key tt ScriptLESSON 1

 

 

 

The Bible Foretells Your Future

Introducing The Greatest of Books

    THEME 015 SD Background1The Bible has been acclaimed as the greatest book ever written. Not only believers in the Mighty One of the Bible are of this opinion, but even rank unbelievers have been impressed by the words of the “Book of Books.” Many have been enthralled over the sheer beauty of the Psalms. Others have been deeply moved by the intricacies of the Book of Romans. Still others are overwhelmed by the simplicity, yet unsearchable depths of the Bible.

     Looking at its literary aspect alone, the bible is preeminent. Its concise, chaste style; its beautiful and picturesque imagery; its forthright accounts in its narratives penetrating the human veneer even of its heroes; its unfathomable wisdom and balanced logic; its stately language and lofty themes—all these combine to make it one of the most sought-after books around the world. It is perennially the world’s bestseller.

     The Bible has no equal as a vehicle for educating the whole man. A study of the Scriptures will open new and varied vistas; elevate the goals of man; broaden his wisdom; dignify his affections; strengthen his mind; and help him to gain new insight into his motives and actions.

     A good understanding and applying of scriptural principles will give man sharper discernment and add strength to his character. If he practices the advice and admonitions given in Yahweh’s Word, he will elevate his morals.

     As an instruction book on living, the Bible is without peer. It brings tranquility in believing and unwavering hope for the future. It answers the questions why we exist, why we are here on earth, and what is our potential destiny. Scripture inspires us to loftier goals, patience and purity. It fills us with a love for the Heavenly Father and His Son and gives a simple desire to reflect that love to our fellow human beings. It teaches us the value of every human life by revealing the price that was paid for redeeming mankind. It tells of the future and of the preparations necessary to meet it.

     Many great men in history have acknowledged the wisdom of the Bible as they quoted from the pages of Yahweh’s Word. Patrick Henry quoted the Bible three times in a speech before the Virginia Convention in March 1775. Daniel Webster alluded to Moses’ bringing forth water from a rock and Elisha’s bones that revived a dead man (Numbers 20:11; 2 Kings 13:21) in a speech about Alexander Hamilton in 1831. President Abraham Lincoln quoted the Bible three times in his Second Inaugural Address in 1865. It was also Lincoln’s speech at the Republican State Convention in 1858 in which he quoted from Matthew 12:25: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Both Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy quoted Scripture in their respective inaugural addresses.

Our Talk is Filled with Scripture

     Our English language itself is seasoned with many clichés taken from the Book of Books.  Notice the italicized portions: "Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9); “And you shall eat the fat of the land” (Genesis 45:18); “Woe is me” (Isaiah 6:5); “The nations are as a drop of a bucket” (Isaiah 40:15); “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7); “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13); “A man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink and to be merry” (Ecclesiastes 8:15). 

     There are many other expressions spicing our everyday talk that are either direct quotations from the Bible or paraphrased parts of it. Obviously, the Bible as literature has had a tremendous influence on our culture and language. As literature, the Bible's influence has been felt even among those who do not necessarily believe it to be inspired but can sense the beauty and depth of its truth. How much more meaningful is the very word of the Almighty to those of us who accept it as the inspired Words of our Creator and Sustainer.

Bible is Accurate Scientifically, Historically

     While worldly scholars attest to the Bible’s greatness as literature, there is much more to consider than just the literary value of the Holy Scriptures. Although not a history book, its historical records are being proved accurate almost daily as archaeologists unearth evidence that supports Bible statements. Neither is the Bible a scientific book, yet it taught that our planet is a sphere even when most of the world’s intellectuals up to the time of Columbus, thought the earth was flat. Job 26:7 states that the earth is suspended upon nothing, implying that it is in an orbital path in our universe. Scientists continually find evidence of a worldwide flood, spoken of in Genesis 6.

     The physical creation that included man is given in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis. We are told of man’s original perfect creation and of his disobedience to the holy command and the consequent condemnation to die by his Creator. Because of His continued love for mankind, Yahweh went His Son into the world as the Redeemer and Savior of the human race.

     In order that the Creator’s plan for the recovery of the human race might be accomplished, a resurrection of the dead is necessary. The Bible sets forth the plan for a resurrection—a hope not visualized in any other religion in the world. The necessity for the resurrection is established by the ordained penalty for sin, death. This death according to the teachings of the Bible is not a gateway to another life, but the very absence of life.  Elohim had said to Adam, “In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (be doomed to death—Anchor Bible), Genesis 2:17.

Four Classifications of Scripture Possible

     In showing the love the Creator has for His creation and His plan to bring about a restoration, the Bible could be divided into four classifications: doctrinal, historical, inspiration and prophetic.

     1.  The doctrinal aspect outlines the details of the Creator’s plan for the recovery of man from sin and death.

     2.   The historical supplies the background of human experience to which the outworking of the holy plan has been related.

     3.   The inspirational aspects are made up of the promises of Yahweh to His people throughout the ages, by which He has assured them of His guiding and sustaining power in their lives, enabling them to be acceptable servants in doing His will.

     4.  The prophetic truths of the Bible are its forecasts of coming events related to the completion of the heavenly plan and of the futile efforts that would be made by men and nations either to counterfeit or to thwart these sacred designs.

     This is the Book we are going to study--the Holy Bible given to the Hebrew-speaking people through Yahweh's inspiration of His prophets who wrote and spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is inspired by Yahweh.

     Our intention is not to prove the Bible is true, although there is much to be said about the inspiration of the Scriptures. It is assumed that those taking this Bible course have already proved the validity of the Bible to themselves and are now seeking a deeper understanding of the Inspired Word and how it applies to their lives. Even more important, however, is how you should apply biblical instruction to your life.

Make Proper Preparations for This Course

     Before you start these studies, there are several preparations you should make.

     Before each lesson, offer up a prayer to our Heavenly Father for His guidance into truth. Ask Him to place in your heart and mind the verities of His Word and to help you put into practice the truths you learn.

     You will need a pen and notebook paper to write the answer to each question and to take notes. You also should mark and underline in your Bible as well as make cross-references. This habit will be invaluable to you as you grow in Bible understanding. Look up every Scripture reference and make a note of it.

     A few reference books will be invaluable as you progress in your Bible study. A good concordance is a must. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is a bit more comprehensive than Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible. Many research and reference books are now being published with Strong's numbering system. A good King James Bible (KJV) is also mandatory. Many prefer the Companion Bible (Zondervan Publishers) because of its many notes and references. Any King James Version is satisfactory as most reference works are geared to the KJV. Other translations of the Bible are also invaluable for comparative study because of the archaic use of some English words and phrases in the Authorized Version (KJV). Commentaries are helpful, but should be weighed carefully as many contain the opinions of men, some of who were unconverted. Bible dictionaries are also useful.

     In today's computerized age, there are many, many resources available electronically that include many versions of the Bible along with study aids such as concordances and commentaries which the student may find very beneficial in going through these lessons.

Get Ready for Your Destiny

     Another starting point might be the prophecies immediately ahead of us and what we can expect of the future. With increasing sin and lawlessness rampant in our world, the price to be paid for this rebellion against Yahweh will be horrifyingly dear and will bring an end to this age. It will be so terrible that if Yahweh Himself did not intervene, there would be no survivors of the human race. But He promises grace and protection to those few who will yield their lives to Him now. He is calling out a select few to be pioneers in an entirely new life.

     If we understand the grand design and the promises for us written in the Bible, then we know what we are striving for. If we can see the end from the beginning, then we know what we should be learning along the way that will prepare us for the times ahead. Our final goal, then, is where we will start: with a look at our destiny, the purpose for which we are born. We will examine the future as promised in the Bible, which no other source is able to reveal. Only Holy Scripture has the answer to the ultimate potential now being shaped for a select group among the human race. The wonderful part is, you can be included in it!

     What logically should be the place to start in our study of the Bible? We could start at the first book and take a thrilling panoramic journey through the creation and the expulsion of Adam and Eve fro the garden. Then we could go on to Abraham and the covenant made with him and reconfirmed in the 12 tribes of Israel by Jacob in Genesis 49, continuing through the rest of the Bible.

Varied Ideas Flourish About the End Times

     There are many prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments pertaining to the return of the Messiah. Early history showed that the belief of the coming Messiah and establishment of the Kingdom was basically twofold: 1)  The world center would be at Jerusalem and an earthly Messiah would be of the House of David; and 2) A heavenly Kingdom of the resurrected saints. These two expectations intersected in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where the believers alive at the time of the return of the Messiah would be changed and reign without dying. The other was 1 Corinthians 6:2 that concerned the last judgment upon the earth. However, because of the delay of the parousia (appearing of the Messiah), there was a decline of interest. This paved the way for introducing an entirely new set of doctrines.

     Augustine (354-430) taught that the church is the Kingdom. The first resurrection, according to his interpretation, took place at baptism. Salvation was through the sacraments. It was primarily because of this teaching that the crusades took place at the end of the 11th century to the close of the 13th century.

     Other teachings deal with the return of the Messiah. They can be summarized into postmillennialism and premillennialism.  Postmillennialism teaches that the world will get increasingly better until almost perfect. The world will then be prepared for and will recognize and accept the Messiah, who is to return after the Millennium (1,000) years. Premillennialists, on the other hand, believe that the Messiah will come first and set up the 1,000-year Kingdom on earth. He will then rule with His saints for the period. Afterwards, He turns the Kingdom over to Yahweh.

     Postmillennialism has been shown to be faulty because it takes all the teachings applying to the Kingdom and transfers the promises and prophecies to the Assembly.

     Relatively new is the doctrine of dispensationalism, which arose in 1830. This doctrine teaches that various time periods divide up the way in which Yahweh is dealing with His creation. While the dispensationalists have made much headway in churchianity, this teaching has been questioned by many who do not always agree with its varied interpretations. Some say there are seven dispensations, others say five and others note 12.

     Included also is the teaching that Yahweh's prophetic time clock stopped when Jerusalem was seized by the gentile nations and started when Israel was founded again in 1948. Further study on these beliefs will be forthcoming in these lessons and in The Master Key magazine.

     The study in religious circles of latter-day events is known as eschatology (concerning death, resurrection, judgment, immortality). Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, as well as the Book of Revelation, fairly well lay out the time schedule in which Yahweh will send His Son back to earth.

    In the Key to the Scriptures Bible course we will avoid date-setting and any sensational interpretations of Scripture as are often used by others to gain the attention of the world and sell their doctrines. This study will focus on the Bible itself and how, in general terms, Scripture warns mankind of certain events yet to occur. It is often difficult to take a specific prophecy and be certain that it relates either to Israel at its present time or to the future millennial Kingdom.  In addition, many of the verses in Daniel as well as Revelation are allegorical and are sometimes difficult to understand.

Outline of the End-time Scenario

     At the outset, the Key to the Scriptures correspondence course will teach the general events to occur ahead of us.  Briefly, the following is what we can expect.

     Revelation 9:1 to 11 speaks of the fifth angel sounding his trumpet and a star was seen falling from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. Out of the Abyss comes a king whose name is Apollyon. He is the first beast who will be worshipped by those who take his name (see Revelation 13:16-18).

     The beast will receive a deadly wound and the world will see this wound being healed, Revelation 13:3-4. After this, he will lead the nations and set up a new world government.

     This world government dominates every nation in the world, giving its leader unprecedented political power. He even goes so far as to claim to be Yahweh, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. He controls the world's economics, business and banking so that no one can buy, sell or trade without his authority (Revelation 13:16-17).

     In addition, a religious system will rise that will work hand-in-glove with the Beast, or as he is popularly know, the man of sin--the anti-messiah. This religious system will be headed by a prophet who will do great wonders and perform many miracles, as spoken of in Revelation 13:11-14. This "prophet" will be empowered to do the miracles to deceive the nations.

     We find that the ten horns or nations shall later hate the religious order (called Babylon) and shall destroy it. In so doing, they will fulfill Yahweh's will to do away with this religious structure, Revelation 17:16-18. The second 3 1/2 years of the world government will be climaxed by a gigantic world war as nations rebel against the world rule (Revelation 16:14-16). While this war is under way, the Messiah will return (Zechariah 14:1-4) in power and glory (Revelation 19:11-16). The nations will turn to fight the Messiah (Revelation 17:14).

     Upon His second advent, the Messiah will judge the armies of the world at the Valley of Jehosaphat and in time will judge Israel and everyone on earth. He will also reward the believing martyrs of the period. When the Messiah returns, He will set up the Kingdom according to Zechariah 14. He will at that time bring His rewards with Him, Revelation 22:12. Those who have done good works will receive a special reward, which is understood to be a position of rulership in the Kingdom, Revelation 2:26; 3:21.

Nebuchadnezzar's Prophetic Dream - Daniel 2

Nebuchadnezzars Dream by joseph art    Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a metallic image divided into five sections was prophetic of the world's government from the time of Daniel to our day.
   The four governments represented by the image were not pictured by four individual statues, but by one. This shows a commonality about the nations represented by the statue. It has been postulated that the vision means that the peoples represented by the statue may all have a common background. The first two nations are from the east of Judea and the latter two from the west.
   Another theory is that the nations represented by the metallic man have a common denominator running through them, which is the religion of Babylon. The teachings of Babylon religion have permeated all nations represented. The "head of gold" represents the fundamental religious teachings that have filtered down to the other nations in history. This is true even though the nations may seemingly have a different name for the mighty one that they worshipped; upon closer examination their mighty ones are all the same. Whether they were called Baal, Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis or Mercury made little difference. They all had the same basic rites and concepts. The four kingdoms are reckoned as they influenced Jerusalem.
   Below are listed the commonly accepted nations represented by the various parts of the image with dates according to Halley's Bible Handbook.


 --THE HEAD OF GOLD. This portion of the dream [Daniel 2:32, 38] represented Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian empire [606-536 BCE]. The Babylonian or Chaldean kingdom was the empire controlling the known civilized world in this golden age.  Just as the head governs and controls the rest of the body, in Nebuchadnezzar's image, Babylonian pagan worship and practices survived to influence and determine worship down through the ages, and remain strong in our day.

--BREAST AND ARMS OF SILVER. [Daniel 2:32, 39] Babylon was sacked by the Medes and Persians, whose dual monarchy [536-332 BCE] was represented by two arms of the image. As silver is lesser in quality than gold, so this empire was inferior to the Babylonian kingdom, but stronger than gold.

--BELLY AND THIGHS OF BRASS. [Daniel 2:32, 39] In the battle of Arbela, Alexander the Great conquered the Medes and Persians to establish the Greek Empire [331-146 BCE]. Brass or bronze is much stronger than either gold or silver, and the Greek empire was the strongest known up to that time.

--LEGS OF IRON. [Daniel 2:33, 40] The Roman Empire was the fourth kingdom of the image [146 BCE-400 CE]. Strongest of all militarily, the Roman Empire was also the farthest reaching [legs make mobility possible]. Iron is strong and durable, but has less value compared to the noble metals.
--FEET OF IRON AND CLAY. [Daniel 2:33, 41-43] The feet of iron mixed with clay and the ten toes indicate the mongrel character of the fourth kingdom. It is made up of a mixture of peoples who cannot easily get along with one another.  Clay and iron do not mix well. The union is short-lived, lasting a few years. The ten toes mixed with clay indicate an amalgamation of ten nations that for a time at the end of the age form a union. Daniel 7:23 indicates there will be a kingdom at the end of the age that will rise up and dominate the area around the Mediterranean. This ten-toed empire will have great bearing on the people of Yahweh because when it is set up, it will persecute the saints [Daniel 7:21, 11:33; Revelation 13:7, 17:6]. This kingdom will be dominated by a religious system [Revelation 17:12-13] known as Babylon [Revelation 14:8, 17:5, 18:2-4]. It will be during the time of these ten kings that the Kingdom of the Heavens will be set up to rule the earth under the Messiah [Daniel 2:44].


Worst Suffering Ever to Occur

     From both the Old and New Testaments we learn that this return of Yahshua the Messiah is known as the Great Day of Yahweh (Zephaniah 1:14; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:17). It will be a time of great trouble and war. A period of darkness, gloominess and much carnage will prevail on earth. In fact, this time will be so bad that Yahshua said in Matthew 24:22, "And except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved." This era will be the worst for any of Yahweh's creation since the world began (Daniel 12:1; Joel 2:1-3; Mark 13:9).

     A new teaching that the righteous will be removed from the earth before the coning, age-ending conflagration arose in the late 1800's and gained prominence in the early 1900's.  Known as the "rapture," the doctrine teaches that the Messiah is to return "at any time" for His saints and take them to heaven for either 3 1/2 years or seven years. This teaching was unknown to the early followers of the Messiah. They did know of the protection Yahweh promises His people when the world will seem bent on self-destruction.

     Notice Zephaniah 2:3, "Seek you Yahweh all you meek of the earth which have brought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of Yahweh's anger." Also, Amos 5:15; Psalm 27:5; and Psalm 91 all promise Yahweh's protecting care for His people. In these and other verses the admonition to Yahweh's people is to study and learn of His ways. Those who are obedient to His laws will not be destroyed when the Messiah returns.

     All who are obedient to Yahweh in keeping His commandments will be tempted and tried during this terrible period. It will not be easy. Scripture says that Satan will work doubly hard to overthrow the faith of those who are walking in the footsteps of the Messiah because he knows he has a short time (Revelation 12:12).

Unbelievable Everlasting Rewards Await the Faithful

     What about all those who have kept Yahweh's law and have been obedient to His way of life? Will they be given any special treatment or rewards? This same question was in the minds of the apostles when they were with the Messiah. They reasoned that they had given up everything to follow Him. "What is in it for us?" was their question. His answer is in Mathew 19:28: "Verily I say unto you, that you which have followed me in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

     Plainly, the rewards given to Yahshua's faithful followers are positions of rulership in the Kingdom. That means helping to establish the rules of the government of Yahweh upon this earth. This government will enforce the Bible laws given in the Old Testament upon those who are still living when the Messiah sets up His Kingdom at Jerusalem.

     Notice further in verse 29 that Yahshua says, "And everyone that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life." Not only do those who have overcome and given up everything in this life to become a true disciple of the Messiah have rewards of positions in His government, but also they will be given immortality. Immortality is a teaching found primarily in the New Testament.

     The Apostle Paul taught that we are to exercise discernment between righteousness and evil right here on earth. We are to be able to differentiate even the finer points of obedience of those who are striving to obey Yahweh's law, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. Here, the point Paul makes with the Assembly at Corinth is that not only should the disciples be able to discern between the righteousness of those in the Assembly, but they also will eventually be called upon to judge the angels that sinned. He says we all are to exercise our judgments in this life and we are to recognize degrees of goodness among the brethren.

     Continuing in verse 9, Paul again emphasized that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of Yahweh. Reading from the Living Bible, we note Paul saying, "Don't you know that those doing such things have no share in the Kingdom of Yahweh? Don't fool yourselves. Those who live immoral lives, who worship idols and who are adulterers or homosexuals--will have no share in His Kingdom. Neither will thieves, greedy people, drunkards, slanderers or robbers."

     Galatians 5:19-21 also shows that those disobeying Yahweh's laws will have no inheritance in the Kingdom of Yahweh. To emphasize further, the Book of Revelation has the promise that those who do His commandments will have a right to the tree of life and enter the Holy City, 22:14.

     From all the Scriptures on the subject, only those who are doing Yahweh's will by obeying His commandments will be qualified for positions in the Kingdom. Those positions mean ruling with Yahshua. Daniel 7:22, 2 Timothy 2:12. Until the Messiah returns, we are to use what He has given us to "occupy" until the Savior comes. We are to spend our time in preparation for the Kingdom, learning of His way of life to fit ourselves for rulership.

Lesson 1 - Study Questions

How and Why the Savior Will Return

     The following questions concern the Messiah's return and what it should mean to the followers of the Redeemer.

     Read and study each Scripture carefully. Write down the entire verse or a brief summary of each Scripture as you go through the questions. The more thorough your notes, the more valuable they will be to you when you review the lessons later. Get into good study habits. In the long run, you'll benefit many times over for the extra time you put into each lesson.  Now - LET'S BEGIN:

     1.  What is the Bible's teaching on the Messiah's return? Can He come to this earth tonight? Or are there certain events that must first occur before He can return? Acts 3:19-21. Note especially verse 21, "whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things."

   NOTE:  According to the Anchor Bible notes on these verses, the Jews maintained that Israel must first be converted before the Messianic age could occur. The New Testament itself contends that before the new age is ushered in, the Good News must be preached to all peoples, Acts 1:8, Matthew 24:14. From this preaching of the Good News of the coming Kingdom in which the Savior will rule, there will come converts to True Worship. From this nucleus will emerge a group who will continue preaching truth and righteousness, preparing others to receive the returning Messiah. They will be dedicated, sincere people in spreading the Glad Tidings and will also be in constant danger, Daniel 11:33. Before the return of the Messiah, then, there must come a restoration of the proper way of worship, Isaiah 58:12-14.

     2.  Did the Messiah Himself speak of a preparation before He could begin His ministry? Matthew 3:3; 11:10.

    NOTE:  Yahshua foretold of the coming of an individual who would establish righteousness in preparation for His coming. It would not be the Old Testament EliYah (Elijah), but that a prophet would come in the spirit and power of EliYah to make ready a people to accept the Messiah. See Luke 1:16-17 and verses 76-79. John the Baptist was to preach repentance and a turning to the ways of Yahweh, in preparing the hearts of people to return to pure worship. Most of the Jews of the day looked for a physical Kingdom that would rid them of the yoke of Roman bondage and give them material goods and physical pleasures. Yahshua taught to change the hearts and minds of people from within. It was to completely reconstruct their attitudes and philosophy of life to perceive the spiritual aspect of Yahweh's truth. Only a few were converted during the Messiah's lifetime.

     3.  Although John the Baptist came in power and spirit of EliYah and preached a message of repentance, of returning to proper worship of Yahweh, the people did not as a whole accept his teaching. The Messiah said that as they rejected John who was summarily put to death, so the Messiah would also be rejected and be put to death by the people. Had they accepted the words of John the Baptist, the Messiah could have established the Kingdom then and there. See Matthew 17:10-13.

     When John the Baptist was put in prison and began to be troubled by doubts, he sent two of his disciples to Yahshua and was reassured by certain signs. Read Matthew 11:1-4. Did the Messiah offer the Kingdom then if the people would accept John as the "preparer of the way" of Yahshua? verse 14. Note the challenge "if you will receive it." 

     4.  Where did the prophet Malachi say the "messenger of the covenant" would appear? Malachi 3:1. A messenger is promised who will come and prepare the way before the returning Messiah by removing obstacles in the way of pure worship so the people would better know Him and His program for this event. While it may be thought that this applied to John the Baptist, notice Malachi 3:2. Certainly Yahshua did not come as a cleansing fire when He came to Bethlehem. This is speaking of His return in wrath and fury to put down the rebellion against Yahweh and His government. Read Revelation 19:11 to the end of the chapter, as well as all of Zechariah 14. It is clear that another "EliYah" must precede the time before Yahshua comes back, Malachi 4:5-6. 

     5.  Will the Messiah's return be a day of joyful bliss, or awesome judgment? Revelation 6:17. Zephaniah 1:15 says of this day: "A day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness." Continuing in verse 16 we find: "A day of trumpets and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers." It is called the "great and dreadful day of Yahweh" in Malachi 4:5.

    NOTE:  Instead of a day of joy and gladness for the wicked, it will be a time when, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Yahweh." Joel 2:31. It is called a day of destruction, wrought by the Almighty, Isaiah 13:6. Verse 9 says the day shall be "cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

    Revelation 11:17 shows the 24 elders bowing in obeisance to Yahshua and announcing that Yahshua has at last taken power and will reign over the earth. Now is a time for judging the dead and rewarding the servants that stand in awe of Yahshua's Name.

     6.  Many accept the fact that Yahshua will return to Jerusalem and begin His reign from there (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4). To assume that the only meaning is that He will return just to His physical temple is overlooking one of the prime teachings of the New Testament. Yahshua spoke of the Father seeking those who would worship Him in Spirit and truth, John 4:24. What does Peter say about the spiritual temple Yahweh is building? 1 Peter 2:5. Other references to this temple are found in Hebrews 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:15 and Ephesians 2:20-22.

    NOTE:  While many understand that Yahshua will return to a physical temple, more significant is the Bible's teaching that Yahshua will return suddenly (Malachi 3:1) and meet the saints (the spiritual temple) in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and return to this earth with His saints, 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14. These firstfruits (resurrected people) follow Yahshua wherever He goes, Revelation 14:4. This is the temple that Yahshua is building--a spiritual temple--that will rise to meet Him in the air upon His return. This temple is being built now and will be completed just before the Messiah's return, 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. 

     7.  What is the purpose of salvation, of building a spiritual temple? Christianity in general correctly teaches that salvation is through the Son of Yahweh. But it usually stops there, as if salvation is an end in itself. The goal of salvation is certainly what we should be striving to attain. But we must not lose sight of the purpose Yahweh has behind the plan of salvation.

     The same message that EliYah was preaching to the worshippers of Baal will again be preached just before the return of the Messiah. That message will "turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to the fathers, before the great and dreadful day of Yahweh," Malachi 4:5-6. We can see at least two results of this prophecy:

      -    There will be a message of repentance sent forth before Messiah's return.

     -    There will be a number of people who will heed this warning before the end, become converted, and receive Yahweh's protection and sealing. Revelation 7:1-4.  These are the overcomers mentioned in Revelation who will: eat of the tree of life (2:7; not be hurt of the second death (2:11); eat of hidden manna (2:17); be given power over the nations (2:26); be clothed in white raiment (3:5); be made a pillar in His temple (3:12); sit with Yahshua on His throne (3:21). 

     8.  Positions of rulership and authority in the coming in the coming government of Yahweh are promised to those who overcome the world, the adversary and their own carnality. Twice in Revelation we read that those who overcome will be given power over the nations, ruling them with a rod of iron, Revelation 2:26-27. Also note verse 3:21. They will be set down with Yahshua on His throne just as He overcame and is set down with His Father in His throne, Revelation 3:21. Peter wondered what would be the reward of those who had given up all they had to follow the Messiah and His disciples. What did the Messiah say was necessary? Matthew 19:28. What price must His followers pay? verse 29. Eating and drinking with the Messiah is symbolic of a close, personal relationship, being able to commune and discuss with Him the most personal and intimate of problems and questions.

     NOTE:  The mother of Zebedee's children knew of the coming Kingdom, though she expected it to be set up in her lifetime. Notice her request in Matthew 20:20-23. "Eating and drinking" with Yahshua portrays a much deeper meaning to those who keep the three annual "Feast days" of Deuteronomy 16:16. Not only is this a physical feasting on food, but also feasting on His Word in preparation for the Kingdom.

     9.  Paul is discouraged with the Corinthians and their carnality. He upbraids them for tolerating the sin among them (1 Corinthians 5) in which a man has his father's wife (probably his stepmother). Paul chides them for their pride in being so tolerant and allowing sin to prevail in their numbers. He summarizes the chapter by stating in verse 12 that believers are to judge other believers and be concerned about those in the Body of Messiah. This will sharpen their discernment of properly keeping Yahweh's law among those who are committed to the true way of life. Are lawsuits among believers right? 1 Corinthians 6. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for allowing a heathen court to decide righteousness when it should be the believers themselves making the decision.

     NOTE:  We are in training to judge the world and even angels. Being unable to settle disputes among believers reveals a pitiful failure in our training to be judges. 

     10.  What does Paul say is the task of the saints in the Kingdom? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.

    NOTE:  Not only will the saints judge the world as they rule it with the Messiah (Daniel 7:22, 27), but they will also be charged with judging the angels of Yahweh, spirit beings. Now we are given the opportunity to judge and ascertain whether those in the Body of Messiah are living up to the way of life prescribed by Yahweh. This will sharpen their sense of discernment in the proper way to keep Yahweh's law as they have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good and evil, Hebrews 5:14. This will also prepare the saints for the time when all will be required to keep the laws of the Kingdom. 

     11.  To prepare for the tasks and positions ahead of us, it is necessary to know what will be done during the Kingdom reign. Just as an army goes on maneuvers to prepare for real combat, or as a future physician learns through internships, the saints should prepare for their role in the Kingdom by experiencing the way of life that will be lived during that time. We are in a sense "kings and priests" right now (1 Peter 2:9), in training to learn the laws that will govern the Kingdom. 

     What does Isaiah 2:2-4 say will occur in the latter days? Will it be a different set of rules than presently in the bible? Micah 4:1-3. Does Yahweh change His standards? Malachi 3:6. Will the Sabbath be kept in the millennial Kingdom? Isaiah 66:23. Will the Feast of Tabernacles be observed then? Zechariah 14:16-18; Ezekiel 45:25. Will the Passover be kept? Ezekiel 45:21; Luke 22:15-16. 

     12.  A number of Scriptures point out that we are to keep Yahweh's law in mind and refresh ourselves of the goodness of His way of life in preparation for the Kingdom. Isaiah 58:12 speaks of those who are the repairers of the breach, the restorers of the paths to dwell in. What do the last four verses of Malachi warn us of as the book ends the Old Testament? Malachi 4:4-6. The law required that the entire Book of Deuteronomy be read every Sabbatical year at the Feast of Tabernacles, Deuteronomy 31:10-13. What was the purpose for this?Verse 13. This brings us back to Acts 3:19-21. Why cannot the Messiah return at any time? Verse 21. What is meant by "restitution"? Same verse.

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