Monthly Archives: March 2014

The BIG Shutdown

Any time that a factory, or refinery, or mass transportation facility, or banking system, or even a major retail store shuts down, the lives of a certain number of people will be affected.  When the government of a powerful nation is shut down, it may not only affect the lives of the citizens of that nation, it may even affect the whole world’s economic system.  But nothing can compare with the shutdown that is surely yet to come.  The course has been set.  The shutdown is imminent, and there is no way to prevent its happening.  And its effect will be felt by all humanity.  For centuries, men have been warned of the event and only a limited number have taken heed and made preparation.

It is not a matter of merely shutting down a business or even a national government but shutting down the whole world.  It all transpires when Christ comes again in the clouds (Revelation 1:7), in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52), in an hour when He is not expected (Matthew 24:44), with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God  (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Every eye will see Him (Revelation. 1:7).  All the dead will rise (John 5:28-29). The faithful who are raised from the dead and the righteous living will all be given incorruptible bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52-54).  Together they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air  (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and be dissolved, being on fire (2 Peter 3:10-12).  The elements will melt with fervent heat, both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

All material things down here will pass from existence, but we will not.  Man was created in the image of God and has an eternal future existence from the time that he enters into life.  After our separation from this world, we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10), and each one will be rewarded according to his works (Matthew 16:27). The righteous will enter life eternal; the unsaved will enter eternal hell  (Matthew 25:41, 46;  John 5:28-29;  Romans 2:5-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

The coming of the Lord is actually an event that true Christians can look forward to with joy.  For the saints it will mean the end of all temptations, all trials, all sorrows and sufferings, and all the unpleasantness of the world here below.  But for all who have scoffed at the things of the Lord or through unbelief or negligence have failed to obey the gospel, it will be a day of unspeakable horror and doom.

Realize that God desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).  But all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  But God loved us so much that He sent Christ to die for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3) and redeem us from condemnation and save our souls from hell.  But we must believe in Him (John 3:16, 36;  8:24), repent of our sins (Luke 13:3, 5), confess our faith in Him (Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37), and be baptized for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16,  Acts 2:38) , and then be faithful (Revelation 2:10).  The great shutdown of this world is coming.  Be ready.

Thomas D. Dennis
~ 207 W. Hunter Dr., Nixa, MO  65714- 8018

How Great is God?

There was a noteworthy debate on February 4th of this year at The Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, between Bill Nye, a well-known personality and proponent of the theory of evolution, and Ken Ham, a proponent of scientific research in light of the Bible, or “Creation Science.” Both of these men conducted themselves as gentlemen as they promoted and defended their particular beliefs. The debate highlighted the basic differences between the two world views and was certainly thought-provoking.

Did the debate change anyone’s mind on the issues under consideration? The answer ultimately depends on what a person wants to believe, as is true with most debates. In this great discussion, you either want to believe the Bible’s explanation of where we came from, or you will disregard it and pursue the theories of man to find another explanation for the universe.

Bill Nye expressed grave concern more than once, and in his conclusion, for anyone who believes the Bible’s explanation for life, thinking that to do so would limit scientific inquiry. In doing so, he displayed an ignorance of the Scriptures and a lack of appreciation for its eternal value. He tried to cast doubt on the Bible by simply referring to it more than once as an “ancient text that has been translated several times.” He is seemingly unaware that one of the greatest scientists ever was Sir Isaac Newton, whose scientific research was fueled by his faith in God and in the “ancient text,” the Holy Scriptures. In fact, Newton studied the Scriptures even more than science as he attempted to better understand divine revelation. Belief in God and His Word not only did not limit his inquiry into the creation, it led him to find out things previously undiscovered in science. Newton personified better than anyone the joy of “discovery” that Bill Nye alluded to more than once as the reason for his own great interest in science.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). “All things were created by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). John described Jesus as the one by whom God created the heavens and the earth. One of the basic reasons for rejecting God’s description of the creation and choosing a dead-end error is explained in Matthew 22:29, where Jesus said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.’” This divine diagnosis applies to all error, whether it is part of a religion or part of a theory that has become, for many, a religion.

If your God doesn’t exist, and the agnostic Bill Nye says he doesn’t even though if He does, then you will obviously have a problem believing that He could create anything, let alone this universe. It is also no wonder he has no regard for the Bible, since he doesn’t believe in its Author. Is life without God really the road to nowhere that any of us want to travel? If this time on earth is all there is, what is the point, really?

But if your God is omnipotent as the Bible describes Him and as the creation testifies, then the Genesis account is a reasonable and satisfying explanation for our little minds. Would any of us even be able to follow God if He told us all the details of how He created the heavens and the earth?

God’s awesome power may be one subject that would be hard to exaggerate. Yet it is underestimated by so many people that it is no wonder there is so much religious error in the world and that people can drift so far from their Creator. We must consider how great He is in light of the Scriptures, which are His inspired Word.

In the Bible we read that God told His beloved servant, Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20).  Paul blessed the Lord by writing:

“He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (I Timothy 6:15,16).

Whoever created the sun of our solar system, along with multitudes of stars throughout the galaxies, would have to be this great, would He not? The evolutionist does not want to go there. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that God knows these spherical masses of plasma and magnetic fields all by name while we struggle to recall the names of the few souls we meet in our short lives here below. “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalms 147:4, 5).

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?”  (Isaiah 40:12-18).

“‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?’ says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).

“But to the wicked God says: ‘What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with him, And have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes” (Psalms 50:16-21). 

To underestimate God and His incredible power, as most people sadly do, will lead to all kinds of wrong thinking (Matthew 22:29) and will mean that they don’t really know Him. Only those who know God get to live with Him forever (Matthew 7:21-24).

But if you look at God for who He truly is, He will more than fill your heart and soul and be glorified in your mind. He will be the object of your worship each and every hour. You will have an obedient attitude and a profound respect of His Word. Praising Him will be the logical and natural result of a proper understanding of His great power and divine nature!

As for Bill Nye and what will become of him, we do not need to hold our breath waiting, but neither should we rule out the possibility that he could change. Stranger things have happened. Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the 1973 Roe Vs. Wade case legalizing abortion was baptized in 1995, quit her job at an abortion clinic and became a pro-life advocate. William Murray, the son of the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair, professed Christianity in 1980, twenty years after being the student in his mother’s 1960 lawsuit that began the push to take mandatory Bible reading and prayer from public schools. In the first century, the great Pharisee of Pharisees, Saul, went from a persecutor of Jesus to become one of the greatest workers the church has ever seen! The good news of Jesus Christ changes lives, and we must continue to love our enemies and pray for them that they may one day see the light!

What if Bill Nye could employ the same cheerful energy he has been using to promote evolution for the propagation of the gospel? Pray that the eyes of his understanding will be opened to see the almighty power and glory of God being declared around the clock every day in the heavens above! (Psalms 19:1-3).

Thomas W. Woody
~  P.O. Box 148, Brighton, IL  62012-0148

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS

Outside of creation itself, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was perhaps the greatest series of events in the history of mankind based on its effect upon man.  Upon the historical facts and the many lessons we can learn from the resurrection hangs the very essence of the gospel of Christ and His church.  For these and other reasons, it is with great purpose many argue stridently against this great event.  For if true (and I believe it is), every event and principle in God’s Word is correct and established.  If men can deny the resurrection, they can more easily set aside the truths established in the rest of the Bible.

It is worth noting there have been other resurrections recorded in the Bible, but Jesus’ was vastly different.  He was raised, not through the hands of men, but by the godhead—the Father, the Spirit, and by Jesus Himself (Romans 6:4, 8:11; John 2:19-22).  It is for this reason Jesus was called the “firstborn of the dead” (Colossians 1:18).  For Jesus was the first to raise from the dead to never die again, and He was the first to raise in the church.  Jesus’ own words testify to His death and subsequent resurrection (Revelation 1:17-18).  There are numerous prophecies in the OT that testified of His resurrection such as Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 16:9-10.  Jesus prophesied His resurrection in Mathew 12:40, 16:21, and 17:22-23.  Even the Jewish leaders testified as enemies of Christ of Jesus speaking of His coming resurrection in Matthew 27:63.

There is, of course, the Pharisee Saul’s testimony.  Something glorious accounted for the change in Saul from Acts 9:1 to Acts 9:20.  What could have turned him from an avowed enemy of Christ and His followers to a great advocate?  Simple:  he saw the risen Lord!

What follows is my best understanding of the chronology of the resurrection of Jesus as told in the four gospels.  I have attempted to place the various passages in as close to chronological order as I know how from His burial until His ascension to Heaven.  I believe reading this glorious story from beginning to end can help us have a surer and perhaps clearer understanding of the events of this magnificent story.

Also there are a number of lessons taught that are worth noting.  For instance, His disciples had trouble grasping His resurrection, even after they saw and spoke to Him.  This is certainly understandable.  Imagine if you saw your grandparents alive after you saw them buried.  I would surmise it would be quite a shock.  Perhaps this explains why Jesus revealed His resurrection to His disciples a little at a time.  This may have given them time to digest the information slowly.  It may be for this reason Jesus ate food with His disciples after His resurrection at least three times.  Perhaps this was to verify the reality of His resurrection.  It was not some spiritual hoax, for it was very real!  They could see the marks upon His body from the crucifixion.

One thought I had was what exactly did the guards tell the Jewish leaders?  They possibly told them of the earthquake and maybe even of the angels in Matthew 28:1-4.  Whatever they told them, the Jewish leaders did not want their message spread to others.  I do not think they saw the actual resurrection, but the guards saw something that made them very afraid and caused them to become like “dead men.”  It is interesting that the guards’ testimony was due to the leaders’ attempts to prevent the very event the guards testified to!  Accordingly I wonder what the Jewish leaders thought of the resurrection?  There is no doubt in my mind that at least some of them knew of the resurrection, but they chose to ignore it for their own purposes.  There is also the idea taught in Jesus’ response to the two disciples in Luke 24:25-26.  Jesus called them “foolish ones” for not believing the prophets.  This teaches me He expects a lot from me!

One final thought—many ignorantly accuse the apostles (or someone) of making this up.  This is nonsense.  If the apostles had simply “made it up,” the resurrection would have been recorded in a much different manner.  Why not have the apostles all holding hands singing Kum-By-Ya at the tomb when Jesus awoke?  Why portray the apostles in a light of disbelief?  Surely they would have wanted to be seen as great heroes!  This was revealed and recorded in the manner it actually happened.  This event, recorded in a truthful and forthright way with no embellishments, would last for over 2,000 years enduring man’s scrutiny and outright attacks and attempts to disregard it.  It has become indeed the greatest (true) story ever told!

An attempt at the chronological order of the resurrection:

1.  Jesus is buried in a tomb prior to the Sabbath/Passover– John 19:31-42

2.  Pilate sets a guard at the tomb—Matthew 27:62-66

3.  Jesus’ actual resurrection– Matthew 28:1-4

4.  Women visit the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body—Mark 16:1-4

5.  The women discover the empty tomb—Mark 16:5-8

6.  Peter and John hurry to the tomb—John 20:1-10

7.  Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene—John 20:11-18

8.  The tomb guards are bribed to lie by the Jewish Council—Matthew 28:11-15

9.  Jesus appears and speaks with two disciples at Emmaus—Luke 24:13-32

10. The two disciples speak to the Eleven—Luke 24:33-35

11. Jesus appears to ten of His disciples—Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-23

12. Thomas does not believe—John 20:24-25

13. Jesus appears to the eleven disciples—John 20:26-29

14. Jesus visits His disciples by the sea—John 21:1-14

15. Jesus speaks to Peter—John 21:15-19

16. Jesus speaks of John to Peter—John 21:20-24

17. Jesus commissions His disciples—Matthew 28:16-20 Mark 16:15-18

18. Jesus helped His disciples better comprehend the Scriptures—Luke 24:44-49

19. Jesus ascends to Heaven—Luke 24:50-53

May His name be praised for this glorious work of love and hope that all mankind might have an opportunity to seek the Lord in faith.  Thank you, Lord, for the price You paid for us!

Jay H. Graham
~ 7715 Quarterhorse Cr., Flagstaff, AZ 86004