Good Passion

Today is Good Friday, it comes every year and I don’t notice it until it passes and Easter comes. And when Easter comes I usually miss that also. Why? Because Easter weekend is better known as “Alumni Weekend” where graduates (and friends of graduates, and their parents) come to visit Oakwood University and admire the campus and relive the good-old days when they attended. There are usually so many events surrounding the entire weekend (and because we’re Sabbath keepers, the hype is all around Saturday) that the fact that Sunday is the day that Christ rose from the grave often goes unnoticed. However, I shall break from tradition and dedicate this post to that event that happened so long ago.

What is “Good Friday”?

Good Friday, anniversary of Jesus’ death on the cross. According to the Gospels, Jesus was put to death on the Friday before Easter Day. Since the early church Good Friday has been observed by fasting and penance. In the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican traditions, the celebration of the Eucharist is suspended; liturgical service involves veneration of the cross, the Passion narrative from the Gospel of St. John, and communion using bread and wine consecrated the previous day, Maundy Thursday. Other forms of observance include prayer and meditation at the Stations of the Cross, a succession of 14 images, usually on wooden crosses, depicting Christ’s crucifixion and the events leading up to it. –Columbia University, Press. “Good Friday.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2011): 1. History Reference Center. Web. 6 Apr. 2012.

This idea is related to something called The Passion of Christ. No, not the movie, but very similar to it. It refers to the day that the Christ was Crucified. If you were talking about the entire Easter weekend you could say the passion, death and Resurrection of Christ.

When was Christ Crucified?

To date the death of Christ using the Scriptures alone requires a number of advanced techniques! Lets get started.

We’re going to use the prophecies of the Scriptures to date the death of Christ.

A Day for a Year

Ezekiel 4:1-7  NAS Ezekiel 4:1 “Now you son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you, and inscribe a city on it, Jerusalem.  2 “Then lay siege against it, build a siege wall, raise up a ramp, pitch camps, and place battering rams against it all around.  3 “Then get yourself an iron plate and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city, and set your face toward it so that it is under siege, and besiege it. This is a sign to the house of Israel.  4 “As for you, lie down on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; you shall bear their iniquity for the number of days that you lie on it.  5 “For I have assigned you a number of days corresponding to the years of their iniquity, three hundred and ninety days; thus you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.  6 “When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; I have assigned it to you for forty days, a day for each year.  7 “Then you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared, and prophesy against it.

God made Ezekiel do some crazy things, the prophets carried out these stunts to show how serious they were, so that the people would believe them. The point is that God was warning Israel about the possible punishment for Israel’s unfaithfulness and He assigned Ezekiel the task of lying on his side for 390 days (or a year and 25 days or 9360 hours or from the time this post was written until Wednesday, May 1 2013) and then to do the same thing again on his other side after he finished.

The Scripture indicates that the number of days Ezekiel laid on his side was to be equal to the number of years the actual punishment would take place. The introduces us to the Year-Day Principle. Lets take a look at another passage:

Numbers 14:28-35   28 “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you;  29 your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.  30 ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.  31 ‘Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey– I will bring them in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected.  32 ‘But as for you, your corpses shall fall in this wilderness.  33 ‘And your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they shall suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.  34 ‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you shall know My opposition.  35 ‘I, the LORD, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they shall die.'”

Moses sends out people to spy on the land (to get a good look at it). Because they did not have Google Earth, it takes them 40 days to accomplish this. The overwhelming report is that this land has giants in it and its a no-go. Two however, Caleb and Joshua, say otherwise and agree that with God on their side they could overtake the giants and accomplish the promise! God gets upset at the lack of faith and as a result of their lack of faith, they were to wonder for forty years in the wilderness until everyone over 20 years of age dies out. God uses the year-day principle here.

Other uses of the Year-day Principle could be drawn from Leviticus 25:2-4 when comparing it to Exodus 20:8-10 even though its not a prophecy.

Another use is by Christ:

Luke 13:31-34   31 Just at that time some Pharisees came up, saying to Him, “Go away and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”  32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’  33 “Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.  34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

Jesus was not during Jesus’ Passion Week, therefore we have to conclude that by third day  he means the third year of His ministry.

Jewish authors seem to like interchanging days with years also.

Malachi 3:4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

So the year-day principle is a concept that isn’t foreign to the text, but is used as a principle teaching device in it.

Whew, background covered, let apply this!

 

Daniel 9:24-27   24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.  25 “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.  26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.  27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

70 ‘sevens’ (others translate this as 70 weeks) are set apart for certain things to happen. The start of this prophecy was to be when the command to rebuild Jerusalem (remember that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed it to earlier and it was now in ruins, see chapter one of Daniel) Well, that time came in the year 457 B.C.

Ezra 7:13,21  13 Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who wish to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. 21 Now I, King Artaxerxes, order all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you–

Ezra 6:14-15  4 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.  15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

Notice that a number of different decrees or commands were issued for the rebuilding of the temple. But the prophecy was to be activated when Jerusalem was not only rebuilt, but restored. Everything was to be rebuilt, even the wall and the trenches…everything. This took place in 457 B.C.

Using the year-day principle:

70 x 70 = 490 days

this has subsets of 7 ‘sevens’ , 62 ‘sevens’  and one ‘seven’ .

If we take these sevens to mean weeks of days, then we’re looking at 7 years, 62 years and another 7 years.

49 years later after 457 B.C the temple was completely rebuilt.

John 2:18-21  18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”  19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”

Yes, it off by three years (the Jews’ recollection, or it may be that the 3 extra years were to touch up some stuff, this is speculation)

62 weeks or 434 years later we arrive at 26 A.D (the extra year is due to the fact that their was no year zero. Weird!). This matches the exact time of Christ’ baptism. The end of the 69 weeks is mentioned by Jesus in Mark 1:15 when He says “The time is fulfilled”, referring to the 483 years. The verse says that the messiah will be cut off, but it does not specify the time, that’s given in the next verse.

27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

The Last week, or the 7 years are the years of the covenant. After the middle of the ‘seven’ or 7/2 = 3.5 or three and a half years later Christ was crucified. This places us at. 30.5 A.D (or 31 AD).

Christ did many things on that old rugged cross (it may have been a new one, we don’ t know lol). And it is outside the scope of this post to describe in any concise way what happened when the Lord of Glory laid down His own life. Future posts will venture to describe that. For now, we know from prophecy that He gave up His life in the year 31 A.D. Good Friday is meant to celebrate that.

Here is a song that describes in short detail what Christ’ death on the Cross meant.



Innocent by Luminate

What if You would’ve never sent Your Son
What if You held back Your love
It would be so different there would be no hope for us
But that’s not the way it all went down
We’re covered by mercy now
Could’ve found us guilty but You chose to save us

We are, we are, we are innocent
We are, we are blameless
‘Cause You take all the shame
And You wash it away
‘Til we are, we are innocent

You make us, You make us, You make us innocent
You make us, You make us, You make us innocent

So we can finally rest tonight
We can finally say goodbye
To the past that held us
To the fear that ruled our lives
I know we’re gonna fall sometimes
Nobody’s got a perfect life
Could’ve found us guilty but You chose to save us

We are, we are, we are innocent
We are, we are blameless
‘Cause You take all the shame
And You wash it away
‘Til we are, we are innocent

You make us, You make us, You make us innocent
You make us, You make us, You make us innocent

We are dancing ’cause we know we’re Yours
You are, oh, You’re what we’re living for
We were lost, oh yea, but now we’re coming home, we’re coming home

You make us, You make us, You make us innocent
You make us, You make us, You make us innocent

We are, we are, we are innocent
We are, we are blameless
‘Cause You take all the shame
And You wash it away
‘Til we are, we are innocent

You make us, You make us, You make us innocent
You make us, You make us, You make us innocent

You make us, You make us, You make us innocent
You make us, You make us, You make us innocent

Terach

Images of Sumerian Idols, they most likely looked like this by the time Abraham was around.

Abraham’s father, Terach was an idol-manufacturer. Once he had to travel, so he left Abraham to manage the shop. People would come in and ask to buy idols. Abraham would say, “How old are you?” The person would say, “Fifty,” or “Sixty”. Abraham would say, “Isn’t it pathetic that a man of sixty wants to bow down to a one-day-old idol?” The man would feel ashamed and leave.

One time a woman came with a basket of bread. She said to Abraham, “Take this and offer it to the gods”.
Abraham got up, took a hammer in his hand, broke all the idols to pieces, and then put the hammer in the hand of the biggest idol among them.

When his father came back and saw the broken idols, he was appalled. “Who did this?” he cried. “How can I hide anything from you?” replied Abraham calmly. “A woman came with a basket of bread and told me to offer it to them. I brought it in front of them, and each one said, “I’m going to eat first.” Then the biggest one got up, took the hammer and broke all the others to pieces.”

“What are you trying to pull on me?” asked Terach, “Do they have minds?”
Said Abraham: “Listen to what your own mouth is saying? They have no power at all! Why worship idols?”

—From (Midrash Bereishit 38:13)

Lets Be innovative like Abraham was!!

Re-share!

Shouting John

This is how the story goes:

There was a new church being built in his town that did not believe in dancing or speaking in tongues. And when they opened the doors of that church John joined that church. Everybody got disturbed, because John was dancing all of the church. When they held his hands his legs were going, when they held his feet they hands were going, it just like fire….

Well the board had a meeting about John. We have got to do something about john for something is wrong with him. Doesn’t he not we have dignitaries in our church, doesn’t John know we don’t act like that in our church. We are going out to see john.

Well when they drove out to see john. They were driving in their fine cars. There was this 86 year old man plowing behind an old beat up mule. They came up and spoke to john and said, if you can’t stop dancing, if you cant stop shouting, we are going to put you out of our church. “Well” John said, “Put me out! I can’t hold my peace. Did you see that Land you drove up on, God gave me all that land! Not one time, have I been to the court house! Not one time I have been to the cemetery. But you don’t want me dance in your church. Well if you don’t want me to dance in your church…hold my mule I am going to shout right here!

I first heard about this story as a basis for shouting and dancing at the Adventist Youth Service for Oakwood University on Friday, August 12, 2011. I’m not one who believes in dancing or shouting in tongues while in the House of God but this struck me. People can have right actions, but wrong motives. They weren’t concerned about the theological aspects of John’s dancing, they were concerned about the “dignitaries” in the Church. Worship should be constrained and regulated not because of respect for dignitaries or cultures, but for theological reasons only.

Another point: never use a story or a parable as a primary reason for why a action is wrong. Use it for illustrations and analogy, but not as a reason. Why? because parables and anthologies have to be interpreted, and if you use a story such as the one above as your reason, you neglect to see all sides of an issue and fail to make the Bible your standard of faith.

Question: “Can an incarnate divine being be tempted?”

This was a question that I saw on a forum:

“It’s absurd to suggest that an incarnate divine being could be tempted. What could Satan offer that jesus didn’t already own? If jesus could be tempted, he wasn’t a god; if jesus was a god, he could not have been subject to temptation. The bible’s full of logical contradictions; this is one of the most obvious.”

 

 

The Question’s  Premise: divine beings cannot be tempted.
The NIV Footnote for Matthew 4:1 Says “The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.” Even though this may be the case, we’ll stick to the regular meaning of tempted — meaning that it was a choice of struggle.

  • “What could Satan offer that Jesus didn’t already own?”
    • The Respect of the World
      • Matthew 4:8 NIV

        Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

      •  In John 16, Jesus describes something to the disciples:

        John 16:7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

        Satan is the prince of this world, although condemned, he controls the powers of the governments in this world. Contrary to popular belief, Satan DID NOT want Christ to die on the Cross.

  • “If Jesus could be tempted, he wasn’t a god;”
    •  This is contrary to what the Bible teaches. It teaches that Jesus was indeed Tempted. Also, it makes the case that Jesus was so indeed tempted, that its that very fact that He was tempted is what allows Jesus to become our faithful High  Priest:
      • Hebrews 4:14 NIV Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  • “if Jesus was a god”
    • Jesus Is God. He did not deny it when people called Him God, and He is the One who holds the universe together.
      • John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      •  John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
      •  John 20:27 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.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
      • Colossians 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

So, from the evidence that we see here, we must conclude that the assumption that Jesus could not be tempted because He was divine is incorrect. Anytime a person makes such a statement from a non-biblical standpoint about the God of the Bible, they have a duty to prove their assertion using the Scriptures. The problem with many people who do not believe in the God of the bible is that they have constructed and image of God in their own mind from sources other than the Bible. Thus, the god that they believe in or postulate ( “incarnate divine being” in this case) .

Some people think that God could not have been tempted because God already has everything he wants. That’s an incorrect assumption by virtue of the fact that temptation does not have to do with material things all of the time. While Jesus was on earth he did not have all of the riches, he did not have all of the glory…but that isn’t what Jesus was tempted by. Satan was looking at this conflict that Jesus came to resolve and was going to offer him the easy way out. Satan was saying “Hey Christ! Why be spit upon and suffer and die and be tormented to win the souls of men while you could just simply acknowledge my supremacy, and I’ll hand them over to you! See problem solved!” If Jesus would have accepted that deal, sure He would have had control of humanity, but God would have acknowledged Satan as being master. So Jesus resisted the devil, and died on the Cross. He did not take the easy way but took the way that atoned for each of our sins.

Thank God!

 

The Logical End of Abortion

Abortion is an evil in the society that we live in. It is evil because it promotes ideas and assumptions that are contrary to the idea that human life is sacred and made in the image of God. Apart from that, once you logically permit abortion of human fetuses in your mind as a justifiable position, you are forced to conclude the same about other ideas as well. What ideas you ask? Alberto Giubilini,and Francesca Minerva are philosophers and ethicist from the University of Milan, Italy and the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. They teamed up to produce a paper called After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? it can be found here. In this paper they make the argument that since it is morally acceptable that a child can be terminated prior to birth, it is also morally acceptable that a child be terminated After Birth Also.

While I have used this argument numerous times in the past with debates with persons who support the termination of fetuses, they usually say that the baby has a different status once it is born. The paper makes the case that it doesn’t mean a thing. Here is the argument:

  1. Both fetuses and newborns do not have the “same moral status” as actual persons,
  2. Both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and
  3. Adoption is not always in the best interest of “actual people”, the authors argue that what we call ˜after-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

Lets break it down one by one.

Both fetuses and newborns do not have the “same moral status” as actual persons

An “Actual Person” is defined by Giubilini as an organism that has “aims”. This allows Giubilini to distinguish between a baby and a fetus from a dog or a teenager. For a baby and a fetus can be said not to have any goals or desires. While a dog may be said to “want” things. This makes the newborn a “potential person” and since a potential person cannot be harmed if killed (because it has no aims or wants or feelings, thus it would not care if it was killed) it would then cause no harm to anyone to terminate a potential person.

The problem with this argument from a humanist perspective would be nil. However, from a Christian perspective this poses many problems. How does one determine if a person’s life isn’t worth living? How can we truly say that living in a world with unexplainable pain gives a person the right not to live? Jesus Christ took upon himself humanity, which was arguably a larger degree of “shock” than it is from a normal human being to one who has to go through intense daily suffering. How does a person terminate another person’s right to comprehend salvation? What about the fight for the right to live?

The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an
existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does
not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims.(p.2)

Lets restate that in the contra-positive: to bring a new person into existence allows the person to accomplish their future aims.

The problem is that if you do not allow abortion, you allow future people to accomplish their aims. Though if you do not allow these people to come into existence, they will not have any aims. Not only does it not take into account the aims that God might have for a person, but it negates the would be aims of individuals and ascribes them to zero. Isn’t a world where more people had aims, goals and dreams more desirable than a world with fewer of these?

By the way, if a person is defined not by simply being human but by “aims” then many non-human beings would be considered “persons” and should be afforded the rights that human persons enjoy.

I do appreciate that Giubilini does bring up the fact that some people with sever mental disabilities do report to be happy, but then the argument is brought up about the burden placed upon the families. This “unbearable” burden that some people have to carry is one that these philosophers feel is far more desirable to get rid of than to keep for the sake of a person’s life. Galatians 6:2 says “Bear one anothers burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” It is the duty of society to bear each others burdens when they are unbearable for any one of us. We are are brother’s keeper.A Sure, we should avoid suffering as much as possible, but we should not allow another person (potential or otherwise) to perish so that we can be conformable.

Culture of Death

The above idea is one that is apart of what I call our “culture of death”.

Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.(P.2)

The above practices should be shunned because they all have one idea (which was something that I did not see before), that the human being by itself has no value.  (As a side note, in war, people do have value and they have the right to fight for their lives, but that’s a different story).

Proverbs 8:36 But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.

Adoption is not always in the best interest of “actual people”, the authors argue that what we call ˜after-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

The claim is made that there is much psychological harm in adoption because unlike murder, you might still wonder where your child is and you never receive the acceptance that there isn’t anything you can do about it so you’d better move on. What I say is that it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable you are: the fact that a person is living and growing and has the potential to be happy is worth more than the pain you’re going through. And I say that with much care. Our culture of convince is leading to a culture of death. WhereA those who can’t defend themselves (the potential people) are being trampled underfoot by non other than their parents.

In closing, Abortion leads to infanticide. The ethicist have shown that killing a baby is no different that killing a fetus.A As a Christian, I’m committed to exposing the lack of dignity for human life that is implicitly preached by the practice of Abortion.

-Spencer

The Purpose of this Blog

Christianity is the faith of more than a billion persons on planet Earth. However, it is a very diverse group, full of differing opinions and perspectives. Some of these perspectives are false, while all of them represent a certain way of thinking and relating to the world around them (reason). This blog exists because it realizes that there is not a monopoly on reason. People reason in different ways.  That reason is colored by a persons view of the world: their experiences, traditions and assumptions. This blog will feature a number of unique perspectives on Christianity. It is my hope that the analysis of these perspectives will lead one to consider the various ways of thinking about a matter, and to choose the one that is honest and true (if any). Thus, It is my hope that Jesus Christ will be glorified and lifted up high.

-Spencer Sims