In order to appreciate the mission of the Gospel of God Church, it is important to get an overview of the following Bible themes:
- The second and third documented coming of God’s messenger Elijah (Malachi 3:1, 4:5) and (Matthew 11:14, 17:11)
- The destruction of the earth by fire paving way for a new heaven and a new earth (Malachi 4:1-6; Revelations 20:9; Revelations 21:1, 2 Peter 3; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22)
- The long awaited and much anticipated coming of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 19:1; Matthew 21:33-46; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelations 1:1, 19:12)
- The coming of the LORD God himself as promised by Jesus and the prophets (Isaiah 19:1; Matthew 21:33-46; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelations 1:1, 19:12).
This study focuses on an unlikely place and theme: Africa in the Bible. To see the continent often perceived as dark, it is sufficient to remember the story of Noah’s sons Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis 10:6) – whose descendants populated the whole earth after the flood. Clearly it is Ham whose descendants populated the African continent – through his sons called Mizraim (Egypt or Misri), Cush (Ethiopia or Sudan), Phut (Libya) and Canaan. The descendants of Canaan did not settle in the continent, but the others did. This is not to ignore that some of Mizraim’s and Cush’s descendants settled outside Africa. An example is Nimrod who established Babylonia in Mesopotamia (Genesis 10:8). Looking at the origin of nations is Genesis 10, and subsequent readings, it is clear that Mizraim (Egypt) and Cush (Ethiopia or Sudan) are the principal ancestors of African peoples.
From these verses it is clear that before the name Africa existed, Egypt and even Cush were used to refer to the continent. Thus the name Egypt is bigger than either the ancient Kingdom of Egypt or the Republic of Egypt called Misri by its Arab speakers. We get good clue from Isaiah (Isaiah 7:18) where he talks of God calling the Egyptians from the furthest branches of the Nile. One only needs to remember the scope of migrations that has taken place in Africa over centuries to understand that people have spread far and wide since the times of Isaiah.
Looking at Isaiah 19:1 again let us reflect on the weight of the prophet’s message: The LORD is coming to Egypt riding on the clouds. We can read all through to Isaiah 19:20 where the manner of his coming is explained. He sends a mighty savior or redeemer to the Egyptians, at a time of foreign rule. Jesus Christ himself did warn the vineyard tenants (or Israel) in Matthew 21:33-46, that after they killed the prophets and the son, the sender, the LORD God himself would come to the earth and take the kingdom of God giving it to a nation that would bear fruits. This event happening in Africa should concern the rest of the world, because it spreads beyond the continent. Isaiah 19:23-24 mention Israel and Assyria, but as we shall see later, this is a global event.
The Coming of the LORD himselfWe begin this section by discussing the coming of the LORD himself. The LORD God the father called (Adonai or Yahweh or Jehovah). The questions one would ask are: Who said he is coming and so many are waiting for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? How does he (a spirit as in John 4:24) come?
The clearest explanation of his coming was given by Jesus Christ himself. In the Parable of the Vineyard Tenants he says:
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
Remember that the vineyard owner had been sending prophets and then he went further to send his son. But because they killed the son, the owner of the vineyard is to come himself. While that is the father, a supreme spirit, he could come to the physical realm in two ways – either by being born a terrestrial spirit or by sending an emissary. The same way a president sends an ambassador to a foreign land and he ends up also being called “His Excellency”. Does God have an emissary? In Malachi 3:1 he talks of his messenger going before the Lord. Notice that unlike the rest of the Old Testament in typical Bibles, the Lord here is not in capital letters (the reason could be discussed later). When you read on this turns out to be the Coming of John the Baptist in Israel (in the times of Jesus Christ) – who reveals that John the Baptist is Elijah (Matthew 11:7-14). Reading Malachi 4:5, we see the coming of Elijah in the last days – a third time. Consistent with the theme of the LORD coming in the clouds, are the writings in Isaiah 19:1. They illustrate the LORD’s coming to the world through the Egyptians or the descendants of Ham (Africa) at a time of great repression (colonial rule). In this case the LORD does not manifest himself visually in the clouds, but those on earth see him because he sends a mighty savior. Is this the expected coming of Jesus? Elijah? It is logical that for this event to manifest itself in the physical realm, the savior has to be born. Nations, starting with Egypt get to see the LORD through him.
What must be clear is that this prophecy does not talk about the first coming of Jesus in Israel. At that time, he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:5, Matt 15:22-24). This is not to deny that the word of God went to other nations thereafter (Matt 23:37-39, Matt 28:19). However what cannot be denied here is that the original mission of Jesus was to Israel. However, the rejection of the Word paved way for other nations to receive it. Main Point: The prophecy of Isaiah is not about the coming of Jesus of Nazareth because it talks about Egypt.
To understand who the Egyptians are, let us not confine ourselves to the ancient Kingdom or country called Egypt today. Egyptians are the descendants of Noah’s son Ham. Ham had descendants Cush (Sudan or Ethiopia); Mizraim (Egypt); and Phut (Libya). The Egyptians here were there before the region was occupied during the Arab conquests by Islamists. We shall later study the Egyptian language and compare it with languages spoken across the continent. However prophet Isaiah gives a clue of how broad Egypt was because he talks of God calling the Egyptians from the furthest branches of the Nile – whose branches go through Sudan into Uganda and also into present day Ethiopia.
This prophecy therefore paves way for three things that are one and the same: The coming of the LORD God manifested by the coming of the Messenger, the coming of the son for he is one (united) with the father, and the coming of the messenger (Elijah) for he comes with the mandate of God. The concept of God being one with the son is at times difficult to digest. It does not mean they are one and the same, but that they are united – in much the same way Paul teaches that husband and wife (two different people in reality) are one (Ephesians 5:31-38).
The coming of the LORD as seen by EnochThis chapter compares very well with the book of Enoch. In Chapter 1:8, Enoch sees the LORD with thousands of holy ones coming to judge the ungodly (Jude 1:14). Thereafter, in Chapter 77:1 (verses numbered as per Charles Translation), he sees four quarters of the earth and the Most High (God) descending in the southern quarter.
In Enoch 90:28-36, he sees the old Jerusalem lifted up with its pillars and put in a place south of the land – pointing to Africa. In Enoch 90:37-38, the prophet sees white bulls being born and the first among them transforming into a lamb with great black horns on its head. This is the messenger or mighty savior seen by Isaiah being sent to the Egyptians – the black horns meaning a black man.
The beginning of God’s Kingdom on earthIn simple English let us recall the words of the Lord’s Prayer: Our father, who is in heaven, your name be kept holy, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
These words recited so very often make a key statement about God’s Kingdom. It should eventually come on earth as it is in heaven. From this prayer it is clear that God seeks to rule the earth someday. It also reminds us that eventually the earth will belong to God’s people – and not to the devil as many are taught. This should tell us something about the LORD’s coming also called the second coming of Christ. The LORD God eventually comes to the earth to conquer it and rule. While some misunderstand the Bible to talk about “rapture” – where God’s people go heaven and evil people together with the devil are left in charge, the Bible explains the opposite as shall be explained below as many verses as possible.
The coming Kingdom of God is the reality that all believers seek and make a contribution to. It may not come in their earthly lifetime, but it is the overall objective of the Word of God on earth. Revelations 19 shows the rider of the white horse – whose name is faithful and true. It says his name is known by himself. For he has titles: KINGS OF KINGS and LORD of LORDS. These titles are several and that is the reason he has many crowns on his head. This is the same father whose coming was promised by Jesus to the vineyard tenants (Mathew 21:38-43). He is coming to kill, to topple and trample – not to negotiate. Thus, his garments are dipped in blood. The same reason why the armies of heaven follow him and out of his mouth comes a sword (“the word of God is sharper than a double edged sword” says Hebrews 4:12) with which he shall defeat the nations and rule over them with a rod of iron (Revelations 19:14-15).
This is happening now as a keen reader shall realize – never mind that the horse (a vision) cannot be seen. In a similar way many of the images in Revelation are invisible but are usually meant to convey a message. Think of the dragon, the red, pale, and black horses. Do we honestly expect to see a dragon thrown out of heaven? Is there a day that we shall see a real horse running across the sky? If you think so, you need to understand the basics of prophecy and you will learn them here – and not in a university somewhere. The riding of the horse in Revelations is the same event seen by Isaiah in Chapter 19:1.
The same message was relayed to the prophet Daniel using different symbols. From Daniel Chapter 2, you will read about the huge statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream – at times called the colossus. It has a golden head (Babylonian Empire), the chest and areas around were silver (empire of the Medes and the Persians) … the feet were made of clay and iron. As the king watched, a great stone broke off from a cliff – without anyone touching it, and it struck the statue which fell to dust. Thereafter the stone grew into a big mountain that covered the earth (Daniel 2:24-35). Hopefully one who reads keenly will make the following observations:
- There is no difference between the falling stone and the sword for both depict destruction of earthly empires which pave way for his kingdom on earth.
- Both the stone and the sword from the rider’s mouth are the word of God – said to be sharper than a double edge sword.
- The stone growing into a mountain covering the whole earth mean that the word of God will reign supreme – as prophesied in Revelations as well. He will rule over the empires.
- The stone covering the whole earth is the gospel of God that is to be preached throughout the world (Rev 14:6-7)
- Revelations 18 a prophetic book talks about the impending fall of Babylon as depicted in Daniel Chapter 2. This does not mean ancient Babylon in the historic sense, but all its relics. Babylon was the first empire built by Nimrod, and all other empires have followed suit in dominion and conquest. It is praised by scholars as the source of earthly laws – courtesy of Hammurabi “the great law giver”.
- The whole structure comes tumbling down because earthly empires are interlinked. A good example is Rome and Britain that were ages apart. Yet writers such as Fareed Zakaria (in “the Post American World”) go to show the great lengths the British went to learn and apply Roman principles – their admiration evidenced in their literature: Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, and the Comedy of Errors.
What remains to be seen is what form the stone will take. Hopefully it is not a series of Calamities to come such as Covid-19 pandemic.
The Destruction of the world by Fire, a New Heaven and a New EarthThroughout the scriptures – whether one prefers to read from the Old or New Testaments, one thing is certain: The earth will be renewed by fire. The book of Malachi is explicit that Elijah will be sent before the day of the LORD – when the proud and wicked will be destroyed by fire (Malachi 4:1-6). The message is the same in the closing words of the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:29-31). In Isaiah we are told that very few will survive that fire (Isaiah 13:11-12). Thereafter, the last words of the book show us the few survivors walking among the dead as they continue to be consumed with fire (Isaiah 66:22).
When we cross over to the New Testament, the message continues – nothing changes. The book of Peter explains the same in detail (2 Peter 3). Jude also emphasizes the very destruction of evil people (Jude 1:14) – in a prophecy that goes back to the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 8, Charles Translation). The book of Revelation says nothing different (Revelations 20:9). While these prophecies are numerous and consistent, many do not see them because: Their minds have been clouded with a queer version of what is called “rapture”. They say Jesus will come and take all believers and leave evil people behind. But does the Bible say so?
On close examination, the messages of the Lord Jesus are consistent with this paradigm. A classic example is Matthew 24 that has been misrepresented to depict the “rapture” – as many quote it to mean that when Jesus returns, some people will be taken away (to heaven) and others will be left (for destruction). The truth however that same Holy Spirit that inspires the prophets (Rev 19:10) and the testimony of Jesus are one and the same. The truth is that Jesus indeed says that his coming will be like what happened in the times of Noah (Matt 24:37-38) for in those days people carried out business as usual as the flood came and TOOK them away.
He goes on to say: “So shall it be in the times of the son of man” (Matt 24:39). At that time, two men will be working in the field, one will be TAKEN (same word as TOOK) away, and another will be left. Therefore just as people were taken away and Noah was left, in future, evil people will be taken away by fire (not water) and God’s people will be left behind.
Although there is an illustration of the New Earth in 2 Peter and Revelations, the description in Isaiah 65:17 is quite vivid. It says that men will live their full lives just like trees – for they will eventually die. But lifespans will be relatively long. As those who die at age 100 will be considered young and will have died as a result of God’s wrath. These are the survivors. It is clear that children will be born in this earth – meaning there shall be families and marriage. It doesn’t therefore mean that those who have died believing in Jesus will live in the earth again. Remember Jesus is quoted to have said, when the dead rise to life, they will be like the angels in heaven and will not marry (Matthew 22:30). In Revelations we are told they will rise as souls (Revelations 20:4). A soul is a spirit body and therefore invisible.
Consequently, Revelations should be understood spiritually and prophetically – for prophets typically use imagery. The white horse in Revelations cannot be a flesh horse visible to earthly eyes. None of the apocalyptic horses red, black, or pale is visible. They are symbolic of what is to take place in their time hunger, war or death. In these times many people will continue with the typical arrogance even as God is in their midst. Thus they will be emboldened to fight the rider of the horse (Revelations 20:9) this does not however mean that nations shall one day gather to fight a horse dangling in the clouds. They will however be fighting the Kingdom that the rider will establish after cutting down the nations with his sword (Revelations 19:15). As the kings gather to fight the rider of the horse and his army (angels), they will not be fighting a rider they can see but this war is seen in Revelations 19:19, 20:9) when they gather to fight God’s people. However, they are instead destroyed by fire that will come from heaven. It is this war against God’s people that will be equated to fighting the Lord himself. In the same manner that Jesus accused Paul of persecuting him (or his followers)