Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Russia has been keeping the news rooms of the world busy over the last few months and this week is certainly no different with the situation continuing to get hotter. The Economist front cover from April sums up the Russia the world is dealing with very well with one word “Insatiable.”
The world is certainly worried about how hungry the Russian bear really is. Thanks for tuning in and welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. The Geneva agreement of April the 17th that was supposed to see the calming of the situation of Ukraine it seems was never worth the paper it was written on, as the situation has only continued to get worse since. Russia is now saying the Ukraine will face justice for bloody crime in Eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian soldiers killed 5 pro Russian rebels as they are being called. Ukraine is claiming that Russia wants to start World War 3. An understandable claim as Russia has been continuing to build it number of troops on the border, plus and sending jets into Ukrainian airspace, this after the taking of Crimea. It is not just the Ukraine that has had problems with the Russians planes, the British, the Dutch and the Danes have all scrambled jets after Russian bombers have approached their airspace this week.

 For the British this was not something new and I know that here in Canada we were doing the same thing about four years ago over the Arctic, but with everything else going on today it is that much more disturbing. Also this week a surprise came out of the US brokered “peace talks,” Fatah the party in the “west bank” that Israel has been speaking with decided they would join with Hamas in Gaza and form a unity government. Hamas is openly a terrorist organization and Israel halted the peace talks immediately on Thursday. 

These talks were said to be the last chance for a two state solution. Even the US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.” The truth is that any peace talks that happen if they involve Jews vacating the West Bank are destined for failure. Why can we be so sure of this? 

As we have said many times on this program before the West Bank or mountains of Israel are at the center of the prophecies and it is God who has put the Jews there, and that right on time. That said, from Ezekiel 38 we know that a temporary peace will come to Israel prior to the northern invader coming down as it says the northern invader says in verse 11 “I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates…” How we are going to get to that point time will tell. We discuss weekly on this program that all the signs are pointing to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ very soon, the question I ask myself is “am I ready?” The fact that Almighty God has given us these signs and shown us what is coming on this earth is extremely incredible but what is our reaction?

 The following was written by John Thomas in 1849, we have quoted it much recently: “The future movements of Russia are notable signs of the times, because they are predicted in the Scriptures of truth... When Russia makes its grand move for the building-up of its Image-empire, then let the reader know that the end of all things, as at present constituted, is at hand. 

The long-expected, but stealthy advent of the King of Israel, will be on the eve of becoming a fact; and salvation will be to those who not only looked for it, but have trimmed their lamps by believing the gospel of the kingdom unto the obedience of faith, and the perfection thereof in "fruits meet for repentance"” How incredible it is that we may on the doorstep of Russia making it moves to build up its empire but notice that he says salvation will be for those that have done the following: 1) Looked for his coming 2) Trimmed their lamps by believing the gospel of the kingdom 3) Unto the obedience of faith and the perfection thereof in “fruits meet for repentance” Looking for his coming The following passage from 1 Thessalonians 5 speaks to the importance of watching: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 

There is a very interesting verse in Amos 3:7 that says “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” The truth is that God wants to share what he is doing on the earth with those that love him. We see this practically worked out with Abraham in the destruction of Sodom in Genesis 18:16-18: “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” I find this truly amazing that the creator of the heavens and the earth feels the need to share with his people on earth what his plan and purpose is. 

If we needed any more proof that God cares that we take the time to understand the prophecies and the times in which we live, look at the opening words to the book of Revelation: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Trimmed their lamps by believing in the gospel of the kingdom “The gospel of the kingdom” is a direct quote from the book of Mathew and the book of Mark. Often the gospel is thought about as being the four gospels accounts of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John but from this phrase “the gospel of the kingdom” you can see much more is meant. The word “gospel” means “good news” and in this case it is the good news of the kingdom. 

There is much misunderstanding about the coming kingdom of God, when we look closely at it the kingdom is certainly something that is coming on the earth. In Daniel 2 Nebuchadnezzar has visions of the kingdoms of the world, one after the next after the next, but these “kingdoms of men” were to be replaced by a Kingdom set up by God: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Interestingly in Acts 1, after the resurrection of Christ the apostles spend forty days with him before his ascension to heaven, it is after this time that the apostles ask Christ “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Christ does not answer and say, a restored kingdom of Israel? Who's ever heard of such a thing! He actually says “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” There will be a time but they were not to know it that point. Christ is then taken up to heaven and the apostles are told in verse 11 by the angel that Christ would return. When we come to Acts 3:20,21 we get a little more information: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 

It is worth noting that under King David and Solomon the kingdom was God’s then, they sat on “the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel” 1 Chronicles 28:5 When we come to look at Christ it was prophecied before he was born that he would sit on the throne of David his father in Luke 1:31-33: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” 

Also worth reading in relation to this is Jeremiah 23:5,6: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.” This is “good news of the kingdom” and the Hope of Israel. The good news promised in the Bible is not an afterlife in heaven, as a writer by the name of Robert Roberts once said “what God has never promised, no one will ever receive.”

The hope laid out in the Bible is real and is coming on this earth soon, much more can be read on this in the back issues of the Bible Magazine. Unto the obedience of faith and the perfection thereof in “fruits meet for repentance” This is the last point that we are looking at that John Thomas mentioned and cannot be missed. It is certainly important that a servant of God understands who he is and what he is about but is cannot stop at knowledge it must be shown in our way of life. 

John Thomas actually mentions the following passage on this point and I think it is worth looking up: James 2:20-22 “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” We can have faith that the Word of God is true and right, we can believe in Christ and in his work and even have faith in his return and in what he is doing in the world but it must affect our life, we have to do something with this knowledge. Hab 2:2 – “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” This is the reason God gives us prophecy, so we may be motivated to move, to do something. 

The word of God is quick and powerful it says in Hebrews, well it certainly can be powerful in our lives if we let it. We have been saying on this program much over the last while these events in Russia have been looked for by Bible students for many years and this is true, but the challenge is as we see these things coming to pass to take the time to examine ourselves “for the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” “…Salvation will be to those who not only looked for it, but have trimmed their lamps by believing the gospel of the kingdom unto the obedience of faith, and the perfection thereof in "fruits meet for repentance"” May we be found worthy in that day and may that day come soon. Thanks for joining us again this week, come back next week for another edition of the Bible in the News at www.bibleinthenews.com