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Summary of Bible truth

There is one true and living God, the creator and sustainer of the Universe who, in the Bible, reveals the truth concerning himself and his purpose with mankind.

The ultimate purpose of God is to populate the Earth with righteous men and women who will live for ever. This will be achieved: firstly, by the development of righteous people; and, secondly, by their change of nature to immortality and incorruptibility. This purpose will be completed at the end of a seven thousand year period, and the Bible is mainly about God's dealings with mankind over this period. God also has an ulterior purpose by which, after six thousand years of human government, the world will be ruled in righteousness by his son Jesus Christ for one thousand years, and during the past six thousand years, God has been inviting men and women to inherit this glorious future. This is the Gospel, or good news, taught throughout the Bible.

The first chapters of the Bible describe how God by his Spirit, or power, transformed the Earth from an empty shapeless world, completely covered with water and enveloped in darkness, into a flourishing planet teeming with life. The first man and woman, enjoying life in a paradise, were given the opportunity to develop righteousness, defined as obedience to God's commandments: but they disobeyed despite being warned that the consequence of their sin would be death, i.e. unconsciousness and dissolution in the grave. Not only did they therefore die, but were responsible for the introduction of sin and death into the world. Sin is revealed in the Bible as the great enemy of mankind. All of us sin and are worthy of death, but God has a plan to save a great many individuals. Indeed, immediately after this first transgression it was revealed that salvation would be achieved by 'a seed of the woman'. This turned out, four thousand years later, to be Jesus the son of a virgin, Mary.

The Old Testament scriptures inform us of God's dealings with mankind during those four thousand years and, in particular, about men and women who believed God's promises and obeyed his commandments. These individuals are set forth as examples for us to follow so that we, with them, might in the end inherit eternal life. Foremost among these faithful men was Abraham to whom God made specific promises and who, because of his faith and works, was counted by God to be a righteous man. When he was told to leave his own country and go to a land which God would show him, he obeyed. He journeyed to Canaan (Israel and Lebanon today) where God promised that he and his seed would inherit that land for ever and that in him and in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. The promised seed again turned out to be Jesus, as the New Testament declares: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made... which is Christ", with the added assurance that if we are Christ's then are we Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise!

Abraham's natural descendants in the line of Jacob, his grandson renamed Israel, became God's chosen people whom he formed into a kingdom and a holy nation. Some four hundred years after Abraham's day his descendants were delivered from slavery in Egypt and brought into the promised land, and the kingdom of God was established: its people were God's people; its territory was the land God calls his land; its rulers were appointed by God; its laws were God's laws; and its king was God himself. This kingdom was a theocracy in which the people were blessed if they obeyed God's laws but punished if they disobeyed, and finally, because of total disobedience and idolatry, they were removed out of the land and scattered throughout the world. Nevertheless the promise of God is that all Israel will be regathered into the promised land and the kingdom of God will be re-established. During the existence of God's kingdom in the past the people of Israel had the opportunity to show the faith and do the works of Abraham, be counted righteous like him, and ultimately with him inherit eternal life.

Notable among the faithful was king David, a man after God's own heart, who sat upon the throne of the LORD over Israel. God also made specific promises to him by which his seed would sit upon his throne and rule over the his kingdom for ever. Again, this is Jesus, as the angel said to his mother Mary before his birth: "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) for ever". Therefore, Jesus was given the title Christ (Anointed) because he was anointed, as was David, to sit upon the throne of the LORD in Jerusalem.

He was named Jesus, meaning Saviour, because he would save his people from their sins. The Old Testament, all written hundreds of years before his birth, is full of information about him, not only that as the great king he would restore the kingdom of God to Israel and bless the nations of the earth, but also that he would save men from sin and death. We all sin and consequently die, because 'the wages of sin is death', but God gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The Bible reveals God's plan to gain the victory over sin and death. God himself would raise up a man with our sinful nature, to be tempted in all points as were are, yet who would never sin during his whole life. This was achieved by producing a child, not by the will of man in the natural way, but by the power of God acting on a woman to produce a child who would be, not only a son of man, but also a son of God. Such a person would have the strength of mind to overcome our sinful nature and live a perfect life and, being personally innocent of transgression, could in justice be allowed to live for ever. Jesus therefore, after living a perfect life, was executed in a public declaration of God's righteousness; was laid in the grave; and, after three days, was raised from the dead to immortality. Jesus is the 'firstborn from the dead' after which he went to heaven to be our intercessor at the right hand of God until the day appointed for him to return to the earth to rule the world in righteousness.

The long period of Christ's absence is a time of opportunity for men and women to take advantage of the salvation provided by his life, death, and resurrection. God declares he will count us righteous and give us eternal life if we carry out his simple instructions. These are: believe his promises; voluntarily end our lives by 'dying' to our old sinful nature; be buried in the waters of baptism; and be born again to newness of life in which we serve God and his righteousness. Physically, we remain the same people but God reckons we are no longer `in Adam', and related to sin and death, but 'in Christ' and related to righteousness and life. His promise is that when Jesus returns to the earth all those 'in Christ' will be raised from the dead and given eternal life. Jesus will judge the living and the dead at his coming. The rejected will return to the grave, experiencing the second death. The accepted will have their bodies changed, putting on incorruptibility and immortality, to become partakers of the divine nature, and they will then live and reign with Christ for a thousand years, and never die.

For two thousand years the Gospel taught by Jesus and his apostles, the good news of the kingdom of God and the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ, has been disseminated throughout the world beginning with the apostles carrying out the commission which Jesus gave them: "Go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved". Many, throughout the generations, have responded faithfully to Christ's invitation; and we too may read the Bible for ourselves and learn the way of salvation.

The signs of the times clearly given in the Scriptures, particularly events in Russia and in Israel which will result in a Russian invasion of Israel, indicate that the moment of God's open intervention in world affairs is close at hand and that the time of opportunity is running out. Those who embrace God's truth have a glorious hope for the future. They can look forward to the early return of Christ to the earth, to change of nature into immortality, and to working with Christ in saving and blessing the peoples of the earth when there will be "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men". The prayer will then be answered for those who prayed in the words Jesus taught his disciples: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven".

At the end of the Millennium there will be another resurrection and judgment of those who have lived during Christ's rule. The righteous among them will be given eternal life. Christ will have destroyed the last enemy, which is death, and God's purpose will have been achieved: everyone living on the earth will be immortal. Christ will then deliver the kingdom to his father and God will be all and in all.


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