Archive for April, 2014
MATTHEW 28: 1 – 6
JESUS CHRIST is the only person to have His epitaph announced by angels. Weeping women and mournful men came to the tomb in which His lifeless body had been placed. They came to bury their hope. They were there to say farewell to a dream, embalm the past, and to weep and mourn. These defeated and dis-spirited followers of Christ were representative of all of humankind hope.
They were met by angels at the tomb who said:
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus
who was crucified. He is not here; for He is
risen, as He said.”
It is always a joy to visit that empty tomb in Jerusalem. On the door recently placed at this entrance for security purposes is the inscription, “He is risen.” What an epitaph!
The resurrection is God’s “yes” to the world’s “no.”
The world says “no” you can’t live forever. The resurrection says “yes” you can.
The world says “no” you can’t live an abundant life. The resurrection says “yes” you can.
The world says “no” you can’t live optimistically and victoriously with hope. The resurrection says “yes” you can live with enthusiasm for your future.
The resurrection shouts of the reality that God has the capacity to correct life’s inequities. When your life seems lost in vicious violence and is subject to outbursts of hatred and bigotry, then the assurance offered by the resurrection says there is hope.
A sensual and sadistic Roman soldier lifter the shaft of his sharp steel spear toward the side of the suffering Savior, With a thrust he slit the skin, divided the flesh, pierced the pericardium and entered the heart. Christ was dead. The soldier himself said he was. The official Roman document defining the execution proclaimed He was dead.
These executioners knew how to push life right to the brink, hold it there, and push it over the brink of death in the most brutal manner.
Near Colorado Springs, Colorado, there is a road which winds through William’s Canyon to the Cave of the Winds. The pass through which it goes seems to get more and more narrow as your travel it. One passage is knows as “The Narrows.” As you draw near it, every indication is that you can’t make it through. Just before you reach it, there is a sign which states: “Yes you can – a million others have.”
Just when life gave every indication of having only a hopeless end, Christ arose–revealing it has an endless hope. You can make it because ONE has. Because HE lives we can live also.
The resurrection tells us that God is involved in our world. The resurrection factor is one the world can’t explain or explain away. The resurrection is God’s way of saying to you: “You really do matter to me.”
Easter is God’s AMEN
The people who came to that tomb that morning were so preoccupied with what happened, that is, Christ’s death, that they were about to miss out on what was happening.
Just when they thought all was lost, the angel said: “He is risen.” Just when they thought all possibility of victory was behind them, the angel announced. “He has gone before you into Galilee.” Christ still goes before us to lead and guide.
HE IS RISEN
That fact on history’s horizon influences all others. Every argument against the literal bodily resurrection of Christ is philosophical. Every argument for the resurrection is historical.
Skeptics scoff at the historical reliability of the records of the resurrection, yet, accept less reliable records of secular events. What is known of Hannibal crossing the Alps was written 250 years later. New Testament documents were written within a lifetime of the event. Historians accept the history written by Thucydides (460 BC) and Herodotus (488 BC) which were translated from manuscripts written 1,300 years later from only eight copies. There are over 1,200 ancient New Testament documents. The records of the resurrection are reliable prompting the famous Greek scholar, Bishop Westcott to say, “Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no single historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ.”
Medical doctor Luke writing at a time when the people who were in Jerusalem at the time of the resurrection were still living said to them:
“You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48).
Luke further said of the resurrection, “there are many infallible proofs.” This translates TEKMERION meaning “demonstrable proofs,” that is, much empirical evidence Acts 1:3.
Writing in that same time span the author of Acts (2:32) noted: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” Summarily the Apostle Paul wrote of some of these.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, it you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believe in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by the apostles, Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
I Corinthians 15: 1 – 8
James, one of those listed as a witness of His resurrection, was sibling of Jesus who did not believe in Him. That is, until the resurrection. On the even of the resurrection he is numbered among those in the upper room. Thereafter he became the head of the emerging church and died because of His belief in and teaching about the resurrection.
In the first century, a time when they should have known, belief in the resurrection was so broad spread and firmly believed that over 5,000,000 were executed because of their faith.
HE AROSE — they believed it enough to die for Him. That fact has added two new equations to the hopeless. Consider these three possible equations of life.
I. L + D + D = D
Life (physical life) plus spiritual death (the rejection of Jesus as Savior), plus physical death, equals spiritual death.
Physical life without the hope of eternal life makes for a hopeless life. German’s Count Otto Bismarck once said, “Without the hope of eternal life, this life is not worth the effort of getting dressed in the morning.”
II. L + L + D = L
Life (physical life), plus life (spiritual life), equals life eternal.
“…we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). “His life” is a reference to His resurrected life. Because He lives we shall live forever also.
“TIME”, “We have a great fear of dying and yet we are unable to face the reality of death.”
This we must deal with for Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto man once to die.”
With Christ as Savior we can face death because He said, “Because I live you shall live also” (John 14:19).
Because of His resurrection there is a third potential equation:
III. L + L + L = L
Life (physical life) plus life (spiritual life), plus life (raptured or resurrected life), equals
The resurrection of Christ validates His claims to come again: I Thess. 1:10, “…wait for His Son from heaven, who He has raised from the dead, even Jesus Christ who delivered us from the wrath to come.”
Because He arose those of us who die before His next coming shall also be resurrected at His coming: “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).
That is the ultimate Easter equation.
A summary of the Easter equation.
A. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture…”
B. “…He was buried…”
C. “…He arose again the third day according to the Scripture.
D. “…He was seen…”
Don’t you “see” what this means?
Two men came to the empty tomb that morning. One or the other of them represents you.
John, “the beloved.”
Peter, “the betrayer.”
Both went away believers. Regardless of which one typified you it is also possible for you to go away a believer following the Christ who goes before you.
HE IS ALIVE.
“The first one to plead his case seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17
Until a case is subjected to cross examination its truth can’t be assured. Without examination through the len of other scripture The “Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn stands as its own witness.
The author states his book is fiction and it is. It is difficult to mix fiction and prophecy. It is misleading when fiction becomes accepted as prophecy. Regardless of the intent of the author his work is heralded by many readers as prophetic.
The intent of the author appears to be to call America to repentance and that is admirable. Philosophies and practices in present day America do in many respects resemble conditions in 8th century Israel. Observing their consequence in ancient Israel should be a harbinger to America. However, the glove is stretched beyond reason to make fiction and prophecy fit like a hand-in- glove.
The book is punctuated with theological, exegetical, and hermeneutical flaws.
Hermeneutics is the study of understanding a statement in its original context. There is nothing in Isaiah 9:10 that suggests it is related to any time and place other than the Northen Kingdom of Israel in the 8th century B. C.
Isaiah 9 is a prophetic passage regarding that period. The first seven verses are essential to understand the rest of the chapter in context, yet they are completely overlooked. Therein the destruction of Israel is foretold, but her restoration is assured. The fact the author completely omits modern Israel from the novel implies God’s judgment on her was terminal. Current affairs dispute this.
April 4, 2012 Cahn, the author, stated he does not believe Isaiah 9:10 is about, to, or for America. He says the similarity between Isaiah 9:10 only demonstrates the pattern of God’s judgment. Yet, in many instances he does connect the two. On a number of occasions in the book readers are given the impression there is more than a parallel, there is a connection. The book makes this statement: “Hidden in ancient biblical prophecy from Isaiah the mysteries revealed in The Harbinger are so precise that they foretold recent American events down to the exact days… It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller with one exception …. IT’S REAL.”
These claims are contradictory. How could Isaiah 9:10 not be “about, to or for America” and having precisely “foretold recent American events?”
A significant assumption in the book is that God has a covenant with America. God was obviously at work in the founding of America, but a covenant no. He had a covenant with one country of His choice, Israel. There is no biblical evidence God would have another covenant with any country. His present day covenant is with individual believers made possible by the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.
If Isaiah 9 is the biblical pattern for judgment why isn’t the pattern found at other times in other scripture in God’s judgment of Israel? There is a simple pattern for judgment found throughout the Bible. It is: God warns, God waits, and if there is no repentant response God expressed His wrath. That pattern is a constant and applies to America as it has to other cultures in the past.
The Harbinger is a novel —- an intriguing novel. It has a message that should be a wake-up call for America, but it is not prophetic. Not all books that contain scripture are scriptural. This one isn’t.
Pastor John Hagge in his book entitled Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change has garnered a significant following of his “end time” thesis based on the moon.
A “Blood Moon” occurs when there is a total lunar eclipse. It bears the name “blood” because the rays of the sun passing through the earth’s atmosphere give the moon a reddish color. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is directly between the sun and the moon. When there are four such moons separated by six months it is called a Tetrad.
The next four lunar eclipses will occur on two significant Jewish festivals: Passover April 15, 2014 and April 4, 2015 and Feast of the Tabernacles (Skkot) October 8, 2014 and September 28, 2015. Though rare there have been eight that occurred on these feast days since 162 AD. The most recent Blood Moon Tetrad occurred in 2003 – 2004. Seven more are scheduled before 2100.
Some of NASA’s records and the calculations by Hagge do not seem to correspond.
The frequency of Tetrads vary over time. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli has observed that there was a 300 year period when Tetrads were numerous followed by another 300 year period when there were none.
Hagge’s thesis is made all the more intriguing in that some dramatic historical events have occurred in Israel around the time of blood moons. He stated, “Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph.” He continued, “Once again, for Israel the timing of this Tetrad is remarkable.”
Hagge asserts the 1493 Tetrad ushered in the Spanish Inquisition involving the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Wrong, these blood moon occurred a year after the Inquisition.
The second in 1948 saw the return of the Jews to the Bible Land and the establishment of the nation of Israel. This was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. However, these moons happened a year after statehood. Again Hagge is wrong.
The third in 1967 coincided with the Six-Day Arab-Israeli War.
As a firm believer in Bible prophecy there is one statement in scripture that stands out to me. Related to the Second Coming of Christ and the end of time scripture says no man know “the day nor the hour.” Hagge says he is not setting dates, but that God and NASA set these dates.
I have lived long enough to have know there are reasons to doubt date setters. A couple of examples are the booklet published in 1987 entitled Eighty-eight Reasons Jesus will come in 1988. When He didn’t the author issued a corrected edition entitled, Eighty-nine Reasons Jesus Will Come in 1989.
Will any person who was alive in 1999 ever forget the approach of midnight January 1, 2000 and the Y2K end of the ages?
The Mayans missed with the Mayan Calendar focusing on 2012 as the end of time.
The marvel is millions of people bought into each of these theories.
To be fair with Hagge he does not say these Four Blood Moons will be the end of time, but in speaking of them he reads scripture over and over related to the Second Coming.
Scripture gives sound advice regarding end times: “…be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Be ready and enjoy life.