A.L.I.V.E.—The “V” Is For Verified Prophesy

This is part 4 in my 5-part series, “I can know Jesus is A.L.I.V.E. because of ….” I have already addressed A—Apologetics, L—Lives changed, and I—It is finished. Today I want to consider the prophesies that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus supposedly fulfilled. 

We have all heard about “copycat” crimes. Could the life and death of Jesus fit that? Since Jesus was born from the family line of King David, and His family really wanted the promised Messiah to finally appear, perhaps He was pushed that way. Perhaps He lived in a certain way to make it look like He was fulfilling prophesy. 

Detective J. Warner Wallace wrote, “Homicide detectives are perhaps the least trusting people in the world. My own experience investigating murders has taught me to consider everyone a liar—until, at least, I have good reason to believe otherwise.” 

So was Jesus a liar? Was He following some copycat script to make it merely look like He was the Messiah? Or do we have good reasons to believe He was telling the truth? Consider a couple of points—

    • How could David describe a crucifixion scene in 1000 BC, since the Persians didn’t invent it until around 400 BC (see Psalm 22:12-18)?
    • How could Jesus control others’ actions (i.e. Judas’ betrayal; being killed by crucifixion, not by stoning; soldiers gambling for His clothes)? 
    • Even His own followers—whom He would need to perpetrate the hoax—didn’t understand what He was doing (John 12:16). 

Prosecutors have to present enough evidence to convince a jury that they have arrested and brought to trial the right man. One of the key terms is beyond a reasonable doubt—“a part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which the jurors are told that they can only find the defendant guilty if they are convinced ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ of his or her guilt.” 

Let’s consider a hypothetical case that a prosecutor might present: 

  • multiple eyewitnesses saw a man fleeing the scene, and all of them identified the suspect in a police line-up
  • the shoe prints at the crime scene were the same size and design that of the suspect was wearing when he was arrested
  • prosecutors presented text messages in which the suspect threatened to do to the victim exactly what was done to the victim
  • the wounds made by the weapon which was used on the victim correspond with the weapon the police found in the suspect’s car
  • the blood on that weapon matched the blood of the victim
  • the fingerprints on that weapon are the suspect’s fingerprints

That is the evidence. From that evidence, the jury is asked to draw inferences about the reasonableness of that suspect being the one who committed the crime. 

I have listed just six pieces of evidence. How strong do you think the prosecutor’s case is? What if the jurors were presented with 50 pieces of evidence? What about 100? 200? How about 300 pieces of evidence? 

Jesus fulfilled at least 300 prophesies—which were made before He was born!—in His life, death, and resurrection!

Math professor Peter Stoner calculated that the odds for just one man in history to fulfill only 8 prophesies is 1-in-1×1017. How amazing is that!? To give us a little perspective, Stoner says that 1×1017 silver dollars would cover the entire state of Texas in silver dollars two-feet thick. If just one of those silver dollars was marked, and a blindfolded man could select that one marked coin on his very first attempt, that would be about the same odds of Jesus fulfilling only 8 prophesies. 

As a juror, if you weighed this evidence, do you find enough proof to “convict” Jesus? 

But ultimately Jesus didn’t come just to fulfill prophesy; He came to rescue you and me from the penalty of our sin (Luke 4:16-21), and that is the best news of all! 

Join me either in person or on Facebook Live this Sunday for the final message in this 5-part series. 

Quotes From “Reliving The Passion”

Walter Wangerin, Jr. has prepared an excellent guide for the Lenten season: Reliving The Passion. Beginning on Ash Wednesday and going all the way through Resurrection Sunday, Wangerin is using the Gospel of Mark to give us some heart-probing thoughts on Christ’s Passion. I typically post quotes after I have completed a book, but I thought I would share a quote or two with you each day through this journey.

Ash Wednesday—“When we genuinely remember the death we deserve to die, we will be moved to remember the death the Lord in fact did die.”

The Second Day Thursday—“Mirrors that hide nothing hurt me. But this is the hurt of purging and precious renewal—and these are mirrors of dangerous grace. The passion of Christ, His suffering and His death, is such a mirror.”

The Third Day Friday—[read Mark 14:27-28 and Mark 16:6-7] “If Jesus ‘will go before’ His disciples from Galilee as He had gone before, then this is a call to follow Him down the hard road of conflict, criticism, enmity, persecution, suffering and death and resurrection. So the passion story becomes a roadmap for all of Jesus’ followers (who deny themselves and take up their crosses) whether Christians martyred in the first, or Christians bold in the twentieth, centuries. Read this story, then, as a detailed itinerary of the disciple’s life. But hear in it as well the constant consolation—not only that He, in ‘going before us,’ is always near us, however hard the persecution; but also that we, in going His way to Galilee, will see Him as He told you.”

The Fourth Day Saturday—“The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope—and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us.”

The Fifth Day Monday—“Jesus: Forgive me for making much of what’s minor in Your story, diminishing the important thing. I’ve demanded miracles, healings, benefits for myself. O Lord, raise the Cross as the central beam of my whole life once again! Amen.”

The Sixth Day Tuesday—“Jesus, by the refining fires of Your grace reduce my prideful self to ash after all. Let me become a nothing, that You might be the only Something for me and in me.”

The Seventh Day Wednesday—“It was an act so completely focused upon the Christ that not a dram of worldly benefit was gained thereby [Mark 14:3-9]. Nothing could justify this spillage of some three hundred days’ wages, except love alone. The rulers who sought to kill Jesus were motivated by a certain reasonable logic; but your prodigality appears altogether unreasonable—except for reasons of love. … Love enhances and names in truth. No one else anointed Him and by that gesture declared Him Messiah, the Christ. The act, therefore, was more than beautiful. It was rare and rich with meaning.” 

“Jesus, I love You, I love You! Cleanse me of anything that is not love for You, even though the world will think me preposterous and my friends—some of whom are Your disciples—will not be able to make sense of me. You are all the sense and meaning I need. I love You. Amen.”

The Eighth Day Thursday—“Does the motive of a sin—its rationale, its reasons—make it any less a sin? Isn’t the betrayal of the sovereignty of the Lord in our lives always a sin, regardless of the factors that drove us to betray Him? Yes! Yet we habitually defend ourselves and diminish our fault by referring to reasons why we ‘had to’ do it. We sinners are so backward that we try to justify ourselves by some condition which preceded the sin. Motives console us. That’s why we want so badly to have and to know them. …

“We sinners are so backward! We invert the true source of our justification. It isn’t some preliminary cause, some motive before the sin that justifies me, but rather the forgiveness of Christ which meets my repentance after the sin.”

The Ninth Day Friday—“‘Who will give Me room?’ This is forever a measure of the love which Jesus inspires in human hearts: that there was a householder willing to endanger himself by saying, ‘I will. Come.’ We know almost as little about this man—and as much—as we know of the woman who anointed Jesus. We know him by his action only; and his deed was love. It was a sacrificial love, which puts itself in harm’s way for the sake of the beloved [Mark 14:12-16]. … 

“‘Who will give Me room?’ the Lord Jesus asks today. If we’re experienced, we know the risk. The sophisticated world mocks a meek and sheepish Christian. The evil world hates those in whom Christ shines like a light upon its darksome deeds. Even the worldly church will persecute those who, for Jesus’ sake, accuse its compromises, oppose its cold self-righteousness, and so disclose its failure at humble service.”

The Tenth Day Saturday—“Judas has no better friend than Jesus. Loving him, not loathing him, Jesus grants Judas a moment of terrible self-awareness: ‘One of you will betray Me, the one who is dipping bread into the dish with Me….’ The deed is not yet done. But Jesus sees it coming and, while yet the sinner contemplates the sin, gives Judas three critical gifts: (1) Knowledge; (2) Free will; and (3) Sole responsibility. … Given three gifts by the grace of the dear Lord—[will I] stop?”

The Eleventh Day Monday—“With the apostle Paul the pastor repeats: ‘The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread’ [1 Corinthians 11:23]. Oh, let that pastor murmur those words, the same night, with awe. For who among us can hear them just before receiving the gift of Christ’s intimacy and not be overcome with wonder, stunned at such astonishing love? … In the night of gravest human treachery He gave the gift of Himself. And the giving has never ceased. … Oh, this is a love past human expectation. This is beyond all human deserving. This, therefore, is a love so celestial that it shall endure long and longer than we do. This is grace.”

The Twelfth Day Tuesday—“If anyone continues in a loving relationship with Jesus, it is His love that preserves it, not the love of the other, nor all the piety, nor all the goodness a Christian can muster.”

The Thirteenth Day Wednesday—“Abba, Father,” Jesus cried out, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” (Mark 14:36)

The Fourteenth Day Thursday—“What takes place in the Garden of Gethsemane is the Lord’s Prayer actually happening, as though the earlier words were a script and this is the drama itself. … When Jesus teaches us to pray, He does not teach plain recitation. Rather, He calls us to a way of being. He makes of prayer a doing. And by His own extreme example, He shows that prayer is the active relationship between ourselves, dear little children, and the dear Father, Abba.”

The Fifteenth Day Friday—“In a garden once [Eden] the Lord God decreed enmity between the serpent and the seed of the woman, enmity to the death. In a garden again [Gethsemane] that enmity produces this pathetic assault: a kiss that can kill. … Behold how the servants of God can bite!”

The Sixteenth Day Saturday—“In the fires of serious persecution the truer elements of one’s character now are revealed. Everything fraudulent, cheap, or hypocritical burns. Every pretense turns to ash. All my false words blow away. What I really am—the core character, the thing God sees when He looks at me…I am indeed. … Take my life: I consecrate it to Thee. Take all that I have and all that I am; replace the self in me with Thine own holy self.”

The Seventeenth Day Monday—“Whenever discipleship puts me in peril, give me the gift of a holy silence—to speak the truth, no less, no more. Amen.”

The Eighteenth Day Tuesday—“Christian, come and look closely: it is when Jesus is humiliated, most seeming weak, bound and despised and alone and defeated that He finally answers the question, ‘Are you the Christ?’ Now, for the record, ‘Yes: I am.’ It is only in incontrovertible powerlessness that He finally links Himself with power: ‘And you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power’ [Mark 14:61-62].”

The Nineteenth Day Wednesday—“Where patience shines, impatience is revealed and hates the attention. Kindness shows unkindness to be hideous. True joy intensifies true bitterness; gentleness enrages belligerence; and self-control proves the pig to be nothing but a pig. … Save me, Lord, from blaming anyone but myself: not You (whose innocence spotlights my sin),  not Your foes (whose sins are my own), not people whose virtues reveal my evil.”

The Twentieth Day Thursday—“There’s a war inside the strong disciple. (The stronger the disciple, the worse the war!) There’s a struggle in Peter between good and evil, between these two commitments: to his Lord and to his own survival. … The forces warring in Peter’s soul seem terribly equal: a tremendous, selfless love for Jesus keeps him there, while a consuming self-interest keeps him lying. He denies himself to stay by his Lord. He denies his Lord to save himself. Both. Good and bad. Peter is paralyzed between the good that he would and the evil that he is. I see this. I recognize this. I cannot divorce myself from this—for Peter’s moral immobilization is mine as well!”

The Twenty-first Day Friday—Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate (Mark 15:1). What was Jesus thinking during this walk? “Wordlessly, Jesus answers: ‘The walking itself is the sign, child. The loneliness which I have chosen, and the Cross that closes it—these are signs that I love you ever. I have to leave you to love you best. I go where I want you never to go, precisely because I love you.’”

The Twenty-second Day Saturday—“Jesus, ironically, You and Your accusers had the selfsame goal, and by Your very silence, steadfastly, You went as it was written of You. Human beings strategized; human evil sent You to Your Cross. But something huger hovered over the occasion, something of Your own volition: Love.”

The Twenty-third Day Monday—“If they choose Barabbas over Jesus, they choose humanity over divinity. They choose one who will harm them over One Who would heal them.”

The Twenty-fourth Day Tuesday—“‘Why?’ cries Pilate suddenly. He seriously means the question: ‘What evil has He done?’ But we are now at the climax of human hatreds. This rage requires no rationale. This hatred has no reason but itself. God and the children of Adam are enemies, for the children rebelled against their God—and enemies hate. … This is the natural reaction of sinners in the presence of Holy God.”

The Twenty-fifth Day Wednesday—“The crowd is a power to be feared. In fact, its power is the fear it inspires in rulers who know its quickness to riot, its ungovernable lack of sense or of personal integrity. People lose individuality in a crowd. … Sin is brutal. But even the swollen-throated bellowers in the crowd are people to Jesus, whom He regards one by one by one, whom He does not fear, but whom He is serving right now—right now!—by giving His life to ransom them from the very brutishness they are displaying.”

The Twenty-sixth Day Thursday—You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you [Matthew 5:43-44]. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. … When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly [1 Peter 2:21, 23]. “Jesus, there is nothing You ask of me that You have not Yourself exemplified.”

The Twenty-seventh Day Friday—“‘And they led Him out to crucify Him’ (Mark 15:20). Jesus, what can I do for You now? ‘Follow.’”

The Twenty-eighth Day Saturday—They offered Him wine mingled with myrrh; but He did not take it (Mark 15:23). “He will in no wise dull His senses or ease the pain. And so we know. What are the feelings? What has the spirit of Jesus been doing since Gethsemane? Why, suffering. With a pure and willful consciousness, terribly sensitive to every thorn and cut and scornful slur: suffering. This He has chosen. This He is attending to with every nerve of His being—not for some perverted love of pain. He hates the pain. But for a supernal love of us, that pain might be transfigured, forever.”

The Twenty-ninth Day Monday—“If death is the end of all we do, then all we do is futile. … The planets, their civilizations and their loads of people, all need a central sun—to hold them together, to keep them wheeling in good order, to bequeath them shape and meaning. History needs a center. But if that center is empty death, strengthless death, it cannot hold. Things fly apart into absurdity. … But the Creator God put a Cross in the very center of human history—to be its center, ever. The Son of God, the gift of God, the love of God, the endless light of the self-sufficient God filled the emptiness which was death at our core. … We are altogether meaningless, except God touch us. God touched us here at the Cross.”

The Thirtieth Day Tuesday—“O Jesus, does love from the Cross have to hurt so much?—hurt You with dying?—hurt me when Your dying draws me to Yourself?”

The Thirty-first Day Wednesday—Those who were crucified with Him also reviled Him (Mark 15:31). “No, there never was such sorrow as this. And the fools who pass by jeering merely reveal an iniquitous ignorance. … For our sake, God made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). … Jesus has become the rebellion of mankind against its God. He is, therefore, rightly crucified.”

The Thirty-second Day Thursday—My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Who answers Him? The thunder is silent. The city holds its breath. The heavens are shut. The dark is rejection. This silence is worse than death. No one answers Him. No, not even God. … This is a mystery, that Christ can be the obedient, glorious love of God and the full measure of our disobedience, both at once. But right now this mystery is also a fact.”

The Thirty-third Day Friday—“Perhaps we people will ever be strangers in part and puzzles to one another, always a little lonely. But You, Lord, have searched me and known me. You have searched and loved and saved me even in my ignorance.”

The Thirty-fourth Day Saturday—And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last [Mark 15:37]. “satan, thou art defeated in My defeat! Sin, disposed of a people! Death, look about thee; thou art not mighty and dreadful. Lo, I close My eyes and die—and death shall be no more.”

The Thirty-fifth Day Monday—“Here is a door through which we by faith may enter Heaven, a doorway made of nails and wood, a crossing, a Cross. … For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. And this ‘giving’—this giving up, this giving away, this giving over—begin indeed in Bethlehem in a cradle made of wood. But it wasn’t done until He was killed by a Cross of wood on Golgotha.”

The Thirty-sixth Day Tuesday—“Grief, while you are grieving, lasts forever. But under God, forever is a day. Weeping, darling Magdalene, may last the night. But joy cometh with the sunrise—and then your mourning shall be dancing, and gladness shall be the robe around you. Wait. Wait.”

The Thirty-seventh Day Wednesday—“Joseph [of Arimathea] is not the same. There’s some new seeing in this kingdom-seeker. A veil’s been torn, a wall breached, a window opened. Perhaps he’s bold because he hopes. Perhaps he hopes because he’s seen a more permanent splendor than ever before, the glory of the Lord.”

Maundy Thursday—“On Maundy Thursday, consider … This is the persistent gift of the Lord’s Last Supper: that every time we faithfully eat and drink it, Jesus comes within us, and we become His temple here.”

Good Friday—When Jesus had tasted it, He said, “IT IS FINISHED!” Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30).

Holy Saturday—“God is God, Who made the world from nothing—and God as God can still astonish you. … One story is done indeed … But another story—one you can not conceive of (it’s God Who conceives it!)—starts at sunrise.”

Resurrection Sunday—Why are you looking among the dead for Someone alive? He isn’t here! HE IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD! (Luke 24:5-6).

13 More Quotes From “How Great Is Our God”

Scholars, tradesmen, politicians, theologians, pastors, and martyrs—all have spoken or written about the greatness of God over the past two millennia. In How Great Is Our God we are treated to a sampling of these writings. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy this second set of quotes.

“Some of us, no doubt, have to live outwardly solitary lives. We all live alone after fellowship and communion. We die alone, and in the depths of our souls we all live alone. So let us be thankful that the Master knows the bitterness of solitude, and has Himself walked that path. Jesus Christ’s union with the Father was deep, close, constant; altogether transcending any experience of ours. But still He sets before us the path of comfort for every lonely heart: ‘I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.’ If earth be dark, let us look to Heaven. If the world holds no friend, let us turn to Him who never leaves us. If dear ones are torn from our grasp, let us grasp God.” —Alexander Maclaren

“The blessedness of individuals must not be determined by the value of their known wealth, but according to the voice of their conscience within them.” —Ambrose

“If God gave you not only earth but heaven, that you should rule over sun, moon, and stars, and have the rule over the highest of the sons of men, it would not be enough to satisfy you, unless you had God Himself.” —Jeremiah Burroughs

“Father in Heaven! What is a man without You! What is all that he knows, vast accumulation though it may be, but a chipped fragment if he does not know You!” —Soren Kierkegaard

“Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and Your wisdom is infinite. You awaken us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless, until it rests in You. They that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him. I will seek You, Lord, by calling on You; and will call on You, believing in You; for to us You have been preached.” —Augustine

“In the Old Testament, there are twenty times as many references to the second coming of Christ, as to His first coming. … The Cross must ever precede the Crown. He came with the Cross, fulfilling Isaiah 53; and now He is coming with the Crown, the Messiah and King.” —Aimee Semple McPherson

“The Word is the one Shepherd of things rational which may have an appearance of discord to those who have not ears to hear, but are truly at perfect concord. … For all the Scripture is the one perfect and harmonized instrument of God, which from different sounds gives forth one saving voice to those willing to learn, which stops and restrains every working of an evil spirit.” —Origen

“So desperate is the need that we have no time to engage in vain babblings. While we are discussing the exact location of the church of Galatia, men are perishing under the curse of the law; while we are setting the date of Jesus’ birth, the world is doing without its Christmas message.” —J. Gresham Machen

“If the Christian plan is true, then all others are false. If others are true, then there was no need of the sacrifice on the Cross.” —Albert Barnes

“I want through the day to walk with God; God has taken charge of me, He is going with me Himself; I am going to do His will all day in His strength; I am ready for all that may come.” —Andrew Murray

“When the time for the Advent of the Antichrist approaches, people’s minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions, and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. People’s appearances will change, and it will be impossible to distinguish men from women due to their shamelessness in dress and style of hair. 

There will be no respect for parents and elders, love will disappear, and Christian pastors, bishops, and priests will become vain men. At that time the morals and traditions of Christians and the Church will change. People will abandon modesty, and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed will attain great proportions; and lust, adultery, homosexuality, secret deeds, and murder will rule in society. 

At that future time, the churches of God will be deprived of God-fearing and pious pastors, and woe to the Christians remaining at that time; they will completely lose their faith because they will lack the opportunity of seeing the light of knowledge from anyone at all.” —Nilus the Elder (d. 430 AD) 

“It is the Bible itself that drives us out beyond ourselves and invites us, without regard to our worthiness or unworthiness, to reach for the last highest answer. … We need only dare to follow this drive, this spirit, this river, to grow out beyond ourselves toward the highest answer. This daring is faith; and we read the Bible rightly when we read it in faith. The Bible unfolds to us as we are met, guided, drawn on, and made to grow by the grace of God.” —Karl Barth

“Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God or the devil? That God reigns supreme in Heaven, is generally conceded; that He does so over this world, is almost universally denied—if not directly, then indirectly. More and more are men relegating God to the background. … Therefore we need not be surprised that men exclude Him from the realm of human affairs. … In light of this [Isaiah 55:8-9], it is only to be expected that much of the Bible conflicts with the sentiments of the carnal mind, which is at enmity against God.” —Arthur Pink

You can check out the first set of quotes I shared from How Great Is Our God by clicking here. Stay tuned: more quotes coming soon!

Little Is Not Insignificant

gods-promise-to-youPastor Phillips Brooks visited Israel in the mid-1800s. While there he visited a small church just outside of Bethlehem. Listening to the worshipful songs being sung in that quiet countryside, he was inspired to pen the words to O Little Town Of Bethlehem.

Because of that quiet setting, notice how Rev. Brooks notices things we often miss—

  • little town on Bethlehem
  • in thy dark streets
  • while mortals sleep
  • no ear may hear His coming

But little does not mean insignificant. And just because we can’t see or hear something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or it isn’t important.

Sometimes we’ve looked and listened and waited and searched for so long that we have given up and we begin to drift off to sleep. We continue to live in our own “little town” surrounded by silence. And we are in danger of missing a miracle right in our midst!

We know today that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But did you know that this little town was still so obscure in Christ’s day that many people in Israel were unaware of what went on there? (See John 7:41-43). Even after King Herod had gruesomely killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem, scarcely anyone outside of that town knew about it or cared about it.

But God cared. And He knew exactly what He was doing.

But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son (Galatians 4:4)—the exact right moment—to be born in Bethlehem—the exact right place (Micah 5:2). Notice even Micah says of Bethlehem though you are small among the clans of Judah, giving birth to the title of Rev. Brooks’ poem.

How small was it? Look at the description of the territory for the tribe of Judah (in Joshua 15), and you can easily glossed over the names of all of the towns. But look more closely and you will see something you didn’t read in that list of towns. Take a close look at all 38 cities: it’s still missing.

There are a couple of very notable figures that dominate the Old and New Testaments, and they have something in common—King David and Jesus both come from the tribe of Judah. And both of them were born in Bethlehem. But in the list of towns in Judah’s territory, there is absolutely no mention of Bethlehem.

This town either didn’t exist, or it was so “insignificant” that Joshua didn’t even think to mention it. It would be almost another 500 years before David would be born in Bethlehem, and then another 900 years after that before Jesus would be born in this little town of Bethlehem.

God had in mind for the greatest earthly king in Israel’s history and the King of all kings to come from such humble origins… from a village that didn’t even make the list. Bethlehem was ready for these kings at just the right moment!

Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never pass away. What promise in His Word do you need to cling to? 

Just as those awaiting the Messiah clung to Micah’s promise until it came to pass, you must find God’s promise for you in His Word, cling to it, and don’t let go until it comes to pass in your little town.

9 More Quotes From “Today’s Moment Of Truth”

Today's Moment Of TruthToday’s Moment Of Truth by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg is so chockfull of helpful truths that I couldn’t possibly have shared all of the passages I highlighted. Here are a few more quotes I wanted to share with you:

“Jesus said, ‘Do not believe Me unless I do the works of My father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father’ (John 10:37-38). And Jesus did the miraculous works He referred to. Even the Pharisee Nicodemus conceded, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with Him’ (John 3:2).

“We can see such confirmation repeatedly in the lives of Jesus and the biblical prophets. But it never happened in the life of Mohammad, the founder of Islam. Mohammad believed Jesus was a prophet who performed miracles, including raising the dead. Muslims also believe Moses and Elijah performed miracles.

“However, according to the Qur’an, when unbelievers challenged Mohammad to perform a miracle, he refused. He merely said they should read a chapter in the Qur’an (Surah 2:118; 3:181-184; 4:153; 6:8, nine, 37).

“So, unlike Jesus, Mohammad never did miracles. It wasn’t until approximately 150 to 200 years after Mohammad’s death that some of his followers begin to come up with stories of miracles and ascribe them to him.” —Lee Strobel & Mark Mittelberg 

“There are two major competing worldviews to Christian theism—atheism and pantheism…. The problem with atheism is that, with its denial of God’s existence, there’s a loss of any ultimate moral basis by which to declare something good or evil. So atheists are left without any objective standard by which to judge something as being right or wrong. Instead, they’re left with mere preferences. I have mine. You have yours. Rape and murder may not be my cup of tea, but they maybe somebody else’s. And who are we to say that what others choose to do is wrong? [We are] not saying an atheist cannot live a moral life; we are saying that an atheist cannot define what morality is. ….

“If everything is part of god [as in pantheism], then what we call evil is actually part of that god as well. … This is the very god, or ultimate reality, that Eastern philosophy says we’re supposed to strive to become more like and eventually to become one with. This presents a tremendous problem: we’re supposed to join with the very entity that contains evil within itself!” —Lee Strobel & Mark Mittelberg

“Revering Christ as Lord and being prepared to defend our faith are ongoing processes in the Christian life. … It’s interesting that in the original Greek, the word Peter used for answer is apologia [1 Peter 3:15], from which we get our word apologetics. It literally means we are to be ready to give a speech of defense—a well-thought-out account of why our faith in Christ makes sense. … With God’s help we can present information that will remove intellectual barriers, helping people move one step closer to faith in Christ.” —Lee Strobel & Mark Mittelberg

“In 2 Chronicles 7, God says if Israel’s sin reaches a certain level, He’ll destroy the temple, exile the people, and leave them in a state of judgment. Sure enough, this comes to pass. The prophet Daniel prays in Daniel 9 that God would have mercy. God gives him a revelation about the temple being rebuilt. Before this new temple is destroyed, Daniel is told, several things are going to take place, including the bringing of everlasting atonement—the final dealing with sin.

“The prophet Haggai says the glory of the second temple will be greater than the glory of the first temple. God will fill the second temple with His glory. Then the prophet Malachi says the Lord will come to His temple. He uses a Hebrew term that always refers to God Himself: the Lord—He will come to that temple.

“Keep in mind the second temple was destroyed in AD 70. Atonement for sin had to be made and the divine visitation had to take place before the second temple was destroyed.

“So … if it’s not Yeshua, the Jewish name for Jesus, then throw out the Bible, because nobody except Him accomplished what needed to be done prior to AD 70. What divine visitation did take place if not for Yeshua? When else did God visit the second temple in a personal way? How else was the glory of the second temple greater than the first?

“Either the Messiah came two thousand years ago, or the prophets were wrong and we can discard the Bible. But they weren’t wrong. Yeshua is the Messiah—or nobody is.” —Michael Brown, a messianic Jew

“Even nonreligious people live in the trust that their nonreligious beliefs are accurate and that they won’t someday face a thoroughly religious Maker who actually did issue a list of guidelines and requirements that they failed to pay attention to.” —Mark Mittelberg 

“There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.” —William F. Albright

“The noted Roman historian Collin J. Hemer, in The Book Of Acts In The Setting Of Hellenistic History, shows how archaeology has confirmed not dozens, but hundreds and hundreds of details from the biblical account of the early church. Even small details have been corroborated, like which way the wind blows, how deep the water is a certain distance from the shore, what kind of disease a particular island had, the names of local officials, and so forth.

“Now, Acts was authored by the historian Luke. Hemer gives more than a dozen reasons why Acts had to have been written before AD 62, or about thirty years after Jesus’ crucifixion. Even earlier, Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke, which is substantially the same as the other biblical accounts of Jesus’ life.

“So here you have an impeccable historian, who has been proven right in hundreds of details and never proven wrong, and it’s written within one generation while eyewitnesses were still alive and could have disputed it if it were exaggerated or false.” —Norman Geisler 

“No Book of Mormon cities have ever been located, no Book of Mormon person, place, nation, or name has ever been found, no Book of Mormon artifacts, no Book of Mormon scriptures, no Book of Mormon inscriptions,…nothing which demonstrates the Book of Mormon is anything other than myth or invention has ever been found.” —John Ankernerg and John Weldon

“Jesus did exist, whether we like it or not.” —Bart Ehrman, an agnostic

If you would like to read the first set or quotes from this book, please click here.

You can check out my review of Today’s Moment Of Truth here.

And to read some of the other quotes I’ll be sharing from this book, be sure to follow me on Tumblr and Twitter.

6 Quotes From “Light & Truth—The Lesser Epistles”

Light & Truth The Lesser EpistlesHoratius Bonar’s insights on the Scriptures are amazing! So far I’ve read and reviewed three of the four commentaries he has prepared on the New Testament (you can read those reviews here, here and here). These are a few quotes from the third book on the epistles Galatians through Jude. Any reference in brackets is the passage from the Bible on which Bonar is commenting.

“It is a busy, lighthearted, laughing, pleasure-seeking world. But sin is here, and pain is here, and broken hearts are here, and weeping is here, and death is here, and the grave is here. Oh! in spite of all its laughter and vanity, it is an evil world. And the great proof of its evil is, that it cost the death of the Son of God to deliver you from it. … Give yourselves to Him Who came to deliver you from it, and Who stretches out His hands to you all day long, asking you to allow Him to deliver you. He yearns over you; and with sincere earnestness proffers to you His love, His friendship, His great salvation. Consent, O man, consent! His desire is to bless, and not to curse; to save, and not to destroy.” [Galatians 1:4]

“There never have been two gospels. There is not an Old Testament gospel and a New Testament Gospel. There is not one gospel for the Jew, and another for the Gentile, one gospel for the first century, and another for the nineteenth. It is but one gospel, as there is but one Cross and one Savior. Many ages, but one gospel; many sinners, but one gospel; many prophets and apostles, but one gospel. As our earth has had but one sun, so it has had but one gospel. Nor does it need more; that one is sufficient.” [Galatians 1:6-9]

“As the earth without rain or sunshine turns to barrenness, so is it with the Church or soul without the Spirit. … The age thinks it can do without the Spirit. Let the Church watch against this blasphemy. Let her keep hold of the Lord’s promise, the promise of the Father. Let her prize the gift; long for more of it. Let every saint seek more of it. Let our cry be continually: More of the Holy Spirit; more of His fullness; more of His gifts and graces!”

“Strength for the race is needed, hourly strength, superhuman strength; for it is no earthly race, but something lofty, supernatural, divine. Forgetting the supernatural source of strength, we betake ourselves to the internal or the simply external. And so we weary. For only God can supply the power which keeps us running. By Him only shall we run, and not be weary.” [Galatians 5:7]

“‘To Him who is able’—He is the Mighty One, the mighty God, the Lord God Almighty. Hear how this word ‘able’ is used. ‘He is able to subdue all things unto Himself’ (Philippians 3:21). ‘He is able to help them that are tempted’ (Hebrews 2:18). ‘He is able to save to the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7: 25). ‘He is able to keep us from falling’ (Jude 24). It is with the mighty God that we have to do; mightier than ourselves or our foes; mightier than earth or hell; omnipotent.” [Ephesians 3:20]

“Are you expecting the Lord? Are you living in this expectation? Is it a deep-seated, abiding, cherished hope? Is it a hope that tells upon your character, your life, your daily actings in public or private, your opinions, your whole man? Does it quicken you? Does it purify you? Does it keep you separate from the world? Does it keep you calm in the midst of earth’s most exciting events, or most untoward changes? Does it give you a new view of history as well as prophecy? … Let your expectation of the Lord’s coming be a calm and healthy one; not one that excites, but one that tranquilizes; not one that unfits for duty, but one that nerves you more firmly for it; not one that paralyzes exertion, but one that invigorates you for it; not one that makes you indifferent to present duty, but one that makes you doubly in earnest about everything that your hand findeth to do; not one that stops liberality, and prayer, and work, but one that increases all these a hundred fold; not one that dwells exclusively on the future’s dark side—the judgments that are at hand—but one that realizes the glory and the joy of Messiah’s approaching victory and triumphant reign.” [Philippians 3:20]

6 Facts About Angels

Angels from the realms of gloryAngels play a fairly visible role in the First Advent story. As a result, we can begin to piece together some facts about angels from the biblical accounts. In my series on The Carols Of Christmas, I was looking at Angels From The Realms Of Glory, and there is information about the angels in this carol that is well-support from the Scripture.

  1.  Angels were created before the Earth was created, and they celebrated as God created our universe (Job 38:4-7). The Christmas carol says, “ye who sang Creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth,” which we see in Luke 2:8-14.
  2. Angels are messengers sent from God, and they carry a message from God to turn people toward God (Daniel 10:12; Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:11-20, 26-38). In the Christmas carol they remind us to leave our contemplations and “seek the great Desire of nations.”
  3. Angels are not to be worshiped, because they are created beings. Lucifer’s desire to be worshipped is what led to his rebellion against God and expulsion from Heaven (Isaiah 14:13-14). And he still tries to appear today as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
  4. Angels long to look into the Gospel that humans can know by personal experience (1 Peter 1:12).
  5. Angels know that Christ’s First Advent is a reminder of His Second Advent (Acts 1:10-11; see also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
  6. We have been given an angelic responsibility to tell others about Christ’s First and Second Advents (notice that the messengers in the churches are called angels in Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; 22:16). The carol reminds us that it’s “all creation” (that includes us!) that joins the angels in praising God.

One of the biggest lessons we need to learn from this Christmas carol, and the corresponding verses about angels, is that we aren’t just celebrating the First Advent. We are anticipating and looking forward to the Second Advent as well! 

Next Sunday we will be continuing our look at the rich messages in the familiar Christmas carols. Please join me!

In the video below, we had some slight technical difficulties. But it clears up about the 5-minute mark, so hang in there!

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