Monday, August 31, 2015

QUESTIONS ON THE END OF TIME (3)

The Third of an On-going Series of Biblical Answers

                                          What is the mark of the Beast?

Rev. 13:18

King James Version (KJV)

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.  








I


n the Book of Revelation there is reference to the number of the Antichrist, which is 666 (Rev. 13:18). Six in biblical numerology is the number of man-just short of perfection, whereas seven is the number of perfection.  So 666 may refer to the quintessential humanist.  Revelation tells us that the number 666, or the mark of the Antichrist, is going to be stamped upon the hand and the forehead of every person in the world during the reign of the Antichrist.

The forehead represents our wills, our volition, while the hand represents our activities.  Somehow the Antichrist will get his imprint on people everywhere, causing them, through their wills and their actions, to serve him.  It is not farfetched to think that the Antichrist could impose population controlby some global means (Rev. 13:16, 17).

T

 he Bible warns us that if we have the mark of the Beast, we will then share the terrible fate of the Beast (Rev. 14:11). No one should fear "accidentally"  taking  the  mark of the Beast.  To do so involves "worshipping" the Beast (Rev. 13:15),
 and the decision will be clear enough that it will be a life-and-death matter.  However, we should still be sensitive today, for if we regard the forehead as the center of the will and the hand as being symbolic of what we do, it seems that that mark is more than some technologial device.  What we are really talking about here is who gets our allegiance.  In a real respect the spirit of antichrist is active already (1 John 2:18). 

Will we give the spirit of the world our minds, and our work?  If our allegiance is to God, we will not serve the Antichrist, and we will not take his mark upon us. 



 In conclusion,  let’s look deep at the last book in the Bible. The  666 is the number, or name, of the wild beast with seven heads and ten horns that comes out of the sea. (Revelation 13:1, 17, 18) This beast is a symbol of the worldwide political system, which rules over “every tribe and people and tongue and nation.” (Revelation 13:7) The name 666 identifies the political system as a gross failure in God’s sight.



How?

More than a label. Names given by God have meaning. For example, God gave the man Abram, which means “Father Is High (Exalted),” the name Abraham, which means “Father of a Crowd (Multitude),” when God promised that He would make Abraham “a father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:5, footnotes) Likewise, God named the beast 666 as a symbol of its defining attributes.

The number six implies imperfection. Often, numbers are used as symbols in the Bible. Seven typically represents completeness or perfection. Six, being one short of seven, can denote something incomplete or flawed in God’s eyes, and it can be associated with God’s enemies.—1 Chronicles 20:6; Daniel 3:1.

Three times for emphasis. The Bible sometimes stresses a matter by stating it three times. (Revelation 4:8; 8:13) So the name 666 powerfully emphasizes that God views human political systems as gross failures. They have been unable to bring lasting peace and security—things that only God’s Kingdom will achieve.

The mark of the beast

The Bible says that people receive “the mark of the wild beast” because they follow it “with admiration,” to the point of worshipping it. (Revelation 13:3, 4; 16:2) They do this by giving worshipful honor to their country, its symbols, or its military might. As The Encyclopedia of Religion states: “Nationalism has become a dominant form of religion in the modern world.” *

How is the mark of the beast placed on someone’s right hand or forehead? (Revelation 13:16) Regarding his commands to the nation of Israel, God said: “Bind them as a reminder on your hand, and they should be like a headband on your forehead.” (Deuteronomy 11:18) This meant, not that the Israelites were to mark their literal hands and foreheads, but that God’s words would guide all their actions and thoughts. Likewise, rather than being something literal such as a 666 tattoo, the mark of the beast symbolically identifies those who let the political system rule their lives. Those with the mark of the beast place themselves in opposition to God.—Revelation 14:9, 10; 19:19-21.


Be prepared,





Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Saturday, August 29, 2015

QUESTIONS ON THE END OF TIME (2)

The Second of an On-going Series of Biblical Answers  2

Who is the Antichrist?



Thess. 2: 2,3

King James Version (KJV)

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.


OBSERVATION



In the Book of Revelation we are told that a world dictator will arise who will be endued with the power of Satan himself and will claim for himself the prerogatives of God (Rev. 13:1-8; 2 Thess. 2:4).  Assisting him will be a False Prophet who will do signs in this dictator’s name (Rev. 13:13-15; 19:20).


We do know that the Book of Revelation was written during a time when Christians were being persecuted in the Roman Empire.  We also know that the Roman emperors liked to think of themselves gods, making statues of themselves and requiring worship of themselves. There could be a possibility that those earlier dictators were representation of the final world dictator, and the Antichrist is already in the world. This man will appear as a great leader, speaking great words of wisdom, and will draw all of the non-christians people to worship him.  To them he will be the sum of wisdom, with the answers to all their problems ( Rev. 13:18).

For an antichrist figure to come into the modern world, there must be a breakdown of the world system as we know it now.  There would have to be breakdowns in currency, in law and order, and in the power structures of national states.


A
 financial panic could hlp pave the way for him.  So could a nuclear war.  Such disasters could leave people crying out for a man of peace, who will be Satan’s counterfeit to Jesus Christ.  This man will seem to be like Jesus, until such time as he is ready to show his true self.  Then he will be incredibly cruel. (Dan. 7: 8).  The Antichrist will be the most hideous example of dictatorial power that the world has ever known. 


Remember that the antichrist spirit is in anybody who tries to draw people away from Jesus, saying, "Worship me."  The antichrist spirit is often present now in the worship and veneration we give to governments, dictators, military leaders, and various other human figures.  Systems being taught in our schools, media, and intellectual circles are often much like that which will ultimately lead people to the Antichrist, because he will be the consummate figure of humanism.


Be prepared,



Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Friday, August 28, 2015

QUESTIONS ON THE END OF TIME (1)

 The First of an On-going Series of Biblical Answers
 When is Jesus Christ coming again?


Matthew 24:42

King James Version (KJV)
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.


Nobody can say with any degree of certainty when Jesus is coming again because He said clearly that even the angels in heaven do not know that day (Mark 13:32).  No man knows that day, and the Son of God, when He was on the Earth, did not know either.  This knowledge, the Lord jesus said, was strictly reserved for the Father.



We can see certain signs, or clues, that His coming is approaching (Matt. 24:3; Luke 21:7).  Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars, revolutions, widespread famine, disease, and earthquakes in many different places (Matt. 24:6,7; Luke 21:10, 11).  There would be an increase of lawlessness and anarchy, and finally an appearance of the


Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:3, 4).  Along with the "man of sin" will come what is called an apostasy, or a falling away.  Many of the believing people will grow cold in their faith (Matt. 24:12).  There will be persecution of Christians and a time of general trouble.  All these things are already happening with increasing frequency.

Another event most believe had to happen before Jesus could return was the reestablishment of the state of Israel.  The original Israel disappeared from the globe centuries ago, but in  1948 the new state of Israel was established.  The regathering of Jews to Israel is a clear sign, in bothe the Old and New Testaments that our age is just about over (Luke 21:24).  On June 6, 1967, the Jews, for the first time since Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.,  took over control of the entire city Jerusalem, thus signaling the approaching end of Gentile world power.

Jesus said, however, that the one major thing that would herald His coming would be the proclamaton of the gospel (Matt. 24:14).


These are signs of the times.  We are always to be ready for our Lord’s  return, but nobody knows the day and hour when that will be.


Be forever encouraged,



Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Thursday, August 27, 2015


SPLENDOR OF THE NEW TEMPLE
The Latter Temple Will be More Glorious Than the First

Haggai 2:1-9 – Good News Translation (GNT)


2 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month of that same year, the Lord spoke again through the prophet Haggai. 

2 He told Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, to Joshua, the High Priest, and to the people, and to say to them,

3 “Is there anyone among you who can still remember how splendid the Temple used to be? How does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all. 

4 But now don't be discouraged, any of you. Do the work, for I am with you. 

5 When you came out of Egypt, I promised that I would always be with you. I am still with you, so do not be afraid.

6 “Before long I will shake heaven and earth, land and sea. 

7 I will overthrow all the nations, and their treasures will be brought here, and the Temple will be filled with wealth. 8 All the silver and gold of the world is mine. 9 The new Temple will be more splendid than the old one, and there I will give my people prosperity and peace.” The Lord Almighty has spoken.





2:1–9 


2:1 Haggai’s second message ["Be strong…and work v.4"] comes approximately two months after the first an about one moth after work on the temple had begun.

2:3  House in her first glory refers to Solomon’s temple.  Some of the elderly had been children at the time of Jerusalem’s fall.



2:5  The promise of spirit was affirmed by a covenant at the beginning of Israel’s history. The promises continues to be fulfilled as God’s Spirit remains among the Israelites to take away their fear.

  • The Holy Spirit is a vital part of God’s covenant with His people. "according to the word that I covenanted with you."

  • The Holy Spirit is an abiding gift to the people of God: "My spirit remaineth among you."

  • The presence of the Holy Spirit removes fear from the hearts of God’s people. Therefore, "fear ye not."

2:6-9  This passage is best seen as referring to God’s final in breaking into history, the culmination of "The day of the Lord."

  • Understand that it is the presence of Jesus that produces glory.
-          All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces;
and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms
us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.  2 Corinthians 3:18

2:6  It is a little while denotes its assurance.

2:7  I will shake all nations is God’s final dealing with evil just before the world to come.  I will fill this house with glory refers in part to the dedication of Zerubbabel’s actual temple, but also prophesies God’s indwelling of human temples through Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 6:19. 20).

Zerubbabel is one of the people listed

 in the genealogies of Jesus. Two things make Zerubbabel significant and link him to Christ:

  1. Zerubbabel is a sign of a man chosen by God, from whose yielded nature God causes to flow life, leadership, and ministy.  What Zerubbabel did in part, Jesus did in full as the Servant of the Lord. 


  1. Zerubbabel is also in the line of the Messiah. The lists of Jesus’ ancestors in Matthew and Luke include the name of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, whose own personal significance was surpassed by his role as one who pointed ahead to the coming Savior of the world.

 

 2:9 In Jewish tradition this latter house is called "The Second Temple." Solomon’s temple being the former temple.  This is the temple that would be standing in the time of Jesus through enlarged and beautified under Herod.



2:8 Good Stewards of God’s Gifts.  STEWARDSHIP. The same principle of stewardship King David emphasized in accumulating the wealth to build the original  temple (1 Chr. 29:14) was also emphasized in its restoration (Hag. 2:8).

  • After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, the children of Judah returned to Jerusalem and rushed to the task of rebuilding their own houses.  They took the position that the proper time had not come for  the Lord’s house to be build (Hag. 1:2).  The prophet’s response was "Is it time for you, O ye to dwell in your cieled[panelled] houses, and this house [God’s house] lie water? " (v.4) .  As v.5 goes on to point out, we must always consider our ways when we seek to use the Lord’s money for our puposes and neglect His house and the ministries that seek to accomplish His massion.  The children of Judah were made to understand that their lack of material goods was directly related to their unfair and unjust stewardship.  "Ye have sown much, and bring in litte, ye eat but ye have not enough, ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink, ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages to putit into a bag with notes." (v.6).
  
Be forever encouraged,



Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

APOSTASY

The Coming of Apostasy

 2 Timothy 3:1-9       

King James Version (KJV)






3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

 

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

 

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

 

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

 

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

 

7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.


9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.


KEYS TO WISE LIVING


One with spiritual wisdom possesses spiritual perception and a wise value system.  He realizes that any theological quarreling is unproductive and refuses to be drawn into it.  Rather, he learns gently to persuade others to godliness, not being easily deceived by feigned godly behavior.  He also recognizes the human tendency to avoid the demands of truth and to listen, rather, to what they want to hear.

 

3:1-9   Paul exhorts Timothy to continue in the gospel in the face of a great increase of evil. In the last days, the time from the first appearing of Christ until His Second Coming, people will be characterized by all kinds of self-centered and unnatural perversions. Some will maintain an outward pretense, speaking the vocabulary of Christianity, but refusing the reality that Christian faith expresses (v.5). The power they deny is the heart of Christianity – the fact of a risen Redeemer, the truth of the inspired Word and the indwelling and overflowing of the Holy Spirit, working within believers and transforming their lives.

·         The false teachers are compared to Jannes and Jambres, Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses because of their base and perverted minds (see Ex. 7).

3:5 Do not be deceived by Jargon or religiosity. Look for true spiritual power and godliness in others.





Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vision of Paradise


2 Corinthians 12:1-6 

King James Version (KJV)


12 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

 

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

 

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

 

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

 

5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

 

6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.




12:2 I knew a man in Christ: Obliviously Paul himself, but he speaks with reserve to avoid boasting about himself rather than the Lord who granted such a privilege. Fourteen years ago: About A.D. 42, in the period of his Christian life not described in Acts. Third heaven: The highest heaven, the presence of God, in contrast to the sky and the starry heavens visible from earth.



12:4 Paradise: Identified here with "the third heaven" (v.2); the place of blissful fellowship with God (Luke 23:43; Rev. 2:7). Paul was neither able nor permitted to repeat what he had heard.


 

Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre


Monday, August 24, 2015

CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST

 

For Me To live is Christ, And To Die Is Gain.



philippians 1: 21-26
King James Version (KJV)


To Live Is Christ

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.



1:21-25 Paul does not long for death, but for the closer presence of Christ that death will bring.  Meanwhile, he has a strong sense of duty to remain among them for their growth and maturing in the faith.



1:21-24 Do not fear death. Remember that dying in God’s timing and will is only victory for a believer.

1:23 The word depart is also used for pulling up tent pegs or a ship’s anchor.  For Paul, death is simply breaking camp and moving on, or setting sail to a new port.  



Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts




Saturday, August 22, 2015

ORDER OF THE RESURRECTIONS (4)

Bodies of the Translated living




1 Corinthians 15:51-58
King James Version (KJV)


51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for asmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.



THE LORD’S RETURN AND THE END OF TIME. This segment among the others looks forward to the glorious end of human history with the coming day of Jesus Christ the Lord.


15:51,52 God made know to Paul that the dead will be raised up by instantaneous transformation at the last trump. Trumpets were used to call God’s people together. (Num. 10:1-10) and at royal coronations in presenting kings to Israel (1Kin. 1:34). The Rapture of the church not only transforms us but welcomes Christ the coming King on Earth, as we "meet the Lord in the air" at His returning (see 1 Thess. 4:16, 17).


15:56,57 Strength of sin is the law.  The analogy is not perfect, for here we died, not the law. But the point is clear. Because a death has occurred, old obligations and powers are broken, and we are no longer under a system of trying to obey in our own strength.

Without the law sin was dormant, but the Law aroused a desire to do that which it forbade.  The same is true of every Christian.

We are dead to that system of law. An infinite variety of bodies adapted to live in the different environments of land, sea, air, and the heavens already exist.  Is a resurrection body so incredible then?

15:58 Never give up! Continue steadfastly in faith and abound in service to God. Know that nothing done in Jesus’ name is in vain.




 
Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts




Friday, August 21, 2015

ORDER OF THE RESURRECTIONS (3)

Bodies of the resurrected dead(3)



1 Corinthians 15:35-50
King James Version (KJV)

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.




15:36-38 A life-death principle is already at work in creation: A seed must give itself up to a death process so new life can emerge in the form of fruit or grain. Like seed, our present physical bodies potentially contain the resurrection body that shall be.

15:39-41 An infinite variety of bodies adapted to live in the different environments of land, sea, air, and the heavens already exists.  Is a resurrection body so incredible then?

15:42-44 The resurrection body will not be subject to death; it will be beautiful and perfect; it will have unlimited capabilities unknown to us in this age; it will be adapted for life in the spiritual realm. A spiritual body does not mean an immaterial body but one adapted to the realities of the Age to Come.  The resurrection body will be our very own bodies changed, for that which is sown is that also which is raised.

15:45-49 In other words, our resurrected bodies will be like Christ’s. As a quickening spirit the resurrected Christ is the fountainhead of the new creation, as Adam was of the old creation.  Although we cannot know fully the nature of a spiritual body, Christ’s resurrection body reveals something of what kind of bodies resurrected believers will have.  During the 40 days of post resurrection appearances. Jesus could pass for an ordinary man. He still had nail prints and He ate food yet He also could materialize at will and pass through locked doors (see John 20; Luke 24).

He had complete command over creation, as evidenced by his dominion over the fish (John 21:6-11)….. to be cont’d    



 Janet Thomas
Founder/President/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts