chapter 4 telling us to, “boldly stand before God’s throne.” Let’s face it, personally talking with God and Jesus have been a rather obscure subject to say the least. Either people will agree or disagree. Few people will look at the subject of approaching God’s throne and a learning opportunity. There are a few, but that is a minority of people. An even smaller minority are those who want to share their moments at God’s throne. Those people are few and far between.

When it comes to direct communication with God, doubters go as far back as Moses. No one heard God’s voice for about 400 years. Then one day this well known figure, who could have, and should have done something about slavery in Egypt when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne shows up dressed like a common shepherd. What happened Moses? You were a prince then disappeared. Now your back here telling us God is going to free us from slavery. Why didn’t you do something about it when you were a prince?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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It seems God placed Moses in a tight spot. Moses could have taken action when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne. In a sense, Moses did take action by killing a single Egyptian. That didn’t solve anything. Moses had no idea about the big picture. Maybe God had a plan to use Moses when he was in Pharaoh’s court. We have no way of knowing if Moses altered God’s plan to a certain degree. That will be interesting to find out when we get to Heaven. In the long run, God had a plan that worked. In hindsight, Moses placed himself in a tight spot.

No Israelite in Egypt heard God’s voice for over 400 years. Of course they prayed. If you were a slave, you would be praying to. But God didn’t answer. So when Moses showed up and said he talked with God, people doubted. We are still plagued with that mentality. Try sharing something new with someone who thinks they have a direct line with God. Some people have the attitude, “if God didn’t go through them with a message, that message must have come from the other side.” I’ve run into that mentality many times. I ask them how they communicate with God, and they normally shot back with a few verses about false prophets, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. But those verses about false prophets is their man made defense mechanism they use for every circumstance they don’t agree with.

It took a few choice miracles or plagues, depending on their point of view to convince people, Moses was meeting with God and delivering messages from God. And then there was Pharaoh. The guy who knew each and every one of those Egyptian gods were fake. He thought he was in control and that God Moses talked about was as fake as the gods Pharaoh and his family made up. Pharaoh was a tough nut to crack. In his world everything outside his control was fake. People still have that mentality today.

Eventually God got Israel out of Egypt and into an environment they could mellow out and think. One day God decided to show Himself to Israel so they could believe He was real and could talk to them. Of course every Israelite that left Egypt with Moses saw all those plagues. They saw Egyptian crops being ruined as their crops flourished. They saw Egyptian cattle dying when not one of their cows or sheep showed any signs of being sick. They saw water turn to blood, hail from from the sky, frogs, locusts, and other bugs controlled by God. They should have had a firm belief in God. Something went wrong. After spending their entire lives learning how to fear every god from A to Z, that fear clung onto Israel like the chains that kept them as slaves. Since they were used to someone telling them what the gods demanded, they asked Moses to play that part as a go between themselves and God.

God offered the priesthood to every Israelite that came out of Egypt. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6 KJV). They turned down that offer.

We see the same pattern repeated when Jesus began His ministry. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (Luke 4:28-30 KJV).

No one seemed to hear God’s voice for a few hundred years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Once again God was silent for a time, and people just thought that pattern would continue. Or they invented new ways to make people think, God spoke to a select few in some mysterious way. So don’t ask for details, just follow their lead.

After the apostles, the same thing happened. No one seemed to hear God’s voice. It seemed the contact with the Holy Spirit Jesus promised was meant for a few choice people, and when they died, this world was left to figure things out on their own. The world grew dark and it seemed it needed a new religious leader. So a group of people got together and selected the most likely candidates God would eventually speak to. One after another was set in solitude to see if they heard God’s voice. After a number of attempts, one man came out of the room and told the committee, he heard God’s voice. That was good enough for that pious committee. They made that man their new leader and created a new religion based on the belief that God talks to one man here in earth, and the rest of the world has to follow dictates from that single man for God to bless this earth. That concept has stuck with this world ever since, and people who don’t fall in line are looked upon as outcasts or part of a cult. The devil won. He convinced the majority of this world that concept of one man between themselves and God was the only choice this world had. For some reason people read the Bible, and instead of taking God’s Word, and following God’s instructions, they decided to take the word of slaves. They decided that the choice that group of slaves made was the only choice. Scholars sipped right over God’s offer to be a nation of priests and clung onto the decision that Israel made. They convinced themselves and much of this world that Israel’s decision was somehow inspired. Reading that story the way it was written shows how Israel rebelled against God. But Satan took out the few words he needed to form a new religion, and had his agents spread it all over the world. Satan thought he had his prison door shut and locked. But God has always been at His best when it came to reaching people in prison.

Today it is rare to find people who approach God’s throne. It is rare to find people who know anything about approaching God’s throne. Or are open minded enough to learn anything about approaching God’s throne. Why is that? We just covered a few of the concepts the devil found to be effective. There are more. Take out a few choice lines in the Old Testament, add in a long speech about how God chose a few choice prophets to talk to, and you have a theology that forges the same chains that one man concept created. In the long run, the devil doesn’t want anyone to approach God’s throne, talk to Jesus, work with the Holy Spirit, or read scripture. Those are a few things the devil fears the most.

As soon as you enter God’s presence, you are in a place the devil can’t touch you. His influence is gone, and you are opening yourself to total, untainted truth. The thing is, you have to learn to put away so many thing this world has taught you. But when you approach God’s throne, you take the first step to separating truth from fiction.

I’ve talked to a number of people over the past week to get their view points on approaching God’s throne. It’s good to know God still has a number of people who will talk to Him. It may seem rather strange to think of God as feeling lonely or rejected. After all, God has billions or requests to deal with from billions of people everyday. God hears their prayers. People ask for favors, blessings, and ask God to deal with countless situations every second of every day. God knows how to deal with each of those situations. If you ever approached God’s throne, you know how God will tell you how to deal with your situation. God will give you step by step instructions you can’t argue with. If you follow those instructions, the problem is solved. The problem is, the devil is watching, and launches a hundred more attacks.

At times God will take you back a few steps to remind you how you got yourself into that mess. God is also a Teacher and Father who never wants you to repeat your mistakes. Correction from God may be a little difficult for some people to accept. That is one reason some people avoid God’s throne. You just have to learn to get over your pride.

I have may own way of approaching God’s throne. It may not be right for you, but at least you have something to think about. I look at Jesus as a way to God’s throne. To me it makes sense to cleanse myself, to make myself pure enough to approach God’s throne. After all, Aaron the high priest had to wash himself and dress in the proper way to enter the Tabernacle and to offer a sacrifice. I ask Jesus to be forgiven for my sins and to be cleansed. Then I find myself in God’s presence. Not so much to make requests, but to listen and learn. I may ask one question, then another. I may go through three or four questions before I hear a response. When I do hear a response, I know it is God’s voice. I could never second guess or argue with any of the answers God offers. They make total sense. God backs them up with stories from scripture. God’s answers are often verified by real life events that confirm His answers and messages.

There are of course as many ways to approach God’s throne as there are people. We all have our own unique personalities. One person may see God’s throne as this, another as that. When we approach God’s throne, we have respect for other people and their stories about being at God’s throne. There is no doubt about that.

The thing about books like Revelation is, people tend to get caught up with trying to figure out the future. That’s something the devil has planted in our brains. The devil wants people to believe, if they can figure out the future, that somehow draws them closer to God. That could not be further from the truth. Common sense tells us, God knows everything about the future. So why would anyone think, God wants us to figure out the future, then tell God what the future holds? That is reverse thinking. It is actually insane. All God wants is people to go to Him for answers. But this world has been trained to go to every other source but God. People have been convinced, God doesn’t talk to this world. But David tells us different story.

The one thing I ask of the LORD– the thing I seek most– is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:4-8 NLTse).

If David could enter God’s Sanctuary, why not us? If God protected David, why not us? God does not play favorites. God can’t love one person more than another. So why does the world teach us, God favors some people over others? That doesn’t make sense when we take the Bible as a whole. It’s time to make a decision. Is your view of God based on what the world wants you to think, what the devil wants you to believe, or direct contact and communication with God? What is our source of information?

Chapter 1 What is Bible Study

What is Bible Study? You may have pondered that question yourself. Or you may never have given it much thought. What is Bible Study? Did you ever wonder how some people came up with facts they took out of the Bible? Where did they get those facts from? How or why did they jump from one book in the Bible to another? It seemed to sound good. All the information seemed to fit together. The subject at hand seemed to be thoroughly explained. The teacher seemed to have gathered information from the Bible to explain the subject at hand. But did they? Was their study guided by the Holy Spirit?

Has anyone ever explained to you what Bible Study is? Have you ever asked anyone to explain the process they used to study the Bible? There are processes to use. We can refer to each of those steps as Bible Study rules, guides, standards, or styles. I prefer the term style. Others may prefer the term rules. Does the Bible contain a set of rules to follow? To an extent the Bible contains and explains its own set of rules and procedures for Bible Study. The serious student of Bible Study will see those patterns, or styles established by scripture.

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Do you have a favorite author? What do you like about that author? Each author has a particular writing style. Writing styles can be much like fingerprints. Every fingerprint may look similar to one degree, but a closer look will reveal unique differences. Think of writing styles more along the lines of DNA. Who really knows what DNA is? You may have have seen an artists conception of DNA drawn on a computer. It looks something like multiple beads arranged along a spiral shaped strand. Every strand is different for each person, animal, bug, and plant in this world. DNA can’t be seen with the human eye, so we are taking the information we read with a measure of faith. That faith requires a degree of trust. Which is in fact a lot like Bible Study. When we receive information from other people, we really don’t see or understand how they put their facts together, so we assume they knew what they are doing. In other words, we are placing a measures of faith and a degree of trust in the hands of some person. Does that sound about right?

Every Christian should know what is at stake. We face two options, eternal life, or eternal death. Okay, there are variations on that choice, but that fact brings up the point, how do we really know? Which brings up the ever popular Bible Study method of, let’s see who can collect the most amount of information on a subject to see who wins the debate. Is that how we are supposed to study the Bible? Do we collect as much information on a subject to see which team on the debate can collect more words? Is there a precise way of measuring those words so we can place our faith and trust on the proper outcome? That may be like trying to identify DNA with the naked eye.

There is another far safer way of researching subjects using the Bible. God’s writing style is unique to say the least. How do you think a group got together to choose those sixty six books we find in most Bibles? Do you think those people on that committee read those books and decided, this one sounds good, that one looks reliable? How deep do you think that committee looked into the available books to decide which made the cut and which didn’t? We have to keep in mind, that committee had to look for books that were inspired by God. Each book had to show links to the other books, the same writing style, patterns, and other details such as sentence structure, use of symbols, key words, and a host of other evidence designed to examine the fingerprint or DNA that went into each book we find in the Bible today. Don’t you think God had that all planned out before He had Moses pen the first word?

Fingerprints, DNA, writing samples, and signatures are all admissible evidence in a court of law. All the evidence is introduced, examined, and presented in a very formal and precise manner in every court system. Why don’t we use the same care and common sense when it comes to Bible Study? Lives are at stake in courtrooms. What do you think is at stake whenever you read and study the Bible? The question is, what kind of evidence do you look for? How do you examine God’s writing style? Is one Bible more reliable than another? How do you know you can trust Bible translators? Don’t people have a tendency to interject personal thoughts and creeds into the Bible translation they are writing? Do transactions loose God’s DNA mark on His Word? Has the fingerprints been wiped clean? It seems we will never run out of questions about Bible Study. What is Bible Study?

Bible Study For Real For Eternity

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God had a monumental task in front of Him when He told Moses to start writing things down. God had to trust Moses. Moses had to know God’s personality to a certain degree. Moses began to write a book God was prepared to spread over generations before it was complete. God had to ensure His writing style survived over a number of generations and could be recognized while using two major languages. Then those Hebrew and Geek manuscripts had to be translated into dozens of different languages all over the world. On top of that, each language was going to have dozens of different translations printed and distributed. Some of those transactions were word for word. That didn’t pose much of a problem or threat. But then the English language came on the scene. English sentence structure is quite different than Hebrew and Greek sentence structure. Other languages posed their own issues to deal with. Somehow God had to put together a collection of books recorded over generations, then deal all those translations, and still maintain the unique signature of the original Author. That sounds like an impossible task. But we have to realize, God created all those languages.

There are a number of ways to examine an author’s writing style. Their choice of words. Each author has a series of favorite words they use though out the books they write. Some authors thrive on using big, important sounding words. Most books on Bible Study are packed with words the average person never heard of, has trouble pronouncing, and in most cases, has no idea what those words mean. That is one signature or writing style to examine. Other authors stick to simple words. Words people can easily associate with and know what those words mean. An authors choice of words is normally consistent.

Writing is a way to convey information. There are technical styles, informal styles, suspenseful styles, descriptive styles, and other variations that a writer develops. An author may use a few of those styles in a book and mix them into any given chapter. That is one type of fingerprint an author leaves on the pages they write. In addition to an author’s choice of words, the combination of styles they use, sentence structure is another piece of evidence to look at. Are sentences short, long, drawn out, how does the author pose questions, comments, and follow up with questions they pose? There are different styles. Some authors are born teachers. That brings up a set of styles to look into. Many teachers like to provide answers before posing questions. Other authors or teachers prefer to ask questions then explain the answers.

All great teachers repeat important details to draw attention to the main theme at hand. How the author chooses to repeat important or key words is another fingerprint an author places in their books. Some authors think nothing about repeating the same word over and over again. Other authors repeat the key word once or twice then substitute similar words with the same meaning. And some authors love to use contrasts to teach a lesson. How an author repeats key words is one of the most important aspects of a writing style to examine.

How does an author flow from one subject to another? How does the author introduce a new subject? How does the author link their thoughts? Are their thoughts scattered, is there a consistent flow from one detail to the next? Does the author emphasis distinct links between one particular subject and the next in their book? The way an author links details is another aspect to examine.

How does an author introduce a subject? Does the author clearly point out the main subject, elaborate, then add a short summary at the end? Does the author pin point the subject, add in the details to make their point, then shift to the next matter to discuss? How concise are the points, how are they presented, and how does the author follow up on details presented? Those are all styles to consider.

Some authors are very good at writing scenes. They can arrange words in such a way, you can picture the scene in your mind. Other authors write in more of a technical manner. You are given enough facts to picture a scene in your mind, but specific details are scattered here and there. Setting the scene is a way of introducing the reader to what is about to happen in the story. Each author has a unique way of introducing a subject or scene.

Every good teacher will summarize subject matter. How an author summaries the lesson they are teaching is another unique writing style to examine. The summary will generally follow the same pattern or style as the introduction. Technical writes will use a technical slant, suspense writers will have their own style, and descriptive writers will generally use one style for an introduction, and another style of writing to sum up that part of the story, or the chapter.

When we look at the Bible, we have to notice how God repeated words. We should be asking why God repeated words. Repetition is not only a good way to teach, but a great way of keeping the student’s mind on the right subject. When we see the God of the Universe repeating Himself, that should tells us there is a good reason to pay attention. One of the most important aspects of Bible Study is to examine the words God repeated, then ask why He repeated certain words. Repetition is one of the most important ways of identifying the author, and extracting information. In Bible Study we refer to that as the General Rule of Repetition. At least in this book I will refer to it as the Rule of Repetition.

Highlighting a copy of the Bible can get you to see details a lot of other people will often miss. As soon as the chapter is highlighted, you can focus on key words God repeated, which sets your mind on the main thought in that chapter.

God not only has a unique way of repeating words, God has His own unique way of introducing a subject. How do you think that committee broke Bible books into chapters? The people who translated that Bible recognized God’s unique writing style and knew when a new subject was being introduced. God also has His own way of summarizing every subject. When the Bible was broken into chapters and verses, it was easy to follow God’s writing style to determine when one subject began, ended, and a new subject or thought began. In Bible Study we refer to that as the Rule of Introductions and Summations. The beginning of every chapter in the Bible contains an introduction to the main theme in that chapter. The end of every chapter in the Bible contains a summary of that subject.

Linking words is another unique style God used from Genesis to Revelation. Every inspired writer used God’s pattern or style of writing. Linking words were an important part of that pattern. When we see a chapter in the Bible begin with a simple word line, “and,” we know the present chapter at hand somehow followed the previous chapter. God used the simple word, “and,” to establish a link He wanted us to see. God also used other simple words and terms such as, “then,” and, “after that.” Those may seem like simple words of little consequence, but they are more important than many people thinks they are. For one thing, linking words establish an inspired link between one chapter and the next. In many cases linking words established a chain of events showing how one event followed another.

Whenever we read the Bible, we have to realize, we are making a connection with the God of the Universe. We have no idea how large that Universe is, how many beings God has to look over, what God has to do to keep the Universe functioning, or how much of God’s time is absorbed by the rest of the Universe. Here we are on this dismal little planet, with no way of knowing how the rest of God’s kingdom lives, what they do, what they eat, how long they sleep, or how they communicate. We can assume a lot of those details, but the point is, God sets apart time to explain the inspired book He gave this world. Do we appreciate the time God sets apart for us? Do we properly use that time God sets apart for us?

If we really knew God, we would see His DNA or fingerprint in every verse in the Bible. We would recognize a forgery in a second. We would find ourselves in God’s loving care 24/7. We would never have to rely on another living soul past, present, or future to explain a single detail in scripture. We would know how to call up God’s help line and go to the only reliable source for every answer, the original Author of the Bible.

There is something referred to as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the most important ingredient in Bible Study. You cannot efficiently or accurately study the Bible without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Guide, interpreter, and will reveal all the mysteries in the Bible. That is, the mysteries we are ready, willing, and able to accept. When we study the Bible with the Holy Spirit, we should be able to explain how we made contact with the Spirit, how the Spirit led us to the information, what the Spirit showed us, and what we were told to do with that information.

Some people think the devil knows how to read and interpret scripture. The devil does not have the Holy Spirit to guide him. At best, Satan can only guess at what the Bible says. The devil proved he has no idea what the Bible says when he tried to use scripture to tempt Jesus. Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” (Luke 4:9-11 NLTse). The devil used a few lines out of the Bible to try to make a point. In Bible Study we refer to that as proof text. What the devil didn’t see was the next few verses that told the outcome of his encounter with Christ. For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. (Psalms 91:11-14 RSVA).

That story basically sums up the common proof text method running rampant all over the world today. Just pick out a verse that suits your needs. Who cares about the time and effort God put into writing that series of books. After all, isn’t that God’s job to fulfill our needs? That is not the way Bible Study works. The Bible was not created to fulfill our desire of looking smart, answering questions, or putting people to the test. Most people who use that proof text method will insist the devil knows scripture better than anyone who has ever lived. The Bible proved Satan does not know scripture and his goal is to hid certain facts from us. Like the fact, Jesus is going to walk all over that snake.

I don’t want to concentrate on all the wrong ways people study scripture. That would never accomplish a thing. I could never list all the mistakes people make when studying the Bible using less than reliable methods. Even if I was able to make a list and tell the world, the devil would create another hundred bad study methods.

I did search Bible Study on the Internet. For the most part I find studies that jump all around the Bible to prove a point. People try to identify symbols, solve prophecies, and explain subjects with a handful of text, or maybe one or two. Is that a proper study method? Doubtful. Would you ever sum up a classic novel using a few sentences out of a few chapters? No one in their right mind would to that. Then why are some of the most respected theologians doing that to the Bible? A better question would be, why are people falling for such inadequate and unorthodox studies?

The first step in any Bible Study is to make contact with the Holy Spirit. Most people refer to that as prayer, which is opening up a direct channel to God’s throne. After that contact is made, who is the teacher and who is the student? I think you have those roles figured out. Once that contact is made, and you are at the foot of God’s throne, what do you do? You can be a little like David and throw in a praise or two. You can tell God how great He is and how you appreciate the time and attention He gives in your life. Then you may want to ask a question. This is where people get their wires crossed. People tend to think, since they are dealing with the all knowing God of the Universe, they should have no problem asking a dozen or so questions. Then what happens? In most cases nothing. In an attempt not to cross wires, God remains silent. Why? You just asked a dozen questions, and if you are like me, I don’t remember the order. If God started answering questions, chances are we would mix up the questions with the answers and be in worse shape then before we prayed.

Get into the habit of asking God one question, waiting for an answer, then if you don’t hear an answer, go onto the next question. As soon as you receive an answer, there will be no doubt the answer is from God. You will hear a hundred ideas, stories from the Bible explaining more than you could ever think of, and more than you are ever going to remember. If you sit down to write about your experience, many of the details will come back to mind.

When you are studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit, you will see dozens of details you never saw before. Give the glory to God. He wrote the book.

Now we are about ready to look at a few methods to study the Bible. Each example contains scripture as an example of what to look for, how to see the patterns, links, and connections God placed in His word, and the step by step methods used so you can use them in your own studies. Now let’s get started, and don’t forget to pray before each lesson.