On August 28th 1963 Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jnr gave his most famous and moving speech which contained the following section:
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Half a century later, some of these things have happened to varying degrees, but not all of them. Many people don’t realise that Martin Luther King was probably drawing on the Bible for inspiration for this speech as these elements feature in proph- ecies about a future world. Martin Luther King’s dream may not have come to fruition, but the Bible is full of dreams which have.
“I had a dream”
Another King who had a dream was King Nebuchadnezzar who was King of Babylon (modern day Iraq) in the 6th century BC. We can read the account in the Bible in the Old Testament book of Daniel chapter 2.
He dreamt of an image shaped like a man, made out of different metals, which were ground to dust by a rock. Daniel, a Hebrew who along with the rest of hs people was being held captive by the king, was told by God what this dream meant. The metals represented the Babylonian and subsequent Kingdoms on the earth.
Head of gold = Babylonian Empire
Chest & arms of silver = Medo Persian Empire
Thighs of brass = Greek empire
Leg of iron = Roman Empire
Feet of clay & iron = Strong and weak nations ( Today)
If we look at history, we can see how all these King- doms have come and gone. The rock represents the Kingdom of God which will replace all these Kingdoms. We now live in the time represented
by the feet of iron and clay, meaning that the next Kingdom will be the Kingdom of God. But what is that, and when will it come?
“A dream come true…”
In the prophecy books of the Bible we read various accounts of what this Kingdom will be like. It is here we see parallels with Martin Luther King Jnr’s speech.
But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid;
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing.
But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
The judge and King of this Kingdom will be Jesus. The earth will be transformed into one with no death, no poverty and no injustice. Unlike Martin Luther King’s dream, one day soon these Biblical dreams WILL come true. To find out how you can live in this perfect Kingdom, open your Bible and read it. The truth is in there.
Israel and the Palestinians are at it again. The world watches nervously, because this is not just a local skirmish – Israel is sending a strong message to its enemy Iran. What might Israel do next? If Iran has nuclear weapons, will it use them? What will the US or Russia do?’ If you’re willing to listen the Bible has all the answers.
Israel and the Middle East seem to constantly dominate our news agenda. Recent events between Israel and the Palestinians are among others in numerous skirmishes between the 2 sides. Many consider the situation to be impossible to resolve. Others try, but have so far failed to produce any lasting peace.
But how has the situation become so bad? Why did the fighting start in the first place and will it ever be resolved? The Bible tells us that God’s plan is centred on the nation of Israel, and we have the chance to be part of it, if we want to be. If we go back to the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we meet a man called Abraham. God made a promise to him:
Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
Abraham had 2 sons; Ishmael (from whom some of the Arab people descended) and Isaac (from whom the Jews came from). Isaac’s son was Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel. Jesus was also a descendent of Israel. So 3 faiths; Islam, Judaism and Christianity all look at this prophecy and say “this seed is referring to us”. But who is correct?
Abraham’s wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children, but he did father a son, Ishmael, with her maid. Traditionally it was the eldest son whom the line passed through (a tradition that still exists in parts of our monarchy even to this day). So you can see why Ishmael’s descendants think the prophecy is about them.
But in Genesis Chapter 17 God renewed the promise with Abraham and he said that the prophecy would be fulfilled through the decendents of Sarah’s son. But if Sarah was barren, how could that be? Even Abraham found it hard to believe!
“Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Genesis 17:17-21
Ishmael’s descendants have been richly blessed and are some of the richest nations on the earth at the moment. But it would appear from this (and other incidents in the Bible) that it was Jesus, born through the Jewish line, this prophecy was talking about.
Whose Land is it?
Today one of the big questions to be resolved in the Middle East is that of territory and land ownership. The question is the same for Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the entire land known as Israel. Everybody is arguing about ownership and rights of occupation.
Palestinians maintain that the land is their’s as they have occupied it for 2000 years and that gives them absolute title. They say they have been ousted from their land by force. But the Israelis point out that they were there first – from about 1400 BC until they were displaced in 70 and 135 AD.
The situation has been further complicated by various wars. In 1947, the UN voted to partition the land between the Jews and the Arabs. However, the Palestinians refused to recognise the state of Israel and Israel began claiming back Palestinian occupied parts of the land as their own. What we are left with today is a complicated and dangerous position of stale-mate with neither side willing to compromise
On top of this there is the problem of Jerusalem. The Palestinians want to make this their capital, but the city is sacred to three religions – the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
In any political settlement that might be reached, one important consideration is likely to be overlooked, All land belongs to God: He formed it, and he alone owns it. As the Psalmist observed:
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1
And as the apostle Paul once said, God has given the nations a right for occupation, but not forever:
God, who made the world and everything in it… He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, Acts 17:24-27
So neither side actually owns the land. There is a time coming – and all indications are that it will come quite quickly – when God will call all nations to account for the way they have occupied His earth. We are told He will “destroy those who destroy His earth” when He sends his King to reign here. Then this wonderful forecast will come true:
The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Rev 11:15
There will be peace in the Middle East, but only when Jesus returns to set up God’s Kingdom. Jesus wants us all to have a place in that Kingdom with him. Then there will be no more war, no more death and no more suffering. There will be everlasting, perfect peace. To find out more about this plan, pick up your Bible and read it.
If you would like help reading the Bible, or would like to receive a DVD “Peace in the Middle East” which looks at this subject in more detail, then please visit our websitewww.TheChristadelphians.org.uk or drop us a line at FREEPOST, THE CHRISTADELPHIANS.
At 9:15 am on Friday 1st June 2012 the Olympic flame passed the Christadelphian hall in Ormskirk as it made its 8,000 mile journey around the UK. Thousands of people lined the streets as Olympic fever swept the town. When it arrives in London
it will open the XXX Olympiad where we will witness a global spectacle with viewers all over the world rooting for their national athletes, willing them on and longing to see them on the winners’ podium feeling proud and excited.
For most of us the ideas of competing in the Olympics, breaking a record or winning a medal are merely pipe dreams, but the reality is that if we open a Bible we can see a promise which aims to make us all winners.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Corinth (in Greece) a city which was steeped in Olympic culture and had gymnasiums, arenas and stadiums. Paul used athletic terms when he wrote to them saying:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
1 Cor 9:24-25 (ESV)
The “imperishable” which Paul is talking about is eternal life in the Kingdom of God. The sad fact is that we all die whether we are Olympic athletes or ordinary people. Gold medals cannot give us eternal life, but the message in the Bible explains how we can share in this promise of eternal life. Paul continued his letter:
“So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
1 Cor 9:26-27 (ESV)
So how are you running your life? What is at the finishing line; the grave or eternal life? Only you can decide. If you would like help understanding the Bible message then browse around this web site a bit more to find out what the Bible message is, or pop into our hall on Moorgate on a Sunday or to one of our “Ask your big questions” coffee mornings.