Understanding
 The Bible

The first man and woman on earth were given very simple instructions by God. They could do whatever they liked, but were not to eat of the fruit of one particular tree. They were told that to disobey these instructions would kill them: just like you might instruct a child not to play on the motorway. Enticed by Satan, they disobeyed God’s instruction  and ate the forbidden fruit. The seeds of rebellion were sown leading to death. Physical death was not immediate, but death entered the human race. At this point the first hint of God’s salvation plan is introduced. God himself kills an animal and uses the skin to cover the nakedness and vulnerability of man and woman. The animal was sacrificed as a substitute for the humans. The animal died in order that they could live. They were to live physically a further few hundred years, but the relationship with God was severely and permanently damaged.

 

After that, over many hundreds of years humans procreated until the earth was quite heavily populated. Meanwhile, in another dimension, another rebellion was going on. Spiritual beings created by God, from another spiritual dimension, liked what they saw on earth and actually took up alien residence in humans. Human beings became possessed by the demonic. Genesis tells us, ‘The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.’ (Gen 6:2–4)

So instead of the pure breed of humans that God had created, they now became polluted with rebellious and gigantic half-breeds. This also defied God’s creation plan that each species would multiply after its own kind. This was an engineered mutation – evolution if you like - and God was not putting up with it. So he destroyed the entire land-based living world with a gigantic flood, preserving only one man, Noah and his family.

From this family the earth was repopulated, but within several generations the world had again become corrupted and rebellious towards the Creator. Worship of other gods, promiscuity and child sacrifice were rife.

This time, God did not destroy mankind, but chose a man, Abram, to educate and teach the way he was to live in order to pass this teaching on through his family line. From Abram, whose name God changed to Abraham, came a family and subsequently a nation, which we know today as Israel, Hebrews or Jews. Abraham and his descendents were given the land east of the Mediterranean, which today would cover Israel, Jordan, parts of Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

 

Israel has had a stormy and ambivalent relationship with God since that time. He dearly loves them and will keep His covenant with them forever as He promised to Abraham, but because of their disobedience and rebellion, God had to discipline them. He drove them from that land into exile and dispersion on a number of occasions. But the land still belonged to them and it always will.

 

A major part of the teaching that God gave to Israel was a very precise sacrificial system, a priesthood and tabernacle or temple. Over a period of about 2000 years Israel carried out the sacrifices, several times a day and more so on special feast days. The purpose was to atone for sin. Whenever a person sinned in various ways, there was a special type of sacrifice in which the slaughtered animal took the place of the sinner so that the sinner could be forgiven and live.

 

After 2000 years of this teaching and the preservation of at least a remnant of this nation of Israel, God was ready to carry out the final part of the Plan. He had prepared a pure ancestral line into which He would be born as a man, which culminated in a young virgin girl called Mary. Into her womb He place a fertilised seed, which comprised the DNA of God himself – in modern parlance, a clone of the Creator.

 

The baby was born and grew into a man called Jeshua (Hebrew) or Jesus (in English) who lived a perfect life, fulfilling every aspect of God’s law. Then he laid down his life by allowing cruel men to nail him to a wooden cross and hang there until He died. In doing so the infinite God was now the ultimate perfect substitutionary sacrifice dying in the place of anyone who was willing to allow him to stand in their place. Thus the requirements of the Law were fulfilled but mercy was shown on the sinner who deserved to die.

 

However, because he had fulfilled every part of the Law, Jesus was not subject to death and God raised him from the dead. After 3 days he was resurrected to live again and was seen by over 500 people. About 7 weeks later in view of hundreds of people, he was simply airlifted into the clouds. Unlikely as it sounds, this was witnessed by hundreds of people who would testify even to the point of torture and death that this was so. These witnesses became a persecuted minority who were driven out of Jerusalem by the authorities.

 

Largely because of persecution, but empowered by the Holy Spirit, the good news about Jesus spread across the Roman Empire. With many miraculous signs and wonders the adherents grew at an astonishing rate.

 

Nearly 40 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, in AD70, the Romans finally destroyed and flattened Jerusalem, driving what remained of the Jewish nation out of Israel into slavery, captivity and across the world. To add insult, they renamed the land Philistine, which was the name of the old enemy of Israel since the days of Saul and David. The area, which became known as Palestine, reverted largely to desert and wilderness and remained that way for over 1900 years.

 

During that time there was nothing that could be called the Jewish nation. Jews were scattered across many countries, but even though many tried to hide and changed their names, they were never integrated or accepted as natives. Throughout history they remained a persecuted people and there were several attempts to annihilate them, such as the Inquisition and the Holocaust. Around 1900 a steady trickle of Jews began to try to get back to their homeland. The Jews were reinstated as a nation and given the land of Israel in 1948 and according to the Bible, they will play a major role in God’s plan in time to come.

 

Over the past 2000 years, hundreds of millions of people have become disciples of Jesus Christ, together making up what is called The Church. That brings us to today: but this is not the end of the matter.

 

We believe from reading the Bible that, Jesus is coming back to Earth to take the Church to be his bride, as was planned from the very beginning of creation, to be with him in Heaven. The indications are that this will be quite soon. We don’t pretend to understand this and it does all sound very unlikely, but remember the discussions we had previously about dimensions and perception. God is going to take his bride from this 3 dimensional world into a much higher dimensional universe. This will be a supernatural event that will make Star Trek teleportation look quite ordinary. We are able to grasp the concept of ‘beam me up’ in Star Trek movies. Something like that is actually going to happen, on a massive scale involving millions of people. The term used to describe this event is the Rapture.

 

Around the time at which the Rapture will take place, the world is going to enter a period of the most appalling suffering. There will be war, famine, worldwide cruel dictatorship and extreme persecution of people who do not fit in with society, particularly the Jews. It will be like Hitler’s holocaust, but many times worse. It is called the Great Tribulation in the Bible. That is the point at which the Church will be taken out of the world to leave all the suffering behind and be with Jesus in Heaven. Opinions vary as to what point the rapture will take place. Some believe it will be before the tribulation begins, others think during and yet others afterwards. We will discuss the details later in the book.

 

However, that is still not the end. After this, Jesus is going to return to the Earth with an army of angels to destroy those who are still in rebellion against God and set up a Kingdom on Earth over which He will be King and many of those in the Church will help Him to govern the world. This will be a period of 1000 years known as the Millennium during which, under Jesus’ rule, the earth will operate as it was supposed to before man sinned.

 

The headquarters of Jesus’ Kingdom will be Jerusalem, which will be a Jewish city. Israel will be inhabited by Jews and Jesus will be Jewish – he is referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This fulfils the promises and covenants that God made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and a host of other patriarchs. Can you see now why the Jews are under such attack from the Godless world headed up by Satan? If the Jewish nation could be eliminated, then God’s covenants cannot be fulfilled. God would then be shown either not to exist, or His Word, the Bible cannot be trusted or else He is not in control of the earth, let alone the universe. So God’s name and reputation are on the line.

 

That is a potted history of the world from a Biblical perspective, from creation to the end of time. The story as explained above is not explicitly laid out, but can be found by searching the Bible and interpreting the messages. It can be pieced together only by reading the Bible from start to finish. A reason why people do not pick this up is that few actually read it right through again and again. They just pick out little stories and favourite texts, usually out of context, but without seeing it as a whole. It is deliberately hidden, to make people seek and search for answers. ‘Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes’. (Matthew 11:25) The rest of this book will drill down into more detail expanding some of the major areas of interest.

 

The Bible is the word of God and will speak for itself: in fact God will speak through the Bible as you read, pray and meditate. Whilst certain paraphrased versions are good for devotional reading, for actual study I prefer to use as far as possible a literal translation, such as the Authorised or New King James or English Standard Version. The actual words are very important. In the Hebrew, the name of a place or person, or the exact meaning of a word can be extremely significant.

 

 

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