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1 The Bible's common threads

The Bible's common threads
The Bible is a remarkable book. Although it was written by more than 40 different authors over at least 1200 years, thanks to the Holy Spirit's inspiration, it has several comprehensive themes which follow through like common threads. The first theme is about the meaning of life for us as individuals.
Question OK, isn't this just what you described for me in Series 1?
Answer The next overall theme has to do with the "History and Future of all humanity." By taking a few samples from Illustrated Series 2, let me take you on a quick and exciting journey, beginning thousands of years back in time, and ending more than a thousand years in the future:
  • In the Bible's first three chapters, you can read about God's purpose for this creation, and about the fall into sin of the first humans through disobedience and selfishness.
  • In the Bible's last three chapters we see God's ultimate purposes accomplished, and creation's restoration from the Fall.
Question But what on earth does this have to do with the direction our society is going today?

2 Societal Development and the Population Explosion

Societal Development and the Population Explosion
Answer When it comes to the development of society, we commonly speak about the following phases:
  • It began with the primitive hunter society, and
  • then followed thousands of years with a progressively developing agricultural society.
  • But with the advent of the industrial age from the 1700's onward, a dramatic movement of the population away from farming and into the cities and industries began to occur.
  • Currently, a portion of humanity is additionally coming into the knowledge- and information age.
Question But how could these recent transformations occur in such a short time?
Answer The predominant forces for change have been new technical and medical developments. As a result, the standard of living and health care have so greatly improved that the earth's population has grown explosively.

Therefore, more people can now be reached in a short time with the Bible's message of salvation than those who have been reached in the last 2000 years.

Question Many people hope that the future will become an utopia. What do you think?

3 History shows the necessity of salvation

History shows the necessity of salvation
Answer The ancient battle between truth and falsehood, and good and evil, began at the beginning of Creation, in the Garden of Eden. This battle will soon culminate in the knowledge- and information age of our time. Not until afterwards, in the Millennial Reign, will there be genuine peace and welfare on earth. For then the lifestyle of the kingdom of God will have finally come out victorious.
Question But, practically speaking, what does this mean for those of us who live in the middle this mess?

4 The battle over our thought life

The battle over our thought life
Answer Earlier, in the previous series, we learned that every change always begins in our thought life. For it is the thoughts and ideologies which we embrace which then easily can direct all of our actions. For this reason, along with the information age comes an increasing spiritual battle to gain dominion over the realm of our thoughts. Perhaps you yourself have sometimes felt that the enormous flood of information coming through newspapers, TV, films, and the internet is almost enough to drown us.
Question That's right! Could it be that our age of knowledge and information makes up the very top of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as we saw in the previous series?

5 Change to the right lifestyle

Change to the right lifestyle
Answer Right, and the fruit of what we "eat" will reveal with time which group we belong to:
  • The World is characterized by people who continually strive after higher positions with more power, money, sex, and greater popularity.
  • In the kingdom of God, on the other hand, it is intended that we learn to live unselfishly, by trying to bless others, and by helping to improve their lives, as far as it is practically possible. In this, Jesus is not only our example, but he is also the one who gives us both the will and the ability to live in the right way.
Question Practically speaking, what does this mean for our future?

6 Increasing light or darkness

Increasing light or darkness
Answer In the fall of man, humans chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God has given us a free will, and He respects that choice. Therefore He allows our choice of lifestyle to be the key issue in our knowledge-based society:

  • Darkness and evil will increase in those communities where people reject Christ and choose the way of selfishness, while
  • The light of truth will arise as a life-giving sun where people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and convert to his unselfish lifestyle.
Question Can you make this more concrete?

7 End time waves of revival of the truth

End time waves of revival of the truth
Answer Up until 1900, the Holy Spirit, who is also called "The Spirit of Truth," was the Godhead's most neglected person.

Without his "supernatural dimension" to Christianity, its light fades away until it resembles other religions.

But since then, wherever people began to invite the Holy Spirit to inhabit and empower the truth of the Bible's words:
  • people begin to become convicted of their deepest need -- to receive Christ as their Savior, and to partake of his life-changing power.
  • Others experience deep inner healing, thanks to God's tangible presence and love.
  • In this powerful presence of God, the sick also are healed from various kinds of diseases.
Question How does the spirit of falsehood work?

8 Falsehood's counter-revival in the end times

Falsehood's counter-revival in the end times
Answer During the 1900's, spiritual counter-movements have increased in both number and scope; these are for the most part inspired by God's enemy, the Devil.

Jesus called the Devil the "father of lies." He can offer short-lived success, but in the long run, however, he is always out to "steal, kill, and destroy."

He has the help of not only "common evil spirits," but also ones who specialize in religion and politics, for example:
  • At one end of the spectrum, we encounter atheism, which denies God, and at the other end we find devil-worshippers.
  • Further, traditional pagan religions have made their appearance in the western world. These include occultism, astrology, shamanism, and the New Age.
  • Unfortunately, for the time being, numerous religious spirits dwell among us average Christians.
  • Finally, we have extremist political and religious movements, which incite people to deeds of terrorism and war.
Question Can you give an example of this?
Answer Certainly. The lies of Nazism led to the second world war, and the lies of communism led to many wars in the third world. The all-time worst lie, however, was the Nazi slogan, "Work makes you free," which hung over the gate to one of the concentration camps.

9 The consequences of selfishness and evil

The consequences of selfishness and evil
Answer The deception of the end times will bring severe plagues upon humanity. These plagues are described in the Book of Revelation as being in three phases, called the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls of wrath:
  • During the seals, one fourth of the earth's environment and population are devastated by war, famine, epidemics, earthquakes, and martyrdom.
  • During the first four trumpets, one third of the earth's plants and animals are destroyed. During the final three trumpets, one third of the human population is killed, by among other things, a third world war.
  • During the bowls of wrath, nearly the entire world is destroyed by the unrestrained evil of humanity, since God will have then taken away "the Bride" and removed his protection over the human race.

Those who have chosen evil and the way of the lie will then be left to taste the fullest consequences of their choice.

Question But what will happen to the Christians at that time?

10 Raptured out of the persecution

Raptured out of the persecution
Answer Christians who remain faithful to God, despite the anti-Christian persecutions in the end times, have the promise of His protection. In the Bible, they are called the bride of Christ:
  • When the Bride is adorned through suffering, and goes on to fulfill her mission:
    • to proclaim the Truth of the gospel
    • and to demonstrate its transforming power before all the peoples of the world,
  • yes, then the longed-for deliverance will finally happen -- out of the tribulation -- away from the judgment of wrath -- at the time of the last trumpet.

In a similar way, God delivered His people from earlier judgments: Noah from the Flood; Lot from Sodom; the Hebrews from drowning in the Red Sea; and Christians from the destruction of Jerusalem.

Question So you don't believe that the Bride will be rescued already before the start of the end times?
Answer No, unfortunately there are Bible passages which contradict that popular opinion.
Question OK then, but what do you believe about the Millennium, and about all those who have already lived and died?

11 Truth crushes the statue

Truth crushes the statue
Answer Before I answer that question, I want to complement the information with this illustration, which symbolizes the vision of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The statue symbolizes 5 of the 7 earlier world empires in history. At this time, the 8th empire remains to come, which will eventually become the kingdom of the Antichrist.

One thing which they all have in common is that they are driven by a devil-inspired faith in human ability to build a utopia on earth by their own devices:

  • Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom received the gold seal, however, because he came to a personal belief in God, and exhorted his subjects to follow his example.
  • The worst grade was given to the feet of "iron and clay," signifying the future kingdom of the Antichrist. This also reveals that the political concord of the empire will be very weak.
  • The classic interpretation is furthermore that the ancient Roman empire's two parts (the legs) also make up the skeleton of the Antichrist's kingdom.
    I believe that the weak legs could also symbolize our industrialized society's catastrophic vulnerability in the areas of energy and the market economy.
  • Nebuchadnezzar's vision ends with a great stone which comes down from heaven, strikes the feet, and totally crushes the statue. Bible scholars agree that the stone represents Christ, who is himself "the Truth," and who by His coming destroys Satan's dominion, and ushers in the millennial kingdom.
  • I agree, but personally I see the crushing as the finishing touch, since the church has been faithfully preaching the truth up until the end.

We must never forget that God's highest will is to save as many as possible and not to not judge, too early.

Question Can you give more details about the Millennial kingdom?

12 The Millennium, and the final judgment

The Millennium, and the final judgment
Answer After exposing the consequences of the wickedness of the Devil, God can finally bring in the eagerly awaited Millennial kingdom, where the lifestyle of the kingdom of God prevails on earth. At this time, the Devil will be imprisoned, and Christ will reign on earth instead, together with the Bride:
  • For the first time on earth, it will be popular to be a Christian, and conditions like the "Garden of Eden" will exist.
  • Nevertheless, some people will be content with a pseudo-Christianity. These will openly fall away when the Devil is released for a short time at the end of the Millennium.
  • By this, God will show that not even the most ideal external environment can make humans become good.

Salvation through Jesus Christ is therefore the only thing which can radically transform our innermost being.

Question What happens next?
Answer After the Millennium comes the "Final Judgment." At that time, all people who have ever lived on earth (besides the Bride) will be raised. They will be righteously judged based on their circumstances, for example, the things they have been taught, and what they have then done:
  • Those whose names are written in the "Book of Life" will be raised to eternal life in fellowship with God.
  • Those who have done evil, such as liars, murderers, immoral people, and those who have been in contact with demons, will be forever condemned.
After the final judgment, God will finally create a new heaven and a new earth -- where ideal goodness dwells, without sin or death.

The main purpose of the historic/prophetic view in the Bible, is:
  • to give the reader a deap assurance that it is Jesus Christ,
  • and not the Devil or people
who has the utmost authority, regardless of how bad it might look at the moment.

If you want to find out more, read further in the Mini, and Midi texts.

Please feel free to download the picture-series download (aprox.2 min with 56.6 kbit modem) so that you can continue to read it in your time.

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