"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
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UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE is a thirty-two-week study prepared for graduates of BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY. The word Under in the title is meant to convey invitation, welcome, sheltering, security, and rest--home at last.
The Hebrew version of what Christians call the Old Testament has three divisions: Torah (the first five books of the Bible), the Prophets, and the Writings. The Writings include all the books that are not part of the Torah or the Prophets.
UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE concentrates on the writings in the Old Testament – Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and Daniel. New Testament Scriptures include the Gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; James; Jude; and Revelation.
Emphasis on the Psalms as Israel’s hymnbook and prayer book leads naturally to an emphasis on worship in the study. Present though the entire study is the sense of living toward completion, toward the climax of the message and the promise, extravagantly pictured in the Revelation.
The Revelation Worship Video
The Revelation Worship Video is a component unique to DISCIPLE: UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE. Worship plays a central role in the book of Revelation. Through video, UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE participants will experience the book of Revelation as worship. The video provides an interactive, sensory experience. Viewers will participate by reading, singing, listening, praying, and lamenting and will be immersed in the words, images, colors, and music that declare triumphantly that the God who is at the beginning is the God who is at the end.
This video worship experience proclaims that the book of Revelation is a message to embrace and a hope to anticipate. It is the climax to the journey DISCIPLE participants made from Creation to the New Jerusalem. The Revelation Worship Video, more than an hour in length, will be used in Session 31. The video is not optional. It is intended for the group meeting, and each study group needs access to it.