I, Gerard, grew up on a farm. We went to church occasionally. I remember that a classmate said to me one day, ‘You were in church for a change.’ It surprised me. With my limited knowledge of the Bible and God, it never struck me that church attendance was important, or necessary.
# The ‘boring Bible’
What I do remember very well is that I could not fathom why the man in the front of the church read from that big black book that seemed so boring. I was accustomed to exiting cowboy stories (think Zane Gray, Tarzan of the Apes, and others). I even considered giving the man in front some tips on exciting books.
# The ‘troublemaker’
- Anyway, to cut the story short, somewhere around the age of 31, God got hold of me. We (my wife and I) joined a small Pentecostal church. I caused quite a stir with all my questions.
- Once I asked the leaders why they prayed so loudly? If God was near, He could easily hear them even if they prayed in normal tones. If God was far away, He wouldn’t be able to hear no matter how loudly they prayed.
- You can imagine what ructions it caused among the sincere, venerable elders. It is no miracle to understand why I was called the ‘troublemaker.’
# Where are we after about 40 years?
- We stand strong in the faith.
- We know the Bible is the most important book of all times.
- We look forward to see the face of God.
- We understand that everything that happens in the world has to do with this miraculous book and its Great King, God.
Our aim is to report the answers I got for some of my questions since I became a follower of Jesus. We trust you will enjoy what we want to say.
Thanks that you have read this far.
To be continued….
It caused quite a stir when the New York Times published an anonymous letter indicating how people inside the administration work against Mr Trump. How are leaders supposed to handle such things? Does the Bible give us insight how the glorious eternal God, Ruler of the eternal Kingdom, will prevent something like that during His eternal reign?
# Jesus and the traitor in His midst
“Then of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?'” 1 It was the time of the Passover and Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims. Therefore it was difficult for the leaders to know exactly where Jesus would be in the evening, as they did not want to draw unnecessary attention to their scheme to get rid of Him.
# Jesus’ grace towards Judas
Jesus identified Judas as the traitor in front of the other disciples. 2 That was to give Judas the opportunity to reconsider. Why did Judas not repent? There is a twofold answer:
- Judas loved money. Lazarus and his sisters gave a dinner in Jesus’ honour. Mary took some expensive perfume and anointed Jesus’ feet. We read in John 12:1-6, “But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages?’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
- Satan entered Judas. ‘The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.’ Jesus identified Judas, “‘[The one who will betray me] is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.” 3
# God and traitors
- God uses this age to identify the rebels, ‘independents’ and traitors who belong to the devil. They themselves make it very clear they are not in the least interested in God and don’t want to be associated with Him. Logically they will not be with God in the age to come.
- Let’s compare God’s brilliance to Mr Trump’s dilemma. He is the president, but he has no way to identify the secret traitors. God’s advantage is that he knows all things. Therefore He allows the traitors to expose themselves before the eternal Kingdom begins. It is on this side of the grave that people pledge loyalty to God, through Jesus Christ.
God’s called, chosen and faithful followers 4 will enjoy the privileges of the eternal reign of God. What a precious reward for loyalty. And Mr Trump? As commanded in 1 Timothy 2:1-6, we are to pray for him as for other leaders.
- Matthew 26:14-15
- Matthew 26:21-26
- John 13:21-27
- Revelation 17:14
People are curious to know if the Bible is still relevant for today. After all, wasn’t it written centuries ago? Isn’t the Bible only for religious people who pray, go to church, give money, et cetera?
Actually, no. The Bible is universal because it reveals God’s plan for man. That plan is to establish an eternal new country where He rules as the Head. The citizens will be people who accepted God’s Lordship on this side of the grave and will therefore enjoy His benefits eternally.
# Yet we live in a time of opposition to the Bible and God.
- For example, it is anathema to teach the Bible in schools; it is frowned on to talk about the Bible on campuses. Free speech means about anything, except what God says in the Bible.
- Politicians as well as social media giants like Facebook and Google, take exception to ‘hate mongering.’ That means people are uncomfortable when it comes to the message in the Bible that, ‘…God now commands all people everywhere to repent.’ 1
- Psalm 2:1-2 says, ‘Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.’ It is remarkable that we see this opposition all around us. The Western World is very much engaged in getting rid of the God of the Bible.
# There is an incident in Genesis 11:1-9 that clearly illustrates this.
- The history of the Tower of Babel shows us what happens when nations, cities or societies write God out of the equation or embrace other standards.
- Confusion was the result. God confused their language so they could no longer understand each other. As a result they were scattered all over the earth. The tower of Babel explains the origin of different languages and cultures.
- Even in the Church there is confusion. Some say this, some claim that, and the debates almost never stop. If it was only about ‘small’ things like wearing a hat to church, it would not have mattered.
- But today many begin to question the Bible in the first chapter, at the creation. They skirt around it and declare that it is some kind of metaphor. They ask, was Jesus resurrected? Is He the Son of God? It is question upon question.
# Confusion reigns in many modern Western countries.
There is no consensus about what marriage is, whether a person is a male or a female, et cetera. They have nice words for such confusion. It is ‘politically correct,’ ’gender fluidity,’ ‘diversity.’ It sounds wonderful, but it must be quite confusing when there is no authoritative guide and the only authoritative guide, the Bible, is either outright banned or frowned upon.
There will be confusion in a society that rejects truth as expounded in the Bible:
- Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 2
- The Word of God is Truth. 3
- The Holy Spirit teaches us about Truth (the Living Truth, Jesus) and truth (the written truth, the Word of God). 4
- Acts 17:30b
- John 14:6
- John 17:17
- John 16:13