Our first parents disobeyed the Lord’s command and put the human race into a dying condition. (Genesis 2:16,17; 3:17-19) However, God promised a seed (heir) that would destroy Satan (Genesis 3:15). This meant man’s return to favor with God, and no more death. Death would be swallowed up in victory.—Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:54
Eve hoped that her son Cain would be the promised seed. Thus, she named him Cain which means acquired. Little did Adam and Eve know that it would be thousands of years before the promised seed would come to save mankind. Several Millennia later, the prophet Daniel prayed for an understanding of the vision God had given him. The Angel Gabriel was sent to Daniel to explain the vision so Daniel could record it.—Daniel 9:23
God’s due time for the seed’s arrival is shown in this prophecy of the Seventy Weeks found in Daniel chapter 9. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”—Daniel 9:24-25
Here, the time length for fulfilment of the vision (prophecy) regarding Messiah’s coming was 70 weeks. The rebuilding of the walls at Jerusalem establishes the prophecy’s starting point. Bible chronology shows us this rebuilding of the walls and the city was accomplished in 454 B.C. Next, the prophecy tells us the overall time period covered is 70 weeks or 490 days. Numbers 14:34 reveals the concept that in time prophecies, each day represents a calendar year. “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years.” With a starting point is 454 B.C., the Prophecy (490 years) would end in 36 AD.
Now, the focus of this prophecy is the coming of the Messiah, culminating in the death of our Lord Jesus on the cross. God made it possible for our Lord to become the satisfaction of justice for Adam’s sin by preparing a perfect human body for him. (Hebrews 10:5) This allowed Jesus to give his earthly life as a ransom for Adam releasing him and his descendants from the condemnation of death. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: … And he shall confirm the covenant with many [in Israel] for one week.” (Daniel 9:26-27) Daniel 9:25 tells us that the vision was for seven and 62 weeks or 69 weeks. Thus, in the 483rd year of the prophecy, at age 30, Jesus was baptized at the Jordan river becoming Israel’s Messiah. For the next 3½ years he preached the good news of the Gospel—the promised ransom, restitution and resurrection of all mankind. His death—Messiah being cutoff—took place “in the midst” of week 69, or year 486 of the prophecy—Friday, April 3rd, 33 AD.
Confirming this, Caesar’s decree for the census was B.C. 2. Thus, Jesus was born around September 29 of that year. He was baptized and began his ministry 30 years later—29 AD. Jesus was killed after 3½ years later, in the midst of the prophecy’s last weed—33 AD. Thus, the Scriptures provide the true dates for Jesus’ birth and death.
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Once again violence has taken place in the Middle East, this time between Israel and Hamas. On October 7th, over 1,000 Hamas militants invaded Israel and killed over 1,300 Israelis. Hamas’ avowed mission is to destroy Israel and “raise the banner of Allah over each inch of Palestine.”
What do the Scriptures say about such an effort? Will Hamas succeed? How will Israel and its few allies hold back such an onslaught?
The prophet Isaish wrote, “Behold, I [God] will gather them [Jewish people] out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. … I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; … I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.—Jeremiah 32:37,40,41 New American Standard Bible NASB
Israel was driven away from the promised land (modern-day Palestine) because of their disobedience to God and their rejection of the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus prophesied this in Matthew 23:37-38 NASB: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” He added in Luke 21:24 NASB: “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Israel’s punishment was to be only temporary as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 11:25-27 NASB: “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery … that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” While Israel lost their relationship with God under the Law Covenant due to disobedience, they were not cast off forever. God promised to re-gather them from all the lands to which He had scattered them and make with them a new, an everlasting covenant.
“’Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD. ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares the LORD, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more’”—Jeremiah 31:31-34 NASB
The apostle Paul quoted this prophecy in Hebrews chapter 8 adding that Jesus is the one who makes this covenant possible. “We have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, … But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first [Law] covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them [Jewish people], He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH.” (Hebrews 8:1,6-8 NASB) Because of their imperfection, the Jewish people could not keep the first covenant, established at Mt. Sinai. They needed a better high priest and a better sacrifice—a ransom for Adam—to be cleansed from sin so they can come back into harmony with God. Jesus provided that better sacrifice with his death on the cross and as a result, became that better high priest. As that high priest, Jesus is the guarantor and mediator of a better covenant, the New Covenant under which Israel and eventually, all mankind will be cleansed from sin and re-gathered to God.
Since 1878, God has been re-gathering the Jewish people back to their promised land in preparation for the establishment of this New covenant. When this covenant is established with Israel, Paul writes, “What will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15 NASB) The New Covenant will result in the resurrection of all mankind from the grave, both Jew and Gentile.
Now we see the Jewish people being re-gathered to their promised homeland. While the heathen, particularly Hamas and others rage against it, it is a sign that God’s plan for man’s salvation is progressing toward the promised result of blessing all the families of the earth. (Psalm 2:1-9; Genesis 22:16-18) God’s plan to re-gather Israel to their homeland and bring them back into harmony with himself, will not be thwarted by Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran or any earthly nation or organization. Neither will it be thwarted by spiritual wickedness in high places—Satan and the fallen angels.—Ephesians 6:11-12
By re-gathering Israel back to the promised land and establishing a New Covenant with them, “’I [God] will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, … Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘when I prove Myself holy among you [Jewish people] in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.’”—Ezekiel 36:23-28 NASB
God has promised in this re-gathering of Israel that they will never be uprooted again. “‘I will bring My exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. … I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.” (Amos 9:14-15 New Living Translation NLT) “They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with My own hands in order to bring Myself glory.” (Isaiah 60:21 NLT) “They will live in the land I gave My servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They and their children and their grandchildren after them will live there forever, generation after generation.”—Ezekiel 37:25 NLT
How we long for these wonderful promises to be fulfilled for they will mark the end of man’s nighttime of sorrow and death and the beginning of a bright, new day in the experience of all mankind, both Jew and Gentile.
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Paul tells Timothy “that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”—2 Timothy 3:1-5, New Living Translation
Perhaps Paul is looking back to Proverbs Chapter 29 and verse 18 where Solomon is writing prophetically saying “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is one who keeps the Law.” When we include verse 16 with verse 18, we get a clear vison and timing of what Paul calls the last days: “When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall. When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.”—NLT
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word in Prov. 29:18 translated “vision” is H2372 châzôn (khaw-zone’) and means “a sight mentally, revelation, dream, or oracle.” The meaning of vision here in Proverbs is a prophecy and all Biblical prophecy is from God.
With the vision so clearly stated, why doesn’t mankind recognize their sin-sick condition, repent and turn to the Lord? We are told by our Lord Jesus that at this time, the deep things of God are meant for those in relationship with Jehovah. Jesus told his disciples, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. … This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’” (Matthew 13:11,14-15 NLT) Here, Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 6:9-10. Just think of how far the hearts of the Israelites were from God when while expecting the Messiah, they could not recognize Jesus as he walked among them. How much worse is the condition of the people in our day!
When Jesus was asked for a sign, he told the scribes and Pharisees that they were an “evil generation.” (Luke 11:29) He added that in the days of his return or the last days, it would be like in the days of Noah and Sodom. Mankind will be drinking, taking in marriage and doing all sorts of immoral acts and they will not see their destruction or repent of their ways. (Luke 17:26-33). Daniel adds, “the wicked will not understand the vision but the wise will understand.”—Daniel 12:10
Thus, to all those who would desire to be of the wise class spoken of by Daniel, and to understand the vision or prophecy of these last days, you must come into covenant relationship with the Heavenly Father, be found desiring to understand God’s word, striving to develop a Christ-like character and following the law of Love. These will be able to observe, through the calamity, the signs of the establishment of Christ’s kingdom here on earth and have great joy.—Psalm 50:5; 2 Timothy 2:15; Philippians 2:5; Romans 13:1
One of the most discussed topics in today’s world of technology is Artificial Intelligence, often referred to simply by its initials “AI.” Briefly stated, Artificial Intelligence is defined as the ability of machines to perform tasks that are typically associated with human thinking and intellect. Whether we realize it or not, most of us are users of AI in some limited way. When we search the Internet, watch a YouTube video, shop on Amazon, use voice recognition tools such as Siri and Alexa, or operate a self-driving car, we are often influenced, unknowingly perhaps, by Artificial Intelligence.
Such uses, as well as others, can prove to be of assistance to people in today’s technology-focused world. However, there are limitations to the value and validity of Artificial Intelligence applications. These limitations stem primarily from the fact that, ultimately, humans are responsible for the decisions made by AI systems. Are these decisions fair, ethical, transparent, and accountable? Humans must also take responsibility for any “unintended consequences” from AI systems’ failures. In many cases, such shortcomings of an AI application may require only minor adjustments. However, in a worst-case scenario, an AI failure could be catastrophic for an individual or for the masses.
At a more detailed level, the limitations of Artificial Intelligence can best be identified in three ways. First, an AI system, developed and “trained” by humans, is only as good as the initial data put into it to act as its training. AI decisions and actions can be biased or flawed if the data it is given by their human trainers is likewise biased or flawed. Second, AI lacks emotional intelligence since it cannot factor human emotions, sentiments and mindsets into its decision-making. Third, although organizations are increasingly mindful of the need for adopting AI innovation, they often fail to approach it from a strategic, business-model, point of view.
The bottom line regarding Artificial Intelligence is that, given the limited and often faulty nature of human reasoning in this present sinful world, faith in the benefits of AI comes with a host of restrictions and cautions.
On the other hand, faith in the Almighty God of the Bible, the Creator of the universe, should be unwavering and limitless. God’s supreme intelligence, as well as his perfect character in the use of that intelligence, is not only far above that of any AI application, but also, far superior to any human mind which has designed these systems.
We note these powerful Scriptures: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8,9) “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom. 11:33,34) “Where wast thou [Job] when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof?”—Job 38:4-6
Thanks be to God that there neither has been, nor ever will be, any “unintended consequences” from the results of his intelligence. It is based upon his four supreme and unwavering character attributes: his foundation of justice, his infinite wisdom, his boundless love, and his almighty power. Indeed, “Faith can firmly trust him, come what may!”
The two most important events in world history are the first and second advents of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t you agree? Jesus’ disciples asked him an important question in Matthew 24:3: “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (Greekaion – age)?” As we consider the second coming of our Lord, we look at the scriptures and find something very interesting in the Greek of the New Testament. Did you know that according to the Rotherham Bible, the Greek word “parousia” typically translated “coming” in English language Bibles should be translated “presence” in most cases? Does it make a difference? Absolutely.
If I asked you if your spouse or friend was on their way home (coming) or if they were at the door of your home (presence), there would certainly be a shift in meaning. One is you’re on your way and the other is you’re there already. In the Rotherham’s Bible appendix, p. 271, it says that the original Greek word “parousia” being translated “coming” in Matt. 24:3 (and 21 other times in the New Testament) is obviously wrong. For example, in 2 Corinthians 10:10,“parousia” clearly means presence. In 2 Corinthians 10:10, the translators couldn’t translate the Greek word as “coming” because it would have been absurd to do so. Here, Paul is contrasting his bodily presence with his absence to the Corinthians. Paul is contrasting his bodily “presence” with his being away and writing letters to them. Neither in Philippians 2:12 could the translators substitute “coming” for “parousia.” The verse reads, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence (parousia) only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” “Presence” for the Greek “parousia” is obviously the only correct word choice. Not “coming”! Therefore, the question arises, why not always translate the Greek word “parousia” as “presence”?
Thus, the question Jesus’ disciples were asking him in Matt. 24 was, “what shall be the sign of thy presence”? Jesus could have answered, “Well, just look for me in the sky” – but he did not. Why? Because Jesus also said in John 14:19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me (Greek: “to be a spectator”)no more.” That is a plain statement. The world sees Jesus NO MORE! Thus, Jesus said in the verses following in Matt. 24:3, do not be in too much of a hurry. A lot of events and time will pass before you see me again.
But since Jesus gave up his perfect human life as a ransom for all (I Tim. 2:5-6), he will not be taking it back again as a human being. Although Jesus appeared as a man several times after his resurrection (Matt. 28:9,10,16-20; Luke 24:15-31,36-51; John 20:14-23,26-29), his disappearance at the end of each showed that he was no longer human but a great spirit being, whose appearance in his spiritual glory blinded Saul of Tarsus. (Acts 9:3-8) Jesus will NOT fly through the sky in a rapture scenario for the world to see.
Instead, we will have to look for the signs of his invisible presence because he will never return as a human being again. Even Paul told the Thessalonians in 2 Thess. 2:2, something quite similar when confronting those who were teaching that the “day of Christ” had already come. Paul could have said, “Christ could not be here yet, otherwise you would see him in the clouds.” That would have been a simple answer to their mistaken assumption. Instead, in verse 3 Paul gave them two signposts of events that would have to take place before Christ’s day would come and Jesus’ returned. Those signposts would be (1) a falling away of the faith and (2) the man of sin being revealed.
There are many signposts of Christ’s presence in the world today. Israel, returning to their land after 26 centuries, is a huge signpost (Daniel 12:1; Matt. 24:32,33). A time of trouble such as never was before in the world was prophesied by both Daniel (Daniel 12:1) and Jesus (Matt. 24:21,22) as another signpost. Daniel prophesied knowledge being incredibly increased, and travel being dramatically increased as well as signposts (Daniel 12:4). When reading Daniel 12: 1-4, recognize that Daniel’s people were Israel.
Most of the world and Christianity are in the dark regarding our Lord’s return. However, if you would like to walk in the light of what the scriptures give us as signposts of our Lord’s invisible return, we offer the booklet “Our Lord’s Return” listed below. For a more in-depth study, we offer the booksThe Divine Plan of the Agesand The Time is at Hand, both from the series Studies in the Scriptures. See the advertisements for these under the Books listed on our website.
May the eyes of your understanding be opened to this great truth is our prayer. Amen.
It seems as if Christianity is at a crossroads. Some promote “Christian nationalism” while others mix politics and the Christian faith. Christianity is being pulled into such conflicts as gender identity and racial, social and income inequality. How should the follower of Jesus navigate these conflicts?
Shortly before his death, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “What shall be the sign of thy presence and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3 Revised Version Improved Corrected) How would they know when Jesus had returned? In his response Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be thereafter. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24:21,22 RVIC) Jesus’ return would be identified by a great time of trouble.
Daniel prophesied about this same trouble in Dan. 12:1, New American Standard Bible: “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.” Michael (Christ) would stand up (return) and begin the process of bringing “the sons of your people” (Jewish people) back to their homeland. The reestablishment of Israel fulfilled this. At this time, Jesus would also reward his followers, “everyone who is found written in the book” with a resurrection to the spiritual home he promised them.—John 14:2,3
Peter described this troubled time: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10, NASB) The returned Jesus is bringing this present evil world of which Satan is the prince, to an end so he can replace it with his earthly kingdom. (Gal. 1:4; 2 Cor. 4:4) “But according to his promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth (Christ’s earthly kingdom), in which righteousness dwells.”—2 Peter 3:13, NASB Meanwhile, there is a great separation taking place in Christianity. The parable of the wheat and the tares promises the tares (imitation Christians) would be separated from the true Christians, grouped together in bundles, and exposed as imposters. (Matt. 13:23-30,36-43) Similarly, Jesus’ parable of the dragnet describes a great separation between true, and imitation Christians at this time. (Matt. 13:47-50) The conflicts mentioned above are doing that separation.
Not everyone today, who says they are a Christian, is a true follower of Jesus. In this trouble, the true Christians will be separated from the false and receive the great spiritual reward God has promised. The imposters will have a chance for an earthly salvation in Christ’s kingdom.—1 Cor. 2:9; 1 John 3:2
To those striving to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the Apostle Peter writes that God has given “great and precious promises.” These are the promises that enable one “to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Pet. 1:4, New Living Translation) God’s promises are sure and steadfast, unlike those of fallen mankind, which often are made but too seldom kept. Our Heavenly Father’s words will not “return unto him void,” the Bible states.—Isa. 55:11
In our opening verse, Peter makes two important statements about the power of God’s promises. First, they enable the Christian to be a partaker of the divine nature and gain a share in the heavenly kingdom. Second, these promises assist the follower of Christ to escape the many corrupt passions and human desires so prevalent in the world today. Continuing his lesson, the apostle reminds us of our responsibilities in order to receive the full benefits of God’s promises. He says, “Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”—2 Pet. 1:5-7, NLT
The precious promises of God are found throughout the Bible. Two Old Testament examples are these assurances: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Josh. 1:9; Isa. 26:3) From the New Testament, we have Peter’s concluding words of our lesson. “So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”—2 Pet. 1:10,11, NLT
As professing Christians, these words should cause us to pause and reflect on the depth of our fear (reverence) towards the Heavenly Father. The Decalogue is a brief synopsis of the whole law given by God to Israel to show them where the line is drawn between righteousness and sin. Paul tells us that the Law was given to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin that leads to death. (Rom. 7:13) Always remember that the Lord said he who lives the Law perfectly will be entitled to life and never die. (Leviticus 18:5) The Law was meant to convince men of their sinful state and need of a redeemer.
Jesus was asked by one of the scribes and Pharisees to tell them what the greatest commandment was. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40) We have the words of our Heavenly father and those of the only man who lived the law perfectly, Christ Jesus. By this man’s obedience to the Lord’s word, even unto death, we have the ransom paid for all to be resurrected in due time.
How fitting is it for the first command in God’s law to be that we show our love for the Creator by our desire to worship, praise and honor him above all else. Job, family, money, possessions, fame or power should never be placed above or even equal to our God. Love for our fellow man proves our love for the Heavenly Father. Acknowledging Jesus as our ransom for sin and redeemer, we glorify God, the author of the grand plan that will ultimately recover men from the bondage of sin and death.
PROPHECIES in the Bible can be very remarkable for those who chose to examine them. For example, Israel’s restoration to their homeland prophecy involving the great conqueror, King Cyrus of Persia. God, through the prophet Isaiah, predicted over 150 years before Cyrus was even born, that Cyrus would be instrumental in rebuilding Jerusalem. (Isa. 44:28, 45:1-6) He would make it possible for the exiled Jewish people to return to their homeland from their Babylonian captivity. (2 Chron. 36:20-23) Thus, before King Cyrus was even born and rose to power, he was prophesied by name to give the exiled Jews permission to return to their homeland. See also Ezra 1:1-4, 3:7, and 4:3.
The Prophet Daniel prophesied “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” plus there would be a remarkable increase of knowledge and people traveling “to and fro” in the “time of the end.” During this time, Israel would, after 26 centuries, be returned to their promised land. Daniel prophesy describes today—Daniel 12:1-4!
The word prophecy in the New Testament translated from the Greek word “propheseia” which means “prediction”. The Bible is full of predictions, like those stated above and in other places like the book of Revelation. Fulfilled predictions of Scripture help to confirm the testimony of God’s written word as true and accurate. It strengthens the faith and convictions of a true Christian. If we study the scriptures accurately, we can get a “fix” on the prophetic timeline – and have not only a better understanding of where we ARE on that timeline, but we can make better choices in how we think and act accordingly. Find out more about fulfilled prophecies and the Bible’s predictions of a better day ahead for the human race – a “golden age of prophecy” – by ordering Studies in the Scriptures.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13) To understand these words, we go to John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
In these verses “the Word” is a translation of the Greek word Logos [Strong’s #G3004], and signifies mouthpiece or special messenger. This was Jesus’ name while he was a spirit being in heaven prior to being made flesh. Additionally, the phrase “was with God” in John 1:1 should read “was with the God,” and the phrase “was God” should read “a god was the Logos.”—vs. 1 Emphatic Diaglott
While Jesus was a human being on earth, he was holy and perfect, sinless, separate and peculiar from all others. (Heb. 7:26) As a result, “he taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:29) “The officers to the chief priests … said … never man spake like this man.”—Matt. 7:45-46
Whatever others thought or said of him, he claimed to be sent of God. “I came down from heaven.” (John 6:38) “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.” (John 6:51) Before the Pharisees, he declared, “I know whence I came and whither I go. … I am from above … I am not of this world … for I proceeded forth and came from God … he sent me.” (John 8:14,23,42) In John 8:58 he adds, “Before Abraham was, I am!”
These scriptures confirm for us the pre-human existence and glory of our Lord, as he expressed it in John 17:5, “O Father glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Additionally, the Apostle John writes regarding Jesus, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”—John 1:10
The only way we can understand Jesus to be the Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the end, is to recognize that he was the first, only and last direct creation of God. (Rev. 1:8; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13) “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [created before the rest of creation]; For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible … And he is before all things and by him all things consist.”—Col. 1:15-17
Jesus had left his spiritual wealth behind by humbling himself to be made flesh and taking the form of a servant. As a man Jesus had none of the world’s possessions. “The Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20) Jesus further humbled himself becoming obedient unto the death of the cross. Because of his faithfulness unto death, “God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:7-11