son Jacob. After his name was changed to Israel, Jacob and his family moved to Egypt, where they survived a famine and grew, over the centuries, into a small national group. Moses led them out of slavery in Egypt to the border of the promised land, and then Joshua led their armies as the Israelites wiped out the Canaanites and took possession of their land.
Chapter 8 - Holy City
Recognized by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 as a city holy to "the three great monotheistic faiths throughout the world, Christian, Jewish and Moslem," Jerusalem is unique among holy cities. In the most ancient references Abraham paid tithes to Jerusalem's mysterious king Melchizedek, who was "priest of the most high God." Centuries later king David drove pagan Jebusites from the city and made it his capital. Solomon built God's temple there. After unfaithful Jews polluted it with idolatry, God allowed the neo-Babylonian empire to destroy the city, but later he moved the heart of Medo-Persian emperor Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. After Israel rejected its Messiah, God had Roman legions destroy both the city and the temple again. With Jews in control of the area now since 1967, Islamic mosques sitting atop the Temple Mount, and U.N. resolutions calling for the Jews to vacate, Jerusalem has become "a heavy stone burdening the world" as Zechariah foretold. Soon to follow are the apocalyptic Battle of Armageddon, which will leave Messiah ruling the world from Jerusalem.
Chapter 9 - Promised Messiah
The first Israelite kings were anointed with holy perfumed oil poured ceremonially over their heads. This made them "anointed ones" or Messiahs in Hebrew. God promised that a future Messiah would come who would be anointed with the Holy Spirit instead of oil. He would wage war in righteousness, conquer the world, and rule for ever afterward in peace. Every sorrow would be erased, even sickness and death ceasing to plague mankind. Dozens of prophecies foretold the Messiah and the details of his life, death, resurrection and second coming. He would be born in Bethlehem, the child of a virgin, would preach in Galilee, would arrive in Jerusalem seated on a donkey, but would be rejected, beaten, stripped, and nailed up to die like a criminal. Jesus of Nazareth fit every detail of the
prophetic description, but only a small minority of the Jewish people accepted him as their promised Messiah. Even his miraculous resurrection from the dead failed to convince the religious leaders. Nevertheless, the message spread throughout the Greek-speaking world as Gentiles embraced their "anointed one," or Christ.
Chapter 10 - False Alarms, False Prophets and the Antichrist
Anyone calling attention to prophecies about the return of Christ is in danger of being compared to the proverbial 'boy who cried wolf.' My earlier books dealt with many false alarms allegedly based on biblical passages: various groups pointed to 1874, 1914 or 1975 as the time Christ would return. Some people have been hurt by such failed predictions, but others have been moved to investigate further and have benefited as a result. The Apostle Paul wrote that there would be a falling away first, and the appearance of an antichrist. Watch out for speculative answers and for those who resort to the tyranny of authority or who claim to have special knowledge beyond what others can discern from reading the Bible. Scripture was written for ordinary folk, not for intellectuals. The basic signs and warnings in prophecy are straightforward and easy to understand.
Chapter 11 - Turned off by Hellfire?
Some people shy away from the Bible due to misrepresentations or distortions of what it says about life after death. While some teachers focus on certain verses, all must be examined to determine what the Bible actually teaches on this subject. That teaching is both reasonable and satisfying. While the Old Testament contains mere hints and glimpses of the afterlife, the teachings of Jesus and his apostles add a considerable amount of clarifying information. Hades was the destination of all who died before Christ's resurrection, but it was not at all the place depicted in Dante's Inferno. Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus sheds light on the truth about "hell." Punishment after death is meant to inspire healthy fear of God, not to depict the deity as a fiend who dreams up worse torments than human war criminals. Jesus was the kindest, most loving man ever to walk the earth, and this should inspire us to trust God to deal fairly. If our concept of the afterlife offends us, then perhaps it is our concept that is wrong, rather than some supposed injustice on God's part.
Chapter 12 - What about Darwin?