THE TIME WHEN JESUS WOULD RULING

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In the Bible, individuals, rulers, and kingdoms are at times represented by trees  Photo Credit: Flickr

 

Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?—Acts 1:6

BEFORE  Jesus ascended to heaven, his apostles asked the above. When would God’s Kingdom start ruling? But Jesus’ answer showed clearly that that was not the time for him to come as heavenly King to rule in heaven. When would that time thus be?

First, there was an important task for his disciples to accomplish at present: they have to focus on the witnessing work that they needed to do. (Acts 1:7,8) But Jesus taught his disciples also to look forward to the coming of the above mentioned Kingdom.

Is this teaching regarding the coming of Jesus Yes. Christians since then prayed for it to come. When that time drawed close, Jesus’ Father, Jehovah, helped his modern day disciples to understand the timing of events. In 1876, Charles Taze Russell, one of the founders of the then so called ‘Bible Students’, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses were then called, published in the magazine Bible Examiner an article (“Gentile Times: When Do They End?“) that pointed to 1914 as a significant year. It bound the ‘seven times’ of Daniel’s prophecy with ‘the appointed times of the nations’ mentioned by Jesus.—Dan. 4:16; Luke 21:24

The appointed times
of the nations

1914

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Does The Universe Have A Purpose?

TAKEN FROM:  JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION
SUPPORTING SCIENCE-INVESTING THE BIG QUESTIONS

220px-David_GelernterDAVID GELERNTER
David Gelernter Professor of computer science at Yale and a National fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Consider this question: Do the Earth and mankind have a purpose? If so, then the universe does too, ipso facto. If not, the universe might still have (some other) purpose; but I don’t have to face that contingency, because I believe we do have one…

 

 

150px-Paul_DaviesPAUL DAVIES
Physicist, cosmologist, & astrobiologist.
Director of the Beyond Center at Arizona State University.

Nature is not an arbitrary juxtaposition of events but the manifestation of ingeniously interweaving mathematical laws. That much is agreed. But what about a purpose to it all? If there is a script—a cosmic story to tell—isn’t that already a sort of purpose?

Where, then, is the evidence of “cosmic purpose”? Well, it is right under our noses in the very existence of science itself as a successful explanatory paradigm.
Experience shows that as we dig deeper and deeper using scientific methods, we continue to find rational and meaningful order. The universe makes sense. We can comprehend it.

profile-murphy-nanceyNANCEY MURPHY
Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary.

It is not possible to know that by looking at the natural world alone. The question of purpose is closely related to the question of whether something like the God of Western monotheistic religions can be known to exist by studying the order, goodness, and grandeur of the universe.

gingerichOWEN GINGERICH
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University.
Senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Frankly, I am psychologically incapable of believing that the universe is meaningless.
I believe the universe has a purpose, and our greatest intellectual challenge as human beings is to glimpse what this purpose might be.

Quite possibly, the purpose of the universe is to provide a congenial home for self-conscious creatures who can ask profound questions and who can probe the nature of the universe itself.

Carbon atoms, with their self-bonding properties, provide the immense variety for the complex cellular machinery— no other atom offers a
comparable range of possibilities. But carbon did not emerge from the big bang of
creation. It was slowly produced, over billions of years, in the cores of evolving stars. Had some of the basic constants of nature been only slightly different, there would be no major abundance of carbon. And it is extremely difficult to imagine intelligent life without something like carbon.

There are enough such “coincidences” to give thoughtful observers some pause. Scientists who are loath to accept a fine-tuned universe feel obliged to take notice. Of course, if the universe were any other way, we wouldn’t be here to observe it, but that is hardly a satisfying answer.

B_Guiderdoni-2BRUNO GUIDERDONI
Astrophysicist & Director of the Observatory of Lyon, France.

Everything from the mass ratios of atomic particles, the number of space dimensions, to the cosmological parameters that rule the expansion of the universe, and the formation of galaxies are all exactly what they need to be to create stars, planets, atoms, and molecules.
But where does this apparent fine-tuning come from?
Is it the manifestation of a plan for the universe? An arrangement by a superior will to prepare the way for complex creatures? Is it God’s signature? People of faith believe it is so. They read purpose in the universe as a painter sees beauty in a view on the ocean.

The reality is that we are able to contemplate such questions. And the bigger the questions our brains can ponder, the more unlikely that the cosmic drama we are all participating in is simply a cosmic lottery.
This is why, at the end of the day, I can’t refrain from thinking that there actually is purpose in the universe.

haughtJOHN F. HAUGHT
John F. Haught Senior Fellow, Science and Religion, at the Woodstock Theological Center,
Georgetown University.

As long as you are drawn toward truth, so also is the natural world that gave birth to your mind.
The two, after all, are inseparable. As long as the search for truth persists, not only can you trust your mind, you can also trust the universe that has germinated such an exquisite means of opening itself to
what is timelessly worth treasuring.

OTH0147-01_cropped_squareJANE GOODALL
Jane Goodall Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.
UN Messenger of Peace.

Why should we be programmed to believe in a god? Why are laws of physics designed to make life ever more complex? And where did they come from?
When I was a child, born into a Christian family, I accepted the reality of an unseen God without question. And now that I have lived almost three quarters of a century I still believe in a great spiritual power. I have described elsewhere the experience I had when I first visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. When, as I gazed at the great rose window, glowing in the morning sun, the air was suddenly filled with the glorious sound of an organ playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It filled me with joy, brought tears to my eyes.

How could I believe that blind chance had led to that moment in time—the cathedral, the collective faith of those who had prayed and worshiped within, the genius of Bach, the emergence of a conscious mind that could, as mine did then, question the purpose of life on Earth. Was all the wonder and beauty simply the result of purposeless gyrations of bits of cosmic dust at the beginning of time? If not, then there must be some extra-cosmic power, the creator of the big bang. A purpose in the universe. Perhaps, one day, that purpose will be revealed.

THE END IS NEAR! HOW DOES THIS AFFECT US?

New York After Armageddon with
New York, the day after

The end of what? May you ask. And for a good reason. Many times has been said that an hypothetical end is near. And this may make us feel concerned or skeptical or maby amused. Matthew 24:14 says: ”The end will come.” This statement is written in the Bible, and indicates an event that is also called ”the great day of God”, ”Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:14, 16) But how will this event affect us, if it does? The Bible reveals us what this end is and what it is not and how to survive. What does the end mean according to the Bible? What will bring about the end?

WHAT THE END IS NOT

The earth is established on its foundations; it will not be moved from its place forever and ever.” (Psalm 104:5)  In a sense that the earth will neither be destroyed nor will God allow it to be destroyed ever. (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:18) The Bible reveals that the end is scheduled, God has set a specific time for it. Thus the end is not a random and spontaneous incident. Revelation 19:11 says:”I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True.” Verse 19 continues:”And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.”  Though much of these words have a symbolic meaning, we can discern that God will use an angelic army to exterminate his enemies. Thus the end is not caused by humans or by debris hurtling through space.

WHAT THE END IS

The Bible explains:”The God of heaven will set up a kingdom [government] that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44) As mentioned above, God will kill the kings of the earth and their armies will be destroyed by means of the one seated on the horse and an army of angelic creatures. (Revelation 19:19)

The end of war, violence, and injustice. “God is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth.” (Psalm 46:9) “Only the upright will reside in the earth, and the blameless will remain in it. As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous will be torn away from it.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) “Look! I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:4, 5)

Failing religions will come to an end. “The prophets prophesy lies, and the priests dominate by their own authority. . . .But what will you do when the end comes?”(Jeremiah 5:31) ”Many will say to me in that day:’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name?’ And then I will declare to them:’I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23)

What about people who perpetuate and approve or support the current governments and their affairs? Jesus said:”Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather that the light, for their works were wicked.” (John 3:19) Will this be the first judgment ever in human history? No, the upcoming ”day of judgment and of destruction” is compared in the Bible, with the destruction of Noah’s time. (2 Peter 3:5-7)It were God’s enemies who were destroyed, but the planet survived.

In the same way, who choose to be God’s enemies will likewise be destroyed. But who will survive? God’s friends will be preserved, as were Noah and his family. (Matthew 24:37-42) So how can you survive? The Bible strongly urges us to set priorities in our live.  2 Peter 3:10-12 says:”Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, consider what sort of people you ought to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, as you await and keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.”

Our survival involves being devoted to Jehovah God and learning about the kind of conduct and deeds that please him. (Zephaniah 2:3) Please contact the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They can show you from the Bible how you can be a survivor of this upcoming day.

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What Kind Of Body Does God Have?

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“God is a Spirit.”—John 4:24.

THE BIBLE describes God as a spirit being. (2Corinthians 3:17) He is “the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible,” says 1Timothy 1:17. The Bible also states: “At no time has anyone beheld God.”—1John 4:12.

“To whom can you people liken God, and what likeness can you put alongside him?” says Isaiah 40:18.

There are, however, intelligent creatures who can see God and even speak with him face-to-face. How so? Because they too are spirits, and they live in heaven. (1Kings 22:21; Hebrews 1:7) Concerning these superhuman creatures, who are also called angels, Jesus Christ said: “[They] always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”—Matthew 18:10.

Is God omnipresent?

“Our Father in the heavens.” (Matthew 6:9) The Bible does not teach that God is omnipresent, or present everywhere at all times, like some impersonal force. Rather, as Jesus’ words found at Matthew 6:9 and 18:10 show, God is a person—a “Father”—and he resides in heaven, his “established place of dwelling.”—1Kings 8:43.

After his death in the flesh and resurrection as a spirit, Christ ascended “into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God.”—Hebrews 9:24.

These facts about God matter. Why? For one thing, because God is a person, we can learn about him and draw close to him. (James 4:8)

The truth about God protects us from false worship, such as the worship of lifeless images and objects. “Little children, guard yourselves from idols,” says 1John 5:21.

How were humans formed in God’s image?

“God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.”—Genesis 1:27.

As humans, we have the potential to reflect God’s personality traits, such as his love, justice, and wisdom. The Bible says: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love.”—Ephesians 5:1, 2.

The more we learn about God and imitate him, the more we live the way he intended us to live. As a result, we experience more joy in life, along with genuine satisfaction, inner peace, and contentment. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) God’s endearing qualities drawing honesthearted people to him and setting them on the path to everlasting life.—John 6:44; 17:3.

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Can Our Sins Be Forgiven?

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ACCORDING to the Bible, all humans are sinners. We inherited the tendency to sin from the first man, Adam. Thus, we sometimes do bad things and may later regret what we did.

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid for our sins by dying for us. This made forgiveness possible.—Romans 3:23, 24.

The Word of God says that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:7) This will happen if we have a proper, repentant attitude.—Isaiah 1:18.

What must we do to be forgiven?

We need to learn about Jehovah God—to understand his ways, advice and requirements. (John 17:3; Acts 3:19) Is this too difficult for us? No, Jehovah understands our weaknesses. He is merciful and kind. His qualities want us to learn more about how to please him. (Psalm 103:13, 14)

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A Meaningful Life is Possible

Image “The lenght of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow.”—Psalm 90:10*, New International Version.

LIFE in this world is so often glutted with “trouble and sorrow.” Is it even possible to have a truly meaningful life now?

Your work may be repetitive, tiring, and tedious. Your efforts or work may not be recognized. Even if you do have a measure of success, you may feel insecure regarding your future. At times, you may also feel lonely or depressed. Your family life may be marked by conflict and strife. You may have lost a loved one in death.

No matter what trouble we may face, there is something we desperately need to know: is a meaningful life really possible? We can find the answer in the life of a man who walked the earth some 2,000 years ago—Jesus Christ. In spite of all the obstacles that confronted him, Jesus truly had a meaningful life. So can we if we follow his example.

Jesus—The Key to a Meaningful Life

Did Jesus really have a meaningful life? He evidently was brought up in humble surroundings, and throughout his life he had few of this world’s goods. He actually had “nowhere to lay down his head.” (Luke 9:57, 58) In addition, he was hated slandered, and finally put to death by his enemies.

You may reason, ‘Such a life is not what I think of as meaningful!’ But there is more to Jesus’ life that we do well to consider. Let us examine four aspects of his life.

1. JESUS HAD A PURPOSE IN LIFE—TO DO GOD’S WILL.

“My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me.”John 4:34.

By his words and actions, Jesus sought to fulfill the will of his heavenly Father, Jehovah. Jesus found great joy in doing God’s will. He actually compared doing so to food, as is shown in the scripture just quoted.

2. JESUS HAD INTENSE LOVE FOR HIS FATHER.

“I love the Father.”John 14:31.

Jesus had an extremely close relationship with his Father in heaven. Jesus’ deep love for God impelled him to make known his Father—His name, purposes, and qualities. Through his words, actions, and attitudes, Jesus perfectly reflected his Father—to the point that we see in Jesus a living portrait of his Father. —John 14:8, 9.

3. JESUS LOVED PEOPLE.

“No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.”John 15:13.

The Bible explains: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12

Thankfully, Jehovah lovingly provided a solution to mankind’s situation. He allowed his perfect and sinless Son, who became known as Jesus, to suffer and die in order to provide the ransom needed to deliver mankind from slavery to sin and death. Jesus, moved by love for his Father and for humans, willingly complied and gave his perfect human life in our behalf. (Romans 5:6-8) Such unselfish love gave meaning to his life. To learn more about the ransoming value of Jesus’ death, see chapter 5 of the bookWhat Does the Bible Really Teach?, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

4. JESUS KNEW THAT HE HAD HIS FATHER’S LOVE AND APPROVAL.

“This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”Matthew 3:17.

Jehovah spoke those words from heaven at the time of Jesus’ baptism. Jehovah by doing so, openly expressed affection for and approval of his Son, Jesus. (John 10:17) Knowing that he had his Father’s love and approval, Jesus faced opposition and criticism with confidence. He even maintained balance and emotional stability in the face of death. (John 10:18) His own Father’s love and approval gave even greater meaning to his life.

Clearly, we can learn much from Jesus about how we can lead a life that has real meaning.

A Meaningful Life—Jesus Shows the Way

“Walk just as Jesus walked.”1 John 2:6NET Bible.

If we want to fill our life with meaning, we do well to imitate his example and listen to his advice. Walking as Jesus walked involves patterning our entire way of life after his example and teachings. Doing so will help us to gain God’s approval and have a meaningful life.

Jesus’ teaching included principles that can help us to walk just as he walked. We find a number of these principles in his famous Sermon of the Mount.

PRINCIPLE: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.”—Matthew 5:3.

Can God’s Word really help us to satisfy our spiritual need? Jesus indicated that humans have an innate spiritual need. We long to know the answers to such questions as these: Why are we here? Why is there so much suffering on this earth? Does God really care about us? Is there life after death? We need to know the answers to such questions in order to have a meaningful life. Jesus knew that there is only one reliable source that can answer those questions—God’s Word. In prayer to his Father, Jesus said: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

PRINCIPLE: “Happy are the merciful.”—Matthew 5:7.

Mercy involves showing compassion to others, being kind and considerate toward them. Jesus showed mercy to those in need. Moved by deep compassion, he took the initiative to relieve the suffering of others. (Matthew 14:14; 20:30-34) When we imitate Jesus in being merciful, we add meaning to our lives. (Acts 20:35) And are happy as a result.

PRINCIPLE: “Happy are the peaceable.”—Matthew 5:9.

To be “peaceable” literally means to be a “peacemaker”. How does being a peacemaker make life more meaningful? For one thing, we enjoy better relationships with those around us. We do well to heed the Bible’s advise: “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” (Romans 12:18) Yes if we follow Jesus’ wise advice, we will find happiness and contentment in life.

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Understanding the Bible—What Are the Keys?

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The Bible’s answer

The Bible itself provides many of the keys to understanding it. Regardless of your background, God’s message in the Bible “is not too difficult for you, nor is it far away.”—Deuteronomy 30:11

Keys to understanding the Bible

1. Have the right attitude. The Bible is God’s word. Accept it as his truth. Be humble, God opposes the proud. (1Thessalonians 2:13; James 4:6) Avoid blind faith, for the reason that God wants you to use your “power of reason.”—Romans 12:1, 2.

2. Pray for wisdom. Proverbs 3:5 says: “Do not lean upon your own understanding.” We have to “keep on asking God” for wisdom in understanding the Bible.—James 1:5.

3. Be consistent. You will benefit from the Bible study if you do it regularly rather than sporadically.—Joshua 1:8.

4. Study by topic. When we analyze what the Bible says about a particular topic or subject we do a topical study. This is an effective way to learn what the Scriptures teach. The best way to learn from the Bible is to start with “the beginning lessons,” as it were, and then “go forward to more mature (advanced) teaching.”(Hebrews 6:1,2, Easy-to-Read Version) For example we can compare scripture with scripture and learn that parts of the Bible explain each other, even parts that are “hard to understand.”— 2Peter 3:16.

5. Get help from others. The Bible encourages us to ask help from others who understand the Bible. (Acts 8:30, 31) Jehovah’s Witnesses , like the early Christians, use Scriptural references to help people discern what the Bible really teaches.—Acts 17:2, 3.

Things you don’t need

1. High intellect or education. Jesus’ 12 apostles taught the Scriptures to others, even though they were considered by some to be “unlettered and ordinary.”—Acts 4:13.

2. Money. You can learn the Bible teachings without cost. Jesus says to his disciples: “You received free, give free.”—Matthew 10:8.

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LEARN MORE

The Bible—A Book From God

Related Questions

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