Queen Elizabeth II has become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. It’s a momentous occasion that has been celebrated all over the world, from Great Britain to Canada, Australia to the Bahamas.
But did you know that the ‘year of jubilee’ is also mentioned in the Bible, recorded more than 3500 years ago? This jubilee was a time of celebration too, and it occurred every 50 years in Israel. During the Jubilee year, all slaves were freed and all property that had been sold to pay off debts was returned to its original owner. Both people and land were liberated – set free! It was a truly joyful occasion.
These days, we are so concerned about the state of the world. We see wars, suffering, famine and violence on a daily basis. Yet, this negativity will be put to one side on the 2nd of June as people come together to honour and celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for this joy and peace to last forever? To no longer hear of wars, illnesses and suffering, but love, kindness and good health. To no longer be in debt, sick or frail? To never again be tempted by our own guilty pleasures or feel remorse for people that we’ve hurt with our words and actions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be truly free from all of that?
Well, God has promised us that this will be the case. A king is coming who will unite all nations and people on Earth. A king who is fair and just, pure and without sin. In fact, he will take away all sin and death from this world. This king is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. His jubilee will bring a freedom like no other! His kingdom will cover the whole Earth, his reign will last for eternity. A kingdom of peace, liberty and love. The question is – will you be there?
These are words we usually hear in association with a court room setting – outside of this context they are not part of our everyday language, and even less our everyday practice. There are many reasons for this: we may hold back the truth to protect the feelings of others or embellish the truth to get a laugh or to make it seem more exciting. In the environment in which we live, it is often difficult to get to the truth of the matter. Photographs can be enhanced, people can alter their appearances, news stories can be exaggerated and advertising is a law to itself.
We know that we don’t get the whole truth in our everyday lives – we filter the information that we consume, retaining some parts, ignoring some, and even adding our own views and opinions. It is vitally important that we don’t do this when it comes to the Word of God—the Bible. God does give us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
We need to read it all, accept it all and not add or take away from it. The last book in the Bible carries a warning for us in Revelation chapter 22 verses 18 and 19 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words 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 the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city and from the things which are written in this book.” (NKJV)
God has a wonderful plan and purpose for this earth and an invitation for us all to be a part of it – He is faithful and will fulfil His promises.
To see a very interesting video and a more detailed explanation of this phrase, please visit our YouTube channel and watch our presentation entitled ‘The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – the Bible’ by Steve Jones.
If it is, it’s hardly surprising—it’s a horrific spectacle! On 24th February the world woke up to the shocking news that Russia had invaded Ukraine. It has become increasingly evident as the war has progressed that Putin is determined to conquer Ukraine, whatever the human and economic cost.
World leaders are asking the questions: Where next? Where will Putin stop his expansive aggression? Given his unpredictability, he has everyone guessing.
Bible prophecy, however, is clear. Ezekiel Ch. 38 describes a major invasion of the Middle East, focussed on Israel. This invasion is carried out by a confederacy of nations led by a power named “Gog”, the ruler over a territory whose ancient names are identified by historians as modern Russia (Ezekiel 38 v1-3). Significantly, the leader of this invading confederacy, Gog, is also described as ruling “Magog”. Ancient maps show the area of Magog situated between the River Don and River Danube, encompassing the country we now know as Ukraine.
This invasion of the Middle East will culminate in the battle of Armageddon, in the Land of Israel (Revelation 16v16). Not the end of the World in nuclear conflagration, as some fear, but the beginning of a new and better era for this World. Ezekiel 38 v 21-23 describes God’s destruction of the invading armies, and the world beginning to realise that there is a God, whose purpose with this Earth will be accomplished.
It will be the time when Jesus Christ returns to this earth (Revelation 16v15) to set up the Kingdom of God, ruling with justice and authority to achieve the words of Isaiah 2 v 4 “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (ESV)
We have been awed by some of the feats we have seen at the recent Winter Olympics, but have you REALLY thought about how your body works and how amazing it is? Just take a relatively simple process like moving your hand. The brain emits a chemical message, which triggers a nerve fibre to conduct an electrochemical signal to the point where the nerve meets the muscle. Then the muscle cell must respond and cause the muscle fibres inside it to contract. Each of these steps must work in order to do a simple thing like lifting a hand. Every part of this process requires energy — chemical energy which is produced by a very special protein inside each of your cells, called ATP Synthase. It works in a very similar way to an electric motor, to create the fuel that your body needs to use to power almost all the processes needed to keep you alive and functioning.
The detail of the simplest part of an ATP Synthase is mind-boggling; the arrangement of all the component parts is staggering. Gorseinon Christadelphians have produced a video which looks in some detail at how one of the most basic actions in life requires a hugely complex system, and asks the question whether it could occur by chance.
We have a bit of a dilemma when considering our relationship with God – how to establish and grow a connection with someone who is invisible to our eyes. Because we can’t see Him It is easy to imagine that He is distant, in some far away part of space, and it seems ridiculous to imagine that the Creator of the universe would be interested in our little lives.
It is a revelation to read in the Bible that God is not only near to us but part of the very fabric of our lives. The apostle Paul gave a famous speech on Mars Hill in Athens in which he said
“. . . He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:27-28, NKJV)
This seems to say that God’s power keeps us alive and moving. Other passages confirm this. In Job we read that
“If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust.” (Job 34:14-15, NKJV).
Elsewhere we read that God knows our thoughts, He knows our hearts, even the “very hairs of your head are all numbered”, Jesus said.
It is one thing to be “physically” near to God in that way, and quite another to enter into a close relationship with Him. The parable of the Prodigal Son recorded in Luke 15 illustrates how we can begin to achieve this. Having wasted all his inheritance on “riotous living” in a far country the son find himself penniless and starving. He decides to go back home and offer his humble service to his father. As he approaches the family home the father sees him a long way off and runs to meet him, welcoming him home with a kiss.
The father in the parable represents God. The lesson from it is put into words by James in his letter. He writes
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8, NKJV).
God is waiting for us to make that first move to come to Him so He can in turn show us the love which He has for us.