How Can We Prove that Jesus is the Messiah?

God has given us archaeological evidence, historical evidence, and more importantly, eyewitness testimony.

“On the mouth of two or three witnesses, let a matter be established.” (Deuteronomy 17:6 and 2 Corinthians 13:1)

We have the eyewitness testimonies of Moses, Samuel, Amos, Habakkuk, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and so on.

We have the eyewitness testimonies of those who saw, heard, touched, and were touched by Jesus Himself.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Mary, Peter, Paul, James, Jude, and so on.

You have your eyewitness testimony, I have mine.  Others have theirs.

All of these eyewitness accounts are after the fact. But there is one eyewitness account that is greater than all of these.

God’s testimony.  You see, He says that He alone is God and that Jesus is His Messiah, the Savior of the world and His only begotten Son, and that we would know it without a shadow of a doubt because unlike all the other eyewitness accounts that were after the fact, God’s account was before the fact.
He told us the end from the beginning. He told us who Jesus would be BEFORE he came. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Prophecy is God’s eyewitness account and Jesus fulfilled over 365 pinpoint prophecies when He came the first time.

But God’s eyewitness account isn’t done yet.  There are still many more things that God has said that are being fulfilled today, and are going to be fulfilled tomorrow an on into the future, until He has accomplished all His plans for saving the human race, both Jews and Gentiles, people from every family, every language.

But not everyone will be saved, only those who believe all the evidence that God has so painstakingly provided, guarded, and communicated to us through the Bible, and through His people, and through the miraculously continued existence of the Jewish people that Satan has tried but failed to annihilate over and over again.

So God says to all of us: “do not be faithless and unbelieving, but believe and keep believing the truth I have given you.” And Jesus Christ says: “You believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

The End is Better Than the Beginning

Can you sense the change? This morning when I walked outside I could feel the difference. Spring and the renewal of life. As I drove out of my subdivision, I noticed two large willow trees in bloom. As I drove to work, the sun was just coming up and my thoughts turned to the LORD and something He taught me during a time of prayer a year or so ago.

The Scripture says that nature declares the handiwork of God. I had prayed and asked the LORD to teach me something from nature. He reminded me from Genesis how the days were created… evening and morning the first day, evening and morning the second day, and so on. Always evening then morning. Darkness then light. In our western culture we have it backwards. We follow morning then evening. But with the LORD, the end is always better than the beginning. Just as we start out in the darkness of sin and the fear of eternal death, then the light of Jesus Christ’s redemption, salvation, and promise of eternal life with God dawns in our hearts as we respond to the gospel follows the pattern of darkness and then light. The end is better than the beginning.

In the same way, we go from Winter to Spring and the LORD in His infinite wisdom placed the Passover of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection right at the transition from Winter to Spring. So as the Sun rose this morning, the joy of the resurrection and the promise of new life in Christ Jesus filled my soul. What an amazing God. WIth Jesus Christ, the end is better than the beginning.

The Deity of Jesus Pt. 1

2013-01-04 14.58.58When Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?[1]” they told him that some thought he was John the Baptist, some thought he was Elijah, and others thought he was the Prophet spoken of by Moses.  When he asked them, “Who do you say that I am?[2]” Peter proclaimed that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God![3]”  Jesus told his disciples that Peter’s statement was a revelation from God the Father in Heaven and would be the immovable cornerstone upon which his church is built.

In his Gospel, John set out to make it clear that Jesus, the Word of God that was both with God and was God from the beginning, had become a human being and lived among his people.  John accomplished this by writing about eight specific sign miracles of Jesus that related to eight “I AM” statements in which Jesus clearly stated his deity, all of which occurred during the three and a half years of his earthly ministry.

Although today, some people may argue that believing in miraculous signs isn’t a good foundation for faith (they also argue that ‘real’ faith is only based on believing the Word of God), the reality is that God always meets people at their level of faith and works to increase their faith, even through miraculous signs. In fact John’s purpose for writing his gospel, centered primarily upon 8 specific signs, was not only to increase peoples’ faith, but to bring it to the point where we believe the truth that Jesus is Himself the Son of God in human form, with the very same nature as God the Father in heaven. John writes: “Now Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book; but these (signs) are recorded that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.[4]

Signs were extremely important to the Jews, and throughout the Bible God manifested himself to His people through signs. Leon Morris notes that John’s distinctive use of the word sign is “an important word which points to something beyond itself… It has a meaning that is fulfilled elsewhere than in the miracle.”[5] According to Elmer Towns in the book The Gospel of John: Believe and Live, the word John used for signs was a specific word (semeion in the Greek) to demonstrate Jesus’ deity, and was different than the words used for miracles in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

In a letter to one of the churches, Paul wrote that the Jews demanded miraculous signs and Gentiles seek after wisdom.  It is also interesting to note that the gospel of John alternates between Jesus’ signs and his discourses to satisfy both Jews and Gentiles about Christ’s deity.

 


[1] New American Standard Bible. (La Habra, CA: Foundation Press Publications, Publisher for the Lockman Foundation, 1971), p. 1763.

[2] Ibid. p. 1764.

[3] Ibid. p. 1764.

[4] New American Standard Bible. (La Habra, CA: Foundation Press Publications, Publisher for the Lockman Foundation, 1971), p. 2011, 2012.

[5] Morris, Leon. Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1989. p. 2.

no plan b

Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord.19 ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you20 a future filled with hope. 12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. 13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 14 I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will reverse your plight and… I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’1

God has a plan for your life. There is no plan b. Are you suffering physically or financially because he has had to lock you down in a time out because you have not obeyed something he has told you to do? Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith. What was the last thing he told you to do? Ask the Lord if you have failed to be obedient and how, then confess your disobedience, repent and go do what he has said. The sooner you do, the sooner he can resume his plan for your life. There is no plan b, and he will not change his plan around your disobedience. See Jonah.

 

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1 The NET Bible / New English Translation (NT, 1998; First Beta Edition, 2001; Second Beta Edition, 2003; First Edition, 2005) Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://bible.org/netbible/>.

Called by Name

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Isaiah 43:1

My earliest memory of God was when I was about 5 years old. My father was in the Air Force, and my family and I lived in base housing (a three bedroom house provided for Air Force families) in San Bernardino, California.

The day I heard the call, my mom was outside watering her rose bushes, and my dad was at work on at the Air Force base.

I was in the house heading for my bedroom when I heard a voice call out to me (not loudly) “Dane.” As soon as I heard it I stopped, turned around expecting to see my mom or dad, and answered “yes.”

There was no one there.

But the voice was right next to me, and it was so familiar I definitely knew it had to be either my mom or dad.

I turned around and continued toward my bedroom. Again I heard “Dane. (pause) Dane.” I turned around again and said “Mom, dad, did you call me?”

No one answered.

I ran to the front door, outside and around the house to where my mom was and asked her if she was calling me. She said no and told me to go back and play. Then I asked her if dad called me, and told her what had happened. She said no one called for me, and again told me to go play.

I did as I was told, and went back to whatever it was I was doing. But the memory of that day was etched into my mind.

Years later, after I had walked away from following Jesus Christ and then repented at my dad’s deathbed, I was reading through I Samuel. When I read chapter 3, the memory of that moment was suddenly at the forefront of my mind, and I knew for sure exactly who it was that had called me that day.

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Detour

In 1998, I was working as a Market Training Manager for Circuit City. My responsibilities included organizing and facilitating most of the training for 31 stores in Northern California. The training department was gearing up for the holiday selling season & was about to announce the introduction of DIVX.

My manager, who worked out of New Jersey, had arranged for all the trainers from California, Arizona, and the Northeast get together for a week’s stay at a cabin in New Jersey that belonged to a friend of hers. While there, we worked on the training agenda for the upcoming holiday selling season and the roll out of a new product designed by Circuit City called DIVX.

At the end of the week we visited a few stores and then all headed home. The company had paid for my round trip flight from Oakland to JFK airport and back, as well as a rental car. A coworker and I had flights at about the same time, so I dropped her off at JFK airport, returned the rental car, and boarded my flight.

I had been up about 18 hours when I boarded my flight, which was scheduled to have a short layover in Dallas / Ft. Worth, so I took a nap. When I awoke, the flight attendant was announcing “Thank you for flying American Airlines now arriving at Dallas/Ft. Worth. If you will be continuing on to Oakland and want to exit the plane, please remember to take your boarding pass.” She then proceeded to call out the gates for other connecting flights. I double checked my ticket to make sure I didn’t have to change planes, then went back to sleep.

About 35 minutes later, I awoke to passengers getting on the plane so I straightened up, checked my seatbelt, and prepared for takeoff. I noticed that the flight crew had changed, and while people were boarding, two women had entered the front of the plane complaining and frantically checking the overhead luggage bins for their bags. When they found them, one of the women mumbled a curse about the airlines and got off the plane.

Once all the passengers had boarded, the flight attendant announced that takeoff would be delayed another 15 minutes because the Captain hadn’t yet arrived. He was flying in from Rochester, and storms had delayed their arrival.

Finally the Captain arrived and we taxied out onto the runway. I was really tired, and glad to be getting home to my family. Just before takeoff, the flight attendant announced “Thank you for flying American Airlines, now departing for Denver, Colorado..”

What?! I thought, DENVER COLORADO?, This plane is supposed to be going to Oakland California… what’s going on?!

In a panic, I jumped up and quickly headed to the back of the plane towards the two flight attendants seated for takeoff. One of the flight attendants immediately told me to be seated and buckle in, that we were about to takeoff. I sat down next to here, buckled in and explained that something was wrong. My ticket said this flight was supposed to be going on to Oakland, not Denver. She didn’t know what I was talking about, but said she would find out as soon as we were airborne.

My mind was racing. What was going on. I was sure I was on the right plane. My ticket said so. When we landed the flight attendant said so. At that moment I heard the LORD say in a quiet voice, “Are you going to freak out, or are you going to trust me?” I thought, “Oh, uh, I guess I’m going to trust you LORD.” Immediately a supernatural calm came over me and I relaxed. Then I began to laugh. Cool! What does the LORD have planned?

After we got airborne, I took out my ticket and showed the flight attendant. She looked puzzled and said that according to the ticket, I was on the right plane but we were definitely going to Denver, not Oakland. I let her know that I didn’t have any money for another ticket, or hotel, car, etc. She reassured me that she would find out what happened and the airline would take care of it.

After making a call to the Captain, she asked if I wanted to call anyone to let them know what was happening. I told her I needed to call my wife (who really didn’t like when I was gone out of town for long periods of time). She gave me her personal credit card and I made the call. I was amazed at my wife’s reaction when I told her that the LORD was taking me on a detour to Denver Colorado and I wasn’t sure why yet. She simply said “Okay. Let me know when you’re on your way home so I can pick you up from the airport.” I seriously thought “Who was that on the phone?” The LORD reminded me He was in complete control.

I relaxed and enjoyed the flight, quietly rejoicing, wondering what was going to happen.

As we made our final descent into Denver, the flight attendant made the announcement “Thank you for flying American Airlines, now arriving at Denver International Airport…” At that moment, an older petite woman stood up in the middle of the aircraft and made her way back to where I and the flight attendants were seated. Puzzled, she asked in broken English with a thick accent “Why are we Denver Colorado?” The other of the two flight attendants (who by the way was very short with me the entire flight) proceeded to say something to the effect “Oh brother, we have another one. Didn’t you people hear the announcement before we took off?” She had known what was going on the whole time and didn’t tell us or the other flight attendant!

It turns out that because of the delays due to the storms at other airports, our flight had been moved to another plane – that’s the reason the lady was so upset looking for her carry on bag at the beginning of the flight. I hadn’t heard the second announcement after we had landed because I was asleep, and this woman barely understood English and had missed it too!

The nice flight attendant asked where the woman was from (because of her accent) and she said she was from Israel I laughed out loud and knew immediately why the LORD had me on that flight! He had me there to help her!

They made her sit down and buckle in until we landed. When we got off the plane we were supposed to have been met by a supervisor, who was going to get us accommodations and a flight out to Oakland the following day (we arrived at 10:30 pm and there were no more flights out that night.)
The supervisor took us to her office and made arrangements for a flight out the next morning on another airline, got us transportation to a hotel and proceeded to find us rooms at a local hotel. As she began to call the hotels, every single one in the greater Denver area was booked. I laughed and told her it would be the last one on the list. She looked at me, perturbed, and continued to call. When she got to the last hotel on her list (of about 20+ hotels), it was the only one that had rooms and it was about 30 minutes from the airport!

As we left the airport, the older lady proceeded to give me a piece of paper and was trying to ask to call the number on the paper. When I looked at it, I was awestruck again. It had writing in Russian on it. I immediately asked her where she was from again. She said Tel Aviv. I asked her “Where were you born.” She said Russia!

Here I was standing in front of a woman who was a fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel! He promised that He would gather Israel from the nations to which He dispersed them and bring them back into His land in the last days!

My mind raced.

I traveled on a missions trip to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1996 and learned a few sayings in Russian. So I looked at her and said “Хвалите Бога” which means “Praise God!” She raised her hands in the air and said “Хвалите Бога.”

I laughed outloud with joy! Then I said “Хвалите Господа” which means “Praise the Lord!” Then I said “Иисус является спасение” which means “Jesus is Salvation!”

I paused for her reaction.

She said “Well, maybe.”

I wanted to shout praises! Ha Ha!

The next day she got on her flight to Oakland to visit her friend and was gone.

I took a later flight home. The following day I called my boss and told her the whole story. After listening quietly, her only words were “Wow.” Then she hung up.

Glory to God in the Highest. He is so wonderful and I thank Him immensely for the privilege of being allowed to participate in the things He does.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

Short Essay on Satanology

Most people today commonly accept the concept of good vs. evil. This concept is known as Ethical Dualism, and is accredited to an ancient Persian religion called Zoroastrianism. Unfortunately the idea of two equal opposing forces locked in an eternal struggle for supremacy has been misapplied to Christianity, in the concept of God vs. Satan.

The Bible teaches that God is supreme. In Isaiah 44:6, God states that He is the first and the last, and besides Him there is no God. Again in Isaiah 45:5 God states: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.” Beginning in Genesis, God is called “God Most High.” He is “the Creator of heaven and earth, and all that are in them.” God is supreme and the Creator of all things, Satan, His created being, cannot be His equal in person or opposition.

The Bible also teaches that Satan is a created angel, and inferior to God. According to Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-15 we learn that Satan, originally named Lucifer or “Bearer of Light” was created by God as an anointed angel in the order of the cherubim, a special group of angels attached to the throne of God who guard the holiness of God. We read that Satan was “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” And according to the Genesis account of creation, everything that God created, including Satan, was originally good.

So how did Satan become evil if he wasn’t created evil? The answer is found in the following verses: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you… for you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God… I will be like the Most High God.’” It impossible for God, who is Holy and good, and in whom there is no evil or shadow of turning, to create evil. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that Satan, who was originally created by God as good, corrupted himself and become evil through his own choice in turning inward, away from God.

There are some who object to the verses found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as not referring to Satan, but only to the King of Babylon and the King of Tyre. This limited interpretation of the text does not account for the following statements. First, in Isaiah 14:12, God states that the person He is speaking of is Lucifer, and that he is fallen from heaven. It doesn’t make sense for God to make that statement about the King of Babylon, whose name was not Lucifer, and who had never been in heaven. Second, in Ezekiel 28:13, God states that the person He is speaking of was in Eden, was covered with every precious stone, and was the anointed cherub who covers, on the Holy mountain of God. Since it is impossible for God to lie, the person he is speaking of cannot simply be a human king, but the principality behind that king, Satan himself.

What I find encouraging in all this is that while Satan is a powerful and very cunning adversary to mankind, God is far superior to Satan in power, wisdom, and presence. Satan is a created being who has limited power, limited resources, limited knowledge, and can only be in one place at a time. In fact, we discover when reading the book of Job, that God has complete authority over Satan’s actions, and that Satan can’t do anything without God’s sovereign permission. So by faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God and His Word, and by the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christians have ultimate victory over Satan and his followers.

Finally, based on what the Bible teaches about God’s supremacy and Satan’s inferiority, the idea of Ethical Dualism cannot apply to Biblical Christianity. God is and always has been the victor, and Satan’s futile attempts to overthrow God will be silenced once and for all when he, by the power of the victorious Lamb of God, Jesus Christ will be cast into the lake of fire along with all his companions and followers, never to be seen or heard from again.

Bibliography

Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 2001.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982.
Towns, Elmer L., Theology for Today. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2008.

Joyful Giving

In 1999 I was driving home from a business trip in Sacramento California. While I was driving, I was listening to a Bible study on a local radio station.

The topic was “Joyful giving.” The Pastor giving the study commented that when we give, God looks at the condition of our heart. Whatever we give, whether it’s our time, money, effort, or help, He desires for us to enjoy giving with the right attitude. God doesn’t want us to do things or to give with a bad attitude.

The word the Pastor kept using was “hilarious,” be a “hilarious” giver. I confessed to the LORD that I really didn’t understand what that meant. A few minutes later I realized I was hungry and decided to get off the highway and stop at Burger King.

As I pulled through the drive through and ordered, the LORD spoke to me. He told me to pay for the person behind me in the drive-thru. My heart started racing, and I was suddenly gripped with fear. “What, that’s crazy.” “What’s the guy gonna think?” “What’s the person in the drive-thru gonna think?”

“Who cares? Just do it and see what happens.”

So I did. When I got to the window to pay, I asked the clerk how much it was for the car behind me. The drive-thru clerk got a really puzzled look on her face and said “What??” Again I nervously asked how much it was for the person behind me and explained that I wanted to pay for their food.

She told me how much it was and I paid for both and gave her a Bible tract to give to the guy behind me. I got my food and left as quickly as possible. Without looking back, I quickly got back on the highway going home. After a few minutes I settled down, and it hit me what just happened. I began to laugh out loud. “That was awesome. I wonder what happened when that guy got to the window and found out that his food was already paid for!” “What’s he gonna do, refuse it? No way!”

It was hilarious. A random act of kindness for someone else when they least expected it. For a total stranger! Ha ha!

It’s what Jesus does for people all the time.

To this day, at random when I go through a drive-thru to get something to eat, the LORD will remind me of that day, I’ll laugh and buy the food for the car behind me (sometimes 2 or 3 if I have the money), leave a few Bible tracts, and leave without fanfare.

How has the LORD taught you about being a joyful giver?

Out With The Old In With The New

Our Sin nature (being born spiritually disconnected from God and in rebellion to Him and predisposed to disobey) is passed on from Adam through every male to all humankind. According to God’s Word it’s because Adam was not deceived when he consciously disobeyed God’s 1st command not to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good & evil as Eve was. That act brought the curse of rebellion & death on all mankind and put us all at enmity with God.

Since there can’t be any human being without a father’s DNA, all humans from Adam on are born with this nature, except for Jesus who was formed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit, making Him a human man without our Sin nature. That did not mean that He couldn’t sin though. Like Adam before he chose to disobey, Jesus could freely choose to obey or disobey, and He chose to always obey the Father even to the point of death on the cross as a willing sacrifice, hence He was sinless by choice. Through that sinless death He was able to do what Adam should have done for Eve, but didn’t.

When Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself, he fulfilled the law of God’s just nature and not only freed all of us from our Sin nature, he also overcame death in order for us all, through faith in Him, to be able to receive both His righteousness and His eternal life. These are imparted to each person when they repent of their rebellion against God and accept Jesus Christ and are born of God’s Holy Spirit, giving us a new nature – God’s Holy nature, so we are now able to choose day by day to be obedient like Jesus, or disobedient like Adam.