Richard F. Ames | Tomorrow's World

Richard F. Ames

Seven Keys to Understanding Prophecy

Learn how to understand New and Old Testament prophecies—fulfilled prophecy and end-times prophecy yet to come—with seven helpful Bible study tips, including examples in Revelation, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and Matthew.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

You Can Understand Bible Prophecy!

Many professing Christians consider Bible prophecy a curious subject and in no way associated with the gospel of salvation. But is that true? When you read in your Bible the very words of Jesus Christ, you find a totally different approach to salvation and a more glorious future and eternity than traditional preachers tell you. What gospel or “good news” did Jesus preach? Mark 1:14,

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14–15).

My friends, the coming Kingdom of God that Jesus preached is yet future. It is the foundation of Bible prophecy! You need to understand the plain and powerful prophecies of your Bible!

The Bible Explains Its Own Prophetic Symbols

Bible prophecy reveals the future of the world, and frankly, the future of the universe. Your Bible has proven the power of prophecy. I hope you’ve been able to see our telecast, “Amazing Prophecies Fulfilled!” From Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue in the Old Testament book of Daniel to John’s New Testament visions in the book of Revelation, your Bible reveals major end-time events, with mysterious prophetic symbols such as the Beast of Revelation 13 with seven heads and ten horns rising up out of the sea; and the harlot woman of Revelation 17 sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns. How can you understand the meaning of these symbols?

On today’s program, we’ll discuss seven keys to understanding Bible prophecy.

My friends, these seven keys to understanding prophecy will help you understand the most amazing future and events that relatively few people on earth even come close to understanding.

Key Number One to Understanding Prophecy is: The Bible Interprets Its Own Symbols.

As we saw earlier in the program, the book of Revelation contains symbolic language. If you have your Bible, turn to the book of Revelation, or “Apocalypse.” Revelation the first chapter gives a description of the glorified Messiah, the Son of Man standing in the midst of seven lampstands. And verse 16 of the same chapter describes Him as holding seven stars. What do these stars and lampstands symbolize? You don’t need to guess! I don’t need to guess. The Bible itself tells us the meaning, Revelation 1:16,

“He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”

Verse 20 gives us the answer,

“The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the ANGELS of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the SEVEN CHURCHES.”

In Bible symbolism, stars are angels—and lampstands are churches. The writer of the book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse, continues in the next two chapters writing God’s message and admonition to the seven churches in Asia Minor—or modern-day Turkey. Of course, the Apostle John was writing this book near the end of the 1st century AD.

Let’s look at a couple of other biblical symbols. Prophetic literature uses the word mountain as a symbol of a kingdom, empire, or government. Turn in your Bible to Jeremiah 51:24. Your Bible probably has a heading to chapter 51 such as “God’s judgment (or vengeance) upon Babylon.” God is declaring his punishment on the great empire of Babylon. Jeremiah 51:24,

“‘And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight,’ says the LORD. ‘Behold, I am against you, O DESTROYING MOUNTAIN, who destroys all the earth,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt MOUNTAIN.’” (Jeremiah 51:24–25)

Yes, God will judge rebellious nations, symbolized here as mountains. What mountain or kingdom will rule the whole earth? As so many prophecies explain, that Kingdom will be the Kingdom of God ruled by the King of kings, the Savior, Jesus Christ! Bible students are familiar with the prophecy in Isaiah 2. Isaiah 2:2,

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4).

A mountain in Bible prophecy can symbolize a Kingdom, empire, or nation. Here we see the good news of God’s Kingdom which will establish world peace! We’ve explored a couple examples of symbolism: stars are symbolic of angels; a mountain can be symbolic of a kingdom or government. So key number one to understand Bible prophecy is: The Bible Interprets Its Own Symbols.

The second key to understanding biblical prophecy is the proof of fulfilled prophecy.

Fulfilled Prophecies of the Bible, Dual Prophecy, and Prophetic Timelines to Understand

Dozens of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the New Testament in the person of Jesus Christ. Another example of fulfilled prophecy, and there are many, is the dream God gave ancient king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Turn to the Book of Daniel, chapter two. Here the prophet Daniel tells the king his dream. Nebuchadnezzar’s famous image reveals four world-ruling empires. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him. Daniel was called before the king, and proceeded to describe the great image in the king’s dream. Daniel 2:31,

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces” (Daniel 2:31–34).

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold represented in the image. Daniel said in verse 38, “YOU are this head of gold” (Daniel 2:38). History confirms Daniel’s prophecy of the subsequent empires symbolized by the statue. What world ruling empires followed after Nebuchadnezzar?

The head of gold represented the Babylonian Empire from 625–539 BC.

It was replaced by the Medo-Persian Empire from 558–330 BC, represented by the chest and arms of silver.

The belly and thighs of bronze represented the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great from 333–31 BC.

The legs of iron represented the Roman Empire, from 31 BC to 476 AD.

And finally, the ten toes on two feet of iron mixed with ceramic clay represent a future revival of the Roman Empire.

The prophecies of Daniel are genuine! The predictions of these four empires did come to pass!

Key number 2 was: Consider the Proof of Fulfilled Prophecy. Key number 3 for understanding Bible prophecy is: Understand Prophetic Time Gaps. Let’s look at Luke 4:16. Jesus was visiting [His] hometown of Nazareth and was invited to read from the scriptures on the Sabbath. He was given the scroll of Isaiah. Luke 4:16,

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. [LUKE 4:17] And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ [Now notice this] Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:16–21).

Yes, the Messiah had come to preach the gospel to the poor, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. Jesus told them that this very prophecy of Isaiah was now being fulfilled through Him. But was that ALL of the prophecy? Turn back to the prophecy Jesus read. Notice the two mission statements here. ISAIAH 61:2, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus closed the book He was reading, right in the middle of a verse. He omitted the second part of the verse referring to the day of vengeance. Why? Because the remainder of Isaiah’s prophecy applies to Jesus’ SECOND COMING—when the Day of the Lord, the day of God’s vengeance and wrath takes place. There is a TIME GAP of about 2,000 years between the fulfillment of the first part of the verse and the second part of the verse.

Key number 3 for understanding Bible prophecy was to Understand Prophetic Time Gaps. Key number 4 for understanding Bible prophecy is to Recognize Prophetic Duality. Turn in your Bible to 1 Corinthians 15:45 for example. “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Who was the last Adam? Verse 47 gives us the answer, “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47). Yes, the second Adam was Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24 is also an example of duality. Some of the terrible conditions Jesus described did take place when Jerusalem was destroyed. But that was just a type or forerunner of the final climactic fulfillment. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:21,

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Yes, prophecy is dual—and we ought to learn the lessons of history. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 AD was just a type of the great tribulation that lies yet ahead. Key number 4 for understanding Bible prophecy is to Recognize Prophetic Duality.

Where is the United States mentioned in the Bible? Or under what names can we locate it? Where can we find Great Britain in the Bible? Obviously, the modern names do not appear, but the ancestors of those nations ARE prominently named in the Bible.

Modern Nations in Bible Prophecy—And Why

We call the next key, the “Master Key” to understanding prophecy. Key number 5 for understanding Bible prophecy is to Know the Biblical Origin of Nations. My friends, can you find the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the other English-speaking nations in Bible prophecy? If you can, you will understand major parts of vital prophecies that very few today can even begin to comprehend. The Bible mentions by name such nations as Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. And it may surprise you that Assyria will eventually be one of the prominent nations in tomorrow’s world along with Egypt and Israel. You can read about that in Isaiah 19:23. Also read the tenth and eleventh chapters of Isaiah. But who is modern Assyria? In our Tomorrow’s World magazine, we previously published a full article on this subject entitled, “A Fourth Reich?” Here is what Dr. Douglas Winnail wrote in the article, page 17:

“While most historians are reluctant, or fail, to make any connection between the disappearance of the Assyrians and the appearance of the Germanic tribes, the fact remains that no other nation’s history and national character resembles Germany more than does that of Assyria.”

The simple knowledge of the origin of nations in the Bible gives us a clearer understanding of Bible prophecy. One final quote from the article, on page 30, quote:

“When the Bible speaks of Assyria in the end-times, it is speaking of Germany.”

Key number 5 for understanding Bible prophecy is: Know the Biblical Origin of Nations.

Key number 6 for understanding Bible prophecy is: Understand the Purposes for Bible Prophecy.

My friends, Bible prophecy can sustain hope and inspire confidence. As we saw in Isaiah chapter two, Scripture prophesies a peaceful and prosperous world under the future Kingdom of God on earth. But Bible prophecy also warns people and nations to repent, so they can avoid punishment. John the Baptist was baptizing massive crowds of people who were moved by his preaching. The Gospel writer Matthew describes what happened. Matthew 3:1,

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1–2).

Later, Jesus Christ preached the same message. You can read that in Mark 1:14–15. And what was the response to John’s preaching? Verse 5,

“Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:5–6).

We all need to listen to Bible prophecy and the warning of judgment upon those who do not repent. Matthew continues, verse 7: “But when he [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:7–8).

Another purpose of prophecy is to give opportunity to those in future captivity to repent and come under God’s deliverance as God promises in Deuteronomy 4:27–31. My friends, are you preparing for the Second Coming of Christ? Understanding Bible prophecy and facing reality, will help you prepare! On the day of Pentecost, in 31 AD, the Apostle Peter exhorted the thousands in his audience to repent and be baptized. You can read that in Acts 2:38. Peter motivated the crowd to change their lives. He said in Acts 2:40,

“‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:40–41).

My friends, if you have studied biblical baptism, and if you have come to the place in your life where you have repented and have accepted Christ’s sacrifice and His authority over your life, we invite you to counsel with one of our ministers.

Key number 6 for understanding Bible prophecy is: Understand the Purposes for Bible Prophecy. Bible prophecy demonstrates the awesome sovereignty of God as it tells us in Isaiah 46:9–10.

Specific Prophetic Signs of End Time Events

Bible prophecy reveals the future and the good news of God’s coming Kingdom. It also warns of dangers to come so that we can take action and seek God’s protection. You need to understand what lies ahead. Key number 7 to understanding Bible prophecy is: Learn God’s Prophetic Framework.

Some wrongly believe that Jesus Christ will return after the prophesied Millennium. But your Bible shows clearly that Christ will return to set up a literal kingdom here on earth for a literal period of one thousand years. The book of Revelation describes a period of three and one half years leading up to the return of Christ. The first five seals of Revelation, outlined in chapter six, cover a period of two and a half years of the Great Tribulation Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24. The Sixth seal is the heavenly signs. The whole world will be put on notice when this event occurs. Let’s read that in Revelation 6:12,

“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, [listen to this] and every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:12–14).

The whole world will be shocked and terrorized. The world will then realize that the time of God’s judgment has come! Revelation 6:15,

“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:15–17).

What follows the Heavenly Signs? The Heavenly signs introduce the one-year prophetic time period known as the Day of the Lord. The famous Day of the Lord is mentioned in some 30 prophecies in your Bible. This is the year of God’s punishment on the nations. And it culminates with the well-known announcement of Christ’s return and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. That’s the exciting good news of prophecy! Revelation 11:15,

“Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”

As you can see, the Bible gives us an overall framework for prophecy. Key number 7 for understanding Bible prophecy is to Learn God’s Prophetic Framework.

My friends, Bible prophecy is God’s revelation to human beings about His plan for all humanity. You can begin to truly understand biblical prophecy, if you choose to seek God wholeheartedly. The Bible clearly outlines the judgment that will be upon the Western nations if we persist in our immoral, anti-God lifestyles. But YOU can escape that judgment, if you turn to God and obey Him.

Thank you for watching!

My friends, you can understand much more about end-time prophecy when you understand who the modern descendants of ancient biblical nations are. So click the link in the description to order a free copy of our booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. It will give you the master key to identify major nations in Bible prophecy.

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See you next time!



Coming Soon, Jerusalem, Capital of the World

Bible prophecy shows Jerusalem—City of Peace—becoming Jesus Christ’s center of world government. Learn about Jerusalem’s future as Richard Ames examines Matthew 24, Luke 21, Daniel 12, Isaiah, and the Book of Revelation.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

The City of Peace—Captured by War?

Generals, dictators, and despots have tried to rule the world. Their capital cities were monumental and impressive. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon built one of the designated “Seven Wonders of the World,” the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The historian Herodotus wrote, “In addition to its size, Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.”

The Bible documents the King’s great pride and boasting over his accomplishments. The prophet Daniel had warned the king to humble himself.

“At the end of the twelve months he [King Nebuchadnezzar] was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’” (Daniel 4:29–30).

God punished King Nebuchadnezzar, who finally learned his lesson:

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37).

The Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler, in his plan to rule the world, envisioned a world capital to last a thousand years. Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect for the future city, planned a Grand Hall next to the Reichstag that “would have been the largest enclosed space in the world, with a dome 16 times larger than that of St Peter’s in Rome” according to HistoryToday.com (“Germania: Hitler’s Dream Capital”).

Of course, Hitler fell before the Allied armies in World War II.

Bible prophecy reveals that another great dictator, called the “Beast” in the book of Revelation, will desire to rule the world and establish his own capital. As it tells us in Revelation 13:7,

“And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.”

The good news is that the coming King of kings will conquer and destroy this coming Beast power (Revelation 17:14) and Jesus Christ will establish a righteous world capital city. What city will become the capital of the world? In spite of today’s conflicts, Jerusalem in Israel will soon become the glorious capital of the world.

The Greatest Capital City of All

Warm greetings to all our friends around the world!

Today’s world news features the rising power of China, the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, [and] the determination of European powers, especially Germany, to increase their military forces powerfully! All these will play their part in end-time prophecies. But eventually, the Middle East will be the focus of dramatic events. You need to know the sequence of prophetic events.

Consider the great national capital cities in today’s world. While you may not agree with this list, The News International listed the ten most beautiful capital cities in the world.

In reverse order starting with number ten:

10. Moscow, Russia

9. Ottawa, Canada

8. Budapest, Hungary

7. Tokyo, Japan

6. Rome, Italy

5. Paris, France

4. Washington D.C, United States

3. Berlin, Germany

2. Islamabad, Pakistan

1. London, England.

Another impressive national capital that my wife and visited some years ago is Canberra, Australia. The city was designed in 1912 by architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin.

The capital building itself is impressive.

One of my hobbies is visiting state capitals here in the United States. I’ll share two of them with you. The Washington State capital in Olympia features glistening “marble quarried across the globe” according to one history magazine.

“Ornately decorated, the Roman-Neoclassical legislative building is topped by the fifth-highest stone masonry dome in the world. Inside dangles a five-ton Tiffany chandelier so massive you could fit a VW Bug inside it” (“History, Architecture and Politics Combine in a Salem-to-Olympia Tour,” 1889mag.com, November 15, 2016).

The state capital in Frankfort, Kentucky also features extraordinary marble columns and walls. One Kentucky newspaper describes it this way: “The Capitol’s august exterior of Indiana limestone and interior composed of Georgia marble, gray Tennessee marble and dark green Vermont marble with grand corridors featuring 36 columns of Vermont granite and delicate art glass skylights and murals make it a place of beauty” (“Capitol building in Frankfort full of history, beauty,” Lexington Herald Leader, October 5, 2015).

The beauty and grandeur of state and national capitals makes a statement of governmental power and majesty. We saw earlier that the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler, in his plan to rule the world, envisioned a world capital built to last a thousand years. Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect for the future city, planned a Grand Hall next to the Reichstag that “would have been the largest enclosed space in the world, with a dome 16 times larger than that of St Peter’s in Rome” according to HistoryToday.com (“Germania: Hitler’s Dream Capital).

The prophesied world-ruling superpower, called the Beast in the book of Revelation, may claim his national capital is also the capital of the world. But Jesus Christ will crush the Beast and the false prophet, and cast them into a lake of fire, as it tells us in Revelation 19:20. But WHERE will Christ the King set up His government? What city on earth will be the capital of the world? Jerusalem! Many different scriptures confirm this wonderful fact. If you have your Bible, turn to one of the major prophecies regarding the future of the world. The second chapter of ISAIAH gives us a wonderful and encouraging view of tomorrow’s world. ISAIAH 2:1. Notice this specific prophecy concerning Jerusalem. ISAIAH 2:1,

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and JERUSALEM. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it” (Isaiah 2:1–2).

As our regular Tomorrow’s World viewers saw, in a previous program on the principles of prophecy, mountains are a biblical symbol for a kingdom or government. Isaiah stated plainly that the Lord’s Kingdom would be established in JERUSALEM. Yes, Jerusalem will be the capital of the world! Notice that “ALL NATIONS shall flow to it.” All nations will submit to the world government. Let’s understand, this will NOT be government in the hands of selfish human beings. This new government will be a world ruling DIVINE Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. The world-ruling Kingdom will be ruled by the Savior, the King of kings, Jesus Christ! That’s the good news we all look forward to. I hope that you’re looking forward to that time of world peace! I hope that you’re yearning for the Kingdom to come! I hope that you’re PRAYING, “Your Kingdom come!” as we’re taught to pray in Matthew 6:10.

The Most Contested City in History

Turn in your Bible to Zechariah 14. During the thousand-year reign of Christ, all nations on earth will look to Jerusalem as the capital of the world and will send representatives to worship the King of kings. Zechariah 14:16,

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).

All nations will finally learn the way to peace, not war. And they will learn the true way of love toward God and love toward neighbor. Nations will no longer desire military power and war to solve problems. They will want the truth taught them from the capital city, Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3,

“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3–4).

The very name, Jerusalem, means “City of Peace.” But even today, tensions and conflicts erupt within it. Your Bible records its ancient history. In Genesis the 14th chapter we read about Melchizedek, King of Salem, or as all biblical scholars know, the King of Jerusalem. Our Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course highlights historic milestones in Jerusalem’s long history. I’ll share a few of the past significant events. This report is titled “Jerusalem: A Historical Overview. A city washed in blood through centuries of endless conflict awaits its prophetic destiny.”

We will start this historic overview with the earliest biblical references.

c. 1895 BC—Melchizedek, King of Salem, blesses Abram and receives his tithes.

c. 1850 BC—God instructs Abraham to take Isaac to the land of Moriah to sacrifice him there. Later, God provided a ram sacrifice in place of Isaac.

c. 1406 BC—Joshua defeats Adon-i-zedek, King of Jerusalem. (Joshua 10:1–5, 23–26). The Jebusites retain parts of the city.

About 400 years later, King David ruled all Israel from Jerusalem.

c. 1000 BC—Jerusalem is captured by King David Jerusalem becomes the capital of all Israel.This would become the future location of God’s temple.

Over a period of about twenty years, the kingdom of Judah went into Babylonian captivity culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem.

586 BC—King Nebuchadnezzar conquers and destroys Jerusalem and the temple.

539 BC—Cyrus the Great of Persia conquers Babylon. He subsequently allows the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

After its subjection to the Persian Empire and the Greco-Macedonian Empire, Jerusalem is ruled by Rome.

63 BC—Pompey conquers Jerusalem and makes it a part of Roman Empire.

37 BC—Herod the Great assumes kingship in Jerusalem.

31 AD—Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the beginning of the Church Age.

70 AD—Second temple destroyed by the Romans.

During the next 1,800 years after 70 AD, Jerusalem experiences many conflicts including Muslim domination.

1917—Jerusalem enters a new phase.

1947—United Nations partitions Jerusalem. The city is divided between Arab and Jewish control.

1948—Israel becomes an independent nation on May 6. Israel successfully defends itself against the attack of the Arab League.

1967—During the Six-Day War, Israel captures all of Jerusalem, putting it under Jewish rule for the first time since the Roman destruction in 70 AD.

Will Jerusalem ever achieve its inherent purpose and title, City of Peace?

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has fought wars and negotiated peace treaties with several Arab states. But Israel has never been able to negotiate a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians. Both claim Jerusalem as their capital.

The one issue that appears unsolvable: “Who will control Jerusalem?” In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem its “UNITED AND ETERNAL CAPITAL” (“FACTBOX: Jerusalem, a city at the heart of conflict,” Reuters.com, July 22, 2008).

If both sides consider their positions non-negotiable, there’s an impasse. The Israeli position remains unchanged—that is, they insist that Jerusalem will remain united under SOLE ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY.

Yes, the gap between views over the sovereignty of Jerusalem is wide and deep! What does the international community think about this conflict? What IS the solution? In 1980, when Israel declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s “united and eternal capital,” the Vatican STRONGLY OBJECTED to that declaration. Then later, in 1984, Pope John Paul II called for Jerusalem to have a “special internationally guaranteed status” (“Holy See Press Office Communiqué: Audience with the President of the State of Palestine,” Press.Vatican.va, November 4, 2021).

My friends, the status of Jerusalem will continue to be a major issue. You need to be watching the Middle East and the trends that will mean major changes in political and religious control over the city of Jerusalem.

Sacrifices Resumed—And Violently Stopped

Jesus spoke of a time when enemy armies will invade the Holy Land and surround the city of Jerusalem. LUKE 21:20, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.” So, we see that there are at least two signs Jesus tells us to watch for: The Abomination of Desolation emphasized in Matthew 24:15, and Jerusalem surrounded by armies. These will not just be ANY armies of the Middle East, but the Gentile armies that will control Jerusalem for three and one-half years, as we read in Revelation 11:2. Now, let’s continue in LUKE 21:22, “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:22–24). How long will the Gentiles control Jerusalem?

Turn in your Bible to the book of REVELATION or the Apocalypse. REVELATION, chapter 11. The Apostle John wrote in REVELATION 11:1,

“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been GIVEN TO THE GENTILES. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for FORTY-TWO MONTHS’” (Revelation 11:1–2).

The Holy City will be controlled not by the Jews, but by the Gentiles for 42 months. As you read through the book of Revelation, you’ll see that this period of three and one-half years precedes the return of Christ.

Now turn to DANIEL, CHAPTER TWELVE. Daniel had been given a revelation by an angel. When he asked the meaning of the message, the angel told him in DANIEL 12:9,

“Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”

Over 2,500 years later, we can now understand these prophecies—this IS the time of the end! But notice VERSE 11:

“And from the time that the DAILY SACRIFICE is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11).

At the time of the end, shortly before the return of Christ, God reveals the daily sacrifice will be stopped, or “taken away.” This obviously implies that the sacrifices must be STARTED, before they can be STOPPED! The Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the second temple in 70 AD. The Jews have not offered temple sacrifices since that time.

But notice: In ancient times, when they returned to Jerusalem from exile, the Jews actually began sacrificing BEFORE the foundation of their temple was laid. EZRA 3:6. The Jews also observed the Feast of Tabernacles with daily sacrifices, as it states in verse 4. Now, EZRA 3:6,

“From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, although [listen to this] the FOUNDATION of the temple of the LORD had NOT BEEN LAID.”

Notice another important point. The exiles return WHERE? Ezra refers to the location of the holy place, as the HOUSE OF GOD, when the temple had NOT YET been built. EZRA 3:8,

“Now in the second month of the second year of their coming to the HOUSE OF GOD at Jerusalem….”

This was around 536 BC. But there was no building as yet. The following verses describe the laying of the FOUNDATION of the temple.

The point, my friends, is that sacrifices must be presented in a holy place. But in this case, the sacrifices were made daily, WITHOUT a physical building called a temple. The returning Jewish exiles referred to the Holy Place as “the House of God,” even though no temple existed. The holiest place under the control of the Jewish religious authorities today, is the Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall. It is the western retaining wall to the Temple Mount. Jews are not allowed to publicly worship on the Temple Mount, only Muslims. In recent years, Jews have been pressuring for a religious presence on the Temple Mount. So, it remains to be seen where and when the Jews will begin sacrificing. It will probably take a national crisis to precipitate that event.

World Peace from Jerusalem—Truth, Knowledge, and Freedom for All

We’ve seen that Jesus Christ will come from Heaven to rule the earth for a thousand years of peace and prosperity. Jerusalem will be the capital of the world. Jerusalem will not only be the GOVERNMENTAL capital of the world, but also it will be the EDUCATIONAL capital of the world. The great Educator and Teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ, will teach true knowledge based on the word of God. As we saw in Zechariah 8:3,

“Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth.”

All nations will learn the eternal principles, laws, and values that guarantee peace and prosperity for all. As Isaiah said, the people will come to the Holy Land and say,

“‘He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).

The great Educator and Teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ, will teach true knowledge based on the word of God. As we saw in Zechariah 8:3,

“Thus says the LORD: ‘I WILL RETURN to Zion, and DWELL in the midst of JERUSALEM. JERUSALEM shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets’” (Zechariah 8:3–5).

The city of Jerusalem will finally live up to its name, “City of Peace.” Because, the Lord, the Eternal, the glorified Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth will actually DWELL there. As He said, “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of JERUSALEM.” That’s when we’ll begin to experience genuine world peace. Jerusalem will be called “the City of Truth.”

That’s the good news of YOUR future—and the future of the world. Eventually, the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to this earth as the capital of the universe, more glorious than any humanly designed capital. You can read about that magnificent time in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. In the meantime, we look forward to the soon-coming world capital, Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be the center of world government, education, and religion. The word “Jerusalem” means “city of peace.” Jerusalem has experienced bloody fighting and wars over the millennia. But soon, this great city truly will be the CITY OF PEACE for ALL PEOPLES. That’s the good news you can look forward to!

Thank you for watching!

We here at Tomorrow’s World want to help you understand your world through the pages of the Bible. And we encourage you to not just believe us, but look up these verses in your own Bible.

If you would like to know what Bible prophecy says about the future of Israel and the nations surrounding it, just click the link in the description for a free Bible study guide, The Middle East in Prophecy. And remember to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video. See you next time!


Are You Going to Hell?



Man facing fiery pit

Are people from throughout history suffering eternal torment because they never accepted Jesus Christ? The truth about life after death is not what most assume.

Revelation and the Day of the Lord

What Bible prophecies give signs of the end times? Richard Ames explains visions in Revelation and Joel regarding the end of the age, including four horsemen of the Apocalypse, trumpet plagues, and the seven seals.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

Is Armageddon Closing In?

Are we nearing Armageddon and the end of the world? What does your Bible reveal?

You probably own a Bible. I challenge you to read one of its most revealing books for the future, the book of Revelation. Of all the books ever written, this is one you must read.

How many books have been published?

PCWorld stated the following: “For those who have ever wondered how many different books are out there in the world, Google has an answer for you: 129,864,880, according to Leonid Taycher, a Google software engineer who works on the Google Books project” (“Google: 129 Million Different Books Have Been Published,” PCWorld.org, August 6, 2010).

Many spend a lifetime reading books and resource material for knowledge, education, training, and even for entertainment. But the Holy Bible is the one book in the world that reveals the great mysteries and purpose of life! And the book of Revelation reveals a soon-coming judgment day called the Day of the Lord. What is this mysterious Day of the Lord?

What are the major prophetic events that will soon shock the world? You need to know the prophecy of Revelation and the Day of the Lord.

Stay tuned!

SIGNS, SEALS, AND END-TIME PROPHECY

The book of Revelation in your Bible describes an awesome event that will shock the whole world. That event is revealed in more than 30 prophecies in your Bible. It’s called the Day of the Lord. The prophetic Day of the Lord will affect all nations and all peoples on earth. And it will affect you and your family if you are alive to see it.

Just what is the Day of the Lord?

Is it a day of the week? How long will it last? How will it affect every nation and person on earth? What significance will it have in the flow of Bible prophecy?

The book of Revelation introduces the Day of the Lord with dramatic cosmic disturbances. “The stars of heaven” fall to the earth. The sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon becomes like blood. There is a great earthquake. And as it tells us in Revelation 6:14, “every mountain and island was moved out of its place.” The prophetic Day of the Lord will prepare all nations on earth for the greatest and most encouraging event in modern history, the return of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

My friends, you need to understand this dramatic and mysterious time period that will affect every human being on earth! Just what IS the Day of the Lord?

More than 30 prophecies in your Bible refer to the Day of the Lord, much more than we can cover on this short program. The Day of the Lord is a major prophetic event that looms on the horizon. Just what is it? And how does it fit into the framework of Bible Prophecy? If you have your Bible, turn to the Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation, chapter one.

The Apostle John writes in Revelation 1:10,

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.”

John is not speaking of a day of the week, as some commentators believe. John is speaking of the major prophetic period of time described in the rest of the book as the prophetic Day of the Lord. John is not referring to Sunday as the Lord’s Day. If John were doing that, he would have referred to Sunday “as the first day” of the week as he did in the Gospel of John.

Jesus Himself said He was Lord of the Sabbath, as it tells us in Mark 2:28! And He was not speaking of Sunday. Listen carefully!

The expression “Lord’s Day” here in Revelation is plainly referring to the theme of the whole book, the prophetic Day of the Lord, culminating in the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In chapter five, we read about a scroll sealed with seven seals. Jesus, the Revelator, opens the seals to the book. We read the description of those seals in Revelation the sixth chapter.

The first four seals are known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The first horse, the white horse and its rider represent false religions, false Christs. Jesus Himself points out the sequence of these end-time events in the Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24. We’ve explained this convergence in previous programs.

The second seal reveals a horseman riding a red horse with the power to take peace from the earth.

The third seal presents a rider on a black horse representing the scarcity of food and resulting famine.

The fourth seal shows a rider on a pale horse whose rider is named Death and Hades.

These four horsemen have a combined power over one fourth of the earth to kill major populations. Jesus also spoke of the pestilence that normally follows on the heels of famine. Then Christ opens the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9:

“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.”

Here is described the martyrdom of saints, true Christians.

In the first century, the Emperor Nero violently persecuted Christians and put them to death. This fifth seal also predicts a major end-time persecution of saints. Then Jesus opens the sixth seal, revealing the heavenly signs that will shock people all over the earth. Revelation 6:12,

“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:12–14).

Almighty God will get the attention of rebellious humans through these earthquakes and heavenly signs. The Creator God tells us in Hebrews 12:26,

“Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”

A TRUMPET FOR ZION—AND THE WORLD

The cosmic disturbances and earthquakes introduce the Day of Judgement on all nations. Jesus Christ will judge the nations during the Day of the Lord, a year that will be “the great day of His [Christ’s] wrath” (Revelation 6:17). The Day of the Lord is the time when Almighty God will intervene powerfully in world affairs. He will judge rebellious nations, and as we’ll see, He will even let the nations actively attempt to destroy one another in world conflict.

Your Bible reveals what will happen during the Day of the Lord.

Again, if you have your Bible, turn to the book of Joel. Joel is near the end of the Old Testament. It’s the second of the so-called Minor Prophets. Turn to Joel the second chapter. Here’s a prophecy for our generation. Joel 2:1,

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.”

The trumpet is used to sound an alarm—to help people prepare for major battles, or as described here, an invading army! The prophet Joel warns of a unique time in all history. Again, Joel 2:2,

“… A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.”

The following verses describe terrible destruction, a scorched earth policy—everything is left desolate. Joel 2:3,

“A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them.”

Humanity will also see incredible disruption of the heavens as well as total destruction on the land. Joel 2:10,

“The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. The LORD gives voice before his army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?”

And God continues to describe His judgment in Joel 3:12–16:

“Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, The vats overflow—for their wickedness is great.” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Almighty God will intervene in human affairs in a dramatic way. There will be major wars during the time God executes judgment on the nations. Simply stated, the Day of the Lord is the time of God’s intervention in world affairs.

Not only will there be destruction from military weapons, there will also be incredible ecological devastation. When God brings punishments upon rebellious nations in the future Day of the Lord, He’ll call upon the nations to humble themselves and repent! Of course, we don’t need to wait until then! As conditions worsen on the world scene, we all need to pray and cry out to God—and make sure we’re on God’s side.

FINAL PROPHETIC EVENTS BEFORE CHRIST’S RETURN

Where does the Day of the Lord fit in the scheme of end-time prophecy? Let’s notice the biblical framework and the prophetic sequence of events.

There are three major periods of time or events we need to look at. They are referred to as the Great Tribulation, heavenly signs, and the Day of the Lord. It’s important to understand the correct order.

Jesus spoke of the climax of the age in Matthew 24:21,

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

This unique time in all history, the Great Tribulation, is also the time of Jacob’s trouble as pointed out in Jeremiah 30:7,

“Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.”

Notice the sequence of events as Jesus stated them in Matthew 24:29:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

The first major event is the Great Tribulation, followed by Heavenly Signs. The Day of the Lord, the third event, leads to the Second Coming of Christ. The second chapter of Joel confirms that the Day of the Lord follows after the Heavenly signs. Joel 2:30,

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.”

So we see the sequence of events. #1 is the Great Tribulation; #2 is Heavenly Signs (or the 6th Seal of Revelation); and #3 is the Day of the Lord (or the 7th Seal of Revelation).

Just how long is this Day of the Lord?

As many students of Bible prophecy know, there is the year-for-a-day principle in prophecy. Remember when the twelve spies of ancient Israel under the leadership of Joshua searched out the Promised Land?

Turn to Numbers 14:34,

“According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.”

Notice also in Isaiah 34:8,

“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.”

Here again, God’s punishment, the day of the Lord’s vengeance is equated to one year. This is the year-long time pictured by the seventh seal. It consists of seven trumpet plagues. These trumpet plagues are described in the 8th and 9th chapters of Revelation.

Turn in your Bible to Revelation 8:1,

“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.”

How long is the Day of the Lord? The Day of the Lord in one sense, is the year preceding the return of Christ! It’s a significant part of God’s plan, something all Christians should know! The trumpets give us warning—they announce seven plagues or judgments!

As you read through chapter 8, you’ll notice that, as the first four angels sound their trumpets, there is great ecological devastation all over the earth. There are earthquakes; vast areas of vegetation are burned up; a third of all sea life dies; water sources are poisoned. The heavens are darkened.

The last three trumpet plagues are called woes. The word “woe” is an exclamation of grief! Revelation 8:13,

“And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’”

The first woe or the 5th trumpet plague is described in chapter nine. The 5th angel sounds a trumpet that begins a military action that lasts 5 months. The second woe, or the 6th trumpet plague is pictured with symbols of horses and horsemen. Here we see an intense military counter-attack. Revelation 9:12,

“One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things. Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’”

An army of 200 million drives west across the Euphrates River and destroys one third of the earth’s population! This phase of World War III will kill billions of humans!

Yes, Jesus said that unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved—otherwise, all life on earth would be destroyed.

Next we hear the sound of the seventh trumpet. For Christians, the sounding of the seventh trumpet is good news because it announces the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and the return of Jesus Christ. We all need to be preparing for that time! Revelation 11:15,

“Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”

AN EPIC CONFRONTATION

The seventh trumpet announces the good news of Christ’s takeover of world governments. But the seventh trumpet is also called the third woe!

Why? Because it also signals the seven last plagues! You can read the description of these plagues in the 16th chapter of Revelation. They include plagues of painful sores on those who have worshiped the Beast power and its image. They include even more poisonous rivers and seas to the extent that “every living creature in the sea died,” as it states in Revelation 16:3. The sun becomes hotter resulting in extreme heat waves that torment those who will not repent of their sins!

In northern Israel, on the plain of Jezreel, will be gathered massive military power and might! These armies will actually fight against the commander of Heaven’s armies, Jesus Christ. Turn to Revelation 19 in your Bible. Revelation 19:11, the apostle John writes,

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS
AND LORD OF LORDS.”

When Christ returns to this earth, He will conquer all his enemies. He will conquer the nations and their powerful armies that fight against Him at His coming. The Day of the Lord will bring God’s judgment on the nations.

As we’ve seen, in one sense the Day of the Lord is the year preceding the return of Christ. In another sense, it continues on through the millennium and on out to eternity. And the Apostle Peter exhorts us to be in a spiritual state of readiness. God in His great love for us has revealed the future to His servants. The Apostle John writes in Revelation chapter 22, the last chapter in the Bible,

“Then he said to me, ‘these words are faithful and true.’ And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. ‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book’” (Revelation 22:6–7).

We must be alert to the Day of the Lord, a sobering period of judgment on the nations. Beyond that lies tomorrow’s world, a wonderful time with beauty, prosperity, and restoration under the rulership of Christ.

May God speed that day!

Thank you for watching!

We here at Tomorrow’s World want to help you understand your world through the pages of the Bible. And we encourage you not just to believe us, but look up these verses in your own Bible. If you would like to learn more, just click the link in the description for a free Bible study CD titled, THE DAY OF THE LORD. This inspiring audio CD will give you much more vital information than we’ve had time for on this program.

And remember to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video. See you next time!


Four Hidden Mysteries of John 3:16

Find out how John 3:16 is so much more than just a memory verse in this careful examination of the golden verse. Comparing other scriptures, learn who God is, how He shows love, what perish means, and being born again.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

Introduction: One of the Most Well-Known Scriptures—Misunderstood!

One of the best-known verses in the Bible is John 3:16! Zealous professing Christians have tried to publicize this scripture with large banners at nationally televised football games, and even on large boulders and billboards along the highway.

This famous verse holds out awesome hope to all human beings whom God is calling. But few, even professing Christians, really understand the depth of truth enclosed in this profound statement. Jesus Himself stated this truth in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Hidden in this famous verse are eight vital spiritual truths. But for most people, they are eight hidden mysteries.

Why?

Because they read this verse based on human traditions rather than Christian doctrines based on the Bible! You can learn more about the eight hidden mysteries of John 3:16, in our free study resource: John 3:16, Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse. Be sure to write down the contact information to order your free copy.

Would a God who loved the world condemn His creations to eternal suffering in hell-fire? How could that be fair?

And if God let Jesus die so believers would not perish, where did we get the idea that the wicked would not perish but instead would live in eternal pain? And, most importantly, what does it mean to have everlasting life as a born-again follower of Jesus Christ?

On today’s program you need to understand four mysteries of John 3:16.

Stay tuned!

Who Is the God of the Bible?

One of the most profound truths of your Bible is stated in John 3:16. It’s called “The Golden Verse” of the Bible.

We need to seek its truth. But there are so many different interpretations and beliefs, even among professing Christians. Listen to this amazing fact: The World Christian Encyclopedia identifies at least 33,000 Christian denominations, with 9,000 of them classified as “Protestant” and 22,000 as “Independents.” These thousands of denominations disagree among themselves in many of their doctrines, teachings, and beliefs.

Yet they can’t all be right!

Could it even be that many believe in a false Jesus Christ who is not the Jesus of the Bible? Jesus Himself warned us in Matthew 24:24 that “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Since these thousands of denominations teach varying doctrines, could it be that many believe in a counterfeit Christianity?

There are many differing beliefs concerning the nature and existence of God. So, let’s consider the first hidden mystery of John 3:16,

Who is the God who loved the world?

How is He described in the Bible? If you have your Bible, turn to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Evangelist Gerald Weston, author of the free study resource we’re offering today, states this:

The first place the term “God” is used in scripture (Genesis 1:1), it comes from the Hebrew Elohim, a plural word. The plurality of God is affirmed in verse 26: “Then God [Elohim] said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” (p. 4).

Notice “Us”—that’s plural. But God is also one. What does your Bible reveal about the relationship of Jesus Christ and God the Father? We read in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” And Jesus stated, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).

So, we need to answer the question, “In what way is God ‘one’?” Mr. Weston answers that question:

On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus was on earth, and He prayed to His Father in heaven. Note these clear words about oneness found in this prayer: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one” (John 17:20–21). So we see that He wants us all to be one, but in what way? So “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one” (vv. 21–23) (John 3:16, Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse, pp. 5–6).

As we’ll see later in the program, God is preparing a Family. Born-again Christians will become part of that Family at the First Resurrection. Even now, Christians after baptism receive the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit.

We all need the gift of the Holy Spirit of God, the power of God, as Jesus stated in Acts 1:7–8 and as the Apostle Peter exhorted in Acts 2:38. We thank God that He will give repentant sinners the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of “power and of love and of a sound mind” as it tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7.

Yes, God is the father “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:15).

My friends, pray that you also can have God as your Father. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in Matthew 6:9.

We’ve seen that God the Father and Jesus Christ are one. They are the two beings right now in the One God Family. In fact, God the Father is the father “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:15). And faithful Christians will join them when they are born again, as we’ll see later in this program.

God Is Building a Family—Not Burning It!

Now turn to John chapter 11. We saw that the Father and Jesus Christ are now members of that one family. As the Apostle John taught us in John 1:14,

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

And it was that Jesus, the Son of God, who poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples in Acts 2:32.

“This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.”

My friends, you need the Holy Spirit, as we’ll discuss later in this program.

Another hidden truth and mystery of John 3:16 is the answer to the question: Is God fair? Hidden Mystery Number Two: “Is God fair?”

When you come to really understand the awesome unconditional eternal love that the Creator God has for human beings, you’ll understand that every human being will have a genuine opportunity for salvation. And this introduces this second hidden truth.

Many professing Christians have a wrong idea that God will burn billions of people in hellfire forever, simply because He arranged for them to be born and die without ever hearing the name of Christ or the gospel of Christ.

Is that fair?

In Chapter Three of today’s free booklet, Evangelist Gerald Weston writes,

The Apostle John taught plainly that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Here, “the world” is not a reference to planet Earth, but rather to the people who dwell here. And, no matter how you count it, by any reckoning there have always been far more “unsaved” than “saved.” So, if God “loved the world,” how can this be? Is He so weak that He cannot save the majority of His creation? This leads to the question, “Is God fair? Is He a respecter of persons? Has everyone—or will everyone—have a genuine and fair opportunity for salvation?” (pp. 17–18).

Bible students know that salvation comes only through the name of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. As it tells us in Acts 4:12,

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

My friends, God has a plan for those who never heard the name of Jesus Christ.

Hidden Mystery Number Two is: “Is God fair?”

God will not condemn those who never heard the name of Christ as many in traditional Christianity believe. Ask your minister or priest this question: If a tribe of people in a remote jungle never heard the name of Jesus Christ, never accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, will they be condemned to hellfire when they die? You may be shocked by the answer.

Your Bible reveals that God will give such people an opportunity for salvation in the Second Resurrection to judgment. That’s described in Revelation 20:11–13. Turn in your Bible to Revelation 20:11. God reveals to us the Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment takes place after the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. These are the “rest of the dead” mentioned in verse 5. This is the second general resurrection from the dead. Revelation 20:11,

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God….”

If the dead are now standing before God, they have been resurrected. You find a description of this resurrection to physical life in Ezekiel 37—the valley of dry bones comes to life.

Now, continuing in Revelation 20:12,

“… and books were opened.”

The original Greek word for books is biblia, from which we derive the word Bible. Let’s continue,

“And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.”

In the White Throne Judgment, billions of people who never heard the name of Christ will have their first genuine opportunity for salvation. That resurrection to judgment may include friends and relatives you may have thought were lost forever.

What Does It Mean to Perish—And to Be “Born Again”?

Hidden Mystery Number One we’ve discussed is, “Who is the God who loved the world?” Our Hidden Mystery Number Two is, “Is God fair?” Our Hidden Mystery Number Three is very important for understanding God’s truth: “What is the biblical meaning of ‘perish’?”

My friends, God is the Giver of life, the Creator of all things—He is the Life-giver. Turn to Acts 17. In verse 26, the Apostle Paul reveals God’s desired relationship with all of us.

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring’” (Acts 17:26–28).

Since God is the giver of life, what does it mean to “perish”? Many assume that they will never perish! They believe the pagan doctrine of the immortal soul. They believe that their so-called immortal soul will not perish at death. But Gerald Weston writes in his informative free booklet on John 3:16,

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines perish as “To be destroyed; to pass away; to become nothing… to die” (“Perish,” Websters1913.com). We know what it means when food perishes. We speak of people perishing in a plane crash. So, when it comes to the biblical matters, why do people push other, incorrect meanings onto perish?

The Bible consistently and unambiguously agrees with the standard dictionary definition of “perish”! It clearly teaches that life and death are opposites! Nowhere does Scripture ever describe human life as being inherently immortal. As we have already seen, even the soul—whatever one may think it is—can die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).

God’s word reveals that immortality is not something we already have, but rather that it is something we must seek (Romans 2:6–7) and “must put on” (1 Corinthians 15:53–54) (p. 50).

The Bible plainly reveals that only God has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16) and that immortality is something we must put on in the future (1 Corinthians 15:53).

God’s purpose is to save us from eternal death, to save us from perishing. But Scripture tells us that those who seal their character with evil will perish in the lake of fire. Read that in Revelation 21:7,

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 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.”

The incorrigibly wicked will perish in the lake of fire. They will be punished with the second death from which there is no resurrection. That’s the punishment of eternal death. As it states in Romans 6:23,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We don’t already have immortality. Eternal life is a gift of God. Thus we see the contrast between traditional Christianity and biblical Christianity. Traditional Christianity teaches that we have an immortal soul that will always live and never perish or never cease to exist. Biblical Christianity teaches that unrepentant sinners will perish in a lake of fire, experience the second death—eternal death—and cease to exist.

But the good news is that those who truly believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, who repent and are baptized as it states in Acts 2:38, and remain faithful, will not perish, they will be given the gift of eternal life. The Third Hidden Mystery we’ve discussed today is: “What is the biblical meaning of ‘perish’?” My friends, will you personally perish?

Our Savior revealed that those who genuinely live by John 3:16, shall “not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We’ve briefly discussed three hidden mysteries of John 3:16. Our Hidden Mystery Number Four is: “You Must Be Born Again.” In fact, chapter five of our free study resource today is titled, “You Must Be Born Again.” Most professing Christians are familiar with the story of Nicodemus the Pharisee, who came to Jesus by night and admitted that Jesus was sent from God. Jesus told him,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

The common belief is that if you accept Jesus in your heart as your Savior, you are at that moment “born again.” But what did Jesus tell the dumbfounded Pharisee?

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (vv. 5–6).

Conclusion: Begotten of God—Baptism and Repentance Are Only the Beginning

One simply needs to ask the question, “Am I spirit or am I flesh?” Physical Christians will be changed into spirit at the resurrection. Read about the miraculous change at the first general resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15:50,

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (vv. 50–54).

That is the time Jesus referred to when He said, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Mr. Weston explains the context of Jesus’ statement in chapter five of the study resource we’re offering today, John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse. We must understand, as in the human begettal and birth process, the difference between the words “begotten” and “born.”

Mr. Weston writes on page 34,

Why does this matter generate such confusion? In this passage of Scripture, the word translated as “born” is the Greek word gennao. Translators, knowing Greek but not understanding the doctrinal implications, variously render this unusual word into English as “born,” “beget,” “begot,” or “conceive.” This seemingly small detail can lead to confusion and result in significant misunderstandings, especially about the concept of being “born again.”

When we receive God’s Holy Spirit at baptism, we become God’s begotten child. In spite of the translators’ bias, the word gennao is correctly translated in 1 Peter 1:3,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you….”

Our Father in heaven begets us as His children, and as such we love all of God’s begotten children.

Yes, to be born again, you must first be begotten at baptism.

My friends, I pray that you will consider repentance and baptism and begin your spiritual life as a begotten son or daughter of God Almighty and as a brother or sister of [Jesus] Christ as He referred to us in Matthew 12:50 and Hebrews 2:11.

If you are considering repentance and biblical baptism, contact one of our representatives at the Regional Office nearest you. You can find them on our website, TomorrowsWorld.org.

Hidden Mystery Number Four is: “You must be born again.”

On today’s program, we’ve discussed four hidden mysteries of John 3:16. But we’ve only scratched the surface.

May God bless you as you seek His truth in the pages of your Bible.

Thank you for watching!

My friends, there are more hidden truths in John 3:16 that billions of human beings around the world do not understand. If you would like to discover them for yourself, just click the link in the description to order a free copy of our study guide John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse. And remember to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video.

See you next time!



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