The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt. They were invited to settle in Egypt to escape the famine in their own land. At first they were honored guests but that status changed.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. (Exodus 1:8-11)
The people prayed to God for freedom from their bondage and God chose Moses to answer their prayers.
Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7-10)
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. (1 Peter 1:10,11)
The Old Testament prophets tell us of the suffering Christ experienced when he was crucified; they tell us of the glory associeated with his rule over the earth during the Millennium. But what do they say about the time between these two events, the time in which we are living now? The answer is: not much. In fact they say nothing about the most important aspect of this era, the formation of the church. The apostle Paul was given the task of revealing this truth to us.
When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:4-6)
The Old Testament teaches that Gentiles will be saved; it never tells of the formation of a new body composed of both Jews and Gentiles. Paul not only teaches us about this body but he also tells how it will be removed from the earth through the event known as the rapture. Read the rest of this entry
1 Kings 22:1-40 describes the battle in which King Ahab of Israel lost his life. He asked Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, to join him in taking Ramoth-gilead back from the Syrians. Jehoshaphat agreed to help but insisted that they ask God’s guidance first.
Ahab called 400 prophets and asked whether he should go to war. The prophets were not true prophets but cared more about pleasing Ahab than delivering God’s message. They all assured him of victory. Jehoshaphat apparently realized they weren’t prophets of God and asked Ahab if there was another prophet they could ask. Ahab said there was another prophet, named Micaiah, but he hated him because he prophesied evil for Ahab. Jehoshaphat insisted on hearing him so Ahab ordered that he be brought in. Sure enough he predicted that Ahab would be killed in the coming battle. Read the rest of this entry
There are a lot of people who claim to be prophets who speak for God. The Bible warns us that many of them are not true prophets and we are not to listen to them. But how can you tell who really is a prophet and who isn’t? The Bible answers this question.
And if you say in your heart, “How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?”— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)
God sent Jonah to prophesy to the people of Nineveh.
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4)
This is how the Ninevites responded.
And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3:5-10)
Jonah said Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days and it didn’t happen. Does this mean that Jonah was a false prophet? Read the rest of this entry
There is a literary genre called post-apocalyptic fiction. It depicts a future in which civilization has been destroyed by a war or some other catastrophe and the survivors are attempting to cope with the changed environment. Most people have heard of post-apocalyptic fiction but not many realize there is also a class of literature that is post-apocalyptic fact.
The Bible prophesies a restoration of the Roman Empire just before Christ’s return and many Bible teachers think that the European Union is the fulfillment of that prophecy.
When the EU was formed this belief seemed reasonable. The founding members were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,and West Germany and these countries are all in territory that was once part of the Roman Empire. But since membership has grown and it now includes nations such as Sweden, Finland, and Poland that were never part of the empire.
Anyone who has studied the Bible much is probably familiar with Isaiah 7:14:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The New Testament tells us that it is a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus.
Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel describe an invasion of Israel which is stopped by divine intervention. There is disagreement among Bible students about when this invasion will take place. Some think it is a description of the final battle at Armageddon; some think it will take place earlier, perhaps before the beginning of the tribulation. In the Left Behind series it takes place even before the rapture of the church.
The last part of Ezekiel’s prophecy contains a description of the temple that will exist during Christ’s thousand year reign on earth. The Levites who serve in the temple will be divided into two groups. Read the rest of this entry
In the Old Testament it is clearly taught that there will be a resurrection of both the good and the bad.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
The laws God gave to Israel through Moses included a requirement that they sacrifice animals as an atonement for their sins. These sacrifices didn’t actually take away sins but only served as a picture of what Christ would do when he died for sin. Hebrews 10:11-14 says,
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Read the rest of this entry