One of the concepts that is described in Scripture is the idea that there are two primary “ages” – or periods of time – during which people will live. The first of those ages is our current age - i.e., the period of time that we are living in now. The second age is the age to come – i.e., a period of time that will take place, in the future.
There are a number of passage in Scripture that mention both this current age, and the age to come. Here are just a few of them:
Matthew 12:32 (ESV):
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Without a doubt, one of the most famous verses in the New Testament is John 14:6. The context of that verse is that Jesus is speaking to his disciples, about salvation. The English Standard Version of the Bible translates that verse as follows:
John 14:6 (ESV):
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
That verse is very profound, of course – it tells us that the only way for us to approach God is to go through Jesus. In other words, there are no other ways for people to be saved, other than through Jesus.
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Chapters 9, 10 and 11 in the book of Romans go into detail about God’s covenants with the Israelites – beginning with Abraham, continuing through Moses and including the prophets.
Those chapters also discuss the relationship that Gentiles have with those covenants. In other words, those chapters also contain information about how Gentiles “fit” into God’s covenants with the patriarchs.
One of the passages that discusses this relationship between Israelites and Gentiles is contained in Romans 11, as follows:
Romans 11:13-24 (NIV):
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In many cases, a single word in Scripture can have multiple meanings. That is, the same word can mean different things – depending on the context in question.
One example of a Scriptural term that has multiple meanings is the word heaven. A previous post on this site (found here) provided examples of four separate meanings of the word “heaven”:
- The atmosphere around the earth;
- Outer space;
- The place where God resides;
- God, Himself.
It appears that there are multiple meanings of the term spirit as well. Of course, one very specific use of the word “spirit” occurs in the phrase Holy Spirit – i.e., the phrase that refers to God’s “power and presence”.
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One of the rather astounding – and potentially confusing – passages in Scripture is contained in John chapter 14. The context of this passage is that Jesus is speaking with the 11 faithful disciples, after the last supper. Basically, Jesus is giving the disciples information about the things that he will do, after he is crucified and resurrected. Then, Jesus makes these statements:
John 14:13-14 (ESV):
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
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Virtually every religion holds some type of belief about the subject of “life after death” – that is, the subject of what happens to people, after their bodies die.
Of course, Christianity also has beliefs about life after death. However, there are many different doctrines about life after death, among the various Christian denominations. In other words, within the overall Christian religion, there are radically different ideas about what happens to people after they die. So, I think it is worthwhile to take a look at some of those different beliefs.
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One of the topics that occasionally comes up in Christian churches is the concept of “spiritual warfare”. Basically, spiritual warfare refers to the belief that some spirit beings are opposed to God – and as a result, those spirit beings cause problems for humans.
Of course, as with any other belief, it is necessary to determine if Scripture supports the concept of spiritual warfare. So, let’s see what Scripture has to say, about this overall topic.
Information from the Apostles
To begin with, let’s take a look at the information that the apostles gave us, about the overall concept of spiritual warfare – since the apostles’ letters were directed to Christian congregations.
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One of the items that Scripture makes abundantly clear is that if we follow God, we will be blessed. Probably the most famous passage which states that fact appears in Matthew chapter 5 – at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV):
5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
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A rather intriguing set of passages is contained in Revelation chapter 7. The first eight verses of that chapter refer to a very specific group of individuals. Those individuals are referred to as “servants of God” – and they are subsequently “sealed” by an angel of God. Here are those eight verses:
Revelation 7:1-8 (ESV):
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One item that Scripture makes abundantly clear is the following admonition: Believers must avoid idols. Both the Old and New Testaments contain numerous commands to not make or worship idols – and they also describe the consequences of breaking those commands. For example, consider the following passages:
Exodus 20:4-6 (ESV):
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
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