Most Jehovah’s Witnesses strongly believe that true disciples should preach in the Name of Jehovah. But does this follow the precedent set in the New Testament? Has God asked Christians to proclaim His Name to the world today?

OLD TESTAMENT NAMES

In the Old Testament, God revealed himself as El, El Shaddai, Adonai, and Jehovah/Yahweh in Exodus 34. Our Heavenly Father’s purpose for His creation is revealed in His Memorial Name. Many experts believe that Yahweh is a more accurate translation of this most important Hebrew Name of God, which means, ‘I will be who I will be,’ or ‘I am who I am’.

‘HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED’

However, there are indications in the Old Testament, that Yahweh intended to share His Name, as we read in Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David…”

‘I WILL BE SALVATION’

When Jesus was born, the angel told Mary to call God’s Son – ‘Jesus’, which means ‘Yah’s salvation’ and is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua (Luke 1:30-33). There are a number of Bible names incorporating Yah. Expanded out, Jesus’s name means, “I will be salvation” which is and was the purpose of God.  Jesus is God’s means of salvation to the whole world of sinners. The very first promise made after the very first sin in the Garden of Eden is found in Genesis 3:15. Jesus (the seed of the woman) was to crush the head of the serpent, which he did when he gave up his life on the cross that “through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” Hebrews 2:14.

THE NAME WAS GIVEN

Because of our Lord’s victory over sin, Yahweh gave him the name that is above every name as is says in Philippians 2:8-11:

“And being found in fashion as a man, he [Jesus] humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ has received this exalted status to the glory of the Father, but not to usurp God. However, it is interesting that ‘Yahweh’ does not appear in the English New Testament, nor in many ancient Greek manuscripts. The Watchtower states that the absence of the Memorial Name in the N.T. is a copyist error. However, regardless of whether or not this Name was removed from the original text, we read this powerful message in Acts 4:10-12:

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

There are many passages which confirm the importance of the Name of Jesus Christ. For example:

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Acts 10:43 “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

1 Corinthians 6:10 “ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Ephesians 1:20 “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:”

Hebrews 1:4 “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

MANIFESTED TO THE WORLD

But hold on… Jesus said he did his works ‘in my Father’s Name‘ (John 10:25). He said that he ‘came in my Father’s Name‘ (John 5:43). He said that he would ‘tell of Your Name to my brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise’ (Heb. 2:12). He came as a king ‘in the Name of the Lord.’ (John 12:14) Even in Hebrews 6:10, the Apostle Paul assures us that God will not forget ‘your work and labor of love which ye have showed toward His Name.’

This all fits perfectly. Jesus came in his Father’s Name. He bore his Father’s Name and purpose in the meaning of His own Name, and manifested his Father to the whole world, as he says in John 12:45-48, “Whoever sees me sees him who sent me… For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”

NOT TO USURP THE FATHER

Consider this: The Apostles didn’t do miracles in the name of Jehovah/Yahweh, but in the name of Jesus Christ – the Yahweh purpose fulfilled in him. They didn’t preach the name of Jehovah/ Yahweh, but the Name of Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean that Jesus has usurped Yahweh the Creator of heaven and earth. Yahweh is still Jesus’ God and Father, as he says in John 20:17: “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

It is God’s will to elevate Jesus and give him this important role of creating the ‘new creation’ of men and women – spiritually born and awaiting immortality in the future. (1 Corinthians 15:45-58; John 5:21; Colossians 1:15-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17) Our Father in Heaven is pleased for us to glorify His Son and to preach the Name of Jesus Christ because Jesus is God’s provision to redeem us from sin and death. (Genesis 22:14-18; Philippians 2:8-11)

THE NAME SHARED AGAIN

When we are given immortality like Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20-21) at the Resurrection, Yahweh’s purpose will also be fulfilled in us, and therefore Jesus says in Revelation 3:12, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” The purpose of Yahweh’s Name – “I will be who I will be” will also be fulfilled in us. Jesus said, in John 17, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world… Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me… I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me…”

Our Lord Jesus Christ and his children – those who are saved through him – will all be brought into the family of Yahweh and be one with Him in mind, purpose and immortal nature. This is a day we long for, which John saw in the vision of Revelation 14, when, “behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”

SO WHOSE NAME DO WE PREACH TODAY?

The Apostles in Acts 8:11 preached “the Name of Jesus” and “the Kingdom of God,” as stated, “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. KJV”

The Apostles did not preach the ‘name of Yahweh’, because the purpose of this Name “I will be who I will be” was now in the one bearing the name, “I will be salvation”, since Jesus had given his life for the world. Jesus Christ is bringing to pass the plan God had from the beginning of the world, to save sinners.

This new name means that God Himself has promoted His Son to this elevated position until the end of the Millennial reign is over,

1 Cor. 15:28 “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

These passages clearly show the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is what we should be proclaiming to the world today, as the ongoing fulfillment of Yahweh’s Name and purpose, if we desire to follow the example of the First Century Christians.


Wikipedia defines a ‘cult’ as “a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.” For many people, the word ‘cult’ evokes scary and dangerous associations of brainwashing, extremism, mind-control, idolizing human leaders, strong emotional pressure tactics, isolation from family and friends, and being ‘robbed’ of ones’ finances. Since Google searches involving the name ‘Christadelphian’ bring up articles labelling this religious group as a cult, some investigation is required.

WEIRD NAME

The name ‘Christadelphian’ does sound strange until one understands that it is based on the Greek phrase ‘Christou adelphoi’ which simply means ‘brothers (and sisters) in Christ.’

“To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:” (Colossians 1:2)

DO THE CHRISTADELPHIANS EXHIBIT ‘CULT-LIKE’ BEHAVIOUR?

In order to answer this question fairly, we must keep in mind that any human establishment with real, living human beings, be it secular or religious, has the potential for some of their members to develop wrong motives and destroy the good intentions and moral standing of others. Human beings are complex creatures that aren’t always able to resist the temptations that come their way, especially if they are charismatic individuals that naturally draw others to themselves. Sometimes their popularity grows faster than their character develops. History is full of such accounts whether it be in world governments, secular companies, schools, families or churches.

The lurking desire for power, control and other selfish ambitions can turn fully committed followers of Christ into deluded, hostile leaders who wreak havoc everywhere they go. Often, such deluded individuals proclaim their motives and actions are based on doing ‘what is best’ for others or the ‘greater good’, when in reality they are only serving themselves. Generally, in religious groups, such members deftly twist the clear commands of Christ to justify their wrongful actions. This was even happening in the First Century when the Apostles were still alive and the New Testament was being written (2 Timothy 2:16-19; Matthew 7:15-20; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15). Corruption or insistence on extreme views – whether liberal or conservative – destroys the faith of many and brings heartache and bitterness to others. Corrupt or extreme individuals have at times disrupted individual Christadelphian congregations, just as they do in every other religious or secular organization. Such ‘cult-like’ behavior can occur within any group of people.

Judas Iscariot’s betrayal did not make everything that Jesus taught and did hypocritical, but rather demonstrated that he had not taken Jesus Christ’s principles to heart in his own personal life. In most establishments – secular or religious – you will find people who honestly want to hold to the principles of the group intermingled with those who are unable to overcome their own base desires. Jesus Christ warned that the ‘tares’ will grow with the ‘wheat’ until he returns and separates the two. (Matthew 13:25-30) Paul says, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” 1 Corinthians 11:18-19

It is always important to examine the foundational principles of an organization – and determine whether its principles are true and valid, or actually contributing to the wrong behavior within the group.

CHARISMATIC HUMAN LEADERSHIP DISCOURAGED

Across the world, Christadelphians recognize the human weakness to blindly follow strong personalities, and appreciate the importance of keeping the Lord Jesus Christ in his proper prominent position. Therefore, as a group they have purposely chosen not to have a paid ministry or Central organization in order to counteract the human lust for power and influence. Each congregation strives to follow First Century practices and teachings. Every member is expected to reason through their beliefs and hold speakers and writers to be accountable to the inspired message of the Bible.

Some claim that John Thomas is the leader of the Christadelphians, but this is misleading. In the 1800’s John Thomas founded the group, but he never claimed Divine inspiration or any special direct channel to God. He is not revered as a ‘prophet’, but gratefully acknowledged as a man who devoted his life to rediscovering the original Gospel message which had been lost during the Dark Ages. Several groups, by various names, throughout the last 2000 years have testified to the same simple Gospel as the Christadelphians do today and many lost their lives for this witness. The Polish Brethren, the Anabaptists, Socinianism, William Tyndale and Sir Isaac Newton all spoke against various Church teachings which they felt were sadly astray from First Century Christianity.

NO EMOTIONAL PRESSURE TACTICS

Christadelphians don’t use highly charged music or emotional appeals to pressure people into “on the spot” conversions. ‘Brainwashing’ and mind-control tactics are never used, instead members are encouraged to personally compare everything they hear with what they read in the Bible. The Bible – both the Old and New Testaments – is the only authority the Christadelphians acknowledge worldwide.

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11 (See also 2 Timothy 3:12-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

Giving one’s life to Christ is a very personal commitment which requires maturity. Within Christadelphian circles, those who choose to make the decision to be ‘baptized into Christ’ are encouraged to think it through carefully, prayerfully, and articulate a good understanding of the Gospel message. (Acts 8:26-38; 6:36-42)

As much as possible, monetary donations are made in secret without show, and without highly pressurized, emotional appeals. There is no mandatory ‘tithing’ or amounts ‘suggested.’ Members give as they choose to do so within their means.

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6. See also Matthew 6:1-4)

NO DIRECTIVES TO GO INTO ISOLATION

As Jesus commanded, Christadelphians remain ‘in the world,’ sharing Christ’s message of hope, but keep separate from immoral practices and behaviour.

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one… As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:14-18; See also 1 Peter 4:1-5; Matthew 5:14-16)

There are never any highly charged appeals or directives to isolate in secluded retreats for long periods of time. Christadelphians do run wonderful, weekly Bible schools in the summer that are freely attended and enjoyed by those who want to take part… but there is never any pressure forcing members to attend.

CHRISTADELPHIANS ARE REGARDED AS ‘UNORTHODOX’

We acknowledge that even with these moderating choices in place, there have been some individuals who have lost sight of the principles of Christ and acted in ways that damaged or destroyed the faith of others. However, we feel strongly that the only valid reason for suggesting that Christadelphians, as a whole, are ‘a cult’ is that they differ from mainstream Christianity in their teachings. ‘Sect’ would be a more accurate description – ‘sect is a subgroup of a religious, political or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger group.. any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles. Sects are usually created due to perception of heresy by the subgroup and/or the larger group.’ (Wikipedia) The early Christians were also labelled a ‘sect’ by the Jewish leaders (see Acts 28:22).

Christadelphians believe that the original Gospel message has been substantially altered during the last 2000 years, as Greek and Roman philosophies, practices and teachings were incorporated in order to make Christianity more appealing to the masses. The New Testament warns us that this was already happening in the First Century and would get even worse.

“…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come… They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” (1 John 2:18-19; See also 4:1-4; Acts 20:29-30)

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-8

WHAT GOSPEL MESSAGE DO THE CHRISTADELPHIANS TEACH?

The original Gospel message was based on two aspects – ‘the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ’ (Acts 8:12; 28:23).

THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

Christadelphians believe in a powerful Creator God – the Father, who has a Son – Jesus Christ, and whose power is referred to as ‘the Holy Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3).  Through His Holy Spirit power God miraculously caused a virgin to conceive without the involvement of a man (Luke 1:30-35). Through his mother, Mary, Jesus was a direct descendant of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16; Revelation 22:16). This faithful Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, died for the sins of all mankind (Hebrews 2:9-18; Isaiah 53), willingly sacrificing his own life so that believers now have the hope of rising from the dead to immortality just as he did (1 Cor. 15:20-49; Romans 8:29). Having been the first to rise from the dead and receive immortality, the Lord Jesus Christ is ‘the firstborn from the dead’!! (Colossians 1:18; Acts 26:23; Rev. 1:5) He now shares God’s immortal nature (1 Timothy 6:16; 1 Corinthians 15:35-57). He has been ‘given the Name that is above all names’ (Philippians 2:9). Jesus Christ is the Creator of the new creation – a spiritual creation, reconciling men and women to His Father (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:10). Presently, he is at his Father’s right hand in Heaven awaiting his return to establish God’s Kingdom on earth and to be the King of the World. (John 18:33-37)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Christadelphians hold the hope of resurrection which Abraham, Job, David, Isaiah and Daniel also expressed (Hebrews 11:8-16; Job 19:25-17; Psalm 17:15; Isaiah 26:29; Daniel 12:2), when believers will receive immortality, just as our Lord Jesus Christ did at his resurrection when he was made ‘the firstborn among many brothers’ (Philippians 3:20-21: 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15). This resurrection and judgment will occur when our Lord returns to judge the living and the dead (Daniel 12:1-3; John 5:25-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 1:5-7) commencing the Kingdom of God, when the Lord Jesus Christ will reign with his saints over the entire earth (Daniel 7:13-27; 2:44-45; Zechariah 14; Revelation 11:15; 5:10; 20:1-6).

Christadelphians are found in most countries of the world, although generally small in number. It is because they hold beliefs differing from ‘mainstream’ Christianity that other religious groups have labelled this movement a ‘cult.’ Misleading associations with this word ‘cult’, scare many away from a careful investigation with their Bible in hand. Sadly, the leaders of the Jewish world also used scare tactics to steer others away from the Christian movement and even from the Lord Jesus Christ.

‘Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.’ 2 Timothy 3:12-17

God doesn’t change. His inspired Word was recorded for our benefit and since it is ‘breathed out by God’, it won’t change either… it is still perfectly true today! Any attempts to ‘modernize’ Christianity might make it more popular but will only lead people astray from the real Gospel of salvation. Be like the Bereans and examine the Scriptures daily to see if ‘these things are so’. (Acts 17:11)

An excellent podcast interview on this topic is available on Apple Podcasts: “Why the Christadelphians are not a ‘Cult’.

Will Christians be raptured to heaven before Jesus Christ returns to the earth – or will we be taken somewhere else?

Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 are some of the most comforting and encouraging words in the Bible, especially for those who have lost loved ones. He writes, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

It’s quite clear from this passage, that Jesus will return to raise the dead and then gather those who are still alive. These events are also referred to in Matthew 24:30-31, “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Where will we be taken?

In 1 Thessalonians 4, it says that those of us ‘who are left’ will ‘be caught up together’ with them in the clouds… “Caught up” is the Greek word ‘harpazo’ which doesn’t in itself indicate direction whether up, down, east, west, etc. ‘Harpazo’ simply means ‘to seize, catch, pluck, pull, take by force’. It is used in the New Testament when people wanted to make Jesus king and plotted to ‘take him by force’ (John 6:15), or of when a wolf ‘catcheth’ the sheep (John 10:12), or of Paul knowing a man (likely himself) who was ‘caught up’ to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2). Philip the evangelist, was ‘caught away’ after baptizing the eunuch and taken to Azotus. So, as you can see, ‘harpazo’ doesn’t indicate direction – it simply means being ‘taken’ or ‘seized.’

In 1 Thessalonians 4, the passage goes on to say that we will be taken away to be ‘in the clouds’ and ‘to meet the Lord in the air’. What is this talking about, if this is not heaven? Why would anyone think that it isn’t heaven? Well, because these events are interconnected with Jesus returning to earth – not believers going to heaven.

In order to investigate the correlation between Jesus’ return, the resurrection, the granting of immortality, and the beginning of the Kingdom on earth, the following ten passages are helpful:

Jesus will call the dead to life.

John 5:25-29, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Jesus’ angels will gather the good and the bad, and then the righteous ‘will shine.’

Matthew 13:40-43, “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Jesus will come ‘with the clouds’ and ‘every eye will see him’

Revelation 1:5-7 “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”

Those ransomed by Jesus will be priests and reign on earth

Revelation 5:9-10 “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

The earth is the ‘inheritance’ of the faithful

Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Psalm 37:34 “Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.” (see also verse 9, 11, 22, 29)

The saints will be given an everlasting kingdom over all other nations

Daniel 7:27 “And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

God’s kingdom will break all other kingdoms and ‘stand forever’

Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,”

All nations will serve, worship and bring gifts to the rulers of God’s kingdom

Isaiah 60 “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious… they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory…Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.”

Jesus will be revealed to the world when he returns to the Mount of Olives with the ‘holy ones.’ This will be the beginning of his kingdom over all the earth.

Zechariah 14 “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle… Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward… Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him… On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem… And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one… Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts…”

We see from these ten references above, that Jesus is returning to raise the dead and grant immortality to his chosen ones. When he shows himself to the world and saves Israel from the nations that come against her, his ‘holy ones’ – the immortal saints – are with him. This deliverance will be the beginning of the ‘little stone’ of Daniel 2 taking over all the kingdoms of the world, and the saints inheriting the earth… not heaven.

So, where will we be gathered to, if not heaven? Why will we be in ‘the clouds’, and meet the Lord ‘in the air’?

The New Testament often speaks of Jesus returning ‘in the clouds’ (See Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27; Rev. 1:7). In Hebrews 12:1, Paul talks about all the faithful believers mentioned in the chapter before, as ‘a cloud of witnesses.’ The ‘clouds’ may refer to all the saints being together. Believers are caught away to be with the Lord and all the others who have been caught away.

Where is ‘the air’?

The Greek word that is used here is ‘aer’. Thayer’s defines it as ‘the air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air, or the atmospheric region’. Strong’s defines it as coming from the root ‘aemi (to breathe unconsciously, that is respire; by analogy to blow)’ Therefore the air cannot refer to heaven where God dwells… but must be somewhere in our atmosphere.

Judgment and the Marriage Feast

In other New Testament passages, Jesus told us that when he returns there will be a time of judgment, when the ‘sheep’ will be set on his right hand and invited to ‘inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,’ while those on his left will be told to depart (Matthew 25:31-46). Revelation 19:6-10 speaks of the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ – a time for the saints to meet their ‘bridegroom’ and begin an eternal relationship with him. (see also Matthew 25:1-10; Luke 12:36). So, when the angels gather believers from all over the earth, we are not told specifically where we will be taken, perhaps because Jesus wants this wedding feast to be a private event. However, we know that we will be together both with those who have been raised from the dead and those who have been gathered from all over the earth. We know that we will be in the air that we can breathe – somewhere in our atmosphere. Best of all, we know that Jesus is returning to set up an everlasting Kingdom on this earth that will subdue all other governments and bring in a time of peace, righteousness and godliness that will last for 1000 years (Revelation 20). May that day come soon!

Was Jesus with God before the creation of the earth? Did he enjoy life in heaven with his Father long before he roamed the earth as a man? If this is true, how could he also be the Promised Seed, an actual descendant of Abraham, David and Mary? In Colossians 1 Jesus Christ is called the ‘firstborn of every creature,’ but does this refer to the Genesis creation, or a new creation?

God knows the End from the Beginning

To begin with, Isaiah 46:9-10 tells us something special about God. He says, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done… “

It may be difficult for us to comprehend, but God says He knows the future before it happens. When He began His acts of creation, He already knew ‘the end from the beginning.’

The Word

The record in Genesis 1, repeatedly says ‘God said,’ and it happened. God’s word and His spirit power moved on the surface of the world and brought His incredible plan into effect. We are told in Psalm 33:6-9, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth… let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he SPAKE, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”

If you were to push back time before the first day of creation, everything that has happened since would all be in the mind of God. He knew the ‘end from the beginning.’ Genesis, Psalms and Isaiah tell us that the creation of our planet and all life upon it was accomplished through His spoken word and spirit power.

Was Jesus with God when the Earth was Created?

We read in 1 Peter 1:8-11, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.This passage tells us that the prophets who prophesied about Christ in the Old Testament didn’t understand what they were writing as they recorded the words that God gave them about the Messiah’s sufferings and glory. In the Old Testament there are passages that tell us about Jesus’ inner feelings through the trials he would endure. (See Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 for example) His sufferings and glory were also foretold in the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the promises made to Abraham, Joseph forgiving his brothers in order to save them, the sacrifices of a perfect lamb, and other rituals of the Law… the colors and symbols of the tabernacle, the Passover feast, Daniel’s prophecies and so much more.

Jesus Christ is ‘seen’ throughout the Old Testament. He fulfilled more than 100 Messianic Old Testament prophecies. God knew exactly what was going to happen to His Son from the beginning of time and even how His Son would feel during those experiences. Our Father’s plan to reconcile the world was clearly outlined and foreshadowed long before it occurred. This is why after Jesus was resurrected, he explained his life, sufferings and purpose based on the Old Testament. (Luke 24:25-27) The Apostle Paul did the same in Acts 26:22-23, saying, “I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”

John 1

When we come to John 1 and read ‘THE WORD’ was with God from the beginning, this ‘beginning’ most likely refers to Genesis 1 when God began to bring His plan for this world into existence. God has no beginning, but our world does. The Greek word for ‘word’ is ‘LOGOS’ which means ‘something said (including the thought), a topic, reasoning, motive, computation…’ Here we have another reference to God’s plan which He had in mind before He began to create. In John 1:14 we are told that the ‘word’ (logos – the plan) became flesh…a man. So, yes, Jesus existed in God’s mind and purpose before creation, but he didn’t become an actual person until he was born. He was a true descendant of Abraham, David and Mary – just as God had promised (Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:30-35)

Gabriel announced to Daniel the coming of Christ in Daniel 8:15-26 and 9:20-27, telling him specific things the Messiah would do in the future.  When Gabriel announced hundreds of years later to Mary in Luke 1:26-33 that she would have a son, the announcement also included the proclamation that this boy who had not yet even been conceived would reign as king. The fulfillment of these kingdom prophecies is still in the future! God’s plan has always been in His mind since the beginning of our creation and He has been gradually working it out through 6000 years of history. 

Others Whom God ‘Foreknew’

Jesus isn’t the only one that God speaks of knowing before birth. John the Baptist was also named and ‘sent’ (John 1:6) before he was conceived. His life’s mission was given to Zechariah in Luke 1:11-20 before he was born.

Jeremiah was also told,  “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us that the faithful were also chosen ‘before the foundation of the world’ and have been ‘predestinated’ to adoption. This doesn’t mean the faithful existed as actual people before creation, but simply that God has a supernatural ability to know ‘the end from the beginning.’ While we all have freewill, God knows how everything is going to turn out. As humans we think we are pretty good when we can make accurate two week forecasts of the weather based on the data we collect. We don’t force the weather to happen, we just understand the patterns – and sometimes our forecasts are accurate and sometimes they are not.  The Creator of the world is so far above us!! The Bible is full of completely accurate prophesies concerning the nations of our world, recorded thousands of years before the events occurred or will occur. God knows even what the nations will do! (Ezekiel 36 to 38, Zechariah 12-14; Psalm 83; Joel 3; Isaiah 60-66)

The Firstborn of All Creation

So, how then can it be said that Jesus is the ‘firstborn of every creature’? Surely, Colossians 1 proves that Jesus pre-existed? Let’s examine Colossians 1: 15-18 carefully: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Note that all the things listed which were ‘created’ by Jesus are not part of the Genesis 1 creation. Instead, Colossians lists ‘thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers.’ This creation sounds more like a kingdom than a creation of plants, trees, animals and humans. Verse 18 tells us that Jesus is the ‘firstborn from the dead’! This is the start of a new creation! Here are a few more references where we are told that Jesus was the firstborn from the dead:

Acts 26:23 “that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

1 Corinthians 15:20 “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.”

Revelation 1:5-6 “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Notice in the Revelation passage the references to a Kingdom! Jesus wasn’t the first person to be resurrected in the Bible, but he was the first man to rise from the dead and receive God’s gift of immortality! To be a part of the new Creation – a kingdom of ‘kings and priests’ (Revelation 5:9-10) we must also be given the gift of immortality. Jesus was the first to receive this gift, and through his obedience and sacrifice, God has also promised this gift to us. This is the new Creation, of which Jesus is the firstborn and the Creator!

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

If you would like to look into this subject in more detail, click on the handout link below

Annexing Judea and Samaria has been a hot topic in the news lately and so it should be. Anyone reading Ezekiel 36 to 39 in the Old Testament Scriptures knows that God promised – thousands of years ago – that in the ‘latter years‘ the Jewish people would be regathered from all over the world. It has happened! God promised that He would make the Jewish people a nation again in their land, which happened in 1948. God promised that the mountains of Israel would become productive, their wastelands restored, cities rebuilt, and people and animals would multiply upon the hills. This is happening! And God promised that in these ‘latter years’ Israel would be dwelling safely and peacefully on these very mountains, otherwise known as ‘the West Bank’, or ‘Judea and Samaria’  (Ezekiel 38:8). This will happen, one way or another. At the moment, annexing Judea and Samaria appears to be a possible way for this state of ‘peace and safety’ to occur.

But, take a good look at the prophecy in Ezekiel 37: 21-22: “Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all…”

Who is this King? Having a King is the next step in the fulfillment of this prophecy. Will democracy be overturned? And if so, by whom?

To answer this question, we must first ask, why is it that God’s favor is being poured out upon Israel in these ‘latter years’? The answers are given in Ezekiel 36 to 39. God has a plan which He is bringing to pass and this plan will eventually include the whole world! Through the miraculous fulfillment of God’s prophetic word all nations will come to believe in Him!

God’s plan was first promised to a man named Abraham who believed and trusted God implicitly. Because of this man’s faith, God promised to give him the land of Israel to Abraham and to his SEED… forever. He promised to bless all nations through Abraham and through his SEED… forever. (Genesis 13:14-17;17:3-8; 22:12-18) But Abraham never received this land in his lifetime. We learn in the New Testament that God has not yet fulfilled His promise to Abraham because this promise was given for the future. Abraham remained a wandering pilgrim living in a tent his whole life because he trusted that this promise would be fulfilled when he rose from the dead. (See Acts 7:2-5; Hebrews 11:8-16) Abraham looked for a ‘heavenly city’ that was to come, not a city in heaven or the promise will never be fulfilled, but rather God’s Divine restoration of the Promised Land here on earth! God’s will done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

We learn from the New Testament that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the primary descendant promised to Abraham. (Galatians 3:16) It is through the Jewish Messiah – Jesus Christ – that all nations of the world can find salvation, and be blessed through him. (Genesis 22:12-18) The Gospel message was first preached to Abraham! (Galatians 3:8-9) The Jewish Hope is the foundation of the Gospel message (Acts 28:20).

As promised, Jesus Christ will soon be returning to be the KING in Jerusalem. According to the Scriptures, Jesus must first deliver Israel from a terrible onslaught, returning to stand on the Mount of Olives, triggering a massive earthquake that will split the mount in two (Zechariah 14). According to the Scriptures, Jesus must turn the Jewish people to him when they see ‘him whom they have pierced,’ and ‘weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.’ (Zechariah 12). Jesus must receive the promised ‘throne of his father David’ in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 7:12-16 ; Luke 1:30-35). When Jesus has established himself as the King in Jerusalem, he will then call upon all nations to come up and learn of God’s ways. (Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 14; Psalm 72)

With all these prophecies coming true one by one, we have every reason to believe we are living in the last days and that God is fulfilling His promises. May the Jewish people have the courage to accept God’s gift and find a way to live on the ‘mountains of Israel’ in peace and safety. May the whole world soon recognize that we are seeing incredible promises being fulfilled! God is at work!