“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the human mind, the good things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
It has been a trend in our culture for some time to consider the concept of “hell” to be one that is outdated. Some express the mindset by saying that a good God wouldn’t send people to a place like that. Yet we have that best and most-loving One on record, from His walk here with us, referring to it.
Christian writer George MacDonald lived in Victorian times. In his three volumes of Unspoken Sermons, he treated important topics powerfully and in a way that enlarges and encourages his readers. He is the writer whom C.S. Lewis described as “my master.” Scripture is illuminated on MacDonald’s pages, and one is “fed.” He touches on every important subject, just as the Word does. MacDonald’s sense of hell is that the Father who is Love will resort to whatever tormenting tactics He has to use — to cause as many souls as possible to turn to Him in righteousness and recognition.
Righteousness? In referring to the essence of the sacred text, Dr. Isaac Rottenberg, a past president of the Dutch Reform Church, observed, “It’s all about righteousness.”
Recognition? We remember the conversation between Jesus (Yeshua) and His disciples that began with His asking them who other people said He was and culminated with His asking them, “But who do you say that I am?” When Peter — apparently alone — responded with full recognition, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus expressed profound appreciation for his recognition. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you — but my Father in heaven. And I say to you that you are Peter. And upon this rock I will build my church; and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it.”
For much of our early life we appreciated the non-judgmental, progressive qualities of the liberal Christian church that our family preferred. But in more-recent years we have seen this church become increasingly one of the “ear-tickling” variety, as described in Scripture. Its primary spokespeople have chosen to be guided by what is popular to the extent that they are leaning toward secular humanism — largely abandoning this church’s Christian foundation and even disrespecting the Bible.
The perception of “crude salvationism” may have driven some toward secular humanism. This perception would perhaps be voiced by people associated with liberal churches — or even more likely by those who don’t bother with church at all. Of course there is an element of truth to this perception: that a “dumbing down” of something vast has been done by well-meaning, unsophisticated people.
Astrophysicist and pastor Dr. Hugh Ross has devoted his life to searching out answers to important questions — with the unique result being a synthesis that reflects both his considerable personal “assets” and his (at least) two areas of expertise.
We have learned from him and his organization, Reasons to Believe (reasons.org), that our world is apparently fine-tuned to an astonishing degree and in a sufficiently significant number of ways to leave no other rational conclusion than that a Designer of absolute mastery is behind the evidence that He has left for us to find! We have also learned from Dr. Ross that astronomy is entirely focused on determining when cosmological events took place.
He and his associates see evidence of this masterful Designer’s having worked for millions of years to create an ideal environment in which He could, in Dr. Ross’s words, “in the shortest time possible accomplish the elimination of evil.” He notes the many ways in which this present world could be described, as it is in Genesis, as “very good.” Beyond this world, ahead of us, Dr. Ross foresees a “perfect” creation that will be free from every manifestation of evil — just as one reads about in Revelation.
Carlisle Marney expressed it this way: “We know a secret — Jesus is the name of our species.” It has been said that Jesus was the first Human Being; but He invites us all to join Him! Jesus (Yeshua) is the perfect example of what God had in mind for every one of us. In His own precious words to His disciples after the resurrection, as He prepared breakfast for them on a beach, “Come and dine.”
Posted in Culture Tagged with: astronomy, bible, C.S. Lewis, Christ, Christian, Dr. Hugh Ross, humanism, Jesus, liberal, Peter, reasons to believe, righteousness, sacred, yeshua
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is from the LORD and is His doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22,23
Zola Levitt once said in a broadcast: “When God chooses a people, Satan chooses them too.” Dr. Brown has detailed the history of anti-Semitism, pointing out that it has had longer tenure and more depraved manifestations than any other prejudice in the world.
Yeshua invited every one of us to “become one with” Him, which He presented in the parable or paradigm of the ancient Jewish wedding tradition. The beauty of the language He chose slowly dawns on us as we become acquainted with the unique features of this tradition. It is a tradition that is well worth looking into — because throughout the New Testament His most reassuring promises are framed in an analogy to this wedding paradigm.
But Jesus issued to Israel — to His Jewish brethren — a unique opportunity. He told them that only when they invite Him to return will He return! “You [Israel] will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
Rabbi Jonathan Bernis recently mentioned that Satan knows all too well that Jesus’ return will wait for this unique invitation from Israel. Jonathan explained that this is why some of the most vicious recent hate crimes and harassment have been directed toward Messianic Jews. We have seen reports of these incidents — one particularly barbaric, all deeply disturbing. They have occurred in recent months in Israel.
We’ve seen reports of young Messianic Jewish children being tormented about their faith by other children. They’re mockingly called “Christians” — as if this were a deplorable thing to be. But Messianic Jews are certain that they are Jewish. They’ve realized that recognizing the Jewish Messiah doesn’t detract from being Jewish — this recognition completes and fulfills Judaism. This is what the Orthodox don’t want Jews to know.
This is why some among the Orthodox try so desperately to keep other Jews from reading the New Testament — the B’rit Hadashah. Some among the Orthodox will even use listeners’ memories of the Holocaust, pogroms, and other terrible suffering at the hands of people who pretended to be Christians to remind Jewish hearts or minds that are beginning to open that “the New Testament is for Christians.” The Orthodox persuade other Jews that reading it is “disloyal” to all the Jews who suffered and died over the centuries at the hands of people who posed as Christians — “disloyal” to being Jewish.
Scripture is full of such amazing and beautiful “pictures” and reversals. In a picture of Jesus’ return, David refused to return as king of Israel after Saul finally died until David’s (and Yeshua’s!) own tribe — Judah — invited him to return. Ultimately the people of Judah not only invited David to return — they went out “to conduct him over the Jordan.”
Peter was so broken and remorseful after having denied knowing Jesus three times before the crucifixion that he thought he would just go back to fishing — he thought he might be “good enough” to do this. But Jesus restored him to his higher calling by extending a single question to him three times — a question that allowed Peter to affirm three times the very bond that he had three times denied — and to receive his personal commission as well.
Apparently the ultimate “Playwright” wants the same people who, through their “representatives” who were in power at the time, “did not know the time of their visitation” when He lived on earth — to be the very ones to call Him back to all of us. This is the world’s Story; and no person could have written it.
Yeshua said that when Jews at long last look up in recognition to invite Him back He will come. The One who “alone knows the end from the beginning” indicated that this will happen! We can be in prayer to strengthen His beloved Israel — the Jewish people — against all the slings and arrows of Israel’s — and God’s — outrageous enemies. And to strengthen the Jewish people toward “the scales falling from their eyes” and the recognition’s dawning.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People Tagged with: David, Jesus, Jewish people, Judah, Peter, return, yeshua