Who Crucified Christ?

A new movie by Mel Gibson has opened some old wounds and stirred passions. The issue, who killed Jesus Christ?

Individuals, not a race of people, did it. The disciples who supported Jesus were Jews. The Scripture makes it clear the common people, the Jewish populace, responded warmly to Him. It was compassionate Jews who buried Him. Some Jews were in part responsible for His death, but it was not the Jews.

Romans, Gentiles (non-Jews), were in the persons of Pilate and his execution squad involved in the physical act. They carried out the execution. Gentiles pinioned Him to the cross.

Jesus was brought before the seventy-one member Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court, at night. Twenty-three was considered a quorum. Here charges were formulated against Him. The first charge was He had said He would restore the temple in three days if it were destroyed. His statement was figurative language referring to His death and resurrection. This was twisted to mean He Himself would destroy the temple. To this charge Jesus did not respond. The law did not compel Him to answer.

The timing not being right, Jesus had repeatedly warned His disciples not to tell anyone He was the Messiah. Evidently in his betrayal of Christ Judas told the authorities. The High Priest asked the ultimate question, “Are you the Messiah?” “No,” would have ended the trial. His, “yes,” sealed His death warrant.

When morning came the chief priest and elders took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate. They knew only the Roman governor could pronounce a sentence of death. They also knew Pilate could care less about their religious charges. They brought three new false charges: He was a revolutionary, incited the people not to pay taxes, and claiming to be a king. As procurator, Pilate was answerable to Caesar. Pilate, a Gentile, vacillated, tried to shift the blame, and eventually declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus. Finally, he pronounced the death sentence. His death squad carried out the sentence of crucifixion.

The charges were brought by some religious leaders who were Jews. The actual act of execution was performed by some Romans who were Gentiles. There were some Jews as well as Romans who supported Him. The Roman centurion, the chief executor, at the cross said, “Surely, this was the Son of God.”

It was not the Jews or the Romans who killed Jesus. It was some Jews and some Romans who partnered in His execution.

Jewish law of the era stated “…in the trial of life, if thou sinnest, the blood of the accused and the blood of his seed unto the end of time shall be imputed unto thee.” Even this does not apply to an entire race but rather to the persons involved.

Now to confess who was responsible. I was. Those who believe the New Testament consider Him to have died for each of us. My spiritual condition caused His death.

If it was as Scripture teaches that He died for “all mankind” we each are as responsible as the persons who brought the charges and those who drove the spikes. The responsible race is the human race. For responsive members of that race He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Tsunamis And End Times: Part 2

The tragic tsunami that hit Asia has been described as being of Biblical proportions. Persons have tried to read spiritual meaning into it. Some members of the Islamic press have said it was Ala’s way of punishing the Muslims of that part of the world for their cooperation with the infidel Christians. Christians have mused over the opposite.

Members of the secular American press have spoken of it as being apocalyptic, that is, having prophetic significance. If so what?

For me it helped make more understandable the Scripture passage in which Christ was speaking of end times and said, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved…” (Matthew 24: 22). He had been addressing the topic of the terrible tribulation what would occur near the end of the ages and concluded with this statement. An apocalyptic characteristic of that period is earthquakes.

Many scientists believe the Earth’s land mass once consisted of one large body they call Pangea. They postulate that geological forces caused it to break apart and the pieces called plates have been slowly drifting ever since. When two plates collide earthquakes occur and the earth is changed. Most often this change is almost undetectable. Modern technology can now measure such minute seismic change. The two plates that collided on the floor of the Indian Ocean were approximately 750 miles long. Their collision moved the Island of Sumatra about 60 feet to the north and caused the tsunami killing thousands.

Geologists believe that at the Earth’s center is a hot metal core approximately 2,160 miles thick, the center of it is solid and the outer layer molten. Around this is a hot rocky mantle 1,800 miles thick. The outer core on which we live consists of a thin cooler layer about 30 miles thick. The plates move when cooler plates slowly pass over hotter plates. Where the plates overlap is called the subduction zones and it is here the earthquakes occur.

America has two major candidates for such geological action. One is in California and the other in the Mississippi River area. Both have the capacity for major action.

Christ’s expression “unless those days were shortened” does not mean the number of days decreased. It means the length of the daylight in each day lessened. How could that be? The answer is hinted at by the tsunami.

Richard Goss, a geophysicist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California theorizes that a shift of Earth’s mass toward the center during the quake caused the planet to spin three millionths of a second faster and tilt about 2.5 centimeters on its axis. The conclusion is that it caused the earth to wobble on its axis and speed up its acceleration by a fraction of a second permanently shortening the length of our days. This indicates a more dramatic geological action could change the length of our days significantly.

Well, now wouldn’t you know it! The days can be shortened. All elements for the fulfillment of prophecy are in place.

Tsunamis And End Times: Part 1

There is a new fear fomenting in minds. The operative word is tsunami. Is America in danger? Yes, as is just about every country with a coast line. The timing of a cataclysmic tsunami isn’t possible but the potentials are in place.

Tsunamis are an explanation of a normally over looked prophecy. Much consideration is given to prophecies regarding earthquakes, pestilence, and famine. However, little attention is given to the statement regarding “the sea and waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). The recent tsunami in Asia explains it.

Historically there have been more than are generally realized. A classic example occurred around 1,650 BC when a volcano erupted in the Mediterranean Sea on the island of what is now Santorini. It had the power of 150 atomic bombs the size of the ones dropped on Japan. About 7 cubic miles of magma was erupted sending a philian column 23 miles into the sky. The tidal wave washed over the shores of the countries of the entire Mediterranean basin. The Minoan civilization on Crete was destroyed. There are no ancient records noting the total impact of the explosion.

Currently everyone thinks of the West Coast of America when a tsunami is considered. The long large Cascadia fault off the California and Oregon costs makes it a candidate for a devastating tsunami to sweep the entire coast.

However what most aren’t aware of is the pending danger off our East Coast resulting from conditions in the Canary Islands. There the large ancient volcano Cumbre Vieja poses an even greater threat. It last erupted in 1949 leaving one side of this massive mountain separated from most of the land by six feet. Were an earthquake to cause it to break off and fall into the Atlantic it is estimated it would send a 50 foot wave that would impact the entire East Coast with only six hours warning. That is scarcely enough time for major cities to be evacuated.

The power at the disposal of Mother Nature to cause global disasters of biblical proportions is enough to cause one to think our Heavenly Father has something in store.

I heard a secular parody on radio recently of a conversation between the host and God. The host asked, “What’s with all these earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and fires?”

God replied, “I hate to be self promoting but I have a whole section in my book on it called “The Revelation.’ You should pickup a copy some time and read it.”

I have. I started reading it as an inquisitive child. I first thought it would take a big forest fire to destroy the earth by fire. Over the years I never doubted but questioned how some of the events described could ever happen. The advent of the atomic bomb began to open my youthful eyes. Now I have no doubt how such apocalyptic events can happen in an instant.

Consider some of the precursors to the big event. Wars and rumors of wars are noted. In the 20th Century there were over 200. In that same era over one million died from earthquakes. Global pestilence such as AIDS is killing millions with new diseases developing that are even more deadly. Starvation of masses is hinted at in that nearly 100,000 have starved in Africa in the last 10 years. Globally an estimated 10,000 starve daily.

In spite of all this I am still an optimist because I have read all the Book. I know how the story ends. For those with saving faith in Christ —- WE WIN!

Thanksgiving In Our Heritage

Giving thanks is a long standing practice in America and Canada. It was preceded by the harvest-home celebration in England. Even that was preceded by the ancient Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.

The first Thanksgiving in America was religious in nature and didn’t involve feasting. December 4, 1619, a group of 38 British settlers at Berkeley Plantation on the James River engaged in a day of giving thanks, prayer, and worship.

Nearly a year later the Plymouth colony settled on these shores. Their first winter in Massachusetts was devastating. Nearly half of their number suffered and died in the harsh weather. The summer of 1621 resulted in bumper crops.

That fall Governor Bradford declared a day of feasting and giving thanks to God for His blessings on the colony. The day lasted three days. About 90 Wampanoag Indians added five deer to the menu of corn, wheat, barley, peas, clams, eel and other fish, leeks and plums. This practice was followed the next several years.

The other New England colonies followed the practice. During the Revolutionary War eight special days of thanksgiving followed significant developments in the war. President George Washington, in 1789, declared November 26, a day of giving thanks to the All Mighty. In 1839, New York became the first northern state to have an official state Thanksgiving. Other Northern states followed immediately. In 1855, Virginia was the first Southern state to have such a day.

Encouraged by the persistent Sarah Josepha Hale, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November 1863, “a day of thanksgiving and praise to the beneficent Father.” For the next 75 years each president proclaimed the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving.

In 1941 Congress formerly established the fourth Thursday of November as the official national Thanksgiving Day.

Now what?
Thanks are expressed by someone, to someone, about something. Let’s each be one to express thanks. There is much for which to be thankful.

Some schools teach the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Native Americans for their help. Not so. It was to All Mighty God. When you pause to give thanks be more mindful of the One to whom you are speaking than of the thing about which we are giving thanks.

Do yourself a favor. Make a list of things for which you are thankful. Even those among us who have significant difficulties there are many things for which to express thanks.

Captain Kangaroo taught generations the two magic words of please and thank you. A lot of folks have forgotten them. Rarely are they heard. Not only are they rarely heard by people but by the God of all blessings. Make giving thanks a life style. As you do you will become increasingly aware of the many things for which you have cause to be thankful. This is a matchless way of training yourself to be a more positive person.

Don’t forget to give thanks to the God of every good and perfect gift. He inhabits the praise of His people. Make your life His habitat.

Taxing The Wealthy

Economics 101 includes a basic principle many never learned. It relates to one of the only two certain things in life: taxes. In every society those in authority want them and no one else does. In Ireland recently I learned why old castles had so few windows. There was a tax on daylight. It was based on how much light was allowed in a house. Wait until Washington hears of that one.

In America the subject of taxing, tax breaks, and deductions rages. One theory is tax cuts favor the rich. I should hope so. Why? Because that benefits everyone else. That is the purpose. It is to allow entrepreneurs to have more money so they can invest it in products and services. That provides jobs and jobs put money in the pockets of those less wealthy.

The investments by entrepreneurs is a way of putting money into the pockets of others. In doing so it alleviates the government having to put money in their pockets.
Elemental observation number two. Higher taxes do not keep the rich from being rich. They know how to protect their wealth. Some persons who are the strongest advocates for increased taxes are very wealthy. They have made and sheltered theirs.
Conversely higher taxes keep some people from getting wealth. Higher taxes discourage adventurous investors from creating jobs that generate taxes and salaries for employees. This results in unemployment.

Tax cuts allow money to circulate more freely among the people rather than through government. An example of this was the recent tax break related to the purchase a heavy equipment. 60% was allowed on new equipment and 30% on used equipment. This allowed one local contractor to purchase 40 pieces of heavy equipment. This meant jobs were provided for the people selling the equipment, making the equipment, and those wage earners personally purchased items they needed and paid taxes. Without that tax break none of that would have happened. Those people would have been unemployed. That local scenario was played out countless times across America.

Lamentably some wealthy persons have selfishly spoiled this cycle. Critics of tax breaks use them as the norm. Like all systems it is dependent upon honest people to make it work.

There are numerous horror stories of government agencies misusing tax funds. Waste in government is a well documented reality. That doesn’t mean taxes in general should be abolished.

Lowering tax rates encourages investments within the country. Higher tax rates sends investors looking for foreign markets with a more favorable tax rate. It robs America of jobs. Fewer jobs mean more unemployed people looking to the government for money they could have otherwise earned in a job the government taxed out of existence to get the money to give them.

It is true that wealthy entrepreneurs make money. They also take the risk of possibly losing it.

The principle involves an old Biblical axiom: “Give and it shall be given unto you.”