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November-December 2015

A M A G A Z I N E O F U N D E R S T A N D I N G

Where Did an Evil Spirit World Come From? 8 Coming: A Marvelous New Age 12
Christmas Before Christ 16 Jesus Christ: Creator of the Sabbath Day 19

The Sabbath in History


and Prophecy page 30 November-December 2015 1
Big News About The Good News

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Table of Contents

14 26

8 16 19 33
Cover Feature

Kingdoms at War: Powers of the Unseen World


A shocking event from the life of the biblical prophet Daniel opens a window into a different dimensionan
Photos, from left: ThinkStock/Shaun Venish, Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons, Thinkstock (2), Shaun Venish, Thinkstock Cover: Thinkstock/Shaun Venish

unseen spirit world and beings who play a hidden role in events taking place around us.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

An Evil Spirit World: Jesus Christ: The Sabbath in History and Prophecy
Where Did It Come From? Creator of the Sabbath Day Learn the inspiring story of a group
Gods Word reveals surprising details As Christians, we know Jesus is our of people who found that they must
about an evil being and his cohorts Savior and perfect example. Should keep the seventh-daySabbath. . . . . 30
who are the enemies of God. . . . . . . 8 we observe the Sabbath day like
Hedid? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 In Everything, Give Thanks
Coming: A Marvelous New Age Even at our worst moments, there is
God has planned an amazing future Abortion and Planned Parenthood: something to be thankful for. . . . . 33
civilization for all people. Discover A Cause for Righteous Anger
what it will be like! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 When we see injustice, brutality and sin Making Peace Beyond the Impossible
on this scale, we rightly get angry at the
Wait! You Just Said Jesus evil. How can we ensure were experi- What can a letter to a slave owner about
Was Not Born on Dec. 25! encing godly, righteous anger instead his runaway slave teach us about heal-
You may not think its important that of destructive, carnal anger? . . . . . 24 ing broken relationships? . . . . . . . . 34
Jesus wasnt born on Dec. 25. But
heres why it really does matter! . . . 14 Iran and the Threat of EMP Attack The Master Architect:
In the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, His Plan for You and Humanity
Christmas Before Christ: the question looms about what Iran Anna Keichline was among the first
The Holidays Origins Unmasked might do once it acquires nuclear women to enter the architectural pro-
The Bible doesnt mentionmuch less weapons. Some are sounding the fession. While she and other success-
sanctifyChristmas. Does it make any alarm about a dangerous scenario ful architects deserve respect for their
difference as long as its intended to that could fatally wound a nation work, boundless honor belongs to
honor God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 in an instant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 the Master Architect of all things! . . 36

Regular Features
Beyond Today Television log. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Letters From Our Readers Readers of The Good News share their thoughts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Questions and Answers Answers to your questions about the Bible and Christian living. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

November-December 2015 3
Exploring Gods Word

A shocking event from the life of the biblical prophet Daniel opens A spirit world behind the scenes
a window into a different dimensionan unseen spirit world and What we learn from the story we just read
in Daniel is there is more to this world than
beings who play a hidden role in events taking place around us. we see with the eyes and take in through our
by Darris McNeely other senses. As Shakespeare put into the
mouth of Hamlet, There are more things

T
in heaven and earth . . . than are dreamt of
he prophet Daniel had been fast- vision refers to many days yet to come in your philosophy. Daniel was trying to
ing and praying for three weeks. (verses 13-14). understand the events of his time and world
He wanted to understand a divine This was quite a revelation! when God gave him a little glimpse behind
message God had delivered to him. the scenes to show him this truth. Notice
Drained of strength and energy, he Living in a time of monumental change how this is presented in Daniels story.
opened his eyes and made out the image Consider todays headlines: Russia Daniels prophecy gives us a glimpse into
of a man standing before him. The figure Invades Ukraine, ISIS Advances in these powers of the unseen world.
blazed with the light of the sun and the Middle East, Iran Close to Developing Daniel continued: Then the one who
gleam of gold, jewels and fire. His voice a Nuclear Weapon, Terrorists Mas- looked like a man touched me again, and I
was loud, strong and commanding. sacre Hundreds, Scandal Brings Down felt my strength returning. Dont be afraid,
Suddenly a hand touched Daniel. His Governmentand on and on they go. he said, for you are very precious to God.
body began to tremble. The angelic figure All of these events tell of a world going Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!
addressed him by name: O Daniel, man through a period of monumental change. As he spoke these words to me, I sud-
greatly beloved, understand the words that Big events are happening on the world denly felt stronger and said to him, Please
I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have scene that are reshaping much of the global speak to me, my lord, for you have strength-
now been sent to you (Daniel 10:11). order. What does this mean? How are we ened me.
The being continued: Do not fear, Dan- to understand what happens in the world in He replied, Do you know why I have
iel, for from the first day that you set your light of what the Bible tells us about a God come? Soon I must return to fight against
heart to understand, and to humble yourself who guides human history? Above all, what the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia,
before your God, your words were heard; does it mean for you, your family and your and after that the spirit prince of the king-
and I have come because of your words. daily life? dom of Greece will come. Meanwhile, I will
But the Prince of the kingdom of Persia It can be frightening and upsetting. Wars tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.
withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, and events may seem far away and irrelevant. (No one helps me against these spirit princes
Michael, one of the chief princes, came to Yet these events impact your life more than except Michael, your spirit prince) (verses
help me, for I have been left alone there you might realize. And its vital that you dis- 18-21, New Living Translation, 2013).
with the kings of Persia. Now I have come cern the times in which we liveto under- This translation adds the word spirit to
Thinkstock

to make you understand what will happen stand what it means in the light of Bible clarify what is being spoken ofpowerful
to your people in the latter days, for the prophecy and Gods purpose for human life. spirit beings. Whether we realize it or not,
4 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
were told here in Daniel. We see men- And this little-understood key opens the
tioned a prince of Persia and a prince door of understanding for us. Step back a
of Greece. These unseen powers from the minute and consider what this means for
spirit world control the physical kingdoms your life!
of Persia and Greece in this physical world.
These evil spiritual powers influence the The personal struggles of life
actions and politics of nations even today. We all have our struggles with life. Jobs
In Daniels day that meant the political, we may not be happy with. Relationship
military, economic and cultural atmosphere problems with our mates or with our chil-
of those nations or kingdoms were actu- dren. We may be uncertain about how the
ally manipulated and shaped by powerful economy will affect our lives. We may be
unseen spirits. And as we see from this anxious about the future.
passage, these beings were determined Do you look at the incessant political
to try to thwart the will of Godthough fighting in society, with events at times spi-
unsuccessfully. raling out of control? I watch the news and
God had a message for Daniel that ulti- sometimes wonder if well ever get back to
mately showed the future history of the a stable world scene in this age.
region for several hundred yearsand then The world can become so distressing that
into our modern world and the times just the best thing to do is to take a step back
and ask: Is something else going on that I
How are we to understand what happens in the dont see or understand? Is there more here
than meets the eye? The answer is yes,
world in light of what the Bible tells us about there often is.
a God who guides human history? The Bible tells us the struggles of life can
sometimes involve spiritual elements we
dont even see. Notice these revealing words
by the apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians:
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and
in his mighty power. Put on all of Gods
armor so that you will be able to stand firm
against all strategies of the devil. For we
are not fighting against flesh-and-blood
enemies, but against evil rulers and author-
ities of the unseen world, against mighty
powers in this dark world, and against evil
spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore,
put on every piece of Gods armor so you
will be able to resist the enemy in the time
of evil. Then after the battle you will still
be standing firm (Ephesians 6:10-13,
NLT, 2013).
This is not a modern-sounding ideathat
we might struggle against wicked unseen
powers and that these powers are behind
some of the frustrations of life at the indi-
or understand it or not, powers and prin- ahead of us today. The message revealed to vidual level as well as the highest levels of
cipalities are at work on the spiritual level Daniel foretold events that would lead up world affairs.
influencing physical events in our world. to and include the threshold of the coming But that is what the Bible says! And
These unseen spiritual forces ultimately intervention of Jesus Christ into the affairs its time you begin to read the Bible with
are behind many of the headlines you and I of this world and the establishment of the deeper understanding and learn what Gods
read every day. This is a key to understand- Kingdom of God on earth. purpose is for your life!
ing great world events and what is hap- Daniel was astounded by what he was
pening in our world. The implications are shown. This section of the Bible is one that Three keys to being a Daniel
crucial to your life and mine. opens our eyes to the details of history. God Heres how its done. Here are three keys
How do we know this? We know this guides and directs the nations according to to being a Daniel in a time when kingdoms
from not only what Daniels story tells us His purpose for humanity and the world. are at war and powers of the unseen world
but also what we see elsewhere in the Bible. He knows the end from the beginning, and rule our planet.
no power on earth or in heaven will prevent First, understand the gods of this world
A glimpse into the spirit dimension Him from bringing all of history to the con- have no love for you.
Lets break this down and look at what clusion He has foreordained (Isaiah 46:9-11). The Bible shows us there is a god of this
November-December 2015 5
Exploring Gods Word
ageof this present worldand he blinds
peoples minds from seeing his reality. He The Unseen Dimension
blocks the light of the gospel of the glory
of Christ and prevents it from revealing
his evil and inhuman acts (2 Corinthians
Hidden From Human Senses
W
4:4). e look at our world and rightly won- defeated, uprooted and removed to Babylon. He
Daniel had to contend with this god and der, Whats going on? We see horrible was living in a strange and alien culture. Everything
his sinister accomplices. And Daniels things happening, suffering and brutality about Babylon was different from the familiar life
world parallels ours in so many of the same unimaginable to our eyes and senses. We watch he had known in Jerusalem.
ways. For all the time that has passed, we terrorist groups rise in the Middle East and Africa Heres the point: His personal world had
still face the same fundamental enemies where they brutalize whole populations into fear. changed, and everything he could see and under-
who are dead set against God and all who They behead and torture captivesshowing no stand about the bigger world was changing as well.
would try to seek His will and follow Him. shred of decency or humanity. Daniel found himself at the center of that story and
As we have seen, God revealed this real- What we are witnessing is pure evil. What we he wanted to know why.
ity to Daniel and it helped him understand see being done to helpless people is not ultimately
his world and time. That false god, Satan of man. We are seeing works of spiritual wicked-
the devil, still has global reach and influ- ness being done through men who use religion and
politics as coverings for unspeakable acts against
ence. And understanding his existence and
their fellow human beings.
how he works is critical to resisting his
You wont read about this aspect of events in
world and its impact on you.
news accounts nor hear government leaders or
Satan is described in Scripture as the their spokespersons talk about it in such terms.
ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; I watch a lot of news programs and read a lot
16:30). And he has other rulers or princes of history books. Every day I read the reporting
ruling under himlike the prince of and commentary of many intelligent and knowl-
Greece and the prince of Persia, as we saw edgeable people who understand a lot about what
in Daniels experience. happens around the world. But I dont find in any
Moreover, Satan is called the prince of this an understanding of why the wars and suf-
of the power of the air, the spirit who now fering that afflict this world take place. I dont find
works in the sons of disobedience (Ephe- in their sources the spiritual understanding that
sians 2:2). His influence invisibly works something invisiblesomething from the powers Daniel decided to take it to God in a focused
like the communication transmissions that of the unseen worldis involved in the headlines time of prayer and fasting. He got his answer,
fly unseen through the air today. and events shaping todays world. but he got a lot more! God also led Daniel to a
Think about this: All around us are We have to go to the Bible to understand the profound insight in a way that teaches us how to
many communication waves. Radio and spiritual dimension that impacts big events in our approach our world. You can get a handle on your
television transmissions surround us. Cell world every day. These same forces can be at life and be like Daniel and his friendspeople who
towers relay our phone calls and texts work in your lifeprompting and provoking you to walked with God in the midst of a world that didnt
around the world. We dont see or hear anger, to envy, to crippling emotional weaknesses know Daniels God and didnt wish to honor God in
these transmissions. But they are real and, that keep you down and hold you back from a any way. Everything about Babylons culture was
upon our receiving them, they influence productive, happy and balanced life. designed to rip faith from a person and replace it
You need to understand that there is something with false gods who could neither see nor hear
our moods and emotions as we are enter-
you can do with this knowledge. You can make a nor speak!
tained and informed and interact with
difference in your life for the good. But you have to Daniel set his mind and heart to resist Babylons
people we know.
step back from the busy, unfocused direction you culture. He determined to maintain the faith of the
Scripture tells us that without knowing have each day and take a new look at God, this true God and not lose sight of who he was, nor
what is happening, we live out our lives world and what makes the world work. the teachings and faith he had learned from his
according to the programmed plans put in Do what Daniel did. Take a step back. Go to God youth. And the God who helped Daniel to see and
place by the prince of the power of the air, in focused prayer and even fasting. Daniel wanted understand his world can likewise help us to see
the god of this age and ruler of this world, to know the why of his day. His nation had been and understand how to do this today!
who deceives the whole world (Revela-
tion 12:9). He wields powers that move
nations and people to do his evil will
(2 Timothy 2:26; 1 John 5:19). resist this power. Daniel did. Lets see how Daniel fully understood that all cultures
Photos, from left: Thinkstock, Clint Porter

This is the world we inhabit. Things are he did it. were not equal! He knew that not all reli-
not what they seem. Reality is bigger than Daniels story opens with a challenge that gions were equally righteous. And he did
what we think we see! to our modern minds seems insignificant not believe that all teachings and values
You can understand this, like Daniel did, and trivial. Its a story about something we were valid options for ones lifestyle. If
and you can get control of your lifecome encounter every dayfood. Daniel lived today and tried to make his
alive and live a godly life in the midst of Daniel found himself in a strange land way through our schools and our busi-
a world suffering the inhumanity of these with strange customs he hadnt encountered ness cultures, he would likely find himself
unseen evil powers. in his upbringing. And Daniel wasnt inter- penalized for not going along!
The second key is to set your mind to ested in adopting a foreign culture. Daniel found himself in the court of the
6 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
king of Babylon. Not only that, but he was couldve even reasoned, God no longer and beyond. It shook the kings view of his
also in line, in a kind of fast track, to be caresmaybe He was overthrown by the world, and he knew he had to pull every
trained as a civil servant in the government. Babylonian gods or was never real to begin shred of meaning from it.
He was intelligent and met all the criteria with. Its hard for us to understand some-
the Babylonians used to select their best But Daniel didnt rationalize like this. thing like this today, but this ancient king
and brightest. He held firm to his faith. He held firm to knew his dream was significantalmost
The kings court was full of food, wine the life he knew, even down to the food he unworldly. It held an important message.
and delicacies, a place of physical pleasure. ate. And God honored his faith. At the end When no one from the kings inner staff
The Babylonians valued eating and drink- of the 10 days the chief of staff allowed for could interpret the dream, it came to Dan-
ing and obviously didnt follow biblical the physical examination of Daniel and his iels attention, and he stepped forward to
restrictions on what they ate. For Daniel friends and found they appeared healthier say that with a little time he could explain
this wasnt an option. He knew God set cer- than others who had eaten the Babylonians the meaning of the dream.
tain standards in what to eat. Gods law had food. King Nebuchadnezzar interviewed Daniel returned to his home and con-
determined how he would live, and there them and saw that they were fit and ready sulted with his closest friends that they
would be no compromise in his mind. for work. God gave them the help and the might seek mercies from the God of heaven
So after hearing the requirements for his gifts needed to excel in service to Babylon. concerning this secret (verse 18). The
training in the ways of Babylon, Daniel What is the lesson? Set your mind to secret was then revealed to Daniel, and he
was determined not to defile himself by resist the culture of this world when it delivered it to the king.
eating the food and wine given to them by conflicts with the culture of the Kingdom The point here is that we need to seek
Gods wisdom and understanding to
discern the times in which we live.
Much more is going on behind todays headlines
Our need to seek godly wisdom
than what we read or see. Just as Daniel wanted and understanding
to understand the world of his day, so you should Spiritual powers are at work behind
the scenes in todays world. Much more is
want to understand the world you live in today. going on behind todays headlines than
what we read or see.
Just as Daniel wanted to understand
the world of his day, so you should want
to understand the world you live in today.
You can understand what God is doing in
todays world and what that can mean not
just for your understanding of our modern
world but how to make a better life for
yourself today.
Gods hand is guiding events in this
world even when we might see only disor-
der and confusion. He can take that same
hand in your life and help guide you to
peace and a settled mind. He is not a remote
and distant God, but a close and personal
Creator ready to guide your life today.
Reach out to Him, just as Daniel did, and
come to better understand our times! GN

You need to understand the


spiritual forces at work be-
the king. He asked the chief of staff for of God. Dont compromise in the face of hind the scenes in our world!
Our free study guide Is There
permission not to eat these unacceptable adversity. Really a Devil? explores much
foods (Daniel 1:8, NLT). The third key from Daniels example is of what the Bible reveals about
Daniel set his heart and mind not to com- to seek Gods wisdom and understanding. Satan and the demons. You
need to understand this vital information! Be sure to
promise with teaching and laws he knew to King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. download or request your free copy today!
be from God for the sake of convenience None of his counselors and staff could
or to just go along with the times. Daniel interpret what it meant. This was no ordi- Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
could have easily reasoned, My nation nary dream. As the story is related in or request or download it from our website.
is gone, my way of worship no longer Daniel 2, it was a dream that foretold world
workslook at us, here in captivity! He history from that time down to our day
www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

November-December 2015 7
Exploring Gods
Exploring Gods Word
Word

Where Did It Come From?


Whats the source of so much sorrow and suffering in our world? Vine, Vines Complete Expository Diction-
ary of Old and New Testament Words,
Gods Word reveals surprising details about a spiritual dimension 1985, Devil, Devilish).
the angelic worldand an evil being and his cohorts who are the Jesus Christ says Satan is a liar and the
enemies of God and those who follow His ways. by Scott Ashley father of it and that there is no truth in
him (John 8:44). The Bible reveals the

W
enormity of his lies and their impact, with
hats the primary cause lurkingdependable source is the Bible. Beyond it, the apostle John stating in Revelation 12:9
behind the suffering and tragic everything concerning Satan and the spirit that he deceives the whole world.
circumstances that afflict so many
world is only mythology and speculation.
people? The Bible reveals that a It shows us that Satan is an incredibly Satans origins revealed
powerful, intelligent and vastly powerful spirit being with a pervasive But where did the devil come from? Did
influential being actively orchestrates the wick-
influence over humanity. Along with his God purposefully create an evil being? To
edness that dominates our planet. The Bible cohortscalled demons or evil spiritshe understand Satans origin, we must go far
most often calls him the devil and Satan. is mentioned frequently in the Scriptures. back in time, before human beings existed.
You may have wondered whether he He shows up from beginning to end, from Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning
really exists. After all, to many the devil Genesis to Revelation. God created the heavens and the earth.
seems like a fairy-tale charactera gro- A central theme of the Bible is that the However, the Bible doesnt tell the whole
tesque, blood-red creature with horns, a devil is the enemy of all humanity. The story in one or even several verses. We find
pointed tail and bats wings who carries a very name Satan, the designation the Bible more details elsewhere in the Bible, in this
pitchfork and inhabits an infernal region of uses most for this evil being, helps reveal case in the book of Job.
ever-burning flames. Because he is typically his malicious intent. God calls things what When Job, beset with terrible calamity
depicted so fancifully, it isnt surprising that
they are. Satan is a Hebrew noun meaning and suffering in spite of being a very
few take the idea of a devil seriously. adversarythe enemy, opponent, antago- devout follower of God, began to ques-
Does such a being exist? Where could nist or foe. The verb forms of the noun tion Gods judgment, God responded with
such a creature have come from? What is mean to accuse, slander and be an pointed questions to help him realize he
his purpose, his goal, his intent? What does adversary (Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. didnt have the wisdom to question God.
he do? Is he, as many believe, simply a 5, 1992, Satan, p. 985). In His response, in the form of questions
mythical embodiment of evil? The other term the Bible most often uses to Job, God revealed some details about
to describe this being, devil, is similarly His creation of the earth.
Finding a reliable source of knowledge revealing. Devil is translated from the Where were you when I laid the earths
To find the answers, we need reliable, Greek word diabolos, the root from which foundation? God asked Job. Tell me, if
accurate information on the spirit world. we get the word diabolical, used to describe you understand. Who marked off its dimen-
Thinkstock

Only one source can reveal to us the informa- something wicked or sinister. Diabolos sions? ... On what were its footings set,
tion we can find nowhere else. That single means an accuser, a slanderer (W.E. or who laid its cornerstonewhile the
8 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
morning stars sang together and all the Verses 5 and 6 discuss the Flood of Noahs physical king to a ruler who is yet higher.
angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7, time and the later fiery destruction of Sodom Many scholars recognize that the original
New International Version). and Gomorrah. But before this, in verse 4, language of this passage is in the form of a
God here reveals information no man we read that God did not spare the angels lament, a reflection of Gods mourning and
could know, since no human being was who sinned, but thrust them down into Tar- sense of great loss due to the events being
present at creation. God described the earth tarus [a condition of restraint], and delivered described:
at its creation as a dazzlingly beautiful them into chains of darkness, being reserved How you are fallen from heaven, O
jewel floating in space. The creation events for judgment (Modern King James Ver- Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are
were so magnificent that all the angels sion). When did these angels sin, and what cut down to the ground, you who weakened
shouted for joy. was their sin? the nations! For you have said in your heart:
The angelsspirit beings God had Again, we must look at other verses to I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
createdalready existed when God made find the answer. Jude 6 gives us additional throne above the stars of God; I will also sit
the earth. They were united in their joy details: And the angels that did not keep on the mount of the congregation on the far-
when God created the world, singing and within their original authority, but aban- thest sides of the north; I will ascend above
shouting in exultation. They were in perfect doned their proper sphere [or assigned the heights of the clouds, I will be like the
harmony and agreement at that time. So place (Good News Translation)], [God] Most High (verses 12-14).
how does the devil fit into this picture? has kept in darkness, bound with everlast- Who is this being who dares to exalt
ing chains for the Judgment of the Great himself above the other angels of God (stars
A beautiful earth becomes a wasteland Day (Complete Jewish Bible). symbolize angels, Revelation 1:20), to chal-
Some time after the world was formed, We saw earlier that at the earths creation lenge God Himself as ruler of the universe?
however, the situation dramatically changed. all the angels were happy and joyous, sing-
Genesis 1:2 tells us that, after its creation, ing and shouting together. Obviously, then, The Bible reveals more details
the earth was without form, and void. it was at a later time that some sinned In Ezekiel 28 God gives us the answer.
This English translation doesnt adequately destroying the wonderful harmony and This chapter is written much like Isaiah 14.
convey the meaning of the original Hebrew. cooperation they had once enjoyed. What God begins by discussing a human ruler,
The words tohu va-bohu, translated without was the nature of their sin? They did not then shifts to the spiritual power behind the
form and void, are better translated waste keep within the limits God had set for them earthly thronethe behind-the-scenes ruler
and void (Youngs Literal Translation). but abandoned their assigned place. They who controls the kingdoms of this world.
However, in Isaiah 45:18, God expressly rebelled against their Maker, the Creator In Ezekiel 28:2 God addresses the prince
says of the earth that He did not create it of both the physical universe and the spirit of Tyre. Tyre, a coastal port city north of
in vain. Here the same Hebrew word, tohu, world of angelic beings! ancient Israel on the Mediterranean Sea,
is used. If God did not create the earth in a was famous as a major trading center. Its
state of waste, how did it come to be in that A rebellion against God rulers had grown haughty and presumptu-
condition? In Isaiah 14 we find more information. ous because of their wealth and influence. In
Part of the answer is indicated in Genesis This chapter makes reference to the angelic verses 6-10 God tells this ruler that because
1:2. The Hebrew word hayah, translated rebellion, identifying its ringleader. It gives of his arrogance, his might and wealth
was, can also properly be translated us important details we could learn of in no would fail and he would be overthrown.
became, as it is translated in Genesis 2:7 other way. But notice in verse 12 that God begins
and 19:26. The earth was not created waste In verse 4 God addresses the king of to address the king of Tyre rather than
and void but became that way at some point Babylon. In Isaiahs time the city-state of the prince. This figure is the true ruler, the
after its creation. In Rotherhams Emphasized Babylon was emerging as the major power real power behind the throne. In fact, Gods
Bible, Genesis 1:2 appropriately reads, Now in that region of the world. Its king was a description of this king of Tyre makes
the earth had become waste and empty. warmonger, expanding his empire through it clear that He is speaking to no physical
God created the earth in such sparkling brute force. He enslaved, plundered and human being!
beauty that the angels were overjoyed at its devastated the nations around him. (In con- You were the seal of perfection, full of
creation. But something happened to bring text, this passage has dual meaning, in that wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in
it to a condition of devastation and waste. it also refers to an end-time tyrant who will Eden, the garden of God; every precious
Its original beauty was destroyed. God then rule over a final global empire referred to in stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz,
reshaped it, forming it into a beautiful home Revelation 17 and 18 as Babylon the Great.) and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sap-
for the first man and woman, as recorded in The philosophy of the king of Babylon phire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
the remainder of Genesis 1. But the Genesis here is satanicacquiring wealth and The workmanship of your timbrels and
account does not tell us the entire story. Some- power at the expense of others, gaining it pipes was prepared for you on the day you
thing else happened between the first two through violence and bloodshed. The king were created (verses 12-13).
verses of Genesis that is not recorded there. of Babylon thus exemplifies Satan and his No mortal man could accurately be
God does give us additional details in characteristics. Indeed, as we will read more described as being the seal of perfection,
several other chapters of the Bible regarding about later, Satan is the real power behind full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. This
what brought about this condition of waste the throne of the worlds kingdoms (com- entity was brought into being with instant
and confusion. pare Luke 4:5-7; John 12:31; Revelation perfection and wisdomunlike human
In 2 Peter 2 the Bible records several 12:9; 13:2). beings who must develop in maturity and
examples of Gods judgment for wrongdoing. In verse 12 the subject shifts from the wisdom (the only exceptions being Adam
November-December 2015 9
Exploring Gods Word
and Eve). This being had also been in Eden, from among the fiery stones (verse 16, heaven and threw them to the earth. Verse
the garden of God. Other than Adam and NIV). This once marvelous being sinned 9 identifies this dragon as Satan. As we saw
Eve, no people had been in the Garden of and was expelled from Gods throne, earlier, the Bible uses stars as a symbol for
Eden. God had expelled them, after which He cast away in disgrace. angels (Revelation 1:20). This apparently
placed an angel there specifically to prevent indicates that a third of the angels followed
anyone else from entering (Genesis 3:24). Choosing to rebel against God Satan in this rebellion and were cast down
Satans sin of pride and vanity ultimately to the earth with him.
Fall of a superangel led to outright and open rebellion against The attempted takeover of heaven was,
In the next verse God mentions some God. Isaiah 14:13-14, which we read ear- of course, not successful. Two thirds of
of the history of this being: You were the lier, states: You said in your heart, I will the angels remained loyal to God and thus
anointed cherub who covers; I established ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne constituted a more numerous force. More
you; you were on the holy mountain of God; above the stars [angels] of God; I will sit importantly, God is omnipotentall
you walked back and forth in the midst of enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the powerfuland cannot be overthrown.
fiery stones (Ezekiel 28:14). utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will Jesus said that Satan [fell] like lightning
What do these remarkable statements ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will from heaven (Luke 10:18). It seems likely
mean? What is a cherub who covers? make myself like the Most High (NIV). that this titanic struggle is what brought
Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the tabernacle This powerful spirit entity decided to about the chaotic and wasted condition of
established through Mosesthe portable challenge God for control of the universe! the earth described in Genesis 1:2. As men-
sanctuary the Israelites carried with them in What had been an amazingly beautiful, tioned earlier, God then renewed the surface
their desert wanderingswas a copy and immensely talented spirit being with great of the earth in preparation for human habita-
shadow of what is in heaven (NIV). responsibility in Gods angelic order became, tion, as described in the rest of Genesis 1. Yet
In Exodus 25:18-20 we find that God through his rebellion against Almighty God, a to aid His purpose in developing righteous
instructed the Israelites to make a represen- reprehensible, despicable creature. Thus, God character in human beings, God allowed
tationa physical modelof His throne did not create the devil. Rather, what God Satan and his minions to remain on the earth
for the tabernacle they would carry with created was a magnificent and perfect being. for the time being. Thus Satan was allowed
them in the wilderness. At either side of But later, this powerful being, by his own will, to tempt Adam and Eve in the garden.
the mercy seat, which represented Gods became the devil and Satanthe adversary, The Bible refers to Satan and the other
throne, was a golden cherub with wings slanderer, accuser and destroyer. He made rebellious angels as evil spirits, unclean spir-
extended to cover the mercy seat. The two himself the enemy of God and humanity! its and demons. They are fallen angelswho
cherubim, fashioned out of gold, represented The immense powers he had used in had plummeted from their purpose of serv-
real angelic beingsthe great superangels Gods service were turned not to serve God, ing God and humanity (Hebrews 1:13-14),
whose wings cover Gods throne. but to try to thwart Gods purposes. This reduced to hatred and bitterness toward
The being God addressed through Eze-
kiel is called the cherub who covers,
indicating that he had once been one of the
The Scriptures make it clear that God is not to blame for
great angels depicted in the model of Gods the worlds many chronic problems. They tell us that
throne. God gave these angels the awesome
distinction of serving at and covering the Satan the devil is the true ruler of this world.
very throne of God in heaven!
Many other scriptures say that God dwells creature remains an enormously powerful God and His holy purpose for humanity.
between the cherubim, showing that these spirit being, but now his powers are used for
wondrous creatures accompany and serve wicked, destructive ends. Causes of humanitys problems
Him at His seat of power (1 Samuel 4:4; As weve seen, so vain and proud did he When we understand the magnitude of
2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chronicles become that he thought he should be ruler Satans deception, we can better grasp the
13:6; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 37:16). This magnif- of the universe. His enormous talents and roots of so many of humanitys problems.
icent being apparently held a position of high abilities led him to believe he was equal to, Collectively we have had thousands of years
honor and distinction in Gods angelic realm. if not better than, God Himself. His think- to experiment with governments, philoso-
God also says to this cherub, You were ing became corrupted. He rebelled against phies and ways of living, so why have we
perfect in your ways from the day you were God and tried to overthrow Him. By his been unable to solve our problems? Why do
created, till iniquity was found in you (Eze- rebellion against his Creator, he transformed so many difficulties persist year after year,
kiel 28:15). Like the description in Isaiah himself into Satan the devil. century after century?
14, this passage describes a being created Satan has effectively deceived the world
mature, not a man. This being was extraordi- Other angels join the rebellion throughout history by influencing human
nary, perfect until he sinned, beginning with Satan was not alone in this rebellion. beings to cut themselves off from Gods
pride in his own beauty and splendor, which Millions of other angels joined him in guidance. He has led us into wanting to do
corrupted his wisdom (Ezekiel 28:17). rejecting Gods authority and leadership. things our own way, to rely on ourselves
... You were filled with violence, and We find this symbolically described in Rev- rather than God as the ultimate authority.
you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace elation 12:3-4: And another sign appeared Although God is always in ultimate con-
from the mount of God, and I expelled you, in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon trol, the Scriptures make it clear that He is
O guardian [or covering, NKJV] cherub, ... His tail drew a third of the stars of not to blame for the worlds many chronic
10 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
Following the Footsteps of Unseen World beginning on
page 4).
will never be again. If that time of troubles
were not cut short, no living thing could

a Different God Of course, these are but sub-


ordinates under the devil. In an
attempt to lead Jesus astray in
survive; but for the sake of Gods chosen
it will be cut short (verse 21-22, Revised
English Bible).

T
he Bible makes it clear that civilizations and societies Matthew 4:8-9, Satan offered Satan will not relinquish his kingdom
are influenced by Satan. The apostle John writes that all the kingdoms of the world without a fight. As the time of Christs
the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked and their gloryas they return draws near, we can read this sobering
one (1 John 5:19). Through his influence Satan has were truly under his dominion warning in Revelation 12:12: Woe to the
deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9). The entirety of (compare Luke 4:5-7). inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the
civilization has been seduced by this cunning being through Although we cannot see devil has come down to you, having great
his persuasive deception and insidious lies.
Satan, his influence is power- wrath, because he knows that he has a short
The result has been thousands of years of human anguish,
ful and pervasive. The devil time. Many prophecies go on to detail
misery and suffering. Deceived by his lies, people have willingly
adopted Satans way of life rather than Gods way. The result of
thereby spiritually influences a frenzy of destruction directed at Gods
following Satans way, which through his deception appears fine humanity to reject God and Church, at the people of Israel, at humanity
and well and quite natural to most people, is predictable: There Gods law. Under this influence, as a whole, and at the returning Jesus Christ.
is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to the mind-set of the flesh is This coming end of Satans rule over the
death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25, New International Version). hostile to God because it does world will mark the end of this present
Satans deception is so complete, so pervasive, that the not submit itself to Gods law, evil age (Galatians 1:4). With the battle for
Bible calls him the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). for it is unable do so (Romans control of the earth over, it will at last be
The apostle Paul, in the original Greek, identifies him as the 8:7, Holman Christian Standard time for a new age to begin!
theosthe god, the one who is worshippedof this eon, Bible). Jesus Christ will usher in a literal king-
this age, this period in history. Separated from God, man dom, the Kingdom of God on earth. Notice
Consider the magnitude of Satans influence over chooses to go his own way Revelation 11:15: Then the seventh angel
humanityso great that most of mankind unknowingly with devastating results. Under blew his trumpet, and there were loud
worships and follows the devil as its god. That is the incred- Satans influence, humanity voices in heaven, saying: The kingdom of
ible truth revealed in your Bible! Understanding that reality has rejected Gods revelation the world has become the kingdom of our
explains so many of the troubling paradoxes we see in the and guidance and built societ- Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign
world around us. ies and civilizations on wrong for ever and ever (NIV).
Paul explained that as a result of Satans hold on human- foundations. But it will not be Revelation 21:4 tells us what the world
ity, most people do not believe the truth of the Bible. They do that way forever! will be like when Satans influence is no
not understand the gospelthe good newsof Gods plan more: [God] will wipe every tear from
for mankind. Satans reign will come to an end their eyes. There will be no more death
As he stated in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, But even if our gos-
Satan will not always or mourning or crying or pain, for the old
pel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose
dominate planet earth. Bible order of things has passed away (NIV).
minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest
the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image
prophecy reveals that an Is there really a devil? Yes. Absolutely.
of God, should shine on them. astounding series of events And other demons besides. But God assures
will shake our world as never us the time is coming when Satan, his
before and usher in a new demons and their worksthe physical
agea 1,000-year era under suffering, misery, mental anguish and
problems. As Jesus Christ said in John the reign of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom mourning they bringwill be no more.
18:36, My kingdom is not of this world. of God (Matthew 6:10; Luke 21:31). May you have the wisdom, strength and
God is not at fault for the misery that This good news of the coming Kingdom love for Gods truth and His ways to resist
plagues our planet. Satan the devil is the of God is at the heart of Christs teach- Satans deceptions and be there to see that
true ruler of this world (John 12:31; ing: Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the wonderful day! GN
14:30; 16:11). John tells us that the whole gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
world lies under the sway of the wicked The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
one (1 John 5:19). Again, Satan is the god God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the
of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). gospel (Mark 1:14-15). Much of this article is con-
Moreover, Satans demonic cohorts also The transition from Satans domination densed from our free study
exercise control in this worldeven at times of the earth to Jesus Christs rule will be guide Is There Really a Devil?
This study guide explores in
powerfully influencing human govern- neither easy nor painless. The prophet Dan- much greater detail what the
ments. In the book of Daniel, the righteous iel describes it as a time of distress such Bible reveals about Satan and
angel Gabriel tells Daniel that he had just as has not happened from the beginning of the demons. This is vital infor-
mation that you need to know! Be sure to download
been fighting, with the help of the archangel nations until then (Daniel 12:1, NIV). or request your free copy today!
Michael, against a powerful spirit personal- The world, Christ said, would grow
ity referred to as the prince of Persiaand increasingly dangerous as His return nears. Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
that he would soon have to fight another he It will be a time of great distress, He or request or download it from our website.
called the prince of Greece (Daniel 10:13, warned, such as there has never been
20). (See Kingdoms at War: Powers of the before since the beginning of the world, and
www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

November-December 2015 11
Exploring Gods Word

Coming: A Marvelous

The Eternal God has designed and planned an amazing future lay in utter ruins. The devastation of civi-
lization will be nearly totalthe progress
civilization for you and all people. Discover when it will come, of generations virtually wiped out. If not
what it will be like and why its the best news you could ever hear! for His timely and merciful intervention,
by John LaBissoniere humanitys legacy would have amounted to
absolutely nothing!

H
What is Gods blueprint for humankind
uman society is confused, dis- There will be terrible times in the last from that point forward? Building literally
tressed and in disarray. Some fear days. People will be lovers of themselves, on the ashes of a spent, shattered society,
it is likely on the brink of disaster. lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, Jesus Christ will create an entirely new civ-
The troubles individuals, families disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, ilization and infrastructure. He will begin
and nations experience seem to unholy, without love, unforgiving, slander- implementing His plan by first comforting
multiply each day. Many have no real hope ous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers and healing the bewildered and terrified
of finding genuine peace, prosperity and of the good (2 Timothy 3:1-3, New Inter- survivors of the just-ended period of global
security. Yet something marvelous and excit- national Version). catastrophe.
ing will take placebut not through human With the assistance of His newly resur-
strength or effort. The Eternal God offers you Rescuing a remnant of humanity rected, immortal saints, He will provide
and all people this guarantee: He will bring As the end of the age approaches, these beleaguered, pitiful individuals with
about the most positive, fulfilling and mag- relationships between nations will grow immediate physical needsincluding food,
nificent future you could ever imagine! exceedingly toxic and vindictive. This will shelter, clothing, fresh water and medical
With this sure promise on the horizon, lead to the most savage and devastating care (Ezekiel 34:12-16; Matthew 6:11; Mala-
Jesus Christ explained that, for the time firestorm of war, violence and brutality the chi 4:2). He will assure each of these weary,
being, distressing times will persist and world has ever seen. It will be so horrible mourning people that they are safe and no
even grow worse. He told His disciples that that unless Jesus Christ comes to earth longer need to live in fear (Isaiah 44:8).
conditions on the earth just prior to His sec- to put an end to the escalating death and
ond coming will parallel those of the patri- destruction, all men, women and children A divine, benevolent government
arch Noahs era: But as the days of Noah would perish (Matthew 24:9, 21-22, 29). and world peace
were, so also will the coming of the Son of Besides physically rescuing a small rem- Jesus Christ will also help them under-
Man be (Matthew 24:37). nant of humanity at that time, Christ will stand that genuine peace has finally arrived
What occurred during that period? Then terminate the cruel, depraved influence of and a new, divine, benevolent government
Sebastien Gabriel via Unsplash

the Lord saw that the wickedness of man Satan the devil. This malicious being and will serve and support them (Revelation
was great in the earth, and that every intent his corrupt demon cohorts will be cast into 11:18; Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 33:16). Over
of the thoughts of his heart was only evil an abyss where they can no longer corrupt a period of time these people, who had
continually (Genesis 6:5, emphasis added human minds or incite hatred and violence suffered intense misery and tragedy, will
throughout). (Revelation 20:1-3). begin rebuilding their physical and mental
Further describing the age just prior to When Christ brings the warfare and health and strength. The Lord says, I have
Christs return, the apostle Paul wrote: destruction to an end, our planet will still seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will
12 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
guide them and restore comfort to Israels The desert will blossom like a rose yet firmly corrected. Your ears shall hear
mourners (Isaiah 57:18, New International Deserts and former wastelands will turn a word behind you, saying, This is the way,
Version). green and lush as rainfall reaches them walk in it, whenever you turn to the right
Significantly, Jesus will provide people regularly and in the right amount (Leviticus hand or whenever you turn to the left
the true knowledge of His caring and serv- 26:4). The wilderness and the dry land (Isaiah 30:21).
ing way of life (Isaiah 2:3). For the earth will be glad. The desert will rejoice and By obeying Gods teachings, individuals
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1, World and nations will have a solid foundation for
as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). English Bible). cooperation as they work at harmoniously
God will grant each person repentance Rain showers at the proper time will serving one another.
and the extraordinary gift of His Holy make it possible for this new, fertile, pro- Then, after 1,000 years of phenomenal
Spirit (Acts 11:18; Jeremiah 31:33). Ill ductive land to become available for even- peace and prosperity, the next phase of
place my spirit within you, empowering tual human habitation (Isaiah 54:3). Besides Gods plan will commence (Revelation
you to live according to my regulations and suitable precipitation, springs of water will 5:10). All people who had lived in past
to keep my just decrees (Ezekiel 36:27, also bubble up from the ground creating ages, having not known the truth of God,
International Standard Version). With the clear, sparkling streams and gracefully will be resurrected from their graves to
human spirit joined with Gods Holy Spirit, flowing rivers (Isaiah 41:18). physical life. They will be given their very
each person will be motivated with a sin- Many desolate, ruined cities and towns first opportunity to obtain divine salvation
cere and deep desire to love and obey God will be renovated as young families journey (Ezekiel 37; Revelation 20:11).
and truly care for others (Galatians 5:22- there to build homes and farms (Ezekiel Jesus Christ will offer each of them the
23; Philippians 4:13). 36:9-10; 34-36). Moreover, Jesus Christ gift of His Holy Spirit so that they will not
Throughout the 1,000 years of Jesus will give people their own land to cultivate only fully comprehend spiritual knowledge
reign as Sovereign over the Kingdom of and enjoy. Everyone shall sit under his and be able to follow Gods ways, but will
God on earth, His giving, generous and gra- vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall have the prospect of obtaining eternal life
cious style of living will set the pattern for make them afraid; for the mouth of the (Acts 2:38; Isaiah 65:20-24).
all relationships between people (Revela- Lord of hosts has spoken (Micah 4:4).
tion 20:6; Psalm 111:4; Luke 10:27). With Farms and gardens will flourish as never The best news you could ever hear
society directly and personally guided and before: The Lord says, the time is com- As these individuals look back on their
governed by Christ, tremendous peace ing when there will be all kinds of food. former physical existence, they will realize
previously unknown to humanitywill People will still be harvesting crops when their previous way of living simply didnt
comfort and cheer everyone (Isaiah 9:7; its time to plow again. People will still be work compared to the prosperity, tranquility
Psalm 119:165). taking the juice from grapes when its time and joy they experience in Gods bright and
Contributing to this heart-stirring condi- to plant again. Wine will drip from the exciting new age. As a result, the vast major-
tion is the fact that education in warfare and mountains and pour from the hills (Amos ity will choose to worship Him, obey His
war itself will be utterly abolished (Psalm 9:13, New Century Version). commandments and later be transformed
46:9-10; Micah 4:3). Violence will disap- Families will experience blessing after into immortal spirit beings in His divine
pear from your land; the desolation and blessing as they raise abundant crops, fruit family (Ephesians 3:15; Hebrews 2:10).
destruction of war will end. Salvation will trees and healthy livestock (Isaiah 30:23). Finally, the Eternal God has designed
surround you like city walls, and praise will As a result of Gods perfect master plan, the most positive, exciting and marvelous
be on the lips of all who enter there (Isaiah each person will live in good health, be future for you, your family and all human-
60:18, New Living Translation). prosperous, have plenty to eat and feel ity. Built literally on the ashes of a shattered,
Citizens of Gods earthly government comfortable and deeply fulfilled (Jeremiah failed human society, Jesus Christ will initi-
will live serenely and be relieved of all 31:12). ate an entirely new civilization and infra-
anxiety. Conflict between races and peo- structure. Indeed, its the best news anyone
ples will be entirely eliminated as former Spiritual, moral and ethical guidance could ever hear! GN
enemies work together in complete accord and instruction
(Isaiah 19:24-25). Peacefulness will not Not only will Jesus Christ make it pos-
only be the way of life for all people but it sible for people to live in peace, safety
will also govern the animal world: The and enjoy great physical abundance, but
The message of the coming
wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the He will give them indispensable spiritual, Kingdom of God was at the
leopard shall lie down with the young goat, moral and ethical guidance and instruction. heart and core of the gospel
the calf and the young lion and the fatling Assisting Christ in this crucial task will be the good newsthat Jesus
Christ taught. This article gives
together; and a little child shall lead them Gods resurrected, faithful and wise divine the broad outline of the won-
(Isaiah 11:6). sons and daughters who will serve as teach- derful good news of that com-
Parents will be freed from all apprehen- ers, administrators, judges and leaders ing Kingdom. But Gods Word reveals much more!
Download or request our helpful study aid The Gos-
sion in knowing that their children are safe (2 Corinthians 6:18; Isaiah 30:20). pel of the Kingdom. A free copy is waiting for you!
in every situation. The nursing child shall They will diligently coach each person in
play by the cobras hole, and the weaned Gods way of lifethe foundation of which Contact any of our offices listed on page 39,
child shall put his hand in the vipers den. is the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy or request or download it from our website.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My 10:4). If anyone drifts away from following
holy mountain (Isaiah 11:9). these vital guidelines they will be quietly,
www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

November-December 2015 13
Exploring Gods Word

Wait! You Just Said:


Jesus Was Not Born on Dec. 25!
You probably realize Christ was not born on Dec. 25, and you may A syncretized Christianity
What I already knew that day in Italy
not think its important. But it really does matter. And it really is was dramatically reinforced by the open
important that you not celebrate that day as His birthday! admission of a very smart and sincere
by Darris McNeely teacher. It started me thinking about how
much like the Romans people are today

D
when it comes to religion. Rome borrowed
ont you think its about time you As our guide described this festival he the gods and goddesses and religions from
stopped living like a Roman? asked the group, Did Jesus have a birthday Greece, Egypt, Babylon, northern Europe
Maybe you dont think you live on Dec. 25? Absolutely not! he quickly and other nations. They mixed them
like a citizen of the greatest answered. I caught a glance at a number of together in their version of faith and
empire of the ancient world. But fellow travelers, all of whom were Bible- went on living their lives.
you do if you celebrate Dec. 25 as the believing folk, and saw they The church that succeeded
birthday of the divine Savior. If you call were nodding their head in to Romes position of power
yourself Christian, then its time you agreement. syncretized in adopting
started living like a citizen of the Kingdom He continued: The many of the pagan
of God and not the kingdom of ancient text shows it was days, chief of which
Rome. And a citizen of the Kingdom of warm and there were was Dec. 25 and the
God does not celebrate Christmas day as sheep in the field. In Saturnalia festival.
the birthday of Jesus Christ. the winter months To their concept of
Its commonly acknowledged today the sheep are all Jesus Christ they
that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. You indoors and not in gave the biggest
can easily find this in many resources the field, he went holiday and brought
on the Internet (and see Christmas on to say. But, he in elements of the
Before Christ? The Holidays Origins said, if this new God sun god to complete
Unmasked beginning on page 16). Even we are serving is the big an image of a new god
many churches readily admit this truth and God then lets put His made in their image.
openly tell their membership the facts. birth date on Dec. 25 and Paganism was baptized
I recently had an experience that opened make it a big celebra- This ancient Roman silver disk depicts Sol with a form of biblical
my eyes to how easily sincere religious tion. So they did. The Invictus, the Roman sun god whose birthday religion, and the new
believers gloss right over this core fact. It rest is religious history. was celebrated annually on Dec. 25the church was off and run-
was eye-opening. Let me tell you about it. Today we have a term date later adopted for the Christmas holiday. ning. False doctrine, a tri-
for thatsyncretism. une god and completely
Echoes of a pagan past It means a blending of ideas to create foreign forms of worship became accepted
Some colleagues and I recently went on a something different or new. In this case teaching and practice, and ultimately the
study tour of Italy, visiting sites connected they blended a thoroughly pagan idola- tradition to which succeeding generations
with the story of the apostle Paul and the trous winter festival into their version of of church teachers would subscribe.
early Church. While visiting the ruins of a Christianity. Christmas today is a mixture of false reli-
farm villa in southern Italy, the childhood Never mind that a straightforward read- gious teaching and commercialism. Throw
home of Poppea, Emperor Neros wife, our ing of the biblical account of Christs birth in some new age abstractions and you have
guide was telling us what everyday life was shows it was not in the dead of winter. a perfect holiday that adapts itself to just
like for a Roman. Never mind that a little digging into the his- about any culture on earth today. Even non-
By the first century A.D., Rome had tory behind the Gospel accounts points to Christian nations like China and Japan have
Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

declared no less than 80 days as holidays. His birth being in the fall of the year. Never parts of the Christmas traditions attached to
The most important of these holidays was mind that the New Testament gives no com- Dec. 25. They may not care about the reli-
Dec. 25, the birthday of the sun, at the mand to observe His birth as a festival or gious symbols, but they do observe some
culmination of a several-days-long festival holiday of any kind. Never mind, as my tour form of the holiday in parts of the coun-
called the Saturnalia. Coming in winter, guide was saying, that Jesus was not born tries. Japan does a booming retail business
this festival of lights, food and revelry was on Dec. 25 or anywhere close to that date. during the Christmas season.
a very popular occasion for all citizens. The Never mind these things because syn- So what does all this mean for us in our
years darkest period was the perfect time cretism says we can do whatever we want modern world? Christmas is the worlds
for a party! when it comes to worshipping God! single biggest and most lucrative holiday.
14 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
Sales during the Christmas season deter- calendar completely different from the one to me that no cultureneither pagan Rome
mine the commercial viability of many God gave to His people for all time. Holi- nor our neo-pagan world todayis exempt
businesses. Eliminating Christmas would days like Easter and Christmas, to name from judgment. Rome and its empire even-
mean a severe economic slump for many only two, are steeped in pagan origins and tually went the way of all empires. Its time
sectors of the economy. This commercial- symbols. God hates these days. They have of power was eclipsed by the God of history
ism isnt going away despite the sentiments no place in a biblically defined Christian whose determined purpose moves forward
of those who desperately want the religious form of worship! toward the day of final judgment (Acts
message to prevail. 17:26, 31).
The people of Isaiahs time did not listen
In fact, Christ cannot be put back into to the warning. In time God completely Our tour guide acknowledged that Jesus
Christmas, as many call for, because He drew back His hand of blessing from them, wasnt born on Dec. 25, the time of celebra-
never was in Christmas in the first place! and they were invaded by a foreign power. tion following the end of the ancient Sat-
Further, Jesus wants nothing to do with a Their time on the world stage drew to a urnalia. In his few words he admitted what
holiday deeply rooted in pagan worship to close. Their national sovereignty ended. is commonly known today among those
which His name was vainly attached. The The same will happen today to any nation interested enough to have looked into it. But
fact that most people do not care about this that claims Gods name yet insults that he then moved on to another subject as if it
truth makes it all the more serious when we name with the indignity of pagan trappings. didnt matter. I wanted to say, Waitdo
consider what God says about such customs! America, Canada, Australia and Great Brit- you realize what you just said?
ain, along with other nations, will be judged Can you grasp what this fact means?
God doesnt accept syncretized worship by God for this and other sins. How can you stand before God the Father
Isaiah the prophet addressed this same Christmas and other pagan days pre- and His Son Jesus Christ and defend wor-
kind of matter to Jerusalem and the king- sented as Christian celebrations are an ship that is effectively meaningless and
dom of Judah in the seventh century B.C. abomination to God. Lets paraphrase Isa- even defiant? It doesnt matter how sincere
Judah had adopted customs and worship iahs words to hear what God says and feels you are. No matter how well-intentioned
traditions contrary to what God had given about this: I have had enough of your piousyour Christmas celebration is, worshipping
to them at the beginning of their national worship and take no delight in what you Him with practices taken directly from
history. offer of your life for Me. You presume to paganism is an abomination to God.
In the first chapter of Isaiah God states appear before Me with something I value. No matter how warm and family-oriented
the problem with idolatry and forgetting Your offering and worship is empty and your festival is, it is futile and empty before
who He was to them. With verse 12 He meaningless. Your religious celebrations God. Even if you dont care, He does. He is
a God of righteous judgment, and He com-
No matter how well-intentioned your Christmas mands all who hear the truth to repentto
put away such pagan trappings and begin
celebration is, worshipping Him with practices taken to worship Him in the joyous meaningful
manner He designed from creation. God is
directly from paganism is an abomination to God. also merciful, and He desires us to worship
Him in humility and sincerity.
shows a problem with the feasts and Sab- mean nothing to Me. They trouble Me. I It is time to stop living like a citizen of
baths they had altered on the days they turn My eyes away and do not see. Though ancient Rome and begin living like a citizen
were to appear before Me. Their worship you make many prayers, I do not hear them. of the coming Kingdom of God. This holi-
resulted in empty rituals on days God had Your way results in death and not life day season, you should turn things around
specifically designed and commanded as (Isaiah 1:12-15). and begin worshipping God in spirit and in
His appointed feasts (Leviticus 23:1). This sounds harsh and judgmental to a truth. God is waiting to receive your sincere
While people in Jerusalem still went to the modern ear. So be it. It is far less than the worship in spirit and in truth and hear your
temple of God on days He had designated, reality God visited on Israel and Judah for prayers! GN
their actions rendered those days effectively their sins. Gods direct judgment on the
meaningless for them. They incorporated nations has always been fair and not with-
elements of idolatry into the worship of God, out warning to give anyone who hears the
and their attitude and actions were wrong in opportunity to repent. Do you know the real origins
of Christmas and other popu-
many ways. God hated their defilement of lar holidays? What do holly,
His time and occasions through living con- Its time to choose: Follow God or follow mistletoe, decorated trees and
trary to Him: I cannot endure iniquity and pagan traditions a fat old man in a red suit (rid-
ing in a sleigh pulled by flying
the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and Earlier I mentioned the home of Poppea, reindeer) have to do with the
your appointed feasts My soul hates; they Neros wife. The home was near Pompeii coming of the Son of God? You need to know the
are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing and Mount Vesuvius. It was covered with answersand why it does matter to God! Down-
load or request your free copy of Holidays or Holy
them (Isaiah 1:13-14). volcanic ash in the devastating eruption of Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?
Regardless of any additional feast days A.D. 79.
or their calendar, the fact that they polluted The home we were in had been exca- Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
something sacred to Him made it mean- vated, and you could still see the effect of or request or download it from our website.
ingless. That is an important lesson for us the lava and ash that had covered the villa.
today. Todays Christian world has a festival That place and that event were a reminder www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

November-December 2015 15
Exploring Gods Word

The Holidays Origins Unmasked


Most people know the Bible doesnt mentionmuch less sanctify mas was ever heard of till the third century,
and that not till the fourth century was far
Christmas. Does it make any difference as long as its intended to advanced did it gain much observance
honor God and bring families together? by Jerold Aust (1959, pp.92-93).
As for how Dec. 25 became the date for

T
Christmas day, virtually any book on the
he popular American comedic Is there more to these ancient traditions history of Christmas will explain that this
actor Drew Carey was once inter- and practices than meets the eye? And, day was celebrated in the Roman Empire
viewed on an equally popular televi- more important, does it make any differ- as the birthday of the sun god.
sion talk show, The View. Mr. Carey ence whether we continuethem? Explaining how Dec. 25 came to be
surprised the audience when he selected as the supposed birthday of Jesus,
addressed the value of telling children the Celebration of the sungod the book 4000 Years of Christmas says: For
truth about SantaClaus. It may sound odd that any religious cel- that day was sacred, not only to the pagan
I dont think you should tell kids that ebration with Christs name attached to it Romans but to a religion from Persia which,
there is a Santa Claus, he said. Thats could predate Christianity. Yet the holiday in those days, was one of Christianitys
the first lie you tell your children. Instead, we know as Christmas long predated Jesus strongest rivals. This Persian religion was
Tell kids that Santas a character we made Christ. Elements of the celebration can be Mithraism, whose followers worshiped the
up to celebrate a time of the season. Other- traced to ancient Egypt, Babylon and Rome. sun, and celebrated its return to strength on
wise, When kids get to be 5 . . . they real- This fact doesnt cast aspersions on Jesus; it that day (Earl and Alice Count, 1997, p.37).
ize their parents have been lying to them does, however, call into question the under- Not only was Dec. 25 honored as the
their wholelife. standing and wisdom of those who, over birthday of the sun, but a festival had long
Earlier that same year the A&E cable the millennia, have insisted on perpetuating been observed among the heathen to cel-
television channel aired a program about
Christmas titled Christmas Unwrapped:
The History of Christmas. The promo for
The precursor to Christmas was an idolatrous
this programread:
People all over the world celebrate the
winter festival characterized by excess and
birth of Christ on December 25th. But why debauchery that predated Christianity by centuries.
is the Saviors nativity marked by gift-giving,
and was He really born on that day? And just an ancient pagan festival that has devolved ebrate the growing amount of daylight after
where did the Christmas tree comefrom? through much of the world asChristmas. the winter solstice, the shortest day of the
Take an enchanting journey through Members of the early Church would have year. The precursor to Christmas was in
the history of the worlds favorite holiday been astonished to think that the customs fact an idolatrous winter festival character-
to learn the origins of some of the Western and practices we associate with Christmas ized by excess and debauchery that
worlds most enduring traditions. Trace would be incorporated into a celebration of predated Christianity by manycenturies.
the emergence of Christmas from pagan Christs birth. Not until several centuries
festivals like the Roman Saturnalia, which had passed would Christs name be attached Pre-Christian practicesincorporated
celebrated the wintersolstice. to this popular Romanholiday. This ancient festival went by differ-
These two programs addressed the fact As Alexander Hislop explains in his ent names in various cultures. In Rome
that Santa Claus is fictitious and that Christ- book The Two Babylons: It is admitted it was called the Saturnalia, in honor of
mas and its trappings emanate from pagan by the most learned and candid writers of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture. The
Roman festivals. By no means are these the all parties that the day of our Lords birth observance was adopted by early Roman
only sources of information about the back- cannot be determined, and that within the church leaders and given the name of Christ
ground of Santa Claus andChristmas. Christian Church no such festival as Christ- (Christ mass, or Christmas) to conciliate
16 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
How Did
and new moons, and festivals the exception of a small remnant, was
[the biblical festivals spelled submerged under Pagan superstition. That
out in Leviticus 23], once Christmas was originally a Pagan festival

Santa Claus acceptable to God, the Satur-


nalia, the feasts of January,
is beyond all doubt. The time of the year,
and the ceremonies with which it is still

Enter the Picture?


the Brumalia, and Matronalia, celebrated, prove its origin (Hislop, p.93).
are now frequented; gifts are The aforementioned Tertullian, for one,
carried to and fro, new years disassociated himself from the Roman

H
ow did Santa Claus enter the picture? Why is this day presents are made with church in an attempt to draw closer to the
mythical figure so closely aligned with the Christmas din, and sports and ban- teachings of theBible.
holiday? Here, too, many books are available to shed quets are celebrated He wasnt alone in his disagreement with
light on the origins of this popularcharacter. with uproar; oh, how such trends. As late as 245 Origen, in his
Santa Claus is an American corruption of the Dutch much more faithful eighth homily on Leviticus, repudiates as
form Sinterklaas or Sint Nicolaas, a figure brought to are the heathen to sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday
America by the early Dutch colonists (see The Ency- their religion, who of Christ as if he were a king Pharaoh (The
clopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, Vol. 19, p. 649, take special care to Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition,
Nicholas, St.). This name, in turn, is said to stem adopt no solemnity Vol. 6, p. 293,Christmas).
from St. Nicholas, bishop of the city of Myra in from the Chris- Christmas was not made a Roman holi-
southern Asia Minor, a Catholic saint honored tians (quoted day until A.D. 534 (ibid.). It took 300 years
by the Greeks and the Latins on Dec.6. by Hislop, for the new name and symbols of Christmas
He was bishop of Myra in the time of the p.93). to replace the old names and meaning of
Roman emperor Diocletian, was persecuted, Failing to the winter festival, a pagan celebration that
tortured for the Catholic faith and kept in make much reaches back so manycenturies.
prison until the more tolerant reign of Con- headway in con-
stantine (ibid.). Various stories claim a link verting the pagans, Was Jesus born inDecember?
from Christmas to St. Nicholas, all of them
the religious lead- Most Bible scholars who have written
having to do with gift-giving on the eve of
ers of the Roman on the subject of Jesus birth conclude that,
St. Nicholas, subsequently transferred to
Christmas Day(ibid.).
church began based on evidence in the Bible itself, there
How, we might ask, did a bishop from compromising by is no possible way Christ could have been
the sunny Mediterranean coast of Turkey dressing the heathen born anywhere near Dec.25.
come to be associated with a red-suited man customs in Christian- Again we turn to Alexander Hislop:
who lives at the North Pole and rides in a sleigh pulled by fly- looking garb. But, There is not a word in the Scriptures about
ingreindeer? Knowing what we have already learned about rather than converting them to the precise day of [Jesus] birth, or the time
the ancient pre-Christian origins of Christmas, we shouldnt the churchs beliefs, the church of the year when He was born. What is
be surprised to learn that Santa Claus, too, is nothing but a became largely converted to recorded there, implies that at what time
figure recycled from ancient paganbeliefs. non-Christian customs in its soever His birth took place, it could not
The trappings associated with Santa Claushis fur- own religiouspractices. have been on the 25th of December. At the
trimmed wardrobe, sleigh and reindeerreveal his origin Although at first the early time that the angel announced His birth
from the cold climates of the far North. Some sources trace Catholic Church censured this to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they were
him to the ancient Northern European gods Woden (or Odin) celebration, the festival was far feeding their flocks by night in the open
and Thor, from which the days of the week Wednesday too strongly entrenched in popu- fields . . . The climate of Palestine . . . from
(Wodens day) and Thursday (Thors day) get their designa- lar favor to be abolished, and December to February, is very piercing, and
tions (Earl and Alice Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, 1997, the Church finally granted the it was not the custom for the shepherds of
pp. 56-64). Others trace him even farther back in time to necessary recognition, believing Judea to watch their flocks in the open
the Roman god Saturn and the Greek god Silenus (William that if Christmas could not be fields later than about the end of October
Walsh, The Story of Santa Klaus, pp.70-71). suppressed, it should be pre- (Hislop, p. 91, emphasis inoriginal).
served in honor of the Christian He goes on to explain that the autumn
God. Once given a Christian rains beginning in September or October in
the pagan converts and swell the number of basis the festival became fully established Judea would mean that the events surround-
the nominal adherents ofChristianity. in Europe with many of its pagan elements ing Christs birth recorded in the Scriptures
The tendency on the part of third-century undisturbed (Man, Myth & Magic: The could not have taken place later than mid-
Catholic leadership was to meet paganism Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Reli- October, so Jesus birth likely took place
halfwaya practice made clear in a bitter gion, and the Unknown, Richard Cavendish, earlier in the fall (Hislop, p.92).
lament by one of the early Catholic church editor, 1983, Vol. 2, p. 480,Christmas). Further evidence supporting Jesus birth
fathers,Tertullian. in the autumn is that the Romans were
In 230 he wrote of the inconsistency of Celebration wins out overScripture intelligent enough not to set the time for
professing Christians. He contrasted their Some resisted such spiritually poison- taxation and travel in the dead of winter,
lax and political practices with the strict ous compromises. Upright men strove to but during more-favorable conditions. Since
Thinkstock

fidelity of the pagans to their own beliefs: stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, Josephs lineage was from Bethlehem, and
By us who are strangers to Sabbaths, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with since he had to travel from Nazareth in
November-December 2015 17
Exploring Gods Word
Galilee to Bethlehem, and since his expect- Many centuries later the apostle Paul We cannot honor God in truth with false
ant wife Mary traveled with him, it would traveled to and raised up church congrega- practices adopted from the worship of non-
have been nearly impossible for the two to tions in many gentile cities. To the members existentgods or demons posing as gods.
make the trip in the winter. of the Church of God in Corinth, a city Jesus said: This people honors Me with
steeped in idolatry, Paul wrote: What their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
What difference does itmake? fellowship has righteousness with lawless- And in vain they worship Me, teaching
The Bible gives us no reasonand cer- ness? And what communion has light with as doctrines the commandments of men
tainly no instructionto support the myths darkness? And what accord has Christ with (Mark 7:6-7). With God no substitutes are
and fables of Christmas and Santa Claus. Belial? Or what part has a believer with an acceptable. It makes no difference that
They are tied to the ways of this world unbeliever? And what agreement has the Christians mean well when they observe
and contrary to the ways of Christ and His
holy truth. Do not learn the way of the
Gentiles, God tells us (Jeremiah 10:2).
Professing Christians should examine
the background of the Christmas holiday
symbols and stop telling their children
that Santa Claus and his elves, reindeer
and Christmas gift-giving are connected
with Jesus Christ. Emphatically they are
not! God hates lying. These six things the
Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomina-
tion to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that
devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in
running to evil, a false witness who speaks
lies, and one who sows discord among
brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Christ reveals that Satan the devil is the
father of lies (John 8:44). Parents should
tell their children the truth about God and
this worlds contrary and confusing ways.
If we dont, we only perpetuate the notion
Professing Christians should examine the background
that it is acceptable for parents to lie to of the Christmas holiday symbols and stop telling their
theirchildren.
Can a professing Christian promote a children that Santa Claus and his elves, reindeer and
pagan holiday and its symbols as something
that God or Christ has approved? Lets see Christmas gift-giving are connected with Jesus Christ.
what God thinks about people using cus-
toms and practices rooted in false religion temple of God with idols? For you are the Christmas. God is not amused orpleased.
to worship Him and His Son. We find His temple of the living God . . . The knowledge of how to honor Almighty
views clearly expressed in both the Old and Therefore Come out from among them God, who made us, preserves us and gives us
NewTestament. and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch eternal life, has been made available to you.
God specifically commands His people what is unclean, and I will receive you. . . . Will you honor God or follow the traditions
not to do what early church leaders did Therefore, having these promises, beloved, of mankind? GN
when they incorporated idolatrous practices let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of
and relabeled them Christian. Before they the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the
entered the Promised Land, God gave the fear of God (2 Corinthians 6:14-17;7:1).
Israelites a stern warning: Take heed to Instead of allowing members to rename How much do you know about
the origins of Christmas and
yourself that you are not ensnared to fol- and celebrate customs associated with false its strange practices? What do
low them [the inhabitants of the land] . . . gods, Pauls instructions were clear: They such things as holly, mistletoe,
and that you do not inquire after their gods, were to have nothing to do with them. He decorated trees and a man in
a red suit (riding in a sleigh
saying, How did these nations serve their similarly told Athenians who were steeped pulled by flying reindeer) have
gods? I also will dolikewise. in idolatry, Truly, these times of ignorance to do with the coming of the Son of God? You need
You shall not worship the Lord your God overlooked, but now commands all to know the answers! Download or request your
free copy of Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter
God in that way; for every abomination to men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Which Days We Observe?
the Lord which He hates they have done to God alone has the right to decide the
Photos: Thinkstock

their gods . . . Whatever I command you, special days on which we should worship Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
be careful to observe it; you shall not add Him. Jesus Christ plainly tells us that God or request or download it from our website.
to it nor take away from it (Deuteronomy is Spirit, and those who worship Him must
12:30-32, emphasis addedthroughout). worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

18 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org


Exploring Gods Word

Jesus Christ
Creator of the Sabbath Day
As Christians, we know Jesus is our Savior and perfect example. was made . . . And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us (John 1:1-3, 14).
Should we observe the Sabbath day like Hedid? by Steve Myers Heres why this passage is so important:

H
It tells us that, before any physical creation,
ow much are you willing to follow you should rest and worship on the biblical a Being called the Word existed. It also
Jesus Christs example? As the Sabbath? tells us that the Word became flesh, a physi-
apostle John tells us, Those who cal being. That should immediately get our
say they live in God should live Jesus set the example minds working on making aconnection.
their lives as Jesus did (1 John Lets notice how Jesus was yesterday Heres the key: The Word is the One who
2:6, New Living Translation). in the past. To do that, we have to consider became Jesus Christthey are one and
So why wouldnt you want to follow a verse that refers to a time before the the same. It also tells us that He was with
Jesus example? Jesus worshipped on the creation of the earth. Did you know that Godmeaning God the Father. And we
SabbathFriday sunset to Saturday sunset the account describing the oldest time in find that the Word was also called God!
and He told us that we shouldtoo. the Bible is not right at its beginning? This So not only are we told that the Word
But many have a tendency to say things passage speaks of a time prior to events became Jesus, but were also told what He
like: Well, the Sabbath was an Old Testa- described at the beginning of your Bible was doing. He was makingor creating
ment thing, or The Sabbath has nothing to in Genesis1. all things in accordance with the perfect
do with salvation, or We have liberty and Believe it or not, this passage is a key will of the Father. Not just some things, but
arent restricted to a particular day of the that will help you unlock the answer to all things were made throughHim!
week, or The Sabbath was changed from the Sabbath question. Its a key to under-
Saturday toSunday. standing not only the Sabbath but also the The Sabbath was holy from creation
Before you jump to conclusions, Id like entire Bible. And its found in the New Genesis 2:1 tells us: Thus the heavens
you to notice a simple verse that carries so Testamentat the beginning of the Gospel and the earth were completed in all their
much meaning. Its found in Hebrews 13:8. ofJohn. vast array. By the seventh day God had
It says, Jesus Christ is the same yester- In the beginning was the Word, and finished the work he had been doing; so on
day, today, andforever (emphasis added the Word was with God, and the Word was the seventh day he rested from all his work.
throughout). God. All things were made through Him, Then God blessed the seventh day and
How does this passage help determine if and without Him nothing was made that made it holy, because on it he rested from
November-December 2015 19
Exploring Gods Word
all the work of creating that he had done
(New International Version).
Lets askourselves:
Who made the heavens and earth? The
Word didthe One who became Jesusas
directed by the Father.
Who made the seventh-day Sabbath? The
Word didthe One who becameJesus.
Who blessed and sanctified the seventh-
day Sabbath? The Word didthe One who
became Jesus.
Who rested from all His work on the
seventh-day Sabbath? The Word didthe
One who becameJesus.
Who made the seventh day holy? The
Word didthe One who became Jesus.
This is a vital key to understanding the
true Sabbath and why it should be impor-
tant to you. Before Noah, before Abraham,
before Moses, and long before the Old
Covenant, the Wordthe One who became
Jesuscreated the seventh-day Sabbath. It
wasnt just any day. He blessed it, and He
set it apart from every other day.
Do you see how important it is to God?
He designated Friday sunset to Saturday
sunset as holytime (in the Bible, God
counts time from evening to evening
sundown to sundownas shown in Leviti-
cus 23:32 and Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).
When something is holy it means that it
is something special and precious to God. Jesus taught that the Sabbath of the Bible was made
He made the Sabbath unique, and He told
us all to remember this wonderful time that
by God for the benefit of all humanity, not just the Jews.
Hedesigned. bath is the day He designed for worship. sied that all people who love God will come
Not only did it become holy time, but we He made the Sabbath at creation. And to worship on Gods Sabbath and serve Him
find Jesus, the Word, setting an example for millennia later, after He returns to earth, and that the temple of God would be called
all mankindfor youto follow. What did its still holy as the day ofworship for all a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah
He do? He rested. He rested from the work humanity. 56:6-8).
ofcreation. Remember what holy means. This weekly
day of worship is incredibly special and The Sabbath is for you
The Sabbath is still holy precious to God. He loves it, and He wants Heres a question: When you hear the
Remember the scripture we began with you to love it too. The Sabbath of worship inspired Word of God, do you allow it to
Hebrews 13:8. It says that Jesus is the and rest He created was not just any day of guide you in what you do? Perhaps we
same yesterday, today and forever. Look- the weekand it certainly was notSunday. should all ask: If I want to follow Jesus, Photos, clockwise from top left: Thinkstock, Designpics, Thinkstock, UCG
ing back to yesterday, we find that Jesus But heres the part that may be truly when should Iworship?
created the Sabbath as holy time atcreation. unexpected: Who will worship God on the Many people have many ideas about the
Since the Scripture must be truethat Sabbath day? Isaiah prophesied it wasnt Sabbath and how to worship, but the Bible
Jesus is the samewhat do we find as we just a Jewish day of worship. It wasnt made makes plain whats right and properwhat
go forward throughtime? only for the Israelites. It was designed for you could call authenticworship.
Lets move forward from creation into humanityfor you and for mefor every- Is there a particular day of the week
the future, to after Jesus Christ returns to one. Isaiah tells us that the seventh-day Sab- that comes to mind when you hear the
the earth. We find Isaiah prophesying about bath continued to be holy from creation and wordSabbath?
worship on the seventh-day Sabbath: From still is the time for worship for allpeople. We already know that the Wordthe
month to month and from Sabbath to Sab- In fact, this wasnt the only place where One who became Jesuscreated the Sab-
bath, all humanity will come to worship Isaiah mentioned this idea. He also speaks bath day as a day of rest and worship at
me, says the Lord (Isaiah 66:23, Common to you and meto people who believe in creation. He verified it thousands of years
English Bible). God and want a closer relationship with later in Isaiahs prophecies. So should you
Isnt that amazing? It may even surprise Him. He instructs us what we shoulddo. follow your own traditionyour opinion
you. Jesus our Savior says that the Sab- Do you know what he said? He prophe- or should you follow Jesusexample?
20 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
Lets look back into the first century A.D. Friday sunset to Saturdaysunset. Choose to follow Jesus Sabbath example
We find Jesusthe Wordis made flesh. I hope youll determine to find out about
Hes called Immanuel, God with us, God The Sabbath was made for all mankind this authentic Sabbath that Jesus designed
in the flesh (Matthew 1:23). Jesus Christ Today Jesus is still Lord of the Sabbath. for you. The Word of God shows that Jesus
was walking the earth. While this is still Some might argue that Jesus only observed created, verified and observed the seventh-
in the past, if Jesus is the same yesterday, the Sabbath because He was a Jew. After day Sabbath, and He taught us that we
today and forever, we should find Jesus all, what else would you expect a good Jew should follow Hisexample.
remaining the same. to do other than keep the Sabbath day? If you still have doubts about which day
So what was Jesus regular practice? Lets think about that for just amoment. is the Christian Sabbath, remember that in
How did He honor God? What day did He In this same section of Scripture, in the future the Sabbath will be observed by
observe? The Bible records Jesus own Mark 2:27, we find something that so many all people during the reign of Christ over all
routine custom at the start of His ministry: Christians miss. Its a crucial key to under- nations (Isaiah 66:23).
So He came to Nazareth, where He had stand the truth about properworship. Moreover Hebrews 4 explains that Chris-
been brought up. And as His custom was, Jesus says, The Sabbath was made for tians should be observing the seventh-day
He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath man, and not man for the Sabbath. If you Sabbath today (see our free study guide
day, and stood up to read (Luke 4:16). read over that phrase quickly you might Sunset to Sunset: Gods Sabbath Rest).
We shouldnt minimize this. It was Jesus miss the point. You could think that the So lets remember the Sabbath. It looks
regular custom to worship on the Sab- Sabbath was for Jews onlya burden. But back to creation and reminds us of our
bath! What day of the week was that? Ever wait! The meaning becomes clear when Creator. In the present, we keep the seventh
since that time and for centuries before, you understand the definition of the word day holy, and we consider the One who has
the weekly cycle has been followed. Time man. The Sabbath was made forman. delivered us from the bondage of sin. And
has never been lost. And dont forget, Jesus The word Christ used means all of man- finally, the Sabbath looks forward to the
knew the right daybecause after all, He kind, not just the Jews or one single person. return of Jesus Christ and the establishment
established the day of rest and worship at The word is translated differently in other of the Kingdom of God, when there will be
creation. Now we see that He validates and versions. By comparing them, the meaning true rest for allhumanity!
confirms it. Christ not only remembered becomes crystal clear. The New Revised Were all left with a choice. What should
the Sabbath day, but He kept it holy, from Standard Version states, The Sabbath was you donow?
sunset Friday through sunsetSaturday. made for humankind. Get out your Bible! Start to study into the
Jesus emphasized just how important the true Sabbath day. Gods Word will guide
The Sabbath was never changed Sabbath is for all people everywhere. He you to the point where youll have to make
Now heres a tough question: Did Jesus said, The Sabbath was made for the good a decision. Will you live by every word of
set His example of Sabbath worship so we of human beings (Mark 2:27, Good News God as Jesusdirected?
dont have to? Should we just disregard the Translation). It wasnt made just for the There is no doubt that Jesus is Lord of the
way that Jesus worshipped? Sadly, thats Jews and then done away with or replaced Sabbath. By observing the seventh-day Sab-
what many ministers teachtoday! by Sunday, it was made to benefit man bath, Jesus proved He is the same yesterday,
But Jesus never once told His disciples to (The Living Bible). today and forever. FollowHim!
ignore His example. He never once said any So contrary to what most churches teach, And of course, the United Church of God,
church or any person has the authority to Sabbath worship was not somehow altered publisher of this magazine, has hundreds
transfer the Sabbath to Sunday. In fact, He or annulled. Jesus is consistent. Hes con- of Sabbath-keeping congregations that
taught just the opposite. He said, If anyone stant. Hes the same. He said that the Sab- meet on Saturday across the United States
serves Me, let him follow Me (John 12:26). bath was made for the good of man (Bible and around the world. Go to www.ucg.org/
This is the same Jesus who was the in Worldwide English). It was the day churches to find a congregation near you.
Word, the One who created the Sabbath. made to help people (Expanded Bible). Call one of our pastors or visit with
Jesus set it apart as holy and told us to fol- It was made to meet the needs of people our members. Theyll help you discover
low Himto live like Him, to think like (New Living Translation, 2013). It wasnt more about the biblical command to keep
Him, to worship likeHim. exclusive to one group of people or for just a GodsSabbath holy! GN
So no wonder He emphasized the point limited time only. It was the same yesterday
by saying something remarkable. In Mark and today as well. The Sabbath was made
2:28 we find He said that He is Lord of for the good of people (Contemporary
theSabbath. English Version). The Bible has much more to
What day of the week is the Lords day? Even now authentic Christians take Jesus say about Gods day of rest and
worship, the weekly Sabbath.
According to Jesus Christ, its the seventh- words to heart and follow Him by observ- Weve prepared a free study
day Sabbath! Its not Sunday or any other ing the seventh-day Sabbath, Friday sunset guide, Sunset to Sunset: Gods
day of the week. Jesus clearly tells us that to Saturday sunset. They worship on the Sabbath Rest, to help you learn
more about this observance.
He is Lord of the Sabbath day. His day of same day that Jesus did. This isnt a Jewish Download or request your free copy today!
worship is theSabbath! Sabbath. Its the Christian way of observ-
He is consistent (Malachi 3:6). Weve ing the true Sabbath over which Jesus Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
seen that yesterday, Jesus as the Word cre- isLord. And Christian means one who fol- or request or download it from our website.
ated the weekly day of rest and worship lows the example of Jesus Christ, who lives
the seventh-day Sabbathlasting from as He did.
www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

November-December 2015 21
by Milan Bizic, Rudy Rangel and Darris McNeely

Setting the stage for EuropeanMideast conflict


T
he lengthy prophecy of Daniel 11 speaks of their way through Turkey and the Balkan states, and Syria. The first is a direct effort to undermine NATO
ongoing conflict between rulers to the north for a time in August they collected in Hungary. Not and keep Ukraine out of the EU orbit. The other,
and south of the land of Israel, with verse 45 content with their reception, many began walking troops and planes in Syria, is an effort to rattle the
referring to an end-time King of the South pushing toward Austria, seeking to cross into Germany and EU, keeping the refugee crisis alive and upsetting any
at a final King of the North. A power from the Middle other EU countries. diplomatic effort from the West aimed at ending the
East will launch some sort of attack against Europe The open borders of the EU proved to be a means four-year-long civil war there.
that arouses a retaliation and occupation of a large for passage that began putting pressure on the Russia does not have the military or economic
part of the Middle East, including Israel, by European receiving nations, none of which were prepared to power to do much more than it has, but the long-term
forces. take in refugees in such staggering numbers. Ger- effect of both will show the weakness of the current
While these specific events are yet to happen, cur- many said it would take 800,000. Hungary refused, political leadership in Europe and the United States.
rent events in the region help us understand how this stating that such a humanitarian crisis would cause The world is experiencing a power vacuum in the
scenario could come to pass. Two recent develop- the borders of Europe to collapse. Middle East. Russia will not dominate the region, but it
ments may play into this. Germany at first welcomed refugees, seeing an could further stir the religious and sectarian conflicts
First is the massive wave of refugees out of Syria, opportunity to erase remaining vestiges of its World that will create a new order in the Middle East.
Iraq and Afghanistan into European Union (EU) War II reputation for mass genocide. German Prime With Iran on the rise in the region and the collapse
states. More than a million have come, and tens of Minister Angela Merkel openly welcomed them. of a century of regional boundaries and power struc-
thousands continue to arrive every day. They made But the inevitable backlash started, and the his- tures, a new Middle East is poised to emerge. Again,
toric German discontent with foreigners began to Bible prophecy shows an emergent power called the
erode her support. European handling of this crisis King of the South to arise and push, by military, eco-
Russia ups the ante is testing current arrangements and perceptions of
the EU at a vulnerable moment. Combined with the
nomic or other means, at what is called the King of the
North, a European-centered power, provoking a mas-
in Syria debt crisis in Greece and a real possibility that Great
Britain might withdraw from the union, this influx of
sive retaliatory response. We may be seeing a lead-
up to these events in todays headlines. God foretold

S yrian President Bashar al-Assad has been in


power since 2000, stepping into the position pre-
viously occupied by his father until his death. In that
refugees has brought the EU to a turning point. Order
will have to be maintained or the present union will
not continue.
what will ultimately occur centuries in advance.
To learn more about what will happen between
Europe and the Middle East, be sure to send for or
time Bashar al-Assad, like his father before him, has The second event to understand is Russias twin download our free study guide The Middle East in
been a very harsh leader, especially to his own peo- placement of troops and materiel in Ukraine and Bible Prophecy.
ple. In 2011, protests over the release of minors, who
were being held for anti-government graffiti, became
deadly after officials open fired on the protestors.
Afterward a civil war began, and chemical weap-
A third intifada?
ons were used, though Assads administration denied
using them and blamed the rebels. Then ISIS came W e are not merely on the verge of another Arab
uprising against Israel. Its already here. The
Atlantics Adam Chandler recently reported: In
on the scene and, amid all the fighting, innocent civil-
ians have been making an exodus out of the country recent months, amid failed peace talks, continued
and into Europe seeking refuge. By some estimates fallout from the latest war in Gaza, politically moti-
up to half of the nations people have been displaced vated riots and car attacks, deadly rock-throwing
from their homes. and deadly responses to rock-throwing, stab-
Russia recently stepped in to further shore up the bings, fatal arson and shootings, clashes at holy
battered Assad regime, as The Guardians Kareem sites, the expansion of settlements and price-tag
Shaheen reported: The Syrian push on the ground attacks, the rhetorical canceling of both previous Haifa bus bombing during the second Intifada, 2003.
is the first time President Assads forces have coor- peace deals, and the future peace process, the
dinated with the Russian air force in an attempt to answer seems to increasingly be this: A Third Inti- siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem
seize lost territory from opposition forces, ushering fada is here and it doesnt resemble the previous (King James Version).
in some of the fiercest fighting in months in the civil two (Ready or Not, the Third Intifada May Be Well see how the current uprisings will play
war, which has now lasted four and a half years and Here, Oct. 7, 2015). out as contentions continue. Chandlers Atlantic
killed more than a quarter of a million people (Syr- The Middle East is always a focus in this pub- article continued: Owing to the violence, Israeli
ian Troops Launch Ground Offensive Backed by Rus- lication. Much of Bible prophecy revolves around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a
sian Airstrikes, Oct. 7, 2015). this part of the world and the nations it comprises. trip to Germany where he was set to celebrate 50
Russia has been slapped with sanctions in the Its a contentious area because three major reli- years of Israeli-German relations. We are still in
past year since entering Ukraine with troops and gions claim their origin in the Holy Land. In Zecha- the midst of a wave of terror, Netanyahu said . . .
annexing the Crimean Peninsula. Russia now claims riah 12:2 we see that God foretold continuing con- We have known worse times than this and we will
to be fighting against terrorist groups in Syria. Assad flict over Jerusalem before Jesus return: Behold, also overcome this wave of terrorism with determi-
has many enemies within his own borders. This is I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all nation, responsibility, and unity (ibid.). (Source:
an opportunity for Vladimir Putin and Russia to gain the people round about, when they shall be in the The Atlantic.)
some allies and further strengthen its footholds in
the Middle East. This is merely the latest in a series We see increasing activity on the world scene. and emerging economies. Russias movement into
of actions pitting Russia against the Western NATO Nations are vying for power. Western nations are Syria is another move on the worlds geopolitical
alliance. feeling the effects of struggles in the Middle East chessboard. (Source: The Guardian.)

22 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org


An overview of conditions around the world

Turkish-Kurdish tensions
reach boiling point Chinese espionage The president was essentially saying, I know
you spy on me and my government, but dont even
against America think about spying on our businesses.

A fter initially remaining uninvolved in the Wests


struggle to contain Islamic State militants in the
Middle East, Turkey recently announced that it would T
World peace seems so far away when news like
he Chinese are stealing secrets from America. this emerges. All countries steal from others in
Of course, every nation conducts its own bit one way or another. Its disheartening to know that
be supporting U.S. and NATO airstrikes against ISIS of espionage against other nations. Earlier this
targets in Syria and Iraq. What initially came as wel- year there were allegations that the United States
come news, however, was soured by the reality that tapped the cell phone of German Chancellor
Turkish forces seemed more interested in engaging Angela Merkel. But with no significant evidence,
Kurdish targets than ISIS militants. The Kurds, for the Germans dropped their investigations.
the record, have to this point been one of the Wests Spying seems to be a practice that is assumed
and not talked about. There also seems to be
In an already unstable region, a divided some guidelines. Recently The Wall Street Jour-
Turkey opens the door for insurgents nal reported: [President Barack Obama] said
the Chinese governmentlike the U.S. govern-
like ISIS to take further root. mentengages in traditional spying against for-
strongest regional allies in containing and combat- eign nations, which he acknowledged is a common
ting ISIS. practice. But he said he has told the Chinese, That
Turks and Kurds have a long and violent history is fundamentally different from your government or
with one another, but the most recent flare-up has its proxies engaging directly in industrial espionage the world has to be this way. Nations dontand
the potential for far-reaching and long-lasting con- and stealing trade secrets, stealing proprietary canttrust one another. This is not the world God
sequences for the nation of Turkey. Germanys Der information from companies. That we consider an wanted for His creation. God created a garden of
Spiegel magazine reports on the increased violence act of aggression that has to stop (Damian Pal- peace. It was there that man chose to take another
in Turkeys troubled and divided eastern region: etta, Obama Vows to Press China on Computer path, one that has led up to this point of nation
The killing continues, especially in Cizre and in Attacks, Sept. 16, 2015). against nation. (Source: The Wall Street Journal.)
other places in the overwhelmingly Kurdish inhab-
ited southeast. And it wont allow itself to be stopped
again so quickly. Several municipalities have broken
away from Turkey and declared autonomy. There,
St. Louis fire highlights danger of nuclear stockpiling
young Kurds with Kalashnikovs, Molotov cocktails
and stones are calling the shots. Trenches and bar-
ricades made of rocks, rubble and car tires are meant
N uclear bombs as weapons of mass destruction
are front and center in public attention once
more with the Iranian nuclear agreement, North
falling into villainous hands. A recent development
in the heart of the United States, though, serves as
a chilling reminder of the atomic legacy of the 20th
to prevent the advances of security forces that are Koreas much-publicized nuclear program and the century.
no longer simply responding with tear gas, but also ever-present threat of black market and secret prolif- A landfill in the St. Louis, Missouri, area has con-
with live ammunition and snipers (Hasnain Kazim, eration to extremist groups. tained a smoldering fire underneath its surface since
We Want a Massacre: Turkish-Kurdish Tensions Earlier in 2015 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2010. A burning landfill is, in the best circumstances,
Escalate as Election Looms, Sept. 17, 2015). moved the world Doomsday Clock up to three min- not good for a community. But this is far from the best
Many in the country, especially Kurds, are placing utes to midnight, reflecting the dangers of nuclear circumstances. Jim Salter of U.S. News and World
blame for the violent eruption on Turkish President proliferation and the potential of nuclear weapons Report wrote:
Recep Erdogan: Critics argue that Erdogan . . . con- Beneath the surface of a St. Louis-area landfill
sciously pushed the country into chaos in order to lurk two things that should never meet: a slow-burn-
portray himself as a strong leader. He is risking a civil ing fire and a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste,
war, they claim, in order to win the Nov. 1 elections separated by no more than 1,200 feet. Government
(ibid.). officials have quietly adopted an emergency plan in
Whether or not Erdogan or other leaders are case the smoldering embers ever reach the waste, a
engineering a civil war in the country, the human toll potentially catastrophic event that could send up a
has been and will continue to be large with intense plume of radioactive smoke over a densely populated
violence. In an already unstable region, a weaker or area near the citys main airport (St. Louis Plans for
divided Turkey opens the door for insurgents like Catastrophic Nuclear Event, Oct. 6, 2015).
ISIS to take further root. Jesus urged His disciples Its a scary prospect for St. Louis residents and a
to watch events in and around Jerusalemthe area reminder to all of us of the dangers of nuclear weap-
of the Middle Eastin anticipation of His coming onry. Were still dealing with the results of nuclear
(Matthew 24-25). We should do likewise. (Source: development, both from waste and from potential
Surface fire at St. Louis West Lake landfill in 2014.
Photos, from left: Wikimedia (2), Thinkstock

Der Spiegel.) warfare. (Source: U.S. News and World Report.)

How can you make sense of the news?


So much is happening in the world, and so quickly. Where are todays dramatic and dangerous
trends taking us? What does Bible prophecy reveal about our future? Youre probably very con-
cerned with the direction the world is heading. So are we. Thats one reason we produce the
Beyond Today daily TV commentariesto help you understand the news in the light of Bible
prophecy. These eye-opening presentations offer you a perspective so badly needed in our
confused worldthe perspective of Gods Word. Visit us at ucg.org/beyond-today/daily!

November-December 2015 23
World News & Prophecy

Abortion and Planned Parenthood: A Cause for

Americas abortion debate is a window on one of the countrys moneychangers also produces great mercy
every day. The same godly character that
deepest spiritual crises. When we see injustice, brutality and sin commands care for widows and orphans
on this scale, we rightly get angry at the evil. How can we ensure commands justice and judgment on those
who reject Gods way.
were experiencing godly, righteous anger instead of destructive, Psalm 7:12 tells us, God is angry with
carnal anger? by Milan Bizic the wicked every day. It should come as
no surprise then that God is very angry at

W
the senseless killing of helpless children.
hy should abortionand the to Americas abortion crisis, but first lets lay We shouldnt be shocked that God is angry
merchandising of the body parts some groundwork on the complex concept that people are profiting from the killing of
of murdered babiesfill us with of righteous, godly anger. His precious children. We also shouldnt be
godly, righteous anger? afraid to feel some of that anger ourselves
Every day I read at least some Gods anger is righteous and to sigh and cry over the evil actions
news, so I spend my fair share of time feel- We dont often think of anger as a Chris- we see (Ezekiel 9:4).
ing sad or shocked or simply perplexed at tian emotionand for the most part, thats When we read about callous violence and
the things seemingly regular people do to probably a good thing. Christians are to be injustice, its right to be angry. We need to
other seemingly regular people. Thankfully, defined by their relationship with God the tread carefully however. Anger is a power-
information saturation hasnt numbed me to Father and Jesus Christ. They are measured ful and potentially very destructive emotion
human suffering, and I can still get shocked by the character of Jesus Himself. And He that, in the wrong context, wrong frame
and upset by what I see. I really wish there perfectly modeled self-control, patience and of mind and wrong spirit, can wreck our
was enough good news to offset the bad, and mercy. But He was also capable of anger spiritual lives and cause us to hurt others.
I really wish I could walk away from a news when the situation called for it.
report feeling happy and hopeful for every- All four Gospels record Jesus anger at Is your anger righteous?
one whose stories I read and hear about. It the moneychangers in the temple for pro- Christianity is all about becoming more
doesnt happen very often. faning Gods holy house. Maybe when you and more like God as Jesus modeled His
Every now and again I read a story that think about our Savior shouting, flipping righteous character for us to follow. Its
goes beyond the everyday shock and awe over tables and using a makeshift whip to important that we keep close tabs on our
at the darker sides of human nature. You drive animals out of the temple it makes thoughts and actions to make sure that
probably had the same reaction when you you uncomfortable. Maybe you have a dif- were following His lead and not the pulls
read about it or watched the videos that were ficult time reconciling this very real image of the flesh and allowing human nature to
shared around. Im talking about the revela- of Jesus with other very real images of Jesus dictate our responses. Thats why we need to
tion that representatives of Planned Parent- defending the weak, healing the sick and constantly examine ourselves to make sure
hood, the United States largest abortion taking up the cause of the poor. were staying on the straight and narrow.
provider, were caught on video bartering If we honestly and humbly read the Bible, How do we know if were right or wrong in
over body parts from aborted children. though, well see that this instance of Jesus being angry at something?
Sure, I was shocked. I felt stunned and life is 100 percent, entirely consistent with Many scriptures show us theres a vast
sad. But I felt another emotion as well His righteous character as its displayed gulf separating righteous and unrighteous
something deeper and rawer than sadness throughout the Bible. The author of Hebrews anger. In the very beginning of mankinds
or shock. I was angry. gives us an essential truth about Jesus: He history, Cains anger drove him to murder
Was it right for me to be angry? Should is the same yesterday, today and forever his own brother (Genesis 4:8). Unfettered
you be angry about abortion? Is it possible (Hebrews 13:8). That means the same godly angeror misdirected angercan lead us
to be angry in a godly way? Ill come back character that produced anger at the temple to great sin. God Himself tells us that it is
24 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
good to be angry as long as we dont sin anger, we need to follow His lead, being familyall potential members of the divine
through misdirected, unrestrained anger slow to wrath (James 1:19). In fact, this family of Godis a great evil and a curse.
(Ephesians 4:26). quality of God is one of the fruits of His We should be furious at the very notion.
So what is godly anger? One condition of Holy Spirit that develops in us as we grow Lets be honest: Almost all abortions, by
righteous anger is that it should be directed close to God and He begins producing His some estimates more than 99 percent, are
toward sin. Just as Jesus was furious at the character within us. Paul wrote that the fruit performed for the reason of convenience.
profaning of His Fathers house, we should of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, The baby was conceived at an inconve-
hate sin and the negative consequences it kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, nient time for the parents. No one has yet
brings on peopleespecially the innocent self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis explained why a child can be given the death
or helpless. added). Notice here self-controlanother penalty because of the circumstances of their
Proverbs 6 lists seven things that God essential trait of those who dont sin in anger. conception.
actively hates. The common denominator A third factor in godly, righteous anger A fairly conservative estimatebased on
is sin and its effects on people: These six is that its about justice, not revenge. Do we numbers collected by the Centers for Disease
things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an get angry at people and hope for the time Control and Preventionputs the number
abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying when they get theirs? If Im being honest, of legal abortions performed in the United
tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a I have to admit that sometimes my anger States since the U.S. Supreme Court legal-
heart that devises wicked plans, feet that over horrific events like the mass slaughter ized abortion in 1973 at approximately 51
million. Thats 51 million lives cut short, 51
Godly, righteous anger is about justice, not revenge. million untold stories, immeasurable poten-
tial thrown away and sacrificed to the false
are swift in running to evil, a false witness of infants gets me going down this path. god of convenience and personal choice.
who speaks lies, and one who sows discord But that human desire for punishment Does that make you angry? It should.
among brethren (verses 16-19). isnt even remotely related to Gods prom-
A second aspect of godly anger is that it ise of true justice for the innocent and the Godly anger should lead to repentance
isnt quickly or easily kindled. Gods anger guilty. Paul tells us that we should give It should make you angry because, as
at sin isnt explosive. Hes not a walking place to wrath, for it is written, Vengeance Ezekiel warned Israel, sin twists peoples
time bomb like some people are. is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord lives (Ezekiel 7:13, New Living Transla-
No one likes to be around other people (Romans 12:19). Wait for Gods time of tion). The sin of murder through abortion
who have a reputation for their quick tem- judgment and justice. twists the lives of those affected. And on
pers. Sometimes people with explosive anger God will ultimately deal with evildoers. a bigger scale, the widespread acceptance
can be very dangerous. God Himself testifies And it helps to always keep in mind what and support of abortion and organizations
to His slow temper: The Lord, the Lord God is well aware ofthat people are mis- like Planned Parenthood twists the moral
God, compassionate and gracious, slow to led in their thinking and actions by a power- fiber of a people. If Americas national con-
anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and ful malevolent spiritSatan the devil (see 1 science can tolerate the dismembering of
truth (Exodus 34:6). John 5:19 and An Evil Spirit World: Where a child and the merchandising of its body
If we want to cultivate only righteous Did It Come From? beginning on page 8). parts, what cant it tolerate?
Theres one last element to godly, righ-
Why be angry about abortion? teous anger, and its the most important
For Those Who Have Back to the Planned Parent-
hood controversy: Why should
element. The anger that comes from God
should convict us to change and become
Dealt With Abortion abortionand the merchan- more like Him. It should motivate us to fix
dising of the body parts of our problems and turn toward the mercy and
Anger, desperation and heartbrokenness
murdered babiesfill us with love God desperately wants to extend to us.
shouldnt frustrate hope. If youve been nega-
godly, righteous anger? God doesnt want people to suffer the
tively affected by abortion in any way, help is
Consider that our society bad consequences that sin produces, and
available, first from God. Take your cares and
our cultureis murdering, He doesnt want any nation to suffer these
your sorrows to Him and ask for healing. He is
wholesale, the most precious consequences either. God is patient and not
there to help (1 Peter 5:7).
and helpless among us. Psalm willing that any should perish but that all
Also please seek professional counseling
127 tells us that children are a should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8).
from a reputable Christian counselor. Such
gift from God. They are pre- Its not too late for those whose lives have
counselors are trained and passionate about
cious to Him and should be to been twisted by the sin of abortion to repent
helping you through your trials.
us. Theyre not a burden, not and live by Gods high standard of respect
Finally, seek out a trusted pastor who can
a negative consequence, and for the sanctity of life. And, while it would
give you good spiritual counsel and help guide
certainly not a parasite in the require a great miracle, its also not too
you to godly action. Pastors of the United
womb as some characterize the late for America and other countries where
Church of God, which sponsors this maga-
unborn. abortion is legal to experience a nationwide
zine, can help you seek peace and repen-
To say that we can choose repentance and to turn away from this sin.
tance. Please write to info@ucg.org and ask
to, at any point in a nine- God is waiting with arms wide open to
for help.
month window of time, kill the accept those who turn away from sin to seek
next generation of the human Him. Will America respond? Will you? GN
November-December 2015 25
World News & Prophecy

In the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, the question looms about munication and no ability to provide food
and water to 300 million Americans.
what Iran might do once it acquires nuclear weapons. Some are This is what is referred to as an EMP
sounding the alarm about a dangerous scenario that could fatally attack, and such an attack would effectively
wound a nation in an instant. by Tom Robinson throw America back technologically into the
early 19th century . . .

I
Common sense would suggest that,
n the wake of the announcement of the some other power or group using atomic absent food and water, the number of people
nuclear deal with Iran, in which the weapons on the tiny Jewish state of Israel or who could die of deprivation and as a result
Shiite Islamic state is allowed to con- on America on the other side of the world. But of social breakdown might run well into
tinue its nuclear program, the Iranian it might end up far worse than we imagine. the millions. Let us be clear. A success-
regime was exultant. At a military cer- ful EMP attack on the U.S. would have a
emony on Aug. 30, 2015, the Iranian defense Worse than nuking a city? dramatic effect on the country, to say the
minister boasted: A commentary in The Wall Street Journal least. Even one that only affected part of
Today, Iran has attained such status several years ago by Brian Kennedy, at the the country would cripple the economy for
that the superpowers have surrendered to time a member of the Independent Working years (What a Single Nuclear Warhead
it, because of its majesty, its steadfastness, Group on Missile Defense, stated: Think Could Do, Nov. 24, 2008, emphasis added
its resistance, and its unity. Despite their about this scenario: An ordinary-looking throughout).
great pride, the regime of the arrogance [the freighter ship heading toward New York
West, led by the United States] sat humbly or Los Angeles launches a missile from its Effects of an EMP weapon detonation
behind the negotiating table and obeyed hull or from a canister lowered into the sea. The effects of an EMP detonation depend
the rights of the Iranian nation (quoted in It hits a densely populated area. A million on several factors. One is altitude. The
Iranian Regime Celebrates Its Victory in people are incinerated. The ship is then Heritage Foundation, which has long tried
the Nuclear Agreement, Middle East Media sunk. No one claims responsibility. There to draw peoples attention to the seriousness
Research Institute [MEMRI], Sept. 4, 2015). is no firm evidence as to who sponsored the of the danger, estimates that a single EMP
Furthermore, a top Iranian general told attack, and thus no one against whom to detonation at an altitude of 300 miles over
troops preparing for a massive military drill launch a counterstrike. Kansas would affect virtually the entire
. . . that the U.S. and the Zionists should But as terrible as that scenario sounds, continental United States.
know that the Islamic Revolution will con- there is one that is worse. Let us say the At a height of 120 miles, an EMP burst
tinue enhancing its preparedness until it freighter ship launches a nuclear-armed would affect most of the continental United
overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine Shahab-3 missile off the coast of the U.S. States except for the coastal states. At a
(quoted by Paul Alster, Iran Thumbs Nose and the missile explodes 300 miles over 30-mile altitude, it would devastate eight to
at US Even as Obama Rallies Support for Chicago. The nuclear detonation in space 10 states (see the graphic at right).
Nuke Deal, Fox News, Sept. 3, 2015). creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Other key factors are how powerful the
Meanwhile, former U.S. Vice President Gamma rays from the explosion . . . weapon is and distance. The more powerful
Dick Cheney warned in a Wall Street Jour- generate three classes of disruptive electro- the weapon, the greater the electromagnetic
nal op-ed piece that the Obama agreement magnetic pulses, which permanently destroy surge and thus the greater the damage.
will lead to a nuclear armed Iran, a nuclear- consumer electronics, the electronics in And the closer the detonation to electrical
arms race in the Middle East and, more some automobiles and, most importantly, devices, the greater the power of the electro-
Map by Shaun Venish

than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon the hundreds of large transformers that dis- magnetic pulse.
since Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Restoring tribute power throughout the U.S. . . . Lights, Missile-defense experts warn that a rela-
American Exceptionalism, Aug. 28, 2015). refrigerators, water-pumping stations, TVs tively cheap way to inflict terminal damage on
Its certainly horrific to imagine Iran or and radios stop running. We have no com- a nation as large the United States would be
26 The Good News
to detonate three or four medium-yield EMP
translated by the Defense Intelligence south polar trajectories to evade U.S. radars
Agencys National Intelligence University
weapons evenly spaced at a suitable altitude and missile defenses, at altitudes consistent
. . . , ironically titled Passive Defense
above the countrya capability likely within with generating an EMP field covering all
(2010), describes nuclear EMP effects in
reach of Iran and other players like North 48 contiguous United States. Iran launched
detail. It advocates in more than 20 pas-
Korea within a relatively short time. its fourth satellite on such a trajectory as
Experts warn of the likelihood that many
sages an EMP attack to defeat decisively recently as February 2015. A single nuclear
electrical devices within line of sight of the
an adversary. weapon would complete the list of require-
The official Iranian military textbook
detonation of an EMP weapon, unless spe- ments (ibid.).
cifically shielded, would be rendered imme-
advocates a revolutionary new way of Dr. Pry warned in an op-ed at Israel
diately inoperable. This includes electrical
warfare that combines coordinated attacks National News earlier this year: For the
components of motor vehicles, trains, air-
by nuclear and non-nuclear EMP weap- first time in history, a failed state like Iran
craft, ships, computers, TVs, radios, phones,
ons, physical and cyber-attacks against could destroy the most successful societ-
appliances, lights, pumps, generators, medi-
electric grids to black out and collapse ies on Earth . . . An Iran with nuclear mis-
cal equipment, power tools and the like.
entire nations . . . Because EMP destroys siles can topple the existing world order
While many devices could be left undam-
electronics directly, but people indirectly, . . . without firing a shot . . .
aged, the cumulative impact of many inter-
it is regarded by some as Shariah [Islamic The mere capability to make an EMP
law]-compliant use of attack, the mere threat that a rogue state
AREA OF NORTH AMERICA THAT WOULD amass nuclear weapon [for
killing].
like Iran can inflict Assured Destruc-
tion on the United States using a single
BE AFFECTED BY AN EMP DETONATION Passive Defense warhead, cancels the credibility of U.S.
(DEPENDING ON BURST ALTITUDE) and other Iranian mili- security guarantees . . . Iran with nuclear
tary writings are well missiles is a world crisis comparable to
aware that nuclear the Islamic conquests against Christen-
EMP attack is the dom during the Dark Ages, the rise of
most efficient way of Nazi Germany, or the Soviet threat during
killing people, through the Cold War.
secondary effects, In the Iran nuclear agreement, the
over the long run. The subject of Irans program to develop
rationale appears to be intercontinental ballistic missiles wasnt
that people starve to even addressed. Iran already has missiles
death, not because of capable of striking any nearby enemy in
EMP, but because they the Middle East or as far as southeastern
live in materialistic Europe. An obvious question is why they
societies dependent feel a need to develop missiles which can
carry warheads to other continents
A single EMP detonation at an altitude of 300 miles would unless the intended target is the United
States, which they repeatedly characterize
affect virtually the entire continental United States. as the great Satan?

dependent devices failing over huge regions upon modern technology (A Shariah- Iran, North Korea and the merchants of death
would be catastrophic. The result would be Approved Nuclear Attack, Aug. 19, 2015, Yet the problem is not just Iran. More
unimaginable chaos and vast loss of life. emphasis added throughout). Middle Eastern states now want to
For example, Woolsey quotes a 1998 develop nuclear weapons as a counter-
Irans intention to stage an EMP attack Iranian article on EMP attack that stated: weight to Iranand some of these states
Former CIA director James Woolsey and If the worlds industrial countries fail to could fall to Islamic extremists and terror
Peter Vincent Pry, who served on the Con- devise effective ways to defend themselves groups. And Muslim Pakistan, with its
gressional EMP Commission, have been out- against dangerous electronic assaults, then own arsenal of dozens of nuclear war-
spoken about the EMP threat. Woolsey relates they will disintegrate within a few years . . . heads, is a tempting takeover target for
in a Washington Times article: The Congres- American soldiers would not be able to find Islamic fundamentalists both within the
sional EMP Commission estimated a nation- food to eat nor would they be able to fire a country and in neighboring Afghanistan.
wide blackout lasting one year could kill single shot. Dr. Pry and Woolsey pointed out in a
anywhere from two of every three Americans Obviously, as Woolsey points out, The Wall Street Journal piece last year: In
by a low estimate up to nine of 10 Americans Iranians have done more than just think 2004, the EMP Commission met with
by starvation and social disruption. This is about EMP attack. senior Russian military personnel who
astoundingly serious and sobering! In fact, the Congressional EMP Com- warned that Russian scientists had been
Woolsey goes on to say that Death to mission found that Iran has practiced recruited by North Korea to help develop
America is more than merely an Iranian launching missiles and fusing warheads its nuclear arsenal as well as EMP-attack
chantTehrans military is planning to be for high-altitude EMP attack, including off capabilities. In December 2012, the North
able to make a nuclear EMP attack . . . a freighter. Iran has apparently practiced Koreans successfully orbited a satellite,
An Iranian military textbook, recently surprise EMP attacks, orbiting satellites on the KSM-3, compatible with the size and
November-December 2015 27
World News & Prophecy

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Spiritual Blindness at Work?

A
s more and more details from the U.S. Congress, and In any case, what is really at the ability to think rationally and reason
of the Iran nuclear Paves Irans way to producing heart of the matter? The Bible reveals properly because they have turned their
negotiations unfolded (and helps finance) nuclear weapons deeper issuesspiritual issues that lie backs on the source of true wisdom.
over recent months, the regardless of whether Iran abides by beyond normal human perception. Notice one such passage in Isaiah
questions grew more and the terms of the agreement or chooses Gods Word reveals a spiritual describing this spiritual blindness: Go
more puzzling. Why were to cheat. dimension to international affairs ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but
the worlds leading powers so eager to where unseen spirit beings are at work not from wine! You stagger, but not
cut a deal with an Iranian regime that: Why agree to such a behind the scenes shaping the world in from liquor! For the Lord has poured
Has been the worlds foremost one-sided deal? profound ways (see Kingdoms at War out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He
sponsor of terrorism, Why did Western leaders not insist beginning on page 4 and What Are the has closed the eyes of your prophets
Repeatedly threatens to eliminate that Iran make concessions of its own, Origins of the Evil Spirit World? begin- and visionaries . . .
Israel, such as halting its support of violent ning on page 8). And so the Lord says, . . . Because
Routinely refers to the United terror groups, freezing or dismantling When we see things on the interna- of this, I will once again astound these
States as the great Satan (and sup- its ballistic missile programs, ending tional stage that make no sense on the hypocrites with amazing wonders. The
ports mass rallies where people chant its threatening behavior toward its physical levelsuch as an interna- wisdom of the wise will pass away, and
Death to America!), and neighbors, or truly offering anytime, tional agreement like this that defies all the intelligence of the intelligent will dis-
Has leaders who believe they are anywhere inspections of its nuclear logic and common senseit is virtually appear. What sorrow awaits those who
divinely destined to initiate a period of facilitiesespecially if they really are guaranteed that something profound is try to hide their plans from the Lord,
worldwide upheaval that will lead to entirely for peaceful purposes as Iran taking place on the unseen spiritual who do their evil deeds in the dark!
their version of fundamentalist Islam claims? level, a spiritual dimension revealed in The Lord cant see us, they say. He
attaining dominance over the entire In light of such facts, why would the Bible where spirit beings and forces doesnt know whats going on! How
world. anyone support such an agreement shape the world to their own ends. foolish can you be? (Isaiah 29:9-16,
The Western powers surrender with a foreign power with such a track On the physical level, it makes no New Living Translation, 2013).
to Iranian negotiating demands were record? sense to provide the worlds greatest Why are people who certainly should
equally puzzling. Why did major West- Some reasons are evident. The sponsor of terrorism billions of dollars know betterespecially prominent
ern leaders so eagerly line up behind European participants in the agree- and a clear path to nuclear weapons leaderscaught up in such self-
the United States to sign off on an ment appear to be motivated mostly yet that is exactly what world leaders destructive blindness? The answer
agreement that: by economic greed. They see lifting of have done! Spiritual forces are at work. is simple. God says its because they
Provides a dictatorial regime sanctions on Iran as a way for Euro- Albert Einstein once defined insanity have removed their hearts far from
a windfall of more than $100 bil- pean companies to enter a potentially as doing the same thing over and over Me (verse 13).
lion (frozen when Iran took over the lucrative business market, and they again while expecting a different result. A deeper spiritual issue is at work
U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and gain access to Iranian oil. World history has repeatedly shown in the Iran treaty. Western leaders
imprisoned all embassy personnel for Russia, long familiar with the that appeasing dangerous tyrants have been hell-bent on securing this
444 days), Middle Eastern adage the enemy think Adolf Hitlerleads to only greater deal, largely at the behest of President
Relieves economic sanctions of my enemy is my friend, sees an demands and ultimate disaster. Obama. In the words of the biblical
(imposed by the UN Security Council opportunity to strengthen an enemy prophets, it is as though they have all
due to Irans refusal to suspend its of the United States as an opportunity Spiritual blindness become drunk and cannot discern
nuclear programs), not to be missed, and it sees a huge and drunkenness the reality of the threat and the dan-
Bans American and other Western market for advanced Russian military Another factor ties in closely with gerous times we live in. Our world will
personnel from inspections of Iranian hardware. this. Its an additional spiritual compo- grow only more dangerous as leaders
sites (and allows Iran to do its own Some believe U.S. President Barack nent that the Bible calls drunkenness. and people become ever more spiritu-
inspections of sites where its suspected Obama is motivated primarily by a The biblical prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah ally blind and intoxicated due to sin.
of carrying out banned activities!), desire to add a notable foreign policy and Ezekiel all used the same term to May you have the wisdom and cour-
Allows Iran to purchase advanced landmark to his presidential legacy, describe the irrational decision-making age to heed your Creator and turn to
military weaponry in a few years, and possibly another Nobel Peace Prize of leaders and people who have for- Him before its too late!
Includes secret side deals hidden to cap his career. saken and rejected God. They lose their Scott Ashley

weight of a small nuclear warhead. The its partner North Korea is enabled deliber- Iran and North Korea to raise proxy nuclear
trajectory of the KSM-3 had the charac- ately by their silent partnersRussia and missile threats against the U.S. and its allies
teristics for delivery of a surprise nuclear China. In order to survive, the West must on the theory that the enemy of my enemy
EMP attack against the U.S. (The wake-up to the reality that Iran, North is my friend and to promote world chaos.
Growing Threat From an EMP Attack, Korea, China and Russia are all rogue The real merchants of death live in Moscow
Aug. 12, 2014). states tacitly allied against the West, work- and Beijing.
Dr. Pry sternly points the finger in his ing together to topple the existing world He goes on to quote Gen. Douglas Mac-
Israel National News piece at the larger order . . . Arthur: The history of the failure of war
powers bearing responsibility: World Russia and China have deliberately pro- can almost be summed up in two words:
chaos from nuclear missile-armed Iran and liferated missile and nuclear technology to too late. Too late in comprehending the
28 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
deadly purposes of a potential enemy. indication for the last days appears to be
Too late in realizing the mortal danger.
Too late in preparedness. Too late in
that one third of the Israelites will die of
disease and famine. Another third will
Prudent Disaster
uniting all possible forces for resistance.
Too late in standing with ones friends.
fall by the sword or military attack, and
another third will be scattered in fleeing
Preparedness
E
Pry then reiterates: The West must the sword of invasion (Ezekiel 5:12). xperts warn about the possibility of an electromag-
netic pulse attack that could knock out electricity
understand that Russia and China are Famine from lack of food and non-
over vast regions. The grid also could be brought
not our friends and do not share our functioning distribution and transporta-
down for a while by natural disasters such as floods,
vision for a stable, peaceful world tion systems along with diseases accom- fires, severe storms or by other forms of human attacks.
order. They are enabling the Iranian panying malnutrition and unsanitary con- Regardless of the potential effects of unexpected catas-
and North Korean nuclear missile ditions would be one major result of an trophes, it is wise to be prepared for emergencies.
programs to foster world chaos and, if EMP attack. The scattering and captivity As Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12 state: A prudent person
necessary, our extinction. of survivors that other passages mention foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton
And amazingly, unthinkably, the could be a result of outside forces taking goes blindly on and suffers the consequences (New
United States government and other advantage of a devastated nation. Living Translation). We are also to be doing what we
Western allies are enabling this as well. Third, while the massive destruction can to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8). So its
the Bible portrays would appear to be the important that we give due attention to preparation.
What Scripture reveals result of nuclear weapons (such as a third In a Sept. 3, 2015 article titled Survival in the Age of
We would do well to keep in mind of mankind being killed as described in EMP, Norman Rogers at the American Thinker writes:
some important details from Bible proph- Revelation 9:15), there is still an indica- The consequences of grid and computer failure could
ecy when considering the dire threat of tion of working electronic communication be horrible, especially because we are totally unprepared
an electromagnetic pulse attack. the world over just before Christ returns. . . . Without electricity for months or years, civilization
First, the Bible does reveal that Amer- We find this in Revelation 11, where collapses. The food chain cannot operate without elec-
ica and other modern nations of Israelite Gods end-time two witnesses are killed tricity to power the factories. Transportation, assuming
descent will see massive devastation in in martyrdom. Verse 9 says: And for cars and trucks still run, cannot operate without fuel.
the end time (see our free booklet The three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, Without refineries and pipelines operating, there will be
United States and Britain in Bible Proph- languages, and nations will stare at their no fuel. If it is winter, people will be burning their furniture
for heat. People dependent on drugs to stay alive will die
ecy to understand this heritage). In Eze- bodies (New Living Translation). This
because the factories that make drugs will be idle.
kiel 6:6 God tells the Israelites that in was not possible before the advent of
This new war scenario gives another reason for
all your dwelling places the cities shall be modern electronic communications. Yet individuals to store food . . . Mormons have long been
laid waste. this verse shows that some such commu- encouraged to store a years supply of food. The Cali-
When Ezekiel wrote this prophecy, nications will be functioning at the very fornia Earthquake Authority suggests having a 2-week
the kingdom of Israel had already been end immediately before Jesus Christs supply of food. The State of Florida suggests having a
defeated by the Assyrian Empire and return. This would seem to mean that any 3-day supply of food.
taken into exile well over a century ear- EMP warfare in the last days will be lim- Grocery stores dont store large quantities of food
lier, so this prophecy never applied to ited and not shut down whole continents. and are often cleaned out in hours when a hurricane
ancient Israel. It refers to their end-time threatens. The long food chain has to operate to process
descendants, who will be punished for What does it mean for you? and distribute food. That food chain depends on equip-
their grave national sins and rebellion Of course the biggest details of proph- ment, transportation, the financial system, electricity,
against their Creator. ecy to keep in mind are that the devasta- etc. When there is an earthquake or hurricane, mas-
Second, it is evident that the death toll tion it records is not the end of the story. sive help is quickly mobilized from outside the affected
for all of this devastation will not be as While end-time events will be truly area, so food storage needs are small. [This might not
high as the 90 percent some predict for horrifying, a wonderful world will fol- be so easy if an EMP-affected area is huge, as it likely
a worst-case scenario EMP attack. But it low Jesus Christs return to establish the would be.] . . .
could be in line with lower estimates. The Kingdom of God over all nations. How many people or organizations have thought
No longer will one nation threaten about how one would buy (or sell) things when credit
another, nor nations spend billions of dol- card terminals, bank computers, and ATMs dont work?
lars on such horrifying weapons. Human- . . . Since the government is not doing anything about
What does Bible prophecy re- an EMP, it may be a good idea for individuals and orga-
veal about the United States, ity will finally learn the way to peace, not
nizations to make their own plans for emergency food
Britain, Canada, Australia and endless war.
other leading English-speak- supplies.
As for you, we hope youll take very
ing nations at the time of the Of course, this must be in balance with all of lifes
end? Where are todays trou- seriously the sobering developments priorities. The Bible warns us that if we are just trying
bling trends taking the world? we see in the headlines daily. We live to save our physical lives, we will not ultimately make
You need to understand! Download or request
your free copy of The United States and Britain in
in increasingly dangerous times, just as it through (Luke 17:33). We should prepare as we are
Bible Prophecy today! foretold by Jesus Christ and the biblical able for societal disruptions but not go to extremes.
prophets. But the good news is that you The Bible encourages us to seek first Gods Kingdom
Contact any of our offices listed on page 2, can escape or endure the terrible times and righteousness and He will take care of our daily
or request or download it from our website.
ahead and be part of Gods Kingdom needs (Matthew 6:33)but a part of righteousness is
foreverif you are willing to trust in and prudent preparation.
www.GNmagazine.org/booklets
submit to God now! GN
November-December 2015 29
TM

The Sabbath in History


and Prophecy
Learn the inspiring story of a group of people who foundjust by Persecution for Sabbath-keeping
But all wasnt fine and peaceful for these
reading the Biblethat they must keep the seventh-daySabbath. believers. The Transylvanian Sabbath-keep-
by Beyond Today host Darris McNeely ers had limited protection from the Muslim-
ruled Ottoman Empire to the east. But the

I
supposedly Christian church authorities
magine yourself opening a Bible for the translated for the first time into your own persecuted them for their biblical beliefs. In
very first time. You begin to read. And language. You start reading the Bible and 1595, sabbatarianism was outlawed by the
as you do, you read where God says, realize that much of what youve been political and religiousestablishment.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep taught doesnt match up with what God Once their Sabbath-keeping became well
itholy (Exodus 20:8). says. What do youdo? known, Eossi and his followers came under
You also read where Christ and His disci- What about those Christians in Transyl- intense persecution. They faced the confis-
ples kept the Sabbath day, and you see that vania that I mentioned before? What did cation of their property and real estate, their
it says Jesus is the Lord of theSabbath theydo? writings were collected and burned, and
(Mark 2:28). In their search for truth they discovered in many cases they were put in prison and
What do you do? Do you follow Jesus, one of Christianitys darkest secrets: Sun- beaten for their determination to keep the
the Lord of theSabbath? day worship (on the first day of the week) Sabbath holy. The persecution from both
This is exactly what some people have is a man-madenot God-madetradition, Catholic and Protestant authorities would
done when faced with the clear teaching of and the seventh-day Sabbath was observed only worsen overtime.
Scripture. Its what followers of Christ will by Jesus and His apostles. Whats more, When the persecution came for the rest
be doing when He returns. it meant that they, too, needed to keep of the Sabbatarian community in the mid-
In her book The Sabbath World: Glimpses theSabbath. 1600s it came quickly and somewhat unex-
of a Different Order of Time, author Judith In large part their story is defined by pectedly. Even though Sabbath-keepers were
Shulevitz makes an interesting observation: their leader, a man named Andreas Eossi. often threatened with punishment if they
Whenever people begin reading the Book He was a nobleman, rich in real estate, who did not publicly renounce their Sabbath-
[the Bible], they start keeping the Sabbath. owned three whole villages, along with keeping, it was rare for the authorities to
And when they keep the Sabbath they read other, smaller estates. In many ways he was follow through on their threats. When the
theBook (2010, p. 2). a sad man with a very sad life. His wife and religious establishment finally did move on
Thats exactly what happened to a group all three of his sons died prematurely, leav- the Sabbatarians, they dealt quickly and
of believers in Transylvania in the 1500- ing him wealthy but lonely. On top of that, harshly withthem.
1600s. Faced with what the Bible itself says Eossis own health was poor. He couldnt In almost every case the Sabbath-keepers
about the Sabbath day, they realized they evenwalk. property and possessions were confiscated,
had no choice but to obey God by keeping To fill his time and to heal his mind, leaving them homeless anddestitute. The
the Sabbath as Hecommanded. Eossi read the Bible. His studies led him to once large and booming Sabbatarian com-
a deep conviction that the church establish- munities of Eastern Europe all but disap-
The Bible on the hinge of history ment was wrong to have changed the Sab- peared after the widespread persecution.
Life in medieval Europe was nothing bath from Saturday, the seventh day of the Sabbath-keepers were forced into obscurity,
like life in todays world. Imagine that week, toSunday, the first day of the week. hiding among pockets of other minority
your life is completely and totally ruled by Soon Eossi led a flourishing and growing Christians, keeping the Sabbath in secret,
other people. Kings, princes, governors and group of Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania. always fearing they would be foundout.
priests dictate where you live, what you do At the peak of the movement thousands Times have changed. Most people are
for a living and what youbelieve. of Sabbatarian Christians were living and not hounded and persecuted for keeping the
Now into the darkness of your life comes teaching in the forests and mountains of Sabbath today. When I began to learn about
a bright, burning lightthe Holy Bible, EasternEurope. the Sabbath and to keep it, it did create a
30 The Good News Visit us at www.BeyondToday.tv
in Egypt and made them anation.
This leads us back to an earlier thought.
As people read their Bible they discov-
ered the truth of the seventh-day Sabbath.
People were reading the Bible to gain an
understanding about God and His purpose
for their human life. They were looking for
meaning amid their poor, bleak existence.
In a dark world, the Bible was a dawning
light breaking on a confused and deceived
European culture. Some few, and these
people in Eastern Europe were among
them, came to see the teaching of the Sab-
bath and embraced its teaching as part
of their life. The Sabbath began to define
their relationship with God and their entire
lifeswork.
They saw that by keeping the command-
The medieval Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania realized ments on which God made a covenant with
Israel, they themselves entered a spiritual
that the Sabbath is a biblical key to unlocking the covenant with God. This New Covenant
mystery of the coming Kingdom of God on earth with was a better covenant with better promises.
It was a covenant based on grace through
Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus Christ, the same God who made the
first covenant, and who came to earth and
major change in my life and relationships. Sabbath truth was a glimpse into the long- died for our sins, who was resurrected and
But I experienced nothing like these people prophesied Kingdom of God. Their own lives today as the King of Kings and Lord
in EasternEurope. writings reveal this insight. As they read ofLords.
The story of these men and women Jesus teachings on the Sabbath, they saw As they kept the Sabbath, they gained
who kept the Saturday Sabbath in his- the Kingdom of God. They saw the Sab- understanding and hope of the coming
tory is fascinating. It was a time of bath as a sign between the Creator and His Kingdom of God. They saw that the rest
religiousawakening. chosen people. They believed that as they that exists for the people of God through
kept the Sabbath, they entered a covenant the Sabbath was a critical key to understand-
Thinkstock

The Sabbath is a window into hope relationship with the same God who deliv- ing the fullness of the coming Kingdom
What these people saw through the ered the children of Israel from bondage of God.

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November-December 2015 31
They realized that the Sabbath is a bibli- of Isaiah God says: If you keep your feet
cal key to unlocking the mystery of the from breaking the Sabbath and from
coming Kingdom of God on earth with doing as you please on my holy day, if you
Jesus Christ as Lord. You really can- call the Sabbath a delight and the Lords
not understand this truth without proper holy day honorable, and if you honor it by
knowledge and understanding of the not going your own way and not doing as
Sabbathday. you please or speaking idle words, then
Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath. He kept you will find your joy in the Lord, and
the Sabbath, and He taught us how to keep I will cause you to ride in triumph on the
it today. He taught us how to enjoy a fuller heights (Isaiah 58:13-14, New Interna-
life by observing the Sabbath. Far from tional Version).
doing away with the Sabbath, Jesus showed
us how to live in the world of the Sabbath Live by the way of Gods Kingdom today
and improve the quality of our lives. Gods Kingdom is coming to the earth,
When we properly observe this day to and Christ will rule over all. In the book of
God, we make a spiritual connection that is Daniel we find a remarkable prophecy that

I
f you like The Good News magazine, real, honest and true. Its the foundation of tells us when this will occur. The Kingdom
youll love The Good News website at the only meaningful relationship that can the Messiah will set up will not be left to
www.GNmagazine.org. endure and see one through the challenges other people (Daniel 2:44). Who are those
and trials, highs and lows, triumphs and who receive the Kingdom of God? The
Youll find past issues of The Good News,
tragedies of this mortallife. book of Revelation says its those keeping
each packed with articles about world When Christ said, I am the way, the the commandments of God and the testi-
trends and events, family and social issues, truth and the life (John 14:6), He was mony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).
prophecy in the news and The Good News showing the way forward through this Will you be amongthem?
in-depth perspective of the Bible. uncertainlife. You will find the same truth that people
Theres much more too. Explore our large for centuries have found. You will find the
The Sabbath is a window into spiritual Sabbath is a key feature of the Word of
library of booklets covering a wide variety rejuvenation
of biblical, family and social issues and God. And you will find the same choice
To enter the world of the Sabbath is they foundto keep the book open, and to
themes. Take a look at our publications in
to enter a dimension where God dwells. keep reading. We hope you will make the
other languagesSpanish, German, Italian,
Keeping the Sabbath by worshipping and change and begin to walk with God on His
French, Portuguese and Dutch (and feel
fellowshipping with others of like mind is HolySabbath.
free to share them with a friend overseas). like being with God and Christ in spiritual You must observe My Sabbaths. This
fellowship. Its a solution to the restlessness will be a sign between Me and you for
of our modern lifestyle. generations to come (Exodus 31:13).
All of us understand the stresses and The Sabbath is a key to the Kingdom of
strains of this life. But not everyone under- God. The New Testament book of Hebrews
stands a vital key to getting in sync with says, There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest
God for the help to cope and manage the for the people ofGod (Hebrews 4:9, NIV).
extreme stresses of todays culture. Keep- Jesus and His followers kept the Sabbath,
ing Gods Sabbath is a missing element in and His followers still do today. God com-
Use our search tool so you can find infor-
successful living. To enter the world of the mands us to pause and reflect on His way of
Sabbath is to enter the world ofGod. life. Take a break from the fast-paced action
mation on any subject you wantmarriage,
There is another point that all Sabbath of this world. Experience a rejuvenation of
family, biblical teachings, current events,
keepers, past and present, learn as they read the mind and grow closer to Him! GN
prophecy, you name it. Feel free to down-
the Bible. They come to understand that
load all these so you can study them in there is continuity between the Old and the
depth, or request your own printed copies. New Testament. They understand how the
Youll also find answers to frequently asked two tell a complete story of Gods grace
Bible questions, helpful study guides on and offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. Gods Word reveals a great
deal more about Gods day of
dozens of biblical topics, and much more! They understand how to put the Bible rest and worship, the weekly
together. They also understand prophecy seventh-day Sabbath. Weve
You can also listen to or download ser- and how key prophecies of the Old Testa- prepared a free study aid, Sun-
mons, presentations and TV programs ment and the New Testament are yet to be set to Sunset: Gods Sabbath
Rest, to help you learn more.
done by many of The Good News writers. fulfilled in thefuture. Download or request your free copy today!
We hope youll visit us today to discover Here is the challenge: Prove God by
what youve been missing! beginning to keep His Sabbath, the seventh Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
or request or download it from our website.
day. Step out in living faith and prove what
www.GNmagazine.org the Bible says about the Sabbath istrue!
In one remarkable statement in the book www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

32 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org


In Everything, Give Thanks
Even at our worst moments, there is something to be thankful for. This kind of contentment, of course, can
only come from our Heavenly Father. Its
by Amber Duran not a natural human response to appreciate
or love trials. When Gods Spirit lives in us,

T
he last time my mother saw me I personal experience with death. My mom though, its a different story.
wore a hand-me-down red Kentucky had been sick for a while, though. I had
t-shirt and blue running shorts. time to think about her dying and how I Difficult times help us count our blessings
This isnt my normal garb, but would handle it, but thankfulness was prob- Often, as was the case with me, its in the
these were the first items I found ably the last thing I thought I would feel. difficult times that you can truly see and
after I got the call. But if you think about it, that may be thecount your innumerable blessings and draw
In the early hours of a Tuesday morning, most natural thing a Christian can feel. closer to God.
I was jolted awake by a phone call no one Even in the most mournful moments You see, its when we are at our lowest
ever wants to receive. After taking a turn following my moms death, I knew, because that our hearts are moldable.
for the worse, my mother was asking for God has called me into knowing His merciful When Paul talks about God calling the
usher kids. plan, that I had so much to be thankful for. weak of the world and not the high and
We piled in our vehiclemy husband, As Christians, that hope we have in Gods mighty, its for a reason (1 Corinthians
brother and sister-in-lawand walked the 1:26). Even David said it was
bathed-in-blue hallways of the hospital to when he was brought low that God
my moms room. helped him and worked with him
She had her moments of recovery that (Psalm 116:6).
made me think she might make it through I find comfort in Gods plan of
this one. But it was only hours later that she salvation, knowing that my mom
went into full organ failure. and the entire world will know
more than the pains of this physi-
What to say in those final moments? cal life. Theywewill all know
In the mere minutes I had with her before true peace when Gods way is the
she died, I tried to warm her cold hands only way.
with mine. The machines keeping her alive No, my mom wont be
kept a steady toneBeep. Beep. Beep. Air sitting with us this Thanksgiv-
was forced in and out of her lungs, some- ing dinner or the many dinners to
thing she could no longer do on her own. come, when our table is filled with
She couldnt open her eyes, and the doctors children she never got to meet.
told us she was totally unaware. But when we coming Kingdom is priceless and some- Shes no longer here.
spoke, her heart monitor would spike. thing we can never lose. It is what keeps us But instead of dwelling on the empti-
She could hear us. But what do you say? grounded in unstable times. ness I could feel or the great sense of loss,
I could feel the silence weighing on me. When Scripture tells us to give thanks in I choose to thank God that Im alive, that
I needed to say something. Everyone talks everything, it doesnt just mean in pleasant Im healthy and, most importantly, that I
about last words and how important they times (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Though that will see my mother again. In a moment, in
are, but I didnt have anything profound to can be hard to wrap our minds around, its the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed
say. All that I could express was thanks. a vital lesson in thanksgiving. and reunited (1 Corinthians 15:52).
I thanked her for being my mother for 26 The Bible doesnt hide the fact that trials The last time my mother saw me, I wore
years as I wept by her bedside. happen to us all, but how we handle those a hand-me-down red Kentucky t-shirt and
My brother was there, too, stroking her trials shape who we are and, ultimately, blue running shorts.
forehead and whispering in her ear, Its determines our happiness. The next time we see each other, her
okay. You can relax now. Shh, just relax. If we can be content and thankful when pain and mine over losing her will be gone,
In seconds, she let go, and the nurses we experience pain or loss, then there wont and we will both be clothed in fine linen,
silenced the machines before telling us, be a moment in life we cant handle. What- white and clean (Revelation 19:8). Theres
Thinkstock

Shes gone. ever state we are in, we must learn to be nothing I could be more thankful for than
It was my first very real, up-close-and- content (Philippians 4:11). that. GN
November-December 2015 33
Making Peace
Beyond the Impossible and bring the runaway slave Onesimus and
What can a letter to a slave owner about his runaway slave teach the slave owner Philemon back together
us about healing broken relationships? The answer is that it can again in a classic Humpty Dumpty mess.
teach us a great deal! by Robin Webber Paul begins his letter in verse 1 by
reminding Philemon that Paul himself is

D
lacking freedom, since he is a prisoner of
o you remember the childhood mans expression of loving concern towards Christ Jesus and not merely of Rome. This
rhyme Humpty Dumpty? The another in encouraging him to pick up the is the beginning wake-up call to Philemon
words went: Humpty Dumpty sat pieces and restore a broken relationship. Its to understand that nothing happens apart
on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had the story of three men who are all Chris- from Gods willeven Pauls physical
a great fall. All the kings horses tians. But here lies the rubone was a pris- limitations.
and all the kings men couldnt put Humpty oner, one was a slave owner, and one was Although he is a prisoner, Paul offers
together again. his runaway slave. blessings and gifts not from himself but
But for some people these words are more Its the story of the apostle Paul, a pris- from God to the slave owner. He offers the
than a rhyme. For them it describes the real- oner in Rome, a slave owner named Phile- blessings of God framed in the two great
ity theyre dealing with at this very moment. mon, and a slave named Onesimus. Here greetings of the ancient worldgrace
When it comes to human relationships, we discover the practical application of the (charis in Greek), used by Hellenistic peo-
we may be a shattered Humpty Dumpty wisdom expressed in Proverbs 25:11: A ple, and peace (shalom in Hebrew), but
or we may be all the kings men who word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in here translated into Greek as eirene, which
feel helpless in putting relationships back
together again. Impossible! may be the
word that sticks in your mind and digs the
Paul wrote his letter to Philemon encouraging him to
hole deeper like a grave in your heart. Thus accept his runaway slave Onesimus as a brotherand
we just stare at the cracks and fissures that
separate us from other people rather than had Onesimus hand-deliver the letter to Philemon.
seeking hope in Gods answers.
Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers, settings of silver. Here we find the spiritual speaks to reconciliation among men.
for they shall be called the sons of God (Mat- reality in our human world that living in This is how Paul begins and will end his
thew 5:9). Peace isnt manufactured in the vac- Christ is the key to making peace beyond letter, framing his petition within the book-
uum of wishful thinking. It has to be made the impossible. ends of Gods gifts. He reminds Philemon
one word, one heart, one godly motive, one How impossible was the situation con- that God has continued divine involvement
person at a time. And it will cost someone fronting these three men? The Roman in a life that might have stormy moments and
the peacemaker who puts his or her own Empire in which they lived had approxi- not merely calm waters, but that the answers
skin in the game and heart on the line. mately 250 million inhabitants. Its esti- will be forthcoming to maintain an inner
But, you might be saying, its too mated that one fourth to half of the popula- peace no matter what may come our way.
late! No its not. You have merely resigned tion were slaves. Some worked in quarries He goes on to share what Philemon and
yourself to failure too soon. The whole of or in the galleys, some were household his family have graciously done by having
Scripture reveals otherwisethat mans servants, and some were teachers and even the local church congregation meet in their
extremities are but the beginning of Gods government bureaucrats, but all were slaves. house (verse 2) and that their reputation is
opportunities to work in us and through us. Aristotle, the noted Greek philosopher, rea- one of love and faith . . . toward the Lord
So how do we learn to make peace soned in his treatise Politics that a slave was Jesus and toward all the saints (verse 5,
beyond the seemingly impossible? How do a piece of property and a tool for action emphasis added throughout).
we adhere to Jesus Christs encouraging who belonged to others. This accepted cul- But Paul makes it plain that such good is
admonition of Follow Me? tural classification and driving economic in Christ Jesus (verse 6). Theres some-
force was kept intact by brutal force. thing at work here beyond mere human
One mans petition to pick up the pieces Its here in Pauls letter to Philemon that kindness. Now Paul is going to stretch Phi-
We find Jesus pathway to peace in one the apostle must break those bonds of fear lemon far out of his comfort zone. Remem-
34 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
My sheep Hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27).

ber Pauls words about Philemons love and longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as Christ is doing something miraculous.
faith . . . toward all the saints? Philemon is a dear brother. He is very dear to me but God truly is creating a new identity
about to find out how encompassing all even dearer to you, both as a man and as a and new path forward in how we come to
really is! brother in the Lord (verses 15-16, NIV). life and how we deal with those Humpty
Here Paul stretches Philemons mind and Dumpty moments that paralyze us and
Moving bodies or heart heart beyond the momentary inconvenience prevent us from moving forward. Paul
Its only in verses 8-10 that Paul makes and the challenges that might lie ahead. spells it out in 2 Corinthians 5:17: There-
his appeal (not complaint) with gentle wis- fore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new cre-
dom: Therefore, although in Christ I could How do we come at life? ation; old things have passed away; behold,
be bold and order you to do what you ought For Onesimus to go back to his owner and all things have become new.
to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of for Philemon to accept him was incredibly Paul, the human bridge between two
love . . . for my son [figuratively speaking] challenging in that time period. Reclaimed estranged men, begins to conclude by say-
Onesimus, who became my son while I was runaway slaves could be beaten, branded ing to Philemon, Yes, brother, let me have
in chains (New International Version). with the letters FUG (meaning fugitive, joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart
Paul recognized that he had to move from the Latin fugitivis), or even killed, in the Lord (verse 20). Previously Paul
more than bodies on this onehe had to some by crucifixion. After all, slaves were had been refreshed by Philemons previous
move hearts! only a tool according to Aristotle, and the reputation, but now the apostle is asking to
He shares with Philemon an incredible system had to be maintained by fear. be newly refreshed by how Philemon will
turnaround in Onesimus personal life. Onesimus had everything to lose. Phile- respond to his appeal for reconciliation.
Onesimus, whose name literally meant mon, on the other hand, could be ostracized He encourages Philemon forward by stat-
by his fellow citizens if ing, Having confidence in your obedience,
he dealt too leniently with I write to you, knowing that you will do
the runaway. His family even more than I say (verse 21).
or career could be put in
jeopardy. Therefore
Theres always a human Paul concludes this personally handwrit-
risk and spiritual chal- ten letter (verse 19) by echoing the opening
lenge in heeding Christs the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be
words of Follow Me with your spirit (verse 25). He reminds Phi-
not only then, but also lemon that Gods initiative, invitation and
now as we seek solutions involvement in his life is nothing he could
as to how to put back earn or achieve on his ownits a gift.
together the Humpty Its good to be reminded where God
Dumpty of broken or found us, while we were in slavery to sin
scarred relationships. (Romans 6:17, 20, 22). Now it was time to
Its in his appeal pass it on to Onesimus! Paul, now impris-
towards Philemon as a oned where he could lose everything,
beloved friend and fel- including life itself, mustve recognized that
low laborer (verse 1), one of the greatest forms of slavery is being
profitable, only now is truly living up to brother (verse 7), Onesimus as a son stuck in the past, paralyzed in the present
it and is mutually beneficial to both Paul (verse 10), and once again Philemon, now and petrified of what might occur in the
and his concerned masterso much so that as a partner in receiving Onesimus as future. He appealed to Philemon to think in
Paul is sending him back and tells Phi- you would me (verse 17), that we see the a way foreign to our human nature.
lemon to receive this man whom Paul now language, tone and revelation summed up Paul wrote his letter to Philemon encour-
calls my own heart (verses 11-12). elsewhere in Pauls words: For you are all aging him to accept his runaway slave
Paul is putting skin in the game sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Onesimus as a brotherand had Onesimus
laying his own heart on the line. The apostle For as many of you as were baptized into hand-deliver the letter to Philemon.
mentions he would actually like to keep Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Christ knew that we would need all the
Onesimus with him, but its Philemons Jew [Paul] nor Greek, there is neither slave help that we could receive from above in
Providence Collection/licensed from GoodSalt.com

decision alone, and anything must be by his [Onesimus] nor free [Philemon], there is dealing with the Humpty Dumptys of life
consent, without compulsion and strictly neither male nor female; for you are all one here below. Thats why He left us with a
voluntary (verse 14). in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28). promise: Peace I leave with you, My peace
Paul then adds words that bring to mind The reality at that time in the Roman I give to you; not as the world gives do I
Romans 8:28, which states, All things Empire made it impractical for Paul and the give to you. Let not your heart be troubled,
work together for good to those who love fledgling fellowship of Christians to con- neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
God, to those who are the called according front the exterior culture and circumstances With such promises in place, I leave you
to His purpose. He proposes to Philemon: affecting these two men. But their personal to fill in the blanks as you allow God to
Perhaps the reason he [Onesimus] was culture in which they chose to approach and write His story in you, making possible the
separated from you for a little while was deal with one another certainly could be impossible, as you continue to heed Christs
that you might have him back for goodno transformed in recognizing that God through calling of Follow Me! GN
November-December 2015 35
The Bible and You

The Master Architect:


His Plan for You and Humanity
Anna Keichline was among the first women to enter the architec- through to a projects completion.
While these are basic requirements for
tural profession. While she and other successful architects deserve human architects, they are of supreme
respect for their work, boundless honor belongs to the Master importance to the Eternal God as the
Architect of all things! by John LaBissoniere Master Architect of all things visible and
invisible (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). From

A
start to finish, He has planned meticulously
nna Wagner Keichline was born in 1927 she patented the K-Brick, which was every detail of His perfect architectural
1889 and grew up in Bellefonte, a forerunner of todays standard concrete blueprint (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
Pennsylvania. At an early age she block. He says: From the beginning I revealed
demonstrated remarkable aptitude Although Anna was a gifted inventor, the end. From long ago I told you things
in art and wood crafting. To help her unique architectural designs were the that had not yet happened, saying, My
develop these talents, her parents prepared a plan will stand, and Ill do everything I
small home workshop and equipped it with intended to do (Isaiah 46:10, Gods Word
a variety of carpentry tools. Translation).
By age 14 Anna won first prize at a As you observe the stars sparkling in the
county fair for designing and building a night sky or view images of galaxies photo-
small table out of oak. An Oct. 18, 1903, graphed by the Hubble Space Telescope, a
Philadelphia Inquirer article stated that question obviously arises: What was Gods
Annas prizewinning table showed crafts- purpose in designing and constructing the
manship comparable to that of a highly vast universe? And equally important, why
skilled mechanic. It further noted, Such did He create humankind?
a liking has she taken to industrial art that Part of the answer to the first question is
Miss Anna Keichline expects to make it her that God fashioned the universe to display
life study. His awesome majesty and power (Psalm
After graduating high school in 1906, 8:1). The heavens declare the glory of
Anna advanced toward her goal by regis- God; the skies proclaim the work of his
tering at Pennsylvania State College (now hands (Psalm 19:1, New International
Penn State University) as the only woman Version).
enrolled in the mechanical engineering pro-
gram. The following year she transferred to God is creating His own family
Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, to But why did God create you and all
pursue a degree in architecture. humanity? The Bible provides the clear,
Anna Keichline, one of the first female architects. exciting answer: Behold what manner of
Among the first women to practice love the Father has bestowed on us, that we
architecture mainstay of a vibrant and highly productive should be called children of God (1 John
Graduating in 1911, she became the fifth career. Her successful, pioneering work was 3:1). The Lord Almighty is in fact develop-
woman to earn that degree from Cornell honored in 2002 by an official Pennsylva- ing His very own family and seeks to share
and was among the first women in the nia historical marker placed in her home- His life and creation with His offspring
United States to practice the profession. town near one of her notable architectural (Ephesians 3:15; Hebrews 2:10).
Throughout her career Anna designed creations. Having formed you in His exact image,
buildings in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wash- it is His desire that you and all others have
ington, D.C. These included private homes Architecture requires intelligent planning a special, Father-child relationship with
and apartment buildings, a school, an auto- Just as it was in Anna Keichlines time, Him throughout eternity (Genesis 1:26-27;
mobile dealership, a theatre, a church and successful architects today must be highly 2 Corinthians 6:18). Scripture explains:
many other commercial structures. proficient in planning, engineering and But one has somewhere testified: What
Besides designing buildings, Anna was communicating their unique ideas to cli- is man that You remember him, or the son
also a prolific inventor and was awarded ents. From the smallest house to the tallest of man that You care for him? You made
several U.S. patents. For example, in 1924 skyscraper, functional, safe and economi- him lower than the angels for a short time;
Wikimedia

she designed an entire kitchen for conser- cal architectural creations require intel- You crowned him with glory and honor and
vation of space and user convenience. In ligent planning and careful implementation subjected everything under his feet. For in
36 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org
subjecting everything to him, He left noth- The Church is not a physical structure, is always the result (Romans 3:10-18). Evi-
ing that is not subject to him. As it is, we but an assembly of people, few in number, dence of this has been witnessed through-
do not yet see everything subjected to him whom God chooses to call out of human out history in the evil, anguish, poverty
(Hebrews 2:6-8, Holman Christian Stan- society (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:9). and warfare that has afflicted humanity
dard Bible, emphasis added throughout). Through repentance, obedience and bap- relentlessly.
This passage not only describes the tism, He gives them His matchless gift of
works of Gods earthly creation being His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). God is planning a wonderful future for you
overseen by human beings, but implies As new disciples, they begin a rewarding However, God will allow these terrible
that exceedingly greater responsibility life of growing in character and helping to conditions to exist for only so long. The
awaits them. The expression everything spread the good news of Jesus Christ and situation will reach a final, defining moment
is translated from the Greek term ta panta, the Kingdom of God (Matthew 28:19; near the end of human rule on earth when
which means the all or the universe 2 Peter 3:18). Like Abraham, they too antic-relationships between nations will grow so
meaning the entirety of creation (John 1:3; ipate the time when they will govern with dangerous as to threaten human extinction
Revelation 21:7). Christ as kings and priests in Gods coming (Matthew 24:9, 21-22).
But why will God offer you this breathtak- government on earth (Revelation 1:6). But just before man reaches this point of
ing opportunity? The marvelous answer is self-extermination, Jesus Christ will return
that He not only loves you, but is preparing God does not forget or neglect anyone to the earth in overwhelming power to
you and all people for significantly greater While the eternal God is working with prevent it from happening (Revelation 19:11-
work and service ahead (1 Corinthians 2:9- these few individuals, He certainly does 16). He will do so out of infinite love for
10; 1 John 4:7-8, 16). not forget or neglect the multiple billions of humankind and because His loyal, obedient
Human beings are Gods supreme creation other people around the world. Although brethren will be living through that frightful
(Luke 12:7; Exodus 15:13). The Fathers every one of them will eventually have the period (Matthew 24:22).
astonishing architectural plan reveals that opportunity to become a child in Gods Not only will Christ save humanity from
you, on becoming one of His newly resur- spiritual household, He has chosen to work destruction, but He will set up the Kingdom
rected children, will serve with Jesus Christwith them in a different manner. This of God on earth (Matthew 6:10). Jesus will
when He returns to earth to rule in righ- involves what they experience during their take over the reins of government from
teousness and compassion (Ephesians 1:21; lifetimes, and most importantly, how they human beings and will rule as King of
Jeremiah 12:15; 33:16). Everything will be later apply what they learned. Kings with the assistance of His resurrected
placed under His jurisdiction, and He will While God desires that all people would saints (Revelation 19:16; 1 Thessalonians
share His governing duties with all of Gods choose to obey His commandments, which 3:13). Then the next electrifying phase of
devoted, virtuous sons and daughters who are designed for their good, He has given Gods architectural plan will begin.
have been granted everlasting life (Matthew them freedom to decide whether they will Returning to Anna Keichline, as one
28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:49-53). or will not (Deuteronomy 30:19). of the first women to enter and master
He has an important purpose in grant- the architectural profession, she carefully
The perfect spiritual blueprint ing human beings free will. He wants planned and implemented her projects
Similar to how an architect prepares everyone to ultimately grasp that without through to completion. While this is funda-
drawings to portray what a finished proj- His instruction and guidance, their way of mental for successful human architects, it
ect will be like, the Master Architect laid lifedeciding for themselves what is right is of paramount importance to the Eternal
out His perfect spiritual blueprint long and wrongleads to only suffering and God as Master Architect of all things.
before the establishment of the universe destruction (Matthew 7:13). There is a Not only has He designed the perfect
(2 Timothy 1:9). However, unlike human way that seems right to a man, but its end is blueprint to wonderfully transform human
architects, who are not normally builders the way of death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). society, but He has also designed an exhilarat-
but work closely with them, our Creator is To help people comprehend this critical les- ing future for you and all people. How well are
both architect and builder. For he [Abra- son, God has, over the centuries, allowed you preparing now to become a member of
ham] was looking forward to the city with nations to form and experience every Gods coming divine family? GN
foundations, whose architect and builder is conceivable governmental and economic
God (Hebrews 11:10, New International system.
Version). Through this lengthy process He is
In preparing for His future family, God demonstrating that all humanly designed God is working out His great
first called a handful of faithful people governments, including modern democra- plan and purpose for man-
including Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joseph, cies, are utterly incapable of equitably and kindand for you too! But
few really realize what that
David, the biblical prophets and others. uprightly serving and guiding their citizens plan is all about. To help you
After working closely with these dedicated (Jeremiah 10:23; 17:9). In a perceptive understand, weve prepared
individuals, the next phase of His divine observation about human rule, the renowned a free study aid, What Is Your
Destiny? Download or request it todaya free copy
construction blueprint took place when World War II-era British prime minister is waiting for you!
Jesus Christ came to earth the first time as Winston Churchill wrote: Democracy is
humanitys spiritual Savior (1 Timothy 1:1). the worst form of government, except for Contact any of our offices listed on page 2,
And what did Christ begin building all the others. or request or download it from our website.
at that time? He stated: I will build My When individuals and nations govern
church (Matthew 16:18). themselves without Gods direction, failure www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

November-December 2015 37
Letters From Our Readers
New name for the magazine the light especially here in Kenya and other parts of the world.
Internet reader in Kenya
I was very pleased to read of your decision to go with the new title Beyond
Today for your magazine. Your board of directors has carefully and prayerfully Request for booklet from prison
analyzed the best direction to take, and I am confident our Heavenly Father will I am currently incarcerated in Louisiana. At my last institution I read your
bless your efforts immensely. I want to be a part of that good work! Enclosed is
booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy and was astonished by
my offering to help cover the costs of publishing and mailing the magazines. its teaching. Because the booklet belonged to someone else, I was unable to
Subscriber in Michigan bring it with me when I transferred here. I have told many people about it, and
Thanks for your encouragement! Beginning with the next issue, the name it has stirred a lot of interest at this prison. Since there are no publications from
will change from The Good News to Beyond Today. Readers can find more your church at this prison, can you please mail me a copy of The United States
details in the editorial on page 2 of this issue. and Britain in Bible Prophecy and The Book of Revelation Unveiled?
Grateful for the magazine, TV program and videos Reader in Louisiana

I enjoy reading your Good News magazine and viewing your Beyond Today Were glad you found our study guides helpful. Those you requested are on
program. Very uplifting, inspiring and professionalgreat spiritual food. Thank their way to you.
you for providing this excellent service. Looking for a congregation
From the Internet I would like to know if you can refer me to a strict, uncompromising church.
Heres to a courageous group of people steadily obeying and pleasing God I like your mission statement. It is critical that every true Church of God has a
by doing His will, and following the instructions laid out in the Holy Bible for alldiscipleship program in place to help facilitate the spiritual growth and develop-
peoples at all times. Thank you. ment of its believers. I am hungry and thirsty to be a member of a true Bible-
Subscriber in Oklahoma teaching church. I anxiously await your response. Thank you kindly.
Thank you for being a blessing to me and every person watching your Bible Reader in Brooklyn, New York
study videos and sermons; they are highly appreciated. I stumbled upon your Beyond Today program and was so glad to find some-
Viewer in South Africa body on TV truly preaching and teaching Gods Word. Can you send your TV
Were glad you appreciate and learn from them! Our Bible studies are avail- schedule and your churchs location?
able online at BeyondToday.tv (click the Webcast tab), and our sermons are Viewer in Texas
available at www.ucg.org/sermons. The United Church of God, which sponsors The Good News magazine and
Thanks so much for the publications you sent me. I came in contact with Beyond Today TV program, has congregations around the world, including in
your magazine many years ago in a friends house, and subsequently made New York City and multiple locations in Texas. You can find the congregation
closest to you at www.ucg.org/churches. Our Beyond Today program listing can
a request to receive it. When I received some of your booklets, I studied them
be found at BeyondToday.tv under the Television tab.
all. In particular, I had special interest in The Middle East in Bible Prophecy and
The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy. I hail from Borno State, Nigeria, I want to know if you have a group here in Riyadh, so that I can enjoy and
which is the epicenter of Boko Haram. A number of my relations were killed learn your teachings!
by this group. As a Christian I asked, Why? Your publications gave me the Reader in Saudi Arabia
biblical answer. Keep up the good work. May God bless your ministry. Since its illegal for non-Muslim groups to meet or to practice Christianity
Reader in Nigeria in Saudi Arabia, we do not have any congregations there. However, interested
Appreciates abundant website information viewers can watch or download sermons from our website at www.ucg.org/
sermons. Sabbath services can be accessed live under the Webcast tab.
I am so grateful for the abundance of information you have on your website.
I am hungry and thirsty for God. Your website seems limitless with clear, Wondering how to keep Gods festivals
broken-down examples for me to better understand Scripture and connect it I would like to request the booklet Gods Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope
to my life. God bless you! for All Mankind. I watched the Beyond Today presentation about them and
Internet reader would like to know how to celebrate them.
It is a pleasure to let you know that I have been to your website and have Viewer in Christchurch, New Zealand
been so much attracted to learn more for our spiritual growth here. Indeed it is I have read your booklet Gods Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All
good work done, and you are going to be a blessing to many who have not seen Mankind. I would love to learn more of what I need to do for each of the festi-
vals that God wants us to observe. Is there any way I can learn what to do on
Visit The Good News on Facebook each of these Holy Days that would please God? Thanks!
From the Internet
Are you on Facebook? If so, visit our One important aspect of keeping Gods festivals is, wherever possible, to
Good News magazine page. See what
other readers are saying. Find links to
assemble with others who also celebrate them. The United Church of God
interesting articles and Web commen- observes Gods feast days throughout the year. Contact us at the address listed
taries. Become a Good News magazine in the front of this magazine or at www.ucg.org/churches to find out more
Facebook fan! about when these festivals are being observed and where.
I really enjoy The Good News maga- Blaspheming the Holy Spirit?
zine. It gives a good understanding of
the Bible and highlights information not My mouth dropped at your Beyond Today program Is God a Trinity? Do you
given in mainstream Christian faiths. I
highly recommend this magazine to all.
deny the Holy Spirit? Because if you do, that is the only sin not pardonable. God
mentions Himself, His Son, and the Holy Spirit separately. When you believe in
- K.T., Good News magazine Facebook fan
the saving grace by God through his son Jesus, you will receive the Holy Spirit,
which guides us to be like Jesus. How can you not see the Trinity?
www.facebook.com/GoodNewsMagazine Viewer in Toronto, Canada

38 The Good News Visit us at www.GNmagazine.org


Q: How does a person receive the Holy Spirit, and how does that tie the very power and essence of God. It is a spirit of power and of love and
in with baptism? of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
From the Internet The power of God is what we can draw on to make bold and dramatic
decisions and changes as we leave our old way of living and thinking to
A: The apostle Peter summed up how we receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38: embark on a new way of life. We know that with God all things are pos-
Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for sible (Matthew 19:26) and that he who began a good work in you will
the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6, New
Notice that receiving Gods Spirit involves a process. First, Peter says International Version).
we are to repent. To repent means to change your mind and heart to turn The love of God is what we can draw on to reorient our minds from
toward God. It means realizing that you have sinned, that sin exists in your constantly seeking our own wants to instead thinking more of the needs of
life, that you regret those sins and that you want to leave that way of life others. It also enables us to let go of the hurts caused by others and to love
behind to follow God from that point forward. But repentance is not a one- them, forgiving them as we have now been forgiven.
time event; its a way of life. It means constantly turning away from sin and The sound mind of God is what we can draw on to be calm, disciplined
the temptation to sin to wholeheartedly surrender in obedience to God. and unafraid in the face of the challenging trials of life. With Gods Spirit, we
Obeying God is a key requirement. Acts 5:32 tells us that God gives the can lean on God to help overcome the negativity of the world, to shoulder
Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. the worst disappointments, to continue on in the face of opposition, and to
After we take that first step of repentance, we must then be baptized. grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2
Being fully submerged in water makes for a powerful metaphor: We are Peter 3:18) as we study to make Gods Word an integral part of our lives.
burying the old person in a watery grave, and the new person who comes Notice that with Gods Spirit, we can do all these things. Receiving that
up out of the water is a new creation (Romans 6:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Spirit does not make us perfect. In fact, we may even become discouraged
Being baptized means we are inviting God to live in us through His Holy at times as we see additional sins in our lives and other areas that we need
Spirit so He can help us make this lifelong change and commitment to fol- to change! We all make mistakes and stumble and fall at times. But leading
low Him in all we do. a life of repentance means we can and should depend on the transforming
After a person comes up out of the waters of baptism, a minister of power of the Spirit of God every single day to acknowledge those mistakes
Jesus Christ lays hands on him or her and prays for God to grant the person and then fix them.
the gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17; Hebrews 6:1-2). If the person has If you are thinking about baptism and see this need to make changes in
truly repented, God then gives His Holy Spiritand no, it doesnt come your life, the United Church of God has ministers around the world who can
down like a dove or with tongues of fire, these signs for others being assist you and answer your questions. To find a congregation or minister
unique instances in Scripture. The baptized person probably wont feel near you, go to www.ucg.org/churches. Our ministers can give you good
dramatically different after coming out of the water or after having hands counsel and guide you through the process of deciding when the time is
laid on his or her head. We know we have received Gods Spirit because right for you to accept Gods gift of salvation by being baptized.
God promises to give it to us when we repent in faith and follow the steps For more on this topic, be sure to download or request our free study aid
He commands. Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion at www.GNmagazine.org/
Once we have the Holy Spirit, we have access to something incredible booklets, or contact our office nearest you listed on page 2 of this issue.

We do not deny the Holy Spirit when we teach from the Bible that it is not a be, but the closest congregation to us is not close to where we live. We would
member of a Trinity. God is a family presently consisting of God the Father and like to send in our tithes to the United Church of God. Today I am sending our
Jesus Christ. They are adding to that family by calling human beings to become first check. We have learned much from your booklets and try to share with
like Them in the process of conversion. This happens through the power of the everyone that we can.
Holy Spirit, which is given to a person at baptism and will guide him or her into Readers in Georgia
becoming like Jesus Christ, just as you stated (see also the Q&A above).
But the Holy Spirit is not a separate, conscious entityrather, it is the power, I have Christian friends and relatives who hunger and thirst after righteous-
mind and essence of God. We offer a thoroughly researched study guide on this ness, and your publications have been so helpful in directing them to the scrip-
subject titled Is God a Trinity?available for free at www.ucg.org/booklets. We tures that answer so many of their questions. Seeing their excitement in putting
urge our readers to thoroughly examine what the Bible actually saysand does the pieces together is exciting for me as well, and strengthens my faith. There is
not sayabout the Trinity (a word, incidentally, found nowhere in the Bible). so little I can do physically. Perhaps God has given me more time after surviving
two life-threatening health incidents to plant a few seeds of knowledge in the
Support for spreading the Word of God hearts of others. I will happily be including the United Church of God in my list of
Your magazine gives so much helpful information for me in my Christian tithing recipients.
Subscriber in Wisconsin
walk. Thank you for putting out a magazine that has spread the Word of God
so well. My prayers are that youll be able to keep on sending the magazine to
Published letters may be edited for clarity and space. Address your letters to
people. Ill be sending a check at the end of the month.
The Good News, P.O. Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254-1027, U.S.A., or
Wisconsin subscriber
e-mail gninfo@ucg.org (please be sure to include your full name, city, state
My wife and I are not members of the United Church of God. We would like to or province, and country).

November-December 2015 39
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Were Changing Our Name.


November-December 2015

A M A g A z i n e o f U n d e r s t A n d i n g

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow November-December 2015

Where Did an Evil Spirit World Come From? 8 Coming: A Marvelous New Age 12
Christmas Before Christ 16 Jesus Christ: Creator of the Sabbath Day 19
Where Did an Evil Spirit World Come From? 8 Coming: A Marvelous New Age 12
Christmas Before Christ 16 Jesus Christ: Creator of the Sabbath Day 19
The Sabbath in History
and Prophecy page 30 November-December 2015 1 November-December 2015 1

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