DANIEL 3:17 – Our God Whom We Serve Is Able To Deliver Us

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“Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us.” Daniel 3:17

The King of Babylon – King Nebuchadnezzar

Probably twenty years elapsed after Daniel and his companions reached Babylon in captivity before the scenes of the lesson in Daniel Chapter 3 were enacted. Meantime Daniel had been raised to a very high position in the empire, as the King’s counselor, while his three Jewish companions—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegohad been made magistrates in the provinces of Babylon. We know that their prosperity did not tend to make them careless of their duties and responsibilities toward God, for otherwise they would not have been able to stand the severe test recounted in this lesson, and which proved a great blessing to them because of their fidelity to the Lord.

King Nebuchadnezzar just before this had won some great victories over surrounding nations—Egypt, Syria, etc.—as he had previously done with Judah, and as the Lord had predicted in the dream which Daniel had interpreted for the King, which showed the Babylonian Empire as the golden head of earthly dominion. His great success no doubt had tended to feelings of pride and a desire for display. Yet these were probably not the only motives which led to the program of the great festival in honor of his victories, and the erection of the great image which all were commanded to worship.

With a view to unifying the Babylonian empire by unifying the religious views and worship of the various peoples under his sway, Nebuchadnezzar had a great feast arranged, of which the very center of attraction was the great image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Nebuchadnezzar's image

In Daniel 3:1 we read that this image, with its pedestal, was sixty cubits high (approximately 27 metres or 8 storeys high) and six cubits wide (approximately 2.7 metres wide). It was of gold, probably either made hollow or on a base of clay cement. It was located in the Plain of Dura, about the centre of the walled enclosure twenty-four miles square, known as the city of Babylon. As it is a level country, and as the structures were comparatively low, the image could probably be seen from every part of the great city.

The Festival

The appointed time for the festival having come, leading representatives, judges, treasurers, governors, sheriffs, etc., from all the divisions of the empire, clad in the gorgeous garments of the East, were present. A great band had been prepared, composed of all the musical instruments popular at that period.

As the people stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud:

“‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace'” (Daniel 3:4-6).

By falling down and worshiping the image, the people would thus be indicating their loyalty, not only to King Nebuchadnezzar, but also to his gods who he believed had given him the wonderful victories which they were celebrating.

This was a crucial test for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They knew that the King’s powers were autocratic, and that to cross his will meant death in some form, yet they wanted to be true to God, whatever the cost. It might be that their refusal to prostrate themselves before the image would pass entirely unnoticed by others, or it might be that, even if noticed, the incident might never reach the ears of the King, but such circumstances could make no change in the matter of their duty; whatever others might do, they must not bow the knee to any but the true God. Daniel is omitted from mention here, possibly because, occupying a different position as one of the king’s personal staff and household, his conduct would not come so directly in contrast with the general conduct.

The Hour of Trial

Finally, the hour of trial came, when the great King of Babylon was recognized not only as civil but also as religious ruler, and the image which he had set up was worshiped by the various representatives of his empire—except Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Their neglect to bow was quickly brought to the attention of the King, for no doubt these, like all good men, had their enemies: some enemies through jealousy and rivalry for the King’s favor; other enemies because, perhaps, they had been interrupted or hindered in dishonest practices and contracts with the government. The matter seems to have astounded the king, and hence his inquiry, Is it true, can it be true? Surely, no sane men would be so foolhardy as to oppose my decree, and that in my very presence, and upon such a fete-day as this? Not waiting an answer as respects matters of the past, the king voluntarily proposed for them a fresh test of loyalty and submission.

Perhaps the king’s mind shot a glance backward fifteen years, to the time when the God of the Hebrews, through Daniel, had told and interpreted his dream, a matter which none of the other gods of his wise men could do; and as though he had this in mind, and wishing to impress the matter upon these three Hebrews who had dared to challenge his power, he made the boast, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” In his arrogance of mind and under the flush of his mighty victories over the greatest nations and mightiest kings, Nebuchadnezzar felt prepared to have a contest even with the unseen and to him unknown invisible powers. He would not be backed down in his own capital city; he would demonstrate his power to inflict a penalty, regardless of what any of the gods might do in retaliation.

The answer of the three Hebrews was a wise one; seeing from the king’s mood that the discussion of the subject would be useless, they did not attempt to retaliate by threatening him with divine vengeance; neither did they attempt to convert the King to Judaism, knowing well that the provisions of the Jewish covenant were not for Gentiles. They simply responded that they were not anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity to argue the matter with the King. They assured him of their full confidence that their God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, and out of the hand or power of even the greatest king of the earth; but they answered:

 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Angered that his great festal day should be thus marred by even the slightest opposition to his will, the king did not wait to give another opportunity wherein the Hebrews might relent. He saw that it was useless, that they were men of character and determination, and he resolved that he would make an example of them before all the people. The form of his visage or his countenance changed toward these men; whereas once he had admired them, as amongst his ablest counselors and magistrates, and an honor to his empire, now he hated them, as opponents whose course, if not interrupted, might introduce disorder into his empire, and lead to more or less sedition, if copied by others. In his rage he commanded that the furnace be heated seven times, or to its utmost capacity. The furnace, already heated for the occasion, may have been the one used in melting the gold for the image, and must have been of immense size.

Probably as a mark of his great authority, and to show that even the very greatest of his subjects were subordinate to his supreme authority, the king commanded that these three recalcitrant officials be cast into the fiery furnace by prominent officers of his army—no doubt to teach a lesson respecting the power of the army, and the willingness of its chief representatives to serve the king, as against everybody else.

The Hebrews, bound in their official garb, were evidently cast into the furnace from the top, because it is stated that they fell down bound, while the heat was so intense that it even killed those who cast them into the furnace, possibly by the inhalation of the flames, which might kill them instantly.

The King seemed to be having matters his own way, as usual; even the mighty God of the Hebrews had not delivered these men from his power. And yet the King was solicitous and eyed the furnace, and to his surprise beheld those who had been cast into the furnace bound, walking about free in the flames—seemingly uninjured. More than this, he saw a fourth person there, of most remarkable appearance, which caused the King to think and speak of him as one of the gods. No wonder he was astonished; he was evidently contending with a God of whose powers he had been ignorant.

Nebuchadnezzar realized he had made a great mistake in attempting the destruction of three of his most eminent magistrates, and that he was thus defying the great God. He was prompt to make acknowledgement, and approached the furnace, calling out, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” In the presence of the king’s courtiers they came forth, and all beheld them that the fire had done them no injury, not even having singed their clothes or their hair. This was indeed a stupendous miracle, and doubtless was valuable in its influence, not only upon the Gentiles, but also upon the Hebrews residing throughout Babylon, who would thus hear of the power of Jehovah in delivering those faithful to him.

Whether this had a bearing on the subject or not, we know well that, while idolatry had been one of the chief sins of the Israelites before this captivity, there was comparatively little of idolatry in its crude forms in that nation afterward.

Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgement of the God of the Hebrews, who sent his messenger and delivered his servants that trusted in him, is very simple and very beautiful. He rejoiced in the noble character of these men, and at once made a decree:

“Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way(Daniel 3:30).

And furthermore, he promoted these faithful men to still higher positions, for they had still more of his confidence respecting their integrity.

Men who would thus hazard their lives for conscience’ sake could be trusted in the most important positions.

Lessons From This Bible Account

The Lord’s people may find in this Biblical story many valuable lessons and suggestions. Not all of God’s people are in such prominent positions as were these Hebrews; and not many have testings of exactly the same kind as were theirs, with a literal fiery furnace before their eyes. Nevertheless, there are trials before the Lord’s people today that are fully as severe.

Babylon the literal was in ruins long before the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos was shown in prophetic vision the mystic or symbolic Babylon “which reigneth over the kings of the earth” today. The provinces of Babylon today are the various civilized nations—really “kingdoms of this world;” but deluded into calling themselves and thinking themselves kingdoms of Christ—“Christendom.” And parallels to the King and the image are also presented in Revelation—they are religious systems symbolically described as “the beast [Papacy] and his image” (Revelation 13:15-18).

The worship of this symbolic beast and his image are to be the great test or trial upon professing Christians in every province of symbolic Babylon in the end of this age and indeed, the testing is even now in progress. Only those who refuse to render worship to those powerfully influential religious systems (symbolized by “the beast and his image”) will be counted by the Lord as “overcomers” and be made his joint-heirs as members of his elect Church (Revelation 20:4).

As already pointed out, the “beast” represents not Roman Catholics (the people) but the Roman Catholic system, as an institution: and the image represents not Protestants (the people) but the consolidation of Protestant systems, as an institution. Those who absolutely refuse to worship its images are already exposed to fiery trials;—social ostracism and financial boycotts. Prominent amongst these is:

The Roman Catholic idolthat church sets itself as the representative of God, and demands worship, obedience and contribution to its funds;

The Greek Catholic Church idol: the Anglican is another; and the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.all similarly demand worship, obedience and revenue. They have “pooled their issues,” to a certain extent, so as not to war upon each other’s devotees, but they unite in warfare against all who do not bow the knee to some such idol (who reverence and worship only the Almighty God, and recognize his only begotten Son as the only Head and Lord of the true Church, whose names are only written in heaven—not on earthly rolls of membership (Hebrews 12:23).

In the “dark ages,” when Papacy had a monopoly of the “church” business, it meant torture and the stake, as well as social ostracism. Today, in many instances there are evidences that the same spirit prevails, merely restrained by changed circumstances and lack of power. Thousands today are worshiping at the various shrines of Christendom who in their hearts long to be free from the sectarian bondage of fear—who fain would serve the Lord God only, had they the courage. And there are some the world over who, with a courage not less than that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, declare publicly that the Lord God alone shall have the worship and the service which they can render. None, perhaps, know better than the writer the various fiery experiences to which these faithful few are exposedboycotted socially, boycotted in business, slandered in every conceivable manner, and often by those of whom they had least expected it, who, according to the Lord’s declaration, say “all manner of evil against them falsely” (Matthew 5:11,12).

But with these, as with the three Hebrews of our lesson, the chief trial is in connection with their faith; after they have taken a firm stand for the Lord and his truth they may indeed be bound and have their liberties of speech and of effort restrained, and they may indeed be cast into the fiery furnace, but nothing more than these things can be done to them. As soon as they have demonstrated their fidelity to God to this extent, their trials and troubles are turned into blessings and joys. As the form of the Son of God was seen with the Hebrews in the fiery furnace, so unseen, the Lord is present with those who trust him and who, because of faithfulness to him and to his Word, come into tribulation. How beautifully this is expressed in the familiar hymn,

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

And sometimes even the worldly can realize that the Lord’s people in the furnace of affliction are receiving a blessing, and sometimes thus our Heavenly Father’s name is glorified in the world, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s experience.

Sometimes the Lord’s people who are bound, restrained of liberty to proclaim the truth, find, as did those Hebrews, that the fire burns the cords and sets them free, and really gives them larger opportunities to testify to the glory of our God than they could have had by any other course.

The Lord’s providences vary, and it is not for his people to decide when shall come remarkable deliverances, and when they shall apparently be left entirely to the will of their enemies without any manifestation of divine favor on their behalf.

Note, for instance, the fact that, while the Lord interposed to deliver these three Hebrews from the fiery furnace, he did not interpose to prevent the beheading of John the Baptist, although of the latter it is specifically declared, “There hath not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” We remember that, while Peter was delivered from prison by the angel of the Lord, James was not delivered, but was beheaded. We remember also that Paul’s life was miraculously preserved on several occasions, and that the Apostle John, according to tradition, was once cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, but escaped uninjured, while on other occasions dire disaster came upon the Lord’s faithful ones, and that quickly, as in the case of Stephen, who was stoned.

It is not, therefore, for us to predetermine what shall be the divine providence in respect to ourselves; we are to note the point of right and duty and to follow it regardless of consequences, trusting implicitly in the Lord. This lesson is most beautifully set forth in the language of the three Hebrews, who declared to King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was entirely capable of delivering them from his power, but that, whether he chose to do so or not, they would not violate their conscience.

It is just such characters that the Lord is seeking for, and it is in order to their development and testing that multiform evil is now permitted to have sway.

While such testings have been in progress to a considerable extent throughout this entire Gospel age, the Scriptures clearly indicate to us that in some special sense all of the Lord’s people will be tested in the “harvest” or closing time of this age. Our Lord speaks of it, likening our Christian faith to a house, and represents the trials in the end of this age as a great storm which will beat upon every house, with the result that all that are founded upon the rock will stand, and all founded upon the sand will collapse. The Apostle Peter speaks of this trial-time, saying:

“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as tho some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12).

We are to expect a testing in the end of this age, just as there was a testing of the Jewish nominal church in the end of its age. As in that testing there was a thorough, complete separating of the “wheat” from the “chaff,” so here the separating will be complete between the “wheat” and the “tares,” as our Lord declares (Matthew 13:24-30). Throughout the age the “wheat” and the “tares,” by divine arrangement, have been permitted to grow side by side; but in the “harvest” the separation must occur, that the “wheat” may be “garnered,” received to the Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul, also, speaks of this time of fiery trial, and, likening the faith and works of a zealous Christian to a house built of gold, silver and precious stones, he declares that the fire of this day, in the end of this age, shall try every man’s work of what sort it is, and shall consume all but the genuine faith and character structures (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). But we are to remember that such loyal characters grow not suddenly, in a few hours or days—mushroom-like,—but are progressive developments, fine-grained and strong like the olive tree.

We who have become “new creatures” reckonedly, in Christ, know that we are to be tested (if our testing has not already commenced), and should realize that only as we practice self-denials in the little things of life, and mortify (deaden) the natural cravings of our flesh in respect to food, clothing, conduct, etc., will we become strong spiritually and be able to “overcome.”

Many deal slackly with themselves in respect to little violations of their consecration vow, saying,—“What’s the use” of such carefulness and so different a life from that of the world in general? Ah! there is great use in it, for victories in little things prepare for greater victories and make them possible: and on the contrary, surrender to the will of the flesh in the little things means sure defeat in the warfare as a whole. Let us remember the maxim laid down by our Great Teacher—that he that is faithful in the things that are least will be faithful also in the things which are great. And this is the operation of a law, whose operations may be discerned in all the affairs of life.

Our Lord expresses the same thought, saying,—To him that hath (used) shall be given (more), and from him that hath not (used) shall be taken away that which he hath. If we start on a Christian life ever so weak in the flesh and weak in spirit, we will find that faithfulness in the little things will bring increasing strength in the Lord and in the power of his might. But it is in vain that we pray, “Lord, Lord,” and hope for great victories and the “crown of rejoicing,” if we fail to do our best to conquer in the little affairs of daily life. In other words, our testing is in progress from the moment of our consecration, and the little trials are but preparations for greater ones which, when faithfully attained, we will be able to reckon with the Apostle as light afflictions which are but for a moment, and which are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The answer of the Hebrews to Nebuchadnezzar,—“Our God whom we serve,” is worthy of note. They not only acknowledged God and worshiped him, but they additionally served him, according as they had opportunity. And so it will be found today: those who have the necessary strength of character to refuse to worship human institutions and thereby to “suffer the loss of all things,” counting them but as loss and dross, that they may win Christ and be found finally complete in him, as members of his glorified body, and joint-heirs in his Kingdom, not only practice self-denials, but gladly serve and confess the Lord in their daily life. Rightly appreciated, a profession of love for the Lord would always be a profession of service to his cause. Whoever is not rendering some service to our King in the present time of multiplied opportunities has at very most the “lukewarm” love that is offensive to the Master (Revelation 2:4; 3:16).

Let us resolve, dear brethren, as did the three Hebrews of this lesson, that we will worship and serve only the Lord our Godthat we will neither worship nor serve sectarianism, in any of its many forms, nor mammon, with its many enticements and rewards, nor fame, nor friends, nor self. 

God “seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth,” is the declaration of our Lord and Head (John 4:23,24).

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell – The above content is based on Reprint 2494-2497 – from The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Suggested Further Reading

Daniel The Beloved
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/bio_3.htm

Daniel and the Lions
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTMAY98.PDF

Daniel In Babylon
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/proph_31.htm

Trials
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB98.PDF

Time and Prophecy 
http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

What Is the Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

Daniel the Beloved of Jehovah (paper back book) by R.E. Streeter –

Streeter-Daniel-Paperback_cropped_with_shadow-424x600

This book can be purchased through the Chicago Bible Students bookstore at the following link:

https://chicagobible.org/product/daniel-the-beloved-paperback/

 

book-of-daniel-activity-book-biblestudentsdaily-com

The Book of Daniel- Children’s Activity Book – free online here for use in proclaiming the glorious Gospel message:

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/02/05/the-book-of-daniel-childrens-activity-book/

 

 

 

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ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things

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The King of kings has come! We are even now in the parousia (presence) of the Son of Man! Soon the last members of his “elect” body, the Bride of Christ, will be gathered to him—glorified and invisible to men,—and then he will begin the rule of the iron rod which shall break the world’s vaunted institutions as potters’ vessels (Revelation 2:27).

He declares, I will “gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. And then will I turn unto the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:8,9).

This symbolic burning and breaking will be the new missionary method, by which the glorified Bride of Christ and Church, will, after 2043, under and with her glorious Head, “bring in everlasting righteousness.”

“When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

“The glory [majesty] of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5).

Through the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 3:19-21, Christ Jesus, intended his disciples to understand that for some purpose, in some manner, and at some time, he would return. True, Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and by his spirit and by his Word he has been with the Church continually, guiding, directing, comforting and sustaining his saints, and cheering them in the midst of all their afflictions. But though the Church has been blessedly conscious of the Lord’s knowledge of all her ways and of his constant care and love, yet she longs for his promised personal return; for, when he said, “If I go, I will come again” (John 14:3), he certainly referred to a second personal coming.

Some think he referred to the descent of the holy Spirit at Pentecost; others, to the destruction of Jerusalem, etc.; but these apparently overlook the fact that in the last book of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation—written by the Apostle John some sixty years after Pentecost, and twenty-six years after Jerusalem’s destruction, he that was dead and is alive speaks of the event as yet future, saying:

“Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me.” And the inspired John replies, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:12,20).

Quite a number think that when sinners are converted that forms a part of the coming of Christ, and that so he will continue coming until all the world is converted. Then, say they, he will have fully come.

These evidently forget the testimony of the Scriptures on the subject, which declares the reverse of their expectation: that at the time of our Lord’s second coming the world will be far from converted to God; that “In the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4); that “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (Verse 13). They forget the Master’s special warning to his little flock:

“Take heed to yourselves lest that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come on all them [not taking heed] that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34,35).

When it is said, “All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him,” when they see him coming (Revelation 1:7), no reference is made to the conversion of sinners.

Do all men wail because of the conversion of sinners?

On the contrary, if this passage refers, as almost all admit, to Christ’s presence on earth, it teaches that all on earth will not love his appearing, as they certainly would do if all were converted.

Some expect an actual coming and presence of the Lord in the future, claiming that through the efforts of the Church in its present condition the world must be converted, and thus the Millennial age be introduced. They claim that when the world has been converted, and Satan bound, and the knowledge of the Lord caused to fill the whole earth, and when the nations learn war no more, then the work of the Church in her present condition will be ended; and that when she has accomplished this great and difficult task, the Lord will come to wind up earthly affairs, reward believers and condemn sinners.

However, when God’s Word and plan are viewed as a whole, we learn that Christ comes before the conversion of the world, and reigns for the purpose of converting the world; that the Church is now being tried, and that the reward promised the overcomers is that after being glorified they shall share with the Lord Jesus in that reign, which is God’s appointed means of blessing the world and causing the knowledge of the Lord to come to every creature. The Lord’s special promises include:

  • “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Revelation 3:21).
  • “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

There are two texts chiefly relied upon by those who claim that the Lord will not come until after the Millennium (the 1000 years of Christ’s reign with his 144,000 Bride “body” members):

1. “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

They claim this as having reference to the conversion of the world before the end of the Gospel age (the 6000 years of permission of evil). But witnessing to the world does not imply the conversion of the world. 

The Apostle (Acts 15:14) tells that the main object during the gospel age is “to take out a people” for Christ’s name—”the Church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) which, at his second advent, will be united to him and receive his name. The witnessing to the world during this age is a secondary object.

2. “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

The vague, indefinite idea regarding this text seems to be that Christ sits on a material throne somewhere in the heavens until the work of subduing all things is accomplished for him through the Church, and that then he comes to reign. This is misconception. The throne of God referred to is not a material one, but refers to his supreme authority and rulership; and the Lord Jesus has been exalted to a share in that rulership.

Paul declares, “God [Jehovah] hath highly exalted him [Jesus] and given him a name above every name.” He hath given him authority above every other, next to the Father.

If Christ sits upon a material throne until his enemies are made his footstool [all subdued], then of course he cannot come until all things are subdued. But if “right hand” in this text refers, not to a fixed locality and bench, but, as we claim, to power, authority, rulership, it follows that the text under consideration would in no wise conflict with the other scripture which teaches that he comes to “subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21), by virtue of the power vested in him.

Right hand—signifies the chief place, position of excellence or favor, next to the chief ruler. Thus Joseph was at the right hand of Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt—not literally, but after the customary figure of speech. Jesus’ words to Caiaphas agree with this thought: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64) He will be on the right hand when coming, and will remain on the right hand during the Millennial age, and forever.

The specific work of :

(a) the first adventwas to redeem men. In Hosea 6:3, this period is referred to as the time of the “former rain.”

(b) the second advent—is to restore, bless, and liberate the redeemed. In Hosea 6:3, this period is referred to as the “latter” rain. Having given his life a ransom FOR ALL (1 Timothy 2:6), our Savior ascended to present that sacrifice to the Father, thus making reconciliation for man’s iniquity. He tarries and permits “the prince of this world” to continue the rule of evil, until after the selection of “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife,” who, to be accounted worthy of such honor, must overcome the influences of the present evil world. Then the work of giving to the world of mankind the great blessings secured to them by his sacrifice will be due to commence, and he will come forth to bless all the families of the earth.

True, the restoring and blessing could have commenced at once, when the ransom price was paid by the Redeemer, and then the coming of Messiah would have been but one event, the reign and blessing beginning at once, as the apostles at first expected (Acts 1:6). But God had provided “some better thing for us”—the Christian Church (Hebrews 11:40); hence it is in our interest that the reign of Christ is separated from the sufferings of the Head by this 2000 years of waiting since Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary in 33 A.D.

The period between the first and second advents, between the ransom for all and the blessing of all, is for the trial and selection of the Church, which is the body of Christ; the “little flock” and “joint-heirs”; otherwise there would have been only the one advent, and the work which will be done during the period of his second presence, in the Millennium, would have followed the resurrection of Jesus. God has designed the permission of evil for six thousand years, as well as that the cleansing and restitution of all shall be accomplished during the seventh thousand.

Jesus has been absent from earth—in the heaven—during all the intervening time from his ascension to the beginning of the times of restitution—”whom the heaven must retain until the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).

We find the Scriptures teaching a further step in the divine plan—a RESTITUTION for the world, to be accomplished through the elect Church, when completed and glorified. The “little flock,” the overcomers, of this Gospel age, are only the body of “The Seed” (Galatians 3:16, Romans 4:13) in or by whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. The fact that the world has not yet been converted, and that the knowledge of the Lord has not yet filled the earth, is a proof that it has not yet been sent on that mission.

Election and Free Grace 

While an election has been in progress during the present and past ages, what is by way of distinction designated free grace is God’s gracious provision for the world in general during the Millennial age.

Election—as taught in the Bible, is not the arbitrary coercion, or fatalism, but a selection according to fitness and adaptability to the end God has in view, during the Gospel Age.

God’s grace or favor in Christ is ever free, in the sense of being unmerited; but since the fall of man into sin, to the present time, certain of God’s favors have been restricted to special individuals, nations and classes, while in the next age all the world will be invited to share the favors then offered, on the conditions then made known to all, and whosoever will may come and drink at life’s fountain freely (Revelation 22:17).

Glancing backward, we notice the selection or election of Abraham and certain of his offspring as the channels through which the promised Seed, should come (Galatians 3:29).

The selection of Israel from among all nations, as the one in whom, typically, God illustrated how the great work for the world should be accomplished—their deliverance from Egypt, their Canaan, their covenants, their laws, their sacrifices for sins, for the blotting out of guilt and for the sprinkling of the people, and their priesthood for the accomplishment of all this, being a miniature and typical representation of the real priesthood and sacrifices for the purifying of the world of mankind.

God, speaking to the people, said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2).

This people alone was recognized until Christ came.

Afterwards, Christ’s ministry was confined to the Jewish people, and he would not permit his disciples to go to others—saying, as he sent them out, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.”

Why so, Lord?

Because, he explains, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5,6; 15:24).

All his time was devoted to them until his death, and there was done his first work for the world, the first display of his free and all-abounding grace, which in “due time” shall indeed be a blessing to all. However, God’s grandest gift was not limited to nation or class. It was not for Israel only, but for all the world; for Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).

When the called-out company (called to be sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord—who have made their calling and election sure) is complete, then the plan of God for the world’s salvation, will be only beginning.

Not until it is selected, developed, and exalted to power, will the Seed (Christ—”head” and “body” in glory) bruise the serpent’s head (Romans 16:20Genesis 3:15). The Gospel age makes ready the chaste virgin, the faithful Church, for the coming Bridegroom.

In the end of the age—when she is made “ready” (Revelation 19:7), the Bridegroom comes, and they that are ready go in with him to the marriage—the second Adam and the second Eve become one, and then the glorious work of restitution begins.

In the next dispensation—the new heaven and the new earth, “the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! And let him that heareth say, Come! And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

For this promised and coming blessing, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:22,19).

Thus, free grace in fullest measure, not merely for the living but for those who have died as well, is provided in our Father’s plan as the blessed opportunity of the coming age because Jesus died for all. 

The United Nations expects the global population to reach 9 billion in the year 2043. (www.thoughtco.com/most-populous-countries-in-2050-1435117) What then will happen to the vast multitude who have not heard about nor accepted Jesus as their personal savior and redeemer? Did God make a wretched and merciless provision for their hopeless, eternal torment, as many of his children claim? Not at all. The opposite is true. God has yet in store for mankind an opportunity for all to come to the knowledge of that only name, and, by becoming obedient to the conditions, to enjoy everlasting life. When the Bride class is complete, then they, together with Jesus Christ, will regenerate the world.

Satan will be bound so that he cannot intrude his deceptions upon mankind.

In Revelation 20:1-3 (ESV) we read,

(1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. (2) And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (3) and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

The saints will reign with Christ for a thousand years, as priests, to bring mankind back to God (Revelation 20:6). The whole creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

To Be Testified In Due Time

For those who will be of the “Church of the firstborn,” the bride of Christ, and share the kingdom honors, the present is the “due time” to hear; and whosoever now has an ear to hear, let him hear and heed, and he will be blessed accordingly. Though Jesus paid our ransom before we were born, it was not our “due time” to hear of it for long years afterward, and only the appreciation of it brought responsibility; and this, only to the extent of our ability and appreciation. The same principle applies to all: in God’s due time it will be testified to all, and all will then have opportunity to believe and to be blessed by it.

Since God does not propose to save men on account of ignorance,  but “will have all men to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4); and since the masses of mankind have died in ignorance; and since “there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave” (Ecclesiastes 9:10); therefore God has prepared for the awakening of the dead, in order to knowledge, faith and salvation. Hence God’s plan is, that “as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, but each one in his own order”—the Gospel Church, the Bride, the body of Christ, first; afterward, during the Millennial age, all who shall follow Godly righteousness during that thousand years of Christ’s reign with his Bride.

Everything and Everyone To Be Restored To Perfection

As death came by the first Adam, so life comes by Christ, the second Adam. Everything that mankind lost through being in the first Adam is to be restored to those who believe into the second Adam. When awakened, with the advantage of experience with evil, which Adam lacked, those who thankfully accept the redemption as God’s gift may continue to live everlastingly on the original condition of perfect obedience, and the perfect ability to obey will be given under the righteous reign of the Prince of Peace (Pastor Charles Russell, Volume 1 of “Studies In The Scriptures”, p.107).

All mankind shall be fully released from the slavery of sin, and the corruption of death, into the glorious liberty of children of God. But attainment to all these blessings will depend upon hearty compliance with the laws of Christ’s Kingdomthe rapidity of the attainment to perfection indicating the degree of love for the King and for his law of love. If any, enlightened by the Truth, and brought to a knowledge of the love of God, and restored (either actually or reckonedly) to human perfection, become “fearful,” and “draw back” (Hebrews 10:38,39), they, with the unbelievers (Revelation 21:8), will be destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:23). This is the second death.

Restitution Concerning Typical and Antitypical ISRAEL

Peter tells us that this restitution is spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets (Acts 3:19-21). They do all teach it. Ezekiel says of the valley of dry bones, “These bones are the whole house of Israel.”

And God says to Israel, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I …shall put my spirit in you, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:11-14).

To this Paul’s words agree (Romans 11:25,26)—”Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles [the elect company, the bride of Christ] be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved,” or brought back from their cast-off condition; for “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Verse 2). They were cast off from his favor while the bride of Christ was being selected, but will be reinstated when that work is accomplished (Verses 28-33).

The prophets are full of statements of how God will plant Israel again, and they shall be no more plucked up (Jeremiah 24:5-7; 31:28; Jeremiah 32:40-42; 33:6-16).

“In those days, they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge, but every one [who dies] shall die for his own iniquity” (Jeremiah 31:29,30).

This is not the case now. Each does not now die for his own sin, but for Adam’s sin—”In Adam all die.” The day in which “every man [who dies] shall die for his own sin,” only, is the Millennial or Restitution day.

While Israel as a nation was typical of the whole world, its priesthood was typical of the elect “little flock,” the head and body of Christ, the “Royal Priesthood”; and the sacrifices, cleansings and atonements made for Israel typified the “better sacrifices,” fuller cleansings and real atonement “for the sins of the whole world,” of which they are sharers in, by God’s grace.

After comparing Israel with Sodom and Samaria, and pronouncing Israel the most blameworthy (Ezekiel 16:48-54), the Lord says, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.” In death all are captives; and Christ comes to open the doors of the grave, and to set at liberty the captives. (Isaiah 61:1Zechariah 9:11) In verse 55 this is called a “return to their former estate”a restitution, when Jehovah says to Israel:

“(60) I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. (61) Then, thou shalt remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters…. (62) And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; (63) that thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, SAITH THE LORD GOD” (Ezekiel 16:60-63).

To this Paul adds his testimony, saying, “And so all Israel [living and dead] shall be saved [recovered from blindness], as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.’…They are beloved for the fathers’ sakes; because the gracious gifts and callings of God are not things to be repented of” (Romans 11:26-29).

A Summarized Explanation of Acts 3:19-21

Acts 3:19speaks of the “refreshing” that comes from the face of Jehovah (“presence” is not the Greek word parousia here, but prosopon, Strongs 4383) whenever they would convert and come to Jesus.

Acts 3:20The sending mentioned in verse 20 means sending Jesus not at his second advent, but sending him to bless them in their repentance. (As in verse 26, “Unto you first God, having raised up his son Jesus [by the resurrection] sent him to bless you [early Gospel Age work, not the second advent], in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”)

Acts 3:21This verse explains that Jesus will remain in heaven until the times of
restoration, and then he will return. We understand those times of restoration have begun as evidenced in the restoration of Israel, which is what these Jewish hearers of Peter were interested in. Since Christ’s second presence (“parousia”), the saints here who are still living, continue on here for some time, before their service here is complete as we read about in Luke 12:36-37. Here it speaks of a time when Jesus returns, knocks, and asks those saints the living to “open unto him.”  Further explanation about the Second Presence of Christ is provided in the “Further Reading” links, below.

As we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), may we rejoice in knowing that “great joy shall be TO ALL people” (Luke 2:10“in due time.”

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell. The above post was based on content from Study 6 of Volume 1 of “Studies In the Scriptures.” The series of six volumes by Br. Russell can be read at http://www.htdbv8.com

Br. David Rice. Editing and content.

Further Reading

Christ’s Parousia (Second Presence) In 1874.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/10/christs-parousia-second-presence-in-1874/

“Where Is The Promise Of His Advent. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine. Sept/Oct. 2014 issue.
URL: https://herald-magazine.com/2014/09/01/where-is-the-promise-of-his-presence/

The Prophetic Date, 1874. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine. March/April 2003 issue.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_5.htm

Signs of Christ’s Presence. Beauties of the Truth. Volume 3, Number 1, February 1992
URL: http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB92.PDF

A chapter by chapter studies of the Book of Daniel in the “Journal” section at www.2043ad.com

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

Jesus – The Name. BIBLE Students DAILY website.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

Time and Prophecy by Br. David Rice.
http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

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STUDY IN THE SCRIPTURES: The Six Volumes by Br. Charles T. Russell

CHART OF THE DIVINE PLAN OF GOD.jpg
 

The Studies in the Scriptures lays the foundation for the above and below charts to be considered among students of the Bible today.

chartproclaiming-the-parousia-of-christ-and-the-coming-millennial-kingdom

May each faithful steward of God be fully convinced about what they believe and why they believe it (Romans 14:5). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Here are a series of overview lessons on the six book series, Studies in the Scriptures and each video can be watched by clicking on the underlined title of each of the following six Volumes:


1. THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES

volume-1-the-divine-plan-of-the-ages

Volume 1 of the Studies in the Scriptures written by Br. Charles Russell, can be read here by going to the links provided on each of the underlined chapter titles below:

(i-iv) Foreword
(9-28) 1 – Joy in the Morning
(29-36) 2 – An Intelligent Creator
(37-64) 3 – A Divine Revelation
(65-76) 4 – Epochs and Dispensations
(77-88) 5 – The Hidden Mystery
(89-116) 6 – Our Lord’s Return
(117-136) 7 – The Permission of Evil
(137-148) 8 – Day of Judgment
(149-172) 9 – Ransom and Restitution
(173-204) 10 – Natures Separate and Distinct
(205-218) 11 – The Three Ways
(219-244) 12 – Chart of the Ages
(245-272) 13 – Kingdoms of this World
(273-306) 14 – The Kingdom of God
(307-342) 15 – The Day of Jehovah
(343-350) 16 – Concluding Thoughts


2. THE TIME IS AT HAND

volume-2-the-time-is-at-hand

Volume 2 of the Studies in the Scriptures written by Br. Charles Russell, can be read here by going to the links provided on each of the underlined chapter titles below:

(i-v) Foreword
(13-32) Study 1 – Times and Seasons
(33-62) Study 2 – Bible Chronology
(63-72) Study 3 – The First Advent
(73-102) Study 4 – Times of the Gentiles
(103-172) Study 5 – Manner of the Second Advent
(173-200) Study 6 – Earth’s Great Jubilee
(201-248) Study 7 – Parallel Dispensations
(249-266) Study 8 – Elias Shall First Come
(267-362) Study 9 – The Man of Sin
(363-366) Study 10 – The Time is at Hand


3. THY KINGDOM COME

VOLUME 3 - THY KINGDOM COME.jpg

Volume 3 of the Studies in the Scriptures written by Br. Charles Russell, can be read here by going to the links provided on each of the underlined chapter titles below:

(i-iv) Foreword
(19-22) Study 1 – Thy Kingdom Come!
(23-60) Study 2 – The Time of the End
(61-94) Study 3 – Days of Waiting
(95-120) Study 4 – Cleansing of the Sanctuary
(121-134) Study 5 – Time of the Harvest
(135-226) Study 6 – Work of the Harvest
(227-242) Study 7 – Deliverance of the Church
(243-300) Study 8 – Restoration of Israel
(301-308) Study 9 – Thy God Reigneth!
(309-376) Study 10 – The Great Pyramid
(377-380) Appendix


4. THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

PART 1

VOLUME 4 - THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON.jpg

PART 2

volume-4-the-battle-of-armageddon

Volume 4 of the Studies in the Scriptures written by Br. Charles Russell, can be read here by going to the links provided on each of the underlined chapter titles below:


5. THE ATONEMENT BETWEEN GOD & MANVOLUME 5 - THE ATONEMENT BETWEEN GOD AND MAN.jpg

Volume 5 of the Studies in the Scriptures written by Br. Charles Russell, can be read here by going to the links provided on each of the underlined chapter titles below:


6. THE NEW CREATION

PART 1

VOLUME 6 - THE NEW CREATION.jpg

PART 2

volume-6-the-new-creation

Volume 6 of the Studies in the Scriptures written by Br. Charles Russell, can be read here by going to the links provided on each of the underlined chapter titles below:

Br Charles Russell — the author of the six volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures.
Br Joe Megacz — for the spoken video discourse content.
BibleTruth411 – YOUTUBE channel — for access to the above videos.
Content matter from the following websites was utilized: http://www.2043ad.com & http://www.htdb8.com

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/02/11/5-study-in-the-scriptures-the-six-volumes/

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BIBLE CHRONOLOGY & TIME PROPHECY in 2016- A 6 Part Seminar by David Rice

6000 years -  FINAL

Dear friends,

Our intention is that this post with the 6 videos included not only increase our thanks to our Heavenly Father, but that it will increase our devotion and reverence to HIM, from whom ALL blessings flow.

Thank YOU for taking the time to consider our opinion… well not just ours, but the study conclusions from Scripture. The content in the video seminars very concisely and clearly (with the use of charted visual overheads) explain what to expect to see from here going forward, if our expectations are about in the right direction.

We believe the present generation will not pass before the body of Christ is completed. Specifically,
evidence is here presented that 6000 years of man’s history, from Adam forward, will close about the year 2043 AD, and presumably the grand Seventh Millennium will then commence. This does not mean we know the date when the last saints will pass beyond the veil to their reward. We do not. But it does seem to give us an upper bound.

‘Revelation 20:4 – The reign of the saints cannot be properly said to begin before all the “jewels” have been gathered ‘ 

Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence 2739-2740

Revelation 20:4  – And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

In an attempt to learn/experience everything  our Divine Father would wish us to and learn about His glorious Plan of Salvation in our desires to have ready characters when called to our Divine home  if faithful in RIGHTEOUSNESS (GOD’s standard of acceptance) until death (2 Cor 11:2; 2 Cor. 4:14; Ephes. 5:26-27; Rev. 14:4), we may find the discussion about Biblical chronology in the spirit of brotherly agape and sweet fellowship greatly encouraging in better recognizing the glorious harmony in GOD’s perfect symmetry of HIS DIVINE PLAN for all mankind.

If we be anywhere in error of our Heavenly Father’s way, we TRUST and PRAY, our GOD shall make clear the path in HIS due time.

“Let us press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view.

And if you think differently about some issue GOD will reveal this to you as well” – Philippians 3:14-15 (Berean Study Bible)

Above all, we believe the most important date is “Be thou faithful unto death.” Revelation 2:10

Just one final comment about dates – some of us may believe the thousand year reign of Christ began in 1874 whereas others of us may believe it is a future occurrence; some brethren believe the period of mediation must be 1000 years and others believe it is less than 1000 years and on, and on, and on.
 
We believe all of us know in part (1 Cor. 13:9) while we are on this side of the veil, and if we are faithful, we may be very surprised to realize what we didn’t know once we get beyond.
If the Heavenly Father was judging us on how much we knew rather than whether our characters are crystallized, getting all the facts straight in our heads about chronology would be of prime importance and besides that, no two brethren in Christ see eye to eye on every point if we are actually thinking for ourselves.

Please note: Then the content of the Biblical and chronological discussions below, can be accessed in a concise written format here: 2043ad.com

*Dear friends, to watch each of the recorded sessions below, please click on either the underlined titles or the arrows.

Part 1 – Bible Chronology Seminar, David Rice

Part 2 – Bible Chronology Seminar, David Rice

Part 3 – Bible Chronology Seminar, David Rice

Part 4 – Bible Chronology Seminar, David Rice

Part 5 – Bible Chronology Seminar, David Rice

Part 6 – Bible Chronology Seminar, David Rice

Here is a PDF version of all the slides used in the above 6 session Chronology and Time Prophecy Seminar :- All Slides – Chronology & Time Prophecy

Acknowledgement:

Bro. David Rice – Thank you for sharing the knowledge about God and our LORD Jesus Christ with great Joy and Humble Confidence in the LORD to shed light on the Beauties of Truth, and by so doing, encourage others to likewise examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; and thus be the more to make our calling and election sure. 1 Thessalonians 2:20; Mark 16:15

The friends in Christ from Montana, USA – who immediately alarmed us about this post’s initial video glitch issues – thank you for your loyalty in letting us know straight away – how very kind and considerate. Mark 9:41

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/20/bible-chronology-time-prophecy-in-2016-a-6-part-seminar-by-david-rice/

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Encouragement to SHARE & SHINE

SHINE AND SHARE -WITH ADDRESS

With a hope that this blog post will motivate our readers in wanting to dedicate as much time as they can in studying God’s character and His Divine Principles and Plan, to better be enabled to glorify and praise  our Creator, Jehovah, through His Son Jesus–our Beloved Master and Conquering King, let us begin with a beautiful Scripture from Isaiah 58:7 (ESV),

“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

The primitive Church did show an active concern for the poor and needy in their midst and brethren laid aside portions of money and supplies for those less fortunate financially. An example of this can be seen in the collections for the brethren in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4) and the support of Paul by the brethren in Thessalonica.

“But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17)

Now let us examine the term “sharing” in regards to the spiritual food, that is, our sharing with others the understanding of the Word of Truth, and the ministering to others about God’s Divine Plan and His beauties of Truth.

We are not only instructed to preach the Gospel message of hope to the world (Mark 16:15), but we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly by “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness” in our hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).

If God has called us into his marvelous light of Truth, then one is sure to learn about the disastrous effects of evil, so as to realize that disobedience to righteous Godly principles has led to only pain, misery and despair, which results in HOPE-LESS-ness.

By gaining an exposure to such experiences, one gains a priceless understanding of what the Heavenly Father requires to please Him and thus how to strive towards developing into the likeness of Christ.

By experiencing pain and sorrow, we then truly feel how horrifically unpleasant and torturous it’s effects are, and governed by the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:14; 3:19) we desire to obey God in every single aspect of existence, realizing this is the ONLY way that humanity in the future will gain eternal life after the resurrection during the period of Christ’s reign with his body members of 144,000 (see Revelation chapter 7 & 14.)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Dear friends, what abundant blessings are gained by striving to adhere perfectly to Godly and righteous principles. The fully consecrated to God are not only to strive for this perfection in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:11) but actually BE perfect (Matthew 5:48).

How is it possible to BE PERFECT if we still live in carnal imperfect bodies? We realize that if we were perfect, we would never die as the death penalty is a consequence of Adam’s sin and thus all the world of mankind has inherited Adamic sin (Genesis 2:17).

We answer:

We can be reckoned as perfect in God’s eyes, thanks to the robe of Christ’s righteousness covering our sins, hence our intentions can be reckoned as perfect due to OUR FAITH. In Romans chapter 4 the Apostle Paul here writes about what Godly faith actually is and how it is developed and maintained.

The faith talked about in the Bible does not mean having a BLIND FAITH–believing in the words of another without testing it against what the Word of God says on the subject at hand. 

In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul does explain that faith can only be true Godly faith if one hears the message, “and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

The true faith we are talking about that ALL eventually will HAVE to have by the end of the “little season” (Revelation 20:3) of the Millennial Reign of Christ with his completed Bride– is faith that is based on God’s wisdom and not man’s wisdom.

This is what the Apostle Paul means by saying to the Corinthian brethren in 1 Corinthians 2:5, that their “faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

We are to TEST the Scriptures by studying the Words of God documented to us by the prophets in the Old Testament and by the Apostles and Jesus’s disciples in the New Testament, and study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

We cannot expect someone to understand or even know who God is simply by reading the Bible like a story book as “the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9). 

We must scrutinize every word that we read if we do not understand it’s glorious meaning. The Prophet Isaiah writes, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! (Isaiah 45:15) WHY does God hide himself? In the following post are some suggested Scriptural thoughts on this: Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself”

Understanding God’s Word

Here is an extract from Reprint of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (R5982) about the subject matter concerning understanding God’s word:

“Our ability to understand spiritual things depends, not only upon our study of the
Scriptures, which are able to make us wise, but also upon the measure of the Holy Spirit which we possess. Hence the Apostle’s exhortation, “Be ye filled with the Spirit!” — Ephesians 5:18.

This means that only the spirit-begotten may understand the deep things of God at all; and that their understanding would be in proportion as they attain more and more a filling, a saturation with the spirit of holiness, the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of Truth.

Every Bible Student should realize that if, as a New Creature, he walks after the flesh and not after the Spirit, his mind will become more or less darkened, and not only will his ability to understand the deep things of God decrease, but even his recollection of the Lord’s Word will decrease; and that, on the contrary, when he is living near to the Lord–walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh–his memory of the Divine Word and his ability to appreciate its Spirit are increased.

Additionally, let us remember that a correct understanding of the Lord’s Word is not enjoyed by all the educated and talented, but comes to those who are of a meek and teachable heart, who study the Lord’s Word and who live it and absorb its spirit. Thus we have illustrated to us the Divine declaration, “Not by might [greatness], nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” — Zechariah 4:6.”

————

During this Gospel Age, the called out of Babylon have the privilege to learn obedience to God and this involves developing the highest form of love, agape–towards our brethren in Christ. The Lord’s people have the privilege of learning now the lessons of forgiveness like God forgives us. God has such GREAT PERFECT mercy and love towards the fallen race, and the Apostle John in 3 John 3:16 tells us that God sent his firstborn of all Creation, His most Beloved Son, Jesus– the Logos– down to a terrestrial plan of existence (earth) (Hebrews 2:7-9) to redeem mankind and pay the ransom price to free ALL humanity from the sentence of Adamic death.

God’s divine plan encompasses the process of restoring all of humanity to perfection during the millennial reign of Christ with his Bride members (Revelation 7:14), known as the “elect” (Matthew 24: 22; Romans 11:7) and the “little flock” (Luke 12:32).

We have a responsibility to let our lights (the CHRIST-LIKENESS character) shine (Matthew 5:16).

But what’s the point of others seeing what WE DO? AH… the sentence follows with other words giving the correct answer.

In the kingdom when evil shall be restrained for 1000 years,  righteousness shall be the only standard by which all will have to adhere to, to gain eternal life and pure, perfect everlasting JOY will be the blessed result for everyone who chooses to obey God.

If indeed we have received the light and have consecrated ourselves fully to God, then let us ask ourselves, WHAT AM I DOING to show others the goodness of God? WHAT AM I DOING to proclaim the virtues and excellencies of Jehovah, who CALLED ME out of darkness?

Am I going forth with these tidings to my neighbors near and far?

Can I truly affirm that I am:–

“All for Jesus, all for Jesus–
All my being’s ransomed powers;
All my thoughts, and words, and doings,
All my days and all my hours?”

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are told,Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

It is God who calls one out of darkness. So no one can force anyone to believe how they do.

God does not call families. God calls individuals into the Truth of His Holy Word.

What is the Purpose of the Gospel Age?
The purpose of this Gospel Age is to “call out” a BRIDE FOR CHRIST, a group of 144,000 body of Christ members who can soon begin their Mediatorial Reign in bringing the world of mankind into harmony with God. This is only understood by those who have a discerning heart who God has decided to choose to understand His mysteries, which is:

Christ in youthe hope of glory” 

(Colossians 1:27).

The partakers of the High Calling have a desire to please God in all they do. As they commune with God, their minds are fixed on Christ and to be like him in character-likeness and thus, strive to do the Father’s will and be partakers in “the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:6) (A 3 part series of posts on the RESURRECTION can be read here: Part A, Part B, Part C).

God’s fully consecrated children share closest communion with The Heavenly Father and His son Jesus (Psalm 118:8), and long for a heavenly inheritance, as their minds are set on “things above”  (Colossians 3:2).

True Christians feels they are called by the situations that each of the fully consecrated believers in Christ experience during their earthly testing and preparation time, realizing how the Lord is drawing them to desire to give up ALL their human life rights to themselves; to their body, to their time, to their health, to their reputation, to their talents, or to anything that belongs to them confessing themselves as belonging to Jesus their Redeemer, and they dedicate to serve, love and trust Jesus as their life and their salvation to their last moment of life on this carnal earth.

Fully consecrated believers in Christ seek divine nature— to be where the Heavenly Father and His Son, Christ Jesus reside.

So what is our HOPE?

The Bible is jam-packed with precious promises.

Just flip open any page of the New Testament, and start reading. What is the first precious promise you read? It will surely not take you more than a minute to find, and it will surely inspire you, unlike any 10 minutes of watch the News on T.V. will do! Go try it!

In Colossians 1:27, we have the answer to what our HOPE is. (We have also referred to this text earlier in this post.)

It is a LIVING hope, for as stated in 1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

What does a LIVING HOPE mean?

It means having a HOPE OF LIFE and not one of burning eternal torment which falsely the worldly institution of Papacy have darkened the minds of the world to believe in order to have power and prevent the light of Truth from illuminating the minds and hearts of mankind due to the influence of the Adversary who’s corrupt and wicked army of angels do still control— yet, they will all be bound during the Millennial reign of Christ period when God shall provide mankind with the opportunity to learn righteousness and be blessed by so doing (Isaiah 26:9).

After Armageddon, all will need to become true Israelites indeed. [see post: “Will ALL Mankind Need To Become ‘ISRAELITES INDEED’?”]

The rule then in the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom will be:

OBEY GOD and LIVE or DISOBEY GOD and die (without a possibility to resurrect ever again).

Those who have done wrong in this life, will have more re-learning to do, so the faster their minds choose to follow God’s ways, the sooner they will see and feel the immense blessing of JOY and satisfaction that they will gain from walking up the HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS (Isaiah 35:8).

It was Jesus’ obedience to the Heavenly Father— dying as the ransom for our justification— that has opened up the door for God’s children to have this living hope and it is not only a hope for such now justified, but it includes a hope of perfecting in future the now still ignorant, sinful and unjustified world of mankind, and bringing them into harmony with the Heavenly Father, so that God may be all in all. And this is “the eternal gospel”— that the Creator (who has no beginning and no end) will be finally ALL IN ALL (Revelation 14:6).

Just as the hopes of the apostles had withered at the time of the crucifixion but were revived at Jesus’ resurrection, so too, we have the assurance through Jesus’ resurrection that our final triumph is through our Lord and King, Jesus, who is currently standing at the Heavenly Father’s throne after having sat earlier at the right hand of God after his ascension to the divine realm (Mark 16:19). We are told of Jesus standing up since his parousia (invisible presence, that is often in English, incorrectly translated as Christ’s “coming” in Scripture).

In Daniel 12:1 we read, “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”

When the last members of the Bride of Christ shall have gone “beyond the second veil” (died in the flesh), then Jesus shall sit with them on his own throne. We are told of this in Matthew 25:31:- “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.”

May the Heavenly Father be praised forevermore as we await our transformation into glory!

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV).

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/03/share-shine/

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