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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

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In Matthew 1:9, verses 23 to 26 we read:

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly (with difficulty), enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, it is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible“.

These words of Jesus in verse 24 are in relation to the kingdom of God (not heaven) and relate to God’s Salvation without which a rich man (or anyone else) cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Man obviously cannot pass a camel through the eye of a needle. Similarly a rich man cannot enter the kingdom of God by his own efforts without the salvation provided by God.

The title from verse 26 of Matthew 19 means what it says, that nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for God!

Let us now consider a few of the many promises and acts of God and Jesus in the Holy Bible.

(1) God’s Creation
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is widely believed to apply to all nature and the universe in which we live. God’s Word in the Bible teaches us that God created the universe and all things in it, including Man. The theory of evolution maintains that all things are caused by natural selection apparently without a designer. In other words by accident or chance.

Sir James Jeans, the eminent scientist, once remarked: “Science should leave off making pronouncements. The river of knowledge has too often turned back on itself”

This is happening today, when many people are beginning to question the theory of evolution. Dr E.F. Schumacher did not accept it. He said that with living things – animals and plants, nature adapts to changes in the environment, usually over long periods of time. But the idea of evolution-chance accident, natural selection and no designer, is hardly logical and not acceptable especially in the light of Genesis 1. This first chapter in the Bible tells us that God created all things.

Make no mistake, God’s Word in the Bible contains only pure truth.With God all things are possible, so surely He is more than able to protect His Word from all attempts to alter and change it. The curse of Revelation 22:18 & 19 rests on any who attempt such an act!

Observe the Earth, all nature and the universe above. God designed and built all this. He placed man on the Earth, created the birds, animals, flowers, trees, land and sea etc. It’s all written in God’s Word. Is the theory of evolution believable in the light of Genesis 1 and Matthew 19:26?

The Bible teaches the necessity of truth, righteousness and belief in God and His Son Jesus the Christ.God does not lie! The writings from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 are absolute truth. God’s authority is established in Isaiah 44:6:

If we ignore or disbelieve God’s Word, we do so at our own very grave peril! Remember, with God all things are possible.

Consider for a moment the activities of modern man in medicine, transport, communications, machines and instruments etc. All have been developed gradually with complex designs and skills over many centuries. All involved designers without whom nothing could have been done. Creation also needed a designer. The designer was God. Even all of man’s discoveries and inventions were inspired or taught by God. Without our God we are as nothing!

Creationism is the true belief which all mankind will realise at the Second Advent of Jesus the Christ, which is getting much nearer now.

(2) The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
Due to the constant extreme iniquity by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in about 1900 BC, God said to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 18:20 & 21:

“… the Lord said, because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.”

In Genesis 18:23 Abraham says to God:

“… Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”

In Genesis 18:32 Abraham also says to God:

” … Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He (God) said I will not destroy it for ten’s sake”

Later two angels came to Sodom and took Lot and his wife and two daughters out of the city. They were the only righteous ones found. In Genesis 19 verses 24 and 25 we read:

“Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven; And He overthrew those cities and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground”.

Paul’s momentous words in Romans 6:23 must never be forgotten: “The wages of sin is death. ..”

Probably the extreme iniquity of Sodom and Gomorrah necessitated this destruction, in order to prevent further spreading of sin. It appears that no righteous people existed in the area except Lot and his family who the two angels took away before the destruction.

As we saw above, “with God all things are possible.”

God in his wisdom can tell if there is no hope of reformation. In this case of Sodom and Gomorrah, removal from the earth was the result. Note that God checked this out Himself in Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 18:20 & 21). In verse 21 God says “I will know”. God can see into our minds and characters, and know our certain future as well as our past!

(3) The iniquity and scattering of Israel
Another example of constant iniquity concerns the children of Israel. The history of Israel shows constant repetition of iniquity followed sometimes by repentance. About 930 BC God divided Israel into two ‘houses’. The house of Judah containing the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. And the house of Israel containing the other ten tribes.

Finally, God scattered the house of Israel by allowing the Assyrians to exile them about 722 BC. Later about 586 BC Judah were similarly exiled and scattered by the Babylonians.

When the house of Israel were exiled a few members may have attached themselves to the house of Judah. But the belief by some that the faithful members of Israel attached themselves to Judah, and that God then abandoned the rest of Israel, is emphatically completely contrary to scripture. God’s Word frequently confirms Israel’s permanent existence. At any case to imagine that God would go back on His divine promises to Abraham and the subsequent fathers, is to doubt the integrity of Almighty God, which is to be hoped is never in anyone’s mind.

The reason for the exiles was the constant iniquity of all the twelve tribes. So all Israel were scattered abroad, but were not destroyed as were Sodom and Gomorrah. Jeremiah 51:5 confirms this:

“For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts, though the land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel”.

On the return to Jerusalem of a relatively small part of the house of Judah in about 432 BC, Nehemiah tells us in chapter 9 verse 31:

“Nevertheless for thy great mercies sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them, for thou art a gracious and merciful God”

It may be asked why did God show mercy to all Israel, but totally remove the people of Sodom and Gomorrah?

The answer is that no faithful people existed in the nations of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are told in Genesis 18:32 that if God had found ten faithful people in Sodom and Gomorrah, He would not have removed them. We are also told in the Bible that God will always maintain a faithful remnant in Israel. Ezekiel confirms this:

“Yet will I (God) leave a remnant that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries”

Malachi 3:6 also tells us:

“For I am the LORD, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed”.

Once our God makes a promise, He never changes it.

Zephaniah 3:13 goes further:

“The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: …”

Paul in Romans 11:5 also tells us:

“Even so then at this present time (about 60 AD) also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (salvation of God which is also the New Covenant of God with Israel- see Jeremiah 31:31.)

God speaking in Psalm 89 verse 34 states categorically in connection with Israel:

“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips”

So we know for sure that all the promises that God made to Abraham, the fathers and all Israel are absolutely certain to be kept although Israel are scattered world wide. On His return to this Earth, Jesus will seek out each member of the remnant of Israel even as we are told in Amos 9:9:

“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”

As always – with God all things are possible.

(4) The promised regathering of Israel by God
We have seen how God scattered Israel world wide, and yet He promises that He will not abandon them. Therefore true Israel must still exist today. It is important to understand that except for a minority, the Jews of today are largely descended from non-Israel stock, from other nations especially the Edomites who were the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. As we have already seen, God scattered Israel worldwide, which probably means that many small enclaves of Israelites exist in many other countries. The larger part of true Israel today are the British and Scandinavian peoples and their many descendants abroad, such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and other places. The Bible teaches that Israel were to accept strangers into their nation, providing that the strangers obeyed all of the commandments and precepts that God set out for Israel through Moses and later through Jesus the Christ.

The Bible also makes it clear that Israel were appointed God’s servant nation to do His will, and to teach and show by example the rest of mankind, God’s holy ways and rules of conduct for the common good. As servants of God they were also, in effect, teachers and servants to the rest of mankind. In Romans 11:1,2, 11 & 12, (Pts) Paul tells us:

” … Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.
(11)… Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
(12) Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them be the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?”

Returning now to the ‘remnant of Israel;’ these are the truly faithful among Israel who are described as such because they are also believers in the salvation of Jesus the Christ, which is also the New Covenant God made with Israel. Therefore the remnant of Israel are also members of the church of Christ and are redeemed through His salvation.

To say as some believe, that the promises of God to Israel are now transferred to the church is not scriptural. But what can be said is, that the promises of God to Israel will be fulfilled if they are members of the church of Christ, thus benefitting from the New Covenant God made with Israel

(5) The f’irst advent of Jesus the Christ, The Divine Redeemer This is the most important event in the history of the world and is the origin of Christianity, the only true religion. As stated above, previously God had made the New Covenant with Israel wherein He promised to cleanse them from their iniquity. God had in view the then future salvation through Jesus the Christ not only for Israel but for all mankind. The prophets had spoken about this First Advent over the previous centuries.

Some 2000 years ago, only a relatively few people on the Holy Land at the time recognized and believed in the entry into this world of the Son of God, the Divine Redeemer of mankind, as a tiny baby.

This event had also been revealed many eons of time before the prophets and is referred to in Psalm 19:1 to 4 as a previous revelation, written by David about 1000 BC. The origin of the story is very ancient indeed. Through the very ancient names of the stars and constellations (which the Bible tells us were named by God) put together, reveal a short story. This story is repeated in each constellation and tells us that a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son who would be the saviour and redeemer of all mankind! This is none other than the story of the birth of Jesus! See the two articles called “The heavens declare the glory of God”Parts 1 and 2 published in the Ensign Message in volumes 5/3 and 5/4 in late 2003.

The meaning behind the story of the salvation through Jesus the Christ is simple and wonderful.

Mankind have all disobeyed God’s laws, which were made for man’s benefit in order that man could live a trouble free life. God, knowing that man would universally break these laws, in His infinite Mercy, provides a way for all mankind to be forgiven and so eventually enter into eternal life. The law, if disobeyed, requires the punishment of death.

To cover this requirement of death for the sinner, God ordained death through Jesus the Christ by death on the cross of Calvary to satisfy the Law’s requirements of death for all the sinners of mankind. God the Divine Infinite Being was able to satisfy the Law’s demands for the deaths of all sinners. Thus all the sins of true believers in Jesus are forgiven.

We must always try our best to totally abstain from all sin, always seeking His ever available help and protection. We can see from this story, how God was able to combine both His Justice and boundless mercy.

Make no silly mistake here, this divine story is of absolute divine origin, and therefore of absolute truth. We will all eventually find this out, either to our joy and thankfulness, or sadly in our disbelief, to our own extreme distress.

Truly and especially in the case that with God all things are possible.

(6) The second advent of Jesus the Christ
This, literally, world shattering event, will mark the beginning of the end of all iniquity of every kind, and the setting up of the kingdom of heaven here on earth with Jesus the Christ reigning as the supreme king over all the earth.

Both the old and the new testaments of the Bible give vivid prophetic accounts of this event. In His first advent Jesus came as a small newborn child. In this second advent He will come with tremendous power and great glory with millions of His holy angels universally visible to all mankind.

As we saw above, throughout the Bible mankind is warned that eventually, be it sooner or later, their own sins and wrongdoings will catch up with them, and may lose them the chance of redemption and resurrection into eternal life.

In Matthew 24:27, 28, 29, 30 & 31 Jesus gives a description of His coming:

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all of the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

The elect who shall be gathered together refers to true believers in Jesus the Christ from Israel and all nations and from all time. Further, Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:27 & 28:

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. .. verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom”.

Verse 28 cannot mean the people standing near Jesus then (about 30 AD) would be still alive and die at the second advent, Jesus was probably referring to the dead in Christ being resurrected at His second coming or being transfigured. Continuing in Matthew, Jesus quotes several parables in chapter 25 which describe many types who may not be redeemed or resurrected at the second advent. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus also tells us:

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” .

The words “this generation” could not apply to the people alive in Jesus’s time. The word generation here means “nation” – Jesus is referring to Israel. He is in effect confirming that Israel will still exist at the time of His second advent, even as is shown in many other prophecies in the Bible.

It is again repeated, the Bible gives many warnings and the results of the practice of iniquity at the time of the Second Advent. Isaiah in his chapter 13 prophesies a fearful scenario at that time, which is also referred to as the day of The Lord. In chapter 13:6 to 14 (in part) we are told:

“Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: and they shall be afraid… Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious (rare) than fine gold (not many left!) even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. (probably a rare treasure) Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger… And they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee everyone into his own land.”

Isaiah’s description of the day of the Lord continues through chapters 13 and 14, and should be read.

Luke 21:26-28 records Jesus’ description of the day of the Lord:

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for, the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh:”

Here in verse 28 Jesus is referring to the moment of the resurrection and redemption of all the faithful believers in Jesus the Christ in all time and space. From Isaiah 13 and Luke 21 it is clear that Almighty God has long ago ordained the time for the second advent of Jesus the Christ and the eventual final complete removal of all evil from this world, and to set up His kingdom of righteousness and to rule throughout the whole world. The descriptions of the happenings at the Day of the Lord are repeated throughout the Bible. As with other prophetical themes in the Bible, the constant repetition of them always indicates their outstanding importance.

Bible students down through the ages have constantly looked for (and some even predicted dates for) the Second Advent. Critics and disbelievers scoffed at these warnings, and still do. We do not know the date of this advent, perhaps we may know eventually,perhaps not, but God knows! Many of the prophesied signs just before the second advent are being seen about us now. More are yet to come possibly very quickly as per Matthew 24:27. The general agreement among Bible students today is that the Second Advent is near.

Can any disbeliever really afford to take his or her chance in view of the predictions above from Matthew, Luke and Isaiah, which are repeated in many other places in the Bible?

A small child, in learning about life in general, does well to obey advice and warnings from parents of danger in this or that activity.Disobedience could bring peril or even worse, as we all know. God calls us all His children, and whether good or bad He loves us all. We also would do well to be obedient to his advice and warnings in order to avoid peril or even worse.

The Bible makes it clear that all true believers in Jesus the Christ, whether alive or dead at the Second Advent will suddenly experience the promised redemption. Paul in I Thessalonians 4:16 & 17 confirms this:

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”

Quoting Paul again from I Corinthians 15:51 to 53 we are told:

“Behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep (be dead), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

In the light of this scriptural evidence and prophecies, surely non-believers can hardly be described as acting wisely in ignoring these Bible truths! In normal mortal
activities no sensible person would dream of walking across a busy motorway, or being a non swimmer jump into a raging storm at sea, or jump from an aeroplane without a parachute, or any other fatal acts? No of course they wouldn’t. Without any doubt, to ignore our Almighty God and disbelieve His Word is to take a risk far greater and more certain than any of the human risks like those above!

For some 6,000 years now God has been gently warning mankind of the very dangerous practice of active sin and iniquity, – and how to avoid it. After all it is our own sin which will destroy us! The time of the return of Jesus the Christ is approaching, and it must now be asked, who is on the Lord’s side?

Believe in God’s Bible which is His Word, Believe in His salvation.

After all with God all things are possible!

A most earnest prayer for all individuals of mankind to use comes from Jude verses 24 and 25:

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen”

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