성경연구

2010.12.27 21:30

Lesson 1 The Lamp of Life

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path"(Psalm 119:105).

  What is life? Why was man created? Why was man brought into this world? Where did he come from and where is he going? Which road must he choose? Why is this road of life so difficult, unclear and contradicting? These puzzling questions often confuse us. Why is it so? It is because the road of life is uncertain, difficult, and empty. Back in the olden days of Israel there lived a wise king named Solomon who lived his life in luxury and experienced all kinds of worldly happiness. He wrote "Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever"(Ecclesiastes 1:2-4). James in the New Testament said, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes"(James 4:13-14). These two Bible verses tell us that life is uncertain and empty.
Despite all the worldly pleasures and all the wealth, King Solomon had felt emptiness and wondered how much more pain and suffering would the poor and sick people have to bear. Every man rich or poor cries when he is brought into the world, grows old and gets sick. This seems to be the inevitable destiny of every human being.
If this is so what can fill up the emptiness of a man's life?
Science may bring a man to the moon but it cannot fill the emptiness inside nor can it stop death that is each person's fate.  Only a supreme being can solve our problems and bring religion into the world.
 

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  Religion is the act in which man seeks a supreme being, God for true happiness. In Chinese, the word religion is translated as the top of teachings or the original instructions. Thus religion is an answer to our questions and a guide or a set of instructions on what a man must do. Man cannot live without religion. Man has always had religion from the beginning. A French psychologist once said, "Man is a religious animal" which means a man is the only mammal that can have faith. A man gets hungry, has lust and has a will to exist. At the same time man has faith by instinct and is by nature religious. Even an Atheist seeks help from God when he is in trouble and is in desperate need of help. The Creator has given us the gift to communicate, the privilege to understand Him, the privilege to serve Him and the privilege to interact with Him.
 

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  In our world there are many different kinds of religion and religious sects. Are we allowed to believe in any kind of religion we choose to? People say that even though the road of each religion may be different, their final goals are common. Others say that religion is just a means for social evangelism and that heaven and everlasting life is just a fairy tale.  
If this were true, then religion would not be religion and it would miss the true meaning of evangelism. If a religion cannot provide hope and a road to everlasting life then it is not a true religion. The wise King Solomon once said "There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end leads to death"(Proverbs 14:12). Every religion is claimed to be true but if it cannot provide a way to eternal life, it will lead to death. This is why man must search for the religion that can lead him to eternal life. The prophet in the Old Testament wrote "And the Lord said, Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and you will find rest for your souls"(Jeremiah 6:16) The ancient path to eternal life (focus on the ancient road), the way that makes a man righteous, the road of hope, which gives you peace and security, is the true religion.
 

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  Religion can be divided into two kinds. The first is a religion that serves nature, "the natural religion" and the worshiping of idols. Second, there is the "revelational religion" which is a religion created through a revelation from God. Religion can also be classified according to which God they serve: Pantheism, polytheism, and monotheism. Through the size of the religion it also can be divided into racial religion, national religion, and a universal. A universal religion is recognized to be superior to racial religion. The religion that serves only God who created the heavens and the earth is superior to those religions that serve many different gods. Christianity can be recognized to be the religion that fulfills these requirements and is considered to be superior, the true and authoritative religion.  
 

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 Our life is like walking on a dark path without a lamp, not knowing where we are going each day. As we walk this dark road we stumble on a stone or fall in a ditch and feel pain and despair. To prevent this we must carry a lamp to see the road ahead of us. What is this lamp? Long ago in Israel a poet sang "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path"(Psalm 119:105). This Word is the Bible, the Bible of Christ that is the light for my path. 
President Woodrow Wilson once said, "When you read the Bible you will know it is the Word of God because it holds the key to your mind, happiness, and duty. Also, as the President of the United States I think the problems I face can be solved by how diligently I read the Bible." J. Edgar Hoover also said "The Bible is the guide to a perfect life. It is the nutrition to our soul. It is the inspiration to a righteous life." As mentioned above, great men who lived before us recognized the value of the Bible through experience. We also can live a life of security and happiness if we value the Bible and seek for its truth. Let us carefully study what the Bible is and what it has to offer.

TAG •

2010.12.27 21:29

Lesson 2 Bible, of Word Life

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“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me"(John 5:39).  
 
  In the previous lesson we studied about the Bible being the lamp that lights our path. There is no book like the Bible, which had a great effect on man throughout history. The Bible was the most read and studied book in history and is still the number one best seller. However, there are people that think of the Bible as only being a book of morality and ethics, but the Bible is more than a book that teaches how to live one's life or a book that has proverbs. Rather it is a priceless book with great value. It is the book that can change a man's eternal destiny.  
 

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  The Scriptures is the Book of 66 different records. The first 39 books of the Bible are known to be the Old Testament and the 27 other books are known as the New Testament. The Old Testament is a historical record of the Israelites and the will of God before the birth of Christ. The New Testament is a record of God's will through the life of Jesus. Simply, the Scriptures show the unconditional love of God towards men from the beginning of the world to the end of the world.
The Old Testament was recorded mostly in Hebrew and part of it in Aramaic and the New Testament was recorded in Greek. There are about 30 different people who participated in recording the Old Testament including Moses and 10 different people who left records for the New Testament. The people who wrote the Scriptures include: a great monarch, respectable political leaders, public officers, military officers, scholars, doctors, farmers, shepherds, and fishermen. The time period of the recording of the Old Testament was from 1500 B.C. to 400 B.C. and the New Testament was written in 50 years from 50 A.D. to 100 A.D. The recording of the Scriptures from the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, to the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, took about 1600 years.
 

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  The Book of Moses or the Pentateuch is the first five books of the Bible and were recorded about 3500 years ago by a prophet named Moses. It is also known to be the book of the law and it includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It contains the laws of the ancestors and instructions of God. When we read the book of Genesis we can clearly see that it is not a work of man but a work of God. When we read the book of Genesis with a clear mind and soul we know that it is not a made up story or a fairy tale.
The instructions found in these books of Moses were practiced not only by the Jewish nation but also by the rest of the world. We can see that the first five books of the Bible is one of the most influential books in the world.
 

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  After Moses, the prophets of Israel recorded messages from God. They too were inspired and instructed by the Holy Spirit.   
They are the 5 books of Major Prophets and 12 books of the Minor Prophets, which were published in B.C. 400 and became a part of the Old Statement.  
Therefore, they are called in the New Testament, 'Prophet' or 'the writings of the prophets.'
 

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  The Pentateuch and the Writings of the Prophets are recorded in the Old Testament, but there is also poetry and literature. The Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles record the history of the Israelites. We can see that when the Israelites obeyed God's Commandments they were blessed and when they disobeyed His commands they were punished. In the world it is the same. We are rewarded when we follow the rules and punished when we don't. This method gives us warning and makes us perceive the truth.  
It is about people who have had surprising experiences by God's grace, even in the beautiful garden or in the humble, thorny field, sing songs of praise and glory to God.  
These are the songs and poems of Psalms and Songs of Solomon. In addition, there are Proverbs of the great Solomon and Ecclesiastes that is about the philosophy of life and great teaching. Job is about the theory of the universe, and Ruth and Esther are stories about the passionate love for the nations or simplicity of human nature.  
In all of the stories above, we can see how God protected and saved his people from disaster and difficulty, and we can accept the Bible as a solemn and noble reflection of God's deep love.
 

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  What about the New Testament?  
It is the record of the Jesus' life and the proof of who he is. The first four books are named Gospels, filled with good news and are the records of his life and teachings that His disciples wrote. Second, Acts is the record of His disciples' experiences. It is also about Peter who was the first disciple of Jesus and Paul who changed his religion to be a preacher for God.  
There are Letters that were written by Paul and others. The last book is Revelation, filled with prophecy by the inspiration of Jesus.   
Therefore, the Bible that starts with "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"(Genesis 1:1) ends with "Yes, I am coming soon"(Revelation 22:20).
 

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  As we said above, the Old Testament is the story of Israel. So in the Christian church, they think it is not proper and worthy in the New Testament age. But, Jesus said "This is what I told you while I was still with you; everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms"(Luke 24:44).
All the ceremonies and worship in the Old Testament age symbolize the redemption of Jesus for us while all the prophecies of the prophets are about Jesus' coming. Without the keys of the New Testament, we can't understand the Old Testament and vice-versa. They go hand in hand. Therefore we must study both testaments to understand completely; we can find the truth by comparing them.  
 

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  We said that the Pentateuch and prophecies were recorded by the instruction and inspiration of God. Actually, the Bible was not created by human hands but by God's will.   
Therefore, Jesus said, "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes"(Psalm 118:22,23). 
All the books in the world say something about human knowledge and thought, but "All scripture is God-breathed"(2 Timothy 3:16), as the New Testament said strictly.   
And it said, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit"(2 Peter 1:21).
In the beginning, it is recorded in Revelation that "The revelation of Jesus Christ"(Revelation 1:1), which reveals that it was not written by John.  
Further, the writers of the 66 books of the Bible always said "God said", " The word of the Lord", and something like that, they are repeated more than 3,800 times in the Old Testament. These expressions are not found in other religious scriptures.  
If it were artificial, the Bible would not have been respected as a great book for thousands of years.
 

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  For what and for whom was the Bible written? "The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:15-17).
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.(John 5:39).
The former is John's word, and the latter is Jesus'. We can conclude from these two sentences that the Bible is edifying men through Jesus Christ for them to be saved. Through the Bible, we can understand human nature and can know the key to salvation. In other words, God has given us the Bible because He wants us to believe in Jesus, the Savior of men and the embodiment of love.  
John said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"(John 3:16).
We can see God through Jesus because this is how He has shown his love.  
There is no way to reach God except through Jesus. Therefore, Jesus said himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"(John 14:6).
So how valuable is the Bible, which makes us know about Jesus?
 

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  Time goes by and the age changes. Everything changes. Things that are true today will be wrong tomorrow. Knowledge and ideology can become worthless.   
Fame is not permanent, but all the teachings and truths in the Bible are glorious forever.  
Peter said, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever"(1 Peter 1:27).
The wealth and the power of human being wither and fall like the flowers. Look at the remains in the Babylon. Look at the coliseum of Rome. The remains of power that made Israel and Christian church endure such hardship. Christianity spreads into the world, and the Bible is known to all the nations. There is nothing that can be compared to the Bible. Voltaire, a French atheist, said, "The bible will be thrown away." Ingersoll, an American skeptic said, "In 10 years later, there will be no one who reads the Bible."   
During the French Revolution the Bible was abused and burned, but after four years the Bible helped straighten French society. When England was suffering from poverty and chaos, John Wesley started the Methodist Movement with the Bible and went to different parts of the country and spread the Gospel, which helped reconstruct the country. The fact that the Bible and not politics and education changed the cannibals of Africa and the Pacific islands into pure people is something to keep in mind.   
In the Bible it is recorded "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God"(1 Peter 1:23).
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart"(Hebrew 4:12).
The Bible is the word of life, which can inspire our souls and spirits. Anyone who reads the Bible and becomes inspired will be a new man and will taste the sweetness and beauty of the word. A long time ago, a researcher of the Bible was inspired and wrote a poem, "How sweet are your words to my tongue, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"(Psalms 119:103).
We are more inspired and interested as we read and study the deep meaning of the Bible.
I ask that you search for the deep meaning and sweetness and beauty of the word while you are studying these books.

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"God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding." (Jeremiah 10:12)
 
  It has been the question and interest in the minds of many how the world was created. How the plants and animals were put on this earth and how man was created. The question was not just out of curiosity. It set a foundation on how to view the world and how to live the right life. We will study the three ways that men interpret this question.
 

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  First, there is Thomas Henry Huxley who claimed "agnosticism" which meant, How do we know what happened in the past? Secondly, there was Charles Darwin who created and claimed the evolution theory, which claims everything was created from a single form or from a chaotic status (Big Bang). Thirdly, as said in the Bible, God created the heavens and the earth. Scientifically the third theory is impossible to prove. Natural science relies on facts and but how are we to prove the fact that Superior being just created the universe from nothing, with nothing? God said "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand." (Job 38:4) How are we to prove the creation of the earth when we were created before we had any kind of scientific tools? The creation of the world is not something that can be studied in a lab by scientists using the scientific method. The only way to understand the creation of the universe is by using inductive or deductive reasoning, but it cannot be guaranteed that it will conclude with a precise and correct answer.
 

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  The evolution theory was studied back in the Hellas era; but was released by an English biologist named Charles Darwin, who wrote the book, "Origin of the Species." The evolution theory is based on assumption and believes in the survival of the fittest which means creatures that can adapt and survive with its natural environment continues on with life and others just disappear. We can only say that evolution is just another theory and cannot be proven. "The trends of the evolutionary theory" are recorded in the encyclopedia published by the Pyungbum Co. in Japan and it says " The evolutionary theory is not accepted widely by people in the field of biology. There are many people who believe in the theory who still research the work but find the data to prove the evolution theory is insufficient to be proven fact." We must be aware that the evolution theory is not truth. It only claims that an unexplainable organism evolved into a human being. In the matter of the origin of the world, claiming agnosticism we don't even have to consider the matter nor can we find a satisfactory conclusion in the theory of evolution. Then there is only one more matter to research about which is the theory of creation by God in the Bible. It is a more reasonable method to find the truth about creation through a religious or philosophical way rather than through a scientific method.
 

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  In Genesis 1:1 it says "God created the heavens and the earth." It is simple, clear and to the point. Also, in the book of Psalms it says, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth"(Psalms 33:6). There is no contradiction. It only accepts and claims the truth.  Let us see how long it took for the world to be created. In Genesis 1:2 it says, "Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water." We reckon that before there was earth it was a dark, empty space and a lot of water.
 

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  In the first day God said "Let there be light" and there was light. "God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning- the first day"(Genesis 1:4,5). The concept of this morning and evening, day and night is a result of the rotation of the earth in a 24 hour time period. However, some scholars claim that a day in the creation week actually signifies thousands or millions of years, so that the creation story may be in harmony with the evolution theory.  This kind of understanding, however, is contradictory to the Bible, and seems caused by the doubt of God’s creating power, and by the lack of confidence on the Bible as the word of God.
 

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  "So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it"(Genesis 1:7). God created the air and separated the water from the earth. There was an evaporated water band, so the temperature was same all over the world without any separation of the tropics and the frigid zones. The water band that surrounded the earth is supposed to have disappeared after Noah's flood. (One piece of evidence is a body of the mammoth that was found in Siberia. The mammoth is a tropical elephant and it was found frozen under an ice field).
 

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  God set the water under the sky and water was put to one side and on the other was dry land appeared and the land produced vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees.
 

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  "And let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth"(Genesis 1:15). On this day the sun, moon, and stars were created to give light to the earth.
 

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  God created the fish of the sea and birds of the air.
 

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  God created living creatures of land: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals. God created the wild animals according to their kind, the livestock according to their kind, and all the creatures that move along the ground. (Genesis 1:25) This proves Mendel's law, which claims that living creatures do not change into another species; it only changes to a certain extent.
 

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  God said; "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground"(Genesis 1:26-28). Man was created to be the most valuable, created as example of God's love. When we are aware of this fact our view of life changes.  
 

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  God created the world in six days. "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning- the sixth day"(Genesis 1:31). God created the heavens and the earth in six days and God set aside the seventh day as a memorial of creation. The seventh day was given to man to remind them of God's work, worship Him and be blessed through praising Him. Therefore if man had kept the Sabbath, holy distrust and theories such as atheism or evolution would never have been brought up.
 
 

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  We need to remember that Genesis is not a man made story but a recorded facts. There are recorded dates, real places and people even the genealogy of the time. Every record expresses its fidelity in it.
 

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  As the field of science developed and materialism grew, the evolution theory and atheism have spread widely all over the world. People even came up with an idea that religion is a superstition and said " God is just a man made idea and is only imaginary." In the history of materialism, their belief is that they do not believe in things that they can't see. However, a lot of undeniable evidence points out, that God really exists.
 

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  First of all, the human conscience acknowledges the existence of God. Furthermore we, the Korean people accepted and believed God to be the Ruler of the world because we know that our minds feel satisfaction only when we trust in the Lord almighty. Every human being has the spiritual knowledge to distinguish and understand God. In the New Testament it is said, "Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them"(Romans 1:19). There are experiences in life that cannot be seen through the naked eye, but can be felt in our hearts and thought about in our minds. Through these experiences we cannot deny the existence of God.
 

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  Secondly, by looking at the world around us, we cannot deny that God exists because there is no result without a cause and there is nothing without a Creator. There was once a man named Robert Ingersoll, a believer of agnosticism who visited the home of Henry Wad, a famous preacher. Inside the living room was a celestial globe in which the heavens were drawn and the man asked the preacher, " This is fantastic, who made this?" and the preacher said, " It came into being by itself." Ingersoll was not clear about the answer, but later he answered his own question. It is difficult to comprehend that the awesome and perfectly created heavens just came into being one day, but a reasonable explanation is that a Superior Being, God created the heavens and the earth. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities have been clearly seen- being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse"(Romans 1:20).
"Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all this? He who brings things out the starry host one by one, and called them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." (Isaiah 40:26) As said in these two verses, when we see all the wonders of the universe we cannot deny God's divinity and unlimited power.
 

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  In the first verse of the Bible there is a solemn record; "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"(Genesis 1:1). Does this verse set a firm foundation of belief for our confused minds? This verse establishes a clear view of life and a view of the world for all Christians.
 

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  We as Christians must seek for the true God and worship Him only. There are many gods in this world, which is the true God?  "But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God-the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. Tell them this: These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens. But God made the earth by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding"(Jeremiah 10:10-12). There are many gods in this world, but if their gods did not create the heavens and the earth it is not a true God and does not deserve respect nor does it need to be worshipped.

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“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"(John 3:16).

  Men were made in God's image and endowed with a dignity and dissimilarity with animals according to God's special management. We were created with a mind to understand God's will and character and with a sturdy appearance. Then what has corrupted our minds? What happened to the world that God saw to be good, and why is the world full of pain, sorrow and misery? This is because sin has entered into this world.
 

 
  How did sin enter into this world, and by whom? Jesus said to Jew, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44) John also said, "He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning"(1 John 3:8). Sin entered the world through the devil and those who are sinful are of the devil, those who lie, hate one another and have too much greed are of the devil's followers. People these days who respect science and follow materialism claim atheism and believe that there is no good God or an evil God. However, but the Bible clearly states that there is a God and also an evil god, the devil. In the New Testament the word devil is recorded 34 times, and the name Satan is recorded 37 times so he was mentioned a total 71 times! Therefore we cannot deny the existence of God or the existence of an evil god, Satan. In the book of Psalms, King David said, "The fool says in his heart there is no God"(Psalms 53:1). It says those who deny the existence of God cannot be regarded as wise men.
 

 
  Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven"(Luke 10:18). In the book of Isaiah it is written, "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, " I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to the grave, to the depth of the pit"(Isaiah 14:12-15).
In the verse above it says the name Lucifer meant "morning star, the son of the dawn." Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in heaven and received Gods utmost love and was the leader of the angels, but he became unsatisfied and rebelled to be in a higher position. His rebellion changed his name from Lucifer, which meant the morning star, to Satan and was cast down to earth along with 1/3 of the angels in heaven. "And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him"(Revelation 10:7-9). In the verse above Michael is Christ, the Son of God. Lucifer was jealous of His position and complained, but God admonished him and searched into his heart for repentance of his immorality, but his complaints grew bigger which led to betraying God. Michael could no longer tolerate Lucifer's complaints, which broke the peace and harmony of heaven and drove Lucifer and his angels out of heaven. The fact that this all happened is very puzzling. We must remember the fact that God created everything man as well as angels with a gift of choice. God wants us to obey and follow him because we choose to and not because we are forced to. To know how to love others and obey is a value and a privilege that can make a society truly happy. Therefore, in heaven the most fundamental principles are freedom and love and in Satan's world oppression and oddness is the fundamental principles.  
 

 
  Our God of love made a beautiful garden to show his love and affection to the first human beings, Adam and Eve. The garden was created for them to enjoy and live happily together. As parents who visit their child's home to see if they are living happily and wish them to, God also promised his love forever to them and truly wished for their happiness. In the Book of Genesis it says, "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground- trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four major tributaries. The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And He commanded him, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die"(Genesis 2:8-10, 15-17). God prepared the garden for the couple to be truly happy and satisfied. God told them, "You must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil;" not because He spared the tree, nor because the fruits were poisonous. He commanded them because God wanted them to recognize the relationship between God and man that He is the Creator and the Lord of all things in the universe.
 

 
  Adam and Eve were not loyal to God and were disobedient. Satan, who was banned from heaven tricked Adam and Eve. In the Bible it is recorded, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die." "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it"(Genesis 3:1-6). The serpent that appears here is the ancient serpent mentioned in the book of Revelation, which was the devil or Satan who wanted to take over the universe. After being banished from heaven, Satan lied and said "You will not surely die." trying to bring man into his side and interfere with God's administration. Satan transformed into a serpent, which was a beautiful creature before it was cursed, and tricked Eve in disobeying God and believing his false words. Satan still deceives us, and the entire world trying to make us disobey God also. How many of us are fooled and deceived by Satan, being kept away from God!
 

 
  Betraying God, disobeying Him, who created the Garden of Eden for them and trusting Satan was a great treason against God. Breaking their vow to God was like cutting the cord of God's love. As a result of their sin, man was cursed, the road of eternal life was blocked, and pain and misery was to follow them the rest of their lives. In Genesis it is recorded, "To the woman he said "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. " To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it.' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. (Genesis 3: 16-19)
"After he drove man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life"(Genesis 3:24). As a result of their disobedience Adam and Eve lost their privilege to live in the Garden of Eden and eat from the Tree of Life. They realized that the world became mortal when they saw the flowers wither and the leaves fall from the trees. Falling farther and farther away from God made man wicked and his body weak. This was not a result of evolution but a result of degeneration. Satan came into power to rule the earth and rule over man. Jealousy, war, misery, starvation, fear, disease, and death, became the fate of man and their hearts were filled with lies and evil. Such a phenomenon was far from God's plan when he created man and He was not going to let this continue. So God cleansed the world of sin to changed it to a world full of love and righteousness as he planned.
 

 
  These days there have been many bus and airplane accidents. Many people go on trips not knowing they are inevitable to accidents. It is man's nature to see what's ahead of him, but God has the ability so see the future. God foresaw the terrible result of sin and planned to save man from sin. God the Father and the Son had the "peace discussion"(Zechariah 6:13). As man committed sin and became depraved, the Son of God came into the world personally in the appearance of man, and served the human race to save us from our fate of death. He was nailed to the cross to give man another chance at eternal life. The salvation of man was in God's plan. Jesus will be born as a man to conquer Satan, "the offspring of a woman will crush the head of the serpent"(Genesis 3:15). God also taught man to sacrifice a lamb and one day the Creator will come to be sacrificed. Through this practice will show our faith towards our Savior. John the Baptist said about Jesus, "Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"(John 1:29). The apostle John said, "all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world"(Revelation 13:8). The innocent lamb, which had been sacrificed to God for the atonement from the beginning of the world, was a symbol of Jesus being nailed to the cross. Therefore, those who offered sacrifice to a deity in the Old Testament meant that they believed in God and were forgiven.

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 “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord"(Luke 2:11).
 

 
  Christianity is a religion of love and God of Christianity is God of love. John a disciple of Jesus said, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love"(1 John 4:8). If we study all parts of the Bible we will start recognizing that we can summarize it as 'Love'. The Bible teaches us not only to love each other but also how much God loves us.  
Religions other than Christianity, especially nature religions, which serve idols, view God as very furious and strict being. They believe that if there is some fault in their behavior or they treat god neglectfully, they would immediately get severe curse or somehow be punished. Among idol believers, there are more people who serve god because they want to escape from his wrath and curse than those who want to get blessed. This trend is a common thread in many religions and their believers in this world. However Christianity isn't among these religions. It teaches that God is love and emphasizes that the principle of the control of the earth is love. And it expresses that the relationship between God and man is the most intimate one.
 

 
  We don't express that the relationship between God and man is long distance like a heaven and the earth but it is the relationship between a loving father and his son. Man was parted far from God when he was disobedient, but the Bible teaches that when Jesus came to this world, God and man reunified and recovered the relationship of intimacy as a father and his son. John described this graceful and peculiar meaning as follows. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is it did not know him. Dear friends now we are children of God"(1 John 3:1,2).
This text, showed the impression about God's endless love. It's unfortunate that the world doesn't believe in God or understand his followers, and their pride and self-confidence as his followers. God really accepts those who believe in Jesus as a Savior and takes them as his children, and he opens to them the path to true happiness.  
Therefore even though the world doesn't know God and believe in Jesus, those who do believe understand their status as children of God is a privilege, and are pleased and satisfied because of that.
 

 
  God sent his only son Jesus, with whom God has been together from eternity, to the world and let him die on the cross for the sins of human beings, who had no way out but to die and be destroyed, and take them as his loving children. When we know this, we feel deeply impressed by the big sacrifice and sincere love. John wrote about this, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"(John 3:16). Surprising isn't it? We can't understand, with our imaginations, the sincere love that God let his one and only Son die to save man. Man, who was to perish for his disobedience, and save him and let him have eternal life.
 

 
  Then, was there any other way that Almighty God wouldn't have to give his Son over to death? Generally the public righteousness is not controlled by a private one but follows a principle. It's public righteousness not to change a promise and a law once it is set.  
Human beings must die because of the principle, "When you eat of it you surely die"(Genesis 2:17). It's extending the unfortunate event forever to live eternally with a seed of disobedience. Because the nature of sin was inherited to the descendants and they also committed sin, and there is no one without sin. So the whole world is full of sin nowadays. Therefore all human beings have a destiny of death. However, God couldn't stand seeing the human beings, who he had made by himself and wanted to live with happily forever, dying.  
Therefore a plan was made to let man live forever, by paying for man's sin and mending the nature of man's sin. God sent his son, Jesus to the world, let him change man's spirit and die on the cross to compensate the sin of man. This is the peculiar truth that shows his public righteousness and unconditional love.
 

 
  Because there was only one way, God experienced this hardship. Why there was only this way? There was no man who can compensate for man's sin. This is because there was no man without sin. And there wasn't any man who could carry the burden of the sin all human beings. This is because there was no man who had same value of all human beings. Even great men like Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad or Socrates, were also born with heredity and character of sin as the descendents of Adam. Therefore even though they did good things, they couldn't escape from their destiny of the sin inherited from their ancestors. However, Jesus is different from the average man. He has humanity as well as divinity. He is the divine Son of God. He created the world with God- with his hands he created the human race. Therefore there was no one else who can correct our true character and compensate for our sins.  
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross"(Philippians 2:6-8).
"He is the image of the invisible God the first born over all creation... all things were created by him and for him.... and in him all things hold together"(Colossians 1:15-17). Because of this, an apostle Peter cried the following loudly in front of a crowd of thousands.  "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved"(Act 4:12).
No other one but Jesus can saved us from sin and the result of sin. Therefore God sent his beloved son to this world for doomed human beings. Now, let's study how the Son of God came to the world with human nature.
 

 
  At the far west of Asia near the Mediterranean Sea lay the province of Palestine. There was a town called Nazareth in Galilee the north district of the country.  
Joseph, a carpenter lived there and was engaged to a Virgin Mary. Then one day Joseph heard a strange rumor. This is recorded in Bible as follows. "His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him an a dream and said, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit"(Matthew 1:18-20).
Here the details of the story are not recorded but the angel must have had Joseph understand that what is conceived in Mary is "a descendent of woman" who God promised early, and the Messiah Israel have been looking forward to waiting, or let him recognize the word which a prophet Isaiah said 700 years ago, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel"(Isaiah 7:14), and let him free from the doubt and be sure about the Messiah('Messiah' is Hebrew language and same as 'Christ' in Hellas. That means King so, Jewish people used to this as Savior. And 'Immanuel' means 'God is with us'). The angel said to Joseph that, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). (The meaning of Jesus is 'Jehovah is Savior'). So Joseph didn't hesitate to take Mary as the angel of God told him.  
Meanwhile, an angel appeared to Virgin Mary and gave her the following news:  
"Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.... you will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus"(Luke 1:28, 31).  
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I'm a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy spirit will come upon you, and the power on the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God"(Luke 1:34, 35)".
Mary also thought it was strange and was afraid, but after listening to the precise explanation of an angel, she realized what an honor it was that the Messiah, who all the Israel people wanted and waited, would be born through her and expressed her faith with courtesy. "I'm the Lord's servant, may it be as you have said"(Luke 1:38).  
With the modern science, it cannot be possible and understood that a virgin who has never been with a man has a baby. But in the Bible, a lot of these supernatural miracles recorded. Furthermore, in actual life there are a lot of odd things that cannot be explained. So is it okay that we deny all the things that we cannot explain? God who created the world with the word can do anything. Like David, we'd better confess with courtesy that; "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain"(Psalm 139:6).
 

 
  It in the middle of the census set-up in Bethlehem, that the young couple, Joseph and Mary went to their regal domicile Bethlehem to register their family. But because of a lot of people, not only inn but also all the houses and town are full of people. They couldn't find any place to stay and had to spend the night in a stable. Mary gave birth to Jesus and wrapped him with swaddling cloths and lay him down in a manager that night. At the same time there were some shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks and studying on a hill outside the city of Bethlehem. They were tired of the chaos of the world at that time and were looking forward to the Messiah who would change the world. Then suddenly an angel came and shed the bright light all around and they were terrified.
The angel said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be the sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger"(Luke 2:10-12).  
This sound of praise which spread out widely through broad hills and valleys, songs of blessings that would come through Jesus. There is peace and calm in those who accept Jesus. There will be only the peace not conflict when Jesus is in control. Jesus is the "King of Peace".
The shepherds entered into the city of Bethlehem and found baby Jesus wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger and bowed to him, and worshipped his s the angel had instructed.
And from a far eastern country, doctors who recognized that the Savior would be born when they saw the strange star, came to Bethlehem, and worshiped the baby Savior and gave him very valuable gifts: gold, fragrance and myrrh and so on, and returned home. They didn't forget the words of old writings, "A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel"(Numbers 24:17).

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"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost"(Luke 19:10)
 
"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law"(Galatians 4:4).
  When the fullness time has came, God gave us his son. It was the plan that He had made when He created this world with His Son. If human beings would sin, he will send His Son to this world to save the humanity. This was the plan of Salvation. Finally, according to plan, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judah, which was the center of the whole world. The Prophet Micah predicted, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are in form of old, from ancient times"(Micah 5:2). And was for the beginning of Savior's ministry, we can see the exact timing of it in Daniel (Cf. Daniel 9:25-27). Therefore, Jesus, our Savior was born in the expected place, at the expected time, in the most humble of circumstances.
 

 
  Immediately following their visit, doctors went back to their country; and Joseph went to Egypt not to this own home following God's command.
This was because Herod was trying to find the baby who came as a King of Judah. He was afraid of losing his crown. After he died, Joseph and his family returned to Nazareth.
"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men"(Luke 2:40, 52).
This is all that was recorded of young Jesus by Luke. It is simple but it is a good description of how he grew up in the glory of God. As Jesus grew up with wisdom and stature, his character was also very gentle and beautiful. His physical and mental abilities were well balanced and developed. He liked to serve and to be kind to everyone.
Moreover, he had earnestness and patience. His mother was always watching him with care and always prayed that she could rear him as God desired. Young Jesus was taught the stories of the Bible at her knees. So Jesus knew the Bible very well although he didn't go to the school of the rabbis. The year he became 12 years old, he went to Jerusalem with his parents to attend the Passover Feast. Although His parents were returning home afterwards, He remained there and discussed philosophy and many things with the rabbis in Jerusalem.
"After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers"(Luke 2:46,47).
The 12-year old Jesus surprised all the intellectual rabbis with his wise questions and marvelous answers.
 

 
  Until he became thirty, Jesus worked with his own hands like his father, Joseph. His parents were poor, so he experienced pain and poverty. He had to work every day but he took the burdens of the household with joy. He never spent the days gaining pleasure or meaningless things.
By the way, Nazareth, the city where Jesus grew up, was a very sinful village. People even asked; Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?  However Jesus stayed far away from sin while he was living there. He carefully guarded his purity, so he never did anything wrong. He had so much love and sympathy that he helped the poor, cheers the discouraged, comfort the suffering, and cared for the weak women and children.
Therefore Bible said; "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin"(Hebrew 4:15).
Jesus lived a sinless life to be our example even in His humble life in Nazareth.
 

 
  The people of Judah entered society at the age of 30. Therefore, Jesus was also baptized to begin His mission at this pivotal age. When he came to be baptized, John recognized in Him purity. The very atmosphere of His presence was holy and awe-inspiring. John knew and felt it. Among the people that had gathered about him at the Jordan River, only Jesus had this holy atmosphere.
When John thought he was the promised one the Jews had been waiting for, the Holy Spirit confirmed it. Jesus didn't have to receive baptism on his account, because he was sinless.
Baptism is a ceremony that symbolizes a confession of guilt. But Jesus came to this world to be an example, so he had to be baptized.
John baptized him at the Jordan River, by putting his whole body into the water. When he was coming up out of the water, the Holy spirit descended on him in the form of a dove, they heard a holy voice from Heaven, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased"(Matthew 3:17). For this John could confirm that Jesus was a Messiah in certain. So he told the multitude, "Look, the Lamb of God"(John 1:36).
 

 
  After being baptized, Jesus went to the wilderness to receive power and contemplate his work and plan. He fasted and prayed for forty days and nights there. Satan, who made Adam and Eve fall into sin before, thought it was the best time to tempt Jesus. So Satan used the appetite as the first temptation for Jesus.  "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread"(Matthew 4:3). It meant that Satan wanted Jesus to use his divine power from God to fulfill his own selfish desire. But Jesus answered with the scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3, It is written; "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God"(Matthew 4:4).  
Satan's second attempt was to flatter his self-importance. "He led him to a high place and told him to fall down. He said, it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"(Matthew 4:6), Jesus answered him, "it is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test"(Matthew 4:7).
 The devil tried again and took him to a very high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, "all this I will give you if you bow down and worship me"(Matthew 4:9).
Through those words, Jesus realized what Satan wanted and said to him, it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only"(Matthew 4:10).
When Satan wants to approach us, there are three enticements-appetite, honor, earthly wealth and power. Through these three things, Satan will bring temptation upon us. The only thing that we can rely on is the word of God. Keeping God's words in our hearts is a proven method to overcome temptation and to live in this world safely.
 

 
  After being baptized, and defeating temptation, Jesus went back to Nazareth to start his ministry. One Sabbath day, He read from the book of the prophet Isaiah in a synagogue, which mentioned his work. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to free the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Savior." (Luke 4:18,19, Cf Isaiah 61:1,2) After that, He said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing"(Luke 4:21). It meant that He would complete the prophecy of Isaiah.
 "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." (Matthew 9:35)
  He taught people the word of life in the synagogues and healed the sick. He was a helper of the poor, a friend of sinners, and protector of widows and orphans. Everyone who got in trouble was seeking for solutions from Him and He comforted everyone who was heart-broken and discouraged. Jesus was the Great Healer for everyone. Jesus performed a lot of miracles that we can never understand. He healed the brokenhearted, preached deliverance to the captives and gave sight to the blind. Moreover, He miraculously fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fishes, walked upon the waves, and spoke peace to the stormy sea.
He did what man can't do; which shows his divinity. His birth showed us the combination of humanity and divinity; His life also showed us his life filled with divinity and not only humanity. He was the Creator who made this whole world, and the ability of creation was in Him.
He was a 100% man but He was 100% God. He was the bridge that connected the earth to Heaven and a medium of communication between God and man.
"Jesus said; I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"(John 14:6).
 

 
  He liked to flash His divinity through His humanity and to be called as the Son of Man. He said about his mission, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost"(Luke 19:10). "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"(Matthew 20:28). And when Mary had Jesus, an Angel said to Joseph, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins"(Matthew 1:21). His mission was to find the lost people, to save the sinners from their sin with his life.  "And He also said, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life"(John 3:14, 15). It refers to the fact that he would die on the cross.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they were cursed by their disobedience to be bitten to die by the venomous snakes. "When Moses prayed for the people of Israel, God replied, make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live"(Numbers 21: 8).
So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole, and everyone who looked at it, could live. He reminded them of the story that symbolized His crucifixion for them. By this, He foretold that he would die on the cross and asked us to believe that he would be crucified for our sin. The cross is the memorial of Jesus' sacrifice and His infinite love.


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"Believe in the Lore Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household"(Acts 16:31).
 
"Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation"(2 Corinthians 6:2)

 
  Salvation is making someone get out of his bad situation such as poverty, difficulty and sickness etc. For instance, there was a child who had fallen into a well and was dying. A brave and righteous man noticed it and jumped into the well to save the child. He was able to save the child's life. The child received the salvation; the man gave the salvation.
This story is a good model of the ministry that God did in this world. But salvation in Christianity has a bigger meaning that just saving someone from physical danger.
"As we already studied in the previous lesson, an angel said to Joseph when Jesus was born, "She will give a birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins"(Matthew 1:21). Saving humanity from sin was Jesus' mission-the purpose of His time on earth. And the word Jesus itself means:  Jehovah is salvation. His work was to free us from our sins and to save us from our unhappiness.
 

 
  There are two parts to salvation from sin. The first is to get out of the sinful life or forsake sinful habits. The second one is to avoid the miserable destiny that results from sin.
 Today we try to get out of all the things that resulted from our sin-uncertainty, fear, disappointment, suffering, sickness, war and death.
However, we cannot remove the results of sin without removing the reason for it. So, if we want to be saved from misery and unhappiness, we have to leave the sinful life first. We need to acknowledge that we are sinners and are motivated to separate ourselves from sin. Though one has the desire: it is not enough. He has to have an experience of repentance and rebirth from heaven.
Some people make up their minds and say; I will give up all my bad habits. For example, smoking or drinking, drugs, being quick-tempered or gambling and so on. But the decision is like a sunken rope so it can't last long. As the saying goes, a resolution is good for only three days. It is impossible for us to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken by ourselves. Our hearts are evil and weak and we cannot change them. There must be a power from above. The apostle Paul, who was such a good man, said in desperation, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24).
Every one of us can do nothing but cry out like him, because our burdened hearts keep us from doing righteous things. Paul also said, the burden of guilt made him a prisoner of sin. He recognized he was supposed to die in sin. "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it"(Romans 7:14, 19, 20).
 

 
 In Hellas, which is modern-day Athens, the capital of Greece, we can see a very awkward fossil in a museum. It is a fossil of two men. In the olden days, the people of Hellas made a sinner die loading a dead body on his back. The dead body poisoned the sinner, so he would die in suffering.
Maybe, Paul wrote with this terrible punishment in mind, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
He knew that we, humans would become corrupt. All of us are born with the sin from Adam and have this sinful tendency. So, there is no one who has no sin. Paul said, "There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Romans 3:10-12),
Therefore sinners should receive the wage and the result of their sins. Not only the pain and the death on the earth but also the second death, that is, everlasting destruction is waiting for sinners. Then, do we have to perish without any hope?
 

 
  Someone who became aware of his desperate circumstances, cried out, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"(Acts 16:30).
When the apostle Paul visited the city of Philippi, he met a jailer who was about to kill himself in despair and hopelessness. Paul stopped the jailer and he asked Paul what he could do to be saved.
  We also have to ask ourselves how we can be saved. Is there a good answer? Paul gives the answer to those who seek it. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household"(Acts 6:31).
  Believing in Jesus is the only thing that can save human beings from despair. Why? There is no other one who can save us from our sin. It is impossible for us to escape from our sins. Our hearts are evil and we cannot change them. Jesus came to this world as a human being and experienced all the temptation and sufferings. But He overcame all of them as the only sinless being. With the sinless life He can redeem us and also give us the power to overcome sin.
Therefore, the apostle Peter said, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Through His righteousness, sinful human beings who are sinful were justified. By this we can be closer to God, as if we were sinless. There is another phrase, "For if, when we were Gods enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (Romans 5:10). It means that we became enemies of God because of our sin but we were washed and brought into harmony with God by the blood of Jesus.
In addition, we are reborn with a new heart by the resurrection of Jesus. We are never to be servants of sin. This is the salvation from sin. Paul mentioned, "for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"(Ephesians 2:8).
  As we mentioned before, believing or doing right cannot be done by only our will. There must be a power that can activate the will. If it were not a serious awareness of our sin and desire to be faithful in our hearts, or if it were not a motivation to make us acknowledge, that we would never believe or do righteous things. Of course we have the right to take or leave the motivation or desire, however only God can do it. Therefore believing is also a gift form our merciful God.
 

 
  What is the faith that saves us from our sins and its result? In Hebrews of the New Testament, it says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"(Hebrews 11:1).
  When we have faith in His power; He helps us in the things that we can see, thus inspiring us with confidence in Him concerning what we can't see. Then, what can we believe and see?
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him"(Hebrews 11:6).
  Therefore we must believe in God, and believe that He will care about and reward those who follow Him. Moreover, we must believe that the Son of God, Jesus died because of our sin. Faith is not just believing the fact. Children rely on their parents because they know their parents will give them the best. We have to do likewise. "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ"(Romans 10:17).
By hearing we come to know the truth of the Bible, by inspiration we can be made sure of the truth. Our belief will be improved finally building a strong foundation. In short, we can reach a faith while we strengthen and develop our hearts to accept the truth of the Bible and have spiritual experiences. John said, "yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God"(John 1:12).
It means believers who accept Jesus will get an authority and privilege as children of God.
 

 
  It is written in revelation, "here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me"(Revelation 3:20).
  Jesus has always been waiting for us to open our hearts. As soon as we open the door, he comes into our hearts doors and enjoys fellowship with us. Jesus always told His disciples, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you... I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing"(John 15:4, 5).
A life in faith is a life in certainty and a life of trust, to state more clearly it is a life combined with Jesus. When we live in Him, powerlessness will change into power, impossibility will change into possibility.
Our evilness will be gone; we will be ruled by the righteousness of Jesus. Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"(Galatians 2:20). And he also said about the power of a life in faith, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength"(Philippians 4:13).  It shows what the power of Jesus can do in our lives.

2010.12.27 21:23

Lesson 8 What is repentance?

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"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"(Luke 5:32).
 
  "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord"(Acts 3L19).
 

 
  Repentance is walking on the new and correct path and turning from the past. In Christianity, repentance is the first step in becoming a Christian.  The prophets asked their people to repent in the olden days. Jesus also said, "repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near"(Matthew 4:17). He commanded his disciples to preach this to the people when they left for their evangelistic missions. The path to enter heaven is by repentance and to recognize yourself a sinner and then stop sinning.
The prophet Isaiah said, "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins"(Isaiah 58:1). If we want to be good people, we have to recognize our guilt and sins first. Without knowing what these things are we cannot fix them.
  But, most of us dont try to recognize our faults, today. We are too self-confident, and proud. We never think of ourselves as sinful, so we feel bad when we are called sinners. Most people want to be flattered. However, there is nothing better than to see our faults so that we can make our lives bright and beautiful.
 

 
  Jesus was resurrected three days after he died on the cross, and He rose to heaven 40 days later. The disciples of Jesus gathered in an attic in Jerusalem after Jesus ascension and prayed with unified hearts to receive the Holy Spirit from above. As a result of this, all 120 people who prayed there all received the Holy Spirit.
  Among them, was Peter the one who had been the first disciple but had denied knowing Jesus three times. He repented and prayed one and received the Spirit to prove the power of Jesus in front of a multitude of people in Jerusalem. "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this; God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witness to this"(Acts 2:36, 3:14,15). When the people heard this, their hearts were touched and they said to Peter; "Brother, what shall we do?"(Acts 2:37).
  His warning and pointing out of their sins touched their hearts. Peter answered, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"(Acts 2:38). In the afternoon, Peter said in the synagogue, "Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that a time of renewal may come from the Lord"(Acts 3:19). In this phrase, a time of renewal means the day of salvation when we can be released from our sins. The conditions for having this are faith and repentance.
 

 
  As was said before, repentance is not just an awareness of sin. Repentance is an act of turning away from sin. Turning away from the past is called rebirth. Repentance and rebirth are two aspects of the same experience. However there is a little difference between them. Repentance is the work of humans; rebirth is the work of God. Jesus told His disciples, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew 18:3). It sounds very strange to tell adults to be like little children.  "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil"(Jeremiah 13:23).
  Can we expect to be better by repenting by our own efforts or with our own strength? We have already learned that our pledge and determination are not strong at all. A real repentance is beyond the reach of our own power. Some people believe that we can be changed by education or training. They believe that we can change a sinner into a righteous person. But we can't change our real characters.
The apostle Paul who was a well-educated and moral person lamented his weakness and imperfections.
 

 
  There is only one way. It is the experience of rebirth. Once Nicodemos, a Jewish leader, visited Jesus. He was a very good and well educated person and was working as a member of the ruling council. He wanted to receive Jesus teaching.
Unlike the apostle Paul, he seemed to think that his own life was perfect and his character was good. Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, you must be born again, and the wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit"(John 3:5-8).
  According to this saying, true repentance is rebirth, which is, being a new person. But we can't experience a rebirth by our own efforts. Only Gods grace provides us with the way to rebirth by his great power.
Paul recorded his experience, "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared...He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"(Titus 3:3-5). Paul tells us that rebirth is only by the Holy Spirit, not by us. Therefore, if a sinner wants to live right, he has to receive new life from the Holy Spirit through an experience of rebirth. When we say that we believe in Jesus and repent, it means two things. First, we receive forgiveness for all our sins. And second, we receive new life from Jesus. Without these two things, we can never be saved. This experience is like a breath of fresh air blown into our hearts. No one can feel it except the repentant person himself.
 

 
  There are some steps that we must take to experience rebirth. First, we must know our sins. Once, someone asked Grotdustin, an English prime minister. What do we need in modern life? He answered, knowing our sins.
Awareness of sin is very important thing if we want control our personal and social life. But these days many people dont realize that they are sinful even though they commit sins every day.
What a pity it is, if we dont know when we are living in the sin! Every one of us is born sinful since Adam, and is living in sin, so there is no one who has no sin.
Something to consider is that among all sins, the biggest sin is not knowing and believing in God. If a child doesn't know his parents or ignores them, he is a sinner. Like this, if we don't honor our Heavenly Father who gave us life, we also sin. Not keeping the Commandments and being disobedient are also sins. Having wrong thoughts in our minds is also a sin. Not doing righteous things even though we know how to is also a sin. So there is no one who is not sinning.
  Second, we must repent. If a person realizes he is a sinner and he is doing wrong, he has to repent with a sincere heart. Paul mentioned in a letter to the Corinthian church, "yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance... Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death"(Corinthians 7:9-10). Sorrow means being sad about doing our sins and being contrite. This sorrow, which can lead us to salvation, is a turning point to a new life. It's not just being sorry or full of regret. It must be a much bigger feeling. When we think of God's infinite love and the suffering that Jesus experienced, when we realize His suffering was from our transgressions, we start to feel great inspiration in our hearts and we start to hate sin like we hate our enemies. "This is the sorrow we must feel in our hearts. Paul said; God's kindness leads you toward repentance"(Romans 2:4). Nothing but the Holy Spirit can make us experience this. This is the work of God.
Third, we must confess our sins. The thing to comfort us, when we suffer through repentance, is confession of our sins. John said in his letters, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness"(1 John 1:9). It is very easy for us to receive forgiveness for our sins. We should only admit that we have sinned and confess what we have done. Then God will forgive all our sins. So when a person confesses all his sins faithfully, his concern will turn into peace and his sorrow into gladness.
  When we confess, we need wisdom and courage. We must not confess without wisdom. If the sin is private, we have to confess only to God who can forgive us. But if we have offended our neighbors, we must admit the wrong and beg their pardon. If it is property damage, we must pay for it. If we can't do it, we must explain our circumstances and make a compromise. And if we commit sin in public, we must confess the sin before those people. But if we expose a personal secret, it is not right at all and of course, it is opposed to Biblical principles.
Forth, we must separate ourselves from sin.
The last thing is to be separated from sins. According to Paul, this means to turn away from sinning:  "they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds"(Acts 26:20). We now need to walk on a new path in our new life after we turn away from the sinful and passionate way we were. We do this by being baptized. Baptism is a symbol that shows our forgiveness and rebirth and our desire to enter the Christian Church to live as a Christian.
 

 
  Lets think about life after repentance. Are we really free from sin after we have an experience of repentance? No. Satan still wants to tempt and test those who have repented.
  How can we overcome his temptation? This is the most important thing for those who have experienced rebirth. The secret is to overcoming Satan's temptation is this-to make Jesus Christ, who is the power of our life, live in us.
"Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him"(Colossians 2:6). We must accept Jesus as our Lord, and crucify ourselves. In other words, when we suppress all our passions and give ourselves to Jesus each day, we can live our lives in triumph.

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 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them"(Matthew 5:17).
 
  "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!"(Romans 6:14,15).
  What is the Law?  What is the Gospel? Law is a term to distinguish the Law of God from the law of earth; it means the Law in the Bible, The Ten Commandments. Gospel is a 'fortune word' in Korean. It means as written in the Chinese letters 'fortunate words,' 'good news', it tells us that human beings will be saved by the redemption of Jesus.
 

 
  First, let's think of the law. Why do we need the law? Today we see many traffic accidents on the news everyday. Why do they happen so often? Well, because we don't keep the traffic rules. We need the rules to drive and walk safely.
Not only traffic rules but also all other rules are needed for us to live happily, therefore there is no nation without laws and rules. Without it, nations can't be ruled properly. God also gave us the Law so that we can live happily and comfortably by following His word.
Since laws always refer to the mind of the legislators, earthly laws show the minds of the politicians, the Law of God shows the mind of God.

The Laws that are made by human beings can be corrected or abolished because they may have some contradictions and faults. But the Law of God can't be changed, because we can't find any fault in it. It is the Law that must be accomplished, the Law of love.
God taught our forefathers this Law of love in the beginning and they have taught their descendants, age after age. By this way this Law has been a common law in the people's hearts. But people started to break it and sin, so it was necessary to write this Law in physical letters so that humanity would not forget it.
Therefore God recorded this Law on the stone Himself and gave it to Moses to proclaim it in front of the people of Israel so they wouldn't forget it.
 

 
  Then what are the Ten Commandments, the everlasting law of His love, that God wrote by his own hand in stone?

 1.

You shall have no other gods before me.

 2.

You shall mot make for yourself an idol in the form of anything..   
You shall not bow down to them or worship them.

 3.

You shall mot misuse the name of the Lord your God.

 4.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.

 5.

Honor your father and your mother

 6.

You shall no murder.

 7.

You shall no commit adultery]

 8.

You shall no steal.

 9.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house.(From Exodus 20:3-17)  



  We can divide it into 2 parts. The first four deal with the relationship between God and man. The last six deal with the relationship among men.
  One day, a Jewish rabbi tried to test Jesus. He asked pretending to be gentle. "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might, this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments"(Matthew 22:37-40). This definitely shows the basis of the commandments is love. It tells us how to love the Lord our God and how to love other people. The First four commandments tell us how to love God and the others, how to love our neighbors.
 

 
  Some Christians think Salvation comes not by keeping the Law but by believing in Jesus. The Law is abolished. So we need only believe. Why do we have to keep the difficult Law? Is the Law really abolished and done away with? Is it true that Jesus came to this world to abolish the Divine Law?
Okay, let's think of what Jesus said; "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least of the stroke of a pen, will by ay means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished"(Matthew 5:17, 18).
  If the Law could be changed or abolished, He wouldn't have had to come to this humble world and be crucified. But because it couldn't be changed, He came in the form of a man and He fulfilled the Law completely. He died for us who broke the Law. This fact tells us that the death of Jesus is the biggest evidence to prove the unchangeability of the Law.
  It is hard to understand the people who insist that this important Law is useless. They needed the Law two thousand years ago, why don't we need the Law today? Our sin is not changed. It's even worse than before. We can see a lot of crimes getting more cruel and increased. The worse this world becomes, the more we need the Law. If all human beings had obeyed the Law of God, what would the world be like now? It is an interesting thought. There would be no crime that destroys our happiness. There would be no war or anything like that. We must make the Law the standard of our lives now more than ever.
The relationship between the Law of God and humanity is the same with the one of a railroad and a train.  A train can run safely only on its tracks. If it runs off the railroad, it can cause a big accident. In the same way, we as believers have to base our lives on the God's Commandments. The apostle Paul said "everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and everyone who loves the Father loves his children as well. This is how we know that we love God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God to obey His commands. And his commands are not burdensome"(1 John 5:1-3).
  In other words, those who believe Jesus, the Son of God and experience the rebirth can't think keeping the Law is burdensome. But there is a phrase that seems to be opposed to this; so many people misunderstand God's commandments. In Galatians Paul says, "Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law. Because by observing the law no one will be justified. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law. Christ died for nothing"(Galatians 2:16, 21).
  When reading this we may think that there is no need to obey God's command if we believe in Jesus. Is this true? Otherwise, do we have to obey them according to word of John? First, we have to solve this problem.
 

 
  The people who say that we don't have to keep the Law take this phrase from the Bible, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast"(Ephesians 2:8-9).
  If this is true, being saved from our sin is not by keeping the Law or by doing right. It is definitely a gift from God. But it doesn't mean that we can break the Law. Paul who wrote the book of Ephesians said in Romans, "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but grace? By no means!"(Romans 6:14-15).
  'Under Law' doesn't mean that we are under duty of keeping the Law but that we are under the judgement of the Law. 'Under grace' means that the blood of our Savior, Jesus, washes us as sinners. Therefore that phrase means that we are saved by the death of Jesus and we are baptized after realizing His grace so the Law does not judge us. Does it tell us that we don't have to keep the Law any more? Paul said, "By no means!"
Let's assume that a criminal is captured by the police. He is under the law of the country now. He is sentenced and goes to prison. After a few years, he is released under special amnesty. Now he is not under the law, he is under the grace of the country. Then what? Can he commit another crime again because he was set free?
  If he commits another crime, he will go to prison again. His freedom will be taken away. He can be under grace only while he is keeping the law. His committing another crime is betraying the grace that made him free.
  The life of Jesus is the same thing. It isn't a guarantee that we won't sin again. However we can be free forever under His grace by living with obedience. Therefore the Gospel is not opposed to the Law, they stand together. In other words, the Law is a mirror that makes sinners become aware of their sins and leads them to salvation. The Gospel makes the sinners be free by their faith and it also gives them the strength to keep the Law and do the right thing. So the Gospel does not abolish the Law, on the contrary, it completes and establishes it. Paul said, "Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law"(Romans 3:31).
  Therefore Gospel and the Law must be together. They cannot be separated.
  In addition, the abolished law that people usually misunderstand is not the Ten Commandments; it is the ceremonial law that symbolized the redemption of Jesus. The symbol was abolished when Jesus came. When Jesus was crucified, the curtain of the temple was torn in two: it meant the abolishment of meaningless worship.

2010.12.27 21:20

Lesson 10 Sabbath

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“If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)

  "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work... For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day..."(Exodus 20:8-11).
  From olden days, we have the custom of the seven-day system in Korea. For example, to keep something holy for God or to do something important, we choose the day, called the first seventh day, third seventh day or seventh seventh day and so on.
But we have adapted the western custom, and nowadays follow the week system. Moreover, according to it, we don't work on Sunday after we accepted use the solar calendar. It became more widespread after Christianity was introduced to Korea and Sunday was kept as a day for divine worship. Therefore Sunday is a very important and joyous day for modern people to rest and relax.
But there are few people who know the origin of Sunday. Some Christian churches have their divine worship on Sunday. Others have theirs on Saturday. Most people dont understand what the difference is between them. So lets learn about the week system and the origin of the Sabbath.
 

 
  The week system can be understood as a part of the calendar, but it is not related to the movement of a celestial body, the sun or the moon. The solar and lunar systems were made by observing the movement of the sun and the moon and each term was just 24 divisions of a year. But the seven-day system has nothing with them. It is strange that we think it a part of the calendar. According to the Great Britain Encyclopedia, A week is a period of seven days, a unit of time artificially devised with no astronomical basis. The origin of the term is generally associated with the ancient Jews and the biblical account of the Creation, according to which God laboured for six days and rested on the seventh. Evidence indicates, however, that the Jews may have borrowed the idea of the week from Mesopotamia. According to Genesis, the one who made the week system and ordered us to rest on the seventh day is God. It is said in Genesis chapter 2, "thus the heavens and the earth were completed in their entire vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done"(Genesis 2:3-5).
  The fourth of Ten Commandments says, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy"(Exodus 20:8-11).
 Therefore the Sabbath is a memorial of Creation that God made at the beginning. He commanded us to remember this day and to rest on it. He told us to especially remember it because God had already known that people would forget the meaning of the day.
 

 
  God prepared the Sabbath so that after we work hard for six days we can rest on the Sabbath day. But it's not only for rest primarily. Today we need to relax our bodies but those days they didn't get tired because there was no sin as yet. Though Adam and Eve were perfect creatures they had to rely on God as children do on their parents. They enjoyed their daily lives knowing themselves as just creatures of God and relying on a powerful God for everything. And God loved them sincerely. He wanted them to communicate with him and contemplate the love and wisdom of their Father for one day of the week. "Therefore Sabbath is the day for the relationship between God and human beings. God said this through the prophet Ezekiel; Keep my Sabbaths holy, that it may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God"(Ezekiel 20:20).
It means that Sabbath is a sign that God made us holy as His children. By keeping the Sabbath holy, we can be the precious children of God and God can be our Holy Father. Sabbath was the day of blessing from the beginning. Moreover, in this complicated and noisy world, how can we make our lives plentiful and more fulfilling but by keeping the Sabbath holy?  What a beautiful scene it is when the whole family goes to church and contemplates Gods word together! If we had lived with doing that, there would be no skeptics or atheists. And there would be no horrible things that happened to those who are not afraid of God.
 

 
  Those who believe in God sincerely have distinguished the Sabbath as a holy day. But there was a time when even the Israelites, the chosen people forgot this Holy day. It was those days when they were mistreated in Egypt. Therefore God lead them from Egypt through Moses in order for them to teach God's word and commandments to their descendants. They wandered for 40 years, dwelling in the wilderness. In Exodus chapter 16, it is recorded that God gave the Israelites manna, a kind of bread, and He used it to show three miracles every week.  The first was that, they could have manna for six days but not on the seventh day. The second was that, if manna that was gathered for the first five days was left until the next day, it spoiled. However, the two portions of manna that were gathered for the seventh day never spoiled; which was the third miracle.
Some people went to gather Manna on the Sabbath; but they came back with nothing. At that time God said, "how long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?"(Exodus 16:28). And when He gave them Manna, He said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions"(Exodus 16:4). The Sabbath was a test of His people's faithfulness.
 A few warnings about the Sabbath were given to the Israelites throughout the ages. The most serious one was the warning of Jeremiah when he said they would be captured and destroyed by Babylon.  "But if you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials.  They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever. But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses"(Jeremiah 17:24, 25, 27).
  The rise and fall of the country depended on whether Israel kept the Sabbath holy or not. But they ignored the warning so Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon and the people were captured as slaves. At the end of their 70 years of slavery, some of them still didn't keep the Sabbath. Therefore Nehemiah said, "In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, What is this wicked thing you are doing-desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn't your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath"(Nehemiah 13:15, 17, 18).
  Nehemiah thought all those things happened because they didn't keep the Sabbath holy. So he closed the gates of Jerusalem to prevent people from going in and out. After that Jewish rabbis made the detailed rules to keep Sabbath more efficiently. For example, the people of that time couldn't have a piece of clothing or a needle with them or couldn't have a handkerchief in their pockets on Sabbath and so on. This way, the people came to keep the Sabbath as a matter of form and it became just an uncomfortable and difficult day for them.
 

 
  When it comes to the New Testament Age, Jesus showed a sample with manifest opinion about the Sabbath. He had the divine worship at the synagogue on Sabbath according to the rule. And He said this to change their misconceptions. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath"(Mark 2:27, 28). Actually because of the 39 rules and other detailed things, the Sabbath was a burden to them. But Jesus is the one who made the Sabbath at the Creation and the Sabbath belongs to him. So the seventh day that he kept is the real Sabbath and the way he kept it is the right way to keep it.
  One day people asked Jesus this question in an attempt to accuse him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" Jesus replied, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath"(Matthew 12:11, 12).
  But it didn't mean that we can disregard the Sabbath. He also gave them this encouragement to be ready for the destruction of Israel that would happen 40 years later.
  "Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath"(Matthew 24:20).
  We can know how he thought of keeping the Sabbath when we see this phrase. Therefore a person who insists that the Sabbath was changed or abolished by Jesus is far from the teaching of Jesus. Luke recorded; The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. (Luke 23:55,56, 54)
  The great Apostle Paul also recorded, As his custom was, "Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures"(Acts 17:2). "Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God"(Acts 18:4, 11). Like this, Paul kept the Sabbath holy wherever he traveled all the time and tried hard to teach people to keep it.
  Therefore the Sabbath that Jesus and His disciples kept and that the apostle Paul kept and that Jews have been keeping until today is Saturday. So, why do the Christian churches keep Sunday as a God's day?  It's not a simple question nor is its answer. We will study it in the following lesson.

2010.12.27 21:19

Lesson 11 Sunday

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“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. (Mark 7:8)

  "Those people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men"(Matthew 15:8-9).
We have already learned from Lesson 10 that the true Sabbath day is the seventh of the week, that is, Saturday, according to the fourth Commandment. Then how is it that presently, Christians in general do not keep Saturday but Sunday as the Sabbath day? What has made the holy Sabbath day change from Saturday to Sunday, the first of the week? There must be some reason for it. Now lets investigate the reason behind this phenomenon by looking back into historical facts.
 

 
  It seems to be that during the first century A.D., a few decades after Jesus, our Savior went back to Heaven, the Christians kept the true Sabbath day, judging from the fact that the apostle John mentioned nothing about the change of the Sabbath day in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, which was written in the year 98 A.D. However at the turn of the second century, "godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing"(1 Timothy 6:20-21).
It was Clement of Alexandria and Tertullianus, a Cartagian jurist who recorded, for the first time in history, Sunday as the day for Christ, which was in the second century A.D., from then on these records became the basis of the theology promoted by the Roman Catholic Church. During the same century, because the Jews had risen in rebellion against the Roman Empire as many as three times, the Romans extremely hated and persecuted the Jews. The Christians got into a lot of trouble along with the Jews because they kept the same Sabbath day as the Jews. This being the situation, some Christians, if not many, began to keep Sunday, the first day of the week as the Sabbath day instead of Saturday. With this as a turning point, the Sabbath day gradually changed from Saturday to Sunday.
 

 
  At the time, the system of seven days a week-Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday system-having been introduced from Babylon, was widely used in the Roman Empire, where a considerable number of both Jews and Christians had settled. Both of them observed the Biblical holiday-the Sabbath day.
The most prevailing religion in the Roman Empire at that time was Mithraism. Its believers looked upon Sunday as a fortunate day because it was the day of the Sun and Saturday as an ominous one because it was the day of Saturn. Therefore the Christians had a lot of difficulty in keeping the true Sabbath day. In addition the Royal decree by the Roman emperor Constantine that all the Romans should keep Sunday as a holiday made it more difficult for the Christians to keep the true Sabbath day holy. On the third of July 321 A.D., the emperor announced officially that all the officials, all the citizens and all the workers in the Roman Empire should have a day off on Sunday.
The legend has it that Constantine was converted to Christianity but his conversion is said to have camouflaged his political ambition. By declaring Sunday as a holiday and by pretending to protect the Christians he succeeded in achieving his dual political purposes; that is to please the Christians and force them to keep Sunday as the holiday, on the one hand and to manipulate and influence the Romans on the other. In short, his real purpose was to unify the two religions, Christianity and the Sun worship and by doing so to secure his power over the empire. The result was that it became more and more difficult for the Christians to keep the true Sabbath day under the pressure of the Roman Empire.
 

 
  It is hard to understand that under these circumstances, the church, which had to strongly oppose it with the true spirit of Christianity, assumed a compromising attitude toward it. The church took the easy way of flattering and toadying the power of the secular word instead of following the truth of God. In the end, the following decision was reached at the Laodicea religious conference around 346 A.D.
The 29th article of the religious rule states:
The Christians should not idle away the Sabbath day like Jews. They should work on that day but should make much of the holiday (Sunday) and should not work on that day. (Hefele, A History of the Councils of the church, Vol. 2, p. 316)
Not only the government but also the church commanded that working should be stopped on Sunday, the common people blindly followed the command. Thus at last, the day for worshipping the sun became a day of rest for Christians and the practice has been handed down up to our time.
You may say that you cannot understand how on earth such a blasphemous practice could be realized so easily. There is evidence that Satan or the devil was active behind the serious treason. The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit already foretold this, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come, until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved"(2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7, 9, 10).
From these verses in the Bible, we should take notice of the allusion that anti-christ will come out in the church, which means that we should consider this and be aware of anyone who sets up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. We can see this fact prophesied more clearly in Daniel in the Old Testament.
 

 
  
Daniel dreamed a strange dream in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon.  In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down what had happened in his dream.

Daniel said:  "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it. And there before me was a second beast, 
which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, Get up and eat your fill of flesh! After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast-terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 
While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully"(Daniel 7:1-8).
The four beasts seen in Daniels dream symbolize four countries. The lion symbolizes Babylon, the bear, Persia, the leopard, Greece and the fourth terrifying, frightening and very powerful beast symbolizes Rome. The ten horns on the fourth beast represent the ten kingdoms disrupted by Roman Empire.  And then there appeared another horn.
 

 
  
Daniel recorded the following about the little horn:
 "The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time"(Daniel 7:24-25).
Daniel said that this little horn was different from other horns in its traits and had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.  Then what peculiar power do you suppose arose besides the ten kingdoms in Rome? When Rome was divided into ten countries? A.C. Flick wrote about this as follows on the 150th page of his book. The origin of church in the Middle Ages, from the political ruin of Rome, came out the great moral kingdom called great Roman church; and from this record we can reach the conclusion that the one little horn represented nothing but the power of the Roman church. The prophecy foretold that this little horn would root out three other horns, which proved true historically by the decline of three kingdoms. Heruli perished the year 493 A.D, Vandal in the year of 534 A.D. and Ostrogoth in the year 538 A.D. because they were heathens against the pope's power of Rome. In other words they were ruined because they belonged to Arius, which the Roman church regarded as heresy and heterodoxy.
After the first century A.D., Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and everywhere in the main Roman cities there were churches. Every church had a person in charge of it and among the persons in charge of churches; one who took charge of the Roman church had exceeding power over the other persons. Towards the end of the Roman Empire (around 476 A.D.) the head of the Roman church came to be thought to have the absolute power next to the Roman emperor. In the year of 533 A.D. the Roman emperor, Justinian proclaimed as if to confirm this, The person who is in charge of the Roman Church is the head of all the churches.  (Code of Justinian, book I, title) The emperor on another occasion also proclaimed that which to enlighten the heathens sanctioned the pope to have the power.  This is how the power of the pope became firmly established.
 

 
  According to the prophecy recorded in Daniel 7:25, 1) He will speak against the Most High 2) and oppress his saints 3) and try to change the set times and laws. 4) The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
1.The prophecy that he will speak against the Most High has been realized by the fact that the popes not only have called themselves: God on the earth, Advocate of Son of God, King of the world, King of Kings, Our God, pope but also has asserted that the pope has made no mistakes. (P.F.L Feraries. Ecclesiastical Dictionary)
2. The prophecy that he will oppress the saints means that he will persecute the people of God. History proves that throughout the Dark Ages millions of martyrs were persecuted and killed by the Roman Catholic Church because they didn't obey its authority and its theology.
3. The prophecy that 'he will try to change the set times and laws,' means that the power of the pope changed the Sabbath day set by God in the beginning of time from Saturday to Sunday which is the first day of the week. On the 49th page of The convert's catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Peter Gabriel, we can see the following dialogue:

Q: What day is the Sabbath day?
A: It is Saturday.
Q: Then why do we keep Sunday as the Sabbath day instead of Saturday?
A: The reason why we do so is that Catholic Church changed the holy day from Saturday to Sunday at the council of Laodicea.
We can also find on the 174th page of a doctrinal catechism written by Steve Conan the following question and answer:
Q: Is there any other evidence by which we can prove that the Catholic Church has the authority to establish a code of a holiday?
A: If Catholic Church had not had such authority, it could not have made such change as to keep Sunday as a holiday instead of the seventh Sabbath even though the change has no biblical ground.
Moreover around 1880, Enright, a catholic priest pronounced many times through public sermons; Whoever can prove biblically that we should keep Sunday as a holiday will be given 1000 dollars as a reward.  But so far no one has won this prize. Furthermore, the Catholic Church committed the blasphemy of abolishing the second of the Ten Commandments, dividing the tenth into two and changing the fourth one which is the Commandment of the Sabbath into Sunday and making it the third Commandment.

4. The prophecy, The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time indicates the historical fact that the saints who were trying to live a life based on the principle of the Bible had been persecuted under the name of eliminating heathenism for 1260 years(from the year of 538 A.D. to 1798 A.D) during which the pope's power flourished at its zenith; the period is recorded in the Bible as three years and a half but in reality it is 1260 years when translated in the way to interpret the Bible. (We hope that you can learn about this in more detail by studying Daniel in the future.) As is written in Revelation 13, One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal would had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. The Roman Catholic Church, having had its authority fatally wounded in 1789, is now urging the entire world to follow it. The pope is advocating world peace and asking all the Christians to return to their mothers, namely the Catholic Church, insisting that all the churches should be unified. The day when his assertion will come true will be the day when the faith of those who keep the true Sabbath day as God, our Lord commanded will be tested.
 

 
  In the last lesson we learned about the true Sabbath day and in this lesson we have studied about Sunday. Now the time has come when you should decide which way you should follow. Should we follow the commandment made by men or should we follow the Commandment of God? The apostle Paul recorded as follows "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"(Romans 6:16).
We cannot but choose either to follow Gods Commandment in love of the truth or to follow the way of destruction by surrendering to the power controlled by Satan. We really hope that you who have studied this book will choose wisely and become our Lords true children keeping the true Sabbath Day.


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"For in just a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay"(Hebrews10:37).

  We have already studied that about 2000 years ago Jesus came into this world and was crucified, so that he could save us who are doomed to die because of sin. But the great work of God's redemption is not yet completed. Therefore, Jesus will come again to save and carry with him to heaven all those who believe in Him and follow Him.
 

 
  Since World War 2 ended with the explosion of the A-bomb, the development of nuclear weapons has made astonishing advances. As a result, many people are facing the future in anxiety. Many politicians, critics and intellectuals are afraid that modern civilization will come to ruin in the near future. Winston Churchill said, If a nuclear war broke out, not only the countries involved but also the whole earth may be destroyed.  And Vincent Sen says, The present situation includes the possibility that the extreme disaster, namely the complete termination of all the living things on this planet may come true.
Comparing these sayings with the words prophesied by Jesus over 2000 years ago, we cannot help but be amazed by its correct description.  
"Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world"(Luke 21:26).
Jesus told this prophecy to his disciples when they came to him privately and asked, "Tell us when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age"(Matthew 24:3). What we should take notice of is that the disciples thought the second coming of Jesus and the end of the age would come to pass simultaneously.
  What do you think will cause of the end of the age? Will the second coming of Jesus lead to it? nuclear weapons will be used? As is written in Revelation, "The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come... for destroying those who destroy the earth"(Revelation 11:18).  We can know God's hand will destroy those devastators before they destroy the earth. It is certain that the earth should be destroyed by nuclear weapons if the hand of God, the Almighty, were not to intervene.
 

 
  The world we now live in, having run down he road of sin and degradation, for 6000 years, has at last come to such a state where sin is prevalent everywhere. Hardships of life, illness, disbelief, hatred, racial prejudice and ideological strife make it impossible for human beings to have a day of peace. The only thing they can find in this modern world is cruelty, massacre and internal feuds.
A long time ago, God made a plan that He would send Jesus Christ, his only Son again to this world and after destroying the world in which sin is prevalent by fire, He would rebuild His nation filled with his righteous people. Peter, the apostle recorded this "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty"(2 Peter 1:16).
In other words the second coming of Jesus is not invented by men at their will but originates from the revelation of God. All the stories in the Bible are filled with nothing but God's revelations. However, the most important is the story about the second coming of Jesus, our Savior and the end of the world. Oscar Lory, the author of The second coming of Jesus wrote in his book The Second coming of Jesus is recorded more than three hundred times in the New Testament. From Matthew to Revelation, one verse out of twenty-five refers, on an average, to it. Throughout the Old and New Testament, it is prophesied directly more than 3000 times and indirectly more than 1000 times. What the Bible says about salvation once, it says about the second coming of Jesus twice and about the first coming of Jesus once. If we judge the importance of a dogmatic theology depending on its frequency, the second coming of Jesus ranks among the most important and not less important than salvation of mankind. It is the most significant event in the history. So it is no wonder that considering the importance of it, records about the second coming take up the greater part of the Bible.
One more important fact about the doctrine of the second coming is that it reveals our God. We can be assured that His covenant will be fulfilled without fail. The first coming of Jesus, prophesied more than 300 times throughout the Old Testament, most of which have already been fulfilled but some of the prophecies that should occur during His second coming have yet to be fulfilled.
 

 
 In order to know why Jesus will come again, we have to look into what will happen at the time of his second coming.

1. Being set free from all illness
"Say to those with fearful hearts
Your God will come to save you
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
Then will the lame leap like a deer
And the mute tongues shout for joy"(Isaiah 35:4-6).
"No one living in Zion will say I am ill and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven"(Isaiah 33:24).
"But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body"(Philippians 3:20-21).
On the day when Jesus, Our Savior, will come again, the disabled person will be given unimpaired body and the sick a healthy body. Our bodies, vulnerable to sickness will be transformed into glorious bodies that will never be sick. Can there be anything more wonderful and more mysterious than this?
2. Resurrection of the dead
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first"(1 Thessalonians 4:16).
On the day of His second coming, the door of the tombs will be opened and those who have been asleep in faith in Jesus will come alive. Those mothers who have lamented their children's death will be able to embrace their lost children again and those lovers whose death has separated them for a long time will be rejoiced in reunion.
"Then we will sing a victorious song over death and shout Where, O death, is your sting?"(1 Corinthians 15:55).
We have overcome many difficulties in an effort to solve the problem of death but we will be able to overcome death forever when Jesus comes again. This is a profound mystery beyond our understanding. "Listen, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Then the end will come. The last enemy to be destroyed is death"(1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, 24, 26).

3. Being raised to Heaven
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"(1 Thessalonians 4:17).
This is the fulfillment of the promise given by Jesus to his disciples when he stayed on the earth. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms if it were not for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am"(John 14:1-3).
Even though this age is the age of artificial satellites and spacecrafts, by which human beings have already conquered the moon and are said to explore Mars and other stars, this scientific technology cannot fulfill such a promise as that made by Jesus.

"Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done"(Revelation 22:12).
This is the word of Jesus, our Lord. The apostle Paul also said, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing"(2 Timothy 4:8).
But not all people will be rewarded. Matthew wrote about this, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him; he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats... Then he will say to those on his left Depart from me, you who are cursed... into the eternal fire"(Matthew 25:31-41).
The good will be received in heaven and will have the joy of being crowned with the laurel wreath of righteousness, while the evil will have to experience grief. Enoch explained the reason as follows "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him"(Jude 1:14, 15).
The word, ungodly refers to those who do not respect and have no faith in God. It only results in the dreadful trial to have no faith that is to deny and to despise belief in God. "As it is written in the Bible, A man reaps what he sows"(Galatians 6:7). The evil man is caught in his own trap of sin and is destroyed by it.
 

 
   As has been mentioned above, the second coming of Jesus will turn out to be a grand event unprecedented in the history of this world. It will not be an abstract or illusionary event.  
The apostle John recorded; "Look he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him"(Revelation 1:7). And Jesus said; "See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms.' do not believe it. For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man"(Matthew 24:25-27). Therefore the second coming of Jesus our Savior will not be in any secret place, but in public; so that all men on the earth can see it. When Jesus ascended to heaven, the angel said to the disciples, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven"(Acts 1:11). Truly Jesus will come in glory in the clouds for everyone to see it.
"All the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory"(Matthew 24:30).
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"(Thessalonians 4:16-17).
At that time, the saved will say to the Lord with joy Surely this is our God; we trusted in him and he saved us. "This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation"(Isaiah 25:9). But those who did not trust in Jesus and did not look forward to His second coming will mourn in grief.
"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called 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 their wrath has come, and who can stand?"(Revelation 6:15-17).
 

 
  We have learned that Jesus will come with a command and with the voice of a trumpet so that all men can see him coming. But we should not forget that he will come all of a sudden and at an hour we do not expect him. He told us to remember, "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)
The apostle Paul recorded, "while people are saying peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape"(1 Thessalonians 5:3).
What should we do in order to face this day without any fear? As was mentioned before, we should live in faith. He who is waiting should confess his sins and should do all his duties and responsibilities. After that, he should eagerly anticipate Christ to come like the apostle John when he said, "Come, Lord Jesus!"(Revelation 22:22).


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"For in just a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay"(Hebrews10:37).

  We have already studied that about 2000 years ago Jesus came into this world and was crucified, so that he could save us who are doomed to die because of sin. But the great work of God's redemption is not yet completed. Therefore, Jesus will come again to save and carry with him to heaven all those who believe in Him and follow Him.
 

 
  Since World War 2 ended with the explosion of the A-bomb, the development of nuclear weapons has made astonishing advances. As a result, many people are facing the future in anxiety. Many politicians, critics and intellectuals are afraid that modern civilization will come to ruin in the near future. Winston Churchill said, If a nuclear war broke out, not only the countries involved but also the whole earth may be destroyed.  And Vincent Sen says, The present situation includes the possibility that the extreme disaster, namely the complete termination of all the living things on this planet may come true.
Comparing these sayings with the words prophesied by Jesus over 2000 years ago, we cannot help but be amazed by its correct description.  
"Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world"(Luke 21:26).
Jesus told this prophecy to his disciples when they came to him privately and asked, "Tell us when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age"(Matthew 24:3). What we should take notice of is that the disciples thought the second coming of Jesus and the end of the age would come to pass simultaneously.
  What do you think will cause of the end of the age? Will the second coming of Jesus lead to it? nuclear weapons will be used? As is written in Revelation, "The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come... for destroying those who destroy the earth"(Revelation 11:18).  We can know God's hand will destroy those devastators before they destroy the earth. It is certain that the earth should be destroyed by nuclear weapons if the hand of God, the Almighty, were not to intervene.
 

 
  The world we now live in, having run down he road of sin and degradation, for 6000 years, has at last come to such a state where sin is prevalent everywhere. Hardships of life, illness, disbelief, hatred, racial prejudice and ideological strife make it impossible for human beings to have a day of peace. The only thing they can find in this modern world is cruelty, massacre and internal feuds.
A long time ago, God made a plan that He would send Jesus Christ, his only Son again to this world and after destroying the world in which sin is prevalent by fire, He would rebuild His nation filled with his righteous people. Peter, the apostle recorded this "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty"(2 Peter 1:16).
In other words the second coming of Jesus is not invented by men at their will but originates from the revelation of God. All the stories in the Bible are filled with nothing but God's revelations. However, the most important is the story about the second coming of Jesus, our Savior and the end of the world. Oscar Lory, the author of The second coming of Jesus wrote in his book The Second coming of Jesus is recorded more than three hundred times in the New Testament. From Matthew to Revelation, one verse out of twenty-five refers, on an average, to it. Throughout the Old and New Testament, it is prophesied directly more than 3000 times and indirectly more than 1000 times. What the Bible says about salvation once, it says about the second coming of Jesus twice and about the first coming of Jesus once. If we judge the importance of a dogmatic theology depending on its frequency, the second coming of Jesus ranks among the most important and not less important than salvation of mankind. It is the most significant event in the history. So it is no wonder that considering the importance of it, records about the second coming take up the greater part of the Bible.
One more important fact about the doctrine of the second coming is that it reveals our God. We can be assured that His covenant will be fulfilled without fail. The first coming of Jesus, prophesied more than 300 times throughout the Old Testament, most of which have already been fulfilled but some of the prophecies that should occur during His second coming have yet to be fulfilled.
 

 
 In order to know why Jesus will come again, we have to look into what will happen at the time of his second coming.

1. Being set free from all illness
"Say to those with fearful hearts
Your God will come to save you
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
Then will the lame leap like a deer
And the mute tongues shout for joy"(Isaiah 35:4-6).
"No one living in Zion will say I am ill and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven"(Isaiah 33:24).
"But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body"(Philippians 3:20-21).
On the day when Jesus, Our Savior, will come again, the disabled person will be given unimpaired body and the sick a healthy body. Our bodies, vulnerable to sickness will be transformed into glorious bodies that will never be sick. Can there be anything more wonderful and more mysterious than this?
2. Resurrection of the dead
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first"(1 Thessalonians 4:16).
On the day of His second coming, the door of the tombs will be opened and those who have been asleep in faith in Jesus will come alive. Those mothers who have lamented their children's death will be able to embrace their lost children again and those lovers whose death has separated them for a long time will be rejoiced in reunion.
"Then we will sing a victorious song over death and shout Where, O death, is your sting?"(1 Corinthians 15:55).
We have overcome many difficulties in an effort to solve the problem of death but we will be able to overcome death forever when Jesus comes again. This is a profound mystery beyond our understanding. "Listen, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Then the end will come. The last enemy to be destroyed is death"(1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, 24, 26).

3. Being raised to Heaven
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"(1 Thessalonians 4:17).
This is the fulfillment of the promise given by Jesus to his disciples when he stayed on the earth. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms if it were not for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am"(John 14:1-3).
Even though this age is the age of artificial satellites and spacecrafts, by which human beings have already conquered the moon and are said to explore Mars and other stars, this scientific technology cannot fulfill such a promise as that made by Jesus.

"Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done"(Revelation 22:12).
This is the word of Jesus, our Lord. The apostle Paul also said, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing"(2 Timothy 4:8).
But not all people will be rewarded. Matthew wrote about this, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him; he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats... Then he will say to those on his left Depart from me, you who are cursed... into the eternal fire"(Matthew 25:31-41).
The good will be received in heaven and will have the joy of being crowned with the laurel wreath of righteousness, while the evil will have to experience grief. Enoch explained the reason as follows "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him"(Jude 1:14, 15).
The word, ungodly refers to those who do not respect and have no faith in God. It only results in the dreadful trial to have no faith that is to deny and to despise belief in God. "As it is written in the Bible, A man reaps what he sows"(Galatians 6:7). The evil man is caught in his own trap of sin and is destroyed by it.
 

 
   As has been mentioned above, the second coming of Jesus will turn out to be a grand event unprecedented in the history of this world. It will not be an abstract or illusionary event.  
The apostle John recorded; "Look he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him"(Revelation 1:7). And Jesus said; "See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms.' do not believe it. For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man"(Matthew 24:25-27). Therefore the second coming of Jesus our Savior will not be in any secret place, but in public; so that all men on the earth can see it. When Jesus ascended to heaven, the angel said to the disciples, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven"(Acts 1:11). Truly Jesus will come in glory in the clouds for everyone to see it.
"All the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory"(Matthew 24:30).
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"(Thessalonians 4:16-17).
At that time, the saved will say to the Lord with joy Surely this is our God; we trusted in him and he saved us. "This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation"(Isaiah 25:9). But those who did not trust in Jesus and did not look forward to His second coming will mourn in grief.
"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called 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 their wrath has come, and who can stand?"(Revelation 6:15-17).
 

 
  We have learned that Jesus will come with a command and with the voice of a trumpet so that all men can see him coming. But we should not forget that he will come all of a sudden and at an hour we do not expect him. He told us to remember, "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)
The apostle Paul recorded, "while people are saying peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape"(1 Thessalonians 5:3).
What should we do in order to face this day without any fear? As was mentioned before, we should live in faith. He who is waiting should confess his sins and should do all his duties and responsibilities. After that, he should eagerly anticipate Christ to come like the apostle John when he said, "Come, Lord Jesus!"(Revelation 22:22).


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"For in just a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay"(Hebrews10:37).

  We have already studied that about 2000 years ago Jesus came into this world and was crucified, so that he could save us who are doomed to die because of sin. But the great work of God's redemption is not yet completed. Therefore, Jesus will come again to save and carry with him to heaven all those who believe in Him and follow Him.
 

 
  Since World War 2 ended with the explosion of the A-bomb, the development of nuclear weapons has made astonishing advances. As a result, many people are facing the future in anxiety. Many politicians, critics and intellectuals are afraid that modern civilization will come to ruin in the near future. Winston Churchill said, If a nuclear war broke out, not only the countries involved but also the whole earth may be destroyed.  And Vincent Sen says, The present situation includes the possibility that the extreme disaster, namely the complete termination of all the living things on this planet may come true.
Comparing these sayings with the words prophesied by Jesus over 2000 years ago, we cannot help but be amazed by its correct description.  
"Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world"(Luke 21:26).
Jesus told this prophecy to his disciples when they came to him privately and asked, "Tell us when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age"(Matthew 24:3). What we should take notice of is that the disciples thought the second coming of Jesus and the end of the age would come to pass simultaneously.
  What do you think will cause of the end of the age? Will the second coming of Jesus lead to it? nuclear weapons will be used? As is written in Revelation, "The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come... for destroying those who destroy the earth"(Revelation 11:18).  We can know God's hand will destroy those devastators before they destroy the earth. It is certain that the earth should be destroyed by nuclear weapons if the hand of God, the Almighty, were not to intervene.
 

 
  The world we now live in, having run down he road of sin and degradation, for 6000 years, has at last come to such a state where sin is prevalent everywhere. Hardships of life, illness, disbelief, hatred, racial prejudice and ideological strife make it impossible for human beings to have a day of peace. The only thing they can find in this modern world is cruelty, massacre and internal feuds.
A long time ago, God made a plan that He would send Jesus Christ, his only Son again to this world and after destroying the world in which sin is prevalent by fire, He would rebuild His nation filled with his righteous people. Peter, the apostle recorded this "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty"(2 Peter 1:16).
In other words the second coming of Jesus is not invented by men at their will but originates from the revelation of God. All the stories in the Bible are filled with nothing but God's revelations. However, the most important is the story about the second coming of Jesus, our Savior and the end of the world. Oscar Lory, the author of The second coming of Jesus wrote in his book The Second coming of Jesus is recorded more than three hundred times in the New Testament. From Matthew to Revelation, one verse out of twenty-five refers, on an average, to it. Throughout the Old and New Testament, it is prophesied directly more than 3000 times and indirectly more than 1000 times. What the Bible says about salvation once, it says about the second coming of Jesus twice and about the first coming of Jesus once. If we judge the importance of a dogmatic theology depending on its frequency, the second coming of Jesus ranks among the most important and not less important than salvation of mankind. It is the most significant event in the history. So it is no wonder that considering the importance of it, records about the second coming take up the greater part of the Bible.
One more important fact about the doctrine of the second coming is that it reveals our God. We can be assured that His covenant will be fulfilled without fail. The first coming of Jesus, prophesied more than 300 times throughout the Old Testament, most of which have already been fulfilled but some of the prophecies that should occur during His second coming have yet to be fulfilled.
 

 
 In order to know why Jesus will come again, we have to look into what will happen at the time of his second coming.

1. Being set free from all illness
"Say to those with fearful hearts
Your God will come to save you
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
Then will the lame leap like a deer
And the mute tongues shout for joy"(Isaiah 35:4-6).
"No one living in Zion will say I am ill and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven"(Isaiah 33:24).
"But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body"(Philippians 3:20-21).
On the day when Jesus, Our Savior, will come again, the disabled person will be given unimpaired body and the sick a healthy body. Our bodies, vulnerable to sickness will be transformed into glorious bodies that will never be sick. Can there be anything more wonderful and more mysterious than this?
2. Resurrection of the dead
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first"(1 Thessalonians 4:16).
On the day of His second coming, the door of the tombs will be opened and those who have been asleep in faith in Jesus will come alive. Those mothers who have lamented their children's death will be able to embrace their lost children again and those lovers whose death has separated them for a long time will be rejoiced in reunion.
"Then we will sing a victorious song over death and shout Where, O death, is your sting?"(1 Corinthians 15:55).
We have overcome many difficulties in an effort to solve the problem of death but we will be able to overcome death forever when Jesus comes again. This is a profound mystery beyond our understanding. "Listen, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Then the end will come. The last enemy to be destroyed is death"(1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, 24, 26).

3. Being raised to Heaven
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"(1 Thessalonians 4:17).
This is the fulfillment of the promise given by Jesus to his disciples when he stayed on the earth. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms if it were not for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am"(John 14:1-3).
Even though this age is the age of artificial satellites and spacecrafts, by which human beings have already conquered the moon and are said to explore Mars and other stars, this scientific technology cannot fulfill such a promise as that made by Jesus.

"Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done"(Revelation 22:12).
This is the word of Jesus, our Lord. The apostle Paul also said, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing"(2 Timothy 4:8).
But not all people will be rewarded. Matthew wrote about this, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him; he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats... Then he will say to those on his left Depart from me, you who are cursed... into the eternal fire"(Matthew 25:31-41).
The good will be received in heaven and will have the joy of being crowned with the laurel wreath of righteousness, while the evil will have to experience grief. Enoch explained the reason as follows "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him"(Jude 1:14, 15).
The word, ungodly refers to those who do not respect and have no faith in God. It only results in the dreadful trial to have no faith that is to deny and to despise belief in God. "As it is written in the Bible, A man reaps what he sows"(Galatians 6:7). The evil man is caught in his own trap of sin and is destroyed by it.
 

 
   As has been mentioned above, the second coming of Jesus will turn out to be a grand event unprecedented in the history of this world. It will not be an abstract or illusionary event.  
The apostle John recorded; "Look he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him"(Revelation 1:7). And Jesus said; "See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms.' do not believe it. For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man"(Matthew 24:25-27). Therefore the second coming of Jesus our Savior will not be in any secret place, but in public; so that all men on the earth can see it. When Jesus ascended to heaven, the angel said to the disciples, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven"(Acts 1:11). Truly Jesus will come in glory in the clouds for everyone to see it.
"All the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory"(Matthew 24:30).
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"(Thessalonians 4:16-17).
At that time, the saved will say to the Lord with joy Surely this is our God; we trusted in him and he saved us. "This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation"(Isaiah 25:9). But those who did not trust in Jesus and did not look forward to His second coming will mourn in grief.
"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called 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 their wrath has come, and who can stand?"(Revelation 6:15-17).
 

 
  We have learned that Jesus will come with a command and with the voice of a trumpet so that all men can see him coming. But we should not forget that he will come all of a sudden and at an hour we do not expect him. He told us to remember, "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)
The apostle Paul recorded, "while people are saying peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape"(1 Thessalonians 5:3).
What should we do in order to face this day without any fear? As was mentioned before, we should live in faith. He who is waiting should confess his sins and should do all his duties and responsibilities. After that, he should eagerly anticipate Christ to come like the apostle John when he said, "Come, Lord Jesus!"(Revelation 22:22).


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“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near"(Luke 21:28).

  We studied Jesus' second coming in the previous chapter. We learned how and why He will return. In this chapter, we are going to study when He is planning to return. In the Bible it is recorded, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father"(Matthew 24:36). Why didn't God reveal the date of His coming? This may be because God always wants us to be prepared. Even though He did not tell us the exact time, He has prophesied that He's coming soon.
 

 
  Jerusalem was once the capital of Judea, and it was also a political religious center. In Jerusalem, there once stood a temple, and when Jesus lived on the earth, it was where people came to worship. This temple was built by thousands of people for more than 40 years. It was said to be made of marble, 21.2 meters long, 10.6 meters wide, and 15.9 meters high. God foresaw the destruction of this temple and wept, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left desolate"(Matthew 23:37,38). When the disciples heard this, they pointed at the temple and asked Him what He meant, and Jesus answered, "Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down"(Matthew 24: 2). When the disciples heard this they were shocked. They weren't able to imagine the temple being in ruins, and if that did happen they thought it would happen in the end of the world and they asked Jesus, "Tell us, when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"(Matthew 24:3). Jesus answered them concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment if fulfillment of all that has been written... They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"(Luke21:20-22, 24). The Word is so clear that it needs no explanation. It clearly warned them to flee when armies surrounded Jerusalem. Was this true? A famous English philosopher named Dr. Samuel Clark (1675-1725) recorded "In the 12th year of the reign of Nero, Cestius Gallus, invaded Jerusalem with many troops." Josephus(37-97), a historian living in Jerusalem of the time recorded, When Cestius surrounded Jerusalem and was ready and prepared to take over Jerusalem, he retreated without no reason. This happened in 66 A.D. and it was really hard to understand. Anyhow, all the Christians in Jerusalem took advantage of this chance and fled from the city. In 70 A.D. the Roman general, Titus surrounded Jerusalem and attacked it. In this invasion, 1 million Jews were slaughtered, and died of starvation and infection and not one stone of the temple remained on top of another. Dr. Clark wrote that it is quite surprising that no Christian was killed in the war. From this we can learn the importance of studying the Bible and its prophecy.
 

 
  1. The sun will be darkened.   
Jesus continued to tell his disciples regarding their questions about the end of this world as following:
"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken"(Matthew 24:21,22,29).
A very strange event occurred around New England in America on May 19, 1780. Suddenly the sun got dark during the day. The Webster Dictionary published in 1869 explained this event as follows, describing that day as the dark day.  
"In some place, residents who were outside couldn't read any prints. After having sung their night songs, birds soon disappeared and got quiet. Hens went to roost and livestock began to look for barns. People rekindled candles. The darkness started from about 10 a.m. and kept going on until that night. No one knew the reason why this had occurred."  According to a record, the front surface of the moon became red like blood that night. People were so afraid that they tended to feel it was the end of this world at last.  By the way, according to the Bible "after the great distress, immediately, the sun will be darkened," The great distress could apply to Christians who live on the basis of faith in Jesus, having been from 538 to 1798, for 1260 years.(Reference section: Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6, 14)  But Jesus said, "those days will be shortened," according to history, freedom of Religion was given to the public about the middle of 18th century. His words were proven true and the dark day actually occurred in 1780 after the Persecution ceased.  This showed the prophesies in the Bible are true.

2. The stars will fall from the sky  
Another sign after the dark day is "the stars will fall from the sky". According to Revelation in the Bible, "and the stars in the sky fell to the earth as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind"(Revelation 6:13).
This prophecy was fulfilled on November 13, 1833. Omsthet, a professor of Yale University, wrote this happening in the name of shooting stars in the American encyclopedia, "Those who could see the shooting stars on the morning of November 13. 1833 saw the most surprising shooting stars since the dawn of history. And the scene could be seen all over North America. Those who saw this magnificent scene compared these shooting stars to snow flakes or rainbow drops."  
Charles Young wrote his opinion about this scene in his book 'Manual of Astronomy," Of all the rains of shooting stars on the earth, there has never been a wonderful star show like this. It kept going for about 5 or 6 hours, and they could imagine that they counted about 2 billion shooting stars." Since the beginning of history, the shower of stars is surely one of the signs of Jesus' second coming. In this way, God shows us that this world is going to end.
 

 
  The most tangible feature of this age is increasing knowledge. The Bible indicates that this is one of the signs of Jesus' soon second coming.  
In the Bible, Daniel said, "But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the end time. Many will go here and there and increase their knowledge"(Daniel 12:4). 
The prophecies of Daniel in the Bible hadn't been understood up to recently as well as this one. But people could solve the keys of those prophecies in the 19th century. As a result, knowledge of the Bible has rapidly increased. In addition, knowledge of Science has also developed; we are now in the atomic and cosmic age. All things that we are using very conveniently today were hardly invented before the 18th century. We can also travel in space thanks to the advance of technology, but the one fact that scares us is that morality and courtesy can't catch up with the advance of technology. Whenever we think about nuclear power and space rockets, we might also think about nuclear weapons and are scared of the result of the misuse of these things.
Then, what does the Bible predict about wars?
 

 
  “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars"(Matthew 24:6).  
In the end time of the world, we'll be able to hear of rumors of wars more than ever. B.A. Sorokin, a professor of Harvard University presented some very interesting statistics about wars.  
According to his study, 902 wars and 1615 civil wars had occurred in the past 2500 years. Since the 20th century, the number of wars and civil wars is 8 times as much as before. Today, the scale of wars is inclined to be larger and larger while the number of wars is increasing. Jesus predicted, "Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world"(Luke 21:26). This word expresses very well the fear of nuclear weapons that people have today.
 

 
  Amid fear of nuclear weapons, peace movements have spread. Regarding peace movement, we can't help thinking about the armament reduction conference after World War II. At that time, 58 countries took part in this conference and the number of each country's representatives was about 2,500. But because there were no good results, World War II broke out. Since World War II, through the United Nations, the International Security Council was organized. Conferences for armament reduction have been held from time to time.  But we know they haven't gotten good results until now.  
 Religion is going to be the last step to make this world peaceful, eventually. Then, the religion will have the most important role making it happen. All religions in this world will push for the union of religions. They will propose taking steps to keep in step with the peace movement.  
Isaiah predicted this situation, "In the last days, many people will come and say. Come; let us go up to the mountains of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning books.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more. (Isaiah 2:2-4) But Paul said, "While people are saying 'peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape"(1 Thessalonians 5:3).  In other words, both the peace movement and the movement of union of religions are going to be the last efforts of human beings. When we think the world is peaceful, destruction will come suddenly, and quietly.   
Those who haven't been taught by the Holy Spirit can't know these movements had the secret of Satan who wanted to destroy this world and "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus"(Revelation 12:17) Therefore, we as Christians who live in this age must receive the true light of prophecy.
 

 
  "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places"(Matthew 24:7).
Though there have always been many conflicts, and power games among nations, nations will rise. This is regarded as another sign of the end of the world.   
Joel predicted, "Let the weakling say, I'm strong"(Joel 3:10).
Since World War II ended in August 1945, many small and weak countries declared their independence. From the start of Indonesia's Independence, they said, "We are independent, each country is independent. One doesn't belong to another." Isn't the prophecy really true that "each of them says he's strong"?
 

 
  "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them"(2 Timothy 3:1-5).
These words are talking about how godless people will be in the last days. Jesus also said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man"(Matthew 24:37-39).
A flood once destroyed the world about 4,300 years ago. "Then God saw how great man's weakness on the earth had become.... and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said I'll wipe mankind, whom I created from the face of the earth"(Genesis 6:5-7).
Those days, people were so degenerate and corrupted, they threw away justice. That's why God couldn't leave them alone. Jesus said the situation in the last days is the same as in the days of Noah.  
Today, we know that we are in the same trouble. This world is filled with corruption. Prodigality prevails in this age. These days, teenagers disregard sex principles and live immoral lives. As a result, they are destroying both their bodies and spirits. Values of morality have dropped more rapidly than ever before. Sexual immorality fills this world to the brim. People are so selfish and cold that they even break their own families so easily; people even tend to look down on and despise God. We can know from these things that the most serious crisis is coming and this world is coming to its end.
 

 
  "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19,20)  
According to this command, the good news of the kingdom has surprisingly spread.  
First of all, in Bible terms. In olden days, people regarded the Bible as a very valuable book, because they had to copy each Bible by hand. Today, thanks to development of the printing press, we can get the Bible easily.   
The United Kingdom Bible Society was organized in 1804 and the United States Bible Society was organized in 1816.   
They have distributed the Bible all over the world, which was translated into more than 1,431 languages and dialects. This has lead many into a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and a full knowledge of Jesus Christ. In addition to that, in terms of activities of Seventh Day Adventist church which has proclaimed Jesus' second coming, has spread the good news into 197 countries in the world, though it was organized only 100 years ago.  The Seventh Day Adventist church is taking advantage of very various kinds of methods to preach the good news of Heaven; by word of mouth, communication, radio, TV, etc.  "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come"(Matthew 24:14). The rapidly spreading of the good news is the most tangible sign of Jesus' second coming. Jesus also said natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tidal waves, storms, famines, epidemics etc. are all signs. Today, these things happen more and more. Each of them is warning us that the end of this world is very near and we should repent of our sins and be alert.  
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door- so you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him"(Matthew 24:32, 33, 44).

2010.12.27 21:16

Lesson 14 A Thousand Years

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“They will reign with Christ for a thousand years"(Revelation 20:6).

  We studied the Second Coming of Jesus and signs in the previous chapters.  We studied that all the accidents in heaven and all the disasters on earth are signs that the Advent day of Jesus is very close. So what will the world be like when Jesus comes? What will happen during the period of a thousand years after the Advent? This is the content we will study in this lesson. Interestingly enough, there are some Christians who are contending this world will have the happy golden age of a thousand years when the culture of this world develops and the good news spreads into the world. But it doesn't concede with the teaching of the Bible.
 

 
  On the day of Jesus' Advent, all the people of this world will see God descending in glory with numerous angels from heaven. But the brilliant glory of the Advent will destroy all the hateful things of villains and the wicked world.   
"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming"(2 Thessalonians 2:8). Without the favor of the salvation of Jesus, nobody can live according to the words of Jeremiah.  "At that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere-from one end of the world to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, will be like refuse lying on the ground"(Jeremiah 25:33).
After that all the righteous men, who died from Adam the ancestor of human beings to the day of the Advent, will resurrect. All the living wicked will be destroyed and only the righteous will live. And the remained righteous will be changed to immortal bodies, as resurrected righteous will. Therefore, death will be defeated forever.
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever"(1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). 
"Listen, I tell you a mystery; we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable clothed with imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory'"(1 Corinthians 15:51-54). We have to know that there are two kinds of resurrections. As we know the righteous will resurrect, ascend and live with Lord forever, and almost all of them are dead who died once and resurrected the Jesus' Resurrection. They died by the first death and revived by the resurrection. But those wicked people who died by the glory of the Lord on his Advent or who died in disease or accidents before that time will not revive at the first resurrection. They will resurrect at the end of the era of one thousand years. It is the second resurrection. We call it the second resurrection that is different from the first one. Therefore John said "Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection"(Revelation 20:6).
 

 
 

 1.

Jesus will come again in glory.

 2.

The evil will perish in the glory of the Second Coming.

 3.

The righteous dead will be resurrected.

 4.

The living righteousness will be transformed.

 5.

All the righteous will ascend to heaven.

 


 
  During the era of One Thousand Years, what will become of the dead evil and righteous ones who ascend to heaven and what will they do?

1. The evil will continue to sleep in a state of unconsciousness and the earth will be in a state of desolation because there will be nothing living on it. Jeremiah, having seen the situation of that time through God's revelation, recorded, I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking all the hills were swaying. "I looked, and there were no people every bird in the sky had flown away. I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger"(Jeremiah 4:23-26).
2. The devil will be confined, which means that he will be imprisoned in the desolate world on which no living thing will exist. The apostle John wrote about this, And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time"(Revelation 20:1-3). The record tells us that the angel from heaven will seize the devil, bind him and throw him into the Abyss and lock and seal it for a thousand years. The Abyss means the desolated earth. And "to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore" means that there being no one to be deceived in the world, it will be as if he were imprisoned and confined.

3. The saints will ascend to heaven, where they will reign with Jesus.
The apostle John wrote blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. "They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand of years"(Revelation 20:6).
Reign with him is to judge all evils deeds, that is, investigate them. John recorded, "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given the authority to judge"(Revelation 20:4). Paul also recorded; "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? Do you not know that we will judge angels?"(1 Corinthians 6:2, 3).
 

 
  When the era ends, Jesus will come to this world with the delivered righteous again. And New Jerusalem will descend on this earth from heaven.
"On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be spilt in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south"(Zechariah 14:4).
When Jesus' feet stand on the Mount of Olives, the mountain will be spilt from east to west, divided into north and south. In the center of it there will be a great plain and the New Jerusalem will be settled there as a capital of New World.

Resurrection of the wicked.
Jesus will wake up all the wicked; this is the second resurrection. Jesus said, "For a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned"(John 5:28-29). It will be accomplished at that moment. The number of the wicked will be uncountable because He will wake up the wicked from the beginning of history for humanity. Among them, there will be giants who lived before the flood and famous generals or warriors.
Satan who is raised by evil angels will have ambition when he looks at the wicked and Jesus Christ with a lot of righteous beings and angels.
 
The release of Satan
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison. (Revelation 20:7).
After one thousand years Satan will be released again. Satan will have a chance to act because the wicked will be resurrected. He will organize the people to fight-the evil angels, generals and warriors of the wicked. They marched across the breadth of the earth and "surrounded the camp of Gods people, the city he loves"(Revelation 20:9).

Second Death
It is foolish to betray God. The result of this battle was that "fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, which had deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever"(Revelation 20:9-10). It is an everlasting death from which they will never be revived. Every one of us is doomed to die, but if we can be part of the first resurrection, "the second death has no power over us"(Revelation 20:6). So we have to believe in Jesus with all our hearts and obey His commandments to participate in the first resurrection.
 

 
 

 1.

Jesus Christ and the righteous will come to the earth.

 2.

The New Jerusalem will descend on the earth.

 3.

All the wicked will be resurrected.

 4.

Satan will be released.

 5.

Satan and the wicked will be destroyed forever.

 

 
  In Malachi it says, "surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire"(Malachi 4:1).
The wicked will be exterminated. When they are thrown into the fire, their statements vary from case to case because Jesus judges them according to their deeds done in the body. Some will be burning for a while and others will be thrown into everlasting fire. But at the last moment, they must admit and confess their sins and destruction and agree that God is patient and just. And the reason why it is called everlasting fire or burn for ever and ever is that fire will burn out all the roots of sins and it will burn until the wicked admit their sins.
 

 
  "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea"(Revelation 21:1).
The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away, and the new world will be established.
Peter wrote in his letter, "In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness"(2 Peter 3:13).
It means that the world will be recreated. John recorded the following, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away"(Revelation 21:3-4).
"A religious author who was inspired described the new world; In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called a country. (Cf. Hebrews 11:14-16.) There the great Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers shall find a home"(Ellen G White, The Story of Redemption, 430p).
What should we prepare to be citizens of this new world?
"The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to like holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and see its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heaven by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"(2 Peter 3:10-12, 14).

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“It is more blessed to give than to receive"(Acts 20:35).
  All of us need money for our daily lives, and the more material civilization develops, the more urgent our desire for money becomes. Nowadays, the idea that money is everything is deep-seated in our thoughts. Under these circumstances, even Christians cannot avoid the wish for money. However, for Christians who live a life devoted to God, their view of money should be different from that of secular individuals.
The Bible teaches us "not to put our hope in wealth, which is so uncertain but to put our hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment"(1 Timothy 6:17).
This means that instead of depending on money, which flows this way or that way like water, we should put our hope in God who is willing to provide us with what we need and should trust in nothing but Him. The older generation, after having gone through the bitterness of World War II and the Korean War, surely know how vain it is and what a threat it can be to one's life to have too much money. This is not to say that money is evil. Money is not good or evil in itself. It can be good or evil depending on how to get and how to use it. What we should learn about money from the Bible is how we should think of it. We get into trouble when we have a wrong attachment to it and try to get it in the wrong way. We ought to be its master not a slave to it. But there are so many people who are enslaved by it rather than control it with good will. A desire to make a lot of money is not evil in itself but too much attachment to it is likely to make us commit sins. The Bible teaches us and warns us against it. Now let's see what the Bible teaches us about money.
 

 
   "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager to have money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves"(1 Timothy 6:6-10).
The above-mentioned words intend to teach us about the futility of the desire to make too much money and to be rich in this world and about the true value of being self-sufficient. They also warn us that a great love of money is the root of all evils and is apt to plunge us into the trap of sin. Therefore it is proper to earn money for our daily lives, we should not be greedy for it because of a yearning for luxury, evil pleasure and self-indulgence. When we are greedy for money we are likely to do unjustifiable things and commit sins that will result in our fall into destruction.
The author of Proverbs said; "Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, Who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God"(Proverbs 30:8-9).
He who is content with having enough money to live on can live a really safe and happy life.
 

 
  "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it"(Psalms 24:1).
"The silver is mine and the gold is mine declares the Lord Almighty"(Haggai 2:8).
"For every animal of the forest is mine as is the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it"(Psalms 50:10-12).
The whole world and everything in it belongs to God. He created it and maintained it so there is nothing that doesn't belong to him. But God entrusted all creation to men and the authority to conquer and rule them. Therefore we human beings are not the owners of the world but only the managers of it appointed by God and there is no other owner of the world but God. There is nothing God cannot use that he wants to use but he had a plan that by entrusting management to men, he would fulfill his will through men. So we have the obligation to make sacrifices and offer donations so that we can help the poor and preach the Gospel.
It is by God's blessing that we can make money through the wisdom, power and good fortune that he has given us. When we consider how farmers sow seeds and gather a good harvest, we can realize that the good harvest is not the result of the farmer's efforts and exertion only. It is possible only when God sends light and rain at the right time. The Bible says, "you may say to yourself, my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord, your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant"(Deuteronomy 8:17-18). It is only through the blessings God allows us that we can have vitality and perform every activity for our daily lives.
Therefore we should give thanks to him everyday. Someone may say to himself, It is only through my ability and exertion that I have become wealthy, then why should I not use my wealth at my will?  But it is not so. If a man who has wealth and spends it for the satisfaction of his own desires even though he is nothing but a manager of the wealth God has entrusted to him, God will deprive him of the wealth.
 

 
  God has a plan that the fund for His salvation of mankind should be raised exclusively by tithes and offerings from those to whom he entrusts his wealth. The essential point in this plan is not that he wants his needs to be met but that he would like to make human minds nobler and to give them many blessings. In other words, God wishes, by having men offer tithes and offerings, to get rid of avarice that is the root of all evil from their minds and to make them generous and at the same time to have them experience God's blessing. As he had men remember by keeping the Sabbath that God is the creator of all things, so he has them remember by offering tithes and offerings that God is the true owner of all things.
Moses wrote about this, "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruits from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord"(Leviticus 27:30). Solomon also said, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine"(Proverbs 3:9-10). Therefore it makes sense that men should offer a tenth part of their income, which is a tithe to God first because it is holy to God. Established by God Himself this tradition is very simple and fair.
For example, a man who earns 10,000 won should offer 1000 won and who earns 5000 won should offer 500 won to God. A farmer, after subtracting the cost of farming; the cost of buying seeds, fertilizer, farm hands and agricultural medicines, should offer a tenth part of his net income. A merchant, after subtracting the loss of products, transportation, labor costs, and various taxes, should offer a tenth part of his net income. We should offer a tenth part of our income exactly, be it large or small. God commands us to offer a tenth part of our income exactly-irrespective of being rich or poor and plan to use it as the cost of living for those who have the special task of dedicating their lives to God. In the age of the Old Testament, a tithe was given to Priests and Levites who attended to the sanctuary and in the age of the New Testament, it was used for those who devoted their lives to God.
The apostle Paul says, "Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel"(1 Corinthians 9:13-14).  Jesus Christ, our Savior also said, "Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the Law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former"(Matthew 23:23).  In these words Jesus warned them against their hypocrisy but at the same time emphasized the importance of not neglecting the former lest they should neglect to offer a tithe.
If the Christians had offered tithes exactly, observing Jesus' words they would have received both material and spiritual blessings in abundance to the effect that evangelism would have spread more widely and the work of salvation would have been accelerated. It is really unfortunate that the churches of today encourage their believers to donate offerings instead of tithes. It should be regarded as an act that deserves a warning from Jesus again. "Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed"(Deuteronomy 16:16-17).  "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; bring an offering and come into his courts"(Psalm 96:8).
As is shown in the words above, we should go to our church with offerings of thankfulness. Moreover, since now is the time when we should preach the news of the end of the world more vigorously, each of us should donate offerings with more ardor and more self-sacrificing spirit. Shouldn't we who enjoy the pleasure and the privilege of having heard the Gospel, make more sacrifice for those miserable brethren who are still wandering in darkness?
 

 
  We can express our thanks to God and acknowledge him as the creator and the owner of all things through tithes and offerings. To give is to love and we can elate our love by continuing to give. God promised to bless those who love him and like to give.
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this; says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so many blessings that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit, says the Lord Almighty. Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land, says the Lord Almighty"(Malachi 3:10-12).
We will be cursed when we do not believe in God's promise and do not acknowledge him as the owner of wealth we are entrusted by him.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me, but you ask, how do we rob you? In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-the whole nation of you, because you are robbing me"(Malachi 3:8-9).
We have learned from the history of Israelites that they flourished when they kept the Sabbath faithfully, offered tithes sincerely and served the sanctuary with loyalty i.e when they experienced prosperity, whereas when they didn't keep the Sabbath day faithfully, did not offer tithes, or neglected their service to the sanctuary-basically when their religion was regressing, their nation became weak or was invaded by other nations with the result that they fell into slavery. Moreover, the Old Testament shows us that as it was with a nation, so it was with an individual.
Abraham offered a tithe to God's priest and became a Croesus of the east and Abraham's grand-son, Jacob left his home penniless but after 20 years returned rich with a large family and wealth, which resulted from offering tithes sincerely as he promised to God. The Lord, our God, who blessed Abraham and Jacob, keeps his promises to opens the door of heaven and gives us so many blessings that we cannot find a place to accumulate them in.
John Rockefeller, who donated 5 dollars, a tenth part of the 50 dollars he received as his first wage, became the king of oil, so did Carnegie, the king of steel. H. H. Hide who invented Mentholatum is famous for offering tithes faithfully. Clide Harris was born in a poor family and spent his youth as an apprentice. He later became a Seventh-day Adventist and started to run a small factory making boxes. He offered his tithe faithfully and then his business started developing and expanding year after year. Around the year of 1960, he became the owner of the largest furniture factory in the world, he donated eight million dollars to the church and his factory was worth thirty million dollars. Besides these individuals, there have been so many examples. God is sure to bless those who love him more than wealth and move them to make more offerings in addition to their tithe.
On the other hand, to our regret, we have frequently witnessed how miserable the lives of people who have not performed their duty to God, and depend on their wealth too much instead of God, and become slaves of it ends.
King Solomon said, "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed"(Proverbs 11:24-25).
We should think over the matter and experience the promise of God by putting it into practice. Even though we donate a little part of our wealth, can we by doing so say we have given in return a ten-thousandth of the immeasurable benediction God allowed us by sending Jesus, his only Son for our salvation and giving us all things on the earth? In any case, God already receives our offerings, be it ever so small, and has great pleasure in blessing us.
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"(Matthew 6:20-21).

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"But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more." (Job 14:10)
 
 There is none who has never experienced sadness and pain. Death is the saddest thing among these. Everyone has to die whether he is rich or not. Therefore the problem of death is a really important thing for everyone to consider.
The problem of life and death is to be treated with importance. This is the basic object of philosophy and science. Why do people feel afraid of death? Maybe it is because they don't know what really happens after death or because they have the wrong idea about it. Some may think that they dont care. But this is the wrong attitude. We must understand that our attitude about life is shaped by our knowledge of what happens after death.
 

 
  Every one has his own opinion, which differs from that of others. It is true that religion rules over people's minds. However, people may have different opinions, even though they have the same religion. Some people think they will go to heaven after they die. Others think that people are doomed to go to purgatory in order to be forgiven for their sins.
Among various ideas, we can summarize the problem of life and death like this. Do human beings still have a spirit after death? And if so, what's the form that these spirits take? These two questions show us the essence of the problem. Almost all religions teach this about eternal life and the immortality of the soul. Even though the Bible denies the immortality of the soul, many Christians still believe in this doctrine. It is an odd phenomenon.
 

 
  We must notice that behind false beliefs or doctrines there is the clever disguise of Satan. According to chapter 4, at the beginning of the world, God said to Adam "you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die"(Genesis 2:17).  Satan made Adam betray God by using temptation. Satan made human beings fall into this temptation by saying "You will never die" (Genesis 3:4). If we believe the words of Satan, we aren't obeying the holy phrase "the soul who sins is the one who will die" (Ezekiel 18:4). When we think like this, we focus on worldly things and on ourselves. If we believe that we will never die, we have no need for God. This is exactly what Satan wants.
 

 
 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not die but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
This phrase is famous for its simple expression of the importance of Christianity. It shows that human beings are destined to perish. But people who have immortal souls, cannot put much value on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. So Christians should not believe in the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, because it belittles the purpose of Jesus. Someone who believes in Jesus, cannot believe in the doctrine of immortality of the soul, it is wrong and paradoxical.
 

 
  We must consider life in itself to know what death is. The Bible says, "The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7).
This phrase tells us the key point of the constitution of the human body. First, man was made from the earth, but he didn't have life. It was not a real man until God breathed life into the loam. He could think and his organs could function well. It is like a lamp. As the lamp and the light have a deep relationship-breath of life is essential to the human body. So when a human being loses his life, he has only his body. It is not that the soul goes to another place. The soul and spirit are always with the human body. It is not something that is separated from the body.
 

 
  Death is the opposite of life. The author of Psalms said, "when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust" (Psalms 104:29). And Solomon said, "and the dust returns to the ground, where it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
The term spirit means breath or wind and it comes from Ruach, a Hebrew word. In the orient people think the spirit can be isolated from the body. But the Bible doesn't support that idea. We can paraphrase the spirit into the soul. You can see the fact from this sentence. In the Korean translation it says, "in his hand is the spirit of every creature and the souls of all mankind" (Job 12:10). But when we read it in the Japanese Bible, it says, in his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
In the New Testament the spirit or the soul also means the wind and respiration. It comes from Pneuma (a Greek word) and it is equal to Ruach. Let's change spirit into respiration, for example. So then, as the body without the spirit (respiration) is dead, also faith without action is dead(James 2:26).
We can find the basic meaning by paraphrasing. The spirit or the soul in the Bible has to be regarded as breath or life, not something personal that exists after death. The essence of death is that the breath of life returns to God. In the long run, people lose their mechanical functions and return to the dust.
 
 

 
  What do we have to talk about more if there is nothing left after death? Well the Bible describes the things after death in detail. How does the Bible describe this?
When Lazarus died, Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up" (John 11:11). His disciples replied; "Lord, if he sleeps he will get better."  "Lazarus is dead", He said.
It says sleep instead of die 53 times in the Bible. It means that someone will be sleeping until he is resurrected. Even though a person may be sleeping for thousands of years, he can't feel anything because he's unconscious. 
For example, Lazarus rose from death after four days but he didn't have any memory of those days.
Peter spoke to the multitude about David's death; "Brothers, I can tell you confidently the patriarch David died and was buried and his tomb is there to this day.... For David did not ascend to heaven" (Acts 2:29, 34).
Jesus himself didn't ascend to Heaven right after He died. Three days after he was buried, God resurrected Him. When Mary came to Him, He said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father" (John 20:17).
 

 
  A dead person knows nothing, just as we dont know anything when we are sleeping. In the Bible, it says, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun"(Ecclesiastes 9:5-6).
 "The living know that they will die but the dead know nothing."  It is the fundamental difference between the living and the dead. When people die, they disappear without consciousness or feelings. It is not true that the soul of the dead becomes a ghost and acts revengeful or something.
Job said, "If his sons are honored, he does not know it; if they are brought low, he does not see it"(Job 14:21).
Even though parents love a child greatly, after they die they won't know about anything that happens to him. In Psalms, it says, "It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to silence"(Psalms 115:17).
Even though a person was a faithful Christian during his life, he can't praise the Lord after death.
 

 
  Paul said, "just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment"(Hebrews 9:27). Every man will die someday, whether he is good or evil. Because humans are mortal they can't have the conditions of immortality.
At the beginning, God created humans and commanded, "you are free to eat from any tree in the garden but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die"(Genesis 2:16, 17).
But Adam and Eve disobeyed the command, so they became mortal. We, as their descendants, have lost the power to obey God and have become fastened by death. We can have eternal life when we have obedience. In this way, God forbids human beings to go to the tree of life and make themselves immortal. God doesn't want the sinful human beings to keep living their unhappy lives in this world any longer.
In any case, humanity doesn't have immortality from the beginning. A graceful God opens the way to eternal life to poor human beings. Only God can show us the way.
He gave us His only Son in order to save every one of us, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life. Jesus came to this world as a man and fulfilled the prophecy as a man. And He died on the cross for the redemption of sinners. Therefore, a person who honors God and accepts the redemption of Christ can be accepted like a person who obeys the commandments.
We can have eternal life by our faith. This satisfies the condition of immortality- obedience. John said, "this is the testimony; God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life"(1 John 5:11-12).
But we can't have an immortal body or the privilege of immortal life just by believing. This can only be accomplished on the day of Jesus' second coming, when He rewards all this faithful children with eternal life.

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 "Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many"(Matthew 24:11).

  In the last lesson we learned that if man is dead, he has no consciousness and is separated from the world. The Bible is very clear and plain so we can't deny the fact with our intelligence. But why do we have feelings of doubt? This is because of remnants of past traditions, ideas, and stories about strange phenomenons of the dead to remain and experiences related to that.
The spiritual world usually suggests the world of the dead to our minds. However, the communication of the spirit of the dead was more popular in the uncivilized age. In a primitive religion, when a witch performs an exorcism and a blind person chants a sutra it is thought of as a connection with god or the spirit.
Nowadays, a modern being possessed of a spirit like spiritualism or mediumism is done extensively. But the method is changed to suit the moderns who set a high value on science.
In America there was an event like this. There was a patient with a tumor that was operated on by the spirit of a dead man. Whenever a spirit connects with a man there is a spirit medium, like in this case. Although there were no medical instruments or supplies on the spot, the locus was removed safely and he recovered. He said that during the operation, it seemed that hands touched his stomach.  The tumor removed was used for a sample after a pathological experiment in a certain famous hospital.
 

 
  "The dead know nothing...never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun"(Ecclesiastes 9:5,6).
According to this phrase, it wouldn't be possible for the spirit of the dead to appear. So even though it seems that a spirit did a strange thing-that isn't the spirit of the dead. The Bible says, "he is a liar and the father of it"(John 8:44), indeed it points to the devil.
In the beginning of the world God said, "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die"(Genesis 2:17).  But the devil deceived Eve by talking against God like this: "You will not surely die"(Genesis 3:4). Since then the devil has been trying to implant in minds of men this thought:  If man would die, his spirit will live.  Indeed he is not only an advocate of the immortality of the soul but also spiritualism. He had many followers when he was banished from Heaven for revolting against God.
  "The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him"(Revelation 11:9).
Jesus said that there were angels to care for each man, and it is sure that followers of the devil disturb the salvation of Jesus(Cf. Matthew 18:10). Therefore, if the dead, through spiritualism or mediumism, are imitating features and voices, it is nothing but an evil angel interfering. He knows all sorts of situations well, so he can imitate of the dead by copying them. It is not the appearances of the spirit of the dead, but actions of the devil's followers to confuse the truth.
 

 
 It's not only to please people and to arouse their curiosity to do strange things. What the so-called spirit of the dead is talking about, not a statement being used to uplift of the character of man. Showing voices, manners, hobbies, habits of the dead that arouse an affection with them just leads to a thought that man never disappears after death. Then man is deceived after that they get to believe whatever may happen. The devil, that knows this fact well, tries to deceive them. Also, he made out an eternal hell. It is said that if man does die, a good man goes to Heaven or paradise and a bad man goes to a hell and falls into a pain forever. This makes people misunderstand God to be a cruel and wicked king; so many honest men become skeptics and atheists.
 

 
  Mediumism was the one of the superstitions of that permeated the world in olden days. When God inspired Moses to write in what is now the Bible, it was very popular so God gave serious warnings. Nevertheless, this effect spread so far through Israel that even the king came to indulge in the superstition. In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid: terror filled his heart.
So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to a woman who was a medium. Then he asked her to bring up Samuel, because he thought that Samuel had been a very faithful prophet during his life. So he could see God's plan for Israel through him. When the woman saw Samuel, she said to Saul, "I see his spirit coming up out of the ground."  So, Saul asked, "What does he look like?"  The woman said; "an old man wearing a robe is coming up."  Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
Samuel:  "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"
Saul:  "I am in great distress. The Philistines are fighting against me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do."
Samuel:  "Why do you consult me now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors-to David because you did not obey the Lord. The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines"(Cf. 1 Samuel 28:1-19).
At the first glance this fact seems that he had communication with the spirit of the dead, but if you take a good look at it, these contradictions are discovered.
 

 1.

If God stopped answering Saul, he never brought out the dead Samuel intentionally and make him answer.

 2.

If it ware the real spirit of Samuel, it wouldn't have accepted worship from Saul that only God deserves.

 3.

What the  spirit of the dead person said didn't with the teaching of the Bible.

 4.

Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, that is, a prophecy of death wasn't correct. Actually their deaths happened a few days later, and that was just the death of three sons, the remaining son died on another day.


Therefore Saul did not have communication with the spirit of Samuel but fell for a trick of the devil. In Korea, from olden days it is heard that witches and blind fortunetellers have brought up the spirits of the dead, but that is just a fraudulent act. So God already warned us not to be deceived by that kind of thing.
 

 
"Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritualists, for they will defile you"(Leviticus 19:31).
"A man or woman who is a medium or spiritualist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them"(Leviticus 20:27).
"When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritualists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?"(Isaiah 8:19)
Here spiritualist or mediums are those who have communication with the dead, that is, they are those who have communication in different ways. The Bible says of them:  "Don't allow them to live."
 

 
  March 1848, a modern mediumism was begun at John. D. Fox in New York, America.
Originally another man lived in the house but he moved to another place because he was disturbed by the sound of knocking sometimes. After the Fox moved to this house, they soon heard the strange sounds.
In March 1848, that sound could be heard inside of the two daughters' bedroom, Margaret(15) and Gate(13). Gate thought it strange so she knocked in the direction where the sound came from and said, Ghost, do as I do, then in response there came to a knocking sound.
One day Mrs. Fox said, if it is a mischief of man, make a sound in return, but there was no answer. After that, she said: If it is a Ghost, make a knocking sound twice, then sounds were heard twice. Mrs. Fox was very interested in this strange communication and continued. One day she took some information from the spirit of Charles B. Rosma. According to it Rosman was the man who had been murdered before the Fox family moved in and his body was under the floor. So they dug there, and they found a skeleton.
After that those two daughters sometimes had communication with the spirits. News of it spread widely because people came to ask them for help finding something that they lost. This is what made Europe and the whole world know about spiritualism and they founded many organizations.
In 1882, at Cambridge University under the leadership of an ethics professor, Henry Sidgwick, a physical research society was formed and in 1893 a spiritualism society was organized in America. It was true that an English physicist Oliver Lodge(1851-1940), a Liverpool University professor and the president of Birmingham University and who held an important post in the Royal Institute for Science, held an additional office as the president of an England Physical Research Society and was concerned about spiritualism or mediumism. After he talked with the spirit of his son Raymond who was killed in World War 1, he became focused on it. This shows us how strongly spiritualism attracts people.
It is not said that these organization are in Korea but it doesn't mean that similar groups don't exist.
The devil is trying to get a lot of intellectual persons on his side throughout the world and make his plan a reality. It is the time for those who seek the truth and try to live in it to be more careful than ever.
 

 
  In the beginning, God predicted a big battle between Christ and Satan.
 "He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel"(Genesis 3:15), this battle has been ongoing. The devil attempts to confront it finally by using a weapon, spiritualism. He says; though man does anything, his spirit never dies.  But Christ said, "The wages of sin is death"(Romans 6:23). "Sin is lawlessness"(1 John 3:4).
The consequence of breaking the law, which is that anyone who breaks the law and commits a crime is dead, counts for nothing to millions Christians who do not attach great importance to the law.
Christ said this about the last days, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible"(Matthew 24:24), "Satan himself will masquerade as an angel of light"(2 Corinthians 11:14), "He performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of man"(Revelation 13:13), "In every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing"(2 Thessalonians 2:1).
When we see these things occurring, we must know that this is the last revilement. There is a prophecy like this; "The spirit clearly says that in the latter days some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons"(1Timothy 4:1), it is possible for many Christians to fall for spiritualism. It is because almost all Christians neglect the law of God and believe in ascension after death. Then which one shall we choose on that last day?  Shall we follow God's word or follow the deceptions of the devil?

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"So what you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God"(1 Corinthians 10:31)
 
  We have learned about some of the principles of Christianity. Here we will study about the life of a Christian, in other words, how we should live as Christians. This is a practical thing that we can be interested in. There are many things that we have to know. First of all, we would like to introduce three important things: They are a life of trust, a life of obedience, and a life of moderation.
 

 
  Jesus said to all the poor people, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you est"(Matthew 11:28).
Therefore those who want to live peacefully getting out of their miserable lives have to meet Jesus, and listen to His teachings.  
And He said, "Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me"(John 14:1). Our lives are full of worry and anxiety, but Jesus told us not to worry about the earthly things.
How can we get rid of our worries?  We can do it by trusting God.  The apostle Peter mentioned,
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you"(1 Peter 5:7). Caring means taking care of everything. Peter taught his followers this through his own experience. If we can be sure that God loves us, that God knows all our needs and God cares for us, then we can get rid of our worries and anxieties.
Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you the truth. Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew 18:3). It means not only that we have to be honest, pure and modest like children but also that we have to depend on Him like children do on their parents.
 Children can go anywhere with their parents without any doubt. Like this, we also have to cast all our difficulties on Him and trust His care.
Jesus also said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat' or 'what shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all those things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own"(Matthew 7:25-33). Therefore, true Christians shouldn't be focused on the things they need for their daily lives such as clothes, food and shelter. We have to try to seek only His kingdom and His righteousness. Because God has already fulfilled all our needs and we can experience His allowance in our lives.
 

 
  A life of trust is deeply related to a life of prayer. Those who trust God never stop praying. Prayer is breathing in Christian life. We can't continue our Christian lives without prayer just as we can't live without breathing. Contemplation and prayer are conversations with God. We talk to our Father about our conditions and get His will and plan for us when we pray.
 The apostle Paul said the following to his followers to emphasize the importance of prayer, "Pray continually"(1 Thessalonians 5:17), Jesus also said, "Ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened"(Matthew 7:7,8) A person who seeks sincerely will get the answers from God. George Muller from England brought up 5,200 orphans in his 3 orphanages and educated 60,000 students. And he also gave 600,000 Bible books and 6,000 papers to people to spread the gospel. He actually had nothing-everything was done through his prayers.
Prayer has really great power. But what is the right way to pray?
 

 
The second important thing for Christians is obedience. Although the teaching of Bible is really great, if we don't obey it, it's useless. If a patient whose sickness is serious gets a doctor's examination but doesn't take his medication, he can't be healed.
Obedience is the same thing to Christians. A person who is sinful has to take the teaching of Bible as his healing method and follow the instructions.
There is nothing but the teaching of Bible; any other medicine is useless to him. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"(Matthew 7:21). Obedience is so precious. A lot of people will say on the Day of His coming, "'Lord, Lord', did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"(Matthew 7:22) But they didn't obey so Jesus will say, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"(Matthew 7:23). Evildoer means a person who doesn't obey and doesn't keep His commandments. 
If this terrible thing happens to those who always say 'Lord, Lord', how miserable it is!
There are many people who seem to have good characters and great personalities. Or some people are loved and flattered by other people. But God doesn't think of them as good persons if they don't obey what the Bible says.  True faith doesn't mean a religious attitude or feeling. It means obeying the will of God. If a person knows the Bible and its theology very well and deeply but he doesn't obey, it can't be said that he truly knows God.
"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him"(1 John 2:3-5).  Therefore a true Christian is a person who keeps the word of God, in whom the love of God is complete. Christianity is not a religion of theory and philosophy but a religion of action.
Some people think that they can be saved if they believe in God despite living in sin. But they can never be saved if they don't have the experience of rebirth and change of their characters as true Christians.
Jesus said, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love"(John 15: 10). and the apostle Paul also said "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!"(Philippians 2:8). 
Jesus was a perfect model of being obedient to the commandments. So we have to obey our God as His Son did. Freedom of human is not absolute. Only a person who is living in God's love can enjoy it. Consequently, what supports our obedience is reading the Bible. When we read the Bible, the love of Jesus makes our hearts soft and beautiful to obey His word.  
It is important to read the Bible from the beginning, but if you are a beginner, it is also very good and helpful to read Psalms, Proverbs, John and Matthew first.
 

 
  Let's think about moderation. It includes so many things; moderation of mind, moderation of body, moderation of life style, moderation of time, moderation of money. Life without moderation is so dangerous it's like a car without brakes. So we have to know how to control our bodies and minds. This is the lifestyle of real Christians. The apostle Paul said, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever"(1 Corinthians 9:25). The people who compete to get a crown that will not last are training to improve their bodies.  So, isn't it natural that we have to train harder than them? Because we want to control our minds. Solomon said, "better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city"(Proverbs 16:32).  
He is really better than a warrior, if he can control his temper and suppress his own desire. Using self-control when feeling laziness, suppressing passions when being tempted by enticements-these are really good examples of moderation. It seems trivial, but God considers it much bigger than the work of success of a general. Paul said; "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were brought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body"(1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our bodies belong to God and the Holy Spirit stays in them. Therefore we can't dissolute for our desires. We should use our bodies to make God, our owner glorious and happy. And we should keep our mind clear and our bodies clean. By this, we can improve ourselves as true Christians.
The Christian should be very careful to be healthy. The secret of good health is moderation. Our daily lives should be controlled regularly. Food is the key to a healthy life. So, we should keep away from food that is bad for our bodies.
 

 
  In the beginning, the food that God prepared for us was plants not flesh.
"I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food"(Genesis 1:29).
He gave us vegetables, fruits and grains as ideal plants. Nothing has changed. Eating animals started after the flood of Noah. But it quickened people's tempers and shortened their lives. Animals have many poisons that affect one's health. Therefore God forbid them to eat animals, especially detrimental and poisonous ones. In Leviticus 11, God said we can eat the clean animals such as cows, lambs, goats and deer and so on but we must not eat unclean ones such as pigs, rabbits and camels. Of all the creatures living in the water, we can eat only the things that have fins and scales. These are the birds that we can eat; doves, pheasants, quails and sparrows. They eat crops. He said the birds that eat meat like the kite, raven, owl and heron are unclean. And rats and bats are also clean. Dogs are one of the unclean things. And liquor, cigarettes, drugs, coffee and tea make people addicted to them. They have a bad influence on our brains, hearts and kidneys. Especially smoking which is a cause of lung cancer so we must be very careful with it.
 

 
  Though we know that we must have temperate living in eating and drinking. Sometimes it's hard to do. For instance, we can't stop drinking and smoking. Why? It is difficult to stop with our own strength. It is possible only when we are ruled by the power of Jesus.
The apostle Paul said, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength"(Philippians 4:13). Therefore the only method that makes us succeed in our Christian lives is to trust Jesus and to get His power. We can get it only when we pray and study the Bible earnestly.

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"Repent be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"(Acts 2:38).

In Old Testament days there were many ceremonies. But in New Testament days the representative ceremonies were Baptism by immersion and the Holy Communion. These are what Jesus ordered personally and gave us examples of. The word 'baptism' is translated into 'christening' in the Korean Bible. We correct the word christening to Baptism by immersion, because the word christening doesn't express its initial meaning well. Well explain in detail later.
Jesus did die and was resurrected, and before he ascended into Heaven, he gathered his followers and gave them the commission.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"(Matthew 28:19, 20).
He gave this great commission not only to his followers at that time, but also to all his followers in the future. Therefore Christians of each era according to this order run the risk of all types of danger and persecution all over the world when baptizing those who believe in the Father and the Son. This is a very important ceremony to enter the church.
 

 
  You teach and remember everything that I said to you is from Jesus Christ. Therefore one who is baptized has to study all truth of the Bible sufficiently first, accept the teaching of the Bible as it is, and believe Jesus is our Savior.
"It says, Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned"(Mark 16:16). So believing is the first condition to be saved. It means that you should believe the fact that Jesus took our place and paid the price for our sins and He is our Savior. The second one is to repent of your sins and to turn away from it.
"Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"(Acts 2:38).
Repentance is to know, repent, confess and turn away from one's own sins. This repentance isn't only to God. If you do harm to someone, you should confess your sins and beg his pardon. If there is someone who knows the truth of the Bible well, and believes in the salvation of Jesus and gets to the age to repent his sins, and he decides to be baptized, a pastor can baptize him.
But there are some examples of infants or newborn babies being baptized. This was a sort of the custom among the heathens and hundreds of years later the Roman Catholic Church adopted it, so it isnt in accordance with the teachings of the Bible. It's right that the life of an infant who can't distinguish good thing from evil one is in the hands of Jesus.
 

 
  "One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all"(Ephesians 4:5,6).
In this phrase we came to know that there is only one pattern of baptism. Then how was the baptism of Jesus? Matthew recorded this; "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? Jesus replied, Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.  Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and landing on him. And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased"(Matthew 3:13-17).
This is the correct and only pattern of baptism; the baptism of Jesus was to go to the Jordan and to be immersed in the water. When he went up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and, also a voice from heaven said; "This is my son, whom I love; with him I'm well pleased"(Matthew 3:17).  It was a sign to validate his baptism. Therefore where we hold the right baptism, there is to be plenty of water.
"Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized"(John 3:23). Therefore the christening that many churches hold nowadays, dropping a few drops of water on one's head, isn't a biblical or valid ceremony.
 

 
  A few days after Jesus went to heaven, an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road, the desert road, that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza"(Acts 8:26). So he started immediately, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, who was an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man went to Jerusalem to worship, and was on his way home. When Philip came near to the chariot, he was reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.
Phillip tried to get on the chariot and asked; "Do you understand what you are reading?"  He said, "how can I understand it unless someone explains it to me?"  And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Then the eunuch read this passage; 
"He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearers are silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth"(Isaiah 53:7,8). The eunuch reading the Bible asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?"(Acts 8:34). Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?"(Acts 8:36).  Philip said "if you believe with all your heart, and with all your might." The eunuch answered, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God"(Acts 8:37). And he ordered to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
This pattern is the same as the pattern of Jesus in the Jordan. That is to say, the pattern is immersion of the whole body. In the Korean Bible, the original word baptism is translated into christening; it is not right because the meaning of baptism is immersing not sprinkling. Therefore sprinkling a few drops of water isn't the right way. This started with infants and the sick in the Catholic Church from the 8th century, and was generalized after the 12th century.
 

 
  The apostle Paul described the meaning of baptism like this. "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus"(Romans 6:3-7, 11).
Baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. So a man who believes and is baptized also symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection with Christ. Or, whoever is baptized is forgiven all his sins in the past and gets clean from all the dirt and has only to believe that the Lord died for his sins. Also, as being buried with him through water, we get to be the dead to sin and the world and we will never be the slaves to sin. Therefore when he is raised from the water, he is a newborn man. In the same way Baptism is to proclaim in front of other people that a sinner was buried then is going to live as a newborn man.
 

 
  Baptism is a symbol of revival and an experience of it. So one's life after baptism should be different from the past one. As the old self died and you're renewed so you should live renewed lives. "Then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:  sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love"(Colossians 3:1, 2, 5, 12, 14).
Like this, a man who was baptized and entered a church must live his daily life with the proper nature as a follower of Jesus. He should be careful of his choices of clothing and his body."I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds appropriate for women who profess to worship God"(Timothy 2:9. 10).
Clothes express the mind of the man who is wearing them. Therefore it's not good to be dressed too shabbily or luxuriously. Christians should not set fashion trends or be so behind the fashion that it attracts people's attention. Your clothes should show your clean, noble and devout nature. Also you should not entertain yourself or have hobbies that have a bad influence upon nature or make you waste time or weigh on your mind, always do things to give God glory.
In reading, you should avoid dangerous ideologies that deny God or novels and magazines to make your nature be vulgar and avoiding plays and movies that do the same. It is safe to live in the right way. Also, if you are not selective with the TV or radio programs that you watch or listen to, they can influence you negatively. They can be very useful means not only to evangelize but also to propagate the guilt of the devil.
If those things aren't suitable for the life of Christian, it's easy to think of the life of Christian as very sorrowful and prosaic, but this is not the case at all. Great hope, delight and pleasure such as unbelievers can't image capture the mind of a Christian.
 

 
  The last question to those who are baptized and enter a faith is how to lead a religious life. Paul who succeeded in this field explained the secret of success like this.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"(Galatians 2:20). The fact that Christ lives in me and stays with me is the secret that makes me victorious and faithful.
A religious American author, Ellen G. White, said like following.  A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, the wicked one shall dominate us. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end. (The desire of the Age v.2, 324)
We must pay attention to these things to keep our relationship with Christ:
First, dont neglect private prayer.
Second, study the Bible everyday.
Third, share the grace of Christ with others every day.
Forth, attend all assemblies of the church diligently.
And try to have close fellowship with friends who live with the same faith and hope. If you keep company with people who don't truly believe in God, although they attend church, because of the strong power of evil, it is easy to fall into the temptation and for faith be weakened. And the other thing is, if you have a sudden realization that this is right or this is the truth. Enter the faith immediately because there is no need to be a slave of the devil anymore. So as soon as you realize the truth, and decide to obey the truth-enter the faith by being baptized. Entering a faith is taking part in the big military of God, so we get to have courage, ability and the faith to oppose the devil effectively. As Baptism and the Holy Communion are the two important ceremonies to commemorate, Christ engraved the name of the true God on these ceremonies. Christ made Baptism a sign to enter his Spiritual kingdom.

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"If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth"(1 Timothy 3:15).
 
  Today, the Christian church has hundreds of denominations. Every Christian thinks and insists that the church, which he is attending, is right and just. But most of them never study the Bible sufficiently and say so in ignorance. Only the Bible can judge whether the church is following the truth or not.
Some people say that in some ways they are different but it will be gathered to one place so we can choose any church according to our preferences. And every religion is teaching righteousness or goodness so we don't have to consider whether it is right or wrong. But Jesus said there is only one way leading to salvation. He never said any way is okay.
Some other people say, 'I had better read and study the Bible by myself, because there are too many sinners and hypocrites in churches. But remember this; Jesus didn't neglect anyone. He even accepted Judas who betrayed Him. So we have to be careful with the wrong principles or doctrines but we have to be lenient to those who come to church.
Some people even complain, 'Do we have to join a church to be saved?' To answer this question, we only need to heed Jesus' words, "Church is his body, Christ is head of the church"(Cf. Ephesians 2:22-23) "If you are not in Christ, it is like that unconnected branch"(Cf. John 15:4).
In the days of the Old Testament, the people of Israel thought it a disaster that they were taken out of the census of God. Today we have to regard it a downfall to part from church.
So, which one is the real church for salvation? Do you think Jesus will be glad with the fact the church is divided into hundreds of dominations? No way. Jesus wants to gather all the truthful Christians together in one real church. There are some religious Christians in the confusing world; God loves them so much that he can help them walk on the right path. Let's go back to the age when the first church was organized to find out which church is the real church.
 

 
At that time, the church was a real church with Jesus Christ. In Revelation, it says, "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head"(Revelation 12:1).
Clothed with the sun refers to the glory and glow of Jesus. The gospel and the moon under her feet symbolize the sacrificing in the Old Testament. It is like the moon that shines dimly by the reflected light of the sun. The twelve stars on the crown are the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, this woman represents the church of the New Testament Age. It tells us that the faith of the New Testament is based on that of the Old Testament. So a church that says we don't have to read and study the Old Testament misunderstands the principles of the Bible. So it doesn't have the truth.
 

 
  The history of the Christian church started with persecution. If it had not been from the true God, it would have disappeared. But the more they oppressed the Christian church, the more widely Christianity spread throughout the world. In the time when Paul lived, it was known in Asia and all of Europe. But Satan, who realized he couldn't exterminate the Christian church with persecution, changed his strategy. That was to make the Church itself corrupt and fallen. 
As a result, the people who commit corruptions get more powerful and they organized the Roman Catholic Church. But God saved His church from danger as He revealed His will to John, "The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1260 days. When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.
Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth"(Revelation 12:6, 13-16).
The word, '1260 days', a time, times and half a time is referring to 1260 years, ie.A.D. 538-1798 when Roman Catholic church persecuted the real Church. Roman Catholics insist that the pope is the real inheritor of the apostle Peter and the pastor of English church say that he has received the authority of apostle from the olden days. 
By the way, the Bible says that the real church-a woman-fled into the desert for 1260 years. She lived a humble but religious life there, not in a city. But the pope lived with the great power during those days. At that time, darkness covered this world but the light of the truth remained.
We can see an example of the Waldenses people, they tried to read the Bible and spread the Gospel during the Dark Ages. They taught people that they could learn the principles of Jesus directly from the Bible so they were regarded as heretics. They had to hide themselves in the steep valleys in Italy and kept their faith. They educated their children in the faith and wrote some short stories based on the Bible and sent the missionaries all over Europe. The Albigenses also had to hide from the persecution for their faith in the southern Alps. A few centuries after this, America was found and all the faithful Christians, who had been persecuted by the Catholic Church or other national religions, could have a safe place to live and practice their religion.
The Bible predicted, "But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth"(Revelation 12:16).
 

 
 "The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert."(Revelation 12:14)
When we compare it with the phrase in Deuteronomy 32:11, it symbolizes that God will protect them. Following the prophecy, in the 16th Century there came the religious reformers such as Martin Luther(Germany), Zwingli(Switzerland), Melanchton(Germany), Calvin(France), Knox(Scotland). And severe persecution also decreased because of the discovery of America. England, Germany and Austria proclaimed freedom of religion. Finally the persecution stopped. The days of persecution were shorter than as it is written in the prophecy, it showed how deep the Love of Our Lord is. "For the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."(Matthew 24:22)
 

 
  Whenever the truth of the Bible was neglected or forgotten, God made the people who felt responsible for it come out and cry out the truth to the world.
The religious reformers in the 16th century were those who were called by God. They rose up to reform the Catholic Church that was far from the principles of the Bible.
But the church didn't listen to them and dismissed them, instead. They were separated from the Catholic Church and called 'Protestant'. But before long, some of the leaders placed emphasis on the things that they thought were right. As result of it, there arose different opinions among Protestants and they made different dominations.
For example, in England the Anglican Church was founded. But because it had the ceremonial form of the Catholic Church, some people who were not satisfied with it made other organizations. The Baptist Churches in England and Europe emphasized Baptism, freedom of spirits and the separation of church and state.
The Anglican Church dismissed John Wesley and his supporters because they emphasized the Holiness of church and Grace of freedom. So they founded the Methodist Church.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the principle of being reasonable and high-criticism penetrated into Christianity, many people started to deny the truth such as the divinity of Jesus, the virgin birth, a spotless life, redemption, ascension, Second Coming and so on.
Therefore God made the brave leaders spread His Gospel again. This caused the births of other denominations. Actually, hundreds of denominations started with good intentions. Every one of them has the truth. But the important thing is that all of them follow the Bible through their deeds. If we can find a church that is putting the truth of the Bible into practice, we can call it a real Church.
 

 
  As we have studied, the real church was persecuted for 1260 years. But God protected His church during those days. He also said the remnant Church would be persecuted continually. Then, what did the Bible say of this Church?
"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus"(Revelation 12:17).
We can see the two characters of the church that Satan wants to attack.
First one is to obey God's commandments and the other one is to hold to the testimony of Jesus. God's commandments are Ten Commandments including the Commandment of Sabbath. But many churches neglected this fourth commandment because they believe that the Law was abolished at the cross.
To hold to the testimony of Jesus' is mentioned in Revelation, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy"(Revelation 19:10).
To have the spirit of prophecy, in other words, to have prophets, is the specific character of remnant church. Satan wants to challenge this church. So the remnant church will meet the persecution of the Catholic Church again.
 

 
  God used the religious reformers to fulfill His work. Like this, He gave the last remnant church the important mission. It is to proclaim the Three Angels' Messages.
The first angel tells the news, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water"(Revelation 14:7). In other words, we are near to the Jesus' Second Coming and we have to keep the Sabbath to honor our Lord. The second angel cries out, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries"(Revelation 14:8).
It points out the status of the corrupted churches that are in a state of confusion.
The third angel says, "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name"(Revelation 14:9-11).
It is the most severe warning that God will judge those who follow the Sunday laws made by Catholic Church and the pope. The three angels' messages are spreading throughout the world. By this, the truth of the Gospel will be restored and God's loving children will get back the pure faith that the first church had in the beginning.


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