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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THE BODY OF LIBERTIES BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD

Body of Liberties

“The [Governors] … were entreated to make a draft of laws agreable to the word of God, which might be the fundamentals of this Commonwealth, and to present the same to the next General Court.”—May 25, 1636, Mass. Rec., I. 174. (New England, during the Stuard Dynasty, Vol. II by John Gorham Palfrey)

Twenty-three years had passed since the first plantation at Plymouth, and thirteen since Massachusetts had  become the basis of government of the league of the four Colonies (Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Haven). At the length, with the growth of interests and of the community, some uniformity was required. In a session which “continued three weeks,” (ibid. p. 23) the General Court established one hundred fundamental laws, called the Body of Liberties that “no man shall infringe… without due punishment.” (Body of Liberties, Art. 98)

These laws had been composed by Nathaniel Ward, who had studied at Cambridge and afterwards came to Massachusetts in 1634. Under ninety eight heads, it lays down fundamental principles related to the sacredness of life, liberty, property and reputation. It also provides for justice to woman, children, servants, and foreigners.

“No man’s life shall be taken away; no man’s honour or good name shall be stained”…”no man shall be deprived of his wife or children; no man’s goods or estate shall be taken away, nor any way endangered”…”unless it be by virtue or equity of some express law of the country warranting the same, established by the General Court and sufficiently published, or, in case of the defect of the law in any particular case, by the word of God” (First paragraph of the code, Body of Liberties ).

For the people the Scriptures were considered a universal statute-book, the building block of their community and administration.

“There is no higher, and no other just conception of human law, than was theirs, when they recognized it as an embodiment of the will—in other words, of the law—of God.” (New England, p. 27)

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A FINE-TUNED UNIVERSE AT THE BASE OF GENESIS?

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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Some scolars agree by the scientific evidence that the universe is governed by infinitely precise rates and is fine-tuned. But have this precise order originate the universe we know? Or did such an order happend at some point? This requires closer investigation.

It is generally known that after the big-bang the universe was expanding following a specific scheme or ratio. The rate of expansion, carefully measured was very close to the point at which the universe will just escape its own gravity and avoid collapsing. Was the rate of expansion a little slower, the cosmos would collapse, a little faster and the universe we know would have long ago completely dispersed. How delicately the rate of expansion has been fine-tuned! This is only one of several apparent cosmic miracles.

Another miracle and an example of fine-tuned universe, is the pattern of expansion. As we observe it today, the universe is extraordinarily uniform in the way matter and energy are distributed and at every point the universe would look the same at all orientations. The radiation from the universe arrives at Earth with a uniform temperature in every direction. Paul Davis, in A Naturalistic Account of the Universe, says: “Not only is the rate of expansion the same in all directions, it is the same from region to region within the cosmos.” This means that the univese commence with an explosion highly orchestrated, an outburst of “exactly uniform vigour everywhere and in every direction”. “The primeval beat radiation which bathes the universe arrives at Earth with a uniform temperature in every direction accurate to one part in ten thousand.” (ibid.)

“With gravitational attraction the only cosmic force available, the big bang must simply be acepted as god-given, an event without a cause, an assumed initial condition.” “An event of quite astonishing fidelity, for the present highly structured cosmos could not have arisen unless the universe was set up in just the right way at the outset. This is the genesis paradox.” (Paul Davies, from: “A Naturalistic Account of the Universe.” )

What the Bible say:

Gen. 1:1:”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Photo Credit: INMAGINE-SPL004272

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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Protect Yourself From Crime!

Image“My friends usually walked me home after dark. But one evening I was so tired that I decided to call a taxi.

“The driver didn’t take me home. Instead, he drove me to an abandoned field, where he tried to rape me. I screamed with all my might, and he backed off. When he came toward me again, I screamed and ran.

“In the past I had often thought, ‘How can screaming help?’ But I’ve learned that it works!”—KARIN. (Names have been changed.)

IN MANY lands, crime is an ever-present danger. For example, in one country a judge stated: “The sad reality is that it’s not if, but when, you will become a victim.” In other places, crime may be less common. Even so, it is unwise to become complacent, for complacency can lead to vulnerability.

One practical step you can take is to heed this principle found in the Bible: “The wise see danger ahead and avoid it, but fools keep going and get into trouble.” (Proverbs 22:3New Century Version)

Physical injury and material loss are not the only consequences of crime. Many victims also suffer lasting mental and emotional harm. Consider how you can take steps to protect yourself from four kinds of crime—robbery, sexual assault, cybercrime, and identity theft.

ROBBERY

What is it? Robbery is theft using force or threats of force.

How does it affect people? After a string of armed robberies in Britain, a prosecutor observed that although the victims suffered no physical harm, all suffered mental anguish. “Several of them report ongoing anxiety and sleep difficulties.”

What can you do?

  • Be aware. Thieves are opportunists. They like to prey on the unsuspecting. So watch the people who are watching you, be aware of your surroundings. So avoid overdrinking or misusing drugs. “When a person is drinking alcohol or using drugs,” it is harder for him “to think clearly and evaluate a potentially dangerous situation,” says a health encyclopedia.
  • Protect your property. Secure your vehicle and the doors and windows of your home. Never admit a stranger. Keep valuables out of sight; do not flaunt them—expensive jewelry and electronics. “Wisdom is with the modest ones,” says Proverbs 11:2.
  • Seek advice. “The way of the foolish one is right in his own eyes, but the one listening to counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15) If you are traveling, heed the advice of informed locals,  including the authorities. They can point out places to avoid and show you how to protect yourself and your belongings.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Wat is it? Sexual assault is not limited to rape but includes other forms of sexual contact involving threats, force, or intimidation.

How does it affect people? “The saddest thing is [that] it doesn’t just affect you while you’re being abused,” explains a rape victim. “it stays with you and haunts you for a long time and changes your outlook on life.

What can you do?

  • Do not ignore your feelings. “If a place or person makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy—leave,” advises a police department in North Carolina, U.S.A. “Don’t let anyone convince you to stay if your instincts are telling you otherwise.”
  • Act confidently; be focused. Sexual predators hunt for the unsuspecting and vulnerable. So walk confidently and stay alert.
  • React quickly. Scream. (Deuteronomy 22:25-27) Escape or fight back using the element of surprise. And, if possible, run to a safe place and call the police. Most victims of sexual assault know their attacker. For further information, see “How Can I Protect Myself From Sexual Predators?”

CYBERCRIME

What is it? Cybercrime refers to crime conducted online. It includes tax an welfare fraud, credit card fraud, and the nondelivery of purchases. It also includes scams, such as fraudulent investments and online auctions.

How does it affect people? Cybercrime costs the victims—and society as a whole—billions of dollars.

What can you do?

  • Be wary! Do not be fooled by professional-looking Web sites, and keep in mind that legitimate financial institutions will not ask you to e-mail highly confidential information. Before buying or investing online, ascertain the company’s reputation. “Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps,” says Proverbs 14:15. Be cautious when dealing with companies located in foreign lands. If problems arise, it can be harder to resolve them.
  • Analyze a company and its policies. Ask yourself: ‘What is the company’s physical address? Is the phone number correct? Will my purchase involve hidden costs? When will my order be delivered? Can it be returned or refunded?’
  • Be suspicious if an offer looks too good to be true. The greedy and those who want something for nothing are prime targets for online thieves. “Take your time in evaluating the legitmacy of any investment offer,” says the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “The higher the promised return, the higher the risk. Don’t let a promoter pressure you into committing to an investment before you are certain it’s legitimate.”

IDENTITY THEFT

What is it? Identity theft involves illegally obtaining and using information about someone else’s personal identity in order to commit fraud or some other crime.

How does it affect people? Thieves may use your identity to obtain credit cards or loans or to open new accounts. Then they rack up debts in your name! Even if you eventually get the debts canceled, your financial reputation may remain tarnished for years.

What can you do?

  • Protect sensitive information. If you bank or shop online, change your passwords regularly, especially if you have used a public computer.

Identity thieves do not use computers only. They try any means they can to get their hands on important documents, such as bank statements, check books, credit cards, and social security numbers. So keep these things safe, and shred all sensitive documents before discarding them. Of course, if you suspect that a document has been lost or stolen, report this immediately.

  • Keep track of your accounts. “Awareness is an effective weapon against . . . identity theft,” states the FTC, adding: “Early detection of a potential identify theft can make a big difference.” So check your accounts regularly, and look out for unusual transactions. Note the accounts and credit cards linked to your name.

In today world there are no guarantees. Even the most cautious individuals have become victims of crime.

Soon, an End to Crime

Why can we be confident that God will do away with crime?

  • God wants to end crime. “I, Jehovah, am loving justice, hating robbery along with unrighteousness.”—Isaiah 61:8.
  • He has the power to stop crime. “He is lifted high with power. And He is right and fair and good.”—Job 37:23New Life Version.
  • He has promised to destroy the wicked and preserve the righteous. “Evildoers themselves will be cut off.” “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:9, 29.
  • He has promised his loyal ones a peaceful new world. “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11

Please take the time to examine the Bible to learn more about God’s purpose for mankind. No other book is so rich in practical wisdom. And no other book gives us a genuine hope for a crime-free tomorrow. More information on important Bible teachings can be found in the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? Get a free copy from Jehovah’s Witnesses, or read it online at www.jw.org.

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Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

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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Why was ancient Nineveh called “the city of bloodshed”?

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NINEVEH was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was a mighty city with magnificent palaces and temples, broad streets, and massive walls. The Hebrew prophet Nahum referred to it as “the city of bloodshed.”—Nahum 3:1.

That was an apt description, for reliefs from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh attest to Assyrian cruelty.

Assyriologist Archibald Henry Sayce describes the barbarities that followed the capture of a town: “Boys and girls were burned alive or reserved for a worse fate; men were impaled, flayed alive, blinded, or deprived of their hands and feet, of their ears and noses.”

After the reign of King Solomon, the 12-tribe nation of Israel was split. Judah and Benjamin formed the southern kingdom; and the other ten tribes, the northern kingdom. Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom, and Samaria was the capital of the northern.

In the year 740 B.C.E., Assyria conquered Samaria, the capital of the norhern kingdom of Israel, and took its people into exile. Eight years later, Assyria invaded Judah. (2Kings 18:13)

Trustworthy Prophecy

About a hundred years before the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Isaiah declared that Jehovah God would call those proud conquerors to account for their insolence toward his people:”I shall make an accounting for the fruitage of the insolence of the heart of the king of Assyria and for the self-importance of his loftiness of eyes,” Jehovah said. (Isaiah 10:12) Furthermore, God’s prophet Nahum foretold that Nineveh would be plundered, its gates would be opened to its enemies, and its guards would flee. (Nahum 2:8, 93:7, 13, 17, 19) The Bible prophet Zephaniah wrote that the city would become “a desolate waste.”—Zephaniah 2:13-15.

Those prophecies of destruction were fulfilled in 632 B.C.E. That is when Nineveh fell to the combined forces of the Babylonians and the Medes, bringing the Assyrian Empire to an inglorious end. A Babylonian chronicle of that event states that the conquerors “carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple” and turned Nineveh “into a ruin heap.” Today the desolate waste that was once Nineveh is marked by mounds of ruins on the east bank of the Tigris River, opposite the city of Mosul, in Iraq.

Accurate history and prophecy put the Bible in a class of its own, demonstrating to those sincerely searching for the truth that it is indeed a book worthy of our trust.

Nineveh_kuyunjik_View from near the northwest corner of the city wall looking south. Western city wall and Mashki gate are on the right. Photo April 1990

Nineveh, Kuyunjik, Iraq. View from near the northwest corner of the city wall looking south. Western city wall and Mashki gate are on the right. (Photo April 1990) — Wikipedia.

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Photo Credit: (Photo at top of article) Tiglath Pileser III besieging a town.—Wikipedia.