Essentials

Before we get started

The Holy Bible is the best selling, most read book (or compilation of books) in the entirety of human history.

We use the Bible as the basis for discussing Jesus and Christianity. The Bible is a compilation of 66 books—scrolls, originally—that were penned by humans, but we believe were completely inspired by the Holy Spirit. That is, we believe that human hands were an extension of the pen, writings that God Himself intended to write. We understand this in itself requires a degree of faith. It is not simple science. But for many readers, the words of the Bible "pop out" and "come to life" as they read them, as if God Himself reached down and affirmed His words to the reader. It is as though the black on white text actually depicted unique and beautiful colors that completely harmonize with each other. These clues and real affirmations of the Spirit were used to guide the early leaders of the church in compiling and sealing the conclusive definition of the Bible's contents. The several books were written over millennia, after all, not by one author, yet they all share a common theme and message.

So before we begin, it is important that you settle in your own mind,


How to read the Bible

The several books of the Bible have many different styles and nuances, each telling a different inner narrative, yet amazingly all demonstrating an outer narrative.

The Bible is divided into two parts: Old Testament and New Testament.

The Old Testament describes the history of Earth and humankind and our creator's dealings with us, from the perspective of ancient Israel, and it occasionally foretells and promises a coming savior (or "messiah"), someone who would be king of the world and would save humanity.

Everything after the Old Testament is the New Testament. The first four books of the New Testament describe the coming of Jesus, who is described as God's self-expression ("the Word") who came as human flesh, lived a perfect and blameless life, taught and performed many miracles, died, and resurrected from the dead, all to save humanity, those who believe in him, reconciling humanity with God and giving eternal life. The rest of the books describe the new covenant God has with humanity, for those who believe in Jesus.

Beyond this, rather than attempting to document "how to read and understand the Bible" here, it would be strongly recommended to utilize the video resources at
The Bible Project.

Why to believe the Bible

Faith is belief in something unseen, but that does not mean it is unreasoned. We have ample faith in the Bible because there is significant precedent in many affirmations, both internal and external, in its veracity.

  • The Bible is proven true by detailed prophecies being fulfilled centuries or millennia after they were written.
  • The Bible is proven true by archeological evidence matching geo-cultural narratives.
  • The Bible is proven true by ethnic identities of geographic regions matching ethic-cultural narratives.
  • The books of the Bible are proven true by different books verifying other books by other authors.
  • The people and stories of the Bible are proven true by external historical persons and their written documents.
  • The assertions of the Bible such as those regarding wisdom are proven true by their stark self-evidences, similar to statements of math equations.
  • The messages of the Bible are affirmed true by the presence of and affirmations by God's spirit.
  • As a bonus, from within the first five ancient books known as the Torah, the Bible validates itself with embedded Bible Codes that name various historical figures and events from the future of their writing, including names and events from the last milennium, such as "United States", from the last century, such as "Hitler" and "holocaust", and even from the last decade, such as "Donald Trump" and his election.

After all, if there is a God of the Universe who designed and loves mankind, surely He would have had the gumption to provide and preserve a written account of His dealings with us.

But rather than attempting to document Bible apologetics here, you would be encouraged to research the veracity of the Bible in a separate initiative of your own, if you have any doubts. Many books have been written on this topic, and some well-regarded books on the topic would be
Questioning the Bible: 11 Major Challenges to the Bible's Authority by Jonathan Morrow and
Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

There is also a well-regarded film called Is Genesis History? that confronts the theory of evolution with science.
Watch the full film here.

But in order to keep all information you may need freely accessible, here are some hopefully useful links to free information.


 

Who is this Jesus and why on earth would I want to become a Christian?

The year right now is 2021 A.D. (which means "Anno Domini", or "the year of our Lord"). It has been 2020 years, give or take some months, since Jesus (Yeshua) was born.

Jesus is not insignificant. Jesus came and transformed the world so much that all of our calendar years are numbered by his arrival.

In fact, Jesus also claimed to be I AM, the one and only Living God. [Read more on this ...]

In the beginning ...

In the book of Genesis, we discover: In the beginning, God created everything—time and space, the whole world, everything.

In the book of John, we discover: In the beginning, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

What is "the Word"? This semantic is used to describe God's self-expression. God spoke of Himself, and thus, "the Word". So we can see here that God was not impersonal in tossing together the universe; His personality was right there all along, deliberately and carefully crafting the world from the beginning.

Back to Genesis, we learn that God created humankind in His image, but humankind "ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil". Many believe that the fruit of this tree was literal, a physical tree bearing physical fruit that they physically ate from. But this is also a symbolic reference to having a genuine conscience and experiencing the sensation of guilt which we experience when we have moral free will. God gave humankind the ability to understand right from wrong, and to disobey what we know in our heart is wrong, which is to have moral free will, but then told us not to "eat" of it—to not exercise that moral free will—or we would "surely die". So by practicing moral free will, we defy God, our Creator, who defines objective morality and this is called "sin", and the consequence of doing this is our own mortality.

Stated again, rolling our own morality (going against our own conscience, perhaps even trying to justify it) leads to mortality (eventual death). We start doing this when we are children, the moment we deliberately disobey our parents and know that it is wrong, and this grieves the spirit of God, so all of us have lost direct fellowship with Him and the life He gives by His presence, the tree of life, so we are all prone to die because He is the giver of life.

"Why does it lead to mortality? Isn't all life on Earth mortal?"

We were made in God's image. Moral free will leads to death because God designed the universe, thus defines objective morality, and He cannot be untrue to Himself. That would make Him inconsistent with His perfectly consistent self. So the result is that He, who would have otherwise given humankind immortality by His own Word, tragically cut off direct fellowship with humankind. The book of Genesis called the eternal life He gives "the tree of life".

But Genesis also says that God planned a way out for us, that from humanity would be born someone who would be stricken while at the same time would "crush" the deceiver's head. This was a promise to the human beings who first sinned, that someone born from their lineage would come who would suffer mortality but at the same time defeat the deceiver and even death itself on behalf of humankind.

In fact, throughout the rest of the book of Genesis, and throughout the Old Testament, God promised a savior, a mighty warrior, who would defeat the enemy who deceived us. He promised a messiah.

"But why would He do that? Why would He set us up to fail, only to have to save us? Why didn't He just keep us from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?"

God planned everything all along from the beginning for several reasons. He did it to tell an interesting story. He did it to glorify Himself. But mostly to what matters from humanity's perspective, He did it so that we can choose whether or not to worship Him. If we didn't have moral free will—that is, if we didn't have access to the tree of knowledge of good and evil—then we would essentially be "robots", mere animals, reacting to stimuli against the world around us.

Back to John, remember where we learn that "the Word" was with God and "the Word" was God, now the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

So this is a really short snapshot of something profound. God came to us humans by coming to us as a human to "fix" the problem we had from the very beginning. Jesus is He—Son of God, Son of Man.

From the beginning, God set us up with the capacity for free will, along with the resulting curse of our mortality. But at the same time, God planned all along to fix the problem He set us up with and yet that we put ourselves in all along. God came to us, as one of us, as Jesus, and Jesus lived a perfect life, perfectly obedient to God the Father who contains the universe in Whom we live, and move, and have our being. And yet Jesus laid his life down and died on behalf of our own sin.

"Wait, God Himself came to humanity as a human, as Jesus!? What did Jesus do while he was here?"

What would our Creator and Designer do if He came in the flesh as one of us to walk among us? Surely he would demonstrate a full and rich understanding of his role right from the beginning, and he did. He would demonstrate profound love for human beings, through countless miracles and kindheartedness, and he did, more than anyone could manage to document. He would teach humanity better ways of thinking of the universe they live in, better perspectives of their Creator, better worldviews and ways of living, and better ways of thinking about our own selves. He would demonstrate setting captives free and give the world a new life of total and profound freedom—freedom to live without the bondage of sin, freedom to discover and explore eternity with God, freedom to know and love and be loved by God without the hindrances and futility of obeying organized religion.

Most importantly, he would come to do what He had promised. In an act of pure love for His creation, He would lay his life down for us, so that we and He can be reconciled and be friends.

Jesus Died for our Sins—Son of God, Son of Man

This is beautiful.

Only God could possibly be capable of living a perfect life, a life that perfectly exudes a demonstration of obedience to God's moral authority.

But only a man—only a human being—can suffer the consequence of sin and make meaningful a substitution of the penalty of our own sins.

So God became a man and lived the perfect life but suffered death for our sins.

The Grave Could Not Hold Him Down

Jesus is God who reached out to us by becoming one of us in the flesh; the grave was not powerful enough to hold him down. He did die in the flesh, but on the third day he resurrected from the dead.

This is all very well documented and had a large number of witnesses to prove it. Jesus is alive!

Gospel In Summary

The Gospel is this: The Designer, Creator, and King of the whole world and the universe has met with us, He has saved us through His work on the cross, He resurrected and is alive today, and we are now free to know Him!

The word "gospel" means "good news". This is the good news, that the kingdom of God already arrived in Jesus. More spectacularly, God has reconciled mankind with Himself and even promised eternal life because of what He Himself had done by coming to us as one of us and dying on the cross for our sins (our disobedience).

So then when we come to God and acknowledge our sins (our disobedience, our going our own way instead of His way), He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and not only that but to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. He transforms our spirits into new creatures, and we immediately enter into His eternal life as we submit to His holy presence.

Now what?

Now we get to know Jesus—yes, really!—and we obey Him!

We start out knowing Jesus by listening to Him and talking to Him. Each person must sort out what to say to Jesus for himself, but one might try praying something like this:

"Jesus, I'm so sorry that I have been going my own way and not Your way. But I thank You so much for loving me enough to come and die for my sins. And now I'm so happy that in resurrecting you are alive and well, and I want to know You. Please come into my life, change my heart and mind, and let me know you deeply. I recognize You as King, please teach me how to obey and love You."

God is listening. He hears you. Not everyone will get knocked off their feet, but when you make a sincere attempt to reach out to God like in the example above, you will sense His presence immediately. What does "sensing" God's presence mean? God created you as not just flesh but as a spirit. You will "sense" him in your spirit in the same way your flesh can "smell" someone. For some people, the presence of God can be felt like a heavy but soothing sensation in the air. Some people break down in tears of joy.

You may not sense anything profound at all. Sometimes His presence is a subtlety. Continue seeking Him and His presence with sincerity and humility, and you will find Him.

God is triune.

To know Jesus starts with having God's spirit. Jesus is God in the flesh; he came and walked among us (John 1), but he went away up to the Father. He went away so that He could be with all of us at once through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God's spirit who makes Himself a conduit between ourselves and the Father, and between ourselves and Jesus.

Receiving the presence of God's spirit makes you born again. You become born in the spirit. You literally become a new creature. God's spirit interacts with your spirit, and you become alive.

John 3
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

1 Corinthians 6:17
But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

As a result of having God's spirit, He shows us daily how to live a holy life—that is, a life that pleases Him and that is free of sin.

Romans 7
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

Romans 8
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.
13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

This means God supernaturally empowers us to live righteously, and, being now where He dwells, we must. God cannot live where there is unholiness, because He is holy. This is a relationship with God, He will remind you and teach you, you must listen. And the more you strive to listen to Him and to please Him, the more He will reveal Himself to you, and empower you to not only live a holy life but to do great things in His kingdom.

The Greatest Commandments

The Bible has been vetted and is recognized as a profound collection of writings that prove to be the written Word of God Himself.

The Bible is filled with lots of books, and among those books are lots of stories and laws and commands and more. Many of the laws and commands were written for a time and people of an entirely different era—ancient Israel.

But some of the commandments on the whole, specifically and especially the two greatest commandments , apply to followers of Jesus:

  • Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and
  • Love your neighbor as yourself.

In fact, Jesus said, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

So, that's it. That's what we're here for. That's the basics of the King's expectations of us. Love God, and love your neighbors. Period.

What now? Discipleship

Matthew 21: 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.""

We follow those two greatest commandments—loving God and loving our neighbors—by cloning or imitating Jesus himself, and then teaching others to do the same. That is essentially what it means to be a "disciple", or to be a Christian; it is to be someone who imitates Christ, or to be someone who imitates someone who imitates Christ .

How do you become an imitator of Christ?

  • Start by knowing God's written word. There is so much extensive wisdom and knowledge about God, about human nature, and about God's dealings with mankind and vice-versa. Take some time to learn how to study the Bible, and then do it, study it.
    • Would you like some help understanding how to read the Bible? It's a big book—that is, it's a big collection of books.
      • You should find The Bible Project an incredibly useful video-based resource to help explain how the Bible is organized and how to read it.
      • If you need one-on-one assistance in reading the Bible, just reach out to a member here on Next Door Christian, we can help you. Everything here is free.
    • Do you need a Bible?
      • You can use Bible Gateway for free.
      • If you need a physical Bible, just reach out to a member here on Next Door Christian, we can get you one. Everything here is free.
  • By having God's spirit within you. Jesus started his ministry off by being baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon him. We human beings are all spiritual creatures; we have a body and we have a soul, but our spirit, our essence, is what will live on forever. Without God's spirit living within us, we are dead, we cannot live. God's spirit is what teaches us His will, He is what gives us joy in difficult times, and God's spirit is the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead! The very notion of being "saved", or being given eternal life, is identified by being reconciled with God, which ultimately means having God's spirit. By having God's spirit, we become a new creature, we are born again.
  • By understanding the intentions of Jesus through understanding His actions and His words. Jesus said and did many things, but he did none of it haphazardly, everything Jesus said or did was deliberate and profoundly intentional in the part it played or would play in the eternal scope of the whole universe. You cannot imitate Jesus if you have no idea what his objectives were. So study His words and His intentions carefully.
  • By doing everything that Jesus instructed his disciples to do. If you don't know what those things are, you're going to need to study.
    But we can always revert back again to the same fundamental principle, that Jesus said that all the law and prophets rest on two key commandments:
    • Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And,
    • Love your neighbor as yourself.

    But Jesus empowered his disciples through the Holy Spirit to lay hands on the sick and heal them, to cast out demons, and more. They were expected to do these things in love. It’s all always about love. Remember this, because it was reemphasized later in the New Testament especially by Paul, that nothing we do is meaningful or of any value without love.

    1 Corinthians 13:12

    If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

    What is love? What does love really look like?

    The English language has a poor comprehension of the word ‘love’, because it has many different meanings. In Greek, there are actually six different words that all translate to the word “love” in English, such as agape versus phileo. The “love” expected of us is elaborated by the servant Paul.

    1 Corinthians 13

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails.

    So while the disciples were trained to create disciples, and to teach, and to cast out demons, and to heal, the most important thing is that they were instructed to love, and to do all these things in that love.

  • By having regular, loving fellowship with the other disciples. We human beings here on Earth are the physical body of Jesus in his stead while He remains in Heaven, until he returns to rule and reign here on Earth. As the body of Christ, we are many body parts, and we must take our place in loving harmony with the other body parts.
  • By making more disciples. That is what Jesus did during his entire time of ministry on Earth. That is how Christianity—the fully realized structured kingdom of Jesus—came to be.

Recognizing Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The entire backdrop to the original story of sin and how humanity needed a savior is a preemption of a higher authority in the spiritual realm that is dark, evil, and damaging to the heart and psyche of humans. Between the Creator who is God and humanity who was born in God’s image there are many unseen entities created by God as angelic hosts. These, too, had the option of free will and the capacity to rebel against God. Those that did so, the angelic beings that rebelled and remain in rebellion against God, are called “fallen angels”, “demonic spirits”, or “demons”. The highest power among the fallen angels is Lucifer, or Satan. He was one of the greatest angelic beings in heaven, but in thinking himself higher than he ought, he rebelled and was cast out of Heaven.

Unlike humanity and the rest of physical life on Earth, God imposed no veil over the eyes of angelic beings—they have direct visibility to see God’s self-expression and the rest of the spiritual realm—but at the same time God gave them no plan of salvation. Instead, He gave rebellious angels limited freedom for a limited time to rule over the world, so that they may put humanity to the test. (Example, Job 1:6-12)

It was a demonic angelic being, or Lucifer himself, that deceived humans from the beginning, as they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Bible uses the metaphorical reference to “the serpent” in describing Satan.

Genesis 3

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
  and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
  and you will eat dust
  all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
  between you and the woman,
  and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush your head,
  and you will strike his heel.”

So the world we live in consists of physical beings that are seen with physical eyes and also spiritual beings that are unseen, and all of the spiritual beings serve God in one way or another, directly or indirectly. The angelic beings that remain true to God’s throne thrive in God’s presence, and serve Him in different ways, including by protecting, guiding, or comforting human beings. The angelic beings that are in rebellion are out only for themselves and their hierarchical order, and human beings make ideal hosts and outlets for their rebellion. They aim to steal the attention of people away from God’s plan and cause humans to deviate or to also rebel. They are constantly scouring the Earth looking for vulnerable, weak people to ensnare with lies, deception, physical injury and sickness, and destructive habits and behaviors. In many cases they possess human beings. In fact, weak humans make ideal hosts for demonic beings, in part because humans are so engaged with the created world, but also because demonic entities love exacerbating the rebellion of creation against the Creator.

But angelic beings are not equal to God, they are not above God, they are sons of God. This is to be taken quite literally; angels do not multiply, they have no mothers who bear them through pregnancy, they are or were created on a whim through the creative power of God’s own self-expression. Jesus, who is the self-expression and personality of God come in the flesh, cast out many demons from people while he walked on Earth in the flesh. Indeed, he instructed his disciples that he had given his disciples power over demonic forces.

For example,

Luke 9:1

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.

Luke 10:19

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.

Some might argue that these words were apportioned for a time, specifically for the one or few outings they had, that month. Actually, the disciples were in training. One does not train for throwaway knowledge. These disciples were learning how to thrive under the jurisdiction and authority of the throne of God, because God was launching a new covenant with mankind.

Ultimately, all power over all demonic forces must obey the throne of Jesus.

Matthew 28:18

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

If nothing else, we can at least glean from this that Jesus can deliver us from anything, because He has authority over everything, and nothing is better than or greater than or more powerful than Himself. Therefore, if we know Jesus and we have a complete and total dependence upon Him and our eyes are fixated upon Him, we should never be vulnerable to suffering successful attacks from demonic entities.

Our responsibility in all of this, therefore, as Jesus’ own, is to pay attention to the spiritual realm and to spiritual forces, to never allow our eyes to fall away from Jesus, and to call upon the authority of Jesus in the presence of evil.

The throne of Jesus can have immediate impact upon and relief from all manifestations of demonic activity, including perverted thinking, malice, hatred, extreme fear, destructive thrill-seeking, or harmful addictions such as drug addictions, alcohol addiction, pornography addiction, or other sexual addictions.

This is it, reader! Fulfill your calling, follow Jesus.

The pursuit of discipleship and fellowship is the whole point of this web site. If you need anything, anything at all, prayer, Body Life, even if you need a couple bucks to get a ride on the bus or a loaf of bread, we're here for you.

Just make sure you've asked yourself these things first:

  1. Are you putting Him first? Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (clothing, food, etc) will be added unto you.
  2. Have you denied yourself and stopped sinning? Sinning is the willful act of having moral free will, or doing things your way instead of obeying God. You will never get the most out of life unless you submit to Him and His authority.
  3. Do you hold any grudges towards anyone? Are you actively loving God and your neighbor? The Bible says that God will not continue to forgive you of your sins if you're holding unforgiveness towards someone else. Be at peace! Let it go! Love God, love your neighbor!

The Body of Christ is a support network of the disciples.

We are all here for each other. We need each other. Discover one another and grow together in love and in the Spirit's influence and instruction. That is God's instruction to us today.

Welcome. We are so glad you are here. If you're ready to move on to the next level and have not yet registered, please Register today.

 


 

The story of mankind's struggles with God is profound. What's next to come?

Reader, you are experiencing the final days of "last days" of this age. Jesus is coming back in the flesh very soon! The Bible gave us a lot of clues about when the end of this age will come, and those signs are all around us! This is very exciting!

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
Matthew 24

27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
  and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
  and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Before He does return, He will collect His own—those who know Him.

The Rapture

Rather than explain the rapture (Greek: “harpazō”, meaning “to snatch away” or “to seize”), I will let the Bible explain itself.

1 Thessalonians 4:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Matthew 24:

36 [Jesus was saying,] “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

The references to the “rapture” pertain to this notion that some people will be taken while others are left behind. This event is in the coming of Jesus; but this “snatching away” is expected by many to precede his actual ultimate re-arrival by seven years.

The Tribulation

Many believers expect that this rapture will immediately precede what happens next, which is what is called "the tribulation". Since no one knows the day or the hour when Christ will appear, we can't know for certain whether Christians will still be on earth when the beginning of the Tribulation commences. We do know that Jesus told us that "he who endures to the end will be saved."

1 Thessalonians 5

1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

...

8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

There are many scriptures that discuss the tribulation period, but essentially it boils down to this: there will be seven years, or two periods of three and a half years, of intense turmoil on the Earth. When that time comes to an end, then Jesus will return in the flesh.

The Mark of the Beast

At some point, the Bible seems to predict that managed communism will take over the world, and God’s people are instructed not to conform, but that this will result in much fleshly tragedy.

The Beast out of the Sea
Revelation 13

1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed.”

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

The Beast out of the Earth

11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

The most obvious takeaway from this is, do not allow yourself to be physically marked and brought into any sort of slavery to mankind, such as a smartwatch or an embedded chip that monitors your activity and pays you for labor, not even if it becomes required by law in cooperation with vaccination tracking. Your sole dependency should be on God! But this likely applies to receiving a "mark" in the abstract sense, receiving a “mark” on the right hand (willful action) or forehead (mindset); in other words, do not cling to the world or mankind's systems, but instead cling to the kingdom of God and to the King.

The True Return of Jesus to Earth

The Jews rejected Jesus because they didn't believe Jesus was their Messiah. When Jesus returns to Earth, the Jews left standing after the tribulation period will realize that Jesus was, in fact, their Messiah all along. Jesus will come and rule on the Earth for 1,000 peaceful years.

Once those 1,000 years of Jesus' reign are up, that will be it. It'll all be over. Game over. Satan will be bound in a bottomless pit during the 1,000 years of peace (Revelation 20:1-6), after which he will be released for a season to pursue his final mass deception campaign to incite rebellion in those who do not stay willingly faithful in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rev. 20:7-10) After the "rebellion" is suddenly vanquished, Satan will then be thrown into the "Lake of Fire" forever. Subsequently, all those still in their graves, from the beginning of time, will be resurrected for the final judgment at the Great White Throne. All will be judged according to all the records that have been kept for them and whether their names are written in the "Lamb's Book of Life." Those whose names are not found will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:11-15) Scripture calls this the "second death."

New Heaven and New Earth

When the final judgment has been completed following the 1,000 year peaceful reign of Jesus, the Bible says that God will roll up Earth and the heavens like a scroll, and a "new heaven and earth" will appear, with the "New Jerusalem" coming down out of heaven from God. God's dwelling place will then be among His people on the new earth. His beautiful and eternal dwelling place is described in Revelation 21 and 22.

Thus will begin a whole new chapter in this story God is writing. We have no idea what happens next, but we can be assured that we will spend eternity with our savior, ruling and reigning with Him as he continues to create and do new things!