Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Friday, October 28, 2005

Special Report: But I'm a good person...

Nic's Notes: Last time we left off, we talked about who Jesus was and why He had to die. But there's more to the story. This will be the last detour before getting on with the continuance of Bible prophecy, it's significance to today and just what is the generation who will see the end of all things and the beginning of eternity. I have been given a burden to spread the message to as many people as possible so that the burden of their eternal existence - your eternal existence - will ultimately be in your hands. This post is how you can escape what is to come, what so many churches are not preaching anymore: the end of the world as we know it and the rise of the antichrist before Christ comes to judge the world after the seven year Tribulation. The most horrific period of existence that the world will ever know. These topics will be covered as well in the continuation of the prophecy series.

My extreme thanks to the Living Waters website for the majority of the information contained below. You guys are great! Keep up the excellent work. :)
Of all the questions you will ask yourself in life, probably the most important is, Am I good enough to go to Heaven? The way to find this out is to ask yourself if you have obeyed the Ten Commandments. Most would answer the question, "Well, I've broken one or two, but nothing too serious, like murder, etc."

Before we say we have obeyed the Commandments, this is what someone would be like if he kept the Law—he will always love God with "all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength," and love his neighbor as much as he has loved himself. He has never made a god to suit himself (either with his hands or in his mind). He has always given God's name reverence, kept the Sabbath holy, honored his parents implicitly, and never once has he been "angry without cause." He has never hated anyone, had lust in his heart, or had illicit sex. He has never stolen even a paper clip or ball point pen, or told as much as a "white" lie, and not once desired anything that belongs to someone else. He is, and always has been "pure in heart," perfect in thought, word, and deed.

Spiritual Law #1:

The truth is, we are not like that. We have all "sinned" many times, and therefore we have stored up God's wrath, which will be revealed on Judgment Day. The proof that we have sinned will be our death, and after death we must face God in judgment. Think of it—if He has seen our every thought, word, and deed, and if He is going to bring all our sins out as evidence of our guilt on the Day of Judgment, we will all be found to be guilty. Our conscience has shown us right from wrong; we will be without excuse. God will give us justice, and Hell will be the place of our eternal punishment. "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."

You might say, “But there are plenty of good people in this world, and I am one of them!"

What would you say if you were asked, "By whose standard. . . yours or God's?"

Interesting question. Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Do you think you are good enough to go to Heaven when you die? Do you ever think about the issues of life and death? Think about it for a moment: everything you hold dear to you is going to be torn from your hands by death. Whether we like it or not, we are all part of the ultimate statistic: Ten out of ten die. No doubt you have wondered why death separates us from our loved ones. This happens because we have broken an eternal Law.

So, in the interest of seeing where you stand in regards to God’s standards, let's go through the Ten Commandments and see how you do:

1. "You shall have no other gods before Me."
Is God first in your life? Do you love God above all else? Here’s a story for you. Many years ago, a man purchased a T.V. for his children, but the first evening they had it, he arrived home from work and found that they didn't even bother to greet him. They were too busy watching television. The man turned it off and explained to them that if they ignored him because they preferred to watch T.V. they were setting their love on the gift rather then the giver, a wrong order of affections. In the same way, if we love anything—husband, wife, children or even our own lives—more than we love God, we are setting our affection on the gift rather than the Giver, which is a transgression of the First Commandment.

Have you loved God with all your heart? Have you loved humanity as much as you love yourself? You be the judge. Will you be innocent or guilty on Judgment Day of breaking that Commandment? I'm not judging you—I'm asking you to judge yourself before the Day of Judgment. The sentence for breaking this Commandment is death.

2. "You shall not make for yourself any graven image."
This means that we shouldn't make a god to suit ourselves, either with our hands or our mind. I was guilty of this. I made a god to suit myself. My god didn't mind a "white" lie or a fib here and there—in fact, he didn't exist. He was a figment of my imagination, an "image" which I shaped to suit myself. Is your God the One revealed in Holy Scripture? If not, then you have made your own god to suit yourself—you have committed the oldest sin in the Book. Scripture warns that no idolater will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

3. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."
Have you ever taken God's name in vain—instead of using a four-letter word to express disgust, you've used His name? Hitler's name wasn't despised enough to use as a curse word. If you have used His holy name in that manner, you are a blasphemer and will not enter the Kingdom of God.

4. "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy."
I ignored this command for several years. Even though God gave me the gift of life, never once did I ask what He required of me. I was guilty of breaking this Commandment.

5. "Honor your father and your mother."
Have you always honored your parents in a way that's pleasing in the sight of God? Have you always respected and obeyed them? Ask Him to remind you of the sins of your youth. You may have forgotten them, but God hasn't.

6. "You shall not murder."
Jesus warned that if we get angry without cause we are in danger of judgment. If we hate our brother, God calls us a murderer. We can violate God's Law by attitude and intent.

7. "You shall not commit adultery."
Who of us can say that we are pure of heart? Jesus warned, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart." Do you treat your spouse as your best friend or do you have a friend of the opposite sex that you are closer to? That is a form of emotional adultery which can lead to physical adultery. Remember that God has seen every thought you have had and every sin you have ever committed. The day will come when you have to face His Law, and we are told that the impure, fornicators (those who have sex before marriage) and adulterers will not enter the Kingdom of God. Punishment for transgression of this Commandment is the death penalty.

8. "You shall not steal."
Have you ever taken something that belonged to someone else (irrespective of its value)? Then you are a thief—you cannot enter God's Kingdom.

9. "You shall not bear false witness."
Have you ever told a lie? Then you are a liar. How many lies do you have to tell to be a liar? Just one. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. You may not think deceitfulness is a serious sin. God does!

10. "You shall not covet."
That means we shouldn't desire anything that belongs to another person. The covetous will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Who of us can say we are not guilty of breaking these Commandments? All of us have sinned, and just as with civil law, you don't have to break ten laws to be a lawbreaker, so the Bible warns, "For whoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."

I'm sure there are many out there who do not believe in God or believe that they need God, but what if God is real? What if heaven and hell are real? Which one would you rather go to?

To find out if you need God, you must ask yourself some very important questions.
• Are you a good person... not by your standards but by God's standards?
• And if so... are you good enough to go to heaven?
Here is a quick test you can take to find the answers...


This test is designed to answer 2 questions:
Are you a good person according to God's standards?
And if so, are you good enough to go to heaven?
1. Have you ever told a lie?
___YES, I have told at least one lie in my life.
___NO, I have never told a lie in my life.
2. Have you given money to charity?
___YES, I have given money to charity.
___NO, I have never given money to charity.
3. Have you gone to church regularly?
___YES, I have gone to church regularly.
___NO, I have not gone to church regularly.
4. Have you ever stolen anything (no matter how small)?
___YES, I have stolen at least once in my life.
___NO, I have never stolen anything in my life.
5. Have you ever used "God," "Jesus," or "Christ," as a curse word? (Example: "Oh my G-d!")
___YES, I have used God's name in vain at least once in my life.
___NO, I have never, even once, used God's name in vain.
6. Have you made it a practice to read the Bible regularly?
___YES, I read the Bible regularly.
___NO, I do not read the Bible regularly.
7. Have you ever looked at someone and had lustful thoughts?
___YES, I have lusted at least once in my life.
___NO, I have never lusted in my life.
8. Have you ever broken the first Commandment? (You shall have no other gods before me)
___YES, I have broken the first commandment.
___NO, I have not broken the first commandment.

NOTE: Some questions are scored as a group, and others are scored separately. The questions may appear out of numerical order.

1. Have you ever told a lie?

The Ninth of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not lie." Telling just one lie, according to God's standards, makes you a "liar." In Revelation 21:8, God says, "...all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire..."

7. Have you ever looked at someone and had lustful thoughts?

The Seventh of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not commit adultery." If you've ever looked at another person with lustful thoughts, according to God's standards, that makes you an "adulterer." Jesus said, "You have heard it said, You shall not commit adultery: But I say to you, that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, God says that no adulterers "...shall inherit the kingdom of God."

5. Have you ever used "God," "Jesus," or "Christ," as a curse word? (Example: "Oh my G-d!")

The Third of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain." If you've ever used the name "God," "Jesus," or "Christ" as a curse word, what you've done is take the name of the God who gave you life, and you've used it as if it were a "four-letter" filth word to express disgust. That offense is called "blasphemy," and according to God's standards, you are a "blasphemer." In Leviticus 24:16, God says, "he that blasphemes the name of the LORD, shall surely be put to death..."

4. Have you ever stolen anything (no matter how small)?

The Eighth of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not steal." Stealing just one thing (regardless of its size or monetary value), according to God's standards, makes you a "thief." In 1 Corinthians 6:10, God says, "No thieves... ...shall inherit the kingdom of God."

8. Have you ever broken the first Commandment?

The First of the Ten Commandments is "You shall have no other gods before me." That means that we should love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. The Bible tells us that no one has kept this commandment (see Psalm 14:2-3) -- if you said you had, you have also broken the 9th Commandment by lying.

2. Have you given money to charity?
3. Have you gone to church regularly?
6. Have you made it a practice to read the Bible regularly?

Giving money to charity, going to church, and reading the Bible are all good activities--but none of them impress God. The Bible says, "and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." (Isaiah 64:6) That means, all our "righteous acts" -- these "good deeds" that questions 2, 3 and 6 asked about -- can never make up for the fact that we've broken God's Holy Commandments. Think of it this way. If a person was guilty of a serious crime... such as murder... but he gave money to charity, does that make up for his crime? No. The person's crime hasn't been paid for because he gave money to charity. This "good deed" will mean nothing to the judge when he passes sentence. The murder must still be punished.

This test showed you how you stand up when judged by just five of God's Ten Commandments. So, if God judges you by that standard would you be innocent or guilty of breaking His Commandments?

It has already been established that you would be guilty of breaking His commandments. Even if you were able to perfectly keep 9 of the commandments for your entire life -- you have broken the first commandment (Question #8). The First of the Ten Commandments is "You shall have no other gods before me." That means that we should love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. The Bible tells us that no one has kept this commandment (see Psalm 14:2-3).

Knowing that you are guilty of breaking God's commandments, do you think you would go to Heaven or Hell?

While it may seem that God's goodness will cause Him to overlook your sins, the opposite is actually true. Perhaps the following illustration will add some clarity: Imagine you're standing before a judge, guilty of multiple crimes. The judge is about to pass sentence when he asks, "Do you have anything to say for yourself?" You stand up, look the judge in the eye and say, "Yes Your Honor, I believe that you're a good man... and because you're good, you will let me go." The judge will probably say something like, "Well, you're right about one thing... I am a good man. And it's because I'm good that I'm going to see that you are punished for your crimes."

Another example is, say that there is a man who killed someone dear to you and had been on the run for many years, but during those many years he had changed and now considered himself to be a "good" person. Then one day he is captured and brought to trial. Do the good things he has done over the past years and being a "good" person now make up for the life that he took? Should he not be brought to justice b/c he is now changed from the person he had been? Of course not, he will still be punished and put in prison for that murder, regardless of the change in his life now, because that judge is just and good and knows that that person must be punished for that crime.

When we compare ourselves to man's standard we may look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day.

This may sound strange, but the worst thing you could do at this point of time is to try and clean up your lifestyle—you realize that you have sinned, so from now on you will keep the Ten Commandments, do good deeds, say the right things and think only pure thoughts. But should a judge let a murderer go because he says he will now live a good life? No, he's in debt to justice and therefore must be punished.

The Law of God, the Ten Commandments, is merely like a mirror—all a mirror does is show you the truth. If you see dirt on your face, you don't try and wash yourself with the mirror, its purpose should be to send you to water for cleansing. Neither should you try and wash yourself with the mirror of God's Law...that's not its purpose.

The sight in the mirror is not a pretty one, but if you don't face it and acknowledge that you are unclean, then all that "dirt" will be presented on Judgment Day as evidence of your guilt, and then it will be too late to be cleansed.

Spiritual Law #2:

In civil law, a good judge must punish crime. If he turns a blind eye to injustice, then he is corrupt and he himself should be punished.

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before your face" (Psalm 89:14).

In one ten year period in the United States, 63,000 murderers were never brought to justice. These were unsolved crimes. If God turns a blind eye to those murderers and to injustice, then He is corrupt by nature. It makes sense that if He is good and just, He should be angry with those who have taken the lives of others, and He should punish murderers, rapists, etc.

This is the teaching of the Bible—that God will "by no means clear the guilty." He "will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil," "God is angry with the wicked every day."

The Bible says that the Law is perfect. It commands you to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). Are you perfect (in thought, word, and deed)? Will you make it to Heaven? You may say that you are still good, but God says you're not (see Psalm 14:2-3). So one of you is lying, and the Scriptures tell us that it is impossible for God to lie. Remember that all liars will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8).

Perhaps you think that God is good and will therefore overlook your sins. The very thing you are counting on to save you on the Day of Judgment -- namely God's goodness -- is going to be the very thing that will see to it that justice is done. God’s Law demands justice. Because God is so good He will make sure that every murderer, rapist and thief receives justice... but He won't stop there. He will even judge our words and thoughts and make sure every liar, blasphemer, and adulterer is punished. While this is something that is extremely tragic and far from God's ultimate desire for any person, the Bible is clear that the place of punishment for those who do not turn from their sins is Hell.

What a terrible place Hell must be. If you read in the newspaper that a man received a $5 fine for a crime, you could conclude that his crime was insignificant. But if a man received multiple life sentences, you could conclude that his crime was heinous. In the same way, we can catch a glimpse of how terrible sin must be in the sight of God by looking to the punishment given for it—eternal punishment. Ungrateful humanity never bothers to thank God for His wonderful blessings of color, light, food, joy, beauty, love, and laughter, so He will take those blessings away from them. Instead of proving their gratitude by obedience to His will, they use His name to curse. Their punishment will be just but severe to the uttermost. Take the time to read what Jesus said Hell was like in Mark 9:43-48 and other verses.

Perhaps you feel safe because you don't believe in Hell. This can be likened to standing in the middle of a busy highway and shouting, "I don't believe in trucks!" Your belief or disbelief in trucks will not change reality. The same applies in this situation. Your disbelief in Hell will not cause it to cease to exist. God has given us HIS WORD on the existence and purpose of Hell...

The Bible Describes Hell

There are three words translated “Hell” in Scripture:
Gehenna (Greek): The place of punishment (Matthew 5:22,29; 10:28; and James 3:6)
Hades (Greek): The abode of the dead (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27)
Sheol (Hebrew): The grave (Psalm 9:17; 16:10)

There are those who accept that Hell is a place of punishment, but believe that the punishment is to be annihilated—to cease conscious existence. They can’t conceive that the punishment of the wicked will be conscious and eternal. If they are correct, then a man like Adolph Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of millions, is being “punished” merely with eternal sleep. His fate is simply to return to the non-existent state he was in before he was born, where he doesn’t even know that he is being punished.

However, Scripture paints a different story. The rich man who found himself in Hell (Luke 16:19-31) was conscious. He was able to feel pain, to thirst, and to experience remorse. He wasn’t asleep in the grave; he was in a place of “torment.” If Hell is a place of knowing nothing or a reference to the grave into which we go at death, Jesus’ statements about Hell make no sense. He said that if your hand, foot, or eye causes you to sin, it would be better to remove it than to “go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).

The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following:
• “Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2)
• “Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46)
• “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51)
• “Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17)
• “Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8,9)
• “Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
• “Eternal fire...the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 7,13)

Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone...the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night."

We do not enjoy speaking in detail about the torments of Hell. It is, however, a real place and God in his love and mercy does not want you to go there.

If you don't believe what I am saying about the reality of Hell, it means you think God is corrupt (that He hasn't the moral backbone to seek justice), that Jesus was a liar, that the Apostles were false witnesses, that God's promises are nothing but prefabricated lies, and there is no greater insult to God than to call Him a liar. By doing so, you are adding to your transgressions. Imagine if you reject the Savior, die in your sins and find that what I have told is the Gospel truth? Then it will be too late, you will be judged for you sins. If that happens, and your eyes meet my eyes on the Day of Judgment, I'm free from your blood. I have told you the truth, but if you choose to ignore it your blood will be upon your own head...you will have no one to blame but yourself.

Can you see your predicament? You are guilty of sinning against God Himself, and, because you have a conscience, you have sinned "with knowledge." Isn't it true that every time you lied, stole, lusted, etc., you did it with knowledge that it was wrong?

Does the fact that you have sinned against God scare you? It should. You have actually angered Him by your sin. The Bible says His wrath abides on you, that you are an "enemy of God in your mind through wicked works." But let fear work for your good in the same way that a fear of jumping out of a plane at a great height would make you put on a parachute. Let your will to live open your heart to the Gospel of salvation.

Spiritual Law #3:

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us..." (Ephesians 2:4).

We have all broken the Law a multitude of times, but God came to this earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and paid the fine for us—"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord."


Jesus satisfied Eternal Justice, then rose from the dead, so that God can grant us eternal life. But just as we cannot earn a gift, so we cannot earn eternal life by our good works—"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone boast."

You may still think that you can (from now on) keep the Ten Commandments. But isn't it true that the best of us have lied, stolen, lusted, hated, failed to love God above all else, and failed to love our neighbor as ourselves? How can we then, live a "good" life if we have already sinned against God? At best we are reformed liars and thieves . . . but still Lawbreakers. If we trust in our own “goodness” to enter Heaven, we are saying to God, "I should enter Heaven because I have done good - I have earned my way in." You cannot earn a gift.

I am not the only one who doesn't want you to end up in Hell. God Himself is not willing that you perish. To make clear what an incredible thing He has done for you in the Gospel, let's look again to civil law: You are standing in front of a judge, guilty of very serious crimes. All the evidence has been presented and there is no doubt about your guilt. The fine for your crime is $250,000 or imprisonment, but you haven't two pennies to rub together. The judge is about to pass sentence...he lifts his gavel, when someone you don't even know steps in and pays the fine for you. The moment you accept that payment, you are free to go. Justice has been served, the law has been satisfied, and what's more, the stranger who paid your fine showed how much he cares for you. His payment was evidence of his love.

So that you wouldn't have to go to Hell, God sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross -- suffering the punishment that justice demands. Then He rose from the grave, forever defeating death! The Bible tells us, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) If you will repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, God says he will forgive all your sins and grant you the gift of everlasting life. Just like the court case we just talked about, if you repent (that means to confess and forsake your sins) and put your trust in Jesus, then you will not have to suffer God's justice in Hell because the payment for your crimes was made by Jesus on the cross.

That's what God did for you, in the person of Jesus Christ. You are guilty, He paid the fine 2,000 years ago. It is that simple. The Bible puts it this way: "he was bruised for our iniquities . . . Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law being made a curse for us...God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

It was no small thing for Jesus to die for us. The only thing that would satisfy the demands of Eternal Law was the suffering death of the sinless Son of God. What love God must have for you! He suffered unspeakable agony, so that you wouldn't have to be punished for your sins. His sacrificial death and resurrection mean that you need no longer be in debt to the Law, and God can now grant you everlasting life if you obey Him -- death no longer has a legal hold upon those who belong to Jesus Christ.

When Jesus said to "believe" on Him, He was saying we should have faith in Him, in the same way you would trust a parachute to save you when you jump from a plane. You don't merely believe in the parachute - you put it on. Please don't "jump" without Jesus. If you die in your sins there is no second chance. God will give you justice, and you will end up in Hell forever. Any troubles you have at present are dwarfed by the trouble you are in with your Creator.

The reason you should "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" shouldn't be to find peace, joy, true happiness, to have your marriage healed or your problems fixed, etc. (to have your flight improved), but it should be to escape the jump to come—because of the fact that you have to pass through the door of death. Then, when the flight gets bumpy (when problems come) you won't fall away from the faith.

What should you then do? Simply repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Don't put it off until tomorrow.

Would you sell an eye for a million dollars? How about both for $20 million? No one in his right mind would. Your eyes are priceless to you, yet they are merely the windows of your soul. Your life (your soul) is of such value, Jesus said that you should despise the value of your eye compared to it. He said that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is better to enter Heaven blind than to go to Hell seeing. In other words, of all the things you should prioritize in your life, it's not your health, your vocation, etc., it's your eternal salvation.

Think of a man who has committed adultery. His faithful wife is more than willing to take him back, so what is the attitude in which he should approach her? It should be one of tremendous humility, asking for forgiveness, and determining in his heart never to even think of committing adultery again. That's how you should approach God.

Spiritual Law #4:

"He who hears My word and believes on Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).

Life's greatest mystery, death, was destroyed by the One who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." The Bible says, "He who has the Son, has life..."

To find the way to God, to understand the truth of God's Word, and to received the gift of eternal life, begin by repentance and faith through a prayer like this:
"Dear God, I understand that I have broken Your Law and sinned against You. I repent of all my sins and ask Your forgiveness for them (name them so that those sins that stand between you and God can be forgiven). Thank You that Jesus suffered on the cross in my place. I now place my trust in Him as My Savior and Lord (to say Jesus is your Lord means you are now making Jesus the master over your life). Forgive me and grant me your gift of everlasting life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

If you are not sure how to pray or aren’t comfortable praying that prayer, read Psalm 51 and make it your prayer. The words are not "magical," what God cares about is the attitude of your heart. Then put your faith in Jesus Christ in the same way you would put your faith in a parachute. You don't just "believe" it will benefit you, you actually trust yourself to it by putting it on.

If you have repented and trusted in Jesus, then you can now partake of the blessings of "the New Covenant." Here are just ten of God's exceedingly great and precious promises:
1. You have passed from death into life.
2. God will supply all of your needs according to His riches.
3. Jesus will be with you in trials, promising never to leave nor forsake you.
4. The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth, and give you the power to live a holy life.
5. You are cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ—God has removed your sins as far as the east is from the west.
6. As you abide in Christ, you will see the "fruits" of His Spirit begin to manifest in your life.
7. As you read the Bible daily, it will come alive to you and cause you to grown in your faith.
8. When you pray, God will hear you and answer your prayers.
9. The cross will be continual evidence of God's love for you.
10. God will "keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy."

Read your Bible daily, obey what you read and see what God has in store for those who love Him; find yourself a Jesus-centered, Bible-teaching church and commit yourself to it. God will never let you down.

Not sure what should you read or where you should start? I suggest that you start in the book named "John," and then read the one named "Romans." Whatever you decide to read, make sure you read every day. Then, once you have made peace with God, read the Bible daily and obey what you read.

May God continue to bless you as you obey Him.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Special Report: Who Is Jesus and Why Did He Have to Die?

Yesterday we covered the subject of why people hate or have animosity toward the even the name of Jesus. The last sentence ended with “we need to do the right thing, and tell them about His love that brought Him to Calvary to die for them.” Most people don’t understand why Jesus had to die. Most people believe that Jesus existed but there are differing answers as to just who they think He was. Most people say that He was just a good man, a teacher or a prophet, instead of actually being the Son of God. There is no doubt that He is the most influential person who ever lived. Today we are going to explore the probability that Jesus was who He said He was and why He had to die. This is a very long post so you might want to copy and paste this post in order to be able to spend the time that is needed on reading about this subject.

My thanks to the “Who Is Jesus – Really?” website, the biblebelievers.org.au website and Omega Letter for the information contained in this post today.

Some people claim Jesus was a great teacher. Others think he's a prophet. Some dismiss him as a liar or even a madman. Millions hail him as Savior and Lord. Whatever people think of him, nobody can deny that he stands at the very crux of human history.

The biblical record of his life shows that Jesus was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, taught throughout Palestine for about three years, was crucified and then rose back to life three days after his death. The Bible claims that more than 500 people saw him alive after this miraculous event. How could a mere man have lived such a life? The miracles Jesus performed, his death on the cross, his resurrection, his ascent to heaven--all point to the fact that he was no ordinary leader.

Hundreds of years before Jesus' birth, prophets predicted his coming. The Old Testament, written by many people over a period of 1,500 years, contains more than 300 such prophecies, 456 to be exact. All of these details came true, including his miraculous birth, his sinless life, his many miracles, his death and his resurrection.

The reason why prophecy is an indication of the divine authorship of the Scriptures, and hence a testimony to the trustworthiness of the Message of the Scriptures, is because of the minute probability of fulfillment.

Anyone can make predictions. Having those prophecies fulfilled is vastly different. In fact, the more statements made about the future, and the more the detail, then the less likely the precise fulfillment will be.

For example, what's the likelihood of a person predicting today the exact city in which the birth of a future leader would take place, well into the 21st century? This is indeed what the prophet Micah did 700 years before the Messiah. Further, what is the likelihood of predicting the precise manner of death that a new, unknown religious leader would experience, a thousand years from now - a manner of death presently unknown, and to remain unknown for hundreds of years? Yet, this is what David did in 1000 B.C.

Again, what is the likelihood of predicting the specific date of the appearance of some great future leader, hundreds of years in advance? This is what Daniel did, 530 years before Christ.

If one were to conceive 50 specific prophecies about a person in the future, whom one would never meet, just what's the likelihood that this person will fulfill all 50 of the predictions? How much less would this likelihood be if 25 of these predictions were about what other people would do to him, and were completely beyond his control?

For example, how does someone "arrange" to be born in a specific family?

How does one "arrange" to be born in a specified city, in which their parents don't actually live? How does one "arrange" their own death - and specifically by crucifixion, with two others, and then "arrange" to have their executioners gamble for His clothing (John 16:19; Psalms 22:18)? How does one "arrange" to be betrayed in advance? How does one "arrange" to have the executioners carry out the regular practice of breaking the legs of the two victims on either side, but not their own? Finally, how does one "arrange" to be God? How does one escape from a grave and appear to people after having been killed?

Indeed, it may be possible for someone to fake one or two of the Messianic prophecies, but it would be impossible for any one person to arrange and fulfill all of these prophecies.

John Ankerberg relates the true story of how governments use prearranged identification signs to identify correct agents:

David Greenglass was a World War II traitor. He gave atomic secrets to the Russians and then fled to Mexico after the war. His conspirators arranged to help him by planning a meeting with the secretary of the Russian ambassador in Mexico City. Proper identification for both parties became vital. Greenglass was to identify himself with six prearranged signs. These instructions had been given to both the secretary and Greenglass so there would be no possibility of making a mistake. They were: (1) once in Mexico City, Greenglass was to write a note to the secretary, signing his name as "I. JACKSON"; (2) after three days he was to go to the Plaza de Colon in Mexico City and (3) stand before the statue of Columbus, (4) with his middle finger placed in a guide book. In addition, (5) when he was approached, he was to say it was a magnificent statue and that he was from Oklahoma. (6) The secretary was to then give him a passport.

These six prearranged signs worked. Why? With six identifying characteristics it was impossible for the secretary not to identify Greenglass as the proper contact (John Ankerberg, John Weldon and Walter Kaiser, "The Case for Jesus The Messiah", Melbourne: Pacific College Study Series, 1994, 17-18).

How true, then, it must be that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, if he had 456 identifying characteristics well in advance, and fulfilled them all! In fact, what does the science of probability make of this?

The science of probability attempts to determine the chance that a given event will occur. The value and accuracy of the science of probability has been well established beyond doubt - for example, insurance rates are fixed according to statistical probabilities.

Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, Peter Stoner, has calculated the probability of one man fulfilling the major prophecies made concerning the Messiah. The estimates were worked out by twelve different classes representing some 600 university students.

The students carefully weighed all the factors, discussed each prophecy at length, and examined the various circumstances which might indicate that men had conspired together to fulfill a particular prophecy. They made their estimates conservative enough so that there was finally unanimous agreement even among the most skeptical students.

However Professor Stoner then took their estimates, and made them even more conservative. He also encouraged other skeptics or scientists to make their own estimates to see if his conclusions were more than fair. Finally, he submitted his figures for review to a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation. Upon examination, they verified that his calculations were dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks, Chicago: Moody Press, 1969, 4).

For example, concerning Micah 5:2, where it states the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah, Stoner and his students determined the average population of BETHLEHEM from the time of Micah to the present; then they divided it by the average population of the earth during the same period.

They concluded that the chance of one man being born in Bethlehem was one in 300,000, (or one in 2.8 x 10^5 - rounded),

After examining only eight different prophecies (Idem, 106), they conservatively estimated that the chance of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies was one in 10^17.

To illustrate how large the number 10^17 IS (a figure with 17 zeros), Stoner gave this illustration :
If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They'll cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would've had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom (Idem, 106-107).

In financial terms, is there anyone who would not invest in a financial venture if the chance of failure were only one in 10^17? This is the kind of sure investment we're offered by god for faith in His Messiah.

From these figures, Professor Stoner, concludes the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of the prophecies (Idem, 107) - the likelihood of mere chance is only one in 10^17!

Another way of saying this is that any person who minimizes or ignores the significance of the biblical identifying signs concerning the Messiah would be foolish.

But, of course, there are many more than eight prophecies. In another calculation, Stoner used 48 prophecies (Idem, 109) (even though he could have used Edersheim's 456), and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is the incredible number 10^157. In fact, if anybody can find someone, living or dead, other than Jesus, who can fulfill only half of the predictions concerning the Messiah given in the book "Messiah in Both Testaments" by Fred J. Meldau, the Christian Victory Publishing Company is ready to give a ONE thousand dollar reward! As apologist Josh McDowell says, "There are a lot of men in the universities that could use some extra cash!" (Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, California: Campus Crusade for Christ, 175).

How large is the number one in 10^157? 10^157 contains 157 zeros! Stoner gives an illustration of this number using electrons. Electrons are very small objects. They're smaller than atoms. It would take 2.5 TIMES 10^15 of them, laid side by side, to make one inch. Even if we counted 250 of these electrons each minute, and counted day and night, it would still take 19 million years just to count a line of electrons one-inch long (Stoner, op. cit, 109).

With this introduction, let's go back to our chance of one in 10^157. Let's suppose that we're taking this number of electrons, marking one, and thoroughly stirring it into the whole mass, then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? What kind of a pile will this number of electrons make? They make an inconceivably large volume.

This is the result from considering a mere 48 prophecies. Obviously, the probability that 456 prophecies would be fulfilled in one man by chance is vastly smaller. According to Emile Borel, once one goes past one chance in 10^50, the probabilities are so small that it is impossible to think that they will ever occur (Ankerberg et. al., op. cit., 21).

As Stoner concludes, 'Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact, proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world (Stoner, op. cit., 112).'

God so thoroughly vindicated Jesus Christ that even mathematicians and statisticians, who were without faith, had to acknowledge that it is scientifically impossible to deny that Jesus is the Christ.

By his own account, Jesus claimed he had the power to forgive sins, to cast out demons, and to determine people's eternal destiny. He even declared he himself was God!

In his famous book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.(emphasis: web author)"

Jesus could only have been one of four things: a legend, a liar, a lunatic--or Lord and God. There is so much historical and archeological evidence to support his existence that every reputable historian agrees he was not just a legend. If he were a liar, why would he die for his claim, when he could easily have avoided such a cruel death with a few choice words? And, if he were a lunatic, how did he engage in intelligent debates with his opponents or handle the stress of his betrayal and crucifixion while continuing to show a deep love for his antagonists? He said he was Lord and God. The evidence supports that claim.

Here are some of the key claims Jesus made about himself.
He claimed to live a sinless life

Jesus could look at a crowd of people angry at his claims to share God's nature and ask, "Which of you can point to anything wrong in my life?" Even more amazing is that none of them could give a reply! No human being has ever lived a sinless life, except for Jesus.

John 8:28-29 "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.'"

John 8:46-47 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."
He claimed to be the ONLY way to God

Not one of several ways, but the one and only way. Not to teach the way, but to be the way to God. Nobody has ever made claims like that before and backed them, but Jesus did through his love, balanced life, and miracles.

John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

Matthew 11:27 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Note: No other world religious leader, such as Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed ever made this claim.
He claimed to have shared the glory of God in Heaven

Jesus claimed to have pre-existed the people he spoke with. The apostle John--who shared bread with Jesus--wrote that Jesus was with God in the very beginning, and that "all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being." (John 1:1-5)

John 17:5 "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

This is a claim distorted by groups like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses.
He claimed to be able to forgive sins

One of the reasons that the Jewish leaders were so angry with Jesus was his continual practice of forgiving people's sins. The religious leaders understood clearly that since sins were rebellion against God Himself, only God could forgive sins.

Luke 5:20-21 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.' The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, 'Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'"(emphasis: web author)

Luke 7:48-49 "Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?'"
He claimed to be a Heavenly king

Luke 22:69 "But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

Luke 23:1-3 "Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, 'We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.' So Pilate asked Jesus, 'Are you the king of the Jews?' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied."

John 18:36-37 "Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.' 'You are a king, then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.'"
He claimed to be able to give everlasting life

He didn't just tell people how they could find everlasting life, or deepen their own life experience. He actually claimed to give life himself.

John 6:40 "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 6:47 "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

John 10:28-30 "I give [my followers] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

John 11:25 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die...'"
He claimed that he would die and come back to life

John 10:17 "Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

John 12:32-33 "'But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."

John 16:16 "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

Luke 18:31-33 "Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, 'We are going up into Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'"
He claimed that he would return again to judge the world

Matthew 24:27-30 "So as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man... At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

Matthew 25:31-32 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats."

Mark 14:61-62 "Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?' 'I am,' said Jesus. 'And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"

Jesus clearly claimed to be both God and Messiah.

Declaring that he was God so angered the religious and political leaders of his day that they had him crucified. They buried him in a borrowed grave, and three days later, he rose from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus is what makes Christianity uniqueand radically different from Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Judaism, and Islam. In fact, the validity of Christianity hinges on the proof of the resurrection of Jesus. If the resurrection never took place, then the Christian faith is based on a lie and people have no true hope for life after they die. But if it is true, then we can do nothing else but accept Jesus as Savior and Lord and receive his gift of love and forgiveness.

Throughout the centuries, most great scholars who have considered the proofs of the resurrection have believed, and still believe that Jesus is alive.

What are the proofs of the resurrection?

The resurrection is central to the Christian faith. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then Christian beliefs don't amount to much, since Jesus himself said that he would be raised from the dead on the third day. On the other hand, if Jesus did rise from the dead, all his claims are true and we can know for sure that there is life after death.

A large volume of evidence exists to support the resurrection claims. In fact, there is more legal-historic evidence (the kind used in courtrooms) for the resurrection than there is for Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. There are several reasons why those who have studied the resurrection are convinced beyond a doubt that it is true.
Jesus himself foretold his death and resurrection, and these events came about exactly as he had predicted.

John 2:19-21 "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.' The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?' But the temple he had spoken of was his body."

John 10:17 "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again."

John 16:16-22 "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.' Some of his disciples said to one another, 'What does he mean by saying, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?' They kept asking, 'What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying.' Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, 'Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy..."

Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Matthew 16:21 "From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

Luke 18:31-33 "Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, 'We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again."
The event is well-documented by numerous reliable, historical sources.

Historians such as Josephus (c.37-110 AD), Ignatius (c.50-115 AD), Justin Martyr (c.100-165 AD) and Tertullian (c.160-220 AD) were convinced of the authenticity of the resurrection. Their writings validate the accounts of the Gospel writers, who, according to leading biblical scholarship, recorded the event as soon as 37 AD and no later than 64 AD.

In addition, other first and second century historians including Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Plinius Secundus, and Lucian of Samosata acknowledged the impact this incredible event had on the people of the time.
The resurrection is the only plausible explanation for the empty grave.

Roman soldiers closely guarded the tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Moreover, the grave's entrance was sealed by an enormous boulder. The Roman guard, which was usually composed of 16 members, would have made it impossible for the disciples--who, by the way, were cowering in fear for their own lives--to steal the body. If, as some have claimed, Jesus was not dead, but only weakened, the guards and the stone would have stopped his escape. After being beaten and flagellated, hung on a cross for six hours, pierced by the spear of his executioners to ascertain his death, and wrapped, as was the custom, in 100 pounds of linen and spices, Jesus would have been in no shape to roll a two-ton stone uphill, outwit 16 Roman soldiers and then appear radiantly to his disciples.

The Jewish leaders of the day could easily have refuted all claims of the resurrection by simply producing a body, but they were unable to do so because there was no body.
There are numerous eyewitnesses to the resurrection.

After he rose from the dead, Jesus appeared at least ten times to those who had known him and to as many as 500 people at one time. These appearances were not hallucinations; Jesus ate and talked with his followers and they touched his resurrected body. Their experiences were not delusions.

Luke 24:36-39 "While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.'"

John 20:26-29 "A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, the Apostle Paul wrote, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."
The resurrection is the only reasonable explanation for the beginning of the Christian movement.

The Christian church was born in the very city where Jesus was publicly killed and buried. The belief in a resurrected Jesus had to be authentic to take root in Jerusalem and grow to encompass the whole world. The Christian church is now the largest institution that exists or has ever existed in the history of humanity. Clearly, this would have been impossible if the resurrection was a fabricated story.
The resurrection is the only logical explanation for the transformed lives of the disciples.

They deserted and even denied Jesus before his public trial; after his death they were discouraged and fearful. They did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead. Yet, after his resurrection and their experience at Pentecost, these same discouraged, disappointed men and women were transformed by the mighty power of the risen Christ. In his name, they turned the world upside down. Many lost their lives for their faith; others were terribly persecuted. Their courageous behavior does not make sense apart from their conviction that Jesus Christ was truly raised from the dead--a fact worth dying for.
Throughout the centuries, most great scholars who have considered the proofs of the resurrection have believed, and still believe, that Jesus is alive.

After examining the evidence for the resurrection given by the Gospel writers, the late Simon Greenleaf, an authority on legal issues at Harvard Law School, concluded: "It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact." Mr. Greenleaf was a Jewish professor who became a believer in Jesus the Messiah after studying the facts for himself.

Is Jesus still interested in us? What does it mean to have a personal relationship with Christ, and in what way does it impact our lives? And how does someone go about making that kind of commitment?

Those are good questions, and typical of someone who understands the significance of Jesus. Here is some information to help answer these and other questions you may have about Jesus.
Because of Jesus' resurrection, his followers do not honor a dead founder

They have a vital, personal relationship with him. Jesus Christ lives today and faithfully enriches the lives of all those who trust and obey him. Throughout the centuries, multitudes have acknowledged the worthiness of Jesus Christ, including many who have greatly influenced the world. French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal spoke of people's need for Jesus when he said, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, which only God can fill through his Son Jesus Christ."
How can you know Jesus more personally?

Because of God's deep love for you, he has already made all the necessary arrangements. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you can enjoy a personal relationship. Jesus made it possible to bridge the chasm which separates us from God. The following four principles will help you discover how to know Jesus personally and experience the abundant life he promised.


God LOVES you and created you to know Him personally

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."

John 17:3 "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."

What prevents us from knowing God personally?


Man is SINFUL and SEPARATED from God, so we cannot know Him personally or experience His love

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God].

Romans 8:6-8 "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

A great gulf separates man from God. Man is continually trying to reach God and establish a personal relationship with Him through human efforts, such as living a good life, philosophy, or religion. But he inevitably fails.

The third principle explains the only way to bridge this gulf...

Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for man's sin. Through him alone we can know God personally and experience God's love

Romans 5:8 "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

1 Corinthians 15:3-6 "Christ died for our sins... he was buried... he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures... he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred..."

John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.

But it is not enough just to know these truths...

We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; then we can know God personally and experience His love

John 1:12 "As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name."

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith. This does not depend on anything you have achieved, it is the free gift of God; and because it is not earned no one can boast about it."

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (a spirit of repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive us of our sins and make us what he wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our will.

Jesus Christ is waiting for an invitation to come in to your life. In fact, he says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20).

Perhaps you can sense Christ knocking at the door of your heart. You can invite him in by faith right now. God knows your heart so it doesn't matter exactly what words you use. Here's a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray it right now and Jesus Christ will come into your life just as he has promised. Once you invite Christ into your life, he promises to never leave you. You can never be alone if you have God in your life.

Hebrews 13:5 "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"

To know God personally is the greatest decision you will ever make.

If you just prayed that prayer, then you need to tell someone that you trust about your decision. If you don’t have anyone that you trust to tell, then ask God for guidance to bring someone in your life that you can trust.

Now we are going to discuss why Jesus had to die. This information comes from Jack Kinsella and the Omega Letter.

Why Did Jesus Have To Die?

Yesterday as we were coming home from church, my grandson Bailey chirped, "Gwandad!! Jesus died for you!" There was a pause and he said, "He died on a Cross because bad men put him there. He was covered with boo-boos!" (Being three, Bailey is not up on all the latest medical terms, but he knew what he was talking about) "An' He died for Mummy and for Gwandma and because He loves us."

I was absorbing all this as I drove when Bailey asked me the next logical question. "Gwanddad!" "Yes, Bailey." "Why did He have to die?"

When we got home, I tried to explain to a three-year old something that many adult Christians have difficulty explaining. Yet it is one of the first questions posed by the skeptic.

Why, indeed, if Jesus was God, did He have to die? To the skeptic, the whole Cross, Blood and death thing doesn't make any sense. I know many Christians to whom the answer is simply, "So He could be resurrected on the third day."

That was never a satisfactory answer when I was a skeptic, either.

This morning, instead of going over the usual state of global catastrophe, I thought it might be good if we were ALL equipped to give a reason for the hope that is in us.

The Scripture says God's Justice demands a sacrifice, but for most Christians contending with the skeptic, that answer is unsatisfactory.

The explanation that only a sinless man was qualified to take on the sins of the world makes sense, but it doesn't answer the nuts-and-bolts question of why He had to die. Not fully.

The answer to the nuts-and-bolts legalities is found, not in the New Testament, but rather in the Old.

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.

(Galatians 3:29 makes plain that Christians are also "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.")

Are you still with me? Here's where we are so far. Abram has just prepared a blood covenant between himself and God in which his seed would forever be bound to God as heirs. To be an heir, under the implied terms of the covenant, also required being faithful to the Father.

Abram understood those terms and waited for God to appear. Consider the picture. Abram waited, driving away the carrion eaters from his grisly creation, waiting for God Himself to come down, join hands with Abram and together, they would swear a blood oath. God would be the Father of Abram and his descendents, who would then be required behave as sons to keep that covenant.

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)

And there's the key! While the covenant was between Abram and God, by passing through the aisle alone, God signed the contract -- alone -- for both sides, binding Himself to keeping both parts.

We know that Abram's seed did NOT remain faithful to the covenant. And violating the blood covenant demanded that somebody had to die. That was what justice required.

The Apostle Paul was, before his conversion on the road to Damascus, a Pharisee, or a religous lawyer, one well qualified to explain the law of covenant oaths.

As Paul explains, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:9) Further. that “they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (3:9)

And also, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." (3:11)

Of the covenant that God signed on behalf of Abraham, Paul explains "Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto." (3:15)

The covenant could only be confirmed when the price demanded for its violation was paid in full.

When the Law was given to Moses four centuries later, it was assumed by the Jews that to break it was to break the Abrahamic Covenant, for which the penalty was death. Remember, somebody had to die. But God signed on behalf of Abraham, and Paul pointed out the blood penalty required of the covenant was paid in full.

"And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."

Why did Jesus have to die? Because the covenant demanded satisfactory payment for its violation, and no one who had broken that covenant was qualified to stand in payment except those who signed it.

And God signed on behalf of Abram and his seed.

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 (53:3)

To make restitution on behalf of the seed of Abraham. You. Me. And everyone who ever broke its provision of faithfulness. All of us.

Jesus made that payment on our behalf. On the Cross, as He gave up the ghost, Jesus cried with a loud voice 'it is finished' (Tetelestai!) meaning, "paid in full."

The terms of the violated Covenant were met, its price was paid by its Signer. God's justice was fulfilled. That is why Jesus took on a human form and allowed Himself to be crucified by His own creation. That is the reason the Blood of Christ is so precious. Why nothing less would do.

Because justice demanded it.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
I hope that this post has been enlightening to you and that it may have answered some questions you might have had if you are have been questioning and searching about who Jesus was and is. Next time we will pick up where we left off on Biblical prophecy and answer the question of what the generation is that will see the signs of the End Times come to pass. Don’t doubt that we are that generation. Of this there is no doubt. Until next time, Keep Looking Up!

Romans 8.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Special Report: Why do so many people hate even the mention of Jesus?

Ok, so I know that I’m jumping around on this and that we are supposed to be talking about prophecy and this generation next, but before we continue with the special series of Bible Prophecy and what and who the generation is who will see the return of Jesus, I want to pause and take a moment to talk about Jesus Himself. Probably two of the most asked questions I’ve heard other than “was Jesus really who He said He was?” is “Why do so many people hate (even the mention of) Jesus?” and “Why did Jesus have to die?”

Today we will cover the question of why so many people hate even the mention of Jesus or why the name or topic of Jesus makes them uncomfortable. My thanks to Back to the Bible for some of the information contained in this post today. Tomorrow we will cover the subject of why Jesus had to die. Then we will continue with the prophecy series after that.

Why does the actual name of Jesus inspire so much hatred by so many people? Just hearing the name Jesus be spoken puts so many people into a rage from 0-2 seconds flat. Why is that?

They use His name as a curse. They dishonor Him in obscene art. They denigrate His teachings, ridicule His followers and bury the story of His birth, death and resurrection under jolly elves and cuddly bunnies. Why? Why does the mere mention of Jesus' name provoke such overwhelming animosity from people today? Even if we don't often think about it, we can't really escape the fact that our modern, tolerant culture responds to Jesus with hatred and animosity.

It's really no different today than it was 2,000 years ago. Jesus faced intense opposition and hatred during His years on earth. The question to consider today is why? In John, Chapter 7, the passage reveals some pretty intense, pretty extreme hatred for Jesus in His day. Why does the world hate Jesus? Why do people in American hate Jesus? Why do people in India and Australia and England--all over the world--why do people hate Jesus so much? What is it about this teacher, this miracle worker that upsets so many people? Well, the Bible tells us the answer. We're going to look to the Bible to get some understanding and that answer today.

There was an article written a couple of years ago in Christian Reader by Joanne Hunter. She was talking about her grandchildren, and how they were talking about hating each other. Their mother was shopping with them one day, when suddenly, the two little boys became angry with one another. One said, "I hate you." The other said, "I hate you, too." The mother said, "That's not very nice, and I'm certainly not going to take you two little boys to McDonald's for lunch if you hate each other." The five-year-old quickly backed down, and he said to his brother, "I don't really hate you." But the other brother, with logic as clear as his three years could give him, responded: "Well, I still hate you, because I'm not hungry." A lot of people in the world hate, but they don't want to admit it. There are lots of people who even may attend church, but will not admit their true feelings about Jesus.

Hatred is such a strong emotion. I admit it, I have hated someone in the past couple of years. I have hated intensely and Jesus says that if you harbor hatred in your heart for someone, then it is the same as committing murder b/c in your heart you have already killed them off. Hatred is a powerfully binding thing and only by giving your hatred over to God can you ever be free of it. In fact, I only finally gave that hatred, anger and bitterness over to God this past Sunday. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next day this person tries to get back into my marriage, which is trying to be reconciled, and into the life of my husband? And there has been additional contact from this person since then. Satan uses our most powerful sore spots against us, especially when we decide that we no longer want to be bound by them and ask God for His help in dealing with them and acknowledging that we can’t do it on our own. I’m still working on the forgiveness part, but that struggle is becoming easier, even with the things that have happened this week. I know that I could not do it on my own b/c on my own, I am weak as a new born baby. The flesh is weak, but when I am walking in step with God, then I have the strength to deal with my weaknesses. The only strength that can truly deal with this emotion of hatred is the strength that God gives.

We're going to discuss today why people have such strong negative feelings about Jesus. My question that I'm asking today is this: Why does the world hate Jesus so much? John 7:7 and John 15:18-25 have the answer. John 7:7 says “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” and John 15: 18-25 says “ If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.”

When you make your break with your past because you've trusted Christ as Savior, when you've decided to live for Him, isn't it true that often your family and friends who don’t have their trust in Christ don't even understand? They can't see why you're living the way you are. They don't understand why you want to go to church, why your views change about things that you were fine with before, why you want to read the Bible and have a circle of friends who do all those things too. They think you're out of your mind.

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me," Jesus said, "because I testify of it and its works are evil." Now when He says world here, the word that he uses is the word cosmos. He's talking not so much about people, but the realm of evil. He's talking about mankind alienated from the life of God. He's talking about a world system. A system that is hostile toward God and toward good. He's talking about a world that was represented by Jerusalem's hierarchy. That's the way the world was then, and it hated Jesus then.

And you know what? The cosmos hates Jesus today. Today the cosmos is represented by men and women who are still alienated from God. The world is operated by those who despise God's moral truth. So the vast majority of the people today accept abortion, accept homosexuality, don't see anything really wrong with prostitution, adultery, all the things God morally hates. The world today is an evil world, alienated from God; the Bible says the world hates Jesus. The world is run by those who not-so-covertly are biased against Christianity.

Just take a look at TV journalists today. Bernard Goldberg came out with a book not long ago, appropriately title BIAS, talking about the bias of CBS news. He worked for CBS news. This is a Jew telling the truth about the journalistic bias against religion. Especially Christian religious beliefs.

The world is operated today by those who wish to subjugate the world to their way of life. That's why extremists can fly planes into the World Trade Center. So, why does the world hate Jesus? Why do your neighbors hate Jesus? Why do so many political leaders hate Jesus? Why do the gay and lesbian task forces of this world hate Jesus? Why do religious fanatics of all kinds hate Jesus? The answer is very simple. Jesus gave it to us in John7:7. "The world cannot hate you," He says, "but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil."

Let me give you quickly three reasons why the world hates Jesus:
Number 1--Because Jesus gives the true testimony of what this world is like. (Believe it or not what Jesus says is right.)
Number 2--Jesus demonstrates that the works of this world system are evil.
Number 3--Jesus shames this world because of His purity of life.

People hated Jesus because He showed them to be what they are. Mark Twain used to say that few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. Well, Jesus was a lot more than a good example. He said in John 15:18: "If the world hates you, you know it hated Me before it hated you.” If you belong to the world, it would love its own. But you see you cannot expect the world today to love you; because if you belong to Jesus, the world's system hates the one to whom you belong. That's why John said: "Do not marvel my brethren if the world hates you." (1 John 3:13)

So, how are you, if you are a Christian, getting along in the world today? If you find yourself getting along a little too nicely in this world, if you don't see a difference between your life and your unsaved neighbor's life or--even worse--he or she doesn't see a difference between your lives; is it because you are less like Jesus, and more like this world? Are you willing to ask yourselves some hard questions, friends? We all need to ask ourselves these questions.

Questions like: does your neighbor, family, or friends even know that you're a Christian? Have you ever told those that you work with that you're a child of God? Is there anything in your work habits, in your conversation, that marks you out as a Christian? Do you have any time in your day set aside just for the Savior? Is your life all show? Is it a display for the “religious leaders”, the people at your church, or the people in your hometown? How do you treat others who wrong you or who you have perceived to have wronged you? Is it with forgiveness or with anger and revenge and spite? Do you feel vindicated by being spiteful to someone else? Do you ever sense that you are living for God and really pleasing Him? Or do you feel more at home in the world? Does the use of God’s name or Jesus name as a swear word come easy to you? Does your conscience not tweak you when you take something from work or from someone else or when someone gives you back too much change and you keep it?

Don't be afraid to ask these tough questions and many more. If you're unhappy with the answers, if you feel empty inside, if you realize your life isn't what God wants it to be, then you need to learn more about God and how to walk with Him. There are several great resources to peruse online. Get to Know God, Need Him, Need God, Christian Answers, Answers In Genesis, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry and Focus On the Family just to name a few.

So, so far there have been three answers about why the world hates Jesus, but there is a fourth reason that goes back to Jesus' claim, when He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6a) Other religious teachers have said that their teachings lead to a higher level, but Jesus said "it's not My teaching, it's Me that brings life." And that's really what the world hates.

It is so interesting when protagonists of other religious systems, or world-views, would take any teaching of Jesus, they would like to sever that cord, somehow, between the thought and the person. They all say that 'Jesus said' then quote some line that they are in agreement with, but they will forget that very statement we hold to be true as Christians, true because it came from the very Son of God, the very source of all truth. They would like to accept some of His ideas, but it is rather unnerving to them that this is embodied in the person of Christ and Christ alone. So, Jesus was right on target when He said He was the way, the truth and the life. That truth ultimately reduces to just words, if it is not embodied or incarnated in some way.

But for the early religious leaders--the scribes, the Pharisees, others of the first century--it was really Jesus' claim to be God, or the things that He did that revealed He was God. That's what really set Him apart from others.

When you go through the Gospels, and see what it is that they wanted to stone Him for, or kill Him for--for example, in Mark's Gospel where, as soon as He identified who He was, they said that's all we need, away with this man. No doubt that the various sects and groups of that particular day clearly understood what it was He was claiming, and with that in mind, wanted to do away with Him. He says it in so many different ways: I am the way, the truth, I'm the life, I'm the door, I'm the good shepherd, I am the I am, as it were. I think it is a marvelous demonstration in His birth, life, death and resurrection that He demonstrated that the claims were indeed true.

It's a real challenge to examine our lives and make sure they reflect Christ, even though it means facing antagonism. But we have to always remember that opposition is a timed response. That means it ends. There's a period in which that opposition will stop, but being rewarded for doing what is right, doing the right thing, that's not a timed response; that's an eternal response. You and I always know we need to do the right thing, even when it comes to standing up for Jesus when the world hates Him; we need to do the right thing, and tell them about His love that brought Him to Calvary to die for them.
Tomorrow: Why did Jesus have to die?

Nic’s Personal Note: Thanks to all of you for continuing to read my blog. I know that it has changed rather drastically since I first started it, and in fact even from 3 months ago, but there have been some pretty big changes in my life within myself and I believe that God is using me and this blog to tell others about the time that is coming and about how to avoid the trouble and trials to come. Interestingly enough, my blog has increased a lot in these past few weeks. It seems that so many people are concerned about the weather and are searching for, according to the stats, how the weather relates to prophecy. Most of the hits I’ve received lately, other than those of people who are looking for the soap opera “As the World Turns”, are from people wanting answers to what is going on in the world with all the natural disasters and the diseases. These are world-wide hits and these people are spending literally hours and days reading the posts regarding prophecy. God always has a reason as to why He does something, and maybe for me it was to put me in the right place at this time to give people the answers they’re looking for. Only God knows for sure. Remember to Keep Looking Up!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Once more, with feeling...

This will be the last part of Part Three of this special series before I go into what the last generation is and in a way, this article I am posting starts to tie in the signs of the End Times and the generation that will witness them. Jack Kinsella, founder and editor of the Omega Letter really hit it out of the park yesterday with his latest briefing on the "Signs of the End Times". I just had to post this for everyone who comes across my blog to read so that they can understand just how close we are to the End Times. This briefing is being posted in its etirity without any edits.
The 'Fear Factor'

I am not much for Stephen King novels, although I admit his talent is enormous. I've read several that I liked, but I've read more that I didn't.

King is a compelling writer; its just that his chosen genre is not my cup of tea.
That said, one of Steven King's novels, "The Stand" was made into a miniseries a few years ago. It was an apocalyptic morality tale that openly pitted good versus evil.

The story begins with the emergence of a strange killer virus simply called "The Flu".

The Flu races through the population, killing all but a handful of survivors with a natural immunity to the strain. King's depiction of the horror associated with such a pandemic certainly earned him his title as King of the Horror Novelists -- one is drawn into the story inexorably, relentlessly. . .

I felt much the same sense of horror as I was researching the new H5N1 'bird flu' virus that I felt reading King's "The Stand".

To summarize, the bird flu known as H5N1 is shaping up to become a global pandemic on a level not seen since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that swept the planet in the wake of World War I.

The Spanish Flu killed more people in six months than were killed in the four years of the First World War. It killed more humans than any other disease of similar duration in the history of the world, says Alfred W. Crosby, who wrote a history of the 1918 pandemic.

It killed so quickly that a man could be perfectly healthy one morning and be dead by nightfall. It is estimated that the death toll from the 1918 Spanish Flu was between fifty and one hundred MILLION people.

H5N1 is known to have infected 117 people in Asia so far. It killed sixty people, MORE THAN HALF of those known to be infected. The fear is that the bird flu virus could evolve into a form that is easily spread among humans.

That could happen if a person who had a case of the ordinary human flu became infected with bird flu. The two viruses could recombine inside the victim's body, creating a hybrid transmissible between humans the way ordinary flu virus is transmitted, but with H5N1's destructive capabilities.

H5N1 is a new flu virus strain, which means that humans have no natural immunity to it. An immunity is developed when a person contracts the disease and then fights it off. If the disease never existed before, there is no way to be immune.

Because of that, its effects are more severe and put an even greater number of people at risk of succumbing to the virus.

The World Health Organization announced Friday that H5N1 is showing signs that it can evade what is currently our first line defensive drug, Tamiflu. And that it has found a way to transmit itself from one human to another.

They found so-called resistant strains in a Vietnamese girl who recovered from a bird flu infection after being treated with Tamiflu. They also found evidence she was directly infected by her brother and not by chickens, a rare case of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

At present, the World Health Organization says “the main route of human infection” from birds is direct contact with infected poultry, or surfaces and objects contaminated by their droppings.

The report, to be published in the journal Nature next week, is bad news for doctors who already have precious little in the arsenal against bird flu should it become a human disease.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said Saturday that his tour of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam convinced him that the chances of containing the virus, should it mutate, "are not good."

There is no medicine to cure it. Antibiotics won't work. There is an experimental vaccine for H5N1. But at present, there is nowhere nearly enough to inoculate everyone against the virus -- the US has a contract with Sanofi Pasteur to supply two million doses.

Since the current annual vaccine-production capacity worldwide is about 1 billion doses of the 15 microgram–antigen vaccine, right now we have the ability to produce less than enough vaccine for 100 million people in the first year of a pandemic -- or less than 2% of the 6.5-billion world population.

According to some experts, if avian flu becomes a pandemic, there will be two types of people in the world: those who are exposed to it and die, and those who are exposed to it and live.


One can almost taste the fear. It isn't just The Flu. It's everything. Consider some recent headlines: "2005 Second Hottest on Record", for example.

Within the body of the story we read that the five hottest years on record were the first five years of the 21st century.

This morning, forecasters are warning of a potential Category 3 Hurricane Wilma that, at this moment, is tracking back into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the already devastated Gulf Coast.

With six weeks left to go in the Atlantic Hurricane season, Wilma is also noteworthy for being the last hurricane on the official names list.

That is another record event. The contingency plan (never used) is to roll over to the Greek alphabet. The storm that follows 'Wilma' will be called 'Alpha'. That has never happened before in the history of meteorology.

The Atlantic Coast was flooded by a series of freak storms that dumped as much as two feet of rain in some places previously stricken by drought. The resulting flooding has caused tens of millions of dollars in damages and a number of deaths.

The death toll from last week's earthquake in Pakistan was revised upward to 54,000 and the Pak government says it expects the final toll to exceed one hundred thousand people.

The devastation is being spoken of in the same terms as were used to describe the Asian tsunami, which claimed a quarter million lives.

In economic terms, there have been only 19 disasters in history that have caused more than $1 billion in damages. Every one of them struck after 1983.

According to the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA), nearly 50 percent of the insured losses from natural catastrophes during the past 40 years have been incurred since 1990. That represents a fifteen-fold increase over the past fifteen years.

When we aren't rolling our eyes in fear at the non-stop natural assault on human civilization, we are looking over our shoulders nervously at strangers carrying back packs, while the government continues to install sniffer-devices designed to detect nuclear and biological weapons on the streets of our cities.

Not just in America, but in Europe, Russia, Australia, the UK and any other nation or region that has caught the attention of Islamic terrorism. In almost every instance, the threat is in some way related to that nation or region's relationship with Israel.

Social scientists the world over bemoan the impending collapse of civilization as we know it, as such basic social building blocks like the family unit become increasingly anachronistic.

Note also that these seemingly unrelated trends coming upon THIS generation, are, according to the virtually unanimous verdict of scientists, economists and sociologists, increasing in both frequency and intensity.

Try to imagine, if you can, what this world will look like after twenty years of annual Katrinas, killer earthquakes, floods, global pandemics and terrorism. New Orleans, one of America's oldest cities, has been destroyed not once, but twice, in a single hurricane season. And it is at risk of being 'destroyed' (if that is possible), yet a third time, should Wilma continue on her forecast path.

Some commentators and pundits have noted a palpable increase of fear, something that is beginning to show up statistically as plummeting consumer confidence levels.
(One can learn a lot about what people fear by watching where they put their money).

A few years ago, these trends were only noticeable if one tracked them carefully. Those who noted the trends were dismissed as 'alarmists'. Those who related the trends to the prophecies of the Bible were dismissed as members of the religious lunatic fringe.

While Bible prophecy may be dismissed as 'doom and gloom' it is actually exactly the opposite. It is really cause for celebration. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy in this generation, on schedule and in precise order, is our assurance that what is going on all around us is controlled chaos.

It is proof positive that God remains on His Throne. It is proof positive that we are not following "cunningly devised fables" (2nd Peter 1:16) but rather, we ourselves are "eyewitnesses of His Majesty."

Jesus warned of earthquakes, famines and wars, all of which He noted, would increase in frequency and intensity as the time approached.

He warned of "signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26)

That 'distress of nations' is so palpable that national governments globally are spending billions combing the sky for the Next Killer Asteroid on a par with the one that evolutionists say killed off the dinosaurs 85 million years ago.

The UN is warning of an ever-increasing level of disasters in the years ahead. Wrote UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in September, 1999;

"The tragic earthquake in Greece and the enormous devastation and suffering wrought by the recent earthquake in Turkey are reminders of one of the most pressing challenges of our time: the extraordinary increase in the number and extent of natural disasters."

Note that Annan wrote that column, entitled, "An Increasing Vulnerability to Natural Disasters" more than six years ago.

To argue that the current scenario does not comport to the scenario outlined by Bible prophecy for the last days requires one of two things.

Either a complete ignorance of what Bible prophecy forecasts, or a blind faith in coincidence.

"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

The Promise of His coming is all around us.

"And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28)