Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Middle East in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong

THE MIDDLE EAST is seething with crisis after crisis. Few people realize the true significance of this turmoil. They seem to have no conception of the danger it threatens — eventual danger to the whole world.

It's time we woke up to the facts! It's time we knew what prophecy reveals. It's time we knew the background — the vital factors that have led up to this world danger — the significance of this series of crises!

There is only one way to know the answer. The God who made the world — who makes and unmakes nations — he reveals the future before it happens so we can know and take warning.

The time has now come to reveal a most amazing prophecy!

Unveiling the Future!

What is the real significance of this seething unrest? To understand it, we must study a marvelous prophecy, never before understood — a prophecy that has been closed and sealed until now — a prophecy that foretold, 2,500 years ago, this very series of crises and the war that shall finally draw in all the nations of the world!

It is one of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible. It is most specific, describing historical events, up to the present, in more detail than any other prophecy. It is the longest prophecy in the Bible. It is found in Daniel, chapter 11. It describes the impending war!

The prelude is found in the 10th chapter of the book of Daniel. The prophecy came to Daniel in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, king of the Persian Empire (Dan. 10:1). A "man," apparently the archangel Gabriel (Dan. 9:21), appears before Daniel, to make him understand what shall befall God's people in these present "latter days" (10:14).

The "King of the North" and the "King of the South"

The first verse of the 11th chapter is a continuation from the last verse of the 10th chapter. The angel says to Daniel, "Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will" (Dan. 11:2-3).

Actually there were 12 more kings in the Persian Empire, but only the first four following Cyrus were of importance for the purpose of this prophecy. They were Cambyses, pseudo-Smerdis, Darius and Xerxes. It was the last, or Xerxes, who was the richest of all and stirred up war with Greece.

Then King Philip of Macedonia planned a great war to conquer the Persian Empire, with an army made up mostly of Grecians. He died before the plans were completed. But his son, Alexander the Great, took over his plans, and invaded Persia. He met the Persian army at the Battle of Issus, 333 B.C. (Dan. 8:2, 5-6). Then he swept down into Egypt, and then to a final crushing defeat of the Persian Empire at the Battle of Arbella, 331 B.C., after which Alexander marched on a conquest clear to India, sweeping all before him.

Notice now verse 4 of the prophecy: "And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those."

How marvelously — how accurately — that came to pass. We quote from one of the authoritative English-language histories published in the last century, A Manual of Ancient History (Student Series) by Rawlinson: "Cut off unexpectedly in the vigor of early manhood [the 33rd year of his age, June, 323 B.C.], he [Alexander] left no inheritor, either of his power or of his projects" (p. 237). The Empire was left leaderless and in confusion, but out of this emerged, by the year 301 B.C., four divisions, just as prophesied, as a result of a division of the Empire into four divisions by Alexander's generals. They were:

1. Ptolemy (Soter), ruling Egypt, part of Syria and Judea.

2. Seleucus (Nicator), ruling Syria, Babylonia and territory east to India.

3. Lysimachus, ruling Asia Minor.

4. Cassander, ruling Greece and Macedonia.

Thus was the prophecy of verse 4 fulfilled to the letter.

Now notice what follows. From here the prophecy foretells the activities only of two of these four divisions: Egypt, called "king of the south," because it is south of Jerusalem; and the Syrian kingdom, the king of the north, just north of Judea. It is because the Holy Land passed back and forth between those two divisions, and because their different wars were principally over possession of Judea, that the prophecy is concerned with them. Here is verse 5:

"And the king of the south [Egypt] shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion." In history, we learn that the original Ptolemy I, called Soter, became strong and powerful, developing Egypt beyond the greatest dreams of Alexander. One of his princes, or generals, Seleucus Nicator, also became strong and powerful. And, in 312 B.C., taking advantage of Ptolemy's being tied up in a war, he established himself in Syria, and assumed the diadem as king.

Verse 6 says, "And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement [margin, "rights" or "equitable conditions," or "marriage union"]: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times."

Fulfilled to the Letter!

At the end of 50 years, this occurred exactly as described!

Syria's ruler, the king of the north, at this time was Antiochus II, called Theos. His wife was named Laodice. And, says Rawlinson's Ancient History, page 251, "Her influence ... engaged him in a war with Ptolemy Philadelphus [king of the south], B.C. 260, which is terminated, B.C. 252, by a marriage between Antiochus and Bernice, Ptolemy's daughter."

The prophecy says "he that begat her" shall be given up. Also that she shall not retain the power of the arm, neither shall the king of the north, whom she married, stand. All three are to come to their end. Notice how accurately this came to pass.

Says Rawlinson's History, pages 251 and 252: "On the death of Philadelphus [he that begat her], B.C. 247, Antiochus repudiated Bernice, and took back his former wife, Laodice, who, however, doubtful of his constancy, murdered him to secure the throne for her son Seleucus (II) B.C. 246 ... Bernice ... had been put to death by Laodice."

Nowhere in all the Bible is there so literal a prophecy, giving so many details of future history. And to read an ancient history of these kingdoms is simply to see unfolded before your eyes, step by step, verse by verse, this marvelous prophecy. There can be no doubt of its right application!

The Holy Land Changes Hands

Next let us notice verse 7: "But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate [margin, "in his office"], which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail."

"Out of a branch," or "shoot," of her roots. Her parents were her roots. Hence, this must be her brother, who next should occupy the throne of king of the south and fulfill this prophecy. Now listen to this accurate fulfillment, quoted word for word from the same page of Rawlinson's work (p. 252):

"Ptolemy Euergetes [the III, eldest son of Philadelphus (p. 272) and therefore Bernice's brother, a branch of her roots] invaded Syria, B.C. 245, to avenge the murder of his sister, Bernice ... .In the war which followed, he carried everything before him."

The eighth verse of Daniel 11 says this king of the south would carry captives and vessels of silver and gold into Egypt, and continue to reign more years than the king of the north, who at that time was Seleucus II, and verse 9 says he shall return into Egypt. As verse 7 said he should "enter into the fortress of the king of the north," Ptolemy III did seize the fortress of Syria, Seleucia, the port of Antioch, capital of the kingdom! Then he carried back to Egypt immense booty and 2,500 molten images and idolatrous vessels which, in 526 B.C. Cambyses had carried away from Egypt. He continued to rule until 222 B.C., while the king of the north, Seleucus II, died in 226 B.C.

When he died, his two sons took over the kingdom of the north; first Seleucus III, 226-223 B.C., who ruled only three years, and then his brother Antiochus III, called "the Great," 223-187 B.C. Both of these two sons of Seleucus II assembled immense forces to war against Egypt, avenge their father, and recover their port and fortress, Seleucia.

And this was accurately prophesied in verse 10: "But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return and be stirred up [margin, "be stirred up again"], even to his fortress."

"And," continues verse 11, "the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand."

In fulfillment of the latter part of verse 10, Antiochus the Great, after 27 years, recovered his fortress, Seleucia, and he also conquered the territory of Syria, as far as Gaza, including Judea. But the young Egyptian king, now Ptolemy IV (Philopater), was roused, and with an army of 20,000 inflicted severe defeat on Antiochus the Great; and fulfilling verse 12, he killed tens of thousands and again annexed Judea to Egypt. But he was not strengthened, for he made a rash and speedy peace with Antiochus, and returned to dissipation, throwing away the fruits of victory. Says verse 12, "And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it."

"For," as verse 13 continues, "the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches." It was "after certain years," or 12 years later, 205 B.C., that Ptolemy Philopator died, leaving his throne to an infant son, Ptolemy Epiphanes. Then Antiochus assembled a greater army, and won great victories.

He then made a treaty allying Philip of Macedonia with him, and others, against Egypt, and they wrested Phoenicia and southern Syria from the king of the south. In this they were assisted by some of the Jews. Josephus' Jewish history says many Jews helped Antiochus. But notice how accurately Almighty God had foretold this, hundreds of years before it happened! —

"And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall" (v. 14).

Read It in Your Own Bible!

To save space, the reader is asked from this point to read each verse of the prophecy from his own Bible, thus saving us reprinting the prophecy in full here. We give here only the facts in history.

Verses 15-16 — "the glorious land," of course, refers to Judea, the Holy Land. Antiochus the Great besieged and took Sidon from Egypt, ruined the interests of Egypt in Judea at the Battle of Mount Panium, 198 B.C., and then Antiochus took possession of Judea.

Verse 17 — "upright ones" (see margin) in Hebrew means "equal conditions, or marriage," but the one he marries will not stand on his side. In 198 B.C., Antiochus arranged a marriage between his daughter, Cleopatra (not the Cleopatra of 31 B.C. in Egypt) and young Ptolemy Epiphanes, king of the south, by which he hoped subtly to gain complete possession of Egypt; but the plan failed.

Says Rawlinson, page 254, "Coele-Syria and Palestine promised as a dowry, but not delivered." Cleopatra did not truly stand on the side of Antiochus, for it was only a trick to gain possession of Egypt.

Verse 18 — and so Antiochus turned his attention in another direction and tried to conquer, 197 to 196 B.C., the islands and coasts of Asia Minor. But the Roman general, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, utterly defeated him at the Battle of Magnesia, 190 B.C.

Verse 19 — Antiochus next turned his attention to the fortresses of his own land, in the east and west. But, attempting to recruit his dissipated wealth by the plunder of the Oriental Temple of Belus, in Elymais, he was killed, 187 B.C.

Verse 20 — Seleucus IV Philopator (187-176), his son, in an effort to raise money, sent a tax collector, Heliodorus, through Judea. But he reigned only 11 years, when Heliodorus poisoned him.

Verse 21 — he left no heir. But his brother, a younger son of Antiochus the Great, named Epiphanes (Antiochus IV), a contemptible reprobate, came by surprise and through flattery took the kingdom. To his aid came his assistant, Eumenes. Rawlinson says, page 255, "Antiochus [Epiphanes], assisted by Eumenes, drives out Heliodorus, and obtains the throne, B.C. 176. He astonishes his subjects by an affectation of Roman manners" and "good-natured profuseness [flattery]."

Antiochus Epiphanes

Verse 22 — "the prince of the covenant" does not refer to Christ. This was the attempt of Antiochus to replace the Jewish high priest by another who would be subservient to him.

Verses 23-24 — although only a few were with him at first, yet by this "Roman manner," by deceit and flattery, he crept into power and prospered. He also invaded Galilee and Lower Egypt. His fathers, the former kings of Syria, had favored the Jews, but says Rawlinson, page 255, they "were driven to desperation by the mad project of this self-willed monarch."

Verse 25 — Rawlinson, pages 255-256, says, "Threatened with war by the ministers of Ptolemy Philometor [now king of the south], who claim Coele-Syria and Palestine as the dowry of Cleopatra, the late queen-mother, Antiochus marches against Egypt ... B.C. 171" (pp. 277-278). But he was met by his nephew, Ptolemy Philometor, king of the south, with another immense army. But the Egyptian king was defeated through the treachery of his own officers and was outwitted by Antiochus.

Verses 26-27 — continuing in Rawlinson, page 278: "After his victory at Pelusium, Antiochus advanced to Memphis, and having obtained possession of the young king's person [Ptolemy Philometor, king of the south], endeavored to use him as a tool for effecting the entire reduction of the country." In 174 B.C., the uncle of the king of the south sat at a banquet. Antiochus pretended to ally himself with the young Ptolemy, against his brother, Euergetes II, but each was trying to deceive the other.

The Abomination of Desolation

Verse 28 — in 168 B.C., returning from Egypt with great plunder, Antiochus set himself against the Jews, massacred many, and then returned to Antioch with golden vessels from the Temple at Jerusalem.

Verse 29 — the same year, he again invaded Egypt, but with none of his former success, because Philometor, king of the south, got help from Rome.

Verse 30 — the Roman fleet came against Antiochus, he was forced to surrender to the terms of Popillius, commander of the Roman fleet, and retire from Egypt and restore Cyprus to Egypt. Returning through Judea, smarting under the defeat, he vented his exasperation against the Jews, and extended special favors to those Jews who would turn from their religion.

Verse 31 — then, 167 B.C., the next year, came the climax of the horror. Antiochus sent troops to the Holy Land, who desecrated the Temple and sanctuary, abolished the daily sacrifice (see also Daniel 8:11, 24) and (Kislev 15, Hebrew calendar) placed the abomination — an image — on the altar in the Temple precincts, making it desolate (Rawlinson, p. 255). Many who claim to teach the Bible try to apply the prophecy of this verse to Moslems in the 7th century A.D., building the Dome of the Rock on the supposed site of the ancient Temple at Jerusalem! But every verse of this prophecy, step by step, verse by verse, unfolded in actual history, just as here recounted, so there can be not the slightest shadow of doubt as to this abomination that "maketh desolate" — it was an idol set up in 167 B.C., by Antiochus Epiphanes.

The Prophecy Comes to Christ and the Apostles

Verse 32 — Antiochus tried to end the religion of the Jews. He took away the daily sacrifice, forbade the ministration at the Temple. He perverted by flatteries the Jews who were willing to forsake their religion.

But — right here, the prophecy cuts off from the continuation of events in the history of those ancient north and south kingdoms. Up to this point, the prophecy was unfolded, step by step, in the actual history of the northern kingdom of the Seleucidae, or Syria, and the southern kingdom of Egypt. But, say most commentaries, all accurate details seem suddenly to stop short with this verse.

Now let us notice verse 32 in detail, and particularly the last part:

"And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries." This, Antiochus Epiphanes did do. But now notice the last part of the verse: "but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."

So our question now is, when, beginning with, and following, 167 B.C., did people begin to know God, and to be spiritually strong, and to do exploits in the Lord's service? The answer is, at the time of the Maccabees, beginning in 166 B.C., and, two centuries later, at the first appearing of Jesus Christ and in the days of the apostles!

Verse 33 — "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days."

Jesus and the apostles did instruct many. But Jesus was put to death, and history indicates that all the early apostles were martyred, except John. And this continued, many days, even into the Middle Ages, when millions were martyred for their faith.

Verse 34 — "Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And [verse 35] some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed."

Here is described in general the whole course of God's people, from the days of Christ to the present. Compare with such passages as Rev. 12:6, 11, 13-17. And notice the vision carries on down to this present time of the end.

Verse 36 — The king of the north — who is he, now, in the early and middle New Testament times, to which our prophecy has come? In 65 B.C., Syria was swallowed up by the Roman Empire, and became a Roman province. The Roman emperor now controlled Judea, and therefore the king of the north, here referred to, is, at this time, the emperor of the Roman Empire. This verse says he should do according to his will, and he did — exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and he did; for the Roman emperors required all to worship them and sacrifice to them, as a god. He was as a god. He was to speak against the true God, and he did and persecuted all Christians.

Verse 37 — his fathers had worshiped idols, but the Roman emperors set themselves up as gods.

Verse 38 — the Roman emperors honored the god of forces, or (margin) munitions, and developed the greatest war-making power the world ever knew. "And a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things." After setting themselves up as gods, before A.D. 476, the emperors who followed, beginning with Justinian, A.D. 554, began to honor with gold, silver and power a god in a high religious office never known to their fathers. (Compare this prophecy of Daniel with Revelation 17:4, 5, and 18:3, 16.)

Verse 39 — the emperors did acknowledge the supremacy of religion, increased it with material glory and caused it to rule over many.

Prophecy Skips to Present

Now we come to the very present century.

Verse 40 — "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him ...." Who is today the "king of the south"? It cannot be the king of Egypt, for in 31 B.C. Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, swallowed up by the king of the north. Today Egypt is a republic ruled by native Arabs. It has no king of its own.

But, in the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes (verse 7), 247-222 B.C., Egypt annexed part of Ethiopia, immediately south of Egypt (Rawlinson, pp. 272, 273). Since that time, the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica says (article "Ethiopia") Egypt and Ethiopia were two or three times under the same government. Thus, the two were as one land. And the only portion of that land of the "king of the south" that remained independent until the 20th century is Ethiopia!

Ethiopia, the King of the South

Ethiopia was the only country in all East Africa that continued independent, and had a government and kingdom dating back before the Roman Empire. It was the southern part of the kingdom of the south. So it is the only possible government that could be the king of the south.

At the time of the end — our time — this king of the south was to push at the king of the north, now at Rome!

In 1895 King Menelik, of Ethiopia, sent an army of 9,000 to 10,000 men against General Baratieri's Italian army.

North of Ethiopia was Eritrea, belonging to Italy. And southeast was Italian Somaliland.

In 1896 General Baratieri with 13,000 men tried to defend Eritrea against the Ethiopians. They lost 4,600 whites and 3,000 native troops, and more than 3,500 were taken prisoner.

In a later engagement the Italians were cut to pieces because of their inexperience in fighting in mountainous country and because they were greatly outnumbered. This defeat was disastrous to Italian expansion in Africa.

Ever since, Italy demanded revenge! In 1927 Mussolini set the time, at just 40 years from that defeat, or 1935, when he would be ready "finally to make our voice heard, and see our rights recognized!"

1935 came. The hour struck! Mussolini attacked! Now notice verse 40: "... and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over."

A whirlwind comes in the air, sweeping all before it. Mussolini did send a great air force into Africa! Also many modern "chariots" — trucks, tanks, etc. — and ships, loaded with soldiers. More than 100,000 sailed to Ethiopia.

And, notice it, Mussolini's forces were to pass over — in the air! It is at this precise point in this astounding prophecy that Mussolini's struggle in Ethiopia and in World War II ended. Mussolini did not finish the prophecy. There is yet another leader to arise in Europe! Notice what will next happen!

Verse 41 — "He shall enter also into the glorious land ... " — the Holy Land. This is yet to be fulfilled.

When the coming revival of the Roman Empire takes the Holy Land, then the nations will be plunged into the initial phase of the great, last and final crisis at the close of this age! Other prophecies reveal that this revival of the Roman Empire will bring into subjection the U.S. and Britain! (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

"And," continues verse 41, "many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon" — the modern land of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The coming dictator will unite many others with him — 10 in all (Rev. 17:12) — reviving the ancient Roman Empire.

Verse 42 says Egypt shall not escape, proving Egypt is not now the "king of the south."

Verse 43 says the Libyans and Ethiopians (observe that after its conquest by Mussolini, Ethiopia is not again referred to as the king of the south) shall be at his steps — and he will then control them. Italy lost control of Libya and Ethiopia after the war.

Verse 44 — but news out of the east and out of the north — Russia and the Orient — shall trouble the revived Roman Empire. Russia will enter the war!

Verse 45 — the coming Roman Empire shall establish its palace, as capital of the revived Roman Empire, and eventually its religious headquarters, at Jerusalem! Zechariah 14:2 says the city shall be taken! "Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him"! This language signifies the end of the "beast" and the "false prophet" at the hand of God! You will find this end described in Revelation 19:19-20 and Zechariah 14:12.

And now what is the time of this end, at the close of this marvelous prophecy? The next verse, Daniel 12:1, says at the time of the resurrection of the just — at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

This prophecy begins with the kingdoms of Syria and Egypt, soon after the death of Alexander the Great — 2,300 years ago. But it ends at the time of the resurrection and the Second Coming of Christ to bring peace at last to the region — and to the entire world! It is so plain, there can be no doubt of its right application!

Are you ready for that event? It is fast approaching. Now is the time to get ready, for Jesus said, "Be ye also ready"!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Is Germany in Danger of Backsliding?

Germany's "conversion" from Nazism to democracy was forced on it by the victors of WWII.

We left it up to the Germans to "deNazify" their country! Now Germany appears to be backsliding as the Nazi German spirit is beginning to stir again, getting ready to...

Is Germany in Danger of Backsliding?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pope John Paul II Was No Saint

Pope John Paul II Was No Saint
By David Ben-Ariel

Beware Roman wolves in sheep's clothing!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lazarus and the Rich Man

by Herbert W. Armstrong
1953, 1971, 1973 edition

Many have asked for the true explanation of the "rich man and Lazarus." Here is what the Bible really says!

DO SAVED mothers up in heaven see the writhing and hear the shrieks of their own lost children down in hell?
Stop and think! Would you really want to spend eternity in a heaven where you would be forced to gaze constantly upon your own loved ones who were lost, hearing them frantically screaming to you for help you would be unable to give, watching incessantly their indescribable agony, as they are on fire -- burning to death -- yet never really burning up? Would you be happy?
Yet that is exactly the kind of "heaven" that is being pictured by many religionists. Many of them rely more on Jesus' account of Lazarus and the rich man than any other scripture to support their teaching that the "saved" go instantly, at death, to heaven while the lost leave their bodies and are plunged into an ever burning inferno of eternal torture.

What the Bible Says

Those who deny that anyone goes to heaven or to hell at the instant of death maintain the account of Lazarus and the rich man is merely a parable. But the "immortal soul" advocates insist this is not a parable. Jesus was stating facts that had happened, they argue.
So let's pretend this was not a parable. Let's take it literally.
Jesus surely meant exactly what He said. But even then He did not say what is popularly believed!
Jesus said, "There was a certain rich man." He said that this particular rich man "was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day." He really lived in luxury and splendor! (Luke 16:19.)
Also, Jesus said, "There was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores" (verses 20-21).
Yes, there were many such beggars in Judaea when Jesus lived there.
Next Jesus described what happened to them.
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried" (verse 22). They both died!
That is exactly what Jesus said. Now read that again. Did Jesus say the beggar went to heaven?
He certainly did not! He said the beggar "was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom."

Did the Beggar Go to Heaven?

Now what is a "bosom"? If you can find what a "bosom" is -- and in this case Abraham's bosom -- you will know where the beggar was taken.
Look in your dictionary. A "bosom" is the breast of a human being, with the arms as an enclosure; a loving embrace by the arms of one person about another; an intimate relationship.
So Lazarus was carried into an intimate relationship with Abraham.
Lazarus here is pictured as a person, perhaps even a Gentile, who received salvation. Do Gentiles, upon being converted and becoming Christ's, enter into any intimate relationship to Abraham?
They certainly do! To the Gentile born Galatians, the scriptures written by Paul say definitely: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed [children], and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29).
Through Christ they become the children of Abraham. Through faith we all become "the children of Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). That is an intimate relationship with Abraham. That is being taken into Abraham's bosom! Now Abraham is an heir of God. God gave Abraham a promise. Notice (Gal. 3:29), those who through Christ become Abraham's children are heirs -- but heirs according to the promise God made to Abraham.

The Promise Was Not Heaven

Now what did God promise Abraham? To what promise was this beggar now an heir? Did God promise Abraham and his children heaven? Let's not put any interpretation upon the sacred Word of God. No scripture is of any private interpretation -- it is interpreted by other scriptures. It ought not to be interpreted by man.
To learn what God promised Abraham, we must turn back to Genesis 12.
"And Abram took Sarai his wife ... and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came .... And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land" (Gen. 12:5-7).
The land of Canaan is on this earth, not up in heaven. This beggar through Christ became "Abraham's seed" -- in the intimate
relationship of one of Abraham's children. Then God included this beggar when He said: "Unto thy seed will I give THIS LAND.
Again, later, God promised Abraham: "For all the LAND which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed FOREVER (Gen. 13:15).
Again, still later: "In the same day the Eternal made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. 15:18). Here God wrote into the agreement, or the title to the property, the very boundary line of the property. Of course the expression "thy seed" refers in particular to Christ, but since this beggar was Christ's, he also was "Abraham's seed, and heir according to the promise."
The promise was not heaven. The promise was the land of Canaan, on this earth. It was forever, so the promise included eternal life, and eternal inheritance (Hub. 9:15). The promise, then, was eternal life on this earth!

Only an Heir!

Now notice an important point. The beggar was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom -- that is, by Bible explanation, he became one of Abraham's children, and therefore he became an heir to the land on this earth and eternal life.
The next question is, when was this beggar to inherit -- to come into possession of -- eternal life in the promised land? Jesus, in telling about Lazarus and the rich man, did not cover that point.
He only told what happened, not when. We must find the answer, not in human imagination or the false teaching of man, but in the Bible!
The son who is heir to his father's property cannot come into possession of it before his father inherits it. This beggar, carried into the intimate relationship of a son of Abraham, could not inherit either eternal life, or this land, prior to the time his father Abraham received these promises.
When, then, did Abraham actually receive these promises? The startling answer of Scripture is -- he didn't! He has not, even yet in our day, inherited these promises!

WHEN We Inherit the Promises

Scripture reveals the answer through the inspired speech of the very first Christian martyr, Stephen, who was stoned to death for these very words. "And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham ... and said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans ... into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it ... yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him"
(Acts 7:2-5). Again this amazing fact is stated in the faith chapter Hebrews 11: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed .... By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise .... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Heb. 11:8-13).
Abraham died, but has not to this day inherited the promises!
Abraham died, and was still dead, at the time of Christ's earthly ministry. We read in John 8:52, "Abraham is dead." At that time -- centuries after he died -- Abraham was not living on earth or in heaven or anywhere! He is still dead today. When, then, is he to inherit the promises?
At the time of the resurrection of the just, of course! The Kingdom of God is the government to be set up at Jerusalem to rule all nations after the second coming of Christ.
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven ... and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (I Thes. 4:16). Human mortals, in Christ, living and dead, receive eternal life-immortality -- the promises God made to Abraham -- at Christ's second coming. That is when they shall put on immortality. "Flesh and blood [human mortals] cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither death corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead [including Abraham and the beggar] shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"
(I Cor. 15:50-53).
Again, notice when Abraham and all his children co-heirs are finally to inherit the promises -- the Kingdom of God, on this earth:
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him" -- notice, this is the second coming of Christ -- "then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory .... Then" -- and not until then -- "shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:31-34).
Jesus said Abraham would receive the promises, including eternal life, through the resurrection: "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by (God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matt. 22:31-32). Jesus did not say Abraham was then
living. Yet the things God has promised are so certain they may be counted as if already accomplished. Abraham, as shown above by Scripture, was and still is dead. But Jesus spoke this about Abraham "as touching the resurrection of the dead." Abraham will be resurrected.
Jesus told one particular group they would see Abraham in the Kingdom (Luke 13:28), because Abraham, now dead, will then be resurrected.

Carried by Angels

Now again let's get back to what Jesus said about Lazarus in Luke.
Jesus said this beggar died. So, like Abraham, he is still dead.
But after Lazarus died, Jesus said he "was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." We now know that where he was carried was not up to heaven, but into the status of a son and heir of Abraham, to inherit the land on this earth and eternal life upon it at the time his father Abraham comes into his inheritance -- at the time of the resurrection.
But notice, Lazarus is to be carried there by the angels!
When do the angels come down from heaven? In Matthew 25:31, quoted above, we saw that it was at the second coming of Christ -- at the time of the resurrection.
Again, Scripture reveals: Christ shall "send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds" out of their graves in a resurrection (Matt. 24:31). The time when the angels carry Lazarus and the saints into sharing the inheritance with Abraham -- into Abraham's bosom -- is the time of the resurrection. Lazarus is to be resurrected and carried by the angels through the air to meet Christ at His return, and to be with Abraham in the intimate relationship of father and son! Yes, how plain! Lazarus will then enjoy the fond embrace of his father through Christ, Abraham -- both then resurrected and living forevermore in the promised land, then inherited!
There is no doubt as to how the Bible uses the word "bosom."
Turn to Isaiah 40:11. Here we find God will care for His people as a shepherd does his sheep, carrying them "in His bosom" Jesus was "in the bosom" of the Father (John 1:18), enjoying the Father's blessings and close relationship. Moses carried the children of Israel in his bosom (Num. 11:12). To be in one's bosom is to have that one's love and protection, and share his blessings and inheritance. So it will be at the resurrection.

The Fate of the Rich Man

Now let's see what happened to the rich man -- and when.
Jesus said of him: "... The rich man also died, and was buried" (Luke 16:22). Jesus did not say the rich man was taken immediately at that time to an eternally burning hell. He did not say the body was buried but that the rich man himself was plunged immediately into a burning hell. He said the rich man died -- and the rich man, himself, was buried.
Now one would hardly say that the act of throwing a person into that imaginary burning cauldron luridly described as hell was a burying of the person, would he? One is not buried unless he is covered up.
People are buried in a grave, and covered with earth. But the imaginary hell invented by some is never pictured as a place of burial. This rich man died and was buried. He himself was buried -- not a "house" he had lived in. Jesus said so -- read it in your Bible.

What Kind of Hell?

In the next verse, Jesus said: "And in hell he lift up his eyes" (verse 23).
So the rich man was in a place called "hell" after all, wasn't he? And in this hell he "lifted up his eyes." His eyes had been closed in death, and now there came a time when they opened -- he "lifted up his eyes."
What kind of "hell" is this?
Startling though it may be, the rich man was buried in the same kind of "hell" Jesus was buried in! Yes, Jesus died and was buried -- and in "hell"!
In the first inspired sermon preached by Peter on the day the New Testament Church started, Peter said: "He [David] seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left IN HELL, neither his flesh did see corruption" (Acts 2:31).
Jesus too died and was buried. And in "hell" He too lifted up His eyes -- when He was resurrected!
Now let me explain that, and make it plain!
The New Testament was written in the Greek language. Your Bible is a translation in the English language. The King James Version reads: "And in hell he lift up his eyes." However, in the original Greek in which the New Testament was written there are three different Greek words, each having a totally different meaning, but all three of which were translated into the King James Version by the English word "hell."
One of the Greek words is tartaros, which refers only to the present condition of darkness or perversion and of restraint of the fallen angels or demons. Another is gehenna, a place at the bottom of a high ledge at the south end of Jerusalem where garbage, refuse, and bodies of dead animals and the worst criminals were dumped over the ledge to be burned up. Down below, the fires were kept continually burning. They burned up, or consumed -- totally destroyed the bodies and refuse dumped there. This is the word Jesus used when He spoke of being finally destroyed in "hellfire."
But this rich man was not buried in that "hell." He was not in gehenna. The third, and most commonly used Greek word, was written here by Luke -- hades. And hades means "the grave" -- a place of burial in the ground!
When the King James translation of the Bible was made, Englishmen spoke commonly of "putting their potatoes in hell for the winter." They buried them in the ground!
This is the "hell" Jesus was buried in --the "hell" His soul was not left in -- the grave, or tomb, from which He was resurrected! And this hades was also the "hell" in which the rich man was buried.

WHEN Did He Open His Eyes?

Now once again, Jesus did not say when this rich man, "in hell," lifted up his eyes. Jesus pictured him as one of the wicked, or lost. We must look to other scriptures to tell us when the unjust will lift up their eyes in their graves.
Daniel speaks of the resurrection of the just, and of the unjust: "And many of them that sleep [their eyes closed] in the dust of the earth [their graves -- buried -- in hades shall awake [lift up their eyes], some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2).
Jesus said: "... The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil [including the rich man], unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment]" (John 5:28-29).
Here Jesus speaks of two different, separate resurrections.
Quoted above are scriptures showing that the "dead in Christ" are to be resurrected at His second coming. In I Corinthians 15:22-24, we read that all are to be resurrected -- but in an order of different resurrections -- -Christ Himself, 1900 years ago; afterward, in a different resurrection, "they that are Christ's at his coming," and then "cometh the end" -- indicating the resurrection of the unjust later.
In Revelation 20:4 we read of the resurrection of those in Christ at His coming. But Revelation 20:5 says: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished."
So the resurrection of the rich man and all the unjust or unsaved will take place after the Millennium! It is pictured and described in Revelation 20:11-13.
So, while Jesus in speaking about the rich man and Lazarus did not say when the rich man will open his eyes and be resurrected out of his grave, other scriptures do reveal that it will be after the Millennium.

Are the Dead Conscious?

Notice now, Lazarus, with Abraham and all the saints who are Abraham's children, is to be resurrected at the time of Christ's coming. They shall live through the Millennium. But the rest of the dead shall not live until the thousand years are past. The rich man, then, will not come back to life until a thousand years after Abraham, Lazarus, and all who are Christ's have been made alive.
Will this rich man be conscious of the great lapse of time?
Your Bible says, if you will believe it: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything ... for the memory of them is forgotten" (Eccl. 9:5) -- that is, they have no consciousness while dead. They are totally unconscious! Job speaks of a dead man and says: "His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them" (Job 14:21). Isaiah says our father Abraham knows nothing of us, today (Isa. 63:16). David was inspired to write: "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalm 146:4).
The rich man, then, at the time of his resurrection after the Millennium will come to consciousness, open and lift up his eyes, knowing absolutely nothing of the hours, days, and years since he died. To him it will be the next fraction of a second from the time he died. It will seem to him as if he had gone immediately to this state or condition in which he finds himself rising up out of the grave.

What Is This Flame?

But when he is resurrected, he sees a flame which torments him.
What is this?
Now Jesus did, on other occasions, speak of perishing and being destroyed in gehenna fire. What is this? It is described in Revelation 20:14-15 as a lake of fire.
Scripture everywhere describes the final fate of the wicked as being burned up. Their punishment is death by fire! It is this "lake of fire" which is "the second death," from which there shall be no resurrection! They remain forever dead! This death is for all eternity -- eternal punishment -- but not eternal punishing!
Now, opening his eyes in his grave, this rich man sees Abraham, and Lazarus in his "bosom" -- his embrace! He also sees this awful flame of fire -- this lake of fire which is about to destroy him forever! He is terrified!
What happens when one is suddenly so paralyzed with fear? His mouth goes dry. His tongue sticks to his mouth and throat!
The rich man cries out in this mental agony: "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."
Now if the rich man were in the kind of "hell" most people seem to believe, his whole body would be on fire. You would think he would have called for at least a bucket of water to put out the fire, wouldn't you?
Look at this!
How much water did he call for? He said to Abraham: "...
Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water." Just a couple of drops that's all the water he requested! Doesn't that strike you as strange? Why did he call for water? To put out the fires of all "hell"? the kind of hell people would have you believe he was in? Ah, no!
He only wanted a mere couple of drops of water on Lazarus' finger.
Why? -- "to cool my tongue!" That's what the rich man said! Open your own Bible again, and read it!
The flame, he said, was "tormenting" him. This word "tormented," used in verses 24 and 25, is translated from the Greek word odunomai. This is defined in any Greek-English lexicon as "to cause pain, to pain, distress; pain of body, but also, pain of mind; grief, distress."
Why of course! This rich man opens his eyes in his grave in a resurrection. He is resurrected mortal, just as he was before he died -- not immortal like Lazarus. He sees this lake of fire. Now he knows the frightful, the awful doom he is to be thrust into -- to be burned up -- destroyed! He is suffering mental anguish such as he never experienced in his lifetime. His tongue is dry. He
breaks out in cold sweat. He cries for a little water on the tip of Lazarus' finger to cool his tongue! He is in a condition of weeping.

The Final Hellfire

Now once again read this in your Bible. Read exactly what Jesus said, not what the "hellfire" preachers say He said! Did Jesus say this rich man was going to suffer endlessly and forever -- always burning -- being on fire -- yet never burning up? Did He? Of course not!
There is not one word here about how long his anguish is to last.
Jesus was saying these things to those who would not repent.
What did He want to make them understand, when He gave this account about Lazarus and the rich man? Jesus answers this question for us in Luke 13:27, 28 when He said: "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." Yes, they are going to be in exactly the same position as this rich man! Jesus is using him as an illustration to show these individuals what is to befall them. They are to be thrust out -- into the lake of fire which shall consume them, leaving them neither root nor branch, as the Scriptures say.
The wicked are going to be cast into the lake of fire. When they lift up their eyes in their resurrection, they shall know that they are doomed, now to be cast into the lake of fire to be burned up.
This rich man cried out for help because of his mental and physical anguish -- knowing what was now to befall him! He knew he was guilty! When a man realizes he is guilty, and faces his just and terrible retribution, the very first part of the body to be affected is the tongue, which dries out -- seems to be on fire.

What Is the Great Gulf?

But Abraham and Lazarus were afar off and no water was brought. The rich man had to suffer mentally for his sins. He had had his reward, in the material things he sought, craved and acquired during his mortal lifetime.
There is a great gulf fixed between this doomed sinner and all the glorified saints in God's Kingdom.
What is that great gulf?
The gulf mentioned by Abraham which prevents the wicked from escaping death by hellfire, and which also keeps the righteous from being burned up, is immortality. Those who are immortal shall never die because they are born of God (Rev. 20:6). But human beings who have not been begotten and born of the Spirit of God are still flesh, subject to corruption and death. They can be burned by fire.
Don't forget, this is a literal fire and the rich man is a human being composed of flesh and blood. Only the saved possess immortality as the gift of God (Rom. 2:7), but the wicked reap anguish and wrath that shall devour the adversary -- fiery indignation (Heb. 10:27). What happens when a human body is being burned by a flame?
There is a period of torture during which the fire consumes the body before the person dies. Then what about this rich man? Jesus didn't say he was immortal, for if he were, he would be spirit and flames do not burn spirit. Fire is a physical process. It is combustion of matter. The rich man is a physical person just as you are.

Not Completed

And Jesus leaves us, in this account, with the rich man hearing the words of Abraham in his mind or conscience and tormented by the flames that are closing in around his body. A human body doesn't burn forever. It finally turns to ashes in a fire. Therefore we must go to other verses of the Bible to find out exactly what did happen after the short conversation recorded.
Matthew 13:30 speaks symbolically of the wicked being gathered into bundles to be burned. What happens to tares (weeds) when in fire? They burn up! Again in Matthew 3:12, John warned the Pharisees that they would be burned up as chaff if they didn't repent. They are to be burned with unquenchable fire -- a fire so hot that no amount of water could put it out, because the flames would turn the water to steam.
When God punishes the wicked the fire will be unquenchable!
But that doesn't say it won't burn itself out when it has nothing more to burn. An unquenchable fire can't be put out, but it can burn itself out when it has consumed everything.
Malachi 4:1, 3 speaks of this fire that will burn the rich man: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch .... And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of
your feet in the day that I shall do this."
That is the end of the wicked! They shall perish and not he any more. "Into smoke shall they consume away" (Psalm 37:20).
The rich man then, being mortal flesh, is going to burn up after being tormented in the flame. He is going to die the second death (Rev. 20:14). The wages of sin is death, not endless torment (Rom. 6:23).

The Rich Man's Brothers

The rich man at last realized he was doomed! He now comprehended the gulf that existed between him and those who had been made immortal. Abraham had made clear the utter impossibility of the rich man crossing that gulf into immortality. He had had his chance during his lifetime. He had passed it up for this world's material riches and pleasures. There was no hope for him. He was now doomed to perish in this lake of fire.
His last thought flashed finally to his five brothers. He gave one last cry to Abraham, begging him to send Lazarus to his father's house to plead with his brothers, lest they come to his terrible fate. Abraham replied they had the writings of Moses and the prophets. But the rich man realized they would not hear these Scriptures.
"Nay, father Abraham," he screamed, "but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent"! (Verse 30.)
The rich man knew Lazarus was raised from the dead! This one statement indicates that the whole experience of Lazarus and the rich man was given by Jesus to show the truth of the resurrection -- not to teach any immediate going to "heaven" or "hell" at the instant of death. (Incidentally, many Bible scholars also believe that the story of Lazarus and the rich man teaches nothing about the state of the dead. Says The New Bible Dictionary:
"Probably the story of Dives and Lazarus (Lk. xvi), like the story of the unjust steward (Lk. xvi. 1-9), is a parable which made use of certain Jewish thinking and is not intended to teach anything about the state of the dead" [p. 388].)
Abraham replied: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one ROSE from the dead" (verse 31).
There it is! In plain language! The experience of Lazarus and the rich man shows the resurrection from the dead -- not an instantaneous going to "heaven" or "hell." It is a resurrection from the dead -- not from life. It shows mortality which dies, and is dead -- not immortality which never loses consciousness and lives forever in an eternal punishing of the imaginary "hell." Jesus was showing a resurrection -- or bringing back to life of one who was dead of one who had no consciousness whatever of the lapse of centuries and millennia since his death. Far from illustrating immortality of the soul and the lurid
eternally burning torture of "hell," Jesus illustrates death -- total unconsciousness through the centuries -- and the resurrection from death and restoration of consciousness. Secondly, He illustrates the second death in the lake of fire that shall totally destroy the wicked, in which they perish and become ashes under the soles of the feet of the saved -- the eternal punishment of death, eternal death, the SECOND death!

The Warning for YOU!

Finally, what is the real lesson?
Jesus was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God -- the New Testament gospel. He was showing salvation, the resurrection to eternal life as the gift of God -- inheritance of the Kingdom of God on this earth.
The apostle Paul plainly tells us that the New Testament Church of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).
Jesus said: "I will build my church." Paul reveals it was built on the foundation of the prophets as well as the apostles!
Jesus here teaches you that if you refuse to hear Moses and the prophets -- and Moses was one of the prophets -- you have no hope of salvation! The Scriptures (Old Testament as well as New), according to II Timothy 3:15, are able to make us wise unto salvation. We are to take the whole Bible, not the New Testament only.
Those who teach that the commandments of God are done away teach a message of doom! Those who teach the pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul -- going off to "heaven" at death, or eternal punishing -- teach contrary to what Jesus said!
May you take heed, and hear all the Word of God!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Germany gains control of EU Commission by default



INTRODUCTION The EU Commission is handing over the development of its new media strategy to a German firm closely linked to the German Foreign Office and the Bundeswehr. The aim of the plan is to weaken the resistance by the population to the policies of the European Union. The firm offers so-called "integrated communications campaigns" in which content provided by the client is blended into editorial programmes in the media.........so they are no longer recognisable as the opinions and assertions of the client.This German PR firm sees journalists as “multipliers”. It is a disgraceful comment on the supine nature of so much journalism that this new Goebbels-like propaganda machine regards journalists as useful idiots and their employers as cost saving relayers of propaganda! With the help of the British Government this new Goebbels will be targeting British schools - despite that being illegal under the 1946 Education Act.

READ THE ARTICLE from the German journalists of german-foreign-policy.com translated by Edward Spalton at FREENATIONS

Germany's Fourth Reich Spreads Its Wings Over the World

Germany Behind the Mask: Monster or Marshmallow?

Shimon Peres

Monday, July 03, 2006

Born Again and Heaven and Hell

If you're not born again before you die, you'll spend eternity in hell.

Who hasn't heard that "sermon" or something like it before? That one statement contains four religious lies and proves such a preacher apparently doesn't know God, Jesus Christ or the Bible well enough to know differently! Nothing wrong with that, of and by itself, except an error becomes a lie when folks persist in it after it's been exposed (Matt. 3:19-21).

First, Yeshua said that which is born of the flesh is flesh (like we are now in this life), but that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT. He also said you can't even see or enter into that Kingdom of God unless you're born again, which nobody has been but Yeshua by a resurrection from the dead and transformation from human to divine, from flesh and blood to SPIRIT. Those who are born again have SPIRIT BODIES.

Paul confirms and clarifies this awesome truth:

1 Corinthians 15:45-57

45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" [flesh]; the last Adam, a life-giving SPIRIT...

47The first man was of the dust of the earth [flesh], the second man from Heaven [SPIRIT].

48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth [that which is born of flesh is flesh]; and as is the man from heaven[Spirit], so also are those who are of [not in] heaven [that which is born of SPIRIT IS SPIRIT].

49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man [flesh], so SHALL we bear the likeness of the man from heaven [SPIRIT].

50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God [just like Yeshua clearly stated that unless you're born again, a SPIRIT BEING, you can see or enter the Kingdom-Family of God], nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable [yet those who bleat they're already born again say they can - let God be true and every man a liar].

51Listen, I tell you a mystery [remains a mystery to most]: We will not all sleep [not go to "Heaven or Hell" at death], but we will all be changed--

52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP. (not in this life or at death) For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed [born again].

53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality [YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN].

54When the perishable has been clothed [with our heavenly bodies - not bodies in heaven] with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

55"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This clearly shows Adam was flesh and blood, mortal, corruptible and we're just like him - but the good news is we can become exactly like the Second Adam and be transformed - BORN AGAIN - at the resurrection into brilliant God-beings, composed of divine nature and holy composition: BORN AGAIN SPIRIT BEINGS!

Further proof nobody is born again is Yeshua is yet to return and establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, and the glorified saints are yet to rule with but under Him as divine Priest-Kings, SPIRIT-BEINGS (having truly been born again).

Those who understood what it means to be born again, and just what the Kingdom of God really constitutes, agree with these very clear Scriptures:

Daniel 2:44

44 And in the days of these [10 kings/EU nations] kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Daniel 7:27

27 Then the kingdom and dominion,
And the greatness of the kingdoms UNDER the whole heaven [not in Heaven],
Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High [then born again].
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'

Revelation 20:6

6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

The King of the Jews, the King of Israel, is yet to return and establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, smashing all opposition. The faithful still pray, "Thy Kingdom Come" and it certainly will in God's good time!

This is the Kingdom-Family of God that will administer the one world government of God that you can't even enter UNTIL you've become born again as a divine SPIRIT-BEING, just like Yeshua said and Paul taught: two witnesses to this truth.

This is the Kingdom of God (not some pretty platitude, sanctimonious feeling or spiritualized stupor or experience), the GOOD NEWS Yeshua preached and the true Church of God announces is coming soon! May all REPENT and believe the gospel, so help us God.

The Church of God is the Kingdom of God in embryo, as Herbert W. Armstrong taught. We're begotten now, are converted and being converted, but we'll be born again at the return of Christ and first resurrection. We can celebrate that the Kingdom of God is coming soon in power and great glory: the Lord Yeshua with all the glorified, transformed saints then divine SPIRIT-BEINGS.

The righteous are not in Heaven and sinners are not in "Hell."

Scriptures clearly reveal all the saints are dead and buried, asleep, awaiting their resurrection at the return and reign of Yeshua. The dead in Christ (they're dead - not alive in Heaven) haven't received their inheritance YET and won't until we all do so together:

Hebrews 11:39-40

39These [all those listed in the chapter of Faith] were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised [which was never Heaven anyway]. 40God had planned something better for us so that only TOGETHER WITH US would they be made perfect [at the seventh trumpet, at the return of Christ, at our resurrection and transformation].

The Scriptures cannot be broken and are consistent - something idolatrous traditions clearly aren't.
Remember, immortality, eternal life is a GIFT from God, but the wages of sin is death. Eternal life or eternal death, plain and simple, thus said the Lord (yet some insist on twisting parables out of context, rejecting the clear black and white Scriptures).

God is not the sadist that traditional Christianity misrepresents Him to be. Those who submit to the Word of God rather than fall for Roman wolves in sheep's clothing (with their Babylonish beliefs and pagan myths), know the unrepentant will be put out of their misery, destroyed in the Lake of Fire, having suffered the second death.

The meek shall inherit the Earth and the wicked will be history! So says YOUR Bible. Why not believe it over idolatrous traditions of men?

"For evildoers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. But the wicked shall perish [John 3:16], and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off! The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever" (Ps. 37:9-12,20,22,29).<

And notice Psalm 104:35: "Let the sinners he consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more.

Notice the great contrast: eternal life or eternal death; inherit the Earth or be destroyed from off the face of the Earth.

Isaiah 66:22-24

22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. [But the wicked will be history, although during the Millennium...]
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath [the Sabbath wasn't done away with!] to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Do you believe in immortal worms? Realize this speaks of the far future - the new heavens and the new earth, and then goes back to the initial thousand year reign of Yeshua when just outside of Jerusalem the Valley of Hinnom will be kept burning as a warning to all of what happens to the wicked - they're burnt up, but their maggots turn into flies and continue to live. Time setting is everything as well as rightly dividing the Scriptures - not falling into the traditional ditch of darkness.

Revelation 22:12-15

12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me [it was reserved in Heaven, but it's not Heaven!], to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city [New Jerusalem, a building/city eternal]. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

ASHES OUTSIDE THE GATES OF JERUSALEM. Eternal life vs. eternal death.

Revelation 21:8

8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second DEATH."

Malachi 4:1-3

1 "For behold, the day is coming [yet future],
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,"
Says the LORD of hosts,

" That will leave them neither root nor branch [eternal DEATH].
2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings [eternal LIFE];
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
3 You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ASHES under the soles of your feet [outside Jerusalem]
On the day that I do this,"
Says the LORD of hosts.

That's what happens to something that gets burnt up: nothing is left but ashes. How plain. How logical. How merciful!

Jude 1:5

5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. [God didn't torture them].

Why do folks refuse to believe God for vain traditions? The wicked will be completely destroyed, nothing left of them, ashes, but the meek shall inherit the Earth, even as the wicked are cut off forever. Eternal life or eternal death.

The real Hell fire doesn't even exist yet!

Traditional Christianity doesn't believe Yeshua when He said God is able to destroy both body and soul in Gehenna fire; that God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him should not PERISH but have everlasting LIFE; that immortality alone belongs to God and those whom He offers it as a GIFT; that the wicked will be utterly destroyed and become ashes under the soles of the feet of those who inherit the Earth; that we know no murderer has eternal life in him.

Regardless of traditional disbelief or religious rebellion, the Bible clearly teaches that after God has purified this Earth by fire, making it new, renewing the surface of the Earth as He once did with water, the wicked will be history and ashes under the soles of the feet of those given the gift of immortality - you're not an immortal soul - and all suffering will be a thing of the past. The new heavens and Earth will be filled with righteousness - there won't be any room for evil, no polluted part, no forbidden zone or mythological "hell" to taint the new heavens and the new Earth - if you believe the Bible over idolatrous traditions (Rev. 20:14).

The real Hell fire doesn't even exist yet! So how can anybody be in it? The Lake of Fire that will engulf the entire surface of the Earth is future. Read it for yourself and believe it over misguided men:

2 Peter 3:5-7, 10-12

5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water [Earth was purified by water]. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men [even as water once purified the Earth of wicked men, soon fire will do the same - in the future!]...

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up [this is the real "hell" fire the Bible teaches - much hotter than the pagan myths teach - and it's yet future, not "down there" or any other place in men's twisted imaginations, but the whole surface of the Earth will be consumed and purified by fire]. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Revelation 21:1-4

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea [the fire that purified the earth evaporated it]. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, COMING DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." [This alone proves the Bible teaches eternal punishment - not eternal punishing].

I encourage all to read the rest of the chapter without traditional blinders and be amazed to discover that the pearly gates and streets of gold are going to be right here ON EARTH!

Heaven isn't the Reward of the Saved!

2 Corinthians 5:1

1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Yeshua clearly said: "THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH". The Scripture above nowhere says we're to "go to Heaven" - in fact, it speaks of the heavenS, the universe (which ultimately we'll inherit but remain based on Earth with the New Jerusalem that will come down from Heaven to be established on Earth: "Heaven on Earth").

When properly understood, we know that our heavenly bodies, our new spirit-composed bodies that we'll receive (when we're born again) occurs at the return of Yeshua and our resurrection. Yeshua promises to bring our reward with Him from Heaven - He doesn't take us to receive it in Heaven! There's a big difference.

Verse 3 that clearly proves we'll be clothed with our new "house" FROM Heaven. Those born again will have SPIRIT BODIES.

2 Corinthians 5:2

2 For in this we groan [why groan if we're already born again? - if we're already delivered?], earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is FROM heaven [not in it!].

Revelation 22:12

12 "And behold, I am coming quickly [the Second Coming of Christ TO EARTH], and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

Remember Yeshua said in His Father's House [Temple] are many mansions/rooms/offices/positions? Those positions will be filled in His Kingdom-Family that is established when He returns! We're to help administer the government of God.

What about 2 Corinthians 5:8?

8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Nowhere does that Scripture mention Heaven. However, when Yeshua returns, bringing our reward with Him from Heaven - having been reserved in Heaven - (and later the New Jerusalem itself comes down from Heaven with the Father), we will be absent from these bodies of flesh when we're transformed, when we receive our heavenly bodies, our SPIRIT BODIES as those who are truly born again, but it all takes place right here on God's good Earth.

Shimon Peres

David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out the Beyond Babylon blog.