Posts by bryntjones76

I am a Christian, husband and father and enjoy writing fiction that explores the sometimes confusing issues that wage war in our popular culture.

Why Do Preachers Think They can Make Stuff Up?

For a while I thought Franklin Graham was a more stalwart Christian than his father. He seemed to be unafraid of pointing out the gross errors of Islam instead of his father’s attempts to say Muslims worshipped God, just by a different name. ???

Sorry, Billy, there’s more than a few writers of actual Scripture who disagree with you.

But then, Franklin gets up at President Trump’s inauguration and says that “rain is a sign of God’s blessing,” and then points out that it started raining when President Trump walked up to the podium.

I know, this is old news. But, when I heard this, I didn’t have the audio. Now, I do. And I have a guy who points out EXACTLY what I though at the time. Enjoy:

No, Franklin, God is not showing His blessing on our nation with some sprinkles as President Trump walks up. With that sort of asinine Biblical exegesis, we could claim that God is blessing a rapist who gets rained on while assaulting a woman, or a child who gets sprinkled while lying to his parents …

Well, of course, that wouldn’t be the case!!

But that’s exactly the problem we have when so-called preachers take it upon themselves to speak for God when God hasn’t spoken to them.

In short, they’re false prophets. If Franklin has any fear of God, he’ll repent of this blatant misappropriation of God’s mind and will humble himself.

Is God On Trial?

Have you ever doubted God? Who hasn’t? It’s in our nature to question what all this means and evaluate how our lives will seem to be a random set of events that amount to nothing. We agree with Solomon’s wisdom in the book of Ecclesiastes that “all is vanity” and “striving after the wind.”

But do we realize what we’re doing when we entertain those doubts? Essentially, we’re listening to the flesh, which veers quickly to the words of Satan, “Did God really say?”

Worse, we begin listening to worldly wisdom that tells us we are the architects of our future, or we make our own luck.

Some Christians will say, “God doesn’t drive parked cars!”

Is this true? Does God need us to get moving before He can use us?

Others say we need to follow the rules of Karma, and that if we are one with the positive forces in the cosmos, then things will turn around to our favor.

Maybe you’re wondering, is God even real, or is it just “the Universe” like so many like to say.

There’s a movie out, The Case For Christ, following Lee Stroble’s research that convinces him of the ‘proof’ that Jesus was a real man, and thus, Christianity is true. The title suggests a trial of sorts, and it is a compelling story. It captivates us because we like trials and arguments. A large number of TV shows involve lawyers and trials. We enjoy parsing through the evidence to see what really happened.

This is also the topic of Isaiah chapter 40 and 41. God puts himself on trial against the idols. Actually, the idols, and the world corridors of power are on trial against God, just as Pilate was standing before the judgment bar of Christ, not the other way around.

In chapter 41, in particular, God challenges the people and their idols to tell the future, explain the events of the past … do good, do evil, show power.

Of course, the idols and the rulers cannot do any of this. Through Isaiah, God has already declared what will happen, despite people’s attempts to secure themselves against the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians. None of these great nations can do anything to God. They actually serve His purpose.

We often think that our lives are filled with meaningless suffering or unjust turns of events. Yet, God is sovereign in every aspect of what happens. When we doubt this, we’re actually being tempted to trust in our idols. Granted, we don’t have little statues made of wood and metal or shrunken heads of our ancestors, or bones plastered into the walls of our house (I’m assuming most of us don’t!) But, our idols are just as much “less than emptiness.”

We trust in the politics of today. Many trust that Donald Trump will protect Christian morality through Supreme Court nominations. Many trust in a job with the right company to provide for their needs.

It’s not immediately wrong to read the paper and make evaluations on a Presidential nomination, or seek to be gainfully employed. But, it is wrong if we start assigning God’s hand to things that we think are fitting into some plan or design of our own making. In other words, some people have determined that one way is God’s Will, and then begin constructing a path of likely scenarios that will accomplish it.

That’s worldly wisdom. That’s actually sooth-saying. We want to know the future, and we attempt to read the tea leaves or look into the crystal ball to declare the outcome. Some use the Bible to do this. They assign numbers to the letters and try to unlock secrets about the future (this is called Numerology).

God tells us not to do this. It’s witchcraft. It’s attempting to do what only God can do.

Only God directs events. Only God can tell the future. Only God can explain events that happened and what they mean.

Sometimes, God reveals the good reason for some tragedy to us in our personal lives. We come to realize the good that God was working. But other times, God simply asks us, as He did to Job, “Where were you when I created the universe?” God repeatedly says through His writers in Scripture, “Who counseled me with wisdom and taught me justice?”

The answer is obvious. No one  did.

God may leave us waiting for an answer, showing us enough light for one step at a time. And we should respond in thanksgiving for that light, and that step.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Why We Shouldn’t Fear

Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 

Isaiah 40:21-31

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.

You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.

Isaiah 41:8-13

A Useless Message?

Isaiah wouldn’t be considered a successful minister. Despite his prophecies, kings did what they wanted, repented only when it seemed they had to, then returned to their selfish, prideful ways.

Isaiah is remarkable because his prophecies pointed down the vast corridors of time to Jesus Christ, our Lord. He reminds us of God’s sovereignty over all matters of life. He reminds us that we don’t even have a frame of reference to interpret God’s ways.

That could be frightening. Imagining God looking down on humanity, regarding the lofty princes and powerful nations as “less than nothing,” and the people as grasshoppers, dust on the scales. We make no impact at all to God.

We don’t like that idea. We like to think that we have a purpose and make our mark on history. We want to be somebody. We want to make a name for ourselves. We believe we can reach the stars or build a tower to heaven. We prefer to think that we can know the deep things of knowledge both of good and evil, and that in that pursuit, we’ll become like God.

It’s all absurd. It would be like the comedy sketch Jim Gaffigan did about the toddlers who try to run away. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Only, with God, it’s even more absurd.

Who Is Like God?

There is nothing to which we can compare God. He is intimately involved in his creation, including all the stars in the galaxy, which he calls by name, not missing a single one.

Think about that when you think you’ve been forgotten by God. He doesn’t regard people the way we do. Pomp and status in our society means nothing to Him. When Jesus stood before Pilate, it was actually Pilate who stood before Jesus, his soul on trial.

With all our striving, we grow tired. Even when we are young, we do not possess the strength to go on forever. There comes a time when we are exhausted, hemmed in on every side.

True Hope of Deliverance

But if we look to the Lord, He renews our strength. He gives power to the faint. Though we be as lame, weak people, we’ll be more than conquerors by His might.

The promise that continues in chapter 41 is to God’s people, not to people in general. It is only the repentant who have put their faith in the absolute justice and holiness of God’s nature, have renounced all claim of control on their life that can then rest in the declarations that follow.

Our enemies will be as nothing at all. We’ll look for them and not find them.

The Lord holds us in His right hand. We need not fear. He is our Lord.

Does God Do Bad Things?

A lot of people like to separate God from the horrible things we see in this world. We reject that God would ever do anything hurtful. In fact, one of the arguments against God is to say, if there’s a God, how could He allow all the horrors in the world?

We struggle with the pain of this world and the idea of a completely loving, good, just God. That struggle leads some to atheism. Some, who cannot reject God outright flee to some form of human free will, which elevates humanity to a point that can nearly thwart God’s plans. Some claim that God doesn’t have a plan. He set the universe in motion and then sat back. Of course, those folks would have a hard time with Jesus and the plan for redemption, wouldn’t they?

Actually, all the scenarios above would have a problem with the Bible.

The fact is, God does the things we consider bad. Take a look at this verse from Isaiah:

Isa 45:7  I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Some will quibble with this and try to explain it. But, it speaks for itself. And, it goes on in verse 9:

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?

Paul references this argument in Romans 9:20:

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

The context of this chapter Paul is writing relates to God’s sovereignty in redemption.

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Romans 9:18

The context is how God raised up Pharaoh to show His power. Think about that. He raised up Pharaoh, and then hardened his heart so that he’d reject God and be destroyed. You read that right. It’s in the Bible.

Also in this chapter in Romans Paul notes that God loved Jacob, but hated Esau. Before they were born. Before either of them had done anything.

though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— Romans 9:11

Again,

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Romans 9:15

Of course, this is a really hard thing for us to grasp and understand. It’s hard for us to admit we’re clay and we will submit to the will of the “potter.” We’re generally arrogant lumps of clay that believe the lie that we are meant for so much more than to glorify our Creator God.

This talk of God’s sovereignty has caused some to split the will of God into parts. They call it the “permissive will” or the “ordaining will.” God may permit evil things to happen, he may even ordain that they should take place, but He doesn’t cause them.

Isa 45:7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

I was talking to someone about this and they mentioned Job. Satan did the things to Job, right? Well, yes. But, he actually asked God to do them, and God gave Satan the ability to inflict the suffering, with limits. This suggests that Satan could not have inflicted the boils and suffering on Job without getting permission.

In other words, God did to Job what happened to Job. Someone might say that God permitted it, but how is that different than God doing it? Just for quick reference, look up at that verse from Isaiah that I’ve quoted twice.

Also, you could read Job and find that God challenges Job (though he never sinned in cursing God) by reminding him that he knows nothing of God’s workings and he has no understanding of God’s ways.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

That is the phrase that saints throughout time come back to. It’s in Job, in fact. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

What does that really mean? Are we referring to His name? I like how F.B. Meyer would put it, “When you read ‘name,’ think ‘nature.'” And no, that doesn’t mean some Wiccan, ‘Mother Earth’ thing. Think the Nature of God. Blessed be the Nature of God. Who He is.

When someone travels to another country as an ambassador, they arrive at the embassy to represent the name of their country of origin. They represent the nature of, perhaps, the administration in charge of that country’s government. If they act horribly, they malign the ‘good name’ of that country.

When we say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord,” we’re declaring that God’s nature is perfect. He may hurl a storm at us. He may cause an earthquake that kills thousands. He may direct a foreign country to overrun another, causing disaster. He may direct a serial killer to slaughter people. Yet, we say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Why would we do that? All of those things I listed sound sadistic and terrible. Would God actually ordain that a small child should be tortured and killed?

The cold, hard answer is yes.

That’s actually hard to write. It’s hard to think.

But, do we have another option? Do we know better? Is our justice, love and righteousness better than God’s? Our justice system is filled with bribes and favoritism. Even in the best of places. We’re actually relieved when a somewhat good verdict happens. If our justice system was perfect, we’d have no suspense about its outcome.

And why is that? Because we don’t know everything. We have limited knowledge. The person who is up on charges may actually be innocent. Or they may be guilty and we think they’re innocent. We don’t know.

But God knows. God can direct the evil in this world because He knows what is ultimately good. We don’t.

So, when I confess that God causes the calamity and ordains the evil deeds of dictators and wicked men (and women), I can also say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord, for His ways are not my ways and His wisdom is higher than mine.”

Some revolt from this idea because they claim love would demand God stop all the pain, prevent all the hurt. The same person should revolt at the whole book of Job. And then move on to being disgusted with the whole Bible. There are people like that. They’re called Universalists. Or Atheists.

Let’s take a look at our demonstration of love. Popular culture boils love down to a physical activity, or physical feeling. We ‘fall in’ and ‘fall out’ of love regularly. Human love is only remarkable when it looks more like God’s love–when it is sacrificial and altruistic. Unfortunately, we don’t see that too often. It’s rare.

Because our ability to love is hemmed in by hurt and self-interest. We remember the hurtful things people do and we find it impossible to love our enemies, much less die for them.

But God so loved the world that He …. what? He gave His only Son. This is the infamous John 3:16. It depicts the love that Abraham had for Isaac, his only son, whom he took to Mount Moriah to sacrifice before God–which was an inexplicable request, one that should have had the patriarch turning from God.

But Abraham said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord,” didn’t he? No need to look it up, I’m putting those words in because they depict Abraham’s attitude of faith. By faith he took Isaac up for a sacrifice, trusting the nature of God who could bring Isaac back from the dead.

I don’t need to talk about our righteousness compared to God. Our justice reflects that we don’t have any righteousness. Our lack of true, consistent love shows that we don’t carry any claim to righteousness.

So, if we are so bad at justice and love, how can we then turn and be judge to God when He says that He causes calamity, He is the Lord?

Rather, we should be humble and admit we don’t know everything. We must submit to the Almighty, trusting in His nature of Justice, Love and Righteousness. He will ensure all things will work out for Good.

I’ll leave with this last thought. The whole reason there is evil in this world is because of our rebellion against Him. He would have no evil to direct for His purpose but for our sinful rebellious hearts inherited from our father Adam.

In fact, that’s why He sent His Son.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

God loved us enough to pay the price to defeat the works of the devil and purchase us out of our slavery to sin. And yes, He directed the evil that killed His Son. He drove those nails. He caused that greatest of evil in all of history. He did this, He is the Lord. And we can respond in thanksgiving, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Is Worshipping Angels Really a ‘thing?’

I was reading Colossians, chapter 2 and I came across something interesting:

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels,…

Worshipping angels? Really? Were the Colossians being pulled into angel worship? Then, I thought, do we have that issue today? After all, we’re in a post-modern era of science and reason. Certainly, today’s society wouldn’t be given to such flights of fancy.

Or would we?

So, I Googled TV shows about angels. Of course, Roma Downey’s Touched By An Angel, a long-running TV show about three angels that go around helping people. There’s a recent one about angels waging war on the earth called Dominion. We’ve got Lucifer, a show glamorizing Satan with his pre-fallen name.

Movies, too, involve angels. John Travolta was in a movie called Michael, after the archangel Michael in the Bible. Of course, the 1996 movie portrayed the angel in more “human” ways. There was also the family movie, Angels In the Outfield, where angels help a down-and-out baseball team. Or, one of the most famous movies, It’s A Wonderful Life, in which an angel is hoping to “get his wings” by doing some good deed on earth.

Of course, no one really believes this stuff. It’s just popular culture. Just movies and TV.

And yet, we spend a lot of money on it. Advertisers buy air time for the TV shows, investors front money for the movies and consumers watch the shows, buy them on DVD and pay ticket prices for seeing the stories at the multiplex.

Do we spend so much of our time and money on things that we don’t believe in?

Maybe.

Here’s another common phrase when someone dies: “Heaven has a new angel.”

Do we really believe that we get wings, halos and harps when we die … so long as we’re ‘good people?’

I suspect it’s a nice thing to say, a comforting thing for families to think, but not necessarily something we wholly believe. Like saying “Mother Nature” is throwing storms at us, or cooperating with our weekend. It’s an expression.

And yet, that’s where the seeds of error lie. We accept a silly phrase, we repeat it with no actual belief. Then, we start to believe it, secretly. What we allow in our mind becomes familiar. Then, we inch ever closer to an attitude of worshipping angels rather than Jesus. We look for an angel for help, rather than to Christ.

It’s subtle, slow and steady, this move toward heretical worship. That’s why Paul had to warn them.

Paul goes on:

…going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. Col. 2:18-19

Visions, special words directly from God, angels appearing, little books given to someone … all of those are signs that the person is puffed up and has a sensuous mind. They are not holding fast to the Head–meaning the boss, the Lord, Christ!

Sara Young, a popular author of the Jesus Calling books says that she was reading the Bible but “wanted more!” How admirable, right? She just couldn’t get enough of God!

Wrong.

The Bible says that the Word of God is sufficient for all our needs. 2Timothy 3:15-17 tells us that God’s word, all Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament) is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness that we might be complete, equipped for every good work.

Again, in Colossians 2:8 we read that we should be on guard that no one take us in with philosophy or empty deceit or human traditions that are according to the spirits of this world.

Sara Young, Ted Dekker, Rob Bell, Bill Vanderbrush, Roma Downey … the list goes on for people who have been enlightened and teach things that either came to them from a special revelation from Christ, or adhere to the ‘spirit of this world,’ which is comfort, peace and happiness in this life. They all claim that their book offers something that will give you a complete life-change.

Paul would say, don’t listen to them. They’re selling diet shakes. Yes, you’ll lose weight. Yes, it will seem to be wonderful and quick. But, you’ll be starving yourself of proper nutrients and will be fatter than you were before when you abandon the expensive shakes for food.

God’s word is like healthy eating. It demands more of your attention and time. It sometimes is more expensive than a box of toaster pastries. It doesn’t last on the shelf as long as the chemical-ladden freeze dried convenience food. It may seem to run against the popular ideas that we’ve been told all our lives like calorie counting and fat intake. It doesn’t follow the sweet tooth our commercial culture has developed. It takes months and years, not days and weeks.

Devotion to God demands we completely change our life in an inward way, not outward ritual. It’s a heart change, not a gym membership with stretchy exercise clothes.

Worship of the Lord is offended at the idea of worshipping angels, or any other person, place or thing other than the Lord and Savior, the true lover of our souls!

Is worshipping angels really a ‘thing’ in our world? I think it is. I think it’s sneaky and pervasive. I think we should take Paul’s advice and guard against it.

Was Jesus Crucified on Good Friday?

Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that yesterday was “Good Friday.” If you’re that far along, you might have an inkling that it has to do with the “Holy Week” or the days leading up to Easter, when we celebrate egg-laying rabbits. Oh, wait, I mean the resurrection of Jesus and egg-laying rabbits, chocolate and egg salad for all the hard-boiled eggs we’ve made.

All sarcasm aside, I’ve always had a problem with Good Friday being recognized as the day of Jesus sacrifice. Basically, it doesn’t give time for the sign of Jonah, which Jesus referenced in Matthew 12:39-40 in which he says:

“But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

How would we get 3 days and 3 nights from Friday to Sunday morning? Is there some quantum physics going on? Let’s count them out. Friday, by evening, Jesus was taken from the cross, prepared and put in a tomb. That’s the first night. Saturday would be the first day. Saturday night would be the second night, then he rose again on Sunday morning before the dawn.

I’m not a math expert, but I’ve counted 2 nights and 1 day. We’re missing a night and 2 days.

Well, the Jewish people observed days differently than we do, which must have been what the Roman Church was thinking when they ordained Friday as “Good Friday.”

So, let’s give that a whirl. Friday evening would have been the beginning of the Sabbath (Saturday). So, if they were trying to avoid working on the Sabbath (in John 19:31 it says that it was a ‘high day,’ or a high Sabbath, which appears to be a distinction from a normal Sabbath), they needed to get Jesus in the tomb before darkness. This was done quickly and the tomb was  near the crucifixion site.

Friday evening to morning would be 1 day (using the Jewish evening to morning). So, 1 evening to morning = 1 day (and a night?). Assuming Saturday was the Sabbath in question (disregarding John’s note that it was a high day) then that evening would mark the end of the 2nd day. Thus, Saturday night to Sunday morning would make the 2nd night and 2nd day.

The problem there is the same: In Matthew Jesus said that He’d be in the “heart of the earth” for 3 days and 3 nights.

So far, no matter what we do, we cannot get 3 days and 3 nights out of Friday to Sunday morning. We’re left with one of those burning questions of “how does this work???”

Simple–and this may come as a surprise–the “church” has it all wrong. When in doubt, go from Scripture.

Messianic Jews, those who observe Jewish traditions and the Law of Moses, note that there was a day of rest after the first day of the Passover week. This view is also held by Seventh-Day Adventists, so I’m not saying it’s Biblical. I’m just pointing out that some take the “high day” reference in John to mean it was a separate Sabbath than the weekly Sabbath that was before the first day of the week.

I suspect the fact that the Sabbath was following Jesus crucifixion is why traditional churches have perpetuated the idea that Friday was when Jesus was crucified.

But, as is abundantly clear, that conflicts with Scripture by not allowing the true sign of Jonah.

So, I’m not advocating that people need to follow the Messianic Jewish interpretations of things, or become Seventh-Day Adventists. But, we might consider if they’ve noted something true.

As a side note, just because I disagree with someone on several points does not mean they might not make a good point here or there. In fact, even a false teacher can say something that is true. Ciaphas prophesied about Jesus sacrifice for the people that they should not all die … and he wasn’t doing it out of good motives or from a pure heart (John 11:49-50).

Let’s take a look at Jonah, since that’s a clear reference.

So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 

Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

Notice, the passage doesn’t say the number of days? We get those days from Jesus’ mouth. All we see is that he was sleeping, get’s woken up, tells the sailors to throw him into the sea (for their salvation), God appoints a fish to swallow him, he prays, then God has the fish spit him up on dry ground.

3 days, 3 nights.

If we assume it was evening when he was swallowed, we have one night, then a day, a second night, then a day, a third night …. then spit out on the third day?

The only way Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights is if He were crucified on either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how we interpret the 3 days.

I believe the Seventh Day Adventists and the Messianic Jews say Wednesday. They reason that He was betrayed on Tuesday night, was hastened to trial on Wednesday, the day of the feast (which was why the priests couldn’t enter Pilate’s court), then crucified that day. He was then buried at sundown before the “high Sabbath” on Thursday. Wednesday to Thursday would be the 1st day (I guess, following the evening to morning, one day model). Thursday evening to Friday morning would be the 2nd day, Friday evening to Saturday morning would be the 3rd day. Saturday evening would be the end of the 3 days and 3 nights since it would technically be the first day of the week at sundown.

So, Jesus could rise to life at some point between sundown before sunrise on Sunday.

If we allow for Jesus being resurrected ON the 3rd day (which is contrary to what Jesus said when he said “in the heart of the earth for…”) then we could have the crucifixion on Thursday.

Why does this matter? Am I just trying to mess up people’s Easter plans? No. I’m just a stickler for details. When Jesus said he would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, I think He meant it. The Word of God is not something we can massage and change how we might prefer. Also, since it seems that Good Friday was an invention of the Roman church, I think Christians should consider whether they really should celebrate something that was advocated by the wicked State Church system.

The truth is, Easter is actually the pagan celebration of the Spring Equinox. It moves, if you haven’t noticed. Christmas is a celebration of the Winter Solstice. Halloween (All Hallowed Eve) is a celebration of the Autumnal Equinox. We tend to have celebrations on or arround the Summer Solstice, too. It’s just a human thing. We have 4 main celebrations and they match the seasons with different general meanings attached to them.

I’m not knocking these celebrations anymore than I’ll knock having a birthday party. It’s fine to have a celebration. But, we should keep in mind that the week isn’t any more holy than any other. We, as God’s people should set ourselves apart as holy for His work. And that’s an ongoing thing, not something that we do one week or day here or there.

Do You Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness?

I’m reading through Isaiah, a favorite book for many Christian leaders, pop stars, conspiracy theorists and would-be prophets. I’ve heard how Isaiah predicts the Trump Presidency, how it has “harbingers” for America as the new Israel, etc. I’ve heard people quote passages in Isaiah 41 about how we’ll look for our enemies, but will not find them and how we should not fear.

Words of comfort, for sure. Isaiah has a lot going on throughout its 66 chapters. But one part strikes me as being overlooked by those who reach a wide audience:

“For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the LORD, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink.” Isa. 32:6. 

This applies in the context of the leaders of Israel (God’s people) fearing the political climate and looking for help in Egypt. Isaiah has warned God’s people’s leaders to put their trust in the unseen God rather than the flesh and blood of the untrustworthy political alliances.

And yet, the leaders brush aside this advice in favor of going down to Egypt and forming an alliance with Assyria, etc. In other words, looking at politics for their comfort and peace.

The truth is, there is no peace without righteousness. There is no righteousness without justice. And justice does not reside where sin runs rampant.

The Christian leaders in America have largely backed President Trump. While that’s certainly fine in the context of “he’s better than Hillary,” that’s not what has happened. That statement is, afer all, debatable. I like to say, time will tell.

What I find astounding is that Christians have gone so far as to claim that Trump is a redeemed Christian, and have advanced the idea that he will create a reprieve for God’s people from persecution and danger. This idea stems from the idea that Christians are protected by the U.S. Supreme Court. It finds its source in the idea that we can legislate Biblical morality, creating a land of abundant prosperity.

And there’s the word: Prosperity. Christians in America need to remember that God is not concerned with our houses, cars, careers or comfort in this world. Jesus promised that we were not greater than our master. If the world hated him, it will hate us.

So-called Christian leaders who teach otherwise may appear to be noble and honorable, but they’re actually fools and scoundrels who leave God’s people hungry and parched.