Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

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Gary Petty

Beyond Today Presenter, United Church of God Pastor

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  • Gary Petty
    Thank you for your comments. I agree that all of us can get so overwhelmed by the immediacy of life that we lose sight of what God is doing. It is then that we can become spiritually complacent. Every once in a while God wakes us up and keep us moving forward.
  • Gary Petty
    Good question. When we read Matthew 24:1-14 Jesus tells us what will happen before the "great tribulation." In Revelation 6:1-8 John is given a vision of events that will lead to the deaths of a quarter of the world's population. These events appear to be a further explanation of what Jesus said in the first part of Matthew 24. In Revelation 13 we see the rise of the last great superpower. COVID-19 is not directly mentioned in these prophesies, but it may be the precursor to what Jesus called "the beginning of sorrows." It is important to stay focused on God and His truth. We don't know all of the details, but the Bible does give us a clear picture of the events that will lead to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. His return is the Christian hope for tomorrow.
  • Gary Petty
    I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this question. I was reading from the NKJV. I have never read a Hebrew translation of Revelation translated into English so I can't comment on what it says. Here is what The Book of Revelation Unveiled study guide says about the mark of the beast: “Many have speculated as to the meaning of this puzzling prophecy. Some interpret it in terms of supercomputers, unique personal identity numbers and even microchips imbedded under the skin. “However, we should consider that receiving a mark on the hand or forehead could well be figurative. Remember from Revelation 7:3 that God’s servants were sealed on their foreheads. And in Deuteronomy 6 Moses told God’s people to ‘keep all His statutes and His commandments,’ noting, ‘You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes’ (Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 6:8). The hand and forehead here represent one’s actions and thoughts respectively—which should be dedicated to obeying God."
  • Gary Petty
    David, I'm sorry, we don't have a transcript for this program. If you email me I can send you some notes.
  • Gary Petty
    Carl, Sometimes it can be a little discouraging when we don't see more people responding to the message. At the same time, we can see how despondent Jeremiah was because he watched Judah be destroyed because no one listened to God's message. Paul was stoned and driven out of town for preaching the message. In the end we must stay humble before God, do what He sets in front of us to do, and preach the message. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf.
  • Gary Petty
    Lucian, I understand the Catholic position on this subject is that these icons and statues are not worshipped but serve as reminders. One of the major problems with this teaching has to do with the biblical teaching about the resurrections. If you are interested UCG had two free study guides--What Happens After Death? and Heaven and Hell-- that you can download or order a copy to be sent through the mail.
  • Gary Petty
    Good point about the Turkish language. It's something I knew, but had forgotten. Shows the difficulty of Middle East history. Thanks.
  • Gary Petty
    Nancy, Skip Miller gave a good explanation of your concerns. If you look up the Hebrew word that is translated hell in the Old Testament it simply means a pit in the ground.
  • Gary Petty
    James, The tragic story you related is all too common. Many people are born into a terrible family situation. The world is under the sway of Satan and for the most part separated from God. God calls us to be healed from the past and to see Him as our Father. Through His involvement in our lives we can change and experience the fruits of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Jesus said that He came to "heal the broken hearted" (Luke 4:16-21). This is what God wants forall who have been traumatized by their past. Christians are called to keep sex in marriage, build strong, loving families and teach children about God the Father and Jesus Christ as our Brother. This is a difficult learning process because many people have not experienced a stable and loving family. This is also part of the calling from God. Unfortunately, society has enabled sinful and destructive behavior that trap children in a cycle of poverty and emotional devastation. The only answer to the problem is for people to turn to God and seek His ways. Fortunately, God can bring love into the life of a person who never experienced love as a child. Thank your for sharing your comments.
  • Gary Petty

    Mike,
    You are looking for God to “come into my heart.” Many people use that phrase, but what does it actually mean? Let’s look at this another way. God wants you to surrender your life to Him. Jesus explained what it means to be His disciple in Luke 14:25-33 and in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. King David had a relationship with God, but he experienced a deeper relationship when he truly repented as recorded in Psalm 51. I suggest you read these Scriptures and ask God to lead you in understanding His message. The next step would be to pursue water baptism as a symbol of God’s washing away of your sins and the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. Only through the Holy Spirit can God really live in our hearts and minds. You might find it helpful to read the UCG booklet The Road to Eternal Life. I pray that God will guide you on your journey.

  • Gary Petty
    Craig, I agree that we live in a time when the stage is being set for the fulfillment of prophesy. None of us know the exact time of these events, but we can stay close to God and anticipate Christ's return to save humanity.
  • Gary Petty

    Tom,
    The spirit of a human being is the life and consciousness God give us. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 says that a human beings knows nothing after death. Both Jesus and Paul taught that death is “sleep.” (You can discover these verses with a Bible concordance). It is true that the spirit (life) of a person returns to God, but if what Jesus and Paul taught are to be taken literally, then the dead are unconscious until the resurrection. It is interesting that in the Bible numerous people were resurrected back to physical life but not one told what it was like in heaven.
    The hope of the Christian is to be resurrected to spiritual life at the return of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15 gives details about this time.

  • Gary Petty
    Annmarie, I am glad we can help you on your spiritual journey. I encourage you to continue to study the Bible. Please keep watching the Beyond today program and pray that God will guide you.
  • Gary Petty
    Andrew, The passage about Lazarus in Luke 16 is an interesting parable. I encourage you to download or order the free Beyond Today booklets The Rich Man and Lazarus and Heaven and Hell-What Does the Bible Really Teach? These study guides will take you step by step through the Bible passages about hell. I hope you continue your study into what the Bible really teaches.
  • Gary Petty
    Martin, You have posted some good comments about the resurrections. I hope it encourages others to read "What Happens After Death?"