Thanksgiving Reflections

 John 3:16: A Closer Look

For most of us Thanksgiving Day of 2001 was as a dream. This past November 25th, millions of Americans again gathered together with family and friends to feast and celebrate our national holiday. But for most of us still numb from the horrific events of September 11, our preoccupation was of the fears of more terrorist attacks, or the safe travel of loved ones.

There has been much discussion of freedom and the abuse of freedom. Yet it is the freedom of religion that drove the Pilgrims to flee England. And it was in the early autumn of 1621 that their elected governors arranged a harvest festival to give thanks to God for the progress that the colony had made in establishing this freedom. A day of harvest Thanksgiving was held for many years and the colonies grew and spread.

America, as a nation, has been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. Although America has been involved in wars and other conflicts, it has persevered and has been, until recently, spared the horror of foreign invasion and conflict upon its shores. America has enjoyed many years of peace and prosperity, and has grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

With these great religious freedoms our nation has enjoyed over two hundred years of freedom to study the word of God. Prior to the 1800s, the Bible itself was not freely available. Students of the Bible are especially thankful to God and count it a great blessing to live in a society where we are free to assemble for worship, and free to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with others. We praise God from whom all blessings flow and despite all the doom and gloom that exists on this earth we firmly believe we have much to be thankful and that every day should be a day of thanksgiving. John 3:16, Col. 4:2, Phil. 4:6, Heb. 13:15, Psalm 116:17

Probably the most well known and most quoted scripture in the whole Bible is John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Students of the Bible have found great comfort in seeing the scriptures have confirmed again and again that God is a God of love. 1 John 4:8,16; Rom. 5:5-8; Rom. 8:39; 2 Cor. 13:12; Eph. 2:4; 2 Tim. 1:7; 1 John 3:16

Gods love for the world is so great that he made provision for the redemption of mankind from the curse, or death sentence, which was pronounced upon father Adam. And thanks be to God that the ransom is not only for a few, but for ALL. (1 Cor. 15:22) While Christ died on the cross almost 2,000 years ago the scriptures say that it will be testified in due time. 1 Tim. 2:6; Rev. 22:3

The scriptures proclaim that the promised blessings of the restoration of mankind will come at the second presence of the Lord as written in Acts 3:19-21 and confirmed in all of the writings of the prophets. We read:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Surely God had a reason for the delay in the blessings to come. He manifests the reasons for the delay in the scriptures found again in the Acts of the Apostle:

Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Acts 15:14-17

In this text of scripture, three groups are identified: (1) Those called out as a people for His name, namely the Church, to rule and reign with him; (2) the tabernacle of David which has fallen, the literal house (nation) of Israel, at the head of earthly governments; (3) the residue of men the remainder of the world not in either of the above groups.

This is something that all mankind has to be thankful for, not just us in America, and not just true Christians now all peoples of all nations. It is the golden age of prophecy that many have longed for, hoped for. (Rom. 8:19-24) It is in the promise God made to Abraham In thee and in thy seed, shall all nations of the earth be blessed. In Bible prophecy, it is Israel that becomes the nation to bless all nations. Isa. 2:2-4

We know this is true and is being fulfilled today since we see Israel restored to her land, even in Jerusalem. Zech 12:6

In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

Bible students have confirmed in the scriptures that the redemption of mankind from the curse, the resurrection of the dead to the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. It is the good news of the Gospel. The whole world has a tremendous thing for which to be thankful!

John 3:16 is the Gospel, The Good News in a nutshell:

1. Mans need is shown. His perishing condition because of sin. His need of divine help.

2. Gods love is declared, and the confirmation of His love is manifest in the gift of His Son. 3. The lengths and breadths of this love and redemption are declared to embrace the whole world and not only a select few.

A Ransom for All This is Really Good News!

The good news extends to those in their graves. Because we know that all must come to a knowledge of the love of God. Once resurrected, mankind will learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:9) Only through a true acceptance of Christ can any obtain this great blessing, release from the perishing conditions of the curse, and full reinstatement in the divine favor and its blessed reward of life everlasting.

Other Scriptures such as John 5:28 tell of the resurrection of the dead, how all will be called forth from the grave. Many who have died under the curse and in ignorance of the only name given under heaven whereby men can be saved shall ultimately be blessed. Acts 4:12

When mankind, resurrected from the dead, see the great salvation that God has provided and accept it upon Gods terms and conditions, they will be blessed and ultimately receive everlasting life.

John 8:32 tells us that ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. We would like to share with you what we believe to be the truth of the meaning of John 3:16 and other scriptures. Contact us to receive your copy of The Divine Plan of the Ages which we offer as an aid to your bible study.