Grace for Serving Bible Overview            

This overview was part of a course taught at Grace Community Church in 2004/5 and 2005/6
(use Contents below to navigate)


In the beginning God Created ...
      'Day' 6 and 7 of Creation
      Evolution Theory
      Do Science and Scripture Conflict?
The Judgement of Sin
Abel Assured; but Cain Kills
Enoch to Noah
God Chooses Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Moses, the Law and the Feasts
God-Appointed Judges after Joshua
Samuel, Kings and Chronicles
Hosea, Amos, Joel
Gospel Surprises
NT Letters - Why Written? (and When)


Objective of study: to reinforce a clear understanding of what the Sovereign Lord has revealed in his Word.
      The revelation of God makes the complex simple. Mysteriesremain. Truth is profound not simplistic.
      "It's not what I don't understand that is difficult, but what I do understand."
3 Rules for the Word of God: Take nothing from it; Add nothing to it; Alter nothing in it.
Why only a selection of books and not all 66? Why no mention of Jael, Job, Jonah and Judas? Only 14 sessions.
Overview of whole Bible, but inevitably a degree of personal choice of examples of what is most important.
      Also little value in teaching what you already know, so looking at books that are probably least familiar.
The Bible begins with 2 chapters on God and his creation; ends with 2 chapters on God and his new creation.
Why does Satan hate Genesis and Revelation? Reveal how he caused the fall and finally his total defeat.
These two books are the only accurate account of the beginning and the end.
      In between is history - HIS STORY.
      RE teacher asks class, "What would you do if Jesus came into this room?"
            One bright lad said, "I would give him this red covered Bible and say, 'Jesus, This is your Life!'."
      Bible is God's Rescue Plan - faithfully fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and still continuing; and man's response.
      It is the outpouring of God's amazing grace and mercy. What is the difference?
            Mercy is not getting what we deserve: Grace is getting what we don't deserve.
Let us heed the warning of Jesus - You diligently study the Scriptures ... that testify about me,
      yet you do not come to me that you may have life. Jn 539,40
My earnest desire is to so present God's Truth - Jesus Christ - that yourhearts are even more thirsty for him.
      A thirst that the Lord Almighty loves to fully satisfy.
At the end may you be able to say I have more insight than all my teachers for I meditate on your statutes.  Ps 11999

In the beginning God Created ...  11          

Peter accurately foretold that men will finally scoff at the truth of God being Creator.  2 Pe 33-7
      If men then also deny God's Judgement, e.g. flood in Noah's day, Sodom ...
            then it is quite safe to ignore God. There is no need for anyone to fear him!
Materialism asks how do you explain the existence of God?
      but the real question is how does God explain the existence of everything else?
God wants us to look at the earth and the stars, and ask, "How come?"  Ps 83,4 His answer is in Gen 1,2

The first five words of Scripture, in the beginning God created make a clear definitive statement:
      That before anything was created, God was. He existed before time began. Indeed, he made time.
Initially God created the heavens and the earth. i.e. the universe, the sun and our solar system.
      This earth was a molten core, a cooled surface with lots of water.
      What made it formless and empty? No light and no life.
      Darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
This is the starting place of the creation narrative.

Day 1 - 3
First God makes the earth inhabitable.
He gave or had given it precise orbit at the right distance from the sun, also rotation, tilt, ionosphere, magnetism, gravity, electricity.
      He creates light (starts sun's nuclear fusion) and separates light and darkness.
      He separates thick 'mist' into water and sky(clouds and atmosphere, water cycle)
      He separates oceans (salt sea) from dry land (with fresh water over and under land.)
      He splits the earth's crust, moves continents and makes mountains.
He creates vegetation that exchange CO2 for the O2 needed by fish, birds and mammals.

Day 4 - 6
Then God populates the uninhabited earth.
      He makes the sun and moon (already created) visible from earth.
      He populates the sea with fish and the sky with birds.
      He populates the land with animals (and insects, microbes).
      Finally he creates man in his own image.
           God blessed man and he gave him seeds for food and responsibility for it all.

Thus there was order, simplicity, balance, beauty, skill, variety and blessing.
      Though scientifically highly complex; it's form was simple to appreciate.
      The earth teemed with life - creatures with sight, feeling, hearing, smell, and taste.
           And men with intelligence and most important, men with a soul - made in the image of God himself.

The 'Day' 6 and 7 of Creation 124-31 24-7          

Day 6     Gen 124-31
God ordered the land to produce the animals each according to their kinds.
      And God made ... all the living creatures.
Finally God created man. He did not develop out of a monkey.
Created in our image. In God's image. What does this mean? Man is very special.
            Man is unique and far above animals.
                  Worship, beauty, music, imagination, kindness, intellect.
                  But also greed, war, pride, cruelty, revenge, evil.
            God says let man be like us. Able to fellowship together c.f. animals.  220b
            Sadly some people are closer to their cat or canary than to other people.
Adam could find no helpmeet or bride among any of the animals. (Hymn: Thou dost seek a bride ...")
Created male and female. Sex in man is quite different than in animals.
            It reflects deep love and affection; not just lust.
            Children need both a mother and a father.
Man is told to rule the earth. God's rule is kind, just and organised.
            Note that this dominion is given to all men and women, not one man or even one gender.
Man is told to eat different food from animals (seeds, not leaves).
Man is told to operate on the basis of a week - 6 days labour 7th day rest.
      Animals can work 7 days/week; but man is much more efficient on a 6 day week.
God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him - the life of God.  27 Ezek 379,10

Day 7     Gen 21-3
God blessed the 7th day and made it holy. 23
      What does it mean to be blessed by God ? Much more than just 'special' or 'happy'.
7th Day a 'Sabbath'. No work and celebration of God's fantastic creation.
No evening and morning on the 7th day. Every day God continues to enjoy his marvellous creation.
There are 10 commands in Gen 1. Each were instantly obeyed! And it was so.

Evolution Theory          

Today we cannot ignore this dark deception. We are all involved in the battle of evolution .v. creation.
Creation - life on earth - is not a chance accident.
      It was a brilliant, planned design that required a staggering degree of skill and power.
Evolution is taught as truth in the UK education curriculum. But it is a lie. It remains an unproved theory.
Darwin, who was 'on the run' from God, wrote 'The Origin of Species' in 1859.
Proud humanists, rejoicing in industrial revolution, welcomed it.
10 years later he added man to evolutionary the chain, and wrote 'The Descent of Man'.

What does the Theory claim?
      All species developed from another in steps by genetic mutation.
      Simple life came about by the chance combination of molecules.
Each human cell contains a million x a million molecules, and an adult has some 75 million million cells!
      The human cell has 46 chromosomes each surrounded by DNA molecules - like beads on a string.
      Though the cell nucleus is only 1/150 mm diameter,
            each DNA molecule is 1.8 metres long! a very precisely intricately packaged structure - double helix -
      Adding or subtracting chromosomes is impossible.
Mutations cannot make a new, more advanced species.
      Observed genetic mutation always degrades rather than advances a species. Mule is always infertile.
      Even within a species, grafting in another persons organ requires matching
            and lifelong anti-rejection drug treatment.
Consider a simple mechanical watch; if all the separate parts were put in a box and shaken, they could never
      by chance come together each in the correct place and then wind up the spring to start it!
The theory is based only on observation of similar anatomy and structure of different species or 'kinds'.
The most advanced chemistry cannot inject organic life.
No fossils of 'mixed' species have been found.
      Complex species existed from the start. Some have died out, but none created.
Whilst there is limited development within all species, a mouse remains a mouse and cannot become a cat!
      Cows are bred for higher milk yields or better beef, but they never become lions.
      Wheat is bred for shorter straw or better bread flour, but it cannot become maize.
God has given us an account of how he created all material and living things.
God also continues to preserve and guard what he has created.  Heb 13 1 Ch 2911 Col 116,17

Accepting evolution theory as fact has some major results:
1.  God is side-lined; he has no significance for modern men who believe in evolution.
            They tragically think that God can safely be ignored - and so can all his 'restrictive' laws.
2.  Believing such a major lie reveals how easily wicked men can be deceived.
3.  Men worship 'Mother Nature' instead of God the Father Almighty, who designed and created it all.
            Hindus and New Age claim God is in everything and everyone.
4.  Man becomes even more arrogant and proud of his achievements.
            Thinks it is by his innate ability that he is so much superior to monkeys.
5.  "Survival of the fittest" when applied to humans inevitably leads to genocide and war.
            Basis of Nazi killing of Jews, gypsies and coloureds.

Do Science and Scripture Conflict?          

No, I don't think so. There is much good evidence for a considerable time for God's creation.
      And Scripture itself seems to tell of a progressive creation, rather than a literal 6 x 24 hours. e.g.
Science is not a threat to faith, the enemy of Scripture, but adds proof of its truth and consistency.
Some are frightened that a day, 'a Yom', isn't 24 hours, in case it implies Scripture isn't always true.
      God's Word is always totally accurate, especially in Gen 1,2.
After separating the land and sea, God chose to order a slow continental drift (not 24 hours at 40 mph!)
      God created in succession vegetation, fish, birds, animals - each according to their kind.
            God ordered each 'kind' to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth - which they did.  122,28
                  But it didn't happen in 24 hours. God could have created several million oak trees;
                          But he chose to create one bearing seed (112) and let it multiply as designed.
                    He chose to create 2 elephants. Soon there was a herd, then many herds. Fantastic!
            Likewise, God created Adam and Eve, just two people. And soon men filled the earth.
      Clocks are a very modern instrument. The ancients had a very different concept of time.
The Hebrew 'Yom' (translated day) was a specific duration of time, often longer or shorter than 24 hours.
            God called the light day ('Yom' = 12 hours of daylight c.f. night). 15
            These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created,
                  in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
 24 (KJV)(a 'yom' of 6 days)
                  This verse seems to imply that the 'yom' of 6 'days' was a period of 'generations'.
            The day ('yom' or reign) of the Lord. Mal 41,5 Is 136,9 etc (x19)
                  This can be the moment of his coming or the age of his rule (which is 1000 years or all eternity!)
            The chronicles ('yom') of the kings of Israel.  1 Kgs 1419
A 'yom' translated 'day' can thus mean a very variable length of time; not restricted to 24 hours.
      This is not twisting scripture to fit science; but we cannot honestly ignore scientific facts (c.f. theory).
Far from denying the accuracy of Scripture, this enhances the eternal truth of God's amazing design.

The most vital truth is the "Wow" of God's fantastic creation.
The power to make energy and matter from nothing, its design, simplicity, complexity, variety, beauty, ...
      from the microscopic to the millions of light-years, common 'building blocks' ...
      Knowing we would mess up what God would make so well did not stop him creating:
            God devised and agreed a costly rescue plan and even wrote and sealed the Lamb's Book of Life!
            All before the first atom was designed and made !!
Our response - 'O God, you are so, so wonderful'.
And most amazing of all is the reason God created it all.
He made us like him, in his image; he wants to enjoy our company!  Gen 38a Exd 258 2945,46 Jn 143 Math 2820
No wonder God is so pleased when men thirst for his presence.  Is 551-3 c.f. Jn 540

The Judgement of Sin 31-24          

Gen 1 is the stage, Gen 2 is the cast, Gen 3 is the drama.
Satan appears as a handsome serpent - with none of today's dark connotations.
Eve had no idea that he was so crafty, evil and determined to make her sin.  Rev 129
      And Adam had no idea that he needed to protect Eve from such a horrible devil.
In their place would we have fallen? In case I may feel superior; even having the Word of God, I still sin.
Satan's tactics in outwitting them in the Garden are well known. e.g.
      He had directly targeted the only 'test' / command / warning that God gave to Adam and Eve.
      You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 217a
God had clearly warned them for when you eat of it you will surely die.
      Note that God did not say 'If you eat of it', but 'when'.
He was not surprised at the fall. He had already made his rescue plan.
      Indeed the Book of Life had already been written!  Eph 14 2 Tim 19 Rev 178
      Jesus had already agreed to die in my place and bear the punishment I deserve.

What was the reaction of Adam and Eve to sin?
They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  37
      How pathetic - as are all men's ridiculous excuses for sin.
            The fig leaves soon withered and were a poor choice for covering! (See photo)
      The leaves obviously totally failed to deal with their overwhelming guilt.
      They had died. Though physically alive, their relationship with God was broken - it was dead.
            Only Jesus would be able to give them new birth.
They were frightened and tried to hide from Lord God. How silly.
How futile their minds had become - to think they could hide from God and pretend it hadn't happened!
      Did they really think that God would not do what he said?
      Previously they had so enjoyed his company.
      Now they were deceived, bewildered, frightened, deceitful.
      No doubt Satan was delighted. Horrible beast!

What did God do next? How did he initiate his rescue plan?
First he brings Adam to court. He was responsible for his wife - or should have been.
He called to the man, "where are you?" As if the Lord Almighty did not know!
      So why did he ask? It was a God-given opportunity for Adam to confess and repent.
      But Adam bypasses the real reason for hiding and replies, "I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
            In truth, he was unwilling and afraid to admit he had been disobedient.
So God gives him 2nd opportunity. "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree ..."
      Instead of confessing, Adam again makes excuse:
              "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it."
      First, by implication, he blames God - What audacity. Then he blames Eve - How unfair.
Adam failed both questions. He denied all responsibility for his disobedience.

God then brings Eve to court.
      She fared no better. The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
            While this was true, like Adam, she also made excuse and failed to confess her sin and repent.

God does not question the serpent; he proceeds straight to the judgement of all three:
            Crawl on your belly and eat dust. (Serpent = snake)
            Enmity with all men.
            He (Jesus, the Son of Man) will crush your head.
            You will strike his heel and afflict Jesus and all men.

            Pain in childbearing.
            You will covet your husband's protection, but he will rule over you

            Ground cursed and it will naturally produce thorns and weeds.
            You will have to sweat to provide food - instead of just tilling and picking it.
            To dust you will return. He would also physically die, and so would Eve.

But God also made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
      Their clothes would constantly remind them of sacrifice.
            The perfect sacrifice that one day the Son of God himself would have to make.
      Did they understand the significance of God's gift? No evidence is given.
Their innocence was lost and their nature corrupted.
      They were sentenced to death. And so were all their offspring.  Ro 515-19 1 Co 1522

Then God in his mercy banished him from the Garden of Eden.  c.f. Rev 221-3
      And he placed an angelic guard lest they eat of the tree of life.  Rev 27 2214,15
The Tree of Life and the Book of Life would never leave the stage of human experience.  Rev 222, 14 Zech 131
      The Tree would (in a sense) be fashioned into a Cross that would bring healing of the nations.
            And cleansed by the blood of the Lamb we would be able to enter the city and the Tree of Life.
      When Jesus cried, "It is finished," the Temple veil was torn in two. Why?
            No longer banished from Eden but welcomed at the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place.
            The angelic guard and the Veil had been placed to protect us.
                    As at Passover, without the blood of the Lamb we die. Without his covering, death is certain.
            Now we can enter, having confidence in what Christ has done for us.  Heb 1019-22
How did God make this clear from the beginning?
How did he reveal this amazing truth to the men of all ages. This is the objective of the next 11 studies.

Abel Assured; but Cain Kills     41-16          

Abel became a shepherd; Cain was an arable farmer.  42
Both brought their offerings to the Lord.  43,4 No record of Adam doing so.
What they brought reveals their heart.
      Cain casually offered 'some' grain. Nothing special; and certainly not the best.
      But Abel brought the best portions of the firstborn of his flock. Couldn't be better.
      Why the difference?
      Unlike Cain, Abel showed his gratitude, like the forgiven ex-prostitute who anointed Jesus,. Lu 736-50
            He knew his offering wasn't good enough.
                  He knew that God would have to provide the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for sin.
            Abel gave his best because God had assured him he was forgiven. Heb 111 defines faith.
                  Thus he was the first person to be commended by God as a righteous man.  Heb 114

Cain was jealous of Abel's God-given relief and joy of forgiveness. Cain was angry.
      So God warned him that sin was crouching at the door.
      But Cain ignored the word of God. Instead he plotted murder!
      He killed Abel out in the field - away from home, where no one saw him - except God.
Why did God ask Cain where his brother was?
      Desiring to have mercy, he gave him the opportunity to confess.
            Just as he had given Adam and Eve the same opportunity.
      But Cain lied, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper."  49
God presents the 'blood' evidence; and then his judgement.
      1. Cain's ground would no longer yield its crops.
      2. Cain would become a restless wanderer on the earth.  412
      Such is the continuing cost of pride, deceit and man's stubborn refusal to repent before the Lord.
      So, by his own choice, Cain went out from the Lord's presence.

Down through the world's troubled history,
      proud man has mostly chosen to follow Cain's example - and paid the price.
The OT and NT reveal how our gracious God continues to offer his rescue plan.
      He pleads with men to come to him, to return.
      But the door is low, the way narrow and the cost is high - to us and especially to Jesus.

The rest of the Bible tells the story of how God always keeps his word.
      Both the good and the bad.
            Both the undeserved promises and the deserved punishment,
                  God delights in mercy and cannot ignore just judgement.

Enoch to Noah     420 - 532          

From that time men began to call o the name of the Lord.  420
This verse suggests that 'the fall' was immediate and total.
      Up to this moment only Abel had sought the Lord and found forgiveness.
In these years of rapid population growth there is no Biblical evidence ofrevival.

Enoch walked with God 300 years after the birth of Methuselah.  522
God satisfied his yearning, thirsty soul.  Is 551 No salvation without re-birth.  Jn 3
      Pray earnestly that we will never lose our hunger for God, nor the thrill of walking with him.
But suddenly one day Enoch was no more, because God took him away.  524
      His son Methuselah = "In the day that I die it shall happen" remained to testify to the purpose of God.
            Years of Methuselah = 969 = 187+782
            Lamech born in 187th year of Methuselah. Noah born in 182nd year of Lamech
            Flood came in 600th year of Noah. 187 + 182 + 600 = 969.   525-27 711
      So one of the last tasks for Noah before entering the Ark was to bury grandfather Methuselah.

Jesus said the end would be like in the days of Noah. Very few expected it.  Lu 1726,17
      But Noah made no secret of his boat building or the reason for it.
            For 120 years it had been plain for all to see.  Gen 63
      The signs of the end will also be plain for us to see.
            God has told us clearly of the earth-shattering events in Math 24 and Rev 6-19.
            We will not know the precise day, but the imminent return of Jesus will be obvious to all who seek him.

In Noah's day men ridiculed Noah and God - until it was too late.
      Likewise at the end men will scoff.  2 Pe 33
The blood of Abel still speaks; Methuselah and the evidence of the Flood still stand as a stark warning.

In Gen 614 God instructs Noah to apply pitch to the Ark, inside and out.
      'Pitch' here is the Hebrew word Kaphar. Translated 94 times in OT as atone, purge, mercy, forgive ...
      So the Ark was coated inside and out with 'Atonement'. Assurance for Noah, opportunity for others.
Noah was assured of righteousness because he looked to the day of Christ's atonement.
He was not righteous because he was obedient, he was obedient because God made him righteous.
      Relying solely upon the atoning 'pitch', let us be like Noah
            who did everything just as God commanded him.  610, 22

        "Jesus, thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress,
          Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head."

All the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.  711
      Today the Yellowstone National Park still rests on a huge underground lake.

Ham was cursed. Why? Made light of sin, thought it was a joke.  Gen 922-25
      Jesus never sees sin as a joke. It cost him far too much for that.
      Out of Ham descended the Egyptians, Babylonians, Canaanites (& Sodom), Phoenicians, Philistines.
      Sin matters.

Babel     Gen 11          

Proud man tries to make himself greater than God - like Satan.  Is 1412-15
God reveals who is King. Sends confusion and scattering.
Blasphemous EU poster and design of Brussels building.
      See photos below and note demonic inverted stars in poster.
      They reveal the evil foundations and intent of the EU.

These events reveal the depth of God's mercy and grace; and also his just judgement and warnings.
This is the overall theme of the whole Bible.
God's clear desire is to save all men.  2 Pe 39
While the response of most men is to ridicule and scoff at God's amazing rescue plan,
      The Lord Almighty remains full to the very brim with grace and mercy.  2 Pe 33

Brueghel's painting of Babel

EU building in Strasbourg

Colosseum in Rome

EU Poster


God Chooses Abraham, Isaac and Jacob     Gen 12-35          

The first 11 chapters of Genesis cover about 2000 years. All the rest of the OT is the next 2000 years.
Genesis 12-35 is the story of the Jewish Patriarchs - the beginning of the nation of Israel.
Why so important?
      God's choice of Abram and his descendants has profoundly shaped world history. He knew it would.
      Jesus chose to be born a Jew.
      God is the Sovereign Lord and it is his right to choose.
Why does the world view God's choice and apparent favouritism with such obvious disfavour? Jealousy?
      Equal opportunity and own 'right to choose' is popular. Not always so keen on another's right to choose.
To the Patriarchs God reveals much of his plan to bring salvation to men.
      How he has chosen to provide for all men "a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice."
In reading Gen 12-22 what surprised / impressed you most?
God appeared to Abram at least 9 times. Gen 121-3 127 131-17 1418-20 151-21 171-22 181-33 2111-13 221-18
He obeyed God and aged 75 left the comfort of Haran for an unknown land and to live the rest of his life in a tent.
Though he and Sarah were unable to have children, God's unconditional covenant promise to him was:
      I will make you into a great nation. Gen 122
      I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse. Gen 123a
      All peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Gen 123b
      To your descendants I give this land. Gen 127 1518

Each of these four promises are now bitterly contended by both Muslim Arabs and most of Christian West -
      Especially the land gift. See 'Whose Land?' (written in response to media ignorance and bias)

God is faithful and always keeps his word. How did God keep these promises?
      Abram called on the name of the Lord. 134 And was saved. Joel 232 Deut 429
      Abram was blessed by God.
            He sent Melchizedek, Priest of God Most High and King of Salem, with bread and wine. 1418
                    Jesus would also be Priest and King and remembered with bread and wine. See also Heb 711-28
      Abram believed the Lord and he credited it to him as righteousness. 156
            He believed the impossible, that God would give him a son - and he did. Heb 1111,12
            Do we believe God has given us his Son?
      The Lord himself confirms that Like Abel, Abraham 'Saw' day of Jesus Christ.
            Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. Jn 856
            What did he see? What did he do?
                    He was obedient.
                        He left his home in Ur (and later Haran) and went to dwell in the promised land. Heb 118
                        Jesus left his home in heaven to be born on earth, the son of Mary.
                              "Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man"
                          God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Ishmael didn't count).
                          Abraham believes that God would raise his only son from the dead. Gen 222 Heb 1119
                          Jesus, the only and beloved Son of God would have to be obedient unto death; Phil 28
                                    Willing to be crucified, ... not my will but yours be done.
                          Isaac (aged~20 and Abraham 120) would also have had to be willing.
                    Abraham proclaims the truth in response to Isaac's question: "Where's the offering?"
                        God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. Gen 228
                        Spontaneous prophecy - that probably surprised even Abraham.
                                God revealed to him that as Isaac had been miraculously provided, so would Jesus be.
                                Miraculously born and willing to be sacrificed,
                                    Abraham believed Isaac would also be miraculously raised from the dead. Heb 1119
                                    On the third day Jesus rose again - triumphant - his mission accomplished.
                        And to prove that Abraham really did see all this
                                He called that place The Lord Will Provide. (not Has provided). Gen 2214
                        For Isaac there was a substitute ram provided.
                                But for Jesus there could be no substitute.
                                Jesus was our substitute. No one else could do what our Redeemer did for us.
                                God himself did indeed provide himself a Lamb for the offering.

                        So, like Abel, Abraham rejoices to see the day of Christ the Saviour, the Lamb of God.

Why did God choose Abraham and the Jews?     Why has he chosen us?! Amazing.
      Very simply, Because the Lord loved you. Deut 76-9
      William Ewer wrote, "How odd of God to choose the Jews."
            Cecil Browne added, "But not so odd as those who choose a Jewish God, but spurn the Jews."

Has God finished with the Jews? Has he forgotten his promise to the descendants of Abraham?
Does scripture tell us anything about the future of the Jewish people?
Has the church taken over the status of 'favoured nation'?
      Both OT and NT emphatically say not. Jer 3135-37 Ro 1020-112a,5 1111,12 1125-29
      The wild branches, the Gentiles, have been grafted in; but God is able to graft them in again. Ro 1123
And will do so on that great day - when the full number of the Gentiles have come in, Ro 1125,26
      God will open the eyes of the Jews, they will repent, call upon the Lord and be saved.
      But it will follow the time of trouble for Jacob. Jer 307 See also Jer 3012 c.f. 17
      Note: I have never heard the church claim this prophecy of a time of trouble.
            It is either ignored or they say this only applies to Jacob, to Jewish Israel!
Many of the prophets reveal that God has promised to revive and save the Jews.
      And I will pour out on the house of David ... a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me,
            the one they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for an only child ... Zech 1210
      Jer 3314-16 Ezek 371-14 Joel 31,2,12-16 Deut 301-10 Zech 121-5 Amos 98-15 Act 16,7 319-21 Is 6010-12

It is true that Israel today lacks righteousness. But so does UK and much of the church.
      Abortion, divorce, homosexuality, injustice, greed, multi-faith religion, evolution ...
Except there be an 18th Century re-run of Whitfield / Wesley preaching
      we are in line for God's just judgement; revival is sadly wishful-thinking.

It is God's faithfulness that I am keen to emphasise.
      God's faithfulness to us and to the Jews.
      If God should ever break his unconditional covenant to Abraham and the Jews, what hope is there for us?
      Seeing God's faithfulness to the Jews today is so reassuring.
God remains faithful to his covenant; even when he has to punish all those who reject him.
      He knew how many would reject him (OT + NT) when he made his promises. He was never surprised.
Jewish history (from Abraham all the way up to today) is clear proof of God's faithfulness,
      the quickness of his mercy, the extent of his grace, and the drama of his life-changing presence.
But note that there is no 'back door' to salvation for the chosen race.
      All men must enter by the same 'gate' - Jews and Gentiles. Repent, believe and be baptised.

God chose Abraham, he chose to pour out on him his abundant grace,
      he chose to reveal much amazing truth to him.
He also shows us that some are not chosen.
      They stubbornly refuse God's generous invitation. They close their eyes to the need to be rescued.
One example comes in Mal 12,3 and Ro 913-15 when God says: Jacob I loved but Esau I hated !
      Why? Is it till true? What characteristics made them so different in the sight of God?
      Just as the flesh and the Spirit continue at war, so do Jacob and Esau. Ro 723 Gal 517 2 Kg 822
            Obadiah prophesies to Edom, the descendants of Esau concerning their pride, violence, gloating.
            Herod the Great (the murderer of the Bethlehem babies) - was an Edomite. Math 216-18
      Esau is tall, handsome, strong, confident, a 'Carling Black Label' man, arrogant, he has two Hittite wives,
            and worst - he despised the covenant blessing of God. He preferred stew, now.
      Jacob is weak, devious, a wimp tied to his mother's apron strings,
            loved by his mother and despised by dad.
            But he had a hunger for God.
                    Sell me your birthright ...and 20 years later I will not let you go unless you bless me.
      So God chose Jacob. And he did so even before they were born! Gen 2521-23
            It would take many years before God could change his name to Israel (= prevailed with God).
            God loves us as we are, but will never leave us as we are.
            Unlike uncle Laban, God never lies - he always keeps his word.
      God blessed Jacob - but that does not mean an easy life. After Gen 359
            Jacob limped, Rachael dies, Joseph 'lost', famine, exile, discovers that his sons lied to him.
      Jacob inherits the land - or did he? Gen 461-4 Heb 1113-16
Abraham and Jacob were given the promised land and something (or rather Someone) far better.
      They now live with God who lives for ever, rejoicing in their salvation! Exd 36 Math 2232

Ishmael and Islam. Volatile, violent and deceived. Gen 1611,12
      Ishmael would become a great nation too. Gen 2112,18
            But not the covenant God made with Abraham.
      Koran says at least 13 times that "God has no Son".
      Oil power has inflamed their intense desire for world domination. Beware.
      Failed to subdue Europe at Tours (central France) in 732 and again at Vienna in 1683. They will try again.
      Currently responsible for wars in Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Albania, Cyprus, Chechenya, Iraq, Afghanistan,
            Kashmir, Indonesia, Philippines ...
      Operation World states that of the worst 86 countries for persecution,
            7 are Communist and 72 are Islamic!

In the life of Abraham we have seen clearly that the Lord Almighty always keeps his Word.
      His faithfulness is for ever sure.

Abraham wasn't perfect; Jacob had many faults - so do we.
      What hope have we?
      How can the guilt which Abraham and Jacob felt be overcome?
            They looked forward to the day of Jesus Christ.

            How can my guilt be removed?


'Guilt'    by Paula Worth

I thought of my guilt as Satan accused me
Of all that I'd done that was wrong.
I knew he was right, and my heart agreed
That the judgement be hard and the punishment long.
But Jesus said, "Child, remember my word,
And look at the Cross where I died.
Your sin and your guilt are the nails and the thorns
And the spear that they put in my side.
First on the Cross and then in the grave
But my love was stronger than that.
For I burst through the bonds and returned to my throne;
And I burst through the bonds, but I wasn't alone!
Now fully forgiven you stand at my side.
Now eternally loved, all guilt set aside."

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Ro 81


Moses, the Law and the Feasts       

Genesis ends with Joseph embalmed in a coffin, and his last words ringing in their ears. Gen 5026
      God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised. Gen 5024
Then there was silence for over 3 centuries.
During this time there arose Pharaohs who did not know about Joseph. Exd 18
      The Hyksos Pharoahs of Joseph's day, who had conquered Egypt, had been overthrown.
      They were replaced by Egyptian Ahmose, Thutmose, who had made the Israelites of Goshen slaves.
Moses was a fine child. Exd 22 By faith Moses parents ... saw he was no ordinary child. Heb 1123
      In his parent's eyes any child is, but Moses was different. Act 720 Their deliverer was 'expected'!
      They will enslaved and ill-treated 400 years. ... and afterwards they will come out ... Gen 1513-16
      Devout Jews knew God is always faithful to his word had been counting the years
      God had 'assured' his parents that this child would set the Israelites free from Egyptian slavery.
                    (note: Moses was not their firstborn, Aaron was 3 years older than Moses. Exd 77)
            Their assurance (faith) proved to be well founded. We see the intervening hand of God.
      It was no accident that the baby was 'discovered', they planned to have him 'found'.
            He was nursed by his mother (and paid!), and educated as a prince ...
            ['Pitch' here is ordinary black tar. Heb. 'Zepheth', not 'kopher' = atonement as in Gen 614]
Moses' murder of an Egyptian did not spoil God's plan.
      40 years as a shepherd in Midian taught him much useful desert-craft. e.g. water from rock.
      God knew the Israelites would reject their God, worship a golden calf and be 40 years in desert.
Exd 414 Ever wondered how Moses met Aaron? No emails or text messages, no GPS or even maps.
      Why did Aaron leave Egypt? Exd 427 How was he allowed to leave? Levites not exempt from slavery.
What was God's purpose in the 10 plagues?
      Mighty acts of judgement on Egyptians and all their gods. Exd 73-5 1212 Num 334
                    (like Carmel and judgement of Baal)
      God made a distinction between Egypt and Israel. Only first three plagues affected Goshen. Exd 822
The Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards Israelites. Exd 113 A just payment for slavery?
All Scripture is the story of God's involvement in his creation and man's response.
      Deists who say God has left us alone. This story and the rest of Scripture/history shows this to be untrue.
The Egyptian magicians were right in one thing: they said, "This is the finger of God." Exd 819
      The magician's 'staff' snakes were eaten by Aaron's; they never got their staffs back!
Moses was a most humble man. Num 123 c.f. Pharaoh. In the hands of God, what was their destiny?
      Plague 1-5 Pharaoh hardens his heart, 6-10 God hardens it.


Commandments, the Law and the Sacrifices     Exd 20 Deut 5

What is the Purpose of the Law?

      1.  Our Designer and Creator wants us to know the best way to live; what is right and wrong.
                    But most men think they know better than God!
      2.  How do men react when they find God's Commandments difficult to keep?
                    Give up. The 'one talent' man in Math 2514-30 thought God was a hard taskmaster. Gal 310
                        This story is not so much about 'talents'/abilities, but is about keeping the Law.
                    Failure reveals our fallen nature and need of Christ. Jn 545 Ro 320 Gal 313
                        "1st step on the way to heaven is to realise that we are on the road to hell."   JG
                        Our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Gal 324 Jn 539,40
      3.  Law tells us about the Saviour. Jesus said, Moses wrote about me. Jn 546
The Law of God not abolished by Jesus; it remains valuable, true, and perfect.     Math 517
The Law revives the soul, makes wise, gives joy and light, it is precious and sweet. Not harsh, dry.    Ps 197-11
Law of God summarised in Lu 1027 = Deut 65 + Lev 1918

Sabbath     Exd 208-11   Deut 512-15
Post-Babylon-exile Oral Law included just over 1500 Sabbath regulations! It was totally ignored by Jesus
      But he kept perfectly the 613 laws of Moses, of God. (Talmud and Mishnah were written ~250 AD.)
The Sabbath was designed as a day to celebrate with the Creator, the beauty and glory of his creation.
      We have largely lost sight of God's purpose for this lovely gift day and the 4th Commandment.
            Rest + worship + remember Creation (Exd 208,11) and remember redemption (Deut 515).
Much more than just 'Special'. Sabbath not a duty, but a foretaste of heaven.
Why so often resisted by Christians, and rejected by pagans?

When did Sunday replace the Sabbath?
      The early Church met together on the 1st day to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus.
            But it was in addition to the Sabbath. Jn 2019 Act 207 1 Co 162 Rev 110
      Constantine named Sunday after his Sun god, legalised Christianity and began persecuting the Jews.
            Sunday worship soon replaced the Jewish Sabbath.
Not Seventh Day Adventist! But we have largely revoked or at least altered God's 4th Commandment.
We rightly remember the great resurrection day when Christ brought life to men that were dead.
      But many forget to remember and give thanks for God's stunning creation and brought life to this earth.
Sabbath is such a simple law, but it has always caused problems.

7th Year Lev 251-7
A 'Sabbath' for the land every 7 years.
Reminds us that the land is a gift from God, not a commodity for us to abuse.
Allowed to eat what grows of itself - olives, dates, milk, fish ... but not allowed to plant it.
      God would provide sufficient wheat in 6th year - like manna in Sinai for the 7th day.
Rarely kept properly then or now - why not? Requires measure of trust and loss of income.
      One reason for the Babylonian exile. 2 Ch 3621 Lev 2634,35

50th Year - Jubilee Lev 258-55
This command reminds us that the earth is the Lord's; we not own it. It is on a 50 year lease. Ps 241
Liberty on the Day of Atonement. How appropriate.
Never kept - why not? Socially levelling. Lev 2517
All the land and the people belong to the Lord. Lev 25 23,42,55

The blood will be a sign for you. Provides protection from deserved judgement - mighty angel sent by God.
      Celebration of remembrance. Set free from slavery and set free from sin. Col 113 Ro 611,18
      Jesus, the Lamb of God, was and is the fulfilment of the Passover Lamb. Jn 129 1 Pe 118,19
      God wants us to be assured that his redemption payment is sufficient, and his Advocacy is effective.
            We are invited to enter the sanctuary with confidence in Christ. Heb 1019-22 (but not presumption)
      Eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs during Passover week - bread of affliction, made in haste. 1 Co 58
            It reminds us that Christ came and lived without sin; he was crucified with all our sin laid upon him.
      Jews celebrate Passover with four Cups of wine and remember: Freedom, Redemption, Chosen, Hope. Exd 66-8
      "... Tonight the blood-stained lintel shall shelter me and mine." (Gospel in the Feasts of Israel. p.5)
      "Jesus thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my glorious dress,
            Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head." Charles Wesley

Weeks (Pentecost)
Firstfruits - Offer first sheaf of wheat harvested and then two loaves of fine flour, with leaven.
We and our best offerings remain flawed.
      But our gracious God is pleased to receive them. Math 2610 Lu 747
Offered to the Lord in gratitude for all he has given and promised.
This feast began when they entered the promised land; and when we are assured that our sin is forgiven.
For the last 3500 years Jews have read the story of Ruth. Inclusion of Gentiles.
      Early church was all Jewish until Acts 10, 1346 then we were also included.

Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) comes only after 9 days of repentance. Act 238 Math 32 417
      2 goats. One a sin offering, the other to be 'separated', will carry on itself all their sins. Lev 16 Ps 10312
Final harvest. Construct booths, remember God's provision during 40 years in Sinai.
      A 'pilgrim people' looking for better city; the city of God. Heb1113-16
Remember God's purpose and promise is for us to be with him for ever. Exd 258 Rev 213
      The Word of God became flesh and tabernacled among us. Jn 114
Feasts described in Deut 16, Lev 23, Num 28,29. They reveal God's truth and God's redemptive plan.
No-one is to appear before me empty-handed ... Bring the best of the firstfruits. Exd 2315b,19a
      Bring your grateful heart. And bring the best fruit of your work with gladness.
8th day Simchath Torah. Jews rejoice in the Word. Dance around the scrolls as at a marriage celebration.
Daily readings start again at Genesis. Why was this 8th day added? What does it mean?
One Rabbi said, "It is like a king who says, 'Stay with me another day for I hate to see you go'."

Testings in Sinai

God has clearly promised to bless all who trust Jesus for salvation. But many have an incomplete idea as what that 'blessing' means. For some the blessing of God may mean health, strength, success, and children who continue to follow the Lord; but for others their time on earth may be hard, fraught with many difficulties, disasters and disappointments. The vital truth to affirm in storm or in sunshine is that God remains faithful 100%. Trials like that which Job suffered are not sent to destroy us, but strengthen us and be a vital testimony to the world.

After the triumph of the release from Egyptian slavery, Israel was tested. God has recorded it for our learning. Moses,Joshua and Caleb are an example to follow. God was not pleased with the others, for they quickly criticised God and tested him; they treated God with contempt. Let us make every endeavour to not to allow any sin to remain in our lives, for it will surely grow to deceive us and harden our hearts against our gracious Saviour. Remember the truth that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Ro 828,35-39

Click here to see 'Testing'


God-Appointed Judges after Joshua        

7 cycles of Rejecting God, Oppression, Repentance and Deliverence.
This began in 1450 BC and continued for some 400 years, ending with Eli and Samuel.
Oppression by:
      Aram (8 years) 37,8
      Eglon, Moab (18 years) 312-14
      Canaan (Jabin) (20 years) 41-3
      Midian, Amalek (7 years) 61-6
      Abimelech (3 years) 833-957
      Ammonites (18 years) 106-18
      Philistines (40 years) 131-1631
Deliverance under leadewrship of:
      Othniel (40 years) 39-11
      Ehud, Shamgar (80 years) 315-31
      Deborah (40 years) 44-531
      Gideon 67-828
      Tola, Jair (45 years) 101-5
      Jephthah etc (31 years) 111 - 127

What does the period of the judges teach us?
        Righteousness cannot be inherited automatically. e.g. Samuel
        All men are naturally wicked.
        The inevitable result of wickedness is war, oppression, grief.
        The patience of God is amazing and his willingness to quickly forgive when men call upon him.
        A righteous and holy life is seen to be the best way to live.
        If men continue on their present wicked path the future of this world is bleak.


Samuel, Kings and Chronicles     1100 to 600 BC        

These books of Jewish history reveal two major transitions:
      Change of government from judges to kings, meant the rejection of God as their King. 1 Sam 87
      Division of the kingdom into Israel (10 tribes) in the north and Judah in the south. 1 Kg 12 2 Ch 10

1 and 2 Samuel
These detail the lives of Samuel, Saul and David. (Each chosen and anointed by the Lord.)
The people rebel against the prospect of rule by Samuel's wicked sons.
      Children don't always follow after their parents. Sometimes they are better, sometimes worse.
God warns them that their kings would take, take, take. 1 Sam 811-18 c.f. 124
      People ignore God's accurate warning and suffer the ongoing consequences of their choice.
      Throughout history almost all men who gain power are corrupted by it.
      Power corrupted Saul and Solomon. David never used force to either obtain or to keep the throne.
Judges were appointed by God. e.g. Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel.
God also appointed the first two kings - Saul and David. Then they were hereditary or by coup.
Judges were mostly righteous; only a few kings were. Only David was 'a man after my own heart'. Act 1322

Is our modern democratic Government any better?
Are the majority usually right? Very rarely! Math 713,14 Jn 615
      To be elected, a leader must be popular. 'Right' decisions are rarely popular.
      This inevitably leads to false promises before an election;
            and afterwards to pretence, and/or intrigue to retain favour.
In UK running battle between executive, the legislature (Parliament) and the judiciary; each seeking more power.

What has God revealed for our future governments?
Wickedness will increase. Men blaspheme God and persecute the church. Dan 721,25 127 Rev 137 176
God creates a 'new heaven and a new earth'. Thus begins the blessed and eternal rule of Christ. Rev 21,22.

1 and 2 Kings
Solomon, the division and it's consequences, and the 350 years of the kings of Israel and Judah.
      Israel, the northern tribes - Jeroboam (who made 2 golden calves to worship) to Hoshea.
            20 kings, all evil. Ends with permanent exile in 722 BC. A few became the despised Samaritans.
      Judah - Rehoboam to Zedekiah. Also 20 kings (12 evil + 6 end badly). High Places (fertility) remain.
            Ends with Temple destruction and exile to Babylon in 586 BC.

1 and 2 Chronicles
Opens with 10 chapters of genealogy from Creation to Saul.
Then they chronicle the lives of the kings of Judah.

These 6 history books (7 including Judges) detail the consequences of rejecting God.
      There is no such thing as costless sin.
      There are however a few chinks of light in the sad story.
      God sends his prophets (at least 18), though they are rarely heeded. Act 751,52a Jn 319 Math 2133-39
      Throughout we see God's faithfulness, God's mercy and God's power.
      We see God achieving his plan to send a Saviour and Messiah - right on time.
            A Redeemer who assures us of a kingdom that is righteous and just,
                with people who love truth and gladly obey.

These books teach us clearly
      the eternal reward of righteousness
      the terrible consequences of wickedness
      1000 years of God faithfully fulfilling his Word - good or bad.

Some Highlights and Lessons:

1 Sam 1            The remarkable birth of Samuel and Hannah's costly faithfulness. also 218-21
1 Sam 314      The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned by sacrifice. No salvation by 'good works'. Ro 930-33
1 Sam 5            Philistines capture the Ark. Dagon falls on his face. Tumours. So Ark returned!
                                  Modern liberal 'inclusivism' - Christianity without judgement, repentance or the need for the Cross.
                                  'Cut and paste' Scripture as per own desires.
1 Sam 73        Samuel insists on real repentance and removal of all idols.
1 Sam 1224    Samuel's last words. Be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart.
1 Sam 1424    Saul makes a foolish vow. Jonathan only spared by 'people pressure'.
1 Sam 15        Saul compromises concerning Amalek. Spares Agag and best animals. The Lord rejects him as king.
1 Sam 16      The Lord, who looks at the heart, commands Samuel to anoint David (not any of his big brothers).
1 Sam 1745    Goliath defies God; David kills the Philistine giant in the name of the Lord Almighty!
1 Sam 28        After Samuel's death, Saul enquires of the Lord; no answer. So he goes to a witch, who does answer!
2 Sam 711-      David becomes a fugitive from Saul for 13 years, but God does not forget him, nor his promise of an eternal Kingdom.
2 Sam 9            David's compassion for Mephibosheth.
2 Sam 11        David's adultery, murder and forgiveness. Ps 51
2 Sam 1723    Ahithophel's advice rejected - so he went home and hanged himself.
1 Ch 11            Jerusalem captured from the Jebusites.
1 Ch 15            David brings Ark into Jerusalem.
                          Michal refuses to join the expressive celebration. Like Europe refused to celebrate 'Jerusalem 3000'.
                              They will probably pay the same price - a barren unfulfilled marriage.
1 Ch 1232      Men of Issachar understood the times and knew what Israel should do.
1 Ch 2911      David prays, "Yours Lord is the greatness and the power ..."
1 Kg 213-46    Solomon establishes his rule by 3 murders. (also 2 Ch 1)
1 Kg 39            Solomon pleads to God, "give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people
                                  and to distinguish between right and wrong." And God did. (also 2 Ch 110)
                          But he soon succumbed to 2 common temptations:
                                  A big sex problem - 700 wives and 300 concubines!!
                                          They turned his heart after other gods. 1 Kg 111,4,9
                                          Though warned, he did not repent. And suffered the consequences. 1 Kg 111-40
                                  He scourged his own people to satisfy his grandiose building programme. 1 Kg 1211
                                  His son Rehoboam learned nothing and made it even worse. People rebel. Kingdom divides.
                                  Book of Ecc. tells the story of Solomon's sad regret - if only it had been different ... all is vanity.
1 Ch 2214      Solomon instructed to build Temple with David's plans and provision. also 1 Ch 29 1 Kg 5-8
2 Ch 714          "If my people will humble themselves and pray ..." It has always remained a very big 'If'.
1 Kg 1212      Jeroboam returns from Egypt, leads successful rebellion against Rehoboam.
                                  He builds 2 golden calves to worship at Bethel and Dan. They remained a terrible stumbling block.
                          Dan moves from allotted area to easier 'Baal country' in the north. Judges 134 18 Josh 1947
                                  A very costly mistake. Deut 3116-18 Not listed in Rev 7. God always keeps his word.
1 Kg 17            Elijah seeks God because of great national wickedness (Ahab and Jezebel). God's answer - drought.
                                  So he prays it will not rain. Jms 517 For 3½ years not a drop fell.
                                  At Carmel, Baal (agricultural prosperity) was ridiculed and his prophets killed. Then it rained.
1 Kg 21            Ahab wants Naboth's vineyard. Sulks. Jezebel gets it for him; at a price! 1 Kg 2238 2 Kg 935
2 Kg 2            Elisha sees 'reality' - chariots and horsemen. (+ 2 Kg 6)
2 Ch 20            Edom, Moab and Ammon attack Jehoshaphat. He trusts God; singers lead the victorious army.
2 Kg 5            Aram army commander, Naaman healed of leprosy - heeded Jewish servant and his own servants.
2 Kg 1028      Jehu destroyed Baal worship, yet not careful to keep the law and he retains Jeroboam's golden calves.
2 Ch 32            Sennacherib ridicules God. Hezekiah pleads with God. An Angel of God kills 185,000 in one night!
2 Ch 3224      Hezekiah not ready to die. Pleads with God. Given extra 15 years.  2Kg 211,16
2 Ch 34            Josiah's reforms. But the heart of the people is not with him, or with God. (and 2 Kg 12)
2 Kg 24            Jehoiakim rebels against Nebuchadnezzar and sides with Egypt.
2 Kg 25            Zedekiah rebels against God and Jeremiah and Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem + Temple destroyed.
2 Ch 3621      God gives the land 70 years of Sabbath rests. Lev 251-55
                                  When will the world celebrate the Sabbath day, the Sabbath year, or the year of Jubilee?


Hosea, Amos, Joel        

These three contemporary prophets each had the same message to the northern tribes of Israel.
What was the national situation in 750 BC ? Why did God send them?

Israel had enjoyed 40 years of peace and prosperity under Jeroboam II, the 14th of 20 evil, idol-worshipping kings.
After David, Solomon started the rot when he built idols for his many foreign wives. 1 Kg 117
        He had introduced slavery for his building programme.
After he died Jeroboam I led a successful 'freedom' coup against Solomon's son, Rehoboam.
        Having no Temple in his separated northern kingdom, he made two golden calves and worshipped them.
Why do men worship the Lord Almighty? Gratitude for grace + Deserved by Creator and Master of Universe.
Why do men worship idols? Appeasement + what they hope to gain from it. e.g.
        Baal (weather, harvest and thus prosperity) + 'High Places', Asherah, Ishtar (fertility).
After 2 centuries of idol worship,
        God was side-lined and his challenging or inconvenient commandments ignored
        by this arrogant, wealthy, unjust, immoral, indulgent, 'we know better' society.
        The northern kingdom of Israel was now politically secure and spiritually smug.
So what did the God of grace and truth do? He sent them 3 prophets to awaken their dull hearts:

"The word of the Lord came to Hosea." 11
Like all the prophets he was greatly distressed by the national wickedness.
As a young man he began to see Israel as God saw it:
        Men saw peace, prosperity, privilege, a 'never had it so good', party time society.
        God saw idolatry, prostitution, injustice, pretence and especially two-timing unfaithfulness.
But what would God do to warn his chosen people of their plight? What could the righteous Hosea do?

Hosea was called to experience something of how God felt. Pain!
His life and the relationship with his wife would be seen to reflect the relationship of God and Israel.
        As Israel was unfaithful to God; Hosea's 'wife to be' would also be unfaithful.
God told this young prophet to go ahead and marry Gomer - God knew she would be an adulteress. 12,3
        Hosea knew his marriage would be a disaster before it even started. A prophet's life is never easy.
And so it proved to be.
Why was the naming of their three children was highly significant? 14-9
        Jezreel = I will punish/scatter. Gomer was unhappy about his choice of name!
        Lo-Ruhamah = I will no longer show mercy! How could anyone call their innocent daughter by this name?
        Lo-Ammi = Not my people. Hosea knew that this child was not his!
              The fun-loving Gomer had found the earnest, grieving prophet poor company.
God had shared his sadness with Hosea.
        Hosea saw clearly that idol-worshipping, unfaithful Israel was also doomed to disaster.

Hosea saw clearly that God cannot ignore sin. Hos 4-14
What had the people of Israel done that God hated?
No acknowledgment of God in the land. 41
You have ignored the law of your God. (by deliberate choice). 46
Drunk with wine which takes away the understanding of my people. 411,14
Stubborn. 416 Arrogant. 55
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God. 412b 54 91
They are all adulterers. 74
God is angry with their idols - The Golden calves, Baal for prosperity, Astarte for fertility. 84-6
The people desired ease and happiness, but not God. They did not seek him. 77b,10,14
They were religious, but God hated their many presumptuous offerings. 61-6 101 Is 111-17 Amos 521 Mal 16-14
        They thought they could worship both God and their idols. Multi-faith is not new.
Because your sins are so many and your hostility (to God)so great, the prophet is considered a fool. 97b
Ephraim boasts, 'I am very rich. ... They will not find in me any sin.' 128 55 Rev 187
Easily deceived and senseless. 711
The merchant uses dishonest scales. 127 (and prospers - temporally. Jer 121)

This was all 2,750 years ago. Why relevant now?
        Men have changed so little. This should be a major trumpet warning for UK today.

Therefore, God declares through his prophet:
When they go with their flocks to seek the Lord, they will not find him ... 56,15 Amos 812 Song of Sol. 52-6
        Though they offered whole flocks for sacrifices; they also wanted to keep their idols.
        They would not find God because
I will remember all their evil deeds. 72a 813b 99b Amos 87 There was no repentance, thus unforgiven.
        I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. 515
        Repentance is more than occasional remorse or trying to escape the consequences of sin. 714 Deut 429
              It is hating sin and realising that the just judgement of God for all sin is death! Ro 1122
The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. 97a
        The day will be so bad that they will say to the mountains, "Cover us." 108b Rev 616
See how much we need the covering of Jesus as our Redeemer and as our Advocate. Heb 725 1 Jn 21 1 Tim 25

Meanwhile his wife Gomer had left him to live with another man - as God had told him she would.
What should Hosea do?
        He could legitimately have had her stoned for adultery, but he would have had to throw the first stone.
        He could have quietly divorced her.
        He could have done nothing - and just hoped that one day ...

But God told Hosea to 'redeem' her . 31
        It cost him 6oz of silver (£20) + ½ ton of barley (£40).
        Nearly 800 years later it would cost God's Son far more than it cost Hosea.
              Jesus would speak tenderly to her and make the valley of Achor (Trouble) a door of hope. 214,15

God (and Hosea) had tried everything to keep 'his wife'.
        God reveals his heart: he warned, he punished, he pleaded.
        It had all failed. Yet God still yearned to have mercy.
        Whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed. 71
        I long to redeem them, but they speak lies against me. 713b
        How can I give you up, Ephraim? 118
But for his mercy to be enacted, there must first be repentance.
God shows Hosea that one day Israel would repent - however unlikely that may seem:
        Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them - not by bow or sword ...
              but by the Lord their God. 17
        Yet the Israelites ... will be called 'sons of the living God'. 110
        In that day ... you will call me 'my husband'... I will betroth you to me for ever ...
              in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion ... in faithfulness. 216-20
        In that day ... I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one'.
              I will say to those called 'Not my people', 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God'. 221,23
        I will ransom them from the power of the grave ...
              Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? 1314
All this revealed plan of God would and will surely come to pass.
        But first there must be a day of imminent destruction.
Hosea did not live to see the day of redemption by God - except by faith.
        But, like Abraham, Hosea believed God, he saw this certain hope shining in the distance. Jn 856 Heb 1113
              This obedient prophet still speaks and prophesies the truth of it.
God must punish sin + God remains faithful.
He did come to redeem us from sin; he now offers forgiveness and the sure hope of Christ.
        Though the blatant sin of Israel would lead to her certain destruction.
        One day the Messiah will surely come again and to bring in the world-wide Kingdom of God.
In those dark days (as also now) it was easy to see what was wrong with the world,
        but only Hosea, the prophet of God, reveals accurately what God will do.

The people and their leaders took no notice of Hosea.
Why? They enjoyed their sin too much. Jn 319

So God sent another and very different prophet.

God sent Amos!
A rugged farmer from Judah (Tekoa is 6 miles S. of Bethlehem).
        The Lord roars! Amos is no gentle diplomat. Nor is he an ignorant yokel.
First he reads God's detailed charges against the surrounding nations. 12-25
        Naturally that is welcomed.
But then he turns to Israel. 26-915
        He thunders God's view of their religious hypocrisy and social corruption.
        The poor are used, bought and sold. Fraudulent trading was rife. 26,7 41 511 84,5b
        The courts are 'rigged' in favour of the rich. 27 57,10,12b
        All true prophecy is stifled. 212 712
        The righteous are oppressed. 57b,12b
        Corruption is so ingrained that they didn't know what was right. 310
        Drunken raves were common. 41
        They even bragged about their offerings. 44,5
              But the Lord hates their presumption. 518,21
        They were complacent, affluent, careless and proud. 61,8 Is 99,10
        Longed to be free from Sabbath laws. 85
The Lord sent 5 successive "disasters". "Yet you have not returned to me," declares the Lord. 46-11
It all sounds somewhat familiar to the UK today.
        We pray, "O God, what are you going to do about it?"
        What did the Sovereign Lord do in the days of Hosea and Amos? Or later in the days of Jeremiah?

Amos opens with The Lord roars! 12 38
        I warned you again and again, therefore: 32 412 516
I will not turn back my wrath ... 26a
I will crush you. 213
I will punish you for all your sins. 32
An enemy will overrun the land. 311
        You will be taken away with hooks ... and go into exile ... 42 67 717b
        None will escape. 91b
Prepare to meet your God! 412
I will never forget anything you have done. 87

Not surprisingly, Amos was no longer welcomed! 710-17
        Prophets are rarely, if ever, popular.
        Their purpose is to reveal God's message; the truth,
              however painful it may be to the nation, or to the prophet.
              See what men did when 'last of all the King sent his Son.' Math 2137
  Unpopularity did not stop God fulfilling all that Amos said.
        In 722 BC the Assyrians took away all the northern tribes of Israel.
              They suffered permanent exile and extinction as a nation.

Jesus didn't come primarily as an example of how to live, but to be our Saviour, Redeemer, Rescuer.
        To be told you could do better, and if you do God will be pleased, is easy to admit.
        It does not challenge our naturally wicked nature.
But to be told that I am a convicted sinner needing salvation,
        that there is no way that I be made acceptable to God, that I need a new nature,
        that only Jesus can redeem me and cause me to be 'born again'.
        This is a challenge that most find deeply offensive.

O Israel, why didn't you stop and listen to God's prophet, Amos?
O England, why do you remain so deaf to the Word of God?

Yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob. 98
In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. 911
        Jesus came and he did open the kingdom of God to all believers.
        750 years later many Samaritans (the mixed remnants of Israel) were saved. Jn 439-42 Act 84-8
        The Jewish apostles went out and effectively preached the gospel to the Gentiles.

I will bring back my exiled people Israel. 914
I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted. 915
        In 1948 God did just this. The Jews returned after 2000 years and started speaking Hebrew again!
          Have they now returned, never again to be exiled? It seems likely.
              But Israel's leaders remain atheistic and intent on giving away the land God gave them.

The people were deaf.
        They had seen life of Hosea and heard his clear explanation.
              But they rejected God's rescue plan of redemption.
        They heard the 'roar' of Amos, the Lion from the southern tribe of Judah, the word of the Lord Almighty.
              And again rejected him and despised the truth.

As Jesus would later say, This is the verdict: Light has come into the world,
              but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Jn 319

In his amazing grace, God sent yet another prophet. And yet another opportunity to repent.

The word of the Lord came to Joel. 11

Hosea, Amos and Joel were three very different prophets, with the same message.
Like all prophets, Joel had earnestly sought the Lord about what he was going to do.
So God told him his plans: A warning of total destruction!
Locusts had recently decimated their crops. 14 It had been a real, live warning from God.
        The Lord also sent a drought that dried up their plants; and the joy of mankind. 110,12
Joel sees a greater impending disaster as a parable; locusts portraying Assyria's vast destructive army. 16
        The day of the Lord is coming ... a day of darkness and gloom ... a large and mighty army comes ... 22

Hear this ... Blow the trumpet ... Wake up! 12 21 15
        Summon everyone. Now is the vital moment. Grade 'A' urgent. Top priority.
        In the last days God will give men the same warnings. Rev 146-12
        But no one else seemed to care. No one saw any imminent danger.
              They were all so smug, so self-satisfied.
              They even thought that the Lord would only bring good! Amos 518

But Joel (and other prophets) saw clearly that:
        'The day of the Lord' would not bring salvation to all, but destruction.
              16,15 22,11 Jer 259 307 Math 2421 2 Thes 21-12 2 Tim 31-5
[Some today even dare to preach that this army in Joel 211 is the church triumphant!
        But in the context, it is the Assyrian army of judgement sent by God.
        When will the Church wake up and realise the context of scripture really matters? ]

"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, ... Rend your heart and not your garments." 212-17
        This was their very last opportunity.
        Their repentance must be real, not an easy escape from sin's consequence.
        The Lord desires a heart that yearns for his presence; not just ease and happiness. Ps 421-3
        Remember, God who knows every thought, sees through any shallow sham. He is not impressed by pretence.

There comes a day when the moment of opportunity has passed. It is then too late. Gen 716 Math 2510-13
For many Jews the day of opportunity was missed in 722BC, 586 BC and in 70 AD.

Joel is also shown the future 'Day of the Lord'. 218-32 317-21
Joel prophesies the national restoration of Israel that follows true repentance.
        The full benefits of God's compassion have yet to be fulfilled.
              But they will be. God always keeps his word. Lu 2133

What are these benefits? What does God reveal to Joel for these momentous days of his grace?
Then the Lord will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people . 218
You will praise the name of the Lord your God ...
        then you will know that I am in Israel ... Never again will my people be shamed. 226,27
  Afterwards I will pour out my Spirit on all people. 228-32
        A key to understanding the significance of this verse is seeing when Afterwards or In those days refer to.
        Peter rightly proclaimed it was partly at Pentecost, after Calvary, in 33 AD. Act 216-21
        But what else will happen when God 'pours out his Spirit' ? There will be signs and wonders.
              But they are not pleasant! They are not the healing and deliverance of God.
              Joel tells us that it will be a time of blood and fire and billows of smoke.
                      The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
                      before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord !! 230,31
As Paul warns us, The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan
                      displayed in all kinds of "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders. 2 Thes 29 also Rev 133,7,13,14
        While God has been pleased to continually pour out his Spirit since that first Pentecost,
              this Joel quotation refers to the days of the Great Tribulation, persecution and widespread martyrdom.
                      210 313,15 Rev 115,6 137,13 Rev 812 1610 Math 2429
        If we are living in those days we will surely need the outpouring of his Spirit more than ever,
              if we are to resist Satan's deceptions and to have the courage to stand.
        Should this be our privilege (!), God has promised to give us the fulness of his Spirit.
              He will be our strength and security. He will be our safe fortress. Prov 1810
        The Lord Almighty is faithful and will never renegue on his word.
              The Reformation martyrs proved this. So do today's martyrs. And maybe we will too!

In those (last) days ... I will restore the fortunes of Judah ...
        I will gather all nations ... I will enter into judgment against them ...
        for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. 31,2
There will be war, not peace. All nations will attack Jerusalem. And God will enter into judgement with them.
        32,12 Rev 1616 1911-21 Zech 121-9 Dan 926b
All modern governments (and church leaders) need to hear this word of God.
Joel says Israel will be judged now (i.e. in 722 BC).
        But later (at the end) it will be her enemies who are judged, while Israel is restored.
Note that the last days are not peaceful - as many like to think or hope.
        It is a time to beat ploughshares into swords! 310 c.f. Is 24 (context is vital).

Who will hear the Lord 'roar'? 316a
To whom will the Lord be a 'refuge'? 316b Israel, his chosen ones.
        This is also true for believing Gentiles, who are being grafted into the Vine.

Jerusalem will be holy ... in that day ... a fountain will flow from the Lord's house. 317,18
        In the Millennium that follows the tribulation, Jerusalem will be holy - The Lord will reign there.
        Then there will be righteousness and justice and the Word of God will go out to a hungry world. Is 22-5
              (Note: this city of Jerusalem is in Israel, not in "England's green and pleasant land.")
At last, the life-giving fountain which was opened by Jesus 2000 years ago at Calvary, will flow in abundance.
            Zech 131 Ezek 471-12 Rev 211
In that day the healing of the nations will be completed.
        All men, even believers, need healing from the many various hurts or scars.
        In that day the Saviour will touch us all. What a day this will be.

Catch the vision God gave to each of these great prophets - Hosea, Amos and Joel,
        the stern warning,
              the day of opportunity for mercy
                      and the relief of his glorious plan finally completed.

Israel took no notice whatever of the prophets: Hosea, Joel and Amos.
So God fulfilled his promise to destroy them - all but a very small remnant.
In 722 BC Assyria brutally defeated all Israel and also all Judea except Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem Isaiah and king Hezekiah trusted the Lord when Sennacherib challenged the Lord Almighty.
        Result? An angel of the Lord slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. 2 Kg 18,19 2 Ch 32 Is 36,37

We will not look through Isaiah (probably better known).
We move on another century.
To Judea in 626 BC where Jeremiah is God's man.


Jeremiah   Jerusalem 626 to 586 BC        

A priest from Anathoth, 3 miles NE of Jerusalem. Taught the scriptures (Pentateuch).
Contemporary prophets - Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Obadiah
Daniel and Ezekiel would have heard Jeremiah in Jerusalem before being exiled to Babylon.
Throughout his long ministry he wept alone over the wickedness of Judah.
          He was not a hopeless misery, but a griever with assurance of things hoped for (faith). Heb 111
          All too easy to just criticise, but like his Lord, he had real compassion. 414-21 821-91 Lu 1334 1941,42
          How could the people exchange the Glory of God for worthless idols? 211-13 103-6
Quoted x24 in NT e.g. Jer 711 (Math 2113 also Mk, Lk , Jn) Jer 3115 (Math 218) Jer 5145-49 (Rev 182, 4)
Mostly Hebrew poetry:
          concise, carefully expressed - sensitive and earnest - both emotional and rational (heart + mind).
He would faithfully speak and write all that the Lord Almighty clearly told him. 17 3632
          Declares the Lord (x165) or This is what the Lord says ...(x83) = (x 248 in 52 chapters!)
Jeremiah prophesied for 40 years (626-586BC) - but no one heeded the word of God that he proclaimed. 253
          He was continually ignored, ridiculed and persecuted - and not allowed to marry. (c.f. Hosea)
          But God knew his man and enabled him throughout the long, costly and exacting task of prophet.
          This accurate and relevant prophet was ignored 2 ½ thousand years ago, and he still is.
                He blows the trumpet and sets the alarm bells ringing.
                But few take any more notice of Jeremiah than they do of a car alarm in a supermarket car-park!
What was he shown that no one else saw?
          God revealed his plan for their day (judgement against Jerusalem).
                And also his plan for the distant future (judgement for Jerusalem). 30-33

The Man - Jeremiah
The Day - Situation, circumstances
The Message - from God
The People - Character, response
The Cost - to prophet and people
The Likeness - to Christ
Ministry (chronologically)

Ch. Date
1 626
Jeremiah was chosen before he was born! Before you were born I set you apart. 15
Anointed as a prophet to the nations. 15b,10 Not just to Judah.
I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot ... to build and to plant. 110b
God promised to rescue him and to remain with him, but he must speak all that he hears.
          18,19 1520,21 3911,12
God protected him from Satan's clutches, but not from hardship or persecution.
          1121 1818 201,2, 7-9 268,11,21 3715,16 384-6,28
He died only when his work was completed (after 40 years).
1st vision Jeremiah sees an Almond tree, God says, "I am watching". 111
        Hebrew 'Shakad' = to watch, keep awake or almond, earliest to bloom
        Israel first to blossom and last to fruit. i.e. God's plan for his chosen people.
He also sees imminent disaster from the north. 114 259
God is not blind or deaf to anything man does. Wickedness will be judged.
2-6 626-609
Why did they forsake the Lord who had done so much for them and worship idols? 25
Judah failed to learn anything from Israel's exile in 722. 38-10
Claimed to be innocent and refused to blush. 235 615 33
The heart of God still ached for these rebellious people. 45,14 610a,16
            If I can find one honest person I will forgive. 51 Gen 1823-32 518,19
All are greedy for gain. (basis of idolatry) 613 Col 35
False prophets say "peace". 614 Is 3010 False hope. 222 531
Presumed 'God will do nothing'. 512 c.f. today 'God of Love'.
But whether inflation or deflation, the wages of sin remain the same - Death.
Though God is angry (44) at being ignored, he warns them (and us) again and again.
But they consistently refused to listen or respond to correction. x20 230 53,6 610,17,19b etc
            They forsook the Lord and rebelled x15 27,17,19,27,29,30 417 519,23 628 913 etc in ch 2-28
            Therefore ... Complete destruction. 46,16,17 515-17 61,2,19 etc
7-10 Post 621
by Josiah
At 27, the righteous Josiah carries out major reforms in the Temple.
            All public idols were destroyed by this zealous king.
            But the hearts of the people are not changed. God's message is not changed. 1113
Jeremiah continued to preach in the Temple Gate. (i.e. to 'religious' people)
            Reform your ways. Do not trust deceptive words. 74,8,10,11 also Math 244,11,24
              Warns about false prophets who tell lies. x 18 512,31 614 74 96 1414 206 2325,32 etc
God had repeatedly sent prophets. 713,23-26 But no one repents. 86 c.f. Acts 751-53
There came a time when even prayer would not turn away God's "national judgement.
                716 1111b,14 Lu 131-5 Gen 716b
They sacrificed their children to idols (Molech). 731 3235
        c.f.   UK 180,000 abortions/year (~20% of conceptions)
Idol worship is so ridiculous - like a scarecrow in a melon patch! 105 c.f. 6
Senseless shepherds do not seek the Lord, so their flock is scattered. 1021
            Rich man c.f. Lazarus. Sin of rich man = Content without God. Lu 1619-31
God and Jeremiah mourn - since my people are crushed, I am crushed, I mourn. 821-91
But destruction remains certain. 911 1018
11-20 609-605
Terms of the Covenant (and Law) clearly restated. 111-5
Men of Anathoth plot to kill him. 1118-23
After 20 years, Jeremiah pleads for answer to question; why do the wicked prosper? 121
            God's answer - I will uproot and destroy them. 1214 Hab16 (contemporary)
            No escape. 1111 But after uprooting our gracious God will bring them back. 1215
UK needs to hear 1217
Signs of spoiled linen belt and of full wineskins. 131-14
Drought encourages yet more false prophecy. 141-16
              But God says they will all be exiled. 1418b 1319 1613
              Natural disasters are rarely seen as the hand of God.
Do not marry, mourn at funeral or enjoy any feast.
              Prophet's life is often costly. 161,5,8 i.e. Ezekiel, Daniel, and Hosea
Blessing of trust in God or curse of deceit. 175-9
Clay pot is re-shaped = a nation that heeds warning. 181-12
                Judah refuses to change. So destruction. 'Fired' pot is smashed - not repairable. 191-13
Jeremiah put in stocks. But God's verdict is unchanged. 201-6
221-23 608 Do what is just and right. King built himself new palace. 2213,15
Exiled Jehoahaz will not return. 2210-12 (He didn't. 2 Kg 2334)
              And Jehoiakim's body will be thrown outside city. 2219 (It was - see 597)
26 608 Because you've not listened, this city will be destroyed.
Jeremiah threatened with death. As promised, God protects him.
25 605 Leaders and people refused to listen for 23 years, (nor in next 17 years). 253,4
              Therefore God decreed destruction of Judah and exile for 70 years. 259-11 2910
              Jerusalem and Temple not destroyed until 586.
              70 years is 586 to 516 (not 605-537 see Dan 92 Zech 112 75)
Jehoiakim surrenders to Nebuchadnezzar without a fight.
                Daniel and best young men taken to Babylon.
36,45 604 Jehoiakim burns scroll with contempt for Jeremiah and God! 3622,23
Baruch given assurance of God's protection. And writes longer scroll! 3632
23 604 Righteous Branch will come. Judah will be saved. 235,6 (and 3315,16)
        Lying prophets will deceive many. 239-40 (Math 244,11,24)
2224-30 597 Jehoiakim was captured after siege, his body thrown over city wall, as prophesied. 2219
Jehoiachin made king, but exiled and told he will never return from Babylon. 5231-34
        Cursed. Signet ring passed to Shealtiel. 2224,30 Hag 223 Math 112 Lu 327
              Mary and Jesus not descended from cursed line of Jehoiachin.
        Uncle Zedekiah appointed by Nebuchadnezzar. 
Temple treasure, Ezekiel and others taken to Babylon. 2 Ch 36
Zedekiah, you are like a basket of rotten figs. 24
Judah will serve 'my servant Nebuchadnezzar' in Babylon. 276,17
        Then I will come and bring them back. 2722
Hananiah, the false prophet, dies as predicted. 2816,17
Letter to exiles. After 70 years you will return (to God in re-built Temple). 29
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. 2913
        This was first promised by God in Deut 429
'The end' will be 'a time of trouble for Jacob'. 307
        i.e. in the last days as well as in 586 BC
Your wound is incurable, but I will heal your wounds.
        Only later will you understand this miracle. 3012,17,24
'Yet I will not destroy you completely.' (unlike Jerusalem 307,11
I have loved you ... I am Israel's father ...
        I will make a new covenant ... I will forgive. 313,9,31,34
Buys his cousin's field as a sign. (At the time a Babylonian camp)
        Nothing is too hard for God. 32
        Not even the restoration of Judah. 3016-24 31 336-26
        This is why Paul writes Ro 9-11 with such confidence
At this time, the Babylonian siege will succeed. 3226-36a
Later God will gather and make everlasting covenant. 3236b-44
  The Righteous Branch will surely cleanse and save Judah. 33
588-586 Officials reneged on promise to free slaves.
        So they will endure famine, plague and slavery. 348-11
Told Zedekiah of God's plan - Nebuchadnezzar will capture you.
        King seeks an answer; but rejects God 5 times. 342-5 211-14 373-10 3717 3814-28
God himself will fight against Jerusalem. 215 259 c.f. Zech 12,14
Jeremiah beaten and imprisoned for discouraging the soldiers.
        3718-21 But he is not silenced!
Thrown into cistern. Rescued. 381-13 3915-18
As the Sovereign Lord promised, Jerusalem falls, city and Temple totally destroyed. 39
        Sons killed, then Zedekiah blinded and exiled to Babylon.
40-44 586
Nebuchadnezzar orders special care for Jeremiah. 3912
        (Daniel had been his respected PM for 17 years)
Jeremiah given freedom by Nebuchadnezzar. 404
Righteous Gedaliah assassinated by rebel Jews. 407 - 413
Johanan (son of Kareah) takes Jeremiah to Egypt. 4116 - 4313
46-51 Various Judgement of God upon surrounding Gentile nations. (and Ezek 25-32,35)
52   Fall of Jerusalem, Temple destroyed, Judah exiled - as God promised.
Their promised return would also be fulfilled.     (But that's another story!)

Jeremiah Reflects the Saviour

Jeremiah warned the Jews of the destruction of the 1st Temple.
Jesus warned the Jews of the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Both were ignored. Both times it happened.
Jesus also warns us of the judgement - eternal agony for all who refuse his gracious rescue plan.

After Calvary, God waited 40 years (till 70 AD) - the period of testing.
Jeremiah preached and warned the people for 40 years.

Both suffered many assassination attempts. Both found that they and their message were rejected.
        Jer 1118,21 268 3626 384 Lu 429,30 Jn 71 859 1031,39 1150 c.f. Jn 184,5

Both wept - not for themselves, but for the people. 821-91 Lu 1941
In Israel it takes a man to cry. In most countries of the West it is thought cissy.
        Stoicism is Greek, not Hebrew.
One day God will wipe away all the believer's tears . Is 258 Rev 717
Jeremiah's personal lament reflects the crying heart of God. 207-18 Lam 3

Jeremiah's cave (where he prayed) is next to Golgotha (Gordon's Calvary).
Honest prayers. 1023-25 121-4 207-18 and Lamentations.
        God answers, but not as we might expect. Is 556-11
Jesus poured out his heart to his Father in Gethsemane - Math 2636-46
        and at Calvary - Ps 22

The world talks much about their 'rights';
        Christians talk about responsibility and admit that we deserve nothing.
We live in a 'meritocracy'; you only get what you work for (honestly or dishonestly).
        But the Kingdom of God is based on mercy (not getting what we deserve)
              and grace (getting what we do not deserve)
Jeremiah didn't deserve his life of trials, rejection and tears. Neither did Jesus.
Jesus didn't deserve to be crucified - we did!
Jesus was raised from the dead; today Jeremiah lives with his Saviour for ever!

Which part of the life of Christ do we seek?
        Are we willing to walk an uncomfortable, unpopular road.
        How eager are we to share salvation with this wicked generation?
        Is the Church like the men of Issachar who 'understood the times and knew what Israel should do.' 1 Ch 1232



Each chapter (except 5) is a carefully written acrostic. e.g. Grace = Great Riches At Christ's Expense.
        Each verse starts with successive letters of Hebrew alphabet. Chapter 3 is a triple acrostic.

Each poem (chapter) tells of their sin, the anger of God and his mercy - and is told with considered feeling.

1 is about Jerusalem's weeping. Referred to as 'She' in 11-11 and 'Me' in 112-22
        Tells of the personal agony of destruction of the city, the Temple and the people.
        Admits to many sins, and it was the Lord who has brought this grief upon us.
        Jeremiah was not comforted because Nebuchadnezzar gave him freedom - that wasn't the problem.

2 is from God's perspective. He was angry and ordered this just judgement.
        Jerusalem had refused to listen to him - though Jeremiah had been warning them for 40 years.
        Then the Lord fulfilled his word - none escaped.

3 is personal, 'I'. Jeremiah felt deeply the continuous rejection and persecution.
        Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. 348 also Ps 119136
        Yet, God is compassionate and faithful - 'I will wait for him' and for salvation.
        Both calamities and good things come from the Lord. Why should I complain?

4 is about 'They'. The prosperous sons of Zion who were once gold, but are now clay.
        Their agony in extreme famine is far worse than the sword.
        Their suffering was not arbitrary, but punishment for proud, unrepentant sinners.

5 is about 'Us'. Our dancing has turned to mourning. Zion lies destroyed.
        Woe to us for we have sinned. 516
        Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return. 521
        Not granted in Jeremiah's lifetime, but they did return and the Temple was rebuilt 70 years later.
              The final fulfilment is awaited.

Lamentations is sung every year in synagogues all over the world on the 9th Av (end July).
        i.e. on the exact day that the Temple was destroyed in both 586 BC and also in 70 AD.


Ezekiel   Babylon 593 to 573 BC       

A young priest deported by Nebuchadnezzar in 597. 2 Kg 248-17
He knew he'd never serve in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jeremiah had repeatedly said it would soon be destroyed.
As a grieving exile in Babylon he sought the Lord Almighty - intense, urgent, dramatic.
        But would God speak to him? Now no longer in the Temple, but a brick-making slave in a foreign land.
4 years passed. He didn't give up. Then a letter arrived from Jeremiah. Jer 29 Deut 427-31
        God's plans would be for 70 years - the people still refused to repent.
        But God spoke to Ezekiel by river Kebar. (see time chart in NIV Study Bible Introduction to Ezekiel)
        And God opened his eyes to see the first amazing vision. What a wonderful, gracious God.

Four Living Creatures.
        Each had the form of a man and moved like lightning.
        They appeared out of brilliant, fire, and moved together.
        Each were within an intersecting wheel that had eyes all round the perimeter.
        Their wings did not flutter, but sounded like the roar of rushing waters, like an army marching in battle order.
        Above them was a sparkling expanse.
              There was One seated upon a sapphire throne, wearing a rainbow crown,
                      who had the likeness of the glory of God enthroned. 14-28 also Rev 4.
This vision was not a photograph, or an exact scientific drawing. So what are we to learn from it?
        The four different creatures lived in perfect harmony with Almighty God, who does not change.
        He roars his warnings like a lion king, and yet he also speaks in a still small voice.
        His ox's furrow, his plans are always fulfilled, yet he listens eagerly to our pleas for mercy.
        Like an eagle, he soars above the heavens, yet he delights to dwell with humble men.
And one day this Almighty God, this Lord of Glory would become a man and have the face of a man!
              Just before Christmas 2004, Colin Salter said here in the sermon he titled 'Jesus, the Eternal God':
                      "Eternity would step into time. The Alpha and Omega would become less that a day old.
                        The powerful Word who created all things could only muster a baby's cry.
                        And the source of all life sucked milk from his mother's breast."
        The wheels with their all seeing eyes moved like 3D casters in perfect tune to the Great Conductor.

Did Ezekiel's exile and the imminent destruction of God's city and Temple change the Sovereign Lord?
        Was he still sovereign? He was still enthroned; his power and glory remained totally unthreatened.
This vision would be the foundation of Ezekiel's ministry. It would colour the rest of his life.

As an ex engineer, I struggle with this prophet more than any other.
        The heart of God is expressed in sensitive visions that are so unusual, I do not yet really understand them.
        But let us strive to listen to his heart-beat.
        Let us continue to ask, what was the message of God to the exiles?
And because this is no mere academic exercise, we must also ask what is God saying today, to us all, now?

In Ezekiel we see that:
        All heaven moved in perfect unison with the Lord God of Hosts.
              What a contrast to disobedient Jerusalem, where men ignored God and worshipped idols.
        On earth God is always the Lord Almighty, not Nebuchadnezzar, not the EU or the USA, not Buddha or Allah.
              Jesus describes Satan as Prince of this world, but never as king. Jn 1430
                ... declares the Sovereign Lord. (or similar) x 210 in 1273 verses. 24 311,27 414 55,7,8,11 63,11 ... (1 per 6v.)
              Even in distress and exile God remains the King of kings and Lord of lords. Rev 1714 1916
        Jerusalem's destruction would not be a sign of God's absence, but his presence!!
              In fact he ordered its destruction and their exile! Jer 215 259
              How do we view major national disasters? Are they natural fate or the hand of God?

Ezekiel is commissioned.
        I am sending you to a rebellious nation. 23-5 37 (not to a keen, responsive, grateful congregation!)
        Do not be afraid of them ... you must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen. 26,7
        Eats scroll, tasted sweet initially, but then it was bitter. 33,14 Also Jeremiah and John. Jer 1516 Rev 109,10
        Why would the exiles not like what they saw or heard? Because they rejected God. 37-9
              Jerusalem had refused to listen to God (to Jeremiah). That's where they had come from!
        Listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak. 310
        Ezekiel was in anguish and overwhelmed for 7 days. 315 Why? Like Daniel. Dan 728 827

Ezekiel is struck dumb by the all-wise God; except when he heard from God. 326,27 e.g. 1125
        Told to take a 40lb Babylonian clay brick and make a model of Jerusalem. 4
              They watched entranced at this skilled 'street artist' at work.
        He acts the siege and famine for 390 (for Israel) + 40 days (for Judah).
              They probably opened a betting book - how long will he keep it up? 5
        On the final day he arrives with a sharp Babylonian sword, cuts off all his hair and beard, divides it in three.
              1/3 thrown up and slashed with sword
              1/3 thrown to the wind
              1/3 burned in fire
        There was no one who did not see God's message - 52,12
              Nebuchadnezzar's siege will succeed; Jerusalem and Temple will be totally destroyed. 6,7
              It was an incredible 'Oscar-winning' display.
        Then they will know that I am the Lord. 610,13,14 etc x 53 in Ezek.
              Justice will be seen, but ... 73,27
              They will hear, but what will they do? Nothing! They remain rebellious. 122
              Many thought God was blind or that he would just ignore their sin. 812
                      Gold cannot save. 719     And on this occasion God would not save Jerusalem.
                      Not when The Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem. 58

God shows Ezekiel the Jerusalem elders, their hearts set upon their idol worship. 85,12,14,16 143,6 1620,21
        Then he sees the Glory of the Lord departing - unnoticed!! 86 104,18 1123 Judg 1620
God marks all who are grieved; the rest are killed. 94 Amos 61,6 Rev 73 Fulfilled in 586 BC. c.f. 2 Kg 2211-20
        You who weep for this nation, for Israel for the world ... take courage.
              You are marked men and women. Sealed by the Holy Spirit and treasured by God. 2 Co 122
The same Sovereign Lord who sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem, will also build.
        Like Jeremiah, this book contains the promise of their return to Jerusalem and to their God. Jer 319
        Having a new, undivided heart, he will give them a new spirit. 1116-20 1422 3624=-30 3714
        When they returned to Jerusalem in 538 BC, they did repent. Hag 112 Zech 16 (more later)

False prophets in Jerusalem. 112,3 c.f. Jer 3215
        They proclaimed peace, when there was no peace. 1310 Jer 614
        Are we sure God really meant to destroy he own city?
        Judgement was so certain and so complete that Noah, Daniel and Job would only save themselves. 1414
Situation summarised in 16.
        God repeatedly warned them and gave them every opportunity. 161-14 as in Is 51-7
        Sins listed: Asherah worship - prostitution. Promiscuity.
        Child sacrifice, Molek.
        Trusted Egypt, not God.
        Sodom's sin was not only homosexuality; they were also arrogant, overfed and unconcerned. 1649-52
        Judah was careless and content without God. 221-12 Lu 1619-31
        Therefore all must bear the consequences. 2335,49 'Lord, make us hungry for you.'

God took the delight of his eyes (his wife) - and told him not to mourn! 2415-26 Why?
        God was about to destroy his love, Jerusalem; but he would not weep - they were so wicked.
        The people loved their Temple, but not their God. Like Westminster Abbey! <

In 586 Nebuchadnezzar's 18 month siege was successful.
        Jerusalem and the Temple were utterly destroyed.
        When the first fugitive arrives with the news Ezekiel speaks again - as promised.
              Another sign fulfilled by the faithful God! 3321,22 326 2426,27
        He reminds them of God covenant - and their hypocrisy. 3324-33

Judgement of other nations. 25-32, 35. (also Jer 46-51) Why included in Bible?
        There is a price to pay for rebelling against God, and against his chosen people. Gen 123
        The UK, UN, EU, USA, Arab countries and all national leaders need to heed these chapters.
        Hatred of Israel and true Christians will in God's time have inevitable and disastrous consequences.

Ezekiel is shown the Messiah as the Good Shepherd who searches for his sheep. 3411-31 Jn 101-18
        Life under his care is very different than from being under man's dominion.

Prophesy concerning The Mountains of Israel - Judea and Samaria.
        When Israel is scorned by the nations, God will intervene: 364,15 Jer 3017

Dry Bones (Israel) 371-14
        1. Hear the Word of the Lord and come together (as Israel today).
        2. Told to prophesy to the breath, and the bones with flesh came to life. (we eagerly await this day)
Today Israel is a nation again, but the powerful nations are forcing them give away Judea to the Palestinians.
        Israel does not yet know that it is Lord who restores them, not a UN resolution, or US money.
        Israel is not yet cleansed - but God's promise to do so is clear and will be fulfilled.

Prophecy of two sticks united.
        Israel will be gathered, cleansed and under one King - God's everlasting covenant will be fulfilled.
        When will this happen? At the return of Jesus for his Millennium reign. <

Gog Magog battle. 38, 39
        When? Rev 20 clearly places this at the end of this 1000 year reign.
              Satan is released and has the fatal audacity to attack the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem.
              At no other time has Israel ever lived at peace in un-walled villages. 3811
              King Jesus calls down fire and destroys the deceived nations and Satan is cast into eternal Hell. 2 Pe 310

In the closing chapters we are given the vision of New Temple (573). 40-46
Told to describe the temple that they may be ashamed of their sins. 4310
        Temple design reveals how God takes away sin. 4311
        Truth that forgiveness requires wicked men to be redeemed and a perfect sacrifice be made.
He sees the Glory of the Lord's return. 434 (When and to whom?)
He describes the ever-flowing, much needed, healing River. 471-12 Rev 221,2
He is shown the boundaries of the land and the City gates. 4713-4835
        This eternal city is called, "The Lord is there."
              Imagine this being true for Plymouth or London.

These visions of Ezekiel are not physical/literal, but they are real and they are true.
        They are certainly not mere fantasy or human make-believe.
        The Kingdom of God described is more extensive, more wonderful,
              and the healing is more complete than any human has ever even dreamed.

God revealed this treasure to Ezekiel after he had been an exiled slave in Babylon for 25 years.
        The Sovereign Lord is so gracious; so kind; so faithful.
        All that he promised here has either been fulfilled or it soon will be.

Ezekiel and Jeremiah proclaim one God and one message.


Daniel   Babylon 605 to 539 BC       

What is the book of Daniel about?
          Kings and kingdoms. World empires and their rulers. The kingdom of God and the King of kings.
          How the most despotic king Nebuchadnezzar was humbled step by step under the hand of the King of kings.
          He reveals the sure and eternal kingdom of God that will be established;
                and what must take place prior to this longed-for conclusion.
          The fulfilment of all hope and dreams when the Anointed One will put an end to sin, atone for wickedness
                and bring in everlasting righteousness.
          It is a book that will leave us prostrate before the throne of the Lord Almighty.
          The faithfulness and the grace of God is revealed to such extent that our gratitude will know no bounds.
          This book will give us courage to stand in days of increasing wickedness,
                for we stand, not alone, but beside the great 'I AM', the Lord of Glory.

Daniel in his late teens was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605.
          21 years after Jeremiah began preaching. 8 years before Ezekiel deported to Babylon.
          18-17 Resolved not to defile himself with idol meat. (Not because vegetarian)
          He and his 3 friends graduated from the 'Babylon University' with 1st class honours.
          Each are renamed. What's in a name?

God is my judge Daniel Belteshazzar Bel protects the king
Yahweh has been gracious Hananiah Shadrach Command of Aku (lunar deity)
Who is like God is? Mishael Mechach Who is like Aku is?
The Lord has helped Azariah Abednego Servant of Nebo
Note the significance
of these Hebrew names
  Nebuchadnezzar Nebo has protected the succession rites.

Babel, Babylon, Baal, Bel (also called Marduk) same god of weather, prosperity.
Nebo (son of Bel) god of learning, science, writing. But see Is 461,2,5,9,11 Jer 101-8
'Judge' - the One Mighty God who determines my destiny.

God reveals dreams and writings to Daniel from the beginning:
Statue (ch.2) Daniel and his friends pray earnestly all night.
God reveals the dream and puts Nebuchadnezzar's incoherent, troubled mind in order.
'Superpower' Babylon would last only 66 years. It would be followed by 3 world empires.
      This was devastating news for Nebuchadnezzar.
            But he did not reject it out of hand. He was willing to admit it was true. God was at work!
      Gold, silver, bronze, iron = Babylon, Mede/Persia, Greece, Rome.
      Revealed as man sees them - strong, valuable, glorious.
      Each would trample on Jerusalem until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Lu 2124
The most significant part of this dream is usually ignored.
      A Stone 'uncut by human hand' destroys all these world empires at the end.
            This Rock is Christ alone (the stone that the builders rejected).
            Jesus was born of a virgin, by the Holy Spirit, not by the will of man.
      At the end this mighty Rock destroys the whole statue - suddenly! Rev 1821
The Kingdom of God that Christ will build will be eternal. No trace of the man-made empires remains.
      Note that it is Christ, not the Church, who conquers.
      The Rock becomes a great mountain that fills the earth.
            Jesus Christ and his Kingdom will rule here for 1000 years. Rev 20
                    and then for ever in the new heaven and earth. Rev 21,22. Lu 209-18
Nebuchadnezzar is impressed. And rightly so.
By God's hand Daniel, a young Jewish exile became his Prime Minister for 45 years.
            (like to Joseph, when exiled in Egypt, who also became PM).
Daniel is seen as consistent, courteous, courageous, loyal; and an honest and wise man of God.
The principal message is that it is 'the Most High God' (x13 in Dan), and he alone,
      who orders the timing of world events. He appoints and dis-appoints rulers.
      God would not suffer defeat when he ordering Judah's fall. Jer 251-11 2910-14 Hab 16
A few years later, Nebuchadnezzar makes an all-gold statue. (ch.3)
In the earlier dream only head was gold.
      He thought his 'gold' kingdom was indestructible - that God was wrong.
      Foolishly challenges the God of Daniel's 3 friends when they refuse to worship it, or him.
      Anger often leads to poor decisions - and Nebuchadnezzar was furious with rage.
            No one had ever dared to challenge his orders before - and lived! What would you have done?
            They did not presume God would rescue them. e.g. Steven and James c.f. Peter and John.
      Not a hair was singed, only their ropes were burned in the fiery furnace.
      They were obedient when told to leave the furnace - and Jesus.

Tree felled and stump bound with iron. (ch.4) 563
Nebuchadnezzar's testimony. Only Gentile chapter in OT.
      God's personal warning against pride fulfilled and effective. It seems that God won his man.

Vision of 4 Beasts. (71-14) 553
      Lion, bear, leopard and 'most terrible'.
            Same 4 world empires as in 'Statue' vision, but revealed as God sees them (destructive beasts).
      4th beast is different and had 10 horns. (coalition of 10 evil nations Rev 1712)
      Nameless - it was so terrible. It crushed and devoured all its victims.
      From it, a little horn arises, defeats 3/10 and is boastful.
Daniel is deeply troubled. He seeks God's answer and is given the interpretation. 715-28
      4 world empires, but the saints of the Most High will receive an everlasting kingdom.
      10 horns are 10 kings, from them comes the blasphemous little horn.
      The little horn (Beast of Rev 13) will oppress the saints for 3½ years, until destroyed by the 'Ancient of Days'.
      In this final Judgement the Son of Man is given the everlasting Kingdom. 718, 27
Daniel remains troubled; not by what he didn't understand,
      but by what he did understand concerning the future oppression of the saints. 715,28
Vision of Ram (Medes and Persians) and Goat (Greece). (8) 551
Goat's horn is broken and 4 came up in its place.
      4 Generals would succeed the Greek, Alexander the Great.
Another horn grew out of them. (Antiochus IV 'Epithanes' ~170 BC, not 'the little horn'.)
      Maccabees defeat Antiochus after 2300 sacrifices (1150 morning +1150 evening)
      Their surprising victory was ordained by God. Celebrated at Hanukkah by Jews.
      Gabriel explains the character of the final Antichrist.
      Daniel is appalled at this master of intrigue, strong, successful, proud, completely wicked.
            Deceit prospers and saints are destroyed (martyred). 721,25 812,24,25a
            Then God destroys this evil ruler. 711,22,26 825b And saints receive the promised kingdom.
      2 Thes 2 and Rev 13 gives further details of the Satanic Antichrist of the last days and his False Prophet.
Daniel is ill, exhausted and appalled. 827 Like Ezekiel. Ezek 315

Writing on the wall (ch.5) 539
God's judgement of Belshazzar - as Goliath 1 Sam 1745 Sennacherib 2 Kg 1822,30-35
      No man can challenge, defy or insult Almighty God and get away with it. 54

Daniel's Prayer. (9)
He confessed his and the nation's sin. Prayed earnestly. (91-19)
      What do you desire most? What did Daniel plead for? The Lord God to be honoured.
      Gabriel comes again and reveals God's answer. (920-27)
            Reveals 70 weeks of years = (7+62+1) x 7 years.
            (7+62) x 7 = 483 years from Artaxerxes' letter with Nehemiah (445BC Neh 21) to 1st Coming of Jesus.
            Then 2000 year gap, ending with 7 year Tribulation and 2nd Coming of Jesus.
            Somehow this time table doesn't seem to be exact. Don't know why.
      But Almighty God does establish a very clear and long-for promise. i.e.
            God will put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness. (924)
            This is Daniel's great desire, and the desire of all who seek the Saviour. OT + NT
            Seal up the vision. God's promise is sealed. i.e. made sure and timeless. What was going to happen?
            Anointed One will be cut off. 926 Christ will be crucified.
            Ruler who will come and destroy city and sanctuary. Rome under Titus destroys Jerusalem in 70 AD.
            War will continue until the end. Unending conflict for 2000 years - especially for the Jews.
      Then in last 7 years:
            Covenant with many for one seven. The Peace Treaty; but broken in the middle of last 7 years.
            He will put an end to sacrifice and offering. All synagogues and churches closed.
            He will set up an abomination than causes desolation. Talking image Rev 1314,15
                    Worse that demonic 'Golden Dome' that declares (in Arabic) that God has no Son.
            Until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. The Beast is destroyed at Christ's return. Rev 1920

Two years later Daniel sees the Lord of Glory, others fled (10) 537
Touched by hand and told, "Daniel, you are highly esteemed." 1010,19
      Strengthened, told of battle in the heavenlies, and what is in the Book of Truth.

The immediate and amazingly detailed future is revealed. 530-164 BC. (112-39)
      This accurate prophecy was fulfilled so exactly that some say Daniel 11,12 must have been written later!
      (See notes on Daniel in
The events of 'last days' are also revealed. (1140-1213)
      Time of distress (greatest ever). 121 Knowledge will increase but the 'fear of the Lord will vanish. 124
            But the redeemed are delivered, resurrection to everlasting life or contempt. 122,3
      Power of holy people broken for 3½ years. (127 725) Blessed is he who waits - and endures. 1212

God gives us this overview of 'the times of the Gentiles' and end-time events so we may be prepared and ready.
      Do not be deceived. Math 244,11,24 255,13 Rev 1314
      Do not be discouraged or afraid. Math 2412,13,22 Dan 722 1210,12 Rev 1310b,18, 1412
Dan 626 Math 2413 1 Co 17,8 Rev 1820 210 Jn 626-29 Ps 73 Rev 191-8
      No one can say that our most gracious God has not warned us.
Parts of the visions are sealed until the time of the end. 124,9 924b
      These events will only be recognised as they happen.
      They are certain and sure. God will not change his mind.
Be like the men of Issachar in David's day who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. 1 Ch 1232
      Let us seek the revelation of truth with a humble, earnest, disciplined and righteous mind.

The old man Daniel is again honoured by the new ruler, Cyrus (= Darius the Mede)
      He had served Babylon for 66 years (over 40 years as Nebuchadnezzar's PM)
      God is again seen to preserve Daniel from jealous men, and the hungry lions! (ch.6)

God reveals much to the prophet Daniel in persistent honest prayer: 711,15 815 93,21 102

*** Prophets interpret the past, discern the present and predict the future. ***


Zechariah     520 - 480 BC        

An exiled priest who had returned from Babylon with Haggai in 538
      under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The people were frightened and vulnerable; surrounded by destruction and poverty. Was God with them again?
The Lord Almighty (x45 in 211 verses) called for Repentance.
      Because the people obeyed, God was able to give Zechariah these remarkable visions. 16b

8 Visions (awake 41) of Zechariah, all in one night in 519 (3 years before Temple rebuild was complete):
      This book is largely about Jerusalem (x36) and its eternal Priest and King - Jesus Christ,
            King of both the capital city of Israel and the kingdom of God that he would build. Jn 219 Ro 1417
It is a 'must' for all world leaders - but most will ignore it; and remain blind. Jn 941
            (c.f. blind teenager who won the 1999 Israeli Bible quiz with a perfect score)
      What sort of kingdom are we striving to build? Who is the King of it? Are we always eager to be obedient?

1. Man on Red Horse among the Myrtle Trees. 17–17
            We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace. 111
            Is this good or bad? Bad, because they were content without God. Like the rich man in Lu 1619-31
                    Arrogant complacency is deadly. 115 Ezek 1649
            But the people of Jerusalem had repented. God was thrilled. What would he do?
            The Lord Almighty says, "I am very zealous for Jerusalem ... therefore I will return to Jerusalem with mercy,
            and there my house will be rebuilt; ... the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem." 114-17
            The benefits of obedience to God are staggeringly great. He encourages these diffident returned exiles.

2. Four Horns and Four Craftsmen. 118–21
            4 Craftsmen will terrify the 4 horns that had scattered Israel.
            God intervenes again; this time on behalf of Judah, not against them.

3. Man with Measuring Line. 21–13
            Jerusalem will be a city without walls ... I myself will be a wall of fire around it ... I will be its glory within. 24,5
This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. It will be at the end of the Millennium. Ezek 3811 Rev 207-9 Prov 1810 Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon! Separate yourselves. Rev 184 Is 4820 Ro 122
                    Lot also found Sodom a dangerous place to live.
            I am coming, and I will live among you. 210 This has always been God's longing. Exd 258 Jn 1423
            Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. 211 Gen 123b Ro 925,26
            Zechariah is shown God's long-term plan for his everlasting kingdom of righteousness.

4. Cleansing of Joshua, the High-Priest. 31–10
            Satan is rebuked. Only God can do this.
            Even Joshua needed cleansing. He stands silent before his accuser. He offers no excuses for his sin.
            Take off his filthy clothes. See, I have taken away your sin. 34 What a relief. Is 535,6
            And I will put rich garments on you. 34b Christ bestows upon us his righteousness. 2 Co 521
            I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 38 He came. Is 42-6 Jer 3315,16
            And I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. And he has. Jn 1930 1 Pe 224 But the cost was high.
            This assurance for the uncertain Jerusalemites must have been the most beautiful music.

5. Gold Lampstand and Two Olive Trees. 41–14
            Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.
                    What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. 46,7
                    No problem is too hard for the Lord. Like Job, they had lost everything but God!! Job 422
            7 branch Lampstand = 7 eyes of the Lord. Rev 112-20 God is neither unwilling, nor deaf, nor blind.
            2 Olive trees = 2 anointed to serve the Lord. Rev 115,6
                    God's power never runs out, his plans are never unprepared and his grace is never lacking.
            The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. 49 Jn 219

6. Flying Scroll. 51–4
            The curse of God remains upon all unrepentant thieves and liars. Is 358-10 Rev 146,7

7. Woman in Measuring Basket (55–11)
            = Wickedness. Taken by 2 angels to Babylon. How appropriate! Rev 17 (No gender implications!)

8. Four Chariots. 61–8
            Red, black, white and dappled horses.
            = 4 spirits of heaven, going out E, N, W and S.
            God controls all the world and its governments - often using his mighty angels. Dan 221 Ps 21-6 + Rev 13!

Coronation of Joshua the High-Priest. 69–15
      As a forerunner of Jesus, like Melchizedek the King of Salem, Joshua is crowned. Gen 1417
      He, the Branch, will build the Temple of the Lord, the longed-for eternal kingdom of God. Jn 219-21 Jer 3315
      Joshua (Yeshua) will be High Priest and King upon his throne - as he promised to David. 613 Heb 713,14
      He will also be our mighty Advocate. 1 Jn 21,2 Ro 834 Heb 725

Messages of Zechariah. 518 BC (4th year of Darius)

1. Men of Bethel asked if they should continue Fasting? 71-3
Wrong motives? Was it for me you fasted ... or feasted? 74-7
What did they desire most; an easier life-style, or a holy life with God?

2. Administer true justice and have real compassion for the needy. 78-10
Is 111-17 581-12 Their forbears under Zedekiah had stubbornly refused. So the Lord had been angry.
He scattered them and made the pleasant land desolate. 711-14 Every generation needs reminding.

3. Jerusalem will be restored. 81-23
I will return to Zion ... Jerusalem will be called City of Truth ... the Holy Mountain. 83
The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there. 85
I will save my people ... I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. 87,8 (Now as well as after Babylon)
and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God. 87,8
Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong. 813 (see 99 Reasons for Not Being Afraid)
Now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 815
The Lord's return will make all the Fasts joyful feasts. 819

4. Judgement on Judah's enemies. 91-8 (Not only her Muslim neighbours, but the greatest enemy - sin)
Power of strong, rich Tyre will be destroyed. 93,4 by Alexander in 332BC (also US, UK)
Pride of the Philistines will be cut off. 96 How can any man stand proud before God?

The first 2 tell what the people had to do.
The last 2 tell what God planned to do mostly at his 2nd Coming.
These chapters assure us that Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, will be restored,
      her feasts will be joyful and righteous, and all her enemies will be vanquished.


The Messianic Future The sceptre will not depart from Judah ... until he comes to whom it belongs. Gen 4910

The King is Coming. 99-1012 (some refers to 1st and some to 2nd Coming)
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion ... your King comes to you,
        righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey. 99 Jn 1212-16
He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from the River to the ends of the earth. 910
I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. 911 Lu 418,21 How are we set free? Jn 832
The Lord will appear over them ... shield them ... save them on that day. 914-16
How attractive and beautiful they will be! 917
Ask the Lord for rain. 101 Ask the Lord, not idols. e.g. Josh 1519 or Carmel Contest 1 Kg 19
The Lord Almighty will care for his flock. 103 Jn 101-18 Ezek 3411-16
From Judah will come the cornerstone. 104 Is 2816
Surely I will redeem them. 108
Though I scatter them, ... they will return ... I will bring them back ... I will strengthen them in the Lord. 109,10,12

Two Shepherds and two staffs. 111-17
111-3 Prophesies rejection of Messiah at 1st Coming, and their resulting destruction in AD 70 (1.5M Jews die)
1112 One shepherd (Jesus) valued at 30 pieces of silver. Math 2615 273,10
1115-17 Speaks of another shepherd (Pharisees and Sadducees + End-time Antichrist)
      They will not care for the lost. But this is not the end of the story!

Jerusalem an Immovable Rock. 121-14
Rome, Islam and the Palestinians claim they have a far stronger title to Jerusalem than the Jews.
      What does the Lord Almighty say?
      All nations who try to remove Israel from Jerusalem will hurt themselves.
In that day The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God. 125
      At that time Jerusalem will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him ... 1210
      Their return will be both physically to the land and spiritually with weeping of repentance. as Ezek 374,9

The 1st Coming. 131-9
On that day a fountain will be opened ... to cleanse them from sin. 31
On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land. 132 All false prophets and false idols.
Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. 137b
2/3 struck down, remaining S tested in fire. But they are my people. 139
      Ro 1129 Jer 307 (day of Jacob's trouble)

The 2nd Coming. 141-21
The day of the Lord is coming ... I will gather all nations against Jerusalem, ½ city exiled ...
      then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations. ... the Mt of Olives will be split in two ...
      then the Lord my God will come. 141-5
      On that day ... when evening comes there will be light ... Living water will flow ... (Ezek 47)
      The Lord will be king over the whole earth ... Jerusalem will be secure. 146-11
      On that day ... their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet ... great panic. 1412,13
      Survivors from all the nations ... will worship the King. All others suffer plague. 1416-19
      There will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty. 1421b Gen 1513-21 Exd 2323 Deut 2017
        And no Golden Dome with its satanic lies and no El Aksa mosque.
The Lord has promised that a day will come when sin will cease, and so will temptation.
      Jesus Christ, and he alone, will be King. And all peoples will rejoice in his holiness.
      What a day that will be. A day when the reality will be so much better than our very best dreams.

    Israel     by Paula Worth (writen after reading Zechariah)
When you were a child I loved you,
Tho' you turned your face from me,
Held my arms out while you stumbled,
Longed to teach you to walk free;
Watched in anguish while the nations
One by one declared you'd die
Without trace, not understanding
You're the apple of my eye.
Still I sent you as I'd promised
My Messiah, Holy Lamb,
O my heartache then, and sorrow
When you didn't see my plan.
Now I wait my bride to cherish,
These are days for other men
To find grace and my salvation,
Days to be fulfilled, and then,
Then with shouts of 'Grace' and 'Glory',
My Corner-stone now recognised,
I shall pluck you from the burning
And declare you justified.
Then the fountain which I opened
Still shall plead your cause to me;
And my child, beloved Israel
Bring me joy - Eternally.


Gospel Surprises       

Much in the Gospels surprised the Jews and even Jesus was amazed.
Believers and unbelievers today are also surprised by many events and words in the 4 Gospels.
The following are just a few:

Gabriel Speaks to Zechariah (gripped with fear) and later to Mary (greatly troubled). Lu 112 129
      An angel also appeared to Joseph 3 times. Math 120 213 219
"They all were looking for a King ..."
      They were shown a child, a carpenter, a teacher that 'rocked the boat'. Some Messiah !!
      Is 612 has three separate fulfilments - the favour of redemption, the punishment for wickedness, new kingdom.
Born of a virgin! Math 118-21
      Joseph believed his young bride-to-be, when confirmed by an angel of the Lord. Many deny this truth.
Temple Teachers were amazed at his answers. Lu 247
Jesus was Baptised by John. Math 313-17
      Jesus did not need to repent. But it would fulfill all righteousness. John saw and heard the truth.
      He saw the Spirit descend. He heard Father's approval and the confirmation of Sonship. Math 313,17
How should we prepare for Coming Messiah? Mk 15
      John came ... preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
      c.f. modern psychology that tells men to find their true self, and then build that self image.
Nicodemus and New Birth Jn 39
      Longed for life with God. Jesus told him how. Surprised. Bar Mitzvah, Married, Rabbi (30).
Jesus refused to keep the Law! Math 517
      The 1500 sabbath laws were part of the "Oral Law", that would later form the Mishnah and the Talmud.
            These were not from God, but added by men. Jn 916a
      What is the 4th Commandment?
            "Remember the Sabbath day ... for in 6 day the Lord made the heavens and the earth ...
                    but he rested on the 7th day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Exd 208-11
      God didn't just 'put his feet up' on the 7th day. He blessed it - actively. So did Jesus. Lu 66-11
      Sunday is abolished today. Creation is ridiculed. So the Lord's blessing and holiness is rare.
      The 10 Commandments do not demand that we love God. But they are summed up in Deut 65
      Jesus kept the Law perfectly, including the "But I say to you ...." Math 522,27 ...
      He not only kept it, but he also fulfilled it. Jn 1513 Math 517
      For us keeping the whole Law is impossible. So it becomes our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
            Gal 324 c.f. Math 2524
What Treasure did Jesus set his heart upon? Math 621
      He sought to bring his Righteousness, Truth and Justice to a fallen world. Is 57b
      Jesus sought to serve, not be served. Our salvation was his goal.
            Note also what Jesus said to the 72 successful returning disciples. Lu 1017-20
Jesus Talks to a Samaritan Woman. Jn 49
      She and many in Sychar are saved. Jn 442
Nazareth first amazed, then furious. Lu 422,28
      Why the change? Isn't this Joseph's son? No! What proof would have satisfied them?
      They were unable to throw him over the cliff. Lu 430 Jn 730 837,40,44,59 1039
      Jesus must have wept at their stubborn, arrogant folly.
The Carpenter heals Many. Mk 132-34
      Power and compassion - both lacking in religious leaders. Mk 141 35
      His home town were amazed. Isn't this the carpenter? ... And they took offence at him. Mk 63
Jesus turns world values upside down. Lu 620-26
      Poor, hungry, weeping, persecuted are blessed. Woe to rich, well fed, laughing, popular.
The Centurion astonished Jesus. Math 810
      Faith was not a problem to him - he had authority because he was under authority.
            He knew the power this gave to his commands.
Jesus, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Math 910,11 1119
      It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. Math 912 Lu 739
      Who do I desire for my friends?
Why did Jesus Go to Nain? Lu 711-15
      He did what he saw his Father doing. Learned obedience. Compassion for bereaved widow.
Jesus goes to Tyre - for a special reason. Mk 724-30
      He even tried to keep it secret so that only the right woman would come to him. She did.
      For her humble but determined reply, her daughter was delivered of the demon.
Who did Jesus choose as his 'apprentices'? Math 102-4
      Jesus chose 12 very ordinary blokes - with 12 very extraordinary hearts. 1 Sam 167
      In a somewhat different realm, why did the Lord Almighty choose any of us? Why me? Amazing grace.
They laughed at Jesus, knowing that she was dead. Lu 853,56
      But it didn't stop Jesus raising the child back to life!
Why are there so many fools? Lu 1215,20
      The fool says in his heart there is no God. Ps 141
      Jesus tells of a foolish rich man; he was content without God. Lu 1619-31 (esp. 1631)
      When John D. Rockefeller died in 1960 someone interested asked, "How much did he leave?"
            After hesitating for a moment his lawyer replied, "Everything." Prov 114 1 Tim 67
      The inside matters far more than the outside appearances. Lu 1138,39 c.f. modern advertising.
Why did Jesus speak in parables? Math 1310-17
      So that while some would learn the secrets of the kingdom of God,
            others would be deafened! Is 69-13
      The promise of God stands true, If you seek me with all your heart you will find me. Deut 429 Mk 1229-34
Jesus rebukes the wind and waves - and they obey him. Math 826
      Did Satan think he could destroy the Son of God when he was asleep?
      Only 4/12 were fishermen and they well knew a storm like this one could be dangerous.
Jesus feeds 5000 and 4000, and walks on water. Math 1419 1536 1425
      Does familiarity dull the surprise?
            Imagine your reaction to seeing Jesus walking out to your boat in the middle of Plymouth Sound!
From the same mouth can come very good and very bad. Math 1616 c.f. 1622
      How can a man be so inconsistent and not realise it.
      Peter was always a 'in with two feet' sort of guy; but he remained quick to learn from his errors.
What's one sheep in a hundred? Math 1810-14
      To Jesus every one matters. Each are precious and called by name. Is 431
      It remains his will that none are lost. 2 Pe 39
Wild rejoicing suddenly turns to weeping. Lu 1938, 41
      Jesus would not stop Jerusalem welcoming their King.
      Then came the 'show stopper', He wept that they were so blind and deaf to their far greater and eternal need.
            None realised that the only path to life and peace with God had to be via Calvary.
No-one ever spoke the way this man does. Jn 746
      What did Jesus say? He told them where he came from, sent by God his Father. Jn 725-29
Cursed Fig Tree Withers. Mk 1112-14,21
      Why cursed? No fruit (righteous heart). A stark warning.
4 Days in the tomb ... "Your brother will rise again." And he did! Jn 1117,23,44
Miracles rarely lead to faith. Jn 1237 Lu 1631
      Do you find this surprising?
Only the Father knows when. Mk 1332
      Be alert. You will know when the end is near. Mk 1329
How easily could you be deceived? (on a scale of 1-9, 9 being the most likely)
      Jesus repeats his warning 3 times in Math 24.
Heaven's scales of value. Lu 211-4
      The widow with two small copper coins put in far more than the all the others.
Why did Jesus have to suffer? Lu 2425-27
      Many believe that Jesus was crucified; but few know why he had to be crucified - to be our Redeemer.
      We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. He did! But not as they expected.
      Jesus clearly told the disciples on at least 13 earlier and separate occasions that his goal was the Cross!
            Math 1621 1712 2133-44 262 Mk 912 1045 Lu 944 1831-34 Jn 219 314 651 1015 1224,33
      Now Jesus opens their minds; he revealed the vital truth. 2427 2445
      Atonement satisfies justice; Redemption is the price; Obedience (agreed plan) was the chosen way;
      I am totally unable to pay the price that God's justice demands. The wages of sin is death. Gen 217 Ro 623
Pharisees planned to arrest Jesus ... but not during the feast. Math 264,5
      Men are often surprised by the plan of God; both in substance and timing.
Why this waste? c.f. She has done a beautiful thing. Math 268-10
      All the disciples complained. All accepted the correction by Jesus; except Judas. Math 2714
"One of YOU will betray me" Math 2621
      Now that was a real bomb-shell!
Jesus Washes the Disciple's Feet. Jn 136
It all happened so quickly.
      One moment they were celebrating Passover; twelve hours later he was being crucified!
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews - YHWH in Hebrew
      Is this why the Jewish leaders objected so strongly?
The Curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Math 2751
      It had been there to protect men from death by exposure.
      Now it was like God saying "Welcome, the price has now been paid in full."
The birth and death of God!!
      "Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man."
      The Lord Almighty who designed the distant galaxies, the intricacies of DNA and everything in between,
            consents to man killing him in the most painful way devised.
      How can the eternal God be born? How can a mere man kill Almighty God?
No one, but no one, expected his resurrection. Math 285,6 Jn 219
      Just as the Cross was planned and prophesied, so also was his rising from the dead. Math 1239,40
Surely I am with you always. Math 2820
      The risen Lord said this to them just before he LEFT them.
      Yet it was true!! Jesus always keeps his promise. Jn167,13,18


NT Letters        

Why Written
Jewish Christians were trying to impose circumcision upon Gentile believers.
A man is not justified by observing the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. 216
What Laws apply today? Law not abolished, but fulfilled. Math 517
What Laws / Commandments did Jesus keep?
Church traditions and additional sacraments.
Unmistakable Jewish flavour, with a Jewish insistence on practical application.
Though justified by faith alone; faith without works is dead.
e.g. no favouritism, taming the tongue, submission to God, suffering, prayer.
1 Thessalonians
Paul had to leave quickly; leaving them without support.
They needed help to overcome paganism, and live a holy life.
Also given assurance concerning the 2nd Coming.
2 Thessalonians
Very similar to 1st letter.
1 Corinthians
Divisions, moral laxity, abuse of Lord's supper.
Spiritual gifts.
2 Corinthians
False teachers challenged Paul's personal integrity and his apostolic authority.
Explains change of itinerary. Ministry of reconciliation.
Depth of his outpouring led to much persecution.
A systematic presentation of salvation - justification by faith offered to all.
Concern for the Jews and God's faithfulness.
Practical outworking of righteousness.
To encourage church to see the riches of God's grace in reconciling us to him.
And our responsibility for the unity of the body of Christ.
Paul's 3 journeys covered ~10 years. 2¼ years in Ephesus. They were well founded.
Jesus' letter mentions no error, but they had lost their first love. Rev 22
      But they had taken notice of Paul's warning about false teachers. Act 2030
A 'thank-you' for gift when first imprisoned in Rome.
Faithfulness to preaching the Gospel leads to persecution. But press on!
Encourage Euodia and Syntyche to be reconciled.
Heresies inferred - Ceremonialism, asceticism and gnostics (secret knowledge).
Paul presents the truth about the Lord Almighty and Christ crucified and resurrected.
Christ's gospel is complete and effective.
Human philosophy and all other ways are both deceptive and inadequate.
Appeal to slave owner in Colosse to treat his runaway slave - also a believer - kindly.
Under Roman law he could have killed him.
Accurate history of early Church.
God enables growth and initiates the inclusion of the Gentiles.
Its problems and solutions.
Many examples of persecution and God's intervention.
Tells how the Gospel was presented.
Useful defence for Paul as he awaited trial in Rome.
1 Peter
Much aware of God's mercy, receiving the salvation of our souls.
Therefore be holy and grow up in your salvation.
Learn humility and submission - as Christ did. Live for the will of God.
And thus learn to cope with persecution.
1 Timothy
Written to encourage the youthful Timothy in Ephesus.
He must refute false teachings. 'Endless genealogies' and those adding to the Law.
Gnosticism (see NIV introductory notes to 1 Jn)
Worship and qualifications for elders and deacons.
Gave Titus authority in Crete and advice as how to deal with opposition.
Rebuke those of the circumcision group; but avoid foolish controversies.
Stress the kindness of God, his abundant grace and the hope of eternal life.
Immoral men were perverting the grace of God. They will receive their reward.
Take care, pray in the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter
Discipline, perseverance, kindness will enable us to be effective.
Beware of false teachers.
Scoffers will come in last days - creation and judgement will be denied.
Look forward to a new heaven and a new earth. Be on guard.
2 Timothy
Paul wanted Timothy to join him.
Guard the gospel during persecution.
Jesus Christ is better than angels, Moses, Abraham; a better hope, covenant, promises.
A better High Priest, sacrifices, country, resurrection. In every way better.
An encouragement for Christian Jews not to revert to Judaism;
And for traditional Jews to to become Christian Jews.
1 John
We have fellowship with the Father, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.
Jesus speaks to the Father in our defence.
Beware of the Antichrists. Test the spirits.
Gnostics: Salvation is to escape from the corrupt body,
achieved by special knowledge and experiences (not by faith in Christ).
Treat body harshly (asceticism).
Overcome the world by believing that Jesus is the Son of God.
2 John
Beware of any who do not continue in the teaching of Christ.
3 John
A warning concerning Diotrephes who greatly enjoyed power,
but not John's messengers.
Revelation 2,3
7 Letters from Jesus to Churches in Asia Minor.



Introduction to Revelation

A book that is built upon three pillars:
1. God remains intimately and powerfully involved with the world he created.
2. Satan is only a temporary, condemned Prince; he will never be King. Jn 1430,31 1611
3. Only God knows the future accurately. He has chosen to reveal all we need to know.
Avoid 2 extremes:
1) Those who find it too difficult, too disturbing or too controversial; so do not read it.
2) Those so obsessed they can't get out of it. We need to read all scripture.
            Some resort to excessive guesswork, imagination and dogmatism.
Rev. is NOT a difficult book! But some mysteries must remain.
      Most problems arise when a man's pride is offended: he says, 'I can find out ...'
Rev. promises a special blessing to the reader who takes it to heart. 13 227,14
We are specifically warned not to add or subtract anything from the book. 2218,19 (or change anything in it)
Rev. is a vital part of the complete and unchanging Word of God.
The book often appears strange because we are unfamiliar with the OT.
      Over 100 references from OT. (mostly Is, Jer, Ezek, Dan, Joel, Zech).
The Bible is like a school textbook; the questions and answers are all in the back!
Rev. primarily sees Christ as Prophet and King (or Judge) - also our great High Priest. Rev 11,19 Heb 928
      His 1st Coming was with humility. As a Lamb to redeem sinners. 55,6 Jn 129
      His 2nd Coming will be with all power and authority. As a Lion.

God will surely fulfill all his two-part plan revealed to Daniel: Dan 924
      to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, (1st Coming)
      to bring in everlasting righteousness. (2nd Coming)

Rev. reveals the events prior to the return of Christ.
Many dislike Rev. because they think it monstrous of a loving God
      to send disasters and judgements upon the world for its blatant sin, rebellion and blasphemy.
      But God cannot ignore sin. He never has, and he never will. God is just.
In Rev. God's Judgement is seen to be:
      Against all who reject his mercy and For all who repent and believe.
      It is a warning to unbelievers; and an encouragement to believers.
God will shake the earth so that what is unshakable may remain. Heb 1222-29
"The purpose of God is sure and the people of God are safe."    David Pawson

General Structure

In Rev 119 Jesus himself provides the key to the structure of the book: Write, therefore,
      what you have seen, (Rev 1)
      what is now (Rev 2-5)
      and what will take place later. (Rev 6-22)

Rev 1 John's Preface. Jesus the ruler of the kings of the earth reveals himself to John and then instructs him.
      The Alpha and the Omega (who was before all time and is now in eternity), the Almighty.
Rev 2,3 Seven Letters of Jesus Christ to the Churches.
The letters to the Churches are easily understood, even if difficult to apply.
The predictions were largely fulfilled within 100 years.
But church problems and God's instructions remain relevant in every age.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock ..." was written to the church at Laodicea, not to unbelievers.

Rev 4,5 The View of Heaven. The Throne and the Sealed Scroll (the will of Jesus)
The Lord Almighty is seen seated on his throne, with 24 Elders and 4 Living Creatures all worshipping him.
Who is worthy to open the seals? The Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah - he alone is able and worthy.
The rest of the book reveals the prophecy of what happens as Jesus breaks open these seals.
Rev 6-17 The Great Tribulation.
God's warnings are fulfilled one by one. His longed-for Judgement of wickedness. Dan 924-27
Christians rejoice; Jesus is seen as powerful, faithful and just. It may or may not be in our lifetime.
The demonic Beast (AntiChrist, Lawless One) and his False Prophet arise and deceive the wicked world.
God gives us much detail so we do not despair as it unfolds. All God's promises are sure. e.g. Joel 228-32
Rev 18-22 The Grand Finale.
The hated Harlot is judged - Babylon falls suddenly.
Beast + False Prophet attack Jerusalem. Jesus returns. Beast is defeated, thrown into the eternal fire of Hell.
Satan is bound and thrown into the Abyss for 1000 years (not the eternal fire).
Jesus reigns on earth for 1000 years.
At the end of the Millennium, Satan is released and deceives Gog and Magog.
      They have the audacity to attack King Jesus and are naturally defeated , or rather 'supernaturally!'
      Satan is consigned to the fire for ever; never to afflict the righteous again.
God creates a new heaven and a new earth.
The Bridegroom and his Bride enjoy the Marriage Supper. And they live happily together ever after!

Interpreting Prophecy

You may find the following guidelines helpful:

1.  Words of scripture should always be taken in normal literal way unless the text indicates otherwise.
The Beast with 7 heads and 10 horns in Rev 131,2 and Dan 7 is a figurative being that is explained in Rev 177-14.
The 7 heads are 7 kings ("5 have fallen, 1 is, and the other yet to come".)
      The 10 horns are 10 kings who will serve the beast concurrently.
The falling star in Rev 810 is probably an asteroid. But the fallen star in Rev 91 is more likely to be a fallen angel
      who is given the key to open the Abyss.
The 'darkened sun, moon and stars' that is often prophesied may be literal. Is 1310 Joel 210 315 Math 2429
    Or they could also be governments that are 'darkened' and deceived. Gen 375-11 Rev 612-15 812,13

2.  Beware of forcing current political events into a prophecy.
When the Common Market (now the EU) had 10 members
      many said it was the Beast with 7 heads and 10 horns.
      Now 25 members - and more in the pipe-line to join.
      The 10 horn may represent 10 world regions (NAFTA, EU, OPEC, 'Tiger Economies', China etc).
In the Reformation era Rome (built on 7 hills) was seen as the Beast,
      40 years ago it was Russian Communism, now some see it as Islam or the US.
Prophecy is truth, not speculation. (e.g. "Left Behind" books)

3.  Double reference.
Two events which are separated in time are sometimes seen in single picture.
            e.g. Christ's 1st and 2nd Coming. Zech 99,10 Is 611,2 (Lu 418,19) Dan 924
            or 3 people - Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC, the Roman Emperor Nero and the 'Beast'. Rev 13

4.  Context.
Verses isolated from their context can be used to prove anything.
      e.g. The beating of ploughshares into swords or visa-versa. Is 24 c.f. Joel 310
      Scripture should instruct us, not be used as a weapon to support 'my theory'.

5.  Scripture does not contradict itself. That includes the OT as well as the NT.
      To avoid being deceived, there is no substitute for knowing all scripture.

Pictorial Language

Rev. was written to enable the ordinary, 'common sense' folk in the 7 churches
      to understand the end times, to endure persecution, to have hope and to be ready.
A good summary of the book is 'Endure today, for Jesus wins!'
The Obvious:
    The lake of fire = hell. 1920 2010 (Not the Abyss = bottomless pit 92 117 203)
The Explained:
      The 7 Stars = 7 Angels. 7 Lampstands = 7 Churches. 119 7 Lamps = 7 Spirits of God. 45 56
      The Seals, Trumpets and Bowls = God determined judgements. 61,3,5,7,9,12 87,8,10,12 91,13 162,3,4,10,12,17
      Incense = prayers of the saints ascending to God. 58 84
      The 10 horns = 10 kings (in concurrent coalition) and the 7 heads = 7 hills and 7 successive kings.
              123 131 177-14 Dan 723-26
      Dragon or Serpent = Satan. 12 13 129
      The Harlot of Babylon = Blasphemous, demonic, 'power' who rules over kings. 171-7 181-17,21 1718
      The new Jerusalem = The Holy City that 'comes down out of heaven from God'. 212
The Previously Revealed: (in the OT)
      The tree of Life. 27 222,14,19 Gen 29 Ezek 477,12
      The Beasts. 131,11 Dan 73-8,11,12 723-26 927 1136-45
The Reasoned:
      Righteous Woman = Israel; her Son = Jesus; her offspring = Believers. 121-17
      Seven (stars, lamps, seals, trumpets, bowls). Each are complete and perfect.
      The Harlot of Babylon, hated by the Beast = World finance
      The two Witnesses of God are like Methuselah, Elijah and Elisha, John Baptist.
            Probably Jewish; they prepare and warn all men.
            Killed by the Beast, but all see their resurrection by God. 111-13
The Obscure (These will be revealed only when we need to know):
      The 7 thunders ? 71-4
      Who are the 12,000 sealed from each Jewish tribe? 72-8
      The number of the Beast - 666 - what is it, and how will it be revealed? 1318

Signs of His Coming
  Will there be any signs that the Great Tribulation is imminent?
      In Math 24 the disciples asked Jesus this question; and he said:
"Watch out that no-one deceives you." "False prophets." Math 244,11,24
Satan mostly deceives those who desire what he offers (money, sex, power, popularity).
The performing of great signs and wonders is not always of God. They may be Satanic. 2 Th 29-12 Rev 133,14
Be alert at all times. Examine what is said. 1 Thes 519-21
      Beware of what follows expressions like, 'The Bible says ...'
Humanism has now been replaced by 'God in everything', religious tolerance and multi-faith culture.
God's judgement, the reality of hell, and our vital need for redemption by Jesus,
      is increasingly unpopular (even in parts of the Church).
Preaching the sound doctrine of the Word will not be tolerated. 2 Tim 41-4
Beware of false logic. e.g. John Arnott who correctly preached that God does extraordinary things.
      But it does not follow that all extraordinary things are of God. (he tries to justify 'Toronto')
All will be shaken and the universal wickedness of man revealed. Heb 1225-29
      e.g. family structure, loyalty, man's trust in riches/ability. The unshakeable truth of Jesus remains secure.
A New World Order will arise. 1 Thes 53 Dan 926b Rev 13
      Like Babel and Babylon, it will be a blasphemous, demonic, self-exalting world dictatorship.
God's revelation in the book of Revelation will give plenty of warning to the alert; but it will be ignored.
      Math 2437-39 Heb 117 1 Pe 320 Dan 924,27

How are we to be Ready?

Jesus told 4 parables about being 'ready' Math 2445 - 2546
Each is centred on one Man - Householder, Bridegroom, Master, King.
In each story, men failed while this 'Man' was away (or 'delayed').
There was a crisis when he returned! The ready righteous were received,
      But there was a disastrous ending for all those not ready.
These are not idle threats or ancient exaggerations to frighten men.
It is the awful and solemn truth from the mouth of the Son of God himself.
It is a foolish man who ignores such timely warnings.

Who Why not Ready? The Result
Leaders Misused their power;
enjoyed their privileged lifestyle,
eating and being drunk.
Cut in pieces and assigned to place
of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
5 Foolish Virgins Didn't realise the urgency.
Careless, and either lazy or too busy with this world
to care about the next.
Shut out - for ever.
One Talent Man Thought Master and his Law were harsh - too difficult
to keep. Gave up. No repentance, no new life
and thus no gratitude for his mercy. Gal 323,24,
Thrown into darkness where
there is weeping and gnashing of teeth
Goats No heart-felt care or compassion.
Did nothing real - not even 1st mile!
Became experts in appearances, spin
and in 'photo-opportunity'.
Eternal punishment

Faithful servants, are not distracted when their Master seems to be 'delayed'.
      "True faith is not a single step, but a long walk."
          They are zealous, grateful, compassionate, obedient, making the most of the time.
"He who loves the coming of the Lord, is not he who affirms it is far off, nor is it he who says it is near,
      rather it is he who, whether it is far off or near, awaits it with sincere faith, steadfast hope and fervent love."   Augustine
Man says:                                         c.f.          God says:
The world is getting better                                    It will get worse, far more evil
Peace among nations is near                                War will continue to the end
Man expects to cure for all diseases                Man is sinful and weak
Man hopes to counter all disasters                      Man reckons without God!


Great Tribulation Summary      

Note - This is not a 'Time chart'.  
Rev. chapter ref.'s are shown in brackets ()

Seals (6):
      1. White Horse - Conquest, domination
      2. Red Horse - War, blood
      3. Black Horse - Famine
      4. Pale - Disease.   1/4 die
      5. Martyrs ask, "How long?"
      6. Great Earthquake. Sun darkened, stars fall to earth. All terrified
            [144,000 sealed. Multitude in heaven rejoice. (7)]
      7. Thunder, lightning and earthquake
      Trumpets (8,9):
                  1. Hail and Fire.   1/3 vegetation burned
                  2. Blazing Mt. thrown into sea.   1/3 fish and sailors die
                  3. Blazing Star (Wormwood) falls on rivers.   1/3 fresh water bitter
                  4. Sun, moon and stars struck.   1/3  darkened
1st Woe   5. Star falls. Abyss opened. Smoke darkens sun
                    Locusts sting unbelievers for 5 months
2nd Woe   6. 200m troops kill . Men did not repent
                    [Little Book, Prophecy and 2 Witnesses. (10-1114)]
3rd Woe   7. Thunder, lightning and earthquake
                          Woman and Dragon. (12)
                          Beast and false Prophet. (13)
                          Lamb and 144,000. 3 Angel warnings. Gather tares. (14)
                          Heaven rejoices. (15)
                    Bowls (16):
                              1. Sores on all who had worshipped Beast
                              2. Sea turns to blood. All in it die
                              3. Rivers turn to blood
                                      [Angels and men say, "God is just"]
                              4. Sun scorches with fire
                                    Men curse God - refuse to repent
                              5. Kingdom of Beast darkened. Men gnaw their tongues in agony
                                    They curse God - refuse to repent
                              6. Three evil spirits dry up Euphrates.
                                    Miracles gather all nations to Armageddon
                              7. Thunder, lightning and earthquake
Grand Finale:
Greatest earthquake ever. Cities collapse
Hailstones kill many. And men curse God
Harlot of Babylon judged. (17,18)
Great multitude rejoice at sudden fall of Babylon. (191-10)
King of kings defeats the Beast, the False Prophet and all nations. (1911-21)
Satan confined to the Abyss.   Millennium reign of Christ on earth. (20)
Satan released, deceives Gog and Magog who attack Christ.
Satan defeated and thrown into lake of fire for ever.
New heaven and new earth seen and the new Jerusalem comes down. (21,22)
God dwells with men for ever.


The Great Tribulation 6 - 1910
This section is not a description of man's downward spiral into greater wickedness;
      but like the rest of Rev., it about the Sovereign Lord and what he does in man's last evil days.
The Lamb of God himself opens the Seals, he commands the trumpets to be blown and the bowls poured out?
      He himself heralds the last of the three most significant events in world history.
            Creation, Cross (when the Redeemer pays in full), and the Climax (the Judgement).
                    c.f. birth, marriage and death of man.
Few ever admit that man's rebellion against God deserves punishment, let alone the death penalty.
      My failures don't deserve it anyway! Perhaps a few murders and paedophiles.
Why does Satan hate Gen 1-3 ? It tells of his death sentence for beguiling man to sin.
Why does he hate Rev.? It tells of his final defeat.
      He tries to persuade us that both are full of impossible myths and impenetrable mysteries.
Why does he hate men to know about God's judgement?
      In case they should seek the forgiveness of God, believe Christ's achievement on the Cross, and live. 2 Pe 33-7
Although Christ has already defeated sin and Satan; there will be two more battles yet to be fought.
      Against the Beast and the False Prophet in 1919-21
      And the final defeat of Satan himself in 209,10
What is God's purpose?
Like the Cross, the Tribulation is not an unfortunate accident, a disastrous, unhappy ending of Creation;
      It is the glorious, declared plan of the Sovereign Lord.
What are God's reasons for these last cataclysmic events?
1.  To warn all men of the imminent, just and eternal Judgement. Is 139-13 As Methuselah did in Noah's day.
      But most will stubbornly refuse God's last opportunity to repent. Instead, they curse God. 169,11,21
      Wicked men and even demons are seen to be under the control of Almighty God. 61,3,5,7 1614
      The Sovereign Lord will gather the nations ... and enter into judgement against them ... Joel 32, 15-17 Zech 142
2.  Justice must be done. 41b In the same way as the Son of Man must be lifted up Jn 314 Lu 247
            And you must be born again. Jn 37 And you also must be ready. Lu 1240
      Justice must be seen to be done. Amos 518-27 (Amos saw Assyrian exile; now it is eternal 'exile of fire'.)
      As in the day of Babel, of Sodom, of Babylon; and amazingly also of Calvary!! (When Jesus bore my sin).
      The world cries, "Foul." Saints and angels proclaim, "Hallelujah! Justice!" 165-7 191-8
3.  To end all wickedness and to separate the evil from the righteous for ever.
            Dan 924 Is 358-10 Rev 2127 Is 6517,18
Fulfilment of the promised everlasting Kingdom of God. Ps 89 Is 97
ALL that God has promised has or will be completely fulfilled - the nice and the nasty!
The Tribulation is like John Baptist, who prepared the way for the Lord's first coming.

The Beast and the Harlot of Babylon 13, 171-15

The Beast will have a human form, but possess a totally Satanic nature. 132b
Unbelievers will be astonished by the Beast, and worship him. 178b 133,8
      They are deceived by his lies, his signs, and his grandeur. 1314 2 Thes 29,10 Math 244,11,24
This calls for a mind with wisdom. 179 1318
      A renewed mind that fears God, respects and honours him, and heeds his warning to be ready. Ro 122
His reign will be short - for one hour will receive authority. 1712 Then God will destroy him. Dan 726 825
Jesus, the rock, destroys all the world's great empires and establishes the eternal kingdom of God. Dan 234,35,44,45
The angel explains the 7 heads and 10 horns and the little horn that arises and is most terrifying. 177-14
The 7 heads are 7 hills on which the woman sits. 179
      Rome was built on 7 hills. Refers to Roman empire and probably to Vatican,
            who made many believers martyrs and still maintains a multiplicity of major errors.
They are also 7 kings. 5 have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come;
      but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. 1710,11 Dan 725
The 7 heads are 7 empires (like 4 beasts that Daniel saw. Dan 7)
5 heads have fallen (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia and Greece)
            one is = Imperial Rome (when written).
            one not yet come = Last great world empire (10 nation confederation)
The 7 heads are empires the Harlot has ruled over during the last 3000+ years.
The Beast .. is an 8th king. He belongs to the 7 and is going to his destruction. 1711
The Beast of Rev 13 is an 8th king, with the same nature as the 7.
He destroys 3 of the 10 confederation kings, leaving 7, he thus becomes an 8th.
He is the 'little horn' that arose out of the 4th most terrible beast. Dan 77,8, 19-27
The angel explains the 10 horns.
The 10 horns you saw are 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom,
      but for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast ...
      They will make war against the Lamb. 1712-14
The 10 kings reign at the same moment, at the end for short time - one hour.
Their authority is given to them by the Beast and is thus totally Satanic.
Their one goal is to defeat the King of kings and his followers. Some hope!!
John is shown the punishment of the great prostitute. 171 Her dramatic and rapid fall. 18
First he is shown more of this Harlot. Who is she?
She sits on many waters = many confused, turbulent, world-wide nations. 171b,15 Jer 5113
She committed adultery with kings and the inhabitants of the earth. 172
      Kings ... were intoxicated with her. Stupefied by the money and power she represents. 172
      Much politics today is governed not by national interest, but by the push for a new One World Government.
      She sat on a scarlet beast covered with blasphemous names. 173 131,5,6
      She hated the Lord God and insulted him at every opportunity. Dan 725 812b
      She uses all her skills to entice men to forsake the Living God.
      Most men give her their total embrace. Intoxicated, they fall under her lying tongue.
Her name Mystery Babylon may contain mystery, especially to those blinded and deceived,
      but her nature and objective are here made plain by God to John.
      Babel and Babylon were cities where impudent man shook his fist in the face of Almighty God. Gen 114 
      Proud man still thinks he is "Master of his destiny and captain of his fate". Rubbish! See Is 477-11
She was the Mother, the one who gave birth to all the filth that God hates.
And she was drunk. Not with wine, but with the blood of many martyrs. Currently 450/day!
The EU has a statue of woman riding a beast outside Brussels Council building.


The Grand Finale     18-22      

The Fall of Babylon     1715-18 181-24

The beast and the 10 horns you saw will hate the prostitute.
They will bring her to ruin, leave her naked ... eat her flesh ... and burn her. 1716
Is this surprising when they are all so intimately one with Satan?
      Their nature is to lie, cheat, deceive and hate - so maybe it is not so surprising!
      God has often used the disarray of his enemies so that they defeat each other.
            Midian - Judg 722
            Ammon, Moab, Edom - 2 Ch 20
            Philistine - 1 Sam 1420
            Gog - Ezek 3821 Hag 222 Zech 1413
In Satan's kingdom all men (especially kings) hate to be ruled by anyone.
In God's kingdom the saints delight in rule by the King of kings. Exd 215,6
The fall of Babylon will be dramatic, rapid and deserved. 18 A man reaps what he sows ... Gal 67,8
This Harlot is the home of demons. 182b,3
She boasts that she will never mourn - she sits like a queen. 187b
        Like Babylon prior to 539 BC Ezek 282 Is 477-9 And 'Britannia rules the waves'
Kings and national leaders commit adultery with the Harlot because she makes them rich.189,11,14,19 1 Tim 610
      There are few that have not become rich - not just lecture tours!
      All government economics based on paper money / promises supporting huge nation debts.
The lure of money and power is worldwide. Characterised by:
      Materialism without morality - wealth without wisdom - pleasure without purity - lust without love.
      How foolish it is to trust in riches instead of Jesus Christ.
The Lord Almighty says that the world-wide economic house of cards will collapse in a single hour.
The saints are told to come out of her. 184 Is 4820 Jer 5145 2 Co 617
      Learn to share and to hold all things lightly, endeavour to become free of all debt.
      Compassion is better than grasping; generosity is better than greed. Learn to grow and preserve food.
      Resist the lies of advertising. Be content with what we have. Phil 411 Heb 135
      Peer pressure. What we are, is much more important than what we have.
Merchants and great men will weep and mourn, they have lost all their luxuries. 188,9,11,15,19
      But they do not seek the forgiveness of God for their folly.
The fall of Babylon is a strong antidote to worldliness,
      and a strong motivation for endurance, righteousness and evangelism.
Believers rejoice - they had lost nothing that they valued. Heb 116,35b-40
The multitude in Heaven shout, Hallelujah! 191-10
      This is no half-hearted praise, but a mighty, spontaneous roar!
      At last, the great prostitute is destroyed and all her wickedness.
      'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Now he does. Is 612b Ro 1219
      This is the surprising basis of the 'Hallelujah Chorus' in Handel's Messiah.

The King of Kings Triumphs     1911-21

Jesus is here called:
Faithful and True. 1911
      The God of truth here is not so much the God who reveals the truth,
            but as God who is true (faithful) to his eternal covenant. 314
                    Deut 78,9 Ps 14513 Ps 1466 1 Jn 19 Ps 9610-13
      He promised to overthrow all evil and to bring in an everlasting Kingdom. Now he does so.
The Word of God . 1913 Jn 11,14
      Christ's sword is the word he speaks. Is 114
      He commands, and it happens. Jn 1143 Mk 439 Lu 748 Mk 21-12 Rev 61-8
      At the Creation he spoke the world into being. Heb 113 Ps 336,9 Now he 'speaks' again!
The King of kings and Lord of Lords. 1916
      All vestige of earth's proud empires are blown away. Dan 234,35, 44,45
      No mere man, no nuclear 'super-power' can stand against Jesus Christ and expect to win.
He rides to war on a white horse. c.f. when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. (Not the same as 62)
      God is not a pacifist; though many would try to make him so. 1911
Christ is justifiably angry, very angry !! 1915b 1417-20 Why?
      The gross wickedness of men, their blasphemy, and their attack upon the chosen people Israel.
The Beast and the enticed kings have the audacity to fight the King of kings.
      Naturally, they and their deceived followers lose, and are killed. 1919-21
Men say, "Technology will triumph." Wrong! Jesus Christ will triumph.
Jesus makes it very clear that while the 'Lake of fire' may be symbolic,
      the unending torment of hell is literal. It is a just judgement.
            And what I deserve, but from which the grace and kindness of Christ, he rescues me.

The King of Kings Triumphs - again! 207-15

God has chosen to tell us only a little about life under his rule in the Millennium.
      Is 22-4 Is 35 Ezek 471-12 Zech 148-21 Ezek 3411-31 Jer 311-26
      He reveals that there will be honest repentance, real worship of the Lord,
            true teaching of the Word of the Lord, a healing of the nations,
            no poverty or injustice, no wickedness or deceit,
            and no wastage of men or resources on war - currently £500 Billion/year!
            Israel will return, repent and be honoured as never before.
A return to life on earth similar to what it was before the fall?
But in the wisdom of God, at the end of the Millennium, Satan is released.
      True to character, he again deceives a vast army of nations into waging war against Jerusalem.
            Gog/Magog battle - also shown to Ezekiel. Ezek 38,39
The vital truth of Rev 207-15 (at the end of the 1000 years) is that:
      God condemns Satan to the lake of fire for ever.
      There he joins the Beast and the False Prophet,
            who were sent there at the end of the Tribulation before the Millennium.
      Rev 1920 and 2010 definitely separate these two events.
Also all those whose names are not written in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire. 2015
      It is a fearsome prospect; denied by the world and even by some of the 'well-meaning' Church.
      God makes it clear that evil and unredeemed men can never enter heaven.
The dead (in Christ) are 'judged' according to what they had done. 1 Co 311-15
      This judgement is not to determine our salvation. Ro 5-8 Heb 9,10 etc
The Book of Life determines our destiny, the 'other books' determine our reward.


The New Heaven and the New Earth     21,22      

The new heaven and the new earth replace the first earth.   Is 6517 6622
      It is clearly of a different order, with new physical laws.   214
The Bride appears. Now God dwells with his people for ever.   213
Marriage of the Lamb is not described. Rev 196-8 212
Four stages in a Jewish wedding:
1. The Arrangement. Father of Bridegroom pays the Bride's family the agreed price.
          Sometimes many years earlier.   Eph 525-27
2. The Fetching of the Bride. Bridegroom goes to bring the Bride to his home.
3. Wedding Ceremony. The Betrothed becomes the wife of the Bridegroom.
4. Marriage Feast. A week of rejoicing.   Rev 199   219

This completes the story of the world, which begins and ends with:
      The Tree of Life   (in between is another 'Tree' - the Cross)
      A marriage
      Satan's entry and exit   Gen 31   Rev 2010
      God Creating the old heaven and earth and the new.   Gen 1,2   Rev 21,22
      Jesus is rightly called the Alpha and the Omega   Rev 216   2213 18
            He is the Root.   2216   The sole origin of life and salvation.
                  the Offspring of David.   Glad to be Jewish and fulfill his promises.
                  the bright   Morning Star.
            Jesus is   Prophet, Priest and King for ever.

God reveals to John much about this new and eternal Kingdom.
      Though much must remain a mystery,
          what is revealed fills us with great longing and expectation.
God has chosen to reveal all that matters about the future - and what a future!
      It is offered to all who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb.   Rev 2214 714
      The invitation is to whoever is thirsty.   2217   Is 551,7,8
      There is no evil, nothing and no one impure or sinful.   Rev  218,27   2215   Is 358-10
"The time is near. Behold, I am coming soon."   Rev 227,10,12,20  
      The Spirit and the Bride are eager, "Come", they say, Come quickly!   Maranatha!
Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.   227
Do not seal up the words of prophecy in this book, because the time is near.   2210 c.f. Dan 129
      They needed to know them then. And we need to know them even more.
      Why are these prophecies so neglected and misunderstood?
      Very few have any clew about what God is about to do.

Final warning - do not add, take away or change any words from this book.   2218,19
      Many have tried to do each of these.
      Pharisees added many laws;   Sadducees ignored many.
      Today many add false hope and church tradition; while others are careless or too busy.

In Heaven:

The following table summerises the description of heaven in Rev 21,22

Heaven is promised only to those who believe that Jesus Christ came
      and died on a cross to pay the price for my sin,
      not as a martyr, but as the necessary Saviour and Redeemer.
Rising again in triumph over sin, Satan and death, he shares with us his resurrection life for ever.
He remains our effective Advocate in heaven.   Heb 725 924   1 Tim 25

What there IS in the Kingdom of Heaven
New 211, 5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
Nothing will ever happen again to cause God or men to grieve.
The Kingdom will remain new; it will never tarnish or become stale or corrupt.
Holy 212, 10, 27   I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God ...
All men will not only desire to be holy;   but we will be holy.
What a joy this will be to God, and to the redeemed.
Bride 212, 9 ... prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
Our permanent relationship with God will be closer and better
than even the best marriage here on this earth.
Sons with God 213, 7 Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them ...
And I will be his God and he will be my son.

What greater privilege can man seek than to live with Almighty God, and to be his children.
Glory 2111 The Holy City, Jerusalem, shone with the glory of God.
The Creator of the world and the Saviour of men will receive his rightful glory.
Man will never build for his own selfish glory again.
Pure, Honest 2121 The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
Valuable, untarnished, clear and honest through and through. Like Nathaniel, no guile, no pretence.
King 223 The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and his servants will serve him.
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
"The King of the Jews" will truly be king over all the earth.
He will not be a remote, never to be spoken to, or touched, King!
Much more and much better than an occasional walkabout.
His rule will be just and wise. No will ever criticise any of his decisions or laws.
Redeemed 2214 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life                    
and may go through the gates into the city.
Only the blood of Christ can remove the stain of my sin.
My Redeemer has done what is impossible for me to do.
He has forgiven all my sin, and has washed me thoroughly clean.
Invited 2217 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come;
and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
The case for my being allowed to enter is only successful
      because Jesus is the Advocate who pleads on my behalf.
And he says, "Come!"   His giving and invitation is so generous and undeserved.   Is 551-3   431
Word 226 The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true."
God is consistently true and faithful to his Word.
His Word will never fade or pass away. Is 408

What there ISN'T in the Kingdom of Heaven
No Sea
No Sin
No Confusion
211 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth ... there was no longer any sea
Harmony and peace will replace confusion, sin and war. Is 5720
Note - The Beast arose out of the sea; he cannot do so again.   Rev 131
No longer need ceremonial cleansing in the temple. 1 Kg 723
The River of Life flows into 'the sea'; the Dead Sea, that now lives.   Ezek 478-11
No Loneliness 213 Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
With God always so evident and his people in permanent harmony, we shall never feel alone.
No Tears
No Death
No Pain
214 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order has passed away.
Our hearts will no longer have any cause to ache.
Gone for ever will be all sorrow, grief, despair and suffering.
No Thirst 216 To the thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
No longings will be left unfulfilled. There will be no needs to plead for, for others or for ourselves.  
No liars
No Impure
No Unbelievers
No Pretence
218, 27
But to the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murders, the sexually immoral,
those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -
their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur.
Nothing impure ... or deceitful, no lies, spin or pretence,
no ‘economy of the truth'.
The struggle is over; even our thoughts will always be righteous.
Nothing will cause any man anguish, injustice, grief or pain.
No greed, no self-indulgence, no deceit, no idolatry.
Believers will live with confidence, without fear or presumption.
2112-14 Twelve gates ... 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.
The Jews will not be persecuted, but honoured. Also Eph 220
No Poverty
No Thieves
No money
The city was made of pure gold, as pure as glass.
The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.
No more poverty or grinding injustice will never be seen again.
No cruel taskmasters or weary slaves without hope.
All men will gladly share all things. No one will lack anything.
No debts and no mortgages.
No Sacrifices 2122 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Man will no longer try to win God's approval or blessing.
Jesus has made the one perfect and sufficient offering necessary for our salvation.
No Night

No Darkness

2123, 25 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the Lamb is its lamp. ... There will be no night there.
No more fear or doubt. No more stumbling or wrong decisions.
Men will love light instead of darkness. No secrets or intrigue in heaven.
No War
No Enemies
2125 On no day will its gates ever be shut.
The aggression of men will be ended, so will the lust for power.
There will be no hatred and no one will despise another; nor covet what he possesses.
No Hunger 222 On each side of the river stood the tree of life,
bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
A variety of food will be provided for all. No one will ever starve. (No obesity either)
No Sickness 222 And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
No debilitating disease or pain. No one will grow old and frail or even tired.
No ethnic distrust or animosity or religious differences; only real forgiveness and co-operation.
No Sin
No Temptation
223 No longer will there be any curse.
The curse on man for his wilful, determined sin will be lifted.
Man will not have even the slightest inclination to disobey God.
No End 225b The Lord God will reign for ever.
This new Kingdom of God is eternal and uninterrupted.

Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy,
and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it,
because the time is near.     Rev 13