Messiah?

Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law in Jesus’ time, who were avid students of the scriptures, did not see the fulfilment of prophecies in Jesus, who was right before them? Even if seeing his miracles wasn’t enough to convince them, surely they would have been able to recall the many things foretold about him?

Well, actually, even the disciples didn’t really ‘get it’ until after his resurrection. They truly believed he was the Messiah, the Son of God, but his arrest and execution struck a blow to them and sent them scattering in fear, even though he forewarned them of this on many occasions. Why? To put it simply, they weren’t expecting that sort of suffering Messiah, who would die for all our sins and take them upon himself (even though Isaiah clearly pointed this out – 53:5 et al.). They were looking for what all Israelites, under Roman oppression at that time, were taught to expect from prophecy:

I’ve said before; see the predicted signs once they happen. We are told to watch for them but never to predict. Predicting was the problem the Jews had when Jesus appeared – they all thought the Messiah would be a warrior king who’d run the Romans out of town and establish a new glory like David’s Kingdom again, so they couldn’t see God’s real plan when he sent his peace-preaching son. Even less could they grasp what he was saying when he said he must suffer and die – it didn’t fit into their worldview. Even John and James asked him to sit them on his right and left in his ‘Messianic Kingdom’ (Mark 10:37).

Let us not make the same mistake when looking for Jesus in our own lives, or for his coming again. Let him be what he wants to be for us, not what we expect, and to come when the Father sees fit. If our worldview hinders this, may we have the grace to change it.

Grace be with you.

Immanuel

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At Christmas time, we often hear  ‘Immanuel – God is with us’ in song (sometimes spelt ‘Emanuel’), but do we really grasp the ‘message’ that our nativity reenactment is meant to convey?

Only two of the gospel writers, Matthew and Luke, recount the birth of Jesus, so does that mean that John and Mark are not concerned with its message? On the contrary, John sets out in the very first chapter of his gospel what he wants to make known:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind….

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 1:1-4, 14)

This ‘Word’, who was with God, and was God (huh!?), from the beginning of time… became flesh and lived among us! “We have seen him!” John declares. This is John, ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved‘, who was closest to him (not Peter, the sanguine, brash extrovert, as many imagine), though John was no shrinking violet either – Jesus gave him and his brother James the name ‘sons of thunder‘! He wants to make it clear to his audience, from the start: the message of Isaiah 7:14, the sign fulfilled, actually does mean ‘God is with us’ – how the Israelites must have tried to interpret that prophecy; did they imagine it truly would mean a literal appearing of God among them?

John makes it even clearer in the opening to his first letter:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. (1John 1:1-4)

Can you sense the excitement, and the joy, as he writes this? As much as I can? He wants the world to know what he knows, what he has seen, and touched; the greatest story he could tell, and writing this will ‘make his joy complete’!

That baby in the manger we see year in, year out… John met the man, and John knew, and John tells us:

Immanuel happened!

Grace be with you, and have a Happy Christmas.

Stop it! Just stop it now!! (End Times prophecies 3)

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A friend posted this graphic to my timeline and invited my comments. Once I stopped laughing, I offered them. When I looked at the complexity of this, I then became sad; sad for the poor miserable soul who wasted half their life investigating and plotting it out. I’ve mentioned before that I spend a lot of time playing online games on my phone, but that is truly a better use of time than this nonsense!

These people need a life! Seriously!

This is ground I’ve gone over in my previous End Times prophecies 1 & 2. However, my journey is not complete yet… I’ve had some things I thought were set in concrete smashed to bits by my own investigations, and I’m entering a new era of discovery in my theology and my life.

Let me just get this clear, since I’ve only alluded to it before, stating sweepingly that Hagee’s ‘Blood Moons’ is ‘a load of old codswallop’ – here’s why, very briefly (since it doesn’t need to be elaborated on):

The premise is taken from one verse of scripture, Joel 2:31:

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

This was repeated in Acts 2:20 when on the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter spoke to the crowd and quoted this section of Joel’s prophecy.

The premise has now been proposed that it speaks of lunar eclipses when the moon turns a copper colour, sometimes a bit more red depending on the physics of it. These lunar eclipses occur in occasional tetrads of four spread over two years. That much is scientifically, astronomically true. Then it is stated that these tetrads have only occurred eight times since the time of Jesus, and they have all coincided with the Jewish feasts!

Rubbish! The whole eight tetrad thing is deception from the start (yes, I will use the word deception with no apology) since there have been 64! Yes, 64!! The Jewish feasts only occur at full moons, and lunar eclipses can only occur at full moons. Do the maths and work out the probability (roughly one in 6 of the 64 should ‘coincide’ with the feasts) and the eight tetrads that happen to occur with the feasts are actually less than coincidence, they’re predicted! And not by prophets, by any astronomer with a slide rule! The moon orbits the Earth every 27.322 days, so like a clock it is precise, measurable, calculable; it meters out days and months inexorably and inevitably, so the ‘wonderful’ figures and sliding scales in the graphic above are nothing more than the waxing and waning of our single natural satellite, that has always maintained control of our tides (and the hearts of romantic poets and minstrels).

I could jumble and juggle the maths myself to get any sort of graph I like, but I’d have no desire to get into it; reminds me of that Jim Carrey film, ’23’, that I’ve only ever seen trailers for. He becomes obsessed with seeing 23 everywhere, then sees 2s and 3s, then finds a 6 and says ‘that’s 2 times 3″ or a 5: “that’s 2 plus 3!” and so on… it’s clear he’s going mad.

That’s just the scientific argument. What about the theology? I could start by saying that this is just poetic imagery and such grand and terrible things about darkened suns and moons are found all over apocalyptic literature, of which many passages do not talk about ‘the end’, but let’s leave that aside and just accept the interpretation that Joel 2:31 is describing a real time in history with accurate detail:

As I said, this is all based on just one verse… no, hold on, it’s actually a half verse! What about ‘the sun turned to darkness’? If we’re talking about lunar eclipses, then there must also be a solar eclipse, yet the two can never occur together – we’d need two moons for that! (In case you haven’t studied astronomy from a child like I did: lunar eclipses occur when the moon is behind the Earth, solar eclipses occur when it’s in front of us, between the Earth and Sun). Yet nowhere do these people even mention the sun!

Many heresies are borne from one verse (or more often actually half a verse) taken out of context.

And look at the end of the verse, which is what we’re meant to be looking to happen: if it’s a sign for the coming of ‘the day of the Lord’ then why would God give us that sign eight times over 2000 years? Is that not a bit deceptive? Those who saw the ‘first tetrad’ (whichever one of the 64 that was!) would have been deceived into thinking ‘he’s coming soon!’ and so would those who saw the second, and the third… how would anyone know which one was ‘IT’?
And if these ‘eight’ tetrads have been significant, why not nine or ten or… isn’t twelve a ‘perfect’ number in scripture? Yeah I’ll go for that: wait until the twelfth! I now notice in the graphic that there is allusion to further tetrads into 2019… what? So the ninth set is going to be right after this one? So we are looking at more? How many? Oh, and this one now is the most ‘perfect in symmetry’ since 3000 BC!? Now I start to smell a rat! Any of these things should show symmetry since, as I said, they align mathematically according to the fixed cycles of the moon. If previous tetrads did not have symmetry, then something went wrong with the moon’s orbit! That would be noteworthy, not the ‘symmetric’ one! Anyone remember these sort of things from before? Someone would post a meme on Facebook saying something like “hey look, this year is the most significant date in history since, like, about 2002 years before the year in which Jesus died!” and then they display their wonderful maths, and I’d reply a minute later with “actually, that also occurred in every century since then; here are the dates….”

If you read this and still wish to go after the ‘Blood Moon’ stuff, be my guest, you’re entitled to, but please don’t go around trying to tell others all about it; you’ll only drag them down with you into a useless pursuit after nothing and just make a fool of yourself (and much more importantly, my Lord Jesus!).

Just in case you think I’m being smug about this, let me say that I’ve been here before myself. I read ‘The Bible Code’ some years ago and was taken in by it, stunned at what was being shown. I should have known better: there is no hidden code in scripture, waiting for a computer age to find it out; that’s the age-old teaching of Gnosticism, the idea that there is a higher, ‘hidden knowledge’ that only an elite can tap into. It’s also a general problem when a small group of believers think they’ve found some ‘great truth’ in the Bible and end up sneering at those who ‘just can’t see it’ – it’s a common trap of conceitedness.

The Bible Code was later debunked when some hoax-slayers managed to get the same ‘results’ from the works of Jane Austen!

 No, my main worry now is that we have become far too obsessed with something that we’ve already been warned about. John Hagee worked at the start of this idea with a man called Mark Blitz, who has now been discredited and forgotten since he made a prediction that the tribulation would start about 2008 and Jesus would return on 28th Sept. 2015 (the ‘last’ blood moon). Glad to see that such predicting distinguishes these people as contradicting our own Lord Jesus who said that ‘only the Father knows the time’ (Matt. 24:36). However, when I read another statement Jesus made, in his ‘Olivet discourse’ I get more worried:

He replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am he,” and, “The time is near.” Do not follow them. (Luke 21:8)

Jesus actually warns us about anyone who says “the time is near”! Does this mean all the preachers who do the usual round of ‘end times’ sermons? Something to think about, surely. I believe in the Second Coming, absolutely, but I also believe the words and warnings of my Lord when it comes to trying to figure it all out. Like I said before, watch for the signs as they happen, but do not predict! So please, stop doing that, or following those who do, right now! Free yourself.

Still like that ‘Blood Moons’ stuff? Worried about admitting that you wasted so much time reading it and believing it? The time I ‘wasted’ reading rubbish like ‘The Bible Code’ I treat as lessons for me that stopped me listening again to things like this.

Turns out I was right when I smelt a rat! Click here – it’s all a pack of lies! [Note, though, that the debunker in this video, right at the end, makes the same mistake of making his own prediction!]

Grace be with you.