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The Millennial Man


The Millennial Man The vast kingdom of Babylon was opulent and prosperous, yet Nebuchadnezzar the king stirred in his royal bed. How long would this golden era last, he wondered, and what would become of his powerful empire when he was gone?

With these disturbing questions in mind, the mighty monarch drifted off to sleep. That night, a vivid image of a towering multi-mineral man flashed into his mind with a panorama of color unlike anything he had ever experienced. Throwing aside his embroidered covers, the king jumped out of bed and shouted to his bodyguards: "Call all the magicians and astrologers to come at once. I must know the meaning of this dream!"

The king's wise men were roused and herded into the presence of the bewildered sovereign. "And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream." Dani...

Back to Jerusalem


Back to Jerusalem The disciples of Jesus were completely devastated. All of their hopes and dreams for the new kingdom of God had been nailed to a cross the previous Friday. Reeling with grief and confusion, Cleopas and his companion slowly made the seven-mile trip from Jerusalem down to their home in the little town of Emmaus. As the sun was setting that Sunday afternoon and they trod their way down the bumpy road, a stranger drew near to journey with them. Little did they know that this new traveling companion was the resurrected Lord Himself. Paying little heed to their fellow pilgrim, the two dejected disciples rehearsed the staggering events of the weekend, feeling more despondent with every step.

As Jesus silently listened, He desperately longed to reveal Himself to His downcast friends. But the Lord deliberately shielded His true identit...

The Coming King


The Coming King Athaliah, the ruthless queen of Judah, was even more wicked than her mother Jezebel. When her son Ahaziah died, she quickly seized control of the kingdom by executing all of her grandsons who might reign in her place. "But Jehosheba, ... sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and ... they hid him ... from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land." 2 Kings 11:2,3.

For six years only a handful of trusted people knew that the royal child was living and hidden in the temple of God. Jehoiada, the high priest, loved and trained young Joash as his own son. For six years Jehoiada planned and prayed for the best moment to present this rightful heir to the people. Finally the old priest secretly summoned trusted captains in the army ...

The Rebellious Prince


The Rebellious Prince Absalom was the most handsome, cunning, and ambitious of David's sons. The Bible says, "But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him." 2 Samuel 14:25.

But this determined young prince wanted more than just the admiration of the people for his stunning appearance. He wanted the power of his father's throne. He wanted to be king of Israel at any price. First Absalom killed his older brother, Amnon, after Amnon mistreated his sister Tamar. Amnon was David's firstborn son and in line to follow David as king. Then, after Absalom wormed his way back into his father's favor he began to sow subtle seeds of doubt throughout the kingdom about David's leadership, judgments, and laws until he "stole the hearts of the m...

The Supreme Sacrifice


The Supreme Sacrifice The sky was still dark when the old patriarch clearly heard God speak. "Abraham, ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Genesis 22:1, 2.

Abraham began to tremble when he considered the staggering consequences of this command. God had promised that through Isaac he would father a mighty nation. All of Abraham's hopes and dreams were set upon this miracle son given to him and Sarah in their old age. He didn't understand why God was asking him to do this strange act, but he had learned to trust and obey his heavenly Father, even when perplexed.

So Abraham gently awakened young Isaac and two trusted servants, and the small company began the three-day trip to Moriah. As they...

The Law of the King


The Law of the King After Darius, king of the Medes and Persians, had conquered Babylon, he executed all Babylonian government officials, except one. That fortunate man was Daniel, a servant of the true God. Seventy years earlier, he had been carried from Judah to Babylon as a captive and made to serve in the palace as an advisor to the Babylonian kings. Daniel became known throughout the kingdom for having "an excellent spirit." Daniel 5:12 6:3.

Not only did King Darius spare Daniel, but he "thought to set him over the whole realm." Daniel 6:3. When the Medo-Persian officials learned that the king was going to promote an old Hebrew captive to rule over them, they were jealous and outraged. So they plotted to entice Darius to sign a law that for the next 30 days, anyone who petitioned any god or man except the king would be thrown into the lions'...

Bricks Without Straw


Bricks Without Straw Before Moses approached the king of Egypt to seek freedom for the children of Israel, he and his brother, Aaron, met with the oppressed leaders of Israel. During this meeting, Moses and Aaron encouraged the people to consecrate themselves to the Lord and told them God was about to deliver them from slavery with a mighty hand.

The Israelites had been laboring seven days a week to maintain their heavy workload for the Egyptians. But after this meeting with Moses, they apparently decided to begin resting again every seventh day. This is why the furious Pharaoh later said to Moses and Aaron: "Ye make them rest from their burdens." Exodus 5:5. (The Hebrew word for "rest" used here is "shabath." It means "to cause to keep sabbath.")

The angry king knew that he must do something drastic to hold this nation of slaves under his co...

The Glorious Kingdom


The Glorious Kingdom After Solomon was established as the new king of Israel, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask what I shall give thee." 1 Kings 3:5. The young king could have requested money, fame, or long life, but he didn't. Instead, he asked for wisdom to justly govern God's people. In answer to that humble and heartfelt prayer, the Lord gave Solomon tremendous wisdom and perception surpassing every other human. On top of that, God also blessed him with fame, riches, and long life.

During Solomon's reign, Israel enjoyed unparalleled peace and prosperity. Precious metals were so abundant in Jerusalem during his time that silver was considered as common as stones (1 Kings 10:27). In addition to the magnificent temple of marble and gold that Solomon built for God, he also constructed a lavish palace and courtyard plus entire cit...

The Witch of Endor


The Witch of Endor King Saul was at his wit's end and trembling with fear. The entire Philistine army had gathered to attack Israel's smaller and weaker troops. Saul moaned, "If only Samuel were here, he would tell me what to do." But the great prophet of Israel had died a few years earlier.

The aged monarch tried desperately to find some advice or guidance from other prophets or priests, but the Lord would not speak to him. As a young man, Saul had been close to God. But after ascending the throne, he became cruel and rebelled against God's Word. Once he even had a whole village of priests murdered. King Saul had persistently refused to listen to the Lord, and now in his distress, God would not answer him.

"Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her." 1 Samuel 28:...

Cities of Ash


Cities of Ash Abraham knew that his nephew was making a big mistake when Lot chose to move his family to Sodom. The cities of the lower Jordan valley were beautiful and lush, but they were also very corrupt. "The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." Genesis 13:13. Finally, God decided to destroy these sinful cities for their abominations, but first He sent two angels to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family.

Before entering Sodom, these angels took on the appearance of two wayfaring men. Lot saw the two handsome strangers when they first entered the gates, and knowing that the streets of that wicked city were far from safe at night, he urged them to find refuge in his home. But wicked men were watching, and that evening they gathered about Lot's door and insisted that he bring out his guests so they might abuse th...

A River of Life


A River of Life Naaman was a brave, rich, and famous commander for the armies of Syria who contracted leprosy, the most dreaded disease of Bible times. Leprosy meant isolation from loved ones and a slow, wretched death. A Hebrew slave girl who worked in Naaman's house said that if her master would only go to the prophet Elisha in Israel, he would heal Naaman of his leprosy.

Willing to grasp at any thread of hope, Naaman made the long trip to Israel. With him was a small band of personal bodyguards and a king's ransom to pay for this miracle of healing. When Naaman finally stood before the humble house of the prophet, Elisha would not come out. Instead, he sent his servant with these simple instructions: "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." 2 Kings 5:10.

The prophet's com...

Resting the Land


Resting the Land Our world was first created with a perfect balance in nature. Man, animals, and plants lived in total harmony. But with the entrance of sin, everything changed. Man started eating animals, and animals began eating each other. Thorns and thistles sprouted everywhere. The scourge of sin depleted even the soil. God told Cain, "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength." Genesis 4:12.

This is one reason the Lord commanded the children of Israel to rest the farmlands every seventh year (Exodus 23:10, 11). It would give the ground a chance to recover its vitality and provide a volunteer crop for the poor to eat. But most of God's people ignored this law or simply refused to obey it. Then came a day of awful judgment. Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, came to Judah and executed those who h...

Bowing to Babylon


Bowing to Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar gave the signal, and as the music from a thousand instruments began to swell, the curtain fell, exposing a dazzling, 90-foot image of gold glimmering in the sunlight. Then, according to King's command, all the officials who had gathered on the plain of Dura fell prostrate to the ground in devout worship. All bowed down except three young Hebrew men, who were servants of a greater King.

Nebuchadnezzar was beaming with pride and satisfaction until it was reported that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had refused to bow and worship his image. Astonished that anyone would dare to disobey, Nebuchadnezzar assumed these young advisers must have misunderstood his decree. So he offered them one more chance to bow down but they refused! Now the king's expression turned to rage. He ordered his soldiers to heat the near...

The Mark of Cain


The Mark of Cain Adam and Eve's first two sons differed vastly in their personalities and behavior. Cain longed to farm and build, while Abel loved to roam the hills and meadows with his flocks.

After sin entered this new world because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, God established a sacrificial system and explained that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Hebrews 9:22). He told them that these sacrifices pointed forward to the time when Jesus would become a man and die as the Lamb of God for the sins of the world. Abel faithfully brought a young lamb as a sacrifice for his sins, but Cain thought it was unnecessary to obey God's command so precisely. He considered the sacrificial system to be messy and reasoned that as long as he brought an offering and worshiped God, the details wouldn't matter. So he brought an o...

A Heavenly Model


A Heavenly Model Never before had the Lord manifested such mighty signs and wonders as when He delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Plague after plague fell upon the Pharaoh's kingdom until he was forced to release his captives. Then the Lord parted the Red Sea and led the young nation to freedom, while drowning their pursuing enemies behind them.

After entering the wilderness, God surprised many of His people by leading them south in the opposite direction of the Promised Land. The Lord knew that before they would be prepared to receive their inheritance, they must be organized and taught to trust Him. As they journeyed to Mount Sinai, God supplied their every need. When they became hungry, God fed them with bread from heaven. When they became thirsty, the Lord brought water cascading from a boulder. When suddenly attacked...

Cleansing the Temple


Cleansing the Temple Jesus was visibly grieved as He entered the temple courtyard and surveyed the turmoil. On every hand He saw pens filled with sacrifice animals and heard salesman shouting and bargaining with visiting pilgrims for the highest price. The cooing of doves, bleating of sheep, and lowing of oxen mingled together with the odors of a barnyard to form a concert of chaos.

This bedlam was never God's plan. When Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem, there was such respect for God's house that not even the sound of a hammer could be heard during its construction. All the stones and boards were pre-cut elsewhere, then brought to the temple site and quietly assembled (1 Kings 6:7).

Jesus found a handful of cords used for restraining the sheep and tied them into a small whip. Then the Son of God called out in trumpet-like tones: "...

A Tale of Two Women


A Tale of Two Women A hush fell over the royal judgment hall, and all eyes were fixed on King Solomon. His servants wondered how the young monarch would resolve this perplexing case.

Two single mothers were sharing a room, and each gave birth to a baby boy at about the same time. During the night, one of the mothers had accidentally turned over and smothered her son. When she awoke early and saw her child was cold and still, the distraught woman took her roommate's sleeping baby to herself and laid her dead baby in its place. Later the other mother awoke, saw the dead baby, and began to wail with grief. But after examining the infant, she quickly realized that it was not her child. Across the room, she could see her roommate tightly clutching her baby.

Now both women stood before the king, tugging for possession of the living infant. "This c...

Windows of Heaven


Windows of Heaven Jacob had never felt so destitute and alone -- and it was all because he had been devious and greedy. First Jacob had bribed Esau, his elder twin, into selling his birthright. Then, with his mother's help, he tricked his blind father, Isaac, into giving him the paternal blessing that rightfully belonged to Esau.

Now Jacob was fleeing from home, partly to escape the murderous threats of his offended brother. He bowed his head and cried when he thought of how all his grasping plans had backfired. Alone in the wilderness, with only a stone for a pillow and a stick for protection, Jacob tried to rest. He wondered if he would ever see his parents again and if God would forgive him. Exhausted, Jacob drifted off to sleep. Soon he found himself bathed in the brilliant glow of a vivid dream. He saw a blazing light streaming from the o...

The Daughter's Dance


The Daughter's Dance King Herod's wife, Herodias, hated John the Baptist. The desert-dwelling prophet had dared to call her an adulteress for leaving her husband Philip to marry his evil but wealthier brother. Now the wicked queen determined to use her influence over Herod to get even with John. First, she persuaded him to have John imprisoned. Then she asked to have John executed, but Herod refused. He knew that John was a true prophet and feared political backlash from the people.

Finally, Herodias developed a fool-proof scheme. She threw a party for Herod's birthday and invited all his friends and the nobles from his realm, then she arranged for her beautiful daughter Salome to dance in a seductive, captivating style. Herodias hoped that after Herod had a few glasses of wine, he would ask Salome what reward she wanted for her enchanting dance....

Ten Times Wiser


Ten Times Wiser When King Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city of Jerusalem, thousands of Jews were taken away captive to Babylon. The king instructed his servant, Ashpenaz, to select gifted young men from among the Jewish captives who would come to the palace for three years to learn the language and wisdom of Babylon so they could serve the king.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah caught the attention of Ashpenaz and were taken to the king's palace. But there was a problem. The menu of rich meat and wine appointed for the young men contained many items forbidden by God's Word.

Without wanting to appear ungrateful, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be given a vegetarian diet to eat and water to drink. At first the king's servant resisted their request. "You can't stay healthy by eating like that!" he exclaimed. "You'd get ...

Voice in the Wilderness


Voice in the Wilderness Jesus said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." Matthew 11:11. What do we know about this solitary man whom Jesus called the greatest of the prophets?

When John began preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, people came from miles around to hear this powerful, fearless, and humble messenger. In glaring contrast to the religious leaders of the day, his life was marked with holiness and simplicity. While the priests wore luxurious clothing, John wore a modest garment of camel hair with a leather belt. While they were feasting, John was fasting or eating locusts (carob pods) and wild honey. He refused to drink any wine or strong drink, that he might be filled with the Spirit of God (Luke 1:15). Rather than ornate synagogues, John chose the rivers and rocky valleys as his cathed...

Proving the Prophets


Proving the Prophets Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, wanted to recapture the town of Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. But he needed help, so he asked good King Jehoshaphat of Judah to join his campaign against their common enemy. Jehoshaphat said he was willing to join forces with Ahab, but that they should first seek God's counsel.

Ahab had forsaken the Lord years earlier to worship the pagan god Baal, so he called in 400 hired prophets to come before the two monarchs. With dramatic display, these false prophets said, "Go and fight the Syrians, and you will be victorious!" But King Jehoshaphat requested to hear from a true prophet of the Lord. Ahab said that there was one prophet of Jehovah left whose name was Micaiah, but he added, "I hate him for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." Verse 8.

At Jehoshaphat's insistence, Ahab...

A Jar of Oil


A Jar of Oil Elisha could see that the young widow was desperate. She threw herself at the old prophet's feet and sobbed, "The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves!" The woman's husband had died unexpectedly and left her with a huge debt. In Bible times, a lender had a right to repossess property and even take children as payment if a family could not pay the bills (Job 24:9).

"What do you have in the house?" Elisha asked the distraught mother.

"I have nothing in the house but a jar of oil," she replied. Little by little she had handed over all the furniture and valuables in her home to the cruel creditor until nothing remained but her two boys and this little jar of oil. Olive oil was considered a most basic essential. It was used for lighting, heating, cooking, and healing.

Elisha told the widow and her boy...

Above the Crowd


Above the Crowd Peter loved Jesus, but he also loved the approval of the crowd. During the last supper when Jesus warned the apostles that they would all forsake Him, Peter jumped to his feet and brashly vowed that even if all others would be offended, he would never forsake Him. Jesus replied, "This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Verse 34.

Peter meant well, but he did not recognize the pride in his own heart. Later that night when the mob came to arrest Jesus and all were watching, Peter pulled out a sword to defend His Master. But just a few hours later at His trial, as Peter was being mocked by the enemies of Jesus, he denied three times that he even knew Him. Each time Peter became more bold, until he finally denied Him with swearing and cursing (Verse 74).

Then the rooster crowed. At that very moment, Jesus...

 

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