April 3, 2015

Church History: part 3 – The Reign of Religion

Posted in Catholicism, The Church tagged , , , at 9:50 PM by E. M.

Keys to the kingdomIn the last post, we began looking at the history of the Church in the 6th Dispensation from the perspective of the seven letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor. When examined in the order presented, I believe the letters outline the history of the Church in advance.

The first two letters documented the growth of the early church from the age of the Apostles immediately after Jesus’ resurrection, through the 3rd century. We also saw Satan’s early attempts to destroy the Church. In the last post, we saw that what Satan couldn’t do through corruption and persecution, he accomplished by “marrying” the church to the world when church leaders compromised with the Mystics.

In this post we will examine the fourth letter that was sent to the church in Thyatira and see how the Mystics consolidated their power over the church to grow it into a monstrous and grotesque perversion of the humble collection of believers that Jesus intended it to be.

The church report card

The letter seemingly starts off well enough with Jesus commending the church for their good works and charity (the effort of which increases over time). However the problem is that they allowed a woman named “Jezebel” to corrupt the Church with pagan ideas and practices.

So who was this Jezebel person? In the denotative sense she probably was an actual pagan priestess who seduced the 1st century congregation in Thyatira with her mysticism. But in the historic sense, I believe she represents something more.

In some translations, “that woman Jezebel” is rendered “your wife Jezebel”. This rendering would fit with the marriage concept from Pergamos. It would also frame “Jezebel” as a metaphor as well as an actual person. This letter represents the age when the church fully embraced the doctrines and practices of the Mystics – the time when Roman Catholicism was the dominant force in the world, from about 800AD to about 1800AD.

Hostile takeover

As we saw in the last post, once Christianity gained a position of power in the fading Roman Empire, the Mystics slithered their way into the sphere of influence by convincing the church leaders to merge Christianity with their pagan mysticism under the guise of reforming the pagans. But any compromise between water and poison can only result in a victory for the poison.

Predictably, the Mystics quickly gained control of church leadership and became the dominate doctrinal authorities during this time period. The declining imperial rule of the Roman Caesars was transformed into the theocratic rule of the Roman Papacy. Where once the world was ruled by armies, it would now be ruled by an arguably more powerful force – religion!

The power of religion

As I’ve written before, Mystics gain, consolidate, and grow their power over the masses through an elaborate con game wherein they dupe people into surrendering their wills to them by making them believe that the Mystics are more powerful than they really are –and religion has traditionally been the perfect tool to accomplish this.

Religion takes man’s innate knowledge and awe of the spiritual, and combines it with his natural tendency to think comparatively. This powerful combination makes religion the most effective way to enslave men’s minds, because it’s self-directed! People WANT to be religious! Religion promises to relive our pervasive guilt while still allowing us to feel like we’re in control. It’s an extremely seductive proposition that leads to a death spiral.

Racketeering in the name of Jesus

The “Christian” Mystics decreed that they we’re the unquestioned leaders of the Church and that God made them His exclusive emissaries on earth.

They used their fraudulent authority to set themselves up as the final arbiters of God’s word, His official spokes persons, and the gatekeepers of the afterlife. It was actually a great racket.  If you can convince people that you are Heaven’s official bouncers and that God has given you power of attorney on earth, you can basically get away with anything – and they pretty much did!

They pilfered untold riches from the people “in the name of God”, they built spectacularly ornate and gaudy edifices (under the guise of honoring the humble carpenter from Nazareth who eschewed the luxuries of this world). They practiced all manner of sexual and lascivious debauchery, and obscene abuses of power.

They twisted the message of salvation so that it was no longer just by believing and accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross, but that you had to EARN it by “appeasing God” though you own efforts and “good works” as well as any number of quasi-Biblical (or outright pagan) rituals that had been “Christianized” by the Mystics.

If anyone dared resist, they were labeled a heretic and condemned to Hell.

But its gets worse

With this religious structure in place, the power of the Mystics grew exponentially until they literally had armies of devoted followers. This allowed the Mystics of Spirit to co-opt and assume the methods of their historic partners, the Mystics of Force. Emperors became “Popes”, Senators became “Cardinals”, territories became diocese, governors became “Bishops”, and warriors become “holy”.

Now those people in their geographic areas of influence who tried to resist the power of the Mystics and could not be converted through religious persuasion, could be dealt with by force!

The Popes promised, blessings, indulgences and heavenly bounties to those kings and soldiers willing to kill, conquer, and die for “the Church” – They enacted various inquisitions, persecuted and expelled jews who would not convert, and they killed anyone who dared accuse them of warping Christianity, or even disagreed with any part of their world views on anything!

Collateral damage

This leads to one of the most tragic outcomes of the rule of the Christina Mystics – they have convinced the public that they represent God, thus leading the world to believe that God is just as unjust and unrighteous, cruel, petty, irrational, bigoted, sexist, hypocritical, vain, elitist, aloof, unpredictable, untrustworthy, selfish, superstitious, greedy, and ultimately as impotent against evil as they are. I shudder to think how many people over the centuries have mistakenly walked away from God because they (understandably) wanted nothing to do with the evil mystics who claimed to represent Him.

Marginalizing the Bible

But how did the Mystics get away with all this? Couldn’t the people they tried to rule over just read the Bible and see the Mystics for charlatans that they were? Absolutely! And the Mystics knew it.

The biggest threat to Mystics is people losing their fear and gaining knowledge of the truth – that mystics are ruling them though nothing more than ecclesiastical smoke and mirrors.  As such, the LAST thing they wanted people to do was learn the truth of the Bible.

So in typical Mystic fashion, they decreed that only their priests were capable of understanding and “properly interpreting” scripture and forbade non-clergy to read the Bible.

(It didn’t help that they only allowed the Bible to be translated into Latin, an academic language only taught to clergy – did I mention that medieval mystics controlled higher education?)

But once the Bible was available to the masses, they had new problems. The people could now read for themselves and see that most of what the Mystics dogma was unbiblical! How do they get around the fact that the Bible BLATANTLY contradicts key Catholic doctrines?

They taught that the Bible is not the only source of Christian dogma! And that the various religious traditions that they invented should be considered dogma too (they call them “Sacred Traditions”, to make them sound cooler). They then decreed that their traditions superseded the Bible! So in any contradiction or conflict over doctrine, Mystic “tradition” overruled the Word of God!

Like I said, it was a great racket, perhaps the best one ever invented.

Working your way to Heaven

The commendation that Jesus gave to the church in Thyatira is a case study on why religion is so deceptive and destructive. Jesus commended them for their good works. Which on the surface seems positive, and on the surface it is! Good works and charity are great things in and of themselves. But good works are an EFFECT of Salvation and the Church, not a CAUSE! You aren’t saved because you do good works in God’s name, you do good works because you are saved!

Again, the doctrine of religious Mystics is that YOU have to do things to please God in order to be saved. And while that sounds great superficially, when you examine it, what it really means is that YOU are the reason you are saved, NOT God! True Biblical/Christian Salvation is based on the work that God has done for you, not the other way around!

When this perversion of salvation is believed, it is a great victory for Satan because it is based on comparative thinking and religion. Both of which lead you away from God!

So am I saying Catholics aren’t saved?

No. I’m not saying that at all. I don’t have the ability, authority, or desire to say which specific people or groups are saved or not. What I DO know is the only way to salivation is the process outlined in the Bible. If you are trying to be saved by any other method, you can be pretty sure it won’t work.

Clue to the end-time church(es)?

Now before we go on to the next letter, I need to point out a subtle, but very provocative structural change Jesus made to the letter to Thyatira and the subsequent letters. All seven letter end with a promise to “he who overcomes”, and a salutation (“he who has an ear to hear, let him hear”).

In the first three letters, the promise to the overcomer comes after the salutation, almost as if it’s a postscript or an afterthought. However in the last four letters, the promise comes BEFORE the salutation, giving the impression that there is still time to actively achieve the promise.

It’s interesting to note that the promises to the overcomers in the last four churches ALL reference events that will occur AFTER the 6th dispensation. Some Bible commentators have taken this to indicate that these four final churches will exist be in existence in some form at the end of the dispensation.

That’s not great news for Thyatira, since those who do not reject the doctrine of the mystics are promised inclusion in the “great tribulation” – the apocalyptic era that occurs between the 6th and 7th Dispensations.

I can imagine that any Catholic readers are uncomfortable (if not outright offended) by the last two posts. But if it makes you feel any better, the next letter would have to chronologically fit the protestant church. And that letter is one of two of which Jesus has NOTHING positive to say. Fortunately for all of us, the letter after that is addressed to one of the two Churches of which Jesus has nothing negative to say. We’ll look at both churches next time.

 

 

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January 30, 2015

Church History – part 1: Don’t Persecute the Messengers

Posted in Jesus, Spiritual Warfare, The Church tagged , , , , , at 10:36 AM by E. M.

Christian PersecutionThe church is the group of people in the 6th Dispensation who have accepted salvation and have access to grace. The purpose of the Church is to become the Bride of Christ in the Meaning of Life.

In this post, we begin looking at the history of the Church from a very special perspective.

In the 6th Dispensation, the Church is being sanctified in order to be a worthy bride. A big part of that sanctification is living by grace.

In addition to direct influence of the Holy Spirit, a significant aspect of Grace is the guidance that the Church gets from the Bible itself – particularly the epistles (or letters) written by the Apostles (those who had direct physical contact with Jesus) that comprise most of what we call the New Testament.

Seven of the most interesting and impactful “epistles” are found in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation. These short epistles stand out for two significant reasons.

The first (and most important) is that they come from Jesus Himself! (It would make sense that Jesus would provide direct guidance for since He has a vested interest in the sanctification of His Bride).

Revelation consists of the detailed descriptions that the Apostle John was told to write of what he saw and heard when he was spiritually transported to the presence of God.

The first thing he was told to write was the seven letters to seven Churches in seven cities is Asia Minor (present day Turkey).

The letters are addressed to the first century churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

These were actual cities that existed during John’s time, and they each had unique challenges and opportunities which Jesus addressed in each of His letters to them. In each letter, Jesus told the Church:

  1. What they were doing well (if anything)
  2. Where they needed to improve
  3. How they will be judged if they don’t improve
  4. How they will be rewarded if they either improve, or continue to do well

The second reason that the letters are so provocative is because if viewed in the order written, they outline the entire history of the church in advance! From the Apostolic age to the end of the 6th dispensation!

This is the perspective from which we will examine Church history over the next few posts.

In His letter to the Ephesian Church, Jesus commends their hard work in His name, their intolerance of evil, and their adherence to Biblical doctrine in the face of false teachers.

Historically, this letter signifies the “Apostolic Church” – the Church that existed immediately after the advent of the Redeemer in the 1st and 2nd centuries.

When Jesus ascended to Heaven after the resurrection, He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit down to empower his disciples to do His work – and He did, in a BIG way!

The empowering of the Holy Spirit transformed a group of cowardly fishermen into bold and fearless Apostles who literally changed the world by spreading the message of Salvation far and wide.

The things they said, did, and wrote formed much of the basis of Christian doctrine, discipleship, and worldview which endured to this day.

Of course Satan wasn’t very pleased with this development since his goal was to thwart Christianity. So he went to his usual bag of tricks in an attempt to stop the growth of the nascent Church

He started by trying to eliminate the Apostles through the same Jewish leaders who conspired against Jesus during His earthly ministry.

The Pharisees used their power to intimidate, ostracize, persecute, and imprison the Apostles.

But their plans thoroughly backfired. The strife they caused only made the Church grow faster and the Apostle grow bolder.

Worse yet, one of the more preeminent young Pharisees of the day became arguably the most influential Apostle of them all!

After his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, the Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus, persecuter of Christians, became Paul the Apostle, and used his incredible intellectual prowess to pen profound doctrinal treatise that came to make up most of the New Testament.

With this failure, Satan tuned to his next traditional tactic, corruption and compromise.

Almost immediately after Christianity began to take hold. False doctrines were introduced to corrupt the message of Jesus and Salvation. Several of the Apostolic Epistles were written for the primary purpose of correcting heretical teachings that had crept into the Churches, such as the idea that Christians were still bound by the Law, or the blending of Christianity and pagan mysticism.

Interestingly, Paul warned the Church at Ephesus about the advent of those who would bring corrupt doctrine into the Church some 40 years before Jesus’ letter in Revelation.

Apparently the Ephesians took Paul’s warning to heart because Jesus told them that they did a great job of sussing out false teachers! However, Jesus admonished the early Church for “leaving their first love”. He instructed them to remember, repent, and do the “first works”.

The term “first love” in this context refers to the emotion and exuberance we feel when we first “fall in love”. The first and greatest commandment is to love God completely. Also the primary command of Jesus to the Apostles was to go and make disciples of all men.

It would seem that the issue Jesus had with the Ephesians was that they were so focused on fighting evil and getting doctrine right that they neglected devotional time with God and worship of God, as well as disciple new Christians.

Or as one Bible commentator put is, “they were so busy doing the business of the King, they made no time for the King!”

The next letter was to the Church as Smyrna.   Jesus commended them for enduring persecution and poverty. He had no admonishments for them, but warned them that their suffering would continue. However if they remained faithful, they would be rewarded.

Historically, this is the Church of the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Having failed to stop the growth of the Church though intimidation and corruption, Satan once again turned to the Mystics to do his dirty work, beginning with the Mystics of Force – the government.

Thus the 2nd and 3rd centuries were a time of intense physical persecution for the Church as successive Roman Emperors attempted to exterminate Christianity and its claim to One True God (as opposed to the many gods of pagan Rome – including the deified Emperors themselves!)

Christians were denied citizenship and any type of legal protection. Their very existence was a violation of law and they were subjected to brutal torture and death if they refused to denounce their faith.

But even when driven underground into the catacombs of Rome and the wilderness on the outskirts of the empire, Christianity continued to grow. In fact, the more furious the persecution, the faster the Church grew as they were forced to focus more and more on God for daily provision and survival!

It got to the point that the population of the Church was so large, persecution and imprisonment became impractical for the empire!

There is one more thing we need to cover before we move on to the next letter. As a postscript to the letter to the Ephesians, Jesus commends them for rejecting the hated doctrine of the “Nicolaitans”. The Nicolaitans are something of a mystery since the term does not seem to be a formal name as much as a description.

The root words in the Greek imply “those who rule over the people”. It’s been theorized that this referred to false teachers who used their religious influence to dominate the lives of their followers “in the name of Jesus”.

If true, then the Nicolaitans were probably Gnostics. Gnostics were local mystics who (in typical fashion) claimed to have special, hidden knowledge that God gave only to them. This knowledge consisted of a variety of odd, often contradictory doctrines consisting of denying the physical incarnation of Jesus (He was basically a holy hologram), worshiping angels, teaching that Jesus was just a man who father a bunch of children, and completely rejecting the material world (not sure how you effectively do that, short of suicide or becoming an environmentalist).

They also claim to have “found” hidden epistles that contradicted the Bible, allegedly written by assorted disciples and followers such as Thomas, Philip, Judas, and Mary Magdalene. Never mind the fact all of these “epistles” have been dated several decades after the death of the author. The fact that they claim one was written by Judas – who betrayed Jesus and killed himself immediately after – demonstrates a special level of lunacy.

Again, to their credit, the early church for the most part rejected this nonsense, but it’s important to bring it up here because subsequent letters show that later churches would accept and embrace the Nicolaitans, giving mystics an irrevocable foothold in the Church. Speaking of which…

With the failure of the Mystics of Force, Satan turned to the Mystics of Spirit to defeat the Church. In the next post, we will explore the next phase of Church history and learn how the Mystics of Spirit were MUCH more effective than their counterparts in damaging and corrupting the Church, and have in fact proven to be a dominant force in the ultimate failure of the 6th Dispensation.

The next  two posts will hit close to home for many and will probably be the most controversial and inflammatory entires on this blog. I can hardly wait…

 

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November 24, 2014

Kingdom Come…later

Posted in Bible Prophesy, Jesus, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 4:12 PM by E. M.

THE PHARISEE MESSIANIC FANTASY

THE PHARISEE MESSIANIC FANTASY

The 5th Dispensation failed because the Jewish leadership failed to recognize and accept Jesus as their Messiah, despite the enormous evidence that that proved Jesus was the ONLY person who could be the Redeemer.

As with the previous dispensations, the failure was due to the people choosing themselves over God – specifically, they chose the version of the Messiah that THEY wanted, as opposed to the one God actually sent.

But what if the Jews HAD accepted Jesus? This question is interesting for a couple reasons. First, the aftermath of a successful 5th Dispensation would have been unique due to the promises God made to Israel. And secondly, the end of this dispensation will greatly impact the future, as we’ll see later in this post.

Before we get to the answer, we need to revisit some background information. In the 4th Dispensation, God made an unconditional, unbreakable promise to Abraham (the father of the Jews and Israel) that He would make them a great nation and that all the nations of the world would be blessed through them.

That promise was amplified later in the 5th Dispensation through Old Testament prophets who foretold that the Messiah would set up a world-wide kingdom and would rule the nations from Jerusalem.

But this Kingdom would be preceded by God judging, punishing, and generally going all “Old Testament” on the enemies of Israel (I acknowledge that this may be the first appropriate usage of that term).

And this is what the Pharisees were looking for from their Messiah – a Jewish Super hero who would make all their jingoistic fantasies a reality. And their desires weren’t illegitimate! Just ill timed.

In fact, Jesus began His ministry by quoting this Messianic prophesy from Isaiah 6:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me, To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God;

Except He stopped at the last comma and closed the book. He left off the part about “The day of vengeance of our God”! Or more accurately, He postponed it since the first part of His ministry was to fulfill the law and die unjustly to redeem mankind.

So what would have happened if the Jewish leadership had been contrastive and recognized their Messiah?

First of all, they would have accepted Him as King when He presented Himself as such on the exact day prophesized. His unjust execution would then have likely been initiated by the Romans (who wouldn’t have looked favorably on someone elevating Himself above Caesar) instead of the Jews.

And while they would have been distraught by the brutality of His death, they would have anxiously awaited His resurrection on the third day. The risen Jesus would have presented Himself in the Temple for all of Israel to see (the people would have still been in Jerusalem for spring feasts), and the Jews would have believed on Him and accepted salvation.

Then the entire gentile world would have likely heard this voice coming from heaven. Followed by righteous Judgment raining down upon the enemies of Israel, as well as Satan and his minions for 7 years.

Finally, the long awaited Kingdom would commence with the Jews ruling alongside Jesus.

But as we know, this didn’t happen. Worse, by rejecting their Messiah, the Jews opened themselves up to the curses that God pronounced would occur if they ultimately rejected Him. Jesus cried in despair for His people knowing the horrors and misfortunes that they would have to endure throughout their history as a result of their failure to recognize the Redeemer

Moreover, because they intentionally refused to see the evidence that was staring them in the face for hundreds of years, God justly blinded them to the knowledge they rejected.

[Note: the blindness pronounced by Jesus was a “corporate” curse on national Israel. Individual Jews could obviously be saved since the Jews were almost exclusively the only Christians for several years after Jesus’ resurrection.]

But while the failure of the 5th Dispensation was a tragedy for first-century Israel, it was a boon to the rest of us, because we have the opportunity to fill in the gap. What “gap” you ask?

Allow me to explain:

You see, the aforementioned prophesy in Daniel 9: 24-27 not only gave the exact date of Jesus’ presentation as the Redeemer, it gives timing of the end of the reign of sin and evil in the world!

The prophesy basically said that everything would be wrapped up in 490 years (70 “weeks of years”). As we’ve seen, Jesus presented Himself as Redeemer/Messiah/King after 483 years (69 “weeks of years”). That just leaves 7 years (one week of years) yet to be fulfilled.

But Daniel 9:26 shows that there is an indeterminate gap of time between the 69th week and the 70th week, wherein certain things happened including the crucifixion and resurrection, as well as the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. (so we know the gap was at least 40 years since the 69th week ended around 30 A.D.)

Now, if the 5th Dispensation had been successful, the gap would have been much shorter – primarily encompassing Christ’s death and resurrection (and probably not the destruction of the temple). However because that dispensation failed, God had to move on to the 6th Dispensation.

But what about those final 7 years?

THEY HAVEN’T HAPPENED YET!!

That’s right, the entire 6th Dispensation occurs in the gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel’s prophesy! That a 2000 year (and counting) gap of time!

This gap of time benefits us because everyone reading this blog was born during the 6th Dispensation and has the opportunity to receive the salvation and redemption offered by Jesus and rejected by first century Israel!

This idea obviously has a ton of implications for us that we will begin to explore in the next post, but before we go there, we need to address a couple of burning questions left over from the end of the 5th Dispensation – namely, what happens with the final 7 years, and what’s to become of Israel?

Here’s the thing, as with all the dispensations, God knew the 5th would fail. But since He is Righteous, He had to be contrastive and give Israel the opportunity to succeed. And since He is Just, He had to judge them with blindness because of their failure.

But remember, the promises God made to Abraham and his descendants are unconditional and unbreakable! Those promises HAVE to be fulfilled. That means that God is NOT done with Israel!

There are still 7 years left to account for and those 7 years WILL happen. In fact, those 7 years are among the most documented periods of time in Bible Prophesy! After the gap (the 6th Dispensation), the 5th Dispensation will come back! The blindness WILL be lifted from the eyes of Israel. God WILL judge their enemies. There WILL be a worldwide Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.

We will delve into the 70th week of Daniel later, but in the next post we will begin to explore the Dispensation that is the most meaningful to us (because we currently live in it). What is the 6th Dispensation? Why is it unique? And how (and when) will it end? Next time…

 

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September 19, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 2: Holy Idoltary

Posted in How to be Right, Jesus, Religion, Salvation tagged , , , , , at 1:10 PM by E. M.

Holy IdolIn the last two posts, we looked at some of the myths surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. The final resurrection myth was actually the one accepted by most Christians – the idea that Jesus rose from the dead looking the same (if not better) as He did before His death; bearing relatively minor evidence of the traumatic torture He endured (namely the nail and spear marks).

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. After all, the Bible doesn’t dwell much on Jesus physical appearance before or after His death. So why should we?

The truth is we shouldn’t. But the problem is that we do!

It’s in our nature to want to “humanize” God. Making God into the epitome of the human ideal makes us more comfortable with Him. However anything that does not conform to reality can ultimately lead to deception. This post will explore the implications of this.

Believe it or not, many Christians today are guilty of worshiping an idol. What’s even more shocking is that the worship of this idol is not done in secret or behind closed doors; no, this idol is openly and brazenly worshiped in Christian churches! His likeness is painted on the walls, and his image takes a prominent place in our minds. We sing songs to this idol and pray in his name. Church leaders tell us we should strive to be more like the idol in our everyday lives.

We call this idol “Jesus”, but the Jesus that has been popularized by contemporary culture (and much of the contemporary church) is not necessarily the Jesus of the Bible.

When you close your eyes and imagine Jesus. What do you see? If you are like most Christians, you see a tall, thin, handsome Caucasian man with a beard and long brown hair dressed in a white robe and sandals. Guess what? You’ve just pictured the false idol!

Why do I make this claim? Well, while we do not know exactly what Jesus looked like when He was on earth, we can be sure that He looked nothing like the image derived from European medieval and renaissance art.

Jesus was obviously not Caucasian. He was a middle-eastern Jew and would thus have had the skin tone and ethnic features of a middle-eastern Jew. We have no information about His height, but it is very doubtful that He was thin. Jesus was a carpenter by trade. He probably spent the better pat of 25 years working with His legal father Joseph learning his craft; which included cutting and lifting heavy planks of wood and stone. That kind of life does not lead to a slight build. Long hair on a male was not acceptable in that culture , and we know from the Bible that Jesus was not handsome.

Imagine instead, a stout, fairly muscular middle-eastern man with average to below-average looks, short think black hair and a beard. Now put him side by side with the “Jesus” you previously imagined. What a contrast! But as I said before, His physical appearance is only a minor and superficial aspect of the idolatry. The more damaging aspect is what many imagine the nature of Jesus to be.

The “Jesus” that is usually worshiped in church is warm and fuzzy magic human teddy-bear. He is gentle, harmless, and kind. He is cajoling, forgiving, and accepting. He is mild-mannered, passionless, and bland. He is weak, abused, and impotent. Isn’t this what we are told He is; “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”?

Yet in the scriptures we see a Man who commands the respect of rough-hewed fishermen; whose very presence leads them to give up their lives and follow Him . We see a Man who boldly walked into holy buildings and claimed He was ushering in the Kingdom of God . He viciously insulted religious leaders , and claimed He knew their doctrine better than they did .

He taught many with the authority of God , but deliberately denied others access to key knowledge . We see a Man who physically assaulted thieves in the temple, threatened to drown anyone who harms a child, and knocked down soldiers with the force of His voice.

We see a Man who loses His patience, gets exasperated with His friends. He insults a woman who has a sick daughter and she has to ask repeatedly before He will heal her. He lets a good friend die to prove  point . He tells us that His presence will cause division in our lives; that following Him will make you hated and despised. He promises  suffering and tells followers they may be killed for serving Him.  He taught about Hell and punishment twice as much as He taught about Heaven. He is a Man who loved tough, fought fiercely, cared deeply, and died passionately.

This is the real Jesus. He is complex. He is hard to deal with. He sometimes makes us uncomfortable. He’s a little scary. He’s rarely seen in modern churches, and most Christians scarcely know who He is.

How did this happen? Why has the Jesus presented in the scriptures been sanitized, sterilized, neutered, de-clawed, and emasculated?

Religion!

Many Christians have made the same mistake the Pharisees made. They’ve embraced the aspects of Jesus that they liked (love, peace, compassion, kindness), and ignored the parts that make them uncomfortable (passion, judgment, holiness, exclusivity, wrath, accountability).

All that is left is an artificially sweetened shell of the real thing; the milquetoast hippie served up to many Christians on Sunday morning.

But why is it so important that Christians see Jesus as He really was?  If one accepts the death and resurrection that leads to salvation, does it really matter how accurate our view of Jesus time on earth is?

Absolutely! The spiritual landscape post-resurrection is not a passive one. The Great Invasion may have ended with Jesus being ultimately victorious; But Satan has not stopped fighting! Although there is nothing he can do change the outcome of Jesus’ work, as we saw in the previous two posts, he can still do damage by preventing as many people as possible from receiving salvation and being discipled as Jesus commanded. And deception about Jesus is an effective way to do it.

The reason is that a false idol leads to a false world view, and when the harsh reality of the real world meets the false expectations of that imitation worldview, can result in a failure of faith.

As Jesus promised, the Christian life is not easy. Christians will have to endure all manner of despair, frustrations, ordeals and calamities.

If a person is led to believe that salvation leads to a life filled with nothing but sweetness and joy, what will happen when a conflict arises that tries their faith? Their world will shatter! They will feel helpless and lost.

Satan can step in and lead them to doubt God. He asks them “if Christians are wrong about God’s “goodness”, what else they are wrong about? Is there even a God at all?  Satan can take up residence in those doubts and lead them down the road to ultimate rejection of God and His plan.

On the other hand if we are willing to accept the reality that Jesus said that life would be difficult, then when those difficulties actually arise, there will be no crisis of faith because expectations match reality!

Most importantly, Jesus holds Christians accountable to know Him as He really is! The bible is clear that when all is said and done, only those who have a relationship with the real Jesus will take part in the meaning of life. Those who intentionally followed a false Christ will be left out.

In the next two posts we will take a contrastive look at the real mission and message of Jesus versus the version that is popularized by the secular and “spiritual” world

 

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July 28, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 1: Tomb Raiders

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan tagged , , , , at 2:43 PM by E. M.

Jesus myth1

YOU CAN ONLY TAKE A CON SO FAR

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in Christian history. The Apostle Paul himself states that if the resurrection didn’t happen, then Christians are even bigger fools than atheists think we are.

Fortunately for Christianity, there is a great deal of documented evidence of the resurrection from eye witnesses, historians, and even from the enemies of Jesus. Christ’s victorious death and resurrection are a matter of historical and spiritual fact. Satan can’t change that. The Meaning of Life WILL happen. The only thing he can do is try to keep as many people as possible from accepting salvation.

Satan and his assorted Mystics throughout the ages have engaged in great feats of logical acrobatics in futile attempts to convince the world that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Their alternate theories to explain away the empty tomb range from the improbably to the downright silly. We’ll look at a couple of them and this post, and two more next time.

Myth 1: Jesus’ Disciples Stole the Body

This myth states that the distraught disciples wanted to save face and/or comfort Jesus’ other followers after His death, so they faked the resurrection by stealing Jesus’ body after it was buried. They then spread the rumor that Jesus supernaturally rose from the dead. Supposedly, this “lie” became so popular and pervasive that is spawned the movement we call Christianity.

The seeds of this myth were actually started by the local mystics (Pharisees) before Jesus was even buried. They knew Jesus said He would rise again three days after His death (something the disciples themselves seemed a little slow to pick up on) and they figured the disciples would try something sneaky so they encouraged Pilate to set up a Roman Guard to watch over the tomb.

This is where this myth falls apart. A Roman guard is no joke. It consists of 16 soldiers who sleep in shifts of four. So at any time, Jesus’ tomb was guarded by 12 very alert, well trained, well-armed military men. Furthermore, since the tomb was under Roman guard, the 2 ton stone that would have sealed the tomb would have had a roman seal in the crease. If that seal was broken (by someone moving the stone), the penalty was death for the perpetrator. Moreover, if the guards failed in their duty, ALL of them would be executed!

So the proponents of this myth would have us believe that a group of 11 distraught fishermen (and a tax collector) managed to sneak by 16 of the best trained soldiers on the planet (who were motivated by the death penalty to do their job), roll away a gigantic stone – the act of which would mean their execution – and abscond with Jesus’ dead body, thus accidentally causing the spread of the greatest spiritual movement in history.

Sound feasible to you? Me neither, but the Pharisees didn’t let something as irrelevant as “logic” get in the way of a good myth.

Myth 2:  The Disciples Made the Whole Thing Up

This theory picks up on the one above but goes to the extreme of virtually denying the Jesus of the Bible. This view was embraced by secular academics beginning around the time of the “Age of Enlightenment” in the 17th century and is still taught to some degree today. The theory states that there was probably no historical person called Jesus of Nazareth. And even IF there was such a person, he bears no resemblance to the guy in the Bible.

In all likelihood, “Jesus” was just one of many itinerant backwoods preachers wandering ancient Judea futility speaking out against the lapsed morality of the Jews and corruption of the clergy. He was little more than a first century version of the crazy guy on the corner holding a “The End is Near!” sign.

It was his disciples that invented the “Son of God” mythology. They created or greatly embellished the narratives of Jesus’ life, mission, miracles, and divinity.

Why would they do this? Fame and fortune of course!

They knew that there are few better ways to gain wealth and power than by inventing a nutty religious cult, get the masses to buy into it, and set yourself up at the top of the spiritual pyramid! (Basically the disciples were L. Ron Hubbard’s inspiration).

But this myth has some very serious problems. First of all, Jesus’ life is one of the most well documented in history. Not just by the Bible, but contemporary secular sources as well. Flavius Josephus, the official regional historian in the first century appointed by the Roman Empire, wrote extensively about Jesus – including His supernatural attributes. Rome was antagonistic to early Christians (that antagonism expressed through three centuries of persecution), so there was no benefit in them sanctioning the documentation of the “myth”. Same with the Babylonian Talmud, another contemporary historical document, this one written by orthodox Jews (who shared Rome’s position on Christianity) that confirmed the life of Jesus.

Secondly, if the disciples made up the narrative of Jesus in the Bible to convince people to join a fraudulent religion, they seem to have gone out of their way to make it a tough sell. I mean if you want people to follow a religion, it’s probably not a good idea to tell them it will make their lives more difficult, that it will alienate them from their families, that it will make them hated everywhere they go, and they’ll probably get killed for it.

Also, if you are going to spread a story about a guy improbably rising from the dead, it’s probably best not to say that a woman was the first eyewitness (women were not allowed to be legal witnesses at the time). It’s also pretty convenient that EVERYONE who saw Him post-resurrection happened to be His close followers.

Lastly, if the disciples WERE just con-men looking to make a quick buck off a fake religion, they were REALLY bad at it. None of them became wealthy, and any fame they gained was not what they’d have wanted. The Jewish leadership (and later the Romans) persecuted Christians furiously in the first century and beyond. But all disciples they had to do to avoid imprisonment, torture and death was simply deny Christianity. If they just said “Hey, sorry folks, we made the whole thing up”, they could have lived. Yet all the disciples willingly endured persecution, and all (with the possible exception of John) were gruesomely executed by beheadings, stoning, being boiled in oil, and even crucified upside down! Why would con-men be willing die for something they knew wasn’t true?

The obvious answer is – they wouldn’t.

The sad thing is that the two myths above are actually the most “reasonable” counter arguments against the resurrection. The rest are even more preposterous. We’ll look at one of the more ludicrous theories in the next post, as well as one of the most subtle and insidious ones – a resurrection myth so seemingly innocuous that it is almost universally accepted and endorsed by Christians! Next time…

 

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May 31, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 3: Blind in One Eye

Posted in Jesus, Organized Religion, Religion, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Law tagged , , , , , at 11:44 PM by E. M.

HOW MYSTICS INTERPRET THE BIBLE

We’ve been looking at the advent and incarnation of The Redeemer from the perspective of His spiritual enemies. From the point of view of Satan and his minions, Jesus was a hostile force who had come to conquer them and take their territory.

Having failed to prevent Jesus’ advent and being unable to personally defeat Him physically or spiritually, Satan turned to his next line of defense – human Mystics.

As we’ve seen in previous posts, Mystics are individuals or small groups who claim to have and hold secret/hidden knowledge, and they use this knowledge (or the perception thereof) to rule over people.

Religious Mystics specifically claim (and sometimes actually have) special knowledge and/or power from spiritual entities.

Since their beginning, Mystics have found their way into every society and culture – and God’s nation of Israel wasn’t spared of their contamination. The priests of ancient Israel were often guilty of mixing God’s Law with the surrounding pagan practices – starting with the very first priest of Israel!

As with other Mystics, the Jewish religious leaders began to modify and add to God’s Law. The promoted themselves as the only ones who truly knew, understood (and therefore could interpret) the actual meaning of the Law. Thus, as the true “authority” on the Law, the people should follow them instead of actually learning the Law for themselves.

During Jesus’ time, these Mystics were called “Pharisees” (but Jesus had a more accurate name for them).

After Jesus had been baptized and anointed by God to begin His mission, He charged right into the flank of Satan’s second line of defense by doing something that the Pharisees would consider the most vicious frontal attack possible – Jesus taught people the Bible!

Not only did He teach the Bible, He taught it with authority! Jesus’ first major doctrinal sermon was a detailed lesson that amplified and clarified the Law. He juxtaposed the traditions that the Pharisees had ingrained in the people over the years with the true spirit of the Law. And it was brutal!

Jesus’ teaching amazed people because it stripped away everything that the Pharisees had piled onto God’s word (or took away from it) and reduced back to the original intention of the Law – to prove man’s nature and depravity and his need for a redeemer.

As His popularity grew, Jesus went from being an annoyance to a major threat in the eyes of the Pharisees – a threat that had to be dealt with. Unfortunately, the Pharisees thought they were just dealing with a street preacher from the sticks instead of the Son of God.

Their first tactic was to reinforce their authority by challenging Jesus’ understanding and observance of the Law. But they didn’t realize they were confronting the person who embodied the Law. Again and again Jesus showed His superiority to the self-proclaimed experts.

Since Jesus popularity was due to His knowledge (granted, the miracles didn’t hurt), the Pharisees next tactic was to show that He wasn’t the smarty pants that everyone thought He was. The Pharisees came up with one conundrum after another in an attempt to outwit Jesus, but when you challenge someone who has access to all the knowledge in existence, your chances of victory are pretty low.

Not only did Jesus answer every challenge, He gave them a taste of their own medicine by presenting them with a conundrum so challenging that they completely abandoned any future attacks!

But Jesus didn’t just play defense against the Pharisees, He directly confronted them and their errant teachings personally! Jesus called them out for being the deceptive, destructive hypocrites that they were and publicly admonished them for the damage they were doing in the “name of God”. If anyone believes that God categorically endorses someone just because they stand up and claim to be a “Man of God”, they have never read Matthew 23.

It was obvious that the Mystics could not defeat Jesus. With each successive public humiliation, Jesus’ stature grew and the Pharisees’ diminished. They only had one alternative left to preserve their illegitimate status. They had to commit the ultimate evil – They had to kill Jesus.

Looking at the narrative of Jesus and the Pharisees begs one huge question – if these Mystics were experts on the Old Testament, and the Old Testament contains over 300 prophesies that Jesus continuously fulfilled, then why didn’t the Pharisees recognize who He was?

The Pharisees spent their entire lives studying the scriptures and Jesus was the long awaited fulfillment of the Law. They should have been Jesus’ greatest supporters and most sincere disciples, not His greatest adversaries and erstwhile murderers.

Why did they reject Him?

Comparative thinking! Specifically the hyper-comparative thinking known as religion (and the inherent brain damage it causes).

The conflict is that in the 300+ prophesies of the Redeemer, there is a significant distinction in how Jesus is presented. In some of them, He is depicted as the suffering servant who is depised and rejected by men; the Lamb of God who must die a torturous death for man’s sins.

In other prophesies, He is the conquering King who thoroughly defeats the enemies of God and Israel, brings justice to the world and sets up a world-wide kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem.

How are these distinctions reconciled? The descriptions seem to contradict each other, but we know that contradictions don’t exist. Contrastive thinking would lead to the resolution that since there are two distinct descriptions and missions prophesized, then there must be two district advents of the Redeemer! Once as a suffering servant, and another as a conquering King.

When confronted with the two distinct advents of the Redeemer, instead of trying to reconcile them contrastively, the Pharisees decided to ONLY accept the advent they liked and completely ignored the less appealing one! They only embraced and taught the idea of their Messiah as a conquering King!

The result of this brain-damaged thinking was that the Jewish Mystics and the people who followed them were completely blind to the first advent of the Redeemer even though the Bible gave the exact date!

Even worse for the Jews is that God held them accountable to recognize their Messiah. Their failure to do so would have many dire consequences…

Jesus’ enemies were now ready to enact their final and seemingly most effective strategy to defeat Him – murder. But as has been the case throughout this war, apparent victory for the enemy would lead to great defeat. Next time

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April 10, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 2: Game of Thrones

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 8:24 PM by E. M.

GameOfThronesWe’ve been looking at the advent of the Redeemer from the perspective of His (and our) spiritual enemies. In the last post, we saw that as God revealed more details of how man’s Redeemer would arrive, Satan and his minions focused their war efforts to prevent the invasion. But despite their best efforts, they always met progressive defeat.

Once Jesus was born however, Satan was able to put all of his energy into preventing Christ from completing His redemptive work.

As the time of the Redeemer’s prophesized victory grew closer, Satan worked to lay down a political mine field to keep Him from fulfilling his role as King of the Jews. Since the Babylonian captivity, Israel was occupied by the powerful and demonically energized empires of Persia and Greece. By the time of Jesus’ birth, the most powerful world empire- Rome – held an iron grip on the area. Worse, Israel was a contentious buffer state between Rome and the similarly powerful Parthian empire to the east, filled with disgruntled nationalist Jews. So Christ’s potential kingdom was a backwater political albatross stuck between two hostile super powers.

It was during this low point in national history that God decided to give the Virgin Mary the good news that she’d been chosen to carry the savior of the world (who would be considered a bastard since she got pregnant before she was married).

Now the honorable thing for Satan to do would be to wait until the kid grew into an adult and then take Him on man to man (or Man to Devil). But while Satan can be accused of many things, “honorable and fair” are not on the list. To him, even an infant is fair game.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman Caesar got the bright idea to have everyone in the empire travel to their home town for a census. By the time a very pregnant Mary and her betrothed, Joseph arrived in Bethlehem; there was no place for them to stay other than a local stable. Thus the Savior of the world; the Redeemer of man; God in flesh, was born in an animal feeding trough in a barn filled with said fragrant animals.

But as I wrote previously, from the perspective of Satan, the ubiquitous manger scene of Christmas card fodder was nothing less than D-Day; a hostile invasion of his territory by an enemy force. Jesus come to size Satan’s kingdom, and was taking the fight directly to him on his turf.

Satan’s first counter-offensive was to have the local rulership command that all the newly born males in the area be killed. But that tactic failed – just like the last time he tried it. But remember, Satan is incapable of original ideas. All he can do is trot out the same stuff he’s tried before and hope to still get mileage out of it (kind of like a Hollywood movie producer).

Seeing that direct physical force wasn’t an effective way to stop his enemy (Hey, it only took him 3000 years to figure that out. Progress!) Satan move on to his next favorite strategies, manipulation and compromise.

After Jesus reached adulthood and was officially anointed by God to begin his redemptive mission, Satan finally came in for a face to face confrontation with his foe (of course he waited until Jesus was physically and mentally compromised due to starvation because, well, Satan’s an a-hole).

Satan knew he had no chance agonist the Son of God, so he went after the Son of Man – he planned to use his temptations to get Jesus to use His free will to choose Himself over God.

Satan started by appealing to the physical desire by tempting Jesus to sate His extreme hunger supernaturally. But as a man, Jesus ONLY did what God told Him to do, and God did NOT tell Him to turn stones into bread. If Jesus had obeyed Satan, He would have made that decision on His own – as a man – to satisfy His physical desires. He would have made the same mistake as Eve!

Jesus responded to this temptation not with the words of man, but as the Word of God.

Jesus 1, Satan 0

Satan then attacked man’s other major weakness – Pride. Satan challenged Jesus to prove His divinity and position with God.

[Begin dramatic license]

Satan – Oh, so you’re pious huh? Not going to feed yourself because “God’s word didn’t tell you to”? Is that why you claim to be the “Son of God”? Well the Bible also says that if you throw yourself off this building, Angels will rescue you. So go ahead, show me you’re the Son of God!”

Jesus – Seriously? You’re actually going to misquote my own words to me? Try this one – “you are not allowed to test your creator!

Satan – Grrrrrrr!

[End dramatic license]

Jesus 2, Satan 0

Finally, Satan brings out his most effective weapon against man – Compromise. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and told Him that he would bequeath them all if Jesus would give him worship.

Jesus came to earth to conquer Satan and take his kingdom by force (and as we’ll see in an upcoming post, it is a brutal and costly battle). But Satan offered a short cut – no fight, no suffering, no blood, no torturous death on a cross. Just make a simple pledge of fidelity, and the world is yours.

It was a stunningly attractive temptation. One accepted in various forms by otherwise strong and principled men. But not by this one. Jesus chose God’s way over man’s. He did what the first man could not, and thus proved Himself worthy and eligible to redeem Adam’s sin.

Jesus 3, Satan 0. Game over.

Satan lost a major battle, but the war was far from over. Satan took his best shot and came up short. It was time to call in reinforcements. If Satan couldn’t break Jesus, then maybe He could be broken by the people He came to save.

In the next post, Jesus faces the second front in Satan’s army – the mystics!

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November 19, 2013

The Redeemer – Part 2: Identity Crisis

Posted in Jesus, Salvation tagged , , , at 12:49 PM by E. M.

NOPE

UH, NO

When I was a kid, I was in the car with my dad when I saw a billboard on the side of a building with the picture of a guy with a plastic looking hairdo and a vacant stare that read “Jesus the Christ is Here!” (followed by a phone number and an address in Florida).

I turned to my father and yelled, “Look dad!  Jesus has returned, and He looks just like our plumber!”  He looked over at me, shook his head and sighed (a frequent occurrence during my childhood).

Of course Jose-Luis de Jesus Miranda isn’t the Redeemer (I’m not even sure he’s real).  Yet he is not alone in claiming to be the Christ.  Many characters throughout history have made messianic claims.  And although most of them are easily dismissed, some have been taken seriously enough to have gained significant and devoted followings (as the Bible predicted).  So it would seem that we have an identity crisis.  Or rather, an identity Christ-sis (see what I did there?)

In the last post, I ended my review of the Redeemer’s mission and attributes with the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth was the Redeemer.  This is of course the belief of mainstream Christianity as well.  But the fact alone that this belief is shared by a majority does not make it true.

As with any other supposition, it has to pass the test of contrastive thinking.  Only by proving that no one else could be the Redeemer can we know conclusively that Jesus is Him.  How do we do this?  By again taking the specific Biblical predictions (prophesies) about the Redeemer and seeing if they match anyone else in history.

There are over 300 specific prophesies written about the Redeemer before His advent. But how likely is it that these events and attributes could have also been fulfilled by someone else?  Let’s play the odds with a few of them and see.  And just to keep things as contrastive as possible, I’m going to give myself some handicaps with the figures below.

*BEGIN MATH ALERT*

Let’s assume that in the history of the planet, there have been 100 billion people who have lived and died (that is a VERY generous estimate, but as I said, I’m intentionally giving myself handicaps).  What are the odds that one of them (other than Jesus) could have fulfilled only nine of the prophesies of the Redeemer?

The Bible says that the Redeemer would be born in Bethlehem (Prophesied in Micah 5:2, fulfilled by Jesus in Luke 2:4-5, 7).  Bethlehem is a tiny city that has historically had a population well below 5,000.  But let’s double that for our handicap to 10,000.  What are the chances that a random person in history would have been born in Bethlehem?  We’ll take our total population of 100 billion and divide by the historic Bethlehem population of 10,000, and we get 100,000 (one hundred thousand).  So for our purposes, these is a 1 in 100,000 chance of someone being born in Bethlehem (this means that if we selected 100,000 people at random from everyone who has ever lived, one of them would have been born in Bethlehem.)  So far so good?  (Probably not but I’ll be more casual with my estimates from now on).

The Redeemer was born of a virgin (Prophesized in Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled by Jesus in Luke 1:26-27, 30-31).  How many people in history experienced a virgin birth?  I’d estimate zero, but let’s be kind and say 1 person in every million (1,000,000) was born of a virgin.

The Redeemer will receive gifts from Arabian kings  – (Prophesied in Psalms 72:10, fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 2: 1-11).  Let’s say 1 in 1000 people have been given gifts from Arabian royalty at their birth (Middle-Eastern hospitality and all).

He was a miraculous healer of the blind, deaf, and lame – (Prophesized in Isaiah 35:5-6, fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 11:3-5) I’m sure at least 1 in every 100,000 people have done that.

He was rejected by the people who had been waiting for him for almost a thousand years – (Prophesized in Isaiah 53:3   Fulfilled by Jesus in John 1:11, Luke 23:14-18).  Happens all the time, right? 1 in 10,000 chance.

He was betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver (Prophesied in Psalms 55:12-13, Zechariah 11:12, fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 26:14-15, 49-50).  Who hasn’t had a friend like that? 1 in 10,000 chance.

He was Silent before His accusers even though He was innocent (Prophesied in Isaiah 53:7, fulfilled by Jesus in Mark 15:4-5).  A common occurrence –  1 in 1,000

He would be executed by crucifixion (Prophesied in Psalms 22, fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 27:35-36).  We’ll estimates that it’s happened to 1 in 100,000 people (they probably deserved it).

He would be resurrected from the dead (Prophesied in Psalms 16:10, Psalms 30:3, Isaiah 26:19,   fulfilled by Jesus in Mark 16:6-7).  Not counting zombies, let’s say 1 in 100,000 people have come back from the dead.

Now remember, the Redeemer had to fulfill all of these prophesies, so we need the composite odds.  We get that by adding up all the zeros (40) which gets us to 1040 (1 with 40 zeroes after it).  Divided by our total historical population of 100 billion people (1011), gets us 1029

So the odds of any one in history other than Jesus fulfilling these nine prophesies is one chance in 1029.  That’s a REALLY big number (here’s what it looks like – 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

How big is that?

Well, if the universe is 15 billion years old (and I’m not going to debate that right now), and we break that down into seconds, the universe is only 1017 seconds old!

If someone other than Jesus tried to randomly fulfill just nine of the 300 prophesies of the Redeemer once every second for the entire history of the universe (and then 1012 more seconds after that) they’d fail!

But wait, it gets worse!  Let’s say we triple the prophesies to get the odds of someone other than Jesus fulfilling just 27of the prophesies (and lets also assume no decreases in likelihoods as an additional handicap), we’d have 1040 x 1040 x 1040 = 10120.  Divide by our population of 1011, and we get 1 chance in 10109!

Now we have a bit of problem.  This is a number so big, it’s virtually incomprehensible.  How big a number is it?

Well, scientists estimate that in the entire universe, there are “only” 1082 atoms!  So there is neither enough time in the universe nor enough matter in the universe to give anyone other than Jesus any chance to fulfill just 27 of the 300 prophesies of the Redeemer!

*END OF MATH ALERT.  YOU MAY RETURN TO YOUR SEATS.

Math tricks aside, you can prove the historic identity of the Redeemer by looking at one spectacular and exacting prophesy found in the book of Daniel which gives the exact day that the Redeemer would present himself to Israel!  :

“ Seventy weeks [of years]* are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks [of years] and sixty-two weeks [of years]…” – Daniel 9:24-25

According to this passage, when the order to rebuild Jerusalem was given (it had been destroyed by the Babylonians after Israel screwed up one too many times), the Messiah (Redeemer) would present Himself exactly 69 weeks of years [483 years** or 173,880 days] later.

It just so happens that the order to rebuild Jerusalem is a matter of historic record. On the 14th of Nisan [March/April of our current calendar] of the year 445 B.C. the Persian King Artaxerxes, commissioned the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8). 173,880 days later is the 6th of Nisan, 32 A.D.  This was the only day that the Messiah of Israel could present himself!

Jesus fulfilled that prophesy on the very day.  This is the day Christians celebrate as Palm Sunday.

Jesus of Nazareth is the only one that was, is, or could be the Messiah of Israel and the Redeemer of humanity!

There is one final and very controversial aspect about Jesus that we will address in this series.  If He was both mortal and divine, how come someone be fully man AND fully God?

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*Ancient Jews divided their years into groups of 7 (called a week of years) the same way we divide years into groups of 10, called decades.

**Jews used a 360 day calendar

April 5, 2010

The Bible – Special Delivery

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , , , at 11:53 AM by E. M.

Based solely on human understanding, we’ve concluded that the nature of the First Cause is the principles of “righteousness”, and “justice”. We’ve also seen that the Judeo-Christian Bible meets the qualifications of an additional information source from, and about the First Cause (God) because it agrees with what we already know about the First Cause and it demonstrates its supernatural origin.  But why would the Fist Cause want to supply this information, and to whom would it be intended?

Asking these questions assumes that the First Cause is intentional, which assumes that the First Cause has a volitional will, which assumes that the First Cause is intelligent.  Are these assumptions correct?

The Bible definitely presents God as intelligent (possessing knowledge and having the ability to productively apply it) and that God is intentional.  This matches what we already know, because we have previously discussed the fact that information exists, and intelligence is on the causality ladder between principles (first causes) and information.

So why would an intelligent being want to provide information about his or herself?  Logically, to let other intelligent beings know who he or she is.  And why would the intelligent being want others to know who they are? Well, if they are just (which we know the First Cause is) then there must be some value gained both for the intelligent being in being known, and for the recipient of the information in coming to know the intelligent being.

What are the values gained?  I contend that for the recipients (us) the value is the answer to question, “What’s the point?” But what value could the First Cause get from us knowing this information?  The First Cause gets its greatest desire fulfilled! We’ll address that in next four posts…

In the meantime, its logical to assume that God gave us the Bible because He wants to be known by other intelligent beings (with this in mind, I could argue that God does not want most politicians and Hollywood celebrities to know Him.  But that would be mean).

But why create the Bible to get this information out?  Wouldn’t it make more sense if God just parted the clouds and yelled “Hey!  I’m God!  Bow down and worship me you grubby little monkeys!”  Actually, He did (granted, He didn’t say the “grubby little monkeys” line). God spoke verbally and directly to man in the past (and will do so again in the future), but men still refused to understand God or accept His answer to the question “What’s the point?”  We’ll explore these interactions more in depth in upcoming posts, but for our present age, the Bible is our determined information source.

Of course the point of any information source is to be understood by the intended audience.  This idea often prompts some to interject the artificial objection to the Bible that I like to call “The Many Interpretations Fallacy” (aka – The Battle-Cry of the Intellectually Lazy).

Basically, the perpetrator says, “There are soooo many interpretations of the Bible, we could never be possibly sure what it really means.  How do you know your interpretation is correct?  Now put that Bible down, American Idol is on!”

There are indeed many interpretations of the Bible (Charles Manson has one that shows he’s Jesus), but there is only ONE correct interpretation of the Bible – the one that God intended!  All other interpretations are wrong, so they are irrelevant.  Our challenge is to discern that correct interpretation.  This discernment is greatly aided by knowing God’s nature, will, and plan for humanity.  This blog endeavors to help in this cause.

To that end, one could fairly say that based on the information in the Bible, God is much more than just the principles of “right” and “just”.  Isn’t God a “person”? Doesn’t He have a personality, intelligence, feelings, desires, values, temperament, love, compassion, mercy, etc.?

Yes, he does.  The Bible says God possesses all of those qualities. But remember the rules of causality – those traits are all effects of the cause.  God’s “person” is an effect of being always and completely right and just.

In my next post I want to address one of God’s fundamental characteristics.  The implications of this characteristic are critical in understanding an extremely important aspect of God’s identity.  Next week, we’re going to discuss Love

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March 22, 2010

And now, a Word from our sponsor

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , , at 9:48 AM by E. M.

The First Cause of existence is made up of the causeless principles of “Right” and “Just”.  That is all we can know about the nature of the First Cause based solely on human understanding.  Anything else we come to know about the First Cause has to come from a source beyond human understanding; that source would preferably and most accurately be the First Cause itself.

IF the First Cause was to give information about itself to humanity, how would we be able to know that it was authentically from the First Cause and not just some mindless gibberish that someone made up and introduced to a naïve and susceptible portion of the population, turning them into irrationally devoted fanatics (you know, like the “Twilight” books)?

First of all, the information source would have to accurately and consistently reflect what we already know about the First Cause.  It would have to acknowledge that the universe is finite (had a definitive beginning), and that the First Cause is greater than and outside of the physical universe.  The information source would describe the First Cause as immaterial (spirit), supernatural, transcendent, and eternal.  It would have to present the First Cause as possessing all the information in existence (all-knowing).  It would also have to show that the First Cause is always and completely right and just (that righteousness and justice form the core of all else that the First Cause claims to be).

The second, and perhaps most important criteria from an authentication standpoint, is that the information source would have to have self evident proof that it has a supernatural origin, so that no one could claim that it was the result of natural (human) volition.

It just so happens that one such information source exists.  This information source claims to originate from the First Cause itself.  It presents the First Cause with all the attributes that we understand it must have. This information source authenticates its supernatural origin by presenting information that originates from outside of time and space.

This information source is commonly known as the Judeo-Christian Bible. The Bible refers to the First Cause as “God”

The Bible presents God as a transcendent, eternal, all-knowing spirit whose nature is always and completely right and just.  The Bible proves that it has a unique supernatural origin because it does something that no other book can do – it tells history before it happens with 100% accuracy.  Examples of some of the many sites that explain this in detail are here and here.

Now I know what a few of you are thinking right now – “AHA! I was wondering how long it would be before this Bible-thumping Jesus freak abandoned all pretense of reason and rationality and started trying to force God to fit into the logic of existence!  Release the hounds!”

Well, please remember that I spent seven posts proving the existence of God without using the Bible.  Why? Because as my “About Me” page says, I believe that God is true, and if He is, then He should be provable using objective measures.

Of course the Bible is not without controversy, and while it is not the express purpose of this blog to serve as an extensive source of textual criticism, it would only be fair to address some of the common concerns that many people have about the Bible.  And I’ll begin doing just that in the next post.

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