If the Root is Killed, What Happens To the Branches?

If the Root is Killed, What Happens To the Branches?
Vol: 20 Issue: 31 Thursday, March 31, 2016

I once had a most interesting discussion about Israel and the role she occupies in the Plan of God.  At least, that is where the discussion began.  We hadn’t gone far before the conversation shifted from discussing Israel as a nation to a discussion about ‘the Jews’.

It seemed quite important to my conversation partner that he explain that he wasn’t an anti-Semite.  I lost count of how many times he said so after the fourteenth time in a single conversation.

Things like, “I’ve got nothing against the Jews, but . . .” and “I love the Jewish people, but. . .” and of course, “Some of my best friends are Jews, but . . .”

My ‘friend’ also told me at least ten times that he was a devout Catholic who ‘had the Sacred Heart of Jesus’, each time pulling a crucifix from around his neck to kiss the image of the broken Body of Jesus depicted as still hanging dead on a Cross.

Although my friend demonstrated virtually no knowledge of the Scriptures themselves, he was extremely well-versed in the reasons why the Jews were responsible for the Crucifixion, tellingme at least four times that Pilate had absolved himself (and all Gentiles) of His murder by ‘washing his hands’ of the crime.

It seemed very important to him that I understood that Pilate was a Roman, most probably due to the fact that my friend was of Italian descent and therefore Pilate’s self-absolution was equally extended to Italians in particular.

His arguments were classic; the first was, of course, that the Jews were ‘Christ-killers’ (although he had nothing personal against the Jews, he assured me.)

Since the Jews rejected their Messiah, they were cursed by God, and that is why Israel has no right to exist.  God has abandoned the Jews for their crime, and now the blessings of Israel are the property of the Church.

Each of us at that table attempted to disabuse him of this notion to no avail, but the points raised are worthy of repeating here.

First, had the Jews accepted Jesus as their Messiah, He would not have gone to the Cross.  As he (accurately) noted it wasn’t the Romans who sought His execution, it was the Jews. Indeed, had the Jews accepted the Messiah at His First Advent, God’s Plan for the redemption of all mankind would have been thwarted.

It is worthy of noting that Satan’s penchant for overplaying his hand is most perfectly demonstrated at the Cross.

Had he not withstood Jesus, had he not actively worked to blind the Jews to His identity, had he not indwelt Judas to betray Him, had he not inspired the Sanhedrin to condemn Him, had he not whipped the crowds into a frenzy against Him, God’s promise of a Redeemer would not have been kept.

As the Apostle Paul noted,

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” (1st Corinthians 2:7-8)

My interlocutor DID know one Bible verse well enough to quote – Matthew 27:25:

“His blood be on us, and on our children.”

However, he assured us all, “he had nothing against Jews personally.”  They pronounced their own curse, he argued.  That self-pronounced curse was binding on the Jews, he argued.

When Jesus looked over the crowd gathered to watch His death, Luke says He granted them all absolution: 

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

My friend never missed a beat, claiming that absolution was given to the Romans, not the Jews.  After all, he argued, Pilate ‘washed his hands’ of the murder of Jesus, whereas the Jews pronounced their own curse upon themselves.

This view only makes sense from the perspective that man is capable of his own absolution or condemnation, but he was unmovable.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)

We tried to explain what Paul meant when he said ‘the wages of sin is death’ and that it was the practice of the Jews, as commanded by God, to sacrifice an innocent lamb as payment for the sins of the family that offered it.

“That’s disgusting!” he snorted.  “How could anybody do such a thing?  What kind of God would demand such a thing!”

“I would NEVER do that!” he exclaimed between bites of his bratwurst.  I pointed out that he had no apparent philosophical disagreement with sacrificing an innocent animal to provide lifefor his body by eating it.

“That’s different,” he said, as he helped himself to another brat.  The Jews, (which he had nothing against, personally, he reassured us all) practiced a barbaric custom of animal sacrifice that Jesus put an end to on the Cross.

(Great.  Jesus died so animals wouldn’t be sacrificed for sins.  Much better that they should be sacrificed to make bratwurst.  That’s different.)

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

If the Jews really loved God, he argued, then why aren’t there any Israeli Christians?  By this time, I had pretty much lost my normally sweet gentle spirit and was resisting the temptation to stuff his bratwurst up his, umm, nose, so I left the table to let my friend Messianic Rabbi Ric Worshill field this question.

Ric explained that Jews don’t reject Jesus because they hate God – they reject Him because they love God and fear that in order to become a Christian requires abandoning God.

As an illustration, suppose that as a Christian, suppose, just for a second, that Islam made some sense to you. Maybe, you suppose, those Muslims have something there.  Maybe the Koran really is the final testament of God. Maybe . . . but maybe not.

And all your Christian friends, your pastor, all your Christian books, and the Koran itself tell you that by accepting Islam, you must first reject Jesus. (Which is true enough).

To a Jew, accepting Christ means rejecting the faith of their fathers, from Abraham forward, every sage, every teacher, every rabbi, their own parents, brothers, sisters and friends.  All that they’ve ever known or been taught.

To a Jew contemplating Jesus, it means rejecting the Abrahamic covenant, abandoning their place among God’s Chosen People, and worst of all, accepting that when the Messiah DID come, they killed him.

Plus, Jewish history is filled with examples of Jews being themselves murdered as ‘Christ-killers’ under the shadow of a Cross.  To a Jew, the Cross is only slightly less repugnant than a swastika.  The swastika itself is simply a bent cross.

Moreover, the Abrahamic covenant promises the ultimate redemption of the Jewish people.  After the conclusion of the Church Age, God’s plan for Israel’s national redemption is accomplished during the Tribulation Period, explains the Apostle Paul:

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. . . I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. . . And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but THE ROOT THEE. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.” (Romans 11:7,1115-19)

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)

Therefore, concludes the Apostle Paul, himself a Jew and formerly a Jewish lawyer (Pharisee),

“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father’s sakes. For the GIFTS AND CALLING OF GOD ARE WITHOUT REPENTANCE.” (Romans 11:28-29)

Paul continues,

“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Romans 11:30-32)

Sadly, after some three hours of discussion, my interlocutor was unmoved.  At the last, he turned his attention to flying saucers and I turned my attention to getting another soda.

I prayed that the seeds we planted might one day bear fruit.  Nonetheless, the discussion was not wasted.  At some point, I feel confident that some of you may find yourselves in a similar discussion.

1st Peter 3:15 reminds us of our obligation to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

But Ephesians tells us that the purpose of evangelism is not limited to leading the lost to Christ.

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. . .”

Evangelism means to preach Christ and Him crucified, but it is more than just that. It is also given the Church,

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The Jews may be the enemies of the Gospel now, but that is part of God’s plan to accomplish our own redemption.  As such we who are saved owe the Jews an incalculable debt.

It is our obligation to understand WHY we stand with Israel.  And to be able to explain why when called upon to do so.

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 2:5)

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on July 21, 2012.

Our God Is An Awesome God

Our God Is An Awesome God
Vol: 20 Issue: 30 Wednesday, March 30, 2016

“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. . . Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.”

“Behold, ye are of nothing. . .” (Isaiah 41:21,23-24a)

There is so much going on in the world related to Bible prophecy that it is sometimes helpful to take a step back and contemplate a bit on the Big Picture.

It is easy to get so caught up in the details that one misses the awesome power of the Big Picture itself; the embodiment of the old saying about being unable to ‘see the forest for the trees’. 

Bible prophecy is more than a prediction about the future.  It is a promise about the future.  God doesn’t just list events out of context, the events emerge later out of the promises He makes. 

God promised the restoration of Israel in the last days as a benchmark against which to measure other end-time’s promises. 

To bring about the restoration, God promised that the Jews would be forced out of Israel, scattered worldwide, persecuted worldwide, and that they would then return to Israel. 

All of these promises were fulfilled in the context of the greater Promises of the Big Picture; the return of Christ for His Church and the national redemption of the Jews. 

The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies. Some were fulfilled more than 3000 years ago.  Others have been fulfilled since then.

The most astonishingly unlikely prophecy of Scripture was fulfilled on May 14, 1948, when Israel resumed its seat at the table of nations after a 2700 year absence, as prophesied by Daniel, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah and Jesus. 

Israel was established as a nation some 3400 years ago.  The Jews lost sovereignty about 2700 years ago.  Israel existed under a sucession of conquerors until AD 70 when the Jews were banished from the Holy Land by the Romans. 

They wandered, persecuted and afflicted, and were dispersed (but never absorbed) among all the nations of the world.  But when God called them back to their land at the appointed time, they came in exactly the order prophesied:

“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 43:4-5)

Zionist history records the first modern mass emigration of Jews back to the Holy Land as the “First Aliyah” (1882-1903):

“Between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine, then a province of the Ottoman Empire. The majority, belonging to the Hibbat Zion and Bilu movements, came from Eastern Europe with a smaller number arriving from Yemen.” (Wikipedia entry for ‘aliyah’)

These early immigrants from the East later gathered together with the survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust in Western Europe, and, under the slogan, “Never again” declared the rebirth of the sovereign state of Israel. 

The Soviets soon clamped down on Jewish emigration, and Jewish ‘refuseniks’ languished in Soviet labor camps until the USSR collapsed and ‘gave up’ her Jews — from the north. 

In 1991, during a 36-hour covert operation, Israel airlifted 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in defiance of the Mengistu regime then in power who was ‘holding back’ the Ethiopian Jewish community from emigrating to Israel. 

Since then, dozens of other rescue operations have been mounted for isolated Jewish communities world-wide. 

God’s promise was fulfilled exactly as it was given, in order and to the last detail. 

“I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Allow yourself a second to contemplate that verse and what it reveals.  God’s ‘signature’ is to start at the end with a Promise, then outline in advance how He will keep it. 

First, the end — Israel’s restoration — told ‘from the beginning’ and then, ‘from ancient times’ His method for accomplishing ‘the things that are not yet done.’ 

God not only promised Israel’s restoration, but in so doing, foretold, in detail, the events that would make restoration necessary — and the order in which He would accomplish it. 

Down to details like the subtle difference between ‘gathering’ from the West and commanding the South to ‘hold not back’. Awesome. 

The prophet Joel foretold that the modern state of Israel will be partitioned by other nations:

“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land.” (Joel 3:2

Zechariah foretold that Jerusalem would become the focus of international attention, a ‘burdensome stone’ that will cause all the nations of the world to be gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:1-5)

The prophet Micah said that in the last days, Jerusalem would become the world’s most important religious site. (Micah 4:1)

NONE of this was even possible to be fulfilled only a generation ago.  Today, it is so much a part of the daily newscasts that it loses its impact. 

Step back from it for a minute and see it for what it actually is. 

The scenario playing out before our eyes conforms exactly with God’s promises regarding Israel in the last days.  That is just part of the Big Picture.  It’s awesome. 

All the rest of the details are, in and of themselves, just as awesome. 

But when you step back and see how each detail is so interdependent on so many other details, ‘awesome’ isn’t quite adequate to describe it. 

The attention to detail confirms for us that no matter how chaotic and out of control world events seem to be, everything is going according to Divine Plan.  God remains in control of events and He told us how it all turns out in the end. 

And since He hasn’t been wrong yet, we can trust Him on it.

How awesome is that? 

Even the Numbers Bear Witness. . .

Even the Numbers Bear Witness. . .
Vol: 20 Issue: 29 Tuesday, March 29, 2016

We observed in a recent Omega Letter that the Bible speaks to us in the two languages of sentience.  The first is the most commonly understood language of the spoken word.

The spoken word is broken down into regional languages; only a trained linguist could find similarities between English and, say Arabic.

The second is the universal language of mathematics.  It is the universal language since it is the language in which all laws of the physical universe were written.  Assuming, for a second, that there could be another inhabited planet out there somewhere, in some other galaxy, the same laws of mathematics would apply there as they do here.

The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second no matter where in the universe you live or how you measure distance.  Mathematics is a pure language in that it is a language in which it is impossible to tell a lie.

It is possible to use a lot of numbers to confuse the conversation – Bernie Madoff made a career out of it, but in the end, the numbers told the truth.  Madoff was convicted by the numbers.  Numbers cannot lie.

For that reason, much of the Bible is written out in numbers.  The number one signifiesprimacy and independent existence.  In most languages, it is signified by a single stroke.  The number one stands alone.

“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

The number one represents God’s eternal nature.

The number two represents an addition, or an increase.

“Two are better than one, because they have good reward for the labor.” (Ecclesiates 4:9)

Three is the simplest compound unity.  It is the first compound unit of mathematical science.  The number three is the number of the Trinity – three is the number of the Godhead, and as such, three is the number of God.

Four is the number of this world.  There are four seasons, four compass points, north, south, east, west; four great elements, earth, air, fire and water; four divisions of the day, morning, noon, evening, night; and four phases of the moon.

The river of Paradise is divided into four headwaters in Genesis 2:10-11.  The earth is overseen by four cherubim having four faces, four wings, four sides and moving on four wheels.  In prophecy, the world is divided into four spheres of global power in the last days.

The number four represents this world within God’s creation.

Four is the first number that can be divided.  The number four (the world) multiplied by the number three (the Trinity) equals twelve.

The numbers five and ten signify completeness.  There are five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot.  The number ten is the first type of a whole – it is the root of the decimal system of mathematics.  Noah was the tenth generation from Adam.  There are Ten Commandments.  The Lord’s Prayer as ten clauses.

Six is the number of man.  John uses Bible numerology in Revelation 13:18 to tell us that, while there is an antichrist system and an antichrist religion, there is also a personal, individual human antichrist.

“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Seven is always used in Scripture as the number of perfection.  The seventh day is the Sabbath.  The seventh year is a sabbatical year.  After 49 years (7×7) the next is a Jubilee Year.  There are seven golden candlesticks, seven stars, and seven churches and seven Dispensations.

The number seven represents fullness, or completion of God’s creation.

The number eight in Hebrew is Sh’moneh meaning, “to make fat” or to “super-abound” so the number eight is the number of superabundance.  As the number 7 means completion and rest, the number 8 represents the beginning of a new cycle.

At the conclusion of the seventh Dispensation, the Millennial Kingdom, Peter speaks of the destruction of this present order and the introduction of “a new heaven and a new earth.”  Eight is 7 plus 1, significant of both resurrection and regeneration.  Eight signifies the Redeemed of the Church Age.

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2nd Peter 2:5)

New-born males were to be circumcised on the eighth day.

The number nine is the last of the digits, signifying the conclusion of a matter.  It is the multiple of the number of the Trinity (3×3) and the sum of the number of the Trinity plus the number of man (6+3=9).

The number 999 in Hebrew is tee orgee mou the equivalent to ‘my wrath”.  The number 99 in Hebrew is ameen (amen).  The sum of the Hebrew alphabet is 4995 (5×999).  The sum of the Greek is 3999 — the number of the Trinity plus the number of final judgment.

The number ten signifies the perfection of the Divine order of creation.  The number eleven is an addition, signifying the subversion of that order.

Finally, we come to the number twelve.  Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of perfect completion.

That there are twelve Elders from the Church Age signifies that the Church Age, and its influence in government, is now perfectly complete.

Twelve is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule.  The sun which “rules” the day, and the moon and stars which “govern” the night, do so by their passage through the twelve signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divisions, and thus govern the year.

The elements of the numbers seven and twelve are the same.  In one, the elements are added, four plus three equals seven.  In the other, they are multiplied; four times three equals twelve.

In context, the number twelve refers to the Chosen of God as well as to the perfection of government.

There were twelve patriarchs from Seth to Noah, twelve from Shem to Jacob.  There were twelve tribes of Israel.  There were twelve Judges over Israel.  There were twelve Apostles.  There are twelve foundations in heaven’s Jerusalem.  There are twelve gates.  There are twelve pearls.  There are twelve angels.

The 144,000 of Revelation chapter 7 are twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Assessment:

It is with the 144,000 of Revelation 7 that I’d like to switch from Bible numerology to Bible prophecy.  But I wanted you to see that God uses mathematics as well as words to communicate His truths before digging into the topic at hand.

Who are the 144,000?  The Jehovah’s Witnesses think they are the “Great Overcomers” who will be saved at the end of the world.  Each of them strives to achieve that status (which is why they keep showing up at your door).

The Seventh Day Adventists believe they are those of their number who are found keeping the Saturday Sabbath when the Lord comes again and will be Raptured.

The Vatican and mainstream Protestantism teach that they represent the One True Church.  The phrase “children of Israel” means the redeemed by grace throughout the Church Age.

In their view, the Church has replaced Israel in the eyes of God and all references to Israel in the last days means the Church.  So the 144,000 are, in this view, really 144,000 Christians being sealed by God.

But since Christians are already sealed by God at the point of salvation – “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2nd Corinthians 1:22) – sealing themagain during the Tribulation seems pointless.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians,

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (4:30)

When is the “day of redemption?”  The day we are given our resurrection bodies is the only day that fits the context of the verse.  Paul is writing to those who are saved, but not yet redeemed,since they were in Ephesus, Turkey, and not already in heaven.

Notice that the 144,000 are 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel.  They cannot be the Church – the Church is not divided into tribes.  There is no tribe of James, or Andrew Tribe, or Bartholomew Tribe of Christianity.

One might argue that the Vatican is the theological tribe of Peter, or that non-denominational Christianity is the theological tribe of Paul, but that still leaves you ten tribes short.  There are no lost tribes of Christianity.

But what of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?  The Kingdom of Israel consisting of Ten of the Twelve Tribes split from the Kingdom of Judah.  They were overrun, relocated and assimilated into the Assyrian Empire and were lost to history.

But they are NOT lost to God.  In Psalm 135, they are called God’s “peculiar treasure.”  The Ten Tribes are buried and hid in the world in the ‘graves’ of the nations – until their time.

The 144,000 appear twice – once in the seventh and again in the fourteenth chapters of Revelation.  Revelation 14:4 describes them as the ‘firstfruits’ of God and to the Lamb.

These cannot be the Church.  The firstfruits of the Church were the Twelve Apostles, but the text is speaking of 144,000 Jewish male virgins who will live during the final seven years of human government.

They are the first fruits of a new spiritual order on the earth.  The first-fruits of the Church Age have been raptured.  The Church was sealed unto the day of Redemption – the 144,000 are sealed after that Day has come and gone.

The Bible says that apart from the Holy Spirit, nobody can be saved.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)

But the 144,000 are saved, empowered to preach and are the source of the Tribulation Saints of Revelation 13. In Revelation 14, we are told that the 144,000 have a unique ‘song’ which they sing before the Throne.

They cannot be of the Church Age, because only these 144,000 Jewish male virgins can sing the song.

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” (Revelation 14:3)

They have already been sealed by this time, have fulfilled their mission and are now martyrs before the Throne.  In Revelation 14:6, we see the next shift come on duty.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Revelation 14:6)

The Book of Revelation opens with an expository on the Seven Churches and how each did, in the Lord’s eyes, with the assignments before them.  The sixth Church, Philadelphia, was the evangelical missionary church of whom the Lord uniquely had NO words of condemnation.

The seventh and final, the Church of Laodicea, was the lukewarm Church for which the Lord had NO words of commendation.  In Revelation 4:1, John is whisked from among the churches of the earth and finds himself witnessing the remainder of the vision from the perspective of heaven.

There is no mention of the Gospel again until the 144,000 are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  This is a unique event; nobody else on earth is sealed with the Holy Spirit at this time.

Thus empowered, they preach until Chapter 14 — when they are all in heaven.  Now the Great Commission has been passed from the 144,000 Spirit-sealed evangelists to the angel ofRevelation 14:6, who carries it from that point forward.

No matter how I try, I can’t find anything resembling the indwelt Church beyond Revelation 3:22.  The indwelt Church is gone, its replacement is 12 x 12 x 1000 Jews, and they are all gone by Chapter 14 and replaced by an angel.

That is the simple narrative.  First, the Church Age.  Then the Rapture.  Then the revealing of the antichrist.  Then the Ride of the Four Horsemen.  Then the sealing of the 144,000.  Then the Mark of the Beast and the persecution and martyrdom of the Tribulation Saints.

After that, the Great Tribulation that culminates with the Second Coming of Christ.

Why do I continue to harp on the pre-Trib Rapture of the Church?  Because it is the Blessed Hope.  Because it is the fulfillment of the Promise that I will never be spiritually abandoned, but will remain indwelt by the Holy Spirit until Jesus returns for me.

Because the events coming upon this world are designed to scare the world, not to scare us.  The Bible calls it a Blessed Hope, not a Holy Terror.  We are to be looking for the coming of Christ.

The purpose of the signs of the end are not to prepare us for God’s wrath, but to spur us on to give the warning of what is to come before it is too late to choose.

Because the day is fast approaching when “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,”(“Come up hither!” – Revelation 4:1)

“with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Our job is to stand and give the warning, not flee to the hills to hide ourselves from the Lord. WE have nothing to fear from the coming signs of Tribulation — it signals the Blessed Hope of the Promise.

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 10, 2009.

Featured Commentary: Living on a Prayer ~ Wendy Wippel

Nothing But The Blood

Nothing But The Blood
Vol: 20 Issue: 28 Monday, March 28, 2016

One of the crimes that were ascribed to early Christians was that Christian worship services included the practice of cannibalism.

Christians were reputed to ceremonially repeat the sacrifice of Christ and then eat the body and blood of the victim.

It was all very vague; all the average Roman of that time knew about Christianity was that it placed an inordinate value on blood and sacrifice.  Christianity today is still slammed by its critics as a ‘bloody’ religion, because so much of the Bible seems to obsess about it.

Every major doctrine in the Bible is dependent on the Blood.

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission,” (Hebrews 9:22)

Without the Blood Doctrine, there can be no forgiveness, no regeneration, no peace, no joy, no rest, no hope, and no Resurrection.

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is pictured as the Lamb of God, and that title is always associated with His atoning work on the Cross, in which He shed His Blood as full payment for our sins.

Remove the Blood Doctrine from Scripture, and the Doctrine of Atonement goes with it.

If one breaks down the word ‘atonement’ into its component parts, the word defines itself according to its original meaning. “At One Ment”.

We were separated from God at the Fall, and we are made one again at the Cross.

Adam and Eve were told that the penalty for breaking God’s command not to violate the Tree of Knowledge was death.

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)

God made provision for their sin, killing two animals and covering their nakedness with their skins.  That was the first blood shed to cover sin, and God set up a system of sacrifice whereby the blood of bullocks, goats and lambs kept that one Great Object Lesson before the people.

Sin has a blood penalty, and the penalty must be paid.

In Genesis Chapter 15, we find Abram questioning God’s promise that his seed will be numbered as the stars of heaven and that they would inherit the land to which God had led him.

Genesis 15:6 says,

“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

But Abram wanted a guarantee, nonetheless.

“And he [Abram] said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (15:8)

It was then that God proposed a blood covenant after the manner of the Chaldeans.

“And he [God] said unto him, [Abram] Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”

Abram knew what to do next, since this was something he was familiar with.

“And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.”

The blood covenant worked this way.  The animals were slaughtered and cut up.  The pieces were intermingled and then carefully arranged to form a kind of aisle through which the two parties to the covenant would walk together, hands joined.

The principle of a blood covenant, and the symbolism of the rended animal parts was clearly understood to Abram.  Whoever broke the covenant would end up like those piles of animals.

A blood covenant was, by common custom, a joining of 2 or more persons, families, clans, tribes, or nations, where the participants agree to do or refrain from doing certain acts.

More specifically, God had proposed a patriarchal covenant.  The patriarchal form of covenant is a self-imposed obligation of a superior party, to the benefit of an inferior party.

In this form, the terms the parties use to refer to each other are: father and son.

God’s proposal included not only Abram, but extended to Abram’s seed forever.

Genesis says that, having prepared the covenant ritual, Abram waited for God to show up so the two of them could walk through the grisly aisle together, sealing its terms.

Instead, Genesis 15:12 records that as Abram waited for God, a deep sleep fell upon him.  During that deep sleep;

“it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” (Genesis 15:17-18)

Although the Covenant was between God and Abram (and his seed), God signed on both sides, binding Himself to both parts.  Abram and his seed did not remain faithful, and the penalty for violating a blood covenant was death.

It is for that reason that God stepped out of eternity and into space and time.  To keep the provisions of the original covenant and be a true Son, as it demanded.

And having kept its terms on behalf of sinful humanity, it was incumbent upon Him to make payment, as justice demanded, for its violation by those on whose behalf the covenant was signed.

To be torn and rended like the animals that formed the corridor through which God alone passed.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

It may still seem a bit unclear.  How can an innocent person assume the guilt of another and then call it ‘justice?’

When a person becomes a Christian, he becomes a part of the Body of Christ.  He is joined with Christ, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  He becomes ‘one with Christ’.

Look at it this way.  Suppose a poor, debt-ridden widow lived next door to a millionaire.  Her debts could not be legally or justly charged to him.  But if he married her, he also legally and justly assumes responsibility for both her assets and her debts.

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (our first husband) by the body of Christ (that is by Christ’s death); that ye should be married to another, even to Him (Christ) who is raised from the dead.” (Romans 7:4)

Noted Clarence Larkin back in 1911;

As sinners we were under the “curse of the Law,” but as believers– “Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE of the Law, being made a CURSE for us: for it is written, CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT HANGETH ON A TREE.” (Galatians 3:13).

The “Tree” that Christ hung on was the CROSS.

We are therefore DEAD to the Law: not physically dead, but JUDICIALLY dead, for the “Penalty” of a law cannot be exacted twice. If Jesus “bare our sins in His own body upon the Tree” (1st Peter 2:24), then they are no longer upon us and we are free from sin. The death of Christ was no mere accident or incident, it was predetermined.

“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold . . . but with the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.” (1st Peter 1:18-20).”

In the words of the old Gospel song,

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. . . Oh! precious is the flow; That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know . . .

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 5, 2007.

Featured Commentary: The Rapture’s in the Air: Part 2 ~ Pete Garcia

STILL The Greatest Story Ever Told

STILL The Greatest Story Ever Told
Vol: 20 Issue: 26 Saturday, March 26, 2016

Good Friday is the day Christians commemorate the single most horrific event in human history — the day that mankind turned on and murdered his Creator.  But that murderous event was NOT the event that brought about our redemption.  Instead, it sealed our guilt.

If Jesus Christ had remained in the grave, we would still be dead in our sins.

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was intended to be the end of the story.  At least, that is the way that Satan and his minions had it planned:

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:8)

A few years back, then-Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey published a book entitled, “Jesus 2000” in which the Archbishop argued it wouldn’t matter if that was where the story ends or not.

“Unlike the birth of Christ and the crucifixion,” he says, “Christians cannot know with the same certainty that He was resurrected. . . I can tell you frankly that while we can be absolutely sure that Jesus lived and that He was crucified on the Cross, we cannot know that He was raised by God from the dead.”

Was he right?  Is the Resurrection unknowable, apart from blind faith?  Was Jesus a man Who, in the words of secular historian Josephus, ‘did many amazing works’ before being judged a political criminal and executed by Crucifixion, but wasn’t literally resurrected?

There is plenty of historical evidence attesting to an historical Jesus.  Is it possible that He was merely a wise man, and a good teacher, or, as the Koran claims, even a prophet.  Was the Resurrection really a legend tacked on later by His followers?

Most Christians I know have admitted a momentary twinge of doubt at some point, wondering if it were at least POSSIBLE that guys like Archbishop Carey might be right.

That the Resurrection, if not an outright hoax, was a sincere effort on behalf of His followers to keep His teachings in the spotlight after His shocking and early death?

After all, it isn’t uncommon for the Jews to carefully record and revere the words of the great sages of history, like Maimondes or Ramban, the author of the Mishneh Torah.

Is it possible to be a Christian and question whether Jesus was raised from the dead?  If Jesus lived and died but was not resurrected, would His Death be enough to secure our redemption?  In a word, no.

And Archbishop Carey is wrong when he says that there is no way to know with certainty that He was resurrected. And it makes a BIG difference.

“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1st Corinthians 15:14)

If Jesus Christ was not resurrected from the grave, then, by Paul’s own admission, our faith is in vain. Our faith is NOT in the fact Jesus lived and died.  Every man that ever lived has died.  Or will die.  There is nothing special about death.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27)

The fact that Jesus died on the Cross means, first and foremost, that Jesus was an ordinary man.  He lived an extraordinary life.  But He died, which is the epitome of ordinary.

We all die.  Death is the penalty for Adam’s sin.  When Jesus died, the hounds of hell rejoiced because it reduced Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, to the status of ordinary manhood.  Indeed, if former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey is right, then the Greatest Story Ever Told should have ended at His grave.

And so it would have.  And since the two greatest earthly authorities in Judea at that timewanted the story to end there, it should have. 

Assessment:

The Sanhedrin controlled every aspect of Jewish religious life, while the Romans controlled every aspect of secular life. 

The reason the Jews took Jesus to Pilate to be put to death was to put an end to the “Jesus movement”.  The reason Pilate agreed was to prevent a rebellion.  Both had every reason to insist that Jesus died on Calvary and was buried, once and for all. 

The death of Jesus was a major political event.  As a consequence, so many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that the circumstances would be well publicized throughout the Jewish community.

Jesus’ tomb was sealed with a Roman seal.  The penalty for breaking it was crucifixion.  The Apostles had proved themselves no heroes so far.  All had abandoned Him and Peter denied Him three times.  It is unlikely they would risk breaking a Roman seal to perpetuate a hoax.

When they found the empty tomb, the disciples didn’t fan out to the far reaches of the Empire with their story.  They went straight back to Jerusalem. If their claim was false, it would be the last place to try and preach it.

The story wouldn’t have lasted a single day in Jerusalem if the empty tomb were not already an established fact.

In addition to the claims of the Apostles, both Roman and Jewish records of antiquity admit an empty tomb.  People could come and see it was empty for themselves.  They could see the stone that had been rolled back. 

Coming as it does from such hostile sources, it adds even greater weight to the historical evidence.

The tomb was not just sealed with the seal of Rome, it was sealed with a two and a half ton boulder and guarded by Roman soldiers.  If they WERE asleep (a death penalty offense) then somebody would have had to have quietly moved a 5,000 pound boulder without waking them.

Inside the empty tomb were the grave clothes, still bearing the form of a body, but empty.  That precludes any possibility that Jesus was entombed alive and that He somehow escaped.

It also eliminates any possibility that His Body was stolen.  In either case, the graveclothes would have to be unwrapped.  Instead, they lay there as if the contents had vanished.  The burial napkin was neatly folded beside where His head should have been.

The burial napkin sent a message all on its own.  In local custom, when the master of the house finished a meal, he would wad up his napkin and throw it on the plate, signalling to his household staff that the meal was over.

If instead, he was excusing himself for some other reason before finishing, he would fold his napkin neatly and lay it beside the plate, signalling to his household staff that “I am coming back.”

Then there are the Apostles themselves to consider.

Preaching a resurrected Jesus Christ meant social suicide.  They were disowned by their families and their faith, were arrested, imprisoned and ultimately given the choice of a slow, painful execution or admitting they made it up.

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty,” writes Peter. (2nd Peter 1:16)

If they KNEW that their ‘preaching was in vain’ as Paul called it, then they knowingly threw away their lives for nothing.  What if it was you?  What if you knew Jesus as well as they did?  What if you had been with Him and witnessed what they witnessed?

You saw Him heal the sick, raise the dead, give sight to the blind and walk on water.  You saw Him ascend into heaven.  You heard Him promise you specifically that no matter what happens here, heaven awaits.  

Then along comes some despot and says, “if you don’t deny what you heard, saw, and experienced, we will send you to Heaven right now!”  

So, you KNOW that Jesus did all those things and that He is God.  OR — and this is the BIG ONE — you KNOW that He did not and is not.  You were THERE.  You KNOW. 

Ok, got that?  You KNOW, right?  So when you are offered the choice of denying what you know or dying, what do you do? 

Before you answer, since you were a witness, remember there are TWO possibilities.  In the one possibility, you KNOW He is a fraud.  In the other, He MUST be God.  

Looked at from that perspective, figuring out which possibility was the right one is easy.  Nobody dies to knowingly perpetuate a lie.  One guy?  Well, maybe he is nuts.  But ALL of them?

Jesus Christ was executed at Golgotha in full view of thousands of witnesses.  Three days later, He was resurrected bodily and over the course of the next forty days seen alive by thousands more witnesses.

The story of His resurrection was unchallenged by living eyewitnesses, and so profoundly changed them that Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who despised Christ and persecuted His followers, became the Apostle Paul, the greatest witness to the truth of the Resurrected Jesus.  As Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy,

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)

The story was unchallenged because it was true then.  And it is true now.  He is Risen!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Written by Jack Kinsella on April 7, 2012

God’s Friday

God’s Friday
Vol: 20 Issue: 25 Friday, March 25, 2016

I can recall as a kid growing up in a Catholic school how baffled I was after hearing a description of events as they transpired on the first Good Friday.   It was the day set aside to commemorate the most horrific execution imaginable, as inflicted on the most innocent victim that ever lived.

What baffled me was that we celebrate it as “Good” Friday.  I remember once asking a nun, “Why do we call it good?”  She told me, “It is good because that is the day all our sins were heaped upon Jesus.”

That wasn’t a very satisfying answer.  Not at all.  What is “good” about heaping our sins on somebody else?  I don’t think it is “good” when Obama heaps his sins on the previous administration or blames Republicans for blocking legislation in a Democrat-controlled legislature. 

When he does that, it offends me on a number of levels. It offends my sense of fairness.  It is an offense to my intelligence.  It is an offense to my sense of logic.  I see nothing about shifting responsibility to an innocent as “good.”  

So how is the day that Jesus paid the penalty due my sins necessarily “good?”  It would be “good” if I was deserving of His sacrifice.  It would be “good” if my sins could be washed awaywithout inflicting my penalty on someone else. 

But no matter how I try and make sense of calling the day the Lord was crucified by His own creation “good” . . .  the only way I can do so is in the sense of “better Thee than me.” 

And that doesn’t make me feel good in the slightest.

Jesus was paraded naked before His enemies in this existence – and before His enemies in the next – all of them jeering the Creator of the Universe as if He was no better than they.

Indeed, He was made subject to them on every level – sinners condemning Him, torturing Him, mocking Him – while the demons of hell roared their mocking approval.

He was beaten, whipped, spat upon, clubbed, cut, abused and tortured beyond what the mind can comprehend, before being nailed to a Cross and hung until He was finally, mercifully dead. 

Good Friday was the day that the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for my sins, but it was NOT  what Jesus did on the Cross on Friday that secured my eternal life.  

My sins were paid for with His Death, but my eternity was secured by His Resurrection on the third day. That is the GOOD day.  The day of His crucifixion was the darkest day in the history of mankind. 

From the perspective of the Lord of Glory, as He hung there gasping out the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

From the perspective of those in the crowd receiving that absolution, there was only great agony and great sadness and great misery and great earthquakes and great events. And there was darkness.  Great darkness.

For three hours, as the sins of the world were heaped upon the Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ was alone, separated from the Father, in unimaginable agony, before crying out, “Eli, Eli, lamasabachthani?”

Salvation is good.  Eternal life is good.  Agonizing suffering, indescribable humiliation and death by eventual and slow suffocation on the Cross is not good.  Not good at all. 

And probably wasn’t even on Friday.

Assessment:

There are lots of possible reasons why we Christians call the day we commemorate the brutal murder of Jesus Christ as “Good” Friday.  

Our word ‘goodbye’ came from the phrase “God be with you,” so, according to that line of thinking, “Good Friday” would have originated from the phrase “God’s Friday.”

But I still think it is less a case of the metamorphosis of language than it is an apt description of the Event that took place on that Day before Passover two thousand years ago.

The murder of Jesus Christ was an event of incredible evil. He was guilty of no infraction, violated no laws, either Mosaic or Roman civil, and His betrayal was orchestrated, the Bible says, by Satan himself.

“And after the sop Satan entered into him [Judas]. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27)

But while the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was an act of unspeakable evil, it was a necessary part of God’s Plan for the redemption of our sin debt.

And the manner in which He accomplished was a demonstration of His Power over good and evil, using pure evil to bring about pure good.

The idea that the Lord was crucified on a Friday has some seemingly significant problems, not the least of which is that Friday afternoon to Sunday morning doesn’t sound like three days and three nights.

One can run through the texts and find some seeming anomalies because there are two Sabbaths involved in the Crucifixion story.  Passover was a High (annual) Sabbath, whereas Friday evening at sundown marked the weekly Sabbath Day.

So there were two Sabbaths that week — and therefore plenty of ammunition with which to create conflict.

It seems to me typical of our nature and therefore proof of our NEED for redemption that we tend to quibble over whether it was accomplished on Wednesday or Friday to the extent we lose sight of what it took to accomplish it.

He endured the mocking, the scourging, the humiliation, the pain, and the incomprehensibly agonizing weight of the sins of the world separating Him from the Father . . . . and He did it all for you.  

 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spiritwhich are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

That’s how much He loved you.  You are bought with a price. You are now God’s possession, bought and paid for   — and there are NO refunds.

That’s what makes it “Good”.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 7, 2012.

Featured Commentary: Anti-Semitism: Nothing Up My Sleeve ~ Alf Cengia

The Logic of the Cross

The Logic of the Cross
Vol: 20 Issue: 24 Thursday, March 24, 2016

Roughly one thousand, nine hundred and eighty years ago, a Jewish itinerant preacher was tried, convicted and executed by Roman decree, on charges of sedition against the state.

When He was arrested by the Roman authorities, His friends, fearing arrest themselves, left Him to face the music alone.  One of His closest and most loyal friends denied knowing Him on three separate occasions.  Once followed by thronging crowds, only His mother and a couple of friends stood by Him to the end.

And thus ends the story of Jesus of Nazareth, just another victim of Roman ‘justice’ like the thousands of other unnamed and forgotten Jewish rebels that shared a similar fate.

Or, at least, that is where is SHOULD have ended.

Historically speaking, at the time of His Death, Jesus Christ was just another rebel in a land teeming with rebels.  When He preached of the Kingdom of Heaven, his followers didn’t understand the term the way that we do.

The sages understood the time of the Judges, when Israel was ruled by Heaven through God’s appointed judges, as the Kingdom of Heaven He promised to restore.

Even His disciples didn’t understand what He was talking about until after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

They, like the rest, expected an earthly Jewish kingdom ruled by Jews, restored to the glory it had at its peak under King David.

When their dreams of a restored Kingdom of Israel died on a Roman cross, the event was too insignificant to merit the attention of the historians of the time.  Only a few, like Tertius or Flavius Josephus mention it, and then, only in passing.

Crucifixion was common enough, but it was a grisly business, difficult to discuss without repulsing the reader.  Although Imperial Rome imposed it on hundreds of thousands during its reign, historians recorded few details of the process itself.

By either chance or design, death by crucifixion served to erase the condemned from memory.  It wasn’t talked about, so neither were its victims.

On Good Friday, 1980 years ago, it looked like Jesus Christ was on the fast track to historical irrelevance, just another voice of one crying out from the wilderness.

A voice seemingly silenced forever — by a death too gruesome to discuss in polite company. 

Assessment:

Now, imagine you are one of His chosen disciples.  You have just seen all your hopes and dreams shattered by the Roman executioners.  Not only that, but you aren’t that proud of yourself, either. 

For three years, you followed the Master.  You personally witnessed His miracles, from walking on water to feeding multiplied thousands with a young boy’s lunch to healing the sick and raising the dead.

You heard His wisdom; you felt His Power, witnessed His Transfiguration . . . and when the chips were down and it was time to take a stand, you folded up like a Wal Mart lawn chair.

You ran and hid like a coward, not daring to show your face for fear you’d share His fate.

(And you once had the nerve to ask Him if you could sit at His right Hand!)

He faced His enemies alone, without a friend to speak up for Him — including you, who promised NEVER to forsake Him.

On Good Friday, 1980 years ago, the last thing on any of their minds was writing a detailed record of their own failures.  They just wanted to put the entire sordid experience behind them and move on.

He had forsaken everything to teach and prepare them, and when the time came, they not only betrayed Him by deserting Him, they never had a chance to beg His forgiveness afterwards.

To those who loved Him best, Good Friday, 1980 years ago, was anything BUT ‘good’.

And it was the LAST story in the world they wanted to spread throughout the land.

“He made big promises, we made big promises, then He died and we all ran away and hid.”

If you were hiding somewhere in Jerusalem on Good Friday, 1980 years ago, that was yourstory.  Not a very inspiring story, if that was where it ended.

Every Easter, we are bombarded by secular apologists telling us that is where the story really DID end.

Jesus was dead; His followers were all in hiding, but while they were in hiding for their lives (and after seeing what happened to Jesus,) instead of fading quietly into the countryside, they entered into a conspiracy to perpetuate the same ‘myth’ that put Jesus on the Cross in the first place.

They made up the whole Resurrection story to keep the movement alive, and then legend took over, the argument goes.

If the story really DID end at Golgotha, would YOU want to face the same risk that you had just abandoned your best Friend to His Death in order to avoid?  Well, would you?

Would anybody?

IF it ended at Golgotha, then what changed every single one of the cowards who fled Jesus onthat day to later face death unflinchingly rather than deny Him a second time?

Moreover, what made these guys, who were so self-centered they used to argue over who would sit at His right Hand in some misty, undefined future kingdom, choose to disclose the details of their greatest moment of personal failure, weaving those unflattering self-revelatory details into the fabric of what they already KNEW a monstrous lie?

Since most of it was a lie anyway, why be so brutally hard on themselves?

The Archbishop of Canterbury is on record as doubting the Resurrection as an actual historical event.  This defies logic.  If the Resurrection wasn’t an historical event, then it ended at Golgotha — and the Apostles knew it.

Every single event from the Cross forward was a lie, and the New Testament record of their zeal to propagate that lie is equally unreliable.  THIS is the argument put forth every Easter by the secularists as the epitome of ‘rational thought.’

No logical alternative explanation for why the Apostles chose death over denial of what they KNEW, by definition, was a myth.  To plug THAT hole, critics say the story was ‘harmonized’ later as the Bible was being assembled by the Nicean Council.

But nobody ever goes back to Good Friday, 1980 years ago, where they claim it all ended, to explain with any degree of credibility, why it didn’t.  Because if Jesus was not raised on the first day of the week, where He subsequently appeared to more than five hundred witnesses (1st Corinthians 15:6) then it SHOULD have.

Christianity SHOULD have died with Jesus, and on Good Friday 1980 years ago, to all intents and purposes, it did. 

And it would have STAYED dead, but Christianity was raised with Jesus Christ on the third day, and today, it is real enough to have the secularists jumping through logical hoops every Easter season trying to prove its all a myth.

For those who demand empirical evidence of the Resurrection, the existence of the question is all the evidence logic demands.

Had it really ended on Good Friday, 1980 years ago at the Cross, nobody would be asking the question in the first place.

When Jesus appeared to John on the Island of Patmos, He identified himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning AND the end.

The logic of Christianity is that it began where it ended — without the Cross, there could be no Resurrection. And without the Resurrection, there is no reason to remember the Cross.

To the secularist, this is an unacceptable conundrum, despite the fact his best alternative explanation leaves him with no reason for Christianity to exist for him to question.

It is a logical circle from which he can’t escape, because he can’t see he’s inside the circle.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)

As foolish as his argument is, he can’t see it for the foolishness of his own wisdom.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1st Corinthians 3:19)

So every year, the annual bombardment of articles questioning the ‘truth’ of the Resurrection continues without their ever seeing the answer is contained inside the very question they are so focused on.

It is as baffling to the natural mind as is the reason we Christians call this upcoming Friday, “Good Friday”.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on March 21, 2008.

Featured Commentary: The Gift That Keeps Giving: Jesus the Christ ~ J.L. Robb