Bible study group

We will be starting another online Bible study class soon. Please email healingleaf2011@live.com if you would like to join us. Include days and times (morning/evening) that would work best for you and we will send you more information – we would like to accommodate as many as we can.

Spread the word and bring your friends.
Here are a some of the topics we will be covering:

  • How to use the Bible as a ladder
  • Our duty as believers
  • Does God have secrets?
  • What kind of field am I?
  • Who has the right to call God “Father”?
  • Knowledge vs Understanding
  • Figurative Language: Why did Jesus speak in parables?

Looking forward to studying God’s word with you!

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Language of Heaven

Every country has its own language, and in fact, even those countries that speak the same language have their own colloquialisms or phrases that are native to them.

As Christians, we want our citizenship to be in heaven (Phil 3:20), and just like other countries and places of citizenship, heaven has its own language. Can a person function well in a country if they don’t understand the language at all? Can one obey all the laws of that country if you don’t understand the language?

When Jesus came he said everything to the crowd using parables, he used this figurative language – the language of heaven. However, when he was alone with his disciples, those who truly belonged to him, he explained everything (Mk 4:34). His disciples received the explanation and knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but those on the ‘outside’ did not (Mt 13:10-11; Mk 4:10-12).

Jesus admits to speaking figuratively, however, he promises a time when things will be spoken of plainly, when those things that have been hidden will be revealed (Jn 16:25). God designated another time to explain all the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. There is a time for it to be sealed up and closed, and there is a time when it will be opened and revealed.

“He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.”~Daniel 12:9

If you went to visit a friend, but their house was locked and they were not home when you got there, what would you do? Break into the house, or wait until they returned, unlocked the house and invited you in?

In Isaiah 29:9-13 the scroll of the Old Testament was sealed. Nobody could understand it. The proverbial house was locked. In Habakkuk 2:2-3 we are told that the revelation awaits an appointed time. There is an appointed time when the book will be opened and revealed, when what was impossible to understand, will become plain.

When Jesus came at the time of the first coming, he brought the revelation of God (Mt 11:27). In order to know God you had to go to Jesus. This was the appointed time, when all the prophecies in the Old Testament could be explained, because the fulfillment had come. The master had come, the house was unlocked, and those who wanted to come in could.

However, there is a time the master locks the house once again and leaves, but not before promising another Counselor (Jn 16:7), and a time when what was sealed in figurative language will be understood plainly (Jn 16:25).

In Revelation 5:1 there is a scroll sealed with 7 seals in God’s hand. This sealed scroll gets given to Jesus, who is the only one worthy to open the scroll (Rv 5:7). The scroll gets given to the mighty angel who takes it to Apostle John in Revelation 10. Apostle John is told to eat the opened scroll, and then speak to all the people and nations (Rv 10:8-11).

Once again God shows us a sealed scroll, like in Isaiah 29. It can only be opened by the one who sealed it, and since Jesus spoke figuratively at the time of the first coming, sealing up the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, he is the one who has to open the scroll at the appointed time – the time of the second coming. Once the scroll has been opened, Apostle John has to give the revealed word to the servants (Rv 1:1-2).

Instead of waiting for the master of the house to return and unlock the house, people have been breaking and entering, creating their own interpretations, understanding, and teachings.
We need to hear the explanation of the fulfillment before we are able to understand clearly, just like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.

We have to learn how to distinguish good from evil, the truth from the lies. We have to be mature believers.

“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” ~Hebrews 5:14

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Have you ever been locked out or your house? 

The Sun, Moon, and Stars

Recently I have heard a lot of questions and interpretations concerning the prophecies about the darkening and falling of the sun, moon, and stars at the time of Jesus’ return. Here are the two passages usually mentioned:

“Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”
~Matthew 24:29

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”
~Revelation 6:12-13

The only way we should understand these things is by turning to God’s word for the explanation.

Prophecies are written using a figurative language, they are not supposed to be understood literally. In fact the same events where prophesied to take place at the time of the first coming:

“All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved 
and the sky rolled up like a scroll; 
all the starry host will fall 
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.” 
~Isaiah 34:4 (and Isaiah 13:10)

Did the physical sun, moon, and stars turn dark and fall to the earth at the time of Jesus’ first coming? Did God lie when He gave His word to the prophet Isaiah? If we can’t understand how these heavenly bodies fell at the time of the first coming, then how can we be so sure that we will be able to recognize it taking place again at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment?

So what are the sun, moon and stars referring to?

In Genesis 32:28 Jacob is given the new name “Israel”, because he had struggled with man and with God and had overcome. We know that ‘Israel’ then has 12 sons. In Genesis 37:9-11 one of Israel’s sons, Joseph, has a dream in which his household (Jacob [Israel], his wife, and the 11 other sons) are represented by the sun, the moon, and the stars. God uses these heavenly bodies to represent His chosen people. The 12 tribes of Israel are created after each of the 12 sons.

So how did the sun, moon and stars turn dark and fall at the first coming?

God’s chosen people were the Physical Israelites, the Jewish nation. However, they refused to accept their Messiah. Jesus came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (Jn 1:11). Because God’s people, the spiritual sun, moon and stars, had turned their backs on God, the kingdom of God was taken away from them and given to a people who would produce its fruit (Mt 21:43).

The Physical Israelites turned dark by refusing to accept the light (Jn 8:12), and so they fell from their position of being God’s chosen people. They fell from heaven, a place of dwelling with God, to the earth, becoming mere men no longer God’s people.

Now God has to establish a new chosen people. Those who received and believed in the name of the one who was sent now become the spiritual children of God, those who are born of God. It is no longer dependent on lineage, or physical descent (Jn 1:12-13). Those who are spiritually born of God are His new chosen people – the new sun, moon and stars.

Philippians 2:15 says, “…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…”

However, this is what we have to understand. Once again, at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment, the sun, moon and stars turn dark and fall (Rv 6:12-13). Once again, those who belong to God turn their backs on Him, fall from their position in ‘heaven’, and return to the ‘earth’.

Did the Pharisees and Jews understand the prophecies at the time of the first coming? Did they realize they were the ones actually fulfilling the scriptures? If we don’t understand how this is going to happen, then how can we make sure it isn’t us that fulfill this part of scripture?

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Do you enjoy star gazing?

Are you being led to God’s Mountain?

“Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.”

~Psalm 43:3

So what is this light and truth that will be sent to guide us? Here are some verses to help connect the dots…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ~John 1:1

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” ~1 John 1:5

From these verses we can see that God = the Word (Jn 1:1), God = Light (1 Jn 1:5), and therefore the Word = Light as well. In fact Ps 119:105 even tells us that God’s word is a light for our path,

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.”

Now we know what the “light” is, but what is the “truth”? John 17:17

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

God’s word, the light and truth contained in His word, is what will lead and guide us. But where are we supposed to be led to? Psalm 43:3 tells us that if we follow God’s light and truth, they will bring us to His holy mountain, the place where He dwells (how awesome is that?). But what and where is this holy mountain and dwelling place of God?

Isaiah 2:2-3 says,

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”

The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

The Lord’s temple (the one place where God dwells – like he dwelt in the Tabernacle and then the Temple in the Old Testament) will become chief among the mountains. Even though there are other mountains, there is only one where God dwells, where the word of the Lord goes out from, and that is Mount Zion (v.3).

In Revelation 14:1-3 we see the 144,000, who are singing the new song, are before God’s throne (v.3), and Jesus is with them (v.1). Where are they?…at Mount Zion.

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. […] And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” ~Rv 14:1,3

The throne room of heaven, described in Revelation 4, is now seen in Rv 14 on Mt Zion, complete with the throne, the 4 living creatures, and 24 elders. If a mountain is figuratively used to describe a temple (modern-day church), and the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be raised above the hills and be established as chief among the mountains, then this is where God’s word of truth and light must lead us. To Mount Zion. The place where God dwells. Heaven.

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Have you ever gone mountain climbing?

Which mountain? What abomination?

When the disciples asked Jesus what the signs of the end of the age will be, the first thing Jesus said was, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.”  (Matthew 24:4-5). I don’t think many of us would be deceived by someone coming up to us saying, “Hey, follow me, I am the Christ”, however, there must be a reason Jesus said this. So who are the ‘many’ who will be deceived, and how will this deception take place?

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
~2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

How does this relate to not being deceived? Well, here we see how a man of lawlessness, doomed to destruction, manages to set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God…sounds similar to the deception in Mt 24:5.

And how about Mt 24:15-16

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Here again we see an abomination standing in the holy place. But what is the holy place? What is the abomination? How did it get into the holy place? And which mountain must we flee to?

The holy place is God’s temple (modern-day church), and the only way the abomination can get there is by deceiving the ‘inhabitants’ of the holy place by claiming to be the Christ (Mt 24:5), proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thes 2:4). This is why we are warned so many times in the Bible to test spirits, discern the times, and watch out we are not deceived.

These passages are prophecies concerning the end times. Prophecies in the Bible are written using a ‘spiritual’ or ‘figurative’ language. They are not meant to be understood literally. But if we don’t understand what the true meaning of the figurative language is, then how are we going to do what is required of us, how are we going to know which mountain to go to, or what the abomination is? Jesus promises that there will be a time when he will speak plainly and not use this figurative language anymore (Jn 16:25). If the time has come when we can understand plainly, then we will know what mountain to go to and what this abomination is.

Even though the true meaning of the New Testament prophecies have been hidden, there is a promise that they are only hidden until the time God has appointed for their fulfillment (1 Cor 2:7; 1 Cor 13:12). At that time we will be able to see face-to-face and fully understand, but will we choose to see, or will we act like the Pharisees at the time of the first coming?

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Nobody is expected to believe without evidence. John 14:29 tells us that we have been given prophecies so that we are able to believe in their fulfillment when it happens. It’s time to fully understand the scriptures and the New Testament. Let’s have ears that hear and eyes that see, so that we can keep the covenant and do what is required of us.