Are we living in the "last days"? The apostle Paul warned in a second epistle to the evangelist Timothy:
"This know also, that IN THE LAST DAYS perilous times shall come" (2 Tim 3:1).Violence and fear from wars and rumors of wars, terrorism, threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD's), increasingly devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, etc. dominates much of today's news.
These along with famines and pestilences from newly emerging diseases, such as AIDS, Ebola, new forms of killer influenza and other highly virulent viruses, as well as reemerging infectious diseases of the past, and threats of bio-terrorism threaten to overwhelm our emergency response capabilities and medical facilities around the globe.
Is there any END in sight to all the troubles and terror? Are we in the "last days"? Do these sound like warnings of the Apocalypse?
As the world's population (now over 6 billion people and doubling every 35-50 years) mushrooms, resources are dwindling and pollution and global warming appear to be on the verge of spiraling out of control beyond the earth's capacity to keep up. With all this it seems that political and religious leaders, vying for power and control for selfish interests are incapable of establishing and sustaining a united effort for solving mankind's problems - essential to the survival of civilization as we know it. And now, as political and religious terrorists are stalking the earth, it seems that the UN (United Nations), created after World War II as a last hope for mankind, is becoming a dysfunctional organization.
What are the meanings of these things? Are there any workable solutions? Does the Bible have any answers?
The Book of Revelation (from the Greek "Apokalupsis"), written over 1,900 years ago by the apostle John, has been a mystery to the world - "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" - quoting Churchill's statement concerning intentions of despotic Russian leaders. Yet by its very title it is called a book of Revelation, meaning in the original Greek, to REVEAL, uncover, unveil, disclose secrets - not to hide them - even as John wrote:
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show His servants that which must soon ("tachos," soon or hastily, quickly, speedily, shortly) come to pass. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John
"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear ("akouo," hear, listen, understand, hearken) the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near (at hand)" (Rev 1:1,3).
Many, because they don't understand the Bible or its prophecies, consider them to be just fables, the works of fanatics, conjuring up doom's day scenarios such as "Armageddon." Are biblical prophecies, and the Apocalypse (Revelation) the fanatical writings of men, or are they revelations from God for mankind? (See, "Keys to Understanding the Mysteries of Biblical Prophecy"). John, God's apostle, said,
"I was in the spirit (having a spiritual vision) [before ("en," meaning in, into, on, toward, at, by, before, during, after, about, because of, etc.)] the Lord's Day (the Day of the Lord)…" (Rev 1:10).
God had given him visions of things leading up to and into the Day of the Lord and the time of His judgment over all the earth, prophesied by many OT prophets (ie. Isa 2:11-12; Jer 23:5-6; Joel 2:1,11; Zeph 1:14-15). Fulfillment of its prophecies will indeed prove that they are Revelations from God and not just the fanatical writings of men. For only the Eternal Almighty Creator could prophesy in detail what will happen over the period of 2,000 years and more and it come to pass just as prophesied.
However the prophetic warnings of Scriptures, the inspired word of God (2 Tim 3:16), do not mean that God is causing wars, natural disasters, etc. to punish man, as some assume. The good news is that these prophecies can fail (1 Cor 13:8), but the promises of the coming Kingdom of God and His salvation are sure. The prophetic warnings of God are His pleading for man to turn from their evil ways to Him and His laws to prevent the catastrophes from happening (Isa 3:10-13; Jer 25:30-31; Joel 2:12-13). God has given man freedom of choice to learn by experience, but He also reveals the ways that result in blessings or curses - good or evil. His word says,
"I, the Lord ("Jehovah," meaning the Eternal), search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer 17:10).
"The Lord your God will make you prosper in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good
"if you hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
"For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off
"But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
"in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess
"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
"that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days " (Deut 30:9-12,14-16,19-20).
God says to those who are suffering the consequences of sin, because they have turned away to evil cutting themselves off from Him,
"Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
"Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit. For why will you die, O house of Israel?
"'For I have no pleasure in the death of the one who dies,' says the Lord God, 'Therefore turn and live!'" (Eze 18:30-31).
"As I live, says the Lord, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why will you die ?" (Eze 33:11).
You don't have to wait till the prophecies of tribulations all come to pass before and at the return of Christ to believe God's word, which for many will be a little too late to escape the consequences. Much has already come to pass proving the veracity of the Scriptures, as we shall see. The apostle Peter wrote concerning prophecy:
"We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the [Lightbringer ("Phosphoros," Jesus Christ is the Light who brings the light - the truth - to man - John 1:4-5,9,17)] rises in your hearts;
"knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
"for prophecy never came by the will of man, but by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet 1:19-21).
And in a letter to the evangelist Timothy, Paul wrote,
" from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
"that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:15-17).
But the prophecies of the Book of Revelation have been a great enigma to even the most scholarly theologians from the second century to the present. Speculations, theories and varying interpretations abound as to the meaning of its many prophecies. Many Old Testament prophecies were written foretelling things that would happen in the "latter days" (Gen 49:1; Num 24:14; Deut 4:25-40; 31:29; Dan 2:28; 10:14), the "time of the end" (Dan 8:17,19; 11:35,40; 12:4,9,13; Mat 13:39-40; 24:3,6,13-14,34-36,44), the "last days," the "last times" (Heb 1:2; 1 Pet 1:20; 2 Pet 3:3,8-9; 1 Jn 2:18), or "the end of the world (ages)," (Heb 9:26), etc. Daniel was told concerning prophecies for the end times,
"Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
"Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, BUT THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND" (Dan 12:9-10).
About 600 years after Daniel wrote that, John, the last surviving apostle, was given visions of:
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show His servants that which must soon come to pass. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
"who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, and to all things that he saw" (Rev 1:1-2 - so that we could understand!).
And blessings are promised to those who believe the prophecies:
"Blessed are they who read and that hear ("akouo," hear, listen, hearken) the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it, for the time is at hand" (ver. 3).
Does this apply to us today? Actually it applies to all from John's time to the return of Christ. But to those who reject or corrupt what it says, Revelation ends with a warning,
" to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
"and if anyone takes away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Rev 22:18-19).
"For the wrath ("orge," desire, indignation, anger, wrath, vengeance, punishment) of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth by unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18).
What is its message? How can you understand it? What should you do about it? Are we in the "last days"?
The apostles originally thought that Jesus the Christ (Anointed One - Messiah) would establish the Kingdom in their time. They asked Him before His crucifixion,
"What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end ("sunteleia") of the age?" (Mat 24:3).He had given them signs of things that would come to pass before His return - deceivers, false messiahs, false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, betrayals, persecutions, tribulations, martyrdoms, earthquakes in various places, etc.
Again after His resurrection, they asked Him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
"And He told them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth'" (Acts 1:6-8).
"But," He said, "the end ("telos," completion, conclusion, accomplishment of the goal, the final end, climax) is not yet All these are the beginnings of sorrows.
"But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
"And this gospel (good news) of the Kingdom must be preached (published) in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come" (Mat 24:5-14; Mk 13:5-10).
Clearly, the END or climax, when all things are accomplished, have not yet occurred and is still future. But when did or will the time referred to as "the latter days," "latter end," "end time," "the end of the age" ("sunteleia" - Heb 9:24,26) begin? Daniel was told,
"Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.
"Behold, I will make you to know what shall be in the last end ("acharith," future time, latter time, end, after) of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end ("qets," end, extremity, to cut off) shall be" Dan 8:17,19,23).
Many prophesies of the "end times" began to be fulfilled in the time of the original 12 apostles. The apostle Paul wrote,
"Now all these things happened onto them (Old Testament Israel) for examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end ("telos") of the world (age) [will] come" (1 Cor 10:11).The time of the end or the "end" ("sunteleia," meaning a time for finishing, not the termination, of events leading up to the appointed climax) of the world (age)" began when Jesus Christ came to pay for the sins of mankind.
"For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us
" but now , once at the END ("sunteleia,") OF THE AGE, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb 9:24,26).
The fulfillment of prophecies for the time of the end, the "end of the age" began with the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Many prophecies are dual or have multiple or incremental fulfillments, and would finally culminate in a fulfillment at the very end. Jesus said of these things,
" for all these things must come to pass, but the end ("telos," termination) is not yet " (Mat 24:6,8).
The apostle Peter wrote there would be scoffers, not understanding or believing the prophecies:
"Beloved, I now write to you that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior,
"knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,
"and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'
"But this they willfully forget: that by the Word of God (Jesus Christ - John 1:1-3; Col 1:16) the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
"But the heavens and the earth now are kept in store by the same Word, reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
"But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:1-9).
The Sabbaths are prophetic of God's overall plan. The Sabbaths, which include God's Holy Days (Lev 23:1-4), are an invitation from God to become His special people, the children of God, and keeping them is a KEY to understanding prophecy.
"Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for they are a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Ex 31:13).God says through David, whom He said was "a man after My own heart" (Acts 13:22), concerning His testimony, His laws, statutes, commandments, and judgments - including His Sabbaths,
"If you [turn back] your foot in the Sabbath to do My pleasure on My Holy Day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the Holy Day of the Lord, honorable, and shall honor Me, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words:
"Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken" (Isa 58:13-24).
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer 33:3).
"The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple...The 7 day week represents a 7,000 year period of God's plan, "one day is as 1,000 years." Because mankind from Adam's time rejected God's government over them (Gen 3; Rom 5:12,17-19), God has given man 6 days (6,000 years) to do things his own way, establish his own governments, laws, religions, cultures, sciences, etc. (see "Mankind's Greatest Experiment"),
"Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward" (Psa 19:7-11).
"Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God " (Ex 20:9-10 - the Sabbath is the "Lord's Day" - Mk 2:27-28, and also the Day of the Lord, which is a 1,000 year Sabbath - Heb 4:4-9; Rev 20:4,6).
Christ will return at the end of man's 6,000 years and usher in the 1,000 year Sabbath of His reign over the earth as revealed in the Scriptures (Rev 20:4-6).
"Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest (1,000 years of the Kingdom of God ruling over the earth), let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it
"For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.
"There remains therefore a rest ("Sabbatismos," from "Sabbaton" - the Sabbath) for the people of God" (Heb 4:1,8-9).
God invites us (yea commands us) to keep His Sabbaths and 7 annual Feasts ("moed," appointed times, appointments), His Holy Days summarized in Leviticus 23, which reveal the details of His plan and timetable for the salvation of all mankind to those who keep them. They are a KEY for understanding the prophecies of Revelation.
The Passover and 7 Days of Unleavened Bread reveal the beginning of God's plan of salvation (see "Passover...The Beginning of Salvation"). When Jesus ("Jehoshua," the Lord who saves), who is the Savior, the "Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End...who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty," "He who lives, and was dead" (Rev 1:8,11,18), "the Lamb" in Revelation 5, fulfilled the Passover sacrifice for our redemption He fulfilled the requirements to complete the rest of the plan of God. He alone was worthy to open the 7 seals of the prophetic scroll and reveal their meaning to His Church.
The Feast of Harvest of the Firstfruits (Ex 23:16) of God's spiritual harvest, also called the Feast of Weeks (Ex 34:22) and Day (feast) of Pentecost (meaning, count fifty - see "Mystery of Pentecost...") is a KEY to understanding the mysteries of the 7 churches in Revelation and the meaning and sequence of the prophecies of the Book Revelation.
A little understood prophecy in Hosea sheds more light on how long it would be from the beginning of the "end times" till the very end when Christ returns.
"Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel!
"BLOW THE ram's HORN in Gibeah, THE TRUMPET in Ramah! Cry aloud at Beth Aven
"Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure
"When Ephriam (representing the 10 northern tribes of Israel - Gen 48:13-20) saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephriam went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound.
"For I ("Jehovah" or "Yahweh," the Eternal) will be like a lion to Ephriam (the northern 10 tribes of Israel - James, the brother and apostle of Christ, wrote to 'the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad' - Jam 1:1), and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue (Judah was scattered again from Jerusalem in 70 A.D. after Christ returned to heaven).
"I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will diligently seek Me" (Hos 5:1,8-9,13-15).
"Come, and let us return to the Lord (Yahweh, the Eternal); for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
"After ("minney," meaning from, in, by, after ) two days He will revive us; the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight
" He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth" (Hos 6:1-3).
"After two days" is about 2,000 years in God's prophetic time, for "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years" (2 Pet 3:8). About 2,000 years from or after Jesus ("Jehoshua," meaning Jehovah, the Eternal, who saves) returned to His place in Heaven with God the Father (John 16:28; Acts 1:9-11), He will come again to the earth and revive and restore a remnant of Israel and Judah (Isa 11:11-16; 49:6-13,22-26; Jer 31:7-14; 32:36-44). After the "former rain" refers to the time of the first spiritual harvest of the firstfruits at Pentecost. The firstfruits of the spiritual harvest will be resurrected with spirit bodies (1 Cor 15:42-54) at the time of Christ's return, as prophessied by the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:24; Rev 20:4).
"This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev 20:5-6).
Finally, after Christ's return, Satan the devil whom the world worshipped, that invisible influence and the "god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:12) "who deceived the whole world" (Rev 12:9) will be exposed as Isaiah prophesied:
"Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: 'Is this the one who made the earth to tremble, who shook the kingdoms,Satan, who deceived and tempted man into the way of sin (2 Cor 11:3-4,13-15), will be held accountable and will be bound at the beginning of the 1,000 years, as prophesied by the Day (feast and time) of Atonement (Lev 16; 23:27-32; Rev 20:1-3). This will be a time calling for repentance to accept the atonement through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for those who followed Satan's ways who survive the great tribulation, which is the time of great woe on the earth prophesied by Jesus Christ and the sounding of the 6th trumpet, which is the 2nd Woe (Mat 24:21-22; Rev 9:12-21).
"who made the world a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not even open the house of his prisoners?" (Isa 14:16-17).
The "latter rain" refers to the latter spiritual harvest revealed by the Feast of Ingathering, (Ex 34:22), also called the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34; Deut 16:16), which will begin after Christ's return beginning His millennial reign, ushering in the 1,000 year "Sabbath of the Lord" on the earth (Ex 20:10; Heb 4:9; Rev 5:10; 20:4,6). Those who live through the great tribulation and repent when Christ returns will become part of this latter spiritual harvest. They are the,
"great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes (having a humble and repentant attitude), with palm branches in their hands,Then, "the third day," when, "He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight " (Hos 6:2) is after the 1,000 years are finished, 3,000 years from Christ's first coming, as prophesied by "the Eighth Day," "the Last Day," "that Great Day of the Feast" (Lev 23:39; Num 29:35; Neh 8:18; John 7:37-39), also called the "Day of Judgment" and the "Resurrection to Judgment" to "those who have done evil" by Jesus Christ (Mat 5:22; 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36-37; John 5:29; Heb 9:27; 2 Pet 2:9) and the "great white throne" judgment revealed in Revelation 20:11-15.
"and crying out with a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb
"These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes (repented) and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (accepted Christ as their Savior and sacrifice for their sins)
"and the Lamb (Jesus Christ) who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to the living fountains of waters (source of the Holy Spirit). And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Rev 7:9-10,14,17).
"But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finishedTwo major resurrections are prophesied by God's 7 annual Holy Day Feasts, "the Feasts ("moed," appointed times) of the Lord" (Lev 23:1-4), which reveal His plan of salvation for mankind. Jesus confronted those Jews who persecuted Him and sought to kill Him, about the two resurrections, the "resurrection to life" (also called the "resurrection of the just" - Lk 14:14), and the "resurrection to judgment":
"Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released (Satan will be released for a short time to test the spiritual character of those who grow up in the millennium - 1,000 years, attempting to deceive them)
"Then I saw a Great White Throne and Him who sat on it
"And I saw the (rest of the) dead, small and great standing before God (the second resurrection) And the dead were judged according to their works
"And the [agitations ("thalassa," to stir, agitate)] delivered up the dead for this, and death ("thanatos," natural or temporal death, sin leading to death, spiritual death) and hades (the grave) delivered up the dead for this, also for judging ("krino") each according to his works.
"Then death and hades (the incorrigibly wicked who persist in the ways of sin and death) will be cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
"And anyone not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:5,7-8,11-15 - see also Mat 3:12; 13:30; 2 Pet 3:10-13; Rev 19:20; 21:8)
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and he shall not come into judgment ("krisis," meaning decision for or against, judgment, sentence, separation, condemnation - from "krino," meaning to distinguish, decide, to try, call in question, judge, decree, condemn, sentence, punish, avenge), but has passed from death into life (eternal life)...The second resurrection is the resurrection that is referred to in the prophecy of Ezekiel 37, in the valley full of dry bones. This is a resurrection of the physical body to live again to give all who ever lived, who do not make the first resurrection, a final opportunity to learn from God, repent, and obey the truth. This is the "Last Day, that Great Day of the Feast", of which Jesus said,
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice,
"and come forth - those who have done good, unto the RESURRECTION TO LIFE (the first resurrection - Rev 20:4-6), and those who have done evil, unto the RESURRECTION TO JUDGMENT ("krisis" - which is the second resurrection of the "rest of the dead"- Rev 20:11-13,5)" (John 5:24,28-29).
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit)" (John 7:37-39).It is also the time referred to by Isaiah.
"No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man, who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed (the second death in the lake of fire - Rev 20:15).Following Hosea's prophecy, "After two days," which is 2,000 years from or after His appearance as the Son of Man, Jesus Christ will return, and,
"They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit
"For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people
"It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, says the Lord" (Isa 65:20-25).
" the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple" (Mal 3:1-3), which is His Church (called-out ones), the Body of Christ, on the earth (1 Cor 3:16-17; 12:12-13,27; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 Pet 2:5).
But there are many churches and many religions in the world today. To which church will He come? Obviously He won't come to any who will not accept Him as their Lord and Savior.
What about the many churches that call themselves "Christian"? There are literally thousands of different "Christian" or "Messianic" denominations, sects and cults worldwide having conflicting beliefs and doctrines claiming to be the church Christ founded. One, the largest, calls itself the universal (Catholic in Latin) church and many others call themselves Protestant (protesting against the authority of the Catholic Pope). But according to the Scriptures, there is only One True Religion and One True Church of God. How can you identify the Church that Christ (the Messiah) will come to? (See "Mystery of...The One True Religion & Church of God").
The Book of Revelation was written to the One True Church of God, which in the New Testament is represented by the 7 churches in Asia (Rev 1:1-4).
In the Old Testament, God called the children of Israel out of Egypt to become His Church ("Ekklesia," called-out ones). He made a covenant with them and called them to become a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation." He said to them,
"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for the earth is Mine.But because they were unfaithful and rejected God and His priesthood covenant (Ex 19:5-6; Hos 4:6-10; Heb 8:8-9), they were allowed to be taken into captivity and scattered among the nations.
"And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy ("hagios," holy, clean, sanctified, set apart for God's purpose) nation" (Ex 19:5-6) to do His work of teaching His One True Religion to the world.
Here it is important to understand the change from the covenant to Israel to the new covenant Church. The priests of Israel were rejected from being priests and the covenant of the priesthood was changed. God said through the prophet Hosiah,
"Hear the Word of the Lord, you children of Israel...Then after Christ came and established the New Covenant priesthood with His Church (called-out ones), the apostle Paul explains,
"Because you have rejected knowledge (of God), I also will reject you from being priests for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children" (Hos 4:1,6).
"If therefore perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need was there that another priest should arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?He then goes on to explain,
"But the priesthood being changed, made of necessity also a change of the law (concerning the priesthood).
"For He (Jesus Christ) of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.
"For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning a priesthood" (Heb 7:11-12,14).
"For if that first (priesthood) were faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.God's True Church, which Israel had been, did not cease to exist, but God sent Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17; 6:29-40) who established the New Covenant Church (Mat 26:28; Col 1:12-18; Heb 10:5,9-18) calling out those who would obey Him to become a
"But finding fault with them, He says, 'Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...
"because they did not continue in My covenant, I also disregarded them, says the Lord...'
"Therefore He says, 'A new (priesthood) has made the first obsolete.' Now that which becomes obsolete and senile is ready to disappear" (Heb 8:7-9,13).
"That (the old priesthood covenant with its ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary) which was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices were offered could not make them who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience...
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come...
"Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption...
"And for this reason He is the Mediator of a new covenant, that by means of (His) death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance...
"For Christ has not entered the holy place made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb 9:1,9,11-12,15,24).
"royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." (1 Pet 2:4-5,9).
Israel had been led into sin and idolatry by accepting the multiculturalism and false gods of the nations around them. Satan continually seeks to destroy the True Religion and Church of God through persecution and by causing division and deceiving and tempting members and leaders into sin (1 Cor 1:10-13; 2 Cor 4:3-5; Rev 12:9,13,17). But Jesus promised,
"I will build My Church, and the gates of hell ("hades," the grave) shall not prevail against it" (Mat 16:18).Jesus Christ, who is the Word ("Logos," word, Spokesman) of the Lord (Jer 1:2,4; 2:1; John 1:1), the Lord God of Abraham and Israel in the OT (Gen 24:27; John 8:56-58), "that spiritual Rock that followed them" (1 Cor 10:4),
"came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe in His name ("onoma," name, authority, character)..." (John 1:1,10-11).Jesus Christ was sent by God to build His Church (Mat 16:18; John 6:38-40). He spent His 3 1/2 year ministry preparing the foundation for the Church, calling and training disciples, teaching them the gospel and setting them an example by His own ministry. He chose the 12 apostles and "gave them power over unclean spirits...and to heal all kinds of diseases," and He sent them out commanding them:
"Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.He also trained 70 others and sent them out, saying to them,
"But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Israel was scattered abroad among the nations - Jam 1:1).
"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand..." (Mat 10:1-15).
"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.Because the children of Israel had been God's chosen people, they were given opportunity to repent and receive the Messiah and carry on His work (Rom 3:1-2; 9:4-5; 10:14-21). God sent John the Baptist as a witness to those in Judea, "preparing the way of the Lord" (Mat 3:1-12; Lk 1:67-80). And Jesus ("Jehoshua," meaning the Lord, or Eternal, Savior) sent His disciples first to those of Israel, but most rejected their Messiah (Christ - Mat 10:5-6; 27:20-26; Acts 13:45-46). But then before leaving them to return to the Father in heaven, Jesus instructed those whom He appointed as apostles and commissioned them to lead the first era of the New Testament Church and take the gospel to all nations, not just Isreal:
"Go your way; behold I send you out as lambs among wolves..." (Lk 10:1-3).
"[Preach the gospel of the Kingdom] in all the world as a witness to all nations…" (Mat 24:14).Gentiles would also be called and grafted into His Church as Paul, who was given the commission to go to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Gal 2:7-8), wrote:
And He said to them, "Go therefore and teach ("matheteuo," to instruct, teach, or make disciples in) ALL NATIONS, baptizing them...
"teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (age)" (Mat 28:19-20).
"For I do not desire, brethren, that you be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" (Rom 11:25).
The NT Church ("ekklesia," called-out ones) began its commission on Pentecost in 31 A.D. with the giving of the Holy Spirit enduing them with the power of God to carry out His work (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,16-24). Jesus Christ had fulfilled the Passover sacrifice and the Wave Sheaf offering to open the way and begin the New Testament (Covenant) phase of the spiritual harvest of the firstfruits of salvation, Himself becoming the First of the firstfruits of the spiritual harvest (Lev 23:10-16; Lk 24:1-7; John 20:17; 1 Cor 15:20-23; Heb 9:11-12,24 - see "Mystery of Pentecost...").
Christ's apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, taught disciples and established churches throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. As the original first century NT Church grew, it became many local congregations in many lands, including: "the churches of Galatia," "the churches of Asia" (1 Cor 16:1,19), "churches of Macedonia" (2 Cor 8:1,23), "churches of Judea," the church in Antioch, Babylon, Corinth, Jerusalem, Rome, etc. (Acts 2:47; 8:1; 9:31; 13:1; Rom 1:5-8; 1 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:22; 1 Thes 2:14; Jam 1:1; 1 Pet 1:1; 5:12-13). God had sent His apostles ("apostolos," meaning one sent, ambassador - John 17:18) to establish, build and care for various congregations (churches - called out ones) to be established in all the nations as His witnesses, His watchmen as lights to the world (Mat 5:14-16; 28:18-20; Lk 21:28-36; John 21:15-17; Acts 1:8; 9:15-16; 26:15-18).
Now back to our question, Who are the 7 Churches in Asia? Why does Revelation focus on these 7 churches? If there is only One True Church, who are these 7 churches in Revelation? And what is their significance and purpose?
The 7 churches are given the keys to understanding prophecies, the mysteries of the Book of Revelation, which summarizes end time prophecies of the Old Testament. But why have these 7 churches and the prophecies of Revelation been a mystery to the world for 2,000 years?
The answer is partially because the world from the time of Constantine, emperor of Rome, after 325 A.D. has been focused on a great counterfeit church revealed in the prophecies, which became the state religion of the Roman Empire, with its leaders (Popes, Latin meaning father - see Mat 23:9) claiming to be the successors of the apostles (Rev 2:2), and calling itself the universal church, and the many different competing protesting churches (harlots - Rev 17:1-6) which came from it, teaching various conflicting doctrines, which are a mixture of traditions of men, the ancient Babylonian Mystery religions and the Bible (Mat 7:21-23; 15:3,6-9; 2 Cor 11:3-4,13-15; Rev 17:5) - a mixture of good and evil from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which God said,
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for when you eat thereof you shall surely die" (Gen 2:9,17 - because men would be deceived into committing sin and the consequences of sin is death - Rom 7:23; 7:11).
The True Church, which is a spiritual body of believers, at times became divided and scattered, but all who were called into God's One True Church would be taught the same doctrines taught by Jesus Christ, which God the Father had given Him (John 7:16-18; Mat 5:17-20; 7:28-29; 1 Cor 1:10,13). All 7 churches would teach and obey the same law and doctrine of Jesus Christ as found in the Holy Scriptures and be "so doing" the work of God (Isa 8:20; Mat 5:19; 24:46; 28:19-20).
The prophecy of the 7 churches in Revelation reveals that God's true Church would not become a great Catholic (meaning universal in Latin) church headquartered in Rome that would have great political influence. Jesus called them a "little flock."
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Lk 12:32).
And that they would be greatly persecuted, "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you " (John 15:20; 1 Thes 2:14-15).
The churches were admonished to stay faithful, but the prophetic messages to the 7 Churches and other Scriptures and history reveal that, as the churches went through trials during the time of the apostles and after, many fell away from the truth (Mat 13:18-23; 25:1-13; Gal 1:6; 3:1; 2 Thes 2:3-10; 1 Tim 4:1-2; 2 Tim 1:15-18; 2:16-19; 4:1-5; 2 Pet 2:1-3,9-22; 2 John 7-10; 3 John 9-11; Jude 3-4,8-13,16-19).
The 7 churches in Asia were established by the apostles, including Paul who had been trained by the priesthood (Acts 9:15; 16:14-40; 18:19; 19:1-10,26; 22:3; Gal 1:14-17; Phil 3:5-7). According to Eusebius (Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, book 3, ch. 23), after Paul and the other apostles had been martyred or died,
"John the apostle and evangelist governed the churches of Asia and continued until the times of Trajan," Emperor of Rome (98-117 A.D.).John was exiled sometime during the reign of Roman Emperor Domitian (81-98 A.D.) to the island of Patmos when Domition began his persecution of Christians (probably in 95 A.D.). There he was given in visions,
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants, that which must soon come to pass...
John was told, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to EPHESUS, to SMYRNA, to PERGAMOS, to THYATIRA, to SARDIS, to PHILADELPHIA, and to LAODICEA" (Rev 1:1,11).
After Domitian died (98 A.D.) John returned to Ephesus and governed the Church from there, completing his writings before his death (EEH, bk 3, ch 31).
But why was the book addressed to these 7 churches? What was special about these 7 churches in Asia as opposed to the churches in Jerusalem, Rome and in other areas? What do they represent?
For one thing, according to Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, p. 86, the headquarters Church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-2) had fled in 69 A.D. and was no longer in Jerusalem,
"having been commanded by divine revelation...before the war, removed from the city (Jerusalem), and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella."
The Church at Jerusalem fled to Pella, and some to Asia Minor and other areas after 69 A.D. just before Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. (Wars of the Jews, by Josephus, Bk. VI, Ch. V, Sec. 3; EEH, p 86). The "headquarters" of the True Church from that time was whereever the leading apostle resided. It was never in Rome. John, the last surviving apostle of this first era of the NT Church, moved to Ephesus after Paul was martyred, and Ephesus became the headquarters of the Church. Therefore the first era of the NT Church is identified in Revelation as Ephesus.
Soon after most of the original apostles were martyred, many of the local churches that had been established began to apostasize (fall away from the truth to false doctrines - Acts 20:29-32; Rom 16:17-18; 2 Thes 2:1-3; 2 Tim 3:1,13; 4:3-4,10,14-16), including the church in Rome.
These 7 local churches in Asia are used by Christ to symbolically identify and picture the True Church of God down through history from the first century to the end. These churches are a KEY to understanding the sequence and meaning of the prophecies of the Book of Revelation!
The messages to the 7 churches with their 7 angels (messengers) are prophecies representing 7 church eras that the Church of God would pass through from the time Jesus Christ left to return to the Father in heaven until He would come again.
Each Church era believed that Jesus, the Messiah, would return in their lifetime. Jesus purposely did not reveal specifically that it would be about 2,000 years before His return - to keep them motivated by expecting His eminent return in their lifetime. But He revealed in a parable to His disciples that He would go into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom and to return, because they thought the Kingdom of God would become manifest right away (Lk 19:11-12 and Mat 25:14-19). After His resurrection they asked Him,
"Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?
"He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
"Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1: 6-9).
The 7 churches in Asia, established by the original apostles were situated in order along a well-traveled mail route (see map), much like a long distance relay race with 7 legs.
These 7 Churches are represented by God in the Revelation given to John, as types to prophetically describe a sequence of eras of the NT Church to which the baton of preaching the gospel would be passed from John's time down through the ages until Christ would return.
The 7 churches of Revelation represent 7 literal, loosely organized, churches each led by an angel (messengers, "aggelos" - Rev 2:1,8.12,18; 3:1,7,14) and human apostles whom God would call and send out to do His work. God would use these 7 successive eras of His Church to do His work from John's time down to the time when Christ would return (Rev 1:4; 2:7,11,17,25; 3:5,11-12,21; 11:15-18). God's True Church would not be one prominent or preeminent organized universal church that would dominate down through time, rather it would be a "little flock" that would continue through 7 separate eras, each teaching the same biblical doctrines of God and Christ.
Each of the 7 church eras would continue as God's True Church (the body of Christ - 1 Cor 12:12-20; Col 1:24) as long as they were led by the God's Spirit and His word and doing the work of God (Rom 8:9,14; Rev 2:4-5).
Old Testament prophecies of the 7 church eras are found in the commandment in the OT to count 7 Sabbaths of years to the Jubilee (Lev 25:8-10); and in the counting of seven weeks to the Feast of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks and the (spiritual) Harvest of the Firstfruits (Ex 23:16; Deut 16:9-10 - see "Mystery of Pentecost...The One True Religion & Church of God").
The 7 Sabbath years leading to the Jubilee are times of release of debts giving freedom from bondage (Ex 21:2), symbolic of calling people out of sin by the 7 eras of the Church. The Jubilee is prophetic of the liberty that will ensue when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth at the end of the 7 church eras at the return of Christ. At that time Israel will be restored to their inheritance (Lev 25:10; Isa 2:1-4; 11; 35; 49:5-6).
Counting the 7 weeks to Pentecost is typical of counting the 7 Sabbaths of years to the Jubilee (Lev 25:8). Each week that is counted is prophetic of one of the 7 church eras by which God would call many out of bondage of sin into His Church before the return of Christ. Each Church era is to participate in the spiritual harvest, as the firstfruits of salvation, in doing the work of God as Jesus admonished (Mat 9:37; 28:18-20; John 4:34-38). The Day of Pentecost then represents the completion of the harvest of the firstfruits and the time of the Jubilee, which pictures the Kingdom of God to be established on the earth at the last (7th) trumpet when Chirst returns (Acts 3:18-21; Rev 11:15).
The 7 churches are a KEY to identifying the True Church of God down through history from Christ's time to the present. They are also a key to understanding the prophecies of Revelation. But only God's True Church would understand the messages because they were written to them. That is why these 7 churches and the messages to them have been a mystery to the world, including most theologians and religious leaders. But we can understand - IF - we are willing to obey the word of God, "For the wise shall understand." The Bible defines the wise as those who obey the word of God.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who KEEP ("asah," to do, keep, fulfill, make, labor, accomplish…) His commandments" (Psa 111:10).The True Church keeps all God's commandments (Rev 12:17) including His Sabbaths and Holy Days (Ex 31:13-17; Lev 23:1-4). The archangel Michael said to Daniel,
"Many shall be purified, made white and refined, but the wicked shall not understand, but THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND" (Dan 12:10).The wise are those who obey the word of God and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,
"which God has given to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32).It is the Holy Spirit that gives us understanding as Jesus said to His disciples,
"If you love Me, keep My commandments, and I will pray (ask) the Father, And He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,About 64 years after the first NT Church era began (in 95 A.D.) John was exiled on the small volcanic Grecian island of Patmos off the coast of Asia Minor in the Aegean Sea because of his witness "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." He was in the Spirit (in a spiritual vision) on the "Lord's Day" (Christ is Lord of the Sabbaths - Mk 2:28, which include the weekly and annual Sabbaths and the Day of the Lord - the 1,000 year Sabbath of His reign and the Kingdom of God on the earth) and given visions that cover the period from John's time through Christ's return, more than a 2,000 year period. He heard behind him a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying,
"even the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither sees it (Spirit is invisible), nor knows it; but you know it, for it dwells with you and shall be in you…
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, it will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you" (John 14:15-17,26).
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
"However, when it, the Spirit of truth, has come, it will guide you into all truth…" (John 16:12-13).
"I Am the Alpha and the Omega (the "Aleph-Tav" of the OT - see "Who is Jesus Christ?"), the Beginning and the End… who is and was and who is to come, the Almighty (an Almighty One of the God "Elohim" Family of the OT)…
"What you see, WRITE in a book and send it TO the SEVEN CHURCHES which are IN ASIA…" (Rev 1:8,11).
John, the last surviver of the original apostles taught directly by Jesus Christ, was inspired and told to write the Book of Revelation, which summarizes end time prophecies of the OT, for the 7 eras of the Church - thus completing the Bible. God inspired the Holy Scriptures to be written for His Church.The Bible is primarily a manual for the instruction and guidance of God's True Church ("Ekklesia," called-out ones), who are God's ambassadors and watchmen to the world for teaching all nations God's True Religion (Eze 3:17; 33:7; Mat 28:18-20; 2 Cor 5:20; 2 Tim 3:15-17). The world does not understand much of the prophetic message of the Bible because most in the world have been deceived and blinded by the invisible influences of Satan, "the god of this world," through the false religions of the world (2 Cor 4:4; 11:3-4,13-15; Eph 2:2-3; 6:12; Rev 12:9). Few in the world truly love or seek the truth of God (2 Thes 2:10),
"Because the carnal mind is enmity (hostile) against God; for it is not submissive to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Rom 8:7).Revelation summarizes the prophecies of the OT and what the 7 eras of the Church are to WATCH for and warn the world of. The 7 churches are God's watchmen to the world to "give them warning from Me," says the Lord ("Jehovah," the Eternal - Eze 3:17; 33:1-7). Jesus said to His disciples,
"For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2:14).
"But God reveals them to us (His Church, called-out ones) through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God" (verse 10).
"WATCH, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Lk 21:36).God said to the prophet Ezekiel,
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear the word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.The 7 eras of the NT Church are God's lights to the world. John in the vision,
"When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
"Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul" (Eze 3:16-19).
"turned…and saw seven golden lamps ("luchnia," lamp, light or illuminator, the "menorah" of the OT - Ex 37:17-24; Zech 4:2), and in the midst of the seven lamps, One like the Son of Man…The Church's responsibility is to shine the light of God's Word, His Truth to the world. David, who wrote many Psalms, wrote,
"He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Heb 4:2), and His countenance was like the sun shining in its power…
"And He (Jesus) said to him, 'Write the things which you have seen, and the things which will take place after this.
"The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lamps: The seven stars are the angels ("aggelos," messengers whether angelic or human, bearer of news) of the seven churches (The 7 angels or messengers, reveal that each era of the church would be established and lead by a different person, an apostle, sent by God), and the seven lamps which you saw are the seven churches" (Rev 1:12-13,16,19-20 - The menorah of the OT (Ex 25:3140; 27:20-21) was prophetic of the 7 eras of the NT Church).
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…Jesus in a prayer to God the Father said,
"You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies…
"Your law is truth" (Psa 119:105,98,142).
"Sanctify them (His disciples) by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17).The seven eras of the Church are represented as 7 lamps,
He said to His disciples, "You are the light to the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Mat 5:14-16).
"and in the midst of the seven lamps, One like the Son of Man (Jesus Christ)" Rev 1:13).Jesus Christ is the "light of the world" giving light to His Church (John 1:4,9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; 1 Jn 1:5-7). He said,
"He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12).The 7 eras of God's Church with Jesus Christ in their midst are to shine the light of God's truth, God's One True Religion, to all the world down through time until Christ returns (Mat 5:14-16; Eph 5:8). Paul and Barnabas, speaking to the Jews in Antioch who contradicted, blasphemed (slandered) and opposed the things spoken by Paul, said,
"It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.Jesus Christ said to His disciples,
"For the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you to be a light to the Gentiles ("ethnos," peoples, nations, gentiles, races, heathens), that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth'" (Acts 13:47; Isa 49:6).
"this gospel of the kingdom shall (must first) be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end shall come" (Mat 24:14; Mk 13:10).
And He commanded them, "Go therefore and teach ("matheetuo," to instruct, teach, make disciples or followers, to learn) all nations, baptizing them…
"teaching them to observe ("tereo," to keep, watch, observe as commands, ordinances, laws) all things that I have commanded you; and behold, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen (surely, or so be it)" (Mat 28:19-20).
Copyright: Oct 3, 2005, Serf Publishing, Inc.