Category: Eschatology

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Timeline

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Timeline

Daniel 9 which contains the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy is no doubt one of the most significant and detailed prophetic passages in the Bible. It begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging they have sinned against God and asking for God’s forgiveness.

In answer to Daniel’s prayer, the angel Gabriel explained that during a period of “Seventy Weeks” or “seventy sets of seven” (Daniel 9:24), the Lord would accomplish six specific purposes for the Jewish people.

The first three have to do with sin and the last three with righteousness. The Lord would “finish their rebellion,” that is, the transgression of the Jewish people, and “put an end to their sin” – Israel’s national sins (Zechariah 12:10–13:1). The last three divine purposes focus on righteousness and the future kingdom of the Messiah.

When Jesus returns, He will establish His righteous kingdom (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 31:31-34) and rule in righteousness (Isaiah 4:2-6). All of these wonderful accomplishments would be fulfilled during seventy weeks – 490 years – that Gabriel divided into three significant periods: 49 years, 434 years and 7 years.

Timeline of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

A. Period 1 – 49 years (Daniel 9:25)

During this period, the Jews would rebuild the city of Jerusalem in troubled times. The key issue here is the date of the decree. This is not the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC permitting the Jews to return to their land and rebuild their Temple (Ezra 1; Isaiah 44:28) because the emphasis of this decree is on the city of Jerusalem.

While some scholars opt for the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC, sending Ezra to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:12-26), that decree also emphasized the Temple and its ministry. The decree of Daniel 9:25 is probably that of Artaxerxes in 445 BC authorizing Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and restore the gates (Nehemiah 2:5-8).

B. Period 2 – 434 years (Daniel 9:26)

Gabriel affirmed that 483 years are involved from the giving of the decree to the coming of “the Anointed One,” the ruler (7 x 7 = 49, 7 x 62 = 434; total = 483). When we count 483 solar years from the year 445 BC, we end up with AD 29/30, which brings us to the time of Christ’s ministry on earth.

But this Anointed One, the Christ, would not be permitted to rule; for His people would cry out, “We do not want this man to be our king” (Luke 19:14 NIV). The Messiah would be “killed appearing to have accomplished nothing.”

This speaks of His rejection by the Jewish nation (Luke 13:33-35; John 1:11) and His crucifixion as a criminal, turned over to the Roman authorities by one of His own disciples. But He would die for the sins of the world, including the Jewish nation.

That same nation that asked for Jesus to be crucified went on to persecute the church and kill Stephen (Acts 7). In AD 70, the prophecy in Daniel 9:26 was fulfilled when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, and the Jewish nation was scattered.

The Romans are the “prince” (or ruler) who will arise and “whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple,” and that prince is the future Antichrist that Daniel described as the “small horn” and the blasphemous king (Daniel 7:8, 24-25; 8:23-27). This takes us to the third period.

C. Period 3 – 7 years (Daniel 9:27)

The “prince” refers to “the Antichrist” (Daniel 9:26) who will rule in the final seven years of the prophetic calendar that Gabriel gave Daniel, the period we know as “The Tribulation” or “The Day of the Lord.”

While the Lord has always known wars and desolation (Matthew 24:3-24), the end of the age will introduce a time of terrible suffering that will climax with the return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 6 – 19; Matthew 24:15-35). The event that triggers this last seven-year period will be the signing of a covenant between the Antichrist and the Jewish nation.

At this time, the Antichrist will be a key political figure in Europe – one of the ten toes of the image in Daniel 2, and the “little horn” who emerges from the ten horns (Daniel 7:8, 24-25) and he will have the authority and ability to end the Middle East problem. He will covenant to protect the Jews from their enemies, probably so they can build their Temple and restore their sacrifices.

The spiritually blind Jewish leaders, ignorant of their own Scriptures, will gladly enter into the covenant. “For I have come to you in My Father’s name, and you have rejected Me,” Jesus told the Jewish leaders of His day; “Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them” (John 5:43).

After three and a half years, the Antichrist will break the covenant, seize the Temple, and put his own image there, and he will force the world to worship him (2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13). This is the “abomination that causes desolation” (Daniel 11:31; 12:11) about which Jesus spoke and that marks the midpoint of the tribulation period (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14).

The “man of lawlessness” and “the one who brings destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), who up till now has deceived the world by playing a shrewd political game, will reveal himself as a tool of Satan and a cruel world dictator, Christ will defeat him when He returns to establish His kingdom (Revelation 19:11-21).

Concluding Words

We are living today in the church age when Israel has been partially blinded and temporarily set aside (Romans 9–11). Like Paul, we must have a heart concern for the Jewish people, pray for them, and seek to share the Gospel with them.

Gentile believers have a debt to the people of Israel (Romans 15:24-27) because they gave us the knowledge of the true and living God, the inspired written Scriptures, and the Savior, Jesus Christ.


*Reference: Study Notes & Commentary (NLT Bible) – by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

*Recommended Resource: Daniel: The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentary

Perhaps no Old Testament book is as far-reaching in envisioning historical events as the Book of Daniel. In this revised edition of his classic work on pre-millennial prophecy, Walvoord addresses alleged historical inaccuracies, considers past and future fulfillments of specific prophecies, explores different approaches to interpretation, and examines textual and doctrinal issues.


*Learn to create your own website for free by joining me in a wonderful community that teaches you everything you need to know about web design and affiliate marketing.

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Bible Study: The Great Commission

Bible Study: The Great Commission

Jesus’ statement in Matthew 28:18-20 known as “the Great Commission,” though it is no greater than statements in any of the other Gospels, is very much applicable to us believers today. And so, a Bible study on this subject is important for us to understand the factors that are involved.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The Authority of Jesus

The commissioning of Jesus’ disciples is clearly based on His authority. The word “authority” in verse 18 indicates an authoritative command or the right to use power. It carries the same idea as when an officer reminds a private of his rank before giving the order. Having this authority, Jesus can send whomever He wills to carry out whatever He pleases.

When we read the entire Gospel of Matthew, we would notice how it stresses the authority of Jesus Christ. Here are some of those instances:

  • His teaching had authority (Matthew 7:29).
  • He exercised authority in healing (Matthew 8:1-13).
  • He had authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6).
  • He had authority over Satan and delegated that authority to His apostles (Matthew 10:1).

And at the close of his Gospel, Matthew made it clear that Jesus has been given “all” authority. The word “all” refers to all authority, all things, all nations and all the days. It is for this reason that we can obey Jesus without fear. No matter what circumstances we face, no matter where He leads us, He is in control.

Jesus’ authority over everything and anything, commands us to “go;” it is His authority that sends us, guides us, empowers us and enables His work and message to continue to the world through us.

Making Disciples of All Nations

In verses 19-20, Jesus by His authority orders activity. The Greek verb translated “go” is actually not a command but a present participle (“going”). There is only one command in the entire Great Commission: to make disciples. Here, Jesus was saying, “While you are going, make disciples of all nations.”

Let’s make that clear. The command is to make disciples, not merely converts, church members or supporters of a cause. But what is a disciple? The term “disciples” was the most popular name for the earthly believers. The idea behind the word is of learners, students or scholars.

“Apprentice” might be an equivalent term. A disciple would attach himself to his teacher, identify with him, learn from him and live with him. More importantly, a disciple would not learn by simply listening but also by doing. James, the Lord’s brother, tells us to not merely listen to the word but to do what it says (James 1:22-25).

The words “make disciples” reminds us that disciples are made; they are not spontaneously created at conversion but are products of a process that involves other believers.

How are disciples made? Through teaching – teaching them all the things that Jesus commanded. It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to present the whole counsel of God to those who are being made disciples (Acts 20:27). The apostle Paul did not share half-truths or watered down Gospel; he shared all of what God revealed and we must do the same.

Another thing noteworthy is the command to take the Gospel to “all nations.” Let us not forget that in Jesus’ previous ministry; He deliberately restricted His work to the Jews (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). Of course, there were rare instances wherein Jesus ministered among the Gentiles such as in Matthew 15:21-28.

But that’s all in the past now. The disciples and all believers in Christ today are commissioned to take the Gospel to all nations, to make disciples of all men everywhere without distinction. So no matter where we are, we should be witnesses for Jesus Christ and seek to win others to Him (Acts 11:19-21).

Water Baptism

Significantly, Jesus Christ commands us to go and baptize, not to circumcise those who became disciples. One other thing, discipleship comes first before baptism. The words and context certainly indicate that it’s disciples who are baptized; those who are of age who can be taught and who can observe the things Jesus commanded and those who have already come to faith in Christ.

Apparently, there are churches today who teach that water baptism is a requirement for salvation and they use passages such as Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21 and Titus 3:5. However, the word of God makes it pretty clear that salvation is by grace (alone) through faith (alone) in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9); it’s not something we acquire by doing good deeds such as submitting for water baptism.

*Here’s an article that talks more extensively on the issue of water baptism in regards to salvation: Do you need to be baptized in order to be saved?

The Promise of Jesus’ Constant Presence

In the second part of verse 20, we see Jesus’ authority as ability. Jesus is not only among His disciples when they came together but He is also present with them as they scatter into the world to witness. He sent them to fulfill a mission but He did not send them alone.

Jesus promised His constant presence as rendered by the English adverb “always” – that is, each day as we live it. Had Jesus remained on earth, He could not have fulfilled this promise. But when He ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit came so Jesus could be with His people no matter where they are.

The promise of Jesus’ constant presence was more than adequate to strengthen and guide His disciples as they obeyed Him in making disciples of all nations and is certainly adequate to strengthen and guide us as we go into all the world and become witnesses for Christ.

In Closing

The phrase “end of the age” indicates that our Lord has a plan; He is the Lord of history. As we follow His leading and heed His Word, we fulfill His purposes in the world. One day, everything will come into a climax. Meanwhile, let us remain faithful.

What’s hindering you from fulfilling the Great Commission?

Reasons to Study Bible Prophecy

Reasons to Study Bible Prophecy

If you love to study the Bible, then you must also love to study Bible prophecy. Do you know that approximately 1/3 of the Bible was prophetic at the time that it was written? The Bible is a book of prophecy; it contains about a thousand prophecies, of which about five hundred have already been fulfilled down to the smallest detail.

And with a proven track record of 100% accuracy with five hundred prophecies, we can be confident that the remaining five hundred unfulfilled prophecies will also come to pass at the appointed time.

But other than knowing that the remaining yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies will happen, what other good reasons do Christians have for wanting to study Bible prophecy? While many reasons could be given for gaining a deeper understanding of biblical prophecy, we will look at these 7 Key Reasons that stand out.

1) The Subject of Prophecy is Jesus Christ

Prophecy begins and ends in the person and works of the Savior. In Genesis 3:15, where the very first prophecy in the Bible was given, a Deliverer is promised to crush the head of the serpent. Enoch’s ancient prophecy which is recorded in Jude 1:14-15 speaks of the second coming of Christ. And Revelation 19:10 tells us that “the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.”

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with prophecies that ultimately point in some way to the Savior. Below are some of the ways Jesus is revealed in prophecy:

Jesus is the coming Kinga. The Passover Lamb – Exodus 12; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7

b. The Son of Man – Daniel 7:13

c. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

d. The star from Jacob – Numbers 24:17

e. The resurrection and the life – John 11:25-27

f. A man of sorrows – Isaiah 53:3

g. The coming king – Revelation 19

Jesus did not fulfill one, or two or three of the more than 100 distinct “First Coming” prophecies about the Messiah; He fulfilled every single one of them. Studying Bible prophecy is vital because its very essence gives witness to Jesus the Messiah.

2) Prophecy Gives Us a Proper Perspective in Life and Provides Hope for the Future

Bible prophecy is important because it tells us the end of the story. Just as our world had a definite beginning in Genesis 1:1, it will also have an ending. This world will not continue on forever through infinite cycles of history. We know from Bible prophecy that there’s a consummation of human history and this present world.

There is no way to understand fully much of what’s going on in our present day and time apart from the detailed prophecies contained in the Bible. We do not have to worry, panic or get scared because, in light of Bible prophecy, they all make sense.

The rapture of the Church

As Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries always quotes by the end of her program, “Things are not falling apart, they are falling into place.” And these events are all leading up to one big thing – the return of Jesus Christ.

Prophecy assures us that Jesus is coming back, that He will either resurrect or rapture us, and that He will take us to live forever with Him and the Father. Knowing this truth gives us meaning, perspective and purpose and helps us embrace hope in life.

3) Prophecy is a Major Part of Divine Revelation

I mentioned earlier that prophecy constitutes nearly a third of the Bible. In Bible study, there’s a principle known as the “Law of Proportion.” This law simply means that you can discern the importance of a subject in Scripture by how much attention is devoted to it.

Consider the following statistics: (Reference: The End by Mark Hitchcock)

a. Percent of the Whole Bible that is Prophecy ………………………………………….. 27%

b. Number of Separate Prophetic Topics in the Bible ………………………………….. 737

c. Number of Predictions in the Old Testament ………………………………………….. 1,239

d. Number of Old Testament verses that contain predictions ………………………  6,641 out of 23,210

e. Percent of the Old Testament that is Prophecy ……………………………………….. 28.5%

f. Number of Predictions in the New Testament …………………………………………. 578

g. Number of New Testament verses that contain predictions …………………….. 1,711 out of 7,914

h. Percent of the New Testament that is Prophecy …………………………………….. 21.5%

i. Number of Verses in the Bible ……………………………………………………………… 31,124

Consider these facts:

Of the 333 prophecies concerning Christ, only 109 were fulfilled by His first coming, leaving 224 yet to be fulfilled in the Second Coming.

  • There are over 300 references to the Lord’s coming in the 260 chapters of the New Testament, that’s one out of every 30 verses.
  • Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books mention the Lord’s coming.
  • Jesus refers to His second coming at least 21 times.
  • 1,527 Old Testament passages refer to the Second Coming.
  • For every time the Bible mentions the first coming, the Second Coming is mentioned 8 times.
  • People are exhorted to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ over 50 times.

Applying the Law of Proportion, biblical prophecy warrants serious study. To ignore or neglect it is to cast dishonor upon divine revelation. Moreover, if the prophecies were not in the Bible, the remainder of the Book would be meaningless.

4) Prophecy is a Key Tool for Evangelism

I was amazed to learn that the first Christian book many unbelievers read is a book on Bible prophecy. And this should not surprise us because Bible prophecy fascinates everyone – even unbelievers.

Most people have the same basic questions about the future. What’s going to happen to the world? When will the world end? Will the human race survive in the future? Is Jesus really coming back? Is there life after death? Are heaven and hell real?

What does the Bible say about the end of the world?

People want answers to these questions and the Bible has them. Christians can and should use this knowledge to share the Gospel with others as God opens the door of opportunity.

5) Prophecy Helps Protect People from Heresy

Do you notice how almost every book in the New Testament contains at least 1 section that addresses false teaching? You may want to look at some of the more notable sections such as 2 Corinthians 10-12; Philippians 3; 2 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

There are even cases where the whole book is devoted almost entirely to combating false teaching and the corrupt lifestyle it produces (Colossians; Galatians; 1 Timothy; Jude and 2 Peter).

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly  bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring in on themselves swift destruction.” – 2 Peter 2:1

From the earliest days of Christianity, the true teachings of the church have been attacked and corrupted by false teachers. In 2 Thessalonians 2, the apostle Paul corrects a false teaching that the Day of the Lord has already come. In 2 Peter 3, a group of scoffers took the false teaching in another direction; mocking the idea that Jesus was coming again.

The same kind of speculative errors has continued throughout church history in the likes of William Miller, Harold Camping and the JW’s who all made failed predictions about the rapture and the return of Christ.

Taking the time to study the Scriptures and having an accurate understanding of Bible prophecy will protect God’s people from false teachings and from those who misuse it.

6) Fulfilled Prophecies Prove the Truth of God’s Word

No other religious book has ever been written that contains so much prophecy as the Bible. Prophecy scholar John Walvoord said the Bible contains about one thousand prophecies of which about five hundred have already been fulfilled. This is absolute proof that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

Just as Bible prophecy establishes that God is the One true God, it also proves that God’s Word is true and that we can put our faith in what it teaches. And we’re not just talking of general prophecies about the future but very specific prophecies.

Below are some of the fulfilled Bible prophecies: (Reference: The End by Mark Hitchcock)

a. Four Great World Empires in Succession

In Daniel 2 & 7, the prophet Daniel (around 530 BC) predicted that there would be 4 great Gentile powers that would rule the world in succession: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Well, there have been four, and only four, world empires. Though others have tried since the fall of the Roman Empire, they all failed.

b. The 70-Year Babylonian Captivity

The prophet Jeremiah (627 – 582 BC) prophesied that the wicked people of Judah would be taken captive by the Babylonians and that their captivity would last for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:10-11; Jeremiah 29:10).

This specific prophecy was given decades before it took place. The people were taken into captivity in 605 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and were allowed only to return to Judah in 538 BC.

c. The Fall of Nineveh

God revealed an amazing prophecy to Nahum between 650 and 640 BC. God showed him in details how the great city of Nineveh, which is the capital of the Assyrian Empire, would be destroyed. History records that in 612 BC this was fulfilled. The Babylonians and Medes invaded, plundered, and utterly destroyed the powerful city of Nineveh.

d. King Cyrus of Persia

During the Golden Age of the Hebrew prophets, around 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah in his writings identified a Medo-Persian king by the name of “Cyrus.” But Cyrus didn’t come into power for nearly 150 years (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1).

Isaiah goes on to predict in Isaiah 45:2-6 and Isaiah 44:28 that Cyrus would conquer Babylon, restore the Jewish people to their land, rebuild Jerusalem and restore the Temple. All of this was completely fulfilled about 160 years later (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11).

7) Prophecy Motivates us to Live Godly Lives

Charles Dyer, a prophecy expert, emphasizes the practical purpose of Bible prophecy which is this:

“God gave prophecy to change our hearts, not to fill our heads with knowledge. God never predicted future events just to satisfy our curiosity about the future. Every time God announces events that are future, He includes with His predictions practical applications to life. God’s announcements about the future carry with them specific advice for the ‘here and now.’”

Christians should not treat prophecy as a purely intellectual pursuit with no practical applications. Prophecy was not given only to stir our imagination or capture our attention. God intended prophecy to change our attitudes and actions so they will be more in line with His Word and His character.

Conclusion

There have been oppositions, both aggressive and passive, to the study and teaching of prophecy as a result of the failed predictions of some date-setters and fanatics whose only intentions were to get crowds.

But Bible prophecy should not be shunned merely because of the discredited teachings of some cults and self-proclaimed prophets who have distorted the Word of God to serve their own purposes.

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

What about you, what’s your reason for wanting to study Bible prophecy? Please share your insights by leaving a comment.


*Recommended Resource:

The Amazing Claims of Bible Prophecy: What You Need to Know in These Uncertain Times – eBook
By Mark Hitchcock

When I see Jesus Face to Face

When I see Jesus Face to Face

I often wonder how exciting that day will be when I see Jesus face to face.

The promise of Jesus’ return is a central element of the Gospel proclamation and a vital part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. As a matter of fact, Jesus spoke more frequently of His return than His death. We don’t know the day and the hour of Jesus’ return (Matthew 24:36) that’s why we are told repeatedly to be watchful and ready because just any day now we will see Him face to face.

When Jesus announced to His disciples that one of them would betray Him, and warned Peter that he was going to deny his Lord three times, it isn’t surprising that they were troubled. Peter who was so over confident that he could not only follow Jesus, but even die with Him and for Him.

John 13:21-22

When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”  Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

Alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor do we really know our hearts, except for one thing: Our hearts easily become troubled. So Jesus comforts His disciples by promising them of His return to receive them to Himself so that they would be with Him in the Father’s house, heaven (John 14:1-3).

John 13:37-38

Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”

Jesus would be returning to take His people to be with Him. The Father wants His children to be excited and hopeful about Jesus’ return because that event will be the conclusion of His plan.

Do we know how Jesus actually looked like? No, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). Seeing Jesus our Lord for the first time, in His glorified state, will certainly be an awesome and moving experience that is unlike anything else we have or will ever experience.

As far as we know, the last one to see Jesus was the apostle John when he was allegedly banished to the island of Patmos, where he received God’s revelation of the events that are yet to take place. And what was his reaction? Upon seeing Jesus, John fell at His feet as dead (Revelation 1:17). It had such an awe-inspiring effect on John that he fell limply to the ground.

Do not think that your reaction when you see Jesus for the first time, face to face, will be all that much different from John’s. Indeed, what an exciting day that will be!

Here’s the lyrics and chords of the song, “Just any Day Now.” Enjoy singing for the Lord while waiting for His return.

Just Any Day Now (Lyrics and Chords)

We all have an appointment with God. Are you excited to finally see Jesus our Lord and Master? How do you think you would react? And what questions are you going to ask Him?

Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of Israel

Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of Israel

On Monday, May 14, the historic relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel took place, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding. The United States of America officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by opening a new embassy there.

Despite concerns from leaders of the Arab nations, the UN and some allies such as France, US President Donald Trump kept his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, where nearly all foreign embassies are located. The US Embassy will be housed temporarily in the former consulate building in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona while officials look for a permanent location.

Trump Keeps His Promise

On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would begin recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by officially opening the US Embassy there. He said that every nation has the right to determine its own capital.

“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital, but for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious.” – US President Donald Trump

For the record, Trump isn’t the first US President to talk about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush supported the idea. Even Barrack Obama referred to the city as the capital of Israel and said it must remain undivided. But none of the previous presidents followed through for one reason and one reason only – that the move would appear to put the US squarely on the side of Israel.

But President Trump made it clear that his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not mean the United States has taken a position on final status negotiations. According to him, his administration will continue to work with the Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement between these two states.

Although Trump’s decision was met with mass rejection  and condemnation from all Arab and Muslim countries and most European and Western powers, countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and Romania announced their willingness to also move their embassies to Jerusalem.

Biblical history of Jerusalem

Jerusalem and its alternative Hebrew name “Zion” is mentioned in the Old Testament at least 800 times and at least 150 times in the New Testament. Through the ages it has been called by many names: Jebus, Mount Moriah, Salem, Zion, Jerusalem, the City of David and Ariel, which means “Lion of God.”

The Scriptural history of Jerusalem begins with the patriarch Abraham meeting Melchizedek, king of Salem around 2110 BC/BCE (Genesis 14:17-20), following Abraham’s defeat of Chedorlaomer who captured his nephew Lot. An interesting aspect of this meeting is that Abraham had bread and wine with Melchizedek and then gave him a tenth of all he had.

 

About 70 years later – around 2082 BC/BCE, in obedience to God’s command, Abraham took his son Isaac to Mount Moriah in order to offer him as a sacrifice to the Lord (Genesis 22:1-18). But as he was about to slay Isaac, the Lord stopped him and supernaturally provided a ram instead. Abraham called that place, “The Lord will Provide,” since God provided a sacrifice in place of Isaac.

*Related topic: When God Tests Your Faith

Around 1405 BC, the children of Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Israel, fought against Jerusalem and captured it (Judges 1:8). This became the dividing line between Judah and Benjamin, on Benjamin’s side. However, the sons of Benjamin failed to drive out the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem so they lived together (Joshua 1:21).

David and Solomon

When David was made king over Israel, he conquered Jerusalem by defeating the Jebusites and made it the capital of his kingdom (1 Chronicles 11:4-9). Interestingly, King David did this in the middle of a war with the Philistines. He made sure Jerusalem was secured and established before setting out to defeat the Philistines. King David reigned over Israel for 30 years and made Jerusalem into a great city.

After King David’s death, his son Solomon became king and began to build a temple for God (2 Chronicles 2:1). The temple was completed after 7 years with a labor force of 183,300 men (1 Kings 5:13-16; 6:38). And when it was completed, the glory of God filled the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1).

Note: The complete details of the first ever temple that was built in Jerusalem is described in 1 Kings 6 & 7.

The Kingdom of Israel Divided

After the death of King Solomon, the kingdom split into two: the Kingdom of Israel in the North with Samaria as its capital and the Kingdom of Judah in the South with Jerusalem as its capital. The southern kingdom which included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin was ruled by Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, while the northern kingdom which included the remaining 10 tribes was governed by Jeroboam, King Solomon’s servant.

When the Babylonians under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah, the City of Jerusalem as well as the temple was completely destroyed, and its treasures carried off to Babylon. The few men who were not killed were exiled to Babylon for 70 years to serve as servants until the king of Persia came to power (2 Chronicles 36:17-21).

The Rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem

In 539 BCE, Persia under King Cyrus conquered Babylon and allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild the Temple of God (Ezra 1:1-4). The total number of people that returned to Jerusalem in Judah to help rebuild the Temple, not including male and female servants and singers, is 42, 360. Everyone gave according to their ability in order to finance the work.

Under the leadership of Jeshua and Zerubbabel, the people started to build the altar in the first year during the month of Tishri, in order to offer sacrifices in celebration of Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles and the other Festivals of the Lord in accordance with the Torah (Ezra 3:2-4). Despite oppositions to the rebuilding of the Temple, it was finally completed after 23 years.

Jerusalem Destroyed in 70 AD

Although there is no biblical account of Jerusalem from 445 to 425 BCE when the prophet Nehemiah rebuilt its walls and the city confined to Eastern Hill until the time of Jesus, the Second Temple stood in Jerusalem for 420 years (349 BCE to 70 CE). During that time, the city of Jerusalem and the Jews were subject to foreign rule: by the Persians, the Greeks and eventually the Romans.

Aside from the historical fact that Jesus started His ministry in Jerusalem, was crucified, resurrected and ascended into heaven from Jerusalem, one rather significant event that took place there is the “Triumphal Entry.” The Sunday before crucifixion, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey’s colt and the multitudes came out to welcome Him with palm branches and spread them on the road (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40 & John 12:12-19). Jesus also drove out the money changers and merchants inside the Temple (Matthew 21:12-17).

The destruction of the 2nd Temple was predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24:1-2 and in Luke 21:5-6 which was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Romans under Emperor Titus conquered Jerusalem. This caused the Jews to be scattered throughout the world. During this period, the Temple Mount was for the most part profaned and neglected.

The siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD

In the first hundred years after the city and the Temple was destroyed, the Jews had high hopes of returning to their land and rebuild that which was devastated. However, Emperor Hadrian decided to establish a new Roman city on the ruins of Jerusalem to be named Colonia Aelia Capitolina.

But Hadrian’s attempt to eradicate all traces of a Jewish city named Jerusalem caused the Jews to rebel. Under the leadership of a man named Simon Bar Kochba, the Jews attempted to revolt against the Roman Empire who was in control of Jerusalem. They won and Jerusalem was liberated for three years until the Romans marched against the rebels and killed Bar Kochba. Jerusalem was once again blotted out and Aelia Capitolina was built on its site as had been planned.

The Six-Day War in 1967

The Six Day War
Photo Credits: Six Day War Territories

The Jews did not have control over Jerusalem since its destruction in 70 AD. But when God promised to save His people from all corners of the earth, He specifically told them that they will again dwell in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:7-8).

So during the six-day war in June 1967 which they fought against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, the Jews took control of Jerusalem. Israel also captured the Gaza Strip, Sinai, the Golan Heights and the West Bank (formerly known as Judea and Samaria).

The six-day war was fought from June 5-10, 1967. It sprung from the shared desire on the part of the surrounding Arab states to totally eliminate Israel and to erase the shame of their defeat in 1948 when they failed to destroy the Jewish state. Egypt, Jordan and Syria formed a coalition to come against Israel but the Israeli army launched a preemptive strike against these nations.

Outnumbered by the combined Arab armies, and surrounded by enemies on three sides and the deep blue Mediterranean on the fourth, Israel had resolved to strike first and win quickly. Their preemptive strike aimed at destroying the Arab forces on the ground turned out to be one of the most brilliant aerial operations in history.

The Significance of Jerusalem to Christianity, Judaism and Islam

Jerusalem, which is one of the oldest cities, is considered to be one of the holiest places in the world and a site of major significance for the three largest monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

The Wailing Wall

For Christians, it is the place where Jesus walked, preached, suffered and died, resurrected and ascended to heaven. For the Jews, Jerusalem has always been seen as the holiest city because it was the site of the main temple of the Jewish faith. And for Muslims, Jerusalem is believed to be the place where Allah brought Prophet Muhammad in his night journey and led the other prophets in prayer.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

For 70 years, Jerusalem has been divided between Israel and Palestine. Both have claimed Jerusalem as its capital city and as a result, bloody conflicts have been waged between them to control the city and the sites within it.

Conclusion

Jerusalem has been and always will be the eternal, undivided capital of Israel. Even Islamic leaders acknowledge that Jerusalem is full of Jewish history. In 1924, Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Council published a tourist pamphlet on the Temple Mount that says, “The site’s identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This is also the spot on which David built an altar to the Lord.”

As a Bible-believing Christian, I would say that the decision of President Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv is filled with biblical significance. This has nothing to do with politics; God is setting the stage for the Lord’s return.

Zechariah 14:4 and Acts 1:9-12 tell us clearly that Jesus will return to Jerusalem in glory. Jesus is not coming to London, New York, Rome or Palestine. The final battle will center on Jerusalem and Jesus will reign from Jerusalem during the Millennial Kingdom.

As believers in the Lord Jesus, let us continue to support and stand with Israel. Let us also pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) while waiting for the Prince of Peace, the Messiah to return.

 

 

The 7 Blessings in the Book of Revelation

The 7 Blessings in the Book of Revelation

Christians agree that the Bible contains many promises of blessings, physical and spiritual. However, there are blessings that are often overlooked by the readers and these blessings are found in the last book of the Bible. Today’s article focuses on the 7 blessings in the book of Revelation.

Doesn’t everyone love blessings? I mean, we all want God to bless us, right? Not just in one but in all areas of our life. The problem with some or maybe even most of us is that instead of looking into the Bible to see how to receive God’s blessings, we choose to look somewhere else.

Preaching from and studying the book of Revelation? No, thanks!

The book of Revelation is the 1 book in the Bible that many readers intentionally leave out for several reasons such as:

  • It is hard to understand because of the many symbolisms that the author used.
  • It is perceived to be very controversial and often stirs up disagreements among pastors and Bible teachers.
  • Much of the book is alarming and disturbing, if not depressing because of the mention of various natural disasters.
  • Prophecy from this book has been abused by false teachers and date setters.
  • Some of the scenes mentioned are terribly horrible and awful.

But if we just take the time to read the book of Revelation, and ask guidance and illumination from the Holy Spirit, we will come to love reading and studying it because of the promise of blessings contained in it.

7 Blessings in Revelation

Although physical and financial blessings sound really great, there are 7 special blessings God has promised for those who study prophecy and pay attention to what it says. These blessings are scattered throughout the book of Revelation.

1) Revelation 1:3

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

Blessed in the Greek means “to make happy.” It has the same implication with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10. Notice that the blessing here is threefold:

a) A blessing is promised to the one who reads.

The verb “read” means to “to read out loud.” Revelation was first read aloud in local church meetings. Since few people had a personal copy of the Scriptures in the early years of the church, someone would read them aloud to the people. Today, this blessing extends to all who read this climax to God’s prophetic program.

b) A blessing is promised to all who listen.

It’s in the book of Revelation where God gives us a glimpse of how everything is going to end. We are assured that Jesus wins and the enemy is finally thrown into the Lake of Fire. Although it’s true that evil is alive and well in this world today, ultimately God wins – big time!

So just to hear the book of Revelation and other prophecies of the Bible read is indeed a great blessing in troubled times like our modern world.

c) A blessing is promised to all who obey.

It is not only important to read and hear Bible prophecy but also to obey what is written. When John sent this book of prophecy to the churches, they were going through intense persecutions and they needed encouragement.

The message in this book was not only to give them strength and hope but it would also help them examine their lives in order to determine those areas that needed correction. They were not only to hear the Word, but also to keep it. It’s not enough to read, memorize and listen to the Scriptures being read, because the blessing would come not just by reading and hearing but even more so by doing (James 1:22-25).

*Related Article: Genuine Faith, the Faith that Saves

2) Revelation 14:13

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

In this verse, John intended his readers to see the contrast between what will happen to those who will decide to follow the “beast” (Revelation 14:11) and to those who won’t; there will be no rest for the wicked but eternal rest for the saints.

Though they suffer persecutions and be killed, the saints will reign with Christ forever. While those who follow the Antichrist will reign with him for a few short years but will suffer throughout eternity.

Are you persecuted today for your faith? Know that the early Christians suffered a great deal of persecution and most of them died brutal deaths for the sake of the Gospel.

*Recommended Resource: New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

3) Revelation 16:15

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walks naked and they see his shame.”

Many post-tribulationists often use this as a biblical reference to their view that the rapture of the church will take place at the end of the Tribulation because it warns about Jesus coming quickly, or like a thief in the night.

But if we read it in the context of the entire passage, this verse is a warning concerning the coming of Christ at Armageddon. It focuses on suddenness and destruction. While this could be seen as both a blessing and a warning to the believers to be spiritually watchful for the Lord’s return, it’s also a warning to the unbelieving world concerning the battle of Armageddon.

4) Revelation 19:9

Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

To be called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one of eternity’s supreme blessings. The believers or the Church is the Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33) and the Bridegroom is Jesus Christ (John 3:29). 5).

After the Judgment Seat of Christ where the Church is evaluated and rewarded, she is given a white robe and is now radiant in her glory. What a blessing to be enjoying the wedding banquet while the outpouring of God’s wrath is happening on earth in the event called the Great Tribulation.

5) Revelation 20:6

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

This verse calls the participants of the first resurrection “blessed and holy” because they have reached the point of ultimate sanctification, and the second death (the lake of fire) has no more power over them. One of the blessed privileges of heaven is the absolute security against death in any and every form.

All church age believers who died will be resurrected when Christ comes at the rapture and together with those who are alive and remain; they will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and will go straight to heaven.

*Related article: What is the significance of the resurrection?

But when Christ returns to earth after the 7 years tribulation, the saints will return with Him, will reign with Him for a thousand years to enjoy the many blessings promised by the Lord in Isaiah 2:1-5; Isaiah 4:1-6; Isaiah 11:1-9, Isaiah 12:1-6; Isaiah 30:18-26 and Isaiah 35:1-10.

6) Revelation 22:7

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

This verse begins with a wonderful promise to us, “Behold I am coming quickly.” The word “quickly” here means “soon” or “suddenly.” It means that when Jesus comes He will give no warning. His coming will be sudden and unexpected. This is what the apostle Paul calls the “blessed hope” in Titus 2:13-14. The Lord’s return is certainly nearer than it was yesterday and knowing this gives the believers hope, joy, comfort and strength.

Just like in Revelation 1:3, God promises a special blessing for those who “keep the words of the prophecy of this book.” To keep means to protect, preserve, guard, pay attention to and hold as precious. Believers are called to guard and protect the book of Revelation; to defend it against detractors who deny its relevance and critics who deny its authority.

But believers are not only called to guard but also to obey it. What does it mean to obey the book of Revelation? It’s not as simple doing what it says in an obligatory and legalistic way. It means to long for Christ’s return and our eternal fellowship with Him. Believers are called to desire heaven, holiness and to see Christ vindicated as He triumphs over His enemies.

7) Revelation 22:14

“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”

Although in modern versions, the first part of this verse is translated, “Blessed are those who wash their robes,” the essential meaning of the passage is not affected. Those that do His commandments are those who have been forgiven of their sins and have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb; these are the believers who have washed their robes in the righteousness of Christ.

Doing His commandments does not earn us eternal life, but is evidence that we have been granted eternal life. The word “blessed” means “happy.” We all want happiness and the way to eternal happiness is to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. The blessing here is having access into the holy city and the Tree of Life and thus are entitled to live forever.

Conclusion

Believers in Christ can receive the unmitigated blessings of God by simply reading, hearing and paying attention to the things written in the book of Revelation and in other Scriptures that reveal the consummation of human history.

The Judgment of the Believers

The Judgment of the Believers

God has a prophetic program for the church beginning with the rapture. After the church is caught up to meet the Lord in the air, the judgment of the believers will follow at the judgment seat of Christ. Every believer will stand before the Lord to give an account of their lives to Him.

When the great American statesman Daniel Webster was once asked about the greatest thought to ever enter his mind, his response was, “The most important thought that ever occupied my mind is my accountability to God.” What gripped Webster was the knowledge that one day he would stand before God.

We too have an appointment to stand before God someday; every believer will be judged. So we need to get ready, and part of getting ready is understanding what the Bible has to say about the future event known as the judgment seat of Christ.

What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?

The judgment seat of Christ is one subject about which there is much confusion among believers. We all know that there is such a thing as the judgment seat of Christ but most of us picture it as some dreadful scene wherein all of our hidden sins committed during our lifetime will be revealed.

There are two passages of Scripture that mention the judgment of the believers at the judgment seat of Christ: Romans 14:10-12 & 2 Corinthians 5:10.

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.Romans 14:10-12

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

To better understand its meaning, we will divide the judgment seat of Christ into six key elements: the judge, the participants, the period, the place, the purpose and the preparation and go through each of them one by one.

I – The Judge

From the two Bible passages above (Romans 14:10-12 & 2 Corinthians 5:10), we can easily tell that this judgment will take place before Jesus, the Son of God. It is called the judgment seat of Christ because Jesus will be the Judge. John 5:22 also says that the Father judges no one because He has entrusted all judgment to the Son.

It is none other than the Lord Jesus who will execute judgment at the judgment seat of Christ. And the fact that Jesus will be the judge gives us assurance that the judgment will be objective and completely righteous, individual and thorough.

Jesus is a righteous judge

God’s judgment will be totally fair and impartial in that the rewards will not be based on the length of service, but rather on what each person did with the resources, opportunities and time he was given to serve Him, however great or small. God does not show favoritism and there is no partiality (Romans 2:11; Colossians 3:25).

It is also evident that the judgment will be individual. Notice how Paul moves from the plural to the singular in Romans 14:10-12 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. And the judgment of the believers will be thorough. God will literally turn us inside out and all hidden deeds, thoughts and motives will be exposed and will appear for what they really were (1 Corinthians 3:13).

II – The Participants

The judgment seat of Christ is for believers only, and it’s not optional. No believer is exempt. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that “we must all appear before Christ to be judged.” In this statement, Paul was referring to all believers in Christ, including himself.

All church age believers – the time between the birth of the Church on Pentecost Day and the Rapture – will appear individually before Jesus Christ to be judged. What about the Old Testament believers? They will be resurrected and rewarded after the Second Coming, which takes place at the end of the 7-year Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-3).

III – The Period

1 Corinthians 4:5 places the judgment of the believers right after the Lord comes at the Rapture. It is also apparent that the judgment must take place after the rapture because reward follows resurrection. This principle is made clear in Luke 14:12-14.

In this passage, Jesus, in conflict with the Pharisees, encouraged his hosts to invite the poor, the lame, the crippled and the blind to their banquets, because although these people won’t be able to pay them back, they will be repaid at the resurrection.

So there is coming a time when all the righteous deeds must be recompensed which will take place when the believers (righteous) are resurrected. That time of reward is the judgment seat of Christ.

IV – The Place

Since the judgment of the believers will take place after the rapture, it makes sense that it will take place in heaven.

Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them that He will come again to take them to be where He is in John 14:1-3. When Jesus comes in the clouds for His saints at the rapture, He will bring them straight to heaven for the judgment and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

The Greek word for judgment seat is “bema” which refers to a raised step or platform. It’s like a stage at the athletic games from which the rules were enforced and rewards are distributed to the winning athletes or participants.

In the same way, the bema or the judgment seat is the place where Christ will reward those who have finished the race and faithfully obeyed all the rules. Believers will appear at the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded while unbelievers will appear later at the Great White Throne Judgment to be condemned.

V – The Purpose

The purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is two-fold but before discussing them, it is important to clarify some misconceptions about the judgment of the believers.

First of all, the judgment seat is not to determine whether people will enter heaven or hell, neither is it to punish sins. This ultimate issue is decided when a person makes a conscious decision to accept or reject Christ.

The issue at the judgment seat is not salvation but rewards. Salvation is based exclusively on what Jesus Christ has accomplished through His suffering, death and resurrection. We are saved by grace, through faith alone in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).

1. Review

At the judgment seat, the Lord will review the life of every believer and will evaluate their actions after coming to faith in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says every believer must be judged “according to what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.”

But what does Paul mean by “good or bad?” What are these bad works? Bad works here do not actually mean “evil” but they are bad in the sense that they are worthless or inferior in quality. These works are good things in themselves but what makes them bad or worthless is if they are done for selfish reasons or with the wrong motives. God is an omniscient God; He knows everything. He knows not only what we do, but why we do it.

Good works vs. bad works

We can often fool people about our service and motives, and they may think we are doing some great things for God. But we can never fool God. At the judgment seat of Christ, all these impressive works will disappear for God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart (1 Corinthians 4:5). God’s rewards will be based on His right evaluation of our words, actions, attitudes and motives.

“People maybe pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.” – Proverbs 16:2 (NLT)

2. Reward

The second purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is to reward those who have faithfully served the Lord and poured out their lives to Him. The last part of 1 Corinthians 4:5 says “each one’s praise will come from God.”

Do not think that you won’t get anything and will probably walk away from the judgment seat empty-handed. Even if you have been a believer only for a few years, months or weeks when you come face to face with God to be judged, the Lord will surely find something in your life to praise and reward.

Reward or crown for the believers

But while rewards are given at the judgment seat, there is also the possibility of the loss of reward for some believers. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the apostle Paul says he disciplines his body like an athlete, training it to do what it should, for fear that he might be disqualified even after preaching to others.

Contrary to how some Bible readers interpret this passage, Paul is not expressing that he might lose his salvation. Rather, he is expressing the possibility of standing before the judgment seat of Christ and being “disapproved.” Paul is talking about receiving rewards and he does not want to come before the Judge and be disqualified for receiving a reward.

*There are 5 rewards or crowns that will be given to the believers when they are judged at the judgment seat of Christ:

a) The incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) for those who practiced self discipline and self-control.

b) The crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) for those who are eagerly looking for the Lord’s appearing and are living a righteous life in view of this fact.

c) The crown of life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) for those who have faithfully endured and persevered under trial.

d) The crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19) the soul winner’s crown which is given to those who win people for Christ.

e) The crown of glory (1 Peter 5:1-4) the shepherd’s crown for pastors, elders and church leaders who lovingly, graciously and faithfully shepherd and oversee God’s people.

VI – The Preparation

How do we prepare for the judgment? We know that in school, the most important day is test day or examination day. During exams, everything is different. The whole mood and atmosphere change. During ordinary days, students are relaxed and just goofing around. But when the teacher announces the scope of the exam, everybody suddenly becomes attentive.

What about the exams day for the believers? How are we supposed to prepare? Based on the five crowns that will be given, I believe we already have an idea of some of the areas that will be examined when we stand before the Lord.

Other areas include:

1) How we treat other believers and the people of God (Israel).

Galatians 6:10 says, “whenever we have the opportunity let us do good to all especially to those who are of the household of faith.” We may differ in minor theology with other believers but that should not be our reason to be hostile towards them. We belong to the Body of Christ and we should love one another as Jesus commanded us (1 John 4:7; John 13:34-35).

And Matthew 25:40 speaks of the way we treat the nation of Israel. Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who helped many Jews escaped the Nazi Holocaust during WW2, said this, “You cannot love God without loving the Jewish people.”

2) How we use and employ our God-given talents and abilities.

Are you using your gifts and talents to honor and serve God? Or are you using them for self gratification and worldly pleasures? I really admire some celebrities who, after coming to faith in Christ, have either become picky with the kind of roles they play onscreen or have decided to totally give up their acting careers in order to honor God.

3) How we spend our time.

Are you spending time to pray, worship God, read the Scriptures and share the Word? Or do you spend more time watching TV and on social media?

4) How we use our money and resources.

God owns everything; we are simply stewards, managers and caretakers of the Lord’s property. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the issue for the manager is faithfulness to his master. In the same way, God as our Master is looking for faithfulness (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

When God judges us at the judgment seat of Christ, He will evaluate how we used the treasure and talents He entrusted to us. God will not reward us based on how much money or talent we possessed, but rather how faithful we were with what He has given us. And those who have been faithful managers will receive the Master’s praise: “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23).

5) How we run the race God has marked out for us.

In the same way that an athlete needs focus, discipline and commitment in order to win the race, believers must also be committed and dedicated in running the race of faith. This is illustrated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 when he said that he disciplines his body like an athlete.

He’s saying that if athletes are willing to subject themselves to the suffering and demands of rigorous training to get a corruptible crown (trophy made of plastic, wood or metal), how much more should Christians be willing to sacrifice for an incorruptible reward in heaven at the judgment seat of Christ.

“The same commitment and dedication that make a winning athlete will make a winning Christian.”

Conclusion

We all have an appointment to stand before God someday to be judged. We cannot escape it. The only question is, which judgment will you face? Will you face God as one who trusted in Him or rejected His gift of eternal life? We should all want to participate in the judgment that will take place in heaven immediately after the Lord comes at the Rapture – the judgment of the believers in Christ.

Run the race with perseverance.

As we prepare to appear at the judgment seat of Christ, may we live our lives with a purpose, dedication, self-control and discipline as we give maximum effort in diligently pursuing the prize. As Paul said, let us forget the things which are behind us and reach forward for the things that are ahead (Philippians 3:12-14).


*Recommended Resource: 

Your Eternal Reward: Triumph and Tears at the Judgement Seat of Christ 
By Erwin W. Lutzer

Publisher’s Description:

When we reflect on how we lived for Christ, we might weep on the other side of the celestial gates.

To their own detriment, many Christians have emptied the judgment seat of Christ of its meaning, living like they will never meet His knowing gaze. For this they may have tears in heaven.

In this provocative book, Dr. Erwin Lutzer argues that remorse in heaven awaits those who don’t live fully for God on earth. Exploring the often-overlooked Scriptures about reward and judgment for Christians, Dr. Lutzer answers questions like:

  • How will believers be judged?
  • Do rewards for faithfulness vary?
  • If heaven is perfect, why do rewards even matter?

His answers are immensely practical. Your Eternal Reward will prompt you to live more faithfully, whether in your conduct, your speech, or even your use of money, that you might enjoy heaven all the more.

What is sown on earth is reaped in heaven, and Dr. Lutzer will have you taking this truth to heart.