The Apple Of God's Eye

February 22, 2011

Biblical Leviathan: More Than A Legend?

rg21.blogspot.com

Dragons! You’ve got to be kidding! No one believes in Dragons, so how can we have a serious discussion about them?

Yet in connection with the marvels of the created world, mention is made in the Bible of a terrifying sea creature called “leviathan.”

The precise identification of this huge animal is shrouded in a few verses: Job 3:8, 41:1-34, Psalms 74:14, Psalms 104:24-26 and Isaiah 27:1.

It obviously was some sort of majestic and awe inspiring aquatic creature. The margin notes in some Bible versions (ASV, RSV) speculate that the creature was a whale, though this description does not appear to even closely match what the Bible describes.

Other scholars identify this animal as a huge crocodile, but these are found mainly in inland waters and would therefore not be described as great beasts of the sea (Psalm 104:25–26). Nor are crocodiles so terrifying that no one dares tackle them—as they are regularly trapped and killed by native tribes.

A third presuppositions is that Leviathan may have been some variety of ancient dinosaur – now extinct (see Duane Gish, Dinosaurs – Those Terrible Lizards, San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, 1977, pp. 30, 51-54). But this, of course, is also nonsense, as dinosaurs became extinct long before the creation of man.

Then there are expositors inclined to identify leviathan as a  “mythological” entity, or as poetic imagery

“All five occurrences are in poetic passages and belong to ‘dead mythology,’ i.e., old mythological concepts are employed without suggestion that they are still believed” (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, page 912).

However, the description in this section of scripture (as we shall see shortly) treats  leviathan as a real sea “monster,” with which the ancients were quite familiar. (more…)

May 21, 2010

Did The Thief On The Cross Make It To Heaven?

Filed under: Heaven — melchia @ 1:25 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jesus said He would be in the grave three days and three nights after His crucifixion. Then could the thief have been with Christ in Paradise that very day?

Notice Luke 23:43 carefully:

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

Jesus said that the crucified malefactor would be with Him in Paradise. If we can prove where Jesus went when He died, then we can prove if the malefactor really went to Paradise that day.

Turn to I Corinthians 15:3-4. Paul reiterates: “For I delivered to you” — speaking to Christians — “first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

Notice that Jesus was buried — it does not say the body was buried, and that the soul went to Paradise. It reads that He — Jesus, Himself — was buried. He was dead for three days. He died for our sins. Then He came to life. (more…)

April 13, 2010

Eternal Life Versus The Fading Flower

my.opera.com

Here’s a biblical contrast if ever there was one – eternal life versus a fading flower! Say what? God compares the two against each other in the book of James :

“Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).

Here God makes an astounding promise of eternal life for those who love (read obey) Him. This is an eternal reward of glory – a promise from God.  A crown of life that lasts forever. Just think – no more worrying about getting old, aches, pains or worry about bills. All is taken care of from there on in – forever.

In contrast, James compares verse 12 with the fading flower of life in verses 9-11:

“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof fails, and the grace of the fashion thereof perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.”

Now is God against riches? Of course not! Men like Abraham and King David were very rich men who used their blessings to serve God more abundantly. But God is against those who put their riches before Him. In other words, this becomes their idol and this breaks the commandments.

Priorities in this life always have to be kept straight. If Christians allow the physical life to supersede spiritual things, they are in trouble. Life is ephemeral – nothing but a fading flower. We don’t even have a real life. We are simply heading towards death. That is all we have and nothing more, without God. The greatest things life has to offer mean nothing if our life is not lived in service to our Creator. Eternal life is at stake.

January 16, 2010

Hebrew Inscription Confirms Biblical Record

Filed under: Bible — melchia @ 5:16 am
Tags: , , ,

Once again, the Bible is right, and the critics are wrong. A pottery shard from the remains of a town dating from the 10th century b.c. has been proven to be written in ancient Hebrew—making it the oldest known Hebrew inscription. Prof. Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa translated the text, proving that the Israel of that time was a major nation—not the backwoods tribe that some biblical scholars say it was.

“It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century bce, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel,” said Galil.

The shard was discovered in an excavation led by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel inside a fortified town on a hilltop near the valley of Elah, where David battled Goliath. The town has a 30-foot-wide gate, a central fortress, and a wall running 2,300 feet in circumference. These fortifications are too elaborate to have been constructed by
the city’s inhabitants, Garfinkel says. They would have required the resources of an organized kingdom, like that of King David. … (more…)

September 25, 2009

Russia, China And Europe: The Prophecied Clash To Come!

Much of the framework of all prophecy is found in two prophetic books—the books of Daniel and Revelation. But only in Revelation do we find events of various other prophecies correlated in order of time sequence” It actually details events leading to the return of Jesus Christ; events symbolized by seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials. before I begin, I will visually lay out the story flow of the Book of Revelation:

Book Of Revelation Story Flow

7 Seals:

  1. False prophets
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence – these first 4 seals are the 4 horsemen of (Rev. 6:1-8)
  5. Tribulation – (Rev. 6:9-11)
  6. Heavenly Signs – (Rev. 6:12-14)
  7. 7 Trumpetsbeginning of the Day of the Lord
  • 1st trumpet – Injury to the earth – (Rev. 8:7)
  • 2nd trumpet – Injury to the sea – (Rev. 8:8-9)
  • 3rd trumpet – Injury to rivers – (Rev. 810-11)
  • 4th trumpet – Injury to heavenly lights – (Rev. 8:12)
  • 5th trumpet or 1st woe – attack of beast power – (Rev. 9:1-12)
  • 6th trumpet or 2nd woe – Asian counter strike – (Rev. 9:13-19)
  • 7th trumpet or third woeSeven Last Plaques
  1. Sores on those who accept the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2)
  2. Sea turns to blood and all sea creatures die (Rev. 16:3)
  3. Rivers turn to blood (Rev. 16:4-7)
  4. Sun scorches humanity (Rev. 16:8-9)
  5. Beast’s seat of government afflicted (Rev. 16:10-11)
  6. Euphrates dries up, armies gather at Armageddon (Joel 3:9-17, Rev. 16:12-16)
  7. Great earthquake and hail (Rev. 16:17-21)

The  seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials portray a progression of catastrophic plagues God will inflict on mankind. These three world shaking events summed up are:

  1. The Great Tribulation
  2. The heavenly signs in the sun and moon and stars (immediately following the Tribulation)
  3. The Day of the Lord

So let’s break these down in order.

The Great Tribulation (the first of three world shaking events)

The first four seals in Revelation 6:1-8 are:

  1. False religion
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence

These lead to the fifth seal, the Great Tribulation—the time of Satan’s wrath – described in Revelation 6:9-11 and other prophecies. The Tribulation  will last for 2½ years.

The Heavenly Signs (the second of three world shaking events)

In Revelation 6:12-14 it says:

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

The heavenly signs signify the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-14.

The Day Of The Lord (the third of three world shaking events)

This is the Day of the Lord—the time of God’s wrath, when God punishes mankind for their rebellion against Him and His government with plagues. Here he is trying to bring all sinners (who survive the previous disasters) to repentance (verses 15-17).

The Day of the Lord lasts for one year, but it is NOT the last year of the 3½-year period we read of, and is NOT a part of the Great Tribulation. It is a combination of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord which collectively make up the 3½‑year period called “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14).

The beginning of the day of the Lord is at the opening of the seventh and final seal:

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2).

These seven trumpet blasts occur after the seventh seal is opened during the Day of the Lord. They symbolize plagues sent from God as He intervenes in the affairs of mankind! This is the result of people refusing to listen to God and repent of their sins.

  • The first four trumpet blasts of Rev. 8 destroy the environment, making living conditions on Earth unbearable.
  • The fifth trumpet (also called the first woe) signifies world domination by a European beast power. Daniel 11:40 (speaking of the first woe) speaks of a clash (in this end time) between that European empire (the King of the North) and the King of the South, a radical Middle Eastern power (modern Iran).

Verses 40-41 speak of the Great Tribulation, when this European Beast Power will enter into the glorious land (called Israel today) and overthrow many nations. However, the spectacular military success of the beast power in the Middle East will be short lived:

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him …” (verse 44). If we see the modern nation of Israel as a reference point, we have to look north and east on a map, coming directly to Russia and China!

After destroying the radical Middle eastern power (King of the South), the beast power (King of the North), will be troubled by China and Russia in the east and north. This scripture is speaking of a massive clash between these two world superpowers, with the king of the north launching a preemptive strike against the Asian foe:

“Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.”

This attack (the first woe of Rev. 9:1-11) is described as the beginning of all-out war between these two superpowers to determine world rule. The biblical language used is symbolic, because the apostle John had to use terminology of his day to describe technology of the future.

For example, verses 3 and 7-10 state that locusts “came upon the Earth with power in their tails like a scorpion.” This could merely be describing modern military helicopters firing missiles during an all out, five month military attack on the inhabitants of the earth. All is spearheaded by the devil, as verse 11 actually explains the king over these soldiers is Abaddon or Apollyon, which are names of Satan.

The Second Woe

Continuing in Revelation 9:

  • The sixth trumpet of verses 12-13 (also called the second woe) sounds. Four angels are released specifically to amass an almost incomprehensibly large, 200-million-man army (verses 15-16).

Most Bible critics argue that it would be impossible to assemble an army this size. But the current population in China is over 1.3 billion. Russia has 142 million, India with 1.1 billion people has the fourth-largest army in the world. Japan, the nations of Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet republics could all be probable participants in this alliance. Adding up the populations, there will easily be a total approaching 3 billion people from which to make up an army of 200 million! It is hardly unrealistic to think these combined countries could not muster an army of 200 million men.

Joel 2:4 also speaks of this Asiatic force (there called God’s army) during what is titled an event in the Day of the Eternal. It is actually God who will inspire it to wreak havoc on the European beast power with a counterattack and obliterate it. The end result is the death of “the third part of men” (Revelation 9:15). Of course such a scenario has never transpired and it takes the awesome destructive power of modern super-weapons to achieve such carnage.

Babylon Falls

Jeremiah 50 also adds details to this story, now calling the political-religious system of the King of the North by the name of Babylon, though historically it was known as the “Holy” Roman Empire.

In verse 3, God says He will bring a nation out of the North which will make it desolate. Again, the massive Asiatic counterattack will overwhelm the beast power. This is the second woe.

And verse 9 states that it will be an assembly o many nations, which could only be Russia and China, along with various other nations which will join this power bloc. The devastating collapse of the Babylonian system, the beast power, is further described in Revelation 18:2-19.

These Russians and Chinese armies will be ruthless. To “slay the third part of men”, there can be no doubt that they will attack with nuclear weapons! In verse 15, God says this act is His vengeance, because the people of this beast power have sinned against him (Revelation 18:5-6). Revelation 18 and Jeremiah 50:29 show that Babylon is destroyed in the space of one hour!

Unbelievably, the last two verses of Revelation 9  reveal just how hard-headed and stubborn man can be, even after such severe correction, as those not killed continue on with their lives, unrepentant of their idol worship, their murders, fornication, thefts and so on (verses 20-21). Even after most of the Earth’s population has been personally afflicted by nuclear war and complete destruction, they still are not willing to turn to God and His law!

The Third Woe

Revelation 11:14-15 now speaks of the third woe. Two of the three woes are complete and after that, the kingdoms of this world are to become God’s Kingdom. Christ will return, and God’s government will again take over the Earth.

But even after all the destruction, verse 18 says the nations will be angry and wrathful toward Christ. Can you believe that? And now what’s left of the beast power and of Asia will actually gather to fight against Christ at the last trumpet. This battle is described in great detail throughout Revelation 15 and 16.

The final trumpet blast is divided into seven vials of God’s wrath—the last seven plagues (Revelation 15:1, 6), sent upon mankind because of their hard-headedness. In Revelation 16:12, God dries up the Euphrates River to prepare the way for these armies to gather near Jerusalem (in a place called Armageddon, verse 16). There they will turn their attention toward their one common enemy—the King of kings—Jesus Christ.

There is wonderfully good news in the midst of all these horrors. Both of these armies will gather at Armageddon to fight each other, but will end up fighting Christ at His Second Coming! The armies will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14). The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a new, peaceful age for the whole Earth!

Ezekiel’s Prophecy

Ezekiel also tells us about yet another burst of rebellion to spring from northeast of Jerusalem, with the Millennium only just begun. As unbelievable as it sounds, the people of Asia will muster their forces for one final attempt to overthrow Christ’s rule!

Reading Ezekiel chapter 34, we find that, after the Day of the Lord, God will gather His sheep—those enslaved Israelites left alive after the Day of the Lord—and rescue them from captivity. This is when God will remove the spiritual blindness from their eyes and they will seek God’s ways. God’s Kingdom will be set up to finally establish lasting peace (Isaiah 11:11; Romans 11:25-26; Micah 4:2-3).

Dozens of prophecies refer to the end-time descendants of Israel being scattered around the world during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. But Ezekiel 36 pictures the remnant of Israel returning to the land God originally promised them, to one place.

Ezekiel 37:15 begins to speak of Israel and Judah as two sticks united together after Christ’s return. God will take them from among the heathen and make them one nation (verse 22), with a resurrected, spirit-born King David being king over Israel (verse 24).

Chapter 37 also  speaks of a prophecy referred to as the valley of dry bones. Much of it pictures a literal fleshly resurrection of those who had long since died, never knowing the truth. This resurrection occurs at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ.

What happens to Gog and Magog (the Asiatic Nations)?

The Russians and Chinese are used to punish the beast power just before Christ returns, but as a result, they too become proud and haughty, therefore needing correction from God. He even tells these nations to prepare for a coming battle with Him (verse 7), after Christ’s return. God prophecies against Gog and Magog , stating that His anger is against them (Ezekiel 38:2-3).

How do we know this? Notice that verse 8 says Israel has been “brought back from the sword.” Here the people of Israel are dwelling peacefully (verse 11). It is the remnant of the Asiatic hordes of the battle of Armageddon (who were not killed) which descend upon the glorious land a short time after it has been occupied by the re-gathered Israelites. It will only be a land of villages at this point early on in the Millennium. Gog and Magog will see how God has blessed His people and will target the people of Israel as easy spoil in a blessed and undefended land!

Now think about this, because it really makes the mind reel. Even after Christ returns, there will not be peace immediately. There will still exist those who haven’t submitted to God’s law and government. They will learn the “hard way” that God’s system is fair and equitable and that they must submit to it to be blessed. Imagine, having to force people to be happy.

Yet that is exactly what the Bible says God does. Only one sixth of those who come to attack Israel will live through the battle, even though the y have been pre-warned (Ezekiel 39:7). The number of dead will be incalculable, and the people of Israel will be called upon to bury the fallen fighters. “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land” (verse 12).

According to Ezekiel 38 and 39, this is the last great rebellion this Earth will experience for 1,000 years! Then, at the end of the Millennium when Satan is loosed for a little season, and there will be another—Revelation 20:7-9. Through both of these, God will not only defend and deliver His people, but He will prove that He fights and wins our battles for us.

God will make sure that His wrath is felt and witnessed throughout all the Earth (Ezekiel 38:18-20). He will have the nations of Gog and Magog destroy themselves (verse 21). Only through  blood, pain and suffering will God finally have all skeptics—those who do not accept Christ’s rule; those who do not know God, come to the understanding that He is the Eternal.

And here’s the rub. God wants us to choose life, not death! He does not like to see anyone suffer. Only those who stand with God now in complete obedience will not have to suffer in the future.

September 15, 2009

The Power Of God In Universal Vastness

starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

It was just before dawn on July 16, 1945, and the world’s first atomic bomb was about to be tested in the desert of New Mexico.  It worked! In a split second, the world’s first atomic weapon released the power of 20,000 tons of conventional explosive.

Three weeks later, a second bomb was exploded. But this was no test. It was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and in a flash of heat and light, the city was destroyed and 100,000 people were killed or injured. Conquered and conquerors alike were awed by the power of this terrible new weapon.

The power of the atom

What man did was turn a small piece of uranium — about one gram, or a 30th of an ounce — into raw energy. Scientists had long suspected that it was possible. It took the urgency of war for them to discover how.

But when they did, even those who worked on the project were sobered by the implications of the power they could unleash. U.S. President Harry Truman summed it up in a warning to the people of Japan the day after Hiroshima was destroyed. “It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power…”

President Truman was right. Man had indeed harnessed the power of the universe, the very force from which the sun draws its power.

The atom bomb that devastated Hiroshima was a mere firecracker compared to the weapons of today. Now we measure their destructive power in megatons — one megaton is the equivalent of a 300-mile-long trainload of conventional explosives! But we have become so accustomed to such figures that they no longer impress us.

We should look again at the power of the atom. It is indeed the force by which mankind will bring himself to the edge of destruction. But there is also an encouraging and reassuring side to it. By splitting the atom, we learn — or could learn, if we were willing — a little more about the awesome power of God.

Before nuclear physics

For most of his approximately 6,000 years on earth, man has been surprisingly ignorant about the true nature of his surroundings. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome made some progress in science. But after the fifth century, man’s knowledge hardly advanced for 1,000 years.

During the Dark Ages, science, magic and witchcraft were considered to be much the same thing. Such scientists as there were wasted their time trying to find the elixir of life or a way to turn lead into gold. They thought the earth was flat and that angels pushed the sun and stars around it. Superstition rather than science guided men’s thinking.

Then, in the middle of the 16th century, knowledge began to expand rapidly again. Navigators discovered that they could sail around the world without falling off. Copernicus showed that the earth was not the center of the universe, but just another planet in orbit around the sun. Galileo’s experiments in astronomy and physics challenged some ideas that had remained unchanged (and wrong) since the days of Aristotle.

The English scientist Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated how physical phenomena could be measured and quantified. He made it possible for scientists to build on their discoveries, rather than conduct isolated experiments. Newton realized there was a system of law governing gravity, mass, force, acceleration and motion. This laid the groundwork for the advances that made our modern world possible.

For two centuries nobody seriously questioned the validity of Newton’s laws. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was considered indisputable that physical matter (the elements) and energy (heat and light) were separate entities that could neither be created nor destroyed. The amount of matter and the amount of energy in the universe were presumed fixed.

Matter could change its form through chemical reaction. Energy could also change — heat into light, for example. But matter could not turn into energy or vice versa. Or so they thought.

The theory of relativity

It was Albert Einstein who first understood that this was not totally true. He put forward a theory that predicted that physical matter and energy were not separate — that they were, in a sense, interchangeable. Matter could be transformed into energy, and energy could be transformed into matter.

This “theory of relativity” rocked the scientific world. This article is no place to try to explain in detail these incredibly complicated ideas. But Dr. Einstein summed them up with the now famous equation E = mc2 (where E = energy, m = mass and c = the speed of light, which is about 186,000 miles a second). What this means is that if you can transform physical matter into energy, the amount of energy produced is equal to the mass of the matter times the speed of light multiplied by itself (i.e., 186,000 x 186,000).

You don’t need to be a genius to realize that if this line of reasoning is true, even a small amount of matter can produce an astonishing amount of energy.

Splitting the atom

But how do you turn matter into energy? To do this, you would have to literally split the atom — or, to be specific, the nucleus of the atom. And that is easier said than done.

Scientists had shown that the atom, once thought to be the smallest possible particle of matter, is composed of even smaller, subatomic particles — neutrons, protons and electrons among them. The protons and neutrons make up a central core or nucleus of an atom, while the electrons whirl around the nucleus rather like the planets orbit the sun, only much faster — billions of times in a millionth of a second. (The makeup of the atom is actually even more complex than this, but this will serve to make the point.)

These components of the atom each have an electrical charge — negative, positive or neutral. The electrons whirling around in orbit have a negative charge. The nucleus is made of neutrons, which have a neutral charge, and protons, which have a positive charge.

Think of these charges like the opposite poles of a magnet and you’ll get the idea. If you have played with magnets, you’ve discovered that like poles repel each other, while opposite poles attract. It’s the same with electrical charges.

So, since the nucleus of an atom is made up of neutral neutrons and positively charged protons, what stops the protons from repelling each other — or, in other words, why doesn’t an atom’s nucleus fly apart? (Again, think of it as trying to hold the like poles of two powerful magnets together. It takes a surprising amount of strength, and as soon as you let up, the magnets immediately push themselves away from each other.)

There must be a force that counteracts the repelling power of the protons and binds them together in the nucleus. Physicists call this the “strong force.”

It is indeed so strong that, for centuries, nobody even suspected its existence. So firm was its grip on the core of the atom that no force available to man could even begin to persuade it to let go. Thus it was hardly surprising that scientists thought the atom was the smallest possible division of matter.

In the 19th century it was discovered that some elements had a strange property. They gave off radiation — or, as we say now, were radioactive. Physicists realized that the atoms of these elements were slowly disintegrating. It happened very slowly — so slowly and unobtrusively that for thousands of years nobody even suspected it.

Strange, isn’t it? For millennia, alchemists had wasted their time trying to turn one element into another, yet here it was happening naturally under their noses all the time. Uranium, for example, given enough time, will decay down to lead, a nonradioactive element.

Experiments showed that when one element is transformed into another, not all of it is changed. A very small percentage of matter is changed into energy.

But if Einstein was right and E really did equal mc2, that still meant a lot of energy would be released as an atom decayed. Just before the Second World War, scientists learned how to speed up the decay by splitting the atom with a nuclear reactor, releasing the power in the atom.

When a radioactive element decays in nature, a small amount of energy is produced. For example, one pound of radioactive uranium gives as much energy as is produced by 5,000 pounds of gasoline. But it needs a thousand million years to do it. In a nuclear reactor (or a nuclear bomb) the atom is literally split in two. Much greater amounts of energy are released, suddenly and violently.

In the reaction that caused the devastation at Hiroshima, only about 1/1000th of the uranium was transformed into energy — about a 30th of an ounce.

Think of the power that was locked into that speck of matter, when it was transformed into heat and radiation! And that was a very small bomb.

A hydrogen bomb is many times more powerful than an atomic bomb. It takes an atomic explosion to produce enough energy to start the reaction.

But when the reaction does take place, it is with a flash of light brighter than the sun. Millions of degrees of heat are generated. That is why it is called a thermonuclear reaction. With the making of the hydrogen bomb, man has actually succeeded in duplicating the force that drives the sun.

The incredible sun

Look up at the sun. What you are seeing is a continuous chain of nuclear explosions in a reaction of unimaginable power. The sun is actually a giant thermonuclear reactor. It is composed mainly of hydrogen that is gradually changing into helium. Deep inside the sun’s core tremendous gravitational forces, 250 billion times those of earth, compress hydrogen atoms until the heat and pressure force a thermonuclear reaction to take place.

Energy released is thrust toward the surface, but the sun’s great mass pulls it back. It may take up to 15 million years for the energy to jostle its way through to the surface and escape as heat and radiation.

Scientists estimate that nearly four million tons of hydrogen are transformed into energy every second in the nuclear holocaust on our sun. (Remember, it took only a 30th of an ounce to destroy Hiroshima.)

And then stop and think about this: Our sun is only one star in our galaxy of 100 million stars. And there are probably 100 million other galaxies, each with another 100 million stars. That makes — oh, never mind. The point is that there is an almost inconceivable amount of power locked up in this awesome universe that surrounds us.

God made that universe by and out of His own power. “For He commanded and they were created,” the Bible tells us (Psalm 148:5).

The power of God

How can we even begin to comprehend the power that God has available? How much energy had to be held together to forge the atoms of even the most commonplace and seemingly insignificant of God’s creations — a sparrow, a spider or a leaf?

If all the energy compacted in a gram of matter could be released, it would supply as much energy as the Hoover Dam produces in about 18 and a half hours. Put another way, the matter in a 150-pound person, if converted completely to energy, would supply as much energy as Hoover Dam could produce in 144 years.

Yet God made giant stars 1,000 times the size of our sun! Can we ever begin to appreciate just how great God is? No wonder He could never allow mortal man to see the full power that radiates from Him. Nothing made of flesh and blood could survive that experience.

But God has, through His creation, given us hints, mere suggestions, of the immensity of His power. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they [those who don’t or won’t believe in God] are without excuse,” wrote Paul (Romans 1:20).

The physical things God has made can teach us — if we have eyes to see. But, sad to say, many scientists today have rejected the very idea of God.

Never before have they known so much about the universe. Never before has there been more reason to believe in a Creator. Not so long ago, sailors were afraid to sail over the horizon for fear they would fall off the earth. Now we travel into space routinely, discovering, measuring, analyzing and quantifying. And every breakthrough leads inexorably toward one conclusion — that there must have been a time when all that we see began.

But that implies a Creator, and that is something that many scientists cannot — or will not — admit. And so they “became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (verse 21).

Perhaps if scientists had been willing to acknowledge the awesome power of God, they would never have dared tamper with those forces that bind the universe together.

In God’s hands, those forces are under control and are used only to do good. He has carefully regulated the inferno on the sun so that it makes life possible on earth.

But what has man done with nuclear power? Certainly there have been numerous peaceful industrial applications, although some argue that even these are hazardous. But our potential to split the atom is also lurking in the warheads of the weapons that will destroy all life if they ever are used.

Those weapons may be even more destructive than we dare think. President Truman threatened a “rain of ruin” on Japan. He didn’t know then that those relatively little bombs were paving the way for a possible nuclear winter that would eventually eliminate those who survived the initial blasts of nuclear bombs.

While the human heart is ruled by anger, lust and greed, it would be wiser to leave the “basic power of the universe” alone.

But it’s too late now. Once the first atomic bomb went off successfully, the die was cast. A chain reaction began. The bombs got bigger, and Bible prophecy tells us that man will use the principle of E = mc2 to batter the earth to the point where it can no longer sustain life.

Then, and only then, will the people of this world look out to the heavens and ask once again, “My God, what have we done?” 

Psalm 19

King Davis stated in Psalm 19: “The law of God is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure… the statutes of the Lord are right… the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes… by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).

David knew that God rules His Kingdom and regulates His power with the great law of love. Before humans can inherit God’s Kingdom, they must show that they will live in obedience to that law. Only then can God be sure that the great reserves of power will always be used for good and peaceful purposes.

So God watches us now, while we are still relatively powerless, to see how we live. He expects us to take seriously even the smallest details of His law, which is far more binding than even the strong force that holds the earth together, or the power that constrains the energy locked in the stars. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away,” said Jesus Christ (Luke 21:33).

King David believed that. And so, when this righteous king looked into the heavens, he was filled with longing for the time when he could share that splendor as a born child of God. But he knew he had to qualify, and he knew he needed help. So he prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

God did help David. He gave him power — not the power of the atom, but the even greater power of the Holy Spirit. He began the greatest reaction process of all — the transformation of the very nature of David. One day, David will be resurrected in power and glory.

God will do the same for you. He will share His Spirit with you — just a little, for now. But you must use it properly — to overcome, to obey God’s law, to do good and serve others.

Then one day, you, too, will be welcomed by the great Creator God into His Kingdom, to live with Him in full brilliance and majesty and share His awesome power forever.

Source: Good News, 1985

September 12, 2009

Ye Are Gods

my.opera.com

my.opera.com

Jesus Christ said, “You are gods.” What did He mean by that? That’s really an astonishing statement, yet if you talk to most Christians they would not understand what that means. And when Jesus Christ was trying to explain it to the Jews and others throughout history — the Jews anyhow, tried to stone Him, and tried to kill Him.

What exactly is it about that statement that makes people so angry? John 10 and verse 30 says, “I and My Father are one.” The Jews — like Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the Pharisees — came to Jesus Christ at night and said that they knew He was a teacher from God. Christ was continually correcting the Jews and everybody else, and they heard Christ say He was one with the Father. So then the Father, or their God, would also be correcting them, and that made them very angry.

Of course they should have been repenting and not stoning or not criticizing. If we’re Christians, we have to follow Jesus Christ.

Notice verse 31-33 – Jesus answered them, “Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

So here they were getting ready to stone Him again because of what they called blasphemy. They already admitted He was a teacher from God — God in the flesh, and saw the miracles He performed. How could anybody think this was just an ordinary man?

Imagine, religious people trying to kill their Creator over, really, one of the most inspiring messages in all the Bible? Verse 34: “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods.?” This statement is not true of angels. Christ didn’t talk about them being His son. And certainly animals don’t have potential like that. Human beings, as with most mainstrean religions, do not realize a human being is a magnificent creation with an awesome potential. This includes all races of men, as God is no respecter of persons.

Now let’s have a look at the psalm Jesus Christ quoted, and give you a little bit of a context or at least one verse that leads into that statement. Notice Psalm 82:5:

They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: …

David is talking about the world in general here. And Christ quoted this very chapter… “neither will they understand.” It means they refuse to understand, and they go on and walk in continued spiritual darkness. Christ came to bring light, but they loved darkness, and they wouldn’t accept the message of Christ. It is the very same today.

There’s something wrong with human beings, and it’s called human nature. People refuse to hear what Christ had to say, even though they have an inspired Bible.

Now notice this amazing conclusion to verse 5. …”all the foundations of the earth are out of course.” Why? Because of this attitude or this human nature. That means all of the foundations of religion, all the foundations of politics, government, science, education, they’re all out of course.

Now truthfully, if all of the foundations of the earth are out of course (and this includes all of the mainstream religions), we’re talking about some major changes needed in our lives – in the lives of all on this earth. It is not a trivial matter. In other words, if the foundations are out of course, you’re building your house on sand, and it’s going to crash. It just simply won’t work.

Now, if you look around truthfully at what’s happening in this world, you’d have to say that’s true. All the foundations of the earth are out of course! Something is terribly, terribly wrong. And God says, “Okay, now I’m going to show you how to solve that problem and it’s not a problem that you can solve by yourself, take lightly or treat in a trivial way.

This is about our ugly human nature. Why are the politics on a wrong foundation? Why is science and education on a wrong foundation? Why religion? Because Christ said that the whole world is deceived by the devil (Revelation 12 and verse 9), and that he is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4 and verse 4). See, that’s getting to the heart of what this is all about.

In the very first chapter of your Bible, it says we are going to be made in the image or the character of God. That’s a process where we have to be willing to bring God into our lives and let Him rule us, or it can’t happen. From the beginning man has rebelled. Adam and Eve didn’t want God’s way. They wanted their own education, their own religion, their own politics. And God said, “Okay, but you’re going to run into problems you can’t even imagine.”

Now back to Psalm 82:6 to see what is God’s solution to these foundations being out of course:

“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are [sons] of the most High.”

It says children in some translations. It should be sons. We’re sons of the most High. The word God there could read judges. That same Greek word is used over 1,300 times in the New Testament to refer to God Himself!”

Christ wasn’t talking about judges — He was talking about these Jews’ potential to enter the very Family of God! He was refuting their anger over His saying that He, a man, was God. ”

Christ said to the Jews, “if all of the foundations of the earth are out of course, how are we going to solve it? Yes, I say I’m the Son of God, but I also say you are gods! You have the potential to be God, or the Son of God, as I am a Son of God!”

Remember Genesis 1? It’s the animal after the animal kind, and then when He came to man He said, “Man is going to be made after the God kind!” We look like God today, physically, in His likeness, but we’re going to be made in His image or character. That’s where the solution is – not in going to heaven to waste our time strumming a harp on some far away cloud while looking with rapture at the face of God. No, Christ said we’re going to enter into and be born into the very Family of God.

And yet humanity does not understand it. All the foundations of the earth are out of course because of human beings who won’t allow God show them what their potential. Unfortunately, this means they will  have to suffer until they learn this lesson. The number one problem we have today is that of human survival.

Going back to John 10:35, we see it says the Scripture cannot be broken. The Old Testament and the New Testament cannot be broken. It’s God’s Word, and He’s promised to fulfill every single word of it! Why don’t we just believe what it says?  Because there’s something terribly wrong with human beings. God doesn’t want us to go through all of this suffering. He said, “You ought to become perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is not happening in this world, not even in organized religion.

God says we’re being greatly influenced by the devil. That is the problem, and yet people don’t even want to believe in a devil. But your Bible says the devil is alive, well, and very active, and he has led man into all of these foundations of the earth being out of course. That is the main reason there has to be a different government on this earth, and that’s what Christ is about to institute. He will return very shortly, and He’s going to give us that government this time that nobody’s going to push aside. Just before human beings destroy all human life on this earth.

Let’s quickly go back to Gen. 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…” What it really says is that physically, we have those features that look like God. The animals on this earth do not. God made the the animal after the animal kind, and when He got down to man He said, “All right, let’s make man after the God kind.” We are here to become gods in the God Family, as God’s Son. We’re going to be the Sons of the Father. He says, “You are gods,” and that gets right at the heart of why we were created, and why we ought to be inspired and moved by these great truths.

September 2, 2009

What Happens When We Die: It's Not What You Think!

flatlandhowler.blogspot.com

flatlandhowler.blogspot.com

Public enemy No. 1! That’s how death can be described. It will slay us all, and at a time of its own choosing.

But paradoxically, although we all know we will die, very few know exactly what death is. Certainly death must be the least understood although most relentless enemy!

Yet it need not remain a mystery to those who will look into their Bibles to read — and believe — what God says. For God has not left us in ignorance about this important subject.

The basic doctrine

Since life is merely a temporary, mortal, chemical process (with man being made from the physical elements — “dust”), death is just the cessation of life. One who is dead has no consciousness separate from his body and feels no pain nor pleasure, but is as if asleep. Nonetheless, we all will live again after death, after a passage of time, when resurrected back to life again.

The usual teachings of this world

Most professing Christians believe that at death they do not really die — that is, cease to live in any form. They instead believe that at death only the body dies, and that the “soul” is then liberated to live on in heaven or hell (depending upon the moral merit of the former life).

Others believe in reincarnation, thinking that their soul, which is liberated at death, will be placed in a new body to live again, with this process occurring over and over. Scientists who believe evolution seem to recognize death for what it is (the total cessation of life), but they also err because they know nothing of the hope of the dead — life again after a resurrection. Even other beliefs about death exist.

Yet, surprisingly, these concepts are not from the Bible!

The Bible teaching

Perhaps the main reason why people, religious or otherwise, do not understand death is because, first of all, they do not understand what life is. The Bible makes it plain.

Genesis 2:7 records, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Authorized Version).

Notice! Man does not have a soul. He is a soul. The word translated “soul” here is the Hebrew word nephesh. It means a living, breathing, physical creature. The word carries no implication of immortality. In Genesis 1:24 it is translated “living creature” and refers to animals.

Further, the Scriptures say dogmatically that the soul can die and therefore cannot be immortal. See Ezekiel 18:4, 20 and Matthew 10:28.

The Bible nowhere teaches that man has an immortal soul. In fact, the immortal soul doctrine was adopted by professing Christianity from pagan Egypt through the Greek philosophers.

But note that man, as God stated, is composed of the physical elements of the earth and is dust. God plainly told Adam, who sinned, “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). But men do not want to die, so they do not want to believe God. They do not want to believe that man’s life is merely a physicochemical existence that will run down and stop — die!

Hence, they choose instead to believe the lie Satan told Eve when he said, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). They believe that within this dusty body, as a sort of prisoner of the flesh, is an immortal soul that is unleashed at the death of the body and that continues in conscious life forever.

To be sure, man is not merely an animal. For one, man is made in God’s image and in God’s likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). And man’s potential — that of being born into the God Family — is far more incredible than the fate of any animal.

Further, God reveals that there is a spirit in man (I Corinthians 2:11) that gives man mental superiority over animals. It is this spirit that imparts the power of mind to man, and the power of moral decision, including the ability to grow in character. But this spirit is not the man. And it is not an immortal soul. It is something in man that gives man a dimension of life above the animals. It does not give him immortal life, however.

To understand death requires that we know that man’s life is merely a chemical process involving physical elements. When that process stops, we die. We are dust, and when we die our bodies decay and return to the dust.

When we die, all conscious thought and awareness ceases. Notice Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?”

And compare Ecclesiastes 9:4-5: “For him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing.”

The apostle Peter knew that even the righteous die and lose all consciousness and bodily presence, for he stated: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. … For David did not ascend into the heavens” (Acts 2:29, 34). Even righteous David was not an immortal soul that left his body and went to heaven. Even David was dust and decayed back to the elements.

Other scriptures supply even more detail about death, comparing it in a figure of speech to sleep (I Corinthians 11:30, I Kings 2:10). When a person is asleep, he loses consciousness and is unaware of his surroundings.

The topic of death is in some ways unique. Most people will not believe what God says if their senses tell them differently. For example, Adam and Eve did not believe God’s warning about the tree of good and evil, because the fruit of it looked good and desirable. Yet, in the case of death, people will not believe God when He says death is what it indeed appears to be to the most casual observer — namely, the cessation of life! People will not believe God no matter what He says, whether our senses tell us to agree or not.

But caution! Nothing said here means to imply that death is the end of all hope of life. It is not. An old saying goes, “Where there is life, there is hope.” But the great God says, in effect, that even where there is death there is still hope — in fact, the main hope.

That hope is the resurrection of the dead from death to life again. Notice Job’s question and answer about death: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14:14, AV).

Realize this: The demonstrable fact of the resurrection of the dead proves once and for all that humans are not immortal souls. If we were, why would the dead have to be resurrected? They would already be alive.

And see further Christ’s startling statement: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).

Jesus knew His statement might startle His audience, so He said further: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [judgment]” (verses 28-29).

The Scriptures are plain that all people will be resurrected, even those who will eventually be cast into the lake of fire to die the “second death.”

The apostle Paul chose to comfort the living relatives of those true Christians who had died by reminding them of the wonderful resurrection to come (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

To alleviate their sorrow, Paul explained that the dead in Christ will be resurrected at Christ’s return, and that they — along with us, if we qualify — will forever be with Christ.

Yes, the truth about death is far less foreboding than the fanciful imaginations of well-intentioned but errant religionists!

Key verses

When properly understood, this topic of death can fill us all with real hope, for then we know the wonderful truth that we will all see our beloved deceased relatives again. Therefore it may be well to note specially the basic scriptures that describe the truth about death. Here are some of them:

Genesis 2:7 and 3:19 — man is a mortal being made from the dust. Genesis 1:24 — the Hebrew word translated “soul” in Genesis 2:7 is translated here as “living creature” and refers to animals. Ezekiel 18:4, 20 and Matthew 10:28 — the soul is not immortal; it dies. Psalm 6:5 and Ecclesiastes 9:4-5 — the dead have no consciousness. John 11:11-14 and I Kings 2:10 — death is compared to sleep. John 5:25, 28-29 and I Corinthians 15 — the dead will be resurrected.

Death is indeed an enemy, but through the resurrection from the dead this enemy is annihilated. Therefore Paul says in I Corinthians 15:26, 54-55 (AV): “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death…. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Source: Good News, March 1986

April 18, 2009

Do Christ's Genealogies Of Matthew 1 And Luke 3 Contradict?

Matthew 1 and Luke 3 both give genealogies of Christ, but they appear to contradict. Actually they complement each other. 

Matthew’s genealogy is clearly that of Joseph. Matthew recorded it for legal purposes; he was writing to prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, and the Jews’ custom in keeping records was to trace descent through the father. Legally, the Jews of Jesus’ day looked on Him as a son of Joseph (John 6:42). 

Also, Joseph’s lineage was given to emphasize the fact that Jesus had to be born of a virgin. He could never sit upon the throne of David if Joseph were His real father, since Jechonias (or Jeconiah) was one of his ancestors (Matt. 1:11-12). 

Jeconiah, called Coniah in Jeremiah 22:24-30, was so evil God cursed him and his descendants and said “no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (verse 30). Jeconiah did have children (I Chron. 3:17) but was childless as far as having any descendants on the throne. Joseph’s children could not, therefore, ever sit on David’s throne. 

How, then, could Christ be a descendant of David and qualify to sit. on the throne? Enter the genealogy in Luke 3. 

Luke’s genealogy is actually Mary’s. According to Jewish usage, Mary’s genealogy was given in her husband’s name. The original Greek merely says Joseph was “of Heli” (Luke 3:23). In fact, Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, since his father was Jacob (Matt. 1:16). 

Unlike in Joseph’s lineage, there was no block to the throne of David in Jesus’ actual blood genealogy through Mary. Her ancestor was David’s other son, Nathan (Luke 3:31). To fulfill His promise to establish David’s throne forever, God honored Nathan by making him the ancestor of the promised King who would sit on David’s throne through eternity (Luke 1:31-33). 

But how could Mary transmit David’s royal inheritance — the right to the throne — to her son, since all inheritances had to pass through male descendants? According to Israel’s law, when a daughter was the only heir, she could inherit her father’s possessions and rights if she married within her own tribe (Num. 27:1-7, 36:6-7). 

Apparently, Mary had no brothers who could be her father’s heirs. Joseph became Heli’s heir by marriage to Mary, and thus inherited the right to rule on David’s throne. This right then passed on to Christ. 

Both genealogies had to be recorded to establish Christ’s right to rule on David’s throne. Joseph’s genealogy shows Christ was a descendant of Jeconiah and thus could not sit on the throne by inheriting the right through Joseph. It further proves the virgin birth: The curse on Jeconiah’s line would have passed on to Christ if He were Joseph’s real son, but He wasn’t — He was begotten by the Holy Spirit and was the Son of God. 

But Christ was Mary’s son through Nathan and can inherit the throne legally because of her marriage to Joseph, whose genealogy shows he was of the tribe of Judah. 

These two genealogies do not contradict. When studied together, they prove Christ’s legal right to rule on David’s throne when He returns.

April 4, 2009

Why Did People Live Longer Before The Flood Of Noah's Time?

 

According to the Bible, people once lived for hundreds of years. Adam lived 930 years. Methuselah lived the longest of any person mentioned. He died at 969 years of age (see Genesis 5). Shortly after the Flood, however, we find people living much shorter life spans. Abraham, for example, lived 175 years (Gen. 25:7). A few generations later, Joseph lived “only” 110 years (Gen. 50:22). We are told in the Psalms that 70 years is considered to be a good long life (Ps. 90:10). David died at that age and was described as being an old man full of years (I Chron. 29:28). That was about 1000 B.C. 

Before the Flood
 
 
Biblical Patriarch Life Span Age at Birth of First Son
Adam 930 130
Seth 912 105
Enosh 905 90
Cainan 910 70
Mahalealel 895 65
Jared 962 162
Enoch 365 65
Methuselah 969 187
Lamech 777 182
Noah 950 500
 
After the Flood
 
 
Biblical Patriarch Life Span Age at Birth of First Son
Shem 600 100
Arphaxad 498 35
Salah 433 30
Eber 464 34
Peleg 239 30
Reu 239 32
Serug 230 30
Nahor 148 29
Terah 205 70

 

Chart Source: Biblestudy.org

There have been many speculations concerning the great shortening of human life spans. The Bible, however, does not directly explain how or why this came to be. Possibly, God simply determined that about 70 years is sufficient time for a person to fulfill his purpose. Those who are called can prepare in that length of time to receive immortality at the return of Christ. Those not yet called can learn that the ways of man do not bring satisfaction or fulfillment. Thus, when they arise in the judgment they will be able to choose God’s way.

March 23, 2009

Did The Father Forsake Jesus On The Cross?

Did the Father forsake Jesus on the cross? The answer is yes, God really DID forsake His Son while He hung on the cross and it is important to understand why.

Except for Jesus Christ, all humans have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Sin, the breaking of God’s law, requires the penalty of death: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Sin also cuts one off from God: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does is will, He hears him” (John 9:31, RAV). Isaiah wrote: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2, RAV).

Nevertheless, when one does repent — change, turn around, go the right way, and overcome — God will hear and answer that person’s request.

So, did Jesus sin? Is that the reason the Father cut Himself off from His only begotten Son who poured out His blood and finally died on the cross? No, not at all. Jesus was perfect. He never sinned. Notice: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:21-22).

Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly took on our sins and, by His shed blood and death, suffered the penalty of sin for us. While He was on the cross, Jesus bore the sins of all of humanity, paying the penalty for them. Therefore, Jesus was cut off from God while on the cross because sin separates man from God. If God the Father was going to accept Jesus’ one supreme sacrifice as payment for the sins of all mankind, He had to turn His back on the sinbearer — Jesus. He had to forsake Jesus and let Him pay the full penalty for our sins.

God so loved the world that He was willing to cut Himself off from His perfect, loving, and obedient Son so that the Son could bear the sins of the world. How great and wonderful God’s love is toward us!

But, remember, God forgives and applies Christ’s sacrifice to only those who have truly repented, those who are willing to turn from their evil ways, the very ways which made Christ’s supreme sacrifice necessary. Christ came to save man FROM his sins — not IN his sins.

Why did Jesus ask the question He asked? Didn’t He know that God had to turn His back on Him and forsake Him while He was carrying the sins of the world? Certainly, Jesus fully realized that God had to forsake Him if the world were going to receive an atonement for its sins. This was one of the reasons Jesus came into the world (John 3:16-17). Why, then, did He ask the question? The answer is that by so doing He fulfilled prophecy.

David too, in a time of trouble, cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Ps. 22:1).

These words, spoken by a man after God’s own heart hundreds of years before the crucifixion, prophetically applied to Christ. They foreshadowed the utter anguish Jesus felt when God the Father forsook Him.

March 14, 2009

A Passover Examination

Every year, the Passover comes and goes. The world largely ignores this day, but even those that partake of it may view it as a matter of routine, while glossing over its deep meaning. The Passover is one of the most important occasions in a true Christian life, and its solemn meaning must be refreshed annually. That is why 1Corinthians 11:27-28 admonishes us to examine ourselves before we partake of its symbolism.

An important aspect of the Passover is how we partake of it. Jesus’ body was broken for us, for our healing. So we read in verses 29-30, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself not discerning the Lord’s body.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible says many people interpret the word “unworthingly” to mean their personal qualifications; or to be “unworthy” or “unfit” to partake of the Passover. But the word “unworthily” ” (ἀναξίως anaxiōs) is used as an “adverb,” rather than an “adjective,” and simply refers to taking this ordinance in a proper manner, with a deep sense of our sinfulness, and our need of a Saviour and Redeemer.

Does accepting Christ or baptizing save you?

So although the world, in large part, does not obey of the biblical command to observe the Passover, the meaning of it has been appropriated and twisted. Quite a few denominations believe that if you are “saved,” you go to heaven when you die. Otherwise, they say you go straight to hell, a torture that continues eternally. But on the bright side — all you have to do is accept Jesus Christ, and the blood of Christ saves you. Bingo, there’s your ticket to heaven, right? Not so fast!

Let me set the record straight here — the blood of Christ does not save anyone! Such a statement is unbiblical. Romans 5:9 says we are “justified” (or rendered innocent), by the blood of Christ. In other words, it was shed for our forgiveness of sins past and we are reconciled to God the Father by the death of Christ. But we are to be saved by His resurrection, and through our own resurrection, made possible through Jesus Christ.

Others think if they’re baptized they’re saved. That is also not biblical. You are not a Christian merely because you’re baptized. Here’s Mark 7:6-9 says on the matter: “How be it in vain do they worship me.” Yes you can accept Christ, believe in Christ, worship Him, but still do it in vain. “…teaching for doctrines the commandments of men and making the commandments of God of none affect by your tradition.”

So how exactly are you saved? What is the biblical teaching on the subject?

Two conditions to be saved

Luke 13:3, 5 tells us exactly the opposite of what some denominations teach — regardless of how many times you’ve been baptised, or what you believe — if you have not repented you will perish. Read it for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you worship and accept Christ as your Saviour, nor how much you believe in Him. You must repent to be saved.

John 8:30-31 states: “As Jesus spoke these words many believed on him.” Here are people that believed on Christ, yet He said to them: “If you continue in my word then you may be my disciples indeed.” They were told to do something, not merely believe!

Notice the immediate reaction of the people. Verse 33 shows they began to dispute Him right away. They believed on Christ, but they did not believe what He said.

So just accepting Christ, just believing on Christ doesn’t save you. You have to believe what He says, and you have to repent.

Contrary to popular religious opinion, there are two official biblical conditions to be saved: (1) repentance and (2) faith.

Mark 1:14-15 shows that Jesus came into Galilee preaching, “…the time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand, REPENT ye, and BELIEVE the gospel.” A lot of people don’t fully know what that means. They say, Oh, I’ve repented; yes, I know I’ve sinned. But they haven’t really repented without a full understanding of what it means, and they are not Christ’s until they have the Holy Spirit of God, and they cannot have the Holy Spirit of God until they have repented.

Again, let’s let scripture verify this in Rom.8:9: “But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man (or woman) have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.” Pretty plain right? Verse 11 continues to show us that without the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and leading us, there is no salvation.

Another fact – without the Spirit of God, we cannot comprehend spiritual truths. So you read in 1 Corinthians 2, and beginning verse 9, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the mind of man,” [the spiritual truths], the things that God has prepared for us.” Then the next verse says, “But God has revealed them to us.” See it comes from God, but He reveals it by and through His Spirit.

Many understand a certain amount of the Bible, because so much of it is related to ordinary materialistic or physical knowledge, and much of it is history, which can also be readily understood. But when it comes to real deep Spiritual teaching, the natural mind of man cannot comprehend.

Repent…Believe…be baptized

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to a total of one hundred and twenty people. And Peter preached the first really Spirit inspired sermon by a human on that day. Then in Acts 2:37 it shows the people were “pricked in their heart.” They were really hit emotionally. “And said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” What are we going to do now, now that we’ve heard what we did and heard how Christ had been crucified. Then Peter said unto them, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

There is no promise in the Bible that anyone will receive the Holy Spirit until after he has repented and been baptized, which is only an outward physical ceremony picturing your real repentance and belief. Going into the water pictures the death of the old self and as a type of the death of Christ. Coming back up out of the water is a picture of the resurrection of Christ and your coming up to live a new and a different, a much-changed type of life, going a different direction from this time on.

So real repentance means you have to admit you’ve been going in the wrong direction, believe you’ve lived wrong and done wrong – been wrong through and through. That is the type of repentance most have never admitted to, they merely accept what they believe is the truth in their own goodness and their own righteousness. These people haven’t got any more real salvation than a cat, a dog, or a cow.

David’s Repentance

A lot of people can’t understand how David could ever be called a man after God’s own heart. He shed so much blood, and deliberately disobeyed God in taking a census of His nation. And God really punished him for that. And another time he saw a woman taking a bath out of his window and told some of his servants to bring her over. She then became pregnant. So David committed adultery with another man’s wife and ultimately sent him up in the forefront of the battle where he was killed. David now became a murderer.

However, the 51st Psalm shows a prayer of David when he woke up and finally realized what had happened. Most people would say that had any man done those things, he’s no good, or God couldn’t use a man like that. Yet it is God who calls him a man after His own heart because David was crying out to God: “Have mercy upon me Oh God according to thy loving kindness, unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Here he begins to admit how wrong he was. And further, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquities, cleanse me from my sin.” Now he’s confessing it. “For I acknowledge my transgression and my sin is ever before me.” And then, notice verse 10, where it says, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit in me.” He confessed his sins and David never did it again.

Every one of us has sinned. God knows every sin of man and all had better be forgiven before the Passover is taken. Eph. 2:1 shows that every person is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins because of walking in disobedience with Satan who leads with “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” That means some steps of examination have to be undertaken.

What can a Christian do?

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins….” God wants to forgive us, but Christians who have the Holy Spirit, must confess their sins and repent, because that changes everything. God is then “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23) but converted Christians are not in disagreement with Him. They don’t mean to sin, but often slip up, forgot, or maybe get careless.

God will grant forgiveness, but not to the Christian who doesn’t change his main attitude and main purpose. If repentance and acknowledgement is lacking, and if they continue on, pretty soon they’ll just be lost entirely.

Annual Passover is great reminder

It’s good to have this Passover season come once a year and to have Christians realize they make mistakes; maybe through thoughtlessness, maybe through a deliberate act. But as they come to realize it, they must repent quickly. No one should say, “I’m not worthy to repent.” You’re never too unworthy to go to God and ask for forgiveness, and ask Him to get you back on the track.

Now, it says, “let a man examine himself, and then let him take of that Passover.” We have to examine ourselves and we should before the Passover, to know that we are walking with Christ as we should be.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.