Does our hope from the Bible change based on when we live in the stream of time? Did faithful men and women who came before us have a different form of worship? How has the preaching work [God's message for mankind] changed in [or for] our day? If we can identify it has changed in the past, could we be living in the days of another change? How has spiritual light gotten brighter and brighter (Proverbs 4:18) so as to clearly reveal God's arrangement for the preservation of life in these last days? (Romans 16:25 ; Job 11:13-20) Understanding how God's word applies to us in our day brings clarity to our hope in Christ. (2 Peter 1:19)

Before Christ was born, faithful men lived a life of hope based on the promise given in the Garden of Eden: At Genesis 3:15, God promised He would raise up a "seed" who would destroy satan. From Adam until Abraham then, faithful men and women looked forward to that seed, without knowing very much about the details of what the promise meant. When Abraham was born, God refined mankind's hope, by stating the seed of promise would come through the descendants of Abraham: The seed of promise would be born through the Jewish nation. (Genesis 22:18) About 500 years later, God gave the Jews the Law Code to protect and keep them clean, so they [as descendants of Abraham] could produce that "seed." From [Abraham and then] Moses to Christ then, faithful men and women worshiped God according to the Law given to that Jewish Nation. The acceptable way to worship God in their day was to be born a Jew, or to become a Jewish Proselyte. Jesus, born a Jew, then presented himself as that hoped for "seed." The hope of faithful men and women was thus refined yet again, and made more clear, as the Christ was identified as the Messiah; Or the "seed" of promise born through Abraham. Starting from that revelation of Jesus Christ, the only acceptable way to worship God was to become a member of the Christian Congregation Jesus founded. The world's calendar was readjusted at that time, so everything before Jesus was referred to as BCE [Before Christian (or Common) Era] and everything after was CE [Christian (or Common) Era]. The Christian organization Jesus left behind soon turned to apostasy however, reasoning they needed to hide the Bible from common people; And bringing about the dark ages by their actions. The Bible was protected by God during that dark and ignorant time. A return to scriptural light by the reformation movement re-exposed mankind to Bible truth; which in turn dissolved the dark ages into the Bible's light. That rebirth of truth allowed for righteously inclined men and women to return to the Bible's recorded teachings by the Christ. Did the smothering of Christianity during the dark ages, and the reformation's exposing Bible Truth change the acceptable form of worship of the faithful yet again? It likely did. Looking back over time, we can see mankind's history has been one large plan by Jehovah to accomplish his purpose, which purpose has been to break up the damage satan started in the Garden. (1 John 3:8b) Through all these approved methods of worship then, faithful persons have worshipped the one true God. His arrangements for worshipping him have changed as he moved forward through time, accomplishing his purpose to reveal the solution to our problems in the "seed" he promised: Christ Jesus. The early Christian congregation was the birth of a new way to worship God, which replaced Judaism. [It could have been an extension Judaism, but the Jews, as a nation, rejected Christ. In a sense it remained an extension of Judaism to the faithful however, as Christianity extended hope first to faithful Jews, and then to all others as well. (Galatians 6:15 ; Romans:9:6-8 ; Galatians 3:26-29)] To prove Christianity was the form of worship newly approved, God provided miracles through the Christians as witness they were truly the new caretakers of "Truth." (Matthew 9:2-8 ; Mark 2:3-12) Those first century Christians could heal the sick, raise the dead, and perform other miracles. There could be no doubt they were being blessed with God's spirit. One of the things the spirit enabled them to do was to judge who was wicked among them; Again, as witness they had the method of worship approved by God. In that day, you could know without doubt the person sitting next to you was a faithful Christian. (Acts 5:1-11) After the Bible was completed, the Bible became mankind's record of witness as to the Christian congregation; as well as to those previously acceptable forms of worship. The miracles the followers of Christ could perform stopped with the death of the first century Christians and the completion of the Bible. No one is raising the dead or healing the sick today. The ability to judge who are faithful Christians also died off. This raises a question for us: Can we know today, if the person sitting next to us is a Christian? If so how? If we can't know, do we need be concerned? Let's withhold our decision about passing judgment on the righteousness of others while we consider the scriptural message and how it applies to our day.

While Jesus was alive as a perfect man, he preached the good news of God's kingdom and announced himself as king of that kingdom. (John 18:37 ; Matthew 20:21) Since the appearance of Messiah then, the message Jesus preached became the new or refined hope of the faithful, and has remained largely unchanged: People who heard his message had to express faith in the promises of Christ, share Jesus's message as the approved method of worship, and repent from wicked works. (Hebrews 9:14) They had to do their best to be upright, but would remain imperfect and therefore sinful people. They could however, have a good relationship with God through their faith in his son. (Eph 3:12 ; Heb 4:14-16) They would still die, but they would do so in their hope in Christ; Looking forward to a future resurrection. (John 11:24 ; Matthew 11:4-6 ; Mark 12:26-27) The hope of the faithful had now changed: From looking forward to the first appearance of the Christ, to looking forward to his return in kingdom power. Since the appearance of Christ then, righteously inclined people have died looking forward to the day when Jesus would perform the resurrection he had promised. (John 6:39-40) When Jesus was talking with Martha about the death and future resurrection of her brother Lazarus, Jesus introduced something else for his followers to hope in: A future day when faithful ones would not need a resurrection, because they would "never die at all." (John 11:26) Please take special note: Jesus there told Martha that some of those who would be alive in what Martha referred to as "the last day," would never die at all. When is the last day Jesus spoke of?

We often speak of a period of time as "a day." The day of Abraham, or the day of Moses or of David, for example. We might speak of the day of the judges as another example. By those terms, we understand the speaker to mean the period of time those men lived; or the period influenced by their group, or their activity. The day of the judges was thus a period of 330 years from about 1447 BCE until about 1117 BCE: It was the period when Samson, and Gideon, and the other judges ruled Israel. The days of the kings is the period that follows the judges, and applies to the period when kings appointed by Jehovah ruled his nation of people. The "day of King David" thus overlaps and fits within, the "day of the kings." Without being dogmatic, we might think of the period from the birth of Christ until our day as the day of preaching, or day of salvation through faith. (2 Corinthians 6:2) It was "the day" [the period] during which people lived and died in hope of the second coming of Jesus, and the resurrection he would bring. The same basic Bible message of hope applied to everyone during all those two thousand years from the first appearance of Christ until our day. Let's consider that we might now have entered a new day: That "last day" Martha spoke of; Or the "day of judgment." Our day then, is this period Jesus called the last day: (John 6:44) The period during which all mankind is being judged to see if possibly they can become worthy of will accept the gift of never dying at all. (Ezekiel 9:4-6) It is a most exciting "day" to be alive. Bible prophecy and teachings are understood by many persons to indicate we are indeed living in the day which Jesus called the last day; And we find the "last day" is not what any of us had expected. For those individuals who present themselves as self righteous and vainglorious judges over others, this last day will not be good. (Romans 2:1-11) For those who show obedience (1 John 5:3) to our heavenly Father through faith in Christ, [and thus show loving concern for others,] (Matthew 22:36-40 ; Matthew 5:43-48) this last day is a grand and a glorious day.

One important consideration while reflecting on the scriptures supporting this judgment by God: Is there a way this "last day" is positively demonstrating [and proving] for all time that God's judgment is righteous? (Romans 1:16-17) Looking back at our history: Mankind has in the majority abandoned and lived apart from Jehovah's governing standards since the garden of Eden. All our bad acts in disobedience are now coming back upon our own head in the form of the tribulation of these last days. By bringing the end to the problems afflicting mankind, problems which we brought upon ourselves by our own disobedience, God's righteous judgment is being revealed. (Romans 2:5) The solution to our problems is nearly too beautiful and wonderful for an imperfect human to comprehend, and it is a miracle from our Creator that we can understand it. As Jesus helped people who lived at the time of his first appearance, he would often say to them that it was their own faith that healed them, or helped them. (Mark 10:52 ; Matthew 8:5-13) He indicated he would sometimes not do powerful works among groups of people, because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13:58) Jesus could raise the dead and calm the raging sea; He obviously did not need the faith of others... Still, it seems in the case of helping individuals, God uses the faith of the one being helped for it to be accomplished. (Mark 5:25-34) Christ simply acted as a conduit for his Father's spirit, and those with faith could call upon that spirit using their own faith. (John 16:23) It will likely be the same for those whom Jesus said will never die at all [during what he referred to as the "last day"]. (John 11:26) Jehovah thus has in place a perfect arrangement for both the resurrection of dead ones, [by Jesus,] and also for the preservation of life [through the faith of the individual]: An arrangement so all those [whether they among those currently living, or among those being resurrected] who express faith in God's son can preserve themselves alive forever, by means of their own faith. (John 6:28-29 ; John 6:51 ; Psalms 22:26) God's righteous judgment is thus perfectly revealed: In his arrangement for the gift of eternal life. This "last day," or "day for the preservation of life," could start on any one of our days; It may have already started. It seems unlikely there will be a huge public spectacle to announce this "day" for the preservation for life. Jesus told us in the Bible we should look forward to and expect it. (Luke 21:28) Those with faith in God's word recognize "our day" to be the "last day." If there were some miraculous public announcement, people would try to express faith simply for the purpose of gaining life: Just as some followed Jesus for the food he gave them. (John 6:26-27) Our faith must be without selfishness [without blemish]. (1 Timothy 1:5 ; Philippians 2:15 ; Romans 12:9-10) We need to express faith because we recognize obedience to our heavenly Father is an absolute requirement. We need to recognize Jehovah must be obeyed, because all his ways are perfect, and any deviation from his way is an act of imperfection and therefore sin. (Deuteronomy 32:3-4) We must express faith for obedience because we recognize God always has the best interest of everyone at heart. (Isaiah 48:17 ; Hebrews 11:6) To fix the problems we face, Jehovah is preserving alive only those who will be obedient for life in the new earth paradise. (Matthew 24:37 ; Isaiah 11:9) If God preserved disobedient ones alive, it wouldn't be a paradise for long: Their disobedience would create the same problems all over again. Love, and our need for peace, dictate God can not allow all this pain and suffering to continue. As God restores the perfect paradise He created in Eden, (Genesis 1:31 ; Isaiah 55:11) he preserves only those who will keep it a paradise by virtue of their determined obedience to his Word. (Revelation 9:13 ; Ephesians 6:17) Since all his works are [and always have been] perfect; how could it be otherwise? As the pressures grow because of the escalating failure of this system of things, (Luke 21:25-28) those who refuse to express faith in Jesus will die in their sins (John 8:24-32) as a result of their own choice to reject God's provision of life. Those who express faith in Christ Jesus as God's son will be preserved alive through their own faith. (Romans 1:16-17) Jehovah's judgment is thus revealed, and eternally proved righteous: Evident in his provision for life to all who will accept it! The problems overwhelming mankind provide positive proof we all need to be obedient to Jehovah's direction. Any who refuse to recognize that obvious truth change from being ignorant [ignorance can be excused by God - (Acts 17:30)] and make themselves into stupid ones: They make themselves unworthy of life by their own choice. (Psalms 92:5-7 ; Psalms 92 and 93)

The Bible message for this period Jesus referred to as the "last day" [of this old system] has changed then. The message for men and women of "our day" has become: "Have faith in Christ Jesus for the preservation of life." You can have the Bible based hope of being one of those who will never die at all. (John 11:26) The faith and hope (Romans 15:4) during the 2000 years since Christ's birth, and before, resulted in those faithful dying in their scriptural hope of a later resurrection from the dead. For our day, the message has changed to: "Have faith for the preservation of life." Based on all these scriptures then, we can say: Some [or many] of the persons alive in our day may never die at all. (John 11:26) What a wonderful time to be alive! As Jesus there asked Martha: "Do you believe this?"

Such knowledge illustrates why it is important to have an understanding of where we are in the stream of time, such as it is revealed to us by the Bible. Knowledge of how the Bible message applies to our own day can help us build faith to preserve our very lives. Some will say that is a foolish hope. They might say people have been looking forward to the establishment of the kingdom for centuries. They are right about people looking forward to deliverance by God for a long time! (Romans 8:22) There is little doubt ancient Daniel lived his life of captivity in Babylon, in the hope God would re-establish the kingdom of David and provide Daniel's relief as he did so. He was right in his hope, but he was wrong in his timing as to his own deliverance. Daniel died in Babylon with the promise he would wake up to the established kingdom. (Daniel 12:8-10 & 13) The Jews of Jesus day still had that same hope in the establishment of that kingdom of David. (Mark 11:10 ; Acts 1:6 ; Luke 1:30-33) All those early followers of Christ did not see that deliverance promised their forefathers, but died in their hope of a resurrection, as did Martha [the one to whom Jesus introduced the hope for our day - that some might never die]. (John 11:26) Again, they were all correct to place their hope in Christ, but were wrong to believe Jesus would establish his kingdom [a glorious extension of the kingdom of David] in "their day." (Matthew 1:1 ; Matthew 9:27) Bible chronology and world events [events which are in harmony with Bible prophecy] indicate we are the generation Jesus spoke of who would never die at all [if faithful]. If we are misunderstanding the signs, and there is more time left, it is still better to maintain hope; And thus to die in the hope of the promised resurrection as did Daniel and Martha. If our Bible understanding is right, though, if salvation really is for our day, then such knowledge can provide faith for the preservation of your life. Because people have looked forward to deliverance for a long time does not mean it is not for our day. Build faith for life! Rejoice in our day! Simply know what your Bible teaches, and be obedient to that truth by learning to show love! (1 John 4:15-21) Share your Bible hope with others simply by telling them about it!

What about judging others, and our being able to know who is faithful? It would all seem to imply we can not know if the person sitting next to us is Christian, nor should we presume to judge whether they are. (Romans 14:1-4) [All need to be in fear of displeasing Jehovah, not to be in fear our judgment against them.] We don't need to know who is righteous. What we can know, and help them understand, is they are judging themselves by their faith in Christ, or by their lack of it: Just as we all are! (Romans 2:14-16) [We do understand the logic of those who feel the need to be certain those who worship in their midst are "faithful." It seems to be good human logic. The problem is, that is all it is: Human logic. Such judgment doesn't seem to find support in scripture for our day. Such self appointed religious judges over others cause much harm in the earth. A man or woman who imagines they are God's appointed judge is a very dangerous person. Any who retain the power of holy spirit to judge who is righteous, should also be raising the dead and healing the sick, just as the first century Christians did.] If an individual claims to be a follower of Jehovah's son Christ Jesus, we should be very cautions about judging them. (1 Corinthians 12:3 ; Mark 9:38-40 ; Matthew 7:21-23 ; Matthew 10:32-33 ; Matthew 11:25-30) The Bible teaches [in the end day] the earth will become "filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea." (Isaiah 11:9) It says those who worship "will worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:21-26) It says they will live, not by sight, but by faith. (Hebrews 10:38 ; Galatians 3:11 ; 2 Corinthians 5:7) It says the righteous will recognize they are not judges over their brothers. (Romans 14:10-12 ; Matthew 7:1-2 ; John 12:47-48) Jesus said some would claim to be faithful [or appear to be faithful] who would not be. (Matthew 7:21-23) He also taught many who might not seem righteous to us, will be so in God's sight. (Mark 12:41-44) We are all judging our own selves, by whether we display faith in Christ as the ransom sacrifice provided us by Jehovah God. (John 3:16-21) Rendering judgment over others may be one of the greatest dangers of organized religion [apart from teaching lies of course]. If you are a professed member of a group claiming to be Christian, and they rise up to judge who is wicked and who is righteous and they are wrong in their judgment, are you responsible for their abuse all the same as they are? (Matthew 7:1-2)

Be very careful of any who want to assert their own wisdom by teaching anything beyond what is written in God's inspired Bible [in his inspired Word]. (1 Corinthians 4:6) Such uninspired writings of men are wearisome to the flesh. (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12) Only the Bible is upbuilding for study and faith. (2 Timothy 3:16 ; Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Learn what Jesus taught, and exercise faith in his teachings by showing love for your brothers and sisters in Adam. (Luke 10:27-28) This is the whole obligation of man! (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) Help those sitting next to you realize: They are rendering judgment over their own souls by their obedience to Jesus's teachings, or by their disobedience. (John 12:47-50) Help them, not by rendering judgment over their faith, but by demonstrating love for your neighbor; (Luke 10:25-28) As you wait on deliverance at Jehovah's hand by means of your own faith. (2 Kings 17:39 ; Matthew 7:12 ; Romans 13:8-10) Loving God, and loving our neighbor then, is the acceptable form of worship for our day. (Luke 10:26-28) No man or group can pat you on the head give you assurance you are doing that. You must know what Jesus taught us [from your Bible - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John] and judge in your own heart if you are following him. (Romans 2:15-16) Don't read those Bible books just once, but be absorbed in them. (1 Timothy 4:15-16) That is what gives faith for life.

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