REMEMBER: This is a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the OUTLINE to help you to STUDY your BIBLE. The one textbook of this course is YOUR BIBLE! Always have your Bible open before you when you sit down to STUDY with this course.
PERHAPS you will be shocked. But surveys indicate that FEW professing Christians make a HABIT of daily prayer!
FEW regularly get down on their knees before their Maker -- in a private place -- and ask His DIVINE INTERVENTION and GUIDANCE in their lives. Most families do not even offer thanks to God at the dinner table!
Perhaps you haven't realized that God is vitally concerned about YOU as an INDIVIDUAL. Perhaps you have never tried to pray -- or have been discouraged by the pseudo-intellectual double-talk of God-denying atheists.
Listen to the FRUSTRATED words of an avowed atheist: "It appears that all the gods are in a mighty rush on their way out as human intellect increases; superstition, ignorance and fear must give way to intelligence in order that a human civilization may be brought into being." So says the ATHEIST!
This man has never EXPERIENCED God's supernatural intervention in his life. His prayers -- IF he has ever prayed -- have NEVER been answered. Answered prayer to him is only a chance circumstance or deliberate interpretation of ordinary events. He has been duped into believing the pseudo-scientific catch phrases of this God-rejecting world. His mind is filled with the FALSE of "intellectual progress," "higher criticism" and "rationalism." Like a man searching for water in an arid wasteland, he has been left to grope for truth and hope in a world of spiritual darkness and doubt.
Is prayer only a religious "peace of mind" pill? CERTAINLY NOT! Is the ONLY TANGIBLE BENEFIT of prayer a "positive" mental outlook? CERTAINLY NOT!
Real answered prayer is NOT "kidding" yourself into believing that God has answered because you can think "positive" thoughts. Real answered prayer is NOT the mere "working out" of events by themselves. Answered prayer is not psychologically "adjusting" yourself to believe your prayer was answered WITHOUT tangible proof that your prayer was ever HEARD! This CONFUSING GIBBERISH is the poor substitute "modern" thinkers rely on instead of RELYING ON THE ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF!
Real ANSWERED PRAYER is a divine, supernatural and completely MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION -- a DIRECT ANSWER from Almighty God Himself! It is the result of being OBEDIENT to God's laws, asking ACCORDING TO HIS WILL and then BELIEVING IN FAITH until the answer comes!
Most of you have longed for, but never yet experienced this sort of prayerful contact with God. And because you haven't, you don't really KNOW GOD EXISTS!
God has literally hundreds of promises written down for you in His Word, saying, that under certain terms and conditions He will actually CAUSE certain things to happen for you if you will ask Him in BELIEVING PRAYER. You will see promises of outside SUPERNATURAL HELP everyone needs from time to time. You will find promises to deliver you from trouble when you get into it, to supply your every necessity, when you really need it, and to fight your personal battles for you -- even to HEAL you when you are sick. Yes, even to PROSPER YOU FINANCIALLY!
Real believing prayer is the ONLY CONTACT between man and His Creator. And ANSWERED PRAYER is perhaps the most outstanding PROOF of the actual reality, the sure existence of Almighty God! Here are a few specific examples of how God will help us when we ask for it in believing prayer. See how GOD PROVES HE DOES EXIST!
Hezekiah, King of Judah, knew that God would help him personally -- if he was willing to ask for help in believing prayer. Notice the account in II Kings 20:1-11.
Hezekiah was sick in bed with a malignant boil when Isaiah the prophet reported that he had better begin to put his affairs in order -- that he would never recover and should prepare to die!
Hezekiah knew God's PROMISE to HEAL those who call upon Him. He knew that there had to be an heir to the throne of David to rule after him -- but no heir had as yet been born. Above all, Hezekiah KNEW that there is a God in heaven who CONTROLS the laws of the universe and the forces of nature, and yet is VITALLY CONCERNED with each individual member of His creation. Hezekiah knew God's will, remembered God's promises, and as soon as Isaiah's footsteps had faded from the room, he turned his face to the wall and put his WHOLE HEART into a FERVENT PRAYER TO GOD!
Hezekiah prayed for himself and yet it was not a selfish prayer. He only explained his needs. It was a short prayer, not more than 30 or 40 seconds long, but it was EFFECTIVE! BEFORE Isaiah had crossed the courtyard, God intervened and ANSWERED Hezekiah's prayer!
In spite of the fact God had previously told Isaiah that Hezekiah would die, He heard and answered Hezekiah's sincere prayer. GOD ADDED FIFTEEN YEARS TO HIS LIFE!
What an astounding example of ANSWERED PRAYER! BUT THAT WASN'T ALL!
Hezekiah further requested that God would give him a SPECIAL SIGN that he would be healed (verse 8).
God's servant, Isaiah, gave Hezekiah the CHOICE of the sign -- the shadow of the sun would either go FORWARD ten degrees, or BACKWARD ten degrees. Hezekiah said it would be HARDER for the shadow to go backward ten degrees. Then Isaiah cried out to God. God brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD! (Verse 11.) God actually caused the sun to REVERSE ITSELF in the heavens!
This was NOT an "optical illusion." Even pagan histories record this miracle. God's miracles ARE REAL! "For with God NOTHING shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). The end result of God's intervention in Hezekiah's life was the birth of an heir to the Davidic throne, Prince Manasseh, born three years after Hezekiah recovered! (II Kings 21:1.)
In answer to such overwhelming proof, the doubter and skeptic have only one retort: "Well, those things MIGHT have happened in Old Testament times; perhaps even the prayers of the apostles of the New Testament Church were supernaturally answered, but GOD certainly doesn't ANSWER PRAYERS TODAY in the twentieth century!"
The answer to the doubter's challenge is an unqualified "YES"!!
Listen to the words of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong recalling the early years of his God-ordained Christian ministry:
"Time after time came when I actually needed some of these things -- and by this time I had come to BELIEVE what God had written and promised -- I followed His instructions: I prayed! I ASKED for what He had promised, I set myself to yield to, and OBEY this God of the Bible. And, believe it or not, THE ANSWERS CAME -- yes, MIRACLES were performed! I learned that there was really someone there when I prayed to this God -- there was really SOMEONE who actually HEARD, and who actually ANSWERED!
"One time I was in immediate and desperate need of a very small amount of money -- ten cents. The need was so URGENT I had to ask this invisible God whom I could not see, to send this dime to my home immediately. The need was so immediate I had no time for a long prayer -- only some 20 or 30 seconds. But as I rose from that prayer, a man was even then in front of my home, on the way in with that EXACT AMOUNT of money! It was brought to me IN LESS THAN A MINUTE'S TIME!
"I have had such petitions to that great invisible God answered HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS OF TIMES! And so CAN YOU -- if you can ever get to REALLY KNOW this great universe-ruling Creator -- if you will unconditionally OBEY Him as He commands in the Bible -- and if you will implicitly and unswervingly BELIEVE what He has promised there!"
God has CONTINUED to support this WORLDWIDE ministry! Yes, surprisingly enough to an atheist or agnostic, this very Work of Almighty God is supported by the fervent PRAYERS of its dedicated CO-WORKERS around the world! When you hear Mr. Armstrong's voice explaining the plain truths of the Bible over your own radio, you are a WITNESS to ANSWERED PRAYER! The powerful voice of The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast booming through your radio receiver is an ANSWER TO THE PRAYERS OF THOUSANDS AROUND THIS WORLD!
God says in His Word, "without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: for he that cometh to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, and that He is a REWARDER of them that DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM"! (Heb. 11:6.)
If YOU are DILIGENTLY SEEKING GOD, then you ARE studying your Bible with this Bible Course and the other free literature you receive from this Work. If you don't understand something, jot it down on a notepad, or as part of a SPECIAL PRAYER LIST as a reminder when you go to your private place of prayer. Ask God to answer it through The Weekly Sermon online, The Philadelphia Remnant magazine or later lessons of the ONLINE BIBLE COURSE -- and THROUGH PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY!
Some may think that ANY THOUGHT that pops into their minds is God's answer when it is only their own impulse. God will lead you to understand His Word through His CHOSEN MINISTRY!
If you want to know more about how YOU can experience real ANSWERED PRAYER, visit the COG-FF website immediately for the FREE article: "The Answer to Unanswered Prayer."
Remember YOUR PART in God's great work! Mr. Billingsley and the other members in this Work of God are only human. We have a job BEYOND OUR HUMAN POWER to perform. WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS!
And so learn to EXPECT answers to your prayers. God reveals Himself as a REAL GOD -- a LIVING ACTING GOD who will INTERVENE on your behalf if you will beseech Him in BELIEVING PRAYER!
PROPHECY IS THE PROOF OF GOD!
THE startling headlines of WORLD NEWS for the next 10 to 15 years are ALREADY WRITTEN IN ADVANCE! Yet heads of governments -- and most people -- are totally oblivious to them!
Tomorrow's News Today!
TOMORROW'S news is ALREADY WRITTEN in Bible PROPHECY! It stands written long BEFORE the coming earth-shaking events of God's wrath occur -- but most people today ignore the world's "best seller."
Few really believe the BIBLE MEANS WHAT IT SAYS -- and still fewer UNDERSTAND its prophecies!
Most people would say it was IMPOSSIBLE for men -- over 2500 years ago -- to have looked into the future and FORETOLD what is going to happen in OUR DAY to ALL THE MAJOR NATIONS.
Weather experts often fail in foretelling the weather even 24 or 48 hours in advance. What chance would anyone have of foretelling specific catastrophes to happen to great nations like the United States? to the British Commonwealth? to Germany? Russia? or China? and having the prophecies come true -- unless they were DIVINELY INSPIRED?
Such men did exist! Such prophecies were made!
The prophets who foretold the fate of the nations today -- who foretold what is to happen in the next 15 years of our lifetime -- ALSO declared over 2500 years ago what THEN SEEMED FANTASTIC, IMPROBABLE, EVEN IMPOSSIBLE events which were to happen to the great nations and city-states of THAT WORLD LONG AGO.
THOSE PROPHECIES HAPPENED! They happened centuries later -- they were fulfilled PRECISELY AS THE PROPHETS FORETOLD! And the PROOF you will find in this lesson!
If the Bible foretold the future of all the leading nations 2500 years ago -- Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, the Roman Empire and all those prophecies came to pass, THEN IT'S ABOUT TIME WE BEGIN TO PAY ATTENTION AND LOOK INTO THE PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE to see what they reveal about the nations TODAY -- and to see what they foretell for our people. FOR WE ARE INCLUDED IN BIBLE PROPHECIES!
TODAY God is making His existence known to you by showing that His inspired Word -- the Holy Bible can be depended upon.
What Does FULFILLED Prophecy Prove?
Is it rational to believe in GOD? Or is God a myth? -- an invention of an ignorant, superstitious past? And are Biblical prophecies in reality only shrewd guesses of certain Jews who lived more than 2,000 years ago?
In today's chaotic and deceived world, the question of God's existence and of the inspiration of prophecy is disturbing increasing numbers of people. Many want the TRUTH! They are through being fooled -- they are through taking FABLES for granted as FACTS, blindly assuming what is popularly taught. They want to know! They want the proof!
You OUGHT TO FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT IT!
The place to start this honest search for the truth is with GOD, Himself. It ought to be the MOST IMPORTANT PURSUIT of your life to ask about and to SEEK the PROOF of God's existence and the inspiration of His written prophetic word -- the Holy Bible!
PROPHECY fulfillment IS PROOF of the EXISTENCE OF GOD ALMIGHTY. It is the PROOF of the DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE. It is the PROOF that the Bible is the REVELATION of the facts from God Almighty which we could not otherwise discover or know in advance.
Whoever was the real inspiration behind the prophecies of the Bible KNEW OVER 2500 YEARS AGO THE CONDITION THE WORLD WOULD BE IN TODAY -- the internal condition of the United States, of Russia, of China, and of all the leading nations of the earth. The God who inspired the Bible knew millenniums ago what is going to happen in the imminent future!
Is it logical, then, to believe in the God who made His PLAN for our earth known thousands of years in advance?
Bible Dares to Foretell the Future!
Most people are AFRAID of Bible prophecy! They fear that if they should ever examine fulfilled prophecy, they would FIND the PROOF of the divine inspiration of Scripture!
If prophecies have not been fulfilled, then the skeptics would have the proof that the Bible is a fraud. The Bible would stand as the most diabolical hoax ever perpetrated upon a gullible religious world. BUT PROPHECY HAS BEEN FULFILLED! -- and the PROOF is in this lesson of the Correspondence Course.
Here is a Book -- The Holy Bible -- which taunts the skeptics by daring to foretell within its pages the future history of this world! God DARES us to look within its pages and prove its undeniable inspiration!
We may not be ATHEISTS, SKEPTICS, OR AGNOSTICS. We may not RIDICULE the Holy Bible. But we are living in an age of CARELESSNESS, and of DOUBT. Very few people want to exercise their minds sufficiently to PROVE whether or not Bible PROPHECIES are really inspired of God. Fewer still TREMBLE before what these prophecies say, or regard them as having REAL AUTHORITY!
Most highly educated people, and that includes men of science, ASSUME that the Bible is not the infallible revelation of a Supreme Supernatural God. They assume this WITHOUT THE SCIENTIFIC PROOF that they demand on ordinary material matters. They TAKE IT FOR GRANTED that prophecies, which are a proof of God, could not be true -- but they have not DARED to investigate. THEY DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH OF THIS MATTER!
Most fundamentalists, on the other hand, take for granted that Scripture is the very Word of God -- but they reject its AUTHORITY over their lives. Therefore they, too, DO NOT UNDERSTAND ITS PROPHECIES. Witness the babylon of doctrinal confusion over Bible prophecy. Hardly any two of them agree. They profess Christ, but they DENY His message.
It is time we quit taking these prime questions for granted. "Do not despise prophesying,but TEST EVERYTHING; HOLD FAST WHAT IS GOOD" (I Thes. 5:20-21, RSV).
How Can You Prove Scripture?
Christ Himself is quoted in the Bible as saying, "The Scripture CANNOT be broken" (John 10:35). But CAN it be broken? Did YOU ever try to break it? Did YOU ever really put its prophecies TO THE TEST -- and prove them?
Isn't it about time we stop to seek out the proofs one way or the other?
Some people seem to think that the only way to prove the inspiration of the Bible -- and hence of its prophecies -- is by means of Jesus' miracles. But the skeptics do not believe those miracles ever happened -- even though the historical testimony of the unconverted Jews and pagans admitted that Jesus DID PERFORM those miracles! The skeptics would have us believe that even Jesus' enemies were gullible enough to think they really happened. The skeptic wants proof that he can EXAMINE TODAY!
Immediately many think of ANSWERED PRAYER as the major proof of inspiration. But the skeptic has had no prayers ANSWERED. He does not believe that ANYBODY ELSE has either. "Merely circumstances that the religious superstitiously attribute to God" -- that is the way the skeptic regards answered prayer.
There is, however, one source of IRREFUTABLE PROOF! This source of proof he can examine with his own eyes and demonstrate to be false -- if there is no God!
The Bible itself purports to be infallible, a divine revelation of truth revealed by the very Creator and Divine Ruler of the universe. In your Bible, A BEING IS QUOTED. He claims that He is God. He speaks in the first person, saying that He can make and unmake nations, that He can carry out His judgments -- His decisions -- over millenniums of time, claiming that He can foretell infallibly the future of cities and empires, but that NO MAN can do the same.
WHO IS THIS who is quoted as saying: "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, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.'... Yea, I have spoken it, I will also BRING IT TO PASS; I HAVE PURPOSED IT, I will also do it"? (Isaiah 46:9-11.)
Here are the words of One claiming to be God -- claiming not only that He knows the future, but that HE KNOWS IT BECAUSE HE DETERMINES IT -- BECAUSE HE HAS THE POWER TO CARRY OUT HIS WILL!
TAUNTING the Skeptics
Skeptics, of course, say that the Bible is NOT the inspired Word of God, but merely the religious writings of an insignificant ancient nation -- the Jews, who were groping in the darkness of human ignorance and superstition, trying to develop a concept of what they thought God would say were He to exist!
But is it? WHO IS THIS claiming to foretell the future? Is it merely an ignorant, superstitious, albeit pious, ancient Jew with no power to make good his vaunted concept of God, who wrote THIS blistering CHALLENGE to the skeptic -- a challenge claiming that no one can thwart His Will?
Here in the Bible is One speaking who does not crystal-ball gaze, who does not merely guess what is going to happen, but One who claims to KNOW because HE HAS DETERMINED THE FUTURE. Since this One speaks forth through the words of Scripture, here is the proof that the skeptic needs. If God can BACK UP His Word, if He can FULFILL the prophecies He uttered long ago for this 20th century -- THEN THE SKEPTIC HAS PROVED THAT GOD MUST BE THE AUTHOR OF HIS WORD AS HE CLAIMS TO BE.
But if events are CONTRARY to the plain statements of Biblical prophecy -- contrary to the claims of this "God" -- then the skeptic has found the proof that the Bible is not infallible -- that we cannot rely on it.
PROPHECY IS THE ONE PROOF UPON WHICH SCRIPTURE STANDS OR FALLS! Even the "God of the Bible" recognizes this fact. Here is what He says:
"Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your PROOFS, says the King of Jacob.... And tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come" (Isaiah 41:21-22, RSV).
Yes, little mortal man, STATE YOUR PROOFS! Can anyone but God foretell? Could the Bible be the work of man alone, without the inspiration of God, and be filled with fulfilled prophecies written centuries, yes, millenniums in advance?
God says, as it were, "Why YOU'RE nothing at all. Come on! Let's hear YOUR prophecies that we may see whether or not they turn out. Predict what is going to happen in the future, and let us watch and see whether YOU can foretell. Have YOU the power to bring it about as I have? Are you a god? Do YOU rule the universe, you doubters? Can you make and unmake nations? Can you pronounce a sentence or a decree on a nation, AND BRING IT TO PASS?
That is the taunt of the God of the Bible to the DOUBTERS.
Facts Easily Demonstrated
Yes, fulfilled prophecy is the PROOF of divine revelation! If One, throughout the Bible, speaking and claiming to be God, can make prophecies and tell what is going to happen in the future to our cities, our nations, our world-ruling empires; then if it actually HAPPENS IN EVERY CASE, without a miss, no sane mind can deny that GOD must have spoken it.
If the Bible prophecies are absolutely sure, then THE FACTS CAN BE VERY EASILY DEMONSTRATED -- which is what the skeptic or agnostic is afraid of. He wants to remain in his ignorance. He is proud to be an agnostic, or a doubter. He is proud of his ignorance! But YOU cannot afford to be in ignorance -- your life is too valuable. There is too much at stake!
Now we are ready to study one of the most important lessons of the entire course.
Is your BIBLE in front of you? Have you several sheets of paper, and a pen or pencil, so you can MAKE NOTES to help you remember what you learn? If not, go get your Bible, and whatever else you need.
Now with your Bible, your paper, a good dictionary, and any other book you may need (mentioned in Lesson 4), here is the METHOD of study: Write down neatly on your notepaper the caption "Lesson 10" and UNDERSCORE it. Underneath, write down the heading of the first question section. Then, underneath that, number each question, and WRITE DOWN THE ANSWER TOGETHER WITH THE SCRIPTURES CONTAINING THE ANSWER. As an EXAMPLE for your first question, this is what you will write on your notepaper:
1. Romans 3:16 -- "Destruction and misery are in their ways."
Also write in any thoughts or comments you want to remember. When you have finished this question and have studied it and are sure you understand it, then read the material that follows. Write down all the answers that follow so you can fix them in your mind and REVIEW them later. The verses given you in this Course will establish a framework for ALL your Bible knowledge.
Remember, you are to spend an average of at least one-half hour EVERY day studying YOUR BIBLE with this Online Course.
Proof One: STRIFE Prophesied
One major factor stands out as a REASON why so many doubt Bible prophecy. It is the inherent rebellious NATURE and ATTITUDE of human beings.
Prophecy seems so unreal to most people -- so unlikely to happen -- because it pictures a God who becomes ANGRY with the sins of this world -- a God who claims to know better than we how we OUGHT to live. Prophecy reveals a God who corrects the world because it has gone astray by setting up its own governments and ordaining its OWN LAWS CONTRARY TO GOD'S GOVERNMENT AND LAWS.
Undoubtedly the first fact we must face -- if we are going to understand prophecy and WHO God really is -- relates to HUMAN NATURE itself.
Here is the BASIC REASON FOR PROPHECY!
1. Romans 3:16, like many other statements of Scripture, IS A PROPHECY. What does it say?
Name the RESULTS of the WAYS WHICH HUMAN BEINGS LIVE. Is the whole world facing the inevitable results today? (Review Lesson 1, pages 6 through 12.)
2. Compare verse 15 with the preceding five verses.
3. What does the Bible prophesy about the possibility of MAN establishing WORLD PEACE without the supernatural intervention of God? Verse 17.
4. WHO claims to be able to make peace and punish international criminals? Isa. 45:7.
5. Are these verses obviously a DIRECT PROPHECY THAT GOD ALONE CAN BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD -- that the world cannot establish peace without His supernatural intervention?
6. Do most people recognize these verses as prophecies? Do most people even believe these verses mean what they plainly say? How do you know that most people do not believe what God says in these verses? Do they rather think that they THEMSELVES can bring world peace?
7. Do these verses, written from 1900 to 2500 years ago, indicate that the One who claims to be the Author of the Bible KNEW THE END-RESULT of human ways and customs? Do PRESENT WORLD CONDITIONS prove that He did? Did God foretell, almost from the beginning of human history, what we see occurring about us today? Jude 14-15. Was Enoch a prophet? What did we learn in the introduction of this lesson about the duty of a prophet? Did Enoch rebuke "sinners" for their violent misdeeds? What is sin? I John 3:4. Did Enoch recognize that the Lord of heaven and earth would have to intervene in world affairs to convince the world that its ways are wrong? Jude 14.
8. Does the vast majority agree with God's predictions? Do YOU think that the world's ways can lead to peace and harmony among nations?
COMMENT: This prophecy is GOD'S STANDING CHALLENGE to the atheist and agnostic!
THE SKEPTIC AND DOUBTER CAN PROVE GOD A LIAR MERELY BY FINALLY ESTABLISHING PEACE AMONG MEN WITHOUT GOD'S SUPERNATURAL INTERVENTION! But the testimony of human history shows that throughout the past two thousand years, the nations of the world have NOT been able to defy this prophecy and establish permanent peace!
Here is actual VISIBLE EVIDENCE that God's Word is being fulfilled. But the world REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE THIS EVIDENCE! Of course the doubter may conclude that these verses predicting world strife were shrewd guesses based upon previous history! Human history does indicate it -- but how many people really believe it?
Here is a prophecy which has stood for centuries, DARING ANY HUMAN BEING TO ALTER IT! The nations have spilled millions of gallons of human blood, spent thousands of millions of dollars, wasted precious time -- all in a vain attempt to do what God said cannot be done. And we are to witness, near the beginning of the last quarter of this century, the final fulfillment of this prophecy when God will have to INTERVENE in human affairs to PREVENT WORLD ANNIHILATION and bring us world peace at last!
Atheists and agnostics are now living who will see that day! All Bible doctrine stands or falls on this fundamental prophecy which God dares any man to break!
Proof Two: RACE History Foretold
1. Here comes VISIBLE EVIDENCE number two! What major prophecy did God reveal concerning THE RACES of the earth? Genesis 9:25-27.
2. How do we know that this prophecy stands fulfilled today? Notice that here is still another prophecy WHICH MEN COULD BREAK -- were it not for the fact that God said they could not break His Word!
COMMENT: The descendants of SHEM are primarily found among the Semitic and Northwestern European races today. (See Mr. Armstrong's free booklet, "The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy".) The descendants of JAPHETH are found among the Latin, Slavic, and Oriental peoples. The descendants of HAM are found primarily among the dark Middle Eastern races and Negroid tribes. (A later lesson of this Course will prove these facts in complete detail.)
Notice that the knowledge of God would be preserved among the DESCENDANTS of Shem -- "blessed be the LORD God of Shem." This FACT is true to this day. Only among the sons of Shem has the knowledge of God been preserved, and descendants of the other two sons of Noah have received their little knowledge of God through Shem's descendants.
Japheth would be enlarged -- he would spread out -- increase mightily in population, so that his descendants would live under the influence and control of Shem.
And the descendants of Ham (and the descendants of Canaan, youngest son of Ham) would become "servants of servants" in this world. THIS, TOO, HAS BEEN FULFILLED. Throughout Asia, Africa and North and South America, as well as Europe and Australia, the descendants of Canaan have been reduced throughout history to the general status of servants. They have been independent almost nowhere in the world. They have lived as the lowest classes in nearly every nation. GOD DOES EXIST and His BIBLE DOES FORETELL correctly!
And notice that this IS A RESULT OF THE SINS OF THE FATHERS BEING "VISITED UPON," OR REAPED BY, THE CHILDREN. The children of Canaan suffered from the mistakes of their father -- just as one generation after another has suffered from the mistakes of preceding ages.
Men may try what they will -- they may think that they can change the course of history -- but this amazing prophecy, given before there were any nations, CANNOT BE BROKEN! God defies man to reduce the population of Japheth, to remove the knowledge of God from Shem's progeny, to raise the descendants of Canaan to the positions of authority over their brethren.
More VISIBLE Proof
1. Is the word "Jew" used as a byword throughout the nations? -- did God foretell this would happen? Jer. 24:9. Why would this happen? Deut. 28:45.
COMMENT: This prophecy has been receiving fulfillment for the past 2500 years! Not once have the Jews been able to break it! Not once have the Gentile nations been able to exterminate the Jews! Why did God prophesy that this would happen to the Jew, but to NO GENTILE NATION mentioned anywhere in Bible prophecy -- unless God knew the history of the world in advance? -- unless He is indeed God who determines the outcome of wars and the rise and fall of nations?
2. What was to be the fate of EGYPT? Ezekiel 29:15-16. Was Egypt to be scattered among the nations like the Jews for the past 2500 years? Were the Egyptians to become a byword? Notice that the fate of Egypt was entirely DIFFERENT from the Jews. But what God foretold has happened to BOTH.
3. Were the Egyptians to be diminished? Verse 15.
COMMENT: The population of Egypt has hardly doubled in the past 2000 years, whereas the population of nearly every other nation has doubled within the last 75 years. HERE IS MORE VISIBLE PROOF GOD EXISTS! Egypt cannot defy prophecy!
4. WHO was to RULE EGYPT during the past 2500 years? Native Egyptians? or foreigners? Ezek. 30:13, last part.
COMMENT: From the days of Nebuchadnezzar there has never been a native Egyptian ruling supreme over the entire land of Egypt. Time and again the Egyptians rose in revolt, BUT THEY ALWAYS FAILED! The Persians ruled them, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Turks, the French and the British -- and today native Arabs still rule Egypt.
To prove that God is Supreme Ruler, He has given specific prophecies concerning the history of Egypt to this very day -- and a prophecy of what is still to happen to Egypt! God has foretold the history of Egypt in advance IN TIME SEQUENCE in Daniel 11. These prophecies have come to pass in the VERY ORDER in which they were given. Only a GOD could do that -- a God who is alive today and who rules over the nations and determines the outcome of international affairs.
This is not the place to expound the entire 11th chapter of Daniel -- that would take a whole lesson by itself. But we want you to notice now what God says will happen in the imminent future:
5. Will the land of Egypt escape the final colossal series of wars that culminate in the return of Jesus Christ? Dan. 11:42. Why will Egypt be seized? Verse 43. What is the most precious thing that Egypt possesses -- the Suez Canal? What power will finally take over the land of Egypt?
COMMENT: In this prophecy the power that takes over the land of Egypt is called the "king of the north." The king of the north first represented that division of Alexander's Empire that lay north of Palestine. It is called Syria. But Syria was swallowed up by ROME! This is described in the verses beginning with Dan. 11:30. So hereafter Rome becomes the "King of the North" in this prophecy. And the last revival of the Roman Empire IS ALREADY COMMENCING in Europe.
God's Bible is again in the process of being proved true! God defies all the power of Russia and of the Democratic Nations to stop the rise of this fascist Roman Empire -- a league of ten nations with the great religious power of the Vatican supporting and directing it! Germany undoubtedly will be its bulwark. A revived Germany, this time united with other fascist dictatorships in Europe, and supporting the Church of Rome, will seize the entire Middle East. God says so!
Now notice another major prophecy:
6. Did the Bible prophesy that the ancient city of TYRE (the great city of Phoenicia) would be ruled over by strangers for 2500 years? Or was Tyre to be destroyed? Ezekiel 26:3, 14, 20. What was the site of Tyre to become?
COMMENT: The site of Tyre IS TODAY a complete desolation. No city is there today, not even a village. A New Tyre was built, but it too was utterly destroyed just as God prophesied through Ezekiel.
Notice that the importance of Tyre in prophecy is that HUMAN BEINGS CAN STILL THWART THE WILL OF GOD IF BIBLE PROPHECY IS NOT INSPIRED. God DARES any man to rebuild the city of Tyre. Every year, yes, EVERY HOUR that the site of Tyre remains a desolate TOP OF A ROCK for the spreading of fishermen's nets -- every hour that it remains uninhabited, and no city is built, it is SHOUTING THE PROOF of divine revelation and of the existence of a supernatural God who overrules the desires and plans of men.
Let the agnostics and atheists find even one event that contradicts these marvellous prophecies and they will have found proof that God is not able to keep His word! They have not found one such event! As for the city of Tyre, all that stands in the way of disproving the Bible is God Himself. He defies anyone to rebuild this city -- which would be a comparatively easy physical task if any atheist wants to prove there is a God who will prevent it. There is rich soil around it. There is an ample water supply. It has harbor possibilities with a little dredging -- but Tyre still remains desolate. God said it would be so. He keeps His word. (Visit the Church of God Faithful Flock website to view Mr. Armstrong's FREE On-line booklet "The Proof of the Bible".)
7. Was the city of SIDON (Zidon) to be desolate and without inhabitants as its sister city of Tyre or was its fate to be DIFFERENT? Ezek. 28:20-23.
COMMENT: The city of Sidon exists today, having suffered the rampages of war throughout the centuries. Notice not one word of Ezekiel's prophecy says that Sidon was to be destroyed and never rebuilt. God's judgment on Sidon was not one of utter extinction as it was on Tyre, but BLOOD in her streets, WOUNDED in her city, the SWORD on every side -- a CONTINUOUSLY EXISTING CITY, but reduced in population (now about 10,000) and in constant trouble!
8. What was to happen to ASHKELON? Zephaniah 2:4; Zechariah 9:5. Was it to become desolate? Why are the prophecies right EVERY TIME -- even though centuries and millenniums have passed since these predictions were written?
COMMENT: Here is what the Encyclopaedia Britannica says about the city of Ashkelon: "Ashkelon, now a DESOLATE SITE" -- THE VERY WORDS THAT THE BIBLE USES -- and "protruding from this sand-swept terrain, shattered columns and the remnants of ruined buildings and broken walls bear ample testimony to a past magnificence .... The country around is fertile. Vines, olives ... fruit trees flourish."
Here is yet another city which doubters could easily use to disprove the existence of God. Why not rebuild the city? Why not? -- because God said it would be a desolation!
9. What did Jesus prophesy would happen to JERUSALEM? Luke 21:24. Has this happened? Is Jerusalem trodden down by the Gentiles to this very day? What country now controls Old Jerusalem?
COMMENT: The Jews have moved their capital to New Jerusalem, but the OLD city is STILL trodden down by the present Kingdom of Jordan. Could all the power of the United Nations change this prophecy? Has the United Nations TRIED to intervene in the affairs of Palestine to free Jerusalem from exclusive Gentile control?
10. In previous lessons we have covered in broad outline the prophecies revealed in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 and Daniel 8. In these chapters Daniel pictures the rise and fall of MAJOR POWERS, beginning with Babylon, Medo-Persia, Alexander's Grecian Empire and Rome. Notice that each of the first three was destroyed by another power that replaced it. If Daniel were merely guessing about the future, he would also logically have supposed that the fourth one would be devoured and supplanted by yet a fifth HUMAN empire. But Daniel does not say that!
What did God INSPIRE Daniel to write? Dan. 7:23-24, 26. How long was this fourth empire to continue? Would it have revivals and declines until the very return of Jesus Christ? Verses 24 and 26.
COMMENT: Mussolini was the last international figure to revive the "ROMAN Empire." During the Middle Ages it was called "The Holy ROMAN Empire." (In a later lesson we shall cover in complete detail the various revivals of the Roman Empire. But these facts already mentioned should amply prove that Daniel was not guessing when he foretold that the first three kingdoms, which lasted only 500 years, would be succeeded by a fourth which would last for over 2000 years! Daniel did NOT foretell this prophecy by analogy with previous events. NO ONE BUT GOD could have revealed it to the prophet!
GOD'S Church Fulfills Prophecy
Just as Egypt, Tyre and Sidon witness to the inspiration of Old Testament prophecies, so the very presence of GOD'S CHURCH IS PROOF OF GOD'S EXISTENCE AND OF THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECY!
All skeptics admit that the Bible has been completely written in its present form for over 18 centuries. THEREFORE ANYTHING IN THE BIBLE RELATING TO THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS SAID HE WOULD BUILD COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN FORGED DURING THE PAST FEW HUNDRED YEARS. We have many manuscripts proving that our present Greek New Testament text is the same as it was 18 centuries ago.
What did Jesus say would happen to His Church? Would His Church be a great, powerful "Mother" Church from which would spring many PROTESTING "daughter" churches? Would His Church end in a babel of confusion -- in hundreds of conflicting church denominations?
If Jesus is alive today -- if He did not lie about His Church -- if He stands back of every word He uttered, then we ought to find ample proof in FULFILLED prophecy about His Church. Here is the PROOF:
1. Did Jesus pray -- and therefore PROPHESY -- that His Church would be ONE BODY, united in perfect harmony as the Father and Jesus the Son are united in harmony? John 17:20-23 and verse 11. Did the Father always hear Jesus' prayers? John 11:41-42. Then, if God exists, if He can answer prayer, IS HE BOUND TO ANSWER JESUS PRAYER?
COMMENT: God Almighty has been answering Jesus' prayer for the last 1900 years! The true Church of God -- which Jesus Christ built -- exists today as ONE HARMONIOUS group of Spirit begotten Christians, composing the "Body of Christ." (Visit the Church of God Faithful Flock website to view the On-line FREE booklet, "The True History of the True Church," for more astounding proof!)
2. Then why are there so many denominations? If God has been answering Jesus' prayer, why are there so many DIFFERENT churches -- all in confusion and disharmony? Could these churches be PART of the ONE TRUE CHURCH which Jesus said He would build? Or are they the churches of this world MASQUERADING as the true Church of God? Are these many conflicting churches a PART OF THIS WORLD? -- do they meddle in politics? in reform movements? Have they adopted the customs of this world? Was Jesus' Church to be A PART OF THIS WORLD'S CUSTOMS AND WAYS? John 17:14-16.
3. Then where did this confusion arise -- where did these discordant professing "Christian" churches come from? Did Jesus prophesy that false ministers would CREEP into the true Church? Mat. 7:15. Did Peter also warn of these false teachers who would creep into the true Church unawares in an attempt to corrupt it? II Pet. 2:1-3. Had they already entered the Church in Jude's time? Jude 3, 4. But were they KICKED OUT by the time John wrote? I John 2:18-19. Notice the Bible plainly states that these false ministers NEVER were a PART of the true Church Jesus founded!!
COMMENT: Jesus did NOT prophesy of an apostasy, or going astray, of Christians WITHIN the Church. His disciples were designated as "sheep." Jesus was not speaking of "stray sheep," but of "WOLVES." They were DECEIVERS who crept into the Church under FALSE PRETENSE. They pretended to be -- they masqueraded as -- sheep.
These wolves in sheep's clothing sought to enter the true Church, take it over, SUBSTITUTE their own pagan Babylonish Mysteries for God's true teachings and commandments, and make it still appear as though it were Christ's true Church!! It was a great diabolically inspired pagan movement to stamp the name of Christ on their worldly, pagan religion!
The apostle Paul branded them as, in true FACT, the ministers of Satan (II Cor. 11:14-15). Yet they palmed themselves off as the apostles of Christ -- but they were FALSE apostles (verse 13).
When Jude wrote, about 67 A.D., they had already crept in by stealth and false pretense, turning GRACE into LICENSE to disobey God's Law (Jude 4). In their letters, James and Peter spoke of this opposition against God's Law. The apostle John combated it in his letters, written in the 90'S A.D. By that time these imposters had come and GONE! But now they claimed that THEY, and their followers, NOT the true Church of God, constituted the original "Christianity," and the ONLY original true Church. But they NEVER were any PART of the TRUE Church which Jesus founded! (I John 2:19.)
4. Did the world begin to listen to the heresies and fables of those false teachers, rather than listen to the Truth of God? I John 4:5. Is this true of the world today?
5. Did Jesus prophesy that MANY today, not the few, would be deceived? Matthew 24:4-5 and Mark 13:5-6. What does Luke 21:8 say? Do the many -- or do the FEW -- find the way of peace that leads to eternal life? Mat. 7:13-14. Does this sound like the majority of professing Christians really belong to the true Church of God today? Do these prophecies declare that THE MANY are PRESENTLY ensnared by this babylon of professing "Christian" denominations?
COMMENT: In Jesus' prophecy for TODAY He foretold of deceitful ministers -- with their false "churches" -- coming in His name, posing as Christ's true ministers, professing Christianity, yet REJECTING the message Jesus brought from heaven.
This fact explains why the knowledge of the truth has become lost to the world and has been PRESERVED by the true Church of God. For ONLY God's Church LIVES by every word of God, recognizing and submitting to Christ's supreme authority over its collective members!
6. Though the world was to corrupt the truth -- even though it accepted the NAME OF CHRIST -- did Jesus FORETELL that His Church would be preaching the true gospel of the Kingdom of God in the closing hours of this age? Mat. 24:14.
7. Is God's Church -- the "Church of God" (Faithful Flock)--preaching that gospel today from its headquarters here in Modesto, California? Does Jesus' Church have the backing of powerful worldly financial interests? Or does it have only "a LITTLE strength" "holding fast" to TRUTHS restored to God's Church through Herbert W. Armstrong which GOD INSPIRES to be used WISELY in a MIGHTY WAY to preach Christ's warning message to the world? Rev. 3:8.
COMMENT: The existence of God's TRUE Church with no departures from ANY of the doctrinal teachings given through God's End Time Apostle is yet another proof that God exists!
These are but a few of the HUNDREDS of scriptures which prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that WHAT JESUS PROPHESIED would happen to HIS CHURCH IS HAPPENING TODAY! And the world has been turned to fables which are masquerading under the guise of "gospel truth" AS JESUS PROPHESIED!
8. Did Jesus also foresee a time when God would have to intervene in world affairs to stop the impending threat of total annihilation of human life? Mat 24:21-22. (We discussed this in the very first lesson of this Course.)
COMMENT: Here again is added proof that God does exist! He foreknew -- He planned -- the events now taking place before our very eyes. He is the One responsible for the news headlines you read daily -- HEADLINES THAT POINT TO THE RAPID FULFILLMENT OF ALL THE OUTSTANDING PROPHECIES AS SOON AS THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM IS PREACHED TO ALL THE WORLD AS A WITNESS!
The LESSON of Prophecy
Before we complete this lesson of the Correspondence Course, it is vital that we understand one more fact.
Now that we have demonstrated by fulfilled prophecy that God DOES exist, we are brought face to face with the recognition that God is Supreme Ruler. As Supreme Ruler He commands our unconditional surrender to Him and our TOTAL OBEDIENCE TO HIS LAWS AND HIS GOVERNMENT--to His WAY of Life. This is the MESSAGE OF ALL THE PROPHETS SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN!
The prophets were NOT religious enthusiasts, reformers of worldly religions and morals, or politicians who guessed about the future in order to influence the world of their day. This idea is the common mistaken concept of modernists and of rationalistic theologians.
The prophets were rather WATCHMEN, GUARDIANS of God's truth -- sent to warn individuals, cities, nations and the world of the results of their evil ways -- the results that sin brings. The prophets received revelations from a merciful God to deliver to men BEFORE God poured out His judgments on the people and the nations that revolted against His Will and did what seemed right in their own eyes. God's watchmen warn TODAY! They warn the nations to yield to God who alone knows right from wrong.
PROPHECY FORETELLS THE CORRECTIVE PUNISHMENT God promises to send because He LOVES human beings and WANTS TO BRING THEM TO THEIR SENSES. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). God promises, through prophecy, to give us ample advance WARNING TO TURN TO GOD'S WAYS which are BEST FOR mankind.
The entire lesson of prophecy is contained in II Kings 17:6-23:
"... Assyria captured Samaria, and ... carried the Israelites away" -- Why? -- "because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God ... and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations" -- they took up a way of life that SEEMED right to the nations round about them -- "And the people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right.... yet the LORD WARNED ISRAEL AND JUDAH BY EVERY PROPHET AND EVERY SEER" -- God spoke through the prophets and those who saw visions -- "saying, 'Turn from your evil ways and KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS AND MY STATUTES, in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, AND WHICH I SENT TO YOU BY MY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS'" (verses 6-13).
God's prophets were His spokesmen, revealing His law to a forgetful and rebellious nation.
"But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God ... And the Lord rejected ALL the descendants of Israel ... AS HE HAD SPOKEN BY ALL HIS SERVANTS THE PROPHETS" (verses 14, 20, 23, RSV).
THE PROPHETS LAID BARE THE INNER REASONS FOR EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES. They explained WORLD EVENTS in their connection with the government and the Laws of God.
The ultimate PURPOSE for prophecy is to bring about the complete supremacy of GOD'S WILL among all human beings. It foretells to us TODAY that since most men will not voluntarily surrender themselves to the authority and laws of God, He will have to intervene personally in world affairs to PUNISH THE DISOBEDIENT and BRING PEACE TO THE NATIONS.
Let's re-examine Romans 3 to fully understand WHY God has prophesied punishment for our world.
1. Is it natural for human beings to understand the purpose of life? Romans 3:11, first part.
2. Can man, apart from the possibility of God's help, naturally seek after God and discover Him? Verse 11, last part. Does this plainly indicate that man could NEVER find God unless He REVEALED HIMSELF? Is this what we learned from Lesson 9 of this Course?
3. Now notice verse 12. Have all human beings gone the way that seems right to them? Is this God's Way? Does God say that humanity has STRAYED from His Way?
4. Does verse 12 imply that God ORIGINALLY revealed His way to man and that man STRAYED from it? How else could they "have GONE out of the way"? Then are the nations BLINDED in ignorance and superstition? Are they of any profit to themselves or to God the way they are? As usual, be sure to write down the answer to each of these questions on your notepaper.
5. How many by nature do good instead of evil? Last part of verse 12. Would you say the world believes this?
COMMENT: The SKEPTICS AND ATHEISTS obviously REJECT PROPHECY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO THE WILL OF GOD! They want to do their own will which brings only heartache, suffering, sickness, war and death!
Even the Fundamentalists who profess to know God, LIE because they REFUSE TO DO HIS COMMANDMENTS: "He that saith, 'I know Him,' and keepeth not His commandments, is a LIAR, and the TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM" (I John 2:4). These people TWIST the meaning of prophecy so they can continue in their willful rebellion against God's laws.
It is not enough to recognize that God exists. Prophecy proves that once we recognize He does exist, we are under obligation to RECOGNIZE HIS AUTHORITY and OBEY His Will which He has expressed in His commandments, statutes and judgments!
GOD DOES EXIST!
You now have the facts in briefest summary -- facts which prove that God MUST EXIST. He must exist in order to have inspired the men who wrote the Bible centuries ago. He must still exist and rule over the nations in order to bring His prophecies to fulfillment!
Only a LIVING, ACTIVE GOD could keep the agnostics and atheists from doing what God said no man can do! Not even all the power of the atheistic Communists of Russia can rebuild what God foretold "shall not be rebuilt." These prophecies could not have been written after the events occurred. (We have purposely left out any prophecy which the agnostics FALSELY claim was written AFTER the event.)
The prophets who wrote the Scriptures are dead. They could not fulfill their writings. Only a living, all-powerful God could have intervened over the centuries to bring every one of these prophecies to fulfillment without exception! NOT ONE HAS FAILED!