Tag Archive: Jesus Christ


Truth was once a universally-accepted standard which was “out of style”*. Then truth became whatever you wanted it to be. Now political correctness is attempting to muscle out of existence all opposing views of truth, in order to impose its own…

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Many people have written and commented on post-modernism, and on the “post-truth” age, as have I in my own small, humble, bumbling way. I asked, rhetorically, if anything is objectively true, or is truth only that which we personally or as a society imagine or decide for ourselves is true? Does the answer matter anyway?

In post-modernism, apart from an Almighty God as our Western world now is, nothing is objectively true. There’s no Truth with a capital “T”.  Nothing is incontrovertibly factual, and nothing is set in stone to measure all standards and opinions and decisions by: such truth is out of style. Law, belief, standards and truth itself, are now all, to use a popular euphemism, “fluid”. This is also why the US Constitution is increasingly under attack, or at least being bent out of shape for convenience.

Without that ultimate measuring stick of the Word of God-the removal of which was and is one of the aims of the anti-Church, anti-Christ movement, you’ve got your truth and I’ve got mine, and even if both views are in total opposition it doesn’t really matter, because we can still both be “right” and happy.

I here repeat an assertion of a colleague of mine who calls himself an atheist and a “rationalist”. To demonstrate just how rational he is, he told me that given enough time “anything” can happen, and gave an example by saying that in any universe, due to “the laws of probability” a man would somewhere eventually do backward somersaults through a hoop while being both swallowed and spat out by a whale.

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Of course, there’s no way of disproving my friend’s theory, but my point is that people-many people now-are prepared to believe patent nonsense, simply because it tickles them, appeals to their view of what truth ought to be like, and might I say, provides a colorful deviation from that measuring stick known as Almighty God.

There are, of course, downsides to this approach to truth. For example, under this kind of logic a politician or celebrity and his compliant media representatives can adjust, hide, twist and manipulate the facts and give a totally different story to the real one, but still be telling the truth- as he sees it. We all know out-workings of that little fallacy.

But it seems to me that those pushing for “fundamental change” in our society have already had some success in taking us all one step further, to a time in which the rest of us are being coerced into accepting one view of things; their rough road to Utopia. What they say is true is to their minds now objective truth-they being the gods of the new age, and any criticism of it is struck down with a hail of insults and accusations. It’s no longer enough for them just to have a wildly differing take on truth: any opposition to their opinion must now be destroyed.

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Political correctness, so-called “hate-speech”, and the accompanying self-righteous inquisition work to push the now old multiverse of truths out of existence: there can be only one acceptable view of things. Any dissension will land you, they intend, out of a job, out of business, and in prison.

What the rest of us are convinced is unquestionably true, such as the fact that men are born men and women women (barring physical mutation) they insist is an old lie-an oppressive construct of dark ages past. Old lies must be buried, burned, knocked down, abolished and forgotten. Truth as seen by all of humanity for all of the several thousand years of civilization is under attack. What most of us have known logically, instinctively, physically and empirically are the things which, opponents are determined, must be abolished and forgotten. We are in the age of Anti-truth.

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However, here’s some good news: the good news. Jesus Christ said,

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me  (John 14:6).

Yes, dear reader, no matter what may or may not be thrust upon our culture and our time by the enemies of Truth, there is an end in sight to all this madness and foolishness, and it begins with our acceptance of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ.

*  https://nickyfisher.com/2014/05/17/truth-is-out-of-style/

 

 

 

 

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I recently received some good news, and remarked to several people how uplifting-and rare-good news is for most of us. With everything going on in the world and in our own lives, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s something worth celebrating every day.

I’ve published this post a few times before-apologies to regular readers- but it has to be done for those who’re searching for some good news and only glance at the home page. So here it is…good news for all of us!

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life with our Creator. We only need to accept God’s son, and to be prepared to try to live God’s way instead of our own way.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ” interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians can be confidently dated to around 55 AD (1).

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in 1st Corinthians, and writes:

“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news we can accept or reject-is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophecied in Old Teatament Scriptures (we can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross);

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

In a soon-coming series of posts I will discuss the significance of the gospel a little more, and also the nature of Jesus Christ: was he just a man, or was he and is he the “Son of God”, the incarnation of God?

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” (Pub. By Zondervan, © 1998) p. 230.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

Some people would rather not know if God exists: they’re afraid of having their lives transformed…

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I first noticed this “willing ignorance” after reading the first two books I’d ever read by a creationist. I’d been a Christian for a year, and by good fortune and coincidence (ha!) I discovered “God, Science and Evolution”  and “Christ and the Cosmos”  by Prof. E.H. Andrews.  At the time Andrews was Professor of Materials at the University of London, and formerly the Dean of Engineering at Queen Mary’s college. He had a long list of scientific credentials.

(This is an edited version of a post I published in 2012).

Not long after reading these works I had a discussion with a new friend who challenged me to show him proof that God exists. I offered him my favorite answer then and now, “You’re looking at it!” This wasn’t a good enough answer for him, although in God’s economy, it’s all the evidence we need.  My friend went on to insist that all scientists believe in evolution and not in God, and  therefore the only logical conclusion was that there must not be a God. I offered my friend one of Prof. Andrews’ books, telling him that Andrews was well qualified and a fascinating read, and would at least help to get him thinking about the possibility of the existence of a creator.

“No thanks”, replied  my friend with a sneer.

The views of Andrews, and similar expressions made by countless other brilliant people before and after him, are intentionally blocked out of the education system and the public eye in general. Why? What are those who do the blocking afraid of?

A few years later I had something of a debate, along similar lines, with a Geology/ Geography high school teacher I knew.  At that time I had in my personal library a book by Dr. A J Wilder-Smith, an Englishman with three earned science doctorates from Oxford. It discussed and refuted many claims taught in schools as “evidence” for evolution. I offered to lend the book to her, as a way of letting her know that Creationism wasn’t just for “semi – insane fundamentalist American preachers”.

“No thank you”, she replied firmly.

The reason, or excuse, the teacher gave for declining the book offer was that she liked her world just as it was, and she didn’t want it changed. In this admission was a wealth of honesty and information.

As time went on my book, video and then DVD collection has grown. Not wanting to hoard the faith-building insights I’ve benefited from, I’ve offered them to family members, teachers, tutors, friends and strangers, who’ve almost without exception not been interested in having their minds and their lives changed. One book, called “In Six Days”, containing the comments of fifty scientists who believe in Biblical Creation, was rejected by a young man on the grounds that Richard Dawkins, who is after all on TV (and we all know that the TV only tells us the truth) said that evolution was a proven fact and that anyone who questioned it was ignorant and deluded. Is Mr. Dawkins a god? If he’s the purveyor of all truth and knowledge doesn’t that make him God? Hasn’t he disproved his own assertion that there is no God?

It’s virtually law now that scientists are not to even consider God in their studies or their presentations, since “that’s religion”. If they do, their work will be ignored or mocked. Once the Creator is reduced to a dispensable fantasy, He can be conveniently contained on a hard-drive in the “religious education” room and forgotten.  As scientists study the intricacies of our world and universe, constantly amazed and astounded by what they find, it doesn’t occur to most of them (it does to some) that they’re looking at the very evidence for God’s existence, character and power that they claim is nowhere to be found. Oh, and by the way, He’s not just on that hard-drive, because “…the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him” (1 Kings 8:27).

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Many people are far more interested in discovering the football results than they are in searching for God and for meaning in life. The most perplexing, soul-searching questions they could and should ask themselves are not being asked or answered, or when they are asked they’re not being given the benefit of a two-sided argument. Why? What does this say about human nature?

Scripture discusses this problem. Peter, in his characteristically direct and no-nonsense fashion, hit the proverbial nail right on the head. He said that people are “willingly ignorant” of God’s work of creation and the subsequent world-wide flood (2 Peter 3: 5-6 KJV). The NIV translation says that “they deliberately forget”.

Paul also comments on this willing ignorance:

“…the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1: 18 – 20).

Paul’s contention is that it’s man’s love of sin that drives him to intentionally ignore God (verses 18 to 32). They’re afraid of having their lives changed.

Zeroing in to the heart of the problem, Jesus Christ explained it this way:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into it for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John3: 19– 20).

Ironically, while the skeptic and the atheist mock believers for being ignorant and deluded, the Bible says that it’s the atheist who is deluded:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

The problem is not lack of evidence, it’s the heart of man. It’s the fear of living life God’s way instead of their own way. At best we could say that the majority of willing unbelievers (I’m not speaking of those who haven’t had a chance to hear and consider the gospel) ignore God, and comfort themselves in the conviction that “all scientists” believe in evolution and not in God. People not only fail to search for God because they do not want to: they actively turn their backs on any light there is for fear of having their worlds changed.

THINKING OF YOU

Have you ever felt like nobody really cares about you? Having a tendency to be rather melancholy myself, I’ve struggled with those feelings on and off all my life. The truth is that someone does care…to the point of obsession…

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I’ve been scanning hundreds of old pictures I took of my sons just before the advent of digital cameras, from the day of their birth onward. I was one of those Dads who would talk to his kids even before their birth. I told them I loved them. I played beautiful music to them. I prayed for them. I told them I couldn’t wait to see them.

I knew I had a lot of photographs, but what’s struck me as I’ve been sorting through them is how many different situations and poses they were in when I took the pictures. I was (and to be honest, still am) almost obsessed with my kids, just as any other normal, loving Dad is. I took pictures of them while they were playing, while they were asleep, while they were painting, while they were eating, on my shoulders, in the country, in the city… And it occurred to me almost in an instant, that my obsession with my kids is a picture (excuse the pun) of our heavenly father’s obsession with us.

Jesus saw Nathaniel under a fig tree: he knew where Nathaniel was and what he was doing even before he met him (John 1: 43-49). He told his disciples after his resurrection, “…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

God, the Father of all those who love Him, is watching us, even when we aren’t at all aware of him. But he’s watching us in a loving way, in what we could almost call an obsession. Perhaps the most popular scripture regarding God’s obsession with his people is found in Davids’ writings, in Psalm 139:

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…”

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there”

“When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…”

Here’s the fifth installment of my up-dated study on the rapture of the Church, intended to help you decide where you should stand on the issue…

I was once a “pre-trib.” believer for many years: I see things rather differently now. Please note that I am not an Amillennialist…

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ARE PRE-TRIBULATION SAINTS THE “HOLY ONES” WHO RETURN TO THE EARTH WITH CHRIST?

Pre-Tribulation believers say that those who come from heaven with Christ at the end of the Tribulation, described in Revelation chapter 19:11-16, are the Church. They’re dressed in fine linen, just as the Bride of Christ is given to wear earlier in the chapter, and so the assumption is made that the Church must have been in heaven during the entire Tribulation. Chapter 17 verse 14 says that when Christ overcomes the Beast, ‘with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers’. It may seem to be a reasonable assumption that this is the Church riding from heaven to the earth with Christ. However, there are a few “wait a minute” observations to be made.

First, when the text says that the Lamb’s followers will be “with him” (17:14) it doesn’t have to mean that they will be a part of the Armageddon attack force: it may just mean that his victory is their victory; they’re going to be “with him” for eternity as his bride; his followers are faithful to him in the world. They’re living in the same earthly world as the ten kings who side with the beast (verses 12 and 13).

Secondly, even if the Church is to be part of the Armageddon attack force the time at which Jesus’ called, chosen and faithful followers are seen to be with him (17:14) the attack happens  when the beast and the ten kings are making war against him. This  event is not pre-trib., and it’s not even before the mid-point of the “seven year tribulation”: it’s during or at the end of the last three and a half years. That’s the maximum time the beast will have to mount his rebellion (Revelation 13:5). There is therefore no clear reason to assume that the Church has already been in heaven for seven years.

Third, angels also wear clean linen:

“Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen” (15:6).

Fourth, when Christ leaves heaven with ‘the armies of heaven’, the words “Church” and “Bride” are not used to describe them (19:14). Paul describes Christ’s coming in vengeance, not ‘with us’, but ‘with his powerful angels’ (2 Thessalonians 1:7), or ‘mighty angels’ (KJV). In fact, Paul said that those who were being persecuted in his time would be given relief, not “before the tribulation”, but:

“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

Jesus said that when He comes in power and great glory, it is the ‘angels’ who will come with him (Matthew 25: 31). He did not say “you” or “the Church”, coming with him to make war. He will send angels to gather His elect (Matthew 24:30-31; 13:40-43). Perhaps the Bride has made herself ready for the Wedding of the Lamb, (Revelation 19:7-9), but not to fight the battle of Armageddon!

The KJV speaks of the ‘saints’ coming with Christ (Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 5:8). The word translated ‘saints’ can also be translated ‘holy’ ones, or ‘morally blameless’, so they are not necessarily humans: they could be angels who did not fall with Lucifer. Even with the word ‘saints’ translated as “believers” the Pre-Trib. position gains nothing, because ’saints’ are seen to be persecuted throughout the Tribulation (Revelation 13:7-10).

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PAUL’S STATEMENT DEMANDS TWO DIFFERENT SETS OF FOLLOWERS, THE FIGHTERS AND THE RESCUED:

Paul seems to have made pretty clear that the “Holy ones” who would come with Christ to bring the vengence of God are not Church age believers, because he speaks of believers as being separate from the holy ones who come with him to wage war-they are two different groups:

“…so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father… when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3: 13).

There is no statement or indication that the Bride has been in heaven for the entire Tribulation. We do find believers in heaven, in chapter 7, who “came out of great tribulation”, in other words, they were martyred (verses 9-17), but this is between the 6th and 7th seals (6:12; 8:1). It is after a great earthquake (6:9-11), after the sun turning black, after the moon turning red, and after stars ‘falling from the sky’ (6:12-14). In the previous chapter, with the 5th seal we see the souls of some who had been martyred. They are given white robes to wear (6:9-11). Are they martyred saints from the “Church age” and before, or are they those “out of great Tribulation” (7:14)? There is another reference to the souls of believers in Jesus who have been martyred, in chapter 20, who are raised to life after the return of Christ (verse 4). There was a promise given to those who were to be martyred, at the time of the Antichrist’s ascendancy to power, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…” (14:13), and warning in verse 12 tells believers not to take the mark of the beast:

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus”.

A LATE SUPPER

Fifth, it seems that the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, which some claim happens in heaven at the beginning of the Tribulation or before, actually happens in chapter 19 (see verses 7 to 9), just before the visible return of Christ, and at some time after the destruction of the ‘great prostitute’, or false religion (verse 2). Since it is the Antichrist and his ten henchmen who destroy the prostitute (17:16), then logically the Wedding supper will be after the mid-Tribulation point which is when they gain power (13:5 with 17:12).

THE RAPTURE OF THE LIVING WILL BE AFTER THE RESURRECTION

Paul said that, “the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds…” (1 Thessalonians 14:16-17). If the Pre-Tribulational view is correct the resurrection would have to be before the Tribulation. Daniel seems to indicate that the resurrection will come after the events of the Tribulation, or possibly during them. He describes key events, including actions of the Antichrist, then the involvement of the archangel Michael to defend Israel, and then the resurrection (Daniel 11:40 to 12:4). In Revelation 20, after the return of Christ to the earth, we read about those believers who had been martyred by the Antichrist being raised to life. This is called the ‘first resurrection’ (20:4-6). Pre Trib. adherents must make the claim that the ‘first resurrection’ is in stages, otherwise there would be several ‘first’ resurrections.

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WHICH LAST TRUMP IS THE LAST LAST TRUMP?

Paul, when telling the Corinthians that ‘we will all be changed’(1 Corinthians 15:51), said that ‘the trumpet will sound’ (verse 52). When writing to the Thessalonians he mentioned the trumpet again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-19, esp. verse 16). Jesus, when speaking of his physical and visible return to the earth, said that he would send his angels ‘with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds’ (Matthew 24:30-31), but pre-Tribulationists claim that this is a different set of trumpet blasts entirely. Do they know that to be so, or do they impose that idea in order to preserve their own theory? Most interestingly, Paul said that the rapture would happen at “the last trumpet’ (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Questions need to be asked here. If, as Paul said, the ‘last trumpet’ is to announce the rapture, and the Rapture is before the Tribulation, when did the other trumpets come, and what events did they announce? If the rapture is ‘imminent’, and there is nothing to occur before it in terms of last days events, then what were the previous trumpets for?

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET AND THE MYSTERY OF GOD

It may not be just coincidence that there is a series of seven trumpet blasts in the book of Revelation. These trumpets herald some of the final devastating judgments upon the earth. In chapter 10 verse 7 we read that when the seventh trumpet sounds, ‘the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets’. It may or may not also be a coincidence that the word used here which is translated ‘mystery’ is the same word used by Paul when he wrote about the rapture:

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51).

This is not to say that Revelation 10:7 is entirely concerning the rapture, but it is worth considering the rapture to be a part of that ‘mystery of God’. When the seventh trumpet is sounded, (11:15), there is no devastating plague hurled to the earth. Instead a declaration is made that ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ’. Other relevant declarations are made, such as, ‘The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints, and those who reverence your name’ (verse 18). Does this not sound like a resurrection – something which occurs before the Rapture of the living?

FALL AWAY FROM WHAT?

Paul said that there will be a “falling away”, or a “rebellion” from the true faith as a preliminary sign that the Day of the Lord had come (2 Thessalonians 2:3). It seems to me that if the true Church and the Holy Spirit is already gone, there’s nothing to fall away from. Surley there has to be a Church – a faith – to fall away from?

THANKS FOR READING!

 

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