God Is Our Destiny!


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All that exists has been created by God, including us.

Who and what IS God the Father?

Who and what was and is Jesus Christ?

Why are we here and what happens to us when we die? 

What does God have to do with our destiny?

In what way IS GOD our destiny? 

To see the proof of what God has promised for mankind, please ask for a free copy of this booklet!

How Can Young People… Cope with Life?

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To Request a FREE hard copy of this booklet, please write to: contact@eternalgod.org

Introduction

This booklet was written for all of our readers, with special emphasis on parents and their children. It addresses the problems with which especially young people are confronted today, and it is meant to help parents to help their children to deal with those problems. In this evil world, it is necessary that parents teach their children God’s values, as set forth in the Bible. But how can the Bible become attractive to young people, and how can Bible study become a joy, rather than “boring” and a “nuisance”? 

Parents have a vital and all-important role in making the Bible known to their children, and so, we offer suggestions in this booklet to the parents as to how to fulfill this critical responsibility of teaching their children God’s Way of Life.

At the same time, we emphasize that ultimately, young people must decide for themselves that they want to follow God. They must develop their own conviction. Parents can and should help to lead and guide their children, but it must be the responsibility of young persons to choose the Way of God, because they have convinced themselves that it is the right way. 

The Bible is full of direction, advice and guidance in so many areas of life, and children and teens are by no means excluded or overlooked. Just the opposite is true. We have therefore dedicated large portions of this booklet to questions such as peer pressure, teasing and bullying, self-defense, and the proper kind of music, sports, and adequate clothing. In passing, areas such as sexual conduct, tattoos and the use of drugs and alcohol have not been overlooked as well. 

We answer the question as to how young people can cope with life and have hope for the future; how they can and must conquer Satan the Devil; and why they must come to their own conclusion that the Bible is God’s Word and right in everything. We also discuss the biblical teaching that our children are “sanctified” and “holy,” showing what this means, and how it has practical relevance for their lives.

And there is so much more.

It is hoped that parents will read this booklet TOGETHER WITH their children and teens, and take time to answer questions which might arise. In fact, stimulating conversations between parents and children might ensue. AND if children are too young to read this booklet, then parents should read and explain it to them. Depending on the age of their children, parents might choose to just explain the contents of some of the chapters of this booklet in their own words. 

One purpose of this booklet is to fulfill our part in God’s end-time commission to His Church to “turn The hearts of the fathers [and mothers] to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers [and mothers]” (Malachi 4:6).

You will note that the subheadings in the text speak exclusively to young people. While the text itself addresses principles, guidance, suggestions and directions for all of us, including parents and children, the focus of this booklet is on YOU, the young people… with the hope that you will enjoy, become encouraged and convicted, and adhere to what is stated in this booklet. 

When should YOU get serious about the principles and teachings contained in this booklet, which are based on the Bible? There is no better time to start than right now!

Chapter 1 How Can Young People Have Hope for the Future?

It can seem bleak when it comes to the immediate future. Especially, when looking at it through the eyes of a young person growing up to become a Christian. With everything that is happening in the world at this time, how can a young person have hope for their future? Is it worth growing up and trying to accomplish things in this life? 

The definition of hope is “to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.” Viewing hope through the eyes of a young person is not something that comes easily. It is, however, something that is learned and which needs to grow. God will protect and help design the lives of the youth, giving them hope and encouragement throughout their lives. 

When we are young, it can be hard to see the future. Everything seems to be in the “here and now.” In an age of immediate gratification, it is challenging to sow seeds for the future. But these formative years as a young person are quite important. 

The book of Proverbs, being very informative, gives young people useful knowledge to live by. One of the best things one can do as a young person is to learn how to apply knowledge and understanding. Many young people in the world today are growing up without Godly knowledge, resulting in the breakdown and destruction of society. 

Notice, we are told in Proverbs 20:11: “Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.” Today, most children are not worried about nor do they care about doing what is right; or we find most are doing whatever they feel is good. Society and social media continue to feed young children’s minds with thoughts of equality and gender neutralism with a picture of a “feel as you are” mentality.

While it is the parent’s duty to help educate children to understand the difference between right and wrong and to encourage them to do what is right, there is much more to say. 

Honor Your Parents

One of the most important things to understand is that God has placed parents in young people’s lives for a reason. The 5th Commandment, which is the first one mentioned after the first four which are directed towards God, is to honor our parents. Giving honor to parents is the first command that comes with a reward. By honoring our parents, God says we will receive a long life. 

How do you as a child honor your parents? Do you listen to what they have to say? Do you respect their wishes? Do you have good communication with them and do you not talk back? The list of questions could go on and on, but the idea is pretty simple—what do you do to show respect and honor? 

Going back to the promise of long life, this command is directed to children today! Long life will be theirs if they are willing to obey God. His commands come with built-in rewards. It is truly remarkable. 

God gives us hope for our futures—even for the future of young people! 

Use Your Talents

It is not wrong to think in terms of what one wants to do in the future. God gives everyone gifts in terms of talents (Romans 12:6)—what they are good at. Some people are good at math. Some people may be gifted at music or art. Not everyone is able to do the same things.

As you, as a young person, grow up, your talents and gifts will start to mature. This becomes important as you move on with your life. Including God in these matters and asking Him to show you the course of direction is extremely important. There are a few persons in the Bible who did this, and God led them through their lives (including Samuel, Daniel and his friends, Jeremiah, and Jesus Christ). Even Christ grew up learning how to be a carpenter. 

In our free booklet, “Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?”, in chapter 9, it states that Christ was a carpenter or an architect. He didn’t just get this skill automatically and by chance. It took a lot of learning from His step-father Joseph, and He did work in this occupation until He started His public ministry. This is important to realize as you grow up. If there is a trade that interests you, you are going to have to spend time and effort in acquiring the skills to learn this trade. 

There is a large group of younger people today who feel lost and unsure. They are scared of all the uncertainty and are in desperate need of direction. It is easy to fall into this category. But this is not the type of attitude God wants young people (or anyone else, for that matter) to have. In 2 Timothy 1:7, we find quite the opposite, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

When the writer of this chapter was growing up, he remembers hearing messages from some ministers about the end of the world and how close it was, and he remembers overhearing adults around him being fearful. He remembers growing up and not having a purpose and wondering what he would do. Would Christ come back before he had a chance to grow up? Was the world going to end soon? What was the point of school, of education, and of finding something meaningful to do? 

Make Plans and Study

Well, many years later, he looks back and realizes that this was the wrong attitude to take. Since then, he has heard ministers in the Church of the Eternal God say, and rightly so, that we need to live as if we have a lifetime ahead of us and yet be ready at all times for the return of Christ. As a young person, this means making plans for the future and spending time learning and being curious about how the world works, by asking questions. You need to have hope that you, as a young person, will accomplish the goals and the tasks you set your hand to. But at the same time, don’t engage in foolish and ungodly conduct.

The early disciples tried to stop children from coming to Christ at times, and Christ rebuked them and had the little children come to Him. Mark 10:14–15 reads: “But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” The attitude of children is what Christ was observing—being humble and able to learn, being willing to listen to adults and showing respect. 

Include God in Your Life

God clearly states that He knows us and our children, being called and sanctified in this lifetime, well before we are born (Psalm 139:15–16). We will explain the meaning of your “sanctification” later in this booklet. God’s plan for each and every person has its time and place. Those whose parents are called as Christians now are in a special group of people. God will certainly work with those young people and encourage them, giving them the help they need and directing their lives as long as they depend on Him, respecting and building a proper relationship with Him. 

As a young person, the hope for your future begins now. It begins when you start to choose to learn about God’s ways—when you start including God in your thoughts and in your prayers. We are told that God is a rewarder of those who diligently—constantly—seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Building faith in God can begin at a young age. Converted parents have seen miracles that God has done for their children. God is constantly watching over them, as they also know that He has protected them multiple times so far. 

Psalm 108:13 tells us: “Through God we will do valiantly.” With God’s help, we will do mighty things. As children, it can feel challenging at times with situations they may go through, and it can feel like they don’t know what to do, say, or think; especially, when it is a big trial, or challenge, or the test of their conviction. No matter what it is, God promises that if they take their request or challenge before Him and ask for help, for understanding or guidance, He will provide a solution or a door will open that they had never considered.

The Bible is full of Scriptures showing us that when we are overwhelmed, we can turn to God and expect answers. 

The apostle Paul was encouraged to write the following in Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul went through incredible challenges as he lived his life, and so for him to tell us this, we should feel encouraged. 

One of the very interesting things about God is His desire for us to try out His Way of Life. He tells us to tithe diligently [that is, giving Him ten percent of our earnings], and then to watch and observe how He opens the doors and gives us blessings. God leaves the choice to do this up to each one of us.

Think of Your Future

The future of God’s Kingdom is ahead of us. God says He will protect and preserve our children. They will live in the Millennium and will continue to learn how to live righteously. We do not quite know in every little detail what the future will be like in the Millennium, but much has been revealed to us (compare our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever”). We can be certain that there will be peace, no more wars [with two noteworthy exceptions at the beginning and the end of the Millennium] and plenty to do. The skills and experiences that children are forming now will be useful for their future. With all the previous destruction that happened before Christ’s return, there will be a lot of opportunities in the Millennium to help regenerate the earth and learn how to do things in a better way.

In all of this, we should remember that God is the One Who is in control. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” A future and hope belong to our young people who learn to rely and lean on God throughout their lives. 

Chapter 2 How Can Young People Deal with Peer Pressure?

Peer pressure is an incredibly challenging thing that almost all young people will experience at one time or another in their lives—especially as those who are on their way toward becoming true Christians. Even adults have to face peer pressure. The problem with peer pressure is that people want to fit in. They want others to like them and are at times willing to change their conviction in order to gain the approval of those around them. 

The Bible makes very good points about peer pressure and shows good examples of how to deal with these pressures.

It takes a solid understanding of what one believes, and to act toward that understanding to deal with and counter peer pressure. It should be noted that not all peer pressure is bad, and it can be useful to encounter peer pressure of both types to learn how to deal with each kind. 

Peer pressure really starts for early teens when they are trying to understand the world more and as they start to experience and gain more independence from their parents. And it continues throughout life to varying degrees. 

Peer pressure in and of itself is not a bad thing. Peer pressure can be positive or negative. There is a coach for teens whom the writer of this chapter follows on Instagram, and he is constantly posting that one of the most crucial things for teens is to choose their friend group—because it has a direct impact on the types of things each individual or the group are going to be influenced to do. 

The Company You Choose

Bad peer pressure can come about because of the type of people one associates with. 

Two quotes come to mind in this regard. 

“Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company” (Booker T. Washington).

And a very famous one, with the origin unknown, is: “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.”

When it comes to choosing with whom we make friends, it is essential to look at the qualities they bring to the table. Good people challenge one to also do and be good. A bad friendship causes one to veer off into areas that are not good. 

Choose Good Friends

Here is a quick list of Scriptures that talk about good friendships and what they provide:

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).

“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 27:12).

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).

“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful… Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27:6, 9).

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Avoid Bad “Friends”

The Bible also gives us advice on the types of “friends” whom we should avoid so we don’t have to deal with bad peer pressure:

“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

“A violent man entices his neighbor, And leads him in a way that is not good” (Proverbs 16:29).

“Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul” (Proverbs 22:24–25).

“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psalms 1:1).

“I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked” (Psalm 26:4–5).

Stand Up for What Is Right

When considering with whom to make friends, we should realize that there may be times when we will have to stand up to them in order to keep doing what is right. It may come to the point where we have to distance or disassociate from people whom we once called friends because we choose to walk a different path.

It can be challenging and hard to walk away from a group of friends; we may be called names and made fun of or worse, people can try and defame us or cause problems for us. 

Three Stories for You About Daniel

Daniel and his friends, when they were young, were asked to eat what appears to have included unclean food. (Unclean food was not created for human consumption. A list of unclean food can for instance be found in Leviticus 11). They decided not to do this as they were following their conviction. They had to ask the people over them to give them a trial—they would not eat the unclean food while everyone else did. At the end of the trial, they were found to be healthier than everyone else. 

Daniel 1:8–16 tells this story. Daniel “set his heart” not to eat the food. Daniel understands the situation, and decides, in his heart, based upon his knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, and chooses to do the right thing. Once set, Daniel would not be moved. Not to give in to bad peer or even government pressure shows the proper type of attitude.

Later on in the book of Daniel, we again see bad peer and government pressure at play. This time, Daniel’s friends were being “snitched” upon by people who should have been their peers. It involved the king of Babylon and the desire of the king to be worshiped by all people. Daniel’s three friends knew better and chose not to, because they knew they should only worship God, obeying the First Commandment which says that we are not to have other “gods” before or besides the True God. The story shows that they had the faith to stand up for what they believed in, even if it would have resulted in their death. This type of faith was a result of consistent actions throughout their lives. 

Further on in the book of Daniel, in chapter 6, we find when Daniel is praying that people take notice. They were jealous of Daniel. They attempt to trap Daniel, again using the King’s power. They tricked the king who then, following his own law prohibiting praying to God, has to throw Daniel in a den with wild lions. Yet Daniel never strays from God, never stops doing what he knows to be right, and never gives in to outside pressure. And in return, God powerfully protects him from the lions in the den. 

These three stories iterate the power of bad peer or outside pressure and how evil can be used against God’s people—including young people. More importantly, it shows that God is the One in control and knows the situations that we face. When we include Him in our ways and show Him that we are willing to stand up for what is right, instead of bowing to the pressures of doing what others think is right or cool, He will provide the way of escape. He will give us the power and the strength we need. 

Ask God for Good Friends

Taking this one step further, we could even pray to God and ask Him to provide friendships for us that are good and helpful. Knowing that we can come to God and ask Him in faith for things such as this is powerful and should be reassuring for us. 

Good peer pressure is having an influence on people’s lives that is positive. Christians are told to be the “lights” of the world (Matthew 5:14–16)—meaning, we are to be the ones standing out. Even children, teens and young adults can be lights. This can be very hard for young (and old) people who want to fit in with their peers. Peers are oftentimes thought of as friend groups, but peers can actually be anyone with a similar status, such as age groups or some attribute that is shared. 

Good peer pressure is in finding groups where we are drawn to accomplish useful things such as doing well in school, encouraging others, developing a good work ethic, being kind to people, choosing not to follow other’s wrong examples, having good clean fun, enjoying other’s company, or finding and keeping up with interesting hobbies. Remember, other people’s behavior can be very influential. If one can act with integrity and confidence in good ways, others will take notice and follow. 

Philippians 4:8 tells us: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Bad peer pressure isn’t hard to find. It is easy to fall into the traps of bad peer pressure. It will always be harder to swim against the current of popular culture and maintain that which is good. 

Understand Bad Peer Pressure

Bad peer pressure can involve many things such as using bad language, taking God’s Name in vain, including expressions such as “My God,” “My Gosh,” “Gee,” “Oh my Lord,” “My goodness,” cursing and swearing, lying, cheating, calling people names, bullying, harassing, using social media in mean and cruel ways, engaging in inappropriate and wrong activities, smoking, taking drugs, drinking too much alcohol, engaging in fornication or adultery, sex or sexting, encouraging others to do wrong things. 

When we engage in bad types of peer pressure, we lose confidence and respect for ourselves, and others can come to lose respect for us as well. God especially will be definitely saddened. When such activities are happening, it is often the case that it can feel scary and intimidating to say no when a wrong action has taken place and continues. 

It is important to realize that one should not engage in them in the first place. If the courage to say no is there at the outset, it will make the future easier. If you find yourself in a place where you are compromising with what you know to be right, then there are a few things to immediately do. 

Seek Help to Avoid Bad Peer Pressure

Pray—pray to God for forgiveness as He is the only One with the power to forgive fully. Then ask God for the courage to stop and for help to figure out how to get out of the situation. God is always there and wants to help when you include Him. Next, talking to your parents or a minister about your situation will help you to see the broader picture. When sin takes hold of you, it can be hard to see a way out, and it can narrow your field of view. The Bible refers to sin as a passing pleasure (Hebrews 11:25). Yes, sin can feel good! But the end is always misery and death, which may perhaps be hard to picture in the moment! 

Peer pressure will be something all young people will deal with. We cannot state strongly enough that God really cares. He knows what we go through. He observes. When we choose to include Him in our lives, actions and challenges, then we can expect help and make better choices and decisions. God is always just a prayer away! Start practicing and see what happens. See how He will help you. The only way to really know is to try and see how it will work out. 

Peer pressure will be a part of almost everyone’s life at some point in time. Understanding what it is, should help us to see that a lot of it is about people being insecure and a desire for acceptance from all involved. But we don’t have to fit in with this world, and we are actually told that we shouldn’t fit in with it. Romans 12:2 tells us:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Don’t Let Others Manipulate You

If people intimidate you, they are trying to manipulate you! It is very important that you make your own decisions and be the type of person to follow what God says, realizing that everything that He says is for our benefit and well-being. 

We must settle it in our hearts that we will not give in to peer pressure, no matter what we are facing. If we allow others to decide what we do and how we will behave, we lose our sovereignty. We have the right to our own thoughts. We have the right to choose not to follow what everyone else is doing. If we give that away, it plays right into Satan’s hands, with him seeking how we can fail. 

When we don’t stand up for what is right, we are in essence standing with those who are doing wrong, as it says in Romans 1:32 “…who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” The previous verses also show in part what is going on in this world and how, with Satan’s influence growing stronger, people are given over to sin and will attempt to get us to follow suit. 

We will be able to overcome bad peer pressure when we realize it for what it is. Think carefully about the future and realize that many friends in early life will only be there for a brief time, while sometimes it can be a lifelong relationship. What really matters are good friendships and a strong relationship with those who truly love and care for your well-being—God, your family and true and helpful friends. 

Chapter 3 How Can Young People Handle Bullying and Teasing?

We live in an age where bullying and teasing are rampant, and we hear all these stories about physical bullying, psychological online bullying, known as cyberbullying, and other intimidation and manipulative techniques. This can happen anywhere, whether it be at school, at work, or through social media, and anyone can be a victim; but in this chapter, we want to concentrate specifically on young people as victims of bullying. 

How should they respond? We may have been a victim ourselves or we may have even participated in being the bully or involved with teasing, causing hurt to others, which we shouldn’t do, since we are to be good examples. There are attempts in the workplace or at schools where recommendations are made about whom we need to talk to when trying to deal with these problems, as well as reporting the bully to proper authorities, such as administrators, counselors, human resource departments, psychiatrists, therapists, and so on, but they tend to dismiss the most important One who could truly help us. 

What about God? How can God actually help US in these situations? And what does GOD say about how we should or should not react?

When it comes to God’s people specifically, we can be bullied or teased strictly on our beliefs and faced with situations where we are put to the test, as many examples in the Bible of God’s people show who had to go through this type of situation. How did they deal with it? They were also confronted with peer pressure, just as we are on a continual basis, but the important thing is how they handled it and how we should do likewise.

Do we believe in God and rely on Him for our protection, having the faith that it is GOD who is our protecting shield? Do we think that God is incapable of helping us in certain circumstances? 

Do What You Can to Avoid Dangerous Situations 

We should, of course, do everything that we can do to avoid getting into dangerous situations. We obviously should not go to places where gangs assemble, and we should not get involved with people who are known to be active in crimes, for instance. In addition, Proverbs 15:1 tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath but that grievous words stir up strife. So then, we need to be peacemakers, and we need to avoid everything that would create strife. 

Proverbs 18:6 reminds us that a fool’s lips enter into contention and that his mouth calls for violent reactions. We are also told in Proverbs 26:17 that he who passes by and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one who takes a dog by the ears. The point is, the battles of this world, which are fought by this world, are not our battles! This Scripture tells us not to be a fool, meddling with strife not belonging to us!

Believe in and Pray to God as Your Protector

The most important of all the things you can do to avoid using violence is to pray to God, on a daily basis: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (compare Matthew 6:13). We are to plead with God daily to NOT ALLOW a tempting situation that might be too difficult for us to bear, to overtake us. However, we read in the Bible that righteous persons have sometimes found themselves being attacked by others. What did they do, and what should YOU do, if God allows it?

First, realize that God would NOT allow it if you were not able to bear it, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us. And when God does allow it, He will also provide a way of escape for you. This is sometimes literally the case. Sometimes you need to actually flee, to run away! Christ did so on occasion. We read in John 10:39: “Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.” When we find ourselves, or others, in a dangerous, challenging, life-threatening situation, we must PRAY to God, with faith, to HELP us out of that situation. To fight our fight for us! To give us the wisdom and the power NOT to do the WRONG thing, however tempting it may be.

Don’t Try to Kill or Seriously Injure

We must realize that no matter what harm we may WANT to do physically in a given situation, we must not seriously injure or kill the attacker. If we carry a gun with us or have one handy, say, next to our bed, we will certainly try to use it, but then may be killed in the process. In any case, to use a gun and shoot the attacker would be against the clear biblical teaching of prohibiting killing. But what about just trying to injure him? In the heat of the moment, you may not be able to do just that, even if you wanted to. And if the attacker would only be injured, he would still have the chance to kill you or others who are with you. Christ told Peter, when he pulled his sword in defense of Christ and just injured the servant, to put his sword away. Christ’s protection did not depend on human weapons. It depended on God the Father and His angels. So, too, with us. Our real protection comes from the same source.

The same applies to the use of a knife or other tools which a bullied person could use as weapons. The principle is clear not to use anything for the purpose of seriously injuring or even killing an attacker, including a bully. This could even include our own physical strength or skills which would enable us to seriously injure a bully.

The whole issue really comes down to where we place our trust and confidence for our protection, in EVERY situation. When you place your trust and confidence in God, He will protect you. Ultimately though, no matter the consequences, we must be living a life pleasing to God. We must never fear the ones who can take our physical life from us, but we must fear, or deeply respect, the One who can refuse to give us ETERNAL LIFE.

We must always have the attitude that Daniel’s three friends had when they were asked to violate God’s laws by worshipping an idol, and in case of refusal, were threatened with being thrown into a fiery furnace. We need to speak and act in the same way when we are being tempted to worship Satan—the god of war—by picking up a gun or a knife or another weapon to injure or even kill another person. We read their answer in Daniel 3:17–18: “… our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” We must not serve the wisdom of this world, worshipping the power of the air and the god of destruction and war. Rather, we must always follow the PRINCE OF PEACE.

Remember what the angels told the shepherds when Christ was born: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14, New International Version), or, as the New Revised Standard Version renders it, “… with whom He is pleased.” When God is pleased with us, when His favor rests on us, THEN He will be our shield and protection in times of impending battles. We must trust in God (compare Psalm 56:3–4, 8–11), AND we must be willing to obey His commandments, no matter what the situation, circumstance or consequence.

Bullying, even over the internet as cyberbullying, is a form of verbal physical attack. In any situation that we may be in, we must firmly keep in mind God’s limitless power and His willingness to help His people, who place their trust and confidence in Him. If we are a victim of bullying, we may think about ways of fighting back, including injuring or bullying the bully. But that could also have its consequences that we just read about. Again, resorting to violence with the intent to seriously injure or kill another person, including damaging his or her reputation, even for the purpose of self-defense or defending others, is not in conformity with Christ’s teaching. Let us also never forget that God has assigned angels for our protection. Christ also knew that His protection did not depend on man’s strength—including His own—but on God the Father’s.

Allow God to Fight for You

True Christians and those who are growing up to become true Christians, must allow God to fight their battles for them. The Bible contains numerous examples of when God did just that.

When the ancient Israelites left the slavery of Egypt and were pursued by the Egyptians, God fought their battle for them, by drowning the enemy in the Red Sea. Moses told the Israelites at that time: “The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:14).

This is proven throughout the Bible on many occasions, showing what God accomplished for His people—and what He is willing and capable of doing TODAY for you and me—if we trust in His protection. 

He protected Daniel in the lions’ den, and He protected Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace. All these things recorded in the Old Testament “were written for our admonition [or instruction], upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Christ told us that we must not take the sword or resort to violence. God and His mighty angels are always there to help us (compare Psalm 34:7; 91:11). But we must believe and be persuaded that no matter what the circumstances, we have to remain peaceful, while praying to God to fight our battles for us!

God who protected Daniel in the lions’ den is ready and able to protect us today, if we long for His protection. We don’t need to use violence against others for our own protection, when we trust that God is there to help us, whenever we are in need. As we read in Psalm 46:1–3: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.” And notice this comforting reassurance and promise of God’s presence in our lives, and His protection:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2).

At the same time, we must always look at God’s overall Will for us and our great potential and destiny for our lives, as Christ expressed in Matthew 10:28–31: “And do not fear those who kill the body [who can take your physical life] but cannot kill the soul [this is not saying that the soul is immortal, but rather, that God has the power to resurrect us and give us life again, which man cannot do]. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [He can destroy us by burning us up in hell fire, thereby ending our physical life]. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground APART FROM YOUR FATHER’S WILL. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

What Is Your Attitude Toward a Bully?

We also need to consider our thoughts and attitudes toward bullies. It may be easy to think of them as evil people but this is not a godly attitude. 

Quoting from gotquestions.org on bullying: 

“At the very least, we should pray that the bully would have a change of heart… Many times, though, bullies act the way they do out of their own hurt. Perhaps they were bullied in the past. Perhaps they feel insecure, and the only way they can feel acceptable to themselves is by belittling others. We can empathize with their hurt and extend God’s compassion, love, and grace to them while also maintaining solid boundaries to address their wrong behavior. Whether bullying is driven by past hurt or simply the sin nature, God is the one who can bring healing, restoration, and change. It is always appropriate to pray for both bullies and their victims. Similarly, when we are the victim of bullying, we can go to God with our hurt and seek His reassurance and healing.”

Romans 12:17–21 says, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to [God’s] wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When we bless those who curse us, we do this with our mouth—but our words must be coming from the heart. This includes, praying for them. Our prayer could include, asking God to grant them repentance so that their sins may be forgiven. It could include asking God to prevent them from continuing their evil deeds, since their attitudes and conduct harm themselves and others.

Our prayer might include the plea to God to let our enemies see that what they are doing is wrong. We are not to avenge ourselves because we know that God will avenge us—and if this means that God will allow or bring trials on our enemies to bring them to repentance or a recognition of the evil of their doing, then that, too, would be a blessing for them.

Blessing would mean not to slander our enemies or to speak evil of them, by inventing facts or “adding to” the truth. It does not mean hiding the facts if there is a need to speak out, but even then, we must be sure that we do not speak or act with hate and with a desire to avenge ourselves (2 Timothy 2:17–18, 20–21; 4:14–15; 1 Timothy 1:18–20).

This does not mean that we have to be passive victims of bullying and must not do anything in response.

You Don’t Have to Be Passive Victims of Bullying

In Matthew 5:38–41 and in Luke 6:27–30, Christ says that we must not resist an evil person; pointing out that when we are being hit, we are to turn the other cheek; when someone tries to take our cloak, we ought to leave him our tunic; and when someone compels us to go one mile, we must go with him two miles—the famous extra mile. 

Does all of this mean that we have to passively give in to violent conduct and that we can do nothing in our defense?

According to the Lamsa Bible, the concept of “turning the other cheek” is an Aramaic idiom, meaning, “Do not start a quarrel or a fight.”

The Old Testament concept of an eye for an eye principle was never meant to be applied literally by actually maiming an offender. It was meant to outlaw personal vindictive “self-help” and to allow, instead, a magistrate or a judge to consider the case and render righteous judgment by ordering the offender to pay just compensation to the victim. 

Jesus Christ addressed a wrong understanding of His listeners who thought they could avenge themselves. He cautioned all of us to be forgiving and kind, and He encouraged us to avoid fights and especially violence, even, if need be, at the price of foregoing our legal rights.

As we can see, Christ did not mean to imply that we are to be helpless and passive victims and bystanders when confronted with violence. Rather, He told us not to treat violence with violence and revenge.

Rather than starting a violent fight, during which we could get seriously hurt or injure the other person, it would be better, at that moment, to just let the abuser who wants to take our possessions to take what he wants.

Don’t Listen to Everything

It is also important when we are victims of bullies, not to pay attention to or get excited about every little comment made about us. Ecclesiastes 7:21–22 admonishes us: “Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others.” Proverbs 10:12 adds: “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.” And Proverbs 19:11 tells us: “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”

Speak to the Bully

If you are a victim of a bully, it might be appropriate, depending on the circumstances, to confront the bully, if known to you, and talk to him or her. But it is important to pray first to God that He will give you a discerning and calm heart and a willingness to help the bully to stop hurting you and others, and to give the bully a discerning and receptive heart to see and appreciate his evil conduct. The principle is laid out in Matthew 18:15. Even though it speaks of spiritual brothers, it could also apply in other situations: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” You might also note the admonition in Proverbs 25:8–12:

“Do not go hastily to court; For what will you do in the end, When your neighbor has put you to shame? Debate your case with your neighbor, And do not disclose the secret to another; Lest he who hears it expose your shame, And your reputation be ruined. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.”

Rather than immediately reporting a bully to the teacher or school principal, or to the boss at work, or “discussing” the bully with other friends in an attempt to “get even,” it might be a better idea to speak first to the bully in a private setting, after having prayerfully sought God’s guidance and inspiration as to what to say, and how to say it.

There are ways we can cope with bullying and teasing as mentioned above, especially for God’s people. There is NOTHING impossible for God who can help us in every possible way, as long as we do our part and continue being obedient to Him, obeying His Laws, and BELIEVE and have the FAITH that He will help us. Trust in God and we will have nothing to fear.

Chapter 4 How Can Young People Develop Faith in God?

In this evil world, it may sometimes be difficult to develop an attitude of fully and totally trusting God—that He is always there and watching us, and that He will not allow that anything will happen to us which would be too difficult for us to endure. 

But even apart from the Bible, there are more recent experiences which Christians reported showing that God IS keeping His Word.

Notice This Modern-Day Example of God’s Protection

In 1982, the Mail Processing Center of the Worldwide Church of God published a collection of special letters, titled, “God Still Works Miracles Today.” These letters testified to the intimate involvement of God in people’s lives and His protection in times of trials. Note these excerpts from one remarkable letter, dated March 31, 1981:

“I would like to share with you an incident which happened at work, at a coal mine, several days ago. I received word from a foreman to go and repair the roof-drill for a new employee. When I got there, the employee informed me that he had already repaired the roof-drill.” 

The letter continued to describe how that employee engaged the writer in a discussion regarding the Sabbath, the Church of God and Mr. Armstrong, the late human leader of the Church. It continued:

“He then grabbed me, and threw me on the mine floor. With the cold edge of his knife at my throat, he said, ‘Take the words back that Armstrong is an apostle for today!’ All the time he was cursing Mr. Armstrong. I refused to take back my words. I managed to get my hand on his forehead and push him off but knew that if he got me down again, without a hand from God, he would kill me. I uttered a silent prayer, and immediately he started fighting something other than myself—and something I could not see. He began to vomit and cry violently and kept it up for several minutes. Then he crawled to the other side of the mine.”

Many think they must do something physically, by resorting to violence themselves, to fight a violent attacker. But when we react this way, do we REALLY believe at that moment that God is there to help us in every situation? 

Notice How God Helped Elisha

When the king of Syria sent his army to capture the prophet Elisha, God intervened in this—humanly speaking—hopeless situation. The Bible reports in 2 Kings 6:14–18:

“Therefore he [the king of Syria] sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Strike the people, I pray, with blindness.’ And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.”

This account is very interesting in several respects. It shows first of all that God is protecting His people with angels. But in this case, the angels did not even have to do anything. God did it all. He intervened directly by striking the enemy with blindness and rendering him incapable of doing any harm to Elisha and his servant. Do we believe that God has lost His power to do likewise today for His people, if the situation warrants it, and if it is His Will? And if it is not His Will to intervene, do we really think that we then have to take matters into our own hands, by resorting to violence ourselves?

Notice How God Helped King Jehoshaphat

On another occasion, a great multitude of enemies attacked Judah. King Jehoshaphat in front of all the people prayed to God for His intervention. He was not too proud to humble himself publicly, and he was not too ashamed to confess that Judah’s only help would have to come from God. He said in 2 Chronicles 20:12: “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

God inspired a prophet to assure them of His protection, reminding the people that “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (verse 15). They were also promised that they did not have to fight (verse 17). Because the King and the people believed in God and His power, as well as in His servants the prophets who taught the people God’s Word (compare verse 20), God set ambushes against the enemy and used other means to destroy him (verses 22–23). This episode led to lasting peace for Judah during the reign of King Jehoshaphat (verse 30), as “the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel” (verse 29).

These are accurate accounts and give us timeless testimony of what God DID accomplish for His people—and what He is willing and capable of doing TODAY for you and me—if we trust in His protection. These examples should help you for developing faith and confidence in God’s limitless power and might.

Chapter 5 How Can Young People Stand Up for Christian Values and Beliefs?

Growing up is hard. During our teens and twenties, we discover our values, form our identity, and transform from childhood to adulthood. Going through the experiences inherent during the formative years, we learn about the world, ourselves, and how we fit into the world. These are foundational moments in life with tremendous value.

Growing up with Christian values brings an added element into the picture. It is first and foremost a great advantage to begin life with a solid Christian foundation. Developing knowledge of the Truth at an early age makes it possible to establish values that will lead us into the most satisfying life. The challenge, of course, is that Christian values are at odds with the world in which we live. Inevitably, being a Christian brings with it the certainty of confrontation with the world, and those who abide by worldly values. Being a young person willing to live a Christian Way of Life multiplies the challenge because peers, the education system, and the need for a sense of belonging in the community are very strong forces to deal with at a young age.

Realize How Wrong This World Is

We don’t have to look very far to see how opposed the pressures of contemporary society and education are to the Truth. 

Schools teach the theory of evolution as fact, denying the biblical Truth of creation and the amazing Creator. 

Gender identity leads people to impose their feelings upon others in defiance of how God created male and female. 

Our Bible-based convictions against voting, participation in worldly politics, jury duty, and military service are viewed by this world as a denial of civic duty and national patriotism. 

The world glorifies premarital sex, drug use, tattoos, and other physical mistreatments in open rebellion against the physical well-being that the Bible teaches. 

Social and school events regularly conflict with the weekly Sabbath and God’s Holy Days. 

On top of it all, being atheist or vaguely “spiritual” is considered to be “progressive,” while following Christian values is considered naïve. We are sure you can think of many more examples of how difficult it is, being a young person with Christian values in this world.

With so many pressures to conform to worldly values that are unique to the life of a Christian, what can one do to stand up for the Christian Way of Life that leads to the greatest possible reward? There is no prescription of dos and don’ts that guarantee an easy path. Rather, we will cover a few principles that can help when facing challenging circumstances as a young man or woman who is set apart and called to the Truth.

Strengthening Christian stamina begins with having the right frame of mind. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

You Must Become Convinced

Standing up for your beliefs must originate with your personal convictions founded on the Truth learned from the Bible and the ministry of the Church of God. Without being convicted in what you believe, you are vulnerable to rhetoric and biased media. 

To be conformed to the world is to not think critically and independently. To be renewed in our mind is to develop an understanding of the Truth proven to ourselves and rooted in faith. You ought not merely follow a friend’s or classmate’s ideas because it appeals to your human nature. You must independently think for yourself, so that you can prove to yourself what beliefs you have that are worth standing up for.

Rejecting the pressure to conform to the world by thinking critically is the way to begin your Christian journey. However, you cannot stop there. Strengthening Christian values requires that you receive the Word of God with an open mind. Give the Truth a chance! When Paul and Silas went to Berea, they taught in the synagogues to people who were ready and willing to learn, and proved what they were taught:

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (Acts 17:11–12).

Having an open mind, willing and ready to learn about the Truth is required to develop convictions and beliefs worth standing up for. Without taking the time to learn about the Truth, you will not be able to defend your beliefs.

Take Note of the Parable of the Sower

Just as in school, having the right attitude about learning can make all the difference in putting lessons into practice for our benefit. The Parable of the Sower demonstrates a variety of common attitudes and circumstances that affect our spiritual growth (compare Matthew 13:18–23). When we hear or read the Word of God, but don’t ask questions and take the initiative to understand what we learn, Satan will snatch away our understanding. 

The Word of God will not profit if we only hear the words without having the ability to explain why we believe them. If we learn about the Truth and become enthused without having a firm conviction about it, we will stumble when our beliefs are put to the test. In addition, we must value the Truth if we are to stand up for it. If we don’t value the Christian Way of Life far above the worldly way of life, we will inevitably slip back into the grip of the world.

The way to profit in life with the Truth requires that we invest our efforts so that we bear fruit. Jesus Christ ends the Parable of the Sower by characterizing the model of successful individuals. These are the ones who are receptive to learning the Truth; who put in the effort to ensure they understand it; and finally, value it enough to put the lessons into practice so they bear fruit. Putting this model to work at an early age will make it much easier to stand up for Christian beliefs in all kinds of adversity, because the Truth becomes part of who you are.

Develop a Love for the Truth

Having a solid foundation in learning to live by the Truth places us in a strong position to withstand the temptations in the world. Going further, we must learn to also love the Truth. If we really, truly love this Way of Life, the ways of the world will have no power to persuade us to give it up! But not developing a love for the Truth places us in a dangerous position. 

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12). Without having a love for the Truth, we become vulnerable to giving it up.

Live by God’s Commandments

The final principle to put into practice follows naturally from the above. And that is to live by the commandments! Doing so brings inherent blessings, but it also increases the understanding needed to more firmly establish our beliefs. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). By following God’s commandments, we learn from experience why it is valuable to live obediently. And when we understand the value of the Truth from experience, we become stronger in our convictions.

As a young person with Christian standards, his or her values are in their formative state. Even though the development of Christian values is a deeply personal process, it helps to have a guiding framework for how to do so successfully. The process begins by refusing to be conformed to the world and having an open mind to learn about the Truth. From there, the process continues by putting in the effort required to understand what we learn and to love the Truth. Finally, we put everything into practice when we live by what we learn and strengthen our understanding. This progression takes place continually, but is even more vital when we are young.

If you love God and prove it by the way you live in obedience to Him from an early age, you will have the strength to stand up for what you believe in without any fear of the consequences.

Chapter 6 How Can Young People Survive Spiritually in This Day and Age?

Surviving in the present age involves many challenges on several levels and God does not want us to get a hunting rifle or a fishing rod and go live in the wilderness, or to live in a monastery, waiting for the return of Christ. Notice the admonition of Christ in John 17:15: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

We have to live in this world and since one of our responsibilities is to support the Work of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world, which includes warning the world of impending doom because of sin, we need to do our best to survive ourselves under these conditions now and in the near future.

We all face different challenges, based on age, marital status, raising a family, or being retired or widowed. The physical challenges come with aging and we have to learn to do our best in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.

In this chapter, we will look at our relationship with God, our family, our employers and our neighbors, always with the view to our survival.

Your Relationship With God

We need to have and maintain a close relationship with God by using the tools He has provided for us, including prayer, Bible study, meditation, and occasional fasting.

Make Prayer a Habit

In regard to prayer, we read that Christ often got up early, went to a remote area where there would be no distractions, and prayed there. During the day, He was surrounded by crowds seeking healing and wanting to hear what He was saying, even to the point that at one time it was challenging to eat, as we read in Mark 3:20: “Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.” Mark 6:31 records another episode: “And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.’” 

There were other times when Christ prayed all night, alone, or when He prayed not too far away from His disciples. So, following His example, we need to find a private place to pray without distractions, and depending on our situation, we may have to adjust our schedule to accomplish this. The same is true for our Bible study, and there may be several times during a day when one is able to meditate. David said in Psalm 119:15: “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.”

Fasting should be planned in such a manner that it gives us a chance to combine it with prayer, Bible study and meditation.

With this introduction, we want to concentrate on building our relationship with God by keeping God’s commandments which we must do if we want to survive the evil time to come.

Keep God’s Commandments 

We prove our love for God by keeping His commandments. In John 14:15, Christ tells us: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” To some in the world, obeying God is foreign to them and not on their agenda.

The commandments are not complicated rules to follow, and the first four of the Ten Commandments tell us how to love God.

You Must Not Worship Other Gods

Exodus 20:1–3 states:

“And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before [or beside] Me.’”

This is not complicated. We are not to place anything between us and God; be it another person, job, position, or even our intelligence, abilities and talents (which come from God)—in other words, anything that could become a stumbling block before us. We are to put God first in our lives and utilize the fact that He and His Son dwell in us (when we are converted baptized members of the Church of God) or with us (when we are on the way to become baptized members) and look to Christ’s perfect example of always giving glory to God the Father. We must give God the credit for what He is able to do through us. We are to put the spotlight on God, not on ourselves.

You Must Not Worship Idols

Exodus 20:4–6 continues:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Several religions blatantly break this commandment by praying to statues or human figures, and they number in the billions. Such worship is all in vain, as described by these words:

“But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine” (Jeremiah 10:8).

“You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led” (1 Corinthians 12:2). 

Today, people idolize movie stars and rock stars. One popular competition show is called “American Idol.” However, idol worship became a stumbling block for Israel and was one of the reasons why they had to go into captivity.

Idolizing anyone—any man or woman—and any object breaks the Second Commandment.

You Must Not Use God’s Name in Vain

Exodus 20:7 continues:

 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

On any job site in the Western world, God’s name is continuously used in vain. This is also the case in many songs and in movies. It’s hard to find a song or a movie where God’s name is not used in vain.

The Third Commandment prohibits using God’s name in vain, such as “My God,” but it also includes vain repetitions, as is the custom in some churches and in prayers, or cursing (“God da…”), or using euphemisms which appear harmless like “my goodness”, “gee,” “gosh” or “geez.”

All these are an affront to God and should be avoided.

You Must Keep the Sabbath

Exodus 20:8–11 reads:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”

God says, remember the Sabbath, and man quickly forgets or substitutes other days like Wednesday, Friday or Sunday; and some say, the Sabbath could be every day of the week. But God makes clear that the weekly Sabbath is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. We are to refrain from working and doing business on that day, and we are instead to spend time at services or listening in to services if one lives too remotely to be able to attend in person. We do not do our own things like attending sports events or watching them on TV. The Sabbath should be dedicated to God. It was a day of rest for God after six days of His creative work, and it should be a day of rest for us. God was of course not tired after His creation, but He kept the Sabbath for us, showing us that we must follow His example. It sets us apart as God’s people, and it is a sign for us that we worship the true God.

Exodus 31:13 tells us: “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.’”

It points to the God of creation. It sets us apart as His children who worship the God of creation. No other day does that, be it Sunday, Friday or any other day. This also includes the annual Sabbaths and Festival seasons which outline God’s plan for mankind from repentance and baptism to becoming full members of the God Family as God beings, which is our ultimate potential.

The tools of prayer, bible study, fasting and meditation are useful for having and maintaining a good relationship with God, and keeping the first four commandments demonstrates our love for God.

Your Relationship With Your Family

Husband and wife ought to be on the same page when it comes to following the dictates of the Bible in the relationship between them. Our booklet “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families” goes into detail about how to achieve this.

One key issue in the raising of children is not to allow a child to create a division between the parents. They must agree on how to deal with requests from their children. Children have to see parents as united for the purpose of keeping harmony in the family.

Parents must be aware of what their children are exposed to at school or by their peers. Schools may propagate the critical race theory which teaches children to hate their country, or promote sex-changing drugs and abortions without the parents’ knowledge and consent. Parents need to stay informed as to what their children learn and must counteract at home any evil teachings their children may be exposed to.

You Should Talk to Your Parents

At the same time, young people should tell their parents about what they are exposed to in school and otherwise. Communication between parents and children is very important. 

Children need to be taught about God and His ways and to get used to the habit of praying and studying the Bible.

Your Relationship With Your Employer

If youths are self-employed, he or she can determine when to take time off to attend the Feast of Tabernacles and keep the other Holy Days. As an employee, it is sometimes more challenging. A good relationship with one’s employer is crucial in getting time off for God’s Holy Days. 

If we are diligent and conscientious workers, employers may not want to fire us for keeping God’s Holy Days at an “inopportune” time, even though they do not like to grant us time off. In any event, it is critical that we pray to God first, before making our request, that God will give us favor in the eyes of our employer. 

Your Relationship With Your Neighbors

Being friendly to our neighbors without getting involved in their lives is good advice. They will soon find out that we are different in that we don’t swear or use bad language, we are polite and we go out every Saturday dressed up with the family. We don’t have Christmas lights on our property or pumpkins on Halloween. 

You Should Make a Difference

They will see we are not involved with work projects on Saturday, nor do we cut the lawn on Saturday, but they may hear our lawnmower on Sunday (unless it is against the law to mow our lawn on Sunday). We go “on vacation” in the fall for over a week with our children. Our children are polite, non-destructive and help around the yard, and even though we have different practices, we are good neighbors who can be trusted.

At least, that is how it should be, even though we all lack in this to an extent. Still, even though our neighbors see and scoff at our strange behavior, they may respect us for our friendliness and willingness to help when there is a need.

We live in a perverse, corrupt and evil society that is under the influence of Satan the devil—an evil being beyond redemption for his evil deeds. Satan hated God in that he tried in the past to overthrow Him and take possession of ruling over God’s creation, but he was cast down to this earth in failure. He will try again to fight against God in another rebellion, proving he is unwilling and unable to change because he will again attempt to rebel and fight against God. 

He hates God’s Church and people, including children, and would like to see us fail in our calling and lose out on our salvation, and he will try to get us to compromise or fall short so that we fail.

If this is unsuccessful, he will try to destroy us physically. That is why we need to seek God’s protection and pray we may be counted worthy to escape the trials and destruction coming on this world in the near future.

Unfortunately, some having fallen a little short in what is required to maintain a proper relationship with God, may have to go through the Great Tribulation.

Troublesome times are ahead, and this chapter was written to help us survive what’s coming and to stand before our beloved Savior at His return. Then, we can truly help change this world to become a better place in the Millennium and beyond, ruling under Christ when Satan’s influence is removed.

We want to ensure we fulfill our destiny to become God beings in the glorious Kingdom of God, which is not too far away.

Chapter 7 How Can Young People Avoid Satan’s Influence?

Many might say that Satan cannot influence us. After all, we belong to the Church of the Eternal God and are therefore of the Body of Christ. But do we understand how Satan exerts influence, how he operates, how he deceives us? A deceived person is not aware of being deceived.

We find a statement in Ephesians 2:2 about Satan, who is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…”

Satan, the god of this world, is “the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Now we might assume that this excludes true Christians or their children, who would have nothing to worry about, since as a matter of principle, they are not children of disobedience.

That would be a terrible mistake. When we are tempted by Satan and fall for his devices, we are no longer obedient. Satan broadcasts his waves through the air, and just like receiving electrical waves through the radio or the internet, they can be received by us. We may not see them or hear them, but if we have the “right tuning” and frequency, we receive Satan’s waves like one receives waves on radio, television or wireless devices so common today. 

Satan implants his message into our heads through the human spirit. Our reception is, by default, tuned to Satan’s wavelength.

He does not broadcast in words or in pictures, but rather, he broadcasts an attitude of self-centeredness, vanity, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, competition, strife, violence, hatred, resentment, bitterness, rebellion and defiance of authority. All this describes human nature; respectively, the nature of Satan.

God’s Way, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It is the Way of love, of concern for the well-being of others.

Now, properly baptized Christians have received the Holy Spirit and can reject Satan’s impulses through regular Bible study, prayer, and Church attendance—leading to godly character by choosing to obey God. Likewise, the children of converted Christians, and any young person being called by God, can reject Satanic impulses through Bible study, prayer, and Church attendance—learning about godly character and the importance of obeying God. They ought to be close to God, and this is the only way they can succeed in resisting Satan, because Satan cannot impose his will on us.

Paul writes about those for whom the gospel was hidden. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, he speaks of those, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

You Can Be Deceived by Satan

Paul feared that the Corinthians would be deceived by Satan, who still existed and was working powerfully, as was the case with Eve. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, we read: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Satan is still working, even in the members of God’s Church and their children, just as he did in the Corinthians who were also members of the Church!

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, which was part of the Church of God, in Ephesians 6:10:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

He continued in verse 12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” And in verse 11, he said: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

These admonitions apply to us today. We must never think that Satan cannot tempt or deceive us. Satan is stronger than us, but not stronger than Jesus Christ. Some have left God’s Church because Satan deceived them. But a deceived person does not know that he has been deceived. He may think that he is correct. If that person knew about his deception, he would think and act differently. We must therefore approach God in prayer and ask Him to deliver us from any deception. All of us must rely on Christ.

Satan is powerful, clever and acts quickly. His greatest trick was convincing people he didn’t exist. But he does indeed exist!

Satan’s way is neither better than God’s Way, nor as good as God’s Way; otherwise, God would tell us to “walk Satan’s way.” We are not to compromise either. What did Elijah write in 1 Kings 18:21? “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.”

Be on Guard!

To everyone, but especially to our young readers we say: You need to watch out and be on guard. You need to be mindful of your environment and your “friendships”. For a little leaven leavens the whole lump. One rotten apple in the basket will infect the apples next to it and they will rot, and so on, until all the apples in the whole basket are rotten.

This must not happen to you and in the Church of God.

Satan still has influence. It requires constant vigilance to keep our minds focused on Christ, on His work and on the things of God, and to avoid being deceived by Satan and his demons and adopting their attitude of rebellion.

We must not allow ourselves to be distracted from God’s Way. For example, if we have neglected Bible study and prayer, we should not be surprised if we are irritable or judging others, if we have thoughts of competition or divisiveness, or if we mistakenly side with others. This all originates from Satan, for whose spirit of discord we have fallen. This would quench the love of God in our hearts.

That is why Christ warns us through Peter in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” The Living Bible adds “hungry” —a lion that roars out of hunger.

Satan is trying to destroy us and the Church of God. There is a reason why God inspired Peter to write down the above-stated warning. We would be terrified if a hungry and roaring lion stood before us. Peter continues in verse 9: “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

What do we read in James 4:7–8? “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

It is possible for Satan to make use of us, without us knowing it. We must acknowledge and confess our sins, and God will be faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

If you have such a God-pleasing attitude and mindset, you will be able to avoid Satan’s influence in your life better and better.

Chapter 8 How Can Young People Be Holy?

1 Corinthians 7:14 reads, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.”

The Ryrie Study Bible gives the following correct explanations of this passage:

“The presence of a believer in the home sets the home apart and gives it a Christian influence it would not otherwise have. A believing partner, therefore, should stay with the unbeliever. However, this does not mean that children born into such a home are automatically Christians. They are holy in the sense of being set apart by the presence of one believing parent.”

You Are NOT Cut Off

Even though they are not automatically Christians (as rightly understood, we are only Christians when the Spirit of Christ dwells in us (Romans 8:9)—the Holy Spirit which is given to us upon proper baptism (Acts 2:38)—that does not mean that our children are cut off from access to God. Even during the time of the Old Testament, Christ DID deal and work with humans, including the nations of Israel and Judah. 

Christ did not deal with them by offering them access to the Holy Spirit and an opportunity for salvation (this will occur later, in the Great White Throne Judgment period, when God resurrects all those who died without knowing Christ to give them the opportunity to accept Him as their personal Savior), but He DID speak to them and showed Himself to them. It was Christ who spoke the Ten Commandments to the ancient Israelites—not the Father. He was the Rock who led Israel out of Egypt and dealt with them in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4, 9). 

Christ makes it very clear that one must be called by God the Father to have access to Him. Generally, when Adam and Eve sinned against God and were driven out of the Garden of Eden, God the Father cut Himself off from mankind. Christ says in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” In this day and age, God the Father calls or draws only very few. Most people today simply cannot understand the Truth of God, because God has not chosen to reveal it to them yet (compare 1 Corinthians 1:26–28; 2:6–14). He will do so later, in His due time (compare Romans 11:26; Ezekiel 37:11–14, 23–28).

God has decreed that the children of those whom He calls in this day and age do have access to Him. They are already called—like the rest of us—“in holiness.” They are not spiritually “unclean.” Even if only one parent is a Christian, his or her children are “holy”—that is, they CAN be blessed by having a relationship with God (compare Proverbs 20:7). They still must respond to their calling and choose to take advantage of the privilege that God has bestowed on them—nevertheless, God considers them “holy”—they have been set apart for the holy purpose of walking in God’s Way of Life. 

You Are Sanctified—What Does This Mean?

When we read that the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his believing wife, and that the unbelieving wife is sanctified by her believing husband, the Greek word for “sanctified” is “hagiazo,” which conveys the thought of being separated or set apart for a holy purpose. For instance, we read in John 10:36 that God the Father “sanctified” Jesus Christ and sent Him into the world to fulfill the holy purpose of His Coming. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ asked the Father to “sanctify” His disciples by the Truth of God, which is God’s Word (John 17:17). 

They were to be separated from error and false human wisdom for the holy purpose of living truthful and godly lives. Paul says in Romans 15:16 that the Gentiles should become an acceptable offering to God, “sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” It would be through the gift of the Holy Spirit that they would be acceptable to God by becoming holy, acceptable and living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

The Greek noun for “sanctification,” “hagiasmos,” conveys the same thought as the verb “hagiazo.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 we read that our sanctification, according to God’s Will, means to abstain from sexual immorality. We are set aside for the holy purpose of living pure lives which includes possessing or dealing with our own vessel (our mate) in sanctification and honor (verse 4). In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul repeats the thought that “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” And 1 Peter 1:2 states that we are the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

As we can see, sanctification describes a process. God chose us “from the beginning” and “according to His foreknowledge” to sanctify or set us apart for the holy purpose of following Him and ultimately inheriting eternal life as immortal and glorified God beings in His Kingdom. This process is also described in detail in Romans 8:28–30.

Returning to 1 Corinthians 7:14, Paul is also saying that the children of at least one converted parent are holy. The Greek word for “holy” is “hagios,” and it too describes the fact that those children are sanctified, separated or set aside for a holy purpose of God. Luke 1:70 speaks of God’s “holy prophets”—they were set aside by God to proclaim His Word. In 1 Corinthians 3:17, Paul says that we are the temple of God which must not be defiled, as it is “holy”—being separated from the world and set aside for the purpose of living holy lives.

Those who are called today for salvation have been set aside or “sanctified” “from the beginning,”—before they were born; before the “foundation of the world” and even “before time began” (compare Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:3–4; 2 Timothy 1:9). This is not to say that those who are called in this day and age are automatically saved, but they have been given the opportunity to have access to God the Father and to respond to Him. 

You Are to Have a Relationship With God

The same is true for the children of converted parents. They have also been sanctified or set aside for the purpose of having a relationship with God—they CAN speak to God, expecting to be heard, and they can experience and obtain an answer from God. They are not cut off from God the Father, but they must make a choice. They must not forsake the Way of God and neglect that precious and priceless opportunity of having communication with their Creator. And if they stay loyal to that Way of Life, then, in due time, when they are old enough, they can also become baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which is a guarantee, a security and a downpayment for their eternal salvation in God’s Kingdom.

Our children are very important to God. Jesus Christ, while here on the earth as a Man, specifically and ceremonially blessed little children: “And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:16; compare Matthew 19:13–15 and Luke 18:15–17). The Church of God now follows this example by blessing little children, and especially, asking God to grant them His protection and guidance. 

The laying on of hands is meaningful and critical. The symbolic act of laying on of hands at baptism sets the baptized person aside or sanctifies him or her for the divine purpose of receiving from God His Holy Spirit. The prayer for the blessing of healing is accompanied with the laying on of hands by the elders, setting the sick person aside for the divine purpose of physical healing. During the marriage ceremony, the minister places his hands on the couple, while asking God in prayer to sanctify the marriage and to set aside the couple for the holy purpose of the marriage relationship—so that the marriage will be blessed by God. And finally, ordinations are always accompanied by the laying on of hands—setting the ordained person aside for the godly office of a deacon or deaconess or a minister.

Likewise, Christ blessed little children by setting them apart for God’s special protection, guidance and a special relationship with Him. In addition, when the ministry blesses a little child, they are asking God the Father to assign an angel to the child, as the Bible clearly teaches the existence of guardian angels.

You Have a Guardian Angel

In Genesis 48:15–16, Jacob acknowledged the presence of his guardian angel throughout his life. We read in the Revised English Bible, “The [G]od in whose presence my forefathers lived, my forefathers Abraham and Isaac, the [G]od who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who rescued me from all misfortune, may he bless these boys.” Jacob was convinced that God had been with him all of his life, and He was specifically present through a particular angel whom He had assigned to watch over Jacob.

Acts 12:15 shows that the disciples thought that Peter’s angel had appeared, as they believed Peter to be in prison. They specifically said, “It is his angel.” In other words, they thought it was the particular angel whom God had assigned to watch over Peter.

Notice, too, the following remarkable statement of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:10, in talking about little children that believe in Him, as well as true Christians who must become “as” little children: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

We read that a star appeared to the wise men from the East, leading them to the place where Jesus Christ dwelt, after He had been born. We read in Matthew 2:1–2 that they had “seen His star in the East.”

This was not an ordinary star, but a bright, shining angel. The Bible identifies and compares stars with angels on numerous occasions (compare Revelation 1:20; 9:1–2; 12:4). Note that the wise men from the East refer to this star as “His” star—that is, the star, or angel, of the Christ Child.

If they understood that the star was an angel, then they also knew that this angel was assigned to the Christ Child. This is not to say, of course, that only one angel watched over Christ. On one occasion, He mentioned to Peter that He could ask His Father for “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53)—more than 72,000 angels.

God may assign one angel to guard or protect numerous people, or an entire nation. For instance, the archangel Michael is described to Daniel as “The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people” (Daniel 12:1).

The fact remains that God assigns guardian angels to our children for their protection, and God’s ministers will ask God during the blessing of the little children ceremony to do so. We do not mean to say that God will only do so when a little child is blessed; we saw that in many cases, God had assigned guardian angels to people for their protection even though their blessing as a little child is not mentioned. We do not know when God, exactly, assigns guardian angels to people in general; but we do know that the children of converted parents are being protected by angels so that they can reach their potential of becoming baptized and ultimately born-again members in the God Family.

You Must Decide

It is true, of course, that the teaching and conduct of parents can have an influence on the decision of the children to either become and stay loyal to God or to reject Him, but, as we will show, it is ultimately the decision of the child or teenager or young adult as to how to conduct his or her Way of Life and whether or not to maintain a relationship with God.

For instance, we read in 2 Kings 22:1–2, “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father [i.e., forefather] David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”

Josiah was eight years old when he became king. His mother is mentioned by name—Jedidah. Although the son of an evil father, Amon, he turned out to be one of the most righteous and outstanding kings that have ever lived (compare 2 Kings 23:25). It is obvious that his mother Jedidah had trained him up “in the fear of the LORD.”

When Josiah was 16 years old, “while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34:3). Notice, it was he himself who made the decision; it was his decision—not the decision of his mother—prompting him to really seek the true God and to become more and more familiar with Him.

It is critically important to realize and emphasize the individual decision of the child. The righteousness of parents does not automatically mean that their children become and stay righteous; and the unrighteousness of parents does not mean that their children must become and stay unrighteous.

David was a righteous man who will be in the Kingdom of God. But his son Absalom rebelled against his father and God. David’s son Amnon violated his step-sister. David’s son Solomon departed from God’s Way of Life—at least temporarily.

Samuel was a righteous prophet of God, but his sons did not walk in God’s ways (1 Samuel 8:3).

Noah was a righteous man, but the Bible does not say that his sons were righteous. In fact, we read that his grandson Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, violated and sexually abused his own grandfather (see Genesis 9:20–27; it was Ham’s youngest son Canaan who had violated Noah, compare verse 24 in most translations, but Ham was not Noah’s youngest son).

Lot was righteous, but this cannot be said about his two daughters (Genesis 19:30–38).

There is even strong evidence to conclude that Moses’ grandson, Jonathan, was deeply involved in idolatry (Judges 18:30; other translations and commentaries say here that Gershom was the son of “Moses”; not of “Manasseh”).

You Alone Are Responsible

The Bible makes it very clear that in the end, every person is individually responsible for what he or she is doing. To blame shortcomings on others is not an acceptable “excuse” in the eyes of God. In Ezekiel 18:4, God explains that the soul who sins shall die. He then describes a righteous father who begets an unrighteous son, and explains that the unrighteous son will die because of his unrighteousness, while the father will live because of his righteousness (Ezekiel 18:5–13). We read in Ezekiel 14:19–20:

“‘Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,’ says the LORD God, ‘they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”’

On the other hand, we also read in Ezekiel 18:14–17 that if an unrighteous father begets a son who sees and considers the sins of his father and decides to live a righteous life instead, he will “not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live.”

Exodus 20:4–6 does not contradict the foregoing. It reads: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image… you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

You Are Not “Punished” Because of the Sins of Others

This passage does not say that the child will be cursed by God because of his or her parents’ sins, even though the child itself is innocent. Note that Exodus 20:5 speaks of those “who hate Me.” Soncino points out that the phrase applies to the children; i.e., God will punish those children who hate Him. Soncino comments, too, that the punishment will be brought upon the children, “when they retain the evil deeds of their fathers.”

The Companion Bible comments on Ezekiel 18:4, 20: “Descendants were not punished for the sins of their ancestors unless they persevered in their ancestors’ sins.” In addition, passages like Deuteronomy 24:16 state that children are not to be put to death for the sins of their fathers. The same is expressed in 2 Kings 14:6. Again, it depends on the child’s decision to either live righteously or unrighteously; to either be blessed or cursed by God. The child of a converted parent is “sanctified” or “holy”; that is, he or she CAN have a relationship with God, but the child must respond to God’s sanctification in order to ultimately receive his or her glorification. 

Understand Proverbs 22:6 Correctly

Rightly understood, Proverbs 22:6 does not teach that a child who has been trained by a righteous parent will continue automatically in God’s Way of Life. Proverbs 22:6 reads: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Some claim, this passage implies that the child might depart for a while from God’s Way of Life, but later return to what he or she has been trained in. Some go a step further and claim that the correct rendering should be, “Train up a child in the way he should go, EVEN when he is old he will not depart from it.” They teach that this passage conveys the thought that the child will never depart from his way, throughout his life, including or even when he or she is old. Most, though, reject this rendering and interpretation for good reasons, as this understanding is clearly not biblical.

The Broadman Bible Commentary points out: “The ‘way he should go’ of v. 6 is not defined specifically, but in the context there can be little doubt that it includes the way reflected in the positive elements of vv. 1, 3, 4, 5, i.e., pious and properly prepared for life. However, this may well include vocational training as well. The training needed for life should be given in the early years, when habits and patterns of behavior and work are set.”

In light of the fact that the Bible emphasizes individual responsibility, it must be concluded that Proverbs 22:6 does not intend to impress the idea that the righteous teaching of parents will automatically lead to the conversion of a child. It is true, of course, that parents are to teach their children about God and His Way of Life (Deuteronomy 11:18–19). But this does not mean that converted parents can bring about the conversion of their children. They have their own responsibility in the matter.

Ultimately, a child who is “brought up” in God’s Church CAN make it into God’s Kingdom. Those who are called today for salvation have been foreknown and predestined by God to be called before they were born. This does not only apply to converted parents, but also to their children (Of course, many times those who were predestined to be called in this day and age were not even children of believing parents, but we are concentrating in this chapter on those children who were and are being raised by converted parents.)

This means, God is willing to protect them, beginning with conception and birth and continuing throughout their growth until they reach the point where they can become baptized. (Of course, God will continue to protect His converted children.) The influence of their converted parent(s) can be of great help in this regard, but even if both their parents were to leave God’s Church and His Way of Life, this does not mean that the children must follow their bad example. If they have learned that it is God’s Will for them to keep the Sabbath, they can and must decide to continue to do so—even if they are the only ones in their family, in school or on the job. God looks at those who stand up for Him—no matter the costs and circumstances. This requires a strong will and great conviction—but God will give them the strength and the wisdom to continue in His right Way of Life, if they are willing.

Prove It for Yourself

It is also true, of course, that those children who are being taught and raised by their converted parents must come to the point where they prove for themselves that what they are being taught is true. They might have developed a “habit,” due to the teaching and practice of their parents, to “keep” the Sabbath by “going to church” that day and sitting quietly in services for two hours, but that alone is never enough. 

Rather, they must prove for themselves in due time that God demands of them the keeping of the Sabbath and the annual Holy Days; the abstention from unclean meat; and the rejection of observing Sunday, Christmas, Easter or Halloween—again, no matter the costs and circumstances.

Act Upon Your Belief

The sanctified child, growing up, has a wide-ranging responsibility for making right decisions. Having been taught that it is wrong to smoke or to take drugs or to drink too much alcohol and get drunk, or to get tattoos, the child or teen must decide not to smoke or to take drugs or get drunk or get tattoos. The sanctified child had been taught that it is wrong to engage in pre-marital or extra-marital sex, and as a teen, he or she has to make the decision not to engage in such practices. The sanctified child had been taught that it is wrong to marry someone who is not converted; and as an adult, he or she has to make the decision not to even consider such a mixed marriage. The sanctified child had been taught that it is wrong to live an alternate lifestyle; as a teen, he or she will have to refuse to become and live as a gay or a lesbian; and he or she will certainly have to refuse to change his or her sex with which he or she was born.

A sanctified child had been taught to stay away from the bad crowd—not to “enter the path of the wicked” (Proverbs 4:14); as a teen or young adult, he or she will need to decide not to follow them or be a part of their company (compare Psalm 1:1). A sanctified child was taught about the Law of God; as a teen or young adult, he or she will have to decide to have “delight… in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:2; compare Psalm 119:97). He or she will have to appreciate that the Law of God makes him or her wiser than his or her enemies and even his or her teachers (Psalm 119:98–99); and he or she will grow more and more in godly wisdom when doing what God commands (John 7:17; compare John 8:31–32).

As a sanctified child, he or she has been taught that it is wrong to cheat or to lie; as a teen or young adult, he or she will have to decide not to cheat or to lie, having convinced him- or herself that lying is of the devil (John 8:44). As a sanctified child, he or she has been taught that it is wrong to steal or to kill; as a teen or a young adult, he or she will have to decide never to steal or to kill, and his or her conviction will also prevent him or her from joining the army or the police force (compare Matthew 26:52; Revelation 13:10). In many cases, he or she will behave “correctly” due to the influence, direction and discipline of his or her parents; but the time will come for the teen or young adult to become thoroughly convicted and, based on this conviction, to decide doing the right thing irrespective of his or her parents.

As we pointed out before, King Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He did what was right, due, no doubt, to his mother’s influence, but when he was sixteen, he himself began to seek the true God, and when he was twenty, he had become convicted and bold enough to carry out what he, as the king in the service of God, was obligated to do (compare again 2 Chronicles 34:3). He started as a young boy and he became a strong man. Others started as young girls and became strong women. They had been sanctified by God, and they fulfilled their destiny (Compare Song of Solomon 8:8–10: When she was young, her older brothers protected her and took care of her, making sure that she lived the right way; when she grew older, she herself decided to live the right way).

It is a priceless privilege to be a “sanctified” child. Only very few children have this privilege today; and those who do should regard it as invaluable. It must never be belittled or neglected or treated in a lackadaisical way. Rather, a sanctified child is holy to God. It must be holy to us as well.

The Influence of Your Parents

Even though it is eventually the decision of the child or teenager or young adult as to how to conduct his or her Way of Life and whether or not to maintain a relationship with God, the teaching and conduct of parents can have great influence on the decision of the children to either become and stay loyal to God or to reject Him. The example of parents is very important. For instance, when parents keep the Sabbath just as a matter of routine, but they are doing so grudgingly and with resentment and the attitude that it is a burden, and “we can hardly wait for when the Sabbath is over so we can do our own thing,” they give very mixed signals to the child as to the sanctity of the Sabbath and that it is supposed to be a day of joy.

We stated this in our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families”:

“In order to be able to teach God’s word effectively, it must first be settled in the hearts of the teachers themselves. Notice Deuteronomy 6:6–7, ‘And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.’

“If the words of God are NOT in our hearts, HOW CAN WE teach them diligently to our children? If we ourselves are not sure whether God’s instructions always apply in every situation without fail, how CAN we teach our children or teens that they do? If we doubt whether it is ALWAYS right NOT to lie, NOT to steal, NOT to kill, NOT to break the Sabbath, NOT to cheat on our wife or husband, how CAN we bring up our children or teens in the admonition of the Lord?”

It is true, as we pointed out earlier, that the righteousness of parents does not automatically mean that their children become and stay righteous; but converted parents who behave unrighteously certainly have a bad influence on the upbringing of their children. At the same time, righteous parents who behave righteously most certainly have a good influence on the upbringing of their children, helping them to make the right decision of staying loyal to God and responding to His calling.

The Bible emphasizes time and again that children will follow the example of parents who behave badly. The child of an alcoholic or of a homosexual parent may easily adopt that lifestyle. A father who beats his wife may raise a son who may do the same later to his wife. 

Don’t Follow the Bad Examples of Your Righteous Parents

Abraham lied when he said that his wife was his sister (Genesis 20:2,13); and his son Isaac committed the same sin (Genesis 26:6–7).

David lusted after Bathsheba, but he also took other women, including Maacah, a Geshurite or Canaanite princess (something which God had forbidden; compare Deuteronomy 7:3). Their son Absalom (2 Samuel 3:3) killed his half-brother Amnon who had raped Absolom’s sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1–14). David’s son Solomon committed terrible sins when he married pagan wives and followed their pagan religion.

Don’t Follow the Bad Examples of Your Unrighteous Parents

We pointed out previously that God will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those children who hate God (Exodus 20:5). Friedman, Commentary on the Torah, points out that this “may refer to the way in which [bad] behavior recurs through generations in a family.”

Christ emphasized that wicked fathers may bring up wicked children. He explained in Matthew 23:29–35 that even though the children might pretend to have acted differently, they would have done the same thing as their fathers did, as they were engaged in the same kind of practice as their fathers:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.”

This terrible and vicious “circle of life” is, sadly, repeated time and time again. God prophesies that the last generation of Americans and Brits will go into captivity, and Leviticus 26:37–39 explains why: “… you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; also in their fathers’ iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.”

It Does Not Have to Apply to You

We emphasize that this development does not have to be automatic. A son can see the wickedness of his father and decide NOT to live that way (Ezekiel 18:14–17). This is especially true, in our context of sanctification, when a child was brought up in the Church but then experiences that his parents leave and go back into the world. That child does not need to follow his parents’ example. 

God had sanctified him or her, and that sanctification or holiness does not automatically cease to exist when the parents leave God’s Way of Life. But it goes without saying that their bad example might have a tremendously bad influence on the child; and the child or teen or young adult must turn to God with all his or her might to maintain his or her sanctified relationship with Him.

Follow the Good Examples of Your Righteous Parents

On the other hand, parents who live God’s Way of Life and don’t deviate from it have a very positive influence on the child’s development. God promises children tremendous blessings if they stay righteous (Psalm 103:17–18; Proverbs 20:7; Deuteronomy 4:40). God even offers physical protection in these terrible times to come, at a place of safety here on earth, for righteous parents and their children: “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26).

God speaks very clearly about the responsibility of the parents when He says: “Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28). But God makes clear that when it comes to observing the law of God, more is necessary than just “keeping” it, so that parents can be great examples:

“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).

Make a Personal Decision to Follow God

We all will, to an extent, adopt the bad behavior of our parents. And as they are called upon to repent of it, we, as their children, must do likewise, and the same is true for our children. This command to repent applies also to the “children” of the last generation of Americans and Brits in captivity:

“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land” (Leviticus 26:40–42).

As the new generation of Israel was called upon to enter into a covenant relationship with God at Moab, so each of us—grandparent, parent, children and grandchildren—is individually challenged to make that personal decision to follow God and not to walk away. It is interesting to read the words of Moses to that new generation of people who were ready to enter the Promised Land:

“The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.’ And I spoke to you at that time, saying: ‘I alone am not able to bear you’” (Deuteronomy 1:6–9).

Moses reiterates events which had happened 40 years earlier. Most who were assembled now were not even alive when these events had taken place. Still, Moses addresses them directly by saying that he spoke to them. What had happened 40 years earlier had great consequences for the new generation. In Deuteronomy 1:21, Moses said to them: “Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.”

The word in Hebrew for “you” is in the singular; Moses addresses everyone individually, because everyone had to make the individual decision to follow God. And so, Moses states this in Deuteronomy 5:2–3:

“The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.”

Technically, God did not make the covenant at Horeb with the new generation as most were not even alive at that time. But in a sense, God did.

In Hebrew, it says, literally:

“… but with us! We! These! Here! Today! All of us! Living!”

Friedman, Commentary on the Torah, explains:

“Moses speaks to the people in front of him as if they had all been at Sinai forty years earlier. Now he says explicitly, powerfully, unmistakably, with seven different words: Each generation must see themselves as personally standing at Sinai, not just inheriting their parents’ covenant, but as making the covenant themselves. It is a present, living commitment.”

Parents might have entered into the New Covenant relationship at the time of their baptism. But this will not bring their children automatically to the point where they also become baptized. It is up to them. But converted parents can and must help.

Let us conclude this chapter with these questions and remarks:

Are you a converted parent? Make sure that you do whatever you can to help your child to live God’s Way of Life.

Are you a sanctified child? Then God has preordained you before you were born to be called in this day and age to have a special relationship with Him and to come to Him. He has chosen YOU and given YOU the opportunity now to become a part of His very Family. Value this precious and priceless gift very highly.

Chapter 9 How Can Young People Be Taught About God?

One of the greatest parental responsibilities is to TEACH their children about God. In fact, God Himself is quoted in the Bible when He spoke of Abraham, saying:

‘For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him’” (Genesis 18:19).

The Authorized Version is even more emphatic, stating: “For I know him, THAT he WILL command his children… and they SHALL keep the way of the LORD…” Similar the NIV.

Your Parents Need to Teach You

When God chose and redeemed Israel from Egyptian captivity, He commanded that the people should love Him with total commitment and that their children should be taught to do the same:

“‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates’” (Deuteronomy 6:4–9).

Christians also face the great challenge set forth by God to teach their children about Him, as Ephesians 6:4 states:

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Quite obviously, teaching children requires a conscious commitment from parents, and that dedication should, where possible, begin before children are born. Couples planning to marry ought to prepare by discussing child-rearing goals and methods. For those who already have children, planning and preparations are still a necessity. As shown in the preceding biblical quotes, parents must, themselves, be anchored in the Word of God to teach their children properly and successfully.

The purpose of this chapter is to address training young children about God and the Bible, and that training begins with the example of the parents.

Many parents wait longer than they should to begin teaching their children about God. They assume that small children are not ready until a point well beyond when they could—and should—have started teaching their children the basics about God and His Way of Life. Never forget that children are most impressionable at their youngest age.

At what age should we start teaching the Scriptures to our children? God’s Word should be an important and natural part of life from very early childhood on. We expect small children to grow up learning songs, stories, the names of colors and the sounds animals make. Why not take advantage of the incredible, sponge-like learning capacity of a small child and start planting the most important seed of all—God’s instructions—within them?

You Need to Accept the Teaching of Your Parents

Here are some strategies for teaching the Bible itself. The Bible is a large book, and to introduce its study to our children, we must first present it in small, manageable portions according to their age level. Decide what subjects you wish to cover and think about how to present them in a user-friendly way. You may choose to cover a topic over several sessions. 

Focus on presenting important biblical teachings that they can use throughout their lives. Examples could include the Creation, the Exodus, the Ten Commandments, the life of David, Jesus Christ, lessons from the various “heroes” of the Bible, and as they get older, proofs of God’s existence and the history of the New Testament Church.

How much time should we spend per session? Find the balance in setting a time that is neither unreasonably long, nor so short that it gives the impression God’s Word is a low priority in our day. For instance, how long can a preschooler sit to watch a television show or hear a story read to them? How long can an elementary-age child sit to listen to a teacher read a book?

Before launching into your teaching session, take a few minutes to do your “homework.” Preview the lesson and compile your ideas.

Your Parent’s Bible Curriculum

Here are some suggestions and recommendations to help set up your Bible curriculum. Certainly, there are many other ideas that you, the parents, will have.

Reading the Bible

There are many good materials to read, but ultimately there is no substitute for the Bible itself. You cannot go wrong by starting in Genesis and reading on through the Bible. Alternate methods are also fine. For young children, consider skipping over long lists such as genealogies, or briefly summarizing them. You may also want to paraphrase some passages, putting them into your own words in simple language your child can understand, instead of reading the text as written. 

Your reading will become much more effective as you add your own comments to the passages you read. Ask questions to make them think (this is very important). Tell a little story that gets a point across. Act out the scenario. Anything you add along these lines is well worth the effort.

Whenever your child learns to read, present him or her with a Bible of his or her own. In order for our children to learn the Bible and become familiar and comfortable with handling it, they need to have one! It should be a true Bible (such as the New King James Bible), not a pseudo-Bible or children’s story-book-type volume. It should contain all the same Scriptures a regular Bible has. Thumb tabs are also very helpful for children to find books faster.

As the child becomes a more proficient reader, the publications of the Church of the Eternal God will serve as helpful study aids for parents. Bible atlases, Bible dictionaries and other reference materials can be introduced to the youth. In turn, parents can summarize important concepts in terms appropriate to their children’s learning level.

Memory Work

Memorizing is a normal part of life for a child—from the alphabet to nursery rhymes to state capitals. It should be a normal part of life to memorize the most important information of all—God’s Words. This would include the books of the Bible and their order; and the Ten Commandments. Memorizing specific Scriptures and learning what they mean can be fun. A child is ready to start memory work by the age of three. Start by choosing short verses to learn. This will build your child’s confidence. Teach them one phrase or word from the verse at a time. Say a word (or phrase), then point to your child to supply the next word.

Show your child where the verse is found in the Bible. Mark their Bible with a special color to identify verses they have memorized. Say the book, chapter and verse, before and after the Scripture. Recite the verse several times a day in your child’s presence so that it becomes familiar to them. Do not simplify the verses. It is important to teach God’s Word as it is recorded. Clarify any words they don’t understand.

It is not wrong to offer an age-appropriate reward. Make the rewards immediate if possible. Rewards could include small treats, prizes, stars on a chart, a trip to the store, or special time with mom or dad. Having them share their accomplishment by reciting it to someone else (grandparents, teacher, etc.) is very beneficial, too. Children like to feel they have accomplished something.

Pictures and Artwork

As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Some Bible resource books (Bible dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias, etc.) contain good diagrams or pictures. A word of caution regarding pictures, however: A child’s mind is very impressionable, and a picture can stick in the mind for a long time. This also goes for adults. 

We should avoid using pictures such as those that depict God the Father, Jesus Christ [either when He was here on earth, as a Man, or in His present state as an immortal God Being], Satan the Devil, angels or demons, and men with long hair (except for Nazarites).

Props

Props are a great teaching aid. A complete interactive felt or flannel board teaching system used to teach and tell both Old and New Testament Bible stories is an excellent tool for illustration. This makes the Bible story come to life and lets the child interact and become part of the story—giving the child a chance to use his senses of hearing (listening to the story being read or told), seeing and touching. You can easily create a felt board by simply gluing a large piece of felt to a rectangular piece of cardboard. 

Have the children draw or color pictures of Bible characters and props onto heavy paper or poster board, cut them out, and then place Velcro adhesive on the back of each piece. The kids will love it! Also, you can purchase the felt board projects at your local Bible Book Store or Online but be sure to remove items that are inappropriate.

Make a Timeline

Starting with the beginning of the Bible, you may want to consider having your child start a timeline of the sequence of the major events you are reading about through the Bible. You could provide a short roll of paper to make a continuous timeline that can be rolled up later. Children could draw and color pictures they have created on this timeline.

Teaching a Child To Pray

The beginning of the child’s prayer life is essentially an activity. A mother might ask the question: “When shall I begin to teach my little child to pray?” This question should be met by another: “When do you intend to start teaching your little child a language?” If the father and mother kneel by the child’s bed long before he can notice consciously what is happening, the child grows up during this event: “Mom and dad speaking to Someone whom they respect and love and cannot see.” Let your child see you are praying. Children learn by example.

Our children and grandchildren need to understand that we, as Christian parents and grandparents, talk to God in prayer on a regular basis. Asking a blessing at mealtime, prayer of anointing for illness and prayers given at Church services provide important examples of our relationship with God. These illustrations become a Way of Life.

Supplemental

Using other Bible materials from the Internet can be very helpful, if they adhere to the Truth and correct doctrines, but parents must be careful to closely monitor what they use.

Have a Pleasant Time With Your Parents

Make this a pleasant time for the child. By making it special, we are showing we place special value on God’s Word and the privilege of studying it. Pick an area with a table, if possible, where the setting and atmosphere are clearly “study time” and minimize distractions. Clear the table of clutter. Leave the television, their computer or their “devices” off and mute distractions such as cell phones. Be sure to begin each study session with a brief prayer together, asking for God’s help in understanding His Word.

These recommendations are suggestions as a starting point for prospective parents, parents, and grandparents. Understanding that God created humankind to eventually become part of His eternal Family makes the training of our children one of life’s most important and rewarding endeavors!

Chapter 10 How Can Young People Appreciate Good Music?

The Bible talks about music quite a bit, showing its importance, as well as a couple of famous musicians who used music to praise God. Music can refer to lyrics, as well as instruments—the same types of instruments we use today, such as stringed instruments, harps, trumpets, horns, cymbals and percussion. These instruments have been modified over time but the principle still applies.

Music goes all the way back to the Old Testament of the Bible. In Exodus 15:1–18, Moses and the children of Israel sang out to the Eternal, praising God during the crossing of the Red Sea and being led out of Egypt. The prophetess Miriam, Aaron’s sister, “took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances” (verse 20).

Learn From David, the Musician

David, a man after God’s own heart, was a musician. When he was very young, his musical skill on the harp was admired by Saul who was at times troubled by a distressing spirit. David played the harp, and the evil spirit left Saul. We read in 1 Samuel 16:16, 23: “Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well… And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” This musical “performance” was very calm and soothing, as we can imagine.

David also played, sang and danced with joy to praise the Eternal. One particular example is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:16, 28 when the Ark of God was brought to Jerusalem: “Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy… Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps.” The music was loud and full of rejoicing and it pleased the Eternal. Here, in 1 Samuel 16 and in 1 Chronicles 15, we see two different types of music—one of which was calm and soothing and the other as being loud and full of rejoicing, and in both cases, it pleased the Eternal.

David wrote many songs throughout his life and many of these psalms are attributed to his authorship, which we read about in the Book of Psalms. These songs were accompanied by instruments, mostly stringed, that David himself played. All these songs are praising the Eternal. He was able to use his musical skills for himself and for others as many of the psalms he wrote we sing in hymns in worship services today, thereby also praising the Eternal and thanking Him.

Solomon followed in his father’s footsteps as a songwriter musician. The Song of Solomon is one long song—a love song with metaphors and imagery. This book is arranged like scenes in a drama with 3 main speakers. According to some interpretations, we have the Shulamite, the bride who might also picture the Church; the king who would be Solomon; and the chorus, the daughters of Jerusalem. There are other interpretations regarding the identity of the speakers and actors, but all agree that it is a love song. At the beginning, there is a summary that explains the meaning behind this song.

David loved music, and he expressed his appreciation to the Eternal with music, dance and instruments—all kinds of instruments, as it says in Psalms 150:1–6: “Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!” 

Also in Psalms 98:4–6: “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the LORD with the harp, With the harp and the sound of a psalm, With trumpets and the sound of a horn; Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.”

What Is Your Approach to Today’s Music?

What about music today? Since there are so many different genres of music, and since everyone has a particular taste, how can one determine between what is “good” and “bad” music? Some like Rock music, some like classical music, some like operas, operettas and musicals, and there are others who like pop music, country, jazz, hip-hop, techno, metal, and so on. What about Christian music? Are there any guidelines a Christian can follow or are there certain liberties that allow Christians to listen to what they like? Is it wrong for a Christian to listen to different varieties of music?

First of all, we need to be mindful of what we are listening to, or what kind of music we might be performing. Music with bad language and profanity or using God’s name in vain would not be acceptable; nor, when it comes to certain “worship” music with lyrics referring to things which are not correct from a biblical standpoint. One should not attend a concert with religious music if the performance would be similar to, for example, a “Pentecostal worship service.” We need to be careful. 

In the end, it is also about one’s personal conscience. If we have doubts about the music we are listening to or which we might perform and feel it is inappropriate or offensive, then we should not listen to or perform it. This also applies to parents who need to be aware of what their children are listening to or playing. Again, we must be cautious that we don’t become too strict and pharisaical or liberal, but we must have a “balanced” approach.

What Is Your Approach to “Sabbath Music”?

We state in our free booklet, “How to Keep the Sabbath”: 

“When it comes to the type of music we might be listening to on the Sabbath, we need to focus on the godly principles when deciding what’s appropriate. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide what kind of music helps him or her to keep the Sabbath in the right frame of mind, focusing on God, His beautiful creation and the restful nature of His holy Sabbath day. Some might disagree as to what type of music is appropriate for the Sabbath, but it is important that we don’t become too liberal or too strict, and we must not judge and condemn someone for the type of music which he or she may be listening to on the Sabbath, even though we would prefer listening to something else.”

We need to be careful that we don’t become too judgmental on what others listen to or play, but at the same time, we need to be cognizant not to offend others with “our” music. If someone prefers a certain type of music which is not necessarily “approved” by us, we should not try to impose our beliefs and our personal preference on them, and vice versa. As mentioned, the same principle applies to “Sabbath music” as well. 

Paul says, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:10, 12–13).

Don’t Violate the Other’s Conscience

For example, if we are traveling in the car with someone whose taste in music is not necessarily our taste, we shouldn’t play “our” music as it would be considered offensive to him or her. We would make it a stumbling block to them, which would be sin. If they are disturbed by the music we listen to, we should not play it in their presence. 

If we perform music in a band, and we know that some don’t like the type of music we play, then we should not invite them to one of our concerts. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19) and don’t “do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Romans 14:21).

Don’t Be Too Judgmental

When it comes to being too judgmental, if we look at the example where Paul had to deal with the Church at Corinth, we see that members were too quick to judge others, and they were not resolving things between themselves or bringing the matter to the Church ministry, but they were suing one another in court, getting into arguments over things which should have never been brought to a worldly judge. 

Paul was not happy about this and said in 1 Corinthians 6:1–6, “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!”

At the same time, Paul was also very unhappy about the far too “liberal” approach in the Church at Corinth, and especially the local ministry, which allowed flagrant sins to go on without taking preventive action.

If a certain type of music causes someone to sin by violating one’s conscience, then it would be best not to listen to or perform it in that person’s presence. And again, music with profanity or taking God’s name in vain should be avoided, and this also includes music with sexually explicit content or words inciting violence or glorifying war, which could even cause one to inflict spiritual or physical harm.

It is important to keep a right perspective and balance, and we must be careful not to offend others. Everyone has particular tastes. Music is fine with a balanced approach.

Chapter 11 How Can Young People Appreciate the Right Kinds of Sports and Games?

The Church’s position on violence and self-defense is critical for the understanding as to what kinds of sports you may or should not participate in. What is the Church’s position on “violent” sports such as football, soccer, boxing, paintball and laser tag, as well as shooting with a gun or with an arrow? What is the Church’s position on “defensive” sports such as karate and jiu-jitsu; and how would the Church look at “war games” such as chess? Should our motivation be considered when watching or participating in certain sports and other related activities?

Regarding violence, war and self-defense, please re-read chapters 3 and 4 of this booklet. 

In addition, please note that our fascination with guns and violence will not contribute to the end of the misuse of guns and violent conduct—it will not create a better world. What is needed is a change of heart—how we think, and for what we stand. In the famous millennial passage of Isaiah 2:2–4, we read about a new world which will be so much different from what we are confronted with today. Satan will have no more influence over unsuspecting and gullible people. Instead, God’s law will be taught (verse 3). The consequence will be unparalleled in human history and truly earth-shaking: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Their mind will be receptive to God’s Way of Life. God’s Law will be in their heart (Isaiah 51:7). They will walk in God’s statutes and do them (Ezekiel 11:19–20). They will learn to live peaceably with their neighbor and with other nations. They will finally realize that committing violence against our fellow man will only bring destruction.

When God’s Law of love rules in our heart—and love does no harm to our neighbor (Romans 13:10)—then we would not even think of using a gun or a knife against someone. We would not even think of resorting to violence against another human being.

We will discuss below how these comments would not only apply to a handgun or a firearm, but also to potentially “violent sports” and “activities,” involving self-defense with the potential of seriously harming another person.

But since most, if not all, sports have the potential of harming another person (quite physically or at least emotionally), and since cheering for one’s team or athlete might be viewed as wanting to harm the opposing team or athlete, should you therefore totally abstain from watching or participating in competitive sports?

Sadly, all sports have terribly deteriorated, and soccer is by no means an exception. Although originally designed as a “no-touch” game, which did not permit a player to as much as intentionally “touch” another player (except for using one’s shoulder to touch the opponent’s shoulder), we see more and more “professional fouls,” and we are used to referees issuing warnings and giving out yellow cards and even red cards (signifying expulsion from the game).

Therefore, some have concluded that God does not approve of any competitive sports. But this conclusion is not necessarily correct.

Note What the Bible Says About Competitive Sports

In 1 Corinthians 9:24–26, Paul draws a spiritual analogy to competition in sports. This passage does not seem to allow for the conclusion that such competition is necessarily wrong. Paul says: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty…”

David draws another analogy in the book of Psalms, comparing the sun with “a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race” (Psalm 19:5).

Don’t Try to Harm Your Opponent

But God does not want us to have an attitude of harming or injuring an opponent, or of wishing that he be injured so that “our” team will get an advantage. When “competition” reaches that destructive level, it is wrong. But to want “our” team to win in a game is not wrong. And “our” team had better make every right effort to win, so that it is deserving of “our” support (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But once a game is finished, we are to go on with life and our responsibilities. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong commented once that he was enjoying watching a basketball game with the L.A. Lakers, but once the game was over, he would return to his duties. Some get so involved in the support of their team that they get all upset and can’t sleep at night if their team has lost. They might even get drunk to “forget their pain.” That, of course, is not indicative of a healthy and Christian attitude.

Sports can be good entertainment. They can contribute to our health and relaxation. They can be exciting. But they must never take first place in our lives. And even though watching sporting events can be good and clean fun, that should be all. In this world, “the race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong… Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). So, let’s enjoy sporting matches in a right way, while never getting our priorities mixed up.

Avoid Sports Which Intend to Injure an Opponent

Before showing how concepts of violence and revenge apply to sports and other related activities, and what kinds of sports a Christian should view with disfavor, let us consider one more aspect. The biblical teaching does not only require God’s people to abstain from intentionally seriously injuring or killing another human being, including in self-defense, the negligent killing of another human being is likewise prohibited.

A perpetrator who “accidentally” brought about the death of another person (Numbers 35:15), without hating the victim, was allowed to flee to a city of refuge to escape the wrath of the avenger of blood. He was only allowed to escape death if he acted “unintentionally” or “ignorantly” (Deuteronomy 19:4). For instance, he might have killed a person by throwing a stone “at him, without seeing him,” not realizing that the victim was there (Numbers 35:23). In other words, he threw a stone, without realizing it would hit anyone (compare the Living Bible). Or, he might have killed the victim without wanting to (Deuteronomy 19:5; Numbers 35:22). If, on the other hand, the perpetrator hated the victim in the past, or if he struck him intentionally with a stone, an iron implement or a wooden hand weapon, even though he might not have hated the victim, he was still to be executed (Deuteronomy 19:4, 6, 11; Numbers 35:20–21, 16–18).

The Scriptures tell us that the killing or “smiting” of another human being is wrong in God’s eyes and in violation of the Ten Commandments. The “accidental” manslayer, who did not hate his neighbor whom he killed, was not considered innocent, as his conduct, albeit unintentional or unknowing, led to the death of a person. With proper precautions, such a death could have been avoided. The accidental manslayer still had to flee to a city of refuge and stay there until the high priest died.

Considering all of these principles, it is becoming obvious that certain sports and games which are designed to injure a competitor might have to be avoided. But even games or other activities which might involve action causing serious injuries or even death may need to be avoided, even if the sports per se are not designed to cause such harm.

A clear distinction can be made between, on the one hand, sports or other activities which purposefully harm—or teach to harm—other human beings and, on the other hand, conduct which is not directly or indirectly focusing on others.

Understand the Distinction

Let us take shooting ranges as an example. We would reject firing exercises within the military or the police, because to a large extent, the purpose of those firing exercises is to train soldiers or members of the police to hate, shoot and kill others. It is different to shoot a rifle at the fair or to use a gun for hunting animals. The same conclusion would apply to the use of bows and arrows. (However, a distinction must be made between “needed” hunting for the purpose of the control of wildlife and the acquisition of food, and trophies hunting for “fun” and “entertainment.” Examples would be fox hunting in the United Kingdom and killing animals on a safari in Africa. Senseless killing of animals is wrong.

What Is Your Motivation and Conviction?

As we can see, the motivation for the use is very important. While we must be careful not to condemn others for their actions, we should stand by our personal decisions and convictions without fear of condemnation. If one has strong convictions not to use guns, bows and arrows under any circumstances, including at the fair or for the purpose of hunting animals, then one shouldn’t do it. This would also apply to our children if we feel they could or shouldn’t do it. In any event, parents need to properly educate their children so they understand the distinction between what is a “game”, and what is “war.” The use of “water pistols” in a swimming pool must never instill in a child the idea that it is alright to use a real gun against another human being.

You Can Play Chess

Another example of a harmless game, which we feel to be very appropriate, would be chess. For example, some say that playing chess is wrong since it is a game of war. We have never taught this in the Church, and many Church members are or were very good chess players. Even though world chess champion Bobby Fisher was never a member of the Worldwide Church of God, he showed some interest at one time and volunteered to play chess with many Ambassador College students. (He was an extremely talented chess player, and he played simultaneously numerous games with different students. At the same time, his fascination with chess caused him to be unbalanced.)

On the other hand, extremely violent games and those with demonic themes must be avoided! This especially applies to the computer-generated games that so easily captivate children’s interest.

When reviewing sports which involve competing with or fighting competitors, the distinctions may become blurrier.

When You Should Abstain 

For example, we would not recommend the avoidance of soccer (football for our British friends), because soccer, as designed, is not played with the intent of hurting someone, although one can get hurt playing it. If, on the other hand, it becomes obvious that the opposite team members are attempting to intentionally hurt someone, or playing so violently that injuries are the inevitable consequence, then it would be advisable to abstain from such matches. The same principles would apply to other sports such as volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball; and of course, no problem would exist with sports such as golf, surfing, cricket and tennis, as well as other racing sports such as bicycling, running or swimming, even though they are of a competitive nature. In addition, no problems would exist for individual performance sports, such as gymnastics or figure skating. As we explained above, there is nothing wrong with playing competitive sports, as long as we don’t do so with ungodly motives.

Should You Abstain from Laser Tag?

This principle would include laser tag. As the Wikipedia Encyclopedia explains: “Laser tag is a tag game played with lasers. Infrared-sensitive targets are commonly worn by each player and are sometimes integrated within the arena in which the game is played… [It] may include simulations of combat, role play-style games, or competitive sporting events including tactical configurations and precise game goals… laser tag is painless because it uses no physical projectiles…”

Should You Abstain from Dodgeball or Paintball?

When focusing on sports with the potential of intentionally “hurting” someone, the distinctions become even more blurry. Using dodgeball or paintball as examples, these are games which are not played for the purpose of war, even though it is their purpose to hit the other person with the paintball or other device.

The Wikipedia Encyclopedia describes paintball as follows:

“Paintball is a game… in which players eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with dye-filled, breakable, oil and gelatin paintballs, or pellets, usually shot from a carbon dioxide or compressed air (Nitrogen) powered ‘paintball marker’… Game types in paintball vary, but can include capture the flag, elimination, ammunition limits, defending or attacking a particular point or area, or capturing objects of interest hidden in the playing area… In most areas where regulated play is offered, players are required to wear protective masks, and game rules are strictly enforced.”

Regarding dodgeball, the Wikipedia Encyclopedia writes:

“Dodgeball is a game in which players on two teams try to throw balls at each other while avoiding being hit themselves… There are many variations of the game, but generally the main objective of each team is to eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with thrown balls, catching a ball thrown by a member of the opposing team, or forcing them to move outside the court boundaries when a ball is thrown at them.”

It is very important that the players understand the nature of the game; that they are not trying to injure another person; and that everybody plays with proper protection so as to avoid serious injuries. With these precautionary remarks, even playing American football or rugby might be appropriate, even though some or many Christians would probably avoid playing those games, given their violent appearance.

Should You Watch Boxing Matches?

A boundary could be drawn where the intent of the sport is clearly to hurt someone (for example, boxing), even though it may not be wrong to watch boxing matches. Paul makes reference to boxing in 1 Corinthians 9:26, when he says: “Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.” The Ryrie Study Bible explains: “This does not refer to shadowboxing but to wild misses during an actual boxing match.” This seems to be correct. Paul makes his statement in the context of competitive sports (running a race) and combative fighting; not, as some erroneously write, in the context of the preparation for a fight or sparring in the school in sham-fight, wherein they struck out into the air as if at an imaginary adversary. 

The fact that Paul draws this analogy of a real boxing match (even though improperly fought) with the Christian spiritual fight shows that he was familiar with—and had watched—boxing matches, even though this Scripture cannot be used to show that Paul would have participated in boxing matches, or that he wished the injury of one of the boxers.

Should You Participate in Wrestling Matches?

Another sport which is mentioned in the Bible and which was engaged in by godly people is wrestling. We read that Jacob wrestled with God—the second Member of the God Family, Jesus Christ (Genesis 32:24; Hosea 12:2). After wrestling for a long time, God struck the socket of his hip which became out of joint, causing Jacob to limp for a while. One might conclude that it is therefore appropriate to injure an opponent in sports, but this would be a wrong assessment. In this case it was God—not a man—who acted in such a way in order to teach Jacob a particular lesson.

The Benson Commentary writes: “This was to humble him, and make him sensible of his own weakness, that he might ascribe his victory, not to his own power, but to the grace of God, and might be encouraged to depend on that grace for the deliverance [from Esau] he was so much concerned to obtain. It is probable Jacob felt little or no pain from this hurt, for he did not so much as halt till the struggle was over… If so, it evidenced itself to be a divine touch indeed, wounding and healing at the same time.”

The Matthew Poole Commentary agrees, stating that this “was done that Jacob might see that it was not his own strength, but only God’s grace, which got him this victory, and could give him the deliverance which he hoped for.”

Should You Engage in Bodily Exercise?

Another distinction needs to be drawn between those sports and activities which one may be engaged in for the purpose of bodily exercise (including in workout programs) and those which one might want to do for the purpose of learning how to defend oneself against an attacker and to fight another person. We read in 1 Timothy 4:8: “For bodily exercise profits a little”—that is, in comparison to the development of godliness in our lives. 

Barnes Notes on the Bible states: “The apostle does not mean to say that bodily exercise is in itself improper, or that no advantage can be derived from it in the preservation of health.” It is also stated that an alternate reading would be: “For bodily exercise profits for a little while.”

Should You Practice Karate, Jujitsu or Kickboxing?

Applying these principles to sports which are commonly associated with the intention of defending against an attacker, such as Karate, Jujitsu or Kickboxing, it is very important that the motivation is godly, and that the children clearly understand why they are participating in those classes. It is easy to deceive oneself. It must never be our motive to seriously injure another person, including in self-defense. 

This is not to say that we can never physically defend ourselves or our loved ones, when we are attacked, but great caution is in order, as we are not to seriously injure, let alone kill an attacker. For instance, the use of pepper spray could lead to blindness of an attacker; so, again, it is important to consider the potential consequences before using specific defensive devices or engaging in certain defensive activities. It would be advisable to review again our comments on self-defense in chapters 3 and 4 of this booklet, and what the best ways are of protecting ourselves against violent aggressors.

In many cases, we are called upon to make personal decisions based on our own conscience and conviction. After educated analysis of the issues at hand, based on the Bible and the explanations in this chapter, we must become fully convinced in our own minds as to how to act and what to do (Romans 14:5), because whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

Chapter 12 How Can Young People Learn How to Dress Properly?

It may sometimes be difficult to strike a proper balance as to what is appropriate and inappropriate clothing. There may be a tendency to set forth detailed rules and “descriptions” of what is supposedly allowed and prohibited, thereby creating what could be described as a “yard-stick” approach. In this chapter, we will NOT do this, but rather, we will set forth suggestions, recommendations, guidelines and principles, while avoiding to create teachings, perhaps based on human traditions (like the Pharisees did), which the Bible does not contain.

You Must Not Condemn Others

We need to keep in mind that we must NEVER condemn or judge self-righteously our spiritual brother and sister and their children for what is being worn (compare James 4:11–12; 2:1–4, 13). If a matter needs to be addressed on an individual basis, the ministry will do so. We are all learning to become more and more perfect in the eyes of God, and to increase in stature with people, and this process requires time and patience.

As a general principle regarding proper clothing, we need to reflect God’s standards at all times, when appearing in public. God’s people are to abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11). We read that we are to “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). Christ warned men not to look at a woman with evil thoughts or “to lust for her” (Matthew 5:27–28). 

But let us not forget that Jesus Christ created Adam and Eve in the nude, and when Christ was a Man, He most certainly remembered their appearance… but He NEVER lusted after Eve with evil thoughts. Let us also remember that it was Satan who caused them to become ashamed of their nakedness as if part of God’s “very good” creation was something inappropriate and dirty. When Adam and Eve were naked, no other human being was around. 

This does not mean that we would advocate walking around or “sun-bathing” in the nude in public, including at the beach, or that women should wear topless bathing suits in public; nor, that men and women should wear string bottom or thong swim briefs bathing suits in public.

We also do not recommend the visit of mixed saunas where both men and women are naked. Nor would we recommend that a man visits a sauna exclusively for men, if he has had homosexual tendencies which he is working on overcoming. (The principle applies that we should avoid temptation. A recovering alcoholic, drug addict or smoker should not seek the company of alcoholics, drug addicts or smokers).

You Must Not “Show Off”

Women and girls have to be aware of the male tendency, and so they should not try to provoke and act inappropriately around a man to whom they are not married by showing off and flaunting their bodies. 

At the same time, a man may lust after a married woman, no matter what she wears… and that may also be true for a woman lusting after a married man. 

The over-riding questions that we should ask ourselves are why are we dressing the way that we are? Do we do this to honor God, or to entice another human being (excluding our mate), in one way or another, to awaken sexual desires in him or her?

Dress for the Occasion

God tells us that we are to take care of our bodies, without being ashamed of them. We dress nicely and buy clothing that fits us. Clothing trends and styles change all the time. Baggy clothes and loose fitting were a style in “ancient” times, but they appear sloppy today. Men also wear suits that are tailored based on their body type. It seems like people are even offended by clothing that “fits” to the shape of our bodies. 

On the other hand, wearing certain colors might be looked upon as “gay.” Are we therefore to avoid those colors? Absolutely not! Society is not to dictate what we wear, as long as it does not violate God’s Word. 

When people dress up at a very fancy or formal event with beautiful dresses and suits that fit their bodies, others may find even that “offensive.” When we attend Church services, we do appear before God, properly dressed. Some have a problem with this, thinking they can come in jeans and open shirts. Some may have to learn what it means to show quality—even in what they wear. 

How You Should Dress for Sabbath Services

We say the following in our free booklet, “How to Keep the Sabbath”: 

“It has been the practice of the Church of God to recognize that we are appearing before God when we assemble for Sabbath services, as well as during other special commanded assemblies given by God [such as commanded worship services throughout the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, even though only the first day is a Holy Day]. As such, we do recommend that each person present himself or herself in the best apparel they have available. The foremost idea is to specially prepare to appear before God to honor HIM!…

“We must understand that we are appearing before GOD. God is a great King… If we were to be invited by an earthly king, how would we appear in front of him? Would you want to appear in unwashed, dirty clothing, wearing washed-out jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers?…

“In this context, we must not neglect culture. In the Western World, it is normally appropriate for men to wear a suit, or a nice combination, with a shirt and a tie. In the U.S.A., Canada or in the UK [and we might include continental Europe as well], men are not dressed up when they appear in worship services with an open shirt, a T-shirt or jeans…

“Ladies should also wear appropriate clothing, of course. In addition, their dresses or skirts should not be too short or too tight or too revealing. God gives us the freedom to determine what is appropriate clothing, within the acceptability of proper dress in our cultures; but to clarify, God does not give us the freedom to violate His specific instructions so that we can follow our culture…

“… young children should attend Church services with their parents. The rules of proper dress code apply to our children as well. We are not saying, of course, that our young boys need to appear in a suit (even though some might wish to dress them up in such a ‘cute’ way), nor, that our young girls need to wear a ‘wedding dress,’ but our children should not appear sloppy and uncombed, wearing ‘every-day’ street clothes, washed-out or torn jeans, T-shirts or sneakers. Their appearance should reflect the sanctity and holiness of Sabbath services.”

On the other hand, when we go to the beach, we do not go there wearing a suit and a tie.

Strike a Balance

We need to strike a balance between being “cutting edge” in fashion and so far behind that we draw undue attention to ourselves, keeping in mind that fashion changes and that it is different in certain countries. Once our dress and appearance become distracting in either sense, it has gone astray from God’s purpose of pleasing Him and of becoming “a Jew to the Jew and a Gentile to the Gentile,” in order to win some (1 Corinthians 9:19–20; 10:32–33). 

However, this is not to say that we should wear inappropriate clothes just because “everybody else” in the world may do so. We are to come out of the world and be different (compare 2 Corinthians 6:17–18).

“Inappropriate” clothing is “inappropriate” in the eyes of the beholder. We do not think we have to spell out here what is truly “inappropriate.” It is important that we are honest with ourselves and not fool ourselves—nor, that we condemn others for what they wear which we may (or perhaps should not) want to wear. 

We do not want to offend or become a laughing stock. We would not wear, for example, what Muslims might consider an “inappropriate” bathing suit in a Muslim country, while wearing a swimsuit from the 1930s at a beach in many Western countries would not be advisable.

We are also to keep in mind that if you are on the swim team or water polo team in school, for example, speedos are a requirement. Even when it comes to female volleyball players and women participating in many other sports, tight and smaller outfits are the requirement, and there are reasons for that as loose-fitting and baggy clothing affect their performance. Again, we are emphasizing that appropriate clothes are to be worn for the particular occasion, while not saying that Christians could not participate in such events.

Similarly, when going to the gym, women want and need to be comfortable and the material has to be functional, depending on the workout (yoga pants, sports bras, workout shorts). People—sometimes “jealous” men—may even become offended by men who are shirtless and who are muscular (we are not making this up). But this does not mean men should never take their shirts off in public since that “could” be offensive to others. 

Some will always find a reason to be “offended” about anything, while the vast majority would have no problem with it as it doesn’t bother or affect them in that way. Many times, it could also come down to jealousy of how someone may look or what they wear. 

When focusing on bathing suits worn by women and men at the beach or at a pool, they can’t control what others may think of them, no matter what they wear and how they look. We must be careful that we do not impose human thinking on women or men which the Bible does not impose. 

Some are so afraid of how others may look at them that they, because of an inferiority complex, refuse to even go to the beach to wear a bathing suit (we are not making this up, either). 

On the other hand, if someone is bothered that much and is really offended based on what someone else wears and how they look, then that person should perhaps avoid going to places where that would be a concern for him or her, like the beach, a pool, the gym, or the person may even have to get off social media and stop watching sports events or dance competitions on television or the Internet. However, we do not recommend that; in fact, we feel that in such a case, a careful and honest self-examination might be required.

The overall goal for us is to please God and not to impose undue restrictions on others which the Bible does not contain; nor, to condemn others for conduct which does not fit our thinking and our paradigm. 

Conclusion

This booklet has attempted to address issues which are important for young people who try to cope with life in this dark world. Surely, not all issues have been addressed, and another booklet might be written focusing on additional areas of life which you, the reader, might be interested in. So, tell us what else you might want us to talk about.

In the meantime, we hope and pray that what has been written in this booklet will help you, the young person, and you, the parents, to walk God’s Way of Life together, ever increasing in confidence, conviction and God’s grace, knowledge and love.

The Rise and Fall of Germany and Europe

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The Bible has much to say about the future of Germany and Europe, and what this means for the rest of the world. Germany will rise again to become the leading nation of a conquering military power bloc. It will even attack and destroy the USA and the UK.  But ultimately, Europe, under Germany, will fall again and be defeated and destroyed by an alliance of Far Eastern nations.

What is the significance of Europe’s future and Germany’s role in biblical prophecy?

The Rise and Fall of Germany and Europe

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To Request a FREE hard copy of this booklet, please write to: contact@eternalgod.org

Introduction

Surprising as it may seem, the Bible has much to say about the coming destruction of Germany and Europe. To understand those prophecies, we must first of all understand where Germany is mentioned in the Bible. You will not find it with that modern name, but the biblical records, history and archaeology prove that the German and Austrian peoples of today are descendants of the ancient Assyrians. (For proof, please read our free booklet, “Germany in Prophecy.”)

The ancient capital of Assyria was Nineveh. As we will see, Nineveh was destroyed, but not before it was given a warning. That warning was proclaimed through the prophet Jonah, as recorded in the Book of Jonah. When Jonah uttered the warning message of imminent destruction, the Ninevites repented, and the city and the people were spared. But not forever. Subsequent generations of Assyrians engaged again in horrible sinful conduct, and that time, Nineveh was utterly demolished, as recorded, for instance, in the Book of Nahum.

However, the events pertaining to Nineveh are not just ancient history. Both the Books of Jonah and of Nahum are part of the collection of the Minor Prophets for the end time—our time today. This means, God is warning modern Assyria—the German-speaking peoples—of imminent impending destruction, and as in ancient times, the modern capitals of Germany and perhaps Austria, as well as the modern religious “capital” of the European Empire, are facing total demolition, which will occur during the prophetic “Day of the LORD,” a time span beginning with about one year prior to Christ’s return. 

Many prophetic passages in the Bible speak about the time of the Day of the LORD, including, as we will discuss, the Books of Habakkuk and of Joel. Much information is also included in our free booklets, “Germany in Prophecy,” “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.” 

We will begin with analyzing the historic events and their prophetic application in the Book of Jonah. It includes a message for ancient and modern Nineveh, but also for God’s Church today which must fulfill its commission of warning the nations, including Germany and Europe, and it must not be a reluctant servant as Jonah was at the beginning.

The Book of Jonah

According to tradition, Jonah wrote the book himself, around 786 BC. 2 Kings 14:23–25 refers to Jonah as a prophet and as God’s servant. He came from Gath Hapher, a location in the north-east of Nazareth.

Jonah lived at the same time as Elijah and Elisha, as well as the prophet Amos. The meaning of the name “Jonah” is dove. 

In Psalm 55:6–8, we read that David wanted to be a dove and fly away, thereby trying to flee from his problems. In Genesis 8:8–12, the dove is a symbol of hope for survival and a new beginning. Matthew 3:16 informs us that the Spirit of God appeared like a dove. In Matthew 10:16, we are told to be harmless as doves. 

From this, we can already ascertain that we must not try to flee from God, but that we must zealously and wholeheartedly fulfill our commission. We must do what God tells us to do, and that without guile or ulterior motives. We are not to look for vain glory or recognition for ourselves. We are not to seek our personal advantage, or that of our special group or even our nation, when that means being unwilling to fulfill our commission given by God.

On the other hand, we are not to behave like silly doves, without sense, as Jonah did, and as Ephraim is doing today (compare Hosea 7:11). [Ephraim, a son of Joseph and grandson of Jacob or Israel, refers today to Great Britain, as is explained in our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.” We also reveal in that booklet that additional modern descendants of the House of Israel can be found today in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking nations. The modern House of Judah describes today’s Jews and especially the State of Israel.]

The Book of Jonah has been traditionally read on the Day of Atonement, which pictures a time when all men are going to be reconciled with God. Everyone will be offered repentance by God and will be given access to His Holy Spirit (Compare our free booklet, “God’s Fall Holy Days” and “God the Father Is the Highest.”). Jonah was supposed to symbolize God’s reconciliation with the world and as a physical forerunner of God’s reconciliation with the nation of Assyria, but he first refused to become such a symbol. We are to preach reconciliation today, which begins with repentance. Germany and Austria are receiving this warning today, but so far, not many are listening and changing their evil ways.

The Book of Jonah is placed in the middle of the so-called Minor Prophets, right between Amos, Obadiah and Micah. All these prophetic books have special meaning and relevance for the end time. This applies to the Book of Jonah as well.

Jonah, Chapter 1

Jonah 1:1–3 begins the fascinating record of Jonah’s commission in this way:

“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

Jonah ran away. He fled to Joppa, in order to travel from there to Tarshish. Today, Joppa is identical with today’s city Jaffa.

Joppa or Jaffa is mentioned later in the Bible again, in Acts 9:36, 42–43; and in Acts 10:5. Here it was that the Apostle Peter received the vision of a great sheet filled with unclean animals. He was told three times to eat of them (Acts 10:16), and when he was still wondering what the vision meant (Acts 10:17), three men (Acts 10:19) came and asked him to visit their master Cornelius, a Roman soldier. Then Peter understood the meaning of the vision—that he was not to treat any MAN unclean or common (Acts 10:28), and that God had granted Gentiles repentance to life (Acts 11:18; 10:35). As we will see, that Jonah fled to Joppa and that Peter received the vision in Joppa is no mere coincidence.

We read that Jonah wanted to flee to Tarshish. This city is in all likelihood identical with today’s Tartessos, a Phoenician city of trade and commerce in Southwest Spain. Jonah tried to flee to a city which was in the exact opposite direction of Nineveh where Jonah was supposed to have gone.

WHY did Jonah try to flee to Tarshish? The Bible says in verse 3 that he wanted to get away from “the presence of the LORD.” Did Jonah believe that in doing so, God would not be able to see him or find him anymore? This is doubtful. Jonah must have known passages such as Psalm 139:1–12, which explain that no matter where we go or are, God is always there. 

As a servant of God and as a prophet, Jonah must have known that he could not hide from God’s Spirit which is everywhere. God the Father is a Person, and so is His Son, Jesus Christ. But through the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God and spirit essence, God is everywhere, or omnipresent. It’s like air which is everywhere, or light. But light emanates from a source, and so does God’s Spirit. The source is God the Father and Jesus Christ. So why, then, did Jonah try to get away from God?

Jonah knew certain prophecies dealing with the destruction of ancient Israel (compare Amos 2:6–16). And Jonah knew too that it would be the ancient Assyrians who would destroy Israel (Hosea 9:3; Isaiah 10:5–6). And remember, those prophecies are also, and mainly for us today, showing that it will be modern Assyria, as part of a European power bloc, which will destroy the modern Houses of Israel and Judah.

Therefore, Jonah might have argued something along the following lines: If I warn Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and if Nineveh repents of its evil ways and survives, without being destroyed by God, then God will be able to use Assyria to destroy my country, Israel. That means, I will be, at least indirectly, responsible for the destruction of my nation by the Assyrians. And my countrymen will not be very happy to learn that it was I who warned the enemy of our nation, that it was I who saved our enemy from destruction, so that that enemy could destroy us.

Later, Jeremiah was treated as a traitor by the king of Judah when he told the Jews to surrender to the Babylonians.

Today, the Church of the Eternal God, being headquartered in the USA, and its international affiliates, the Global Church of God in the UK, the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada, and the Kirche des Ewigen Gottes e.V. in Germany, have a commission to warn modern Assyria and the European power bloc of their pending destruction through Far Eastern nations. But before Europe’s destruction occurs, it will defeat and conquer the modern Houses of Israel and Judah. 

Also, Jonah might have thought, in addition: If Assyria repents because of my warning, so that it will not be destroyed, then I will be looked upon as a false prophet, since I said, Assyria would be destroyed. In any case, I am the loser. But this is what Jonah should have said, and what he was supposed to recognize, as recorded in Ezekiel 3:17–19:

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”

This is what we must say today as well, and even though the fulfillment of the prophecies regarding the destruction of the USA and the UK, as well as Germany and Europe, might not be delayed much longer, the Church’s commission to warn and to proclaim God’s Word as a witness still stands, with the hope that some may repent and change and turn to God. 

Still further, it is highly probable that Jonah was of the opinion, as was generally believed in Israel at Jonah’s time, that God was only concerned with Israel and that He did not care about other nations. If so, then Jonah could not understand why God would send him, a prophet of ISRAEL, to Nineveh, a Gentile city, to warn THEM. Even in New Testament times, the Church had to slowly come to an understanding that God was not just the God of one specific nation, but that He is the God of ALL peoples. He is not only concerned with English-speaking nations, but also with all nations worldwide. 

Let us also remember that Moses came up with all kinds of excuses why he could not go to Egypt to bring his people out of slavery; and when he could not think of any other excuse, he plainly said to God: Send whom you want, but don’t send me.

Jeremiah did not have any desire, either, to go as a prophet to certain nations. He told God: Send somebody else, because I am too young.

And so Jonah tried likewise to flee, to escape from God. He thought, perhaps, When I flee in the opposite direction, then God has to find somebody else who will deliver the warning to Assyria. And with his flight, he wanted to show God: Send whom you want, but don’t send me. 

The rest of the first chapter shows us how God creates a big storm on the ocean and how He makes the sailors understand that the storm came because of Jonah. 

Jonah 1:4–9 reads: 

“But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the captain came to him, and said to him, ‘What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.’ And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, ‘Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?’ So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’”

Jonah was suffering from self-delusion. He was trying to flee from God; he refused to do what God told him to do; and still he says, “I fear the LORD.” Are we sometimes acting in the same way?

Continuing with Jonah 1:10–12

“Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘Why have you done this?’ For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?’—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.’”

Instead of turning to God, accepting God’s Will for his life and starting to fulfill his commission, he rather wanted to die.

Continuing with Jonah 1:13–16:

“Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.’ So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.”

God works another miracle – the ocean immediately became calm, when Jonah was thrown overboard. We also see here a remarkable contrast: Jonah, the Hebrew prophet of God, had refused to fulfill God’s Will, and did not even pray to God. He was sleeping in the lowest parts of the ship during the storm. (Elijah, too, had run away from God’s commission and had fallen asleep, willing to die. But an angel woke him up and gave him food to eat twice, so that he could continue his work). The pagan, Gentile sailors prayed first to their idols, but then to the true God. And THEY did God’s Will. And then, they sacrificed to God and made vows to Him.

Jonah 1:17 probably constitutes the most “controversial” verse in the book. We read: 

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Many have felt that because of this passage, the Book of Jonah must be a legend, a fairy tale, and an invention. It had to be because how can a man be swallowed up by a fish and later be vomited onto the shore, alive (see Jonah 2:10)?

However, Jesus Christ did accept the historical contents of the book of Jonah as true, and especially the story about Jonah in the belly of the great fish. We read in Matthew 12:38–40: 

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

It is interesting that many do not accept those words of Christ as true, either. They say, Christ was not in the grave for three days and three nights, but only for 1 ½ days and two nights. They say, Christ was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday. But Christ said He would be in the grave for three days and three nights, that is, for 72 hours, JUST AS Jonah was in the watery grave of the sea monster for three days and three nights. And history and the Scriptures prove that Christ was crucified and placed in the grave on a Wednesday afternoon, just before sunset, and that He was resurrected 72 hours later, late Saturday afternoon, just prior to sunset. (For biblical and historical proof, read our free booklet, “Jesus Christ—a Great Mystery.”)

As Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so Jesus Christ became a sign to His generation (Luke 11:30). And surely, the Church of God, in fulfilling its commission of warning the world, including modern Assyria, will become a sign to the end-time generation, as God’s people will be hated by everyone (Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:17).

In addition, historical records confirm that human beings can be swallowed up by sea monsters and survive in their bellies for a short period of time.

Eerdmans’ Handbook to the Bible states on page 448 that sperm whales and large sharks capable of swallowing a man are not unknown in the eastern Mediterranean.

In “Miracles and Riddles of the Holy Scriptures,” we read on page 254: “For quite some time, it is assumed that the big fish that swallowed Jonah was not a fish, but a sperm whale. Sperm whales swallow their prey completely, and their throat is big enough for a human body. …In 1891, historical records state that a sailor was found alive in the belly of such a whale one day after his ship had sunk.”

Scientists know of spectacular fights in the depth of the ocean between sperm whales and giant squid. They have found remains of squid in the bellies of sperm whales. Those remains were much larger than the body of a human being.

But could it have been a sperm whale? Does not the Bible say, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish? And a sperm whale is not a fish, but a mammal. The scientific classifications of marine or water mammals and fish may not be identical with the biblical classifications. Let us note that scientific classifications are sometimes pretty arbitrary, capricious and unconvincing: Their classifications differentiate between animals that lay eggs—then it’s not a mammal—and animals that don’t lay eggs, but bring forth living offspring, which are then suckled or nursed—then it’s a mammal. Further, an additional criterion is whether the sea creature has lungs—if it does, it’s not a fish. This differentiation fits for most, but not for all water creatures. For instance, the duckbill or platypus lays eggs, but is classified as a mammal. The shark does not lay eggs, but brings forth living offspring, but it is of course classified as a fish.

The biblical classifications are sometimes different from scientific classifications. This is clearly true, for example, for birds and mammals. Science, for example, refers to bats as mammals, but the Bible refers to bats as birds (Leviticus 11:13, 19). Also, science states that the hare is not an animal chewing the cud, while the Bible claims that it is (Leviticus 11:6). There is therefore a difference between the “scientific” and biblical designation of what it means to “chew the cud.”

Biblical commentators, such as Rienecker, state that the Bible sometimes refers with the word “fish” to all creatures living in the ocean.

In Genesis 1:21, we read that God created “great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded.” The Authorized Version translates, “great whales,” and the annotation of the Ryrie Study Bible says: “Better: sea monsters.” But in Genesis 1:28, all these sea animals are summarized with the word, “fish.”

In Matthew 12:40, where Jesus speaks about the belly of the sea creature which swallowed up Jonah, and where it is translated with “great fish,” the Greek word is “kaetos.” It refers to a big sea creature. Other translations say here, “whale” or “sea monster” (compare Zürcher Bibel: “Meeresungetüm”). So, the reference in Jonah 1:17 to the great fish swallowing up Jonah COULD include a reference to a whale such as a sperm whale.

But more importantly, one should not forget the fact that the great fish or the whale which swallowed up Jonah is not described as a merely natural event, but as a miracle. God brought this miracle about. We read in Jonah 1:17: “The LORD HAD prepared a great fish.” This seems to indicate that God had created such a fish or whale or sea monster just for this occasion. It was an animal which could swallow up Jonah, keep him in its belly and vomit him onto dry land, unharmed and without injury, three days and three nights later.

Much indicates that God had planned this event very carefully, especially because Christ would later use the sign of Jonah as the only sign which He, Christ, would give to His generation to prove that He, Christ, was the Messiah. Remember, too, that Jonah grew up in the region of Nazareth, where Jesus would grow up later.

That would mean, then, that God knew from the beginning that Jonah would not follow God’s Will at first; that he would try to flee from God; that he would end up on a ship sailing to Tarshish; and that the sailors would throw Jonah overboard, to be swallowed by the great fish created by God for that occasion. There should be no doubt that when God called Jonah for this job, He knew Jonah’s thoughts, his mindset, and how he would react. But God knew that ultimately, Jonah would do his job, and He also knew how to bring him to the point that he would do so.

Remember, too, God knew that Pharaoh would not let Israel go, unless forced by a mighty hand and many signs and wonders (Exodus 3:19–20). And God said, He raised Pharaoh up for this purpose, so that He, God, could work those miracles to His honor and glory (Romans 9:17).

As God worked in the life of Jonah, God works also in our lives. At times, we may think that we can hide from God; that we can refuse to do what we know is right and what God requires of us. But if God wants us to do His Will, He will see to it that we will do it… with or without our cooperation. However, if we resist God, we bring much pain and sorrow to ourselves.

Jonah, Chapter 2

Chapter 2 sets forth Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish. It is presented as if the fish brings delivery and rescue. The fish, in swallowing up Jonah, prevents Jonah from drowning in the sea.

Jonah 2:1–9 reads: 

“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. And he said: ‘I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.” The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple. Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.’”

At the end of his prayer, Jonah states that he will sacrifice to God. He knew, then, that he would survive and be carried to the shore. Also, the prayer is introduced by calling God the God of Jonah. In spite of all of his rebellion, he knew deep down inside who his God was. 

When did Jonah make this prayer? It appears, when he was swallowed up by the fish—not three days later, but right at the beginning. Was Jonah alive during these three days and three nights? Perhaps. But remember what Christ said, “For AS Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, SO will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” And Christ was DEAD for three days and three nights. So maybe Jonah was dead too, and God resurrected him when the fish vomited him onto the shore. This would be another miracle, in addition to the miracle which we read about in Jonah 2:10, which says: “So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

God gives a command to the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land, and the fish does so. We see here the unlimited control of God over events. God determines what should happen, and it happens. 

This is not the only time where the Bible tells us that God directs animals to carry out His Will. We read for instance in 1 Kings 17:4 that God commanded ravens to bring Elijah food. 

It is also made clear here that a man cannot do anything against God’s Will. Jonah tried to circumvent God’s Will, by fleeing in the opposite direction, but God sees to it that Jonah ends up near the location where he was supposed to go. Bible commentaries tell us that Jonah was vomited onto dry land in the region of Sinope, the southern shore of the Black Sea, north of Assyria.

Jonah, Chapter 3

In chapter 3, God repeats His commission for Jonah to go to Nineveh in order to warn the people of impending disaster; and this time, Jonah is obedient.

Jonah 3:1–4 tells us: 

“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’”

Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, is referred to in Genesis 10:12 as the “principal” or “big” or “great” city. It was more like a city-state. Smaller, surrounding cities belonged to it. The entire region has been estimated as 60 miles in diameter. God later tells us, in chapter 4, verse 11, that 120,000 people lived in the city, who could not discern between their right hand and their left. If this expression means little children who cannot discern yet between right and wrong, then that would mean that an additional 200,000 to 300,000 teenagers and adults lived in the region as well.

Continuing with Jonah 3:5–10

“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

The people of Nineveh, small and great, rich and poor, as well as the king, believe Jonah, repent and begin to fast. When God sees that, He decides not to destroy the city. Christ confirms that the repentance of the Assyrians in Nineveh was genuine and sincere. It was not repentance leading to eternal salvation, but a change of heart and action, departing from evil. They will be resurrected with everyone who was not called for salvation in this life, in the so-called Great White Throne Judgment or Second Resurrection, as Christ explained in Matthew 12:41: 

“The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.’”

God did not destroy Nineveh at that time because they “turned from their evil way.” Jeremiah 18:7–8 confirms that this is generally the way God operates, where God is quoted as saying: “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.”

Jonah, Chapter 4

The fourth chapter describes the displeasure of Jonah because God did not destroy Nineveh.

Jonah 4:1–2 reads: 

“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.’”

Jonah states that one reason why he did not want to go to Nineveh was that he was afraid God’s long-suffering and mercy would save the Assyrians and would keep God from destroying them. But Jonah should have understood that HE should have been as merciful as God; that God wanted him to become more merciful. But Jonah did not see it at first.

We read in verse 3 that Jonah said to God: 

“Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

Jonah wants to die again, because God does not act in the way Jonah wants Him to. 

Continuing with verses 4 and 5

“Then the LORD said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.”

Jonah did not answer God’s question whether it was right for him to be angry. Rather, he made himself a shelter on the east side of the city, watching what would happen and hoping that the repentance of the people of Nineveh was not sincere, so that the city could still be destroyed.

Verses 6–8 continue: 

“And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’”

We are not told what this worm was which God especially prepared, like he prepared the plant. But when the worm damages the plant, the plant withers away. All of this is being done by God to teach Jonah a lesson. God prepared the plant in a night and let it perish in a night (verse 10). Notice, too, in verses 6, 7 and 8, it says, “God prepared.” It does not say here, “God had prepared.” This is in contrast to the great fish, which swallowed Jonah. In that case, it said: “God HAD prepared a great fish.”

In verse 8 we read that once again, Jonah wants to die. That is now the third time that Jonah wants to die in this short book.

Continuing and concluding the book with verses 9–11

“Then God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’ And he said, ‘It is right for me to be angry, even to death!’ But the LORD said, ‘You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”

God reveals Himself again as ruler and sustainer. The people of Nineveh were His children, too, whom He had made—not only the Israelites. And in addition, God had created all the animals as well that were living in Nineveh.

The concept is conveyed here, too, that Jonah had pity for the plant, for which he did not labor, which he did not make grow, and which existed only for a short time, while GOD had pity for Nineveh’s people and animals, for which God had labored, which He had made grow, which had existed for a long time, and in which people lived who could not discern between right and wrong.

The Book of Jonah describes the Will of God to reconcile all peoples to Him. That is why it is read by the Jewish community on the Day of Atonement. The book explains that God does not look at the person or his or her national origin, when it comes to salvation, but that God accepts everyone who is willing to submit to the Will of God. No human being is in God’s eyes unclean or common, and His gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God is to be proclaimed to all the nations in all the world (Matthew 24:14), so that everyone who does repent and becomes converted can be saved (Luke 24:46–47), regardless of nationality or race. 

This teaching is not only proclaimed in the Old Testament in the book of Jonah, but also, for example, in the Book of Ruth. Ruth was not an Israelite woman, but a Moabite, but she married Boaz, and because of and stemming from that relationship, first king David and later Jesus Christ were born.

That God loves Gentile nations is clearly revealed in the Bible. Amos 9:7 reads: ‘”Are you not like the people of Ethiopia to Me, O children of Israel?’ says the LORD. ‘Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, The Philistines from Caphtor, And the Syrians from Kir?’”

This teaching is of course found and expounded in the New Testament. But it took the Church a while before it understood this teaching. Matthew 4:12–16 tells us that Christ had become a light to the Gentiles already at the time of His first coming. But He also emphasized that repentance was necessary (verse 17). Matthew 8:5–13 and Luke 4:24–30 are further examples, showing how Christ dealt with Gentiles and what He had to say about them. 

Unfortunately, the repentance of the people of Nineveh was not passed on to their next generations. Each and every human being is individually responsible for his or her actions. A son or daughter does not inherit righteousness from a righteous father or mother (Ezekiel 14:14, 19–20; Jeremiah 15:1). So, as will be explained later, especially in the Book of Nahum, the next generations of Nineveh did not inherit the repentant attitude of their forefathers, either, and so the city of Nineveh was subsequently destroyed.

As mentioned, the Book of Jonah belongs to the Minor Prophets. The modern significance of the Book of Jonah for us today is clearly the commission of the Church of God to warn the modern Assyrians of coming disaster.

Whether modern-day Assyria, as a country, will listen to such a warning, is more than doubtful. But some will. And regardless, that can’t be the focus. God commanded modern-day Ezekiel to warn the modern House of Israel, and we know that only very few will listen. But some will repent, believe and be baptized. They will be spared from the terrible Great Tribulation just ahead of us.

Jonah should have been willing to warn his fellow man from impending destruction. He was not, at first, but we believe that he came to repentance and acknowledged the errors of his way. After all, God used him to write the Book of Jonah. God’s Church in these end times should learn from Jonah’s example and willingly and zealously proclaim the warning message of impending destruction to modern Assyria and Europe, as well as to the Houses of Israel and Judah, because destruction is coming, as so vividly described in the Book of Nahum, which we will discuss next.

The Book of Nahum

The meaning of Nahum is “consolation” or “full of comfort.” It is the short form of Nehemiah, which means, “the LORD comforts.” 

Nahum came from Elkosh, maybe Capernaum, which means, “Nahum’s city.” He is said to have lived at the time of Joel. 

In the Book of Jonah, the Assyrians at Nineveh repented (Jonah 3:6–10). It is perhaps remarkable that in modern days, Germany and Austria did not fight any wars after World War II, although especially Germany has become one of the biggest manufacturers and exporters of weapons in the world.

A warning message was given to Germany through God’s Church during and following World War II. When Germany was defeated and many German cities were totally destroyed and demolished at the end of World War II, God’s Church proclaimed that fallen Germany would rise and become most powerful again, and that it would bring destruction to the entire world.

In more recent days, Germany is engaging more and more in warfare and proxy warfare (such as in Russia’s war against Ukraine), and so, the warning through God’s Church is continuing.

The Ryrie Study Bible tells us that Nahum wrote about 100 years after Jonah’s preaching to Nineveh. The people of Nineveh and Assyria had quickly reverted to their cruel and heathen practices. They had destroyed Samaria (the Northern Kingdom; that is, the House of Israel) in 722 BC. 

Nineveh was considered impregnable, with walls 30 meters high and moats 18 meters deep. It was the capital of the Assyrians. Nineveh which had been built by Nimrod (Genesis 10:11), was destroyed around 612 BC. It was rediscovered in 1842 AD. 

The destruction of Nineveh occurred through an alliance between Medes, Babylonians, Persians and others against Nineveh. It was mainly the Medes who besieged and destroyed Nineveh. Today, as we will explain, the modern Medes can be found in countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. They are commonly referred to as “White Russians.”

Nahum, Chapter 1

Nahum 1:1 reads: 

“The burden against Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.”

According to theSoncino commentary, the word “burden” means, “lifting up (of the voice).” It signifies the severity of the message (compare Habakkuk 1:1; Malachi 1:1).

Verse 2 continues: 

“God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.” 

This is a reference to the prophetic Day of Wrath—or the Day of the LORD, which will begin about one year prior to Christ’s return. This gives us the approximate time setting as to when the destruction of end-time “Nineveh” will occur. 

Verse 3 states: 

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet.”

God will punish wicked Nineveh. In ancient times, people worshipped “gods of nature,” which were associated with powerful winds and clouds with much rain. Here, the reference is mainly to the god of Baal (the sun god) and the goddess of Astarte, also known as Ishtar, the goddess of spring who was worshipped at Easter time. The thought expressed here is that God is mightier than any other “gods” or idols; they are dust of His feet.

As mentioned, modern Assyrians can be found in German-speaking countries such as Germany and Austria. And even though they may not worship winds and clouds, they are still engaging in the worship of pagan gods, such as Baal and Ishtar, when they celebrate their “holy days” such as Sunday, Christmas, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. (For more information, please read our free booklets, “Don’t Keep Christmas” and “Man’s Holidays or God’s Holy Days?”)

Verse 4 continues: 

“He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, And dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, And the flower of Lebanon wilts.”

God allowed Israel to cross the Red Sea and the river of Jordan, as if going on dry land. Bashan, Carmel and Lebanon were known as very fertile regions (compare Micah 7:14–15; Amos 1:2; Ezekiel 31:16). What God is conveying here is that even the most fertile regions of modern Assyria will wither or be destroyed. 

Verse 5 states: 

“The mountains quake before Him, The hills melt, And the earth heaves at His presence, Yes, the world and all who dwell in it.”

The mountains and the hills refer, symbolically, to the leaders and prominent people of modern Assyria. They quake and melt before God. 

But this passage does also talk about literal earthquakes, as the next verse, verse 6, shows: 

“Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him.”

“His fury” describes again the Day of Wrath or the Day of the Lord. Revelation 6:12–17 and Revelation 16:17–18 associate this time with great and powerful earthquakes. 

The question in verse 6, “Who can stand before His indignation?” is answered, for example, in Psalm 15:1–5; 24:3–6.

Verse 7 continues: 

The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”

God will grant His people—true converted Christians— a “stronghold” or protection during the time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. The Menge Bible states: “He knows them who seek refuge in Him.” 

Beginning with Verse 8, God becomes more specific as to the nature of His punishment of modern Assyria and its capital, modern Nineveh. We read: 

“But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies.”

The overflowing flood describes armies destroying their enemies (compare Revelation 12:15 and Isaiah 8:7–8. Also note Daniel 11:40, which the Authorized Version translates as “he… shall overflow,” and the New International Version reads, “he shall sweep through them like a flood.”). In addition, a reference to the darkness pursuing God’s enemies can be found in Revelation 16:10–11, stating that the kingdom of the beast—the end-time Assyrian leader of a united European power bloc—will “become full of darkness.”

Verse 9 tells us: 

“What do you conspire against the LORD? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.” 

In other words, all human plans and devices of the Assyrians do not prevail against God and His Will; rather, the ultimate end-time destruction of Assyria is inevitable, which the following verses show. 

Verses 10 and 11 state:

“For while tangled like thorns, And while drunken like drunkards, They shall be devoured like stubble fully dried. From you comes forth one Who plots evil against the LORD, A wicked counselor.”

The literal translation of “wicked counselor” is “counselor of Belial,“ which shows Satanic influence and possession. We know from the book of Revelation that the beast will be demonically possessed. King Sennacherib might have been a forerunner (2 Kings 18:13), but this end-time prophecy refers to the beast or the modern King of Assyria (Isaiah 10:5–7). He is called “King Jareb” in Hosea 5:13. Jareb means fighter—somebody who wants to fight and conquer. His fate is described in Isaiah 30:30–33.

Verse 12 continues: 

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Though they are safe, and likewise many, Yet in this manner they will be cut down When he passes through. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.’”

God says that He will have afflicted the modern Houses of Israel and Judah through the beast power, as He punished the ancient Houses of Israel and Judah through the Assyrians and Babylonians. Other translations render this phrase: “I have severely punished you.” But God also says that their punishment will end soon. 

Verse 13 explains: 

“For now I will break off his yoke from you, And burst your bonds apart.”

“Yoke” describes slavery and captivity, as Isaiah 10:27; Jeremiah 30:8; and Hosea 11:5 show. The modern Houses of Israel and Judah will be defeated in war and enslaved by the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire under the leadership of an “Assyrian” Führer—the beast. This attack will take place at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. But God promises that He will end their captivity which will occur when Jesus Christ returns, to free them from slavery and bring them back into the Promised Land. 

Verse 14 reads: 

“The LORD has given a command concerning you: ‘Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile.’”

Verse 14, specifically directed at the end-time king of Assyria, conveys the thought that he will have no posterity. The neue Lutherbibel 2009 translates: “…no descendant of your name shall remain.” 

This could perhaps indicate that the beast is homosexual. Daniel 11:37 could support this conclusion stating that the king of the North—another designation for the beast or the King of Assyria—does not regard the “desire of women.” The Schlachterbibel says, “the love of women.” 

We also read that God will destroy the gods and idols in the house of the king, and that the king himself will be killed, as a grave will be dug for him. That grave is a lake of fire, as described in Revelation 19:20. 

The king is described as being “vile.” The Living Bible says: “you stink with sin.” The Menge Bible says in their annotation: “an abomination.” A preview of these events could be the death of Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:37–38). As the Ryrie Study Bible states, at that time Nineveh was sacked and destroyed by the Babylonians and Medes. But this is an end-time prophecy, when end-time Babylon (the economic and religious system of modern Europe) will be destroyed by the modern Medes. 

In ancient times, the Medes lived in present-day Iran. Originally, under Assyrian rule, they revolted against and expelled the Assyrians and imposed their rule over the Persians. They then attacked Nineveh and overthrew the Assyrian Empire. Under Cyrus the Great, the Medes and the Persians were considered as one people. The Encyclopedia Britannica (ed.1959) points out that at least some of the Medes were not Iranians or Indo-Europeans, but perhaps connected with the numerous tribes of the Caucasus.

The historian Herodotus wrote in Terpsichore, 9, that the Medes began to settle throughout South Russia and present-day Ukraine. He stated: “They say that they are a colony of Medes.” Pliny wrote in Natural History, book VI, section xi, that the people who colonized the lands along the river Don claim to be “descended from the Medes.”

The Church of God has long held and taught that the modern Medes can be found among the Russian and Ukrainian peoples who will be instrumental in leading the Far Eastern nations to destroy Europe. This means that Russia and Ukraine will collaborate and ultimately combine forces with other Far Eastern nations, such as China, to fight against Europe, just prior to Christ’s return. Current developments seem to indicate that these events are not too far off.

Isaiah 13:17–19 confirms that it is basically the modern Medes whom God will use to destroy the modern Babylonian system under the modern king of Assyria: 

“Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” 

Jeremiah 51:27–28 contains the same idea:

“Set up a banner in the land, Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare the nations against her, Call the kingdoms together against her: Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a general against her; Cause the horses to come up like the bristling locusts. Prepare against her the nations, With the kings of the Medes, Its governors and all its rulers, All the land of his dominion.” Compare also Jeremiah 51:11.

In Isaiah 21:2, we find a description of the destruction of modern Babylon through the modern Medes and the modern Persians (Iranians). 

The modern Medes will be part of the modern Kings of the East—an alliance of Far Eastern nations. They will apparently, together with or independent from ten core European nations—destroy and burn the city of Rome—the religious capital of the revived Roman Empire—the city built on seven hills (Revelation 17:9, 16, 18; 18:10, 16, 18–19, 21). 

Some feel that Nineveh could be a designation for modern Rome, but Rome is not the capital of or even a city in modern Assyria (Germany or Austria). It is therefore much more likely that Nineveh refers to the political capital of the revived Roman Empire which will also be destroyed. Even though the beast will have a temporary “tent” in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:45), his throne and political capital will still be in Europe. And so, the modern Medes will also destroy modern Nineveh, which would be Berlin today. (Some have suggested that this capital may be Vienna, the capital of Austria, and some have suggested modern Nineveh might be Brussels, but Brussels is not the capital or a major city of modern Assyria.)

Much has been written about the fear of a nuclear war between Russia and Germany. This war will indeed take place, and in the process, the modern Medes will totally destroy the modern city of Nineveh, but only AFTER the modern European-Babylonian Empire will have attacked and conquered the USA, the United Kingdom and the State of Israel.

Nahum 1, verse 15 continues:

“Behold, on the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, Perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; He is utterly cut off.”

The messengers of good tidings and peace (Isaiah 52:7–10; 41:27; Romans 10:14–15) proclaim especially to Judah that Nineveh is destroyed (compare the Ryrie Study Bible). Now, Judah can again celebrate God’s weekly and annual Holy Days (Leviticus 23:2), and it is also admonished to keep their vows (Psalm 116:14), because “the wicked one”—the beast—who had invaded and conquered the Promised Land, is utterly cut off or completely destroyed. According to the Soncino commentary, the word is the same word as the word in Nahum 1:11, where it is rendered as “counselor of Belial.”

Nahum, Chapter 2

Verse 1 of chapter 2 states: 

“He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily.”

The one who scatters can also be rendered as the destroyer. The Soncino commentary informs us that this is a reference to the Medes who besieged Nineveh in 625 BC. The phrases “watch the road” and “strengthen your flanks” have to be understood ironically. Although the Assyrians thought and will think they could not be conquered, their destruction is decreed. The same applies to modern Assyria today. 

Continuing with verse 2

“For the LORD will restore the excellence of Jacob Like the excellence of Israel, For the emptiers have emptied them out And ruined their vine branches.”

The Menge Bible translates: “The LORD restores the vine [or the branches] of Jacob and the vine [or the branches] of Israel,” emphasizing that all the tribes of Israel are included.

Verses 3 and 4 read: 

“The shields of his mighty men are made red, The valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches In the day of his preparation, And the spears are brandished. The chariots rage in the streets, They jostle one another in the broad roads; They seem like torches, They run like lightning.”

The reference to “red” and “scarlet” could describe military colors or blood. The chariots with flaming and lightning torches are destructive modern weapons of war. They describe the weaponry of the modern Medes, destroying Assyria—the countries of Germany and Austria. 

Verse 5 continues: 

“He remembers his nobles; They stumble in their walk; They make haste to her walls, And the defense is prepared.”

The king of Assyria thinks of and relies on his nobles or powerful military leaders, but they only stumble in their walk, unable to present a meaningful defense.

Verse 6 states: 

“The gates of the rivers are opened, And the palace is dissolved.”

Anciently, the River Tigris and smaller rivers encircled parts of the capital. Ancient Nineveh was situated at three rivers. The gates of the dams were opened, and the walls broke. The palace was conquered. 

Berlin is also situated at a major river, the river Spree, which flows through the city. There are also smaller rivers, like the river Havel, which encircle the city. (Of course, Vienna is situated at the Danube river.)

The phrase, “the palace is dissolved” should be translated as, “the palace is terrified.” According to the Ryrie Study Bible, “the palace” should be rendered with “the temple of Ishtar.” The modern idolatry of pagan Easter celebrations in “Assyria” is again emphasized here. 

Verse 7 continues: 

“It is decreed: She shall be led away captive, She shall be brought up; And her maidservants shall lead her as with the voice of doves, Beating their breasts.”

In the Hebrew, “she shall be led away captive,” is referred to as “Huzzab.” That is also how the Authorized Version renders this phrase. According to Soncino, “Huzzab” is either the name for the queen or for the city [as Rahab can refer to a person or to the land of Egypt (Isaiah 30:7)], or it can designate the name for the principal deity of Nineveh.

The Schlachterbibel states that the term refers to the goddess of Nineveh, apparently Ishtar, whose statue was taken away by the conquerors. 

The maidservants were temple prostitutes who lamented the fate of their goddess.  

In modern times, we might think of the “Virgin Mary” who is also called the Queen of Heaven (compare Jeremiah 7:18), and the weeping of nuns when her statue or image is taken away (compare Revelation 13:15). 

Verse 8 reads: 

“Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, Now they flee away. ‘Halt! Halt!’ they cry; But no one turns back.”

The pool of water is a reference to the inhabitants of Nineveh (compare Revelation 17:15). 

Verse 9 continues: 

“Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, Or wealth of every desirable prize.”

The attackers are being told to plunder the wealthy treasuries of Nineveh.

Verse 10 reads: 

“She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; Much pain is in every side, And all their faces are drained of color.”

In Joel 2:6, a similar expression is used when describing the paleness of human faces. There, Assyria’s attack on Israel and Israel’s reaction are described; in verse 10 of Nahum 2, the attack of the Medes and Nineveh’s and Assyria’s reaction are set forth, also showing the total justice of God. 

Verse 11 continues: 

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, And the feeding place of the young lions, Where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, And no one made them afraid?”

Nineveh was and will be a fierce lion; that is, a strong military power, with young lions [Assyrian warriors] and a lioness [others say: an old lion], whom no one wanted and will want to challenge. From this, it follows that Germany seems to be the main biblical focus when referring to modern Assyria. 

Verse 12 states: 

“The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, Killed for his lionesses, Filled his caves with prey, And his dens with flesh.”

“Lionesses” could be a description of wives or mistresses. The end-time Assyrian army is also described, figuratively, in Revelation 9:8 and Joel 1:6, with clear references to lions and lionesses. 

Verse 13 concludes the second chapter in this way: 

“‘Behold, I am against you,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.’”

Young lions or high-ranking Assyrian officers will be killed with the sword. Furthermore, their military weapons and equipment will be totally destroyed. The voice of the king’s messengers who pass on the commands of the king of Assyria, including the king’s propaganda minister and their helpers, will not be heard anymore, because they will all die. 

Nahum, Chapter 3

Nahum 3:1–2 states: 

“Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery. Its victim never departs. The noise of a whip And the noise of rattling wheels, Of galloping horses, Of clattering chariots!’

The bloody city describes Nineveh’s inhabitants, i.e., ruthless people. Cracking whips describes the method of urging the horses to greater speed. The Ryrie Study Bible relates the horses to those of the Medes and the Babylonians. 

Verse 3 continues: 

“Horsemen charge with bright sword and glittering spear. There is a multitude of slain, A great number of bodies, Countless corpses—They stumble over the corpses…”

A bright sword and glittering spears are again a reference to modern weapons and warfare. 

Verse 4 goes on to say: 

“Because of the multitude of harlotries of the seductive harlot, The mistress of sorceries, Who sells nations through her harlotries, And families through her sorceries.”

The reference to the harlot, being described in Revelation 17 and 18, is obvious (note Revelation 17:1–2, 18; and Revelation 18:3, 23. Note also Revelation 14:8). The seductive harlot and sorceress rides on the beast—the final political and military revival of the ancient Roman Empire under German leadership. Germany will be the leading nation of the Babylonian revival. The harlot—the false religious power—influences and rides on Nineveh, the political capital of modern Assyria. 

Her sorceries are also vividly described in Isaiah 47:9, 12.

The Soncino commentary points out: “The Assyrians lured their victims as though they were under a spell.”

Assyrians were—and will be again—under the spell of Satan and his demons. This was true in ancient times; it was very obvious when Hitler was in power, and it will be true again. Modern Assyrians will also be under the spell of the harlot—the great false “Babylonian” church of Revelation 17. 

We should also note that Nahum 3:3–4 explains that God punishes Nineveh for its involvement with the harlot and the acceptance of the harlot’s evil practices. 

Verse 5 continues in addressing the harlot: 

‘“Behold, I am against you,’ says the LORD of hosts; ‘I will lift your skirts over your face, I will show the nations your nakedness, And the kingdoms your shame.’”

Isaiah 47:1–3 contains a description of the modern religious power of the Babylonian Mystery Religion, referring to the harlot as the “daughter of the Chaldeans” and describing God’s uncovering her nakedness. 

Verses 6–8 state: 

“‘I will cast abominable filth upon you, Make you vile, And make you a spectacle. It shall come to pass that all who look upon you Will flee from you, and say, “Nineveh is laid waste! Who will bemoan her?” Where shall I seek comforters for you? Are you better than No Amon That was situated by the River, That had the waters around her, Whose rampart was the sea, Whose wall was the sea?’”

These verses switch back to the political capital of modern Assyria. Nineveh is being compared to “No Amon,” another name for Thebes, which was situated at the Nile River. The name meant “City of [god] Amon.”

The Assyrians destroyed it in 663 BC. It was considered unconquerable and was also called the city of hundred towers. Likewise, modern Nineveh will be defeated and destroyed, even though Europeans won’t really believe that that could happen. 

Verse 9 states: 

“Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, And it was boundless; Put and Lubim were your helpers.”

No Amon had mighty allies, but they were unable to help. Those allies included Ethiopia, Egypt, Put or Libya and Lubim, certain very influential regions of Libya. 

Modern Assyria will likewise have Arabs as allies in their fight against Israel (compare Psalm 83:1–7). 

Verses 10 and 11 continue: 

“Yet she was carried away, She went into captivity; Her young children also were dashed to pieces At the head of every street; They cast lots for her honorable men, And all her great men were bound in chains. You also will be drunk; You will be hidden [better: you will hide yourself]; You also will seek refuge from the enemy.”

Modern Nineveh will “be drunk” from the cup of God’s wrath or fury (compare for the wording Isaiah 51:17; Revelation 16:19 and Psalm 75:8). They will try to hide and seek refuge from their enemy, but this attempt will be in vain. Some translations render this verse as, “You will seek in vain refuge from your enemy.” 

Verses 12–15 continue: 

“All your strongholds are fig trees with ripened figs: If they are shaken, They fall into the mouth of the eater. Surely, your people in your midst are women! The gates of your land are wide open for your enemies; Fire shall devour the bars of your gates. Draw your water for the siege! Fortify your strongholds! Go into the clay and tread the mortar! Make strong the brick kiln! There the fire will devour you, The sword will cut you off; It will eat you up like a locust. Make yourself many—like the locust! Make yourself many—like the swarming locusts!”

In Joel 1:4; 2:25, locusts are compared with a great army. Here, a similar analogy is used in that the sword will devour the Ninevites like locusts. As the Assyrians behaved like devouring locusts, so the Medes will devour them like locusts. 

Verse 16 states: 

“You have multiplied your merchants more than the stars of heaven. The locust plunders and flies away.”

The merchants are part of the ancient center of merchandise, i.e. Tyre (Ezekiel 27:23–24). But since this is a prophecy for today, modern Tyre describes the Babylonian economic system under modern Assyrian or German leadership. Germany is the most powerful economy in Europe today.

Verse 17 states: 

“Your commanders are like swarming locusts, And your generals like great grasshoppers, Which camp in the hedges on a cold day; When the sun rises they flee away, And the place where they are is not known.”

The Authorized Version says: “Thy crowned are as the locusts.” The commanders (“Thy crowned”) are compared with modern armies and modern weapons of mass destruction. In describing the modern war machine, Revelation 9:7 states: “The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold. And their faces were like the faces of men.”

Verse 18 states: 

“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.”

Shepherds describe the religious leaders of modern Nineveh, and nobles the military and political leaders. All are sound asleep, and so destruction of the scattered and aimless people will hit quickly and unexpectedly. 

Verse 19 states: 

“Your injury has no healing, Your wound is severe. All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you, For upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?”

Their severe wound (compare for the terminology Jeremiah 30:12) and their incurable affliction (compare Isaiah 1:5–6) show that their fate will be sealed, and nothing will change this. Those who hear of Nineveh’s fall and the end of Nineveh’s king (the beast) will clap their hands in joy and gratification (Psalm 47:1–3), that finally the end of their wickedness has come. A vivid description of the end of the wicked king of Assyria and of the modern Babylonian system (the beast power and its end-time leader, as well as the religious leadership) can also be found in Isaiah 14:3–8. But the kings of the East, including the modern Medes, will not escape God’s punishment either for their wickedness (Zechariah 12:9; 14:2–3, 12, 15).

However, Assyrians will play an important and leading role in the Millennium, after their conversion (Isaiah 19:23–25). Furthermore, all those who have died will obtain their chance for salvation during the Great White Throne Judgment period, and that will include Ninevites at Noah’s and Nahum’s time, as well as those who live today.

The next book which we will discuss here, the Book of Habakkuk, goes back in time and shows how and why the Houses of Israel and Judah were to be destroyed by Babylon and Assyria—something which the prophet Jonah knew about and why he probably refused at first to warn the Ninevites—but even though these events took place in ancient times, the Book of Habakkuk is a prophecy for our days. 

Therefore, it describes first and foremost the destruction of the modern Houses of Israel and Judah through the modern Babylonian system under Assyrian rule, but it also shows the subsequent punishment of modern Babylon and Assyria through a mighty power from the Far East. 

The Book of Habakkuk

According to Rabbinic tradition,the word Habakkuk means“One Who Embraces” or “Clings.” The thought is that the prophet Habakkuk clings to God. The Ryrie Study Bible comments that he was called an “embracer” because of his love for God. 

He could have been a Levitical singer (note Habakkuk 3:19). 

He was a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zephaniah. His reference to the Chaldeans led some to assume that he wrote in the seventh century BC., shortly before Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and led Daniel and others into captivity in Babylon.

Habakkuk describes the defeat of the Houses of Israel and Judah through the end-time Babylonian system in Europe under the leadership of the King of Assyria, and their subsequent punishment.

Habakkuk, Chapter 1

Habakkuk 1:1 begins: 

“The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.”

Sometimes it is a burden or burdensome to proclaim God’s prophecies of destruction and calamity. But according to the Soncino commentary, the word for burden here means “lifting up (the voice)”, in other words, proclaiming God’s warnings like a powerful trumpet.

Verse 2 continues:

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ And You will not save.”

Habakkuk laments the violence in Israel, waiting for God’s intervention.

Continuing with verses 3 and 4:

“Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”

Habakkuk keeps talking about the horrible situation in Israel, including plundering, violence, strife, contention, rejection of the law and lack of justice. As a consequence, the righteous are persecuted by the wicked, and perverse judgments take the side of the ungodly against the innocent. For another description of the situation in Israel and Judah which Habakkuk addresses, note 2 Kings 17:9–10, 13–16, 19–20, especially referring to idol worship. 

However, we need to note that this is a prophecy for our times, and the accusation against “Israel” is directed against the modern nations of the Houses of Israel and Judah; that is, the nations of the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the State of Israel. 

Verse 5 continues: 

“‘Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you.”

Now, God begins to answer. He says to Habakkuk that He will do a work in his days which will be utterly astonishing and surprising to the people. But since this is a prophecy for the last days, God is telling us that He will perform such a totally unexpected work in our days. 

Verse 6 explains to us what this work is which God will do: 

“‘For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.’”

In Habakkuk’s days, God used the ancient Chaldeans to punish Israel. In our time, God will use the modern Chaldeans to punish the Houses of Israel and Judah. 

The Chaldeans were the backbone of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (Ezra 5:12; 2 Kings 25:1, 5; 2 Chronicles 36:17). In Daniel 2, the word is also applied to the Babylonian priestly class, who also engaged in divination, astrology, and magic or sorcery.

In Babylon’s sphere of influence, the Chaldeans also had a religious function—mainly because the planetary orbits were interpreted as the expression of the will of deities that had to be fathomed.

In late antiquity, the name Chaldeans was used almost exclusively for the Babylonians and became primarily a designation for astrologers, since Babylon was considered a leader in the field of astrology. The “Chaldean Oracles” of the 2nd century were considered a popular book of divination.

They also believed very strongly in the power of demons. According to some commentaries, one description of the “power” of these pagan gods reads as follows: 

“Against man’s head cursed Asak directs his might, against man’s life cruel Nemtor, against man’s neck the vile Utuk, against man’s breast the pernicious Alu, against man’s entrails evil Ekim, against the hand of man the terrible Gallin.”

In our time, the Chaldeans describe modern Babylon—a religious, political, economic and military power. It is the final and last resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire—a collaboration between church and state—under the leadership of a charismatic leader—the beast or the king of the North or King Jareb of (modern) Assyria who will work together with the “false prophet”—a powerful religious leader. Under the beast’s leadership and the influence of the false prophet, the modern Chaldeans will invade “dwelling places that are not theirs” (Habakkuk 1:6). This occupying force under the modern Assyrian leader is also described in Isaiah 10:13–14 and in Daniel 11:41–44.

In a way, the final resurrection of the Roman Empire occurs because of Israel’s wickedness (compare also Isaiah 10:6).

In Acts 13:38–41, Paul applies the passage in Habakkuk 1:5–6 to the preaching of the gospel, and also as a warning for those who reject the Truth. 

Continuing with verses 7–10

“They are terrible and dreadful; Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. Their horses also are swifter than leopards, And more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat. They all come for violence; Their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings, And princes are scorned by them. They deride every stronghold, For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it.”

A powerful swift and violent army is described which conquers its enemies in a blitzkrieg. The imagery clearly relates to the revived Roman Empire in Europe which we find described in Revelation 13:2. They are determined to move forward (verse 9), and they design a conquering wall and seize the fortress (verse 10). 

Habakkuk 1:11 continues: 

“Then his mind changes, and he transgresses; He commits offense, Ascribing this power to his god.”

The words for “he transgresses” literally means, “he passes over.” The reference here is no longer to the Chaldean army, but to its leader—the beast. The words for “his mind” literally mean, “his wind” or “his spirit.” What is being described here is demonic influence or possession, as is the case in Job 4:12–16, where the same terminology is used. 

After this leader has come to power, he will be demonically possessed (Revelation 16:13–14)—his spirit will change. He will commit offense, by erecting the abomination of desolation at the holy place. He ascribes his power to his god—a possible reference to the false prophet (Revelation 19:20) whom he might consider as a god and whom he follows (compare Daniel 11:36–39).

Continuing with verse 12

“Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction.”

Now, Habakkuk answers God, by pleading with Him not to let Israel become extinct as a nation, but to use the Chaldeans only as a temporary punishment; echoing Jeremiah’s plea in Jeremiah 10:24.

Continuing with verse 13

“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he?”

Habakkuk states the timeless fact that God’s eyes cannot look on iniquity with any kind of approval. He then asks the question why God does not prevent the Chaldeans from attacking Israel, given the fact that they are more wicked than the Israelites. This also applies to our time today. Of course, deep down inside, Habakkuk knows the answer, as he had just stated in the previous verse that God will use the Chaldeans to punish Israel for their wickedness. But the fact that an evil nation is used by God to accomplish His purpose does not mean that it will not receive severe punishment from God in due time for their wickedness. 

Beginning with verse 14 and continuing until verse 17, Habakkuk describes the captivity of ancient and modern Israel and Judah through the ancient Chaldeans and the modern Babylonian system:

“Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice to their net, And burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous And their food plentiful. Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity?”

In verse 16, the previous thought of the king ascribing his success to his god—the false prophet—is mirrored by the Chaldeans who sacrifice and burn incense to the religious harlot or fallen woman in Revelation 17, who they believe gives them their military victory. 

Habakkuk, Chapter 2

Habakkuk 2:1 reads: 

“I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.”

A modern watchman who is to proclaim powerfully and forcefully the “burden” of the Lord (Habakkuk 1:1) is standing watch (compare also Isaiah 21:8, 11–12). Some translations render this verse in such a way that he will wait for an answer from God to the questions he had asked Him. God’s modern servants will watch and proclaim God’s warning with the hope that some will listen and change their evil ways, but most will not take heed (Jeremiah 6:17).

Continuing with verses 2 and 3

“Then the LORD answered me and said: ‘Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.’”

Habakkuk was to write down clearly what he saw, so that those who walk by can read it (and perhaps run to seek shelter and protection). This passage is clearly referring to the end time, assuring us that what God has prophesied will take place (compare Revelation 10:5–7).

Continuing with verse 4

“‘Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.’” 

First, God explains that the proud Chaldeans are not upright; many translations state that the proud will have no inner peace which is the deserved penalty for them. Then, God addresses, as a contrast, the believer (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). 

Continuing with verse 5

“Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples.”

The reference is again to the king of the modern Chaldeans—the beast—who is proud and deluded by the wine or the religious deception of the harlot (Revelation 17:1–2) and her representative, the false prophet.

Continuing with verses 6 and 7

“Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases What is not his—how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty.”

The Medes will destroy the modern Chaldeans and the entire Babylonian system, including the religious capital of Rome and the political capital of the empire; that is, modern Nineveh which appears to be Berlin [or perhaps Vienna]. As God raises up the Babylonians to punish Israel, so He will raise up the Medes to punish Babylon. The reference to the avenging “creditors” might imply that the European power bloc had been indebted in some way to the modern Medes. 

Verse 8 states: 

“Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it.”

The violence of the city could refer here not only to modern Nineveh, but also to the city of Rome which is built on seven hills and which has dominion over the nations. It is also representative of the entire Babylonian system (compare Revelation 17:18). That system is violent and filled with bloodshed (Revelation 18:24).

Continuing with verse 9

“Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!”

Those addressed in this verse think they can escape calamity and their punishment by building their houses way on high, as an eagle builds his nest up in the mountain. The “woe” may not only refer to the Chaldeans and their coming punishment, but also to the Israelites who follow the same evil practices. Three “woes” are mentioned in Revelation 8:13, which also addresses in the following chapters the modern Chaldeans and the modern Medes.

Continuing with verses 10 and 11

“You give shameful counsel to your house, Cutting off many peoples, And sin against your soul. For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it.”

The entire structure of society cries out for justice; everyone hopes for the end of the Babylonian system.

Verse 12 states: 

“Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity!”

Jeremiah 22:13 expresses the same general thought, while Micah 3:8–10 addresses in particular the Houses of Israel and Judah, and especially the city of Jerusalem.

Verse 13 continues: 

“Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts That the peoples labor to feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain?”

God sees to it that the plans and the imaginations of the peoples who are hostile to God will come to nothing. Jeremiah 51:58 expresses this thought especially for modern Babylon. 

Verse 14 states: 

“For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.”

This marvelous prophecy is given five times in the Old Testament (cp. Habakkuk 2:14; Numbers 14:21; Psalm 72:19; Isaiah 6:3; and Isaiah 11:9). It will be fulfilled when Christ has returned.

In addition, and by contrast, the book of Habakkuk includes five times the word “woe” for Babylon (cp. 2:6; 2:9; 2:12; 2:15; 2:19). 

Verses 15 and 16 continue: 

“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness! You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also—drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the LORD’s right hand will be turned against you, And utter shame will be on your glory.”

As Babylon has poured out his poisonous wine of false teachings into the cup of the people, so it and all nations being equally culpable, including the modern Houses of Israel and Judah, will have to drink from the cup of the LORD’s Wrath, as is so vividly depicted in passages such as Jeremiah 25:15–29 and Isaiah 51:17; as well as Revelation 16:19.

Verse 17 continues: 

“For the violence done to Lebanon will cover you, And the plunder of beasts which made them afraid, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it.”

This passage can also be rendered in such a way that the disturbed beasts will make the people afraid, and that violence or rape is committed to the land. God will avenge the destruction of plants, animals and men being committed by the Babylonian system. The “beasts” could also refer to the kings of the East—and especially the Medes—which will destroy modern Babylon. 

Verse 18 states: 

“What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols?” 

This is referring to the modern Chaldeans, and perhaps also to the Houses of Israel and Judah. The reference to the molded image as a teacher of lies is interesting in light of Revelation 13:15 about the image of the beast which speaks. This image is going to be erected on behest of the religious power and the false prophet. It might even be placed in the Temple which will still be built prior to Christ’s return. 

Continuing with verse 19

“Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all.”

The “silent” stone is a stone without breath or spirit. It cannot speak. But demons can create an illusion which may look very real, as will apparently be the case in Revelation 13:15. A demon can of course speak “through” a stone, pretending that the stone speaks. This is a focal point of entrapment. 

Verse 20 concludes the second chapter as follows:

“But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

God is in His holy temple in heaven from which He observes what is happening on earth (Psalm 11:4–5). When God causes His judgment to be heard from heaven, the earth will be afraid and quiet (Psalm 76:8; Zechariah 2:13; compare also Revelation 8:1). 

Habakkuk, Chapter 3

Chapter 3 contains a prayer, or better a song, which could be characterized as a song of lamentation. Some say, it is a song for the innocent. 

Verses 1 and 2 read: 

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.”

The meaning of the word “Shigionoth” is obscure. A similar word is used in Psalm 7, which is a lament psalm. Habakkuk asks God to revive His work, which, as we have seen, refers to the rise of the end-time Chaldeans and the preaching of the gospel. This should be done in the midst of the years—that is, suddenly and unexpectedly. It will be a time culminating in the Day of the Lord, the wrath of God. Habakkuk pleads for mercy for the innocent during this dramatic time. When the Chaldeans have finished their work and the gospel has been preached, Jesus Christ will return. Hosea 6:2 addresses the end of that terrible time after two days and on the third day, when God will raise up His people. 

Verse 3 continues: 

“God came from Teman, The Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covered the heavens, And the earth was full of His praise.”

Teman is a reference to Turkey. The same reference to Christ’s coming is made in Judges 5:4. Also note Deuteronomy 33:2–5, speaking of the time when God thundered the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai to the people of Israel, but as the passage is worded, it also seems to refer to Christ’s return.

Verses 4 and 5 continue: 

“His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, And there His power was hidden. Before Him went pestilence, And fever followed at His feet.”

The Authorized Version renders the last part of verse 5 as: “… burning coals went forth at his feet.” The entire description reminds us of the coals in connection with the description of the glory of God and His holy angels in Isaiah 6:6 and Ezekiel 1:13–14. The time setting of this passage is the wrath of God and His pouring out of the seven last plagues, described in the Book of Revelation. This same theme is continued in the entire third chapter of the Book of Habakkuk.

Verses 6–8 state: 

“He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, The perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled. O LORD, were You displeased with the rivers, Was Your anger against the rivers, Was Your wrath against the sea, That You rode on Your horses, Your chariots of salvation?”

The tents of Cushan refer to Ethiopia, being in affliction (compare Daniel 11:43). The horses and chariots speak of God’s angels and their fiery chariots, which are mentioned during the lives of Elijah and Elisha. 

Continuing with verses 9–10

“Your bow was made quite ready; Oaths were sworn over Your arrows. Selah. You divided the earth with rivers. The mountains saw You and trembled; The overflowing of the water passed by. The deep uttered its voice, And lifted its hands on high.”

This poetic description of God’s mighty intervention finds its expression in Psalm 77:16–20, specifically referring to the escape from Egyptian slavery, but as the entire Book of Habakkuk is a prophecy for our time, it also reflects what Christ will do when He returns. The duality is also clearly shown in the following verse.

Verse 11 states: 

“The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; At the light of Your arrows they went, At the shining of Your glittering spear.”

As God intervened supernaturally at the time of Joshua (Joshua 10:13), so He will supernaturally intervene when He returns to fight for and free His people.

Verses 12 and 13 continue: 

“You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, By laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah.”

The “head” is a reference to the beast, and the “house of the wicked” is a description of the modern Chaldeans. They will all be destroyed when Christ returns. 

Verse 14 states: 

“You thrust through with his own arrows The head of his villages. They came out like a whirlwind to scatter me; Their rejoicing was like feasting on the poor in secret.”

The one who is supposed to be scattered could be describing the modern House of Judah. But the enemy will destroy itself with their own arrows, as Zechariah 14:13 describes. 

Continuing with verse 15

“You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters.”

This could again show God’s supernatural intervention in the future, who will use symbolic horses or His angels in the process (compare Micah 7:15). 

The next verses revert back to the time prior to God’s intervention, when the Chaldeans—modern Babylon under the beast—will attack the modern Houses of Israel and Judah.

Verse 16 states: 

“When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, He will invade them with his troops.”

The day of trouble or tribulation refers to the time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. In a vision, Habakkuk sees the protection of God’s people who can rest in peace. “When he comes up to the people” could refer to the beast and his attack on the people of Israel and Judah, and it can also refer to his invasion of additional countries with his troops [that is, the troops of those ten nations which had given their authority to the beast (compare Revelation 17:12–13)]. 

Verses 17 and 18 continue: 

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Even though there will be calamity and disaster all around, Habakkuk points out God’s great purpose for His people and for all of mankind. A similar statement can be found in Isaiah 61:10–11, which describes the return of Christ—the bridegroom—and the beautiful conditions during the Millennium. And so, the worthy conclusion of the matter can be seen in the next and final verse.

Verse 19 states: 

“The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”

The same expression of hope and conviction can be seen in 2 Samuel 22:34 and in Psalm 18:31–33. When God is on our side, leading, guiding and strengthening us, we do not need to fear, and He will honor us with great glory and eternal life in His very Family. 

A Prophecy from the Book of Hosea

Before turning to the Book of Joel, we would like to address a peculiar set of end-time Scriptures in the Books of Hosea and Zechariah. Hosea 5:7 reads: “They have dealt treacherously with the LORD, For they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.” Verse 1 speaks to the priests, the House of Israel and the house of the king. Verse 3 says that God knows Ephraim and that Israel is not hidden from Him. 

Verse 5 says that Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their iniquity, and that Judah will stumble with them. Verse 8 says that the ram’s horn and the trumpet are to be blown, obviously referring to impending war, and verse 9 continues that Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke. Verse 10 speaks of God’s wrath; and verse 13 says that Ephraim won’t succeed in trying to find help from King Jareb of Assyria. Finally, verse 15 announces that ultimately Ephraim and Judah will earnestly seek God when they are being afflicted, indicating repentance.

The context of the entire chapter describes end-time events and addresses the modern descendants of the ancient Houses of Israel and Judah. The reference to Ephraim is to be understood as, foremost, describing the nations and peoples of the United Kingdom; and perhaps Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the white populations of other English-speaking nations belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations [formerly known as the British Commonwealth], such as South Africa and Zimbabwe;and when Israel is mentioned in addition to Ephraim, it would refer to Ephraim’s brother Manasseh whose descendants can be found today in the United States. Judah, of course, is a reference to the state of Israel and the Jews in general, and the modern Assyrians can be found today in Germany and Austria. 

God speaks of the trumpet of war (referring also to the Feast of Trumpets, as we will see) and of His wrath which He will pour out on all nations during the Day of His Wrath, just prior to Christ’s return. Finally, reference is made to the priests—the religious leadership in all of the above-mentioned countries—and the house of the king, referring to the royal house and monarchy of Great Britain.

Since verse 5 tells us that Ephraim, Israel (Manasseh) and Judah will all fall together, what then is the meaning of verse 7, telling us that because of their harlotry (verse 3) and the upbringing of pagan children, the “new moon” shall devour them and their heritage or posterity?

Commentaries are quite divided on the meaning of this verse. Many overlook the end-time application of the verse. But several commentaries recognize the fact that the “new moon”—the first day of the month—is mentioned in connection with blowing a ram’s horn and a trumpet; apparently referring to the annual Holy Day of the Feast of Trumpets. This day is of course still to be kept today by Christians and Jews, but without the sacrifices, and it especially symbolizes the seven last trumpets mentioned in the Book of Revelation, culminating in the return of Jesus Christ. The thought seems to be that as Christ will return quickly and unexpectedly at a time of worldwide war, the destruction in war of modern Israel and Judah will likewise occur quickly and unexpectedly.

Hosea’s end-time prophecy in chapter 5 describes the sudden defeat in war of the USA and the United Kingdom; and perhaps Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe; in addition to the state of Israel and many Jews. This will occur through a modern King of Assyria—the “beast” or the “king of the North”—who will be leading a European collaboration of ten nations or groups of nations—referred to as ten kings in the book of Revelation, chapter 17, and ten toes in the book of Daniel, chapter 2.

These ten nations or kings will receive power for “one hour” (Revelation 17:12)—again, a very short time—to share it with the “beast”. They will fight with him, and he will also be accompanied and supported by the “false prophet,” a religious leader of a worldwide organization claiming to be Christian. As the reference in Revelation 17:12 to “one hour” does not mean 60 minutes (it apparently refers to 3 ½ years, note Daniel 7:25, or a somewhat shorter time span than that), the reference to the “month” in Hosea 5:7 does not have to mean a time span of 30 days either—what is expressed here is the very shortness of time. For instance, the Day of the Lord will probably last one year… not just 24 hours (compare Isaiah 34:8; 61:2; 63:4).

A Prophecy from the Book of Zechariah

We find an interesting parallel passage in Zechariah 11:8 which reads: “I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.” There is much speculation about this verse as well, and many apply it only to the time of Zechariah. However, the prophecies in the Book of Zechariah have end-time applications, as is the case with Hosea 5:7, and the reference to “one month” in both passages is striking. 

Some, understanding this, have suggested that Zechariah 11:8 refers to shepherds or leaders in various splinter groups of the Church of God who make merchandise of the brethren; live an ungodly lifestyle; preach wrong doctrines and practices; misappropriate religious titles to themselves which only belong to Christ; or claim ministerial positions of rank and stature which were not given to them by God, such as being an apostle, a prophet, or one of the two witnesses. Others suggested that the three shepherds might perhaps refer to leaders or influential persons of remnants of previous Church of God eras or of the very last era, whom God will deal with because of their disloyalty and faithlessness.

In light of Hosea 5:7, the reference to the “month” in Zechariah 11:8 could also refer to God’s quick intervention in regard to three ungodly entities which will be responsible, directly or indirectly, for the defeat and destruction of modern Israel and Judah: One possibility here is that God refers to three leaders of “Ephraim,” “Israel” (Manasseh) and “Judah” (Hosea 5:5), who, due to their ungodly conduct, will inflict God’s wrath and who will thereby indirectly cause or contribute to the defeat of their sinful countries which will be falling together within a short period of time. God will bring about their defeat due to their many national sins, but God places the blame foremost on the ungodly political and religious leaders of those nations (compare Isaiah 1:5, 10; 3:12; 9:14–16; 28:7; Jeremiah 2:8; 23:11–14, 16–22, 26–27; Ezekiel 22:25–27; Micah 3:1–7).

These “three shepherds” might refer to the political leadership of the USA, the UK and the state of Israel at the time of God’s intervention. As God addresses in Hosea 5:1 the priests, the house of Israel and the house of the king, it is also possible that the three shepherds to be dismissed within “one month” could describe the religious, political and kingly leadership of the USA, the UK and the state of Israel. In any event, the implication is that the collapse of these institutions and false religious and political leaders will occur suddenly and quickly. [For the defeat of the monarchy in Great Britain, please read our comments in our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” where we state on page 11: “The final king of the house of David, prior to Christ’s return, may cease to rule for a very short period of time: ‘At dawn the king of Israel Shall be cut off utterly’ (Hosea 10:15).”]

This destruction will be caused by modern “Babylon”—the last European revival of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire.” Therefore, another possibility of the dismissal of the three ungodly shepherds could be seen in the three powers or power blocs which will be directly responsible for the defeat of the modern descendants of the ancient Houses of Israel and Judah—namely, the beast, the false prophet and the group of ten core European nations or groups of nations. As God will deal with and bring about the defeat of sinful USA, the UK and Judah in “one month”—in a very short time—so He will also deal with and bring about the defeat of wicked modern Babylon in “one month.” Revelation 18:8, 10, 17 tells us that the ungodly and demonically inspired end–time Babylonian system will be judged and destroyed “in one day” and “in one hour.” Again, the implication is that it will happen unexpectedly within a very short time. Notice Jeremiah 51:8 and Isaiah 47:5–11.

In conclusion, Hosea 5:7 does not necessarily say that the downfall and defeat of the USA, the UK and the state of Israel—the ungodly religious and political leadership as well as the entire nations—will occur within a literal month, consisting of 30 days, but we are clearly warned that it will happen very quickly, and that they will all fall together at approximately the same time; and especially the Feast of Trumpets warns us that a coming ungodly European power bloc will begin a terrible nuclear war which will destroy, defeat and enslave the modern descendants of the ancient Houses of Israel and Judah, but it also tells us that the European superpower will also be destroyed very quickly (Jeremiah 51:27–33, 49).

With this background, we now want to examine the prophetic message in the ancient Book of Joel in detail.

The Book of Joel

The Book of Joel describes events leading to and during the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord, including the defeat in war of the USA and the United Kingdom through the modern Babylonian system in Europe under the leadership of a modern Assyrian Führer, as well as their punishment through the modern Medes, and the destruction of all worldly powers wanting to fight against Jesus Christ when He returns.

Not much is known about the author of the book, and when exactly it was written. The name Joel means “Yahweh Is God” or “Yahweh Is Strength.” Joel’s father was Pethuel, which means, “convicted by God” or “open towards God.”

Even though ancient events are being alluded to, the main theme of the book is the DAY of the LORD—the time span beginning about a year prior to Christ’s return, and it describes events leading to the Day of the Lord and those events during the Day of the Lord. The book describes the attack of the modern Babylonian system and modern Assyria on the modern Houses of Israel and Judah, and the destruction of that system through a Far Eastern power.

Joel, Chapter 1

Joel 1:1–3 reads: 

The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.” 

What is described in the Book of Joel are unique experiences at the end of this age. Joel 2:2 confirms this where it states about the day of the LORD: “The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.”

Verse 4 continues: 

“What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.”

Some say, four kinds of literal locusts or other damaging insects are being mentioned. Others feel, the description refers to four human empires and armies. They identify the “chewing locusts” with Assyria and Babylon; the “swarming locusts” with Persia; the “crawling locusts” with Greece; and the “consuming locusts” with Rome.

The literal translation of the verse is: “… the remainder [or the rest] of the chewing locusts the swarming locusts have eaten; the remains of the swarming locusts, the crawling locusts have eaten…”

A slightly different order of these “locusts” is given in Joel 2:25, where we read first about the “swarming locusts” (Persia), followed by the crawling locusts” (Greece), the “consuming locusts” (Rome) and the “chewing locusts” (Assyria and Babylon), all referring to successive armies attacking and conquering the ancient and modern Houses of Israel and Judah. 

In Joel 2:25, these locusts are described as God’s great army, showing that God has raised and will raise—or has allowed and will allow—these powers to attack Israel and Judah. Anciently, the four successive powers attacked Israel and Judah in the way described in Joel 1:4, but in modern times, the order is more in line with the successive powers, described in Joel 2:25 and the Books of Daniel and Revelation.

Joel 1:5–6 continues: 

“Awake, you drunkards, and weep, And wail, all you drinkers of wine, Because of the new wine, for it has been cut off from your mouth. For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.”

The people, indifferent to the writing on the wall and willingly ignorant regarding the calamity which has befallen them, are admonished to repent and warned to recognize the signs of the time. 

What is described here are events at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Even though the Assyrians have already invaded the land, time for repentance is still possible, to be protected from the plagues of the Day of the Lord.

References to an army described as a lion can be found in Revelation 9:8, referring to modern Babylon—the final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire; and the teeth of the fourth beast in Daniel 7:7—Rome and its ten revivals, symbolized by the ten horns—also shows the connection to the statement in Joel 1:6.

Joel 1:7 continues: 

“He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.”

The ancient and future destruction of the Houses of Israel and Judah especially through the modern Babylonian system is vividly portrayed here: The vine or vineyard is a reference to the House of Israel (Isaiah 5:7), while the fig tree describes the House of Judah.

Joel 1:8 states: 

“Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the husband of her youth.”

Here we note that the main recipient of this message should be the Church of God—spiritual Israelites and Jews. A martyrdom of true Christians is prophesied for the end time, and especially for those who are not as dedicated and zealous for Christ as they should be. The husband or bridegroom describes of course Jesus Christ (compare Isaiah 54:5; Matthew 25:1; 9:15; and John 3:29).

Joel 1:9 continues: 

“The grain offering and the drink offering Have been cut off from the house of the LORD; The priests mourn, who minister to the LORD.” 

While describing the ancient events culminating in the enslavement of the House of Judah and the suppression of animal sacrifices at the Temple of God through Antiochus Epiphanes, we note that similar events are prophesied for the future. The beast—the final German or Austrian leader of the last revival of the ancient Roman Empire—will conquer Jerusalem and suppress animal sacrifices which the Jews will have begun to give again in the house of the LORD—the TEMPLE of God (the third temple which is still going to be built prior to Christ’s return). 

Joel 1:10–11 continues: 

“The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails. Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished.” 

The prophesied famine and destruction of the modern Houses of Israel and Judah are also described in many other places in the Bible (compare Deuteronomy 32:23–25; Jeremiah 14:12–18). In addition, famine in general is prophesied for the entire world (compare Revelation 6:5–6; Matthew 24:7). 

Joel 1:12 reads: 

“The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree—All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.”

We note again the reference to the fig tree and the vine—symbolic for the modern Houses of Israel and Judah. In addition, other “trees” are mentioned, which could also be a reference to the Israelites and the Jews. In addition, this passage describes a very real and devastating famine for the entire area.

Joel 1:13–14 states: 

“Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Wail, you who minister before the altar; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God. Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD.” 

Again, we note that due to the famine, certain offerings cannot be brought. Further, the distinction between “my God” and “your God” is interesting, as if the worship of God through the people is not the right kind of reverence, and not performed with the right attitude and dedication. That might also include the quality of the sacrifices which will be brought for a while (compare Malachi 1:7–8, 12–14) so that God will finally allow them to be suppressed entirely. 

Finally, rather than translating, “Gather the elders… into the house of the LORD,” it should be rendered, “Gather, you elders, all the inhabitants of the land…” The religious leaders are being admonished to restore the right kind of worship. 

Joel 1:15 says: 

“Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.”

This verse contains the first reference to the “day of the LORD,” showing the direct connection to events just prior to the return of Christ. But note that the Day of the Lord is “at hand”—it had not quite arrived yet. 

For instance, Jeremiah 30:7 describes the unique and unparalleled events during the Day of the LORD, as they pertain to Jacob or the modern House of Israel; and the anger of God towards all rebellious and sinful people is pictured in passages such as Zephaniah 1:7, 14–16, 18; 2:3; as well as Amos 5:18–20.

Joel 1:16–18 states: 

“Is not the food cut off before our eyes, Joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed shrivels under the clods, Storehouses are in shambles; Barns are broken down, For the grain has withered. How the animals groan! The herds of cattle are restless, Because they have no pasture; Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment.”

This passage shows again that at the time just prior to the Day of the Lord, a physical temple (“the house of our God”) will exist, but there will be no more sacrifices, due to the lack of grain. The famine on the land and the destruction caused by the invading army will be so severe that even the animals will suffer. It is a sad fact of life that due to man’s horrible misdeeds, nature is affected. 

Joel 1:19–20 conclude the first chapter with these pictures of destruction for the entire land: 

“O LORD, to You I cry out; For fire has devoured the open pastures, And a flame has burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field also cry out to You, For the water brooks are dried up, And fire has devoured the open pastures.” 

As we will see, the “fire” and the “flame” do not describe here ordinary natural wildfires. It is also interesting that animals are mentioned at the time of these terrible nuclear devastations. Animals can survive in radioactively-polluted regions, as we know from observations in Chernobyl. 

Joel, Chapter 2

Joel 2:1–2 continues the theme of the Day of the LORD: 

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.”

The command to blow the trumpet echoes the same instruction in passages such as Jeremiah 6:17 to warn the people of the coming Day of the Lord and impending disaster. But as was the case in ancient times, the modern Houses of Israel and Judah will likewise, for the most part, ignore God’s warning (compare Ezekiel 7:14; 13:5). God gives His command to act as a watchman, warning the people and His Church, spiritual Zion. The great and strong people, bringing destruction, clearlyrefers to a powerful human army. The statement that “the like of whom” does not refer to numbers, but to the unique nature of the last revival of the ancient Roman Empire (compare Daniel 7:23).

Daniel 12:1 also refers to this terrible unique time in the future, beginning with the Great Tribulation and culminating in the Day of the LORD (compare also Matthew 24:21). The Day of the Lord is also described in passages such as Amos 6:1–3. 

Joel 2:3–5 continues: 

“A firedevours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array.“ 

As alluded to in the previous chapter, the fire and the flame are the consequences of modern weapons, and the horses and the noise of a flaming fire describe a terrible European army under the leadership of the beast, using weapons of mass destruction. Note the parallel passage in Revelation 9:7,9 (“The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle… the sound [or noise] of their wings was like the sound [or noise] of chariots with many horses running into battle.”) 

Joel 2:6 states: 

“Before them the people writhe in pain; All faces are drained of color.” 

The invading European army will be ruthless and frightening.

Joel 2:7–9 confirms the identity of these horses as human soldiers: 

“They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; Every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, They are not cut down. They run to and fro in the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter at the windows like a thief.” 

The Day of the LORD comes as a thief in the night (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6).

Continuing with Joel 2:10

“The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness.” 

Here, clear references are being made to earthquakes and the Heavenly Signs, culminating in the Day of the Lord—the day of God’s Wrath, which is described in Revelation 6:12–17; cp. Luke 21:25–26. We will discuss these passages below in more detail.

Joel 2:11 states: 

“The LORD gives voice [thunders] before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?” 

The reference to God’s army is to the European army under the modern king of Assyria (a modern Führer of German or Austrian descent), as Isaiah 10:5 makes clear. The same concept is conveyed in Jeremiah 51:20–23, where the modern European army of the Babylonian system is being described.

Even though this is a wicked system under a wicked Führer over a wicked European union of ten core nations or groups of nations, it is God who directs and determines the outcome of wars. The Lutherbibel translates Psalm 46:9 in the way that God “directs” the wars in the world. 

Joel 2:12–14 continues: 

“‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him—A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?” 

A call for repentance is going out today to the people and especially to the Houses of Israel and Judah and the Church of God—spiritual Israelites and Jews—as well as to all nations, including those which are part of the modern Babylonian system in Europe (note Jeremiah 4:1; Luke 24:46–47; Acts 17:30; Revelation 18:2–4). Those who repent are compared with offerings for God; note Romans 12:1 and Romans 15:16 (“the offering consisting of the Gentiles”). 

Joel 2:15–16 states: 

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.” 

Again, the trumpet call is heard—the warning message to the Church (“Zion”), admonishing God’s people who have slipped to repent and return to God (Revelation 3:3) with zeal and dedication (Revelation 3:19), and to prepare themselves to become worthy to escape all the terrible things which are going to come to pass (Luke 21:36), and to be brought to the place of safety here on earth during the time of the Great Tribulation or the “hour of trial” (Revelation 3:10; 12:14). This willingness to come out of their houses and to assemble with the brethren (Hebrews 10:24–25) stands in sharp contrast with those who are willing to submit to house arrests, self-isolation and quarantine during a time of an alleged epidemic, when such conduct is in violation of God’s direct command. (In this regard, please read chapter 9 of our free booklet, “Obeying God Rather Than Man.”) 

Joel 2:17–18 says: 

“Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?”’ Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, And pity His people.”

The “priests” could actually be those who had been entrusted with the task of bringing physical sacrifices at the temple. But this could also be a reference to God’s true ministers—the spiritual Levites—who pray to God for mercy in order to spare God’s people—members of the Church who were not found worthy to be protected at the place of safety.

Joel 2:19–20 continues: 

“The LORD will answer and say to His people, ‘Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. But I will remove far from you the northern army, And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, With his face toward the eastern sea And his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, And his foul odor will rise, Because he has done monstrous things.’” 

After Christ’s return, there will be no more famine, and God will bestow other physical blessings on His people. The “northern army” refers to the beast power under the modern Assyrian “Führer.” A similar prophecy is given in Zephaniah 2:13, where we read that God “will stretch out His hand against the north, Destroy Assyria, And make Nineveh a desolation, As dry as the wilderness.” The theme of the book of Zephaniah is also the Day of the LORD; hence, the quoted prophecy refers to the end time and a modern Assyria and a modern city of Nineveh—the capital of modern Assyria. 

The following verses describe in beautiful ways the marvelous wonders which God will perform after the return of Christ. 

Joel 2:21–29 reads:

“Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the LORD has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing up, And the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterwardThat I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” 

After Christ’s return, He will bring the descendants of the modern Houses of Israel and Judah to the Promised Land where He will bestow on them physical blessings, replacing famine with plentiful harvests (For more information, please read our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever”). Then, the people will understand that God is THE ONLY God, and upon repentance and belief, they will receive God’s Holy Spirit, and at that time, accompanying signs of that gift will be their ability to prophesy or say things with spiritual understanding, and they will have dreams with meaning and see visions. Isaiah 44:3 gives us a similar prophecy for the time after Christ’s return.

A preliminary fulfillment of the events described in Joel 2:28–29 is reported in Acts 2:17–18, when the people received God’s Holy Spirit at that time on the Day of Pentecost in 31 AD. 

However, in the next two verses, the book of Joel returns to the events which will occur prior to the beginning of the Day of the Lord and Christ’s subsequent return. 

Joel 2:30–31 reads: 

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood [blood of men] and fire and pillars of smoke [nuclear bombs]. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.” 

Following the Great Tribulation and the attack on the modern Houses of Israel and Judah, signified by the blood of men, mingled with terrible nuclear weapons (“fire and pillars of smoke”), heavenly signs [the sun turning into darkness and the moon into blood] will make people even more afraid. Those Heavenly Signs (compare also Luke 21:25–26) will in turn “introduce” the great and dreadful Day of the LORD. 

The order of events is therefore: the Great Tribulation; the Heavenly Signs; and the Day of the Lord. This order is confirmed in many other places in the Bible. 

For instance, we read in Revelation 6:12–17: 

“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” 

Matthew 24:29 adds: 

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” 

Isaiah 13:6–13 gives another description of the events, culminating in the Day of the Lord. Notice in this regard that the events, beginning with the Great Tribulation and the subsequent Heavenly Signs, will continue throughout the Day of the Lord until Christ’s return: 

“Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man’s heart will melt, And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. ‘I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.’”

Joel 2:32 concludes the second chapter in this way: 

“And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.” 

This speaks mainly about the time ahead of us, and especially, but not exclusively, the time of the Millennium. The one who calls on God will be saved or better delivered from the wrath to come, but just saying, “I believe in Jesus,” is most certainly not enough. Hebrews 5:9 shows us what is necessary: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” 

We must obey God, as we also read in Romans 1:5 and in Romans 16:26. John 3:36 tells us how we can escape the wrath of God: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him” (Revised Standard Version). 

Joel, Chapter 3

Joel 3:1 states:

“For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem…” 

The modern descendants of the Houses of Israel and Judah, who survive the terrible attack on their lands, will end up in captivity. When Christ comes back, He will free them from their captivity and lead them into the Promised Land (compare Jeremiah 16:14–15; 46:27). But before that occurs, the next verse informs us what will happen first. 

Joel 3:2 states:

 “I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.” 

The final “battle” will take place in the “Valley of Jehoshaphat,” which means, “God judges or decides.” It refers to the Kidron Valley in the East of Jerusalem. This battle is described in more detail in Zechariah 14:1–5, 12–13, 15:

“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east… Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You [or: Him]… And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against
Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day That a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand… Such also shall be the plague On the horse and the mule, On the camel and the donkey, And on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be.” 

Isaiah 66:15–16 adds: “For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many.”

Many speak of the battle of Armageddon. But Armageddon is not the place of battle but it is the place where armies gather to move from there to Jerusalem to fight the returning Jesus Christ in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Notice Revelation 16:12–16:

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. ‘Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.’ And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”

The beast or the king of Assyria or the king of the North—the coming Führer of ten core European nations or groups of nations—will attack a great power bloc in the Far East, called in the Bible “the kings of the East” (compare Revelation 9:1–12; Daniel 11:44). The kings of the East will fight Europe in retaliation for the attack of the European power bloc (compare Revelation 9:13–19).

Shortly before Christ’s return, at least parts of the armies of the kings of the East—mainly the modern Russians and Ukrainians—will apparently sweep through Europe and create devastating havoc there.

The Bible shows that after the ten European nations, under the authority of a modern Assyrian leader of German or Austrian descent, subdue and conquer many nations, including the USA and the UK, they themselves will be defeated in war by the modern Medes.

At the same time or shortly after their final attack on Europe, the kings from the East will be crossing the dried-up river Euphrates to move their armies and equipment to a place called “Armageddon” in the Middle East (Revelation 16:12, 16). “Armageddon” or the “hill of Megiddo” (“har” meaning “hill” in Hebrew; in German, the word is “Harmageddon”) is about 55 miles or 90 kilometers north of Jerusalem, and about 15 miles or 25 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean Sea.

Megiddo is a huge mound with a commanding view of the long and fertile valley of Jezreel—an ideal place for armies to gather. The kings from the East, as well as all of the other kings of the earth, will be influenced by Satan and the demonically possessed beast and the false prophet to assemble there together (Revelation 16:13–14), to combine their forces with the beast’s armies to fight the returning Christ.

We do not read that there will be a battle at Armageddon—the “battle” will be fought farther south in the valley of Jehoshaphat, which is called today the “Kidron Valley,” which borders Jerusalem on the east. Christ will supernaturally destroy and wipe out those armies trying to fight Him.

Joel 3:3–9 continues: 

“They have cast lots for My people, Have given a boy as payment for a harlot, And sold a girl for wine, that they may drink. ‘Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, Swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head; Because you have taken My silver and My gold, And have carried into your temples My prized possessions. Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem You have sold to the Greeks, That you may remove them far from their borders. Behold, I will raise them Out of the place to which you have sold them, And will return your retaliation upon your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters Into the hand of the people of Judah, And they will sell them to the Sabeans, To a people far off; For the LORD has spoken. Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up.’”

The mighty men, being asked to prepare for war, are those who are going to fight against modern Babylon—that is, the modern Medes and their allies.

We also read that God will sell the sons and daughters of Gentile nations into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off. This is foremost a passage for the Millennium, after Christ has freed the people of Israel and Judah from captivity. But this passage does not teach slavery in the Millennium. Rather, the sons and daughters of the Gentiles will be handed back to their parents—or given to Gentile foster parents if their real parents had died during the Great Tribulation or the Day of the Lord. But notice what will ultimately happen. 

The Sabeans (lit. “Shebaites”) are mentioned in Isaiah 60:6 where we read: “The multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD.”

A similar passage can be found in Isaiah 49:22–23 where it reads: “Thus says the LORD God: ‘Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, And set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

These passages do not imply that there will be slavery in the Millennium. In our free booklet, “Old Testament Laws—Still Valid Today?”, we state on pages 25 and 26 that it is highly unlikely that any slavery will exist in the Millennium. We discuss Isaiah 14:1–2, which deals with the Millennium. The passage reads:

“For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors.”

We then quote several commentaries ruling out the possibility of slavery in the Millennium. For instance, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes:

“‘And they shall take them captive…’—That is, they shall induce them to become proselytes; to be willing to accompany them to their own homes, and to become their servants there. It does not mean that they would subdue them by force; but they would be able, by their influence there, to disarm their opposition; and to induce them to become the friends of their religion… This is one instance where the people of God would show that they could disarm their oppressors by a mild and winning demeanour, and in which they would be able to induce others to join with them. Such would be the force of their example and conduct, of their conversation and of their deportment…”

The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown adds: “‘captives’ — not by physical, but by moral might; the force of love, and regard to Israel’s God [compare Isaiah 60:14].”

Likewise, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states:

“… this will have… accomplishment in the latter day, when the Gentiles shall bring their sons and daughters in their arms, and on their shoulders, and on horses, and in chariots, to Jerusalem [Isaiah 49:21–23]… [They will choose] rather to be servants and handmaids to them, than to return to their own land, and who were a kind of inheritance or possession to the [Israelites]… It may be understood of Gentile converts…, who would willingly and cheerfully engage in the service of the church of God, and by love serve his people, and one another [Isaiah 61:5]…”

The same explanation should be applied to the passage in Joel 3:8. 

Joel 3:10 continues: 

“Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’” 

This refers to the time prior to Christ’s return and is an obvious reversal of the prophesied millennial time of peace, pictured inIsaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3 where we read: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” 

Before this peaceful time can begin, the nations are willing to prepare for war, eager to fight the battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat in their attempt to defeat Christ, and God will not prevent them from trying to do so. But note what is prophesied to happen. 

Joel 3:11–13 states: 

“Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. ‘Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow—For their wickedness is great.’” 

The ripe harvest is also referred to and described in passages such as Revelation 19:15–16; 14:14–20 (verse 20 describes the spilled blood of these hostile armies, covering a distance of about 184 miles or 296 kilometers).

Joel 3:14 continues: 

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” 

The multitudes refer to the European armies under the beast and those from the kings of the East.

Joel 3:15–16 continues: 

“The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.” 

The Heavenly Signs which began after the commencement of the Great Tribulation will continue and reach their climax at the time of the final battle of hostile armies against Christ. At that time, the Lord—Jesus Christ—will roar from Zion (compare Isaiah 31:4–5). And He will be a shelter for His people—converted Christians who will be protected and fed at the place of safety here on earth during these terrible times (compareIsaiah 33:14–16; Revelation 12:6,14). God will also show Himself strong in defense of the physical people of Israel and Judah. 

Joel 3:17 continues: 

“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again.” 

This means, from that time on, no alien or foreign power will occupy Jerusalem again. And even though Asiatic hordes will try to occupy Jerusalem and the Promised Land at the very beginning of the Millennium—and also at the very end of it—God will intervene to prevent their plans from being carried out. 

Joel 3:18 states: 

“And it will come to pass in that day That the mountains shall drip with new wine, The hills shall flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD And water the Valley of Acacias.” 

The Valley of Acacia or Shittim describes the location from where the Israelites went into the Promised Land (Joshua 2:1). The “brooks of Judah” being flooded with water are also referred to in Zechariah 14:8 where they are identified as “living waters.” The spiritual application of these physical and quite literal descriptions is obvious. 

Joel 3:19 continues: 

“Egypt shall be a desolation, And Edom a desolate wilderness, Because of violence against the people of Judah, For they have shed innocent blood in their land.”

These powers, having been hostile to Israel and Judah and also, of course, to Christ Himself, will have to give account for their deeds. This includes Assyria as well as the entire Babylonian system. Revelation 18 describes the destruction of the Babylonian system, as well as the city of Rome which is built on seven hills (Revelation 17:9, 18). 

The beast is associated with the number 666 (Revelation 13:18). It refers to the numerical value of the letters of the name or designation of the beast. But in 1 Kings 10:14, a connection is also made with incredible wealth. In the Greek, two very common nouns with the numerical value of 666 are wealth and tradition. And the mark of the beast is actually a reversal of the sign of God for us when we keep His Word (Deuteronomy 6:4–8; 11:18). We worship God in vain when we lay aside the commandments of God for our human traditions. 

Joel 3:20–21 concludes: 

“But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; For the LORD dwells in Zion.” 

An unparalleled coming time of peace is prophesied, but before this occurs, Isaiah 29:9–10 gives this sobering warning about impending disasters which the religious leaders of this world are unable to grasp: 

“Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the LORD has poured out on you The spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers.” 

But in Isaiah 29:18–19, this assurance is given: “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, And the poor among men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel.” 

A similar warning and reassurance are also found in Romans 2:5–10: 

“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Let us make sure that we seek God’s glory, honor, immortality and peace. 

Conclusion

We have seen in four different Old Testament books that God’s warning of impending disaster for many nations and powers is very real. At first sight, these four books might not be related, but the opposite is clearly the case. And so, God’s Church has been given the commission to warn the world of what is in store. We must not be like Jonah who ran away, because much—too much—is at stake. 

Most in the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; the Jewish people; the Europeans and especially the Germans and the Austrians, and also people in Far Eastern nations such as Russia and Ukraine, will NOT listen to God’s end time warning and in all likelihood the very last warning before the storm. But some—very few—will hear and heed, and it is those few who can be protected from the terrible times ahead.

Will YOU be one of the chosen few?

God the Father Is the Highest

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Introduction

There is a tendency in many churches to either under- or overemphasize the role and position of God the Father and of Jesus Christ. It is of tremendous importance that we understand the Truth in this regard, as it is revealed in the pages of the Bible. This booklet will show that God is a Family and a hierarchy, and this means, God the Father is the highest in the Godhead; He and Jesus Christ are NOT equal in authority. This understanding has tremendous importance for our daily Christian life.

Jesus Christ told us to pray to God the Father. He emphasized in the prayer outline in Matthew 6:9–13 that “the kingdom and the power and the glory” belong to the Father forever; that we should ask the Father to establish His Kingdom on earth; to give us our bread day by day; to forgive us our sins; to deliver us from evil; and that His Will be done on earth as in heaven.

Why is that the case? Why are we told to direct our prayers to God the Father?

Simply put, as we will show, because God the Father is the highest in the Godhead. There is no equality between the Father and Jesus Christ, as far as authority is concerned. God is a hierarchy—with God the Father on top and Jesus Christ under Him; and when we become born-again God Beings in the God Family, we will become part of that hierarchy by always being under God the Father and under Jesus Christ.

Why Does This Hierarchy Within the Godhead Exist?

Did Jesus Christ—the Son of God—willingly submit to the authority of God the Father which did not exist prior to His submission? The Bible does not imply that at all… and there does not seem to be a reason or justification for that conclusion. 

Is the Father the highest because He created Christ as some believe? They say that Christ was the “beginning” [rather than the “beginner”] of God’s creation [compare Revelation 3:14]—that the Father created Christ before He created anything else. Apart from the fact that the Bible says that Jesus existed from all eternity and that He had no beginning (Hebrews 7:3; Micah 5:2), consider the consequences:

God created Lucifer as the “seal of perfection” (Ezekiel 28:12). If he was the seal of perfection—if God could not create anyone more perfect by fiat than Lucifer [“by fiat” describes a command with immediate fulfillment; “fiat” meaning, “let it be done”], would this mean then that Jesus was less perfect than Lucifer? And remember that Lucifer, in spite of his perfection, sinned (Isaiah 14:12–15: Ezekiel 28:15–16). So, IF Christ would have been created by the Father, by fiat, then there would have been no guarantee that He, as a God Being, would not have sinned, either. That would be truly a preposterous conclusion.

God had to go through the “process” of creating physical man and grant him a lifetime of overcoming in the flesh, to become more and more perfect in fighting against sin. Even Christ could have sinned as a Man, even though He had the Holy Spirit without measure from His conception, and He received extra powers to perform miracles at the baptism of John (Acts 10:37–38), but there was no guarantee that He, as a Man, could not have sinned. To assume then that Christ was created, by fiat, as a God being, unable to sin, defies logic.

The answer to our puzzlement is that the Bible simply does not reveal how God could have always been a hierarchy; and that the Father was always the Father and Jesus Christ was always the Son; but the Bible does not reveal either how God could have always existed. However, we know from the Holy Scriptures that this is so, and therefore, we have to accept it by faith (Hebrews 11:6).

We will now begin to prove from the pages of the Bible THAT God the Father is the highest, and we will show what the supremacy of the Father means for us.

The Father Is Greater Than Christ

Christ told His disciples that the Father is greater than He. 

In John 14:28, Christ is quoted as saying:

“You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”

John 10:27–29 adds:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

In saying that the Father is greater than He and greater than all, Christ was addressing the hierarchy in the Godhead. He clearly expressed here that He was under God the Father’s authority. 

The Father Is God the “Highest” or the MOST High

In respect to the Father, Christ said in Luke 6:35 (New King James Bible, copyright.1982):

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

We read that when Lucifer attempted to knock God off His throne, he wanted to be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). He wanted to usurp God the Father’s power and, in effect, replace Him. That is why it has been suggested that Lucifer said, in effect, that he wanted to be the “most high” ruler. 

Demons know too that the Father is the Most High God, as we read in Luke 8:28:

“When he [a person possessed by a demon] saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said [it was actually the demon speaking through the possessed man], ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!’” 

Some Knew About God the Father

Even though Jesus came to reveal the Father to the Jews at His time and ultimately to the world at large (Matthew 11:27), this does not mean that the righteous people in Old Testament times did not know about the existence of the Father. For instance, David knew about and prayed to God the Father, the Most High God.

In Psalm 7:17, David said:

“I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”

Psalm 9:1–2 adds:

“… I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”

Psalm 57:1–2 states:

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.”

We should also note that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew about God the Father who was their God. Compare Acts 3:13:

“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.”

So we see that the Father was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that the Father glorified His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Undoubtedly, Moses knew about the existence of the Father and the Son, because he was inspired to write in Genesis 1:26 that God (the Father) said to the Son, Jesus Christ: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” 

John confirms this fact in the first verse of the first chapter of his book, where he states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” continuing in verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father.” 

Christ was the only one begotten by God the Father, rather than by a human father. And the reference to the Word is clearly to Jesus Christ, the Word or Spokesman of the Father (Revelation 19:13; 1 John 1:1–3). 

Also, Moses wrote in Genesis 1:1: 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew word for God is “Elohim,” describing here a plurality in the Godhead. 

The High Priest Melchizedek

In addition, when Christ appeared as the High Priest Melchizedek in Old Testament times, He was recognized as “the priest of God Most High” and Abram recognized God as the “God Most High” as well. Note Genesis 14:18–23:

“Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all… Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, “I have made Abram rich”’…”

Paul reiterated in Hebrews 7:1–3, 8, 24, that Melchizedek was and is the priest of the Most High God, and that He was and is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God:

“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like [better: “is like”, compare revidierte Lutherbibel 2017] the Son of God, remains a priest continually… of whom it is witnessed that he lives… He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.”

In Daniel 7:13, Christ is described as “One like the Son of Man.” The word “like” does not refer here to similarity, but identity. As Christ was the Son of Man, so Melchizedek was the Son of God. But He was and is priest of the Most High God—God the Father. 

God Gave Christ the Position of High Priest

The supremacy of God the Father in respect to Melchizedek (Jesus Christ) is also revealed by the fact that Christ became the High Priest of God the Father because God the Father gave Him that position. We read in Hebrews 5:1–10:

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God… And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ As He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’; who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest ‘according to the order of Melchizedek’…”

Compare also Hebrews 7:20–22:

“And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: ‘The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”’), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.”

It is obvious then that Christ is “under” the Father in authority since the Father GAVE or bestowed on HIM the office of High Priest. 

The Father Is Christ’s God

The supremacy of the Father is also clearly revealed by the fact that Jesus referred to the Father as HIS God, and He did so even after His resurrection. We read in John 20:17:

“Jesus said to her [Mary Magdalene], ‘Do not cling to Me [better: Do not delay Me], for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”’”

He also reiterated this Truth in Revelation 3:12:

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”

In this short statement to the church in Philadelphia, He emphasized four times that the Father was His God. 

Christ never tried to usurp the authority of the Father. Even though Christ is clearly described as God (Titus 2:13), He always upheld the Father’s Supremacy. He said in John 17:3: 

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Christ worshipped the Father as His God, but we do not read that the Father worshipped Jesus Christ as His God.

Christ Over All?

However, we read Paul’s statement in Romans 9:5 about Christ:

“… of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”

But this does not mean that Christ is higher than the Father and that He is “over Him.” This is explained in 1 Corinthians 15:24–28 which again shows very clearly the subordinate role of the Son in comparison with the Father:

“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

God the Father is the highest in the Godhead. Christ, under Him, is over all; that is, everything—all authority and power—is under God the Father and under Jesus Christ. 

The Father Created Everything

We also read that God the Father created everything. 

When high-ranking angelic beings approached God the Father on His throne in heaven, they declared (compare Revelation 4:9–11):

“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.’”

Through Jesus Christ

But we also read that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ. Remember, God the Father had said to Christ: “Let US make man in OUR image.”

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:8–10:

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places…”

He confirms this Truth in Hebrews 1:1–3:

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Note these additional passages showing that Jesus sits at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens: Hebrews 8:1 and Hebrews 12:2).

Christ, “who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34), is interceding on our behalf to God—showing that we must go through Jesus to be heard by God the Father, who makes the final decision.

Even though God the Father bestowed great powers on Christ, it still remains true that it was the Father—the Highest in the Godhead—who created everything, but He did so through Christ, the “Executor” of His Will. (Compare also John 1:3, 10; Colossians 1:15–16.)

How the Father Created Everything

The Father revealed His Will to Christ to create; Christ then spoke, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, it was done. This “process” of creation can be seen in the following passages: 

Psalm 148:5 states:

“Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.”

We will discuss later the fact that Christ only does what the Father commands Him. Here, the Father ordered Christ what to do; Christ spoke to carry out God’s Will, and by the power of the Holy Spirit (see discussion about the Holy Spirit later), creation occurred. 

Psalm 33:6 adds:

“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”

In the Hebrew, the word for “breath” and “spirit” is the same. And the “word of the LORD” is a reference to Jesus Christ, the Word or Spokesperson of God the Father. 

Psalm 104:30 says:

“You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth.” And so we read in Genesis 1:2–3:

“The earth was [became] without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”

Following God the Father’s Will and command, Jesus Christ, the Word, carried out the creation through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

God the Father Sent Jesus Christ to This Earth

God’s supremacy is also clearly revealed by the fact that it was the Father who sent Christ to save the world.

John 3:16–17 quotes Christ as follows:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Christ Our Savior

The Father sent Christ as the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Christ is called THE Apostle—the One sent (Hebrews 3:1). He is identified as the Lamb of God—the Lamb of God the Father (John 1:36).

Jesus is clearly identified as our Savior (compare 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Peter 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:18; 1 John 4:14). 

The Father Our Savior

But it was the Father who sent Christ to become our Savior. Therefore, the Bible refers to God the Father many times as our Savior as well (see 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 3:4).

Christ continues in John 8:42: “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.’”

The Purpose for Christ’s Coming

Christ certainly was sent to die for us, thereby paying the penalty for our sins. But this was not the only reason or purpose for which He came and for which He was sent by the Father.

He was sent and came to fulfill the Law—to magnify it and make it more honorable—to show us how to keep it (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17).

He was sent and came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13).

He was sent and came to save which was lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10) and to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

He was sent and came to serve us and die for us (Matthew 20:28).

He was sent and came to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:38; Luke 4:43).

He was sent and came for judgment, that those who don’t see [physically] may see [physically and spiritually], and those who see [physically] may be made blind [spiritually] (John 9:39). 

He was sent and came to tell the Truth, confessing that He was born to be the King (John 18:37).

He was sent and came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

He was sent and came to make known to us the Father (1 John 5:19–20).

He was sent and came to do the Father’s Will, by dying for us and sanctifying us and doing away with the need for animal sacrifices (Hebrews 10:5–10). (However, animal sacrifices will again accompany worship at the Temple of God in Jerusalem during the beginning of the millennial rule of Jesus on the earth, but only the Sacrifice of Christ was, is and will be accepted for the forgiveness of sins (compare Ezekiel, chapters 40–46). For a discussion why temporary millennial sacrifices will be given at all, and by whom, please read pages 47–52 of our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever.”)

Also, Paul tells us in Romans 8:3–4 about one other important purpose for Christ’s First Coming:

“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Christ was sent to condemn sin in the flesh, showing it was and is possible to overcome sin. His Sacrifice paid for our past sins. The Father forgave us our sins which we had previously committed. Christ’s death justified us and reconciled us to God the Father. (More about reconciliation later). We read in Romans 5:8–10:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

We shall be saved by His life because He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. The righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled in us when we allow Christ to live His life in us, giving us the faith and the strength that we can and will overcome sin. And when we sin, we repent and obtain forgiveness, and the blood of Christ purifies and cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7, 9). This is how we are justified again, and we can continue to live righteously by keeping the Law and rejecting sin.

As Christ overcame sin, so must we. And as the Father helped Him through the power of the Holy Spirit within Him to live righteously, so we are being helped through the Holy Spirit in us to do likewise. But the Father did not do everything for Christ, and so we must make every effort to stay righteous with God, by not sinning. 

Christ Spoke the Words of the Father

The supremacy of the Father over Christ is also shown by the fact that Christ only said what the Father commanded Him to say.

In John 3:34, John the Baptist gives the following testimony about Christ:

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give [Him] the Spirit by measure.”

While God gives newly baptized members of the Church only a small portion or measure of His Spirit, He bestowed the fullness of His Holy Spirit on Christ. He did not give Him the Spirit by measure. 

Christ confirmed that He only spoke the words of the Father, establishing that the Father constitutes the highest authority.

In John 14:10, Christ says: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority…”

In John 14:24, He adds: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

In His prayer to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ said in John 17:8:

“For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”

The Father Taught Christ His Words

It is a most amazing revelation that Christ spoke the words of the Father because the Father taught Him what to say. This shows again the supremacy of the Father and Christ’s submission to the Father.

Christ said in John 8:26–28:

“‘I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.’ They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.’”

Again, we read in John 8:38, 40:

“I speak what I have seen with My Father… But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God.”

Continuing in John 12:49–50:

“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

Further, here are Christ’s words to His apostles in John 15:15: 

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

Christ also said in John 7:16–17:

“My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” 

This is good advice for us today as well. Many times, people question whether the Bible is God’s Word; and whether the teaching of the Church of the Eternal God is correct. They can prove it to themselves by beginning to do what the Bible and God’s Church teach, and they will see that it IS God’s Word which is living and powerful. 

One might argue that Christ’s statements only applied to Him in His physical state. But it should be obvious that the Father told Him what He would have to say BEFORE He became a human being. In addition, note that even in His glorified state, Christ receives and passes on the words of the Father. We read in Revelation 1:1–2:

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.” 

Christ Did What the Father Commanded Him to Do

The supremacy of the Father is not only shown by Christ saying the words which the Father commanded Him to say, but also doing and carrying out what the Father had commanded Him to do. That is especially true for creation (discussed earlier in this booklet) and His role as our Savior. 

It was the Father commanding Him to become a Man, living in the flesh and dying for us, but Christ did it gladly and willingly for the joy of seeing us becoming His glorified brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 12:2).

We must not misunderstand the relationship between the Father and the Son by assuming that there was in any way hesitancy of Christ to do what the Father wanted Him to do. As we will see, there has always been complete harmony and unity between the Father and the Son.

Christ said in John 10:17–18:

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

The Father Decides the Time of Christ’s Return

The fact that God the Father constitutes the highest authority in the Godhead can also be seen in that it is the Father who will decide when to send His Son back to the earth. 

We read Christ’s words in Matthew 24:36, when addressing the time of His return:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

He confirmed this in Acts 1:6–7:

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’”

It is within the Father’s sole authority to decide when to send His Son back to this earth.

Christ’s Sacrifice Bought People for the Father

The supremacy of God the Father is also shown by the fact that we are HIS property.

We read that Christ is the Head of the Church, His spiritual body, but it is still the Church of God the Father. It is the Father who gives His children to Christ as the Administrator and Executor, so to speak (Hebrews 2:13; John 6:37; John 17:6); and we cannot come to Christ unless the Father draws us to Him (John 6:44). Likewise, no one comes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6); and salvation is only in and through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). 

We read in Revelation 5:9–10 the following about Jesus Christ, the slain Lamb:

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us [or: bought us or purchased us, compare Acts 20:28] to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

We also read this in Revelation 1:5–6, also showing again that God the Father was and is the God of Jesus:

“Jesus Christ [is] the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Compare also 1 Corinthians 6:20 which reads: 

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

We are the property of God the Father who is also the God of Jesus Christ. Note Ephesians 1:17: “… the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”

We also read in 2 Corinthians 6:16–18:

“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.’”

God Is a Family

In this context, it is important to realize that God is a Family. The Father is the HIGHEST in the God Family. The Son is under Him, and we are to become holy and members of His Family.

Ephesians 3:14–15 says: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,”

Hebrews 2:10–13 reads:

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (11) For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’ And again: ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again: ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’”

The New International Version renders verse 11: “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family”.

Hebrews 12:10 tells us that God the Father disciplines us so “that we may be partakers of His holiness.”

The Father Gives Us the Kingdom

The fact that God is a Family can also be described as God being a Kingdom—the Kingdom of God. It shows that God is a ruling Family. And the Father wants us to become part of His Kingdom.

In Luke 12:32, we read:

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

And while God wants to give us His Kingdom, He decides what positions we will have in the Kingdom, as Christ confirmed in Matthew 20:20–23:

“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, ‘Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.’’

Further Proof for the Father’s Supremacy

It is the Father who has given Christ “authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:26–27). He went through what we are going through; He understands what it means to live a life in the flesh. He was tempted in all things as we are, but He stayed sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, He can be our merciful Judge. 

Resurrection of the Dead

The Father has even given Christ authority to assist Him in resurrecting the dead.

First, we learn that it is the Father who will resurrect us. 1 Corinthians 6:14 says:

“And God [the Father] both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

Romans 8:11 adds:

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead [God the Father] will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who [better: which or that, compare Authorized Version] dwells in you.”

But note how the resurrection will occur.

2 Corinthians 4:14 says:

“… He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with [Authorized Version: “by”] Jesus, and will present us with you.”

God the Father will resurrect us through Jesus Christ. John 5:21 reads:

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

John 6:39–40 adds to this:

“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Taking all these Scriptures together, we see that the Father will resurrect the dead through Jesus Christ. Christ would never act in any way contrary to the Father’s Will. And so, when He resurrects someone to eternal life, it is in accordance with the Father’s Will as well. It is still the Father who directs it, but He does it through or by Jesus Christ.

It is the Father who will reward us (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18; while Christ brings with Him the reward when He returns, Revelation 22:12). 

When people see our good works, they will finally praise the Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16), recognizing Him as the highest authority in the Godhead. 

It is the Father who gives us good things (Matthew 7:11) and wisdom (James 1:5).

Further, as we already saw, it is the Father who forgives us our sins (Matthew 6:14); and it is the Father who reveals hidden things to “babes” (Matthew 11:25–26)—those with a humble and teachable attitude who do not think of themselves higher than they ought to think. 

And so, we are told that we should come boldly to the Father’s throne of grace in time of need, knowing that we have a great High Priest, Advocate, Helper, Comforter and Mediator in Jesus Christ who sympathizes with our weaknesses (compare again Hebrews 4:15–16). 

It is through Christ that we believe in God the Father (1 Peter 1:17–21). And it is through Christ that we do the Will of God the Father (Hebrews 13:20–21). Even our belief in the Father and our actions come through Christ. Christ gives us that belief and the power to act in accordance with God’s Will.

This brings us to the all-important question of Christ’s role as our Mediator—the One who represents us before God the Father, the Highest in the Godhead. 

Christ Is Our Mediator

We read in 1 Timothy 2:5:

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

This shows that the Father is the One with the highest ruling and decision-making authority who is being approached by Christ, on our behalf, to plead our case. But it also shows that we need Christ as our Mediator, and we also read that there is no salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

In What Way Is Christ Our Mediator?

To show the exact role of Christ as our Mediator, we need to focus on the fact that we are told to pray to God the Father “in Christ’s name.”

In Christ’s Name

John 16:23–24 says that whatever we ask the Father in Christ’s name, the Father will give it to us, and when we ask in Christ’s name, we will receive it:

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

In John 14:13–14, we read that whatever we ask in Christ’s name, Christ will do it:

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

We see, then, that the Father does it through Christ! Simply put, the Father gives what we asked for to Christ, and Christ passes it on to us.

But when we pray to the Father in Christ’s name, it not only means that the Father works through Christ in response to our prayer, but also that we acknowledge Christ’s role and function while we pray, expecting Christ to do something while we pray. In general, when we pray to God in the name of Christ, we are praying through Christ—expecting Christ to back us up, support us, and do something in regard to what we say.

When we pray or say something in the name of Christ, we say it, not only with or by His authority, but we actually speak through Christ—and Christ speaks through us. 

When we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, we are, in a sense, asking Christ to plead our case to the Father. We are representatives of Christ—representing Christ as though Christ was pleading through us to God the Father. It is as if Christ is praying to the Father for us. He is our Mediator, our Intercessor and our Advocate. 

Christ lives in us, and when we pray in the name of Christ, it is actually Christ who gives us the mind to say the right things, and it is He who even communicates to the Father what we might have wanted to say—but we could not find the right way to express the words.

How, then, do we understand John 16:26–27, which says: “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.”?

Christ’s intercession is not for the purpose of awakening or stirring up God the Father’s love; it is however, at times, for the purpose of re-emphasizing the fact that we are flesh and blood human beings who are weak and feeble; and that Jesus lived as a man and experienced how it is to be tempted in the flesh in all things, while overcoming sin in the flesh and staying sinless (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 4:15).

Christ was saying, in effect: It is not that the Father does not love you. He does love you, because you have loved Me. At the same time, Christ IS our Mediator, and it is His role, as the One who HAD BEEN MAN, and can therefore sympathize with our weaknesses, to speak to the Father on our behalf.

When we speak to the Father through the living Jesus Christ in us, it is actually Christ who is inspiring us and who is doing the speaking. For instance, Christ even said that He, through the Holy Spirit, will inspire us to say what we ought in times of persecution (compare Luke 21:14–15; 12:11–12).

Christ is speaking through us, and we are speaking through Christ. After all, Christ lives in us (2 Corinthians 13:5). Christ lived in Paul, and Paul lived by the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:20, Authorized Version), even when he spoke to people and when he prayed to God. Notice 2 Corinthians 13:3: “… since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me.” As Christ lived in Paul, He was speaking through and for Paul.

So again, when we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, we do it through Christ. In a sense, we ask Christ to communicate our prayers, in their intended way, to the Father.

Christ Intercedes for Us

Now notice Hebrews 7:25:

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Continuing in Hebrews 9:24:

“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…”

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

This brings us to Christ’s role as our Mediator in conjunction with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Christ promises His disciples the following, in John 14:16–17:

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

Who is that Helper (or Comforter, or Advocate or the One who makes intercession)? Some claim it is the “Person” of the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not a person. When reading the next verse (verse 18), it is obvious whom Christ has reference to:

 “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

Christ is the Comforter or Helper who will come to dwell in His disciples through His Spirit which emanates from Him. And it is HE—not the “Person” of the Holy Spirit—who intercedes for us as our Mediator.

We read in Romans 8:26:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Whom does Paul make reference to, when speaking of the Spirit? We read in Romans 8:33–34:

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Please note that Christ is identified as a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). And in 2 Corinthians 3:14–18, we read:

“But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

The New International Version and the Revised Standard Version say here: “… which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

1 John 2:1 confirms that it is Christ who speaks to the Father on our behalf; that is, when we pray, it is Christ who speaks through us and for us to the Father:

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

The Father Gives Us the Holy Spirit

It is the Father who sends the Holy Spirit, as Luke 11:13 points out:

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Also notice Galatians 4:6:

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’”

We see here that God the Father sent the Spirit of His Son, Jesus Christ, into our hearts, and because it is the Spirit of His Son, we can call God our Father.

Through Christ

John 14:26 shows too that it is the FATHER who sends the Holy Spirit, but note how it is done:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

“In My Name” means here “through Me,” that is, “I will do it on behalf of My Father.” 

In this passage and in the following passages, the New King James Bible associates “the Spirit” with the word “who,” rather than with the word “which.” It depends, though, whether the particular passage refers to the Holy Spirit emanating from the Father and/or the Son, then the word “which” should be used, or whether the reference is to the Spirit, Jesus Christ, then the use of the word “who” would be correct, insofar as the meaning is concerned.

Christ says in John 15:26:

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

In Acts 2:33, Peter states about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit:

“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Jesus] poured out this which you now see and hear.”

Also notice Titus 3:4–6:

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared… He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

The Father and the Son Live in Us

So, as God the Father created everything through Christ, He gives us the Holy Spirit through Christ. But in effect, it is the Holy Spirit of the Father and of Christ that dwell in us. To put it in a different way, both the Father and Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit emanating from both God beings.

We read in John 14:23:

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’”

Romans 8:9–11 shows that the Father and the Son live in us through their Holy Spirit—the Spirit of the Father and the Son which, like air, is or can be everywhere:

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

One Spirit

There is ONE Spirit, but both God the Father and Jesus Christ are Spirit Beings, and the Holy Spirit emanates from both of them. That is why we read about the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ. When we read that there is one Spirit, then the reference is to the oneness or harmony between God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is exactly the same when Christ said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Christ did not mean that the Father and He were “one” Being—but that they were “one” in purpose and goal and mindset and character. 

When Christ spoke these words, He was clearly a separate Person from God the Father. Christ said in John 17:11, that we all should be one, as the Father and Christ are one in spirit—not in the sense that we all would become one being, but rather, that we all be of the same spirit. God the Father and Christ are one in spirit, and so are we to become one in spirit.

The Bible teaches that both the Father and the Son live in converted Christians. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son. The Father gives us OF His Holy Spirit (1 John 4:12–13; compare also Acts 2:17), through or in the name of Jesus Christ—Christ being the only Mediator between God the Father and man. In addition, the Father also pours out into us, through Christ, OF the Spirit of Christ; that is, Christ pours out His Spirit into us by the Will of the Father, and so both the Father and the Son abide, dwell or live in us through the Holy Spirit emanating from both of them and given to us by the Father, through Christ. 

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and of Jesus Christ. It is God’s power (Luke 4:14; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). It was through the power of God the Father’s Holy Spirit that Mary was impregnated with Jesus (Luke 1:32, 35; note that that power is described as the power of the HIGHEST) and through which Jesus was able to perform miracles (Acts 10:38). When Jesus was a Man, only the Spirit of God the Father dwelt in Him. To be able to bestow God’s Spirit on others, one must be a glorified God Being (John 7:37–39). 

This World Is Cut Off From God the Father

But something has to happen first before we can even obtain the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We saw earlier that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ. 

Colossians 1:16 confirms this, stating that “all things”—visible and invisible—were created “by” and “through” Jesus Christ. John 1:1–3 tells us too that “all things” were made through the Word—the Logos—Jesus Christ; and Hebrews 1:1–2; 2:10 adds that God the Father made “the worlds” or the entire universe and ‘all things” ‘through” Jesus Christ.”

This shows that it was Jesus Christ who created Adam and Eve, carrying out the Will of God the Father. 

The Jews at the time of Christ did not know—and most still don’t know today—that God is a Family, presently consisting of two God beings. Remember that Christ came to REVEAL the Father to them (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22). 

The Jews thought they knew the Father, not realizing that the God of the Old Testament, who directly worked with and dealt with Israel, was Jesus Christ—not God the Father.

We read in John 1:18 that “no one has seen God at any time” (compare John 6:46 and 1 John 4:12). John 5:37 confirms that “you have neither heard His [the Father’s] voice at any time, nor seen His form.” But Moses saw the glorified form of the LORD (Numbers 12:8).

People did hear a voice from heaven, speaking about Jesus. This was not the voice of the Father, but of an angel, quoting the words of the Father. An example of an angel uttering the words of God can be found in Revelation 22:8–16.

People Saw and Heard Jesus Christ in Old Testament Times

Still, we read that God did appear to the ancient Israelites. They did hear His voice many times. Some even saw the form of God, to an extent, in His glorified state. This means, they saw and talked to Christ, not the Father.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God cut them off from access to the Tree of Life, which symbolized the Holy Spirit and with it, spiritual understanding. In addition, all mankind was cut off from such access except for those being specifically predestined to be called prior to Christ’s return.

Mankind was allowed, under the sway and deception of Satan, to create his own societies, which are ALL in opposition to God’s Way of Life. Today, the entire world is under Satan’s rule. 

Adam and Eve’s sin DID do something to this world. Due to Adam and Eve’s conduct, humanity was cut off “from God” in the sense that they would not have access to the Holy Spirit and with it, godly understanding, unless specifically drawn and chosen by God the Father to be brought to Christ (John 6:44, 65).

Even though mankind was cut off from God with respect to the Holy Spirit and access to God, we also saw that Jesus Christ DID deal and work with humans, including the nations of Israel and Judah. Christ did not deal with them by offering them access to the Holy Spirit and an opportunity for salvation (this will occur later, in the Great White Throne judgment period), but He DID speak to them and showed Himself to them. It was Christ who spoke the Ten Commandments to the ancient Israelites—not the Father. He was the Rock who led Israel out of Egypt and dealt with them in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4, 9). 

And even though Christ—as the Spokesman—acted on behalf of the Father, most did not even understand that the Father existed. That is why Christ, when He came as a Man, had to reveal the Father to the average Jews.

No Access to God the Father

It is important to realize that Adam and Eve’s sin cut them and mankind [in general] off from access to God the Father, the HIGHEST of the Godhead, as well as the knowledge as to who God the Father and Jesus Christ are. The Father did not deal directly with mankind, and He was not generally worshipped by the overwhelming majority, including those who read but did not understand the Scriptures. 

Reconciliation With the Father

As mankind has been cut off from God the Father, we need to be reconciled to God the Father. But we all have sinned, and sin, not repented of, cuts us off from God the Father.

Lamentations 3:40–44 says:

“Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned. You have covered Yourself with anger And pursued us; You have slain and not pitied. You have covered Yourself with a cloud, That prayer should not pass through.”

Daniel 9:4–19 says:

“… (4) I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, (5) we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments… (10) We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. (11) Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. (13) As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth… (19) O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

But also note Daniel 9, verse 24, which quotes the angel Gabriel speaking to Daniel:

“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.”

Isaiah 59:1–4 says: 

‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They: trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.”

But see also verse 20:

“The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the LORD.”

Reconciliation With the Father Through the Death of Jesus

We become reconciled to the Father through the death of His Son; His death atones for our sins, upon our repentance and belief in His Sacrifice.

Romans 5:8–11 says:

“God [the Father] demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

This reconciliation was symbolized by the fact that, when Christ died, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), showing that it was God the Father who had it done and that contact with Him, through Jesus Christ, had now become possible. 

The word “reconciliation” has several meanings. It can describe establishing contact or a connection with someone; creating unity and friendship, harmony and peace, as well as satisfaction. God the Father was deeply satisfied with Christ’s Sacrifice in the sense that He considered it necessary, but also totally sufficient to pay for the sins of mankind. 

Ephesians 2:13–16 reads:

“… But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

Colossians 1:21–23 reads:

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

Before our reconciliation with God the Father, we were His enemies [note again Romans 5:10]. But due to the death of Christ which “justified” us, we became the Father’s friends and we have now “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access [to God the Father] by faith into this grace [which is unmerited pardon, favor and forgiveness of sin]” (Romans 5:1–2).

1 John 4:7–11 reads:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

“Propitiation” can mean “sin offering” or “atonement”; the New International Version writes “atoning sacrifice.”

Romans 3:21–26 says:

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (22) even the righteousness of God, through faith in [ AV: of] Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, [AV: through faith in His blood] to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

In verse 25, “propitiation” is rendered by the New International Version as “sacrifice of atonement”; and the New Jerusalem Bible says: “God appointed Him as a sacrifice for reconciliation”

Need of Continuing Reconciliation With the Father

True Christians need the continuing atonement and reconciliation with God the Father, as we sin after baptism as well.

1 John 1:5–10 reads:

“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

There is no one who does not sin… even after baptism. 

Ecclesiastes 7:20 states:

“For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.”

1 Kings 8:46–50 says:

“When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them.”

Proverbs 20:9 asks the question:

“Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin’?”

This is why we need continuing reconciliation with God the Father. When we slip and sin, we can repent and obtain forgiveness by the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7, 9). But this does not mean that we can again adopt, live and practice the way of this world which is cut off from God (2 Peter 2:20–22). If we do this and become again friends of this world, then we make ourselves again enemies of God (James 4:4).

Reconciliation of the Whole World

As the whole world is cut off from God the Father, but as the Father gave His only begotten Son to save the world (John 3:16), the whole world will become reconciled with God the Father through the death of His Son.

Hebrews 2:17 reads:

“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

The Authorized Version says: “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

1 John 2:1–2 reads:

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

“Propitiation” can describe here God the Father’s satisfaction for the whole world due to Christ’s Sacrifice; The New International Version says: “atoning sacrifice.”

Romans 11:11–15 states this about the relationship between Israelites and Gentiles:

“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

2 Corinthians 5:18–20 confirms that the world will be reconciled with God the Father:

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”

Repentance Necessary

But repentance is necessary. If we refuse to repent and hate God’s Way of Life, even though we knew and had understood the Truth, no atonement and reconciliation is possible.

Isaiah 22:14 says:

“Then it was revealed in my hearing by the LORD of hosts, ‘Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, Even to your death,’ says the LORD God of hosts.”

This passage describes people who are unwilling to repent. The Bible speaks in that regard as committing the unpardonable sin—a final hateful decision of rejecting God the Father and the Sacrifice of His Son, as well as the power of God’s Holy Spirit to help us change and to live God’s Way of Life. When committing the unpardonable sin, no forgiveness, satisfaction, harmony, unity, peace or reconciliation with God the Father is possible any longer.

Hebrews 10:26–27, 29 says:

“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries… Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”

Hebrews 6:4–6 adds:

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”

Exodus 32:30–33 adds:

“Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.’”

God makes reference here to the unpardonable sin, as discussed above. 

Let us note in this regard Revelation 20:14–15:

“Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Our names are taken out of the Book of Life, when we commit the unpardonable sin. When that happens, we will be destroyed in the lake of fire. 

But for the overwhelming majority, the Bible tells us this:

Revelation 3:5:

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Overcoming includes repentance and belief.

Proverbs 16:6 says:

“In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.”

Psalm 79:9 adds:

“Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!”

Finally, we read that God provides atonement for Israel and the entire world.

Ezekiel 16:62–63:

“And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,’ says the LORD God.’”

This atonement and the accompanying reconciliation with God the Father are accomplished through the shedding of the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:17–19). We were redeemed to the Father by Christ’s blood (Revelation 5:9). 

Conclusion

Through His ultimate and supreme Sacrifice, Christ provided atonement for the forgiveness of our sins, but we must accept it and believe in it. And with accepting that atonement, we become reconciled with God the Father, the HIGHEST in the God Family. 

This reconciliation makes it possible for us to walk with God—the Father and the Son—becoming more and more perfect (2 Corinthians 7:1) as God the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), so that we can ultimately partake of His holiness and enter His Family and Kingdom as His born-again sons and daughters. 

That is why we ought to pray daily to the Father, the Most High God: “Your Kingdom Come.”

God Is… Our Destiny!

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Introduction 

We read in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” The word “gospel” simply means “good news.” 

Jesus Christ was a messenger sent by God the Father to proclaim the Gospel or the good news of the Kingdom of God. But WHAT did He proclaim? What IS the Kingdom of God? What does the “Kingdom” of God have to do with God? 

Who and what IS God? Is He one Person—two Persons—three Persons? Is He an impersonal “blob” without form and shape, and without any emotions? 

Who and what was and is Jesus Christ? How did He become the firstborn among many brethren? How, in what way, was He resurrected? What kind of a Body does He have today? 

Why do we read that man can enter and have a part in God’s Kingdom (Mark 10:23)? What has God to do with our destiny? In what way IS GOD our destiny? 

What happens to us when we die? Will we be resurrected after death? And if so, how will we be resurrected? Why do we read that we are to “inherit” the Kingdom of God after death? 

Why do we read that we must be Spirit in order to be in God’s Kingdom? And what will we be and do after we have entered the Kingdom of God? 

Most people do not understand any of those questions. They are mysteries to them (Mark 4:11–12). Perhaps they are mysteries to you. But they don’t have to be. This booklet explains what has been hidden from the foundation of the earth! 

Chapter 1GOD IS a FAMILY! 

Most have never heard that God is not just one Being, or a closed Trinity of three Persons, but God is a Family, RULING over creation. The God Family consists right now of TWO Personages—the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit is not a third member of the God Family, but it is the power and the mind of God proceeding from both the Father and the Son, as will be explained later. 

The Father Is God

It is accepted by most professing Christians that the Father is God. After Christ’s resurrection, Christ told Mary: “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to MY GOD and your God” (John 20:17). In Ephesians 1:17, Paul refers to the Father as the “GOD of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Several decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find a statement that was recorded by John, an apostle of Jesus Christ: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which GOD GAVE HIM to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1). 

Jesus Christ Is God 

However, there are quite a few who debate the concept that the Son, Jesus Christ, is God, even though the Bible is very clear on this point. 

John 1:18 tells us: “No one has ever seen God [the Father]. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (New Revised Standard Version). Notice the rendering of this passage in the New American Bible: “No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” Similar rendering is also used in the Luther Bible: “No one has seen God at any time; the only Begotten, WHO IS GOD and who is in the Father’s bosom, has revealed Him to us.” The Elberfelder Bible comments in an annotation that many old and good sources render the phrase, “the only-begotten Son,” as “the only-begotten GOD.” 

Additionally, Romans 9:5 refers to Jesus Christ as “the eternally blessed God.” Hebrews 1:8 refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as “God.” In Isaiah 9:6–7, we read about Christ: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God…” 

After His resurrection, “doubting Thomas” identified Jesus as his God (John 20:28).

Indeed, Jesus Christ identified Himself several times in the New Testament as the “I am”—the Eternal or Ever-living One (John 8:58). As we will discuss, HE was the God of the Old Testament, dealing directly with the people, speaking to them and even manifesting Himself to them. It had to be Christ who did this, because He Himself said that no one has ever seen the form of “God” (the Father) or heard the voice of God (the Father). (Compare John 1:18; 5:37; 6:46; 1 John 4:12). 

The Jews thought that they worshipped the Father, erroneously thinking that He was the God of the Old Testament. That is why we read that Christ came to REVEAL the Father to them (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22). The Jews thought they knew the Father, not realizing that the God of the Old Testament was Jesus Christ—not God the Father. And they rejected the fact that Christ was “Immanuel”—“God with us” (Matthew 1:23). 

Jesus Christ—the Word or Logos or Son of God—was “WITH” God (Greek: theos) since all eternity, and He also “WAS” God (Greek: theos) (John 1:1–2). That means there were two God beings—Christ, the “Word of God” (Revelation 19:13) and God the FATHER. 

Christ was clearly God before He came to this earth! Paul explains in 1 Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” 

Philippians 2:5–7 reads: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of GOD, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, TAKING THE FORM OF A BONDSERVANT, and coming IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN.”

The Bible is also very clear that Christ IS God now! Notice Titus 2:11–14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our GREAT GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” 

“God” Is a FAMILY NAME

The word “God” is a NAME that can refer to both the Father and the Son. It is, in fact, a FAMILY name. Ephesians 3:14–15 confirms this truth, telling us that it is “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole FAMILY in heaven and earth is NAMED.”

Note, too, how the New International Version renders Hebrews 2:11: “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy ARE of the same FAMILY.” 

In addition, the Menge Bible includes in the annotation to Ephesians 2:19 that the term “household of God” means “members of the FAMILY of God” (in German, “Mitglieder der Gottesfamilie”). 

In the Hebrew, the word for “God” is many times Elohim, but it is a word with plural meaning. That is the reason why we read that God (Elohim) said in Genesis 1:26: “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.” And God also said in Genesis 3:22: “Behold the man has become like one of US, to know good and evil…” 

The word Elohim or “God” can refer to either one of the two Beings in the God-Family. When in Genesis 1:26, God or Elohim says, “Let US make man in OUR image,” one God Being speaks to the other God Being, referring to both of them as “Us.” And we know from the New Testament that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ (compare Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:1–2; Colossians 1:16). It was Christ, then, who did the actual work of creating man, and He created man in His image. Christ is also the image of the Father (compare 2 Corinthians 4:3–4 and Colossians 1:15). Therefore, when Christ created man in His image, He also created man in the image of the Father. God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son look the same. Man, then, was created in the image of GOD—in the image of both God the Father and God the Son. 

Ecclesiastes 12:1 reads, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth.” In the original Hebrew, the word for “Creator” is in the plural, which should be translated as “Creators.” Both the Father and the Son are Creators. God the Father created everything, including man, through Jesus Christ. We find a similar statement in Job 35:10, “But no one says, Where is God my Maker…?” In the original, it says, “Where is God my Makers?…”

Jesus Christ was the “I am”—the Eternal or Ever-living One. 

God the Father was always the Father and Jesus Christ was always the Son of God—showing that God was ALWAYS a Family, as the terms “Father” and “Son” signify. It is not correct to say that God BECAME the Father and Jesus Christ BECAME the Son when Christ was conceived in Mary’s womb through the power of the Father’s Holy Spirit. Christ was ALWAYS the Son of God, but when He became a human being in Mary’s womb, He BECAME the Son of Man. At that point, God the Father—the Father of Christ as the Son of God—became the Father of Christ as the Son of MAN. 

Chapter 2The God Family IS the Kingdom of God 

Christ is the KING of the Kingdom (under God the Father), and the terms King and Kingdom are often used interchangeably in the Bible (compare Daniel 2:37–39, where Nebuchadnezzar, the first king in the statue, is identified with his kingdom).

Christ, the King (John 18:37), rules in and over the Kingdom of God but not this world which is now ruled by Satan the devil (John 18:36). Christ, being part of God’s Kingdom, rules in and over the Kingdom of God under God the Father who is the HIGHEST in the Godhead (John 14:28; Ephesians 1:17; Luke 1:32; 1 Corinthians 11:3).

In Matthew 12:25–26, Christ answered the evil and malicious accusation of the Pharisees claiming that He was casting out demons with the power of Satan, by identifying Satan (the ruler over the demonic realm) with his demonic kingdom (as Satan is the head of his kingdom; being part of it), saying this:

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation… If Satan casts out Satan… how will his kingdom stand?”

Clearer still in Mark 3:23–24: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom (Satan) is divided against itself (Satan), that kingdom cannot stand.”

As a human king rules in and over his kingdom and is part of that kingdom; and as Satan rules in and over his demonic kingdom and is part of it; so God rules in and over His Kingdom and is part of it. In other words, God Beings constitute or are the Kingdom of God, ruling over creation. 

Chapter 3Being in God’s Family 

As we will see, it is the potential of man to become God—to be IN the God FAMILY. That is why we will explain in great detail in this booklet who and what God is—what the nature of God is—as God’s nature will be our nature as well. As we will learn, it is our DESTINY to become God—as God is God! 

Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) to ultimately become God (1 Corinthians 15:49). The book of Psalms speaks of men as (potential) gods. Psalm 82:6 reads: “I said, ‘You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.’” Jesus used this passage to prove that He was the Son of God (John 10:31–39). We read in Psalms 17:15 that David was looking forward to the time, when God would resurrect him from the dead and when he would “awake in Your likeness.” We also read that in the future, men will come to worship true (glorified) Christians (Revelation 3:9). No man nor powerful angels, but only God is worthy of worship (Acts 10:25–26; Revelation 19:10; 22:8–9).

True converted Christians are already part of the God Family. They are not yet glorified and born again, but they have been begotten into the Family of God. (This will be discussed later.) They ARE already the children of God (1 John 3:1–2), and they will be LIKE or by nature EQUAL WITH God and Jesus Christ, when they will be born into the God Family at the time of Christ’s return. They will be fully Spirit, fully God—no more flesh and blood (Romans 8:19–30).

Jesus Christ is the FIRSTBORN among many brethren, to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). The Bible tells us that those who are called today to salvation and remain faithful, will be what Christ is today. We will be like Him, as He is. We will share the Father’s and Christ’s very divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Romans 8:32 also clarifies this point: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

“All things” means exactly that—it includes God’s nature and glory (Romans 5:1–2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:14); and it includes rule over the new heavens and the new earth AND the unending future of God’s Kingdom (Revelation 21:5–7). Man is to become a “joint heir” with Christ in “all things.”

We will become members of the God Family—God Beings. We will be “like Christ”—Sons and Daughters of God, with Christ being our Elder Brother.

That is what it says in Ephesians 3:19. Paul wants us “to be filled”—ultimately—“with all the fullness of God.” What does this mean? It means that we will be glorified God Beings (compare John 17:5; 22). 

We Will Be IN the Kingdom of God 

When we enter and become part of the God Family, as born-again Christians; that is, when we are IN the God Family, then we are also IN the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 15:50–54 tells us that we cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, as long as we are flesh and blood. We must be changed to incorruptibility and immortality to be in God’s Kingdom.

John 3:3, 5–8 explains that we must be born again to be able to “see” and “enter” the Kingdom of God. We must BE BORN of the Spirit and BE Spirit in order to be in God’s Kingdom. Then, man cannot see us anymore (unless we materialize ourselves), as one cannot see the wind, even though one can most certainly hear the sound of the wind and notice its effects. When we make ourselves visible in glory, we will appear as shining as the sun IN God’s Kingdom (Matthew 13:43), as Christ’s “countenance” is like the sun shining in its strength (Revelation 1:16).

The Kingdom Is Dual

In Herbert Armstrong’s booklet, Your Awesome Future, the following was stated very succinctly on page 15: 

“… the kingdom of God will be dual:

  • A GOVERNMENT. A government—or kingdom—is compared to four things: (a) a KING, ruling over (b) people, subjects or citizens within (c) a definite jurisdiction of territory, with (d) laws and an organized system of administering them.
  • A FAMILY (as the kingdom of Israel was a family of the children of Israel)—in this case the Family of God—a family into which humans may be born, which shall be a GOVERNING or RULING family that shall have jurisdiction over ALL NATIONS—that is, the WHOLE Earth—and later, the entire universe.”

So, the Kingdom of God describes God’s rule (compare Psalm 103:19; Revelation 11:15; Daniel 7:14). When we enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25:34), we will participate in God’s rule over His creation (Revelation 20:4, 6; 22:5; Daniel 7:18, 22, 27).

But when we enter the Kingdom of God, we also enter His very Family. It is important to understand that God IS a Family; not only, that He HAS a Family. The difference is substantial. The God Family is reproducing itself—it is not just “adopting” children.

We read earlier that we are to inherit God’s glory. Notice what else we are to inherit: In 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul charges the brethren “to walk worthy of God who calls you into His own KINGDOM and glory.” Not only into His glory—the glory that He has—but also into His Kingdom; that is, the Kingdom of which He is a part of and its Head.

Jesus told His disciples that prior to their death, some of them would “see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1). Six days later, He took Peter, James and John and went with them to a high mountain, where they saw in a vision (Matthew 17:9) that He appeared in a glorified state, together with Elijah and Moses. They saw future events, when the Kingdom of God would rule on earth. Matthew 16:28 explains even more clearly what exactly Christ told the disciples prior to the vision: “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming IN His kingdom.”

Many read over verses like these without catching their full meaning: Christ announced that some disciples would see, in a vision, the Kingdom of God in its power—not just the glorified Christ—but the glorified Christ IN His Kingdom. They would see the Kingdom of God coming and Christ in it as a Member of the KINGDOM OF GOD.

The same is expressed in Luke 23:42, where the repentant thief on the cross said: “Lord, remember me when you come INTO Your kingdom.” In other words, when you enter the Kingdom of God as a glorified Being. The Revised Standard Version states in an annotation that the passage can also be rendered: “… when you come in your Kingdom.” So also the Luther Bible (“… wenn du in dein Reich kommst“).

It is a mystery to many people as to WHAT the Kingdom of God is (Matthew 13:11).

Today we are co-workers for the Kingdom of God (Colossians 4:11); that is, we are co-workers for God—the Kingdom or ruling Family of God—and for His government which will be set up on earth soon.

As we will explain in more detail, we are to preach the gospel OF the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14)—the good news, which comes from God and which includes the message as to what God IS; that Christ will rule soon on earth; and that man can become God by inheriting, entering and becoming a part of the Kingdom or Family of God. 

Chapter 4The Kingdom of God and of Christ 

The Bible speaks of God’s Kingdom in different ways. But as we will see, there is no contradiction, nor are there separate or distinct Kingdoms.

Let us note several examples where the Bible speaks of the Kingdom of GOD:

In Mark 10:15, 25 we read that we must receive and enter the Kingdom of GOD. Mark 14:25 quotes Christ saying that He will drink wine in the Kingdom of GOD. He states in Luke 4:43 that He came to preach the Kingdom of GOD. He adds in Luke 6:20 that the poor are blessed because theirs is the Kingdom of GOD.

In Luke 7:28 He explains that everyone who will be in the Kingdom of GOD will be greater than any human being, including John the Baptist. Human beings—flesh and blood—cannot inherit the Kingdom of GOD, compare 1 Corinthians 15:50. As long as they are flesh and blood, they cannot enter it. They must be changed, compare verses 51–54. They must be born of water and Spirit, to be able to enter the Kingdom of GOD, compare John 3:5. As long as they are not born of the Spirit, they are flesh (verse 6), and unless born again, they cannot see the Kingdom of GOD (verse 3).

We are also warned, in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of GOD. In Luke 13:28–29, Christ speaks of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets sitting in the Kingdom of GOD.

Let us note additional examples where the Bible speaks of the Kingdom of CHRIST:

In Luke 1:32–33 we read that of Christ’s Kingdom there will be no end. We read in Colossians 1:13 that the Father has translated us into (that is, He has brought us under the dominion of) the Kingdom of the Son. 2 Timothy 4:1, 18 speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. 2 Peter 1:11 says that an abundant entrance will be supplied to us into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We also read that it is God the FATHER’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). Matthew 26:29 adds that Christ will drink wine again with the disciples in His Father’s Kingdom. 1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 states that we should have a walk worthy of God the Father (compare 1 Thessalonians 1:1, showing that “God” is a reference here to “God the Father”) who calls us into His own Kingdom and glory. Luke 22:29–30 says that Christ will bestow on the apostles a Kingdom, just as the Father bestowed one upon Him, that they may eat and drink at His table in His Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Ephesians 5:5 makes also very clear that the Kingdom is the Kingdom of God and of Christ: “… no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Finally, we read in 1 Corinthians 15:24, 28, “Then comes the end, when He [Christ] delivers the kingdom to GOD THE FATHER, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power… then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

As Christ is God, and the Father is God, so the Kingdom of the Father is also the Kingdom of Christ. Both are Members of the Family of God. 

Chapter 5The Gospel OF the Kingdom 

There is only ONE Gospel (Galatians 1:6–9)—and it is mostly called the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23; 24:14; Mark 1:14–15; Luke 8:1; 9:2). It is also referred to as the Gospel OF Christ (Mark 1:1; Romans 1:9, 16; compare 2 Thessalonians 1:6–8)—not just ABOUT Christ. It is also identified as the Gospel OF God the Father (Romans 1:1).

God the Father is the Originator and Owner of the Gospel. He entrusted it to Christ to preach it here on earth. It is God’s and Christ’s Gospel which the Church is to proclaim today. Notice, it is not called the gospel ABOUT Christ or not even ABOUT God the Father; nor is it called the Gospel ABOUT the Kingdom of God. Rather, it is described as the Gospel OF God; OF Christ; and OF the Kingdom of God.

The differences are wide-ranging. The Gospel message is a message FROM God TO man—it is FOR man. It includes the truth about God the Father, about Christ, and about the Kingdom of God, but it is more encompassing than that. It shows man how he can ENTER the Kingdom of God.

To repeat: The Kingdom of God is the Family of God. God IS a RULING Family! The God Family—the God Kingdom—consists today, as it always did, of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Both the Father and the Son are GOD. They ARE the Kingdom or Family of God. Converted Christians are NOT YET in the Kingdom or Family of God. They are Spirit-begotten children of God, to be BORN into the Kingdom of God at the time of Christ’s return to this earth. Then, they too will be IN the Kingdom of God—the Family of GOD. Then, they will BE God.

In order to be IN the Kingdom of God, one must BE God. Man is NOT yet in the Kingdom—he is not yet God, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. But it is man’s destiny to enter into eternal life—into the Kingdom of God; to become a member of the Kingdom or RULING Family of God.

When we preach the Gospel OF the Kingdom of God, we preach the message which belongs to and originates with the KINGDOM of God—the Family of God. The everlasting or eternal Gospel is the message OF God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. It is the message OF the Kingdom of God—OF the God Family.

Now it should have become clear why we read about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of the Father, and the Kingdom of Christ. God is a Family, consisting of the Father and the Son. God is a Kingdom, which also includes government and rule. Both the Father and the Son are God—they are Members of the Kingdom of God. It is a heavenly Kingdom. God the Father and Jesus Christ—the Kingdom of God—are ruling in and from heaven. But it will also be established on earth when Christ returns. The Kingdom of God—the Family of God—will BE and rule on earth—first through Christ, and later through the Father as well, when He comes to live on the new earth (Revelation 21:1–4).

The Bible teaches us very dogmatically that God IS a ruling Family, and that we can become born-again members of His Family—His Kingdom. There is only ONE Kingdom of God—one RULE. God the Father and Jesus Christ are not divided, but totally unified. They are “ONE.” It is the Kingdom of the Father—the HIGHEST in the Godhead—and of the Son, because both are God, forming the Kingdom of God. To say it differently, the Kingdom or Family of God is composed of the Father and the Son. The Kingdom of God is a hierarchy, with God the Father on top and Jesus Christ under Him. But it is the great potential of man to become part of the God Kingdom and God Family—to become God, UNDER the Father and Christ, to enter and inherit the Kingdom of God as born-again immortal members and sons and daughters of God and His everlasting ruling Family. 

The gospel OF the Kingdom of God is a gospel originating with the Kingdom of God—the ruling God Family. It is the gospel OF God the Father (Romans 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:8–9) and OF Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1). 

Chapter 6To Be Born Into the God Family 

God is a GROWING Family. He wants to enlarge His Family by bringing many sons and daughters into His Family. When God gives His Holy Spirit to His followers, they become BEGOTTEN members of His Family. Those who are called to salvation in this day and age will be BORN into His Family—thereby becoming Spirit Beings and full-fledged God Beings—at the time of Christ’s return.

We need to begin our discussion on the destiny of man by addressing first the “born again” question.

Most professing Christians sincerely believe that they are already born again today. But they are sincerely wrong. The Bible does not teach this. 

Not Yet Born Again 

In John 3, Jesus Christ explained that no human being could be IN the Kingdom of God, and that in order to enter God’s Kingdom, one had to become a Spirit Being—a Member of the God Family. Jesus answered Nicodemus in John 3:3, 5–6, 8: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

Christ could not possibly have spoken about a “born again” experience in this physical life. Notice it again: One who is born of the Spirit IS Spirit. He is like the wind which cannot be seen but can be felt—like a powerful hurricane or tornado. Christ also said that unless one is born again, he could not see nor enter the Kingdom of God. In other words, as long as someone is flesh and blood—not Spirit—he cannot see or enter God’s Kingdom.

Although we will be born again at the time of our resurrection or our change to immortality, something else must happen first so that we CAN become born again. The Bible describes this prior event as spiritual conception or “begettal.” Simply put, before we can be born again, we must be begotten again—a spiritual begettal. This spiritual begettal takes place at the time of our baptism, after repentance, and after coming to an understanding of, and belief in, Christ’s sacrifice and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. At the time of baptism, we then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of hands by true ministers of God, as a down payment—a guarantee (Ephesians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:5)— of our ultimate new birth at our resurrection to Spirit.

With the receipt of God’s Spirit, we acquire God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), but there is still another step in the process. Just as an embryo must grow and develop, we must also grow spiritually and develop the fruit of the Spirit—the actual character of God. God considers those who have received His Spirit as being His children (2 Corinthians 6:17–18). Finally, Spirit-begotten children become SEPARATE SPIRIT BEINGS upon being born again—at their resurrection and change to immortality.

Notice Luke 20:35–36: “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, BEING SONS OF THE RESURRECTION.” The rendition, “equal to the angels” is an incorrect interpretation. It is only used once in the New Testament and is translated from the Greek word isaggelos. It describes a figurative analogy in the sense that we cannot die any more as angels cannot die. But we are to judge and rule OVER angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). We will be born-again children of God when we have been resurrected—not before then. Christ calls us the “sons of the resurrection” for a reason!

Many claim, erroneously, that the Greek word, translated “born,” refers to a BIRTH prior to Christ’s return. However, they are mistaken. The Greek word is gennao and means, “born” or “begotten”—depending on the context—and it can even describe the process from “begotten” to “being born”—the process of the entire “pregnancy,” lasting from conception until delivery. It is strictly the translator’s choice to use the word “born” or “begotten,” when translating the Greek word, gennao, but when the word “birth” is used for and applied to the “pregnancy” prior to the actual time of the “delivery,” then the translator made the wrong choice. In every such case, the expressions for “begotten” should have been used.

1 John 3:1–2 tells us: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

In the Image of God

God’s Word says that we will be LIKE Him. Many translations state that we will be “equal with Him.” (See the discussion below.) To most people, the very concept that we can be “like” or “equal with” God is a great mystery! But Colossians 1:15 explains to us that Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” The Greek word for “image” is eikon. It means, “likeness, representation, profile.” Christ said that he who sees Him sees the Father.

As Christ is the image of God the Father, so we are to become the image of Christ. Romans 8:29 says: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Paul elaborates further on the fantastic future change of man in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

We will actually become God, that is, a God Being—a full and total image of God the Father and Jesus Christ, much like a physical child is often recognized as being an image of his or her parents. Those who are called and chosen in this day and age are already [begotten] children of God, awaiting their change to a full Spirit Being at the return of Christ.

We Must Be Changed

Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:50: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Are you still human? If so, you cannot inherit the Kingdom of God as you are. So then, how can we enter the Kingdom? Paul explains in verses 51 and 52: “Behold, I tell you a mystery…we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” That is, how we can enter the Kingdom or FAMILY of God. Our human bodies need to be changed. But changed to what?

Verses 42–49 continue: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body… The first man [Adam] was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man [Jesus Christ] is the Lord from heaven… And as we have borne the image of the man of dust [human], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Spirit].”

To repeat: The Bible is very clear that whoever is in the Kingdom of God must actually be God. We must become God Beings, sharing in Christ’s glory, the firstborn of many brethren. That is indeed a mystery that only very few understand today—that God is enlarging His Family. We are already called His children, but we have not been glorified yet. And when we are glorified at the time of our resurrection to eternal life, we will be entering the Kingdom of God, as literal God Beings, as glorified Sons and Daughters of God, made immortal. God the Father tells Jesus Christ in Genesis 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” God is a Family, and when He created man, He began His awesome work of adding to His Family. That we are to become members of the God Family, or God Beings, is clearly taught.

To Become God

God created man in His own image, according to His likeness. He did not create him as a Spirit Being, but from the dust of the ground. Man has to qualify to be changed into a Spirit Being and to enter the Kingdom or Family of God. So, for a while—during this life time—man is made lower than God, but in the resurrection, he will be like God (1 John 3:2). In fact, he will BE God and in that sense EQUAL with God [see the next chapter]—a Member of the God Family, a Child of God the Father and a Brother or Sister of Jesus Christ, who is in the image of the Father (Hebrews 1:1–3) and who is God Himself (John 1:1). Man will share the divine nature of God—He will be equal with God, fully God, even though he will always be UNDER the authority of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

In Psalm 17:15, we read about man’s potential: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” David understood that we will look like God when we are resurrected. Also Philippians 3:20–21: “For our citizenship is in heaven [Our names are written in heaven, where God is. We belong to Him; we are His children. We belong to a different country, a heavenly government, which will come down to this earth when Christ returns.] …from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” We already read that we shall bear the image of Christ, we will look like He does, in His glorified state.

But more than that—we will actually BE GOD BEINGS! Herbert W. Armstrong, the late human leader of the Church of God in the 20th century, wrote a book entitled, “Mystery of the Ages.” On page 170, he wrote: “Consider why God created mankind in the first place. God is reproducing Himself through man. He is creating in Man God’s own perfect holy and righteous spiritual character. And that, in turn, is purposed to restore the government of God over all the earth. And further, to create BILLIONS OF GOD BEINGS …”

Today, the true Church of God is preaching and proclaiming this tremendous understanding in all the world as a witness to all nations. True converted Christians, who are still alive at the time of Christ’s return, will be changed from physical beings to immortal God Beings. They will become born-again Members of the very Family of God. The same is true for those who died in Christ and who will be resurrected from the dead, when Christ returns. They will also enter the Family of God as immortal God Beings at that time (compare Hebrews 11:39–40).

Those who have lived and died before Christ’s return, without ever having had an opportunity to accept Christ as their personal Savior and to receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, will be given such an opportunity at a later time—during the Second Resurrection or the “Great White Throne Judgment” period (compare Revelation 20:11–12). At that time, they can also fulfill their potential and reach their destiny—if they make the right choice—to become immortal God Beings in the Family of God. THAT IS why God created all of mankind—to become GOD—born-again Members of the FAMILY OF GOD. And that is what the GOSPEL OF the Kingdom of God is all about—the message from the God Kingdom and Family to mankind. 

Chapter 7Equal with God 

We have read several times that we will become God—Members of the Family of God—and that we will be equal with Christ. But what exactly does this mean? 

Christ Is Equal with the Father 

Philippians 2:3–8 reads as follows in the Authorized Version: 

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

We read in Philippians 2:6–7, in the Revised Standard Version: “[Jesus Christ]… though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (better: retained), but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…”

This passage explains that Christ was in the “form of God” and “equal with God” the Father, but that He took the “form of a bondservant,” and came “in the likeness of men.”

We read in John 17:5 that Christ had glory before the world existed—showing that Christ existed as a glorious Being before the world was made. As Philippians 2:6 says, He existed as a divine Being—He was EQUAL with God and therefore God.

In John 5:18, we read that the Jews wanted to kill Christ “because He… said that GOD was His Father, making himself equal with GOD.”

The Greek word for “equal” is isos and does describe equality—something, which is “the same as” something else—not in the sense of “identity,” but of equality. Note that in Acts 11:17, the same word is used.

When the Jews said that He “made himself” equal with God, they understood that He declared that He was God (compare John 10:33). He was God in the flesh—the “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us.” He is also described as the image of God (Colossians 1:13–15). 

Man Is to Become Equal with the Father and Christ

1 John 3:1–2 tells us: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

God’s Word says that we will be LIKE Him. Many translations state that we will be “equal with Him.” The Greek word for “like” or “equal” is homoios. The Lamsa translation says: “… we shall be in his likeness.” Young’s Literal Translation states: “… like him we shall be.”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary explains:

“.. we shall be like Him … Christ whom we shall be like, is the ‘express image’ of the Father’s person, so that in resembling Christ, we shall resemble the Father.”

Romans 8:29 says: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” 2 Corinthians 3:18 adds: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

We are to obtain Christ’s glory (2 Thessalonians 2:13–14) and the glory of the Father (1 Peter 5:10). Christ’s glory is to be in us (John 17:22, 5). Our lowly, physical and temporary body is to be conformed (having the same form) to His eternal glorious body (Philippians 3:20–2).

The Greek word for “conform” (summorphoo or, as a noun, summorphos) is derived from a word which can mean, “nature”. 

We will actually become God, that is, a God Being—a full and total image of God the Father and Jesus Christ, much like a physical child is often recognized as being an image of his or her parents. Those who are called and chosen in this day and age are already [begotten] children of God, awaiting their change to a full Spirit Being at the return of Christ.

We Are to Obtain Sonship from God the Father

Unfortunately, the Authorized Version and many other English translations render the Greek word for “sonship” with “adoption.” Note, for example, Romans 8:14–17, 23; Galatians 4:4–7; and Ephesians 1:3–5. In all these passages, the choice of the word “adoption” is wrong and needs to be replaced with the word “sonship.” We read in Matthew 5:9 that we are to be the “sons of God.” Romans 8:14 confirms that we are sons of God, if we are being led by the Spirit of God. The term “sons of God” includes “daughters of God” (2 Corinthians 6:18), and so the Bible also speaks of “the children of God” (Romans 8:16–17)—but not “adopted” children.”

Strong’s Concordance says that the word designates “sonship” in respect to God. 

The Phillips translation renders Romans 8:23 as follows: “… at last we have realized our full sonship in him.” Moffat says: “… wait for the redemption of the body, that means our full sonship.” And the Amplified Bible says in respect to one of the alternative renderings: “… our manifestation as God’s sons.”

The Literal Emphasis Translating says: “eagerly awaiting sonship.” Weymouth states: “… as we wait and long for open recognition as sons.” The Coverdale Bible of 1535 reads: “… grown within ourselves for the childship…”

The Luther Bible, the Elberfelder Bible and the Menge Bible translate consistently, “sonship” [“Sohnschaft”] or “childship” [“Kindschaft”].

As “sons” or “children” of God, we will be, by nature, “equal” with Him, resembling Him as His true sons and daughters. 

As Christ was, in that sense, equal with God before He became a man (Philippians 2:5–6), and as He obtained again that equality with God, when He was resurrected to an immortal God Being, so will we be.

Christ said that God the Father is greater than He (John 14:28). So, there is different authority even within the Family of God (1 Corinthians 11:3). BUT it is also said that God the Father and Jesus Christ are “ONE” (John 10:30), and that they are “EQUAL” (John 5:18; Philippians 2:6). They are both God Beings, sharing the same glory and essence. And even though Christ will always be the FIRSTBORN among many brethren and He will, therefore, always be higher in authority than any of His born-again brethren, they will still become EQUAL with Christ and with God the Father. Different levels of authority do not make a being superior or inferior.

When we are sons of God, we are also sons of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:38), showing once again that the Kingdom of God is the FAMILY of God, with God the Father being the highest in the Family.  

Chapter 8No Other God(s) 

How are we to understand Isaiah 43:10, where the LORD says, “Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me?” Doesn’t this contradict the teaching that it is the potential of man to become God?

We have seen that it is indeed the potential of man to become God—a full-fledged God Being in the Family of God. This teaching was already revealed in Old Testament times, even though most did not comprehend what was actually said. 

The context of Isaiah 43:10 shows that God speaks of idols which pagans worship, and sadly, Israel had begun to adopt such pagan worship as well, as our modern non-Christian and Christian nations do today. In the context of idolatry, God says in Isaiah 43:12: “I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no FOREIGN GOD among you.”

God’s statements in Isaiah 43:10 that there was no God “formed” before the true God, and that there will be no other God after Him, refers to foreign gods OUTSIDE THE GOD FAMILY. 

God is not negating the fact that He is enlarging His Family, but He is emphasizing that no one outside His Family can make any claim of being or becoming God. Many human leaders asserted that they were God or “gods” or divine, and in the future, two powerful individuals will make similar false claims. In addition, many non-Christians and nominal Christians worship “deities” or “saints” or the “Virgin Mary,” but God says that none of them must be worshipped.

The Beast and the False Prophet

Please notice what is prophesied to occur in the not-too-distant future. The beast (a political and military leader) as well as the false prophet—a religious leader, who is also associated with the “image of the beast”—will be worshipped by most people, implying that they will be considered as “gods” (Revelation 13:4, 12, 15; 14:11).

We read that the beast, also referred to as the king of the North, will “magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods… He shall regard neither the God of his fathers… nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver… Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory…” (Daniel 11:36–39).

The beast and the false prophet will work together. The beast, himself claiming to be divine, will honor and acknowledge (not necessarily “worship”) the false prophet as a foreign god. Both of them will claim to be gods or divine.

In fact, the false prophet, also referred to as the “man of sin” or the “lawless one” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 8, will sit “as God in the temple of God” (a future temple in Jerusalem), “showing himself” or proclaiming that he is God (verse 4). This false religious leader is also described in Ezekiel 28, where he is called the “PRINCE of Tyre” (verse 2). It says there that his heart will be lifted up, and he claims: “I am a god, I sit in the midst of gods” (same verse). But God answers him: “Yet you are a man, and not a god” (same verse). He also tells him about his death, asking, “Will you still say before him [better: “before Him”] who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man and not a god” (verse 9).

Of course, the false prophet operates under the direct influence and possession of Satan the devil. Satan is referred to as the “KING of Tyre” (Ezekiel 28:12). When he was known as the cherub Lucifer, he became proud and decided that he wanted to replace the true God and become (like) the Most High and a god or God himself (Ezekiel 28:12–17; Isaiah 14:12–15). And it is Satan the devil who will give his power and authority to the beast and the false prophet (Revelation 13:4; 12:9).

But we also read that God will destroy the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire—these “gods” will die, because they are mere men, and God is much more powerful than they. And God will also deal with Satan who uses them (Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:1–3, 7–10).

Foreign Gods

Returning to Isaiah 43:10, many commentaries understand that in that passage, God is not addressing His relationship with His followers and their potential, but His relationship with foreign gods and idols.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has the following comment:

“[The Israelites] were his witnesses, because, first, he had given [to] them predictions of future events which had been literally fulfilled: secondly, by his power of delivering them so often manifested, he had shown that he was a God able to save. Neither of these had been done by the idol-gods… Yahweh says that he was the first being. He derived his existence from no one. Perhaps the Hebrew will bear a little more emphasis than is conveyed by our translation. ‘Before me, God was not formed,’ implying that he was God, and that he existed anterior to all other beings. It was an opinion among the Greeks, that the same gods had not always reigned, but that the more ancient divinities had been expelled by the more modern. It is possible that some such opinion may have prevailed in the oriental idolatry, and that God here means to say, in opposition to that, that he had not succeeded any other God in his kingdom. His dominion was original, underived, and independent.

“’Neither shall there be after me’ – He would never cease to live; he would never vacate his throne for another. This expression is equivalent to that which occurs in the Book of Revelation, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last’ (Revelation 1:11), and it is remarkable that this language, which obviously implies eternity, and which in Isaiah is used expressly to prove the divinity of Yahweh, is, in the passage referred to in the Book of Revelation, applied no less unequivocally to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds: “…‘before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me’; intimating that idols were formed by the hands of men, and yet none of these were formed before him, and therefore could make no pretensions to deity, or to an equality with him; nor should any be formed afterwards, that could be put in competition with him…”

Wesley’s Notes read: “The gods of the Heathens neither had a being before me nor shall continue after me: whereas the Lord is God from everlasting to everlasting; but these pretenders are but of yesterday. And withal he calls them formed gods, in a way of contempt, and to shew the ridiculousness of their pretence.”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states: “‘formed’—before I existed none of the false gods were formed. ‘Formed’ applies to the idols, not to God.”

Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary adds: “The idols were but of yesterday, new gods that came newly up (Deuteronomy 32:17); but the God of Israel was from everlasting… ‘there was no God formed before me, nor shall be after me.’ The idols were gods formed (dii facti—made gods, or rather fictitii—fictitious); by nature they were no gods, Galatians 4:8… God will have a being to eternity, and will be worshipped and glorified when idols are famished and abolished and idolatry shall be no more.”

God warns all of us not to worship or pray to any idols or gods, but to strictly and exclusively worship the true God—God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We are not to worship anyone or anything outside the God Family. In His timeless Ten Commandments, God tells us: “I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2–3).

Only ONE God Being?

Some claim and teach that God is NOT a Family, consisting of TWO Beings, but that He is just One Being. They refer to biblical passages, which state that God is ONE.

First, we need to understand from the context what is meant with “one.” Christ said that the Father and He are ONE (John 10:30). Christ was not saying that the Father and He were one Being. Rather, He addressed the concept of complete unity between the Father and Him. There was and always will be total harmony between the two members of the God Family. In fact, Christ won a legal argument with the Pharisees by proving that the Father and He, although “one,” were TWO Beings (John 8:17–18).

Christ prayed to the Father that His disciples should become “one” (John 17:20–23). He did not pray that they should all become one Being, but that they should become totally unified. We also read that Adam and Eve were to become “one” flesh (Genesis 2:24). Again, they were not to become one being. We can learn from these examples that Christ’s disciples, or Adam and Eve, were to reach, or achieve, oneness in mindset, in purpose, and in action.

Some claim that Scriptures like Deuteronomy 6:4 reject the concept that God is more than one Being. However, this is not the case.

Deuteronomy 6:4 reads: “Hear, O Israel, The LORD [Yahweh] our God, the LORD [Yahweh] is one!” Many perceive that this Scripture teaches monotheism—that is, the existence of only one God. And indeed, it does. There is only one God. But God is a Family, consisting of more than one Being. Since God does not contradict Himself in His Word, what can we learn from Deuteronomy 6:4? Yahweh is one Being. The Being who dealt directly with Israel was Jesus Christ (see discussion below). He was called Yahweh—He was and is one Being. So, it is true that Yahweh—Jesus Christ—is one Being.

In addition, Yahweh refers to the Father as well—and the Father is, of course, also one Being. Thirdly, since Yahweh refers to both the Father and the Son, they are also “one”—one in purpose, goal, mindset, willpower and determination. They are unified. There is no division in the God Family.

Further, many commentaries, including the Jewish Bible or Tanakh, feel that the passage in Deuteronomy 6:4 should be translated, “The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” This would make sense too, given the fact that both God the Father and Jesus Christ are referred to as “LORD” or Yahweh in Scripture (Compare Zechariah 2:8–11; 4:8–9; 6:9, 12–15 in the New King James Bible). In this sense, the prohibition is against worshipping other gods. Deuteronomy 6:4 definitively DOES NOT teach that there is only one God Being, as this would contradict all the other Scriptures in the Bible that establish a duality in the Godhead.

To elaborate, let us review several commentaries to see how they understand this passage, based on the original Hebrew. Bear in mind, however, that the commentaries that we will quote believe in the false concept of the Trinity—one God in three Persons—whereas the Bible teaches that God is a Family, consisting of TWO Persons, not three.

Plurality in the Godhead

Still, the following commentaries do understand that there is a PLURALITY in the Godhead and that Deuteronomy 6:4 actually teaches this plurality, rather than the concept that the God Family is just one BEING.

For instance, the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord—or, as the words may perhaps be better translated, ‘Hear, O Israel: Jehovah [our comment: Yahweh is the better rendition of the Hebrew YHWH than Jehovah] is our God (Elohim, plural), Jehovah alone’… The basis of their religion was an acknowledgment of the UNITY of God… it is observable that a belief in the UNITY of God was a fundamental principle not of their faith only, but of their political constitution. The social fabric in all other contemporary nations rested upon the assumed truth of polytheism…”

The New Unger’s Bible Handbook adds:

“This is the most significant verse for orthodox Jews, who call it Shema after the first word, ‘Hear!’ ‘The Lord [YHWH] our God, the Lord is ONE,’ the one, ‘ehad,’ expressing COMPOUND UNITY not ‘yahid,’ meaning a single one, thus not supporting Jewish and Unitarian denial of the Trinity [better, the duality in the Godhead]…”

Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible states:

“Hear, O Israel… shema Yisrael, Yehovah Eloheinu, Yehovah achad… Many think that Moses teaches in these words the doctrine of the Trinity [better: duality] in Unity. It may be so; but if so, it is not more clearly done than in the first verse of Genesis [where we read that God—“elohim” in Hebrew—created the heavens and the earth]… When this passage occurs in the Sabbath readings in the synagogue, the whole congregation repeat [sic] the last word… achad for several minutes together with the loudest vociferations… but all their skill… can never prove that there is not a plurality expressed in the word… Eloheinu, which is translated our God… It would apply more forcibly in the way of conviction to the Jews of the plurality of persons in the Godhead, than the word achad, of one… Some Christians have joined the Jews against this doctrine, and some have even outdone them, and have put themselves to extraordinary pains to prove that… Elohim is a noun of the singular number! This has not yet been proved. It would be as easy to prove that there is no plural in language.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Bible states:

“These are the words of Moses, stirring up the people to an attention to what he was about to say of this great and momentous article, the UNITY of God, to prevent their going into polytheism and idolatry… they no ways [i.e., in no way] contradict the doctrine of a trinity [better: duality] of persons in the unity of the divine essence, the Father [and the] Word… which [two] are one; the one God, the one Jehovah, as here expressed…”

Deuteronomy 6:4 does not teach that there is only one God BEING. Rather, Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament (see discussion below), in expressing the direct mandate from God the Father, warned the Israelites not to practice idolatry and polytheism, but to recognize and worship the one true God who led them out of the land of Egypt (compare Exodus 20:2–3). It is true that at that time, most Israelites did not even understand that God is a Family, and they falsely believed that Jesus—the God Being dealing directly with them—was God the Father. 

One might ask, why would God the Father have allowed the Israelites to worship and pray to the Word, Jesus Christ, erroneously thinking that they were worshipping God the Father? This was all part of God’s great plan. When Adam and Eve sinned, they cut themselves off (and man in general) from God the Father (see below). It would be Jesus Christ who was to deal directly with the ancients and the nation of Israel in Old Testament times. Though some of the ancients understood that God is a Family, consisting of the Father and the Son, most did not. But even those who understood dealt directly with Christ—as mentioned above, none of them has ever heard the voice of the Father or has seen His form. However, there is, always has been, and always will be complete love, unity and harmony within the Godhead, and God the Father was in no way “jealous” of His Son, when Israel worshipped Christ instead of Him.

Christ came to this earth to teach very clearly that His disciples are to worship God the FATHER in spirit and in truth, and that they are to pray to Him, but they are told to do so in Christ’s name. Christ made it clear that the Father is the highest Personage within the God Family. Again, there is no jealousy within the God Family, and Christ is most certainly not jealous of the Father that it had to be revealed that He, rather than Christ, must be prayed to. Christ will always recognize His Father as the Highest, but remember, God is one. The Members of the God Family live without any jealousy towards each other. They live in love, harmony and complete unity with each other.

Deuteronomy 6:4 does not negate the existence of two Beings within the God Family, but it emphasizes the UNITY of the true God. It also includes the timeless prohibition against a belief in polytheism (consisting many times of pagan gods fighting each other) and against the worship of other gods beside or instead of the one true God (Family).

No Other Gods

How, then, are we to understand Isaiah 45:5, where the LORD says, “I am God, and there is no other?”

In Isaiah 45, “the LORD” (Yahweh in Hebrew) speaks to Cyrus and tells him that he will be an instrument in God’s hands to fulfill His Will. He specifically prophesies that and how Cyrus will conquer Babylon (compare verse 1) and that he will allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt and Judah to be released from captivity (compare verse 13). He also emphasizes that Cyrus did not know God, when He called him for his special mission (verses 3–5).

It appears that Cyrus was an idol worshipper of the Persian sun god Mythra (whose day of worship was Sunday, and whose birthday was celebrated on December 25). He apparently also worshipped the Babylonian god Marduk. It is in that context, that the LORD (Yahweh) says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me” (verse 5, compare verse 6).

It is true that Yahweh’s comments are more encompassing than just referring to Cyrus. He repeats His claim that He is God, and that there is no other God besides Him, in several verses throughout the chapter (verses 14, 18, 21, 22; compare also Isaiah 46:9).

All these passages deal with the true God in contrast with false “gods” or idols. The “LORD” is stating that He created the universe and everything that exists; that He is carrying out His Will and that His prophecies will come to pass; and that no other “god” had or will have any part in any of this. But does this mean, as some have suggested, that Isaiah taught that there was only one God Being—the “LORD”? 

The “LORD” 

As we saw, the word “LORD” (Yahweh) can refer to any one of the two Beings within the God Family. Although normally referring to Jesus Christ, it can also refer to God the Father. It is therefore obvious that when the LORD says that He is “God,” and that there is no other, this must be referring to either one and including both of the two Personages, who are both identified as “LORD.” The word for “God” is elohim in the Hebrew, describing a (family) unit. Remember, God (elohim) said in the beginning: “Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). Here, God (elohim) is used as a plural word, describing a unity of more than one Being. 

The LORD—whether the reference is to the Father or to the Son—is declaring that He—as the representative of the God Family—is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ (compare Colossians 1:12–16). No other god or idol must be worshipped or thought of as having participated in any creation process. The Father and the Son are “one”—totally unified in approach, purpose and goal—so that when the One speaks, He speaks likewise for the Other. 

Several commentaries have clearly understood that the passages in Isaiah 45, as quoted above, do not teach that God consists of only one Person. For example, we read in Isaiah 45:22 that Yahweh says: “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

Clarke’s Commentary to the Bible states:

“This verse and the following contain a plain prediction of the universal spread of the knowledge of God through Christ; and so the Targum appears to have understood it; see Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10. The reading of the Targum is remarkable, viz. [that is], … look to my Word, … the Lord Jesus.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds:

“’Look unto me,’…. And not to idols, nor to any creature, nor to the works of your hands… all must be looked off of, and Christ only looked unto… He is to be looked unto as the Son of God, whose glory is the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world; as the only Mediator between God and man; as the Saviour and Redeemer… ‘for I am God, and there is none else’; and so mighty to save, able to save to the uttermost, all that come to him, and to God by him, be they where they will; since he is truly God…”

These commentaries explain that Yahweh, who is speaking here, is actually Jesus Christ; they also understand that Christ is God—but not the only God Being, of course, because the FATHER later impregnated Mary with the Christ Child through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30–35).

Christ—Yahweh—exclaims that He is God, and there is no other—not in reference to God the Father, but in reference to pagan idols and gods who were invented through the maneuvering and under the influence of Satan the devil to create a substitute for Jesus Christ. That is the reason why pagans believed in Savior “sun-gods,” such as Mythra or Attis, who died around Easter time, on a Friday, and who were believed to have come back to life on a Sunday.

Sadly, orthodox Christianity absorbed those pagan concepts and applied them to Christ, claiming that Christ was born on December 25; that He was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday; and that He must be worshipped today on a Sunday. All these unbiblical practices and beliefs are of pagan origin, and the Bible strongly condemns this kind of syncretism (Deuteronomy 12:29–32).

Likewise, we read in Isaiah 46:9, that Yahweh says: “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.”

Again, this is not teaching that there is only one God Being, but that we must not worship any pagan gods, as they are of no relevance.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible remarks:

“Remember the former things of old… which are so many proofs of the true deity of the God of Israel, in opposition to the idols of the Gentiles…”

Isaiah does not teach that there is only one God Being, but that both the Father and the Son, referred to as Yahweh, are members of the one true God Family. Isaiah also teaches that no “god” or “idol” must be viewed as a helpful way to salvation; rather, whatever is not of, or belonging to the true God, is to be avoided and rejected. 

Chapter 9—Jesus—THE God of the Old Testament 

Colossians 1:16 states that “all things”—visible and invisible—were created “by” and “through” Jesus Christ. We see in John 1:1–3 that “all things” were made through the Word—the Logos—Jesus Christ; and Hebrews 1:1–2; 2:10 tells us that God the Father made “the worlds” or the entire universe and “all things” “through” Jesus Christ.

This shows that it was Jesus Christ who created Adam and Eve. 

Jesus Christ spoke of His own pre-existence over and over again. At one time, He stated boldly that He—AS God—had lived before Abraham. The Jews were so outraged that they were willing to stone Jesus. Notice the dialogue and the reaction of the Jews to Christ’s words in John 8:56–58: “[Jesus said,] ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”’

When Jesus said, “I AM,” rather than, “I WAS,” the Jews understood that He identified Himself as God—as “Yahweh,” the “I AM” or Eternal of the Old Testament. That is why they “took up stones to throw at Him” (verse 59).

The Jews of Christ’s time rejected Him as fulfilling the office of Messiah and the King of Israel. However, prophecy in the books of the Old Testament pointed to the fact that it would be God who would come to deliver them (compare Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23). Jesus told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). In another instance, following His resurrection, Jesus showed some of His disciples these very proofs: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

In addition, in Luke 10:18, Jesus said that He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven, claiming that He existed when Satan’s rebellion occurred, which happened long before the creation of man.

The Bible shows that Jesus Christ existed, as a GOD Being, prior to His appearance as a Man over 2,000 years ago.

The Jews at the time of Christ did not know—and most still don’t know today—that God is a Family, presently consisting of two God Beings. Christ came to REVEAL the Father to them (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22). The Jews thought they knew the Father, not realizing that the God of the Old Testament, who directly worked with and dealt with Israel, was Jesus Christ—not God the Father.

We read in John 1:18 that “no one has seen God at any time.” John 5:37 confirms that “you have neither heard His [the Father’s] voice at any time, nor seen His form.” Again, we read in John 6:46: “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God,” that is, Jesus Christ. Finally, 1 John 4:12 repeats, “No one has seen God at any time.”

God Spoke to Israel

Still, we read that God did appear to the ancient Israelites. They did hear His voice many times. Some even saw the form of God, to an extent, in His glorified state (compare Genesis 32:30; Exodus 33:11, 17–23; 34:6–8; Numbers 12:8; Deuteronomy 34:10; Isaiah 6:1–10; Ezekiel 1:26–28; 3:23; 8:4). It was the Spirit of CHRIST which dwelled in the prophets of old, as 1 Peter 1:10–11 clearly proves: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST [WHICH] WAS IN THEM was indicating when [it] testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”

According to biblical testimony, some did see “God” in Old Testament times, and they did hear His voice. On the other hand, Christ and the apostles taught that no human has ever seen or heard the voice of “God.” Since God does not contradict Himself in His Word, He is obviously talking about two different Personages here. Indeed, the Bible clarifies that no one has ever seen God the Father (compare again John 5:37; 6:46). But some did see “God”—that is, the second Being in the God Family—Jesus Christ, in His glorified state.

The Bible confirms that it was Jesus Christ who appeared to people and spoke with them in Old Testament times (compare John 8:56–58; 1 Corinthians 10:4, 9). In doing so, the Bible emphasizes again that Jesus Christ was GOD before He became a Man, and that God is a Family, consisting of God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. It was, in fact, Christ who dealt directly with Israel.

From this it follows that Jesus Christ was THE God of the Old Testament in that it was HE who dealt with the people and who was worshipped by the people who did not even KNOW of the existence of the Father. It is true that those few who were called to salvation in Old Testament times did know about the Father, but this is not true for the overwhelming majority of mankind. God simply did not give them the understanding to know. Even those who studied the Old Testament Scriptures did not understand (Matthew 22:29; New Jerusalem Bible), and Christ had to open up the understanding of the Scriptures to His own disciples (Luke 24:45).

It is true, of course, that righteous people in the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets, knew about the Father, but this is not true for the overwhelming majority, nor for the Jews living at the time of Jesus. For instance, Acts 3:13 states that the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus.” Abraham, Isaac and Jacob understood that their God was the Father, who would later glorify Jesus Christ, the Son.

Still, Christ, as the Son of God, had to come to reveal the Father, even though the Old Testament clearly revealed His existence. References to “the Father” in the Old Testament can be found in Isaiah 63:16; Malachi 1:6; 2:10; 2 Samuel 7:13–14; 1 Chronicles 22:10; and Deuteronomy 32:6.

In those passages, Christ—the “Word” or Spokesman for the Father—communicated to the people the words of the Father. When the Bible speaks of the “Father,” it normally refers strictly and exclusively to the highest God Being in the God Family.

However, the Jews were under the misimpression that they were worshipping “the Father.” They did not understand that the God Being functioning as the Messenger or Spokesperson of the Father and the God Family, who had been dealing directly with the ancients, was actually Jesus Christ. (Compare Christ’s words in John 8:54, “It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.”)

A Voice from Heaven

We have explained that Jesus’ words that no one has seen the form of God and that people did not hear the voice of God refer to God the Father, as people did see the form of the Son of God—Jesus Christ (compare again Numbers 12:8), and they did hear His voice. It was Christ who communicated and spoke the words of the Father. This makes sense for Old Testament passages, but what about the fact that people heard a voice from heaven about Jesus Christ when Christ was here on earth? This voice could not have been the voice of Christ.

Nor could it have been the voice of the Father, because we read later that people did NOT hear the voice of God (the Father) at any time. It is also quite ridiculous to assume that God the Father just formed an audible voice for the occasion, which He otherwise did not have.

Referring to the account of Christ’s baptism through John the Baptist, Matthew 3:17 says: “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”

Another account can be found in John 12:28–29, shortly before His betrayal:

“[Christ prayed:] ‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.’”

Also, when Christ and some of His disciples were on the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:5 records: “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’”

Peter would later reflect on that experience in 2 Peter 1:17–18: “For He [Jesus] received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

How are we to understand these passages? 

Angels Communicate God’s Words 

In his comments, Gill refers to the possibility of angels ministering to the people. 

Already in Old Testament times, we read that an angel spoke on behalf of God, voicing the command of God. We read in Zechariah 6:5–8 (Authorized Version): 

“And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.” 

Even though an angel speaks to Zechariah, it says that “my spirit” has been quieted—an obvious reference to God’s Holy Spirit. So, the angel is communicating God’s words to the prophet, but it appears as if God spoke directly to Zechariah.

In the New Testament, we read the angelic message, “the true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:9–10), coming from God the Father and Jesus Christ, in Revelation 22:8–16 (Authorized Version): 

“And I John saw these things, and heard [them]. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See [thou do it] not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star.”

In the passage above, we see that the message of the angel contains the direct words of Jesus Christ, but it is the angel who communicates these words to John. In fact, the message is from God the Father, given to Christ who gave it to the angel to communicate to John (Revelation 1:1). In the same way, an angel communicated the words of the Father to the people when the voice of the angel said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

It is true, of course, that some people saw God the Father in visions (Daniel 7:9–10; Revelation 1:12–16; 4:2–11; 5:1; Acts 7:55–58), but they never saw Him face to face, in His glory. There are reasons for that. 

Cut Off From God 

When Adam and Eve sinned, God cut them off from access to the Tree of Life, which symbolized the Holy Spirit and with it, spiritual understanding. In addition, all mankind was cut off from such access except for those being specifically predestined to be called prior to Christ’s return. The fact that mankind was cut off from God was God’s punishment for Adam and Eve’s disobedience—a direct consequence of Adam and Eve’s conduct. After they sinned, the Tree of Life was no longer accessible to them and in general, to mankind as a whole, and mankind was allowed, under the sway and deception of Satan, to create his own societies, which are ALL in opposition to God’s Way of Life. 

Today, the entire world is under Satan’s rule. This includes ALL countries, including the United States of America, South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, continental Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, including India, Russia, China, Japan and Korea. This means, no human government today is righteous in God’s eyes. This is one reason WHY true Christians are to come out of the “Babylon” of this world and its politics; to be separate; and not to touch or associate with or embrace or adopt or feed on the uncleanness of this world’s economic, military, educational or religious systems.

Adam and Eve’s sin DID do something to this world. The concept of “inherited” original sin is clearly wrong—but notice what DID happen when they sinned. In a brief article in the Plain Truth magazine of September 1963, the following is accurately explained: “… Adam and Eve… sinned. They were driven from the Garden of Eden. By sinning, they cut themselves off from the guidance, authority and knowledge of God (Gen. 3:24). Adam not only cut himself off—he was responsible for cutting his children off—from the help and instruction of God. Even his own son became a murderer (Gen. 4:8)… So Adam’s sin was unique in that it was the first human sin—it was he who cut man off from God… We have not been forced to sin because Adam sinned!”

But the sad fact is that we all followed Adam’s wrong example: We all sinned and brought upon us the penalty of ETERNAL death, and so we read that “by the one man’s offense many died” (Romans 5:15), and “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19).

So it is true that due to Adam and Eve’s conduct, humanity was cut off “from God” in the sense that they would not have access to the Holy Spirit and with it, godly understanding, unless specifically drawn and chosen by God the Father to be brought to Christ (John 6:44, 65).

Today, the world as a whole is cut off from God and is subject to the rule of Satan. God placed Lucifer on the throne of this earth, with responsibility for properly governing it, but he rebelled and became known as Satan. When Satan inspired Adam and Eve to turn against God—to sin by going against what God instructed them—God gave mankind 6,000 years to find out for themselves that they cannot live without God. And for that same 6,000-year duration, God has decreed that Satan would remain on his throne. That 6,000-year period will end at the return of Jesus Christ, who will come to replace Satan—a failed ruler—and restore the government of God on this earth.

But with Adam and Eve’s decision to eat from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, another important and often overlooked consequence needs to be addressed as well. Because, even though we saw that mankind was cut off from God in respect to the Holy Spirit and access to God, we also saw that Jesus Christ DID deal and work with humans, including the nations of Israel and Judah. Christ did not deal with them by offering them access to the Holy Spirit and an opportunity for salvation (this will occur later, in the Great White Throne judgment period), but He DID speak to them and showed Himself to them. It was Christ who spoke the Ten Commandments to the ancient Israelites—not the Father. And even though Christ—as the Spokesman—acted on behalf of the Father, most did not even understand that the Father existed. That is why Christ, when He came as a Man, had to reveal the Father to the average Jews.

Cut Off from God the FATHER

And that is why it is correct to say that Jesus Christ was THE God of the Old Testament, as it was HE who was worshipped. To say that the Father was the God of the Old Testament is misleading, as it wrongly conveys that the Father dealt with the people and was worshipped by them. This was not the case, as Adam and Eve’s sin cut them and mankind [in general] off from access to God the Father.

In Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, “Mystery of the Ages,” we read the following on pages 128–129, under “Humans, Cut Off from God?”:

“The Person in the God family who spoke with Adam was the Logos or ‘Word’ who was later born as Jesus Christ. Adam had no contact with God the Father. When the WORD closed the tree of life, all mankind was cut off from God the Father until Christ would come to earth in supreme power and glory to take from Satan the throne of the earth and to restore the government of God over the entire earth. Meanwhile Christ, the second Adam, came at his first appearing to reveal the existence of God the Father (Luke 10:22). Until that time, the world had no knowledge of the existence of God the Father. That is one reason the religion of Judaism had believed that God consists of ONE PERSON only. That is the reason theologians have lost, or rather never possessed, knowledge of the fact that GOD is a FAMILY into which we may be born as part of that very God family. That, also, explains why, on reading the New Testament of God the Father, and also of Jesus being God, they came up with the false theory of the Holy Spirit being a ‘Ghost’, or third Person of a Trinity…”

Also, the following is stated on pages 144–145:

“At this point, remember, the world had never known of the existence of God the Father until Jesus came and revealed the Father (Matt. 11:27). The world, from its foundation, was cut off from God the Father. Jesus came to reconcile repentant believers to the Father (Rom. 5:10).”

And so, the world has been cut off from God the Father, the HIGHEST of the Godhead, as well as the knowledge as to who God the Father and Jesus Christ are. The Father did not deal directly with mankind, and He was not generally worshipped by the overwhelming majority, including those who read but did not understand the Scriptures. No one has ever seen the Father or heard His voice. It was Christ who showed Himself to and dealt with the people. It was He who was THE God of the Old Testament. 

Chapter 10The Spirit of the Father and of Christ 

Is the Holy Spirit, which dwells in converted Christians, the Spirit of the Father or of Christ, or of both?

This question is related to the issue of “single procession” or “double procession” of the Holy Spirit, which is hotly debated in orthodox Christianity. For instance, while the Roman Catholic or Latin Church believes and teaches that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, the (Greek) Orthodox Eastern Church believes and teaches that it only proceeds from the Father, but that it is given through the Son. As both Churches believe in the concept of the Trinity (one God in three Persons, erroneously believing that the Holy Spirit is a Person), their explanation of the procession of the Holy Spirit is, by necessity, flawed.

When Christ was here on earth as a human being, it was the Spirit of God the Father which dwelled in Him. Prior to His human conception, the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11)—as well as the Spirit of the Father—dwelled in God’s prophets and others in Old Testament times, and subsequent to Christ’s resurrection, both His Spirit and the Spirit of the Father dwell in converted Christians who are called to salvation.

The Spirit of the Father

Let us first see that it was the Holy Spirit of God the Father which dwelled in the human being, Jesus Christ, when He lived here on earth.

We read in Luke 4:18–19 that Jesus, when He quoted the prophet Isaiah in a synagogue in Nazareth, applied the following passage to Himself: “The Spirit of the LORD [in this case, the LORD refers to God the Father] is upon Me [Jesus Christ], Because He [the Father] has anointed Me [Jesus] to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To preach deliverance to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the LORD.” Referring to Himself, He told His audience: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (verse 21).

He healed the sick through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 5:17; 6:19; 8:46), but it was not His power, but the power of the Father’s Spirit in Him. Christ said that of Himself, He could do nothing (John 5:19, 30; 14:10–11). It was the Spirit of God the Father, dwelling in Christ without measure or limitation (John 3:34; Authorized Version), which gave Him the power to perform miracles. Acts 10:38 reads: “God [the Father] anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God [the Father] was with Him.” We also read that God the Father was in Christ [through the Holy Spirit] during His suffering (2 Corinthians 5:19), giving Him the strength to endure.

When He was here on earth as a human being, He had no Holy Spirit (of His own) to give to others, as He was not a glorified God Being (compare John 7:38–39). At that time, only the Holy Spirit of the Father was in existence or available, and it was the Father’s Holy Spirit that dwelled in Christ. 

When the New Testament speaks of God, it is foremost referring to God the Father, but it is true, of course, that Jesus Christ is also God and referred to as such on several occasions. In Romans 9:5, Christ is called “the eternally blessed God” “who is over all” human beings. In Titus 2:13, Jesus Christ is called our “great God and Savior.” In Hebrews 1:8–9, Christ, the Son of God, is also called “God,” and it is stated that His God—God the Father—anointed Him with the oil of gladness. John 1:18 states that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, is God and has made the Father known to us (compare New International Version).

Still, in most cases, when speaking about God, the reference in the New Testament is to the Father (compare 1 Corinthians 3:23). And so we see repeatedly and consistently that the Holy Spirit of God the Father dwells in converted Christians. God the Father revealed the Truth to us through HIS Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10). We have received the Spirit which is from God the Father “that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” the Father (verse 12).

We read that we are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God (the Father) dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). This is repeated in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: “… your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [which] is in you, [which] you have from God, and you are not your own. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Again, we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 that God (the Father) has given us HIS Holy Spirit, and 1 John 4:12–13 adds that we know that we abide in God (the Father), and He in us, “because He has given us of HIS Spirit.”

This is clearly confirmed in Romans 8:11, 14:

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through HIS Spirit [which] dwells in you… For as many as are led by the Spirit of GOD, these are the SONS of God…”

The Spirit of Christ

And still, we ALSO read that the Spirit of Christ, the SON of GOD, dwells in converted Christians.

Romans 8:9 makes this very clear: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of GOD dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of CHRIST, he is not His.”

Acts 16:7 says that the Spirit of Jesus did not permit Paul and his coworkers to go into Bithynia (compare New International Version and Revised Standard Version). Philippians 1:19 speaks of the “supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”, and Galatians 4:6 states:

“And because you are sons, God [the Father] has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

After Christ’s resurrection and glorification, both He and the Father would be able to dwell in converted Christians, through the Holy Spirit emanating or proceeding from both of them. John 14:23 says: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make OUR HOME with him.” We read that the Father sends the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name (John 14:26); that Christ sends the Holy Spirit (John 16:7); and that Christ sends it from the Father (John 15:26; Acts 2:33). As we have seen, the different wording can be explained in that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father AND of the Son.

It is “one” Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11,13), because the Father and the Son are “one” (John 10:30)—they are of one mind, totally unified (compare John 17:11). 

Chapter 11HOW Did Christ Become a Human Being? 

Some doubt that Christ became human at all. Others believe that He was fully God and fully man when He was here on earth. Then there are those who teach that while the “human form” of Jesus was here on earth, the “Son of God” was still in heaven. They believe that when Jesus “died,” the Son of God continued to live.

None of these concepts are correct. The Word or the Logos; that is, the Son of God—Jesus Christ—BECAME flesh. When He was changed into flesh, divesting Himself of His divinity and laying aside His divine attributes and glory, He ceased to exist as an immortal Spirit Being. Rather, He BECAME—was CHANGED INTO—flesh. How did this happen? 

We read that Christ existed since all eternity. There was never a time when He did not exist. He was always the second Member of the God Family, which always existed as two immortal God Beings—God the Father and the Son. But Christ, who was “slain from the foundation of the world,” BECAME a human being—consisting fully of flesh—so that He could overcome sin in the flesh and DIE. When He became a man, He ceased to exist as a Spirit Being. When He died, He ceased to live—He did not continue to live, while in the grave for three days and three nights. 

God the Father resurrected Him from the dead as an immortal Spirit Being, with the glory that He had before He became flesh. 

God is Spirit, and so Jesus Christ, before He became a man, was Spirit because Christ was God (John 1:1). As long as Christ was a God Being, His Holy Spirit flowed from Him, as it did and does from God the Father. But in order to bestow the Holy Spirit on others, one has to be a glorified God Being. When Jesus became a human being, He did not have any longer the Holy Spirit on His own. Rather, as we have seen, it was the FATHER, who lived in Christ through HIS—the Father’s—Holy Spirit. It was the Father’s Holy Spirit of power, which dwelled in Christ from His human inception without measure. 

When Christ became a human being, the Father changed the immortal Spirit Being—Jesus Christ—into a mortal human being, thereby also becoming the Father of the HUMAN being Jesus Christ. Later, the Father “reversed” the process by changing the human being—Jesus Christ—back into an immortal Spirit Being. 

How did the Father accomplish the change from Spirit to flesh in the Person of Jesus? Actually, this had to be an extremely unique and awesome accomplishment, so that Jesus became the ONLY-SO-begotten Son of the Father (see the discussion below to the fact that He was the only SO begotten Son of God). 

First, we read that Mary was found pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. It was the power of God the Father who impregnated Mary with Jesus. To put it bluntly, from all the biblical evidence available to us, we conclude that Jesus was changed into and became a sperm in the womb of Mary. Mary’s ovum was thus fertilized, as every human baby comes into existence through the fertilization of a female egg through a male sperm. In Jesus’ case, however, the sperm was not from a human father, but it was the result of a change from immortal to mortal, through the power of God the Father’s Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit in Man 

When a human being is conceived in the womb of his or her mother, God gives that tiny little fetus a spirit—called the spirit in man. We do not know, exactly, how this is done—whether through an individual miraculous action and intervention on God’s part, or whether through an automatic “mechanism” and “procedure” which is somehow attached to or incorporated in the male sperm and brought into motion at the time of conception. In any event, this human spirit did not exist before in its individual “capacity”—we read that God “forms” or “creates” it in man (Zechariah 12:1), apparently at the time of conception. That individual human spirit, which is created and comes into existence at the moment of conception, does of course not have any “memory” of anything prior to its “creation” in the human fetus.

It appears that this concept applies to Christ as well. When God the Father placed in Christ the HUMAN spirit at the time of His conception in the womb of Mary, it did not carry with it any memory of Christ’s prior life as a God Being—as the HUMAN spirit of Christ did not exist prior to Christ’s change into a mortal human being.

At the same time, we read that Christ, when He was a man, clearly recalled His preexistence. We do not know exactly when Christ began to “remember,” but it appears that His memory came to Him, gradually, through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God the Father.

This conclusion is based on the fact that Christ told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would remind them of the things which He had told them. In the same way, it stands to reason that the Spirit of God the Father reminded Christ of prior events in His Life as a God Being.

When a human being dies, his human spirit returns to God who gave it. It is stored in heaven to be used for the purpose of a later resurrection of the person, as it retains everything of the person, including his outward appearance, thoughts, memories, experiences and actions in his life prior to death. But the spirit in man is not a person, and neither is the Holy Spirit. Still, when a person becomes converted and is properly baptized, he will receive from God the Holy Spirit, thereby giving him divine nature, potentially leading to immortal divine life at the time of his resurrection. When that converted person dies, both his human spirit and his Holy Spirit return to God, and are retained in heaven, until the time of his resurrection to an immortal Spirit Being. 

The same happened at the time of Christ’s death. His human spirit, together with God the Father’s Holy Spirit, returned to God, and after three days and three nights in the grave, God the Father resurrected Christ from the dead as an immortal glorified God Being, using the spirit in man and the Father’s Holy Spirit to create a spiritual body (see below) with all physical and spiritual memories, thoughts and accomplishments.

But in the case of Christ, even more had to be involved.

Returning to our discussion on Christ’s physical birth, recall that we said that Christ was changed from spiritual to physical. He willingly gave up His glory and laid aside His divine attributes. The question arises, what occurred at that moment to His Holy Spirit? As a God Being, He had the Holy Spirit on His own, but He did not have it on its own when He was human.

Christ’s Holy Spirit

It appears that Christ’s Holy Spirit stayed with God the Father in heaven—clearly NOT as a self-conscious entity, and most assuredly NOT as the Son of God—but as God retains in heaven his human spirit after a converted person’s death, together with the Holy Spirit given to and residing in that person, so it appears that when Christ became a human being, the Father “retained” Christ’s Holy Spirit in heaven, which Christ “laid aside.”

Subsequently, when Christ died and His human spirit and the Holy Spirit of the Father (which dwelt in the human Christ without measure) returned to the Father in heaven, both the Father’s Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ (retained in heaven) would have combined or “merged,” and when the Father resurrected Christ from the dead, He would have done so by using Christ’s human spirit, as well as the Father’s Spirit which had dwelt in Christ without measure and Christ’s Spirit which had been retained in heaven. But it was still the FATHER who resurrected Christ through the power of HIS Spirit.

But neither the Holy Spirit nor the spirit in man are self-conscious entities or persons. When Christ died, He was dead. There was no consciousness in Him, nor did God the Father’s Holy Spirit that had dwelt in Christ continue to “live” with consciousness, while Christ was in the grave.

False Understanding

Likewise, Christ’s Holy Spirit that was retained by God the Father in heaven while Jesus lived on earth did not have any self-consciousness. But based on our understanding, one can clearly see how the FALSE concept of a conscious immortal soul which keeps on living after a person dies could have entered the confused mind of man, as well as the FALSE concept that the Son of God continued to exist as a conscious Being in heaven, while the man Jesus lived on earth. 

Chapter 12The “Only-Begotten” Son 

We read in John 1:17–18: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

This passage addresses the fact that Jesus Christ came to reveal the Father and the spiritual intent of the law, and that He made forgiveness of sin possible. He is referred to as the “only begotten Son” (some translate, the only begotten God), being in the “bosom” of God the Father, thereby showing the intimate and close relationship between the two Members of the God Family.

In John 3:16, a similar statement is made:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

We can only obtain salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ—the “only begotten Son”—and as one initial step, we must believe in His Sacrifice. But His death does not save us; we will be saved by His Life (Romans 5:10), which He lives in us through the Holy Spirit.

And so, we read in 1 John 4:9:

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

Begotten Sons and Daughters

On the other hand, converted Christians are also referred to as God’s begotten sons and daughters and His begotten children; and Christ is called the firstborn among many brethren. When we receive God’s Holy Spirit, we are begotten children of God; and when we are changed to immortal Spirit Beings at the time of Christ’s return, we become God’s born-again children. Likewise, when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, He became the first-BORN Son of God.

We read in John 1:12–13: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

God must call us; it has nothing to do with our will to be called. And when we respond and “receive” the Truth, we can become begotten children of God at the time of our baptism, when we receive the Holy Spirit. In the passage above, the term “begotten” should be used. Please recall that the Greek word is gennao and can mean “begotten” or “born,” and it can even describe the process from begettal to birth.

In Galatians 4:4–7, this development is further explained: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons [better: sonship; see discussion below]. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Christ never sinned. He became a Man—fully flesh—to overcome sin in the flesh and to die for us, paying the penalty for our sins. We were under the law—its penalty—and so He was placed under the penalty of the law to make our redemption possible. We can receive God’s Holy Spirit and become sons and daughters of God—first begotten children and finally born-again children. The term “adoption” is an incorrect rendering—the better translation is “sonship” (see below).

Paul elaborates in Romans 8:14–23:

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption [better: sonship] by whom [which] we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit [itself] bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together… For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God… because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God… we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit [are] eagerly waiting for the adoption [sonship], the redemption of our body.”

As converted Christians in whom God’s Spirit dwells, we are begotten sons and daughters of God. We have already obtained sonship—we are already God’s (begotten) sons. But when we are changed into Spirit Beings, we will obtain the full sonship of immortal born-again God Beings in God’s Family, as we are told in 1 John 3:1–2.

Fundamental Difference

There is a fundamental difference between Jesus Christ, the “only” begotten Son of God, and converted Christians, who are also called begotten sons of God. Christ has always existed; there was never a time when He did not exist. Since all eternity, He was the second Member of the God Family—the Word or Logos, the Spokesman of God the Father, as John 1:1 explains. He was always the Son, as God was always the Father.

But when Christ became a human being as the “only begotten” of the Father (John 1:14), He became a BEGOTTEN Son of God IN THE FLESH. While we—flesh and blood human beings—become begotten children of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit in us, Christ—the immortal God Being—became FLESH and the begotten Son of God through the miracle of transformation from Spirit to flesh. He was the ONLY Personage who was EVER begotten in this way, and in that sense, He was the only SO begotten Son of God. We also read that since His conception as a human being in Mary’s womb, He had God the Father’s Holy Spirit within Him without measure.

Notice how Christ’s miraculous transformation and begettal took place.

We read in Matthew 1:18–25: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit… an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, ‘…that which is conceived [literally: begotten] in [Mary] is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS [Savior], for He will SAVE His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’”

A parallel account of the announcement of the virgin birth can be found in Luke 1:26–38. Notice especially the angel’s saying in verses 31–32, 35: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest… The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

No other human being was conceived and begotten in this way, and therefore, Christ IS the only begotten Son of God in that sense. But Christ is also the firstborn among many brethren, and converted Christians are also begotten sons of God. To emphasize the distinction between Christ’s “begettal” and our “begettal,” we may refer to Christ as the only SO begotten Son of God, indicating that while others will also be called begotten sons of God, their “begettal” does not occur in the same way and does not describe the same process as Christ’s begettal did. 

Chapter 13Does God Have Feelings and Emotions? 

Some have a totally wrong concept of God and view Him as an impersonal “Something” without “parts,” form and shape. That is not the God of the Bible who created man after His own image, and according to His likeness (Genesis 1:26–27)! In fact, God the Father created everything through His Son Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15–16; Hebrews 1:1–2; John 1:1–3). The Father and the Son are a Family, and the Members of the God Family are described as Personalities with feelings and emotions.

Fullness of Joy

The following sets forth descriptions of just some of God’s feelings and emotions:

We read in Psalm 16:11: “In Your presence is FULLNESS of JOY…”

Zephaniah 3:17 says: “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One… will REJOICE over you with gladness… He will REJOICE over you with singing.”

Deuteronomy 30:9–10 adds that God will REJOICE over us “for good” IF we obey Him and keep His commandments. Compare also Isaiah 62:5 and Jeremiah 32:41.

We are told that we are to “enter into the JOY of” our God (Matthew 25:21). We are also told that if a sinner repents and finds his way back to God, “there will be… JOY in heaven” (Luke 15:7), which even includes the joy of God’s angels (verse 10).

God gives us His Holy Spirit, which emanates from Him. The fruit of the Spirit reflects what God is, and God’s Spirit is a Spirit of JOY (Galatians 5:22; compare Romans 14:17; 15:13).

At the same time, God shows His emotions towards sinners and sinful nations who refuse to repent and plan to “fight” against God, by laughing at them, or laughing them to scorn (Psalm 2:2–4; 37:12–13; 59:7–8).

God May Be Grieved

In this context, we need to realize that God is pained when we sin against Him and when we forsake Him. We read that He was “SORRY” that He had made man, and that “He was GRIEVED in His heart” over the sins which they were committing and the terrible lifestyle that they were leading (Genesis 6:6). We read in Psalm 78:40 that sinning Israel “GRIEVED Him in the desert”. Psalm 95:10 quotes God as follows: “For forty years I was GRIEVED with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.’” We also read that we should not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30); that is, we should not sin and thereby grieve God who dwells in us through His Holy Spirit.

We even read that God HATES the one who sins wickedly against Him—that is, He hates the wickedness in that person: “The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul HATES” (Psalm 11:5). God warns us not to provoke Him to ANGER through our sins (Jeremiah 25:4–7).

But even when God must punish us for our sinful and wicked conduct, He does not do it “joyfully.” Rather, we read the following about God’s punishment of Moab, in Jeremiah 48:30–33:

“‘I know his wrath,’ says the LORD, ‘But it is not right; His lies have made nothing right. Therefore I will WAIL for Moab, And I will CRY OUT for all Moab; I will MOURN for the men of Kir Heres. O vine of Sibmah! I will WEEP for you with the WEEPING of Jazer. Your plants have gone over the sea, They reach to the sea of Jazer. The plunderer has fallen on your summer fruit and on your vintage. Joy and gladness are taken From the plentiful field And from the land of Moab…’”

We must also understand that God is moved when we suffer. He feels the pain which we endure. He suffers with us. We read in Judges 10:16 that after Israel repented, God’s “soul could no longer ENDURE the misery of Israel.” Isaiah 63:9 tells us that “In all their affliction He was AFFLICTED…” He was “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19), when He went through all of His suffering and when He died for us, thereby reconciling us with the Father. With God’s Spirit in us, all of us SUFFER when one member of the Body of Christ suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). And so we read that when we go through suffering, God is there to give us joy: “… Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Christ Intercedes for Us

We also read in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit “makes intercession for us with GROANINGS which cannot be uttered.” We know from other passages that it is Christ who intercedes for us (verse 34) with such groanings, through His Spirit, pleading our case before God the Father. Since He experienced suffering, trial and temptation in the flesh, He, as the second Member of the God Family and as our merciful High Priest, can aid and represent us; He knows what it is like to suffer in the flesh.

God is full of COMPASSION and has consideration for our weaknesses (Psalm 78:38–39; 86:15). We read that God PITIES His people, as a father pities his children (Psalm 103:13).

However, His pity has limits. In Ezekiel 16, God describes His love and compassion for ancient Israel when no one else pitied her. He married her and adorned her with the most precious things, so that her “fame went out among the nations because of [her] beauty, for it was perfect through [God’s] splendor which [He] had bestowed on [her]” (verse 14). But Israel became proud and trusted in her beauty (verse 15), and she paid God back with sinful and rebellious behavior, committing spiritual harlotry (verse 17). Finally, God put her away, being “agitated” (verse 43) by all her terrible actions. Reading the entire chapter, one can get a feeling as to how hurt God must have been, seeing His beautiful wife forsaking Him for other lovers.

God Is Jealous

God does not allow us to serve anyone but Him. Exodus 34:14 says: “… you shall worship no other God, for the LORD, whose name is JEALOUS, is a jealous God…” When we behave wickedly, He is jealous and furious and He avenges and will take vengeance on us (Nahum 1:2). He is slow to anger, but He will not acquit the wicked (verse 3).

If we do not repent, He—the jealous God—will not forgive us our transgressions and our sins, and if we forsake Him and serve foreign gods, He will turn and do us harm and consume us, after He has done us good (Joshua 24:19–20). Please note also Psalm 78:56–59; Deuteronomy 32:16; and 1 Corinthians 10:22.

Paul expressed the same feeling towards those who were listening to false teachers and who were in the process of departing from the living God, saying: “I am jealous for you with GODLY JEALOUSY” (2 Corinthians 11:2).

God the Father and Jesus Christ have feelings and emotions. They are touched by what we do and experience, and we should be very thankful for this and think and behave accordingly. As God Beings, we will have emotions too. 

Chapter 14Does God Know the Future? 

Does God know whether and when we will sin? Does He know how prophesied events will come to pass?

The answer depends on the circumstances.

The Bible contains many unconditional prophecies—most of which are for the end-time—to be fulfilled just ahead of us. Many are familiar with the Olivet Prophecy that Jesus Christ gave to His disciples prior to His death. Also, the book of Revelation is a prophecy for our time. The longest cohesive and uninterrupted Old Testament prophecy can be found in the eleventh chapter of the book of Daniel. Biblical scholars understand that that prophecy culminates in end-time events. Some recognize that many verses in the 11th chapter describe historic events that have already come to pass, events that were still future at the time Daniel wrote them down.

God Prophesied Future Events

God clearly has determined—predestined—well ahead of prophesied events, what will happen in the future. Isaiah 42:9 quotes God as saying: “… ‘Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.’” Isaiah 46:9–10 adds: “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’” Isaiah 48:5–7 continues: “‘Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you… I have made you hear new things from this time, Even hidden things, and you did not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; and before this day you have not heard them…’”

How is this even possible? How could God know thousands of years ago what would happen and what certain men would do?

God Brings It About

Part of the answer is revealed in Scriptures such as Ezra 1:1: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom.” We find here that God gave a prophecy to Jeremiah, and when the time of fulfillment had arrived, He influenced King Cyrus to act as prophesied. There are numerous examples in the Bible where such a course of action by God is described.

We might also consider Isaiah 44:24–26. Sometimes, God inspires His servants to pronounce future events, and God “confirms the word of His servant and performs the counsel of His messengers” (verse 26). The NIV says that God “carries out” the word of His servant; and the revised Luther Bible writes that God “makes it true.”

God Knows Ahead of Time

When the sixth angel sounds his trumpet, “four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind” (Revelation 9:15). This Scripture tells us plainly that, thousands of years ago, God had decreed that four angels would kill a third of man at a very clearly designated time. Verse 16 continues: “Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.” Continuing in verses 18–21: “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone… But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

We should take note here of several facts: First, God told John almost 2,000 years ago that just prior to Christ’s return, an army of two hundred million would kill a third of mankind. But God also knew that the rest of mankind who would survive that attack would NOT repent. This is remarkable, as in another situation, man WILL repent (compare Revelation 11:13). So God knew when some would repent and when most would not. How does God know when some will repent? We can answer this question in part: Because it is GOD who grants us repentance (Romans 2:4)—so He knew in advance to whom He would offer the gift of repentance at a certain time. What escapes human understanding is the fact that, in addition to knowing when to offer the gift of repentance to some, God also knew in advance who would accept His gift.

In addition, God outlines the history of the New Testament Church in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, pointing out, among other things, that there would be seven eras. God also describes the predominant characteristics of the Christians in each of those eras, well in advance of their existence (compare chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation).

In subsequent chapters of the book of Revelation, God outlines the history of the false church, and of the political system which it will rule, pointing out that the Roman Empire would be resurrected ten times, and that the false church would direct seven of those resurrections. Further, both a religious leader [the false prophet] and a political leader [the beast] are clearly identified who will fight against the returning Christ, while two Christian leaders, the Two Witnesses, will prophecy for exactly 1,260 days, before they will be killed by the political leader in the city of Jerusalem. God knew all of this in advance. It is predestined to happen. These prophecies are certain to occur.

God Decides Not to Know

On the other hand, we must realize that generally speaking, God has decided NOT to know whether human beings sin, and that is particularly true for those whom He decided “before time began” (Titus 1:1–2) to call to the Truth in this day and age. God has created man as a free moral agent, and even though God knows that we are dust, and that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21; compare Ecclesiastes 7:29), He has generally chosen NOT to know how we will act specifically in a particular situation. That is why He tests us in order to know how we will respond (Exodus 15:25; 16:4; Deuteronomy 8:2, 16).

As we have seen, there are exceptions. God knows, of course, how the beast and the false prophet will act in the future, but we must also realize that God will not call them for salvation in this day and age. Their opportunity to repent and follow God will be given to them later, in the Great White Throne Judgment period. Also, Christ knew “from the beginning” that Judas Iscariot would betray Him (John 6:64; 13:11; 17:12; Acts 1:16)… but Judas was never called for salvation, and he will be offered repentance in the Second Resurrection.

God “Learns” from Human Conduct

However, generally speaking, God has decided not to know ahead of time, whether or not we will sin, and because of this decision, He “learns” from human conduct. That is, when He noticed how evil and wicked mankind had become prior to the Flood, His reaction of surprise and dismay is clearly revealed in Genesis 6:5–7:

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every human intent of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was SORRY that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth… for I am SORRY that I have made them.’”

After God had anointed Saul to be king over Israel and had given him the Holy Spirit, He decided to take the Holy Spirit away from him and to replace him as king when he rebelled against God. It is clear from the context that God did not know ahead of time—because He had CHOSEN not to know—that Saul would turn his back on God. We read that “the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:35).

Also, we read later that Israel and mankind in general would act in such a horrible way that God was utterly surprised that man could reach such a depraved state of existence, saying that man’s behavior never entered His heart and His mind (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; 32:35). The Living Bible gives the intended meaning, as follows: “… a deed so horrible I’ve never even thought of it, let alone commanded it to be done (7:31)… something I never commanded, and cannot imagine suggesting. What an incredible evil…” (32:35).

On the other hand, when God calls us and gives us His Holy Spirit, He is totally convinced that we can make it (Philippians 1:6). He even said about young David when He anointed him to be king, that he was a man after His own heart who would do all His Will (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). This does not mean that David would not sin, but it means that God knew and looked at his heart (1 Samuel 16:7), and He knew that David would repent of his sins, once they came to his attention. We also read that after God had studied and tested Abraham, He knew that he would teach God’s Way to his children. God said: “For I know him, that he WILL command his children and his household after him, and they SHALL keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment…” (Genesis 18:19, Authorized Version.)

Did God Know that Adam and Eve Would Sin?

This then raises the question as to whether God knew that Adam and Eve would sin and eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The answer is that God did NOT know, as He CHOSE not to know, but He realized, of course, that Adam and Eve could sin by disobeying Him, as they had been created as free moral agents. As to the questions as to what would have happened IF they had rejected the Tree of Knowledge and had chosen instead to eat from the Tree of Life, they would not have become immortal right away. Even after eating from the Tree of Life, they still would have sinned from time to time, as we do today, since NO HUMAN BEING exists who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8). (There is only one exception of a sinless human being, see below.) This means that regardless of Adam and Eve’s original decision in the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ still would have had to come in the flesh to die for our sins. He was indeed predestined, from the foundation of the world, to be our Sacrificial Lamb (compare Revelation 13:8). 

Did God Know that Jesus Would NOT Sin?

This brings up another question. Did God the Father and Jesus Christ KNOW, when it was decreed that the Son of God would become a man to overcome sin in the flesh, that Jesus, as a human being, would NEVER sin, so that He could become the perfect Sacrifice for us, making possible the forgiveness of our sins and our entry into the Kingdom of God?

First of all, both the Father and Jesus Christ had the absolute conviction and complete confidence that Jesus would NOT sin. This does not negate the fact that Jesus, as a Man, having become totally flesh as we are today (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3), COULD have sinned. He had to struggle against sin so that He remained sinless throughout His human life (compare Hebrews 5:6–9; 12:3–4).

But more is involved. We read throughout the Old Testament, long BEFORE Jesus became a Man, that He, as the Messiah, would succeed in the flesh (Isaiah 52:13, so the Luther Bible and the Menge Bible; the Revised English Bible says: “My servant will achieve success…”) and that He would subsequently rule as a glorified God Being—with the glorified saints—on and over this earth in the Kingdom of God (compare for instance Isaiah 2:1–4; Daniel 2:44; 7:9, 13–14, 27; Zechariah 14:3–5, 9). That rule would only be possible if Jesus never sinned. Apart from the complete confidence that He would not sin, it APPEARS that God, who inspired the Old Testament prophecies, might have looked into the future… beyond Christ’s first coming, knowing that He would remain sinless, as otherwise, none of the Old Testament prophecies predicting as a certainty His rule on earth as the Messiah could come to pass.

God Has Confidence in Us

This brings us to another important question. Even though God has decided NOT to know whether and when WE will sin and also, whether we will commit the UNPARDONABLE sin, He has the utmost confidence in us that we will NOT fail Him. He knows that MOST of those whom He has foreknown, predestined, called, chosen and justified in this day and age WILL remain faithful and will make it as glorified Beings into His Kingdom (Romans 8:29–30; Revelation 17:14). He wants YOU to be successful. But then, even though King Saul had received God’s Holy Spirit, he lost it and will apparently end up in the lake of fire. And so, God warns all of us: “Hold fast what you HAVE, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). The decision is ours. 

Chapter 15Does God Travel? 

Many believe that God, as a supposed Trinity, can never change—meaning that when Jesus Christ died on earth, the Son of God was still alive in heaven. It is further believed that God has no form and shape, but that He is some kind of a “blob”—even though that word is being objected to, as it implies a “shape”—that He is just everywhere, without form and shape. He is in every stone, in every grain of sand, in every human, in every animal, in every angel, in Satan and every demon, in every drop of water.

That idea, of course, is accompanied by the concept that God cannot travel—that He cannot move from one place to another place—as He is everywhere at all times. As words in the Bible relate the opposite, they are just to be viewed as figurative language designed for our limited human understanding, as this would be all that we could comprehend.

We hasten to add that these concepts, in one way or another, ARE the teachings of traditional Christianity which have been adopted from pagan concepts taught and believed in by Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek “theologians” and philosophers.

To answer the question from the Bible as to whether God does travel, we need to touch upon the concepts as referred to above.

Did Jesus Resurrect Himself?

Let us begin by reviewing who raised Jesus from the dead. Was the Son of God, as part of the unalterable Trinity, still alive when Jesus was in the grave, and did He, as the Son of God, raise Himself up? (We read that Jesus was and is the Son of God, John 20:31). Or, did the unalterable “Trinity” (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) raise Jesus up? 

Some use a passage in John 2:19 (where Christ said: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”), to teach that Christ rose Himself up FROM THE DEAD. They claim that Christ, the Son of God, never died, but that only His “human mantle” did. They teach that the Son of God was the second Member of an immortal and unalterable Trinity, and that He therefore could not have died. They postulate that Christ—the Son of God—raised up the human mortal Jesus. This ABOMINABLE HERESY is nowhere taught in the Bible! The Bible makes very clear that God is NOT a TRINITY; that Jesus Christ was the Son of God; and that HE DIED. It was God the Father [not the Son or the Trinity] who raised the DEAD Christ FROM THE DEAD.

For instance, Galatians 1:1 states: “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God THE FATHER, who raised HIM from the dead)…” When Christ died and was brought back to life shortly thereafter as an immortal Spirit Being, God the Father CHANGED Christ’s physical body (which had not yet decayed) into a Spirit Body. After three days and three nights in the grave, God the Father brought the DEAD Christ back to life. Christ got up, and at THAT moment, He fulfilled the prophecy that He had given to the Jews in John 2:19: He raised up His BODY.

In other words, He was lying on the ground in the tomb (John 19:40–42), but when He received immortal life from God the Father, He got up from the ground. The word for “raise up” (in Greek, egeiro), as used in John 2:19, is used many times to describe someone who simply STANDS UP. It is used in Mark 1:31; 9:27, and in Acts 3:7, as well as in James 5:15. In all of those cases, sick people stood up from their sick bed. God “raises or lifts” them up by giving them the power or strength to stand or to get up. John 2:18–22 does not teach that Christ raised Himself up FROM THE DEAD. Rather, it teaches that after God the Father resurrected Him from the dead, Christ raised up the temple of His BODY, by getting up. 

God Has Form and Shape 

God said that Moses saw the glorified “form” of the LORD (compare Numbers 12:8). God, when creating man, said that man was to be made in accordance with the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26–27; 9:6). God is described as having a head, arms, a body, feet, eyes and hair, among other aspects. Man is made in the physical form of God—he is a physical reflection of the Spirit Beings, God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Please also note that Christ is described as the [Spirit] image of God the Father (2 Corinthians 4:4). He looks like God the Father; that is why He could say, even when He was here on earth in human form, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). In that same way—on a physical level—man is made in the image of God. 

Given the fact that God has form and shape, He IS therefore at one given moment in only one place at one specific time. As a Person, He is not everywhere at the same time, but He indeed travels, moves and changes locations. This means, when He is sitting on His throne in heaven, He is therefore not at that very same moment on earth, or on planet Mars, or in another galaxy billions of light-years away. This is why we read that God came down from heaven to walk on earth; that Jesus Christ, after His resurrection to a Spirit Being, ascended to heaven; that He was brought before God the Father in heaven to receive kingship and power; and that He will return to this earth, in power and glory, to rule all nations. Of course, we must also understand that God CAN “travel” from one place to another within a “split second.” When God is at a certain place, at that very same moment, He cannot be—as a Person—at a different place at the same time.

How Is God Everywhere at the Same Time?

It is true, of course, that God the Father and Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit emanating from both of them, can be “everywhere,” but NOT as Persons. David did not conclude that God’s miraculous omnipresence was due to God being everywhere like a form- and shapeless blob; he knew better than that. 

God the Father and Jesus Christ are both Spirit Beings. They both have form and shape, composed of Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is NOT a being—rather, it is the power emanating from God (compare Micah 3:8; Luke 4:14). It is through the POWER of God’s Holy Spirit that things are created. And God’s Holy Spirit does not have form and shape—God’s Holy Spirit does not exist in a bodily form. And so God, a Spirit Being, who has form and shape, is everywhere through His Spirit. (More about this in the next chapter.)

Turning to Genesis 3:8–11, we find that God—actually in the Person of Jesus Christ, as no man has ever seen the Father (John 1:18; 6:46)—“walked” in the Garden of Eden. That must be understood quite literally. At that moment in time, Christ appeared to Adam and Eve in a physical manifestation, but through His Spirit, He was still everywhere. [Later, we find that Christ appeared to Abraham and Sarah, together with two angels, manifesting themselves “as” humans, to eat and to speak with them about their future son and to warn Abraham of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (compare Genesis 18:1–2, 13, 16–33; 19:1).]

God Came Down from Heaven

We also read Christ’s words to Abraham in Genesis 18:20–21: “Then the LORD said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.’” Some commentaries tell us that this wording [of God coming down and seeing how bad it was] is “anthropomorphic” (applying human characteristics, traits or attributes to God) or a figurative way of speaking, allegedly “proving God’s omniscience or all-embracing knowledge.” Of course, most commentaries do not believe that God has form and shape, and that man was made, in a physical way, after the spiritual likeness of God. Nor do they believe that God travels, going from one place to another. But the Bible clearly teaches both.

A similar conclusion can be gleaned from the account about the Tower of Babel. We read in Genesis 11:5–8: “But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’ So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.”

This passage implies that Christ came down, apparently in response to a report by His angels, to see what was really happening at Babel, and after having analyzed the situation, both the Father and Christ determined to go down to confuse the languages (or, as some commentaries suggest, Christ spoke to angels to go down with Him. In any event, the Scripture proves that God travels.)

Taking the Bible by its word, we can see the following:

  • God has spiritual form and shape. As such, He MUST travel from one place to another place to reach His desired destination.
  • The Son of God, Jesus Christ, died and was dead and in the tomb for three days and three nights, without any consciousness. He was not in heaven while He was dead in the grave on earth. The Father raised Christ from the dead. Christ (the Son of God) was dead and did not raise Himself up from the dead (He only stood up, after having been resurrected by the Father, as previously explained); and Christ left the grave and ascended to the third heaven—all of this showing that God—in the Person of the Son of God—does travel.
  • God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, traveled and came down from heaven to see Abraham, and He sent two angels to Sodom to determine whether there would be ten righteous in the city.
  • Christ will return to this earth with His holy angels, traveling from heaven to reach the earth (compare, for instance, Revelation 19:11–14).

All these statements show by written biblical verification that God travels—that He “moves” from one place to another place.

Let us focus in more detail on the clear teaching of the Bible in this regard:

All Untrue?

After His resurrection, Christ appeared and walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–31). It would be rather strange to conclude that Christ was at the same time in heaven, sitting next to the Father on His throne, while watching Himself from heaven, walking on earth with the two disciples.

We read in the Book of Revelation that after new heavens and a new earth have been created, the Father will come down from heaven to the new earth to dwell there (Revelation 21:3). Will He at the same time, while dwelling on the new earth, still dwell in the third heaven?

When Christ will come down to the earth to establish the Kingdom or Government of God and rule with the immortal saints on and over the earth during the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, will Christ at the same time still sit on the Father’s throne in the third heaven? And since we will be immortal Members of the Family of God, will we also be part of a huge Nirvana-like blob? Is meeting Christ in the air when He returns, and are Christ’s and our ruling on the earth just illusions and hallucinations—a gigantic fraud designed for us poor human beings who could not understand the Truth? Putting the questions this way, we should see how utterly nonsensical and ridiculous the idea is that God has no form and shape, and that He does not travel.

Let us also notice this:

Christ will come back in clouds as He ascended to heaven in clouds (Acts 1:9–11). He will come down to fight for Israel (Isaiah 31:4–5). His feet will stand on that day on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4), and all the saints will be with Him (verse 5). But no, learned theologians tell us, none of that happened and will happen, because God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, does not travel and He has no feet with which He could stand on the Mount of Olives.

We also read that God (Jesus Christ) came down to Mount Sinai to speak the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:20; 20:1). He later came down in the cloud and the pillar of cloud (Numbers 11:25; 12:5). We are told that the LORD rides on a swift cloud (Isaiah 19:1), and that He rides on a cherub or cherubim (Psalm 18:9–10; compare Ezekiel 1:4–28; 9:3; 10:4, 18). All of this shows, of course, that God travels, moves, walks, rides or flies, and thereby changes locations.

The Bible tells us quite succinctly that God (Jesus Christ) came down from heaven to deliver Israel out of slavery (Exodus 3:8). The Rock that went with and that followed Israel was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). 

He passed by Moses to show him His glory, which Moses could only view from the back (Exodus 33:18–23). He descended in the cloud and stood with Moses (Exodus 34:5). He talked to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11). 

To even suggest that all these statements of fact—and there are many more—are not true and did not really convey what happened (as allegedly, none of that happened) makes a mockery of God and His Holy Word—the Bible. God does not look kindly on those who do this, and He most certainly will not hold them guiltless. Let us make sure that we are not fooled by the trickery, the cunning and deceitful craftiness of man (compare Ephesians 4:14), but that we continue to believe God and His infallible Word. 

Chapter 16Does God Listen to Billions of Prayers at the Same Time? 

This question has perplexed many people.

A true Christian knows, based on the clear evidence of Scripture, that God can and does listen to multiple prayers at the same time. 

Let us understand how this is possible. 

God Knows Our Thoughts

David writes in Psalm 139:1–2: “LORD, You have searched me and known me, You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought AFAR OFF.” David knew that God could be “afar off,” and still understand all of his thoughts. Continuing in verses 3–6: “You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before. And laid your hand upon me [i.e., He has given him protection and security]. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.”

Psalm 139:4 states: “For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.” Some translations render this verse in this way: “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD” (NIV, compare RSV and Living Bible). [This translation reminds us of what Christ tells us in Matthew 6:8: “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.’”]

1 Samuel 16:7 says that while a man may look at the outward appearance, the LORD looks at the heart. In 1 Kings 8:39 King Solomon says to God: “You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men.” Psalm 44:21 adds: “Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.” Isaiah 66:18 quotes God as saying, “I know their works and their thoughts.” And Job says this to God in Job 42:2: “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Authorized Version).

We also find that Jesus, as a resurrected God Being, has the ability to discern and know the thoughts of people (Luke 24:38; Hebrews 4:12–13; Revelation 2:23).

Other New Testament passages also make it very clear that God the Father knows our thoughts (Luke 16:15; compare 1 Corinthians 3:20). In Acts 1:24, the disciples prayed to the Father to reveal to them who should take the place of Judas Iscariot: “You, O LORD, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen.” In Acts 15:8, Peter said that God “who knows the heart,” accepted Gentiles into the Church by giving them the Holy Spirit.

God will at the proper time make manifest and reveal the innermost thoughts and counsels or motives of our hearts (1 Corinthians 4:5; Luke 2:35). While our hearts might condemn us because of wrongly understood guilt complexes, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things (1 John 3:20). At the same time, we can deceive our hearts, but not God (James 1:26).

In addition, we are told that God knows the hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). Psalms 147:4–5 informs us that God’s understanding is infinite.

This Scriptural evidence shows that God DID know and hear every word which David and others spoke, and that He saw EVERYTHING that they did at the very moment in time when they did it. God is not a respecter of person—whatever God revealed about and said to David would apply to all of God’s people as well; that is, God sees everything that we do today, when we do it, and He hears every word [including in our prayers] which we say, when we say it. When, let’s say, hundreds of Christians speak to Him at the same time, God hears every single one of them AT THAT SAME TIME.

But how is this possible, given the fact that God, as a Person, cannot be, for example, at different places at the same time?

God’s Omnipresence 

We pointed out before that David did not conclude that God’s miraculous omnipresence was due to God being everywhere like a form- and shapeless blob. But he explains in Psalm 139 HOW God is omnipresent and HOW God can hear multiple prayers at the same time. Beginning with verse 7: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” 

As we pointed out before, God the Father and Jesus Christ are both Spirit Beings, but God’s Holy Spirit does not exist in a bodily form. God’s Holy Spirit is everywhere. God, a Spirit Being, who has form and shape, is everywhere [and present] through His (form- and shapeless) Spirit. 

It is true, of course, that at certain unique times, God manifested His Spirit in physical ways, such as a “dove” or “flames of fire,” but these physical manifestations do not mean, of course, that His Spirit does in fact have the (spiritual) form and shape of a dove or of fiery flames. 

And so, David continues to meditate on God’s omnipresence, as follows, in verses 8–12:

“If I ascend into heaven, You are there [through the Spirit of God]; If I make my bed in hell [Hebrew sheol, the grave], behold, you are there [through God’s Spirit]. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there your hand shall lead me [through God’s Holy Spirit], And your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ Even the night shall be light upon me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

God’s Holy Spirit

God’s Spirit can be compared with breath or wind. God’s Holy Spirit emanates from God, and through the Holy Spirit, God is and can be everywhere at all times.

Thinking of breath, it emanates from a source, such as an animal or a human being or God. In the case of God, He is the source of His breath (or spirit). We read that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living soul. This passage can refer to real breath, or the spirit in man through which God, through His Holy Spirit, gave life to Adam, or both. (But this does not refer to God’s Holy Spirit, as Adam and Eve never received the Holy Spirit and were barred from access to it, symbolized by the Tree of Life.)

One could also compare the Holy Spirit with electricity, emanating from a source, such as a generator or a power plant. When we touch an electricity-charged wire, we realize that there has to be a source of the electricity. Individual electrons travel through the wire “slowly” and have to work their way through a multitude of atoms in the wire. The electricity speed is equated to the speed of light.

Another analogy would be the miracle of broadcasting. TV or radio programs are being broadcast all over the world, but each one has a source—a TV or radio station from which the broadcast goes out.

The Bible compares God’s Spirit also with living, flowing water. A stream or a river of water has a source from which it emanates, the “fountain of water.” God is that source. Revelation 21:6 says: “And He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of water of life freely to him who thirsts.”

In John 4:10, 14, God’s Spirit is compared with water. Jesus tells the woman at the well: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The Bible makes it very clear that Christ compared the Holy Spirit with living water to be poured out. We read in John 7:37–39, in the Authorized Version: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirsts, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…).”

Christ compares the Holy Spirit with living WATER. God pours out of His Holy Spirit [in Acts 2:17]—again the same analogy of water being poured out on or into people is being used.

This is referring to the fountain of water, God, who is willing to give us of His Spirit. Please note Isaiah 58:10–12, addressing the future of those who did receive God’s Holy Spirit prior to Christ’s Second Coming: “You shall be like a spring of water whose waters do not fail” (or: “never run dry,” New Jerusalem Bible).

We need to realize that God lives in converted Christians through His Holy Spirit. This is HOW God can dwell in thousands of Christians all at the same time (John 14:23)—through His Spirit (compare Romans 8:9–11, 14–15; Galatians 4:6). And when He dwells in thousands of Christians through His Spirit, He can also see, acknowledge, hear and read the minds of those Christians through His Spirit—all at the same time. Even though Christ appeared to Adam and Eve or Abraham or Moses at a particular moment in time, in a physical manifestation, through His Spirit, He was still everywhere at that same time.

God Does Not Listen Today to Billions of Prayers 

But we should also consider that even though He could, God does not listen to billions of prayers at the same time.

The astounding Truth of the Bible is that generally, He does not hear, nor does He answer the prayers of just anyone. In fact, at this time and throughout human history, only a small proportion of people have had the kind of relationship with God in which their prayers would be heard by Him! God hears the prayers of those who have access to Him through Jesus Christ! Jesus taught that not everyone praying was being heard by God! However, for those who have been called and who have established a relationship with God, prayer is the vital communication with God to obtain His guidance—His oversight in our lives!

The New Testament emphatically teaches that Satan is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). The whole world has been deceived by him (Revelation 12:9), and those who are deceived may be even praying to Satan, without knowing it—not to God the Father! Jesus Christ is not serving as their High Priest, nor does God generally hear their prayers.

God is not now trying to save this world! Rather, He has called some to be a kind of “firstfruits” of His salvation (compare James 1:18)—identified as His “elect” (compare Matthew 24:22, 24, 31). God hears the prayers of His “saints” (compare Revelation 8:3) because of what Jesus Christ accomplished in becoming our Savior.

The elect have been chosen for salvation at this time, and they have the opportunity for God to hear their prayers. They are those who seek God with a true humility to be obedient to Him. They have gained access to God.

Consider, also, that God is willing to respond to those who truly turn to Him: “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). Sadly, this does not describe the people of our age—not even the countless millions who profess to be followers of Christ!

This reduces the number of people who pray to God at the same time and are heard by Him quite drastically to perhaps a few thousand … in any event much less than a million, not to speak of 7.8 billion.

God Does Not Hear “Sinners”

In John 9, Christ healed a man on the Sabbath who had been born blind. The Pharisees and the Jews accused Christ of breaking the Sabbath and concluded that He was not from God (verse 16) and a “sinner” (verse 24, in Greek, hamartolos). In response, the healed man said: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (verses 31, 33).

The Pharisees had made terrible accusations against Jesus. They had accused Him of casting out demons with the help of Beelzebub, the “ruler of the demons”—another designation for Satan (Matthew 12:24). Some even claimed that He was possessed by Satan (Mark 3:22). Christ warned them in that context that they were in danger of committing the unpardonable sin, which cannot be forgiven, for they were blaspheming God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in Christ (Matthew 12:31–32; Mark 3:28–30). The implication is that Jesus, when He was called a “sinner,” was accused of being a “pervert” and a “bastard,” born of fornication (John 8:41), influenced and possessed by Satan the devil and his demons (John 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20). The man who was healed of his blindness responded that Jesus could not have been guilty of such accusations, because if He was such a “sinner,” God would not have heard Him and used Him to heal his eyes.

The Bible does not teach that God does not hear us when we slip and fall occasionally, committing a sin because of weakness or neglect. All of us sin occasionally (1 John 1:8). We are told that if we sin, we can repent of and confess our sin to God, and ask God for forgiveness, and “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This shows that God WILL HEAR us when we pray to Him, even though we have sinned.

However, Isaiah 59:2–3 tells us that God does not hear us when we live in iniquity and when we are unwilling to repent of it. God says in Isaiah 1:15: “Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.”

God clearly states in Micah 3:4: “Then they will cry to the LORD, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds.” David understood that if he “had cherished iniquity in [his] heart, the Lord would not have listened” to his prayers (Psalm 66:18, Revised Standard Version). 

God told Jeremiah that He would not hear those who rebelled against God and who continued to live in rebellion (Jeremiah 14:11–12). God will NOT LISTEN to prayers of people who REFUSE to hear His law (Zechariah 7:11–13).

If we continue to openly rebel against God; refuse to listen to Him and His Word; refuse to repent of our sins; refuse to keep His Law and to be obedient to Him; then God will not listen to our prayers. If we want to remain “sinners,” even though we have been taught the Truth—if we choose to continue to follow the dictates and devices of our own evil heart—then we cannot expect to be heard on high.

God May Listen to Unconverted People 

This reduces the number of people even more whom God is hearing and listening to at the same time. Even when a person is called to salvation and responds to the call, he or she will not be heard if they depart from the Truth. On the other hand, God may hear the prayers of people who show genuine remorse for their deeds, even though they might not be called to salvation in this day and age. God listened to the prayer of the Ninevites and spared their city (Jonah 3:5–10). Jesus confirmed later that their “repentance” was sufficient for God to relent from the disaster that He had intended to bring upon them (Matthew 12:41). 

Christ listened to the prayer of a Gentile woman and healed her young daughter, by casting out a demon, when He saw her faith (Mark 7:25–30). In that case, we don’t even know whether she was conscious of, and whether she had repented of her sins, but God honored her faith in Him. God says that until He calls someone to repentance, He overlooks the time of ignorance (Acts 17:30), but even then, He desires that people “seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

Someone who is looking to God and who is trying to do what is right, as much as he or she understands it, might very well be heard by God. Christ healed many people who had faith in Him, even though they did not understand many things about God and His Way of Life. But once God calls us to salvation, He expects of us to respond to His call, repent, get to know Him and His Way better, and to obey Him. We have to forsake the ways of this world and choose to live God’s Way of Life.

Children of Converted Parents 

This would especially include those children who are growing up in the Truth with at least one converted parent. Little children are basically unaware of what sin is. But they may have a humble and teachable heart. When they pray to God, He might answer their prayers. Let us realize what Christ said about little children, in Matthew 18:3–4: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Little children don’t have an agenda. They are quick to forgive. They are open to teaching. Many times, God may respond to their prayers, if they “believe” in God in their limited way, since Christians must become “like” them to be able to enter God’s Kingdom. 

Still, as we can see from the foregoing, the number of prayers which God would hear and listen to at the same time is considerably less than millions or even billions of prayers. If we want God to answer our prayers and grant us the petitions of our hearts, we need to obey Him. After all, there is a strong connection between obedience and answered prayers, as we read in 1 John 3:22: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 

It is true, of course, that God watches all of mankind to see whether someone seeks Him (Psalm 11:4; 14:2–3). But He knows that in general, the overwhelming majority do not seek Him in this day and age, and so He does not listen to their prayers either, which for the most part are not even directed towards Him anyway.

There are many Scriptures which, according to some, seem to suggest otherwise; that is, that God hears the prayers of everybody at the same time, as He allegedly searches the hearts of everybody every second. But this is not what the Bible teaches. We saw before that God searched David’s heart and that He knows and tests the hearts of man. But this does not necessarily mean that God does so every second of each person’s consciousness. It is most certainly true for those whom God has called for salvation and to whom He has given His Holy Spirit, or with whom His Spirit works, leading them to conversion (Acts 15:8; Romans 8:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 2:23).

But as mentioned, this only applies to a very few today. The Bible does not mean to tell us that God needs to listen to the prayers of billions of people at the same time to determine their thoughts and hearts. After all, they are not judged today; their judgment will still come at a later time. Nobody can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (John 6:65; 6:44). God knows that all others are under the rule of Satan and that they, generally speaking, are fulfilling the will of their father, the Devil (John 8:44).

Even though God is most certainly capable of listening to billions of people at the very same time, the Bible does not teach us that He does; nor, that He has to do this. 

God Not Just One Being

It may be easier for man’s mind to grasp the fact that God can and does listen to multiple prayers at the same time, and that He acts on them at the same time, when we realize that God is not just one Being, but a Family, consisting of two God Beings—the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son. We are told that when we pray to the Father, we may and should do this “in the name of Christ” (compare John 14:13; 16:23–24, 26). This concept needs to be understood in its full magnitude and application.

When we do something in the name of Christ, we recognize His great power through which He works. Acts 3:6 says that Peter healed a lame person by telling him to rise up and walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Acts 3:16 says that Christ’s Name, “through faith in His Name,” has healed a person—the faith which comes through Him did it. Acts 4:7 quotes the high priest asking Peter, “By what power [dunamis in Greek; a reference to the power of God’s Spirit] or by what name have you” healed this man? Acts 4:10 quotes Peter’s answer: I did it “…by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…, by Him this man stands here before you whole.”

John 14:13–14 says that whatever we ask in Christ’s name, Christ will do it. The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, explains: “…whatever you ask in My name—as Mediator—that I will do.” When the Father gives us the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name, He is actually giving us the Spirit through Christ. The Father gives it to Christ, and Christ passes it on to us.

When we pray to the Father in Christ’s name, we expect Christ to do something while we pray. The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, explains that Christ is the living Conductor of the prayer upward, and the answer downward. When we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, we are, in a sense, asking Christ to plead our case to the Father.

Christ lives in us, and when we pray in the name of Christ, it is actually Christ who gives us the mind to say the right things, and it is He who even communicates to the Father what we might have wanted to say—but we could not find the right way to express them. We read that the Spirit makes intercession for us, when we pray (compare Romans 8:26–27). Verse 34 clarifies that it is actually Christ, through His Spirit, who makes intercession for us or pleads our cause. He is a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45).

So, there is communication going on between the Father and Christ. Both are involved when it comes to listening to and answering the prayers of God’s people. This concept might help us to also understand better what will occur when billions of people will be resurrected in the Great White Throne Judgment who will all be praying to God at the same time. Then, the God Family will consist of millions of Beings who will all be God—all being able and willing to hear and respond to those who pray. Of course, we will always be under the authority of the Father and the Son, and we will never take their place and act in a way which would not be in harmony with the Father’s and the Son’s Will. But as we read that we will be teachers, guiding people and preventing them from going the wrong way (compare Isaiah 30:20–21), we would also listen to them when they pray. 

The Function of Angels

But there is still another aspect pertaining to the concept of hearing and answering prayers; that is, we must not overlook the function of angels.

Man has no comprehension of how many angels exist. The revealed number is indeed mind-boggling. In Revelation 5:11, the number of angels that had assembled before the throne of God is given as “…ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Hebrews 12:22 goes even further: “But you have come to… an innumerable company of angels.” The Greek word for “innumerable” is anarithmethos, literally meaning, “unnumbered” or “without number.” Certainly, God knows how many angels He created but for man, angels are “without number.”

What, if anything, do angels have to do with human prayers?

Two interesting Scriptures show a connection. They are found in Revelation 5:8 and in Revelation 8:3–5:

“Now when He [the Lamb, Jesus Christ] had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders [all angelic beings] fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints…”

“Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.”

It is clear that these passages do not permit us to pray to angels. The worship of angels is specifically prohibited in Scripture. It is also debated as to what exactly the passages mean. Many commentaries say that Revelation 8:3 should be rendered, “… that he should offer it to the prayers of all the saints…” One author writes: “The incense was to be mingled with the prayers of the saints. The incense was added to give a fragrance to the prayers of the saints, and render them acceptable before God.” Another commentary states, “The prayers are to be incensed, so as to (typically) render them pure and acceptable to God.”

On the other hand, Revelation 5:8 identifies the prayers with incense. But whatever the exact meaning, it is obvious that some connection exists between the prayers of God’s people and angelic activity, including the answer to those prayers, which was effectuated by the angel by throwing the censer to the earth, causing “natural” catastrophes.

This angelic activity becomes more obvious when considering the following facts:

We read in Genesis 18:20–21 that God said: “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” It appears that God was told by some of His angels how sinful the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were. But we also read that righteous Lot was plagued from day to day by the wickedness of the people (2 Peter 2:7–8). So he, too, would have prayed to God about them. As a consequence, God wanted to test those people to see how evil they were, and He sent two angels to them for that purpose. Angels had some responsibility and function pertaining to man’s prayer.

In Daniel 10:12–13, 20–21; 11:1, a mind-boggling and awesome fight in the Spirit world is revealed. A mighty angel—perhaps Gabriel who had appeared to Daniel twice before—was sent to the prophet with a message. The angel told Daniel: “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia [a powerful demon ruling over Persia] withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings [demons] of Persia… And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece [another powerful demon ruling over Greece] will come… No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince. Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.”

The demon of Persia fought with the angel of God—most likely Gabriel—for twenty-one days, trying to prevent him from reaching Daniel with his message which God had given him to deliver to Daniel. In other words, God sent the angel to Daniel to bring him the answer to his prayer. The archangel Michael had to help Gabriel by fighting in his stead with the demon of Persia, so that Gabriel could appear to Daniel in a vision.

Guardian Angels

The Bible also speaks of guardian angels whom God has specifically assigned for His people’s protection. In Genesis 48:15–16, Jacob acknowledged the presence of his guardian angel throughout his life. We read in the Revised English Bible, “The god in whose presence my forefathers lived, my forefathers Abraham and Isaac, the god who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who rescued me from all misfortune, may he bless these boys.” Jacob was convinced that God had been with him all of his life, and He was specifically present through a particular angel whom He had assigned to watch over Jacob.

Acts 12:15 shows that the disciples thought that Peter’s angel had appeared, as they believed Peter to be in prison. They specifically said, “It is his angel.” In other words, they thought it was the particular angel whom God had assigned to watch over Peter.

Jesus Christ confirmed the existence of guardian angels in Matthew 18:10, when He talked about little children who believe in Him, as well as true Christians who must become “as” little children: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” The obvious implication is that in all these cases, they are somehow involved with the prayers of the people whom they are assigned to protect.

Just prior to His arrest, Christ prayed to God the Father, saying, “‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:42–44). In answer to Christ’s prayer, God sent one of His angels to give Jesus Christ encouragement. We don’t know what exactly the angel did, but we are told that he “strengthened” Christ. In addition, the Bible does not limit God’s protection for His people to just one angel. Christ told Peter that He could ask the Father to send Him more than twelve legions or more than 6,000 angels for His protection (Matthew 26:53).

Angels Watch Over Us

In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar told Daniel about a dream. The king had seen “a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven” (verse 13). This “watcher” had proclaimed “a decision” that had been made “by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men’” (verse 17). Daniel interpreted the dream to the king, explaining to him that because of his pride, he would have to live for seven years with the animals. He stated in verse 23, “… the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. This is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king.”

These watchers were holy angels of God. One of them spoke to the king in his dream, as Daniel recognized and confirmed. The interesting revelation is that these watchers or angels were involved in God’s decision-making process in heaven regarding Nebuchadnezzar. We are told about another similar episode in 1 Kings 22:19–23, where God was talking to His angels as to how to bring about a certain outcome: “Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the LORD said, “Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?” So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit [perhaps a demon] came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, “I will persuade him.” The LORD said to him, “In what way?” So he said, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the LORD said, “You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.” Therefore look! The LORD has put [allowed] a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.’”

God’s angels watch on the good and the bad, and they report their findings to God. In Revelation 5:6, we read about the Lamb Jesus Christ, “having seven eyes, which are the seven [s]pirits of God sent out into all the earth.” These “seven spirits” are seven angelic beings. To capitalize “spirits,” as the New King James Bible does, is clearly wrong and misleading. These seven angelic beings are also mentioned in Zechariah 3:9; 4:10: “Upon the stone are seven eyes. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” Some of God’s angels are referred to as “eyes of the LORD” or as “watchers”—keeping watch on man. Proverbs 15:3 reads, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping WATCH on the evil and the good.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 adds, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

Some of these seven angelic beings are described in Zechariah 6:1–7: “Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses—strong steeds. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ And the angel answered and said to me, ‘These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the LORD of all the earth. The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.’ Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth. And He said, ‘Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth.’ So they walked to and fro throughout the earth.”

An additional account can be found in Zechariah 1:8–11: “I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. Then I said, ‘My lord, what are these?’ So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’ And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, ‘These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.’ So they answered the [a]ngel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.’”

God’s angels are watching and observing us. They are giving reports and expressing their feelings to God—participating thereby in God’s decisions and decrees. Angels rejoice when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10).

Angels Are Assigned to Help Us

There exists a very special relationship between angels and man. The Bible shows us that they are assigned by God to help those whom God is calling to salvation. Hebrews 1:14 says about angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Psalm 34:7 adds: “The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him [that is, “who will inherit salvation”], And delivers them.” God sends forth His angels to “minister,” that is, to serve and help man achieve his potential to inherit salvation—eternal life in the Family of God. Angels are, in fact, intimately involved with our salvation. They are not robots, mechanically obeying God’s Word. They joyfully and eagerly fulfill their task to minister to those who will inherit salvation.

This includes watching and observing us, listening to our words and prayers, reporting to God what they have noticed, and somehow participating in delivering our prayers as incense to God. This does not diminish the role of Jesus Christ, who is our only Mediator, but somehow angels are involved in “presenting” the incense of our prayers. And they are most certainly involved in the practical aspect of carrying out God’s answers to our prayers—while we emphasize again that it is Christ who receives the answers from the Father. This amazing “interactive-relationship” is explained in Revelation 1:1, where we read: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show His servants—things which must shortly come to pass. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” Compare also Revelation 22:6.

So, it is not a problem for the God Family to listen to and answer many prayers at the same time. We should never think that God is too busy to hear us. Rather, we might sometimes think that we are too busy to pray to Him. But without Him and His help, where would we be? And more importantly, what would we be? We would most certainly not be, what we are today or what we can become when we are properly baptized: A Spirit-begotten child of His, in whom the Father’s and the Son’s Holy Spirit dwells. 

Chapter 17—WHO Does Answer our Prayers? 

John 16:26–27 states the following:

“In that day you will ask in My name, and I DO NOT SAY TO YOU THAT I SHALL PRAY THE FATHER FOR YOU; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God…”

We said earlier that Christ tells us that we are to pray to the Father in “Christ’s name” (compare, for instance, John 16:23: “… whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you”) and that John 14:13–14 says that whatever we ask in Christ’s name, Christ will do it. We also read that Christ is our Mediator, appearing before the Father on our behalf and pleading our case. 

So, does John 16:26–27 say that Christ will NOT pray for us to the Father? Hardly, as then, we would have a glaring contradiction. 

The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, explains: “Christ does pray the Father for His people, but not for the purpose of inclining an unwilling ear… It is not that the Father were not of Himself disposed to aid you.”

Christ was saying, in effect: It is not that the Father does not love you. He does love you, because you have loved Me. At the same time, Christ IS our Mediator, and it is His role, as the One who HAD BEEN MAN, and can therefore sympathize with our weaknesses, to speak to the Father on our behalf. Christ lives in us (2 Corinthians 13:5). Christ lived in Paul, and Paul lived by the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:20, Authorized Version), even when he spoke to people and when he prayed to God. Notice 2 Corinthians 13:3: “… since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me.” As Christ lived in Paul, He was speaking through and for Paul.

When we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, we ask Christ to communicate our prayers, in their intended way, to the Father. Hebrews 9:24 tells us that Christ appears in the presence of God the Father for us, NOW, every time we pray in His name.

This conclusion has been questioned by some. In pointing at John 16:26–27, it was stated that Christ only intercedes for us when we have sinned and pray to God for forgiveness; or, that Christ does not intercede for us at all in an active way; but when we use the words “in Christ’s name,” it is alleged that God the Father only remembers thereby Christ’s Supreme Sacrifice, and that is all which is necessary, without any active role of Christ and without any literal intervention or intercession.

These concepts are erroneous. Christ’s role in interceding for us is VERY active, direct and immediate.

God’s Love for Us

Let us review some more statements from commentaries, trying to explain the meaning of John 16:26–27.

The Expositor’s Greek Testament states:

“The intention of the statement is to convey fuller assurance that their prayers will be answered. The Father’s love needs no prompting. Yet the intercession of Christ, so emphatically presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in Romans 8:34, is not ignored. Jesus says: ‘I do not base the expectation of answer solely on my intercession, but on the Father’s love… I do not bring this forward as the sole reason why you may expect to be heard’…”

Similarly, Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible:

“John calls [Christ] our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Paul also testifies that Christ now intercedes for us (Romans 8:34); and the same thing is confirmed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who declares that Christ always liveth to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25)… Christ does not absolutely say, in this passage, that he will not be Intercessor, but he only means, that the Father will be so favorably disposed towards the disciples, that, without any difficulty, he will give freely whatever they shall ask…”

A very insightful comment can also be found in Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible:

“This is a further exhortation for the apostles to pray directly to God in Jesus’ name, on the grounds that the love of God for Christ is extended to Jesus’ disciples. This love of God was the result not merely of their belief in Christ… but was also based upon their love of Christ…. because… such love means keeping Jesus’ words and obeying his commands (John 14:15).”

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary elaborates:

“In the future, prayer would indeed be in the name of Christ, but not in the sense that the Son would be the means of overcoming some sort of hesitancy or resistance in the Father which otherwise believers would encounter. On the contrary, the Father loveth them, and is ready to receive them because of their attitude toward his beloved Son.”

The Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament state:

“When Christ says, I do not say that I will pray the Father for you, the meaning is not that he will lay aside his office as intercessor for believers, but that they had not only his intercession, but the Father’s love, upon which to ground their hope of audience… the Christian’s prayers, put up in Christ’s name, cannot fail of audience and acceptance for the sake of the Mediator’s intercession and the Father’s love… in our prayers we ought so to eye and look up to Christ’s intercession, as not to overlook and forget the Father’s love, but ground our hopes of audience upon both.”

We can see from the Bible, as the above-quoted commentators also recognize, that Christ continues to intercede for us quite actively, and when we pray to the Father in Christ’s name, we emphasize the fact that we are aware of Christ’s very personal and individual intercession on our behalf. At the same time, we must also realize the great love that the Father has for us, so that the Father’s and Christ’s love for us, who are “one” in mind and purpose (John 10:30), will guarantee that our prayers will be heard, when we do our part (1 John 3:22), and that we will receive what we ask in accordance with God’s Will (1 John 5:14).

Only One Mediator

The Catholic concept is preposterous that people must pray to the “Virgin Mary” who, as Christ’s mother, has allegedly more love for us than the Father. Equally preposterous is the idea that when praying to the “Virgin Mary,” she will intercede for us in speaking to Christ; and He will listen to His mother and then intercede for us in pleading with the Father who is portrayed as the cruel and harsh Old Testament God.

First of all, there is only ONE Mediator between God and Man—Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the ONLY one who was resurrected to eternal life; those who died in Christ will be resurrected to eternal life at the time of His Second coming… not before then (1 Corinthians 15:20–23). The “Virgin Mary” is no intercessor… she is not in heaven, nor even alive; she is dead in her grave, waiting for the resurrection from the dead.

In addition, the false idea that the Father is the harsh God of the Old Testament, while Christ is the loving God of the New Testament, is also quite blasphemous, because as we have seen, it was Jesus Christ who, as the God of the Old Testament, dealt and acted directly with the Israelites (1 Corinthians 10:4)—but He was by no means harsh and cruel; as the second Member of the God Family, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). 

Therefore, Christ emphasizes in John 16:26–28 that the Father, as God, IS love (1 John 4:8), and that He loves us (1 John 4:9–10). His intercession is not for the purpose of awakening or stirring up God’s love; it is however, at times, for the purpose of re-emphasizing the fact that we are flesh and blood human beings who are weak and feeble; and that Jesus lived as a Man and experienced how it is to be tempted in the flesh in all things, while overcoming sin in the flesh and staying sinless (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 4:15). 

It is also for this very reason that Jesus is the Judge of all men, because He is the Son of MAN (John 5:22, 27)…having lived as a human being (John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5–8) and experienced the weakness of the flesh (Matthew 27:41). We read that God loves the Son, and because of His Son, He also loves us with the SAME love (John 17:23), if we are willing to manifest His love (1 John 5:2–3), which “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us” (Romans 5:5). 

Chapter 18Who Will Resurrect the Dead? 

The Resurrection of the dead is one of the basic and fundamental doctrines (Hebrews 6:1–2). The Bible teaches that there is more than just one resurrection. For instance, Revelation 20:5 speaks of the FIRST Resurrection, necessitating at least a second resurrection. In fact, there will be three resurrections. 

The First Resurrection will occur when Christ returns, and those who have died in Christ will be resurrected to eternal life. The Second Resurrection or the Great White Throne Judgment is a resurrection to physical life and includes those who have died without ever having been granted the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. They will be given that opportunity then, and, at the end of their judgment period, they will be given eternal life if they have qualified. The Third Resurrection is to physical life as well, but it is composed of those who have committed the unpardonable sin before they died. They will be thrown into the lake of fire to be burned up.

Who, exactly, will resurrect those who have died? Who will bring them back to life?

The short answer is that God will do it. There is no biblical evidence that angels, let alone Satan and his demons, would have the power to resurrect the dead.

But since God is a Family, consisting of the Father and the Son, who within the God Family will bring about the resurrection?

We read and know from the Bible that it was the Father who raised Christ from the dead. 

To reiterate, let us again note Galatians 1:1, which says: 

“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)…” 

Note that it was the Father, not the Son or the “Person” of the Holy Spirit, who resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead. Nor did the dead Jesus resurrect Himself. The teaching that God is a Trinity, consisting of three Persons, is false. The teaching that the Son of God, as being part of the unalterable Trinity, stayed alive in heaven when Jesus died, is equally false and constitutes parts of the teaching of the spirit of antichrist. The idea that the Son of God resurrected Jesus is blasphemous, because Jesus WAS and IS the Son of God (compare 1 John 4:15). When Jesus died, the Son of God died. And it was the Father who resurrected the Son of God—Jesus Christ—from the dead.

As God the Father raised up Christ, so He will raise us up as well. 

God the FATHER Will Resurrect Us

1 Corinthians 6:14 states very clearly: “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power”—the power of His Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:11 adds: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit [which] dwells in you.”

2 Corinthians 1:2,9 says: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” Paul speaks in this passage of God the Father who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 4:14 adds to this: “… knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.”

Some commentaries have considerable difficulty with this last passage, since it says that “He”—the Father—will raise us up “with” Jesus. Due to the fact that most teach the Trinity, they have a problem with saying that the above-quoted Scripture states that the Father and the Son will raise up the dead, since the Holy Spirit is not mentioned. They therefore conclude that this passage does not even talk about the coming resurrection of the dead, but that it describes here a figurate resurrection to a new life and the community which we have with Christ today. However, 2 Corinthians 4:14 speaks of our future (He “will also raise us up”)—not our present condition.

Some say that 2 Corinthians 4:14 should be translated in this way: “… Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also by Jesus…” (Authorized Version). The German Schlachterbibel and the Lutherbibel of 1891 and of 1964, and the Neue Lutherbibel 2009, all say that God the Father will raise us up “through Jesus.” 

Will Jesus Christ Resurrect Us?

Before addressing this alternate translation, let us explore as to whether there is any biblical evidence that Jesus will resurrect us.

John 6:39–40, 44, 54 quotes Jesus as follows:

“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day… Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

According to this passage, it is the Father’s Will that Christ should raise up or resurrect man… beginning with the first resurrection. Christ clearly said repeatedly in the above-quoted passage that HE will raise up those who died.

John 11:23–25 adds to this, when addressing the death of Lazarus and his sister Martha’s reaction: “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.’”

In Complete Harmony

Jesus is addressing here those who will be resurrected to eternal life. But Jesus’ words must not be misunderstood by concluding that it is He, alone, who will resurrect us. This would contradict the passages, quoted above, which show us that the Father is involved in the resurrection of man. Rather, the Truth is that the Father and Christ will act in complete harmony. Their Will to resurrect man, and whom at what time, is totally identical. In that sense, the Father and the Son are “one” (John 10:30; 17:11, 20). They are of a completely identical mindset (compare John 5:19).

John 5:21 tells us: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

To understand all of these quoted Scriptures correctly, we conclude that Christ will be the Person within the God Family who will actually raise man from the dead, but He will be doing it in complete harmony and agreement with the Father.

In fact, it will still be the Father, as the highest in the God Family (John 10:29), who will resurrect us through Jesus Christ.

We recall that it was the Father who created everything through Jesus Christ (Revelation 4:11; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24–31; Hebrews 1:1–2; 2:10; John 1:3, 10; Colossians 1:15–16; Ephesians 3:9).

Addressing the resurrection, John 5:25, 28–29 says:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live… Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [better: judgment].”

Gill’s Exposition of the Bible explains this passage in this way: “It will be the voice of the Son of God that will quicken and raise the dead.” 

Through and With Jesus 

The Father is greater than Christ (John 14:28). Whatever Christ does is in submission to God the Father. (Compare also in this context 1 Corinthians 15:24–28, which says that at the end, Jesus will deliver the kingdom—the government and rule as well as all the born-again Sons and Daughters, including Himself—to God the Father). Christ would never act in any way contrary to the Father’s Will. And so, when He resurrects someone to eternal life, it is in accordance with the Father’s Will as well. It is still the Father who directs and does it, but He does it through or by Jesus Christ. 

As the Father created man through Jesus, He will also resurrect man through Jesus. 

Returning to 2 Corinthians 4:14 and the question as to whether the Father will resurrect us “with” or “by” or “through” Jesus, let us note some concepts as brought forth by several commentaries:

The Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary says: “… shall raise up us also—at the resurrection (1Co 6:13, 14) by Jesus—The oldest manuscripts have ‘with Jesus.’” 

The Pulpit Commentary agrees, stating: “By Jesus—The reading supported by nearly all the best manuscripts is ‘with Jesus.’” 

Even translating it in this way (“with Jesus”) would not negate Christ’s role or the Father’s role in the resurrection. Rather, the thought would be expressed that God the Father, together with Jesus, will resurrect us. 

Barnes Notes on the Bible explains this passage as follows: “By Jesus—By the power or the agency of Jesus. Christ will raise up the dead from their graves, John 5:25–29.” 

We would agree with these conclusions, as it is indeed the Father who will resurrect man through Jesus Christ, as it was the Father who made man through Jesus Christ. 

Chapter 19What Will We Be in the First Resurrection? 

The Bible teaches that those who die and have qualified as “firstfruits” will be raised in the First Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20–26; Revelation 20:4–6). Many false concepts exist as to the nature of the First Resurrection. The Bible teaches that the First Resurrection is a resurrection to eternal, immortal life—to an existence in the Spirit realm, when converted men and women become born-again Members in and of the Kingdom and Family of God. 

We are told that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50), and that in the First Resurrection, we will have incorruptible spiritual bodies, when we are “raised in glory” (verses 42–44). We will explain in the next chapter what is meant by “spiritual” bodies. 

Jesus Christ was the very first who was raised in the first resurrection (Acts 26:23)—being the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). His followers will be resurrected in the same way as He was, at the time of His return (1 Thessalonians 4:14–17).

Horrible Misconceptions

The Christian world is filled with horrible misconceptions about the First Resurrection. In a Christian book pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the following description of the RESURRECTED Christ was given:

“[Mary Magdalene] backed out of the tomb… and found her way partially barred by a terribly disfigured man whom she supposed had to be the keeper of the garden… There was something about that one eye—the other seemed to be almost closed with terrible bruises and livid wounds, the lips torn and blue, and the skin pallid. It was Jesus!”

These descriptions totally negate the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected as a glorified Spirit Being who did not and does not have a physical body. The Bible does not support the concept that He was resurrected as a physical being who was glorified later when He ascended to heaven. Rather, we read in 1 Corinthians 15:42–44:

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

When Christ was resurrected, after having been dead and buried in the grave for three days and three nights, He was raised AS a glorified Spirit Being. He was not resurrected as a physical human being and then subsequently glorified. Rather, at the exact time and the very moment of His resurrection, His physical body, which had not seen decay or corruption, was changed into a spiritual body. Christ was resurrected in glory. He ascended to heaven in glory. We read in 1 Timothy 3:16, that Christ was received up in glory, with a glorified spiritual body. As a Spirit Being, He does not have a disfigured body.

We understand, of course, that the glorified Jesus MANIFESTED Himself as a human being after His resurrection, but NOT in the way as described in the above-quoted book. He did not manifest Himself to Mary in a disfigured state. It is true that He later appeared to the apostles and “doubting Thomas” with wounds in His hands and at His side to convince them that it was He (John 20:24–29; Luke 24:39–40), but there is not the slightest hint that He did so on other occasions. And it is of course absurd to think that He, as a Spirit Being, still carries with Him in His spiritual body the physical wounds inflicted upon Him when He was a human being.

The confusion regarding the nature of the First Resurrection is even magnified by statements in other commentaries, such as the “Compact Bible Commentary” of the “Nelson’s Compact Series,” which states the following regarding 1 Thessalonians 4:16:

“Clearly the [first] Resurrection will be a PHYSICAL resurrection in which BODILY existence will be restored… The resurrected bodies of Christians will be like that of Christ… incorruptible and immortal, and yet they will be bodies of FLESH and BONE…”

This statement is terribly wrong and quite frankly, blasphemous, but many Christians believe in it, as they do not understand the clear teaching of the Bible.

As mentioned, the First Resurrection is NOT a physical resurrection, and the resurrected bodies of Christians will NOT be bodies of FLESH and BONE. This very concept is preposterous. Instead, we read that they are resurrected with an immortal SPIRITUAL body. God will raise them up to spiritual, immortal and eternal life. God will not first resurrect their dead “physical bodies” and then “change” them into spiritual bodies. Rather, God will resurrect or raise the Christians with spiritual bodies.

When God the Father resurrected Jesus Christ, He changed His physical body (which was still in the grave) into a spiritual body. That is why Christ could later walk through closed doors, and why He could make Himself visible and invisible, as He pleased. We should also note that Christ, when He again became a Spirit Being, which is invisible to the human eye, could manifest Himself as a human being, even so much so that He appeared to have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39–40). Of course, as a Spirit Being, He did not really have flesh and bone, but He was able to manifest Himself in such a way. Jesus did speak of “a spirit” not having flesh and bones as He did (verse 39). However, He was speaking of demonic spirits not being able to manifest themselves in the flesh. We have the example of Christ and two angels appearing as men and eating a meal in the time of Abraham (Genesis 18:1–8). This example shows that God (Christ in the Old Testament account) and faithful angels could manifest themselves in the physical domain as men. 

When Christ was resurrected, He was resurrected with a body composed of SPIRIT, not matter. He was NOT resurrected with a physical body. That would have been quite impossible as with a physical body, He could not have gone through closed doors, nor could He have made Himself invisible. He just manifested Himself occasionally as a physical being.

We can find a description of the resurrected Christ in His glorified state in numerous passages of the Bible, and none of them implies that He has a physical body. For instance, we read in Revelation 1:14–16: “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice the sound of many waters… and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength…” (compare also Revelation 2:18). A similar description of Christ, as He appeared in glory prior to His temporary existence as a human being, can be found in Ezekiel 1:26–28. This describes also His glorified state today, as the Father glorified Christ in His resurrection with the glory which He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5).

And it is that same glory which will be bestowed on us in the First Resurrection (1 John 3:1–2; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 15:49).

In the First Resurrection, we will have incorruptible spiritual bodies, when we are “raised in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:42–44).

We will be like Christ, bearing His very image (1 Corinthians 15:49), and Christ is the exact image of God the Father (2 Corinthians 4:4). We will be glorified God Beings, as the Father and Jesus Christ are glorified. We will in that sense look like Christ. It is that same glory which will be bestowed on us in the First Resurrection (1 John 3:1–2; Romans 8:18). Jesus Christ was the very first who was raised in the First Resurrection (Acts 26:23)—being the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). His followers will be resurrected in the same way as He was, at the time of His return.

Man-Like Appearance

When we can see Christ as He is, in His glorified state, we are told in God’s Word that He has an appearance of a Man. Also, God the Father is described with a man-like appearance (compare Revelation 4:3; 5:1; 21:5; Daniel 7:9–10, 13). They are not described as animals. (Christ is referred to as a Lamb in the Book of Revelation, but only in a figurative sense, as He is the Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb, who took away the sins of the world).

They are not described in any way as women either. God is our Father, not our Mother; and Christ is the Son of God, not the Daughter of God.

Those in the First Resurrection are called the sons and daughters of God (2 Corinthians 6:18). They will have a glorified appearance as God does. But while God looks like a “Man,” those who were women will look in their glorified state in such a way that they can be recognized to humans with their individual and unique features (which they had in this life) when they manifest themselves to them; there is no biblical evidence that all humans made immortal will look like “men”, or that “women” turn to or are changed to “men” in their glorified state. 

Even though God is male, He made man, in his physical appearance, as male and female (Genesis 1:27). They were made in the likeness of God (Genesis 5:1–2). They were not made in the likeness of animals. They had a head, a body, hands, feet, etc., reflecting God in His glorified state. 

The human eye cannot see the glorified face of God and live; but Moses saw God’s glorified back when He passed by him (Exodus 33:18–23). 

We read in 1 John 3:2 that we, when we are glorified, will SEE the returning Christ AS HE IS. This passage is interesting, as it implies that others who are not glorified, who are not in the Kingdom, will see Christ, too, but NOT AS HE IS. 

They will see Him, even in glory, but not to the degree of glory that would kill them immediately. We [those who are resurrected at His return] will SEE Him as He is, but the world will not see Him in His full glory. For instance, we read in Revelation 1:7, that those who mourn over Christ’s return will “SEE Him, even they who pierced Him.” Now, those people who are mourning that Christ comes back won’t be in the Kingdom—at least not at that time. But it says that they SEE Him. 

We also read, in Matthew 24:30, that all the tribes of the earth will mourn, when they SEE Christ return “on clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (compare also Revelation 19:11–16). Again, the tribes won’t be in the Kingdom of God, but they still see Him, the King of the Kingdom. They will recognize Him as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. And remember, Christ comes back in glory, which is also described in Revelation 1:10–18. And He, as the SON of God, looks like a male—a “Man.” He does not look like a woman (or an animal) in His glorified state or in His physical manifestation. 

Neither Male nor Female?

A most-misunderstood Scripture does not say that there will be neither male nor female in the resurrection to eternal life. This is a false citation. The Scripture says that those in the First Resurrection will not marry or are given in marriage as they will be like the angels in heaven (Mark 12:25). This reference to angels does not say that we will be angels; nor, that we will all be “male” because many believe that angels are allegedly only “male” (many angels look like animals); rather, that we will not marry anymore and that we cannot die anymore as angels don’t marry and as they are immortal as well (Luke 20:35–36).

Even though we will look like Christ insofar as our outward glorified appearance is concerned (that is, as glorified God Beings, we will still have a glorified face, eyes, a mouth, ears, the shape of a human-like body with arms and feet etc.), how will we appear when we manifest ourselves to human beings?

How Will We Look in the First Resurrection?

Again, we can note many examples showing us how Christ appeared to humans so that they could see him (we cannot see a glorified God Being with our human eyes, except in a vision). From that we can ascertain how we will look when we manifest ourselves.

We read in Genesis 14:18–21 that Christ, as Melchizedek, appeared to Abraham, then called Abram, who gave Him the tithe of everything. Hebrews 7 confirms that Melchizedek was indeed Jesus Christ who lived at that time as High Priest among the people (compare verses 3, 8). He had not become a Man, but He lived for a while “as” a man; that is, He manifested Himself as a man. Abram knew who Melchizedek was, and it appears that this was the first time that he saw Him in His physical manifestation.

Before that occurrence, we read that the LORD “spoke” or “appeared” to him, but not in the way as He “appeared” to him in Genesis 14 and later in Genesis 18. There, Christ and two angels “appeared” to Abraham as “men” (verse 2) when they were about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. They ate and spoke with him (Genesis 18:1–15). But this does not mean that they actually WERE men—that is, flesh and blood human beings. They just manifested themselves AS human beings.

Abraham knew right away that one of the three was Christ, calling Him “My Lord” in verse 3 (compare also verses 27, 30, 32). The word is Adonai, which Abraham used in reference to God (compare Genesis 15:2). He recognized Christ, having seen Him before when He appeared to Him as Melchizedek. (In passing, the word Adonai is actually a plural word, meaning “my lords”; the singular form is adon. This is another proof that Abraham knew that God consists of more than one Person.)

Melchizedek

Did Christ look like Melchizedek when He was born as a human being? One might not think so as He came from the tribe of Judah and His mother was Jewish, and as Christ had existed long before there was any human, let alone a Jew. This however overlooks the fact that God and Christ knew that there would be human beings, and that Christ would be born from the tribe of Judah, and this from the beginning of the world, before there was time. This is true for those whom God has predestined to be called in this day and age; it is most certainly true for Jesus. So, they both saw in the future and knew how Christ would look as a Man, and we might therefore conclude that He appeared in that form to Abraham, Moses, and to the other ancients of old.

Upon further scrutiny, we will see that the same is true for His appearance, as a Man, after His resurrection. He did not appear as a young child, nor as an animal or a woman, but as a Man.

But He was not recognized right away at times by His disciples—not because He looked unrecognizable, but, as we will discuss below, because of their fear or other limitations.

When He appeared to the apostles after His resurrection, they thought at first that He was a ghost or an apparition (Luke 24:36–42). Christ manifested Himself to the disciples as a being with flesh and bones. He even ate food in their presence to convince the disciples that it was He, not a spirit or a demon.

Not Recognized

In the case of the disciples having gone fishing, after Christ’s resurrection, they were on the lake and Jesus was at the shore (John 21:1–4), so the distance was far enough so that they were unable to recognize Him at first. Even before His death, there were times when they did not recognize Him, thinking at first that He was a ghost or an apparition (Mark 6:47–50).

When Mary Magdalene did not recognize Him at first at the grave, after His resurrection, it was perhaps because she did not see or look at Him that closely (John 20:11–16; note verse 14: “She turned…”). She thought He was the gardener, and as an unmarried woman, it was the custom at that time (which Jesus did not uphold or teach) not to look at another man too closely or to engage in public in a conversation with Him, as we can see from the account of Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman, which surprised His disciples (John 4:27).

In Another Form

After His resurrection, Christ manifested Himself occasionally as a physical being, but at least on one occasion, He did so “in another form” (Mark 16:12). What is meant with that phrase?

Some have concluded that this terminology proves that Christ can or might appear just in any form He chooses. Some have even said that He could appear today in the form of a woman or an animal, or that in His glorified state, He has breasts like a woman. This is a preposterous and blasphemous concept.

The Nelson Study Bible states that “Jesus’ appearance in another form may indicate that He appeared differently to the two on the road than He had appeared to His followers before.” But this explanation is wrong, and the correct understanding shows us, too, how WE as members of the Family of God will appear or manifest ourselves to humans.

Appearing “Differently”

First of all, let us emphasize that part of the reason that the disciples on their way to Emmaus failed to recognize Christ was the fact that their eyes were closed and had to be opened (Luke 24:31), and that they did not expect to see Him at all, thinking He was dead and in the grave. We read that the disciples did not believe the women who claimed that they had seen Him alive (Luke 24:11).

The word “form” in the Greek is morphe and means “form, shape, outward appearance.” The Benson Commentary states that “he appeared in another form, or habit, namely, different from that which he formerly had when he conversed with them.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds the following thoughts:

“… he appeared in another form: it seems to have been the form, or habit of a gardener that he appeared in to Mary; since she thought him to be one, and to be the gardener that belonged to the garden, in which the sepulchre was: but now it was in another form, or habit, that he appeared; very likely in the habit of a Scribe, or doctor; since he took upon him to expound the Scriptures to the persons he appeared to; as also took bread, and blessed it, when at supper with them…

This is not to be understood of any change in the shape of his body, or the features of his face; for as soon as their eyes were opened, which had been before held, they knew him perfectly well: whereas, if there had been such an alteration made in him, that he could not have been known for the same, there would have been no need of holding their eyes, that they should not know him, Luke 24:16.”

Jesus Christ manifested Himself in the way in which He looked as a human being. But He was not always recognized right away, as people did not know what to look for, and because their eyes had not been opened.

When Christ manifested Himself, He did so in such a way that those who had known Him could recognize Him. Sometimes, they recognized Him by His voice before they looked at Him closely to recognize Him by His appearance; at other times, they recognized Him by particular mannerisms, which they had been familiar with while He was in the flesh.

We Can Be Recognized

In the same way, we will manifest ourselves to those who knew us before our death, so that they will be able to recognize us. When we were male, we will manifest ourselves as a male. In fact, even as glorified Beings, a man will still have a glorified “male”-appearance, not a glorified female appearance. The reverse is true for those who were female in this life. They do not suddenly become “males” in the resurrection, nor will they manifest themselves as males when they appear to human beings. Furthermore, and this should go without saying, they will not appear as animals or with animal-like features which many of the angels possess.

As Christ apparently manifested Himself as the Man whom people were familiar with when He died, so it stands to reason that we will do likewise, but we will also be able to make ourselves known to those who only knew us in our younger years. We may do so by our voice, mannerisms or the recitation of other peculiar and unique circumstances or experiences, so that they will be without any doubt that we will be the ones who had known and dealt with them when we were in the flesh. 

Chapter 20What Are Spiritual Bodies? 

Believe it or not, there is great confusion in the “Christian” world on that issue, and most commentaries and Bible experts have it wrong. And as a consequence, they do not understand at all what our potential really is, and what bodies we will have in the first resurrection.

It starts with a complete misunderstanding as to what Paul says in the so-called resurrection chapter in 1 Corinthians 15.

We read in verses 35–49:

“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do NOT SOW THAT BODY THAT SHALL BE, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God GIVES IT A BODY as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh… there are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies… There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, IT IS RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body… And as we have borne the image of the man of dust (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (Jesus Christ).”

Paul tells us in the above passage that the physical body which dies is NOT the same body “that shall be.” Rather, God GIVES us a spiritual body “as He pleases.” He does not resurrect our physical body and then change it into spirit. In fact, Paul says that in the resurrection to eternal life, we will be “absent from the [physical] body” (2 Corinthians 5:8). 2 Corinthians 5 further explains that God will give Christians a new kind of body (verses 1–4). Only the bodies of those in Christ who are alive when Christ returns will be changed into spirit, while the dead in Christ will be RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE (1 Corinthians 15:51–52).

When we die in Christ, our bodies decay. The bodies of those who died in Christ thousands of years ago have completely decayed. They became dust and ashes, as God said that they would (Genesis 3:19). The only exception was the resurrection to eternal life of Jesus Christ, who was merely dead for three days and three nights, and whose physical body did not decay, before He was resurrected to immortality (Acts 2:25–27). When God the Father resurrected Jesus Christ, He changed His physical body (which was still in the grave) into a spiritual body. That is why Christ could later walk through closed doors, and why He could make Himself visible and invisible, as He pleased. 

Christ, when He again became a Spirit Being, which is invisible to the human eye, could manifest Himself as a human being, even so much so that He appeared to have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39–40). Of course, as a Spirit Being, He did not really have flesh and bone, but He was able to manifest Himself in such a way. Jesus did speak of “a spirit” not having flesh and bones as He did (verse 39). However, He was speaking of demonic spirits not being able to manifest themselves in the flesh. 

In his book, “The Incredible Human Potential,” Herbert W. Armstrong explained the resurrection to eternal life in this way (pages 91–92, hard cover):

“If one has received the Holy Spirit, then in the Resurrection, God will provide a Spirit body, formed and shaped by the Spirit mold. The resurrected being will be composed of Spirit, not matter as the human model was…”

“It is through the spirit in man (combined with the Holy Spirit) that God will raise Christians with immortal spiritual bodies. The Bible reveals that the physical bodies of Christians will cease to exist in the first resurrection. They will be given new bodies composed of spirit—no longer susceptible to pain and suffering and no longer subject to death and destruction!”

We read in Romans 8:29–30 that God will glorify those whom He has called in this day and age. It is explained in verse 29 that He predestined those whom He foreknew “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” 

When we are changed to or raised in glory, we will bear the image of the glorified Jesus Christ.

We also read in 1 John 3:2: “We know when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Christ will return in glory—in the glory of the Father and in His own glory. When we will be like Him, we will also be glorified. We will also appear in glory, as Colossians 3:4 states. We shall see Him as He is—and we cannot see the glorified Christ as He is, unless we ourselves are glorified Spirit Beings.

If we died in Christ, we will be resurrected in glory. We will be united together with Him in the “likeness” of His resurrection (Romans 6:5). If we are still alive at the time of Christ’s return, we will be changed into glory—and that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the time of the last trumpet, as we read in 1 Corinthians 15. 

Philippians 3:21 tells us that Christ will transform our lowly body that it will be conformed to His glorious body.

The Resurrection of Christ

BUT, there is a horrible confusion of “Christian” authors regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For instance, as mentioned before, the “Compact Bible Commentary” of the “Nelson’s Compact Series” states the following regarding 1 Thessalonians 4:16:

“Clearly the [first] Resurrection will be a PHYSICAL resurrection in which BODILY existence will be restored… The resurrected bodies of Christians will be like that of Christ… incorruptible and immortal, and yet they will be bodies of FLESH and BONE…”

Spiritual Bodies

Much of this confusion has to do with a complete misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches about the “spiritual body” which we will have in accordance with 1 Corinthians 15.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says:

“It is raised a spiritual body; not as to substance, but as to its quality; it will not be changed into a spirit; our Lord’s risen body, to which ours will be conformed, was not a spirit, but, as before, consisted of flesh and bones: but the body will then be subject to the spirit and soul of man; it will be employed in spiritual service… 

“… there is a spiritual body; such as the body of Christ now is, and as will be the bodies of the risen saints…”

The Pulpit Commentary writes:

“A spiritual body. The apparent contradiction in terms is inevitable. The thing meant is a body which is not under the sway of corporeal desires or of intellectual and passionate impulses, but is wholly dominated by the Spirit, and therefore has no desire or capacity to fulfil the lusts of the flesh.”

This is all utter nonsense. 

Of course, the word “spiritual” CAN refer to concepts which do not imply something composed of Spirit. For instance, we speak of spiritual growth; spiritual Jew; law is spiritual; spiritual understanding; spiritual organism; spiritual betrothal; spiritual veil; spiritual blessing; spiritual gifts; spiritual darkness; we are spiritual; spiritually minded; Abraham’s spiritual seed; spiritual brethren; spiritual fellowship; spiritual Israel; spiritual healing. 

But “spiritual” can ALSO mean, something which is composed of spirit. 

Composed of Spirit 

When 1 Corinthians 15:44 speaks of the fact that we will have spiritual bodies, Strong #4152 defines the Greek word pneumatikos, translated as “spiritual,” as being derived from Strong’s #4151, pneuma, saying that it can refer to “a spirit, an angel, demon, or (divine) God.” 

As a consequence, several German translations render the phrase [“spiritual body”] as “Spirit body” [“geistiger Leib”] Cp. Zürcher Bible 1970; Pattloch Bible; Schlachter Bible 1951; and Elberfelder Bible 1905.

This is the correct understanding. We will have bodies composed of Spirit. 

God does not have a physical body which somehow consists of flesh and bones, being subject to the Spirit. Neither does Jesus Christ—He did not have such a “body” before He became a Man, and He received the same glory which He had BEFORE He became a Man. And as we will be as the Father and the Son are, we will not have such bodies either. It has been correctly stated that we will be God as God is God. 

We saw earlier that God has form and shape. He has a body
composed of Spirit. The same is true for Jesus Christ. 

Christ is a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45). He is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17–18: “by the Lord, the Spirit”). God the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24, compare the Authorized Version; the American Standard Version; the English Revised Version; Webster’s Bible Translation; the Geneva Bible; and Young’s Literal Translation). 

Likewise, the Elberfelder Bible 1905 and the Luther Bible 1545 [“Gott ist ein Geist.”]

God the Father and Jesus Christ are Spirit Beings. They do not have physical bodies, but they have bodies composed of Spirit. The same is true for angels. 

Angels are spirits (Hebrews 1:7, 14; Revelation 1:4). We will be like them in the sense that we will be spirits as well (Luke 20:35–36; Matthew 22:30). We will have the glory of the Father, of the Son, and of the holy angels (Luke 9:26). 

And as the Father is a Spirit and the Son is a Spirit, so will we be “Spirits” or “God Beings” (John 3:6).

When we read in 1 Corinthians 15 that we will have “spiritual bodies,” what is clearly meant is that we will have “Spirit bodies”—bodies composed of Spirit. 

Chapter 21What Will We Remember? 

When we are God Beings, will we remember our own past sins and the sins of others, including the sins of our close friends and family members? It will depend on whether or not they are righteous or evil (compare Psalm 34:15–16). Simply stated, those who are in God’s Kingdom will know one another, but those who rebel will cease to exist or be remembered.

We do not believe in an ever-burning hell fire which will torture the wicked for all eternity, while those “saved in heaven” will continually hear their cries. At the same time, it would be difficult to imagine that we will constantly remember loved ones or close friends who turned away from God and committed the unpardonable sin. Generally speaking, we will put the memories of those out of our minds; it will be as if they had never existed (Obadiah 16). [However, in the case of King Saul who apparently committed the unpardonable sin, his deeds of rebellion and his consultation of a witch and his encounter with a demon, pretending to be Samuel, have been recorded in the Bible, for everyone to read.]

Remembering Sins?

This leads us to the next question as to whether we will remember our own sins which we repented of, or the sins of others who received forgiveness from God because of their repentance.

David’s Sins

We read in 1 Kings 15:5: “David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” The account of David’s transgressions “in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” can be found in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. First, David committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba; then, he tried to cover up his sin in different ways; failing that, he had Uriah murdered in war, so that he could take Bathsheba to become his wife. We read that “the thing that David had done displeased [or better: “was evil in the sight of”] the LORD” (2 Samuel 11:27).

David’s conduct “in the matter of Uriah” constituted a great sin. This does not mean, however, that this was the only sin that David ever committed. The passage in 1 Kings 15:5, quoted above, must be read in context with all the other Scriptures on this subject. For instance, note the following statement in 1 Kings 14:8, “… yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do ONLY what was right in My eyes.” Taken all by itself, this Scripture would say that David did not sin at all—not even in the “matter of Uriah.”

The Truth is, of course, that David sinned in many different ways. The Bible makes it very clear that everyone sins—even after conversion—and that there is no human being [with the only exception of Jesus Christ, when He was here on earth] who does not sin (compare 1 Kings 8:46).

We are also told in Scripture that God forgives us our sins and even forgets about them, once we confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). In that case, God cleanses us from all unrighteousness (same verse). He will remember our sins no more (compare Jeremiah 31:34).

David had a loyal heart. When he sinned, he repented and asked God for forgiveness. He did not try to hide his sins, but he was truly heart-broken. He desired earnestly to be forgiven. When God forgave David, He removed his sins—not to be remembered anymore. That is why God could say, “David has kept My commandments. He followed Me with all his heart, to do ONLY what was right in My eyes.” (Compare, again, 1 Kings 14:8.)

We also understand, of course, that God forgave David his sins “in the matter of Uriah.” Still, in the one passage, in 1 Kings 15:5, God brings this matter one more time to our attention. Not, because God had not forgiven David, but because this was a sin that belonged to a slightly different category. It was not the unpardonable sin, to be sure, since David will be in the Kingdom of God (compare Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5). 

However, it was not a sin that was committed “in ignorance”—because of a temporary, passing weakness that had “snuck up” on David. This was a planned, premeditated, carefully designed sin. David thought through very diligently how to cover up his sin with Bathsheba, until he resorted to the murder of Uriah. God brings up the “matter with Uriah” one more time, because He was terribly grieved that David would have acted in such a way—and He wanted to impress on the reader the awful consequences of that sin for David and his entire household.

When we sin and subsequently confess our sin to God, God is faithful to forgive us. Upon forgiveness (compare Romans 11:27), God will remember our sins no more (compare Hebrews 8:12). This should show us that we must strive to do the same. When we forgive, we must also forget. David sinned in many different ways—as we all do—but he obtained complete forgiveness from God, as his heart was right. In God’s eyes, David kept God’s commandments; following God with all his heart, to do ONLY what was right in God’s eyes.

God Will Not “Remember” Our Sins

What, exactly, is meant by the phrase that God will remember our sins no more?

Please realize that God saw to it that certain sins of David were recorded, for everyone to read. In addition to David’s sin in the matter of Uriah, some of his other sins were recorded as well, such as his fighting in war and numbering his army. Furthermore, sins of other righteous men and women were recorded: Moses’s sin of murder and his later outburst before Israel, which prevented him from entering the Promised Land; Aaron and Miriam’s murmuring against Moses; Abraham and Isaac’s lies; Abraham and Sarah’s adultery because of lack of faith; Jacob’s deceit towards his father Isaac; Rachel’s theft of her father’s idols; Peter’s sin of lying and denying Christ three times and his hypocrisy towards Gentile Christians; and Paul’s persecution of Christians when he was still known as Saul. The list could go on and on. We also believe that Solomon came to repentance at the end of his life, but his prior terrible sins were included in the Bible.

How do we understand and explain this in light of the fact that God forgives and forgets sins once they are repented of? The sins of those were forgiven (we assume that all of those men and women listed above will be in the Kingdom of God as God Beings), but their prior sins were not erased from the written Word of God—the Bible—and we are told that they were recorded as an example for our benefit today (1 Corinthians 10:11), and that ALL Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

In addition, we do not believe that Adam and Eve or Judas Iscariot have committed the unpardonable sin, since they never had God’s Holy Spirit, which means, that they will be given their opportunity to accept God’s Way of Life in the Second Resurrection; still, everyone knows and will know about [some of] their sins which they committed, as they are recorded in God’s Word. Jesus even said about Judas that it would have been better if he had not been born. We do not believe that these statements will ever be removed from the Bible. But Adam, Eve and Judas will come back to life, and will be offered true repentance, which they will hopefully accept. But again, their sins are recorded in the Bible, and the books of the Bible will be opened to the understanding of all who will be in the Great White Throne Judgment period (Revelation 20:12).

When we sin and do not repent, then our sins will stand against us. God will not forgive and forget them. The same is true for our friends and relatives. If they sin in this life, without repenting, God (and we as God Beings in the Kingdom) will not forgive and forget those sins prior to their repentance, but repentance will be offered to them in the Great White Throne Judgment period so that their sins can be forgiven. 

Forgiving and Forgetting?

But what about sins which have been repented of? As we saw, generally, God (and we as God Beings) will forget those sins, by totally erasing them from our minds, but there are exceptions.

Clearly, one exception are the sins which are recorded in the Bible. Even though God has forgiven those upon repentance, He has not totally erased those from memory, but they were recorded for our benefit so that we can learn from the mistakes of others and do not make them ourselves. But in every case, God casts all repented sins behind His back and into the depths of the sea, so that when they are sought for, they shall not be found IN THE SENSE that God will never charge us with them. He does not retain them in His mind in the sense that He will not revisit what has passed.

When God says in Jeremiah 31:34 and in Isaiah 43:25 that He will “remember” their sins no more and that He will blot out their transgressions, He draws also a comparison between animal sacrifices in the Old Testament which had to be given continuously and which could never forgive sins, but were just a reminder or “remembrance” of sins (Hebrews 10:3), and Christ’s Sacrifice which brings about total and complete forgiveness and freedom from eternal death, so that God will “blot out” the sins and “remember” them no more (compare Acts 3:19). German Bibles translate Jeremiah 31:34 as, “I will not think of [or: about] their sins anymore.” The New Jerusalem Bible and the Revised English Bible say that God will never more “call” their sin “to mind.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds this comment in regard to Isaiah 43:25: “God will not remember the sins of his people against them; having forgiven them, he will never punish them for them, which is meant by remembering them; see Jeremiah 14:10.”

The Jamieson Fausset and Brown commentary agrees, stating: “When God forgives, He forgets; that is, treats the sinner as if He had forgotten his sins.”

Under the New Covenant, God will “take away” our sins (Romans 11:27)—He will not hold them against us, if we repent of them. Jeremiah 50:20 tells us that “… The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none; And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found; For I will pardon those whom I preserve.”

In God’s mind, forgiven sins have never been committed. The wall of separation between God and us, which was erected due to sin (Isaiah 59:1–2), is broken down when we repent, and access to God is again unhindered. In most cases, God will completely wipe out from His mind any memory of repented sins, but as we saw, in some cases, sins were recorded to teach us a lesson. But in all cases, no repented sin will ever be “remembered” so that man would be charged with it. As we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we must also strive to forgive and forget sins of others who repent… and this includes our own sins of which we repent and for which we have received forgiveness. But even if we may not be able to achieve in this life a total lack of memory regarding past sins, we must always truly forgive others who repent, without ever holding grudges or bringing charges against them. 

Chapter 22What Will We Do? 

Those who are called and chosen in this day and age, are to qualify for entrance into God’s Kingdom, when Jesus Christ returns to this earth. But what, exactly, will they be? And what powers will they have?

The Bible tells us that we, who are called today, will be what Christ is today. We will be like Him, as He is. We will share the Father’s and His very divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The only exception is that we will not have the same authority as Christ, as Christ has not the same authority as the Father. God is—and always will be—a hierarchical Family—with God the Father on top, under Him Jesus Christ, and under Christ those who are to be born into the very Family of God.

But even though Christ is under the Father, He still has—and always had, as a God Being—the unlimited power to create life. God the Father created everything—the visible as well as the invisible—through and by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1–2; Colossians 1:15–16).

Christ will establish this Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, on this earth. It is a Kingdom ruled by God. It is a Kingdom composed of God—the Father and Jesus Christ. But remember… we also will be in that Kingdom. The Bible is very clear that whoever is in the Kingdom of God must actually be God. We must become God Beings, sharing in Christ’s glory, the firstborn of many brethren. We are already called His children, but we have not been glorified yet. And when we are glorified at the time of our resurrection to eternal life, we will be entering the Kingdom of God, as literal God Beings, as glorified Sons and Daughters of God, made immortal.

“You Are Gods”

As we have seen in this booklet, that we are to become Members of the God Family, or God Beings, is clearly taught in Scripture. Christ Himself confirmed this human potential in John 10:31–36: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, You are gods?” If He called them gods, to whom the Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God?’”

What is Jesus Christ telling us here? That He, the Son of God who had become a Man, would be God again. But also, that it is man’s potential to become God Beings as well. Although stated in a present tense, Christ was mainly referring to the future, speaking about future things as if they already existed (compare Romans 4:17). God created man so that man could become God—a Member of the God Family… as Christ is the Son of God, so will we be Sons and Daughters of God. Of course, God the Father will always be greatest of all, and Christ will always be greater than we. But still—we will be God Beings in the Family of God, literal Children of our loving Father, and Brothers and Sisters of our Elder Brother Jesus Christ. What an awesome potential—what a destiny!

The fact that we, as God Beings, will of course have the ability to create, as God the Father and Jesus Christ create, is expressly confirmed in Scripture.

Life-Giving Spirits

1 Corinthians 15:45 tells us that Christ is “a life-giving spirit.” That is, He is a Spirit Being who can give and create LIFE. In fact, that is what He did before He became a human being. That is what He is doing today, and what He will continue to do after His return. We know, for instance, from the Book of Revelation that all living things in the oceans and rivers will have died before His return (Revelation 16), but we also read in several passages that there will be fish in the Millennium (Ezekiel 47). This shows that God will create LIFE—in this case, physical fish. He created life when the surface of the earth was renewed; and He created (“had prepared” or “had made”) a great fish to swallow up Jonah (Jonah 1:17).

When Christ returns to set up the government of God on this earth, the earth will be in a terrible state, still suffering from the aftermath of nuclear wars and waste. And so, we read that the ruins will be rebuilt; and that the earth will become a beautiful paradise. We will assist Jesus Christ to beautify it, which includes, CREATING physical life.

Please note Isaiah 58:10–12: “You shall be like a spring of water whose waters do not fail” (or: “never run dry,” New Jerusalem Bible). Primarily, this talks about our role in the Millennium, directing the rebuilding of old places that had become waste. BUT, there is also an overriding meaning, hinting at our ultimate potential—to be a continual spring of living fresh water regarding others, giving them health and REAL life.

Notice again Christ’s words in John 7:37–38, where we read that out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water. That is, God’s Spirit will flow out of us to create LIFE. Christ is a life-giving Spirit, and so we will be, because we will be God too, and we will be like Christ, as He is. We, as God Beings, will have the power and awesome privilege to heal and create, UNDER the leadership of God the Father and Jesus Christ. God’s living waters in us will flow out of our hearts like rivers of living waters.

In addition, please recall that Christ said in John 4:14, referring to the Holy Spirit, that the “water that I give him will become in him a FOUNTAIN of water springing up into everlasting life.” We will be fountains of living water, leading to life.

An interesting Scripture can also be found in the book of Proverbs. Although it speaks primarily about our own mind and its effect on our own body, it can also be understood as referring to the mind of others and the effect on others. Notice Proverbs 14:30: “A sound heart is life to the body”—not just our own body, but also the body of others. To have a sound mind is a result of the Holy Spirit, which is a Spirit of soundness. And with God’s Holy Spirit, we will be able to impart real “life” to the physical world.

The biblical Truth is overwhelming. Once we have entered the Family of God as immortal God Beings, we will have the same abilities and capabilities which God the Father and Jesus Christ have. We will be judging and ruling over angels. God the Father and Jesus Christ may use us to heal people. We will be assisting Christ in judging mankind. Of course, we will never act independently, but always in complete harmony with and under God the Father’s and Jesus Christ’s authority and guidance. 

Our Role in the Second Resurrection

This then may pose an interesting question. As we have seen in this booklet, God the Father resurrected Christ and gave Him eternal life and the glory which He used to have before He became a man; and the Father will raise the dead through Jesus. Could this indicate, then, that we, who will be resurrected by the Father through Jesus and receive eternal life in the God Family, will also have a part in resurrecting others in the Second Resurrection, especially our loved ones who died without having been given the opportunity for salvation? We will of course always be subject to the Will of God the Father and of Jesus Christ, as Christ is also always subject to the Will of the Father. To state it differently, the Will of Christ is and always will be IDENTICAL with the Will of the Father. Likewise, our Will—the Will of immortal God Beings in God’s Family—will always be totally identical with the Will of the Father and of the Son. And as the Holy Spirit, like living waters, flows out of the Father and the Son, so the Holy Spirit—God’s power—will also flow out of us as well (John 4:13–14; 7:37–39).

The Bible does not say what part we will have in the Second Resurrection, if any; but it is most certainly an intriguing thought to contemplate that we might be right there to greet our relatives and friends when they come out of their graves in the Second Resurrection. Nothing in the Bible would in any way prohibit that possibility, but we will have to wait until God reveals to us what He has in store for us.

The Bible tells us very clearly that we will rule for ever and ever. When we become Members of God’s Family, we will be ruling this earth, as we have seen, for a thousand years, together with Christ who received His authority and power from God the Father. But what after that? What is going to happen once the thousand years have expired? Our reign will never stop. Notice Revelation 22:4–5, which speaks about a time long after the 1000 years: “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads [the name of God—a FAMILY NAME— will be their name as well]…the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”

What will we do for all eternity? Over what will we reign, forever and ever? 

New Heavens and a New Earth

Ultimately, God will create new heavens and “a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” The new heavens (including the entire universe) and the new earth will no longer be physical, consisting of matter, but they will be spiritual—consisting of Spirit. The heavenly Jerusalem will come down from heaven, after the physical earth and the physical heavens are burned up, and after God creates new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:7, 10–13) which will remain (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22). 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us: “…For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Lamsa renders Hebrews 12:27 in this way: “And these words, once more, signify the CHANGE of things which may be shaken, because they are made in order that things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

Romans 8:18–23 tells us very clearly what those invisible things will be: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption INTO the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption [sonship], the redemption of our body.”

We saw in verse 21 that the creation will be delivered from corruption “into” (eis in Greek) the glorious liberty of the children of God. This physical creation, patterned after God’s spiritual creation, waits to be delivered from corruption to obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. The glorious freedom, which the universe will receive, includes freedom from death. In that new universe, DEATH will be unknown, and so will decay and corruption. In order to obtain such freedom from death and corruption, this universe will have to be changed into SPIRIT, as we also will be changed into Spirit Beings. In this way, the new heavens and the new earth will remain, for only the things that the human eye cannot see will remain.

What will remain is the new earth and the new universe, consisting of Spirit (what the human eye cannot see). The physical existence will not remain forever; that is, the physical earth and the physical universe, which can be seen by the human eye, will be changed into Spirit (which cannot be seen by the human eye).

We do not know how much time will transpire after the end of the Third Resurrection period and before the physical earth and the heavens will be dissolved (2 Peter 3:11–12); new heavens and a new earth will be created (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1); and the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to earth (Revelation 21:2). As Spirit Beings, time will be of no consequence for us. For God, 1,000 years are just as one day (2 Peter 3:8) and “like a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). 

We need to remember that the Spirit world was first, and God created spiritual beings first and “things” within the Spirit world. We read of a heavenly spiritual city, a spiritual temple, a spiritual mountain, a spiritual altar and a spiritual tabernacle, as well as spiritual trumpets, spiritual clothes etc. After this spiritual creation, the physical universe and the earth were created—first the spiritual, and then the physical.

But in the distant future, that process will be reversed—first the physical, and then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46). When man was created, he was created physical with the potential of becoming a Spirit Being. And so, the physical world and universe will ultimately be changed to consist of Spirit as well. 

What exactly God has in store for us after the new heavens and the new earth have been created, we don’t know. But we do know that God says that we will rule forever and ever, and that His peace and government over the new earth and the entire new universe will have no end. God the Father will dwell on the newly-created earth, consisting of Spirit, and the new Jerusalem, consisting of Spirit, will come down from the third heaven, after the physical earth and the physical universe have been dissolved. Undoubtedly, the new earth will be God’s headquarters over the entire (new) universe, and it appears that we will be assisting God, in the way that He directs. 

Conclusion

In this booklet, much has been revealed about the nature of God and the destiny of Man, but there is so much more to be said. For additional information, we especially recommend the study of the following free booklets:

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God

God IS a Family 

Is God a Trinity?

Jesus Christ—a Great Mystery!

Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?

The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation

Angels, Demons and the Spirit World

Heavens and Earth…Before and After the First Man!

Are You Already Born Again?

The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days 

Biblical Prophecy Is Being Fulfilled Before Our Eyes!

To Request a FREE hard copy of these booklets, please write to: contact@eternalgod.org

The following clips contain remarkable statements by Evangelist Norbert Link throughout the years in the light of Biblical prophecy. 

What can we do now to prepare ourselves for the times ahead?

These booklets will give us the answer!

Why This Confusion About Life After Death?

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To Request a FREE hard copy of this booklet, please write to: contact@eternalgod.org

Introduction

In the Vatican News, there was a report on August 2, 2020, which read as follows:

“Speaking at the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis invited everyone to receive the ‘Pardon of Assisi’, which can be obtained from the evening of 1 August until midnight on 2 August.

“St. Francis obtained this spiritual gift from God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. ‘It is a plenary indulgence that may be received by partaking of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist and visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions,’ the Pope pointed out.

“He recalled that the indulgence can even be obtained for a deceased person. ‘How important it is to always put God’s forgiveness, which “generates heaven” in us and around us, back at the center!’ he said.

“The ‘Pardon of Assisi’ dates back to 1216, when Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and angels appeared before St. Francis. The apparition took place in the tiny Portiuncula, the chapel Francis had built in the Italian town of Assisi.

“When Jesus asked him want [that is, what] he desired for the salvation of souls, St. Francis asked for God to grant a plenary indulgence for all those who enter the chapel. The indulgence was later extended to anyone who visits a parish or Franciscan church on 1 August or 2 August.”

We should bear in mind that according to Catholic teaching, an indulgence is partial if it removes part of the temporal punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all punishment. This wrong concept will be discussed in much detail in this booklet.

A further article by “Crux”, dated October 23, 2020, is worth mentioning in this regard. It has the headline, “Vatican extends time to obtain full indulgences for souls in purgatory,” and continues to read, in part:

“Plenary or full indulgences traditionally obtained during the first week of November for the souls of the faithful in purgatory can now be gained throughout the entire month of November, the Vatican said. Also, those who are ill or homebound and would not be able to physically visit a church or cemetery in the prescribed timeframe still will be able to receive a plenary indulgence when meeting certain conditions…

“The new provisions were made after a number of bishops asked for guidance as to how the faithful could perform the works required for receiving a plenary indulgence given the ongoing pandemic and restrictions in many parts of the world limiting the number of people who can gather in one place… Traditionally, the faithful could receive a full indulgence each day from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 when they visited a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and, in particular, when they went to a church or an oratory to pray Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day…

“The Vatican decided to extend the time one can receive a full indulgence to include the whole month of November… Typically, only a partial indulgence is granted after the first week of November. The full indulgence traditionally offered Nov. 2 for those who visit a church or an oratory and recite the Our Father and the Creed can also be gained any day in November… Those who cannot leave their homes or residence for ‘serious reasons,’ which includes government restrictions during a pandemic… also can receive a plenary indulgence after reciting specific prayers for the deceased or reflecting on a Gospel reading designated for Masses of the dead before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, or by performing a work of mercy…

“The church teaches that prayer, particularly the Mass, and sacrifices may be offered on behalf of the souls in purgatory. The feast of All Souls differs from the Nov. 1 feast of All Saints precisely because it offers prayers for the eternal peace and heavenly rest of all those who died in a state of grace, but not totally purified. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.’”

We will discuss all of these false ideas, and many more, in this booklet. Rightly understood, the concept of obtaining indulgences is thoroughly unbiblical and ungodly, as it is predicated on many false doctrines. Therefore, we do need quite a lot of background as indulgences include those who have died and are in Purgatory, according to the Roman Catholic Church, and this is an extension to the belief that man has an immortal soul and the dead go to Heaven or Hell after death.

We will discuss at great length the concept of Purgatory, and we will see, by quoting Catholic sources, how confusing and confused the Catholic Church itself is regarding their own teaching. But it will become clear that in Catholic teaching, Purgatory is a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to Heaven. We can simplify it by saying that Purgatory is a temporary Hell. “Martin Luther objected to the selling of indulgences in his ‘95 Theses’ because he felt that it was wrong to promise that souls would be relieved from Purgatory based on a simple monetary contribution, and he also felt that the pope did not have the right to grant a pardon from God” (compare reference.com).

While this booklet contains much information, it is just a small sample compared to so much that is available. It also shows the people of God how blessed they are to have had their minds open to the Truth and not just an acceptance of what we are told, without biblical proof, by those in leadership positions in mainstream Christianity.

This booklet will show how incredibly unbiblical certain Roman Catholic teachings are. It is so sad that millions upon millions of people believe these ideas without even realizing the absolute absurdity contained in them. Very soon, the Roman Catholic Church, which is described in the Book of Revelation as a fallen or apostate church which has rejected God’s Truth, will inspire the political powers to impose the “mark of the beast” on people readily willing to accept it. This will be the culmination of satanic blasphemy. Protestants have for a long time identified the Catholic Church as the “Babylon” of the book of Revelation, without fully realizing that they are thereby including themselves in that description, as the fallen church is depicted as the “mother church” which has “daughter churches” or “harlot daughters” (Revelation 17:5).

When reading the following, those with open ears and eyes could easily become very angry at the blasphemous concepts depicted and believed by traditional Christianity. But we must understand that, ultimately, it is Satan, the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air, who has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9) and who has found an easy target in Roman Catholic and Protestant concepts which are really nothing else but pagan ideas which have been given a “Christian” mantle. We are not fighting against flesh and blood—people—but against wicked spirits in high places—the devil and his demons.

For all text copied from Catholic websites, we will show this in italics so that it can be more easily recognizable as compared to the comments and information that we make.

On the website vatican.va, we can find the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” In this booklet, we will be quoting selectively the appropriate sections from this Catechism as relative to the concepts discussed herein. The numbers at the beginning of each section are their own reference as are other numbers within the text. The definition of “catechism” is “a text summarizing the basic principles of a Christian denomination, usually in question-and-answer form.”

We will mostly use the Roman Catholic “In Brief” writings from their Catechism rather than the fuller version which will still convey their understanding.

Chapter 1—Man Does Not Have an Immortal Soul Which Goes to Heaven

In order to understand the concept of indulgences, we must first address related subjects on which the idea of indulgences is based. One of these concepts is the false teaching of the “immortal soul” which is or will be suffering in Purgatory and which can be freed through indulgences to enter Heaven. 

The Roman Catholic “IN BRIEF” (hereafter: “IN BRIEF”) writing states this:

“1051 Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.”

This presupposes that man has an immortal soul. In our booklet “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?,” we state the following on pages 4 and 5 under the heading “Orthodox Christianity Embraces the Idea of an Immortal Soul”:

“According to Catholic belief, the immortal soul enters a person at the time of conception, having been directly and individually created by God with free will and consciousness. The individual soul is present in its totality in each and every organ of the person. Proofs for the accuracy of the teaching of the immortality of the soul are mainly given in light of, 1) alleged appearances of dead people; 2) the universal belief in such a concept; and 3) the biblical statement [discussed herein] that ‘man cannot destroy the soul’ (Matthew 10:28). Originally, Catholics believed that the soul of a dead person enters heaven or hell immediately at the time of death—the idea of a purgatory only became dogma in A.D. 590. Most Protestant denominations, following to a large extent the lead of the Catholic Church in this regard, believe in the immortality of the soul as well.

“Orthodox Christianity adopted the concept of an immortal soul from pagan beliefs. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology points out in its 1992 edition, on p. 1037, ‘Speculation about the soul in the subapostolic church was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy.’

“Again, quoting from Funk & Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia, Vol. 24, article on ‘Soul’: ‘The Christian doctrine of the soul has been strongly influenced by the [Greek] philosophies of Plato and Aristotle… 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas… accepted Aristotle’s analysis of the soul and body as two conceptually distinguishable elements of a single substance.’

“One of the early proponents of the concept of the immortality of the soul was a Catholic church father by the name of Origen… Around 200 A.D. he claimed that ‘souls are immortal,’ stating at the same time that he was a ‘Platonist who believed in the immortality of the soul’ (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, pp. 314, 402).

“Further, as we point out in our free booklet, ‘Don’t Keep Christmas,’ followers of the Greek god Mythra believed in an immortal soul as well. Many of those pagan beliefs associated with Mythra were later adopted by, and absorbed into, Orthodox Christianity.”

As we explain in great detail in our booklets, and as it will be discussed later as well in this booklet, the concept of the immortality of the soul has no biblical foundation and became part of the body of beliefs of the Roman Catholic faith around 200 AD.

Man Will Not Be Judged at the Moment of His Death

In the above-stated quote by the Roman Catholic Catechism, it is also remarked that a person will be judged by Christ in or from the moment of his death. This is erroneous as well. As true Christians, we are already being judged today (1 Peter 4:17), but we will also appear before the judgment seat of Christ at His return (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; Matthew 25:14–46)—not prior to that. (For more information on this, see our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”) Others who have died will be judged when they are resurrected; not at the time of their death. Death is a sleep without consciousness out of which one must be awakened. This is more fully explained below and also in our free booklets on the “Book of Revelation” and “Punishment for Sins.”

Man Is a Soul, Not Has a Soul

To continue with quotes from the Catholic Catechism:

“1052 We believe that the souls of all who die in Christ’s grace… are the People of God beyond death. On the day of resurrection, death will be definitively conquered, when these souls will be reunited with their bodies” (Paul VI, CPG § 28).

Quoting again from our booklet “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?,” we will read that man became a living soul, showing that the human soul is not immortal. The Hebrew word for “soul,” “nephesh,” can refer to dead souls or dead people, and even to animals.  We state on page 8:

“When God created man, He created him as a lifeless or a dead person. God then breathed into man’s nostrils and man became alive. Notice how this is described in Genesis 2:7, ‘And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [‘nephesh’].’

“When man was created, he was not yet alive, unlike the animals when they were created. Only when God breathed air into his nostrils did man become alive—he became a living soul. Before that, he was a lifeless soul.”

On page 9 we read: “The concept that persons ARE souls is expressed in many passages, when they are translated correctly. Genesis 12:5 reads, ‘And Abraham took… the souls [‘nephesh’] that they had gotten in Haran.’ Here the word ‘souls’ describes people.

“The same is expressed in Genesis 14:21, ‘And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons [lit. ‘souls’ or ‘nephesh’ in the Hebrew], and take the goods to thyself.’

“Note how Genesis 46:15–27 equates ‘souls’ with ‘persons’: ‘(15) These be the sons of Leah… with his daughter Dinah: all the souls [‘nephesh’ throughout] of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three… (18) These are the sons of Zilpah… even sixteen souls… (22) These are the sons of Rachel… all the souls were fourteen… (25) These are the sons of Bilhah… all the souls were seven. (26) All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.’”

“Virgin Mary” and Saints Are NOT in Heaven

Granting indulgences requires, as has been stated and as will be discussed in more detail later, that prayers can be made to the Virgin Mary and saints who have died and are in Heaven. 

In this context, the following quote from the Catholic Catechism is remarkable:

“1053 We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various degrees, associated with the holy angels in the divine governance exercised by Christ in glory, by interceding for us and helping our weakness by their fraternal concern” (Paul VI, CPG § 29).

Mary, and Everyone Else Who Has Died, Are Still in the Grave

This statement includes many errors and wrong concepts. First of all, it clearly shows that the Roman Catholic Church believes that people go to Heaven after death. It also argues that the dead saints who are allegedly in Heaven are interceding for the living. This last concept is clearly blasphemous. Mary is not in paradise (Heaven), but she is dead and in her grave, awaiting the resurrection from the dead to eternal life at the time of Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 15:50–54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). The idea that Mary bodily ascended to Heaven is a fable derived from paganism. This is true for all the other “saints” (true Christians) who have died. They are not in Heaven either, and NO ONE is interceding for the living except our only Mediator and High Priest—Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY “Man” who was resurrected by God the Father from the dead to eternal life, and it is He—and He alone—who intercedes for us. There is only ONE Mediator between God and Man—the “Man Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 2:5).

The above-cited comment by the Catholic Catechism is a complete misunderstanding as to what happens after death.

The idea that we will go to Heaven after death is an entirely unbiblical concept. It is derived from paganism.

Man Can Reach Two Heavens But Not the Third Heaven Where God Dwells

As Lewis Brown explains in “This Believing World”:

“In very early times that idea flourished not alone among the Babylonians and Egyptians, but also among the barbaric tribes in and around Greece… these mysteries [came] down from Thrace or across the sea from Egypt and Asia Minor… they declared that for every man, no matter how poor or vicious, there was a place in heaven. All one had to do was to be ‘initiated’ into the secrets of the cult.”

The Hebrews did not believe that we go to Heaven when we die. Neither did the early Christians. But in time, the concept developed within the Roman Catholic Church that one will be saved and go to Heaven when one has been baptized into the church, including as a little baby.

The Bible does not teach this. Much confusion exists because many do not understand that the Bible speaks of more than one heaven.

When the Bible speaks of “heaven,” it may refer to any one of three different locations. The first heaven is the atmosphere, surrounding the earth, where birds can fly and clouds move (Genesis 1:20; 27:28). The second heaven is the universe, with all its galaxies, suns, stars and planets (Psalm 8:3).

It is possible for man to reach these two heavens—at least, to a limited extent. But man cannot reach the Third Heaven, where God dwells—where His angels live and where His throne is located. It is spiritual, not physical. Physical beings cannot enter it—except in a vision—and we won’t go there after our death, either.

According to the biblical testimony, the only Being who entered the Third Heaven after death was Jesus Christ. Others saw the Third Heaven in a vision—such as Daniel (Daniel 7:9), Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2), Stephen (Acts 7:56) or John (Revelation 4:2), but they did not enter the Third Heaven in bodily form, or as spirit beings.

Christ said in John 3:13 that no human being—except He Himself—has entered the Third Heaven. The German Luther Bible from 1964 wrote: “And no one goes to Heaven except for the One who came down from Heaven, namely the Son of Man…” (“Und niemand faehrt gen Himmel, denn der vom Himmel herniedergekommen ist, naemlich des Menschen Sohn…“).

Most translations render the passage as, “No one has ascended up to heaven…”, but even then, it is at least clear that no one before Christ ever went to the Third Heaven. This means that contrary to popular belief, Elijah and Enoch did NOT enter God’s Third Heaven. 

Elijah Is Still in the Grave Awaiting the Resurrection

We read, in 2 Kings 2:1, 11, that Elijah was taken up “into heaven by a whirlwind.” We also read that the disciples understood that Elijah did not go to the Third Heaven, as they were concerned that “the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley” (verse 16). In fact, God transported Elijah to another place here on this earth, where Elijah continued to live until his death. He wrote a letter and had it delivered to king Jehoram, AFTER he “went to (the first) heaven,” as Jehoram became king right at the time of Elijah’s disappearance (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1). 2 Chronicles 21:12–15 gives us the contents of the letter, referring to the evil deeds of king Jehoram that he had committed after Elijah had been taken away and transported through the air to another place here on earth.

We know, then, from Scripture, that Elijah did not go to the Third Heaven, where God’s throne is. We also know that he was transferred, supernaturally, to another place here on earth. There are several biblically recorded incidents where human beings were supernaturally transferred by God to another place here on earth (compare, for example, Philip’s transfer to another place here on earth, in Acts 8:39–40).

Elijah is dead in the dust of the earth awaiting the resurrection of the just. Elijah, some years after being removed in the whirlwind, went to the grave, but will rise again to live forevermore!

Enoch Is Still in the Grave Awaiting the Resurrection

Hebrews 11:5 lists Enoch among those who were truly faithful to God: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Now consider verse 13 of Hebrews 11: “These ALL [including Enoch, see again verse 5] DIED in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” This verse conclusively proves that Enoch, one of these faithful, died along with the others.

Genesis 5:23 also conclusively states: “ALL THE DAYS of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.” This same phrase, “all the days,” is used throughout this chapter about generations of people who died.

Paul also said in Hebrews 11:5 that Enoch was “not found.” This does not mean that he lived on forever. Moses died, and God buried him at a secret place, and he was not found, and “no one knows his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6).

We need to both consider and believe the clear statements of Scripture. Like David and many other people who have faithfully served God, Enoch awaits the hope of the resurrection to righteousness (compare Hebrews 11:39–40), and a time in which he will indeed not see death—the second death of eternal destruction.

The Rest of God’s Faithful People Are Still in the Grave Awaiting the Resurrection

The same must be true, then, for Abraham, the father of the faithful and a friend of God; Noah; Moses; Samuel; Job; the major and minor prophets, including Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel; as well as King David, a man after God’s own heart who will rule in the Millennium under Christ over the nations of Israel and Judah. The Bible stresses expressly that David did NOT go to heaven when he died (Acts 2:34, 29).

The Bible compares death with a dreamless sleep without consciousness, out of which one must awake. Compare John 11:11–14; Ecclesiastes 9:5–6, 10; Psalm 6:5.

Man is not nor does he have an immortal soul. Man IS the soul that can and will die (Ezekiel 18:4, 19–20), and that must be resurrected from the dead. In order to enter into eternal life and the Kingdom of God, man must be changed to immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51–52; Job 14:14–15; Philippians 3:20–21).

The very fact that man is mortal and that he must be brought back to life through a resurrection from the dead PROVES that he does not go to the Third Heaven when he dies. Martin Luther once asked the pertinent question, why there should be a resurrection from the dead if the dead are already living in Heaven. He concluded: “The fact that there is a resurrection from the dead proves that man does not go to heaven when he dies.” Sadly, today’s Lutheran Churches have totally rejected the words of their “founder.”

God promised man the gift of eternal life (Titus 1:2)—here on earth (Matthew 5:5). Abraham was promised eternal life on the earth as an inheritance (Romans 4:13; Galatians 3:29). Until now, no one has inherited the promises of eternal life and rulership on the earth (Hebrews 11:13, 39–40).

When the righteous enter into eternal life, he will reign under Christ during the Millennium. However, he will not reign from or in Heaven, but he will reign ON the earth and over the earth (Revelation 5:8–10; 11:15; Daniel 2:44; 7:13–14, 21–22, 26–27).

Christ will return to the earth—His feet will stand on that day of His appearing on the Mount of Olives—and He will sit on the throne of David—here on earth (Zechariah 14:1–2, 4, 8–9, 11, 16–19; Isaiah 9:6–7; 2:1–4; Jeremiah 23:5). We read that all nations will appear before the judgment seat of Christ—here on earth (Matthew 25:31–34; 41).

The biblical understanding is not complicated, but pure and simple, and very easy to comprehend. When a man dies, he is dead, but he will live again through the resurrection from the dead. Until then, he will sleep a dreamless sleep, without any consciousness. He will not go to Heaven when he dies, nor will he suffer in a Purgatory or “Hell.” This includes Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as all the other saints who have died. Praying to them is forbidden by God, but also useless, as they are dead and in their graves, unable to hear us or to do anything for us. 

A righteous person who has died is asleep, until Christ awakens him or her out of his or her sleep when He returns. And He will, because as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Chapter 2—The False Concept of Hell

In the introduction and the previous chapter, we began to discuss the concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church that “indulgences” can allegedly remove, partially or completely (plenary or “in full”), punishment for sin. 

In the last chapter, we reviewed, among other questions, the fact that we do not have an immortal soul and that no one goes to Heaven when they die. Let us continue with the next error—the belief that people can go to Hell (or Purgatory) when they die. (As mentioned before, Purgatory can be described as a temporary stay in Hell or a temporary Hell of suffering and pain.)

The Roman Catholic’s Catechism reads regarding Hell:

“1057 Hell’s principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”

As this is a “brief” summation, let us review a slightly enhanced explanation by the Roman Catholic Church, as follows:

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”

On the Catholic Answers website: https://www.catholic.com/tract/the-hell-there-is, we read the following:

“The doctrine of hell is so frightening that numerous heretical sects end up denying the reality of an eternal hell. The Unitarian-Universalists, the Seventh-day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians, the Christian Scientists, the Religious Scientists, the New Agers, and the Mormons—all have rejected or modified the doctrine of hell so radically that it is no longer a serious threat. In recent decades, this decay has even invaded mainstream Evangelicalism, and a number of major Evangelical figures have advocated the view that there is no eternal hell—the wicked will simply be annihilated.

“But the eternal nature of hell is stressed in the New Testament. For example, in Mark 9:47–48 Jesus warns us, ‘[I]t is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ And in Revelation 14:11, we read: ‘And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.’

“Hell is not just a theoretical possibility. Jesus warns us that real people go there. He says, ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few’ (Matt. 7:13–14).”

Quite frankly, to quote Matthew 7:13–14 in this context is ridiculous. In fact, the narrow way of keeping God’s Commandments and His Law is in contradiction to Catholic teaching. The 4th Commandment has been “done away with” by replacing the true Sabbath—the seventh day of the week, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset—with Sunday, the first day of the week. God’s Way is a Way of Life; indeed, it is the narrow way, but the way of the world of which the Catholic Church is a key part, keeps Christmas, Easter and saints’ days which are, in no way, enjoined or even permitted in the Word of God. When one understands the identity of the Catholic Church which is clearly seen in the book of Revelation, it is plain that their ways are that of the wide gate and easy way.

An Ever-Burning Hell-fire, After Death, Is Unbiblical

The concept that the wicked go to an ever-burning Hell after their death is nowhere taught in Scripture. In fact, the Bible does not even teach the existence of an ever-burning Hell, torturing wicked souls of departed ones for their evil deeds. The concept of an ever-burning Hell-fire is derived from paganism. Richard Craze explains in his book, “Hell, An Illustrated History of the Netherworld,” copyrighted 1996:

“… the old horned gods of the Stone Age people became the new rulers of hell. There was a sort of logic in locating the place of the dead below ground — the underworld — because that was exactly where the dead were buried… The early [nominal] Christians borrowed Hel’s name [the goddess Hel ruled over the place of the ‘lost souls’ in Viking mythology] for their own place of punishment… 

“The early [nominal] Christians borrowed heavily from earlier mythologies, and the generally accepted appearance of Satan is an amalgamation of such things as the horns and shaggy hindquarters of the Greek god Pan, the wings of the Mesopotamian devil Pazuzu, and the scales and dragon skin of the Persian Azhidaahaka… The Greeks borrowed freely from the Babylonians… Pluto, Zeus’ brother, governed [hell] with a merciless severity and subjected his poor guests to the most ingenious tortures… [Others] were consigned to the deep bottomless pit… ruled by Kronos. Here they would suffer eternal torment… sinners were tortured for eternity… The Romans knew exactly where hell was located — underneath Italy. Everything else they borrowed from the Greeks.’”

The author also points out:

“… it was the Synod of Bishops in Constantinople in 543 that… set the seal on hell, when they decreed that ‘if anyone shall say or even think that there is an end to the torment of… ungodly persons, or that there ever will be an end to it, then let them be excommunicated.’ And they promptly excommunicated Origen, an early Church father, for saying that he thought hell was finite.”

Gehenna Fire Explained

It is true that the New Testament speaks about a fiery place, which is translated in some English Bibles as, “hell.” The Greek word for this place is “gehenna.” It does not, however, describe an ever-burning Hell, as commonly understand by many. Craze explains:

“Gehenna — the place of fire. It is probable that it was named after the place just outside Jerusalem where the household rubbish, including the bodies of criminals and animals, was burnt.”

Please note the following excerpts from our free booklet, “Do You Have an Immortal Soul?”, addressing the concept of a fiery Hell:

“The word ‘gehenna’ and the very concept of it are derived from the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem in which the corpses of dead people, mainly criminals, would be burned up. It is another expression for the ‘lake of fire’ in Revelation 20:15, in which all who have acted wickedly, and who have refused to repent, will be thrown into, to be burned up or ‘devoured.’ (Remember that Hebrews 10:27… tells us that the wicked wait for God’s fiery indignation that will ‘devour’ them.) That is the ‘hell’ or the ‘gehenna’ fire that Christ is talking about…— ‘the second death’ from which there will be no resurrection.

“Those who sin deliberately, wilfully and maliciously, God will resurrect to physical life [please note that they were dead — not in heaven, hell, limbo or purgatory—and that they had to be brought back from death to physical life] to throw them—their physical body and their soul or their ‘life’—into ‘gehenna’ or the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13–15; 21:8). They won’t burn there forever-rather, they will be burned up. They are the ‘chaff,’ that will be ‘burned up’ with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12)—that is, no human can quench it. Notice that this fire will ultimately even burn up or bring to dissolution ‘heaven and earth,’ so that a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ can be created by God (2 Peter 3:10–13).

“The wicked, such as the rich man in Christ’s parable in Luke 16, will not burn forever and ever, for all eternity, in an everlasting hell fire, but they will be ‘burned up’ (cp. again Matthew 3:12). The Greek word for ‘burned up’ is ‘katakaio’—conveying the meaning that nothing of what is burned up will remain. We read in Revelation 18:8 that modern Babylon ‘shall be utterly burned with fire.’ The word for ‘utterly burned’ is, again, ‘katakaio’ in the Greek. And we are told that ‘that great city Babylon [will] be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all’ (Revelation 18:21). In the same way, the wicked, such as the rich man in Luke 16, that are [brought back to life from the dead and then] thrown into ‘gehenna’ or the lake of fire [called the SECOND death!], will be ‘burnt up’—they ‘shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up… that it shall leave them neither root nor branch’ (Malachi 4:1). They will become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Malachi 4:3); it will be as if they had never existed (Obadiah 16).

“The wicked will be burnt up in a temporary gehenna fire, to die the SECOND death, from which there will be no further resurrection to life (Revelation 20:14–15; 21:8)—they will not be tortured forever and ever in an eternal hell fire, without ever being destroyed. We need to understand, too, that those who will be burnt up will have committed the unpardonable sin. As it is true in regard to the concept of ‘hell,’ very few understand properly, either, what the ‘unpardonable sin’ really is.”

The Wicked Will Not Be Forever Tormented in Hell-Fire

In the previous quote from the Catholic Answers website, Revelation 14:11 was mentioned to show that this Scripture teaches that the wicked will be forever tormented in Hell-fire. This verse reads: “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

In short, the unrepentant wicked will ultimately be burned up. That will happen after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment. However, the passage in Revelation 14:11 does not address that time period. It merely serves as a forerunner and a warning. Most people who will worship the false political and religious system of Babylon, as well as its human representatives, won’t fully comprehend what they will be doing—they will not commit the unpardonable sin leading to the second death, from which there will be no resurrection (Revelation 20:14–15; 21:8). Rather, God will bring them back to life in a Second Resurrection, when the gravity of their wrong conduct will be revealed to them, and when they will be given an opportunity to repent and accept God’s Way of Life.

The Beast and False Prophet Were Cast Into the Lake of Fire

Another question which is sometimes asked is in Revelation 20:10, which states, in the rendition of the New King James Bible: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

A superficial reading, especially in many of the modern translations, might indeed lead us to conclude the existence of a never-ending torture of the beast (a military leader) and the false prophet (a religious leader) in Hell. However, analyzing the Scripture carefully, a different conclusion is warranted.

The Authorized Version (AV) translates Revelation 20:10, as follows:

“And the DEVIL that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet ARE, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Please note that the subject of the sentence is the devil. It is he who will be tormented in the lake of fire. In regard to the beast and the false prophet, please note that the word, “are” is in italics, in the AV. This means, there is no verb in the Greek language, so that the translators had to ADD a verb—they ADDED the English word “are,” based on how they understood the meaning of the sentence. However, the addition of the word “are” is clearly WRONG in this context.

We read, in Revelation 19:20, that the beast and the false prophet were cast, about one thousand years earlier, into the lake of fire, to be burnt up and destroyed. There is no ever-lasting Hell-fire, tormenting human beings forever. Rather, humans who will be thrown into the lake of fire will be instantaneously burned up and destroyed.

Since there needs to be an addition of a word or phrase in Revelation 20:10 (“where the beast and the false prophet…”), the words to be added should be, “were cast,” so that the sentence reads: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet WERE CAST [namely, one thousand years earlier, as reported in Revelation 19:20]…”

But why does it say then in the New King James Bible that “they will be tormented day and night…”?

When we realize for WHOM the lake of fire was prepared, the answer would be obvious. We read in Matthew 25:41 that the lake of fire was “prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Therefore, it will be the devil and his demons who will be tormented in the lake of fire, as long as that lake exists. Since spirit beings can’t die (compare Luke 20:36), they will be tormented—in a spiritual way—while being confined to the lake of fire, when they experience their inability to deceive man anymore, and when they see all their “works” and evil “accomplishments” replaced by the good and prosperous ways of God.

Following this explanation, we need to realize that the fact that the Scripture in Revelation 20:10 only refers to the devil, but then speaks about the devil and demons (“THEY will be tormented”), is a structure in the Greek language, known as “metonymy.” This is a figure of speech, substituting an associated term for the name itself, as in “the crown decrees” for “the ruler decrees.” The Greek word, “metonymy,” is derived from the Greek “meta,” meaning “altered” and “onyma,” “meaning “name.” (Compare Britannica World Language Dictionary). It means here that it refers first to the main representative, the devil, while subsequently including those whom he represents, the demons.

But even if we allow for the possibility that the statement “they shall be tormented for ever and ever” would include the beast and the false prophet, that would still not mean that they will be tormented for all eternity. The Greek clause for “forever and ever” is “eis tous ainonas ton aionon.” It literally means, “to the ages of the ages.” This phrase can refer to a brief period of time, as long as a particular condition exists, or as long as the person lives. If applied in this way to Revelation 20:10, the beast and the false prophet would only be tormented for a very brief period of time, before the fire would kill them and burn them up.

Please also note that in the rendition of the AV, it does not say that “they will be tormented,” but it says: “… and the devil… was cast in the lake of fire and brimstone… and shall be tormented…”

The Revised English Bible states:

“Their seducer, the Devil, was flung into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been flung to be tormented day and night for ever.”

Of course, by not placing a comma after “had been flung,” they give the impression that it is the beast and the false prophet who will be tormented forever and ever. But since the clause, “where the beast and the false prophet had been flung,” is clearly an inserted thought—a relative sentence—the rendering should obviously include a comma after “had been flung,” making it clear that it is the DEVIL who is to be tormented day and night forever.

We see, then, that the translation of the Revised English Bible should read:

“Their seducer, the Devil, was flung into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been flung, to be tormented day and night for ever.”

Revelation 20:10 does not teach that human beings, or the souls of evil persons, will be tormented forever and ever in a Hell-fire, without ever dying or being annihilated.

The Wicked Will Be Thrown Into Gehenna Fire to Be Burned Up and Destroyed 

In the previous quote from the Catholic Answers website, Mark 9:47–48 was cited to “prove” that the wicked, after they die, keep on living in Hell “where their worm does not die” and where “the fire is not quenched.” 

However, this passage does not teach an ever-burning Hell. 

Jesus was using certain members of our bodies (foot, hand and eye) to illustrate the principle that a Christian must strive to eradicate sin in his life—even if it means, breaking a sinful HABIT which may be as painful to overcome as perhaps losing a foot, a hand or an eye. But Christ said it is better to forgo the passing pleasures of sin (compare Hebrews 11:25)—even if it “hurts”—than to be cast into Hell-fire.

What did Christ mean when He talked about “hell fire that shall never be quenched”?

Please recall that the Greek for “hell” in the phrase “hell fire” is “gehenna.” Gehenna, which designates the valley of Hinnom, is located outside Jerusalem. Trash, animal carcasses and even the dead bodies of criminals were thrown into that fire to be burned up. Jesus applied the concept of that Gehenna fire to the fire awaiting the wicked to destroy them. That fire is referred to in many places as the “lake of fire” or the second or final death (compare Revelation 20:14). The wicked will be thrown into that “hell fire” to be burned up and destroyed—they will not be tortured for ever and ever. The act of their extinction will occur with sudden finality, and the wicked will quickly perish with only a brief comprehension of their empty fate!

The Nelson Study Bible states: “The imagery of hell (frequently called gehenna) comes from a garbage dump outside the walls of Jerusalem. Jesus’ hearers were familiar with the smoldering fires that always burned there.”

For further information on the concept of “Hell” or “Gehenna,” please read our free booklets, “Do You Have an Immortal Soul?” and “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

But why did Christ say that the fire would not be quenched? Does this “hell fire” burn forever?

Note that Jesus does not say that the fire will burn forever, and that it will never go out. He said that it would not and could not be “quenched”—that is, nobody would (be able to) put it out as long as there was fuel to keep it burning. Once there is no more fuel, it will cease to burn.

The same terminology is used throughout the Bible for fire—or God’s wrath burning like a fire—but this does not mean that that fire or the wrath of God will burn forever. It burns as long as there is reason or “fuel” to burn. Note Jeremiah 4:4: “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings.” Compare, too, Jeremiah 21:12 and Amos 5:6.

But we also read that God’s wrath, even though no one can quench it, will not “burn” forever. Psalm 30:5 says: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life.” And Micah 7:18 adds: “He does NOT retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.”

God uses the same terminology of “unquenchable fire” for the ancient destruction of Jerusalem at the time of Jeremiah. We read God’s words in Jeremiah 17:27: “But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”

We read that this prophecy came to pass in the days of King Zedekiah of Judah, when King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem under his captain Nebuzaradan. We read in 2 Kings 25:9 that he “burned the house of the LORD and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire.”

But that fire is not burning any more today. Jerusalem was rebuilt. It existed at the time of Jesus. The fire was never quenched, that is, deliberately put out, but it went out on its own when there was no longer any fuel to keep it burning.

The same is true for the Gehenna fire—the lake of fire. We read that it will ultimately engulf and burn up the surface of the entire earth—we are told that “both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). In fact, even the “heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (verse 12). But after that, God will create “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (verse 13). At that time, there will be no more a burning lake of fire, because nothing will exist anymore which needs to be burned. Revelation 21:4 tells us that at that time, there will be “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain.”

For more information on the new heavens and the new earth, please read our free booklets, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World” and “Biblical Prophecy—From Now until Forever.”

The Gehenna fire will apparently be burning throughout the time of the Millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment and the Third and Final Resurrection to “damnation” or “the final destruction” of the wicked. Why does Jesus say that during that time, the worms of the wicked will not die?

Their Worm Does Not Die 

Again, Christ uses language pertaining to the fire of Hinnom, which was burning outside Jerusalem, to illustrate a point. When some animal or body of dead criminals caught on the ledges below the rim, it would be devoured by “worms” or maggots. However, the maggots would not live forever—they would develop into flies. Those flies would deposit new eggs, and maggots would hatch from these eggs, eat the flesh, continue in the larval form for a few days, go through a metamorphosis and emerge as flies. Nothing would exterminate the maggots—as nothing or no one would extinguish or quench the fire. But without fuel to burn or without flies to deposit new eggs, the fire would go out and maggots would cease to develop. Technically, Christ’s point is well taken, as maggots in fact did not die—they developed into flies—which would ultimately die. But His spiritual application is much more telling: The fate of the unrepentant wicked is inescapable. As no one quenched the fire or prevented maggots from developing into flies, so no one can change the fate of the unrepentant sinner.

Jesus quoted from a future prophecy in Isaiah 66:24, which says: “And they shall go forth and look Upon the CORPSES of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” Please note that the “worms” or maggots are those developing on the corpses of dead people–they are NOT the dead people themselves.

The Broadman Bible Commentary agrees, stating as follows: “Hell with its unquenchable fire is ‘Gehenna’… Gehenna historically was a valley at the western edge of Jerusalem. Used at one time by worshippers of Molech as a place where their sons or daughters were offered in sacrifice, the valley was defiled during King Josiah’s religious reformation… Since that time it had been used as a dump for all kinds of refuse. Therefore it was correctly described as a place where maggots continually fed and multiplied (‘their worm does not die’) and where fire was always smoldering (‘the fire is not quenched.’).”

Christ’s statement in Mark 9:43–48 is a warning to all of us. He cautions us to be very careful about how we live—and to break any sinful habits which we might have—even if that process hurts and is painful. If we are neglectful in our efforts to overcome sin, we might end up in the lake of fire. We are told in Hebrews 2:1–3: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we NEGLECT so great a salvation.” Again, we read in Hebrews 4:11: “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” And finally, note this warning in Hebrews 10:26–27: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and FIERY indignation which will DEVOUR the adversaries.”

Therefore, as we are admonished to do, “… be even more diligent to make your call and election SURE… for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the EVERLASTING KINGDOM of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10–11).

If a Man Die, Shall He Live Again?

A booklet by the (now defunct) Worldwide Church of God from 1972, titled, “After Death… Then What?”, asked the question as to whether there was any life after death. The answer given was as follows:

“Remember what Job was inspired to say? ‘O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!  If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come’ (Job 14:13, 14).

“Job knew about the resurrection of the dead. And so does anyone who knows the promises of God. Your Bible speaks in both Old and New Testaments of a resurrection of the dead — a re-creation of life!

“Daniel was inspired to write: ‘And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt’ (Dan. 12:2).

“Later, Christ quoted these same words. Read John 5:21 through verse 29. Jesus said: ‘For as the Father raiseth up the dead… even so the Son quickeneth [makes alive] whom he will… Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live… Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment — margin].’

“Christ spoke of more than one resurrection!  Notice the proof. Turn to Revelation, chapter 20. Now read verses 4 and 5. ‘And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them [Greek word: psuche — meaning same as nephesh in the Hebrew] that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.’  And the ‘souls’ John saw in this vision were dead!  Notice the proof. ‘But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished’ (Rev. 20:5).

“John saw a vision concerning the resurrection of the just. Christ promises rulership with Him to those who overcome (Rev. 2:26; 3:21), which He will give at His return (I Cor. 15:23; Phil. 3:20, 21).

“The resurrection of the dead was the whole hope — the heart and center of the message — of the early Church. Notice how it completely dominates the sermons of Peter and Paul in early Church history. Read all of the following verses in context in your own Bible. ‘Ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up…’ (Acts 2:23, 24). ‘This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses… For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself… The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool’ (verses 32–35).

“Peter continually emphasized Christ’s resurrection as proof of the future resurrection of all mankind. ‘And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead…’ (Acts 3:15). ‘Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus…’ (verse 26). ‘… The Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead’ (Acts 4:1–2).

“Notice. Peter preached the resurrection. He said nothing about the completely pagan doctrines of a supposed ‘immortal soul’ or going to ‘hell’ or ‘heaven’ when one dies.

“Rather, he emphasized how even David, a man after God’s own heart, was dead and buried (Acts 2:29) and showed the believers that David had not gone to heaven (Acts 2:34), but was waiting in his grave, just as the Bible says, until a resurrection of the just.”

The Dead Know Nothing

We read in the Word of God that, “For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). It is clear from this passage of Scripture that when we die we simply cease, as a human being, to exist. Those who are dead can’t breathe, eat, drink, speak, act, think, or feel anything.

The Bible is clear on this issue—we will return to dust. Because of his disobedience, God told Adam: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

When Adam died, he returned to dust and ceased to exist. The same happens to those who die now. “For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust” (Ecclesiastes 3:19–20).

In the above-quoted excerpts from the Roman Catholic’s Catechism, death was defined as “separation from God” or even as “eternal separation from God.” This idea is false. Life and death are opposites. Death is not merely separation of a dead person from God, while the person who died is supposedly still alive. As we stated earlier, the “first death” is a dreamless sleep without consciousness. We said that a person will not go to Heaven when he dies, nor will he suffer in a Purgatory or “Hell.” Rather, he is asleep, until Christ awakens him out of his sleep. We showed above that when we die, we know nothing. (Of course, the “second death” constitutes utter and total destruction of the person.)

We read in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When Christ died, He was not merely “separated” from God. He was DEAD—without any life or consciousness. He said in Revelation 1:18: “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”

Chapter 3—The Spirit in Man

In the previous two chapters, we began to discuss the concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church that the “immortal souls” of departed ones may be in Hell or Purgatory, and that “indulgences” or prayers for the dead can allegedly remove, partially or completely (“plenary” or “in full”), punishment for sin, so that their souls can be freed from Purgatory (a temporary Hell) to go to Heaven. In order to answer the question regarding indulgences, we reviewed, among other questions, related issues such as the fact that we do not have an immortal soul; and that we neither go to Heaven (where we, as immortal saints in Heaven, could allegedly receive prayers from the living and intervene on their behalf), nor do we go to Hell or Purgatory when we die.

Some, however, confuse the concept of the “immortal soul”—which does NOT exist—with Scriptures talking about the spirit in man—which does exist—claiming that, regardless as to whether one refers to the soul or the spirit in man, it would be helpful to pray to God in respect to that “spirit” in man which allegedly does not “cease to exist” but continues to exist “with consciousness,” when the person dies.

In this chapter, we will therefore explain what the spirit in man is, and that it can in no way be used as an “excuse” or a “justification” for the concept of “indulgences.”

As we have seen, at death, man who IS the soul, dies. But what about his spirit?

We discuss the biblical concept of the “spirit in man” extensively in our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults”.   Let us quote the following excerpts from pages 19–23:

“Mr. Armstrong (the former Pastor General of the now defunct Worldwide Church of God and author of many articles, booklets and books, including ‘The Incredible Human Potential) explains that, according to the Bible, each human being has a non-physical component in his brain, called ‘the spirit in man.’ On page 81 of his [above-mentioned] book, he points out, ‘[T]his spirit is not the man—only something in the man… This spirit cannot see, hear, or think. The man sees, hears and thinks through his physical brain and the five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. The spirit in man imparts the power of physical intellect to the physical brain, thus forming human mind.

“‘This spirit acts, among other things, as a computer, adding to the brain the psychic and intellectual power. Knowledge received in the brain through the eye, ear and the senses is immediately “programmed” into the spirit computer. This “computer” gives the brain instant recall of whatever portion of millions of bits of knowledge may be needed in the reasoning process. That is to say that memory is recorded in the human spirit, whether or not it is also recorded in the “gray matter” of the brain. This human spirit also adds to man a spiritual and moral faculty not possessed by animals.’

Most People Have No Knowledge About the Existence of the Spirit in Man

“Most people know nothing about the existence of the spirit in man—even many religious people—lay persons and theologians alike. When they read passages in the Bible describing the spirit in man, they assume the Bible is talking about the soul. But the soul is not a non-physical component of the human being. The soul, according to the Bible, is totally physical. The Bible does not teach the concept of an immortal soul. Rather, we read in Ezekiel 18:4, ‘The soul who sins shall die.’ 

“The word ‘soul’ in the Bible refers to the living body of both man and animals. In Revelation 16:3, we read that every living soul—both men and beasts—died in the sea. The soul does NOT distinguish man from animals. Rather, the spirit in man is THE distinguishing factor between man and animals. It explains man’s superiority over the animals and totally disproves the concept of evolution. In Romans 8:16, and in 1 Corinthians 2:11, more fully discussed below, it is expressly stated that there is a spirit in each man, which spirit is different from God’s Holy Spirit.

“In the book of Isaiah we are told that each human being has a spirit within him. ‘Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it’ (Isaiah 42:5).

God Can “Stir Up” This Spirit for His Purpose

“We also learn that God sometimes influences man’s spirit for His purpose. We could say that God inspires or motivates a person by ‘stirring up’ the spirit in that person. Note 1 Chronicles 5:25–26, ‘And they [Israel] were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria…He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity.’

“Another example is found in 2 Chronicles 21:16–17, ‘Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabians…And they came into Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions that were found in the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives.’

“Later, when God saw to it that His word and promise would be fulfilled to rebuild the destroyed city of Jerusalem and the temple, He inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue a decree, permitting the Jews who were captured in Babylon, to return to Jerusalem. Both 2 Chronicles 36:22 and Ezra 1:1 record what exactly happened. ‘Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.”’ Even King Cyrus realized that God had influenced his spirit to make this proclamation.

“But the work of rebuilding the destroyed temple progressed very slowly. There was a lack of leadership to motivate the people to accomplish the task at hand. Let’s read how God intervened, in Haggai 1:4, ‘So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel…, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua…and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.’

The Spirit In Man Is Received at Conception

“The Bible strongly indicates that God gives the human spirit at the time of conception, and then takes it back at the time of death. We read in Zechariah 12:1, ‘Thus says the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.’ Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, ‘Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.’ When the spirit in man leaves a person, that person is dead. James 2:26 says, ‘For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’

“Jesus Christ Himself, at the time of His death, cried out to the Father to receive His spirit. What exactly did He say? Let’s read in Luke 23:46, ‘And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.’ When He died, His human spirit returned to God, as we read in Ecclesiastes. Hebrews 12:22–23 also confirms that the spirit of man returns to God in heaven when the person dies. ‘But you have come to… the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem [when we pray, we appear before God in heaven], to an innumerable company of angels,… to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect…’

“In the book of Job, Elihu, under God’s inspiration, tells us, ‘If He [God] should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath [since God gives both breath and spirit, they both belong to Him and are His. But the spirit being talked about here is the spirit in man, not the Holy Spirit, which is altogether different], all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust’ (Job 34:14 and 15).

“When God decided to destroy man in the flood, He made this statement in Genesis 6:3, ‘And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive [or abide] with [or in] Man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”’  What God is saying here is that He would destroy man through a flood within 120 years from then. This spirit abiding in man cannot be a reference to God’s Holy Spirit, as man was to be wiped out because of his own evil doings. We know, on the other hand, that God gives His Holy Spirit only to those who obey Him, as we read in Acts 5:32. So, the spirit referred to in Genesis 6:3 is a reference to the spirit of man, which is temporary. Isaiah 57:16 tells us, ‘For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; for the spirit [of man] would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.’

When a Man Dies, His Spirit Returns to God

“Understand though, that when a man dies and his spirit returns to God, that spirit does not continue to live consciously, apart from the body. Rather, God ‘stores’ it, so to speak, in heaven, until He unites it at the time of the resurrection of man with a new spiritual or physical body. The concept that man’s soul is immortal is as wrong as the concept that man’s spirit continues to live consciously after death. Rather, the body—or soul—dies, and the spirit of man returns to God to await a resurrection.

“Note Ecclesiastes 9:4–6, ‘But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope… For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing… Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished… And verse 10, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.’ In other words, there is no conscious activity after a person dies. The spirit does not continue in the realm of consciousness.

“Jesus Christ also made it clear that dead people do not continue to live on. Rather, the dead will have to be brought back to life through a resurrection from the dead. In Matthew 22:31–32, He asked the Sadducees, since they did not believe in the resurrection, ‘But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’ If the dead persons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had somehow continued to live consciously after their death, including a conscious existence of their spirit that had returned to God, then Christ’s words to the Sadducees would have been without sense…

“WHY does God give each human being a spirit? The spirit in man records all the human characteristics of the person, as well as his or her outward appearance. At the time of the resurrection, the spirit of the dead person is combined with a new body of the dead person. This means, all the experiences and memories and ideas of the former life are back in the resurrected individual, and the resurrected person will also look the same way he or she did in their former life…

“When a person dies, his body returns to dust. But the spirit of man in him has recorded the appearance of the person, the personality, the personal attributes, and God gives the spirit of that person back into the newly created physical body.”

There is much more explained about the spirit in man in our booklet on Evolution, mentioned previously. 

We can summarize that the spirit in man has no consciousness apart from the “soul” or the person; and that it will go back to God in Heaven when man dies—not to Hell or Purgatory. Therefore, the concept of the spirit in man cannot be used to justify indulgences and prayers to God for the departed ones suffering and being “purified” in Purgatory.

It might also be helpful to briefly address the question as to when the spirit in man begins to exist, and whether it can be destroyed or extinguished.

The Bible Tells Us WHEN God Creates the Human Spirit

Isaiah 42:5 says that God, after having created the heavens and the earth, gives breath to the people on it, and “spirit to those who walk on it.” But there is no breath in a particular person prior to his existence, and by extension, there would not be any spirit either. That is, neither the breath nor the spirit of man exist prior to the “creation” of that particular person. We also read in Zechariah 12:1 that God FORMS the spirit of man within him. Again, this implies that God actually creates in man the human spirit when man comes into existence [at the time of conception].

What about the fate of those who did commit the unpardonable or unforgivable sin and who therefore will die the second and final death in the Third Resurrection? A strong hint at the final fate of the spirit in man of those who are going to be destroyed in the Third Resurrection can be found in Isaiah 57:16. The New King James Bible translates: “For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.”

Isaiah 57:16 implies, then, that the spirit in man could fail. But what is meant with the word, “fail”? Could it mean, “cease to exist”?

The Hebrew word is “ataph” and has a variety of meanings. According to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, it conveys the thought of “to be feeble” or “to be covered.” The Authorized Version translates this word at times also as, “to be overwhelmed,” or “to hide self.”

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible states that the word actually means, “to shroud, i.e. to clothe… hence (from the idea of darkness) to languish–cover (over), fail, faint, feebler, hide self, be overwhelmed, swoon…”

It is obvious that very few of these meanings would make any sense in the context of the statement in Isaiah 57:16. After all, it is both the soul AND the spirit that could “fail” or “faint.” We know that the (incorrigible, corruptible) soul, when God contends with it forever, will die the eternal death and will be extinguished. But what about the spirit?

German translations point out that the word “ataph” can also mean “cease to exist, get destroyed, become annihilated.” For example, the German Luther Bible; the Elberfelder Bible; the Menge Bible; the Schlachter Bible and the Pattloch Bible all use the expression, “verschmachten,” which is a word describing the death of a person in the desert, who is dying of thirst.

Some English-speaking translations agree. The Amplified Bible renders Isaiah 57:16 as follows (brackets in the original): “… for [where it not so] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible comments regarding Isaiah 57:16: “The simple meaning seems to be, that if God should continue in anger against people they would be consumed. The human soul could not endure a long-continued controversy with God. Its powers would fail; its strength decay; it must sink to destruction.”

If the concept of “dying” is conveyed in this passage in Isaiah 57:16, then it would indicate that not only the soul, but also the spirit in man CAN be extinguished and cease to exist; and if so, that would have to be the obvious “fate” of the human spirit of those in the Third Resurrection.

From this it follows then that not only the soul but also the spirit in man is not immortal.

Chapter 4—Purgatory

In this chapter, we will review in detail the idea of Purgatory and we again refer to the Roman Catholic “In Brief” writings from their Catechism:

“1054 Those who die in God’s grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.”

The website catholic.com adds the following explanation:

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a ‘purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven’ which is experienced by those ‘who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified’ (CCC 1030). It notes that ‘this final purification of the elect … is entirely different from the punishment of the damned’” (CCC 1031).

“The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial (that is, easily excused or forgiven; pardonable) sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.”

Wrong Understanding of Revelation 21:27

Revelation 21:27 is quoted, but this Scripture is talking about the New Jerusalem on a New Earth (not Heaven) when no more human beings nor anything physical will exist. Rather, the New Jerusalem will descend to a New Earth, composed of spirit, where God’s immortal people will then dwell. Applying this verse to the need for Purgatory is completely erroneous.

The First Resurrection

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, we read: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

This applies to true Christians only, and those asleep in Christ are the dead who will be resurrected as spirit beings at the return of Christ along with those, still living, who have the Holy Spirit of God, and who will be changed into immortal spirit beings as well at that time. They will then rule with Christ here on earth for a thousand years. Nothing is mentioned that they will go to Heaven, Purgatory or Hell; or that they will have to be purified in any way. 

Rather, when they are resurrected as or changed into God beings at the time of Christ’s return, they will be resurrected or changed as PERFECT beings—not imperfect and in need of purification or perfection. As the Father is perfect and has no need of purification, so we will be (Matthew 5:48; Colossians 1:28; Luke 6:40; Hebrews 13:20–21; 11:40; 12:23). In this life, we will never attain perfection in the flesh, but we must work toward it so that at the time of Christ’s return, we will be resurrected or changed as perfect beings; and it is this godly perfection which God will grant us at that time.

We Will Not Have Attained Perfection at Death

We must understand that when we die, we will not have attained perfection but we do not need a period of time in Purgatory in order to achieve this state of perfection. In Philippians 3:12 we read: “…not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

A key to understanding is Matthew 24:13: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” We will be saved at the end of our lives, even though imperfect and without a painful visit to Purgatory!  In 2 Timothy 4:6–8—the apostle Paul’s valedictory—we read: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Paul looked forward to a crown of righteousness even though he would not have attained perfection in his life. In fact, in Romans 7:15, he pointed out his physical frailties: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

It is obvious from these examples that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit throughout and to the end of our lives, true Christians will be resurrected or changed to immortal spirit life which will ensure perfection, thus revealing that any imperfections that we may have at death or at our change if still alive at Christ’s return will count as nothing and be dismissed by God.

Limbo and Purgatory Are Not Biblical Concepts

The concepts of “limbo” and “Purgatory” have their origin in pagan mythologies. Richard Craze points out these most incredible facts in his previously quoted book, “Hell, An Illustrated History of the Netherworld,” copyrighted 1996”:

“The early [nominal] Christians… introduce[d] the concept of a sort of waiting-room, where souls would stay for [a while]. They found a ready-made idea — limbo — that they freely borrowed from the Romans, who had borrowed it from the Greeks. Limbo became a place where anyone who did not quite fit could be put… Purgatory… was a cross between limbo and hell… Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, was called back from heaven, where she had been asleep (the Dormition). She was given the keys of hell to look after, and the running of the purgatory. She does not administer any punishments — in fact, her main job seems to be protecting the souls of the sinners from the wrath of her son [Jesus Christ!!!]. Purgatory became a sort of temporary hell — but one from which sinners could be rescued.”

As we have seen, the Bible does not teach the concepts of Limbo, Purgatory or of an ever-burning Hell. In the meantime, the Catholic Church has given up the idea of “Limbo” as a doctrine and recognizes it, if at all, as mere human tradition. And, we have already seen, “the Virgin Mary” is not in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. Mary, the mother of Jesus, died and is awaiting her resurrection from the dead. In
addition, the very thought that she is running Purgatory and that she is protecting the souls of the sinners from the wrath of her Son is quite frankly blasphemous.

Continuing with the website catholic.com, we read the following:

“What Happens in Purgatory?

“When we die, we undergo what is called the particular, or individual, judgment. Scripture says that ‘it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment’ (Heb. 9:27). We are judged instantly and receive our reward, for good or ill. We know at once what our final destiny will be. At the end of time, when Jesus returns, there will come the general judgment to which the Bible refers, for example, in Matthew 25:31–32: ‘When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.’ In this general judgment all our sins will be publicly revealed (Luke 12:2–5).

Augustine said in The City of God that ‘temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment’… It is between the particular and general judgments, then, that the soul is purified of the remaining consequences of sin: ‘I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper’ (Luke 12:59).”

Let us look at the Scriptural “evidence” that is given in the piece above to “prove” the existence of Purgatory.

Hebrews 9:27, one of the Scriptures cited in the above quote, states: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Nowhere here does it mention anything about purification in Purgatory, and to even imply that Purgatory is part of a purification process in judgment is simply twisting Scripture to fit in with an unscriptural belief.

It is true, of course that we all have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive our reward (Romans 14:10–12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Luke 19:16–17; Revelation 22:12; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 John 8). This has nothing to do with having to go through a judgment period of purification.  The concept of obtaining our reward when we appear before Christ at His return is fully explained in our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

The Second Resurrection

It is also true that those who will be resurrected as human beings in the Second Resurrection will be given a certain amount of time (the Bible indicates a period of 100 years, compare Isaiah 65:20) to qualify for the Kingdom of God. At the end of that Great White Throne Judgment period, judgment will be pronounced (Revelation 20:11–12). But again, this has nothing to do with some kind of Purgatory and burning in a Hell-fire for a certain amount of time; rather, people will be given the chance to qualify for God’s Way of Life then, so that their names can be written in the Book of Life (verse 12), just as this opportunity has been given to true Christians now whose names are already written in the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 21:27).

Matthew 25:31–32, another passage quoted above, reads: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”

This passage refers to the time when Christ rules mankind (physical human beings) living here on earth. A separation will take place during the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, based on how men will live at that time.

In our booklet “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” we read the following on page 41 under the heading, “Jesus Will Return to This Earth”:

“Christ is coming in all His glory, with His holy angels, to begin a Millennial rule upon the earth (Matthew 25:31–32). The saints of God, who will have been resurrected from the dead at that time, along with those saints still living, who will be changed to spirit at that time, will be given power to rule with Christ (Revelation 2:26–27).

“The saints will have positions as Kings and Priests, and will reign with Christ during the 1,000 year period on the earth. The rest of the dead, who had no part in this resurrection, will await in their graves for a future resurrection (Revelation 20:5).

“No biblical passage tells us that we go to heaven when we die. Rather, Christians will rule with Christ here on earth, when He resurrects those who died, or when He changes those, who are still alive at His Coming, from mortal to immortal.”

As we saw, the Catholic Church quotes Luke 12:2–5 to prove the concept of Purgatory. But there is really no way that a concept of Purgatory for “departed ones” could be applied to this passage of Scripture.

Luke 12:2–5 states: “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.  Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Explanation Again for the Word “Hell” in Luke 12:5

As we mentioned earlier in this booklet, it is true that the New Testament speaks about a fiery place, which is translated in some English Bibles as, “hell.” The Greek word for this place is “gehenna.” It does not, however, describe an ever-burning hell, as commonly understood by many. We quoted Craze who explained: “Gehenna — the place of fire. It is probable that it was named after the place just outside Jerusalem where the household rubbish, including the bodies of criminals and animals, was burnt.”

In the above-quoted passage in Luke 12:2–5, reference is also made to the killing of the body, and God’s power to “cast into hell.” 

In the parallel Scripture, let us notice what Matthew 10:28 does say: “And fear not them which kill … the body [“soma” in Greek], but are not able to kill… the soul [“psyche” in Greek]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy… both soul [“psyche”] and body [“soma”] in hell [“Gehenna”].” We need not fear man who can only kill us, taking away our physical lives. That is all man can do—man cannot prevent God from resurrecting us from death to give us life again. Instead, we must fear God, who not only can take away our physical lives, but who can also throw us—both “body and soul”—into “hell” [“Gehenna”], taking away our opportunity for eternal life.

Luke 12:59 is another passage quoted above to “prove” the concept of Purgatory. It reads: “I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.”

The subheading in the New King James Bible is “Make Peace with Your Adversary,” and this short parable shows what we should do in this life if we were taken to court to settle a matter for which we had a financial liability, and the reading from the last verse is that we, as debtors, should make every effort to settle the case with our creditor, lest we are convicted by a judge and, depending on the situation, would even be thrown in jail.

It has a spiritual message too. Those of us called by God need to realize that this is our one and only calling that we will have, and we need to make sure that we are prepared for Christ’s return. It will be too late for those who have turned their back on God, for whatever reason, and who have not been faithful to the end of their lives (compare Matthew 24:13). The message is: Seek the LORD while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6). There is no way that a state of Purgatory can be read into this passage except by those who look for Scriptures to try to defend an indefensible doctrine.

The New Bible Commentary says in connection with Luke 12:59 that “the parable cannot be pressed to teach a doctrine of purgatory.”

Silence No Proof for Purgatory

The website of catholic.com also says this in regard to the Catholic teaching of Purgatory, falsely attempting to “prove” that the early Christian Church believed in it:

“Why No Protests?

“A study of the history of doctrines indicates that Christians in the first centuries were up in arms if anyone suggested the least change in beliefs. They were extremely conservative people who tested a doctrine’s truth by asking, Was this believed by our ancestors? Was it handed on from the apostles? Surely belief in purgatory would be considered a great change, if it had not been believed from the first—so where are the records of protests?

“They don’t exist. There is no hint at all, in the oldest writings available to us (or in later ones, for that matter), that ‘true believers’ in the immediate post-apostolic years spoke of purgatory as a novel doctrine. They must have understood that the oral teaching of the apostles, what Catholics call tradition, and the Bible not only failed to contradict the doctrine, but, in fact, confirmed it.

It is no wonder, then, that those who deny the existence of purgatory tend to touch upon only briefly the history of the belief. They prefer to claim that the Bible speaks only of heaven and hell. Wrong. It speaks plainly of a third condition, commonly called the limbo of the Fathers, where the just who had died before the redemption were waiting for heaven to be opened to them. After his death and before his resurrection, Christ visited those experiencing the limbo of the Fathers and preached to them the good news that heaven would now be opened to them (1 Pet. 3:19). These people thus were not in heaven, but neither were they experiencing the torments of hell.”

There are several matters to address in the above statements, in addition to the fact that it hopelessly confuses the concepts of “Limbo” and “Purgatory” (two different concepts), as according to Catholic teaching, one DOES experience the torments of Hell on a temporary basis in Purgatory (while the concept of “Limbo” has been abandoned by the Catholic church).

The following assertion is also patently wrong: “A study of the history of doctrines indicates that Christians in the first centuries were up in arms if anyone suggested the least change in beliefs.” The Catholic Church brought in the change of Sunday worship instead of the weekly seventh-day Sabbath and we don’t read of protests at all at that time.

Apostolic Christianity Very Different to Mainstream Christianity

In an old Global Church of God booklet from 1995, we read about what happened to the true Church.

“When we look at the story of the mainstream, professing Christian church throughout the centuries, it appears to be a vastly different church from the one described in the pages of your New Testament. In the book of Acts we find that God’s church celebrated ‘Jewish’ holy days (Acts 2:1; 13–14, 42, 44; 18:21), talked about the return of Jesus Christ to judge the world (Acts 3:20–21; 17:31) and believed in the literal establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth (Acts 1:3, 6; 28:23).

“Yet, less than 300 years later, we find a church claiming apostolic origination, but observing the ‘venerable day of the Sun’ instead of the seventh-day Sabbath. When that church assembled its bishops to discuss doctrinal matters at the council of Nicea, the meeting was presided over by, of all people, a Roman Emperor – Constantine! How could such an amazing transformation have taken place? What happened?

“Protestant author Jesse Lyman Hurlbut acknowledged the dramatic change that took place in his book, The Story of the Christian Church. He wrote, ‘For fifty years after St Paul’s life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when it at last rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church-fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the day of St Peter and St Paul’ (page 41).

“The story of the Christian church between Pentecost of 31 A.D. and the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., almost 300 years later, is an amazing story. It is the story of how yesterday’s orthodoxy became today’s heresy and how old heresies came to be considered orthodox Christian doctrine. It is the story of how church tradition and the teaching of the bishops came to supersede the Word of God as a source of doctrine. It is a story that is stranger than fiction, yet it is very much historically verifiable.”

The True Church Was Persecuted

That explains why this heretical church changed the weekly Sabbath day to the first day of the week and why there were no protests. The fact of the matter is, the true Church became persecuted and had to go into hiding, while the false church produced and published a narrative to its liking. Dissenting viewpoints were systematically suppressed and dissenters declared to be “anathema” and killed. However, the true Church of God remained intact keeping the doctrines that had been given to it and has remained faithful down through the ages. Although small, apostolic Christianity is today taught by the Church of God which is comprised of those who have the Holy Spirit after repentance and baptism (compare Acts 2:38).

Wrong Understanding of 1 Peter 3:19

We also need to address the assertion that “After his death and before his resurrection, Christ visited those experiencing the limbo of the Fathers and preached to them the good news that heaven would now be opened to them (1 Pet. 3:19).” This is in error. This is not a reference to dead human beings. Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison who were the angels who sinned. In 2 Peter 2:4 we read: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.”

We are told in 1 Peter 3:19–20: “… by which [the Spirit] also he [Christ] went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (Authorized Version).

Jesus Christ Preached to the Spirits (Demons) in Prison at the Time of Noah

The correct understanding of this passage is that Jesus Christ preached to the spirits in prison—the demons—at the time of Noah, when God was about to protect Noah from destruction. Christ used this example to show that the demons who had sinned “sometime”—before the creation of man—were still awaiting their judgment.

This was not after Christ’s death but more than 2,000 years earlier and it is talking about “in the days of Noah”. When Christ died, He was in the grave for three days and three nights without any consciousness. He—or His “soul”—did not keep on living. Christ could not have gone anywhere after His death and before His resurrection. He could not have gone to “spirits” to preach to them about the past or the good news that “heaven was open to them” or the coming judgment—because we read that those who are dead know NOTHING. To try and say that this describes the limbo of the Fathers AND that heaven would now be opened to them is a blatant twisting of Scripture. As we proved earlier, no one ascends to heaven after death.

Traditions From Paganism

There is also no hint that any “oral teachings of the Apostles” and the Bible, confirm the concept of Purgatory and/or Limbo. As we have seen, the Bible totally rejects the concept of Limbo and Purgatory. And God’s true apostles would not have preached something which is so diametrically opposite to foundational biblical teachings. The “tradition” of the Catholic Church is just that—human ideas which deny the Truth of God. These traditions, as so many others, have been adopted, as we saw, from paganism and are strongly condemned by God. Compare Matthew 15:3, 6; Colossians 2:8.

Returning to the website catholic.com, it tries to give more “reasons” as to why “Purgatory [Is] Not in Scripture”:

“Some Fundamentalists also charge, ‘The word purgatory is nowhere found in Scripture.’ This is true, and yet it does not disprove the existence of purgatory or the fact that belief in it has always been part of Church teaching. The words Trinity and Incarnation aren’t in Scripture either, yet those doctrines are clearly taught in it. Likewise, Scripture teaches that purgatory exists, even if it doesn’t use that word and even if 1 Peter 3:19 refers to a place other than purgatory.”

The existence of Purgatory has never been a part of the teaching of the true Church of God and is not mentioned in Scripture, although the great false church has adopted this as they have in many other areas. The trinity is not mentioned in Scripture either as they rightly say because it has never been a doctrine of the true Church of God. For a thorough explanation on this subject, please see our booklet, “Is God a Trinity?” 

The third area they mention that is a teaching but not mentioned in Scripture is Incarnation. Wikipedia gives this explanation of the word Incarnation: “Incarnation refers to the act of a pre-existent divine person, the Son of God, in becoming a human being.” Also, in the incarnation, as traditionally defined by those Churches that adhere to the Council of Chalcedon, the divine nature of the Son was united but not mixed with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, who was both ‘truly God and truly man’. This is central to the traditional faith held by most Christians.”

There Is a Difference Between the True Incarnation of Jesus and the Catholic Version

The concept of the TRUE incarnation is indeed taught in Scripture, but not the concept of the false incarnation, as erroneously taught by the Catholic church and most Protestant churches. It would have been impossible that Jesus was fully God and fully man.  It is impossible to be both at the same time, when both concepts are in opposition, in spite of mainstream Christianity’s belief that it is so.

The Truth is that Christ was fully man. He became fully flesh and blood. The biblical concept of the Incarnation means, simply put, that it teaches that God became Man.

Jesus Christ was God before He came to this earth. He was and had to be God—the “Immanuel” or “God with us”—when He came to this earth during His First Coming. God clearly tells us that the Word—Jesus Christ—who was God before His human birth, BECAME flesh. Christ came in the flesh by BECOMING flesh. This means that He became totally and fully flesh and blood, like you and I are fully flesh and blood! This is CRUCIAL for you to understand! When Christ BECAME flesh, He was no longer Spirit. He was no longer fully God, because He had become fully man!

When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, how did that happen? We read that the Holy Spirit of God, the Father, came upon her—that the power of God overshadowed her (Luke 1:35). From this we can understand that through the Holy Spirit, God, the Father, changed the all-powerful Spirit being, Jesus Christ, into a tiny physical human sperm, fertilizing the egg in the womb of Mary, thus impregnating her. The fetus grew within Mary’s womb like any other human fetus. Jesus was born as a little baby like every other human baby. He was fully flesh, just like you and I are fully flesh.

Jesus Became Fully Man to Become the Savior of Mankind

The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus Christ—the God of the Old Testament—“emptied” Himself and became a human being (compare Philippians 2:7, Revised Standard Version). It was absolutely NECESSARY for Christ to become FULLY MAN, because only in that way could He become the Savior of man. The only way that Christ—who had been GOD since all eternity—could die, was to become flesh. When He became flesh, He was totally human! When Christ became flesh, He gave up all of His divine attributes and powers. Simply put, He became a man so that He could die! He was no longer a Spirit being, He was no longer God as we think of God, since God, a Spirit being, cannot die (compare Luke 20:35–36; Isaiah 57:15; 1 Timothy 6:16; 1 Timothy 1:17).

Christ became flesh so that He could overcome sin in the flesh. He had to prove that it is possible for man, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit within him, to overcome sin! Christ was tempted in all points, as we are, but He stayed sinless (Hebrews 4:15, “[He] was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”). He overcame sin in the flesh, resisting temptation (Revelation 3:21). God, a powerful perfect Spirit being—cannot be tempted (compare James 1:13). But we read that Christ WAS tempted. This proves that He was not the all-powerful perfect Spirit being when He was here on this earth that He HAD been prior to His birth as a human being.

Christ had been an immortal God being. He was changed into a human being, but He was still the same personage He had been since all eternity. Christ, who became human, was still the personage He had always been. He was still the One who created Adam and Eve, the One who had previously met with Abraham, and the One who spoke to Moses face-to-face. He lived as a human being—growing as children do, developing into a young man, and then becoming a rabbi, or teacher, in Judah. But He was still the same individual that He had always been. He had been an immortal God being and He knew that He would become an immortal God being again, subject to qualifying by being and remaining sinless. Christ, when He was here on earth, was, quite literally, Immanuel, or, “God with us.”

Discussing the concept of Purgatory, we read the following on the website equip.org:  

“The interpretation of Scripture (called hermeneutics) is built on three preliminary laws. The first is this: Scripture interprets Scripture, called ‘the rule of analogy.’ The second law of hermeneutics is this: The plain meaning of Scripture is usually the true meaning. The third rule is this: Simple passages of Scripture help explain complex passages of Scripture—the simple informs the complicated. Roman Catholic hermeneutics concerning supposed proof texts for purgatory violate all of these laws of hermeneutics. There is no clear, plain, and simple text about purgatory, as there is about both heaven and hell. The Apocrypha cannot be placed equal to inspired Scripture. The Bible plainly speaks about life, death, and judgment: ‘And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment’ (Heb. 9:27)… There is no mention of postmortem purgation at all. Purgatory is an extrabiblical idea, imported into the church in the Middle Ages—a product of tradition but not Scripture. And the Catholic efforts at grasping for hermeneutical straws to support this false belief—‘fire,’ ‘the age to come,’ ‘souls in prison’—betray a lack of clear, precise, and biblical evidence for that place called purgatory.”

Let us also quote from Wikipedia, as follows:

“Catholic doctrine on purgatory is presented as composed of the same two points in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, first published in 2005, which is a summary in dialogue form of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It deals with purgatory in the following exchange:

“‘210. What is purgatory?

“‘Purgatory is the state of those who die in God’s friendship, assured of their eternal salvation, but who still have need of purification to enter into the happiness of heaven.

“‘211. How can we help the souls being purified in purgatory?

“‘Because of the communion of the saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers in suffrage for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice. They also help them by almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance.’”

Wikipedia also states the following under their comments on “the history of purgatory”:

“The idea of Purgatory as a physical place (like heaven and hell) became Roman Catholic teaching in the late 11th century. Medieval theologians concluded that the purgatorial punishments consisted of material fire. The Western formulation of purgatory proved to be a sticking point in the Great Schism between East and West.  The Roman Catholic Church believes that the living can help those whose purification from their sins is not yet completed not only by praying for them but also by gaining indulgences for them as an act of intercession.”

If there is no Purgatory, there is no need for indulgences. In fact, indulgences would be worthless and a waste of time (and money). This will become much clearer in the next chapter.

Chapter 5—Indulgences

With this extensive background, we will now begin to show the connection between the erroneous concept of Purgatory and the erroneous concept of indulgences. 

According to Catholic tradition and theology, indulgences are required to ensure that help and assistance is given in Purgatory (a place that doesn’t exist and has no validity from Scripture), so that humans can go to Heaven (which Scripture clearly shows is not the place for the dead, nor is Hell, as commonly understood in orthodox Christianity)! However, understanding the mind of man at work in setting up an elaborate and unnecessary system in an apostate church, which it has been throughout its existence and which it will continue to be at the end of this age, helps us to realize from where many of our future problems will emanate.

Three Different Ways of Using Indulgences

To better understand the concept of indulgences, we should point out that it applies in at least three different ways: It addresses those who are in “Purgatory” (a temporary “Hell”) and for whom prayers and “indulgences” are given by firstly, the living or secondly, the “saints in Heaven” so that they can be freed from Purgatory; and thirdly, it can apply to people in this life who give indulgences for themselves so that they do not have to suffer in Purgatory [or Hell] for as long as they otherwise would have to.

The distinction above is important because according to Catholic thinking, one can be prevented from going to Hell through indulgences, but cannot be freed from eternal Hell once in there (but one can be freed from the temporary Hell of Purgatory). 

On the website aboutcatholics.com, we read the following:

“The History of Indulgences

“Indulgences have a controversial place in the history of the Catholic Church. The buying and selling of indulgences is what helped to launch the Reformation.

“Indulgences began in about the ninth century A.D. as a means to substitute a set of tasks for a difficult to fulfill penance. Since the time of the early Church, penance for sins was usually long, difficult, and severe. Someone might do penance for years. So sometimes praying a particular prayer or performing an act of piety could substitute for a penance altogether or take some time off the assigned penance. This type of practice created a sort of Church currency by which people could exchange a difficult penance for a calculated number of prayers or alms. Indulgences showed the mercy of God, exercised through the authority of the Church.”

A Reduced, Unbiblical, “Opt-Out” Clause

It is interesting to read that “people could exchange a difficult penance for a calculated number of prayers or alms.” We read in Matthew 7:13–14: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Those who are looking for an easier way out are not those who expect to live a difficult way of life because of the opposition to the true Way of God.  It is a reduced “opt-out” clause which cannot be sanctioned by the correct reading of Scripture!

One Cannot Buy Himself, or Others, Out of Punishment

Christ asks the timeless question, in Matthew 16:26: “… what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” The answer is, he cannot buy himself or others out of their destiny. David adds: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require… I delight in Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:6, 8). In Psalm 51:16–17, we read: “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, you will not despise.” Again, the thought is conveyed that one cannot buy himself or others out of punishment by giving God (or the church) money or “sacrifices.”

The concept of “penance” is another false idea. The Bible does not speak of penance, but of repentance. It does not require certain actions—such as going on a pilgrimage—but a change of heart and mind—a deep recognition as to how wrong one has been and has acted, and to acquire a new heart, to leave the false way behind and to go the Way of God.

Continuing with the above-mentioned quote:

“During the Crusades under Pope Urban II (1088–1099) Christians who could not participate in the Crusades personally could do so vicariously by almsgiving. Those who personally took part received a plenary indulgence upon death.

“In 1343 Pope Clement VI officially sanctioned the view that Christ had left the Church a treasury of satisfactions that Church officials could dispense (an indulgence) for the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. By this point indulgences usually were associated with time in Purgatory rather than public penance on earth. One obtained an indulgence, usually granted by the Pope, by performing some good work, sometimes a donation of money. Official doctrine always required internal repentance by the recipient, even if the practice of donating money was often abused.”

We must stress that our good works do not save us from death, nor do they abolish punishment. Eternal life is a gift from God—we do not receive it because of our works—and punishment for sin (eternal death or physical consequences because of sin) can be mitigated or avoided upon deep and sincere repentance of the wrong which we might have done.

Catholicism Manufacturing Its Own Power and Authority

There is no biblical evidence “that Christ had left the Church a treasury of satisfactions that Church officials could dispense (an indulgence) for the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.”  This is simply the Catholic Church taking to itself power that it has not received in the first place and Scripture has to be manipulated to make this an official (false) doctrine.

Continuing with the above-cited quotation:

“The Controversy Surrounding Indulgences

“Martin Luther objected to indulgences because the common practice of his day did not fit well with his view that good works could not take away the punishment due to sin. Indulgences also set up the Church as a mediator of God’s grace, a role that Martin Luther thought the Church could not and should not play. Furthermore, although Catholics would disagree with Martin Luther’s theology, it is undeniable that abuses were occurring at the time.

“With the abuses of indulgences in his day, often the only thing that was officially preached by Church leaders was offering indulgences in exchange for making a donation to the church. Often there was little emphasis on Christ’s sacrifice and the forgiveness of sin which only comes from God. Luther did not initially seek to strike down indulgences altogether (although by the end of his theological career he was entirely against indulgences), but he challenged the common practice at the time.

“The practice of trading indulgences for money wrongly de-emphasizes the need for interior conversion and repentance. Although donating money is a pious action, it is easy to see how this practice devolved into people believing they could buy their way out of Purgatory.”

It is true that ONLY the supreme Sacrifice of Jesus Christ can free us from eternal death, upon our repentance and belief in His Sacrifice. In addition, donating money is not necessarily a pious action; it can be given for personal enhancement.  People could not buy their way out of a place that didn’t exist in the first place (Purgatory), but it helped the finances of the church, a very rich church, to increase their wealth through an unproved and unscriptural way.

Continuing:

“The Council of Trent, which was held to respond to the challenges of the Reformation, addressed indulgences. The Council affirmed that the Church has the right and the power to grant indulgences. However, the Council agreed with the Protestant reformers that there were many abuses surrounding indulgences that needed to be corrected.”

Self-Serving Council at Odds With True Biblical Teaching

The concept that “The Council affirmed that the Church has the right and the power to grant indulgences” shows that this was a self-serving council who either had no real biblical knowledge or were complicit in deceiving their membership. No wonder they didn’t want the Bible to be available to the masses, in English or in any other “common” language spoken and understood by the people, as their fraud could have been discovered by those with sufficient learning at that time. It is abhorrent, but true, to realize that the Catholic Church FORBADE their members to possess or read the Bible and that even today, Catholic priests do not have to study the Bible to become priests.

Continuing:

“Later History of Indulgences

“Pope Paul VI changed the norms around indulgences by seeking to eliminate the commercial aspect they had acquired over the centuries. He described it as a treasury of merits. Indulgences are now designed to spur Christians to spiritual tasks such as devotion, penance, and charity.”

We then read about the types of indulgences from this same website.

A Man-Made List of Partial and Plenary Indulgences

“A partial indulgence removes part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

“Some ways to gain a partial indulgence are by

Praying the Magnificat or Hail, Holy Queen;

“Praying the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love, and the Creed;

“Making the sign of the cross;

“Visiting the Blessed Sacrament; or

“Visiting a cemetery.

“A plenary indulgence removes all temporal punishment due to sin.

“The conditions for a plenary indulgence are

“Receive the sacrament of Reconciliation;

“Receive Holy Communion; and

“Say a prayer for the Pope. 

“Some ways to gain a plenary indulgence are through 

“Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one-half hour;

“Reading Scripture for at least one-half hour;

“Reciting the Way of the Cross; or

“Praying the rosary in a church or with a family group or religious community.

“There may be other ways not listed here that the pope or a local bishop could authorize as a means to gain a partial or plenary indulgence. Often plenary indulgences are attached to actions Catholics can do appropriate to particular feast days.

“Note that the ways to obtain an indulgence all involve prayer or an act of piety. This is because our sins hurt the world, and our prayers can help the world heal from the hurt our sins cause.”

When you read some of the requirements as listed above, it would be humorous if it were not so serious! We have quoted these requirements on purpose to show the reader the absolute absurdity and blasphemy behind the Catholic concept of indulgences. 

Making the sign of the cross, visiting a cemetery, saying a prayer for the pope, reading Scripture for at least one-half hour, praying the rosary, plus much more! All made up from the mind of man—and of course no Scriptural references whatsoever. In addition, many of the concepts associated with the way as to how to obtain indulgences are blatantly blasphemous—such as praying to Mary, “the holy Queen” (whereas the true Mary, the mother of Jesus, is dead and in her grave).

There was a comment from someone who had read all of these “rules and regulations” as listed above, who wrote:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Only God can forgive sin, and only by his grace through Jesus Christ — nothing that we can do. Making up all these rules to ‘pray this’ and ‘read scripture for at least a half hour’ makes a mockery of the free gift that Jesus gives.”

Numerous Catholic Myths

On the website catholic.com, we can read about a number of myths that the Catholic Church addresses. We will quote just a few of these.

“Myth 1: A person can buy his way out of hell with indulgences. 

“Since indulgences remit only temporal penalties, they cannot remit the eternal penalty of hell. Once a person is in hell, no amount of indulgences will ever change that fact. The only way to avoid hell is by appealing to God’s eternal mercy while still alive. After death, one’s eternal fate is set (Heb. 9:27).”

Again, we see that the Catholics believe that people go to Hell which we have proved by our many writings over many years is not a biblical concept.

In addition, it is not true that when a person dies, his or her fate is sealed. This is only correct for those who died in Christ (as true Christians)—they will be resurrected to eternal life in the Kingdom and Family of God—and for those who have committed the unpardonable sin. In the Third Resurrection, they will be cast into the lake of fire, to be burned up. 

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man shows that at that time, nothing can be done to change that fate; no amount of prayers or indulgences will save the unrepentant sinner from total annihilation.  But for those who were not called in this life and who did not commit the unpardonable sin, they will be resurrected to a physical existence in the Second Resurrection, and then they can determine their fate—whether they are willing to live God’s Way of Life, or whether they are willing to die the eternal death. But again, indulgences won’t help them in regard to their fate.

Continuing with another “myth”:

“Myth 3: A Person can ‘buy forgiveness’ with Indulgences

“The definition of indulgences presupposes that forgiveness has already taken place: ‘An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven’ (Indulgentarium Doctrina 1, emphasis added). Indulgences in no way forgive sins. They deal only with punishments left after sins have been forgiven.”

The belief is that indulgences can be for people still alive and who are “in purgatory,” neither of which have any Scriptural support.

The Temporary Torture and Punishment of Purgatory Is Totally Unbiblical

When the Catholic Church speaks of “temporal” punishment, they mean the time of torture in Purgatory. This concept is blatantly false and blasphemous. But it is true, of course, that sins can have physical consequences. We discuss this in great length in our free booklet, “Punishment for Our Sins.” A person who drinks and drives might have an accident and lose a leg. His sin will be forgiven upon true repentance, but the physical consequence—the lost leg—is something he will have to live with, and indulgences won’t restore the person to his former state in this life. (Of course, certain physical and spiritual consequences can be mitigated or even eradicated in this life, due to prayer and faith in Christ’s Sacrifice and in God’s almighty power, subject to the Will of God, such as the consequence of depression due to sin or the contraction of a disease due to sinful conduct.) 

On the other hand, once a person dies and then is resurrected, he is NOT resurrected with only one leg if he lost the other leg prior to his death, due to his sin. This kind of “temporal” penalty does not exist either.

The website of catholic.com then lists another myth pertaining to the teaching of the Catholic Church:

“Myth 5: An indulgence will shorten the time in purgatory by a fixed number of days.

“The number of days which used to be attached to indulgences were references to the period of penance one might undergo during life on earth. The Catholic Church does not claim to know anything about how long or short purgatory is in general, much less in a specific person’s case.”

As there is no Purgatory where the soul will suffer, the whole concept of trying to figure out as to how long the person (the “soul”) would suffer in Purgatory without indulgences, and how to shorten that time through indulgences, is just ludicrous. It would also certainly compound a grave error if the Catholic Church were to claim the length of any case of [a non-existent] Purgatory. 

Finally, we are quoting this myth, as stated by catholic.com:

“Myth 6: A Person Can Buy Indulgences”

“The Council of Trent instituted severe reforms in the practice of granting indulgences, and, because of prior abuses, ‘in 1567 Pope Pius V canceled all grants of indulgences involving any fees or other financial transactions’ (Catholic Encyclopedia).”

At least the Catholic Church acknowledges abuses although it would be difficult to do otherwise as history shows that Martin Luther made a great play of their unscriptural basis.

The website of catholic.com also states the following:

“How Many of One’s Temporal Penalties Can Be Remitted?

“Potentially, all of them. The Church recognizes that Christ and the saints are interested in helping penitents deal with the aftermath of their sins, as indicated by the fact they always pray for us (Heb. 7:25, Rev. 5:8). Fulfilling its role in the administration of temporal penalties, the Church draws upon the rich supply of rewards God chose to bestow on the saints, who pleased him, and on his Son, who pleased him most of all.”

Erroneous Use of Scripture

Both Scriptures mentioned above have nothing to do with indulgences [or the “saints in heaven” praying for the living or for those who are “suffering in Purgatory or Hell”]. Hebrews 7:25 is an affirmation of the fact that Jesus Christ is our High Priest and shows that we don’t need to use a Catholic priest to have access to God the Father. In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…”

We read in Wikipedia: “Absolution is an integral part of the Sacrament of Penance in Roman Catholicism. The penitent makes a sacramental confession of all mortal sins to a priest and prays an act of contrition (a genre of prayers). The priest then assigns a penance and imparts absolution in the name of the Trinity, on behalf of Christ Himself, using a fixed sacramental formula.”

A Catholic Priest Cannot Give Absolution to a Dying Person

The Catholic Church believes that a Catholic priest can give absolution to a dying person but this is not biblical. Only God can forgive sins upon true repentance (see Luke 5:21 and Mark 2:7). We read that absolution, in the ecclesiastical sense, implies a remission of sin or its penalties. In the Roman Catholic Church, the power to absolve is vested in the priest as we read above, and he assigns a penance! However, we are NOT to confess our sins to a priest, but to God.

Also, this absolution is made in the name of the Trinity which is yet another non-biblical error. There is nothing biblical about this approach at all.

As we have seen, the Bible does not teach the Trinity. God is a Family, consisting of God the Father (the Highest in the Godhead), and of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit is NOT a Person or part of the Trinity, but the POWER emanating from the Father AND the Son, and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that both the Father and the Son can live and dwell in a converted Christian. God wants to enlarge His Family, and those who have received the Holy Spirit upon proper baptism are BEGOTTEN children of God. They will become BORN AGAIN children of God at the time of their resurrection or change to eternal life. THEN they will enter God’s Family as immortal God beings. The Trinity, which is an unalterable and closed concept without the possibility of access into the Kingdom and Family of God, DENIES this important doctrine and is therefore blasphemous. (For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”).

The above-cited website continues:

“The rewards on which the Church draws are infinite because Christ is God, so the rewards he accrued are infinite and never can be exhausted. The rewards of the saints are added to Christ’s—not because anything is lacking in his, but because it is fitting that they be united with his rewards as the saints are united with him. Although immense, their rewards are finite, but his are infinite.”

We don’t even try to “explain” this unintelligible babbling. Continuing:

“If the Church Has the Resources to Wipe Out Everyone’s Temporal Penalties, Why Doesn’t It Do So?

“Because God does not wish this to be done. God himself instituted the pattern of temporal penalties being left behind. They fulfill valid functions, one of them disciplinary. If a child were never disciplined, he would never learn obedience. God disciplines us as his children — ‘the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives’ (Heb. 12:6) — so some temporal penalties must remain.

“The Church cannot wipe out everyone’s temporal punishments because their remission depends on the dispositions of the persons who suffer those temporal punishments. Just as repentance and faith are needed for the remission of eternal penalties, so they are needed for the remission of temporal penalties. Pope Paul VI stated, ‘Indulgences cannot be gained without a sincere conversion of outlook and unity with God’ (Indulgentarium Doctrina 11).”

These “explanations” are likewise convoluted and confusing. As we pointed out before, the Catholic Church’s teaching on having to endure temporal punishment (the time a person is being tortured in Purgatory) is blatantly wrong. But what can be gleaned from these concepts is this:

Peter Not the First Pope

The Roman Catholic Church takes too much upon itself, erroneously thinking that it has power to do such things which it does not.  The Catholic Church also erroneously believes that the apostle Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and the first pope. We certainly do not believe this, but even if he had been, he would not have been given that kind of authority which popes are claiming for themselves.

Christ said to Peter in Matthew 16:18: “… you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church…” This passage has been misused time and again to claim that the “Pope” has divine authority to abolish God’s laws by replacing them with human concepts and traditions. 

To be clear, the Pope has no divine authority to do anything of this kind. The word “Peter,” i.e., “petros” in Greek, means “a little stone.” The “rock,” on which Christ would build His church, is “petra” in Greek, meaning a solid rock. Christ was not saying that He would build the church on “Peter,” but on THE ROCK — Christ Himself. It is CHRIST who is identified as “THE ROCK” in passages such as 1 Corinthians 10:4. Peter, as well as the other apostles, in addition to the prophets, are part of the foundation, but Christ is the CHIEF cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The Church is built on Christ, who is the LIVING Head of the Church (Ephesians 4:15).

Continuing:

“How Does One Determine By What Amount Penalties Have Been Lessened?

“Before Vatican II each indulgence was said to remove a certain number of ‘days’ from one’s discipline—for instance, an act might gain ‘300 days’ indulgence’—but the use of the term ‘days’ confused people, giving them the mistaken impression that in purgatory time as we know it still exists and that we can calculate our ‘good time’ in a mechanical way. The number of days associated with indulgences actually never meant that that much ‘time’ would be taken off one’s stay in purgatory. Instead, it meant that an indefinite but partial (not complete) amount of remission would be granted, proportionate to what ancient Christians would have received for performing that many days’ penance.

“To overcome the confusion Paul VI issued a revision of the handbook (Enchiridion is the formal name) of indulgences. Today, numbers of days are not associated with indulgences. They are either plenary or partial.”

Confusing Catholic Explanation About Indulgences and Purgatory

To be clear, the above “explanation” only attempts to confuse the Catholic Church’s teaching even more. As we have pointed out, it is CLEARLY the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that indulgences are given for the purpose of shortening the TIME a sinner suffers in Purgatory. The above-cited “explanation” is hopelessly convoluted, and if it is supposed to convey that indulgences are not meant to shorten the time of suffering in Purgatory, it is incorrect, but it shows that even Catholics do not understand their own teaching.

The Catholic Church and the Pope can continue to make explanations of an absurd doctrine which has no biblical basis and “blind” their faithful, but Purgatory and indulgences make a mockery of the Truth which the Bible reveals to those with eyes to see.

Continuing with the above-cited Website:

“What’s the Difference Between a Partial and a Plenary Indulgence?

“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin (Indulgentarium Doctrina 2, 3). Only God knows exactly how efficacious any particular partial indulgence is or whether a plenary indulgence was received at all.”

Again, the same false and blasphemous concept is conveyed here that God tortures a person who died and dwells in Purgatory.

“Don’t Indulgences Duplicate or Even Negate the Work of Christ?

“Despite the biblical underpinnings of indulgences, some are sharply critical of them and insist the doctrine supplants the work of Christ and turns us into our own saviors. This objection results from confusion about the nature of indulgences and about how Christ’s work is applied to us.

“Indulgences apply only to temporal penalties, not to eternal ones. The Bible indicates that these penalties may remain after a sin has been forgiven and that God lessens these penalties as rewards to those who have pleased him. Since the Bible indicates this, Christ’s work cannot be said to have been supplanted by indulgences.

“The merits of Christ, since they are infinite, comprise most of those in the treasury of merits. By applying these to believers, the Church acts as Christ’s servant in the application of what he has done for us, and we know from Scripture that Christ’s work is applied to us over time and not in one big lump (Phil. 2:12, 1 Pet. 1:9).”

What the above-cited statement misunderstands is the concept of giving an account to God, which DOES occur after a person has been resurrected back to life. But this has nothing to do with remaining penalties after sins have been forgiven. For a thorough explanation, please read our free booklet, “Punishment for Our Sins.”

A key concept in the quoted statement above is that “Indulgences apply only to temporal penalties, not to eternal ones”. Apart from the fact that it is very difficult to decipher what this statement is supposed to mean, exactly, the Bible reveals, when properly understood, that “temporal penalties”, the sowing and reaping principle, is something that a true Christian has to be cognizant of in this life now. No intervention by a large church can countermand this. When we have fallen short and sin, as we often do, we repent personally, not through some human church representative, but to God to ask for forgiveness. It is a personal matter as repentance can only come from the individual concerned.

Continuing:

“Isn’t It Better to Put All of the Emphasis On Christ Alone?

“If we ignore the fact of indulgences, we neglect what Christ does through us, and we fail to recognize the value of what he has done in us. Paul used this very sort of language: ‘Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church’ (Col. 1:24).

“Even though Christ’s sufferings were superabundant (far more than needed to pay for anything), Paul spoke of completing what was ‘lacking’ in Christ’s sufferings. If this mode of speech was permissible for Paul, it is permissible for us.

“Catholics should not be defensive about indulgences. They are based on principles straight from the Bible. Pope Paul VI declared, ‘[T]he Church invites all its children to think over and weigh up in their minds as well as they can how the use of indulgences benefits their lives and all Christian society… Supported by these truths, holy Mother Church again recommends the practice of indulgences to the faithful’ (Indulgentarium Doctrina, 9, 11).”

We have already explained WHY much of what is written above is blatantly wrong. But one aspect needs our comment. The statement above claims that indulgences benefit all involved, as they somehow relate to completing what is lacking in Christ’s suffering. At the same time, it is stated above that “Christ’s sufferings were superabundant (far more than needed to pay for anything).” But apart from this obvious contradiction and the fact that this concept (“completing what is lacking in Christ’s suffering”) would be totally contradictory from a Roman Catholic teaching’s standpoint (as indulgences would prevent such completion), Paul is drawing an analogy, stating that as Christ suffered, so he must too, and that he has to complete the suffering allotted to him, also for the sake of the members—he would stay a bit longer with them rather than dying soon—but he refers to THIS life, not to some sort of an “afterlife.”

Continuing:

“How to Gain an Indulgence

“To gain any indulgence you must be a Catholic in order to be under the Church’s jurisdiction, and you must be in a state of grace because apart from God’s grace none of your actions are fundamentally pleasing to God (meritorious). You also must have at least the habitual intention of gaining an indulgence by the act performed.

“To gain a partial indulgence, you must perform with a contrite heart the act to which the indulgence is attached. To gain a plenary indulgence you must perform the act with a contrite heart, plus you must go to confession (one confession may suffice for several plenary indulgences), receive Holy Communion, and pray for the pope’s intentions. The final condition is that you must be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin. If you attempt to receive a plenary indulgence, but are unable to meet the last condition, a partial indulgence is received instead.”

We just interject here that it is the claim of the Catholic Church that it is the only church through which we can obtain salvation, and if you are not a Catholic, you could not obtain indulgences either. 

Further Examples of Man-Made Rules and Regulations

“Below are indulgences listed in the Handbook of Indulgences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing, 1991):

“An act of spiritual communion, expressed in any devout formula whatsoever, is endowed with a partial indulgence.

“A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly spend time in mental prayer.

“A plenary indulgence is granted when the rosary is recited in a church or oratory or when it is recited in a family, a religious community, or a pious association. A partial indulgence is granted for its recitation in all other circumstances.

“A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who read sacred Scripture with the veneration due God’s word and as a form of spiritual reading. The indulgence will be a plenary one when such reading is done for at least one-half hour [provided the other conditions are met].

“A partial indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly sign themselves with the cross while saying the customary formula: ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’

“In summary, the practice of indulgences neither takes away nor adds to the work of Christ. It is his work, through his body the Church, raising up children in his own likeness.”

The concept of indulgences CLEARLY DESTROYS the Work of Christ, by both adding to and/or taking away from the Truth. We can see how much ridiculous human thinking and reasoning has gone into coming up with a non-biblical doctrine. First, as mentioned, one must be a Catholic to gain any indulgence (It does not matter to us as indulgences are a human invention anyhow and in contradiction to God’s Word.)  Apart from the ridiculous distinction between plenary and partial indulgences, just looking at the listed indulgences above is an apt testimony to (ungodly) requirements that have just been arbitrarily thought up by some human being without any underlying biblical instruction or godly understanding or authority. 

For example, the place and circumstances of praying the rosary (an ungodly and pagan practice) is to decide whether one receives a plenary or partial indulgence. Also, the last requirement quoted above talks about signing with the cross [a pagan symbol and a pagan practice] while saying a prescribed formula. There is nothing in God’s Word that approves such an approach but is simply concocted out of the mind of man. In fact, Christ condemns such kind of “worship.”

In Matthew 6:7, Christ warns us against meaningless repetitions (like praying the rosary, which is also vain, and if it refers to praying to the “Virgin Mary,” it is also meaningless as Mary is dead and in the grave): “But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many [repetitious] words.”

Christ also told us this, in Matthew 15:9: “And in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” In Mark 7:9, He added: “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”

How can one honestly deny the fact that the concept of indulgences is a human tradition which is contradicted by God’s Word and which rejects God’s commandment to worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH (John 4:24).

Chapter 6What It All Means

We have already discussed the concept of partial indulgences (removing part of the “temporal” punishment due to sin), and of plenary indulgences (removing all temporal punishment due to sin).

Let us look at a further explanation in the following Catholic website, douglasbeaumont.com:

“Indulgences are not ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ cards, nor can one gain enough indulgences to earn entrance to Heaven. Rather, indulgences have to do with avoiding the sufferings of Purgatory for temporal sins prior to entering Heaven. Scripture supports the theology of indulgences in seed form, even though (like many doctrines) it is not stated as such. Finally, the Church has clarified the requirements for — and rewards of — indulgences throughout its history and tradition. By understanding this teaching more clearly, the animosity generated by 500 year-old misunderstandings can be avoided.”

In this short summary, we can glean the following information:

Entrance to Heaven, as we have proved, is not the reward of the saved. As Purgatory is a false supposition, avoiding the sufferings there “for temporal sins prior to entering Heaven” is a non-starter. Scripture does NOT support any theology of indulgences in any form. The requirements and rewards of indulgences are a figment of man’s imagination with no Scriptural basis whatsoever. As this teaching is not supported by Scripture, any “misunderstandings” are just not applicable.

For those dead and still alive in Purgatory, as is believed, it reduces the time spent there before entering Heaven. As we have proved previously, neither Purgatory nor people going to Heaven are biblical concepts, but as Catholics believe in these, they believe that they can pray for the dead and have an effect on the time they will spend in Purgatory. They also believe that they can pray for themselves, while still alive, and for others before they died, so that they will not stay in Purgatory for too long, if at all. 

A vital part of understanding is that an indulgence, if it was true (which it is not), would negate for those alive, the sowing and reaping principle which we have already reviewed but is worth reiterating: We read in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” In such circumstances, how would we ever learn lessons that God has in store for us?

The Consequences of King David’s Actions

Let us review the example of king David when considering the false concept of indulgences for the living. David became guilty of a terrible crime by committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband, Uriah, killed. We can learn about this in 2 Samuel 12 where we read the story given by Nathan the prophet and king David’s admission of his guilt (verses 13–14). There were consequences to David’s action and the child died.  The sowing and reaping principle was shown to be in action very quickly.  Cause and effect cannot be negated just because someone undertakes some action. Had the child lived, it could have been misconstrued that it was perfectly fine to commit such an appalling action with no consequences, as David was the king and a man after God’s own heart, and that God condoned such outrageous behavior. Of course, God did not, and the reaping and sowing principle remained intact and is still applicable today in spite of Catholic indulgences giving a different and wrong impression of what can happen. In fact, David was punished further in that he would have wars until the end of his life, and in that he was humiliated publicly by the actions of his rebellious son Absalom who slept with David’s concubines in plain sight of the people.

Blessings for Obedience and Disobedience

We read in Leviticus 26 the promise of blessing and retribution, and in Deuteronomy 28, blessings on obedience and curses on disobedience are listed, showing that blessings would be given for living God’s Way, and curses for actions if they were disobedient. There is no hint that indulgences, or anything similar, would negate any wrong behavior by the children of Israel. It was cause and effect; it was sowing and reaping. As we explained, sincere repentance of a person or a nation can avoid punishment and can lead to God’s supernatural intervention to diminish or abolish a certain effect, but “indulgences”—prayers for one’s self or others without any true repentance—cannot do that. 

And even with true repentance, some effects will still take place, as we saw in the case of David who truly repented and was sorry for his crimes, but they were so egregious that God would not abolish the effects and the punishment. No amount of indulgences could have changed that. David fasted and prayed that his son would not die, but in this case, God did not change His mind. 

Another example is Moses who sinned against God by dishonoring Him before the people, and God told him that because of that, Moses would not be able to enter the Promised Land. Moses pleaded repeatedly with God for a change of His mind, but God did not abolish the punishment (compare Deuteronomy 3:23–27).

Examples for Us to Follow Today

In 1 Corinthians 10, we read about Old Testament examples showing that we are not to follow that wrong way and that “… all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (verse 11).  Ecclesiastes 8:11 advises: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Some may be encouraged to sin if they see others doing wrong if they feel that there will be no punishment for the evil committed. Without question, sowing and reaping is a principle that is fully operational, and indulgences to mitigate their effect are unbiblical and unworkable.

There is no Scriptural evidence about indulgences being available or that someone, in this case, the Pope, could make them available as and when he thinks it is appropriate. It is all founded on a lie and, unfortunately, so many are “taken in” by such proclamations.

As you will recall, this booklet introduced the following news information:

“Pope Francis invited everyone to receive the ‘Pardon of Assisi’, which can be obtained from the evening of 1 August until midnight on 2 August… ‘It is a plenary indulgence that may be received by partaking of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist and visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions,’ the Pope pointed out. He recalled that the indulgence can even be obtained for a deceased person…

“The ‘Pardon of Assisi’ dates back to 1216, when Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and angels appeared before St. Francis. The apparition took place in the tiny Portiuncula, the chapel Francis had built in the Italian town of Assisi. When Jesus asked him [what] he desired for the salvation of souls, St. Francis asked for God to grant a plenary indulgence for all those who enter the chapel. The indulgence was later extended to anyone who visits a parish or Franciscan church on 1 August or 2 August.”

Our comment was: “This is so blasphemous and idolatrous”.

We have endeavored to cover the original question with other inter-related doctrines and beliefs. We know that at the end of this current age, a great false church will exercise much power.

We have shown in this booklet that we don’t have an immortal soul; that the soul is the person; that the spirit in man goes back to God at death but that it does not have any consciousness when the person dies; that people don’t go to Purgatory, Heaven or Hell when they die; and that indulgences are simply a plan concocted in the mind of man under Satanic influence.

Tradition As Important As Scripture to the Catholic Church

Further, “Catholic Answers” opines as follows:

“Catholics… recognize that the true ‘rule of faith’—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.’  We read in… amazingdiscoveries.org: ‘The fact that Scripture and Tradition belong together accounts for two rules that direct the way the Church approaches God’s revelation. The first of these rules is stated very simply by Vatican II in these words: It follows from what has been said that the Church does not draw its knowledge of all that God has revealed from holy Scripture alone. That is why both (Tradition and Scripture) must be accepted and respected with equal affection and honour. Secondly, the unbreakable bond between Scripture and Tradition accounts for the fact that for Catholics, Tradition is the context within which the Scriptures are interpreted, just as Tradition itself has to be understood and lived with reference to Scripture.’”

This further shows they believe that “Tradition” is on a par with the Bible which is ridiculous, but such an approach certainly enables them to inculcate into their religious system non-biblical beliefs.

Previously, we have quoted Christ’s condemnation that we worship Him in vain when we teach traditions and as doctrines the commandments or concepts of men (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:9), while at the same time rejecting God’s Word and His commandments.

The Great False Religious System

In our booklet “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation” in chapter 20, “The Fall of Babylon the Great – Revelation 18,” we state:

“While in Revelation 17 the religious nature of the last resurrection of the Roman Empire is vividly depicted, Revelation 18 focuses more, but not exclusively, on the economic nature of that last resurrection.

“Let us quote again these interesting comments by the Ryrie Study Bible, in their annotation to Revelation 17:5: ‘In chapter 17 Babylon represents the false religious system that will center in Rome… In chapter 18 it represents more the political and commercial aspect of the revived Roman Empire…Thus the term stands both for a city and for a system (religious and commercial) related to the city (much like “Wall Street,” which is both a place and a system).’…

“God warns His people not to participate in this Babylonian system, by accepting the mark of the beast and becoming RICH thereby (compare Revelation 18:3–4…) Its merchandise even included ‘the bodies and souls of men’ (Revelation 18:13). Also in it, the blood of the saints was found (Revelation 18:24), and through its false teachings and sorcery all the nations were deceived (Revelation 18:3, 23).

“Lehman Strauss comments on modern Babylon’s wealth and religious persecution, as follows: ‘The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations combined adds up to many billions of dollars (p. 298)… The unscriptural doctrines of purgatory, the last rites, and masses for the dead have brought untold wealth into the treasury (p. 310)… Sir Robert Anderson, of Scotland Yard fame, estimated that Rome was guilty of the death of 50,000,000 Christians (p. 299)… She will be judged because of the untold number of victims whom she slaughtered in the inquisition and in St. Bartholomew’s Massacre. She must pay for those shocking murders and for the many bloody persecutions which followed (p. 314)’ [and which still will occur in the near future].

“God will destroy the modern city of Babylon (Revelation 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21) ‘in one day’ and ‘in one hour’ (Revelation 18:8, 10, 17). God will totally wipe out that city, as well as the religious, economic, political and military system it represents, to become a habitation and prison for demons (Revelation 18:2).

“The warning and the lesson for God’s people is very clear: ‘Come out of her, My people,’ God says. Have nothing to do with her. Be and stay separate, and don’t touch what is unclean. Don’t participate in other men’s sins. There are always some who think that they need to remain within an apostate religious system and perhaps try to ‘reform’ it. It never works—and it is against God’s specific instructions!

“We will observe, very shortly, the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire in Europe. A most powerful world-ruling Empire will emerge, attempting to impose its religious and military ‘values’ on everybody. As we know these things, we ought to take very seriously Christ’s warning in Luke 21:34–36: ‘But TAKE HEED to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to ESCAPE all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man [at His return].’”

We pointed out at the very beginning of this booklet that it is so sad that millions upon millions of people believe these ideas regarding indulgences and their underlying concepts without even realizing the absolute absurdity contained in them; and we also emphasized that the Catholic Church will very soon influence political powers to impose the mark of the beast on unsuspecting people. We have much more information on that famous mark of the beast. If you are interested, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,”Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,”“The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire,” and “Obeying God Rather Than Men.”

The purpose of this booklet has been to speak out for the Truth. We are not fighting against flesh and blood or any human organization, but against Satan, the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air, who has found an easy target in Roman Catholic and Protestant concepts which are really nothing else but pagan ideas which have been given a “Christian” mantle. In fact, these false religious concepts, claiming to represent Christianity, are amply depicted by the first rider of the Apocalypse, masquerading as Christ and His followers. 

Satan has deceived the whole world, which does not know that it is deceived—for otherwise, it would not be deceived anymore. But God has opened your eyes and ears if you have read this booklet with understanding. Then, God expects your response in turning to Him with your whole heart and embracing His Word, while leaving behind the false ideas, concepts, doctrines and traditions of men.

Chapter 7More Light Shed on Rome and the Apostle Peter

In February 2021, author and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore presented a three-part series on BBC UK television entitled “Rome – A History of the Eternal City,” uncovering the central role played by religion in creating and maintaining the power of the city of Rome. In this program, the presenter said:

“For 1,000 years, paganism had brought success and prosperity to the eternal city.  The will of the gods decided every aspect of Roman society.  Paganism had brought Rome domination of the ancient world.

“Peter’s crucifixion would transform Rome but Christianity was just one of many eastern cults struggling to survive in a city dominated by pagan gods. 

“Where the tradition comes from (about Peter), nobody knows. ‘I am a successor to Peter’ gives them an enormous source of authority.”

He also presented a two-part series entitled “The Rebirth of God’s City” where he “charted Rome’s rise from the abandonment and neglect of the 14th century into the everlasting seat of the papacy recognised today.”  In this program, the presenter said that “Rome was to cast aside its pantheon of idols to embrace a revolutionary new faith from the east that would change its classical skyline forever. Personal salvation and the worship of one God eclipsed the gods of old.  Soon after the crucifixion of Jesus His message started to spread but there was nothing inevitable about its ultimate triumph.  The followers of Christ were viciously persecuted. But the martyrdom of St Peter gave Rome a new founding story and a divine mission for its successors, the popes. Rome became a vibrant centre of Christian devotion but it was the necessities of power that really decided its sacred destiny.”

We would like to mention here that it is very doubtful that Peter, die disciple of Christ, was even crucified in Rome and that he was buried there. For further information, please read our free booklet “The Ten European Revivals of the ancient Roman Empire.”

In addition, the presenter called Rome, “God’s City” which it is not.  Jerusalem is the city of God as many Scriptures show. Here are just a few of those references where God is shown to have chosen Jerusalem, not Rome, to be His chosen city. It is called “the City of the LORD” (Isaiah 60:14), the Holy City (Nehemiah 11:1, Isaiah 52:1, Daniel 9:24, Matthew 4:5; 27:53), the city of My God (Revelation (3:12), the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) and holy Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10).

The website of biblestudytools.com states that “The name ‘Jerusalem’ occurs 806 times in the Bible, 660 times in the Old Testament and 146 times in the New Testament; additional references to the city occur as synonyms.”

The presenter then went on to mention the selling of indulgences and said that “the church had turned sin into a business where they paid for sins they had already committed and sins that they had not yet committed” which is pretty much where we started off in this booklet.

As most people will know, the Roman Catholic Church claims the Apostle Peter as the first pope. We briefly addressed this claim before in this booklet.  As mentioned in this chapter, the presenter said that “where the tradition comes from (about Peter), nobody knows.” 

In our booklet “The Ten Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire,” we read on pages 71–74 that “The Apostle Peter Was Not the First Pope.” We will quote briefly from this booklet.

“While human tradition places the Apostle Peter in Rome as its first Bishop, Scripture fails to confirm that Peter even went to Rome to minister in that area.

“We read in Galatians 2:7–9 that Paul had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles, including those living in Rome who were physically uncircumcised), just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (Jews who were physically circumcised). Rome was essentially Gentile, even though some Jews resided there, and it was Paul, then, who went to Rome. We note that Peter was led to OPEN the way to salvation to be offered to the Gentiles, by baptizing Cornelius, following a miraculous vision (compare Acts 11). This does not mean that he went to Rome.

“Paul confirms in Romans 15:16–20 that he was a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, and that he made it ‘his aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ WAS named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation’ (verse 20). Paul is telling us here that he would not want to establish or lead a church that was already being led by another apostle, including Peter. He emphasizes the same principle in 2 Corinthians 10:13–16. When Paul was in Rome, he preached to the Gentiles there. He tells us in 2 Timothy 4:11, while imprisoned in Rome, that ONLY Luke was with him. Peter is not mentioned, which would be strange if Peter was in Rome at that time. The same can be said regarding Paul’s additional ‘prison epistles’ that were written during his first imprisonment in Rome (about 60–62 A.D.)—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. No mention of Peter can be found in these letters.

“In Romans 1:7, Paul addressed his letter to all of God’s beloved in Rome, without mentioning Peter. In Romans 16, he again addressed greetings to 29 specific persons—in some cases their collective households—but again, he failed to mention Peter. Paul wrote the letter to the Romans about 57 A.D., probably from Corinth, and even though tradition tells us that Peter had established the church at Rome in the 40s A.D., we find no mention of Peter in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

“Noteworthy also is what is stated in Acts 28:22 [and 23]. When Paul had been brought as a prisoner to Rome, the Jewish leaders residing there asked Paul about the gospel: “‘But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.’ So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the LAW of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.”

“When the Jews disagreed among themselves after they heard his message, Paul announced that he would now preach the gospel to the Gentiles in Rome, which he apparently did for two years (verses 24–31). This passage tells us that, even though they had heard about the ‘sect’ of the Christians, they had not been taught the gospel before Paul arrived in Rome. This shows that Peter could not have been there for 12 years prior to Paul’s arrival; otherwise, they certainly would have known about the gospel already.

“It is for these reasons that Henry Chadwick concluded in his book, The Early Church, Volume 1, 1967, page 18, that the idea that Peter was in Rome for 25 years is merely a third-century legend.”

The booklet goes on to discuss the following additional matters:

Where Was the Apostle Peter?; The Apostle Peter Not Buried in Rome?; Simon Magus – the Sorcerer; Simon Magus—the First Bishop of Rome.

The booklet is well worth reading (or re-reading) as it contains much information about the history of the ancient Roman Empire, and the end-time religious organization under the false prophet.

Conclusion

In this booklet, we have discussed the concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church that the “immortal souls” of departed ones may be in Hell or Purgatory, and that “indulgences” or prayers for the dead can allegedly remove, partially or completely (“plenary” or “in full”), punishment for sin, so that their souls can be freed from Purgatory (a temporary Hell) to go to Heaven. 

We saw that indulgences are required, according to Catholic tradition and theology, to ensure that help and assistance is given in Purgatory (a place that doesn’t exist and has no validity from Scripture), so that humans can go to Heaven (which Scripture clearly shows is not the place for the dead, nor is Hell, as commonly understood in orthodox Christianity). 

We also pointed out that the idea of indulgences applies in different ways: It addresses those who are in “Purgatory” and for whom prayers and “indulgences” are given by the living or the “saints in Heaven,” so that they can be freed from Purgatory; and it can apply to people in this life who give indulgences for themselves so that they do not have to suffer in Purgatory for as long as they otherwise would have to, or that they do not go to Hell. 

We discussed the concept of partial indulgences (removing part of the “temporal” punishment due to sin), and of plenary indulgences (removing all temporal punishment due to sin). We also saw that the Catholic Church teaches that indulgences cannot remit the eternal penalty of Hell. Once a person is in Hell, no amount of indulgences will ever change that fact. The only way to avoid Hell is by appealing to God’s eternal mercy while still alive.

We have discussed all these concepts, and many more, based on the pages of the Bible, to open the eyes of our readers. 

Momentous events lie ahead of us and the false church, which teaches so many wrong and unbiblical concepts as we have seen in this booklet, will be center stage.

You have been warned!

Evil Empires and Evil People—Wild Beasts of the Bible

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Introduction

The Bible has much to say about literal wild beasts and ravenous animals of prey, but it is fascinating to see how God’s Word applies their characteristics and conduct to worldly powers and empires, especially as they are described in their relationship to “Israel,” as well as to ungodly sinners who are persecuting God’s people. 

Attacks against the modern descendants of the ancient Houses of Israel and Judah and against God’s disciples—spiritual Israelites—are prophesied in these end times.

When those attacks are described, the Bible uses metaphors of wild and vicious animals many times to show the nature and character of the persecutors, as well as the kind and severity of their actions, while emphasizing that it is Satan the Devil who is behind such attacks, walking around like a roaring lion to see whom he can devour (see 1 Peter 5:8). 

But Satan is no match for THE Lion—God Himself. When man, under Satan’s influence, behaves like lions, then God will do likewise, and He will intervene very soon to make an end to man’s atrocious rule and God-defying conduct. 

Part 1—Wild Animals Symbolize World Powers and Empires

Chapter 1—The Final Rise of the Ancient Roman Empire

The first part of this booklet deals primarily with the rising European power bloc (referred to as the “beast” in the book of Revelation) which will attack and conquer the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah (that is, the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking nations, as well as the state of Israel). 

We will begin discussing important biblical passages and historical records pertaining to the emerging European Empire, before addressing in detail the character and nature of the end-time beast power. 

The Ten Revivals of the Roman Empire 

In Daniel 7, four great world-ruling empires (called “kingdoms” in Daniel 2 and 7) are described, which are seen by Daniel in a vision as four wild beasts. That fact should tell us something—they are not described as harmless and peaceful pets.

When Daniel saw the vision, only the first empire was in existence—the Babylonian Empire, which was symbolized as a lion (verse 4). It was to be followed by the Medo-Persian Empire, which was symbolized as a bear (verse 5). It, in turn, was to be replaced by the Greco-Macedonian Empire, which was symbolized by a leopard with four heads and four wings (verse 6).

In his vision, Daniel also saw a fourth vicious beast with ten horns (verse 7). Although the exact identity of that beast is not revealed, nor is it identified by name, it is unanimously accepted by biblical scholars and historians that the fourth empire, which subdued the third beast, represents the Roman Empire. It was to exist, through numerous revivals, until the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth (verses 19–27).

After its fall, the Roman Empire would be revived ten times. Revelation 13 describes the Roman Empire as a beast with seven heads and ten horns.

Quoting from our free booklet, “The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation”: 

“The beast with the seven heads and ten horns was like a leopard, with feet of a bear and a mouth of a lion (Revelation 13:2)…

“Comparing [the] four beasts in the book of Daniel [chapter 7] with the one beast in Revelation 13, we can see that the beast in Revelation is a conglomeration of those four beasts in Daniel. It has seven heads, because it combines the head of the lion, the head of the bear, the four heads of the leopard, and the head of the fourth beast with ten horns.”

As mentioned, virtually all Bible scholars confirm the historical fact that the fourth beast in Daniel 7 was the Roman Empire. The beast in Revelation 13 describes the continuation of the Roman Empire, through its ten revivals. 

Continuing with quoting from our booklet:

“According to Daniel 7:24, ten kings were to arise out of the Roman Empire… the beast or the Roman Empire would have ten successive resurrections or revivals… The first three resurrections or revivals of the Roman Empire after its fall occurred under Geiseric of the Vandals; Odoacer of the Heruli; and Theodoric of the Ostrogoths… The actual ‘healing’ of the deadly wound [compare Revelation 13:3] signifies the fourth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire, which occurred in 554 A.D., when Justinian, who was heavily influenced by his Roman Catholic wife, defeated the Ostrogoths and marched into Rome. He united the Eastern and Western parts of the ancient Roman Empire and restored the entire Empire…

“The fifth resurrection occurred under Charlemagne in 800 A.D.; the sixth under Otto the Great in 962 A.D.; the seventh under Charles V of Hapsburg in 1530 A.D.; and the eighth under Napoleon (which lasted from 1804 A.D. until 1814 A.D., when Napoleon abdicated at the battle of Leipzig).

“Following Napoleon, two more resurrections were to occur, as the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the beast in Revelation 13 had TEN horns. The ninth resurrection happened under Mussolini and Hitler. We are observing right now the beginning of the tenth and final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire in continental Europe…”

The last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire would be a unification between church and state (compare Revelation 17). The last revival, under the beast and the false prophet, will only last for a very short time, and it and its leaders will be destroyed by the returning Jesus Christ “and given to the burning flame” (Daniel 7:11). 

For more information on these startling prophesies, please read also our free booklets, “Germany in Prophecy,” “Europe in Prophecy,” “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,”The Book of Zechariah,” and “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire.”

When Christ returns, the final revival of the Roman Empire (the fourth beast of Daniel 7) which is also called “Babylon,” will be burned with fire (Revelation 17:16; 18:8–9)—as will be the human leaders (Revelation 19:20).

Daniel 7:12—“Their Lives Were Prolonged”

Daniel 7:12 refers to the three beasts in existence prior to the Roman Empire. Even though they had long disappeared by the time of the destruction of the final revival of the Roman Empire—which is even now still in the future—we read: “As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominions taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”

While the modern Roman Empire—the coming United States of Europe under the leadership of the beast, receiving his power from ten core nations—will be suddenly and quickly burned with fire at the time of Christ’s return (Daniel 7:11), the prior three empires were swallowed up, gradually, by the Roman Empire. When John saw the beast in Revelation 13, it described the Roman Empire which was in existence at his time, which had absorbed the characteristics of the previous three beasts (the lion, the bear and the leopard, compare verse 2). 

The three beasts—the former kingdoms—”survived as nations, but without power” (“The One Volume Bible Commentary” by Dummelow). Or, as the Nelson Study Bible puts it, “Though these nations [Babylon, Persia and Greece] passed away, their ‘dominion’ was inherited by their respective successors.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds:

“The other three which represent the Babylonian, Persian and Grecian monarchies… had their dominion taken away; not at this time when the fourth beast, or Roman empire, is destroyed, but long ago; and not together, but successively; the dominion was taken away from the Babylonians, and given to the Persians; and then their dominion was taken away, and given to the Grecians; and after that the dominion of the Grecians was taken away from them, and given to the Romans.

“… yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time: these monarchies did not at once become extinct, as the fourth beast or monarchy will, but by degrees… whereas, when the fourth monarchy is destroyed, all rule and authority will be put down, and the kingdom be given to Christ and his saints…”

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary agrees, but adds a few more striking comments which show that true Christians today are not to concentrate on ruling (in) this world today, but rather, on preparing to rule in the Kingdom of God, during the Millennium, after Christ’s return:

“… the rest of the beasts—that is, the [first] three… continued to exist but their ‘dominion was taken away’; whereas the fourth beast shall cease utterly, superseded by Messiah’s kingdom… It is striking, the fourth monarchy, though Christianized for fifteen hundred years past, is not distinguished from the previous heathen monarchies, or from its own heathen portion. Nay, it is represented as the most God-opposed of all, and culminating at last in blasphemous Antichrist [better: the beast and the false prophet]. The reason is: Christ’s kingdom now is not of this world

“Rome was worldly while heathen, and remains worldly, though Christianized. So the New Testament views the present æon or age of the world as essentially heathenish, which we cannot love without forsaking Christ… The object of Christianity is… to rule with Him in His millennium… This is to be our hope, not to reign in the present world course… There must be a ‘regeneration’ of the world, as of the individual, a death previous to a resurrection, a destruction of the world kingdoms…”

We also need to focus on the statement in Daniel 7:12 that the lives of the three beasts were “prolonged for a season and a time.” According to the Nelson Study Bible, this phrase is “an idiom for an indefinite period.” The Soncino Commentary explains in more detail that the words “a season and a time” are “synonymous terms signifying an unspecified period known only to God.”

In our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?”, we state:

“We are told in Acts 17:26–28, that God has decreed, in advance, the times of nations, prior to their existence: ‘And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…’

“The Bible emphasizes God’s foreknowledge in regard to the life span of certain nations and their leaders. For instance, we read in Genesis 15:13, 16, that God told Abraham that the children of Israel (not yet in existence) would be afflicted in Egypt for ‘four hundred years,’ and that in the ‘fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites [which were possessing the land at the time] is not yet complete.’ God allotted a certain time to the Amorites to live in the land, but when that time had expired, Israel would drive them out and possess the land.

“We are also told, in Daniel 7:12, that certain world-ruling empires would exist for a certain, pre-determined time. In that prophecy, these Gentile empires are described as ‘beasts.’ We read: ‘As for the rest of the beasts…, their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.’ Other translations make the intended meaning clearer. The Menge Bible says: ‘Their duration of life was fixed for time and hour.’ Die Grosse Bibel states: ‘They kept their lives until a determined time.’ The Elberfelder Bible translates: ‘Duration of life was given to them until the time and hour’… 

“The Bible tells us, in Revelation 13:5, that the revived Roman Empire would exist exactly for ‘forty-two months’ since the healing of its deadly wound (compare verse 3). History confirms that it did in fact reign [at first] for 1,260 years (42 prophetic months consist of 1,260 prophetic days or years), from the healing of the ‘deadly wound,’ under Justinian, in AD 554, until the fall of Napoleon I, in AD 1814. After Napoleon’s fall, two more resurrections of the ancient Roman Empire were to occur. One has already occurred—the last and final one is shaping up right now in Europe.”

The Modern Chaldeans

An interesting reference to the beast—especially the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire—can be found in the book of Habakkuk which deals with the modern Chaldeans or Assyrians.

Isaiah 23:13 tells us that the ancient Assyrians founded the land of the Chaldeans. And so, it will be the modern Assyrians—mainly the German-speaking peoples—who will lead the final resurrection of the “Holy Roman Empire” (For instance, as we have seen, the German Otto the Great and the Austrian Charles V. were previous emperors of the “Holy Roman Empire” or “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” Arguably this is also true for Charlemagne or Charles the Great, who was crowned as Emperor in the German city of Aachen and who is viewed by the Germans as a German, by the French as a Frenchman, and by the Belgians as a Belgian. In addition, the collaboration of the Austrian Adolf Hitler and the Italian Benito Mussolini with several popes constituted the sixth revival of the “Holy Roman Empire”).

In ancient times, the Chaldeans were Babylon’s religious leaders, astrologers and magicians. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says about the ancient Chaldeans:

“A people still of late mean and low, famous only for their soothsaying, divination, and judicial astrology; but now become a powerful and warlike people, rising up under the permission of Providence to universal monarchy, and who would quickly add Judea to the rest of their dominions…”

Even though a partial fulfillment of Habakkuk’s entire prophecy can be seen in ancient Judah’s captivity through the Babylonians, due to Judah’s transgressions (compare verse 4), Habakkuk’s prophecy of Babylonian warfare is clearly awaiting an end-time fulfillment. This will COINCIDE with the powerful, but short, revival of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Habakkuk 1:5–10 reads as follows: “Look among the nations and watch–Be utterly astonished! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… They all come for violence… They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings…”

Paul later quoted these words and applied them as a warning to the people in his time and age who would reject the gospel message. 

We read in Acts 13:32–41: “And we declare to you glad tidings–that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He raised up Jesus… David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. BEWARE therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets COME UPON YOU: ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’”

God said through Habakkuk that His Work—the end-time preaching of the gospel—would be powerful, but short. Romans 9:28 confirms this, saying: “For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a SHORT WORK upon the earth.”

The Bible prophesies that at the time when the powerful preaching of the gospel message is being revived, modern Chaldea or Babylon will rise once again in Europe as the seventh and very SHORT-lived resurrection of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire”—a combination of church and state—when the (religious) fallen woman will be once more riding the (political and military) beast (compare Revelation 17, especially verses 10 and 12).

God will use modern Babylon in a literal SWIFT blitzkrieg to punish the modern houses of Israel and Judah for their transgressions (compare also Isaiah 29:13–14). But God will then punish modern Babylon (Habakkuk 2:8)—a system less righteous than modern Israel and Judah (compare Habakkuk 1:12–13).

With this background, we can now proceed reviewing the many ways in which God compares the European power bloc—and other empires, including the people doing their bidding—with vicious devouring wild beasts. 

Chapter 2—Core European Nations—Lions and Locusts

The ancient Roman Empire will be revived one more time in continental Europe just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. It will attack and destroy the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah, and it will be subsequently involved in warfare with other Gentile nations.

The last European revival will consist of ten nations or groups of nations who will give their power and authority to a charismatic political and military leader. This leader is referred to as the beast, the king of the North, and the king of Assyria, named King Jareb. He will be of German or Austrian descent, and he will work in conjunction with the leader of a worldwide religious power. That leader is called the false prophet, the man of sin and the prince of Tyre.

The political, economic and military power which the “beast” represents, is also referred to as the “beast,” as well as the “Chaldeans”; and the religious power which the false prophet leads, as the “image of the beast” and as the “harlot” or fallen woman riding the beast. That harlot is also described as “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots,” and the entire political and religious system of the last revival of the Roman Empire is also referred to as (modern) Babylon.

In addition, especially the last revival of the ancient Roman Empire and its political leader are quite often described with metaphors depicting animals. In most cases, those animals are depicted as blood-thirsty ferocious beasts; at other times, they would not be wild per se, but they can cause tremendous damage, or they are being used as a comparison for certain attributes and characteristics.

In this chapter, we will mainly discuss the Bible’s metaphors of lions and locusts when describing the future European power bloc, its leaders and their military might.

Roaring Lions

To better understand the lion-like nature and behavior of the emerging European power bloc, let us focus on some facts regarding literal lions and the way in which Satan operates—who is directing world powers and their officials and who is attacking true believers, many times through his human instruments. 

In that context, we read this warning about Satan: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:6–9).

Regarding literal roaring lions, we read in gotquestions:

“Lions are legendary for their strength, beauty, and fearlessness. The lion has been called the king of the beasts and the king of the jungle, and, in the Bible, Jesus is called the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5)… [and] as the conquering King of kings, a roaring lion taking vengeance on His enemies (Revelation 19:16).

“Lions are mentioned in several contexts throughout Scripture, sometimes positively to describe God (Hosea 11:10) and sometimes negatively as symbolic of evil and destruction (Proverbs 28:15). Peter compares Satan to a ‘roaring lion’ and warns us to beware of the enemy’s schemes that will destroy us… 

“A lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away and is intended to terrify all who hear it. Lions roar to establish their territory and to communicate their power. But a roar can do nothing. It is threatening but powerless unless we give in to fear and allow the lion to overtake us. Our enemy, Satan, roars his threats, doubts, and accusations in an effort to terrify us into giving up so he can defeat us…”

murrayledger states:

“… lions are dangerous whether they are in the wild or in zoos. They are territorial and always ready to fight anything that may challenge them. Not to mention, they are natural hunters that can reach speeds of up to 50 miles [80.5 kilometers] per hour

“Comparing the devil to a lion suggests at least four things about his nature and work.

“First, the devil wants to consume you just as lions consume their prey. Lions hunt by staying hidden so their prey will be inattentive to their presence. Once they get close enough to the unsuspecting animal, they chase them until they are caught. This is precisely what the devil does to believers. The devil is always hidden, disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). And he will attack when you are ignorant of his presence.

“Second, like a lion, the devil attacks the weak. Lions don’t normally hunt elephants or giraffes because they are too challenging to kill—they are much larger than lions. Instead, lions will stalk smaller and weaker animals—antelopes, zebras, or wild hogs. Likewise, the devil hunts the spiritually weak. The devil will tear you apart when you are frail and defenseless without your spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10–20).

“Third, the devil intimidates just as lions do. Lions roar to show how big they are—to scare their prey and competitors. The devil also roars to instill fear and he does so through persecution, fierce trials, and strong temptations.

“Finally, the devil devours just as lions devour their prey… Like a lion, the devil wants to consume you until there is nothing left and he will leave a mess…”

Also, a lion cannot change its nature, as a leopard cannot change its spots. Even when “tamed,” a lion still remains wild and dangerous, ready to attack when the opportunity arises. Likewise, Satan is incurably evil and wicked; he is unwilling and therefore incapable of learning from his mistakes. His mind has been corrupted beyond any hope of change. He does not want to repent and submit to the government of God; therefore, he cannot repent.

This is very similar to “the dog in the manger” syndrome. A vicious dog which does not, of course, eat the straw in the manger, will prevent other animals from eating it. Satan is of the same mindset. He would rather see humankind destroyed completely than turn over his rule to Jesus Christ and those who will rule with and under Him (Revelation 5:10; 20:4, 6).

It is also interesting to consider the behavior of some rats. If a strong animal chases rats into a corner and there is no escape route for them, they will actually turn on each other or on the animal which is chasing them.

The European Power Bloc—a Fierce Lion

With this background and keeping the described characteristics of wild roaring lions and Satan in mind, let us review many biblical passages comparing the emerging European power bloc, but also other world empires, with the fierce conduct of lions. 

In Revelation 13:2, we are introduced to the ancient Roman Empire, which had emerged from previous powers such as ancient Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece; and which would be revived ten times after its fall. That peculiar-looking beast had a mouth “like the mouth of a lion,” with which it would “roar” and speak great things and blasphemies against God and His holy angels (verses 5–6). In Daniel 7:4, the ancient Babylonian Empire (which had been absorbed by the Roman Empire) was depicted as a lion as well, and we might recall how Nebuchadnezzar spoke proud words for which God punished him (compare Daniel 4:29–33).

Additional passages compare the final revival of the Roman Empire and its end-time leader with a lion or lions. In Revelation 9:1–21, John sees in a vision the European power as fighting in war with the powers from the East. The weapons used are described as “teeth… like lions’ teeth” (verse 8). Prior to that event, the European power bloc under the beast will attack the modern houses of Israel and Judah—the USA, Great Britain and other nations of the British Commonwealth, as well as the state of Israel. Note how the Bible is picturing the end-time European power bloc:

“… ‘The lion has come up from his thicket, And the destroyer of nations is on his way, He has gone forth from his place to make your land desolate. Your cities will be laid waste, Without inhabitant… Lament and wail, For the fierce anger of the LORD Has not turned back from us. And it shall come to pass in that day (“in that day” ALWAYS refers to end-time events),’ says the LORD, ‘that the heart of the king shall perish, And the heart of the princes; The priests shall be astonished, And the prophets shall wonder’” (Jeremiah 4:7–9).

With a similar metaphor, God continued to say in Jeremiah 5:6 that “‘…a lion from the forest shall slay them… Because their transgressions are many… Your children have forsaken Me’” (Jeremiah 5:6–7).

In Jeremiah 50:17, references are made to ancient and modern Assyria (Germany/Austria) and Babylon (United Europe under Assyrian rule). We read: “Israel is like scattered sheep; The lions have driven him away. First the king of Assyria devoured him; Now at last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones.” Verse 20 makes clear that this is [also] a prophecy for the end–time, indicating that a modern king of Assyria and a modern “Nebuchadnezzar” will arise on the world scene.

Isaiah 5:29–30 adds that the “roaring” of the future Babylonian army attacking Israel (verse 25) will be “like a lion, they will roar like young lions; Yes, they will roar And lay hold of the prey… And no one will deliver. IN THAT DAY they will roar against them Like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, Behold, darkness and sorrow; And the light is darkened by the clouds.”

But after modern Babylon has brought havoc on this earth, God will deal with her as well. This is vividly told in the book of Nahum, describing the destruction of ancient Nineveh, but this prophecy is clearly meant for the end time as well: 

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, And the feeding place of the young lions, Where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, And no one made them afraid? The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, Killed for his lionesses, Filled his caves with the prey, And his dens with flesh. ‘Behold, I am against you,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more” (Nahum 2:11–13).

Devouring Locusts

The mighty armies of the emerging European power bloc are also compared in the Bible with “locusts.”

The devastating effect of huge swarms of locusts is well-known. A desert locust swarm can be 460 square miles in size and pack between 40 and 80 million locusts into less than half a square mile. A swarm of just 1 square kilometer—about a third of a square mile—can consume as much food as would be eaten by 35,000 people in a single day. To say it differently, each locust can eat its weight in plants each day, so a swarm could eat 423 million pounds of plants every day. Locusts swarms can fly up to 150 km in a day, and one desert locust can live a total of about three to five months.

In the book of Joel, destruction of modern Israel and Judah is prophesied just prior to the end-time “day of the LORD” (compare Joel 2:1, 11; 2:31; 3:14). Many regard the description of this coming destruction in the first chapter of the book of Joel as a literal invasion of locusts which will devour the produce of the land. It is however very possible that that “great army” of locusts (Joel 2:25) refers to the weapons of modern Babylon. We read in Joel 1:6 about this army of locusts that “… a nation has come up against My land. Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white” (Joel 1:6–7).

Deuteronomy 28:42 may include another reference to the modern European army overtaking Israel as an army of “locusts,” stating, “Locusts shall consume (Margin: possess) all your trees and the produce of your land.” Notice the context in verse 36: “The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods—wood and stone.”

We also find that in Revelation 9, describing the beast power’s war with the kings of the East, its weapons are pictured as locusts associated with smoke, which were not to devour the grass or any green thing or any tree (clearly, these are not literal locusts), but they were to torment people for five months (Revelation 9:3–5). The “shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle” (verse 7), and they were very noisy and had tails like scorpions with stings in their tails to hurt people with them (verses 9–10). We see that modern weapons and military equipment, including helicopters, are described which will cause such torment. But as we have seen, God will deal with modern Babylon as well. Nahum 3:15–17 tells us that fire will “eat [them] up like a locust” so that they “flee away,” even though they had multiplied their army and the commanders and generals of their army “like locusts.”

Satan—the Ruler over the European Empire

Returning to the biblical description of a lion, why would God compare the Babylonian system with ferocious lions? First of all, we read that Satan “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Even though God allows it, it is actually Satan who will give his power and authority to the beast (Revelation 13:4). Also, the “locusts” in Revelation 9 “had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon (Destruction), but in Greek he has the name Apollyon (Destroyer).” That angel is none other than the great Destroyer, Satan the Devil, who brings destruction wherever he goes. (Compare Luke 9:55–56.)

The lion is described as “mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any” (Proverbs 30:30; compare Judges 14:18 and Amos 3:8). Likewise, the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire will become a mighty military power (compare again Joel 2:2–3) which will not turn away from fighting the USA and the UK, as well as the state of Israel and other countries in the Middle East, and also the kings of the East. Satan, the Destroyer, will give the Babylonian system and the final leader power to destroy—remember that the modern king of Assyria is referred to in Jeremiah 4:7 as the destroyer of nations.

God—THE Mightiest Lion

We also read that God compares Himself with a powerful lion (Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah, Revelation 5:5), especially when dealing with and judging His enemies. We are told that God will become a lion to modern Israel and Judah. Hosea 5:14 quotes God’s words as follows: “I will be like a lion to Ephraim (Great Britain, by extension including the USA as well), And like a young lion to the house of Judah (the state of Israel and the modern Jews). I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away and no one shall rescue…” He also says in Hosea 13:8 that He will “devour them like a lion…”

Even though Satan will give his power to the beast, it will nevertheless be God who will allow it and who will actually use the modern king of Assyria to punish Israel. God will behave as a lion by using the “lion king” of Assyria and his followers to defeat Israel in war. We read in Isaiah 10 that God will send this future king or European military leader “to an ungodly nation And against the people of My wrath” (Isaiah 10:6). He describes this ungodly nation (mainly the USA and UK, as well as Judah) as “a sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters” (Isaiah 1:4). 

He speaks of its leaders as “rulers of Sodom” (Isaiah 1:10) and of the people as “people of Gomorrah” (same verse). God also warns that those “who lead” the people of the USA, the UK and Judah “cause you [the people] to err, And destroy the way of your paths” (Isaiah 3:12; compare Isaiah 9:16). God also asks those in America’s, Britain’s and Israel’s legislative bodies “who decree unrighteous decrees” (Isaiah 10:1) what they will “do in the day of punishment” (verse 3).

Modern Israel and Judah—Roaring Lions

It is also noteworthy that God will behave as a lion towards Israel because Israel’s princes “are roaring lions” (Zephaniah 3:3). God had compared Israel and some of its tribes with a lion, to show its potential strength (Numbers 24:9; compare Genesis 49:9; Deuteronomy 33:20, 22; Micah 5:8). But with false pride and self-reliance, Israel used its strength and abilities to turn against and forsake God, similar to the Cherub and Lightbringer Lucifer whose name was changed to Satan when he became proud of his beauty and turned against his Maker.

God wants Israel to repent, but most will refuse to do so, and great punishment will be the consequence. Destruction is decreed, and the modern Babylonian system under the “beast” will be used as a roaring, devouring lion to bring this punishment on the roaring lions of the nations of Israel and Judah.

Protection for Christians

True Christians need not be afraid. God promises them angelic protection so that they “shall tread upon the lionthe young lion… [they] shall trample underfoot” (Psalm 91:13).

This can refer to protection from Satan and his demons (Romans 16:20), as well as protection from people and worldly powers (Psalm 22:20–21; 57:4).

A Peaceful Future

A remarkable transformation will take place in the Millennium and during the Great White Throne Judgment period. The wild nature of lions and of people and nations behaving like ferocious lions will be changed. Isaiah 11:6 says that the “calf and the young lion” shall lie down together, and that “a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:7 says that the “lion shall eat straw like the ox,” and Isaiah 65:25 tells us that formerly wild animals, including the lion, “‘shall not hurt NOR DESTROY in all My holy mountain,’ Says the LORD.” Isaiah 11:9 states the same, but adds an important component: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, FOR the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

Men and worldly powers have become hateful and destructive under Satan’s influence. But once God’s Kingdom is ruling this earth, they will learn of God’s ways and embrace true knowledge. As a consequence, their mindset and nature will change so that “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). For instance, Israel and Assyria will become a “blessing in the midst of the land” (Isaiah 19:24). Assyria will be called “the work of [God’s] hands” and Israel will be referred to as “[God’s] inheritance” (Isaiah 19:25).

Chapter 3—Core European Nations—Flying Eagles, Swift Horses and Fast Leopards

In the previous chapter, we discussed the biblical metaphors of lions and locusts when describing the future European power bloc. In this chapter, we will show further biblical comparisons between the sudden arrival of a future core Europe, under German leadership, which will attack other powers with incredible speed, and the swiftness and speed of flying eagles, swift horses and fast leopards.

Some eagles can fly up to 200 mph or 300 km/h; and they are able to fly up to 125 miles without landing. Some horses are known to run up to 55 mph or 88.5 km/h; and some leopards have a top speed of 37 mph or 60 km/h. According to some sources, they can even reach speeds up to 80 km/h or almost 50 mph.

Revelation 13:2 pictures the ancient Roman Empire and its ten European revivals as a “beast” with seven heads and ten horns. It states that the beast was “like a leopard,” but with further animal characteristics of a lion and a bear. We will recall that the Roman Empire (the beast) had emerged from previous powers, such as Babylon (pictured as a lion), Medo-Persia (pictured as a bear), and Greece (pictured as a leopard). Daniel 7 tells us that the lion “had eagle’s wings” (verse 4), and that the beast, symbolizing Greece, was “like a leopard, Which had on its back four wings of a bird” (verse 6).

Later in the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel, another vision describes Greece, under Alexander the Great, as a male goat (verse 21), attacking the Medo-Persian Empire (pictured as a ram, verse 20) with great speed (“without touching the ground,” associating the ram with a flying animal) and with furious power and rage (Daniel 8:5–7). As the beast in Revelation 13 combined the previous three world empires, it also included the animal metaphors for these empires, such as the wings of an eagle and of an unidentified bird, which show the great speed with which the last European revival of the Roman Empire will pursue its affairs.

Germany’s Eagle

Focusing on the eagle as a metaphor for the European power under German leadership, we note, first of all, that Germany (and ancient Assyria) had and has a black eagle [some call it a “scary black eagle”] as a symbol for their nation.

According to Wikipedia, “From the reign of Frederick Barbarossa in 1155 the single-headed eagle became a symbol of the Holy Roman Empire. The eagle was clearly derived from the Roman eagle and continues to be important in the heraldry of those areas once within the Holy Roman Empire. Within Germany the placement of one’s arms in front of an eagle was indicative of princely rank under the Holy Roman Empire… The German Reichsadler (‘Imperial Eagle’) was… used… in modern coats of arms of Germany, including those of the Second German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the ‘Third Reich’ (Nazi Germany, 1933–1945). The same design [a black eagle with a red beak, feet and tongue] has remained in use by the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945, albeit under the name Bundesadler (‘Federal Eagle’).”

In addition, the symbol of the single-headed black eagle is also used for Austria’s “Bundesadler.” Black is a color which oftentimes describes spiritual darkness, and red refers many times to blood and war (Revelation 6:3–4). Both colors are sometimes associated with Satan and his demons (Revelation 12:3; Ephesians 6:12) and with sinful conduct (Isaiah 1:18; Jude 13).

We have all heard the word “blitzkrieg” or “blitz,” describing the speed with which Germany moved at times towards and attacked her enemies. Something similar is prophesied for the future, and the metaphor of an eagle is highly appropriate. Eagles are many times associated with swiftness, especially when attempting to catch their prey (Job 9:26).

In Deuteronomy 28:49–50, we read about the future European power bloc’s end-time attack on the USA, the UK, and the state of Israel: “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance…”

Hosea 8:1–3, 12, 14 sheds further light on the soon-coming nuclear attacks (Ezekiel 6:6) by the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire: “Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law. Israel [including the modern tribes of the house of Israel, as well as the house of Judah] will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’ Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him…. I have written for him the great things of My law, But they were considered a strange thing… Israel has forgotten his Maker… But I will send fire upon his cities, And it shall devour his palaces.”

After the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah contemplated in the book of Lamentations about Judah’s enemies, but this book is also and especially a prophecy for our immediate future. We read in Lamentations 4:19 about the attack through ancient Babylon, and prophetically, the attacks through the modern Chaldean/Babylonian system: “Our pursuers were swifter Than the eagles of the heavens. They pursued us on the mountains And lay in wait for us in the wilderness.”

This prophetic invasion of Judah and the Promised Land through modern Babylon under German (Assyrian) leadership is also described in Isaiah 8:7–9:

“… The LORD brings up over them… The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will … pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.”

Immanuel, meaning “God With Us,” is one of Jesus Christ’s names (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), showing that even in these terrible times of trial for the USA, UK and the state of Israel, God will not forsake them forever. The reference to Assyria’s “stretching out of his wings” shows again the swiftness of the flying eagle.

The Bible tells us that the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Assyrian leadership, will also invade Moab (Jordan and Western Iraq) and Edom (Turkey). Even though these countries will at first escape from the hand of the “king of the North” (compare Daniel 11:41), they will later be conquered as well.

Jeremiah 48:40–44, 46–47 tells us regarding the future of Moab:

“‘Behold, one shall fly like an eagle, And spread his wings over Moab… the mighty men’s hearts in Moab on that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs. And Moab shall be destroyed as a people, Because he exalted himself against the LORD. Fear and the pit and the snare shall be given upon you, O inhabitant of Moab… For upon Moab… I will bring the year of their punishment,’ says the LORD… ‘your sons have been taken captive, And your daughters captive. Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab In the latter days,’ says the LORD.”

Jeremiah 49:22 tells us about Edom’s future in our time:

“Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, And spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.”

This translation, quoted above, is taken from the New King James Bible, which capitalizes the words “he” and “his.” This interpretation is not compelling. If we want to accept it, then it would mean that it is God who flies like an eagle and spreads His wings over Bozrah, which might indicate that He will conquer Edom through the king of Assyria. Or, the reference in Jeremiah 49:22 is directly addressing the king of Assyria, so that the words “he” and “his” should not be capitalized.

For information showing that Assyria will ultimately turn against and conquer Edom after “modifying” the “confederacy” described in Psalm 83:2–8, see our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy,” pages 37–42, discussing in detail the Scriptures in Obadiah 6–9 in conjunction with Psalm 60:8 and Psalm 108:9.

On Eagles’ Wings

God compares Himself and His loyal angels with eagles. He told Israel that He brought them out of Egypt on eagles’ wings (Exodus 19:4), signifying His supernatural protection (compare Deuteronomy 32:10–12; see also Psalm 91:4 and Psalm 17:8). In the future, God will again supernaturally protect His people, pictured as a “woman,” by bringing her to a place of safety here on earth, giving her “two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place… from the presence of the serpent (Satan the Devil)” (Revelation 12:14).

God also shows the strength of an eagle in Scriptures such as Psalm 103:5 and Isaiah 40:29–31. In addition, God compares His angels with eagles (Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37), and some of them even look like eagles or have facial features of an eagle (Revelation 4:7; Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14). The same is true for the appearance of angels as lions (same Scriptures).

As eagles reflect strength and swiftness in the spiritual realm, so they do in the physical realm, except that when God uses the metaphor for the surprising swift revival of the last resurrection of the Roman Empire, He shows the utmost cruelty associated with it (compare Ezekiel 7:24; Isaiah 19:4). We read in Habakkuk 1:5–10:

“Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… Their horses are swifter than leopards, and more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers (lit., horsemen) charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; they fly as the eagle that hastens to eat. They all come for violence… they gather captives like sand…”

We explained before that God’s Work of raising the modern Chaldeans will happen quickly and unsuspectedly. It will be a short work—a work which will be cut short (Romans 9:28; compare also Matthew 24:22), and it will be accompanied by a final announcement of the coming establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, just prior to Christ’s return (compare Acts 13:40–41, quoting the passage from Habakkuk 1:5, but applying it to the preaching of the gospel message).

Symbolic Swift Horses 

As we have seen, the passage in Habakkuk, chapter 1, includes another comparison with two animals to emphasize the swiftness of the attacks of the coming European superpower—leopards and horses, and the horses are described as even swifter than leopards. As the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great was compared with a swift leopard with wings on its back (being subsequently absorbed by the Roman Empire), the coming attacks of the modern Assyrians will be much swifter than the conquest of the ancient Greeks.

The symbolic horses of the future Babylonian army are mentioned, as we may recall, in Revelation 9:7, where terrible modern weapons are described as locusts which were shaped like horses prepared for battle. As we will also recall, the book of Joel describes that powerful army as well. In Joel 2:4–5, the soldiers and their weapons are pictured in this way: “Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array…”

The swiftness and the fierceness of these symbolic war “horses” are also described in Jeremiah 8:16, where a warning of a future Assyrian attack is uttered from or concerning Dan (modern Ireland and/or parts of Denmark; note also Jeremiah 4:15–16):

“The snorting of His [or his] horses was heard from Dan. The whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of His [or: his] strong ones; for they have come and devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell in it.”

We note that “his” does not have to be capitalized; in that case, it would refer directly to the modern king of Assyria. If one prefers the interpretation that the word “his” should be capitalized, then it would indicate that God, perhaps with the assistance of His angels, who are also described as horses (compare 2 Kings 2:11–12; 6:15–17; Zechariah 1:8–11; 6:1–8; Revelation 19:11, 14), will be using the modern “arrogant” and “haughty” king of Assyria to carry out His plan (note again Isaiah 10:5–6, 12; compare also Jeremiah 22:7).

The future nuclear attacks of the European army will be powerful, brutal and merciless (compare Jeremiah 6:23), with devastating results of utter destruction. The prophesied blitzkrieg will happen soon and very quickly and suddenly (compare Jeremiah 6:26). The modern Babylonian army will move as swift as an eagle flies or as a horse runs; and swifter than leopards. The time from the beginning of Babylon’s attacks, starting World War III, until Christ’s return will not be longer than 3 ½ years… and it could be even shorter, since those days will be shortened (Mark 13:20). But the devastating results of this relatively “short” World War will be unparalleled in the annals of man’s history.

Swift and Powerful Leopards

In addition to the swift speed of a leopard, who cannot change its spots (Jeremiah 13:23), the Bible also describes it as a powerful foe which, in a sense, “guards” its captives. Jeremiah 5:6 reads:

“Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, A wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; A leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, Because their transgressions are many; their backslidings have increased.”

In a blitzkrieg, modern Assyria and its armies will conquer and destroy the USA and the UK, and those who survive the attack will become captives of war. They will not be able to escape captivity as Assyrian soldiers, like leopards, will watch over them. If they attempt to escape, they will be killed or “torn in pieces.”

1 Thessalonians 5:2–3 leaves us with this warning:

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

God has given His end-time Church a commission and a responsibility—to “stand watch” and announce these coming terrible events as a warning to all nations. Habakkuk 2:1 says: “I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me…’”

Isaiah 21:8–9 adds: “Then he cried, ‘A lion, my Lord! I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime; I have sat at my post every night. And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!’ Then he answered and said, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen!’…”

The warning of future Babylon’s terrible conduct in war and its subsequent destruction is going out, but most people will not listen!

Chapter 4—Core European Nations—Bears, Wolves, Scorpions and Snakes

In the last two chapters, we discussed the biblical metaphors of fierce lions, destructive locusts, blazing-fast flying eagles, swift horses and quick leopards, when describing the future European power bloc and its political leader.

In this chapter, we will show further biblical comparisons between a future core Europe under German leadership, and devouring bears, savage wolves, tormenting scorpions and poisonous serpents and snakes.

Devouring Bears

Revelation 13:2 pictures the ancient Roman Empire and its ten European revivals as a “beast” with seven heads and ten horns. It states that the beast was “like a leopard,” but with further animal characteristics of a lion and a bear. We will recall that the Roman Empire (the beast) had emerged from previous powers, such as Babylon (pictured as a lion), Medo-Persia (pictured as a bear), and Greece (pictured as a leopard). Daniel 7:5 describes the bear in this way:

“And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear… And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’”

The vicious nature of literal bears is noticeable.

Many species of bears are very aggressive and are known to attack humans, mainly to protect their food, cubs, or space.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary writes:

“The large brown bear of Syria, in her rage at the loss of her whelps, was to the Israelites the strongest type of brute ferocity.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds:

“A bear is a very fierce and furious creature, especially a she bear; and she is still more so when robbed of her whelps, which she has just whelped, and been at great pains to lick into shape and form, by which her fondness to them is increased; and therefore, being stripped of them, is full of rage; and ranging about in quest of them, falls furiously upon the first she meets with… those who have written of the nature of beasts say, that, among all wild beasts, there is none more fierce than a she bear, when she has lost her whelps, or wants food…”

The Pulpit Commentary states:

“The Syrian bear was once common throughout Palestine; it is now found in but few localities… The ferocity of the bear when deprived of its young had become proverbial…”

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges adds:

“The Syrian bear is fiercer than the brown bears to which we are accustomed. It attacks flocks and even oxen.”

The final European revival of the Roman Empire will also appear “suddenly” and “devour” many enemies. God will allow and even use the modern revival to punish Israel:

“So I will be to them like a lion; Like a leopard by the road I will lurk; I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage; And there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them” (Hosea 13:7–8). 

The Revised Standard Version continues: “I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you… I have given you kings in my anger, and I have taken them away in my wrath” (verses 9 and 11).

God uses an interesting comparison between a bear deprived of her cubs and a foolish godless person: “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly” (Proverbs 17:12). This comparison is quite adequate in our context, as God describes the modern nations of Israel and Judah as foolish (Jeremiah 4:22). Another comparison is found in Proverbs 28:15: “Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over poor people.”

These metaphors and analogies are not accidental. They can be applied to the modern resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire, which will fight against self-righteous and ungodly Israel and Judah like a roaring lion and a raging bear robbed of her cubs. When describing the end time just prior to the return of Christ, God says in Amos 5:18–19:

“Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion [one characteristic of the revived Roman Empire], And a bear met him [another characteristic]! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!” 

As we will discuss below in more detail, the serpent can refer to the modern Babylonian system, the “beast,” and also to Satan himself, who gives his power and authority to the beast (Revelation 13:4). God makes the point here that He does not prevent the terrible events and the brutal Gentile armies from proceeding during the Day of the Lord and that no one will escape if he is not protected by God.

Ravenous Wolves

We already quoted Jeremiah 5:6 previously to the effect that no one will be safe from a lion, a leopard, and a wolf of the deserts.

God announces in Jeremiah 5 that He will bring a mighty ancient nation against the people of Israel and Judah (verse 15)—the modern descendants of the ancient Assyrians and Chaldeans. He compares them with a lion from a forest, a wolf of the deserts, and a leopard, which will tear the people in pieces.

We are also familiar with the passage in Habakkuk 1:6–8, which describes the final rise of the modern Chaldeans—a bitter, hasty, terrible and dreadful nation. In verse 8, God says that they are “more fierce than evening wolves.” (We will discuss the nature of a ravenous wolf, and how this description can apply to humans, later in this booklet.)

So we see that God compares the final Babylonian/Chaldean system with fierce and destructive wolves which will tear the people in pieces… alluding to the kind of horrible nuclear and other modern weapons which will be used in the coming World War.

Israel and Judah—Devouring Wolves

We also read that God will let this happen because modern Israel and Judah are described as devouring wolves (compare Zephaniah 3:3 and Ezekiel 22:27, referring to Jerusalem’s judges as wolves, leaving not a bone till morning, and also to Israel’s princes as wolves, tearing the prey, shedding blood, and destroying people).

In Genesis 49:27, Benjamin (modern Norway and Iceland) is described as “a ravenous wolf,” who will devour the prey in the morning and who will divide the spoil at night. Benjamin’s fierceness is recorded in passages such as Judges 20:21, 25, when they fought against the other tribes of Israel, even though they were in the wrong.

Savage Wolves Oppose Christians

Savage wolves are also used as metaphors for people who are opposed to God and His Church. Christ speaks about false prophets, coming to God’s people, as “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15), and Paul warns the church at Ephesus that after his departure, savage wolves would come in among them, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29).

Christ said that those wolves would catch the unprotected and forsaken sheep and scatter them (John 10:12), because they trusted in uncaring hirelings and not in God’s true shepherds. 

Christ told His disciples that He would send them as sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16). Especially in the end time, when the beast (the final revival of the Roman Empire as well as the final leader) will be manifested on earth, it will behave as a ravenous savage wolf against God’s people. While the world will admire, adore and even worship the beast, it will blaspheme God and persecute the saints (Revelation 13:6–8).

Tormenting Scorpions

We already discussed in previous chapters the weapons used by the Babylonian system in Revelation 9, where they are compared with locusts which had teeth like lions’ teeth, and which were shaped like horses prepared for battle. Let’s notice how else these locusts are being described. We read in verses 3, 5 and 10:

“… And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power… Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man … They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months…”

In Ezekiel 2:6–8, the rebellious people of the modern house of Israel are being compared with scorpions: “And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house…”

We find the same thought conveyed here, as we saw earlier, when reviewing other metaphors of animal characteristics, that God will be using the Babylonian system to fight the modern house of Israel with weapons which are compared with scorpions, because the people of the house of Israel are compared with scorpions. (Technically, the events described in Revelation 9 occur AFTER the war between Europe and the houses of Israel and Judah, which had already ended in victory for Europe and in defeat for America, the United Kingdom and other English-speaking nations, but the European weapons remain the same.) 

Serpents and Poisonous Snakes

God tells His people—as He told Ezekiel—not to be afraid of scorpions and serpents, because He gives them the power to overcome them. He promises that nothing will by any means hurt them (Luke 10:19). Even though He speaks primarily about Satan and his demons in Luke 10:19 (note verses 17–18, 20), comparing them with scorpions and serpents, He also promises protection from the terrible Babylonian weapons, described as tails of scorpions which will hurt the people of this world for five months.

We have repeatedly alluded to the animal metaphor of serpents and poisonous snakes, when referring to the modern Babylonian system, and need to emphasize a few more details:

The end-time weapons of the Babylonian system are compared with serpents as well. (You may also notice that in Revelation 9:13–21, the modern weapons of the kings of the East are described, which are very similar to the weapons of the last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire: We read of horses with heads like the heads of lions; we are told that fire, smoke and brimstone come out of their mouths; and that the horses have tails like serpents with heads [military commanders], with which they do harm. As the Babylonian system uses these kinds of destructive weapons against the kings of the East, so the kings of the East retaliate with similar weapons—only, that their retaliation will be much more fierce and destructive than the initial European attack).

Jeremiah 8:17 reveals that God will send the European power bloc against modern Judah, describing Judah’s attackers in this way: “‘For behold, I will send serpents among you, Vipers which cannot be charmed, And they shall bite you,’ says the LORD.”

“Flying Serpents”

Babylon’s modern weapons and warfare are also described in other prophecies, such as Jeremiah 46:22–24, where we read about Babylon’s attack on modern Egypt:

“‘Her noise shall go like a serpent, For they shall march with an army And come against her with axes, Like those who chop wood. They shall cut down her forest,’ says the LORD, ‘Though it cannot be searched, Because they are innumerable, And more numerous than grasshoppers. The daughter of Egypt shall be ashamed; She shall be delivered into the hand Of the people of the north [the king of the North and his armies].’”

Another very similar metaphor is applied to Babylon’s ancient and future war with Philistia or the Philistines (According to the Pulpit commentary, the Greeks called Philistia “Syria of the Philistines.” Today the Philistines can also be found among Palestinians and other violent groups in the Middle East):

“Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, Because the rod that struck you is broken; For out of the serpent’s roots will come forth a viper, And its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent… Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; For smoke will come from the north [the king of the North and his armies], And no one will be alone in his appointed times” [or, “without a straggler in the ranks,” or, “there are no deserters in those battalions”; compare New American Bible and New Jerusalem Bible] (Isaiah 14:29, 31).

The reference to a fiery flying serpent describes the swiftness of the attack and also modern weapons used by flying destructive machines, such as war helicopters and military airplanes.

The Serpent of Dan

Modern Dan (Ireland and part of Denmark) is also compared with a serpent by the way and a viper by the paths that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backwards (Genesis 49:17), picturing Dan’s deceitful and mischievous actions. God adds that Dan must wait for His salvation (verse 18, Revised Standard Version), and it is remarkable that no one from the tribe of Dan will be among the 144,000 (compare Revelation 7:1–8), who are to be protected from the plagues during the Day of the Lord. In addition, a sober warning of the destructive effect of the consumption of too much alcohol can be found in Proverbs 23:29–35, comparing the consequences of excessive drinking with the bites of a serpent and the stings of a viper.

Hypocritical Figurative Serpents

On occasion, God compares evil people, such as the Pharisees and scribes, with serpents and brood or offspring of vipers (Matthew 23:33). In addition, He speaks of their evil words in such way: “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:13–18). To an extent, Paul echoes here what is written in Psalm 140:3: “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; The poison of asps is under their lips.”

In Psalm 58:4, David compares the poison of a serpent and a deaf cobra, which has stopped its ears, will not heed and cannot be charmed or tamed, with the words and actions of evil persons with which they hurt and destroy.

Satan—the Serpent of Old

The Bible pictures Satan the Devil as the serpent of old who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9; 20:2). Ultimately, Satan is responsible for all violence and warfare. He is the destroyer of mankind. But God offers us protection and help in time of need, promising us this: “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:13–16).

God protects us from human enemies and powers which want to do us harm. And He protects us from Satan and his demons, as we also read in Luke 10:17–20.

After Christ has returned to set up the rule of God on this planet, a transformation will take place. We mentioned this previously, but let us again review a marvelous and beautiful prophecy: Satan will be bound, unable to destroy or deceive, and incapable of influencing humans to go to war. And as animals will become peaceful and tame, so will be human powers—including real and figurative, symbolic fierce lions; destructive locusts; blazing-fast flying eagles, swift horses and quick leopards storming into battle; devouring bears; savage wolves; tormenting scorpions; and poisonous serpents and snakes.

Isaiah 11:6–8 tells us: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.”

Part 2—Individuals as Wild Animals

Chapter 1—Vicious Wolves and False Teachings

Wild beasts, such as wolves, are not only used as metaphors for nations and powers, but also for individuals, and especially for false prophets and those opposed to God’s Way of Life.

In Acts 20:28–30 we read: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

Paul is here describing a flock, and shepherding, which means that the members of the Church of God whom the apostle was addressing were likened to sheep. Wolves are the enemy of sheep and sheep can be part of their diet. There are other Scriptures where this same analogy is used. In Matthew 7:15 we read: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

On the National Geographic website, we read about wolves: “Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. Adaptable gray wolves are by far the most common and were once found all over the Northern Hemisphere. But wolves and humans have a long adversarial history. Though they almost never attack humans, wolves are considered one of the animal world’s most fearsome natural villains. They do attack domestic animals, and countless wolves have been shot, trapped, and poisoned because of this tendency.”

In Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, we read: “Which come to you in sheep’s clothing. The illustration implies something like the conception of the wolf disguising himself as a sheep in order to gain entrance into the fold.”

The Benson Commentary observes: “All those are false prophets who teach any other way than that which our Lord hath here marked out. Who come to you in sheep’s clothing — With a form of godliness and fair professions of love; but inwardly they are ravening wolves — Not feeding but destroying souls; feeding themselves by the destruction of the flock. ‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing,’ says Doddridge, is ‘grown into a proverb for a wicked man that makes a great profession of religion, yet cannot dissemble so well as not to be discovered by attentive observation; which was just the character of the Pharisees in our Saviour’s days.’”

A History of God’s Church

We know that the Church changed from apostolic Christianity to something entirely different within a relatively short period of time. In the book “A History of the True religion” by Dugger and Dodd, the following is written at the beginning of chapter 5 which reviews the Church between 100 AD to 200 AD:

“The first century closed with the death of the last of the apostles and writers of the New Testament, the Apostle John. No sooner had the apostles and disciples, who had been with Jesus, fallen asleep, then a new order arose and a different class of writers began to pen religious epistles. Hurlbut says of this change, in his Story of the Christian Church:

“‘For fifty years after St. Paul’s life, a curtain hangs over the church, through which we vainly strive to look; and when at last it rises, about 129 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church-fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul’ (page 41).”

The wolves had been at work, and the Truth that Jesus preached and the original apostles continued to preach after Jesus’s death was replaced by error, mainly by mixing truth with error and pagan practices (syncretism) which has been carried on down through the ages. What we see today in mainstream Christianity is a far cry from apostolic Christianity.

whatchristianswanttoknow gives an excellent description of wolves, headed, “The sneaky wolf. They hide until the time is right.” Continuing:

“Wolves are sneaky. They watch the prey and plan the attack. The sneaky wolf [that is, a] false prophet is in the church watching and waiting. He is the one who calls secret meetings. He gains the trust of folks and then rises up to attack, taking innocent victims with him. The Bible is clear about how God will deal with these sneaky wolves.”

Protection from Wolves

We can read what action God will take in Matthew 7:21–23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Christ tells us in John 10:11–16 from where our protection comes: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

A hireling is not a true shepherd. He sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. The end product is that the wolf catches the sheep and can eat them and scatter them. False workers and teachers can do the same to church members in a spiritual sense; hence the reason why we have to be continually on guard.

We read in John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Those who stick closely to God and His ways and His Truth know Him from the written Word of God and are not distracted from the true path they have been called to. There is a sober warning in Ephesians 4:14 which is vital for our spiritual well-being: “…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” The phrasing of this verse clearly shows that some had been taken in by wrong and deceitful influences.

In the previous verses, Ephesians 4:11–13, we read about the ministry which is there for the protection of the sheep and the equipping of the saints: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The true servants of God will be protectors of the brethren and of God’s Truth; however, the wolves will attack, disturb and disorientate the sheep by their false teaching and trickery.

Just before Jesus’s betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed for His disciples, and for all believers, and we read this in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” In verse 20, He said, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” If the teaching is in accordance with the Word of God, then the teachers are themselves sheep and members of the flock and not wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Word of God, the Bible, must always be our guide and will protect us against any wrong teachings of man.

As we saw, in the Kingdom of God during the Millennium, things will be completely different. We read how it will be in the book of Isaiah: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6) and “‘The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,’ Says the LORD” (Isaiah 65:25).

The wolf and the lion will get along together, and the analogy of wolves (false prophets and teachers) tricking the sheep (church members) will no longer be applicable. 

But until the wonderful time just ahead of us, we need to make sure that we are on our spiritual toes so that we don’t fall prey to any false prophets and wrong teachers. God has surely warned us about them in His Word!

Chapter 2—Christ Sends His Sheep in the Midst of Wolves

In Matthew 10:16, we read: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Let us review Christ’s different statements one at a time.

Sheep

First, He speaks of His disciples as sheep in the midst of wolves. 

We must not be dumb sheep going astray (Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 9:36), but we must be the sheep of God the Father and Jesus Christ (Psalm 100:3; 95:7). Christ is our Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25) who feeds, leads and guides us (Ezekiel 34:15). 

As Christ’s sheep, we hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). Others who are not His sheep do NOT believe and follow Him (John 10:26). 

To be a sheep of God in this world includes suffering for righteousness’ sake (Romans 8:36; 1 Peter 4:1–5), just as Christ suffered (1 Peter 4:13; Acts 8:32). 

Wolves

We read that Christ sends His sheep to the wolves.

Barnes Notes on the Bible states: “I send you, inoffensive and harmless, into a cold, unfriendly, and cruel world.” The Benson Commentary adds: “I now send you forth weak and defenceless among a wicked, cruel, and persecuting people.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary elaborates: “Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures.”

In Acts 20:29 and in Luke 10:3, wolves are used as symbols of persecutors and predators. Christ sends us into the world, in the midst of wolves, to overcome them. He wants us to withstand them, and with His help, we will. But how can sheep or lambs be surviving and successful in such a hostile environment of ravenous wolves?

Christ gives the answer in His statements about serpents and doves. It may be helpful to look at some alternate translations of Matthew 10:16.

The New American Standard Bible says: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves.”

The Good News Translation reads: “Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves.” 

Smith’s Literal Translation reads: “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore discerning as serpents, and pure as doves.” 

The Mace New Testament says: “By your mission you will be exposed like sheep in the midst of wolves: be then as circumspect as serpents, and as inoffensive as doves.” 

Regarding doves in particular, Moffat speaks of being “guileless as doves.”

The Luther Bibles, as well as Schlachter, Menge and Zürcher translate consistently, “be without falsity as doves” (“ohne falsch wie die Tauben”), and Die Gute Nachricht and Hoffnung fuer alle say, “without deceit” (“ohne Hinterlist”).

Wise Serpents 

We might readily accept the concept of the pure, gentle, guileless and inoffensive innocence of a harmless dove without falsity, which we must incorporate, but we may have an initial problem with viewing serpents as “wise” which we have to imitate. Of course, Christ did not refer to Satan, the serpent (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 11:3), demons which we will tread upon (Luke 10:19) or the Pharisees whom He called “serpents” (Matthew 23:33). Rather, Christ had something different in mind. 

gotquestions states the following:

“Jesus was using similes (figures of speech that compare two unlike things) to instruct His disciples in how to behave in their ministry. Just before He tells them to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, He warns them that they were being sent out ‘like sheep among wolves.’

“The world, then as now, was hostile to believers—not incidentally hostile, but purposefully hostile. Wolves are intentional about the harm they inflict upon sheep… Jesus taught His followers that, to be Christlike in a godless world, they must combine the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove… As we take the gospel to a hostile world, we must be wise (avoiding the snares set for us), and we must be innocent (serving the Lord blamelessly)… Wisdom does not equal dishonesty, and innocence does not equal gullibility…

“Jesus showed that He was as wise as a serpent in the way He taught. He knew enough to discern the differences in His audiences (a critical skill)… He refused to be caught in the many traps that His enemies laid for Him… Jesus showed that He was as harmless as a dove in every circumstance. He lived a pure and holy life… He acted in compassion… and He challenged anyone to find fault in Him… Three times, Pilate judged Jesus to be an innocent man…”

calvarynexus.org adds:

“Jesus sends His disciples out as sheep in the midst of wolves [Matt. 10:16]. They were being sent as His ambassadors to a world that opposed His reign. His disciples are like seemingly vulnerable sheep among seemingly hostile wolves. But the key to being effective is not to be sheepish… they needed to be both wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

“To be wise as a serpent relates to being prudent, careful, and intelligent. It has the connotation of [being] able to deal with the likely challenges or dangers of life in a potentially threatening place. To be harmless as doves has an association of gentleness and peace; but the Greek term also relates to purity, innocence, and simplicity.”

The word for “wise“ (phronimos) means, according to Strong’s #5429, “thoughtful, i.e. sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character).” Young defines it as: “mindful, prudent, provident.” It is used, for example, in an approving sense in Matthew 7:24; 24:45; 25:2; describing the wise man building his house on the rock; the faithful and wise servant; and the five wise virgins.

The Pulpit Commentary describes the “wise serpents” in this way: “Wise. Prudent… The prudence of the serpent is specially apparent in the quickness of its perception of danger and the rapidity with which it escapes from it.” 

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges adds: “wise=prudent, full of precaution.”

Vincent’s Word Studies states: “Denoting prudence with regard to their own safety.” 

Barnes Notes on the Bible writes: “Probably the thing in which Christ directed his followers to imitate the serpent was in its caution in avoiding danger. No animal equals them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. So said Christ to his disciples, You need caution and wisdom in the midst of a world that will seek your lives.” 

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible commentary states: “… the wisdom of the serpent would save them from unnecessary exposure to danger.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible writes: “The serpent… is… to be imitated by the followers of Christ, as to make use of all proper methods to preserve themselves from the insults and rage of men, and not expose themselves to unnecessary dangers: and, as much as in them lies, they should be careful to give no just occasion of offence, or irritate, and provoke them to use them ill, and to avoid all snares and traps that are laid for them.”

A serpent escapes danger without leaving a trace (Proverbs 30:18–19). It is not wrong to hide in the face of danger (Proverbs 22:3; compare John 8:58–59; 12:36).

Harmless Innocent Doves 

But Christ also says that we must be harmless as doves.

The word for “harmless”, (akeraios) means, according to Strong’s #185, “unmixed, i.e. fig. innocent,—harmless, simple (Phil. 2:15).” Others state that the word could also mean “sincere.” A related word (akakos) can be found in Hebrews 7:26.

The Pulpit Commentary describes the harmless doves as “literally ‘unmixed, unadulterated’ and emphasizes the idea of simplicity of character.” 

Vincent’s Word Studies points out: “Lit. unmixed… Used of wine without water… Hence guiltless. So Luther, without falsity (Compare Romans 16:19, Philippians 2:15).”

“Barnes Notes on the Bible states: “He directs them, also, to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, and thus make their fellow-men justly enraged against them. Doves are, and always have been, a striking emblem of innocence.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible writes: “… maintain the innocence and harmlessness of the dove, being free from all wicked cunning and craftiness, without rancour, malice, and wrath; not meditating and seeking revenge, but meek and humble in their deportment, leading inoffensive lives, and proceeding in the course of their calling, though liable to many insults, and much oppression.”

The Life Application Bible summarizes Christ’s statement regarding the serpents and the doves, quite appropriately, in this way: “We are not to be gullible pawns but neither are we to be deceitful connivers.”

Christ sent us into the world to fulfill God’s commission and plan for us (John 17:18), but we are not to be of the world (John 17:16). We are to be aware of the fact that the world is hostile towards God and His Way of Life, full of ravenous wolves which are ready to tear us apart. We are admonished to be aware of people (Micah 7:5–6; Jeremiah 9:3–6); of deceitful teachers cheating us through false philosophies (Colossians 2:8); and of idols (1 John 5:21).

By following Christ’s admonition and with His help, we can be victorious, if we behave wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 

Chapter 3—Don’t Give the Truth to Dogs and Swine

Matthew 7:6 reads as follows:

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

In the last chapter, we read about wise serpents which are circumspect in the face of danger and in regard to behavior in general. As we will see, this admonition runs parallel to what we will be discussing in this chapter.

Literal Dogs and Pigs

In pointing out the analogies and metaphors in respect to human conduct, let us also focus on the nature and conduct of literal dogs and pigs.

Commentaries explain that at the time Jesus spoke these words, dogs usually traveled in packs and were very dangerous. The only thing worse than being called a “dog” was to be called a “pig.” Under the dietary laws given by God, the pig is an unclean animal which is not to be eaten. It was common for first-century Jews to refer to Gentiles as swine because they considered them unclean.

[This does not mean that Jesus considered Gentiles as unclean. He was merely using a figurative parallel.] 

The Berean Bible Society wrote:

Swine were associated with demons (Mark 5:11–13), and the only time swine and dogs are mentioned together (2 Pet. 2:22), they are associated with ‘false prophets’ (v. 1) who, like Balaam, knew the way of God but had ‘forsaken the right way’ (vv. 15,16), men who had ‘known the way of righteousness’ (v. 21) but chose to ‘turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them’ (v. 21)…”

Wikipedia writes:

“At the time both dogs and pigs were poorly regarded. Dogs were part of society, but were half wild and roamed the region in packs that were sometimes dangerous to humans. The word used here refers specifically to dogs without a human master. They were unclean and would eat whatever scraps and carrion they came across. Pigs were the quintessential unclean animal and were closely associated with the Gentile communities in the region which kept them in large numbers…

“… the metaphor may be a reference to the immense appetites of pigs, and to how enraged they will be when they discover they cannot eat the pearls, and since they have no understanding of their greater value, will turn on the giver…

“Parables from the period portray such dogs as dangerous urban animals…” 

Relevant Bible Teaching states:

Swine eat the leftovers, not the delicacies, and they are content with doing so because they are pigs. That is what pigs do. Dogs eat the crumbs from the table and even things worse, and pigs aren’t much better. In fact, pigs love rolling in mud, refuse, and the like…

Swine don’t deserve pearls of wisdom because all they will do with the wise counsel is roll around with it in the mud… the swine do more than just ruin pearls; their purpose is to ruin us. The swine to whom we keep giving our precious pearls of energy, time, wisdom, and sacrifice are not really interested in the pearls as they profess to be but in, as Jesus says, turning and tearing us to pieces…”

preceptaustin.org points out:

Dogs in the ancient world does not refer to dogs as we currently think of them for they were seldom household pets but instead were largely half-wild, dirty, greedy, snarling, vicious, flea-bitten, diseased, mongrel scavengers, that often ran in packs. They are often on the point of starvation and were known to devour corpses, and attack humans, in the night. Clearly literal ‘dogs’ in the ancient world were dangerous and despised…

“For example we read God’s prophet Abijah’s harsh message to the wife of the evil Jeroboam declaring… ‘Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the LORD has spoken it’ (1 Kings 14:11). (Similar prophecies were decreed against Baasha’s family, in 1 Kings 16:4 and Ahab’s family, 1 Kings 21:24.) (For bodies to be devoured by dogs and wild birds of prey was considered one of the worst disgraces that could befall a Jew.)…

“Barclay has a helpful note on dogs – With us the dog is a well-loved animal, but it was not so in the East in the time of Jesus. The dogs were the pariah dogs, roaming the streets, sometimes in packs, hunting amidst the garbage dumps and snapping and snarling at all whom they met. J. B. Lightfoot speaks of ‘the dogs which prowl about eastern cities, without a home and without an owner, feeding on the refuse and filth of the streets, quarrelling among themselves, and attacking the passer-by.’…

Swine are just as contemptible and filthy as dogs… Swine are not only unclean animals but can be vicious and are capable of savage attacks against people. The wild boar of the wood was frequently met with in the woody parts of Palestine, especially in Mount Tabor. In Psalm 80:13 the powers that destroyed the Jewish nation are compared to wild boars and wild beasts of the field.”

Don’t Give Pearls to Dogs and Pigs

In Matthew 7:6, Jesus told us not to give holy pearls to humans, described as or compared with “dogs” and “swine,” lest they tear us in pieces.

The Bible compares the truth about the Kingdom of God with a precious pearl (Matthew 13:45–46). At the same time, “dogs” or “swine” describe debased and quarrelsome people, filled with anger and hostility toward God and His Law (Philippians 3:2; 2 Peter 2:22; Revelation 22:15).

Barnes has the following insightful comments regarding the meaning of this passage:

“Pearls… are used to denote the doctrines of the gospel. ‘Dogs’ signify people who spurn, oppose, and abuse that doctrine; people of special sourness and malignity of temper, who meet it like growling and quarrelsome curs… ‘Swine’ denote those who would trample the precepts underfoot; people of impurity of life; those who are corrupt, polluted, profane, obscene, and sensual; those who would not know the value of the gospel, and who would tread it down as swine would pearls… The meaning of this proverb, then, is, do not offer your doctrine to those violent and abusive people who would growl and curse you; nor to those especially debased and profligate who would not perceive its value, would trample it down, and would abuse you…”

Don’t Proselytize!

We are asked to let our light shine, by doing good works (Matthew 5:16). A light makes no noise—if it does, then something is wrong with it. We cannot convert a person—only God can do this (Romans 2:4). It is true that we are told to be prepared to give a defense or an answer to those who ask us about the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15)—but this addresses people who are genuinely interested. This is not to say that we could not try to sow a seed by making a point in a conversation—but we must be extremely careful not to do this with people who are hostile toward “our religion.” 

Even insofar as non-hostile people are concerned, we generally are to wait for them to express their interest, by asking, rather than “volunteering” to forcefully try to persuade them of our beliefs. It takes discernment to determine whether people are genuinely interested, or whether they just raise an issue for the purpose of strife and contention. Proverbs 17:14 says: “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.”

However, the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown gives us the following appropriate caution:

“Religion is brought into contempt, and its professors insulted, when it is forced upon those who cannot value it and will not have it. But while the indiscriminately zealous have need of this caution, let us be on our guard against too readily setting our neighbors down as dogs and swine, and excusing ourselves from endeavoring to do them good on this poor plea.”

Christ’s point is this: Don’t be too quick to judge and condemn (see the context of Matthew 7:6 with verses 1–5, cautioning against quick judgment of others, while at the same time ignoring our own shortcomings)—but don’t be naive and overlook blatant malicious attitudes and conduct, expressing hostility toward the Word and the LAW of God.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible has this to say in regard to the passage:

“Here the phrase is used in a metaphorical sense; and is generally understood of not delivering or communicating the holy word of God, and the truths of the Gospel, comparable to pearls, or the ordinances of it, to persons notoriously vile and sinful: to men, who being violent and furious persecutors, and impudent blasphemers, [who] are compared to ‘dogs’; or to such, who are scandalously vile, impure in their lives and conversations, and are therefore compared to swine… men should be cautious, and prudent, in rebuking and admonishing such persons for their sins, in whom there is no appearance or hope of success; yea, where there is danger of sustaining loss.”

The Bible warns us in Proverbs 9:7–8: “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you…”

Compare, too, the following statements in the Nelson Study Bible:

“Dogs and swine refer to people who are enemies of the gospel, as opposed to those who are merely unbelievers. Such enemies are to be left alone (see [Matthew] 15:14; 2 [Corinthians] 6:14–18). One example of such a person was Herod Antipas, who heard John gladly (see Mark 6:20), but then he beheaded him (see [Matthew] 14:1–12; Mark 6:14–28; Luke 9:7–9). Later when Christ stood before Herod, He said nothing (see Luke 23:8, 9). In the context of this verse, Herod had become a ‘dog’ or a ‘pig.’”

Note these additional comments in the Life Application Bible:

“It is futile to try to teach holy concepts to people who don’t want to listen and will only tear apart what we say. We should not stop giving God’s Word to unbelievers, but we should be wise and discerning in what we teach to whom, so that we will not be wasting our time.”

The Broadman Bible Commentary agrees, pointing out:

“Jesus is… alluding… to any person who is… unwilling to distinguish between what is holy and what is not, or between pearls and what is valueless. This saying sounds harsh, but it must be heard. Jesus… recognized that there were times when there was no opening for the gospel or for his ministry… there are times when [a Christian] can only remain silent or try to bring about a better climate for a later sharing… Three dangers threaten the Christian witness or minister who does not discern when to speak and when to keep silence: he may further damage the one he tries to help; he may try to force himself or his values upon another; and he may unnecessarily imperil himself and others.”

Public Proclamation

To an extent, Christ’s statement in Matthew 7:6 can even refer to the public preaching of the gospel by His Church. It cannot be applied, of course, in the sense that His Church is NO longer obligated to preach the gospel in all the world as a witness—just the opposite is true (Matthew 24:14)—but the passage has relevance insofar as the REACTION of those is concerned who hear the proclamation of the gospel message.

In Matthew 10:14, Christ told His disciples whom He had sent out to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God (see verse 7), to leave the house of unworthy people who would not receive nor hear the message. We also find that Paul, AFTER he had preached the gospel to the Jews, turned away from them and turned to the Gentiles, when the Jews rejected the message (compare Acts 13:44–46; 18:5–6).

When (Not) to Speak

It requires insight, discernment and prayer to be able to determine when to speak and when to be silent. In other words: To be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. However, people’s hostility to the words of God and especially the LAW of God is normally revealed very quickly. Somebody who HATES God’s commandments will express his malice in due course.

In that case, it is best to cease discussing God’s Truth with such a person, knowing that it will only lead to strife and contention (1 Timothy 6:3–5; Titus 3:9–10). A servant of God is told not to be engaged in such destructive conversation (1 Corinthians 11:16; 2 Timothy 2:23–24), lest he become affected by it too, giving in to the devouring hatred of his opponents and reacting in such a way as to allow his mouth to sin (Psalm 39:1).

Chapter 4—Beware of DOGS

What does Paul mean in his letter to the Philippians when he instructs them to “beware of dogs”?” In Philippians 3:2, Paul writes the following to the Philippians: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!” When understanding this admonition, it should be clear that the reference to dogs is not to be taken literally. In this passage, Paul is not warning people about animals; but rather, this is a warning to the Church in Philippi about individuals who are compared to dogs in a symbolic sense.

The behavior of people who are described as dogs appears throughout the Bible. In all examples, dogs are described in terms of lowliness. A person described as a dog takes on characteristics that are shameful, crude, despicable, and contrary to a godly Way of Life.

Peter describes false teachers as dogs in 2 Peter 2:22: “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’” This example points to the disgusting behavior common to dogs, and especially wild dogs which were discussed in the previous chapter, and it attributes it to people who return to a sinful way of life after attempting to turn away from it. 

Not only do we see that people are described as dogs, but we also see that the qualities of such behavior are repulsive. As we will discuss in the next chapter, dogs are also mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:18, alluding to the behavior of homosexuality and male prostitution, which is abominable in the judgment of God. From these examples we can conclude that one aspect of the warning about “dogs” is to beware of people who live and promote a sinful lifestyle in doctrine and deed.

In Isaiah’s prophecy to the nation of Israel, the leaders are described in unfavorable terms as well: “His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory” (Isaiah 56:10–11).

In the context of having responsibility and accountability for others, individuals who are described as dogs exhibit inconsiderate behavior, not taking care of others. Applied to the role of leadership for watchmen, this is condemned as failure.

In a prophecy about the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ in Psalm 22:16, another depiction of dogs describes Jesus’ abusers: “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet…” Knowing about the events leading up to the murder of Jesus, we can ascribe the violent and vitriolic behavior of the individuals involved in the beating and murder of Jesus to “dogs.” This behavior may also be interpreted as a description of Satan and his demons (compare Psalm 22:12–13). Certainly, the characteristics revealed in the Bible about people described as dogs can be applied to the accusers and abusers of Jesus. 

However, this example brings out the additional characteristic of violent behavior. Gnashing teeth, biting, and growling are behaviors common to dogs and also associated with violence against people working to uphold the Truth (compare Acts 7:54; Galatians 5:15; Psalm 59:6, 14). When describing individuals as dogs, an additional characteristic of meanness and violence may be applicable.

Bible commentaries support the evaluation of what it means for a person to be a dog. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines the word in part: “As the dog was an unclean animal, the terms ‘dog,’ ‘dog’s head,’ ‘dead dog,’ were used as terms of reproach or of humiliation.” From this correct interpretation, we can see that there is a connotation of lowliness and impropriety associated with people described as dogs. Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible has this to say about the reference to dogs in Philippians 3:2: “In New Testament times, dogs were hated scavengers. The term came to be used for all who had morally impure minds.” These commentaries support the interpretation that people who are described as dogs have behavior that is brazen in its disregard to God’s Way of Life.

In the context of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we see the individuals described as dogs mentioned alongside two other classes of people—evil workers and those promoting the doctrine of mutilation. Evil workers are malicious; those promoting a return to physical circumcision as a requirement for salvation discount the Sacrifice of Christ; and the dogs are indiscreet, violent, and self-seeking. Each of these types of people is warned about because they cause damage to the Church. A dog represents the promotion of a sinful way of living that is shameless and done in a manner that is confrontational and violent.

Today we can apply this same warning in our lives. As we see the world turn further and further away from God, we observe people behaving like dogs in our age. Confrontationally refusing to accept God’s Truth, our modern society can do damage to the peace and unity of the Church. We can also see that those who willfully behave as dogs will be excluded from the Kingdom of God and destroyed in the lake of fire.

Dogs Outside

Revelation 22:15 tells us that “outside” of the new Jerusalem will be “dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolators, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

The Greek word for “outside,” “exo,” can also mean “without” or “away from.” Those who are “bad”; that is those who commit the sins, as described in Revelation 22:15, as a way of life, without a willingness to repent, will be “outside” or “without” or “away from” the holy city and the Kingdom of God. Many Scriptures show that those people will not inherit or enter the Kingdom (compare 1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:19–21; and Ephesians 5:5). Please note that the lists of sins, as set forth in 1 Corinthians, Galatians and Ephesians, are very similar to the sins mentioned in Revelation 21:8 and 22:15, including sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery, and murders. All these lists address the same kind of people.

Christ said in Luke 13:28: “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out [and thrown into the lake of fire, compare Matthew 13:41–42].”

Moffat translates Revelation 22:15 in this way: “Begone, you dogs, you sorcerers, you vicious creatures, you murderers, you idolaters, you who love and practice falsehood, every one of you.”

Other translations render the Greek word “exo”; i.e., “outside” or “without,” as “excluded.” Those who refuse to repent will be EXCLUDED from access to the Kingdom of God and the holy city. They will be destroyed in the lake of fire which is the second and final death, from which there is no resurrection back to life.

Seeing how contrary dog-like behavior is to a life dedicated to righteousness, it is clear that we must beware of dogs today so we can avoid having damage done to the Church, while protecting ourselves from being influenced by such sinful behavior, so that we do not conduct ourselves in the same manner.

Chapter 5—The Price of a Dog

In Deuteronomy 23:18, we read: “You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the LORD your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.”

Alternate renditions of this verse might make the intended meaning a little bit clearer.

The New International Version says: “You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.”

The Living Bible says: “No prostitutes are permitted in Israel, either men or women; you must not bring to the Lord any offering from the earnings of a prostitute or a homosexual, for both are detestable to the Lord your God.”

Most commentaries are in agreement that the wages from male and female prostitutes were forbidden to be brought into the house of God; and that the reference to “dog” in the above-cited passage must be understood as applying to male prostitutes or homosexuals (sodomites).

For instance, the Ryrie Study Bible says: “… dog. A Hebrew epithet for a male prostitute or sodomite.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible comments:

“Thou shall not bring the hire of a whore… Which was given to her as a reward for the use of her body… or the price of a dog… figuratively of a sodomite, comparable to a dog, for his uncleanness and impudence… and the price of such an one the gain he got by the prostitution of his body to unnatural lusts; and so as the hire of a whore answers to one in Deuteronomy 23:17, the price of a dog to a sodomite here.”

The Geneva Study Bible states: “…Forbidding that any income gained from evil things should be applied to the service of God.”

What are being addressed here are “wages” or “earnings” from female and male prostitutes, as well as homosexuals (sodomites), which wages were earned in the pursuance of their “business” activities. These wages were not permitted to be accepted as tithes or offerings in God’s house—even in compliance with a “vow” to tithe faithfully to God and give Him offerings.

No Offerings from Sale of a Dog?

The translation of the Authorized Version (King James Bible) could be confusing to some, which reads, “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

From this some surmised that the Scripture prohibits tithing or giving an offering from the sale of a literal dog. But this is not what is meant. The “Personal Correspondence Department” of the [now defunct] Worldwide Church of God addressed and answered this question as follows:

“The Hebrew word for ‘dog’ in this verse means ‘a male prostitute’ (See Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary to the Old Testament, by Alexander Harkavy, page 294). The Moffat and other modern versions make it clear that this verse is speaking of sexually corrupt humans. Also notice Revelation 22:15, ‘For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers…’ This refers to various categories of unrepentant and degenerate humans who will not be able to enter God’s Kingdom.

“Literal dogs, on the other hand, are merely a part of the animal creation, which God has given man dominion over (Gen. 1:26). To tithe the income from the sale of a dog or any other animal is