Lesson 1: Why Study the Bible?

STUDY THE BIBLE COURSE

Lesson 1:  Why Study the Bible?

Bob Thiel, Editor-in-Chief

Published 2014 by the Continuing Church of God

 

Preface: This course is based upon the personal correspondence course initially developed in 1954 that began under the direction of the late C. Paul Meredith in the old Radio Church of God. Various portions have been updated for the 21st century (though much of the original writing has been retained). It also has more scriptural references, as well as information and questions not in the original course. Unless otherwise noted, scriptural references are to the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright Thomas Nelson Publishing, used by permission. The KJV, sometimes referred to as the Authorized Version is also often used. Additionally, Catholic-approved translations such as the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) are sometimes used as are other translations.

Why Study the Bible?

WHY SHOULD we want to study the Bible in the 21st century? What is the Bible? How shall we study it, in order to understand it? At the very beginning of this course we need to ask, and answer, these questions.

The Bible teaches, “STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV) and “Learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:17). So, Christians should study and learn from that study.

But WHY should we want to learn and be approved unto God? And is this study to be a tiresome, uninteresting DUTY which we force ourselves to undertake because of the stern command of a harsh God or is this study to become the most INTERESTING, the most THRILLING, the most ENJOYABLE and PROFITABLE interest that ever entered our lives?

WHY is the study of the Bible a dull, uninteresting, irksome task to most people, if at all, only as a duty out of fear of a harsh God?

Simply because these people have not KNOWN God, or what He is like and because they have never started to really UNDERSTAND the Bible!

Why study the Bible?

There are many reasons.

Humanity apart from God is leading to the destruction of this planet as humans have cut themselves off from the Creator God (Matthew 24:22). Few people truly realize, what the Apostle Peter stated, that Jesus has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Significant portions of the Bible were written to contain Jesus’ direct words when He walked in the flesh (e.g. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and other portions were written so we would truly know what He taught and how we should live (Proverbs 1:1-7).

Notice also:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

If you truly wish to be a follower of Jesus, and be complete, you need to study and accept the instructions, corrections, and reproofs that the Bible contains.  The truth is that many who claim to be Christians and claim that the Bible is truly the foundation of their faith, have more of a human tradition, than a biblical faith.

In this study we shall come to really see that God is LOVE (1 John 4:8, 16) not a harsh, stern God. God wants every one of us to be happy, to ENJOY life to the very full and to make life interesting. The law of God shows love (Mark 12:28-33; James 2:8) and the way that leads to life (Deuteronomy 10:13; 30:19). And we shall, once we begin to UNDERSTAND the Bible, come to find it the most fascinating, the most INTERESTING, as well as of profitable and enjoyable INTEREST.

Once you get really into it, many of you will enjoy this study so much you will hardly be able to wait until the next lesson. You’ll find that NO FUN, no PLEASURES, no sports, entertainments or worldly interests so spiritually SATISFYING! Because God is LOVE. He is your Creator who loves you, and wants you to be happy and healthy and prosperous. He gives you the Bible. It is HIS WORD by which He reveals to you THE WAY out of boredom, fear and worry, sickness and disease, poverty and want, emptiness and discontent, and into the happy, healthy, prosperous ABUNDANT life which He will give you to enjoy for all eternity!

We should realize, before even starting to study the Bible itself, that the CONDITION to understanding is a complete SUBMISSION to its teachings, its laws and instructions. Jesus said we must LIVE by it (Matthew 4:4). We must study so that we can pattern everything we do according to the Bible instructions. It is our guide to life whether in our business, social and political relations, educational or religious life. God commands us to STUDY the Bible “to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV). One who does not study for that purpose-who has not surrendered fully to God so that God can rule his life, can never truly UNDERSTAND the Bible, no matter how much or how diligently he/she studies.

It is absolutely true that a “good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Psalms 111:10). Those who will not obey God do not get the proper understanding! And it is in the Bible that His commandments are mentioned and expounded upon.

We feel that this Bible course will mean more to you if you understand its vital relation to your life and events that are happening in the world. Its direct connection to EVENTS you read every day in your newspaper, hear every day in newscasts, see on television, and/or find out about over the internet. To learn what many of these events will lead to, we must understand, first, that JESUS GOSPEL was the divine MESSAGE sent FROM GOD TO MANKINDthe Message OF GOD’S PURPOSE BEING WORKED OUT HERE BELOWof the END OF THIS WORLD, AND the COMING KINGDOM OF GODthe WORLD TOMORROWis going to happen!

If you were to try to understand a map of the world, it would not mean much to you, unless and until you could first put your finger on the precise spot on the map where you, yourself, are at that moment, and then you can see and comprehend the rest of the world in relation to your own location on the map, and all becomes clear. We feel you will often understand the Bible better and find it more interesting, if you view it allits history and prophecy and its teachings and divine revelationsfrom the vantage point of your life. Including, how this world has led up to the very time and the conditions, in which you live and where it is destined to go from there. You will find this study thrilling, the most interesting, and the most IMPORTANT experience of your whole life, if you apply yourself, and really STUDY!

REMEMBER: this Study the Bible Course is a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the outline to help you to STUDY the BIBLE. The one most important textbook of this course is the BIBLE! Always have your Bible before you when you sit down to STUDY this course. To learn the most from this course, you should consider reading every scripture referenced in it, and not just those listed with the questions at the end of each course. Search the scriptures to see if the things taught here are true (Acts 17:11).

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You Live in a World in Chaos!

Many today are fearful, while others are complacent.

Even many secular commentators today recognize there is something radically wrong with this world. How may they bring world peace? There are various proposed human solutions, but they, apart from God, will not work (cf. Romans 3:17-18).

Many scientists and others frankly say that unless we have WORLD GOVERNMENT at some point in time super destructive weapons will annihilate humanity from the earth. But nations have FAILED peaceably TO AGREE to world government! The League of Nations, Hague Conference, the Pact of Paris, the meetings of Berchtesgaden, Munich, Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam did not bring peace. Neither has the United Nations nor the United States (despite various claims of “Pax Americana”).

Between atomic and hydrogen bombs, neutron bombs, chemical weapons, biological weapons, electro-magnetic pulse weapons, and other high-tech weaponry that is less known (as well as future weaponry which is currently under development), we are getting close to the time Jesus warned of nearly 2,000 years ago, when “unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved” (Mark 13:20).

Neither human nor animal, fish nor bird would be spared.

Yes, this world’s civilization is coming to a CRISIS! Will the terrible destructiveness of such weapons prevent their use by some power-mad group? It never has prevented the use of new weapons when the opportunity was considered right by certain ones! Even outlawed chemical weapons have been used to kill many. It is time to be concerned! Humankind is showing that it is utterly incapable of governing itself. Formerly, the power-seeking madness of a nation usually came to an end with the death of its leader-but now other equally power-mad candidates are trained far in advance to take the place of the leader at his demise and the race to destruction goes on unabated!

What is the answer?

HUMANKIND WILL DESTROY ITSELF FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH, IF LEFT TO CONTINUE WITHOUT GOD’S DIRECT INTERVENTION (Revelation 11:18)!

While many wish to discount prophecy and do not believe that this age will end soon, this subject was important enough to Jesus that He answered His disciples’ questions about it:

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you “…will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows”.  (Matthew 24:3-8).

We seem to be in the time that Jesus referred to as “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8). And it is not to be followed by a truly good time as, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

If we cannot save ourselves WHO CAN SAVE US? THE ANSWER to this question comes from One whose word has been tested hundreds of times by events foretold by His prophets – events which have ALWAYS come true.

Who was this? Jesus (Mark 13:20). We need to not only believe on Him, we need to believe what He said and abide by His words (John 8:31, KJV).

What he said should deeply concern you and me and everyone – for the time is short! You will certainly not be wasting your time when studying the lessons of this course. On the contrary, you will LEARN YOUR ONLY WAY TO AVOlD THE DIRE EVENTS SHORTLY TO FALL. You will gain knowledge which will richly reward you in future happiness. You will be repaid far more generously for your effort than for anything you have ever accomplished before! So put all your effort into the study of these lessons. How you study them may well have an effect on your future here on this earth and on your future in the life to come also.

 

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WHY God Must Intervene in World Affairs

COUNTLESSS intelligent, well-educated men and women scoff at the idea that Jesus Christ is soon to return. They can see no sense whatever in such an idea! You’ve likely personally known such people, haven’t you?

In the 21st century, biblical ignorance and scoffing seem to have increased as the Apostle Peter prophesied it would in the last days (2 Peter 3:3-4).

They are the typical product of an age that has lost sight of the reality of God. They mock and discount the word of God which is the very “word of truth” (2 Corinthians 6:7).

Notice the following passages from the Book of Proverbs:

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7).

29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. 31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies. 32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them; (Proverbs 1:29-32).

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. (1 Corinthians 3:19-21).

This age prides itself on being the most intellectual, the most cosmopolitan and “worldly wise” that has ever existed, yet, it has completely lost sight of the very basis of all knowledge: what we are, why we are, what the PURPOSE of human existence is! If these intellectuals and others knew the answers to these questions, they would understand the completely logical reason and in fact, the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, for the soon-return of Jesus Christ to rule this earth.

Because few do, most will perish (Matthew 24:24).

 

World Chaos INEVITABLE!

In spite of earnest attempts to bring about a lasting peace, TOTAL WAR looms just ahead. With the emergence of the hydrogen bomb, the possibility of GLOBAL DESTRUCTION is now a reality! Although WE are warned that the only solution is world government, human attempts at achieving this objective HAVE FAILED MISERABLY.

Various statesmen and scientists are realizing what this means. Some are beginning to fear! The cold, hard fact is that HUMAN BEINGS HAVE ABOUT REACHED THE END OF THEIR ROPE. Humans have reached the place where they are no longer capable of protecting themselves against horrifying weapons of their own devising. THE INTERVENTION OF A HIGHER POWER IS THE ONLY REAL SOLUTION WE HAVE FOR THIS WORLD’S ILLS.

When Jesus was here on earth, He knew what the ideas of men would lead to in years to come. Jesus knew that in this end time men would be groping in the dark for the way to peace, but would actually be on the verge of human annihilation. “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved,” He warned (Matthew 24:22, Moffatt uses the expression “saved alive”).

The Cause of World Ills

In this same momentous prophecy, Jesus gives us a key to WHY our present world is in such a terrible state. He warned: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37).

What were men doing in Noah’s time thousands of years ago that brought on them such terrible destruction?

Turn in your Bible to Genesis 6:12-13 where we find the answer: “So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. God said… the earth is filled with violence through them.”

Carnal men had used their own human reason and had already departed from the way of life God had originally given. This substitution of PERVERTED HUMAN REASON for the WAY of God threatens world destruction. Jesus said the very same conditions would prevail just before His second coming.

Look about you in this world.

Notice something that the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32).

Notice that many behaviors that are now being publicly approved will lead to destruction. Not just for those that do them, but for those that approve them!

Have men been seeking and practicing God’s way-or do they always use human reason to justify continuing in their own way? As the apostle Paul wrote of all carnal-minded men: “Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:16-18). Study this whole passage carefully.

A vital point in understanding God’s plan is revealed here.

Note that God speaks of a definite WAY of peace-and that He links ignorance of it to one thing: a lack of the right kind of fear – a godly FEAR. The basic attitude of irreverence and even CONTEMPT FOR THE WILL AND AUTHORITY OF GOD is a prevalent characteristic among people of every station in life today. In our “enlightened age,” men no longer fear to do wrong.

Where has this led us?

In the USA, to cite one example, lying is considered to be a protected right under its constitution according to its supreme court. There are locks for everything, including electronic ones (passwords) for information access. There are crimes of blood and violence (Ezekiel 7:23).

People are beginning to realize that something is basically wrong with this world’s society. But even more ominous than the GROWING MENACE of individual crime is the realization that in our generation and the ENTIRE EARTH IS ENDANGERED by super-criminals and mad dictators in warmongering nations who now have the means to erase humanity from this planet. And it is not just from nations and groups of nations that appear to be warmongers that pose this threat (cf. Isaiah 10:5-11).

 

It is Prophesied!

These fearful times are prophesied and described in your Bible. Open your Bible now to 2 Timothy 3:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Paul was inspired to write Timothy about the last daysthis twenty firstcentury, when CIVILIZATION itself is threatened with oblivion!

Notice carefully the degenerate condition of humans in our day. Yes, whole nations today covet the wealth of others and are willing to KILL AND DESTROY to get it. Rather than seeking the Eternal God, most nations take great pride in their armies and weapons of destruction. They BLASPHEME God constantly in word and deed.

In God’s sight, many today are brutal. Many have “a form of godliness,” but they deny His power to interfere in world events and His authority to RULE their individual and collective lives. People in every nation seem determined to do things their own way apart from the true God of the Bible.

That way is leading to DEATH. God inspired Jeremiah to state that “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Human nature has not changed! But many intellectuals and others wish to act like it did.

Remember that Christ said the conditions in this world just before His second coming would be “as the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). Unlike the days of Noah, humankind has the capacity to relatively quickly and completely destroy the entire planet, and by a variety of ways.

British scientist Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the developer of radar, says he made the following disclosure because “I am not optimistic the human race will survive for another 10 years.)’ He says there are now THREE WAYS in which the WORLD’S population CAN BE WIPED OUT IN a few HOURS. The first is the hydrogen BOMB-the second is a deadly toxin which can easily be produced by the BOTULINUS organism. ‘‘It would take ONLY A HALF POUND to KILL the animal and human POPULATION OF the WORLD,” he somberly warns!! “And it is easily produced, well known, and, with a well-trained group, could easily be made lethal. As the third method of destroying mankind he listed NERVE GASES. Three ways for worldwide annihilation!

Think of that!

Decades ago, Sir Robert Watson-Watt and Dr. Brock Chisholm, of Victoria “teamed up separately to inform the world of knowledge that should no longer be kept secret” (Daily Sun, Vancouver, B. C., Jan. 21, 1959). One high Pentagon official, in Washington, D. C., put it bluntly: “We’re scared to death even to mention germ (botulinus) warfare.”

And the capacity for annihilation has only worsened since.

SOMETHING DRASTIC MUST BE DONE or man will totally destroy himself.

 

Only One Hope

The basic cause of world chaos, andin principlethe solution, has been dramatically stated by two deceased American statesmen. In his inaugural address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated:

“In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of the times in which we live . . . How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward light? Are we nearing the light – a day of freedom and peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us? . . . Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, THE POWER TO ERASE HUMAN LIFE FROM THIS PLANET.”

Yes, he understands-realizes that humankind can destroy itself. Then, after setting forth the nine principles which were to govern our international relations, he stated a truth whichIF properly suppliedwould be a big step toward the solution, not only of our problems, but those of the entire world. He said, “For this truth must be clear before us: Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the HEART of America.”

Whether he realized it or not, President Eisenhower agreed exactly with God’s word in his statement that in Americaas in every nationthe heart, the CHARACTER of men must be changed if we are to have world peace.

Let us now refer to a unique and striking statement made by the late General Douglas MacArthur in this regard. When he was relieved of his command and ordered to return to this country by President Truman, GENERAL MACARTHUR made a historic ADDRESS before the assembled Congress of the United States. In that dramatic speech, he made some pointed statements which revealed the depth of his understanding, he said:

“I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me and nothing to me is more revolting. . , Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. . . Military alliances, balances of power, Leagues of Nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blocks this alternative. WE HAVE HAD OUR LAST CHANCE. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is THEOLOGICAL and INVOLVES a spirit of recrudescence and IMPROVEMENT OF HUMAN CHARACTER that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all the material and cultural developments of the past 2000 years.”

“IT MUST BE OF THE SPIRIT IF WE ARE TO SAVE THE FLESH.”

Let us scrutinize these remarkable statements. Although he was a successful general, MacArthur believed thatin world warwe have had our last chance! Both of these former military men essentially knew that the ONLY SOLUTIONthe only HOPE of averting human annihilation—would require a renewing of human spirit – a changing of humankind’s tendency toward evil (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ezekiel 11:19-20). A re-building of man’s CHARACTER.

 

The Answer

If misguided human beings were left long enough to themselves to solve this world’s problems, the final result would be global DESTRUCTION (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:19-20).

Some people sincerely want to do right, but they know not the way to peace. They are honestly sincere, but honestly wrong. As Solomon was inspired to write: “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of DEATH” (Proverbs 14:12).

God says that the normal, carnal way that human beings wish to go ends up in death. People are often deceived by thinking that there is no special danger right now, that the world has always been like this. This is true, in part.

Human nature has always been like this. Carnal man has always brought death and destruction into the world. However, remember that Paul said, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13, KJV). And most important of all, never before World War II has mass human annihilation been possibleand it is worse now.

Man has long had guns and powerful shells. Later, tanks and planes came into use. But NOW we have rockets which deliver hydrogen warheads or nuclear tipped missiles and can destroy entire cities by remote control! It is believed that electromagnetic pulse bombs, if released in the right locations, could send much of the Western world back to the so-called stone age. Human annihilation is not a vague possibility, but a terrifying reality!

And now nothing can save man from self-destruction except a CHANGE in human nature – in man’s character. But in spite of all the professing “Christian” churches, in spite of the feeble efforts of the United Nations and in spite of everything man is doing to bring peace and happiness, TOTAL WAR looms just ahead. Though there will be times of seeming peace, declarations of peace and safety will be made just before sudden destruction comes (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Sadly, many will believe those who will falsely proclaim the dawn of peace apart from the God of the Bible (Ezekiel 13:10-16).

Just as Solomon was inspired to write, THE WAY THAT SEEMS RIGHT TO MEN IS LEADING TO DEATH, WHAT IS THE ANSWER? ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE MAN’S CHARACTER, and force humans to learn the way of peace.

That is WHY Christ is returning to take over the “kingdoms of this world” (Revelation 11:15).

That is WHY “He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15). That is the only way to preserve human life on this planet. Jesus Christ knew the terrible state of affairs men would bring on themselves in this end time, when He said: “And unless those days were shortened, NO FLESH would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).

May God help you to grasp the significance and reality of these things as you read these passages.

They show that God foresaw the invention of our present weapons of mass destruction long before man ever dreamed of them. And they reveal that God had already planned the only real and logical solution. God‘s entire plan is just as logical and real.

The pattern for GOD’S little-understood PLAN is given in the first two chapters of Genesis. It is the WEEK of seven days.

As God originally set time in motion, man is given six work days followed by a day of rest. In Hebrews 4:4, 11, the seventh day is also a type of the peaceful resta 1,000 year restthat will follow the present age of human labor and futile struggle to master the earth.

Observe carefully after Christ’s intervention the time of peaceful rest under His rule is specifically termed “a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4). If the “last day” of God’s 7000-year plan is 1000 years, then the preceding SIX DAYS WHICH HE HAS ALLOTTED FOR HUMANKIND to WORK out its own ideas would amount to 6000 years.

And this is exactly what world events today are proving.

Look about you! This world is crashing to its DOOM!

If you add up various ages of people in Genesis, reigns of kings, and have the dates for some events in the Bible, you will find that the 6,000 years of human kind is almost up.

In other words, the TREND OF WORLD EVENTS is now PROVING we are VERY NEAR the time the scriptures have always said CHRIST will RETURN when the probability of world destruction would become a reality. Six thousand years of human history have almost been completed. Here, then, is proofDOUBLE PROOFthat CHRIST IS COMING in our generation!

The common assumption that humankind, as it is now, has lived on earth countless tens of thousands of years is an idle dream. Reason disproves it! TRUE science disproves it! Strange as it may seem, the theory of man’s evolution is not only unproved, but irrefutably disproved when we understand the facts.

A soon-coming lesson will give you these facts so you may study them in your home! The apostles did not fully understand this PLAN OF GOD when Christ was yet on earth. They thought the Kingdom would be established in their day after only about 4000 years of God’s plan had been completed.

But before they died, the APOSTLES KNEW GOD’S PLAN. Peter said: “The Lord is not slack concerning the promise [of Christ’s coming} . . . but is long-suffering” (2 Peter 3:9).

God is patient.

God has refrained from intervening in world affairs for nearly 6,000 years.

Why?

Because He will not intervene until humanity is forced to cry out to God for fear of self-extermination. Notice that the day of Christ’s intervention and rule is compared to “a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4; cf. Psalm 90:4).

Peter also says the same thing that a day in God‘s plan is as “a thousand years,” and “a thousand years” of human civilization is as one day in His planned week of seven 1000-year days (2 Peter 3:8).

CHRIST IS TO COME AFTER SIX ONE-THOUSAND YEARS of human struggle and slavery. True followers of Christ have long realized that God would send Jesus Christ to set up His government in the seventh one-thousand years, which will usher in a time of rest and peace.

How AWE INSPIRING that in our day at the very time that 6000 years have almost elapsed, the world is threatened with extinction of life. How MARVELOUS that Jesus Himself said that when we see this taking place HE WOULD COME AGAIN!

 

What is the Bible?

The word Bible comes from the Greek word biblio meaning book.

When this course (like many others) uses the term “Bible” or “Holy Bible” this is a reference to the 39 books considered to be scripture and primarily written in Hebrew by most Jews (known as the Hebrew scriptures or the Old Testament), plus the 27 books considered to be scripture and primarily written in Greek by most who profess Christ (known as the Greek scriptures or the New Testament). Passages in the Bible are considered to be scripture.

None of the Bible was written in Latin nor was any of it originally written in English. Hence, the old Latin Vulgate by Jerome that many Catholics use and the old King James Version of the Bible that many Protestants and others have used WERE NOT GOD’S DIRECTLY INSPIRED WORDS. They are translations, and sometimes translations of translations. And often translations require an approximation and sometimes translators make intentional and unintentional errors.

The original manuscripts no longer exist as they have decayed, been lost, and/or have been destroyed. However, there are more ancient manuscripts that support the Bible than other books or writings from thousands of years ago. The Jews, to cite one example, had very strict copying and checking procedures to almost totally eliminate errors in copying. The New Testament had enough copies in circulation within short periods of its being written to insure the overall integrity of the texts used.

But which manuscripts should be the source of translation has had some controversies. The Nestle-Aland NA27 edition of the Greek text of the New Testament (NA27/UBS4) claims to have used all then known Greek manuscripts, and usually considers the older manuscripts to be closer to the original writings (and it does not contain the spurious edition in 1 John 5:7-8 that the Textus Receptus does). Though this is not saying that NA27 is perfect; the best text is the original, and it seems to be that a version of something like that which has sometimes been called the “Traditional Text”out of which the Textus Receptus originatedthat was the text of the historic church from Asia Minor and Byzantium.

Interestingly, when the Greco-Roman churches tended to move away from the biblically ‘Semiarian’ view of the Godhead in the late fourth century, they started to rely less on the “Traditional Text” and sometimes gave greater credence to some manuscripts that they should not have (Burgon JW. The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels. Cosimo Classics, 2007, p. 2).

Outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox world, two of the most commonly used English translations are the 1611 King James Version (KJV) and the 1982 New Kings James Version (NKJV). Both of these are attempts to be a word-for-word translation (the KJV is based on the Textus Receptus and the NKJV on that and sometimes some “Traditional Text” and others that were not necessarily available to the translators of the KJV). More literal translations are usually better for Bible study than paraphrase versions of the Bible. A paraphrase translation is mainly an attempt by the translator(s) to convey the concept that he/she/they believed the original text was trying to say, as opposed to translating each word and letting the reader mainly decide the point of the passage. Because some paraphrases are easier to read than most literal translations, some prefer them.

For daily reading I now tend to use the New Kings James Version as it is one of the more accurate translations (though it, like all translations I have read, contains some translator errors/biases) and uses modern language. I have completely read several other translations.

I used to use the KJV a lot more, but it is difficult for many to understandmany modern people have trouble with the old English it uses and non-native English readers find it confusing. Plus, the KJV, despite the beliefs of some, also has translation errors (it mistranslates Acts 12:4, Hebrews 4:9, 1 John 5:7-8, etc.)it is not superior to all other versions as some believe.

It should be pointed out that the Bible never suggest that God’s Spirit would lead translators to produce a better version than that the original Bible (as some KJV and some Septuagint advocates seem to believe).

Sometimes for clarity, I will cite the NIV (New International Version). Though it is not always a word-for-word translation, sometimes it gets certain words more correct than the NKJV or KJV do.

In some Catholic related articles I might use the 1610 Douay Rheims translation (DRB) or its later versionbut because it is a translation of a translation (Jerome translated the Bible into Latin near the end of the fourth century and Douay-Rheims is a translation from Jerome’s Latin into English) I do not consider that it should be a primarily used translation. Catholics also use the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)it is more of a word-for-word translation that the DRB, though it sometimes has its own bias issues. NJB appears to be the primary English-language version used by Catholics outside of the USA. And because it uses more modern language, I find the NJB helpful, especially if I am trying to make certain points to Catholic audiences.

Sometimes it is helpful to read multiple translations which can help your understanding, although sometimes translator bias can be a problem. But the more you actually read the Bible, especially with God’s guidance, the more you should be able to discern the truth as opposed to biased traditions of men.

More on how the books of the Bible were put together and which were considered to be sacred scripture will be covered in other lessons.

 

Read the Bible

When physically hungry and tempted by Satan, Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy:

4 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

His other responses to Satan also relied on an application and quoting of scripture (Matthew 4:7,10) instead of human reasoning (or conflicting traditions of men).

One of the reasons it is necessary to read the Bible, because:

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they have itching ears, they will heap up to themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The above time seems to be upon us and apparently will worsen.

Jesus prayed to the Father to:

17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17).

The Psalms declare,…”Your law is truth” (Psalm 119:142b).

Since God’s law and His word are the truth, how can you know the truth without reading the Bible or hearing it read?

Reading the Bible is the way to measure whether or not something is true. The Bible teaches us doctrine and how to live.

Paul was a preacher of God, but how would people know this? They would know it from their knowledge of the Bible.

How do you get knowledge of the Bible? First by reading it. Then by studying it.

When Paul preached in Berea it was reported that:

11 These were more fair-minded (margin – noble) than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word in all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).

The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily; we should too.

Scripture was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and was not the opinions of its writers. Its prophecies came from God, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

Notice the following from the KJV:

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21, KJV)

God’s prophetic word is sure.  That certainly is comforting in these end times.

In addition to providing instruction, doctrine, and correction, reading the Bible even helps you to learn the thoughts and intents of your heart.

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Christians need to read and the study the Bible.

 

Final Important Instructions

Now we are ready for the end portion of the lesson. But wait! Is your Bible in front of you? If not, don’t read another word! Stop right here! Go and GET YOUR BIBLE.

Also several sheets of paper, and a pencil or pen, so that you can MAKE NOTES to help you remember what you learn.

This course is based on the New King James Version because it is intended to be a literal translation and uses a version of the English language that people commonly use in the early 21st century. For most of the lesson, you can use other translations, but the questions and answers specifically refer to the NKJV unless otherwise stated. So, for most, the NKJV is the best choice to use with the Study the Bible Course.

Now we are ready to begin this lesson. REMEMBER, YOU must OPEN your Bible TO EVERY PASSAGE we give you in this lesson. Do not simply believe us—(the teams directed by late C. Paul Meredith and/or Bob Thiel)—believe what the Bible really teaches.

You should READ AND RE-READ, actually STUDY every passage in your Bible. This is a Bible STUDY course-a study of the Bible, not just a study of these words we have here for you. Our words are intended to show you where to look in your Bible-to help you to know how to study the Bible.

Now, with your Bible, a good dictionary, and your note paper and pencil or pen on a desk or table before you, here is the method of study: Write down, neatly, on your note paper, the caption “Lesson 1,” and underscore it.

 

Then, “What Is the End of the World?”

 

Underneath, number each question, and WRITE DOWN THE ANSWER, in your own handwriting (some of you may prefer to type or text). As EXAMPLES for the questions, this is what you will write on your note paper:

1. Matthew 24:3—Now as He {Jesus} sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age.”

Also write in any other thoughts or comments you want to remember. When you have finished this question, and have studied it and are sure you understand it, then read next question.

2. Write down your own answer to the question, after reading the comment and any Bible passages that may be quoted in the question.

After question 3, write down your answer, and also write down every word of the Bible verse, Matthew 24:22.

It will be much better for some of you if you go to a book store or stationery store, and buy a supply of loose-leaf note paper with the three holes punched in the side. Also buy a binder, and keep these lessons and your own notes and answers fastened in the binder.

Do NOT SEND us the ANSWERS to these lessons. Keep them for reference. (It may be that we will offer a free certificate to those who complete the entire course and/or significant portions of it, but that would be after 2014, and we would expect to announce this online and likely elsewhere. If we do end up doing so, we would ask that you simply send in a copy of the lessons you completed and/or questions in certain parts of the course).

Some may ask, “Is this WRITING really NECESSARY?”

YES!

Extremely so!

Why?

Here is why!

We want you to truly understand the Bible. Christians are to be teachers (cf. Hebrews 5:12) and need to know their Bibles well enough to “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV).

Writing down what you are learning will help you better remember.

Furthermore, you can quickly review your lessons, as necessary, if you have them in this form. Also, it will aid you greatly in explaining the Bible to others.

We are giving you the brief, comprehensive, true outline of the bible. You will often want to refer to these lessons and the explanation of them in your own words in future years as you apply them to clear up related points in the Bible. Remember, you are to spend at least a half hour every day studying YOUR BIBLE with this Bible Study Course. Now we are ready…

 

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Lesson 1

Study Your Bible

What Is the “End of the World”?

  1. 1.     Was Jesus ever asked about the now threatening doom of civilization – the END OF THIS AGE and the signs of His return? Matthew 24:3.

 

  1. 2.     Does this verse refer to the end of the physical earth? Or does it refer to the end of the present age of human misrule? How do modern translations of the Bible properly render Matthew 24:3?

Comment: There are three basic Greek words inspired in the New Testament which are rendered by the one English word “world” in the King James Version. The original Greek word used in Matthew 24: 3 is aion, meaning AGE! Not the physical earth on which we live. Because many grew up hearing the KJV, they frequently misunderstand that the Bible is not prophesying the end of the earth, but the end of humankind’s rule during this age. The NKJV gets this right (though it, like other translations, is not perfect either).

JESUS, then, was questioned by His disciples about the end of this “age”the end of this present civilizationrather than the destruction of the terrestrial globe.

  1. 3.     WHAT did Jesus declare would HAPPEN IF HE WERE NOT TO RETURN? Matthew 24: 22.

This is not referring to salvation-but to being saved from physical destruction. Moffatt translates the verse a bit more clearly as “NO SOUL would BE saved ALIVE.”

  1. 4.     Does Jesus prophesy that only the Jews, or only the Christians, would be threatened with total destruction? Or does he prophesy that “no flesh” would be saved from the threat of annihilation? Doesn’t this prove that God MUST intervene to prevent annihilation of all humanity?

 

  1. 5.     When the nations will be destroying one another in SUICIDAL ATTEMPTS to gain world control, will God’s intervention CUT SHORT the number of days of world-engulfing war? Compare Matthew 24:22 with Mark 13:20+.

 

Comment: These verses do not mean that God will alter His broad timetable of world events, but that, just as He planned originally, He will intervene at the very time humanity would otherwise destroy itself. By His scheduled intervention He will cut short the DAYS OF MAN’S RULE over man, which otherwise would lead to annihilation of all human life.

Why God MUST Intervene

  1. 1.     Has there ever been a TIME OF TROUBLE such as will occur at the close of this age? Matthew 24:21.

What does Mark 13:19 say about it?

  1. 2.     Did any of the prophets foresee this same time of peril? Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1.

As each of these verses explains that there never has been before, and never will be afterward, another similar period of trouble, could they be referring to three different events, or ONLY to ONE CLIMACTIC PERIOD at the close of this age?

  1. 3.     Do the prophets picture the horrible events at the close of this age as the result of ravaging destruction in MODERN SCIENTIFIC WARFARE? Joel 2: 1-3. Read also Isaiah 33:11,12.

Will there ever again be a time like this? Why would this prophecy of Joel have to be referring to the same time as Jesus’ prophecy?-could wide destitution, such as Joel describes, have occurred as a result of older and outmoded methods of warfare?

  1. 4.     Or could it happen since with the invention of atom and HYDROGEN BOMBS, ROCKETS, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS, ELECTRONIC WEAPONS, horrifying GASES, and other MODERN FORMS OF MILITARY TRANSPORT & WEAPONRY which can exterminate civilization? Revelation 9:5-10 and 16-19.

Do the symbols here in Revelation possibly indicate the torment of poison gas and MASS MURDER by the latest scientific weapons? John was DESCRIBING WAR WEAPONS OF OUR DAY BY the CHARACTERISTIC SYMBOLS OF HIS DAY. Early Christians knew they were symbols because such things never existed then. Yet John could not use modern words such as “tank” or “rocket” or “helicopter” or “jet” because no oneand no translatorcould have understood the meaning.

  1. 5.     Let us momentarily consider a time, around 4300 YEARS AGO, when GOD INTERVENED in human affairs TO POSTPONE what we see threatening the world today. Did human beings want to make a great name for themselves and keep the world united under human authority? Genesis 11:4.

 

  1. 6.     WHY did God intervene by scattering the races and confusing languages at Babel? Genesis 11:6.

 

  1. 7.     Doesn’t this indicate that GOD HAS had A PLAN in postponing and restraining the inventive genius of man? Doesn’t Genesis 11:6 also prove that when human beings attempt to create one world, learn to speak one another’s languages, and finally POOL their combined wealth and scientific KNOWLEDGE, that NOTHING would be RESTRAINED from them?-that they would ultimately destroy themselves by their own inventions?
    1. 1.     As God will intervene to prevent annihilation of humanity, so will He also have to prevent future wars by removing the cause of war! What is the BASIC CAUSE OF WAR? James 4:1-2.

CAUSE of World Ills

 

  1. 2.     Are the desires and passions of HUMAN NATURE fundamentally good or evil? Compare Luke 11:13 with Romans 3:10-19 and Ecclesiastes 7:29.

 

Notice, however, that human nature is a COMBINATION OF GOOD AND EVIL. James 3:9-10 and Luke 6:45.

  1. 3.     Is this world a mixture of good and evil? Do actions and decisions that seem right to great leaders and to the people in general often end in terrible results? Proverbs 14:12.

Is this proverb so vital that God thought it worthy of extra emphasis through repetition? Proverbs 16:25.

Doesn’t the fact that the world faces self-destruction today PROVE that the FORCE OF THE EVIL NATURE of man is GREATER than the force of the good part of his nature?

  1. 4.     Does MANKIND REALLY KNOW THE WAY TO PEACE? Romans 3:17.

How did one Old Testament prophet describe humanity’s real understanding of peace? Isaiah 59:8.

  1. 5.     In their ignorance, hatred and cowardice, did the rulers of the world kill the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), the Lord of glory? 1 Corinthians 2:8.

 

  1. 6.     WHAT DECEIVES MAN into believing that actions which end in death will bring peace? Jeremiah 17:9, 1 John 2:16.

 

(Remember that in Scripture, the heart is spoken of proverbially as the center or seat of human nature.) Then can rulers be deceived by their OWN LUSTS into believing that their evil deeds are right and good for the world?

Can they mislead their followers and contribute to their destruction? Isaiah 3:12, 9:16.

  1. 7.     At the close of this age did PAUL FORESEE that men would be traitors, truce-breakers, greedy, coveting the wealth and territories of one another? 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

 

  1. 8.     Does knowledge tend to increase pride? 1 Corinthians 8:1. But what does love of God result in? 1 Corinthians 8:1.

 

Can undue authority lead to vanity? 1 Timothy 3:6.

Since we live in an age of increasing scientific knowledge, which makes it possible for a few people to amass stupendous industrial and scientific power, will human nature tend to make humans become better and better or WORSE AND WORSE in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1,13.

  1. 9.     Is it now possible, through the inventions of science and technology, for the greedy to covet, seize, and destroy more than ever before?
  2. 1.     Will there be SCOFFERS in the last days denying that Jesus will return? 2 Peter 3:3,4.

WAKE UP AND HELP!–OR BLOW UP!

When the Beast power rises up and gets identified by the faithful Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) remnant of the Church of God who will be leading the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom to the world (Matthew 24:14-15) will this lead to persecution? Daniel 11:28-35.

Will civilization be threatened with extermination by mad dictators? Matthew 24:15, 22; Revelation 13.

  1. 2.     Has human nature basically changed? Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26-30.

Though human nature has not basically altered since Noah’s day, have the scientific means of destruction remained the same? Do the nations create greater and GREATER POWERS for peace?-or for MASS MURDER?

  1. 3.     Are most of the people today really CONCERNED about the mortal danger of suicidal war for world dominion? 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, Matthew 24:39.

Are people AWAKE enough to world events even to expect it? Does the WORLD go on in its day-to-day routine WITHOUT HEEDING WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

  1. 4.     Will human efforts to re-educate the world and plans for peace prevent annihilation? Isaiah 33: 7-8.

When ambassadors of peace weep bitterly-when cities are leveled-will GOD INTERVENE to save humanity? Verse 10.

  1. 5.     Throughout the Bible, war is pictured as a penalty of sin-imposed as the result of lust or covetousness. James 4: 1-2.

Can ambassadors of the nations forgive sin? Can they therefore permanently stop WAR, which is its penalty?

Comment: World peace cannot come unless the penalty of sin is forgiven by an equal payment. Obviously ONLY CHRIST CAN STOP ALL WAR because He alone paid the full penalty-deathfor sin. Christ died so that we need not all die in the coming horrifying holocaust. God will suspend the penalty upon the human family by soon intervening in human affairs. His Son already voluntarily transferred the penalty to Himself, in our stead.

  1. 6.     After intervening, WILL GOD SET ABOUT TO RE-EDUCATE THE WORLD AND REMOVE THE BASIC CAUSE of war? Isaiah 2:3-4 and Micah 4:1-4.

Instead of being taught as in today’s educational institutions how to create instruments of annihilation to destroy fellow humans, will the people then BE TAUGHT to exercise CONTROL and be given DISCIPLINE OVER HUMAN NATUREto guide inventive geniuswholly into peaceful channels?

  1. 7.     Will NATIONS have to BE REBUKED with authority? Isaiah 34:2.

Will they be taught the right way to livethe way to peace? Isaiah 30:21.

This is something that Christians in this age will be assisting with. This is another reason to study and learn the Bible now.

  1. 8.     Is the prophetic word reliable? 2 Peter 1:19-21.

Is that not a comfort when we see much of what is going on in the world today?

STUDY THE BIBLE COURSE LESSONS:

Here is a: link to Lesson 1: Why Study the Bible?
Here is a: link to Lesson 2: Here’s good news…the MESSAGE sent from Heaven
Here is a: link to Lesson 3: Christ Will Stop World Suicide!
Here is a: link to Lesson 4: How to Study the Bible

Here is a link to Study the Bible Course: Test 1, for Lessons 1-4

Here is a: link to Lesson 5: The Millennium
Here is a: link to Lesson 6: Utopia!
Here is a: link to Lesson 7: Ending Your FINANCIAL Troubles
Here is a: link to Lesson 8: Why Are Natural Disasters Increasing?

Here is a link to Study the Bible Course: Test 2, for Lessons 5-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bible Study Course
About CCOG
The Continuing Church of God, which attempts to represent the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) portion of the Church of God, bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible. Read CCOG's statement of beliefs for more information.