The Apple Of God's Eye

March 8, 2009

Is There Historical Proof Jesus Christ Actually Lived?

Filed under: History,Jesus Christ — melchia @ 10:30 pm

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As a Christian the accounts in the Bible, which are God’s inspired revelation to humanity, are proof enough for me. However for the critics (what would we do without them),  extrabiblical sources also amply attest that Jesus lived, that He was born of a young virgin, preached the Gospel, performed miracles, and was condemned to execution.
Justin Martyr, a second-century theologian, wrote: “Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, 35 stadia from Jerusalem, in which Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registries of the taxing under Cyrenius your first procurator in Judea” (“First Apology,” Chapter 34).

Justin Martyr was referring to public records that existed in his day to demonstrate that Jesus was born in Judea. Of course, one would expect that a religionist such as Justin Martyr would naturally support Jesus’ authenticity as a historical person. But what about a historian who despised Christians?

Cornelius Tacitus, Roman historian, senator, consul, and governor of the province of Asia, wrote this concerning Jesus and His followers: “Nero … punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. But in spite of this temporary setback, the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome” (“The Annals of Imperial Rome,” XV, 44).

The fourth-century Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (named this because he turned from Christianity after being brought up in it) wrote a major work against Christianity in which he said this: “Jesus, whom you celebrate, was one of Caesar’s subjects. If you dispute it, I will prove it by and by; but it may be as well done now. For yourselves allow, that he was enrolled with his father and mother in the time of Cyrenius …. But Jesus having persuaded a few among you, and those the worst of men, has now been celebrated about 300 years; having done nothing in his  lifetime worthy of remembrance; unless anyone thinks it a mighty matter to heal lame and blind people, and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany” (“Cyril Contra Julian,” VI, pages 213, 191).

These are reports from pagan Romans who despised Christianity. They had access to government records, and, if they could have disproved Jesus’ authenticity, they would have done so. But, they could not. Their writings are additional proof of Christ’s life.

What about the Jews? If Jesus did not exist, the Jews would have had no reason to reject Him! The Jewish historian Josephus admitted that Jesus, His disciples, and John the Baptist lived. He called John the Baptist “the good man” (“Antiquities of the Jews,” XVIII, 5, 2). Scholars recognize as genuine his account of the death of James, “the brother of Jesus who was called Christ” (Ibid., XX, 9, 1).

According to “The Jewish Encyclopedia” (1907 edition) and other sources, Jesus is also mentioned in the “Talmud,” the collection of Jewish tradition consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemara. The sections of the “Talmud” which are said to be references to Jesus are Shabbath 104b and 116b; Sanhedrin 43a, 67a, and 107b; and Sotah 47a. You may also wish to read the article “Jesus of Nazareth” in “The Jewish Encyclopedia” (1907 edition), the article “Jesus” in the “Encyclopedia Judaica,” the articles “Jesus Christ” and “Talmud and Midrash,” which shows how the “Talmud” (Mishna) is organized, in “The New Encyclopaedia Britannica” (1981 edition), and the book titled “Jesus Christ in the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, and the Liturgy of the Synagogue,” by Gustaf Dalman (1973).

These facts, all from sources outside the Bible, clearly substantiate the existence of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a myth. The Bible record is true.

Is The Word "Amen" Of Pagan Origin?

Filed under: Prayer — melchia @ 6:53 am
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Some say the word “Amen,” used at the end of a prayer to God is of pagan origin. It is true that an Egyptian pagan  god was called AMEN (the supposed personification of air or breath and represented by a ram or a goose). But there is absolutely no evidence to link the Hebrew word amen –meaning “truth” or “so be it” — in any way to this or any other pagan deity.

What we do find is that the inspired writers of the Bible were led to use this Hebrew word frequently. Surely that is endorsement enough. But, there’s more, as we’ll see shortly. First, however, what about the claim that those who wrote the Bible got this word from the Egyptians?

It would appear that if anyone “borrowed” this word from another people, the Egyptians got it from what was once the pure language spoken by everyone prior to the building of the Tower of Babel. Was this a deliberate counterfeit? In the Bible we find that Jesus Christ is called “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14).

How does the Bible define this word? Notice again the passage just cited. Jesus is “the Amen, the faithful and TRUE witness.” Its use here, directly connected with the word TRUE and emphasizing the TRUTH for which Christ stands, shows conclusively what its meaning is as used in the Scriptures.

If our own use of the word is based on the Hebrew, we need not fear that we are sinning when we use it. Of course, if we attribute existence or power to some mythical god in our minds as we use it, we are using it wrongly and not the way those who wrote the Bible did. See Romans 14:23, last part.

Jesus Himself included the word AMEN as part of the model prayer. He gave for all Christians (Matt. 6:9-12). Therefore it is not incorrect to use it.

What Will Take Place After The 1000-Year Millennium?

These events are described in Revelation 20:7 through the end of the book.

What will happen after God’s plan of salvation has been completed and the earth purged by fire (II Pet. 3:10-12) is found in Revelation 21: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle [dwelling] of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (verses 1-3). At that time, the earth will become the headquarters of God’s Government, which will never cease to grow (Luke 1:33; Isa. 9:7).

God’s plan is concerned with eternity. The sons admitted into His Kingdom will be active, dynamic, productive! They will not just sit around idly. Instead, they will continue fulfilling God’s master plan. Hebrews 2:6-8 states that God will ultimately put the universe under man’s authority. (The words “all things” would be better translated “the universe.”)

What is happening now is only the beginning. We can’t begin to fathom the immensity and glory of what we will be doing for eternity. A great deal more is included than meets the eye in the hint given in Revelation 21:5: “Behold, I make all things new glorious and wonderful beyond our most imaginative dreams. (See I Corinthians 2:9 and Romans 8:18.)

Does The Book Of Acts Contradict Itself?

Filed under: Biblical Contradictions — melchia @ 6:40 am

Is there a contradiction between Acts 9:7 and 22:9? These passages record the apostle Paul’s conversion. As he and a group of men were making their way to Damascus, Paul was suddenly surrounded by a light from heaven. He fell to the ground, blinded. Jesus Christ then spoke to Paul and told him what he must do. The others were dumbfounded: “The men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one” (Acts 9:7, RAV).

The same event is mentioned a second time. Paul said, “Those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me” (Acts 22:9, RAV).

In the original Greek language, the word “akouo” is used in these passages. This word, like many others, has several meanings depending on how it is used in a sentence. It can mean to HEAR or to UNDERSTAND. In the following passage, for example, the latter meaning is obviously intended: “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one UNDERSTANDS him” (I Cor. 14:2, RAV). His listeners hear him, but don’t understand.

This is what happened with Paul and those with him on the road to Damascus. Paul both heard and understood. The men with him heard the voice but did not understand it. So, the problem is only one of language. God’s Word does not contradict itself (John 10:35). Acts 22:9 really should be translated this way: “Now those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not understand the voice of Him who spoke to me.”

Does The Bible Mention Man Having 6000 Years Of Self Rule?

Most people have never heard about God’s 7000-year master plan for mankind. That great plan is pictured by the seven-day week. As Genesis shows, God refashioned the earth and created all life forms in six days and then rested on the Sabbath. God also gave man six days in which to work, followed by a day of rest (Ex. 20:9-11). On the seventh day, man is to put aside his normal routine of daily activities and worship the true God (Isa.58:13-14).

The apostle Peter undoubtedly understood that the seven-day week is a pattern which applies to time on a far grander scale. He wrote, “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8, NKJV). The apostle Paul also had this principle in mind when he explained that the seventh day of the week pictures the peaceful time of rest that will follow this present age of human activity (Heb. 4:3-11). The apostle John tells us that this period will occur after Christ’s intervention in world affairs and that it will last a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-4).

Since the seventh day of the week symbolizes 1000 years of peace under the rule of Jesus Christ, the first six days of the week represent 6000 years in which man has been allowed to govern himself and work out his own ideas and plans. In other words, each day of the week represents 1000 years of human existence.

Where are we now in this great plan? Charts which list biblical events in time order (these can be found in some Bibles) are accurate enough to show that HUMAN LIFE was created about 4000 years before the birth of Christ. History makes it clear that almost another 2000 years have elapsed since then — making a total of nearly 6000 years of human civilization to date. In short, man’s “week” is nearly over, and God’s great millennial rest will soon be here.

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