◄ Leviticus 25:41 ► And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
Nowhere does the Bible say the gospel is that Jesus Christ came to die for our sins! Instead, the true gospel tells us why He did so. More than that, it reveals the momentous purpose that God is accomplishing, what it means to be born again, how to receive eternal life, what salvation is, and the reason reconciliation through the blood of the Lamb is necessary.
'As a Thief in the Night'
Summary: A survey of the New Testament reveals that, though we may recognize the 'signs of the times,' we will not be able to determine when Jesus Christ will return. David Grabbe pursues the concept of Christ's second coming 'as a thief in the night,' and what this means to Christians in this end time.
'As It Was In the Days of Noah'
Summary: What did Jesus mean when He said the end time would be like the days of Noah? Did He mean that the last days would be violent and corrupt, or that the last days would come suddenly on an unsuspecting world? Amazingly, the waning years of this century fulfill both.
'Behold, He is Coming with Clouds'
Summary: Jesus Himself instructs us to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4), advice that is also useful when we study the Bible. Most of the passages that describe Christ's return to earth in power and glory at the end of the age contain the same detail: that He will come in, on, or with clouds. David Grabbe provides biblical background to help us understand why this detail is significant.
'Seventy Weeks Are Determined...'
Summary: The Seventy Weeks Prophecy is a bone of contention among prophecy experts. Richard Ritenbaugh shows that simply taking the Bible at face value makes the meaning of this prophecy crystal clear!
A Swift End
Summary: This world is a horrible place. The planet on which we live along with more than seven billion other human begins is an evil, scary, terrible place. The facts are clear and obvious....
Caught Up in the Rapture
Summary: Is the rapture biblical? If so, when will it occur? Where do the saints go? Richard Ritenbaugh clarifies this sometimes confusing subject from the Bible.
For Teens Too!
Summary: Do you know of someone who has done everything perfectly? Conversely, do you know of someone whose whole life is one big mistake? Have you ever made mistakes—maybe a lot of them? We have all done stupid things in our lives. ...
God's Kingdom in the Parables (Part Four)
Summary: The eight parables of Matthew 13 form a structure called a chiasm, in which the individual parables form pairs (first and eighth, second and seventh, etc.) that correspond to and resolve each other. Utilizing the prevailing theme of God's Kingdom, David Grabbe shows how Jesus' parables of the Pearl of Great Price, the Dragnet, and the Householder resolve the problems raised in their corresponding earlier parables.
God's Promises Are Sure!
Summary: Using primarily the story of Joseph, John Ritenbaugh expounds the lessons we can learn and the encouragement we can glean from God's dealings with men during the time of the Feast of Trumpets.
Holy Days: Trumpets
Summary: The Feast of Trumpets sounds a dire warning of war on the one hand and triumph for God and His saints on the other. Our goal now is to be prepared for that day when Christ returns!
Hope and Refuge (Part One)
Summary: How many times have we said something like, “I hope you’re feeling better” or “I certainly hope you’ve had a good week”? We have probably also said something similar to, “I sure hope I pass this test.' ...
How Much Longer Do We Have?
Summary: How often have we heard—or cried ourselves—'How long, O Lord?' Our great hope is in Christ's return, but despite His assurances that He is coming quickly, it seems as if that time is delayed. David Grabbe, keying in on II Peter 3, cautions us not to be distracted by scoffers or cunning arguments, but trust that Christ will return at exactly the best time.
No Need to Borrow
Summary: Solomon declares in Proverbs 22:7, 'The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.' How true that is! ...
Our End Time
Summary: As we trudge relentlessly into the time of the end, and the bright summer days continue to be spiritually dark, we frequently cast about for any indicator of how much longer it will be until Jesus Christ returns, bringing the mad rule of man to a close. ...
Parable of the Great Supper
Summary: The Parable of the Great Supper is Jesus' response to a fellow dinner guest exclaiming, 'Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!' In the parable, Jesus exposes and corrects the ignorance of those who, in their pride, misjudge their true moral condition.
Parable of the Marriage Feast
Summary: Jesus exposes the Jews' rejection of the gospel using the illustration of a king sending invitations to a wedding celebration. Though God is shown to be merciful and just, the invitees' character is revealed to be wanting.
Peter's Trumpets Message—on Pentecost
Summary: Peter's first sermon took place on the Day of Pentecost, yet his subject seems to 'fit' the Day of Trumpets. Charles Whitaker explains that the fulfillment of Pentecost begins what will be completed in the fulfillment of Trumpets.
Prophecy and the Sixth-Century Axial Period
Summary: Prophecy has many purposes, but it is never intended to open the future to mere idle curiosity. Its much higher purpose is to furnish guidance to the heirs of salvation. John Ritenbaugh explains how the tumultuous sixth-century BC prepares us for the time of the end.
The Binding of Satan
Summary: Revelation 20:1-3 prophesies a mighty angel taking hold of the Devil and casting him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years. While this is not depicting Satan's ultimate judgment, Richard Ritenbaugh explains that the binding of Satan for a thousand years will relieve humanity of a huge weight of spiritual oppression.
The Crowns of Success (Part One)
Summary: In the New Testament, the Bible speaks of five crowns God promises to faithful Christians that He will give them after Christ’s return as King of kings. Some who advocate for this idea view these ...
The Crowns of Success (Part Two)
Summary: In Part One, we began examining the biblical idea of five heavenly crowns and what these rewards mean for Christians. We will continue our examination by considering the fourth of these, the ...
The End Is Not Yet
Summary: Every Christian longs for the return of Jesus Christ, and we search for fulfillments of the signs signaling that wonderful prophetic event. The seemingly rapid increase in natural disasters and heavenly spectacles can excite us to a fever pitch. Richard Ritenbaugh cautions that we need make sure that our understanding and interpretation of such signs align with what the Bible says about them.
The Four Horsemen (Part Five): The Pale Horse
Summary: The last of the Four Horsemen, named Death, rides a ghastly pale horse and is accompanied by Hades. In this concluding installment, Richard Ritenbaugh explains these symbols, reiterating that the horsemen picture God's judgment due to man's rejection of His way of life.
The Goodness and Severity of God (Part One)
Summary: The Bible oftentimes speaks in polar opposites: good and evil, light and darkness, heaven and earth. A pair of opposites like these, called a merism by theologians, is destruction and restoration. Citing many prophecies, Charles Whitaker points out that restoration often follows swiftly on the heels of God's wrath, providing us with hope that God's blessing will come sooner rather than later.
The Harvest Is Almost In!
Summary: I used to work with a man named Bill. He was a good salesman and, as I recall, a good pilot as well. He liked to sell, and he seemed pretty well-adjusted ...
The Scepter of the Kingdom of God (Part Two)
Summary: In Part One, we saw that God’s scepter promise, given to the tribe of Judah in Genesis 49:10, descended from monarch to monarch of the royal house of David. ...
Thy Kingdom Come! (Part One)
Summary: We understand that the Kingdom of God stands at the center of the gospel message Jesus Christ brought, but while we are well aware of its future rule over mankind, many do not realize it also has past and present aspects. This article explores the ancient history of God's Kingdom, as well as its current reality to His people.
What a Difference a Day Makes
Summary: We have read the accounts in Scripture on the Day of the Lord, and there is no doubt that it will be a chaotic, horrifying time. God will use the forces at His disposal to bring drastic change to planet Earth. Charles Whitaker explains that two of those forces, fire and water, are cleansing agents by which God will purify the earth before the second coming of Christ.
What Is a False Prophet?
Summary: The Bible warns us that a great False Prophet will soon arise to sway mankind into idolatry. In addition, numerous passages speak of other false prophets and false teachers in the church and in the world. David Grabbe, in exposing the differences between false prophets and true ones, explains what we need to look out for as the end nears.
What Is the Feast of Trumpets, Anyway?
Summary: The Feast of Trumpets, the first of the fall holy days, has perhaps the least directly written about it of all God's festivals. To provide some answers, this article explains the basic facts about this pivotal day.
Where Is the Promise of His Coming?
Summary: As this world keeps on turning, more people become skeptical about the return of Jesus Christ. The Bible, however, insists that He will come again and quickly. Richard Ritenbaugh advises watchful, sober expectation because the Lord does not delay His coming.
Where the Eagles Are Gathered
Summary: Jesus Christ's Olivet Prophecy provides a handful of specific signs of His return, one of which seems particularly obscure. David Grabbe analyzes His saying, 'Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together,' in Matthew 24:28, explaining that it is a warning that Jesus will come back in judgment against those who resist Him.
Will Christ Find Faith?
Summary: It is easy to look around this world and become discouraged by how far from God so many people seem to be. Even chuch members can appear to be distracted by this world. To counter this pessimistic view, John Reid explains the Parable of the Persistent Widow, at the end of which Jesus asks, 'When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?' The answer is more positive than one may think!
For more on the true gospel, God's plan, mankind's destiny, and the coming Kingdom of God, see the Gospel Sermons page.
Jesus Christ's Return
This is the fourth lesson in a series of 5 lessons about Joseph and the incredible way God used him to bless his people.
Title: Joseph Helps his Family During the Famine
Scripture: Genesis 41:56-42:2
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Supplies: Bread outline printouts (1 per child), Bibles for each child, paper, and pencils
Optional Story Illustrations: The Story of Joseph Coloring Pages
Ask the kids where the food they eat comes from. They might start with the grocery store, and work backwards to farms and farmers. Draw them out to help them realize that God ultimately provides everything we eat (not to mention everything else that we want or need!)
Explain that in today’s lesson we will hear the next part of Joseph’s story and how God used him to provide for the nation of Israel. Remind them that there were many people in Joseph’s life who wished to harm him (his brothers, and Potiphar’s wife to name a few) but God never abandoned Joseph. What people planned for evil, God planned for good.
Pray that God would open their hearts to his word today and thank Him for using even the sin in our lives to bring about blessings.
Tell the Story
Ask: Have you ever had something bad happen to you that you didn’t understand?
Sometimes God allows things to happen to us that might seem bad at first, but it turns out that God is using it to bring us closer to him. God is with us even when we suffer, and by His goodness and grace He shows us that he loves us even though we sin against him. In today’s story we are going to hear how God used Joseph to bring his brothers closer to Him. We will see that what people plan for evil, God plans for good.
Last week we heard how Pharaoh asked Joseph to interpret his dreams and Joseph told him that they were warnings about 7 years of abundance followed by a 7-year famine. God had revealed the dream’s interpretations as well as a brilliant plan to help save the nation of Egypt and surrounding countries. Pharaoh had put Joseph in charge of collecting and distributing all the food.
Read: (Genesis 41:56-42:2) “When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere. When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
Ask: Where did Jacob send his sons? (To Egypt.)
Ask: Does anyone remember how Joseph got to Egypt? (His brothers sold him into slavery there.)
Ask: Do you think the brothers recognized Joseph when they arrived in Egypt? (No!)
The brothers bowed down to Joseph not realizing that he was the brother they had sold into slavery years earlier. They might not have recognized him, but Joseph certainly recognized them!
Ask: How do you think Joseph will react to seeing his brothers?
Read: (Genesis 42: 9-10) “He remembered his dreams about them and said to them, ‘You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.’ ‘No, my lord,’ they answered. ‘Your servants have come to buy food. We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.’”
Ask: Why do you think Joseph accused them of being spies?
God was using Joseph to test the older brothers to see if their hearts had truly been changed and if they were sorry for what they had done to Joseph. Let’s hear what Joseph does next…
Read: (Genesis 42: 15-16) “Joseph said to them, ‘As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, to that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!’
Joseph had the 10 brothers put in prison for 3 days. At the end of the 3 days he told them to return to their homeland and bring Benjamin back with them. Meanwhile, Joseph had Simeon (another brother) bound and kept in custody to ensure they would return. The brothers were frightened and believed that this was God punishing them for what they had done to Joseph years earlier.
Ask: Do you think the brothers were sorry for their sin?
Joseph gave the brothers food to take back to their families then sent them on their way. When they returned home they reported to Jacob everything that had happened to them and how Joseph demanded that they return to Egypt with Benjamin. Jacob was afraid of losing another one of his sons so he refused to allow Benjamin to go with them.
Ask: Do you think it was fair for Joseph to treat his brothers so harshly? Do you think it was because he was angry?
Sometimes God uses other people to allow us to see our own sin so that we will confess it and turn back to him. Though it seems like Joseph was doing something mean to his brothers, God was using it for good.
Just like Joseph’s brothers, we deserve to be punished for our sins. But God doesn’t treat us the way we deserve to be treated. Instead, God shows us his love and grace by paying the price that our sins deserve through Jesus’ death on the cross. Joseph’s brothers needed grain for food, and Joseph showed mercy to them and gave them what they needed to survive. Like them we need Jesus to save us from our sins, and God shows us mercy by providing for our salvation by sending His only Son! This is a truth that we can thank God for today!