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Yearly Archives: 2017
~ As early as Genesis 3:15 it is seen that someone must die in order to ultimately defeat sin. “And I shall place hatred between you and between the woman, and between your seed and between her seed. He will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.”
~ The theme of sacrifice is continued in Genesis 3:21 for in order for God to cover Adam and Eve with animal skins, obviously animals had been killed to now provide this covering. “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife shirts of skin, and He dressed them.”
~ Genesis 4:3-5, Abel’s blood sacrifice was acceptable to God, while Cain’s offering was not. It seems that Cain demonstrated disbelief in not bringing a blood sacrifice. “Now it came to pass at the end of days, that Cain brought of the fruit of the soil an offering to the Lord. And Abel he too brought of the firstborn of his flocks and of their fattest, and the Lord turned to Abel and to his offering. But to Cain and to his offering He did not turn…”
~ During the time of Noah, sacrifices were still important. Genesis 8:20 “And Noah built an altar to the Lord, and he took of all the clean animals and of all the clean fowl and brought up burnt offerings on the altar.”
~ In subjecting Abraham to the ultimate test of his faith, God requested him to sacrifice his son Isaac, a passage that prefigures the sacrifice of Jesus. Genesis 22.
~ God required animal sacrifices to provide temporary forgiveness of sins. God even set up certain procedures, almost all involving shed blood from the animal to “cover” the sin, remove the sin in God’s eyes.(Leviticus 4, Leviticus 16, Numbers 15:1-31). Thus when one broke a law but then offered the proper sacrifice he was keeping the overall Law.
~ There were certain sins one could commit that could not be forgiven. There was no sacrifice given to atone for them and no recourse for the offender except to die and enter hell. Some of these were homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13), murder (Numbers 35:30), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), cursing or smiting one’s parents (Exodus 21:15), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), bestiality (Exodus 22:19), breaking the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14), blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16). Basically all crimes punishable by death were unforgivable.
~ However, these animal sacrifices evolved from being offered anywhere to being tied into a particular temple and altar in which to offer the sacrifice ( Deuteronomy 12). When the temple altar was destroyed, these animal sacrifices ceased.
~ God promised Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed by Abraham (Genesis 12:3). Since all people on earth are sinners, all people deserve God’s curse, not God’s blessing. And why are all people on earth sinners? You may read the detailed explanation here on this blog post.
~ So, only those who have been saved from their sins can be blessed of God. Thus the promise of blessing for the families of the earth must include salvation for the families of the earth and this salvation would come through the seed of Abraham. The Messiah must be of the line of Abraham.
~ The same promise was renewed to Isaac (Genesis 21:12) and Jacob (Genesis 28:14) and thus the Messiah must also be a descendant of Isaac and Jacob. Since the Jews may be defined as those who have descended from Jacob, we can say that the Savior must be a Jew. He must be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
~ In Genesis 49:10 we learn that the kingly line (the line possessing “the scepter”) must come out of the tribe of Judah. Since the Messiah will be God’s anointed King (Psalm 2), the Messiah must come from the line of Judah.
~ In Isaiah 11:1 we learn that the Messiah, God’s great King, must come from Jesse, hence from the line of David (Jesse was David’s father). The covenant God made with David (ll Samuel chapter 7) confirms that this great King must come from the line of King David.
~ His birth: Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14 (The Hebrew term “young woman” [almah] is used in the Torah of women who were virgins [Genesis 24:43 and Exodus 2:8]. The Jewish translators of the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek Septuagint used “parthenos” to translate the word “almah”, and the Greek term “parthenos” clearly denoted virginity.).
~ The context of Isaiah 7:14 involves the LORD speaking to Ahaz about a great sign or miracle. For a virgin to become pregnant and give birth to a son is a great miracle.
~ The Messiah had to be sinless. Isaiah 53. Despised and rejected by men, pained because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his wound we were healed. We all went astray like sheep, we have turned, each one on his way, and the Lord accepted his prayers for the iniquity of all of us. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he would not open his mouth; like a lamb to the slaughter he would be brought, He committed no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. He poured out his soul to death, and with transgressors he was counted; and he bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.
~ The Messiah had to die: Genesis 3:15, Daniel 9:24-27, Psalm 22, Zechariah 12:10, Zechariah 13:6, Isaiah 53 (One interpretation of this passage is that the suffering servant describes the nation Israel. Yes Israel as a nation has suffered greatly, however notice the repetition of the personal pronoun “he” which lends weight to the One spoken of is an individual, not a nation. More information on that can be found in this Isaiah 53 post here).
~ Over 300 prophecies stated in the Tanakh (Old Testament) were fulfilled by one named Jesus. Our eternal God became man (incarnation) for our salvation; sinless, born under the Law, to fulfill the Law perfectly (Genesis 49:10). Crucified, died, resurrected, alive seated at the right hand of the Father (Psalm 110:1), fully God, fully man (Daniel 7:13-14, Isaiah 52:6-7, Isaiah 9:5 Tanakh [9:6 OT]). By faith, we are able to be reconciled to God forever. Just as Abram back in Genesis 15, by faith.
~ Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” What the New Testament brings is nothing new, it is all in the Tanakh.
~ Isaiah 53:1 “Who would have believed our report, and to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed?”
~ Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Jesus died a terrible death on a cross to pay the price for our sin, a death that was foretold in detail in the Tanakh, one that was part of God’s plan from before time began, and one that God allowed for a very specific purpose.
~ Jesus took our place when we deserved spiritual death. However this was Jesus in His human form. Part of the prophecy regarding Him was that He would come to earth as a man however ascend to Heaven (eternal life with God) after physical death here on earth. That is where He is. (After His death, Jesus was raised from the dead Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 53:9-10, After His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God Psalm 16:11, Psalm 68:18, Psalm 110:1).
~ Because the physical death, the shedding of blood here on earth, was the final atonement set up by God, the propitiation, the quenching of His wrath, there is no other way to reconnect with God in life here on earth, and in eternity. Believing in Jesus (putting your trust in Him) as your Lord and Savior, is the only hope of salvation.
~ John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
~ You will become a child of God by receiving Jesus. John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
~ John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me .”
~ Colossians 1:14 “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Antisemitism is a deadly shadow that has sadly always been a part of Jewish history. Where does this hatred come from? Some, in trying to point a finger to a root cause, have claimed that the New Testament is fraught with antisemitic sentiment.
Context, context, context. There absolutely are New Testament scriptures that appear at face value to be eschewing hatred toward or of Jews, however, there are also Tanakh scriptures (Old Testament) that do the same thing! In the light of the entire passage, and book, a deeper sentiment is being expressed, one that must be examined to glean the entire meaning.
Some discussion on the difficult New Testament passages that appear at face value to be antisemitic can be found on the page that leads into holidays and holiday celebrations.
Some may dismiss the New Testament based on hearsay without having had examined the scriptures for themselves. If you personally have any question about the New Testament’s attitude towards Jewish people, please let’s discuss the specific scriptures that are of concern to you. I will gladly analyze them with you, within the context of the paragraph, book of the bible, and bible as a whole. You may list out the scriptures in question in the comments section below or email. Thank you!
Why both the Tanakh (Tanach, Old Testament) and the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant/New Testament)?
Jeremiah 31:30-33 in the Tanakh (Jeremiah 31:31-34 in the Old Testament). “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, and I will form a covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, a new covenant. Not like the covenant that I formed with their forefathers on the day I took them by the hand to take them out of the land of Egypt, that they broke My covenant, although I was a lord over them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will form with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will place My law in their midst and I will inscribe it upon their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be My people. And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember.”
Further Tanakh scriptures to support this are: Jeremiah 32:37-40, Jeremiah 33:14-16, Ezekiel 16:58-63, Ezekiel 37:21-26, Isaiah 55:3-8. For sake of space, I did not type out these scriptures, but please, click on these links and read them! They are awesome!
Tanakh or Tanach is a Hebrew acronym that stands for “Torah [The Pentateuch] (Five books of Moses), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Khetuvim [K’tuvim] (Writings)”. The books of the Tanakh and Old Testament have the exact same content. However there is a slightly different order/arrangement between the two, and verse numbers in some instances are different. However, if you compare the content side by side, you will see that they are identical.
To clarify the word “Torah”; in it’s most limited sense “Torah” refers to the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But the word “Torah” can also be used to refer to the entire Tanakh.
Rabbis may include the term “oral Torah” in the word Torah. That oral Torah, also known as the Talmud, they believe was given to Moses by God.
However what it is is a collection of Rabbinical interpretations of the written Torah. There is absolutely nothing in the written Torah that alludes to the fact that there was another Torah given to Moses. If you find such a scripture, please feel free to post it in the comments section!
There is an account in 2 Kings 22:8 and 2 Chronicles 34:15 of how the written Torah was both lost and completely forgotten for over 50 years and rediscovered by the Temple priests. It is difficult to believe that the Israelites could remember a non-recorded oral law while at the same time completely forgetting what was in the written law.
The words of the oral Torah have absent from them the familiar Biblical wording of “And the Lord spoke…” and “…thus says the Lord”.
If one reads the text of the Oral Torah, one sees the opinions of Rabbis who disagree with each other repeatedly. The Rabbis explain that whenever there are such disagreements, “both opinions are the words of God.”
However, according to the Tanakh, God does not contradict himself. (Malachi 3:6 “For I, the Lord, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, have not reached the end.”; Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?” Isaiah 40:8 “The grass shall dry out, the blossom shall wilt, but the word of our God shall last forever.”Habakkuk 3:6 “He stood and meted out to the earth; He saw and caused nations to wander. And the everlasting mountains were shattered; the everlasting hills were humbled. The procedures of the world are His.”)
Regarding other “extra biblical books”; there is a cluster of about 14 books, known as the Apocryphal books, which were written some time between the close of the Old Testament (after 400 B.C.) and the beginning of the New. They were never considered as part of the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Jews themselves clearly ruled them out by the confession that there was, throughout that period, no voice of the prophets in the land.
The Old Testament had been translated into Greek during the third century B.C., and this translation is known as the Septuagint, a word meaning 70, after the supposedly 70 men involved in the translation. It was the Greek Septuagint that the disciples of Jesus frequently used since Greek was the common language of the day. Whether or not the Septuagint also contained the Apocrypha is impossible to say for sure, since although the earliest copies of the Septuagint available today do include the Apocrypha, placed at the end, these are dated in the fifth century so cannot be relied upon to tell us what was common half a millennium earlier. Significantly, neither Jesus nor any of the apostles ever quoted from the Apocrypha, even though they were obviously using the Greek Septuagint. Therefore those 14 books are not in the Biblical Canon although they are used in the Catholic bibles.
Our inheritance is, heaven. It is the sum total of all God has promised us in salvation.
The entirety of our inheritance will be given to us at the moment we die here on earth and go to be with God in eternity. Meanwhile as we walk out life here on earth, we are in possession of a down payment if you will, of the fullness that will be ours in completion when the time comes.
We also have God’s unbreakable promise that we will receive our full inheritance. This inheritance and as the meaning of it as our understanding, knowledge, heart, mind comes to know it more and more, deeper and deeper, is an energizer, as the entire purpose for our existence here on earth takes on a new meaning and purpose.
So, we left off on the last page with being born again. We were born once, physically. This second birth is a spiritual one. What exactly happens in that spiritual birth, in being born again?
At that time God gives you a brand new Godly heart through His Holy Spirit, as it tells us in the following verse:Ezekiel 36:26-27. “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you and bring it about that you will walk in My statutes and you will keep My ordinances and do [them]”
What follows is
- Our destination when we die here on earth, is now to everlasting life with God. Heaven (Colossians 1:10-14).
- The flesh (our sin nature) is crucified through the cross of Christ (Galatians 5:24).
- We are dead in the sense that the old unbelieving self (soul) has died (Romans 7:1-6, Romans 8:2,4).
- Our old stony heart has been removed and has been replaced with a new heart of flesh (soft, pliable) with God’s laws written on it (Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 24:7, Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 3:3).
- We have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
- We are a new creation, a new soul (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- Our source of strength is “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This is why the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10)!
- We have an incredibly beautiful new identity, for here and for eternity. Our inheritance!Please read these verses and allow them to sink deep into your heart.(Colossians 1:10-14; 1:21-23; 2:6-15, Romans 6:1-11, Ezekiel 36:22-30.)
Positionally we ARE all of this and we POSSESS, all of this, FOREVER. These scriptures are powerful motivators.
However, we still have to walk out this life here on earth (experientially) (Philippians 2:12-13). How? “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
Our soul has died with Christ and we have a new soul (a new mind/heart, new emotions, a freed will), our spirit has been resurrected from the dead, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, so the “old man” is dead. Our body at the end of our time here will be changed, redeemed, glorified, fully healed and whole, healthy in every way, but right now, it is not. That is the only part of us not yet redeemed so sin and it’s effects still dwell there (Romans 8:9-17).
Now that we have a spirit that is alive in us to God and His Holy Spirit (rather than the spirit that was dead prior to becoming “born again” and no Holy Spirit to help us) we now have the ability to choose where we will focus, on ourselves, or on our position in Jesus (Joshua 24:15, Joshua 24:22, 1 Kings 18:21, 2 Kings 17:33-34, 2 Kings 17:41, Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13, Galatians 1:10).
Where we focus is how we will think, and ultimately behave. The mind of Christ, “the new man”, can now say no to sin. The voice telling us to sin originates from the flesh. It is an ongoing battle while living life here on this earth (Romans 6:11, Romans 6:14, Romans 7, Romans 8:14).
Our self-focused (or fleshly) efforts to live this life produce an abundance of the works of the flesh; sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21).
Focusing on our position in Jesus and praying for equipping and increasing love for others (1 Thessalonians 3:12, Hebrews 13:21), we “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), which results in the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). God knows the motive of the heart (Proverbs 16:2, 1 Samuel 2:3, 1 Samuel 16:7, Luke 16:15).
You are not what you think you are, but rather, what you think, you are (Proverbs 23:7, Matthew 13:22, Mark 4:19, Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 3:19, Ephesians 4:23-24, Philippians 2:5, Colossians 1:9, Colossians 3:10, 1 Peter 1:14, 1 Peter 1:18).
Strengthening the ability to focus on one’s position/identity in Jesus, to “grow up into salvation” flows from pure spiritual food, God’s Word (1 Peter 2:2-3, Romans 12:1-2) and prayer for His wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17-18, Colossians 1:9).
Our salvation allows our missteps, our sin, but it is not a license to do whatever we want (Romans 6). God absolutely will be working in the life of a born again person. So if someone feels they can do whatever they want now that they are “saved”, it might be a good time to have them check if they are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5, Matthew 7:21, Luke 6:46, James 1:22)
But, as a reassurance, “If Saved, Always Saved.” We are eternally secure because we have been sealed at salvation. “So that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory” (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:12-14, John 6:37, John 10:27-29, Romans 11:29).
Please, please, please…if you have ANY genuine questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, that you would like to share or express, please contact us! Thank you!
L’chaim – To Life!
Before reading the information on this page, please read or re read the plan God set in motion that is fully contained in the Tanakh (Tanach, Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament.) Reading this first will put this page into it’s proper backstory and perspective. Thank you!
Now we will show God’s plan as it continues into the New Testament (and why the New Testament is relevant at all, for all people, Jewish people included.)
Receiving the gift of salvation is called being born again.
We were born physically, our first birth, our natural birth. There is a second birth, a spiritual birth that occurs when we receive salvation. Being born again is for ALL people, regardless of ethnicity, culture, religious background, or anything else.
And yes, the name of Jesus is mentioned as we move forward, Messiah Jesus. This might be a stumbling block or even a stopping point for some.
I implore you, please read here for more information on why Jesus. Thank you!
Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:1-21 discusses being born again.
Additional scriptures regarding the necessity of receiving salvation: Luke 16:19-31, Revelation 20:11-15, Mark 9:43-48
So, back to John 3. When you, from the heart, not just words from your head and mouth:
- Admit that you are not perfect, that you sin. That you know you, in word and in deed, cannot do every single thing perfectly in this life here on earth, and that no matter how hard you try, we are all limited and will always fall short of God’s perfect standard of holiness.
- Ask God to forgive you of your sins. Lord, I am a sinner. I know I am a sinner. I admit I am a sinner. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. Does this make sense to you? (If you would like further information on this sin concept, please click this sentence to go to the dirty pitcher analogy along with tons more information on this. Thank you!)
- Believe that Jesus died on the cross for YOU (grasping the reality that Jesus IS the FINAL atonement, the propitiation.) No more covering, no more bartering, no more pleading with God to give you one more chance. You have that chance, it is finished. It has been done for you. Will you seize it?
- Receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Then, you are now born again and have become heir to the greatest inheritance far beyond any other!
Fascinating that to create the animal skins, a cut had to be made in them, and blood was shed for them. In Hebrew it is kārat berît, which literally means “cut a covenant.” From the moment that they had sinned, God initiated His plan of redemption so they could be redeemed back to Him.
From the time that Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves man has been trying many different avenues to cover themselves in such a way that he could somehow earn his way into heaven.
All through the ages right to the present, people have tried to earn a right into heaven or to be considered “good” by doing good things. Many sadly are resting in the false hopes that what they do is enough because they are “better” than someone else. Charity and good works, prayer, attending a synagogue or church, being “better” outwardly than someone else, believing that for someone who is Jewish, that ethnicity earns them a place in heaven, none of these are what God looks at.
God looks at the vessel, the human body He created. Has that person received salvation, the salvation that God in the Bible defines, through the savior the Bible defines, or have they not?
Some cite Genesis 4:7 to prove that we do not need salvation, we simply need to be good. “Is it not so that if you improve, it will be forgiven you? If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it.”
Earnest and at times successful efforts at moral reformation are certainly noteworthy as some people fight to free themselves from the outward practice of a particular sin or sins. However, the concept of sin as Scripture details renders this admirable, but ineffective in earning right standing with God.
We can cast out sin from our nature as effectively as we can eliminate poison from our body by our own energy. If you have cancer, can you grit your teeth and will it to leave? Of course not. Just as Jeremiah 13:23 says “Will a Cushite (some translations say Ethiopian) change his skin, or a leopard his spots? So will you be able to improve, you who have become accustomed to do evil.”
So, following the Scriptures, if every single one of us actually deserves judgment from God, we should not get fixated on the question, why doesn’t God save everyone? The question really is, why does God save anyone?
An even deeper question is, why did you respond to this truth (if you did) when you heard it, but someone else who heard it, or read it, even the very same presentation at the same moment, did not respond to it? What was there in that one person that caused that person to respond positively while someone else rejected it?
I might think I am more intelligent than somebody else, but is that really it?
Some might think I am less intelligent than them and therefore I succumbed to something that they simply will not believe they have a need of.
Some might say that I recognized my need more than somebody else recognized his need, but even that recognition is a mixture of some level of intelligence along with humility, all of which actually are from God and are rooted in God.
I have to say just as Genesis 6:8 states, I cannot give any reason other than God’s grace for why I am saved. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Amen, so did I. What is so awesome, right after verse 8 where Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, verse 9 “Noah was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God.”
It was God who called Noah out, called him righteous, called him perfect, and Noah walked out that new identity that God had given him… Noah was enabled by God to walk with God. SO EXCITING!!!
Where do you stand right now?
When Adam fell into sin, the result was every one of his descendants (which is each one of us, regardless of ethnicity/religion/color or anything else that people might use to divide people into different groups) also being “infected” with his spiritual DNA, the sin nature. David mourned this fact in Psalm 51:7 Tanakh (Psalm 51:5 OT.) “Behold, with iniquity I was formed, and with sin my mother conceived me.” This does not mean that his mother bore him illegitimately. His mother had inherited a sin nature from her parents, and they from their parents, and so on. David inherited this from his parents, just as we all do.
Even if we live as “upright” and “good” a life as possible, every single thing we do is out of the body of a sinner as a result of the inherited sin nature. (Isaiah 64:5 Tanakh [Isaiah 64:6 OT].) “And we all have become like one unclean, and like a discarded garment are all our righteous deeds, and we all have withered like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”
It is like a dirty pitcher pouring out the water contained in it. There will be contaminants in the water because the pitcher is not perfectly clean. It is the same with us. We have inherited the spiritual DNA of our original ancestor, Adam. We are not clean. Spiritually we are dead, separated from God.
Job 14:4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean one? Not one.” Job 15:14-16 “What is man that he should be innocent, and that one born of woman should be just? Lo! He does not believe in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His eyes. Surely [not] one who is abominable and impure, a man who drinks injustice like water.” Job 25:4 “How then can man be just with God, and how can one born of woman be clean?” Psalm 14:2-3 “The Lord in Heaven looked down upon the sons of men to see whether there is a man of understanding, who seeks the Lord. All have turned away; together they have spoiled; no one does good, not even one.” (Genesis 8:21, 1 Kings 8:46, Ecclesiastes 7:20)
As God is infinite and eternal (lasting forever, no beginning or end) and since all sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:6 Tanakh, Psalm 51:4 OT), only an infinite and eternal punishment is sufficient.
For someone to say there is no God that person must know all things in order to be able to say that. None of us can claim to know everything.
Now let’s change that to be someone saying that they believe that God does not exist. Okay, my next question would be, what evidence are you basing that belief on?
IF God is real… THEN what?
THEN that means we are accountable to an authority beyond ourselves. That is quite the statement isn’t it?
The evidence that God exists and is real is overwhelming, tremendous, and literally all around us in every aspect of our life.
I pray that my words in this blog will bring you a bit of hope that there is something to look forward to in this life. That in it, no matter what, in the amazing times and in the challenging and painful times, we in our situations can be given the ability to see beyond the situation to what is underneath and above it. Along with that goes the promise that there is a future that goes beyond anything we truly know or can fully conceive of.
To those who don’t believe, I pray that my words will bring you comfort no matter where you are at. That a seed might be planted and you begin to hunger to know more.
So back to the IF God is real part. Here are 10 interesting items that are great pondering points on that topic.
1) The Earth is a perfect size. It’s size and gravity holds a thin mix of a layer of mainly nitrogen and oxygen gases, extending approximately 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like the planet Jupiter.
2) The Earth is located the perfect distance from the sun. If the Earth were any further away, we would freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. Even beyond that, the Earth maintains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph, while at the same time, rotating on its axis, allowing warming and cooling of the entire surface of the Earth, every day, in a way that sustains life.
3) The moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for the gravitational pool. The moon creates ocean tides so the ocean does not either stagnate, or spill over across the continents.
4) Water is essential for our survival and has interesting, unique, and life sustaining qualities. Plants, animals, and people consist mostly of water (we are approximately 2/3 water). This colorless, odorless, tasteless liquid has a uniquely high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to be alive in an environment that temperatures range, meanwhile our body remains at a steady approximate 98.6 degrees. Water is a universal solvent, which carries minerals and nutrients through our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels. Water is also chemically neutral which means that it enables food, medicine, minerals to be absorbed and used by the body, without affecting them. Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees. Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
5) 97% of the Earth’s water is in the oceans however, there is a natural system of purification and distribution in place. On Earth, to distribute the water throughout the planet, evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds, which the wind easily moves to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals, and people. A natural system of purification and supply sustains life on this planet.
6) The human brain processes an incredible amount of information. It takes in all that you see, hear, feel, taste; holds and processes emotions, thoughts, memories; keeps you breathing, opens and closes your eyelids to blink to protect your eyes, controls hunger and thirst, moves your muscles… all of this simultaneously. The human brain processes more than a million messages a second, weighing the importance of all the data, and filtering out what is not relevant for the moment. The human brain is different from all other human organs. There is intelligence, ability to learn, remember, reason, to produce feelings, to plan, take action, and relate to others.
7) The eye is able to distinguish between 7 million colors; it has automatic focusing and handles over a million messages received by it, simultaneously.
8) Every cell in our bodies has a very detailed instruction code, DNA. DNA is a three-billion-lettered “computer” program if you will, telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual that in a very detailed, specific way, tells the body how it should develop. It is so intricate that it leaves huge questions as to how this information came to be, without a Divine someone intentionally constructing it.
9) The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
10) The universe had a start, so what caused it? The “big bang” theory states that billions of years ago, all of the matter in the known universe was tightly packed into a microscopic cosmic “egg” and our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light. This, the singular start to everything that exists.
Where did this “egg” come from? Some claim it possibly resulted from an earlier universe that collapsed upon itself. Well, then where did that universe come from? This assumes that matter is eternal, something that is refuted by the second law of thermodynamics in physics.
Where did this enormous explosion of energy and light come from? Something does not come from nothing.
Where did the first something come from? Matter of fact, where did the very first life come from? Scientifically it has been proven that life cannot be created from something that does not have life.
The intricacy of our planet, and of our bodies, points to a deliberate designer who created it, and who sustains it. All these things point to a Divine creator, God.
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The Good Book = The Bible
Well then, what is THE Bible? The Bible is inspired by God and is the account of God’s action in the world and His purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors. It is an amazing collection of 66 books with very different styles all containing the message God desired us to have.
One of the greatest miracles of the Bible is its unity. The 66 books of the Bible were written over an estimated 1,500 years on three continents in three languages by about 40 different people who, in most cases, had never met. Their education and background varied greatly. Yet the 66 books maintain an amazing consistency and harmony with each other.
Why is the Bible is true and not a bunch of fables? Another astounding reality is the accuracy of scientific statements made in the Bible, even before scientists had “discovered” these things. Just a few examples: the roundness of the earth is mentioned in Isaiah 40:22, atmospheric circulation in Ecclesiastes 1:6, the hydrologic cycle in Ecclesiastes 1:7, the law of increasing entropy in Psalm 102:25-27, the importance of blood in life processes in Leviticus 17:11, gravitational field in Job 26:7…Some interesting additional reading is this outside source “The Universe Confirms the Bible“.
There is also incredible historical accuracy found in the Bible. Archaeology has shown the events, places, and people are consistent with history. Archaeological evidence demonstrates the historical and cultural accuracy of the Bible. Archaeological findings demonstrate that the Biblical prophets accurately predicted events hundreds of years before they occurred, something that lies beyond the capability of people. The Dead Sea Scrolls have also provided impressive evidence for both the integrity of the Old Testament (Tanakh) and the authenticity of the books themselves. Archaeology has also shown events, places, and people of the New Testament are consistent with history.
The reliability and accuracy of the New Testament is often contested by critics. However, if the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. The New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because of this, they can be cross checked for accuracy, and they are very consistent. From Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1976, Volume 17, pages 465-467: “Next to the New Testament, there are more extant [currently existing] manuscripts of the Iliad (643) than any other book…The New Testament has about 20,000 lines…the Iliad about 15,600. Only 40 lines (or 400 words) of the New Testament are in doubt, where as 764 lines of the Iliad are questioned. This 5% textual corruption compares with 1/2 of 1%…in the New Testament. Over 96% of these variants are without material significance in ascertaining the meaning of the text.”
If I, as an ordinary person say “I am” it is always followed by something. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am a student. I am a teacher. I am of average height. I am of average build.
What does it mean when you ask God “Who are you?” and He answers, “I AM WHO I AM.”?
God can say “I AM” without saying anything more, because God is!
Everything and everyone in this world becomes, from birth to death, always changing. But God never changes or becomes anything different from what He is now. What He is, that He was, and ever will be. Exodus 3:14 is the most firm declaration of God’s eternal self existence that is found in the Tanach (Tanakh) or Old Testament.
Exodus 3:14 Tanach (Tanakh, Hebrew Bible, Judaica Press) “God said to Moses, ‘Ehyeh asher ehyeh (I will be what I will be),’ and He said, ‘So shall you say to the children of Israel, Ehyeh (I will be) has sent me to you.'”
Exodus 3:14 Old Testament (ESV: English Standard Version)“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.'”
“I AM WHO I AM” contains each tense of the verb “to be.” We can translate it “I was, I am, I shall always continue to be.” He is the eternal “I AM.”
Moses had asked God for a name that he can pass onto his fellow Israelites in Egypt in order to validate his mission, but God replied not with a name or label but with a theology.
Some beautiful points can be drawn from this:
God exists. God is there. God is here. This may seem basic but many people live as if it were not true, or if they believe it might be true or is, it does not make any difference in life, theirs or in general.
There is no reality behind God. He is the reality. He is the Creator. He is the master designer. Nothing birthed Him or created Him. He always existed. For those who believe that a cosmic big bang started things here on earth, well, how do you start something out of nothing? Where did the energy come from in order to create this big bang originate from? And a random big bang would cause chaos meanwhile everything is and was in perfect order for everything to be formed and to stay formed. Everything points to a master Creator, one who is the energy, the power.
God does not change. We change our minds depending on circumstances or our emotions. God foresees all circumstances and has no weaknesses. Nothing is a surprise to Him and He is consistent, always, with His character. Speaking of character, God is who He is, and we learn about Him in the Bible. Your view or my view of our what we would like God to be or what we believe God to be does not make it so.
When God says I AM WHO I AM, He ends the fallacy that our ideas of God or who we would like Him to be are valid. We are called to strive to know Him for who He is, not our own fantasy version of Him. Inherent in this is that we are also called to conform to Him, not the other way around. It is actually quite exhilarating. While we (and I) often battle to hold onto control and do things our way, there is such incredible freedom found in giving up the choke hold, giving up the battling, and submitting to the One who actually created us. Yes, freedom!
Please feel free to ask any questions or to discuss any aspect of this! Thank you!