Hemos sido seleccionados por la prestigiosa revista Conde Nast Traveler en la categoría de mejor hotel de ciudad.... https://t.co/7fkOM1ScGm
Hemos sido seleccionados por la prestigiosa revista Conde Nast Traveler en la categoría de mejor hotel de ciudad. Aquí podéis acceder a la Golden List completa con todos los nominados ¡Gracias a todos por vuestro apoyo! We have been selected as one of the best Spanish city hotels by the prestigious magazine Conde Nast Traveler. You will find here the Golden List complete. Thank you all for your support!
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MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC FOR JESUS CHRIST. By: Professor Mathew Sammie, President W. Bush & Queen Elizabeth 11 PhD. Theology and Humanities General MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL TO ACQUIRE STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE AND TRANSFER OWNERSHIP TO JESUS CHRIST CREATING THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL COMPANY Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Ruth 4:7 JESUS CHRIST FOR MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL HOTELS &STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14 ESV AMERICA PROPERTY TRANSFER AGENT American Stock Transfer & Trust Company 6201 15th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11219 Phone: (800) 350-6202 http://www.amstock.com firstname.lastname@example.org CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. One Star Point Stamford, CT 06902 CONTACT INFORMATION Corporate Headquarters Phone: (203) 964-6000 Development & Hotel Owners development.starwoodhotels.com VACATION OWNERSHIP SERVICES TO JESUS CHRIST Phone: (800) 847-8262 MEDIA Phone: (866) 4-STAR-PR / (866) 478-2777 email@example.com INVESTOR RELATIONS Phone: (203) 351-3500 firstname.lastname@example.org STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC. Address: 2001 Sixth Avenue Seattle, Washington 98121 U.S.A. Telephone: (206) 443-5000 Fax: (206) 443-5169 Division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Incorporated: 1930 as Western Hotels Inc. Employees: 45,000 Sales: $2.4 billion (1996) NAIC: 72111 Hotels (Except Casino Hotels) & Motels TRANSFER OF PROPERTY BY INHERITANCE AND BEQUEST IN BIBLICAL LAW AND TRADITION Ruth 4:1-8 This matter depended on the laws given by Moses about inheritances, and doubtless the whole was settled in the regular and legal manner. This kinsman, when he heard the conditions of the bargain, refused it. In like manner many are shy of the great redemption; they are not willing to espouse religion; they have heard well of it, and have nothing to say against it; they will give it their good word, but they are willing to part with it, and cannot be bound to it, for fear of marring their own inheritance in this world. The right was resigned to Boaz. Fair and open dealing in all matters of contract and trade, is what all must make conscience of, who would approve themselves true Israelites, without guile. Honesty will be found the best policy. Verse 7. - And this was formerly a custom in Israel, on occasion of surrendering rights of kinship, or of selling and buying land, in order to confirm any matter; a man drew off his shoe and gave it to the other contracting party. This was attestation in Israel. We give a free translation. The custom was significant enough. He who sold land, or surrendered his right to act as a kinsman in buying land, intimated by the symbolical act of taking off his shoe, and handing it to his friend, that he freely gave up his right to walk upon the soil, in favor of the person who had acquired the possession. Corresponding symbolical acts, in connection with the transfer of lands, have been common, and probably still are, in many countries. No doubt the shoe, after being received, would be immediately returned. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming, It is a custom, and not a law, that seems here referred to, when an estate was bought and sold; not the law in Leviticus 25:25, though that respects the redemption of an estate by a near kinsman, yet no such manner was enjoined as here practiced afterwards, made mention of; nor the law in Deuteronomy 25:5 which does not concern the redemption of estates, nor a kinsman's marrying the widow of a deceased kinsman, but a brother's marrying the widow of a deceased brother, and the rites and ceremonies there enjoined upon refusal are different from those here used; though Josephus (i) is express for it, that the law is here referred to; but this is not only concerning purchase of estates, but "concerning changing" also one field for another as Aben Ezra interprets it: "for to confirm all things"; the following custom was observed for the confirmation of any bargain whatever, whether by sale or barter, and where there was no marriage in the case: a man plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbour; signifying thereby, that he yielded his right to him in the thing sold or bartered; the Targum says, he plucked off the glove of his right hand, which perhaps was then in use, when the Targumist wrote, and answered the same purpose; and, according to Jarchi, it was a linen cloth, vail, or handkerchief, that was used, and delivered by the one to the other; and of this way of buying writes Elias (k); at this day, says he, we purchase by a linen cloth or handkerchief called "sudar", which is a garment; and this two witnesses take, and explain before them the words of their agreement, and each of the witnesses stretches out the skirt of the garment, and those that take upon them to confirm every matter, touch the skirt of their garments; and this is called purchasing by "sudar", or the linen cloth: and this was a testimony in Israel; a witness to, or a confirmation of the bargain made; but who gave the shoe, whether the kinsman or Boaz, is not certain from the text; and about which the Jewish writers are divided, as Jarchi observes. STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC. Corporate Governance Guidelines(as amended and restated effective May 27, 2015) 1. Selection of Chairman The Bylaws of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (the “Company”) provide that the directors shall elect a Chairman from among the directors (the “Directors”). The positions of Chairman of the Board of Directors (“Board”) and Chief Executive Officer will be filled by separate individuals. As time and circumstances warrant, this policy may change. 2. Lead Director Concept If the Chairman of the Board is not an independent Director or if the Board determines to combine the roles of Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer, the independent Directors will designate a lead independent Director (the “Lead Director”). In the event that a Lead Director is designated, he or she will serve for a term of at least one year, or until his or her successor is elected and qualified, and his or her duties will include (in consultation with the Chairman of the Board, as applicable): presiding at all meetings of the Board at which the Chairman of the Board is not present, including executive sessions of the independent directors; serving as a liaison between the Chairman of the Board and the independent directors; approving information sent to the Board; approving meeting agendas for the Board; approving meeting schedules to assure that there is sufficient time for discussion of all agenda items at Board meetings; having the authority to call meetings of the independent Directors; and, if requested by significant stockholders, ensuring that he or she is available for consultation. 3. Committees It is the general policy of the Company that all major decisions be considered by the Board as a whole. The committee structure of the Board includes those committees required by the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange. Currently these committees are the Audit Committee, Compensation and Option Committee and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. In addition, the Board has established a Capital Committee. The members and chairs of these committees are recommended to the Board by the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. The Audit Committee, Capital Committee, Compensation and Option Committee and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee are made up of only independent Directors. The membership of these four committees is rotated from time to time. Each of these four committees shall have a written charter, which shall be periodically reviewed by the Board. 4. Assignment and Rotation of Committee Members The Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board is responsible for the assignment of Board members to various committees. The Board of Directors has adopted guidelines in recognition of the importance of and contributions made by the various committees of the Board. To fully utilize the diverse backgrounds of the membership, it is desirable that all non-employee Directors serve on at least one of the committees. Continuity of membership and orderly rotation is important to the effectiveness of committees. Accordingly, subject to maintaining at least one “audit committee financial expert” on the Audit Committee at all times, it is suggested that membership be considered on a two-to-five year basis. In the case of the chairperson of a committee, it is desirable (although not required) to have a pattern of at least one year’s service on the committee, followed by three-to-five years of service as its chairman, followed by an additional year’s service under a new chairman to provide continuity and enhance the functioning of the committee. Service on different committees from time to time by Board members is desirable and increases a Director’s contribution to the Company. Concurrent membership on more than one committee is also desirable where practicable. 5. Frequency and Length of Meetings; Telephonic Attendance The Chairman of the Board, and the committee chairman, as appropriate, determine the frequency and length of meetings of the Board and committees, respectively. The Audit Committee meets at least seven times annually; the Capital Committee meets at least two times annually; the Compensation and Option Committee meets at least two times annually and the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee meets at least two times annually, in regularly scheduled sessions. The Company prefers that Directors attend regular Board and committee meetings in person and that telephonic attendance be used only in special or extenuating circumstances. 6. Committee Agenda The Chairman of each committee, as appropriate, in consultation with management, develops the meeting agenda. To the extent feasible, the committee meeting schedules are set one year in advance. 7. Board Agenda The Chairman of the Board, or Lead Director if one has been designated, taking into account suggestions from other members of the Board, establishes the agenda for each Board meeting. 8. Board Materials Distributed in Advance To the extent feasible, the meeting agenda and information materials relating to the Board and committee meetings are distributed to the Directors one week in advance of the meeting. Board members are expected to rigorously prepare for, attend and participate in all Board and applicable committee meetings. 9. Presentations To the extent practicable, Board presentations are distributed in advance to the Directors. Proprietary or otherwise sensitive materials may be reserved for distribution at the Board meeting. 10. Regular Attendance of Non-Directors at Board and Committee Meetings The Chairman of the Board or committee, as appropriate, designates the guest attendees at any Board or committee meeting, who are present for the purpose of making presentations, responding to questions by the Directors, or providing counsel on specific matters within their areas of expertise. MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL TO ACQUIRE STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, AND TRANSFER THEM TO JESUS CHRIST CREATING THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL COMPANY Combined Company Will Have 1.1 Million Rooms in More Than 5,500 Hotels, Spanning the Globe in Over 100 Countries 30 Leading Brands Will Provide Guests Unmatched Choices Transaction Offers Substantial Economies of Scale Combined Company Should Deliver Significant Capital Returns to Shareholders Conference Call with Investment Community at 9:00 am ET, Today, November 16, with Simultaneous Webcast Bethesda, MD, and Stamford, CT, November 16, 2015 – Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced today that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will create the world’s largest hotel company. The transaction combines Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio. The merged company will offer broader choice for guests, greater opportunities for associates and should unlock additional value for Marriott and Starwood shareholders. Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company’s pro forma fee revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2015 totals over $2.7 billion. TRANSACTION HIGHLIGHTS AND STRATEGIC BENEFITS Summary of Transaction: Under the terms of the agreement, at closing, Starwood shareholders will receive 0.92 shares of Marriott International, Inc. Class A common stock and $2.00 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock. On a pro forma basis, Starwood shareholders would own approximately 37 percent of the combined company’s common stock after completion of the merger using fully diluted share counts as of September 30, 2015. Total consideration to be paid by Marriott totals $12.2 billion consisting of $11.9 billion of Marriott International stock, based on the 20-day VWAP (volume weighted average price) of Marriott stock ending on November 13, 2015, and $340 million of cash, based on approximately 170 million fully diluted Starwood shares outstanding at September 30, 2015. Based on Marriott’s 20-day VWAP ending November 13, 2015, the merger transaction has a current value of $72.08 per Starwood share, including the $2 cash per share consideration. Starwood shareholders will separately receive consideration from the spin-off of the Starwood timeshare business and subsequent merger with Interval Leisure Group, which has an estimated value of approximately $1.3 billion to Starwood shareholders or approximately $7.80 per Starwood share. PROCESS FOR SHAREHOLDERS TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Shareholders who desire to contact the Board of Directors may send a letter to the Board of Directors, c/o the Corporate Secretary, One StarPoint, Stamford, Connecticut 06902. The shareholder should specify in the letter that s/he is a shareholder. If the correspondence contains complaints about Starwood’s accounting, internal or auditing matters, the Corporate Secretary shall forward that correspondence to a member of the audit committee. If the correspondence concerns other matters, the Corporate Secretary shall forward the correspondence to the director to whom it is addressed or that is otherwise appropriate under the circumstances, attempt to handle the inquiry directly, for example where it is a request for information or a stock-related matter; or not forward the communication if it is primarily commercial in nature or relates to an improper or irrelevant topic. At each regularly scheduled Board meeting, the Corporate Secretary or his/her designee shall present a summary of all shareholder communications received since the last meeting that were not forwarded and shall make those communications available to the directors upon request. HYISTORY OF WESTIN HOTEL Recognized as one of the world’s largest hotel and leisure companies, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is comprised of nine internationally renowned brands and the award-winning loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). Our brands include: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft℠, and Element℠. 1991 Starwood Capital Partners, a real estate acquisition company backed by high net worth families, is formed in Chicago. 1993 Starwood Capital buys its first hotels, and by 1994 owns interests in more than 30 properties. 1997 In September, Starwood Lodging announces an agreement to purchase Westin Hotels & Resorts for $1.8 billion. The following month Starwood Lodging announces an agreement to purchase ITT Sheraton Corporation for $14.3 billion, acting as a white knight against a hostile bid from Hilton. Starwood is set to become a global enterprise. Starwood stock ends the year up by 57.48%. 1998 In January, Starwood Lodging completes the acquisition of Westin Hotels& Resorts. With the completion of the purchase, Starwood is renamed Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In February, Starwood completes the acquisition of ITT Sheraton Corporation. Starwood’s portfolio now includes more than 650 hotels and resorts in more than 70 countries worldwide. The first W Hotel opens in December in New York City. Designed to offer the personality and individuality of an independent, one-of-a-kind hotel – while guaranteeing the reliability and superior level of amenities and services travelers desire – the W brand adds style and personality to the industry. 1999 Starwood acquires Vistana, Inc., a vacation ownership company, to establish an immediate presence in the growing vacation ownership market. It later becomes Starwood Vacation Ownership, one of the most profitable segments of the company. Starwood launches Starwood Preferred Guest to reward and recognize frequent travelers. The program makes headlines with its policy of no blackout dates and no capacity controls – both industry firsts. Three of our brands make big news in 1999. Westin Hotels & Resorts introduces the Heavenly Bed, featuring a pillow-top mattress, down comforter and luxurious, all-white bed linens. It is an immediate success. The St. Regis brand grows from one hotel in New York City to six hotels all named to Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold” list for 1999. The Four Points by Sheraton brand opens its 100th hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton Santa Monica in California. 2001 In 2001 Starwood is recognized by major players in the travel industry. Starwood is named the World’s Leading Hotel Group at the Eighth Annual World Travel Awards. And Starwood Preferred Guest is voted Program of the Year for the second consecutive year during the 13th Annual Freddie Awards (since renamed the Frequent Traveler Awards), one of the most prestigious honors in the travel industry. Westin Hotels & Resorts introduces the Heavenly Bath® in North American hotels, offering guests a temptation to leave the Heavenly Bed in the morning. Starwood introduces the Westin Heavenly Crib® and the Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Crib in North America. 2003 Starwood announces that Sheraton, Westin and W hotels will welcome dogs in the U.S. and Canada. As part of the Starwood LTD (Love That Dog) program, four-legged guests receive luxurious dog beds and amenities like plush robes, doggie toys and canine massages. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts introduces the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® Bed, featuring an 11.5-inch-thick high coil count Sealy Posturepedic Plush Top mattress, down and allergy-sensitive pillows, and crisp cotton sheets. This is the latest in a series of enhancements designed to elevate the brand to the top of the upscale hotel segment. 2005 For the sixth year running, Starwood Preferred Guest is voted Program of the Year in both America and internationally during the 17th Annual Freddie Awards. 2006 Starwood acquires Le Méridien, a brand created to share and extend the international experience. 137 properties, primarily located in Europe and the Middle East, become part of the Starwood family. 2007 Starwood announces its much-anticipated new brands in the select-service hotels category: Aloft Hotels and Element Hotels. Conceived by the team that created W Hotels, Aloft Hotels will raise the bar in the select-service category, offering urban-inspired, loft-like guest rooms, enhanced technology services, landscaped outdoor spaces for socializing day and night, and an energetic lounge scene. Inspired by Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels intends to promote balance through flowing, multi-purpose spaces with an emphasis on environmentally-friendly design. 2008 The first Aloft and Element hotels open in Lexington, Massachusetts. 2009 Starwood invests $6 billion in enhancements as part of the Sheraton Revitalization project. 60 new and 120 newly renovated Sheraton hotels and resorts around the world benefit from the revitalization effort which includes 300 new lobbies, 70,000 new guest rooms, 100,000 new beds and the brand’s unique wired lobby lounge, the Link@Sheraton℠ experienced with Microsoft. Starwood launches a partnership with global environmental non-profit Conservation International. The partnership leads to an environmental strategy addressing priority environmental issues including hotel-level initiatives to conserve water, reduce energy consumption, enhance indoor environmental quality, and minimize waste. 2010 Starwood celebrates a significant milestone with the opening of its 1,000th hotel. The Sheraton Qiandao Lake Resort opens on the shores of China’s famed Qiandao Lake. Expanding on its company-wide commitment to conservation and sustainable operations, Starwood plans to significantly reduce energy and water consumption at every one of its 1,000 hotels within the decade. The target is a 30 percent reduction in energy use and a 20 percent decrease in water consumption per available room by 2020. 2011 In April, Starwood becomes the first corporate partner to join Clean the World’s efforts to promote a global hygiene revolution. Clean the World, a social enterprise committed to saving lives and protecting our planet, announces a corporate agreement to collect and recycle hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and gels to help fight the global spread of preventable diseases. An estimated 1.6 million pounds of hotel soap may be recycled each year through this partnership. Starwood’s CEO, Frits van Paasschen, and senior management move to Shanghai for the month of June. The move reflects the company’s global evolution and boom in China, its second largest market after the United States. Relocating global headquarters to China provides senior management with an on-the-ground view of the immense growth occurring in that part of the world. “Eighty percent of our future pipeline is outside of North America, and nowhere is more emblematic of our global growth than China, where we will open one hotel every two weeks this year. China’s spectacular transformation is hard to grasp unless experienced firsthand – it’s the proverbial, ‘you can’t really understand a culture until you buy groceries there.” – Frits van Paasschen New York City becomes the first, and only, city in the world to fly all nine Starwood brand flags. Set to reach 25 hotels in New York City by 2014, Starwood has the largest portfolio of four and five star hotels in the five boroughs of New York City. In November, Starwood hits 200th hotel milestone in Asia Pacific and widens its lead as Asia’s largest operator of four and five star hotels with a flurry of new openings at year end. December brings the announcement of Starwood’s acquisition of 49.8% of the shares of Design Hotels AG from Arabella Hospitality SE, one of Starwood’s longtime partners in Germany. Berlin-based Design Hotels, a publicly traded company and provider of distribution, sales, marketing and consulting services for hotels boasts a portfolio of over 200 member hotels in 40 countries. Design Hotels’ hand-picked collection of hotels are independently owned, but united by a passion for thought-provoking design, aesthetic and service-driven experiences. 2012 Starwood Preferred Guest launches richest elite traveler benefits in history for global mega travelers – this small, but powerful, group drives 30% of the company’s profit. The more SPG members stay, the more choices are available and the more personalized the benefits become with standouts like lifetime status, first-of-its-kind 24-hour check-in and a dedicated Starwood ambassador who provides one-on-one service to uniquely tailor the guest experience. The highly anticipated St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort & Residences opens in the affluent Florida enclave of Bal Harbour. In just five years the brand nearly tripled its global portfolio and plans to continue that dynamic growth with the upcoming openings of The St. Regis Doha, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi and The St. Regis Mauritius Resort, in addition to the debut of the newly renovated St. Regis Aspen Resort this year. GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP At Starwood, Global Citizenship provides our guests, customers, communities, owners, and associates a better way to experience the world. We enlist our global network of hotels, our world-renowned brands, and our dedicated associates in implementing our Global Citizenship initiatives to ensure our environmental and social standards are consistently upheld. We recognize that the most effective initiatives are those that are economically viable, exceed our guests’ expectations and make our associates feel proud to work for Starwood. "At Starwood, Global Citizenship is about being part of something bigger than ourselves or our company; it strengthens our pride in our work and the work of our colleagues, reinforces our culture, protects our company and strengthens our communities. Starwood’s dedicated associates around the world give back to their communities, assist each other in times of need and make decisions that protect our environment and the ongoing success of our company. Together, working across brands, we accomplish more than we ever could alone."— Ken Siegel, Chief Admin Officer and General Counsel STRATEGY Since 2009, Global Citizenship has become a cornerstone of our business, strengthening our resilience in an age of continuous global change. Today, our efforts address critical issues such as human rights, climate change, conservation, and community development. We have set bold goals and made great progress in areas such as energy, water and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while laying the foundation in new areas such as our supply chain. Throughout our organization we provide resources and support to implement our Global Citizenship strategy of creating a better world to experience. CUSTOMER SERVICE - SERVICE COMMITMENT At Starwood, we call our shared values "promises." These promises guide our everyday actions and ensure a common understanding of what we can expect from one another. STARWOOD'S VALUES ARE: • Go the Extra Step by taking actions that build lasting connections and loyalty • Play as a Team by working globally and across all teams in the company • Do the Right Thing by using good judgment, respecting our guests, communities, associates, owners, partners and the environment We take care to uphold these promises in every interaction, including those with our guests. We're committed to creating a company that is a great place to work and provides wonderful, diverse guest experiences. STACY, AMBASSADOR I am dedicated to providing highly personalized service and believe that being able to put myself in our guests’ position helps make their journey more enjoyable and memorable. I keep integrity, accountability and respect in mind when working with both guests and colleagues to make sure I always do the right thing. EVANE, AMBASSADOR We're always looking for new opportunities to wow our guests. I enhance their experiences by working closely with our global team to ensure we are available 24 hours a day. Great customer service, uncompromising care, keeping guest needs in mind, and exceeding their expectations are how I go the extra step every day. ABDELLAH, AMBASSADOR I am thrilled to assist my guests in a friendly and efficient way. On a daily basis I get great pleasure in exceeding my guests’ expectations. I am proud to be part of this great service that incorporates Starwood’s promises. COMPANY VALUES At Starwood‚ we call our shared values “promises.” These promises guide our everyday actions and ensure a common understanding of what we can expect from one another. Starwood’s values are: • Go the Extra Step by taking actions that build lasting connections and loyalty • Play as a Team by working globally and across all teams in the company • Do the Right Thing by using good judgment, respecting our communities, associates, owners, partners and the environment We’re committed to creating a company that is a great place to work and provides wonderful guest experiences, great returns to stakeholders and is: • Growing • Strong • Stable DIVERSITY & INCLUSION Difference Matters At Starwood we seek out differences and strive for variety in every aspect of our business; so much so that Diversity & Inclusion are key components of our overall business strategy. As a global company that represents eleven distinct lifestyle brands, our goal is to bring an authentic global experience to each guest by utilizing insights and perspectives from our diverse associate, supplier and owner bases. Our success is derived from the differences that make us all unique. Whether it is our life experience, our career journey or our education, it is our value for diversity and how we leverage it that keeps us at the forefront of the hospitality industry. Below are Starwood’s Global and United States Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives. GLOBAL INITIATIVES • Advancement of Female Talent: Initiative established to ensure gender balance at all levels of the organization to better position the organization to meet and exceed the needs of our global female guests/ customers. • Global Diversity & Inclusion Training: Initiative established to equip all leaders with foundational knowledge of how Starwood defines Diversity & Inclusion, its value to the organization, and now it can be leveraged as a skill set to further drive business results within their teams, functions, regions, and divisions. • We Are Starwood Campaign: Initiative established to better position Starwood to attract diverse talent, suppliers, owners, guests, and customers and to formally communicate company-wide Starwood strives to create an environment where all can thrive and reach their greatest potential regardless of their differences. VISIT WEARESTARWOOD.COM UNITED STATES INITIATIVES • Diverse Talent Recruitment: Initiative established to partner with colleges/universities, executive search firms, and diverse sponsorship organizations to recruit US People of Color, Persons with Disabilities, and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) talent. • US Veterans and Former Military Personnel Recruitment: Initiative established to recruit US veterans and former military personnel for roles at all levels in the United States. • Minority Hotel Ownership: Initiative established to welcome and encourage all owner/ developer communities to consider Starwood as their “Brand of Choice” as they select which hotel brand to franchise. • Supplier Diversity: Initiative established to welcome and encourage all supplier communities to bid on supplier contracts to sell their product and/or services to Starwood. • Diverse Sponsorship Organization Partnerships: Initiative established to build strategic national partnerships with diverse organizations who provide access to diverse: talent, suppliers, and owners/ developers. • Grassroots Associate Networks: Initiative established to empower associates to network and identify opportunities for career advancement. CORPORATE PROFILE Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,270 properties in some 100 countries and over 180,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences under the renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, Element®, and the recently introduced Tribute Portfolio™. The Company also boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®). Visit www.starwoodhotels.com for more information and stay connected @starwoodbuzz on Twitter and Instagram and facebook.com/Starwood. COMPANY PERSPECTIVES: Westin Hotels & Resorts is a global collection of over 110 upscale hotels, including 29 of the world's finest resorts. Located in the major business centers of the world, each hotel is distinctive in its architecture and setting, yet all are consistent in quality and service. The service extended by Westin's 45,000 associates is repeatedly recognized by leading US hospitality indicators. Westin is further distinguished by its 68-year history as a leader and innovator in the hospitality industry. COMPANY HISTORY: Westin Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is the oldest hotel management company in North America and one of the most admired. Throughout its history, the company has pioneered many hotel innovations adopted by the industry worldwide. Westin operates more than 110 hotels in 23 countries. SETTING THE STAGE In the late 1920s, hotel ownership in the Pacific Northwest included several key figures. Severt W. Thurston arrived in Seattle in 1903 to pursue a career as a vaudeville acrobat. According to legend, Thurston's brief career behind the stage lights came to an ignoble end when, as the top man on a human pyramid, he was thrown off balance and into the orchestra pit by one of his human supports whose sobriety was in question. Thurston quickly left show business and took a job as a porter in a local hotel. The hotel owner's son, Harold E. Maltby, became friends with Thurston and, eventually, they decided to enter the hotel business, forming the Maltby-Thurston Corporation in 1910. At roughly the same time the Maltby-Thurston partnership was created, Nebraska native Frank A. Dupar was working in Seattle as a plumber. After several years, Dupar became the owner of Palmer Supply Co., a wholesale plumbing and supply firm, and promoted apartment houses and hotels in the area with his younger brother Harold. The Dupars initially contracted to lay the plumbing for hotels and apartments, obtaining the materials from their supply business, but then, as their work earned the esteem of the local building community, they began contracting for the construction of entire hotels. Ownership of one particular hotel, the Cascadian, fell into their hands as a result of the stock market crash in 1929. A majority of the investors who were to supply equity funds for the hotel were stripped of their assets by the collapse of the stock market, so the Dupars hired a stock promoter to sell enough shares in the hotel to meet costs, and the two brothers found themselves owning the 130-room hotel. The following year, in 1930, Frank Dupar and Severt Thurston were seated at different tables in a coffee shop in a small town east of Seattle called Yakima. Both hotel owners were in the area looking to expand their hotel business. As competitors, Dupar and Thurston recognized each other and ended up sitting together. In the course of their discussion in the coffee shop, they talked of the advantages of pooling their efforts toward expansion and decided to include two other hotel owners in their proposed union who were also vying for expansion in Yakima, Adolph and Peter Schmidt. The Schmidts, forced to close their beer distillery, the Olympia Brewing Company, in accordance with prohibition laws, owned five hotels in the Puget Sound area. A meeting was arranged and, as a protective measure from the depressed economic climate pervading U.S. business at the time, the three groups of owners decided to unite their hotels under a single management umbrella. The joint venture, called Western Hotels Inc., was formed as a management corporation. Rather than owning the hotels, Western Hotels signed management agreements with local hotel owners and provided accounting, advertising, and referral services to the owners, as well as the hotel's personnel, whose salary was paid by the owners. As recompense, Western received one percent of the gross receipts from each of the hotels it managed. And so, with Peter Schmidt as the chairperson, Severt W. Thurston as president, Harold E. Maltby and Adolph Schmidt as vice-presidents, and Harold E. Dupar as treasurer, the odd combination of a former vaudeville acrobat, a plumber, and two displaced brewers formed the foundation of what would later become Westin Hotels & Resorts. MORE THAN MANAGING IN THE 1930S In its first year of operation, Western Hotels operated 18 hotels containing 3,137 rooms. All of the hotels were located in Washington, with the exception of one in Boise, Idaho. The following year, in 1931, Western assumed the management of its first property outside U.S. borders by adding Vancouver, British Columbia's Georgia Hotel to its consortium of hotels. That year, Western concluded a pivotal deal with the Multnomah Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The Multnomah, a prestigious 500-room hotel, was suffering severe losses during the early 1930s, losing up to $20,000 a month. For the first time, Maltby, Thurston, Dupar, and the Schmidts entered into a joint purchase of the property. Under Western management, the lobby and the rooms were refurbished, and the failing hotel began producing profits within 90 days. News of its success with the Multnomah earned Western the reputation as a management team that could produce profits for properties even during the harsh economic times of the Great Depression. Capitalizing on this reputation, the company assumed managerial control of six additional hotels by the end of the decade, one of which, the Baronof in Juneau, extended Western's presence into Alaska. Western's dramatic turnaround of the Multnomah also showed those in charge of the company that success could sometimes be achieved quickly. Often, Western managed a hotel for only a short time, reviving a floundering property, then withdrawing its control. The company maintained this fluid method of managerial control well into the future, constantly acquiring new contracts to replace those that were dissolved. Contracts were terminated with six of Western's original 18 hotels by the end of the decade, and more than half of the properties managed by the company in the 1930s would operate in the 1940s without Western's assistance. GROWING DURING AND AFTER WWII In its first decade of business, Western achieved considerable success in the Pacific Northwest. With the exception of the three hotels in Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska, all of Western's hotel concerns were located in Washington. As the company entered the 1940s, it sought to expand its interests outside of the region and, in 1941, an opportunity arose in California. Conrad Hilton owned the Sir Francis Drake, a 438-room hotel in San Francisco, but when Hilton settled a local strike, the city's businessmen became enraged, causing the hotel's clientele to shrink, so Hilton decided to sell the hotel. He sold it to a local industrialist and financier, E.B. Degolia. When Degolia attempted to get a mortgage for the property, his insurance company suggested he hire a professional hotel management firm to operate the hotel. The insurance company recommended Western, and DeGolia began negotiations with Thurston and Dupar (the Schmidts had returned to brewing beer when prohibition was repealed in 1933). Thurston and Dupar agreed to manage the hotel, provided they receive an equity share in the hotel. DeGolia agreed and, by the end of the year, Western had assumed managerial control over the Sir Francis. Additional California properties came under control of Western later in the decade. In 1949 Western gained the stewardship of the Maurice Hotel in San Francisco and the Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles. As the expansion of the 1940s increased Western's territory of operations to Los Angeles in the south and Utah to the east, issues of lasting importance were being discussed among the company's senior management. In 1941 managers at a meeting in Seattle began to precisely describe the role of Western in relation to the hotels it managed. Virtual autonomy of the various hotels was decided as the best stance to assume. Managers were to be given full responsibility and authority in their particular hotel, guided generally by the operating policies of Western. Western's influence over the hotels was to be downplayed in all publicity, with the hope that the individual hotels would not be perceived as units of a hotel chain--a modern, corporate concept many found distasteful. By 1946, however, Western had begun a gradual shift toward assuming a more prominent image within its hotels. During another manager's meeting in Portland, Oregon, the first such meeting since the gathering in Seattle five years earlier, Western's strategists decided to hire an advertising firm and to produce an employee handbook and publication. The company also decided to affix its logo on stationery, matchbooks, soap wrappers, and other items. The decision to adopt a more visible role was consistent with several innovative services Western introduced that hinted of a larger administrative structure than an individual hotel would likely possess. In 1946 the company issued the first guest credit cards, enabling patrons of Western hotels to charge their rooms, food, and beverage bills to a single account. The introduction of the paper cards was followed the next year by the establishment of "Hoteltype," the industry's first reservations system. Before the implementation of Hoteltype, reservations were booked by mail, telegram, or telephone, and often resulted in lost or forgotten reservations. The new teletype machines, however, enabled instantaneous confirmation of reservation requests. The 1940s also witnessed the emergence of Western's "specialty rooms," as management discovered the profits that could be garnered by devoting more energy and investing more money in their hotels' coffee shops, lounges, and dining facilities. During Western's early years, little attention had been paid to providing a place for hotel guests to eat and drink inside the hotel, but, as the years progressed, and after a survey of its hotels, Western discovered that the greatest earnings per square foot were gleaned from the coffee shops and cocktail lounges and the smallest profits were produced by the more formal dining rooms. Greater care was given to providing livelier and more intimate eating and drinking facilities, as Western created an assortment of distinctive motifs for each hotel. Cocktail lounges and dining areas were decorated in motifs replicating various geographical locations and historical periods. With names such as the "Matador Room," "The Outrigger," and the "Hitching Post," the lounges and dining rooms experienced increased revenues and were greatly augmented when Idaho and Washington legalized the sale of liquor by the drink in 1949. Western continued to expand in the 1950s, adding 22 hotels located throughout California, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and Washington. In 1956 the company began managing the massive, 1,200-room Hawaiian Village in Honolulu and, by the end of the decade, had assumed control of four hotels in Guatemala. As the number of Western hotels proliferated, further guest service innovations made their debut. In 1952 Western's "Family Plan" was introduced, allowing children under the age of 14 to stay without charge in their parents' rooms. Seven years later, the company made a long-standing promise to honor confirmed reservations, paying for the room if the guest had to be relocated to another hotel. That year, Western also made available the hotel industry's first 24-hour room service. NEW LEADERSHIP FOR THE SPACE AGE In the late 1950s and early 1960s, new management took the reins of Western from the company's founders. The core of this new leadership, Lynn P. Himmelman, Edward E. Carlson, and Gordon M. Bass, was drawn from inside the Western organization, establishing Western's tradition of promoting from within. The early working years of these men paralleled the modest beginnings of their predecessors, Thurston and Dupar. Himmelman, a fourth generation hotelier whose father was an early investor in the Maltby-Thurston Corporation, started his hotel career as a room clerk at the Multnomah. After serving as the manager of Seattle's Benjamin Franklin Hotel in 1946, he became Western's executive vice-president in 1960 and chief executive officer ten years later. Carlson, who would eventually become chair and chief executive officer of United Airlines parent UAL, Inc., started as a page boy at the Benjamin Franklin in 1929, then became the hotel's elevator operator and bellhop. In 1946 he accepted a position as Thurston's assistant and steadily rose through the ranks, becoming Western's president in 1960. Bass also got his start at the Benjamin Franklin, working as a cashier for Himmelman's father. After managing the Multnomah, he was named vice-president of Western in 1951, executive vice-president in 1965, and president in 1971. With this infusion of new management, Western experienced a fantastic surge in growth in the 1960s, adding 57 hotels to its management contracts, 36 of which were located outside of the United States. The company had become a genuine international concern, with hotels in Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Ecuador, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong. To better reflect this dramatic entry into foreign countries, Western changed its name in 1963 to "Western International Hotels." As Western's business expanded internationally, it also entered into a new arena within the hotel industry--building its own hotels. Its first such venture was the construction of the 332-room Bayshore Inn in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was followed by the construction of Calgary, Alberta's Calgary Inn, in 1964, the 800-room Century Plaza in Los Angeles two years later, and Colorado Springs' Antlers Plaza in 1967. Building projects for the decade ended in 1969 with the construction of the Washington Plaza in Seattle. These projects proved successful, evidenced by the vigorous construction Western embarked upon in the next decade. Of the 30 hotels added to Western's management group in the 1970s, more than half were built by Western. MEGAMERGER IN THE 1970S Physical growth translated into fiscal growth over the next few years. From 1965 to 1970, the company's gross revenues doubled from $45 million to $90 million, and its net earnings jumped from $750,000 to $3 million. This success had not gone unnoticed. During the late 1960s, United Airlines had been searching for an entry into the hotel business to complement its international transportation service. Airlines had just recently begun to seek control of hotels as a solution to the sometimes limited, sometimes overcrowded accommodation facilities offered by the various destination cities the airlines served. For United, Western's chain of international hotels seemed a perfect match; 78 percent of Western's hotel rooms were located in cities served by United. To facilitate its proposed diversification into the hotel industry, United formed a holding company, UAL, Inc., in 1969, and began negotiations with Western. Carlson, Western's chairman and chief executive officer, foresaw the additional opportunities an affiliation with United would create. In 1970 negotiations were concluded and United and Western merged, with Western operating as an autonomous, wholly owned subsidiary, keeping its management and headquarters in Seattle. Five months after the merger, Carlson became president and chief executive officer of UAL, Inc. and Lynn Himmelman became chief executive officer of Western. Although Western had aggressively expanded almost throughout its history, its expansion during the 1970s was unique. Instead of managing hotels with 300 or 400 rooms, Western assumed control of much larger hotels, many of which were constructed by Western, such as the 1,500-room Hotel Bonaventure in Los Angeles. Although the company continued to manage smaller hotels, it had begun to focus on the massive hotel complexes that were becoming popular in the industry. Expansion also took the Western name to new areas of the world during the company's fifth decade of operation. In 1970 a 525-room hotel was opened in Bangkok and, a year later, a hotel of similar size was opened in Singapore, both of which were constructed by Western. Two other Western-built hotels brought the company into South Africa and Norway, with the opening of Johannesburg's Carlton in 1972 and the Hotel Scandinavia three years later in Oslo. WESTIN IN THE 1980S AND 1990S In 1981 Western changed its name to Westin Hotels, and then four years later to Westin Hotels & Resorts. The company continued to aggressively pursue additional management contracts during the early 1980s to counterbalance the termination of contracts with hotels no longer deemed profitable. By the late 1980s, however, Westin's capability to expand or even to plan for the future was in doubt. United Airlines' strategy to develop a vertically integrated travel empire, which had begun with its merger with Westin, had proved unsuccessful and, by 1987, United was looking to divest the hotel chain. An interested party, the Aoki Corporation of Japan, began negotiations with United and, in 1988, Aoki Corp.--a diversified international corporation with major lines of business in engineering, construction, and hotels--purchased Westin for $1.53 billion. The acquisition proved mutually beneficial; Aoki Corp. constructed the hotels, and Westin assumed the management of the new buildings. Three years after the acquisition, Westin became the operating company for all the hotels owned by Aoki Corp., including Caesar Park Hotels, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, Germany, and The Algonquin Hotel in New York. Westin planned to double its size during the 1990s and intended to aggressively pursue international properties, especially in Europe where the company's presence was limited. Asia was another prime focus. A massive restructuring in 1991 consolidated Aoki's hotel assets with the Westin operating company. It also created four new regional divisions: North America, South America, Asia/Pacific, and Europe. It was soon apparent, however, that the boom years of the 1980s were over. The industry as a whole was left with excess capacity, particularly in the United States. Westin adopted the Total Quality Management system to make itself more competitive. Westin also was innovative in cutting costs. Its bar code-based Automated Uniform Distribution System halved associated labor costs at one hotel. To differentiate itself, in January 1993 Westin launched the Service Express program as well as Westin Royal Vacations. Service Express was a kind of in-room telephone concierge service. Westin redesigned its front counters to make them less imposing to guests than the traditional check-in desk. It trademarked the title "Director of Romance" for its wedding specialists. STARWOOD: MID-1990S By 1993 Aoki was planning to sell Westin North America. The parent company felt it alone did not have the resources to expand those operations. A group led by Starwood Capital and Goldman, Sachs bought the chain for $537 million in cash and debt in late 1994. Juergen Bartels was brought on as CEO and the company went on a buying spree, acquiring 22 hotels in one 12-month period. Bartels also invested heavily in marketing, launching Westin's first TV ads, which soon blossomed into a $25 million national campaign. Improved sales validated this strategic vision. In the mid-1990s Westin pondered developing a limited service corporate-type brand extension similar to Courtyard by Marriott. It also was conceptualizing a combination hotel/health club chain for suburban markets. In September 1997 Starwood Lodging Trust announced that it would buy Westin from the group (including Starwood Capital) that bought it in 1994. Starwood Lodging paid $1.6 billion in stock, cash, and assumed debt for the "flagship" brand of four-star resorts. Westin was one of the few groups building resorts in the late 1990s. It opened nine new properties in 1999 "from Texas to Taiwan." The Rio Mar Beach Resort in Puerto Rico and Westin La Cantera Resort at San Antonio, Texas together cost about $280 million to build. They were dwarfed, though, by Westin's new flagship property: the $1.2 billion America World City: The Westin Flagship. The ship, scheduled to be launched in 1999, would be the largest in the world and would carry 6,200 passengers and 2,400 crew members.
‘A SPECIAL DRAWING RIGHT’ FOR JESUS CHRIST INTO BANKS By: Professor Mathew Sammie, President W. Bush & Queen Elizabeth 11 PhD. Theology and Humanities General AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO ‘A SPECIAL DRAWING RIGHT’ President George W. Bush of United States, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain and former Secretary General of United Nations Mr. Kofi Annah signed and sealed an Executive order into law that requires Jesus Christ “A SPECIAL DRAWING RIGHT” to all United States Banks and United Nations world Banks on the grounds of biblical right according to Colossians 1:15-20 based on the Supremacy of Jesus Christ in Heaven and Earth. THE SUPREMACY OF JESUS CHRIST Colossians 1:15-20 (NIV) 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. THE SOVEREIGN REIGN OF CHRIST Colossians 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven. NET I stared with confusion at the swinging ceiling lamp in my daughter’s bedroom. She rested there fast asleep when the phone rang. My husband asked, “Did you feel it? There was an earthquake. Our office building has been evacuated.” The coming hours and weeks revealed that an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck in China’s Sichuan province, crushing 70,000 people beneath collapsing buildings and leaving more than four million homeless. At the moment of impact, our buildings shook like leaves in the wind, over 1000 miles away. Was God reigning pre-eminent on this day in history? As the last twenty-four hours unfolded, full of human tragedy and suffering, was God aware? In control? Working for good? How we answer this question makes a difference. Are we standing on solid ground, or shaking in the wind like my apartment building? BACKGROUND FOR THE BOOK OF COLOSSIANS: Colossians is one of the ‘prison epistles’ thought to be written by Paul during his first captivity in Rome, likely around 58-60 AD. Paul writes to the church at Colossae, largely Gentile, which he has not personally visited but was likely evangelized by Epaphras. His main purpose is to address the ‘Colossian heresy’ reported to him by Epaphras. The church struggled with Jewish influences which sought to add or improve upon the gospel by encouraging the church to adhere to a legal system suggesting greater forms of spirituality. They emphasized circumcision, special seasons, asceticism, angel worship, and ‘mysterious truths’. BACKGROUND CONTEXT FOR COLOSSIANS 1:15-20 This passage is one of the richest ‘Christ’ passages in the New Testament. It is part of a larger section where Paul reminds the church of their hope in the gospel and prays they will grow in the knowledge of God. You could say Paul is praying “I want you to grow to know God better. Now here is what He is like.” In the section that follows Paul shares that it is this supreme Christ who saved them. There are no secret truths or greater levels of spirituality. Christ Himself is the mystery revealed, this One in whom they hope. Like most of Paul’s letters, the rich ‘know/believe’ (Ch. 1&2) part of the book proceeds the practical ‘live it out’ (Ch. 3&4) section. The later portion details Paul’s application of truth towards the troubles the church faced at this time in history. HISTORICAL TIDBIT: What is meant by “firstborn” over all creation (Colossians 1:15)? This word has been the source of major conflict throughout the history of the church. Does “first-born” imply that the Son was brought into existence by the Father? In modern times, it is still used by some to say that Christ was created, not existing before time. However, the source of the conflict dates back to one of the first major heresies of the church. The “Arian Controversy” was begun by Arius, a bishop of Alexandria, who stated that there was a time when the Son did not exist. He was condemned at one of the first major councils of the church, the Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD. Another Greek word specifies a child who is born first among siblings, yet the word in our passage conveys the Jewish cultural idea of the first born sons’ rights. Do you quote the Nicene Creed in your church? It was written in response to this heresy. “…We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ…begotten of the Father…of the essence of the Father… begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father…” We can take clues from history that problems arise when one single phrase or verse alone supports one’s beliefs. Many cults and heresies arise from isolated Biblical passages. We can be assured that our beliefs are doctrinally sound when the whole weight of the Scriptures supports them. APPLICATION QUESTIONS: GRASPING THE HEART 1. Leaders who have ultimate rule are not necessarily comforting. What else do we trust about Christ that makes His rule reassuring? What passages would you turn to if explaining this to a Muslim (who believes God is in charge, but not gracious9?) 2. Unpack the meaning of “all things are created for him.” What does this mean for the created world? What does this mean for those who don’t trust Him? What does this mean for the world’s corruptions? Does it reflect any responsibility on Christians towards creation? Is it our responsibility to seek to conform the world around us (people, governments, the environment) to His standards10? 3. Reflect on Colossians 1:19, followed by John 1:16. Journal your thoughts here. What does it mean to you that this Christ is the one in you? (See Colossians 1:27.) 4. In our personal lives, we may quickly confess His sovereignty from all eternity. But are there any current attitudes or worries of your heart that betray your confession? 5. On a larger scale, there are many times when our world may appear to be outside of Christ’s sovereign control. What most recent tragedy in your culture or community might seem to suggest that Christ is not currently over all things? In view of this tragedy, what spiritual questions and doubts surfaced in your own mind and heart? What were the responses of believers and unbelievers around you? How does this passage speak to such a calamity? What can we affirm? What questions are left unanswered11? 6. What is one way that your reflection on the sovereign reign of Christ has made Him appear more beautiful and glorious to you this week? Write a prayer praising Christ for His rule of the universe and your life and asking His help to grow in these truths. 7. Share with one another what truths have been most meaningful to you. Spend a moment writing down the insights you have heard from others during this study that have enriched your own perspective. 8. What is your action step for today? (What do you need to confess? What conversation do you need to have? What do you need to pray? What needs to change in your thinking or what actions need to be taken? As a result of this study, how do you most desire to grow?) THE CHRIST HYMN OF COLOSSIANS Colossians quotes a hymn or confession that declares Christ to be "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation," and "the firstborn from the dead." This passage reflects an early Christian hymn or confession of faith that has been incorporated into the letter. If the Colossians already knew these words, the Christ hymn reiterates the centrality of their faith in Christ while also continuing to proclaim an identity that is theirs in the crucified and risen Christ. The immediate context of the hymn is important to note, for a key theme of the letter precedes the hymn: "He [God] has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (1:13-14). The first stanza of the hymn (1:15-18a) proclaims the lordship of Christ, who is "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." All realms and powers of the universe are subject to his lordship: "in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers--all things have been created through him and for him." Christ is "before all things, and in him all things hold together." Christ's lordship is concretely present in the world and in the gathering of God's people within the Christian community. Christ himself is "the head of the body, the church." The second stanza of the hymn (1:18b-20) proclaims the lordship of Christ who is "the beginning, the firstborn from the dead." In Christ "the fullness of God was pleased to dwell." In Christ "God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven." The centrality of his death and resurrection proclaims that Christ has made peace in all realms of the universe "through the blood of his cross." The sign of Christ's lordship in the world is centered in the cross and resurrection. The verses that follow and flow from the hymn (1:21-23) draw the hearer into the life that is present in Christ. Those "who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds" are "now reconciled in his fleshly body through death." This reconciliation is expressed in sacrificial language: "to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him." Words of exhortation proclaim the truth of these words: "provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven." All this is under the encompassing lordship of Christ, of which Paul "became a servant of this gospel." THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST Jesus is God! False teachers attacked this truth in Paul's day, and they continue doing so in ours. While we must defend the deity of Christ often and well, this truth must also lead us to exultation and worship as it did for Paul in his letter to the Colossians. The New Testament authors wrote of the deity of Jesus to combat claims against Him. But they also intended to prompt their hearers to worship and exult in their great God and Savior Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis wrote, "A man can't be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it" (Reflections on the Psalms, 7). With all the attacks on the truth of the gospel Christians encounter, we often neglect this point. We can spend much time arguing and debating with skeptics and atheists, forgetting to enjoy and delight in that which we defend. The Colossian church experienced numerous attacks from false teachers. The exact nature of the Colossian heresy (or heresies) is debated among scholars. The way to combat the heresy is not through argument, but by proclaiming Jesus Christ and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection. In Colossians 1:15–20 Paul wrote one of the most profound summaries of who Christ is and what He accomplished. In doing so, he crushed the arguments of the false teachers, and gave the Colossian Christians, and us, even more reason to worship and exalt Jesus Christ as God. In this text we see Christ in relation to God, to creation, and to the new creation. I. CHRIST'S RELATION TO GOD (VV. 15, 19) Paul says Christ "is the image of the invisible God" (v.15). Paul is not thinking here of Christ's physical appearance, but to His character and nature. Genesis 1 says God made man in his image (vv. 27–28), to reflect His character and nature to the world. But sin marred God's intentions for man. No one is able to perfectly reveal God. But when God's Son entered the world, He perfectly revealed God's character and glory. N.T. Wright says, "Jesus fulfills the purposes which God had marked out both for himself and for humanity" (Colossians, 75.). The false teachers in Colossae seemed to teach that something in addition to Jesus was required for salvation. Paul assured them Christ was sufficient. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. This prevents us from making God into our image. In our minds, we tend to fashion God after our own thoughts and desires. We try to squeeze him into a mold and project onto Him something He is not. J.I. Packer writes, "Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit; the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God" (Knowing God, 12). Jesus keeps our view of God in check. Read about Jesus' life in the Gospels. Meditate on what He did in His death and resurrection. Discuss with other Christians the beauty and wonder of Christ. Sing to Him for His great love and mercy toward us. II. CHRIST'S RELATION TO CREATION (VV. 15–17) When Paul wrote Jesus is "the firstborn of all creation" (v.15), he did not mean God created Jesus, as some claim today. The very next verse proves this. "For by him all things were created . . ." (v.16). So what did Paul mean? He likely had in mind Psalm 89 and the role of the Messianic King: "I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27). Jesus is not a created being. He is the Creator who reigns over all creation! All that exists, He created. All He created exists "for him" (v.17). Why is this important? Notice what Paul includes in the list of what Jesus created: "whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities" (v.16). Paul wanted to make clear that all authorities in heaven and on earth are under Jesus Christ's lordship and dominion. Abraham Kuyper said, "There is not one square inch, in all of creation, over which Christ does not declare, 'mine.'" Jesus upholds, governs, sustains, and rules over all things (v. 17). In this we exult. Are you trusting Christ with every area of your life? What are some things you are reluctant to completely surrender to Him? III: CHRIST'S RELATION TO THE NEW CREATION (VV.18–20) Not only is Christ over creation, He is also over the new creation, the church. He is the head of the church (v.18). The universal church throughout the ages is ruled by Christ, as is each local congregation of believers who profess Him as Lord. Christ achieved this status through His death and resurrection because He is "the firstborn from the dead" (v.18). He took the curse of creation upon himself (Gal. 3:13) to bring about a new creation, and to "reconcile all things to himself . . . making peace by the blood of his cross" (v.20). Creation is now groaning to be set free and fully enter this peace Christ accomplished (Rom. 8:19–23). Eugene Peterson said in a sermon: "The message of the American church is, 'You can do it!' But the message of the Bible is, ‘He's done it.'" Jesus Christ is enough. He is a perfect Savior. All we need to do is look to Him and embrace the work He accomplished on our behalf. Application: Do you find yourself relying on your own works and moral performance to save you? Why is resting in Christ so hard for us? Will you look to what He accomplished and trust Him to save you? Jesus Christ is God. Who He is, what He accomplished, and the future He holds for us should send our hearts soaring into worship. Jesus is incomparable. John Piper often says, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him" (Desiring God, 10). Jesus Christ is infinitely satisfying. May we find our satisfaction in Him in order to glorify His Name in all things. GROUP PRAYER REQUESTS FOR WESTIN INDIANAPOLIS: Lord Jesus, We praise you as the One who holds our world together by your great power. Yet, how desperately we want to walk by sight, and not by faith! We want to see your powerfully manifested now and still fear the world which does not submit to your rule. We fear the evil, sorrow, and tragedy of the walk-by-faith world. If our hearts are not resting in the reality of eternity, then your rule does not feel comforting. You must accomplish a supernatural work in our hearts to desire ultimate safety and hope rather than present security and comfort. Lord, please work this in us! THE TOP 7 BY REVENUE: 1. CITICORP/CITIBANK - The Citibank is the United States' largest financial service organization. The bank serves approximately 45 million customers in over 90 countries and territories around the world. 2. CHASE MANHATTAN BANK 3. BANK OF AMERICA - Bank of America is one of the largest financial services companies in the United States. Through their broad retail banking network and the diverse Global Finance activities, the bank serves more than 8 million households and businesses across the United States and in selected international markets. 4. J.P. MORGAN - J.P. Morgan is an investment banking firm that provides financial services to corporations, governments, financial institutions, institutional investors, private firms, nonprofit groups, and wealthy individuals around the world. In addition to general information about the firm, J.P. Morgan is making available selected research abstracts and finance oriented datasets, including the firm's newly announced 5. FIRST UNION CORPORATION - More than 150 pages of information including product and service offerings, consumer credit tips, career opportunity listings, corporate community involvement and First Union's vision of the future: Cyber banking(sm). First Union Corp. is the ninth-largest bank holding company of the U.S.A. 6. BANK ONE - We've grown to become one of the nation's leading financial institutions, and this growth allows us to focus on new, national lines of business, continuing product innovation and enhanced customer service. 7. WELLS FARGO - Since 1852, the Wells Fargo stagecoach has been a symbol of reliable service across the American West. Today, we continue to connect our customers to essential financial services 24 hours a day – by ATM, phone or personal computer, as well as through a growing network of traditional and supermarket branches. We also continue our commitment to community through the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation and the Wells Fargo Hot Air Balloon Division projects. TOP 20 BANKS IN US Several of the world’s most valuable banks, according to Brand Finance, have branches operating in the Hub City. Wells Fargo and Bank of America top the consultant company’s list of the biggest banks based on brand value. US monetary policies created to stimulate economy during the recession have led to a strong and growing banking industry, according to a Brand Finance news release. Wells Fargo leads the charge with an added $4.2 billion of brand value to reach a total of more than $30 billion. Lending across a huge range of categories, the improved domestic economy has driven revenues and helped Wells Fargo overtake JP Morgan to become the world’s most profitable bank. As marketing and brand recognition play key roles in national success, Wells Fargo has a more favorable reputation with the general public that its peers, the news release said. Wells Fargo is closely followed by Bank of America and Citi, which have grown their brands by $4.3 billion and $2.8 billion respectively. The successes of America’s top banks are not quite matched by those lower down the list. In fact, at a time of wealth polarization and calls for greater competition in banking, there has been a further consolidation around the biggest US banking brands. In 2013 the top 10 represented 68% of the total value of all US brands in the table, in 2014, that figure is 83%. “This year’s Brand Finance Banking 500 shows clearly the recovery not just of the US economy but also the reputation of America’s biggest banks,” said Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh in the release. “Looking forward, banks will be concerned that tapering will restrict the liquidity that has allowed them to rebuild over the last year. However by focusing on brand and reputation as well as financials, banks such as Wells Fargo will be well placed to prosper QE free.” 20 MOST VALUABLE BANKING BRANDS IN THE US 1. WellsFargo 2. Bank ofAmerica 3. Citi 4. Chase 5. J.P. Morgan 6. Goldman Sachs 7. Capital one 8. Morgan Stanley 9. U.S. Bank Corp 10. BNY Mellon 11. PNC 12. Merrill Lynch 13. State Street 14. BB&T 15. SunTrust Banks 16. Charles Schwab 17. Fifth Third Bank 18. Banamex 19. Raymond James 20. KeyBank 10 MOST VALUABLE BANKING BRANDS IN THE WORLD 1. Wells Fargo (US) 2. HSBC (UK) 3. Bank ofAmerica(US) 4. Citi (US) 5. Chase (US) 6. ICBC (China) 7. BNP Paribas (France) 8. Santander(Spain) 9. China Construction Bank (China) 10. Agricultural Bank ofChina(China) At first blush, you may think you are clueless about the financial industry and which U.S. banks hold the top spots on our list. However, I'm here to tell you, you're more knowledgeable on this issue than you may think. In fact, you probably walk or drive by most of these banks on a daily basis or even hold accounts at one. The top five banks hold their elite positions for a reason. Not only are their profit margins astronomical, they've monopolized and saturated the market to such an extent they've arguably become "too big to fail." GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP Whether it's a fair assessment or not, the name Goldman Sachs often conjures up notions of wealth and elitism in the minds of many Americans. Headquartered in New York City, the financial services firm focuses on securities, investment banking and investment management. It's clientele consists primarily of high net-worth individuals as well as corporations, governments and other financial institutions. Arguably, its assets of just under $1 trillion are the result of being selective in the clients it chooses to represent and business ventures it engages in on their behalf. WELLS FARGO San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. is a popular bank among consumers, with approximately one in three American households doing business with the company. The company has also been named Best Corporate/Institutional Internet Bank in North America by Global Finance Magazine, in both 2011 and 2012. With $1.4 trillion in assets, Wells Fargo's business model focuses on three core areas: Wholesale Banking; Community Banking; and Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement. With more than 9,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs, Internet services and operations in more than 35 countries, Wells Fargo has done a good job of making its financial services accessible to the average consumer. CITIGROUP Although Citigroup, Inc. has yet to break the $2 trillion mark when it comes to assets, it is holding its own at the No. 3 spot on our list. With $1.8 trillion in assets and operating in more than 140 countries, New York-based Citigroup has positioned itself as a leading provider of broad-based financial products and services, from consumer and investment banking to wealth management and securities brokerage. Citigroup's powerhouse status was cemented in 1998 when it merged Citicorp with financial conglomerate Travelers Group—one of the largest mergers in world history. Although Citigroup has yet to become the No. 1 U.S. bank, it has maintained its position as one of the Big Five banks for several years. BANK OF AMERICA Although Bank of America may not be one of the most popular banks when it comes to consumer satisfaction, it is an undeniable leader in the financial industry. Based in Charlotte, Bank of America is the largest wealth manager in the world and a prominent figure in the investment banking industry. This success was largely made possible by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2008. When it acquired leading credit card issuer MBNA in 2008, Bank of America also became the largest card issuer in the U.S. Just like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America also has more than $2 trillion in assets. JP MORGAN CHASE Headquartered in New York City, JP Morgan Chase & Co., commonly known as Chase, has been the No. 1 one performing bank in the U.S. for several years. With assets in excess of $2 trillion, it is also the largest bank in the U.S., although it boasts operations in more than 60 countries. Chase is also a leader in global investments and one of the largest asset and wealth managers in the world. Much of Chase's enormous growth and strong foothold in the financial market is due, in large part, to its acquisition of several big U.S. banks over the past decade, including Washington Mutual, Bank One, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan & Co. and Chase Manhattan Bank. High-net-worth individuals, by nature, tend to have more complex financial goals than the average consumer. With private banking, they receive help in a range of areas – from traditional banking needs to investment and trust services – under a single roof. Clients also benefit from having a dedicated private banker who coordinates all these services and simplifies the communication process. Today, many banks around the world – both large and small – offer income-dependent banking services to customers who meet their income requirements. However, the sector is still dominated by institutions in Europe and the United States. Here are the 10 biggest private banking providers, according to the market research firm Scorpio Partnership. THE PRIVATE BANKING TOP 10 LIST 10. Pictet (Estimated assets under management: $338 billion) Oftentimes, large retail banks operate a separate private banking unit that caters to some of their wealthiest customers. In the case of Swiss-based Pictet, however, that’s all they do. Founded in 1805, the bank focuses entirely on high-value clients and large financial institutions. In 2013, it was awarded “Best Private Bank in Europe” by Professional Wealth Management (PWM) and The Banker, both owned by The Financial Times. 9. J.P. Morgan (Estimated assets under management: $361 billion) Executives here were ahead of the curve in recognizing the need for investment advice tailored specifically toward high net worth clients. J.P Morgan was one of the first banks to hire a dedicated chief investment officer (CIO) for its private banking segment, a move that has clearly paid off. Today, the U.S. bank is the industry leader in equity and fixed income portfolio management, according to the magazine Euromoney. 8. HSBC (Estimated assets under management: $382 billion) HSBC officially launched its private banking unit after acquiring the assets of Republic National Bank of New York in 1999. Today, it has $382 billion in assets under management, making it the eighth-largest bank of its kind (it slipped two spots from last year’s list). The bank offers clients an array of services that include customized lending solutions and access to alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity opportunities. 7. Deutsche Bank (Estimated assets under management: $384 billion) In today’s competitive private banking environment, Germany-based Deutsche Bank has tried to differentiate itself through convenience. It offers “Doorstep Banking,” which allows customers to deposit checks or receive cash at their home, as well as a Global Concierge Assistance to help travelers rent a car or find local hotels. Its private banking services encompass everything from investments to estate planning and exclusive credit cards. 6. BNP Paribas Fortis (Estimated assets under management: $395 billion) Headquartered in Belgium, BNP Paribas Fortis Private Banking serves individuals with assets in excess of 250,000 euros. While it has a considerable footprint in countries like France, Italy and Luxembourg, the bank also a presence in the U.S. and Asia. It was voted “Best Private Bank in Europe” in 2014 by PWM/The Banker 5. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) (Estimated assets under management: $673 billion) RBC, Canada’s largest financial institution, offers an assortment of exclusive services – from estate planning consultations to specialized credit solutions – to attract wealthy clients to its private banking segment. It also offers a special Private Banking credit card targeted toward the needs of upper-income clients. 4. Credit Suisse (Estimated assets under management: $888 billion) Like many private banks, the one at Credit Suisse offers investment solutions as well as specialized wealth management services. But it’s hoping to gain market share by catering to the unique needs of underserved clients. The bank recently opened up a “New Markets” division that focuses on affluent women; minorities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients. 3. Morgan Stanley (Estimated assets under management: $1.454 trillion) In recent years, Morgan Stanley has been quietly bulking up its private banking operations, which includes hiring top wealth managers from its competitors. The bank saw assets under management swell 17.5% in 2013, the fastest growth of any institution in the top 10. 2. Merrill Lynch (Bank of America Corporation) (Estimated assets under management: $1.866.6 trillion) [ The largest private bank in the United States, Merrill Lynch Private Banking & Investment Group is now part of Bank of America. BOA purchased Merrill Lynch in the first quarter of 2009, in the wake of the financial meltdown in 2008. 1. UBS (Estimated assets under management: $1.966.9 trillion) Managing nearly $2 trillion in assets, UBS edges out Merrill Lynch as the largest private banking group in the world. But the Swiss bank has more going for it than just size. It also ranked highest in customer satisfaction among private banking and wealth management providers, according to a 2014 Euromoney survey. CHINA HAS BECOME A BANKING POWERHOUSE. Four of the five largest banks in the world are Chinese, according to SNL Financial's latest global bank rankings. It's a big change from the past few years when only two Chinese banks made the top five. Beijing-based Industrial & Commercial Bank of China holds the top spot with assets valued at $3.5 trillion. That means the bank is worth more than the entire value of the British economy. The only non-Chinese bank remaining in the top five is HSBC, which is headquartered in London. It fell several spots to position No. 4 this year. The top U.S. bank is JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which ranks sixth with $2.6 trillion in assets. SNL notes that American banks calculate the value of their assets a bit differently from international banks because of U.S. regulations, so it's likely that JPMorgan would rank higher in a true apples to apples comparison. China's financial sector has been struggling in recent weeks after a major meltdown in China's stock market. On top of that, the Chinese economy is slowing down this year. Even its large factory sector is shrinking. But Chinese banks have still managed to grow, at least compared to their global peers. Two banks that fell out of the top this year were France's BNP Paribas (BNPQF) and Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MBFJF). Both were hit by weakening currency in their countries -- the euro and the yen have fallen substantially against the U.S. dollar in the past year. That makes their assets less valuable in dollar terms. TOP 10 BANKS ACCORDING TO SNL FINANCIAL: 1. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (China) 2. China Construction Bank (China) 3. Agricultural Bank of China (China) 4. HSBC (U.K.) 5. Bank of China (China) 6. JPMorgan Chase (U.S.) 7. BNP Paribas (France) 8. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (Japan) 9. Bank of American (U.S.) 10. Barclays (U.K.) THE TOP 10 BIGGEST BANKS IN EUROPE With the recent economic turmoil in the Euro zone, have you ever wondered what the biggest banks are on this side of the world and if they have a strong enough balance sheet to handle such crisis? Aside from being extremely prominent in the European industry, many of these financial institutions are also some of the largest banks in the world. Four of these are headquartered and based in France. When the total assets of these 10 banks are combined, they have approximately $21 trillion. HSBC Holdings makes it to the top of this list, with its assets amounting to more than $2.68 trillion. Here is a list of the top 10 biggest banks in Europe in terms of total assets. 10. Group BPCE Group BPCE is a relatively new introduction to Paris, France’s banking and financial services industry, but it has managed to grow and expand significantly. Aside from banking services, the company also sells a wide variety of insurance products. It was formed in the year 2009 by the merging of the Caisse Nationale Des Caisses D’épargne (CASA) and the Banque Fédérale Des Banques Populaires (BFBP). The organization now has more than 8,200 offices nationwide. Around 40 million consumers do all of their banking with this institution, ranging from individual customers to professionals, small to medium enterprises, and large enterprises based both in France and overseas. 9. ING Group ING Group is a Dutch multinational financial and banking services corporation. It is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The primary areas that the institution specializes on include retail banking, commercial banking, direct banking, investment banking, insurance services, as well as asset and wealth management. ING actually stands for Internationale Nederlanden Groep, or International Netherlands Group in English. There are over 84,718 people working for this corporation. It has been reported that the ING Group currently has total assets amounting to $1.5 trillion. 8. Societe Generale Societe Generale S.A., also known as SocGen, is a multinational financial and banking services company and its headquarters can be found in Paris, France. It is actually a universal bank that has been split into three different divisions, namely: 1) Retail Banking and Specialized Financial Services, 2) Corporate and Investment Banking, and 3) Global Investment Management and Services. The products and services being offered by the company include retail and private banking, investment, corporate banking, investment management, and insurance. Societe Generale employs more than 171,900 people and has total assets of $ 1.59 trillion. 7. Banco Santander Banco Santander, S.A., which is run by the Santander Group, is a Spanish financial and banking services company. It is headquartered in Santander, Spain. It has been ranked as one of the world’s largest banks because of its prominent presence in terms of market capitalization. The group has been able to expand over the last few years through various acquisitions. It operates in Europe, North America, Asia, and Latin America. More than 186,700 people work for the company. Banco Santander has reported assets amounting to $1.6 trillion. 6. Royal Bank of Scotland Group The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, also commonly referred to simply as the RBS Group, is an insurance and banking holding company. This British financial institution is based and headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. The group has operations in many different banking brands, all of which offer clients with both personal and business banking services, private banking, corporate finance, and insurance. It also runs branches scattered throughout Asia, Europe, North America, Ireland, and the UK. As of 2012, the company has been reported to have more than 150,000 employees. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has total assets amounting to $1.9 trillion. 5. Barclays PLC Barclays PLC is a multinational financial and banking services company and its headquarters is located in London, United Kingdom. This universal bank has operations in investment banking, wealth management, retail, wholesale, credit cards, and mortgage lending. It operates in more than 50 different countries and territories. The company now serves around 48 million customers. Barclays PLC has more than 139,000 employees and total assets amounting to $2.4 trillion. 4. BNP Paribas BNP Paribas, headquartered in Boulevard des Italiens, Paris, France, is one of the largest global banking groups in the world. Its inception was due to the merging of the Paribas and the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) back in 2000. In 2012, it received fourth place in the Forbes and Bloomberg lists of the largest financial and banking institutions in the world. There are more than 200,000 people employed by the company. It was reported that the total assets of BNB Paribas amounts to $2.5 trillion. 3. Credit Agricole Group The Credit Agricole Group S.A. (CASA) is reported to be France’s largest retail banking group. It is also the eighth largest financial services company in the world and the third biggest in Europe. Aside from offering banking services, the company also deals with insurance and asset management. Its headquarters lie in Paris, France. The company has employed more than 161,000 people and has total assets amounting to $2.58 trillion. 2. Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank, which literally translates to ‘German’ bank, is a German international financial and banking services company headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany’s Deutsche Bank Twin Towers. More than 100,000 people are employed by the company in more than 70 countries. Its large presence is prominent in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, as well as in emerging markets. In 2009, it was reported that the financial institution was the world’s largest dealer in terms of foreign exchange, with its market share being 21 percent. Deutsche Bank’s total assets amounts to $2.6 trillion. 1. HSBC Holdings HSBC Holdings P.L.C., which was founded by Thomas Sutherland, is a British multinational financial and banking services organization. Its headquarters can be found in London, United Kingdom. It was established by The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in London in the year 1991 to act and serve as a new holding company. The original branches can be found in Hong Kong and in Shanghai, where they were opened back in 1865. With more than 7,200 offices across the globe in 85 different countries and territories, there is no wonder as to why this bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the world. Its branches are scattered all throughout Asia, Africa, North and South Africa, as well as in Europe. With more than 89 million customers and total assets of $2.68 trillion, HSBC Holdings deserves the number one spot on this list of the top 10 biggest banks in Europe. BANKS IN USA, US BANKS, LIST OF US BANKS US banks are the largest and most innovative in the world. They are watching each other and the rest of the world, and contemplating what to do next. As financiers of the largest economy in the world, it is little wonder that banks in the United States have gained substantial importance in the global financial market. They offer the widest range of products and services globally, ranging from personal to small business, corporate and institutional banking. With the most advanced online services available, US banks are easily accessible from any part of the world. PERSONAL BANKING SERVICES OF BANKS IN USA The personal banking solutions of US banks are designed to cater to the day-to-day banking requirements of consumers. Checking products are easy to operate and come with a host of added benefits like free internet banking, ATM/debit card facilities, online bill payment, monthly statement with image, low opening deposits, and many more. American banks’ loan products are offered in the forms of home equity loans, car loans, and personal loans. Certificates of deposit and passbook savings are the two most preferred forms of savings products. MORTGAGE SERVICES OF US BANKS US banks offer an array of mortgage services. These services are designed to take care of the diverse mortgage requirements of customers. Besides providing standard mortgage services, the US banks also offer mortgage calculators to help clients calculate their payment schedules, monthly payments, maximum mortgage amounts, extra payments, and more. Online mortgage services in the US help clients select the best deals. They also make the process of mortgage procurement quite simple and hassle-free. BUSINESS BANKING SERVICES OF BANKS IN THE USA The business banking services of US banks support active corporate clients. The business checking accounts take care of the financial requirements of all types of businesses. The common loan products under the business banking include commercial loans and construction loans. Commercial loans are offered for business operation, equipment, and commercial real estate purchases. OTHER PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OF BANKS IN USA Among the other banking products and services, agricultural loan products and checking accounts of the US banks are worth mentioning. Agricultural loans help to purchase machinery, livestock, and real estate. Agricultural checking accounts are cheap and easy to operate. INTERNET BANKING SOLUTIONS OF BANKS IN THE USA The internet banking solutions of the banks in the USA come with a number of facilities like checking balance, funds transfer, and bill payment at any point of time. THE LARGEST BANKS IN THE US The largest banks in the US ranked by deposits, according to FDIC, are: 1. Bank of America 2. JP Morgan Chase Bank 3. Wachovia Bank 4. Citibank 5. Washington Mutual Bank 6. SunTrust Bank 7. US Bank 8. Regions Bank 9. Branch Banking and Trust Company 10. National City Bank 11. HSBC Bank USA 12. World Savings Banks, FSB 13. Countrywide Bank 14. PNC Bank 15. Key Bank 16. ING Bank, FSB 17. Merrill Lynch Bank USA 18. Sovereign Bank 19. Comerica Bank 20. Union Bank of California
HEAVEN ON EARTH AT WESTIN INDIANAPOLIS UNITED STATES By: Professor Mathew Sammie, President W. Bush & Queen Elizabeth 11 PhD. Theology and Humanities General HEAVEN: THE PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST (GOD) What is heaven? The simplest definition might be "Heaven is the presence of God." Could we simplify that even further and say "heaven is Jesus Christ (God)"? No! That would be a logical fallacy, for that would be to make some "thing", some concept, into God, which is the essence of idolatry. But we might invert the equation and say "Jesus Christ (God) is heaven." In the religion of Judaism there was great respect for God's name. Yahweh was comprised only of consonants, "YHWH". There were no vowels, and the word was thus unpronounceable. It was merely formed breath, which is consistent with the fact that God is Spirit (John 4:24). In order to avoid using God's name, the Jews used other names and designations, substituting other concepts as a circumlocution for the name of Yahweh. The word "heaven" became a synonym for Yahweh in post-exilic Judaism. This usage is carried over into the New Testament as can be seen in the following gospel usages: Matthew 21:25 - (Jesus says to the Jewish authorities) "the baptism of John...was it from heaven or from men?" Matthew 23:22 - "he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it." Luke 15:21 - (Prodigal son) "I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. “John 3:27 - (John the Baptist says of Jesus) "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given to him from heaven." The equation of God and heaven is also evidenced in the manner in which the gospel writers use the phrases "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" synonymously. Matthew, who wrote his gospel narrative particularly for a Jewish audience, is sensitive to the Jewish evasion of the name of God and uses "kingdom of heaven" in exactly the same contexts where Mark and Luke (writing for Roman and Greek audiences respectively) use the phrase "kingdom of God" (cf. Matt. 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10). "Kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" are not separate eschatological concepts as some have attempted to differentiate them. John the Baptist, and then Jesus, and then the disciples, all proclaimed to the people of Palestine, "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). This was the good news of the gospel ¬ what God, what heaven, was doing in Jesus Christ. "Heaven" could be conceived of as the immanence of God's presence in the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ, and at the same time "heaven" was used of the transcendence of God's presence beyond mankind. Thus it is that Jesus could instruct His disciples to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven....Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..." (Matt. 6:9,10). Later in Matthew 7:21 Jesus declares that "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." In this latter reference Jesus seems to use the immanent and transcendent concepts of God's presence in the same sentence. If "heaven" entails such a wide spectrum of God's presence, then the popular mental conceptions found in many religious circles today are most inadequate. Pictures of clouds, harps, angels, pearly gates, etc., are figures formulated as "concrete" conceptualizations and fixed in the "concrete" of religious dogma. Surely we must pursue an understanding of heaven beyond these inadequate pictures. In I Corinthians 2:9 Paul quotes from Isaiah 64:4 and does so in the context of the spiritual realities God has made available to Christians in Jesus Christ: "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." Is that not true of "heaven," the presence of God, both immanently and transcendently? If it has entered the heart of man, our thinking processes and concepts, then it is probably not an accurate representation of "heaven," of God's presence! God is so much bigger than our finite abilities to conceptualize that any images that we can conceive are but inadequate images which become idols. Perhaps that is why the Jews generally refrain from speculating about "heaven," for it leads to forbidden idolatry. But Christians have always engaged in such speculation! Would you want to participate in a "heaven" that was only what your mind and heart could conceive? I would not! I have very little imagination! The "heaven" that I could conjure up in my mind would be extremely boring! I am convinced that heaven is not boring. Is love boring? Is joy boring? Our meagre human perceptions of "heaven" would only lead to discontent. They are so static, so selfish, so mercenary, so materialistic, so space/time oriented, so inadequate! Man is made so as to only be content with God! That is why our human aspirations of heart and mind are no basis for revealing "heaven," as some authors have indicated. The character of God is the only basis for revealing "heaven." Heaven is the presence of God, acting as He always does, according to His character.When it comes to thinking about "heaven," we, with our finite minds, do not even know how to ask the correct questions. Mankind ("religious" people especially), thinking as they most often do, in a futuristic, spatial and temporal framework, ask questions like these: What will I be like in heaven? What kind of body will I have? (physical, spiritual, visible, invisible?) Will I be recognizable? (in form? in personality?) Will I be able to recognize those I love? (my wife? husband? children?) What will I be doing in heaven? ("I don't like playing the harp, you know!") Will heaven be boring to me? (Most human portrayals of such seem to be so.) Will all of my desires be fulfilled in heaven? (Someone once described heaven as "the presence of everything desirable; the absence of everything undesirable.) Will I be able to progress, develop or grow in heaven? Does heaven have any challenges for me? ("I am most satisfied when I am challenged and can achieve and accomplish and overcome.") What kind of mental or emotional recall will I have in heaven from my time spent on earth? What will my place of habitation be like? How big will my "mansion" be? Will I have more than someone else? Will someone else have more than me? Do these latter questions not seem rather mercenary and materialistic? It does not seem to me that we will "possess" anything in heaven. We do not "possess" mansions. We do not "possess" crowns. We do not "possess" salvation. We do not "possess" holiness. We do not "possess" love. We do not "possess" joy. We do not "possess" heaven! God possesses us! Our questions about "heaven" are framed in such a self-oriented perspective. "What will I be like?" "What will I be doing?" These only reveal that we do not have a clue what heaven is all about! Heaven is the presence of God. God's presence always implies that He is acting in accord with His character. God's character is summed up in Love. "God is Love" (I John 4:8,16). God's love is total selflessness. Love is concerned only about the other, and the Ultimate Other, God. Then why do we continue to ask all those self-oriented questions with personal pronouns such as "I, me and my"? My present self-concern pollutes my perspective of heaven! My present space/time context of thinking preempts my understanding of eternity, infinity, God and heaven. Ignorance is certainly revealed when we do not even know how to ask the right questions! Heaven is the presence of God, acting in accord with His character. God is love, unselfish and unselfconscious. To experience "heaven" is to lose our self-orientation and our self-concern. This would seem to reveal that heaven has nothing to do with morality, whether "I" am doing things right! Heaven has nothing to do with dogma and doctrine, whether "I" believe and assent to the right ideas. Heaven is only concerned about, centered upon, the other person and the Ultimate Other, God, who should be our ultimate concern in heaven. That is why it can be said that "religion knows nothing about heaven!" Religion is so caught up in the self-centered me-ism of doing things right and believing the right things, and knows nothing of the loving, joyous, self-giving of heaven. Heaven is the presence of God. Heaven is the character of God in action. Heaven is what God is and does, not what man does to perform for God, as religion advocates. If that be the case, does concern for heaven produce passivity and inactivity in the one thus concerned? Not necessarily! Necessarily not! God is an active God. His presence is always actively expressing His character in the out-going means of grace. Faith is our receptivity of His activity. God is love. Love is always active, extending out toward the other. There is no such thing as passive love; that is apathy! God is joy. Joy is always energetic and enlivening. Heaven's demeaner is that of humor and laughter and play and activity. Thus I repeat, "Religion knows nothing about heaven," as evidenced by its being so sour and dour and serious about itself, and so passive and inactive in loving others. Heaven is the presence of God, and subjectively considered, heaven is spiritual ecstasy. The word "ecstatic" is etymologically derived from two Greek words, ek meaning "out of," and stasis which comes from histemi meaning "to stand." It is not difficult to see that that which stands and is unmoving is "static". "Ecstatic" has to do with that which is "out of" the realm of the "static." There is no ecstasy in that which is static, for such is rigid, cold, hard, immovable, dead. Ecstacy is experienced only in that which is dynamic, i.e. alive, active, warm, moving and incomprehensible. Heaven is spiritual ecstasy in that it has to do with the dynamic presence of God in action. If heaven is the presence of God, does consideration of and concern for "heaven" produce in those thus concerned a form of "escapism" from the present situation? Many have charged that heavenly consideration and expectations lead to an "escapist" mind-set that involves losing interest in living and working in this world. We must admit that such is often the case among religionists who view heaven as merely a futuristic "pie in the sky bye-and-bye," almost an escapist "nirvana" concept. But if heaven is the active and dynamic presence of God ¬ God in action in accord with His character ¬ then to consider "heaven" is to consider ultimate reality and the divine intent for mankind. The failure and the refusal to consider "heaven," the presence of God, is truly "escapism!" Such is an attempt to "escape" from ultimate reality, an attempt to "escape" from functional humanity, an attempt to "escape" from genuine social interaction. Heaven, the presence of God, invests and infuses the present situation with His activity, His character, His love, His joy, His peace right now, here and now, within those receptive to Him. Is this to imply then that we have heaven on earth right now? We have seen that heaven became a synonym for God, and is so used interchangeably in the gospels; that the "kingdom of heaven" is the "kingdom of God;" that "heaven" is the presence of God in action. Is God in action on earth right now? Is the presence of God active presently in the world? Is not the message of Christianity, the "good news" that mankind can be reconciled to the presence of God through Jesus Christ? The earliest proclamation of the gospel by Jesus Himself was "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17), because the presence of God was at hand in Jesus Christ. In the beatitudes, Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:2) Jesus kept telling parables about the "kingdom of heaven" (cf. Matt. 13), explaining the dynamics of new covenant Christianity. Jesus explained that the "key" to the kingdom of heaven was the confession that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:19). The kingdom of heaven/ kingdom of God is present whenever the King is present, for Jesus said, "the kingdom of God is in your midst" (Luke 17:21) or "within you" (KJV). In Ephesians 1:3 Paul explains that "God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus," by the indwelling spiritual presence of Jesus Christ. The writer to the Hebrews indicates that Christians have becomes "partakers of a heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1), have "tasted of the heavenly gift" (Heb. 6:4), and have "come to the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22). If heaven is the presence of God, then is the presence of God not actively present among us and within us right now, here on earth, as Christians? Are we not actively participating in the heavenly and spiritual dynamic of the expression of the character of God? Is that not what the Christian life is all about? I believe it is! The heavenly Father is desirous of expressing His character with His spiritual children, Christians, the "People of God." As Christians, we presently participate in the "kingdom of heaven." The presence of the Spirit of God within us allows for the present subjective experiencing of the heavenly blessings of the active expression of His character. We experience "heaven" on earth, the active presence of God. But I turn right around and declare that what I am saying is not to say that earth is heaven, or even that the church is heaven. To that I would exclaim, "Good heaven, God forbid!" Does this sound contradictory and confusing? Bear with me as I attempt to explain, hoping not to muddy the waters even more. Heaven is the continuum of the life that we now have in Christ Jesus. (By the use of the word "continuum" I do not mean merely the distant future continuation of Christ's life, but that there is no discontinuity of content, so it is not just a temporal designation but a substantive consideration of content in the context of eternal duration.) Again then, heaven is the continuum of the life that we have as Christians. This is true objectively in that the life we have (or participate in) is the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). Paul refers to "Christ who is our life" (Colossians 3:4). John writes in I John 5:12, "He that has the Son has life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have life." The life that we participate in as Christians, both now and then, presently and in the future is the life of Jesus, eternal life, heavenly reality. Subjectively, we are presently to be developing an appreciation for the function of Christ's life in our behavior. We are to be involved in the process of growing and developing the extent to which the life of Jesus is allowed to pervade and permeate our soul and body, so as to express God's character in our behavior, characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, etc. Paul explains that "it is no longer I who lives but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20), and that in order that "the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal bodies" (II Cor. 4:10,11). If this be the case (as Scripture seems to indicate), then objectively we have all the heaven we are ever going to get, right now, presently, on earth, in Jesus Christ! And subjectively, now is the time, here on earth is the place, for the development of the appreciation of His life, since physical death would seem to be the terminus of such development and growth. Now is the day of salvation through sanctification in Christ Jesus (I Cor. 6:2; II Thess. 2:13). Yet, we must consider not only the objectivity of the life of Jesus Christ and the subjectivity of the appreciation of such, but also the objectivity of the realm in which that life is experienced and the subjectivity of the experience of that life within that realm. The present subjective experience of Christ's life is within an objective realm that is antithetically hostile and alien to the experience and expression of His life ¬ the environment of the "world" ¬ thus causing subjective difficulty and hindrance to the awareness and enjoyment of His life. Such is the Christian life on earth! The future subjective experience of Christ's life will be within an objective realm that is completely conducive to the experience and expression of God's life. It will be in a "new heaven and a new earth" (II Peter 3:13), wherein the total environment and atmosphere will also be the presence of God. Thus it is that "heaven" as spiritual condition or state and "heaven" as realm or place or location will converge or merge into one ¬ the presence of God, objectively and subjectively. Even then there is no pantheism implied for the Creator/creature distinction will always be maintained. Though we partake of heavenly realities, the presence of God, we do not become God, nor do we assume any of His essential, exclusive and non-transferrable attributes. We do not become eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, etc. Therefore, we are not saying that all there is to heaven, objectively and subjectively, is what we have and experience on earth right now! It is not a matter of "what you see is what you get." I would not want an eternity of what I am currently capable of seeing! That would not be "heavenly" to me. Yet, at the same time, I do have all heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus, right now (Eph. 1:3). Heaven is the presence of God. Jesus Christ is the presence of God. Heaven is eternal life. Jesus Christ is eternal life. To have the presence of Jesus Christ in us be the Spirit, God in us, is to have the presence of heaven in us, to participate in the kingdom of God, and to allow God to act in accord with His heavenly character, both now and in the future. The Creator-God so designed the creature-man so as to require the presence of the Creator-God within the creature man in order for the creature-man to be the creature-man that the Creator-God intended the creature-man to be. Man is not man as God intended apart from seeking for and participating in heaven, seeking for and participating in the presence of God. It has been said that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." I disagree! The road to hell is paved with apathy and escapism. Apathy which says, "I don't care; I don't give a damn." Escapism which seeks to avoid and evade the true functional intent for humanity. The divine intent for the human creature is to allow God, the heavenly Father (made available to mankind in Jesus Christ, His Son, and by the outpouring of His Spirit) to function by His heavenly presence in us. That is the gospel, the "good news" about "heaven." Heaven: the presence of God in Jesus Christ. Now and then! As the song writer testified, "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul." THE ABIDING PRESENCE OF GOD At the heart of the idea of a Temple is the abiding presence of God. Although God is omnipresent, He has chosen to manifest His presence in certain locations and at certain times within history. This physical manifestation of God has come to be called the Shekinah. the Shechinah Glory is the visible manifestation of the presence of God. It is the majestic presence or manifestation of God in which He descends to dwell among men. Whenever the invisible God becomes visible, and whenever the omnipresence of God is localized, this is the Shechinah Glory. The usual title found in Scriptures for the Shechinah Glory is the glory of Jehovah, or the glory of the Lord. The Hebrew form is Kvod Adonai, which means ‘the glory of Jehovah’ and describes what the Shechinah Glory is. The Greek title, Doxa Kurion, is translated as ‘the glory of the Lord.’ Doxa means ‘brightness,’ ‘brilliance,’ or ‘splendor,’ and it depicts how the Shechinah Glory appears. Other titles give it the sense of ‘dwelling,’ which portrays what the Shechinah Glory does. The Hebrew word Shechinah, from the root shachan, means ‘to dwell.’ The Greek word skeinei, which is similar in sound as the Hebrew Shechinah (Greek has no ‘sh’ sound), means ‘to tabernacle.’. . . In the Old Testament, most of these visible manifestations took the form of light, fire, or cloud, or a combination of these. A new form appears in the New Testament: the Incarnate Word [John John 1:14].1 The concept of the Shekinah is behind the wonder of the incarnation. The very glory of God “tabernacled” within human flesh and was handled and beheld. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (ἐσκήνωσεν [eskēnōsen] ), and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” [emphasis added] (John John 1:14). Σκηνή [Skēnē] was the word used by the translators of the Septuagint for the Hebrew מִשְׁכָּן [miškān] , “tabernacle” (Ex. Ex. 25:9). During Israel’s pilgrimage from Egypt to Canaan the tabernacle was the place of worship for the people. The tabernacle or tent in the wilderness was the “tent of Jehovah,” Himself a pilgrim among His pilgrim people. In sound and meaning σκηνόω [skēnoō] recalls the Hebrew verb שָׁכַּן [šākkan] meaning “to dwell,” which is sometimes used of God’s dwelling with Israel (Ex. Ex. 25:8; Ex. 29:46). In postbiblical Hebrew the Jews used the term שְׁכִינָה [šeḵînâ] (“Shekinah,” literally, “presence”) of the bright cloud of the presence of God that settled on the tabernacle. The Shekinah glory was nothing less than the visible manifestation of God.2 The manifestation of the Shekinah is at the heart of understanding the meeting of God with man. In the earliest communion of man with God, God is said to have been “walking in the Garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. Gen. 3:8). This must speak of a localized presence with which Adam and Eve could interact—the Shekinah. The word itself embodies the notion of dwelling or abiding. This emphasizes the single most important aspect concerning God’s localized presence: where is He abiding? For wherever the Shekinah is, there is relationship with God in a more intimate way and all the benefits which come from His special presence. This is the essence of the promise made to the overcomer in Philadelphia, the fulfillment of that first love which was lacking in Ephesus: to walk once again in full fellowship with God (Gen. Gen. 3:8; Gen. 5:24; Rev. Rev. 21:3+, Rev. 21:22+). This was the ultimate desire of the psalmist (Ps. Ps. 23:6; Ps. 65:4). Thus, it is an incredible blessing to enjoy the presence of God. This was the primary purpose of the Temple throughout history: to house the Shekinah glory of God among men. It is in the Temple where God’s presence “dwells between the cherubim” over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. Ex. 25:22; Num. Num. 7:89; 1S. 1S. 4:4; 2S. 2S. 6:2; 1K. 1K. 7:29; 2K. 2K. 19:15; 1Chr. 1Chr. 13:6; 2Chr. 2Chr. 5:7; 2Chr. 6:41; Ps. Ps. 80:1; Ps. Ps. 99:1; Isa. Isa. 37:16; Eze. Eze. 41:18). Unless the glory of God “inhabits” the Temple (1K. 1K. 8:10-11; 2Chr. 2Chr. 7:1; Eze. Eze. 43:2-4; Eze. 44:1-2; Hag. Hag. 2:7-9; Mtt. Mat. 20:12) it is just a dead architectural edifice.3 Conversely, in the history of the Temple, there are grave consequences when the Shekinah departs from the Temple, for it indicates God’s displeasure with those among whom He previously dwelt and the removal of His protection and blessing in His departure. The Temple, the house of Israel, is left desolate when the glory of God departs. In at least two occasions in history, the result has been the destruction of the Temple. When the Shekinah left Solomon’s Temple in the days of Ezekiel’s prophecy (Eze. Eze. 10:18; Eze. 11:22-23), the eventual result was the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. When the Shekinah left the Second Temple in the days of Jesus (Mtt. Mat. 23:38), the eventual result was the destruction of the Temple by Titus Vespasian of Rome (Mtt. Mat. 24:1-3). Whether God remains in His house is serious business! Although it is beyond the scope of our treatment here to consider an extensive discussion of God’s abiding presence, it will be helpful to note some of the most significant historical events related to the Shekinah.4 The Shekinah glory:5 • Illuminated the earth prior to the creation of the sun and moon (Gen. Gen. 1:3, Gen. 1:14). • Walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen. Gen. 3:8). • Ratified the Abrahamic covenant while Abraham slept (Gen. Gen. 15:17). • Descended upon Mount Sinai at the giving of the law (Ex. Ex. 19:18; Ex. 24:15-16; Ex. 33:18-23; Ex. 34:5-6). • Filled the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Ex. Ex. 40:34). • Filled Solomon’s Temple upon its dedication (1K. 1K. 8:10-11; 2Chr. 2Chr. 7:1). • Left Solomon’s Temple due to Israel’s sin (Eze. Eze. 8:4-6; Eze. 9:3; Eze. 10:4, Eze. 10:18-19; Eze. 11:22-23). The Temple is left unprotected. • Returned to the Second Temple in the form of the incarnation of Messiah Jesus (Mtt. Mat. 12:6; Mat. 21:12; John John 1:14; John 2:15). • Left the Second Temple desolate upon the departure of Jesus (Mtt. Mat. 23:38; Mat. 24:2; Luke Luke 13:35; Luke 21:6). The Temple is left unprotected. • Appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mtt. Mat. 17:2; Mark Mark 9:2; Luke Luke 9:29). • Appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts Acts 9:3; Acts 22:11; Acts 26:13; 1Ti. 1Ti. 6:16). • Will return to the Millennial Temple (Isa. Isa. 60:3; Eze. Eze. 43:2-4). • Illuminates the New Jerusalem (Rev. Rev. 21:23+; Rev. 22:5+). The significance of the Mount of Olives derives from it association with the departure and arrival of the glory of the Lord: The mountain which is so clearly defined and located in this prophecy [Zec. Zec. 14:4] is already associated with many events and crises in Israel’s history. . . it was from this mountain, which is before Jerusalem on the east, that the prophet Ezekiel saw the glory of Jehovah finally taking its departure. It was from this mountain also that He, who was not only the symbol, but the living personal revelation of the glory of Jehovah, finally took His departure from the land, after He had been rejected by the nation. He led His handful of disciples out as far as Bethany (on the Mount of Olives), and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. ‘And it came to pass while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up to heaven’ [Luke Luke 24:50-51; Acts Acts 1:1;Acts 9:1]; since then a still darker era in the long Ichabod period of Israel’s history commenced. . . . And what is this but a prophecy in symbolic language of the same event which the heavenly messengers announced to the men of Galilee [Acts Acts 1:9-11]. We love to think that this same mountain on which He once shed tears of sorrow over Jerusalem, the slope of which witnessed His agony and bloody sweat, shall be the first also to witness His manifestation in glory; and that His blessed feet, which in the days of His flesh walked wearily over this mountain on the way to Bethany shall, ‘in that day,’ be planted here in triumph and majesty.6 In summary, the Shekinah is the visible representation of the localized presence of God. By God’s design, the Temple is the location where His abiding presence is intended to dwell and where He has put His name (Deu. Deu. 12:5, Deu. 12:11, Deu. 12:21; 2Chr. 2Chr. 6:20; 2Chr. 7:16; 2Chr. 20:19; Ezra Ezra 6:12; Ne. Ne. 1:9; Mtt. Mat. 21:13; Mark Mark 11:17; Luke Luke 19:46). THE DOCTRINE OF JESUS CHRIST CHRIST Since the word "doctrine" means teaching, I always thought that the doctrine of Christ is the whole Bible. I've recently been told that the doctrine of Christ is to love God and love your neighbor. I admit this is very hard to do and am familiar with the verse that tells us these are the greatest commandments. However, I constantly hear that Jesus is the issue and doctrine is not important. How can one love Jesus and not be at all interested in His teachings. My Bible says that Jesus hates the false doctrine of the Nicolaitans. How, then, can one know false doctrine if one is not interested in knowing the doctrine of Christ. You bring up an excellent question about the "doctrine of Christ." In fact, you got me to studying a bit. The phrase is found only two times in the Bible. It might do us good to look at these verses: • Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, • 2 John 1:9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. In both cases, the context indicates that the phrase refers to the teaching of the Bible concerning the person and work of Christ. In other words, the doctrine of Christ is the Bible teaching (or doctrine) about Jesus Christ. Let me explain each passage. Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Obviously signals a change in the direction of the book of Hebrews. Up to now, the book has been dealing with the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Now it is time to go on unto perfection. Also, there is no need to lay down again other basic doctrines like repentance and faith. The question then presents itself--what have the first five chapters of Hebrews been dealing with? If we study these chapters, we will find much teaching about Jesus Christ. 1. He is the Father's spokesman for the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 2. He is the "brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person" (Hebrews 1:3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: certainly, He must be God 3. He is better than the angels (Hebrews 1:4Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 4. He is given the throne and sceptre of the kingdom (Hebrews 1:9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 5. By the grace of God He tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 6. He took on the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 7. He was made a high priest to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 8. He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession (Hebrews 3:1Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 9. He is a Son over His own house (Hebrews 3:6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. 10. He was tempted in all points like us yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 11. He was glorified by the Father to be made our high priest (Hebrews 5:5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 12. He because the author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:8-9  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; I have only picked out several things in this section of the Bible. However, these chapters certainly deal much with the doctrine of Jesus Christ-- is person and work. The remainder of Hebrews continues to speak of Christ, but more and more it points to the perfection of the believers. The other scriptural use of the "doctrine of Christ" is in 2 John 1:9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. Where those who abide not in the doctrine of Christ are not of God. If this refers to loving God and loving your neighbor, then we have a works salvation. But the context shows otherwise. Consider the verse in greater context: 2 John 1:7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. John is dealing with deceivers who have denied the true physical presence of Christ on earth. Historically, we know that there were people who denied that Jesus Christ was born in the flesh or possessed a real body. They felt this was too demeaning to God. How could God dwell in the human body? In order to solve this problem, they created a doctrine that taught that Jesus Christ made a spiritual appearance, but was not in a real body. They denied the incarnation, the virgin birth, and other cardinal doctrines about Jesus Christ. John taught that those who denied the physical presence of Jesus Christ on earth did not know God as Saviour. That is, the doctrine of Christ could be so perverted that they no longer believed in the true Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 11:4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. See All..., Paul warned of those who preached "another Jesus." I believe we see this today in many of the cults and isms. They have altered the person of Jesus Christ to such an extent that they no longer preach God's way of salvation. They have denied the doctrine of Christ. The two verses that teach about the doctrine of Christ give two great truths about this doctrine. First, it is essential for salvation (2 John 1:9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. See All...). Second, it is basic to our understanding of other doctrine in scripture. Certainly, we should take the doctrine of Christ as a very serious matter. WHAT ARE ANGELS? There are many terms used in the Bible to describe angels: host, creatures, throne, dominions, principalities, powers, sons of God, and the angel of his presence. The phrase “the angel of the Lord” usually implies the presence of deity in angelic: form (Gen. 16:1-13; 22:11-16; 31:11-13; Exod. 3:2-4; Judg. 6:1216). Most interpret the phrase “the angel of the Lord” as Christ and call this appearance a “Christophany.” However, the phrase in Luke 1:11 and Acts 12:7, 23 is not a description of deity. CREATED BEINGS When were the angels created? Obviously before the beginning of the earth, because angels watched the magnificent drama of creation. God asked the question, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4). The narrative goes on to indicate, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (job 38:7). The angels were rejoicing as God created the world. The record of the creation of angels appears in the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heaven(s) and the earth” (Gen. 1:1, plural added). In the Hebrew language, the plural form of “heavens” reveals that God created the whole of heaven, composed of all its innumerable separate parts. The heavens included not only the stars but the present abode of God, plus the angelic beings. Angels were the first created beings and later, while the earth was being created, they admired God’s beauty, orderliness, and power. Since one task of angels is to give glory to God, they sang and shouted during the creation. Even though the Father and the Holy Spirit were active in the creation of angels, Jesus Christ is identified as their Creator. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16). The terms thrones, dominions, principalities and powers are all terms used in the Bible to describe angels. David urged the angels to praise the Lord because they were created (Ps. 148:2-5). INCORPOREAL BEINGS Though angels have appeared to men in physical form, they are essentially spirit beings. Since they are without physical bodies, they are spirits. David recognized and blessed the Lord “Who maketh his angels spirits; and his ministers a flaming fire” (Ps. 104:4). Even though angels are spirits, they have the ability to become visible in the semblance of a human body (Gen. 19:1; Exod. 3:2; Judg. 2:1; Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26; John 2012). Angels are always referred to as being masculine, but. without specific reference to gender. David reflected on the nature of man and observed, “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5). In the hierarchy of heaven, angels are above man, yet they are listed below Christ. “Being so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Heb. 1:4). HOLY BEINGS All angels were originally created holy to praise God and to serve him. Perhaps the best known phrase that came from the mouth of angels is, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3): The word “host” means “angels,” hence God is the Lord of the angels. Again the angels were fulfilling their task when they sang, “Worthy is the Lamb” (Rev. 5:12). They were created holy because their message of praise is holy. But there was a group of “angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation” (Jude 6). Some theologians believe that some of these fallen angels are demons who now serve Satan, while those who didn’t fall are holy angels, who serve the Lord God. Even these demons were originally created in a state of holiness. Another group of the fallen angels are “chained under darkness,” awaiting the judgment of God (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). But the holy angels that did not sin are in fellowship with God and can look upon him. Jesus warned his disciples not to abuse children because their angels are in the presence of God. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:10). The fact that angel are in fellowship with God and remain in his presence implies their holiness. If they did not flee from the presence of God, he would judge the sin he finds in them. PERSONAL BEINGS Angels are similar to God and man in that they have a personality, which is intellect, emotion, and will. Having personality or being a person gives the angel the power of self-perception and self-direction. God created angels with intellectual ability. They are identified as wise (2 Sam. 14:20). Throughout the Scriptures, angels are portrayed in the obedient service of God, thus demonstrating the existence of a will. The angel who showed John the Revelation would not allow John to worship him. “Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, the prophets, and of them who keep the sayings of this book: Worship God” (Rev. 22:9). Today, the will of angels to choose evil has apparently been preempted by God because they choose not to follow Satan. Today, angels are surrendered to God and cannot choose evil. When the Scriptures indicate that “the angels desire to look into” the glories of salvation (1 Pet. 1:12), it is an indication of their emotions and the interaction of their will-obviously a reflection of personality. The personality of angels is further demonstrated in the work of communication with God and men. On several occasions an angel was sent by God to an individual to communicate a special message from God. To accomplish that task, he possessed the powers of speech that involved word recognition, memory, and rational ability to form sentences. Angels have the ability to discern (used to answer questions), wisdom, and basic knowledge regarding life on earth and the plan of God. These are all elements of personality. Deathless beings. When God created angels, he did not plan for their death; as a matter of fact, death is inconsistent with the nature of God and cannot be a part of his original purpose. Jesus taught we would someday be “deathless” like angels. “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36). Death is an experience of the human race because of the entrance of sin into the world (Rom. 5:12). Angels were created in a state of holiness. When Satan rebelled against God, they chose to follow God, therefore they have no sin that leads to death. Hell was created for those angels that rebelled against God and someday they will be eternally consigned there. John noted that “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev. 20:10). Jesus described it as “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). UNSEEN BEINGS Angels are unseen until they choose to appear for some special purpose. They seemed to have manifested themselves at certain times in Bible history more than others. They were frequent visitors during the period from Abraham to Moses, then primarily around the life of Christ. They were said to be present when the world was created. They appeared when circumstances on earth changed and God needed to give specific “messages” to his people about new covenants or different responsibilities. Because they don’t appear frequently as persons in bright apparel does not mean they have no ministry today, for they constantly minister to “them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14). In their work they are not perceived, but perhaps work through people, or perhaps they appear as a person. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). THE WORK OF ANGELS The Bible describes more specifically some of the works of angels. Angels served God throughout the life of Christ, at times prepared to do more than they were called on to perform. In some aspects of their work in relationship to the work of Christ, the angels were waiting for service. Currently, much of the work of angels in this age affects the church and various political states. Even the lost are not exempt from the work of angels today. ANGELS AND CHRIST From the prediction of his birth through the judgments by Christ at his return, the angels are engaged in working with Jesus. Not only did they predict his birth to Mary (Luke 1:30) and Joseph (Matt. 1:20), they were on hand at that historic birth to announce it to the shepherds (Lu,, 2:10). When Herod heard about the Messiah’s birth an planned to destroy Jesus, God warned Joseph and Mary through angels to go to Egypt (Matt. 2:19). The angels ministered to Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry in the wilderness (Matt. 4:11) and at the end in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). They were on hand to defend Jesus during his arrest if he should have asked for them (Matt. 26:53), and one was present to roll back the stone on the resurrection morning (Matt. 28:2). Two angels were the first to officially announce Jesus’ resurrection to the world (Matt. 28:6). They were nearby at the ascension of Christ into heaven and predicted his second coming (Acts 1:11). Jesus taught he would return accompanied by his angels (Matt. 25:31). At the judgment of Christ, angels will be on hand to carry out the judgment pronounced by Christ (Matt. 13:39, 40). ANGELS IN THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST • Predicted his birth – Luke 1:30-33 • Announced his birth – Luke 2:10-14 • Warned his parents of Herod’s plot – Matt. 2:19, 20 • Ministry after the temptation – Matt. 4:11 • Ministry before the betrayal – Luke 22:43 • On call at the arrest of Jesus – Matt. 26:53 • Rolled back the stone from the tomb – Matt. 28:2 • First announcement of the resurrection – Matt. 28:6 • Ascension of Christ – Acts 1:11 • Return of Christ – Matt. 25:31 • Execute the judgment of Christ – Matt. 13:39, 40 ANGELS AND THE CHURCH Much of the general works of angels discussed in the first section of this chapter relates specifically to the church and its members. The Bible tells us that angels may attend the services of the church as spectators of church worship, order, and ministry. The angels are present to observe and presumably report to God concerning the order in our corporate worship (1 Cor. 11:10; Eph. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:21). Some commentators suggest that the Book of Hebrews may have referred to angels: “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). If the witnesses that observed the race of Christians were angels, Christians would be motivated by their observation. ANGELS AND THE NATIONS The prophet Daniel wrote of a time when Michael the archangel would help protect the nation Israel. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1). As Israel passes through the Great Tribulation, they will have a national guardian angel. ANGELS AND THE LOST In many instances when angels appeared to men, one of the first things they said was, “Fear not.” Obviously, the lost should fear angels because they are some-times used as agents of judgment. God used an angel to kill Herod when he accepted the worship of the people. “And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost” (Acts 12:23). God may also do the same thing today. He will use angels to warn of the judgment of the world at Armageddon (Rev. 19:17) as he did in Sodom (Gen. 18:12, 13). They will also be involved in gathering and casting the lost into their assigned place of punishment at the end of the age (Matt. 13:39, 40). WHY DID GOD CREATE ANGELS? Angels were especially created by God to serve him. To adequately represent God, they were given great strength and superior intelligence. Since God requires “all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40), angels are a highly organized company. They are described as “a multitude of heavenly host” (Luke 2:13). The apostle John fell at the feet of one angel to worship him (Rev. 22:8). John was certainly aware the worship of angels was not permitted by Scripture, even though it was practiced by some early sects within Christianity (Col. 2:18). We are therefore led to believe that John was so overwhelmed with all the angel had done and shown him that for the moment he looked upon him as God, perhaps even an incarnation Jesus. STRENGTH The power of angels is so vast that humans cannot comprehend it. The angels were given great power yet they are not omnipotent. The apostle Paul calls them “mighty angels” (2 Thess. 1:7). The power of a single angel was demonstrated in part on the resurrection morning. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it” (Matt. 28:2). First, in an act of authority, the angel broke the Roman seal which was an immediate challenge to the sixteen armed guards at the tomb. But in an act of strength, the angel rolled a massive stone away from the tomb. Isaiah records an instance where God sent an angel to kill one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers during a single night (Isa. 37:36). As we consider these two accomplishments by single angels, we must observe with David “his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (Ps. 103:20). While we recognize that angels are powerful, we also realize that omnipotence is never ascribed to them. There can only be one omnipotent One, and that is God. If another omnipotent being existed in the universe, by definition God would not be God. INTELLIGENCE Earlier we saw how angels had rational ability as an aspect of their personality. Jesus predicted his return, but qualified those who knew the time, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Most obviously, Jesus was teaching that the intelligence of angels was limited. There definitely are some things angels do not know, so they do not possess the omniscience of God. In the phrase “no, not the angels” Jesus was teaching that the angels were more intelligent than man. Jesus is listing the priority of intelligence from man who is knowledgeable, to angels who are more knowledgeable, to God who is omniscient in all things. The intelligence of the angels lies somewhere between that of men and God. They were created intelligent beings. But their wisdom is not static. They have continued to learn since their creation (Eph. 3:10). It should also be remembered that the learning capacity of angels has not been corrupted with sin as in the case with man (Rom. 1:21). ORDER Jesus told those who arrested him, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53) The writer to the Hebrews called them “an innumerable company of angels” (Heb. 12:22). The apostle John counted in excess of 2 million angels in heaven (Rev. 5:11), but this would not include about one-third of the angels that fell when satan was cast out of heaven. If there is a guardian angel for each person on earth (Matt. 18:10; Acts 12:15), then the number exceeds at least 4 billion, but less if only saints have guardian angels (Heb. 1:14). A group this large could not function efficiently without an organization. Various groups of angels are identified in Scripture in relation to specific spheres of ministry. Michael the archangel is apparently the leader among; the holy angels. HOW DOES GOD USE ANGELS? God has in the past used angels to accomplish a number of tasks. They were involved in delivering the revelation of the Word of God. At times, God has sent angels to protect his people. Men have been encouraged and motivated to great ness by angels. They have also been used of, God both to free captured men and to strengthen men in their service for God. When God has had to judge sin, often he has sent his angel to execute his judgment. Beyond these specific duties, angels have been the messengers of God to men on a number of occasions. ANGELIC TRANSPORTATION AT DEATH The Bible teaches that “to be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). Apparently we are taken instantaneously to heaven at death. God uses angels to transport the souls of the saved to the presence of God. Luke recorded a story that Jesus told about the death of two men, one who went to a place of eternal paradise, the other to the place of eternal punishment. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). Though this is the only reference to this phase of the works of angels, there is no indication that anything beyond the norm happened here or that anything less than the norm can be expected today. Since every Christian has a guardian angel, it is assumed that that angel accomplishes his final duty, which is to deliver the soul of the departed saint into the presence of God. ANGELIC REVELATION God has used a variety of ways to make his revelation known to man (Heb. 1:1); angels are just one means of delivering his revelation. After recording the Revelation of Jesus Christ and seeing the new heavens and new earth, John spoke of “the angel which showed me these things” (Rev. 22:8). Ezekiel described his vision of the cherubim in the first chapter of his prophecy. Also, the angel of God was sent on three occasions surrounding the birth of Christ to reveal something that God was about to do. First he appeared to the priest Zacharias, to tell him of the coming birth of his son, John (Luke 1:11). About six months later, “Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26, 27). It was probably about five or six months later, after announcing the birth of Christ to Mary, “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20). God also used an angel to reveal the birth of Samson to the barren wife of Manoah (Judg. 13:3) and later to teach the parents of Samson how to raise their son (Judg. 13:9-21). In this role, the angels characterize the meaning of their name by delivering a message from God. ANGELIC PROTECTION Before God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he sent two angels to warn Lot and his family to flee the city (Gen. 19:12, 13). During the evening, the safety of Lot’s family and his guests was threatened by the men of the city. The two angel visitors protected Lot and themselves when they “smote the men, that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door” (Gen. 19:11). After Daniel had spent the night in a den of lions, he was able to report to the king, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me, forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me” (Dan. 6:22). David, too, had learned throughout his experience as both shepherd and soldier that “the angel of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear him, and delivereth them” (Ps. 34:7). Today, there are guardian angels to give physical protection to the people of God. Children are described as having “their angels” (Matt. 18:10) and the Christians described the knocking at their door by Peter, “It is his angel” (Acts 12:15). Protection begins early in life and continues throughout life. The guardian angels “do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:20), implying that God, who knows what danger faces us, can send our angel immediately, to help us. This protection seems to extend to physical help. Our spiritual help comes from the indwelling Christ and the Holy Spirit. We should avail ourselves of the filling of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Christ to keep us from temptation and sin. Even though it is an argument from silence, there is not one verse that suggests we should pray to angel, for help. We pray to the Father and he sends angels. ANGELIC EMANCIPATION Angels not only protect people from trouble, they also on occasion provide for their deliverance Very early in the church in Jerusalem, the Sadducees arrested the apostles and threw them into prison. “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them, forth” (Acts 5:19). It must have infuriated the Sadducees, who denied the theological existence of angels, that God should send an angel to release their prisoners. On another occasion, while the church prayed for Peter, who was in prison awaiting his execution, God sent an angel to release him from his jail cell (Acts 12:7). This was quite different from the occasion when Peter attempted to prevent the arrest of Jesus with a sword, and Jesus said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently, give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Angelic provision. When Elijah ran from Jezebel in fear of his life, he was discouraged and tired. God sent an angel to prepare a meal while he slept. Then he was encouraged to eat. The nature of this food provided by the angel was such that “he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb, the mount of God” (1 Kings 19:8). After Jesus had fasted forty days in the wilderness and the devil had failed in his attempt to cause Jesus to sin, “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” (Matt. 4:11). Part of that ministry of angels to Jesus may have included providing nourishment and physical sustenance. ANGELIC ENCOURAGEMENT God has sent angels to encourage servants of God who were discouraged. The Book of Revelation was written in part to encourage those being persecuted by the Roman authorities. The reader is reminded in the final book of the Bible that God is still on the throne, no matter how bad things may appear. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon (Judg. 16:12), he was a discouraged young man. After the angel commissioned him, Gideon was used of God to remove the idols from his father’s house and deliver Israel from the Midianites. ANGELIC ADMINISTRATION Because God is holy, his nature demands that he judge sin. On several occasions, God used his angels to administer justice, and one angel in particular to judge sin-the angel of death. When David numbered the people of Israel, God decided to judge it as sin. “So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand” (2 Sam. 24:15-18). There is coming at least one more occasion when God will use angels to administer judgment. “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them who do iniquity, And shall cast them into a furnace of fire” (Matt. 13:41, 42).
WELCOME TO UNITED NATIONS / UNITED STATES FOR JESUS CHRIST. By: Professor Mathew Sammie, President W. Bush & Queen Elizabeth 11 PhD. Theology and Humanities General JESUS CHRIST AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD - UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS... WESTIN INDIANAPOLIS HOTEL & SHERATON INDIANAPOLIS HOTELS Addresses: 1. - 50 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States. 2. - 760 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, New York City MGM United States ministries are an ecumenical body committed to the basic doctrines of the Christian faith drawn from the Old and New Testament Scriptures. It is committed to the three ecumenical creeds (Apostle's Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed) and takes into account the faith statements and traditions of its nominating churches. MGM UNITED STATES MINISTRIES AFFIRM: • Its faith in God, as One-in-Three-Persons, whose redemptive purpose for the world is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ. • That the Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed in word and deed the presence of the Kingdom of God through mission to the world—a calling of people to repentance and a declaration of God's love in practical ministry to others by enabling reconciliation, peace, wholeness and justice. • God's concern for the whole person in context of his or her being in relation with others and the world, and that God is concerned that justice and mercy form the hallmarks of society. • The redemptive presence of God in the world, and MGM United States ministries personnel, along with other Christians, form part of God's presence in the Westin Indianapolis. • That the Christian tradition recognizes the educative and Christian needs of people and that these needs are to be respectfully and educationally addressed. JESUS CHRIST AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD - UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS Address - 760 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, New York City FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT TO THE NEW The Old Testament ends on a note of expectation —the return of Elijah the prophet who would soften the hearts of the people to obey the Law of Moses in conformity with Israel’s calling as God’s holy nation (Mal. 4:4-6). However, four hundred long years pass before Israel hears any word from God. During this time, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans all ruled over Israel in Palestine. The apocryphal books were written and the apocalyptic prophets preached. But no authentic prophet arose to bring a good word from God. Finally, the deafening silence was shattered by the strong voice of John the Baptist — the promised forerunner of Messiah who was also the new Elijah (Matt. 3:3; 11:14; Mark 1:2-3; 9:13; Luke 3:4-6). John the [Southern?] Baptist made this startling, but exciting announcement: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2)! At long last, God was at work again! He was about to do something new! Indeed He was! What He was about to do was to fulfill the redemptive hope of the Old Testament through the inauguration of the Kingdom of God in the person of His own virgin-born Son, Jesus Christ. The time had finally come. The offspring of the woman who would bring redemption to the earth was at hand. The covenants of promise were about to be fulfilled. God’s redeeming rule was about to break into the world! This is what the story of Jesus and the New Testament is all about! At the heart of this story is the concept of the Kingdom of God. VIEWS OF THE KINGDOM Bible scholars agree that “the Kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus.” The Biblical evidence for this is quite clear. For example, the gospel of Mark introduces Jesus and His mission with these words: “And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:13-14). Matthew’s summary of Jesus’ ministry is similar: “And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people” (Matt. 4:23). Luke chimes in on the same note with this comment: “But He [Jesus] said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose” (Luke 4:43). These three verses are unanimous: the Kingdom was at the heart of Jesus’ purpose on earth. Unfortunately, however, scholarly accord ends here. There is little if any agreement about what the Kingdom is or how it should be defined. There is not much understanding about its identity among the rank and file in our churches either. Some believe that God’s Kingdom is the same as heaven. Catholics (and some Protestants) tend to equate it with the institutional church (so the phrase “Kingdom work” means “church work”). Pietists locate the Kingdom of God in the heart and connect it with the spiritual life. Liberal Christians associate God’s Kingdom with social reform (as in the social gospel). Others still believe that the Kingdom is still future and will be established for the Jews during the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth. Obviously there is not much agreement or clarity these days about the Biblical concept of the Kingdom. In order to shed some light on this subject, let’s do our best to see how the Bible answers several important questions about the definition, timing, and nature of this crucial theme. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD? The Hebrew word for kingdom is malkut and its Greek counterpart is basileia. Both terms primarily mean “rule” or “reign.” Only secondarily do they denote a realm, sphere, or territory over which a rule or reign is exercised. Both terms have a dynamic or active meaning, and refer to the exercise of God’s power, dominion, or sovereignty. This is clear in the Old Testament, particularly in the poetry of the Psalms where parallel lines clarify what the term “kingdom” means. For example, Psalm 22:28 says, “For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over all.” Similarly, Psalm 103:19 states, “The Lord has established His throne [kingdom] in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 145:11 declares, “They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and talk of Thy power.” Here kingdom is associated with the ideas of God’s rule, sovereignty, and power. The New Testament term means the same thing. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10),” we are asking God to exert His authority in the world so that His purposes are achieved. In Jesus’ parable about “A certain nobleman who went to a distant country to receive a kingdom,” those over whom he was to rule said: “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:12, 14). In Colossians 1:13, Paul teaches that redemption amounts to an exchange of rulers over our lives, stating that God has delivered us believers “from the authority of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Thus, the NT nuance for kingdom in these verses connect it with the exertion of God’s will, the act of ruling or reigning, the exercise of authority. So, then, from this brief study, we see that the expression “Kingdom of God” does not refer to heaven or the church or the heart or to moral reform or to a future realm. Rather it refers to the active, dynamic exercise of God’s rule, authority, dominion, and power in the world! So when John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand, he meant that God’s rule was just about to break into the world through the Messiah. When Jesus Christ Himself preached and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, He meant that in and by Himself, God was exercising His power and authority in a redemptive way against all the evil in the world! In short, the Kingdom of God is the rule of God manifested in Christ to bring redemption to the earth. No wonder the Kingdom is the central theme of the New Testament! THE BIG “KINGDOM” PICTURE This makes good sense when we step back and take a look at the big picture. As we have seen, God established His Kingdom at creation. He was the ruler over His world and the people He had made. But His Kingdom was attacked and overtaken by the authority of Satan when humanity fell into sin. Ever since, God has been at work to reassert His rightful rule over the earth and to take it and His people back from the powers of sin, death, and Satan. In fulfillment of the covenants of redemption established by God in the Old Testament, the decisive moment in this war of all wars took place when God’s Kingdom arrived in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ who entered into conflict with and defeated God’s enemies. Those who now submit to Christ’s redeeming rule through faith are restored to God and become new creatures in Him. They anticipate the completion of His redemptive work at His second advent when the whole creation will be restored as God’s Kingdom and made new. So the scenario is this: God’s Kingdom rule was established at creation; It was attacked by Satan at the fall; now it is being restored on earth through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who defeats Satan, death, and sin! No wonder He taught us to pray in this way: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven!” Now let us press on to learn more about the timing of God’s Kingdom. WHEN IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Has God’s kingly rule and authority already come into the world? Or is it still future? Or is there some sense in which it is both present and future? The teaching of the New Testament is clear: The Kingdom is both “already” but “not yet.” It has come, and yet it is coming. It is both present and future. Let’s examine the Biblical evidence for this point of view. The presence of the Kingdom of God. Several verses in the New Testament teach that God’s rule has broken into human history to deliver men and women from the power of sin, death, and Satan. Matthew 12:28-29 is a case in point: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom [read: redeeming rule] of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” In the context of these verses, Jesus had been accused by the Pharisees of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. Nonsense, Jesus said. Any kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Contrariwise, the fact that He exorcised demons by the power of God’s Spirit was proof positive that God’s redeeming rule had come upon them! In Christ, God was acting in kingly power to deliver those possessed by demons. When a person was so delivered, this was a clear sign of the victory of God’s rule in the world over Satan and his minions. In fact, as verse 29 above points out, this is what Jesus’ ministry was all about: binding the “strong man” Satan through the exercise of His sovereign power (see also 1 John 3:8). Once Satan is bound, Jesus will “carry off his property” and “plunder his house,” that is, take back the people who rightfully belong to Him. In short, Jesus’ exorcisms demonstrate the mighty presence of the Kingdom of God delivering people from the power of evil! Another passage that indicates the presence of God’s kingship is Luke 17: 20-21. Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. " Like many in Israel, the Pharisees were looking forward to the arrival of God’s kingly rule in the world. But when would it come, they asked? Jesus makes two very important points in His response to their inquiry. One, and contrary to standard Jewish expectation, God’s kingship would not come apocalyptically with great signs and wonders that people could see; instead it must be coming in some secret or hidden way. Two, this invisible Kingdom was not a future thing at all, but was already in their midst. Undoubtedly, Jesus was referring to Himself as the embodiment of God’s sovereignty that had come into the world to destroy the malicious works of God’s enemies. As a matter of fact, God’s Kingdom power and authority was present in Jesus and demonstrated in His every word and in His every deed. Over against falsehood and error, He taught truth, and His powerful teaching was proof positive of the Kingdom’s presence. Over against disease, death and demonic possession, He healed, resurrected, and delivered, and His miracles were also powerful proofs positive of the kingdom’s presence. From start to finish, Jesus’ entire life and ministry was the expression of God’s mighty rule that had broken into history to deliver the creation and its human inhabitants from the curse of sin and death. The rule of God was in Jesus. He was, as ancient church theologians believed, the Autobasileia, Himself the Kingdom! Hence, in the book of Acts, when the apostles preach Jesus, they preach the kingdom and when they preach the kingdom, they preach Jesus! See for yourself: But when they [the people of Samaria] believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. And when they [Roman Jews} had set a day for him [Paul], they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God, and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, Acts 28:31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. Thus we conclude that the New Testament teaches that the Kingdom of God has already come! But it also affirms that it is not yet. The Kingdom of God has come and is coming! How can this be? Actually this is pretty easy to substantiate. The future of the Kingdom of God. New Testament evidence for a future manifestation of the Kingdom is overwhelming. The apocalyptic discourses in the synoptic gospels leave no doubt about Christ’s bodily second coming, and the final establishment of God’s rule in the world (see Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21). Consider this passage as an example (Matt. 25:31-34): "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” John’s gospel also contains references to Christ’s return (John 14:3; 21:22; 1 John 2:28; 3:2), and so does his book of the Revelation (2:26-28; 3:12; 11:15; 19:11-16; 21:1-5; 22 7). Revelation 19:11-16 depicts the King of Kings and Lord of Lords returning to bring judgment upon the nations, and Revelation 21:1-5 conveys the glory of our final estate in very hopeful terms. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Of course, the epistles of Paul and Peter are replete with references to the coming of Christ and future manifestation of God’s Kingdom (Rom. 8:18-25; 13:11-12; 1 Cor. 15; 16:22; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; Eph. 1:9-10; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; Titus 2:13-14; Heb. 11:13-16; 12: 13:14; James 5:8; 1 Pet. 2 Pet. 3:8-13). The last text cited sums up the Christian expectation about the return of Christ and the future of the earth. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. How might we sum up the NT teaching about this matter of the timing of the Kingdom of God? Theologian George L. Ladd explains its two stages as clearly as anyone in these words that tie our study together up to this point. Our central thesis is that the Kingdom of God is the redemptive reign of God dynamically active to establish his rule among human beings, and that this Kingdom, which will appear as an apocalyptic act [with signs and wonders] at the end of the age, has already come into human history in the person and mission of Jesus to overcome evil, to deliver people from its power, and to bring them into the blessings of God’s reign. The Kingdom of God involves two great moments: fulfillment within history [already], and consummation at the end of history [not yet]. Now the Jews certainly believed that whenever the Kingdom came, it would come with some pizzazz. But it didn’t. It came in a rather understated way, to say the least. Hence, we must answer one last question about the manner in which the kingdom of God came. HOW DID THE KINGDOM COME? The shorthand answer to this question is this: it came unexpectedly in a hidden, spiritual form. It is the secret presence of God’s rule in the world in advance of its powerful apocalyptic manifestation; it is present Kingdom fulfillment without future Kingdom consummation. That the Jews were expecting something really BIG whenever God broke into history seems clear enough from several passages in the gospels (e.g., Matt. 11:2-6; Luke 1:67-75). Their version of Messiah was militaristic and political. They sought a Savior who would destroy evil and evil people. But it didn’t happen that way. Important parables in the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke help us to understand this “mystery of the kingdom of God” (Matt. 13:10-11; Mark 4:10-11; Luke 8:9-10). The parables explain how the Kingdom has come in this unexpected, but real manner. They disclose a new, previously unrevealed aspect of the divine Kingdom that is already established without bring in the end. We will summarize the significance of the Kingdom parables in Matthew 13, interpreting them in their historical context as they would have been understood by Jesus’ disciples. The parable of the four soils (Matt. 13:1-9; 18-23): The Kingdom of God had come, but contrary to standard expectation, it would not be spread by power, but by the preaching of the Word. The responses to this proclamation would depend upon the conditions of the listeners’ hearts. The Kingdom of God will have only partial success. It will not sweep away all evil automatically, but, like seed, will be received by differently by different types of soils or hearts. The parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). This parable also teaches that the Kingdom is already present in the world, but its coming did not bring about the final separation of the wicked from the righteous. In the midst of this present age, society continues with its intermixture of the good and the evil. The sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one continue side by side. Only at the end of the age will the separation take place at the eschatological judgment. The parables of the mustard seed and leaven (Matt. 13: 31-33). As a mustard seed, the Kingdom of God has entered the world in an imperceptible, humble form, virtually unnoticed and inauspicious. Yet, one day it will be a great tree and encompass the earth. How the Kingdom could be embodied in a relatively insignificant band of disciples who embrace outcasts, sinners, tax collectors is answered by this parable. Similarly, the Kingdom of God is hidden as leaven in a lump of dough. It will operate secretly but effectively, and will one day prevail such that no rival kingdom exists. The parables of the treasure and pearl (Matt. 13:44-46). Because of the Kingdom’s inauspicious presence, its importance might be overlooked or despised. Both of these parables, however, teach that the Kingdom of God is of inestimable value and ought to be sought over all other possessions. It is humanity’s greatest good. It is worth selling everything in order to own it. The parable of the drag-net (Matt. 13:47-50). Virtually identical in meaning to the wheat and the tares, this parable teaches that the kingdom has come into the world, but without effecting the final judgment. Again, contrary to expectations, a mixed spiritual society will remain until Christ returns. The Kingdom that was supposed to come in power and do away with evil came by means of preaching and allowed the wicked to remain alongside the righteous until the end. This is really God’s mercy! Had He come in power and judgment, none of us would be here today! Though the Kingdom arrived in a humble way, it is humankind’s greatest good. It is worth sacrificing everything to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God. But the Kingdom’s greatest mystery is connected with the cross! THE KINGDOM AND THE CROSS Simply put, the Kingdom is the cross! The cross is the Kingdom – in disguise! Yes, there on the cross, God in Christ conquered sin, defeated death, and triumphed over Satan. Sounds like a Kingdom victory to me! Yet it could not have appeared more unkingly. Jesus hung there in apparent defeat. There He suffered and died. Satan appears to have won the battle. Yet by this means, Jesus triumphed over God’s enemies and ours, and shares that victory with those who believe. Jesus is Christus Victor! By means of this victory, we are restored to God and our true purposes as human beings. It is the mystery of the Kingdom that makes us new creatures in Christ. So while there are many views of the Kingdom floating about these days, the Bible is clear: the Kingdom of God is the rule or reign of God. It is not the church, or heaven, or moral reform, or the heart, or the future realm. It is God’s sovereignty in action against all the evil in the world! It came into the world in Christ. It is both present and future. Its arrival, however, was startling. It came as a mystery, in an unexpected form through the humble person and work of Jesus as the Suffering Servant who defeated sin, death, and Satan. It has set us free! It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises of redemption and the covenants of God. Choosing a Christian environment for a young person is one of the biggest decisions that a family can make in Saudi Arabia. At Saudi Arabia Christian Community fellowship, we strive to partner with families in providing a transformational journey that equips young people for a successful and fulfilling life. As a community, we are dedicated to bringing hope and purpose through a values-based culture centred on the Christian faith and excellent Christian information. Being an open enrolment of Christian community, we invite families of all backgrounds to enjoy the opportunities our community has to offer and benefit from the support of our expert staff, excellent facilities, engaging curriculum and exceptional pastoral care program. The important role that genuine community plays in the values-based development of a young person cannot be understated, as it fosters positive growth and fruitful relationships. Saudi Arabia Christian Community fellowship strives to educate the whole-person, so that they not only succeed academically, but as people who are empowered to make a positive difference in the world. We invite you to visit us and experience our Christian fellowships. We would love to partner with you in bringing hope and purpose to your family through Christian education in Saudi Arabia. As a young man coming to Ambassador College in 1949, I heard Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong proclaim publically—again and again—that unless Britain and America would come to genuine repentance before the God of the Bible, quite a number of specific events would begin to happen: • The British Empire would come to an end. • The great “sea gates”—such as the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca, Singapore and the Panama Canal—would be removed from the control of the United States and the British-descended nations. • Russian control over the East European nations would come to an end. Mr. Armstrong specifically foresaw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of East and West Germany. • British and American dominance over world events would end. For the Eternal God would “break” the pride of their power, unless they would turn to God and His ways in genuine repentance. • A powerful European Union would arise—eventually coalescing into a genuine European Empire—the final prophesied revival of the Holy Roman Empire that controlled most of Europe for centuries. My friends, these are all major developments that few if any “secular” prognosticators would have expected 50 (or even 30) years ago. They touch the lives of hundreds of millions of human beings. Yet, just as Mr. Armstrong foresaw, they have all been fulfilled, or are in the process of coming about! For there is a real God! And that great God—who directly inspired the Bible prophecies from which Mr. Armstrong gained his understanding—is right now beginning to intervene in world affairs more powerfully than in thousands of years—certainly since the time Jesus Christ was here on the earth! Why? Because we are truly nearing the end of the first 6,000 years of human history, and are approaching the prophesied Millennium—Jesus Christ’s thousand-year rule as King of kings over physical human beings here on planet earth (Revelation 11:15; 20:4). Sadly, the very nations God has blessed and used in modern times to forestall total world chaos—the nations that have sent out more Bibles and more missionaries than all other nations on earth combined—have today practically rejected the true God! Through our political and religious teachers, and our influential and pervasive media—such as television and the Internet—most are either actively or passively “going along” with the greatest anti-God movement in centuries! Millions right now are even beginning to accept the “marriage” of men to other men, and of women to other women! We often “look the other way” when we see the increasing millions of our fellow citizens openly living in relationships outside of marriage, which God plainly calls fornication. We see the glorification of drug addiction as a “lifestyle.” In fact, we have passively allowed our nations’ politicians, educators and media leaders to “reinvent” the English language. So, fornication is no longer “fornication.” Rather it is now just “living together.” New ways to deviate from the natural use of the human body and emotions are constantly being added to the range of practices praised as “alternative lifestyles.” Meanwhile, the continuing widespread execution of millions of unborn children is no longer called “murder.” Instead, advocates call it “exercising the woman’s right to choose.” Virtually nothing is said about the right of the other body inside the pregnant mother—about half of the time another woman, a little human being made in the image of God—who is deprived of her own “right to choose” staying alive! As this so-called “progress” in human affairs becomes more pervasive, the great God—the Creator of heaven and earth—will at some point say: “Enough!” Then, the horrifying wars, storms, drought, famine, disease epidemics and massive earthquakes that Jesus Christ specifically predicted (Luke 21:22–27; Matthew 24:6–7) will begin to strike with never-before-seen intensity! As this Work of the living God has warned for many decades, the Creator who gives us life and breath will soon intervene in human affairs to stop the rot! He is not a “mean” God for doing this. Rather, our Creator will intervene in order to literally save man from destroying himself. As Jesus predicted, the soon-coming period of enormous wars and weather upsets will be so terrible that, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). WHAT IS JUST AHEAD? My friends I know that most of you—especially our older readers—have come to expect that America and Britain will “muddle through” each trial and test that comes along. But, on the authority of Scripture, I need to warn you that, very soon, it will definitely be different! For we are near the end of an age. God’s prophecies will come to pass! Please understand: Jesus specifically told true Christians, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matthew 24:9–10). We are now about to enter into a time of horrifying tribulation surpassing anything the world has ever before experienced (Matthew 24:21). Even as I write, I have before me a shocking article from Newsweek magazine, describing in detail the sickening persecution and violence against professing Christians throughout the Islamic world. This secular publication writes, “It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.” The article goes on to describe scores of instances of horrifying violence: “In the month of January 2012 alone, Boko Haram was responsible for 54 deaths. In 2011 its members killed at least 510 people and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches in 10 northern states. They use guns, gasoline, bombs and even machetes, shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is great’) while launching attacks on unsuspecting citizens. They have attacked churches, a Christmas Day gathering (killing 42 Catholics), beer parlors, a town hall, beauty salons, and banks. They have so far focused on killing Christian clerics, politicians, students, policemen, and soldiers, as well as Muslim clerics who condemn their mayhem” (February 13, 2012). Meanwhile, God is removing His protective hand from the American and British-descended peoples as they turn further and further away from the Ten Commandments. If you have not already done so, request your free copy of our booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, to learn more about this vital prophetic connection. In a prophecy that applies directly to American and British-descended nations today, God explains, “All your lovers have forgotten you; they do not seek you; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased. Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you” (Jeremiah 30:14–15). Because of “vile” practices and anti-God attitudes displayed throughout society, the American and British peoples will indeed be brought down, unless there is a national turning to God, in a way that has never been done before in modern times! As you who read this begin to see the continuing fulfillment of these specific Bible prophecies all around you, then you need to understand that the real Jesus Christ of the Bible must return soon or this world will be destroyed. Yes, the specific prophecies we have preached or written about for decades are right now beginning to occur. Even secularists see the increasing dangers. Citing “inadequate progress” on nuclear and climate issues, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists earlier this year moved its “Doomsday Clock” forward, to “five minutes to midnight.” So, the time is drawing short for God’s true ministers to give a truly powerful warning to our peoples—and to the whole world—about what lies just ahead. We have a huge job to do! And Almighty God certainly does intend for His faithful servants to “warn” all of our fellow human beings about the soon-coming Great Tribulation. God tells us in His Word about this very thing and about the sense of urgency which we should have in delivering this message: “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:11–12). Again, as Jesus stated about this coming tribulation, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.” The real Jesus Christ of the Bible must return, lest warring, carnal, God-rejecting nations erase all human life from this planet! Consider that, apart from the major nations who have had atomic weapons in the past, three other countries—Israel, Pakistan and India—have amassed substantial stockpiles of atomic bombs, and are capable of delivering these warheads to the financial, industrial and political capitals of their likely enemies. Now we behold a spectacle of a fourth country, Iran, which is barreling ahead with its nuclear weapons development—even at the risk of destroying its global trade and gutting its domestic economy. That nation seems totally bent on gaining atomic weapons. In response, many news analysts have been writing recently about the assumed “inevitability” of an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities. For, as some Israeli leaders have stated repeatedly, “It is not just a political option with us, it is a matter of our very survival!” If Israel attacks Iran in the next few months—perhaps even before you receive this article—it may indeed cause a “firestorm” throughout the Middle East. This would certainly speed up the process of the European nations drawing together into the final revival of the Holy Roman Empire. It would speed up the unification of the Arab nations into what is called the “King of the South” (Daniel 11:40). And it would also speed up the very end of this present society. THE END OF DEMOCRACY? Speaking before Britain’s House of Commons in November 1947, Sir Winston Churchill said, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Many of America’s early leaders deeply understood that not just any people, anywhere, could make democracy successful. In fact, our second President, John Adams, wrote to Massachusetts military officers in October 1798: “We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” However, overall, the American and British-descended peoples today do not fear God or follow “morality and true religion.” Few even pretend to study the Holy Bible to see what it actually says. And our nations are quickly removing even the most nominally Christian references and practices from the public square. Frankly, most media leaders and educators act as if they despise the God of the Bible and His teachings! God warned our forefathers that if they were to “despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it” (Leviticus 26:15–16). So, we should not be surprised that we have experienced “terrorist” attacks and many other disturbances. And horrible “wasting diseases” such as cancer and AIDS are increasingly taking away the health, the vitality and the very lives of millions of our people. The powerful prophetic warning given in Leviticus 26 continues: “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze” (vv. 18–19). So, national degradation and humiliation, coupled with drought, famine and food shortages are in our future—along with disease epidemics (Matthew 24:7). Therefore, it is imperative that we turn to God and pray that a truly Christian government, ruled by Jesus Christ Himself, may soon be established on earth to bring the entire world a degree of peace, prosperity and joy it has never experienced. How can this occur? To those of you who have never understood the Bible, this may sound simplistic. But establishing right government on this earth is what the true gospel of Jesus Christ was all about! The Apostle Peter preached this plainly to the early Christians: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19–21). A time of “restoration” will soon come to this earth! From the prophecies of Daniel—who described the four world-ruling kingdoms and then the Kingdom of God that will “never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:36–44)—to the prophecies of Revelation, God’s Kingdom is foretold in detail from one end of the Bible to the other. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains [great nations], and shall be exalted above the hills [smaller nations]; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4). GOD WILL RULE! So, a genuine “kingdom”—or government—will be established in the “latter days” on this earth. It will be based upon the law of God going forth from Jerusalem. It will have as its Ruler the King of kings—Jesus Christ. Scripture describes what will happen at the end of the prophesied “trumpet” plagues: “Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15). Jesus Christ—the King of kings—will be assisted by many other kings, the true saints of God who, as faithful Christians in this present age, were willing to actually believe and act on what God says! As God promises, “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father” (Revelation 2:26–27). So, those of us who are willing to believe our God and our Creator—and actually do what He says—have ahead of us an awesome future, assisting Jesus Christ in ruling and bringing peace to this war-torn world! The inspired Song of the Saints, in Revelation 5:10, reveals that God—in His awesome Plan—will have “made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Notice that God’s Kingdom is to be set up on this earth—not up in heaven! Note also that it is going to be very difficult for liberal ministers to continue prattling away with their teaching that all of these specific prophecies are “poetic” or “metaphors,” and therefore do not mean what they actually say about a coming world government! Wake up! The “true saints”—those who will actually be granted to rule in Jesus Christ’s soon-coming government—are clearly described over and over in your Bible in this way: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). The Ten Commandments of God are not “nailed to the cross.” Rather, the record of our sins was nailed to the cross by Jesus Christ our Savior. Surrendering to let Him live His life within us (Galatians 2:20) through the Holy Spirit—and therefore having the power to truly obey His commandments—will mark the Christian character of those who will be qualified to assist Christ in bringing this entire way of life to the earth in God’s coming Kingdom! Describing Jesus Christ’s coming rule over this earth, Psalm 72 tells us, “He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice. The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor” (Psalm 72:2–4). So God’s coming government will involve a great deal of genuine understanding and mercy for those in need. As verses 12–14 explain, “For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight.” After Christ descends to the Mount of Olives in magnificent glory, the nations will be taught to obey their Creator: “Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him” (v. 11). Through genuine obedience to the Creator, “There will be an abundance of grain in the earth, on the top of the mountains; its fruit shall wave like Lebanon; and those of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth” (v. 16). Those of us truly preparing to be part of that coming world government need to learn how to “judge fairly” and think through our decisions in every part of our lives, even now. For the Apostle Paul was inspired to tell the Christians of his time, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:2–3). Many of Jesus’ parables clearly indicate that true Christians should be preparing to rule over cities and nations under Jesus Christ. When the “nobleman” of Jesus’ parable in Luke 19:11–27 returns, this person—who typified the returning Jesus Christ—tells his faithful servant, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” (v. 17). Again the “reward” of the true Christian is not to float around heaven all day with nothing to do! Rather it is looking forward to assisting Christ in ruling over cities and nations on this earth. It is that kind of government for which this world literally “cries out!” It will bring peace and joy far beyond what planet Earth has ever experienced. Remember, were it not for the intervention of the true God of the Bible, cosmocide would indeed wipe out the peoples of this earth. So, those of us who are willing to believe what the Bible actually says should be learning to prepare ourselves right now for that coming world government. We need to totally surrender to the living Christ of the Bible and let Him genuinely live His life within us through the Holy Spirit. We need to study the prophecies I have referred to, and many more. I urge all of you who are beginning to understand to enroll in our Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course to really learn the details of God’s magnificent plan. Your enrollment and participation is absolutely free and without obligation. May God help all of us look forward to the fulfillment of the truly Good News which Jesus Christ and His servants talked about—the coming world government under Jesus Christ as King of kings. THE UNITED NATIONS AT 70 October 24, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, an international body striving, according to the preamble of its Charter, "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights." The organization that today has 193 member-states began 70 years ago with just 51. Yet, despite 70 years of growth in the UN's visibility and influence around the globe, planet Earth today continues to be plagued by war, genocide, rape, famine and the displacement of the weak and vulnerable. So, will mankind ever attain global peace? Will our world learn the lessons of the UN's first 70 years? And can you and I succeed individually, even where the UN has failed? Throughout much of 2015, the United Nations has commemorated important historic milestones in preparation for its "UN70" anniversary celebrations. Yet, at the same time, millions continue to suffer from violence as the UN's leaders admit the organization's capacity is being outstripped by increasingly complex and severe challenges around the world. At a recent Oslo forum, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently issued a sober warning that "the capacity of the United Nations and its partners to meet humanitarian needs is under 'unprecedented strain.'" So, will the United Nations and its member states—as imperfect as human governments are—be able to meet these "unprecedented" challenges to establish peace and fundamental rights, now or in the foreseeable future? The sobering answer is "No." Although the UN, like so many other institutions, may try to do good, we know that without God's law, we will see the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, "The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways" (Isaiah 59:8). Furthermore, your Bible foretells that, in the years to come, all agencies and all nations will be overwhelmed by increasing violence leading to the "Great Tribulation"—the greatest time of war and suffering the world has ever experienced (Matthew 24:21; 2 Timothy 3:1)! THE UN'S IMPOSSIBLE TASK Between 1945 and 2000, as many as 51 million people are estimated to have died in approximately 250 wars around the world! This does not include the countless other millions raped, injured, persecuted, displaced and enslaved. In Afghanistan and Pakistan alone, since 2001, an estimated 149,000 have died and 162,000 seriously injured in regional warfare. Since 2003, more than 134,000 civilians were killed by war in Iraq, before the 2014–15 attacks by Islamic State troops, which the UN estimates will cause more than three million people to become refugees and displaced persons before the end of 2015. Throughout the entire 20th century, at least 108 million people were killed in war, and historians have calculated that in the last 3,400 years of human civilization, human beings have only been at relative peace for 268 years—just 8 percent of recorded history. The UN currently has deployed about 120,000 peacekeepers to 16 countries on 4 continents. But where is the peace, security and safety in Syria? Where is the peace in Ukraine? Where are the "fundamental human rights" in North Korea, much of Africa and the Middle East? Where is the assured peace and safety even in parts of Europe, Australia and the United States where crime, child abuse, rape, murder, extortion and violence pervade? REAL PEACEKEEPERS, GOD'S WAY! Although we can appreciate that many in the UN are truly trying to help, the UN has failed and will fail to bring peace to the world. In its 70 years, it has not achieved its goals, and cannot achieve its goals. Current events and Bible prophecy show that humanity is headed toward greater war and conflict in the years ahead (cf. Matthew 24:3–21; Revelation 6). Thankfully, however, Bible students know that it will not be long until peace and prosperity, abundance and lawfulness, safety and human dignity will be established! This is a promise founded on God's word! This will come to pass. While the UN cannot accomplish its aims in this age, there is hope for a better world to come! Are you being called to be part of this great purpose? The UN story is a fascinating one, but its failures and successes are simply frail human examples that point to a greater truth—that world peace will only come when God brings it to the earth through the return of His Son, Jesus the Christ! After 70 years of the UN, the sad and bloody facts are that the organization has not been able to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The UN has not been able to establish peace throughout the earth. When from the countryside and deserts, from Asia to Latin America, and when from the cities of Kabul, Mogadishu, Baghdad, Ciudad Juarez and Abidjan— and even the cities of Detroit, Chicago, London, Paris, Mexico City and Pretoria—citizens walk in fear, it is evident that mankind has not found the way of peace. It is painfully evident that the UN has not achieved its goals or its hope! Instead, the world needs Christ's powerful and perfect rule, but the world also needs leaders who will rule under Christ who have learned to fulfill God's command in Deuteronomy 16:19 to not pervert justice, nor show partiality, nor take a bribe. The world needs leaders who will rule under Christ, being "just, ruling in the fear of God" (2 Samuel 23:3). God demands righteous leaders because He is just and because when Jesus Christ returns, He will rule righteously (cf. Isaiah 11:3–4)! True Christians today are being called to proclaim the good news of Christ's return and the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15) and are being trained now to become those leaders in the Millennium—in Tomorrow's World. The world needs Christ's return and the world also needs those future leaders who are learning today to glorify God in all that they do (Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 6:20), who are learning to serve others now (Galatians 5:13), and to live by God's law now (1 John 5:2–3), to practice humility, love, faith and all of the fruits of the Spirit now (Galatians 5:22–23), to be peaceable now (Matthew 5:9, James 3:17) and to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God now (Micah 6:8). Today's Christians are being called for a great and awesome purpose—to fulfill a purpose that is simply beyond the capabilities of the UN or any human agency. True Christians are called today to prepare for their destiny of ruling under Jesus Christ (Isaiah 30:21; Luke 22:26-27; Revelation 5:10; 20:4–5), in the kingdom of God, on this earth. One day soon, the returned Christ and His resurrected saints will succeed where the UN has failed. God speed that day! UNITED METHODIST WOMEN: Faith • Hope • Love in Action We are women with a Purpose: "United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church." CHRISTIAN AMENDMENT IN UNITED NATIONS Christian amendment describes any of several attempts to amend the United States Constitution by inserting explicitly Christian ideas and language. The most powerful such attempt began during the American Civil War and was spearheaded by the National Reform Association. INITIAL PROPOSALS In February 1863, during the American Civil War, a coalition of eleven Protestant denominations from seven northern states gathered to discuss the state of the nation. Seeing the Civil War as God's punishment for the omission of God from the Constitution, they discussed a proposed amendment to alter the wording of the Preamble to acknowledge God. The idea that civil governments derive their legitimacy from God, and Jesus in particular, was alleged to be based on Biblical passages such as Psalm 2 and Romans 13. The original draft of the amendment, by Pennsylvania attorney John Alexander, read: We, the people of the United States recognizing the being and attributes of Almighty God, the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, the law of God as the paramount rule, and Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior and Lord of all, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (insertions . The Christian Amendment Movement was founded the next year and quickly renamed the "National Reform Association" with Alexander as its first president. They sent a memorial to Congress formally proposing the following amendment: We, the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, His revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government, and in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the inalienable rights and the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to ourselves and our posterity, and all the people, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. A delegation from the National Reform Association sought to meet with Abraham Lincoln on February 11, 1864, to solicit his endorsement of the amendment. Lincoln's pastor, Rev. Phineas Gurley, arranged for Lincoln to meet the delegation. After hearing their petition, Lincoln responded: The general aspect of your movement I cordially approve. In regard to particulars I must ask time to deliberate, as the work of amending the Constitution should not be done hastily. I will carefully examine your paper in order more fully to comprehend its contents than is possible from merely hearing it read, and will take such action upon it as my responsibility to our Maker and our country demands. The proposal was supported by Senators Charles Sumner, B. Gratz Brown and John Sherman, but did not come to a vote in Congress. One member of the National Reform Association, James Pollock, played a role in getting the phrase "In God We Trust" on the two-cent coin in 1864. Another version of the amendment read: We the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Governor among the nations, and His revealed will as our supreme authority, in order to constitute a Christian government, to form a more perfect union, ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (ellipses as given in source) Similar proposals were considered by Congress in 1874, 1896 and 1910, but none passed. Later attempts With the growing backlash in American society against communism in the 1940s and 1950s, new efforts were made to introduce Christianity into the Constitution, although these efforts were now in the form of standard constitutional amendments. In 1954 Vermont Senator Ralph Flanders proposed: Section 1: This nation devoutly recognizes the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Savior and Ruler of nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God. Section 2: This amendment shall not be interpreted so as to result in the establishment of any particular ecclesiastical organization, or in the abridgment of the rights of religious freedom, or freedom of speech and press, or of peaceful assemblage. Section 3: Congress shall have power, in such cases as it may deem proper, to provide a suitable oath or affirmation for citizens whose religious scruples prevent them from giving unqualified allegiance to the Constitution as herein amended. None of the proposals came to a Congressional vote. There were calls for similar amendments in the wake of the 1962 Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale, which ruled government-sponsored and dictated prayer in schools unconstitutional.
Miquel Suay participó en “Fiesta y Boda” una de las feria más importantes dentro del sector nupcial en Valencia. Durante tres días dentro de nuestro stand, organizamos diferentes actividades y masterclass con cada uno de nuestros colaboradores, en relación a nuestra última colección “Epifany” de vestidos de novia. The Westin Valencia - Starwood Hotels & Resorts The Photocall Gemma Mkp Roberto Zaragoza Bodegas Murviedro En una nube American Cupcakes Fiesta y Boda Leer más>>> https://miquelsuayblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/fiesta-y-boda-2015/
Miquel Suay participó en “Fiesta y Boda” una de las feria más importantes dentro del sector nupcial en Valencia. Durante tres días dentro de nuestro stand, organizamos diferentes actividades y masterclass con cada uno de nuestros colaboradores, en relación a nuestra última colección “Epifany” de vestidos de novia. The Westin Valencia - Starwood Hotels & Resorts The Photocall Gemma Mkp Roberto Zaragoza Bodegas Murviedro En una nube American Cupcakes Fiesta y Boda Leer más>>> https://miquelsuayblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/fiesta-y-boda-2015/
¡Ya sólo quedan pocas horas para la Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso! Anímate y participa con tu mejor foto en... https://t.co/OdMTK4g8DS
¡Ya sólo quedan pocas horas para la Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso! Anímate y participa con tu mejor foto en nuestro CONCURSO DE FOTOGRAFÍA MARATÓN VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO. Más info en: http://west.tn/1PeDwGR Con CAROLI HEALTH CLUB España, y New Balance Spain. #concurso #fotografia #valencia #maraton #maratondevalencia #carolihealthclub #westinvalencia #gana #running #runner #westinwellbeing #instavalencia #valenciagram #ValenciaEsRunning
Degustación en The Westin Valencia - Starwood Hotels & Resorts en el AfterWork que organizamos junto a #OrigenBobal ¡Te esperamos! más información en Origen Cosmetics
Degustación en The Westin Valencia - Starwood Hotels & Resorts en el AfterWork que organizamos junto a #OrigenBobal ¡Te esperamos! más información en Origen Cosmetics
"A weekend break in... Valencia". Beautiful article written by journalist Annie Bennet from The Telegraph, who... https://t.co/a6ueh1nzpj
"A weekend break in... Valencia". Beautiful article written by journalist Annie Bennet from The Telegraph, who visited us couple of weeks ago! Thanks Annie!
Un año más, estáis todos invitados a la Exposición y Venta de productos de vidrio elaborados por el Centro... https://t.co/esfZO8mYsZ
Un año más, estáis todos invitados a la Exposición y Venta de productos de vidrio elaborados por el Centro Especial de Empleo “Fet de Vidre”, integrado en su totalidad por personas con discapacidad. Será el próximo Jueves 12, de 10 a 21h, en nuestro Salón Turia. ¡Os esperamos!
¡Enhorabuena a Ana Escrig Aparici, ganadora del concurso celebrado durante nuestra participación en Fiesta y Boda... https://t.co/wE9rj7u8bC
¡Enhorabuena a Ana Escrig Aparici, ganadora del concurso celebrado durante nuestra participación en Fiesta y Boda junto con Miquel Suay! Habéis ganado una estancia romántica de una noche en habitación Grand Deluxe con terraza y Jacuzzi privado, desayuno a buffet para dos, y un exclusivo tratamiento de belleza "The Day after the Wedding", con masaje para dos y acceso al circuito de aguas, por cortesía de @Caroli Health Club. Contactaremos contigo el lunes. #FiestayBoda2015 #FeriaValencia #westinvalencia #WestinWeddings
¿Te gusta la fotografía? Anímate y participa con tus mejores fotos del maratón de Valencia en nuestro CONCURSO DE... https://t.co/BXDCeWfXL0