Time and Eternal Beings

The standard secular time-travel story doesn’t include a major factor we as believers cannot ignore-

The spirit realm.

Any number of books have hit the shelves on the subject of angels, and one of my favorites is the book by that title, Angels, by Billy Graham. He weaves enormous insights on these beings and their interactions with mankind.

The Bible says powerful angelic spirits are all around us. If one accepts the full lore of The Book of Enoch, at least seventy of the original Fallen were re-purposed by God for his own ends. Those Fallen who participated in the genetic corruption of Genesis 6 are bound in darkness in everlasting chains (Jude 1:6).

One of these is mentioned in (Daniel 10:13) where Daniel prayed and the angel was resisted by the Prince of Persia – the angelic overseer of the land of Persia – for twenty-one days.

The angel claims he had to fetch “one of the chief princes” – Michael, to make his way clear. Michael is the only angelic in Scripture given the title “arch-angel”. Here we see there are other “chief princes” like Michael, but Michael has special mention as the archangel, the top dog.

So apparently this angel “ranks” enough to fetch Michael, or Daniel was important enough to warrant Michael’s intervention, or other issues were in play.

The takeaway here, is that angels are not ethereal and wispy. They have physicality and clearly can be impeded from their missions.

From Scripture, we can conclude angelics are “highly energetic beings”. If we apply the basics of physics and energy, we can derive more. Angels co-exist in the same created reality as we do – with the heavens and earth, and are subject to the same constraints of space, matter, and time, but on a different plane, as though they have their own realm.

Case in point, (Matthew 18:10) Jesus said of “little ones” that their angels behold the Father continually. If the angel is charged with watching over the child, how is this possible if its face is continually toward the father? (Ezekiel 10:14) says the guardian angels have four faces. Clearly one of these is toward the father and any of the other three is toward the child (and I suspect, the other two are on the lookout for danger). How does the angel maintain a presence with the child while facing the Father in heaven? Clearly they have the inherent ability to fold space between the earthly realm and heavenly realm. This is the most obvious conclusion.

As noted in other essays, if the heavenly creatures (and God himself) have the ability to fold space and time, this means space, time, matter, and energy, and the laws which interact with them, are all part of the creation already. God put the laws in place, just like laws of physics, chemistry, or aerodynamics, to affect the reality without suspending or changing laws. God’s laws do not change, they “stand forever” and “will not pass away”.

Why is this important? Some say God, in order to affect a miracle, must set-aside, break, or ignore the physical laws of his creation. Clearly if God’s laws stand forever, we look another direction, that God has more laws in place we don’t know about, and those laws enable his miracles. He knew what miracles he wanted to perform before he laid the first foundation stone of the Creation, so of course these laws are ready to go.

In Scripture, the angels often appear to humans as energetic beings – in “glorified” form. They can just as easily reduce to human form, or something in between as necessity dictates. In all this we realize they are bound to the same second-per-second time frame we are – when they are on earth. And are bound to “heavenly time” when not on earth.

How do these realms relate? Paul claimed one was “caught up” to the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2) where God lives. We have a first, second, and third heaven. The first heaven, mentioned in Genesis 1, is the heaven where the birds fly. This heaven (sky) is where Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Since the starry heavens are part of the creation, we can surmise these are the “second” heaven. The third heaven is where God lives.

Some have suggested the “realm” of angels is this second heaven. The Bible does not say so. It does say however, that God placed water, from the original creation, above the highest heaven (Psalm 148:4) (Jeremiah 10:13, 51:16). This means our creation is “bounded” with a hard shell of water, who-knows-how-many light-years thick. Our creation is “contained” not an open-ended “space” with undefined edges. This also means it has a center of gravity.
This prospect is scary to cosmologists, because according to the Big Bang, the universe is not supposed to have edges, nor a center.

But secular scientists also see the issue clearly:

George Ellis: “I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. …we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” Gibbs, W.W., Profile: George F.R. Ellis; Thinking Globally, Acting Universally, Scientific American, 273(4):28-29, 1995

Hubble wanted the earth to be in a nondescript location, so nobody could say we were special. But he chose this conclusion, because it fit his theory:

“Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe… But the unwelcome supposition of a favoured location must be avoided at all costs… Such a favored position, of course, is intolerable; moreover, it represents a discrepancy with the theory, because the theory postulates homogeneity” Hubble E. “The Observational Approach to Cosmology”, The Clarendon Press, Oxford pp 50-59, 1937

We could dive into a lot of other quotes about cosmology, but the heavens “declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Anywhere we look in the heavens, we find God’s signature . This so confounds the present-day cosmologists, they spin themselves into a web of concocted theories, none of which have been validated by observation. I’ll cover some of those in another essay.

Back to angels.

We’re told we entertain angels unawares (Heb 13:2). The Apostle Paul was accompanied by an angel onboard a ship destroyed in a storm (Acts 27:23). Peter was released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:7). Zacharias was visited by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:19) and the angels get into the mix of proclaiming the “everlasting gospel” in Revelation (Rev 14:6,7). Jesus Christ was announced to humanity through angels, separately to Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men from the East.

The angels can impose on the physical world because they have physicality, but can move between the physical and the heavenly with ease. In (Job 1:6) the angels come before the Lord, and Satan is among them. The Lord asks him where he’s been, and Satan says “from going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7).

How fast can they move between these realms? Certainly faster than we can imagine, but as we see in Daniel, not always with a clear path.

Satan (and the others) are clearly bound to a forward-only time frame. They are not timeless the way God is. God can see every point in time at the same time. It’s clear Satan cannot – in Job, Satan makes a bet with God, wagering on an outcome. Only a time-bound being would do this.

Today’s finite host of angels, and unclean spirits, are the same ones as in David’s day, or Paul’s day, or the ones cast-out by Christ, or seen by John in the Revelation. Michal the Archangel is still the top dog now, as in Daniel’s day, as in Abraham’s day, etc.

For telling a tale, we cannot ignore the storyworld of the angelic realm, but we don’t have the same visibility as our physical realm.

Frank Peretti thrilled us all with This Present Darkness, but as I took a few steps back, I realized he took some license with describing the angelic world. I don’t doubt the angels interact and speak to each other with independent thoughts just as we do, but I can’t reconcile some of the other notions in his narrative. For example, according to Peretti, when an angel is weakened, only the prayer of the faithful will give him strength. This looked too much like Peter Pan, Tinkerbell near death, and the audience must “clap your hands” to save her. Nothing says angels are “prayer-powered”, but this notion almost became doctrine in many churches.

Believers today walk around a schoolhouse for example, praying for the demonic spirits to be banished. What they are missing, is that angels and demons both inhabit (or must exit) based on authority and jurisdiction. The schools are public, so the unsaved and saved both have access to it, and it is under the jurisdiction of the United States – which itself is under the jurisdiction of Satan (Matt 4:8). A believer cannot banish a spirit from a place where it has rightful jurisdiction.

My suggestion – pray for the right things. Don’t pray for the unchangeable.

I find mixed reactions from the following: In Scripture, angels never appear in female form. There’s a reason for this, in that there is no marriage in heaven, so no need for male and female kinds through which to multiply. The angels are a finite host, each separately created, and do not procreate. This also tells us their DNA, if they have DNA, is markedly different from ours. We are a separate kind from the angels.

Like Peretti, many novels using angels interchange male and female angels as though female angels exist. After all, in every Christmas pageant, every Easter program, aren’t the angels played by women? Our church took a policy to replace all that with male angels and it changed the tenor of the entire presentation. Not because the church leaders were misogynists, but because God does not create male and female angels – the angels do not procreate. This was the purpose for male and female within a kind – procreation. It’s more Biblically accurate, and if telling a Bible-centric story, one must be faithful to the story first.

Taking that a step further, if angels don’t appear as female, what about the bad angels, or the demonic spirits? If they present as female, this would be expected, since demonic spirits are deceiver always. I have a number of scenes were female spirits appear as villains. This is not to say females are evil – but this is to say – the human mind is easily deceived, and if a female angel were to come to you, it should raise red flags more than anything else.

A man told me he went to a “prayer rally” at a local convention center. This is where the attendees gather in small groups and pray for things on a prescribed list, then come together to pray in larger groups, etc. He told me that their small group had less than fifteen people in it, sitting in chairs so tightly pulled together they touched each others’ knees. The main leader asked everyone to bow and pray, and afterward when they looked up, a chair on each side of their circle was empty. He recalled these were two elderly women, and there’s no way they could have exited the circle without pushing their chairs back. It would have been too obvious. That they vanished, and they were women, and they vanished on the boundary of invoking prayer, are clear warnings – if they were spirits, they were demonic.

A man tells me when his father-in-law was in a car accident, he was already dead when help finally arrived, but a young man had run up to the car to assist. A female nurse appeared alongside him and said the man in the car would “be okay”. So the young man waited for the emergency services and told them about the nurse, but she was nowhere to be found. The man told this story as if the nurse was an angel. But since angels don’t appear as female (anywhere in Scripture) perhaps we can look deeper. His father-in-law was not a believer, and did not survive the accident. So the female nurse told two lies in one. He would be “okay” – a lie because he died. And he would not go to heaven, another lie because his afterlife was “not okay”.

What if the young man had an opportunity, in that moment, to deliver the gospel to a dying man, but a demonic spirit waved-him-off with “he’ll be okay”?

A friend told me he attended a church where the worship was going great – until a man walked forward on the aisle, turned to the congregation and touched the man nearest him. The man fell flat. He moved to the other side of the aisle and did it again, same result. He made his way down the aisle toward my friend, each touch sending the person into slumber. And the man reached to touch my friend, who confessed he thought he was about to be struck with “holy power”. But when the man touched him, nothing happened. After an awkward moment, the man leaned to him and said, “You’re supposed to fall down”.

The Bible warns us about spirits (2 Corinthians 11:4,13-14) (1 John 4:1), that they counterfeit the things of God and we are not to blindly accept them. But “test the spirits” to see if they are of God. A spirit from God will not contradict God’s words, or God’s laws in his creation.

Satan told Jesus to cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple. If a spirit tells you to do this, ignoring the clear effects of gravity that will kill you on impact, it’s best to flee this spirit.

An atheist asked me, “What if God came to you and told you to go to a schoolyard and kill children?”

My answer to this was simple – I would test the spirit to see if it was of God. I showed him the Scripture from 1 John 4:1 – and said God will not contradict his word.

He said – What if God tells you these are infidels and they all must die? People say they hear the voice of God –

I said, look – God doesn’t speak to people now the way he did then. He would choose a prophet, work miracles through the prophet, and speak through him. God says that revelation is closed, so no new words from God. That means – if a spirit purports to be God, or speak for God, I should turn from it. The very fact he’s speaking to me at all is a violation of God’s own words.

Many years ago I received an “internet story” (chain-email) about a kid who was trapped under a garage door and “shiny birds” came to help him. One comforted him while another fetched his mother. They visited him again in the hospital and said their message was to “tell people about the birds”. Keep in mind, when angels deliver messages like this, they are from God.
How does this fit with God’s words we already have? These are purportedly angels speaking for God. If this is true, we can surmise one fact: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” has been postponed indefinitely because God wants us to “tell people about the birds”.

Can we see how childlike and ridiculous this is?

Test the spirits.

Some years ago a man wrote a story about visiting heaven in a near-death experience – when he was a child (Heaven is Real). He described heaven in a way that is anathema to God’s description. Today as an adult, he ministers to children in hospitals and tells them his version of heaven, not God’s version. His version of heaven, he sees Jesus at the throne, and his mother Mary is standing next to him.

Can we test this one statement?

When Jesus was on the Cross, he handed-off the care of his mother to his disciple John (John 19:26-27) to live in John’s home, so John was intimately familiar with Mary.

Yet, when John was caught up to heaven in the Revelation, he makes no mention of her whatsoever. It seems incongruous that the woman who lived with him for many years, if standing by the throne, would be ignored by the man Christ called her son, and she his mother.

Some years ago a man wrote a book about the “Blood Moons” (Full lunar eclipses, because the lower-wave (red) light bends around the Earth and makes the Moon appear “as blood”) . He claimed these were clear messages to the nation of Israel. Just one problem – these moons only appeared as Blood Moons in North America! If they were messages to Israel, maybe God knew telecommunications would let them see it over the internet?

A pastor said he passed by a fortune-tellers storefront (You know the ones, with a name like“Madam Zora” on the marquee). He said there was a car for sale out front. If she can tell the future, she already knows who will buy the car, so why not just call him to come pick it up?

On the same note, Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Network went bankrupt, and not one of their world-class fortune tellers saw it coming.

Test the spirits, test the claims.

A man told me in his youth group that one of the leaders would pass among the teenagers, touch them and they would fall flat “slain in the spirit”. He claimed there’s no way the teenagers were faking it. I asked him if he would follow-up with any of those same teenagers – the ones he knew fell flat, who were no longer with the church, and ask them if they were faking it.
In the meantime, I said – let’s say what was happening was “for real” – a spirit was overtaking them and causing it. Since there is no precedent or description for this in Scripture, our only conclusion – if this is for real – is that demonic spirits are behind it.

He fell silent to this claim. You see, I wasn’t disagreeing that it may have been spiritual – I was questioning the source – “testing the spirits, to see if they be of God”.

He never got back with me about whether his chums were faking it, and he was close enough to me that if he had such evidence, he would have presented it just to prove me wrong.

As an author telling a story – some significant questions arise in all this-

In secular time-travel, a person goes back in time say, a hundred years, interacts and comes back to their home-time. All the people they interacted with are dead. The angels however, are the same ones back then as now.

What if a person goes back in time, and meets or interacts with an angel? The traveler visits another time frame (the angel is there, too). Perhaps he comes back the future (the angel is there, too). Wouldn’t the angel remember the person over the course of history?

And if the person were to first encounter the angel today, wouldn’t going backward in time “erase” the angel’s memory of the traveler?

When this time traveler is born, long before he becomes a time traveler, and grows up, when would this angel, who had met the time traveler in the past, be comfortable with approaching the traveler for some hard questions?

Moreover, would the angel wait-it-out to see if the traveler becomes the person he seeks? And if the angel were to confront the traveler before he becomes a traveler, wouldn’t this be a little awkward, if not creepy?

So I did just that, put good and evil spirits into the mix, with the good ones assisting mankind as guardians, and the bad ones taunting the heroes.

Jesus said of unclean spirits they would “walk in dry places” (Matt 12:43). Several recent scholars have pointed to the fact that Nephilim (the giants of Gen 6) have no human soul nor are they fully human. Their spirits are “unclean”, and wander like the “unclean” lepers of first century. Their spirit can’t find rest (in heaven or hell) .

Demons are these unclean spirits. Distinct from the Fallen angelics. They look to inhabit the bodies of others because they once had a body (the Nephilim) and do not have a place of rest otherwise. They walk in dry places – as a throwback to the event that disembodied them – the Great Flood. Does this mean they have a phobia of water? Some experts say yes, so I added this nuance to some scenes.

In the storyline, Mia has an unseen enemy in the Nephilim queen Acheela, who appears in the first book as an artifact in a burial chamber. Apparently someone is trying to kill Mia, and Acheela’s spirit is part of the assassination plot. Acheela shows up later, too. She’s too good a villain not to give her more airtime. She doesn’t get much in Dawn’s Early Light since her husband, the Nephilim Ben Echel-on is the bad guy.

The point being, if angelic spirits are involved with us, they are privy to our time travel as well. This has to be weaved into the storyline so that there’s no continuity disconnect. They can’t know more than they are supposed to know. For example, Porter is a guardian assigned to Marcus Journey in modern time, but when Marcus goes back in time, he finds Porter assigned to Methuselah, and meets him on board the Ark thinking he’s a human come back to retrieve him. Porter keeps reappearing, giving Marcus the inkling that Porter is immortal.

When the demons confront the travelers in modern times, they’ve encountered the traveler before, but the traveler hasn’t- yet. Which is one of the paradoxes of time travel, that at some future point in our lives we may travel back in time to affect someone, and that someone catches up with us at a time before we ever traveled, so we have no context at all what they’re talking about.

My children have fueled the angelic portion of the adventures, and have fertile imaginations, indeed. It’s been a lot of fun knocking these ideas around with them as they grow in faith. The storylines originated as bedtime stories, then we would talk about them around the dinner table or just in the car when killing time. I’ve had the opportunity to kill a lot of time in a car, and in an airplane seat.

Yeah, killing time. Time is killed in a car when it’s not used for anything. It’s redeemed when we use our creativity,  go places, and think of new things, and use those for God’s glory.

 

 

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Dan 10:13
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Mat 18:10
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Eze 10:14
And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

2Co 12:2
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

2Ki 2:11
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Psa 148:4
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

Jer 51:16
When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

Jer 10:13
When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

Job 1:6-7
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

2 Corinthians 11:4
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

1 John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

 

2 Corinthians 11:13-14
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

John 19:26-27
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Mat 4:8
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

 

Crucifixion in Time

The Bible says Jesus is the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8)

The Crucifixion is a foundation stone of the whole creation. How can this be – if it was four thousand years into the future from the creation event?

Clearly God’s control of time, and his utility of it, plays a role in this reality. If God is at the beginning of time, the end of time, and every nanosecond in between, all at the same time, then the Crucifixion is just as visible to God as the Fall of Man. All at once. For God, they are simultaneous events.

Why is it so important to understand the Crucifixion in time? Because what we believe about history will determine what we believe about right-now, and into the future.

The Crucifixion was foreshadowed in the Passover. A sacrificial lamb, and its blood caused God to “pass over” a house and not kill the first born son there.

But wait, if the Crucifixion is a foundation stone of the Creation, the Crucifixion foreshadows the Passover, not the other way around. We should see the Cross in every aspect of Scripture.

God says “we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, but unto the Greeks, foolishness” (1 Cor 1:23)

This is because Paul could go to any synagogue and preach atonement, Messiah, etc. And Jews would convert. It was merely a bump in the road. But to the Greeks, the whole idea of a God killing His son to redeem mankind was over-the-top.

In Acts 17, Paul is on Mars Hill and confronts the philosophers with the monument to the unknown God. He starts at the Creation, and explains Christ in context of the Creation.

In Time, the Cross has a context. It’s the Fall of Man. Adam sinned, and brought sin and death into the world.

“For in Adam all die”
“By man came sin, and by sin death, so death passed on to all men”
“By man came death, by man came the resurrection of the dead”

Death and Sin are connected. Sin came first, then Death. And “death is the last enemy to be destroyed”. In fact, death is a temporary and unwelcome visitor.

What does this say of the theory of evolution, where mankind arrived after long periods of death and struggle? Death appeared before man, and so would appear before sin, and so sin and death are not connected at all.

And if sin and death are not connected at all, what does this do to the Cross? It makes the Cross meaningless.

Atheists have a pretty good handle on this:

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god.
Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!” – Bozarth, G. Richard, The Meaning of Evolution, American Atheist (February 1978), p 30.

As reprehensible as it sounds (and reads), removing the connection between sin and death rips the foundation from under the Cross.

A pastor said once that Adam didn’t physically die when he ate of the fruit, but he “spiritually died”.

Yet, we read “without the shedding of blood there is no remission” (of sin) – and Jesus most definitely died a physical death.

So why would someone say Adam died a “spiritual death”? It’s because they fail to embrace the connection between sin and death, even though Scripture is replete with shedding of blood for atonement of sin.

They are also using a “biological” definition of life and death.

Get this – when God encountered the First Couple after they sinned, he covered them with coats of skin – the first recorded death in Scripture. In the very next chapter we see Cain and Abel doing ritual sacrifice – someone showed them how.

Abels sacrifice, we are told, was more acceptable to the Lord than Cain’s – it was a blood sacrifice.

Takeaway: God established substitutionary death when he built the Crucifixion into the Creation’s foundation. But he enacted substitutionary death when he covered Adam with coats of skins.

Can we see how God already provided for Adam – for all of us – with substitutionary death?

Let’s understand the fine meaning of the forms of life described in Scripture. One is basic life (“chah”, microbes, etc), another is the life process (“nephesh”, plants and animals), another is the breath of life (“ruwach”, animals with blood and breath in their nostrils) and lastly is the living soul (“neshamah”), reserved for mankind only.

The breath of life (ruwach) is interesting because it’s the type of animal Noah preserved in the Ark, and it’s also the only kind of animal accepted for sacrifice.

The Bible says “blood is the life of the flesh”.

The Bible doesn’t say plants “die” – they “wither” or “fade” (Psalm 1). The “death” is reserved for animals with blood – this is Biblical death. While one might crunch a spider, or skin cells may die, these are cessations of “chah” life without losing the life of the flesh (the blood) – insects and spiders don’t have blood.

This narrows the definition of death in Scripture.

When we engage in discussion whether evolutionary processes or divine processes brought about mankind, we must consider the Cross. It’s not a debate centering on the meaning of the word “day”, nor is it a battle of proof-texts.

The issue with God and Time, and the Crucifixion in Time, is that God foresaw the Crucifixion in the foundation of the Creation, planned for it, prophesied and promised its coming, fulfilled it-

And all in the context of sin and death.

The death of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is foolishness to the Greeks – and if we are honest, the whole world around us has little Hebrew foundation, just like the folks on Mars Hill.

We are surrounded by “Greeks”. This means we cannot jump to the Gospel alone – it’s foolishness. We have to lay a foundation of understanding (the Creation and Fall) for the Gospel to have a context.

And that context is found in Time.

If Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, he paid for our sins over six thousand years ago. He merely consummated them in time two thousand years ago, in full visibility of mankind, so that mankind knows salvation is real, is made of flesh, and has a name –

Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

God, the Prophets, and Time

Nowhere is God’s use of time so profound as his interaction with the prophets.

The prophets are so important, Jesus directly referenced them to describe his own identity. When we look at Christ’s teachings, did he ever say “What do you think about what I just said?” This is standard for any teacher to ask, but not Christ. Instead, he asked:

Mat 16:15 …But whom say ye that I am?

Christ based everything on his identity, and he identified himself through the words of the prophets. That the prophets could see and write down the most important aspects of the coming Messiah, gave the Jews hope in its future fulfillment. Jesus was simply saying – the Messiah you’ve been waiting for, you’re looking at him.

Jhn 14:9 “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

In storytelling, the idea of “prophets” is so important, they even hold a literary place in The Hero’s Journey, a fairly standardized storytelling model used by authors and storytellers since the practice first started many millennia ago. Prophets – as  a model – are intriguing because their words are a source of hope.

We even see the “prophecy” model used in franchises like Star Wars, where Anakin Skywalker is the person who was prophesied to bring balance to The Force. I’ll just bet you thought “the prophecy” was a cliched idea people dredge up from older stories or films because it provides mystery. It’s actually holds a major functional role in standardized storytelling models.

Some have suggested the reason God’s story reads so much like the Hero’s Journey that it’s because humans don’t know how to tell a story any other way. Even folks who “jot down” a storyline they think is cool, if it involves a hero’s character arc you can bet it will align with the Hero’s Journey in many ways.

A better explanation is simply – God designed us to be intrigued by God’s form of storytelling. So its should not surprise us when accounts from the Bible align with a common storytelling model. God makes us tick, and built us to desire and appreciate a particular form of storytelling. The Hero’s Journey is a loose framework identifying the essential parts of this model.

It’s not like God tapped a pen to his tongue and ripped-out a novel overnight. With his master story in mind, he executed the story over over five thousand years or more, with real people recording their eyewitness accounts, from the time of Creation to the advent of Christ. Each section was carefully put in place with backstory, sub-plots, turning points, setbacks, cliffhangers, foreshadowing and yes, prophecy with no rival in modern storytelling.

The Scriptural prophets are interesting though, in that what God tells them must perfectly integrate with the future. After all, while Nostradamus may have mused on this and that, most of his stuff was junk and the rest is specious. God’s prophets got it right every time. And why shouldn’t they? If God is already in the future and can tell them what’s happening- they simply report it. As noted in another essay, God is already in that future but we haven’t caught up to him yet. The prophecy is fulfilled, but we haven’t experienced it yet.

Jesus appealed to prophecy for his own identity. He said ‘Moses wrote of me”. He expounded on his mission to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “from Moses and the prophets”. More intriguing, in the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Abraham tells the Rich man that Lazarus doesn’t have to to rise from the dead to warn the Rich Man’s brothers because if they don’t believe Moses and the Prophets, they won’t believe, though one rose from the dead.

I knew a man like this many years ago. He said he believed the people in the Bible wrote down what they saw and believed it to be true. He said, if he lived in the first century, and a man came along who could heal, calm storms, raise folks from the dead, and raise himself from the dead, he could understand why people would call him “a god”.

So this man believed Jesus rose from the dead, but clearly didn’t believe Moses and the Prophets.

Of the 330 prophecies concerning the arrival, death and burial of Christ, plus the allusions to his resurrection, and even Christ’s prophecy of a resurrection, all of these prophecies came true, with no exception. The odds of all 330 being fulfilled in one man exceeds the total electrons in the universe. To put this in perspective, if we took eight of these prophecies and expect them to come true on the first try, it would be equivalent to covering the State of Texas three feet deep in silver dollars, painting one of them yellow, and asking a blind man to get it right the first time.

One person said, it’s not impossible for another person to fulfill all these prophecies. My response was – true, another person could “possibly” fulfill all these prophecies, but one of the prophecies is for Christ alone. The other so-called prophets didn’t die and come back to life. The Resurrection sets Jesus Christ apart as the one mediator between God and man.

A short survey sample of these prophecies is found here:

https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/birth/fulfilled-prophecies-at-the-birth-of-christ/

God, who lives outside of time, and exists at the beginning of time, the end of time, and every nanosecond in between – at the same time – can easily gather information on what the future is like and transmit it to a prophet in his past. What we experience is a person receiving a revelation from God. He writes it down and people study it until it comes to pass.

When it comes to pass, he is regarded as a prophet of the Lord.

But wait – there’s a catch!

Deu 13:1-3 “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Clearly “just because” a prophet utters something and it comes to pass, it doesn’t make him a prophet of the Lord. The utterance cannot be used to override the worship of God. It cannot go against Scripture. The point being, even a false prophet can get lucky sometimes (or rather, even a broken clock is right – two times a day).

Just as Jesus appealed to the prophets for his identity, he also warned against false prophets.

If the spirit world wants to deceive us or draw us away from God, why wouldn’t they orchestrate an event, tell a “prophet” what to expect, and then make it comes to pass? People follow it blindly. People want hope – real hope.

There’s another catch here – also not obvious:

2 Cor 11:13-14  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

Counterfeits.A word—

When the Secret Service, or even bank tellers, are training on counterfeit detection, do they train them on all the different ways the counterfeiters operate, so they can keep an eye out for the techniques?

Or do they train them on the real thing – so they “know the real thing” so well, no counterfeit will fool them?

Do you think an orange dollar bill would be a dead giveaway? What counterfeiter would do that? No, the counterfeits to Christ are 99.9999% identical – making it hard to tell them apart –

Unless you know the real one so well, you won’t be fooled.

The same applies here. If we dilute our knowledge of the real thing, allowing presuppositions or “alternative” interpretations to reign in our minds, we fall prey to false teaching, false concepts, and belief in a different Christ.

Is there another Christ to believe in?

2 Cor 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

So there is a counterfeit Christ, Gospel, and Spirit – all of which are subtle mimics to the real thing.

Someone likened it to this:

You’re on an airplane and they announce engine failure. The only way off the plane is with a parachute. Flight attendants pass out parachutes as quickly as possible. You grab one, apply it according to instructions, and jump. When you pull the rip-cord, only then do you realize the parachute looked similar to the others, and the person handing it to you had a similar uniform to the others, but not quite the same. And the parachute bag is filled with newspaper. You were deceived.

This is what it will feel like for a lot of folks. They followed or listened to the wrong voice. The real key is subtle but profound – it is embracing the “love of the truth”. We may deceive ourselves, or be deceived, but a love of truth will be a constant “compass” to the right path.

God is pouring out a “love of the truth” on everyone. He is actively involved in assisting his creation in finding Him.

2 Thess 2:10  “…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

The wording is direct. “Received” the love of the truth. It’s coming at us, from God, and all we have to do is receive it. If we reject it, something else happens (below).

Keep in mind the meaning of “love” in Scripture – it is identified with “loyalty”. This is more than affinity, or generality, but an active pursuit. When someone is loyal, they instinctively protect what they are loyal to. They plan for its safety. They watch its back, and plan for its future. They shepherd it to a safe place and guard its safety. Our hearts are measured by our loyalties. If we are loyal to the truth, we’ll safeguard it. Keep it from being diluted or adulterated (”mixture of error”)

Let’s see what the whole verse says:

2 Thess 2:10-11  “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”

We have a choice, receive and act on the loyalty to the truth or run the risk of strong delusion. Which is worse, that we have an adulteration of error in our thinking, or that God is pouring strong delusion into our minds, effectively obliterating any capacity to think clearly?

Jesus Christ came to “testify to the truth” and to “seek and save that which was lost”.

The prophets foretold of his arrival, he proved the prophets right with his own actions, and he claimed he could conquer death. After all, anyone can claim to conquer death, but the real test is in actually doing it.

And Jesus actually did it.

 

 

Footnotes:

All these prophets lined up at various points in history, and each one was a partial contributor to the story of Christ. Some are direct, some indirect. For example:

Abraham, Isaac, and Rebekah (Gen 24) (John 6:37) (Eph 4:4)

Jesus said the “father gives unto me”, that the mechanics of the salvation protocol (at the cosmic level) is the Father gives the Bride (people) to the Groom (Jesus). The Holy Spirit calls the soul, and the Father receives it, and gives it to Christ. Ultimately Christ writes the person’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

In the account of Abraham, he sends his servant to another land to find a bride for his son Isaac. This is the same scenario as the Father sending his Holy Spirit into the earth to seek souls, each a bride for his Son.

When the servant arrives to town, he prays the bride will have certain qualities, namely a servant’s heart, but will also have certain behaviors desirable in a loyal bride. These are the same qualities the Holy Spirit seeks for believers as well. The Holy Spirit is selective (many are called but few are chosen).

Upon selection, the servant brings Rebekah back to Abraham and Rebekah is given to Isaac.

This is an image or word-picture of how the Holy Spirit is explicitly described to operate in the New Testament.

Abraham and Isaac (Gen 22) (John 3:16)  (Heb 11:17-19) (Gen 17:19)

When God told Abraham to take Isaac upon the mountain for sacrifice, Abraham didn’t flinch. He didn’t complain to God or plea for Isaac. Nor did Isaac resist, when Isaac was clearly strong enough to resist a 100+ year-old man. Isaac carried the bundle of sticks for the altar. He is described as an able-bodied “lad”, not a young child. A lad in Scripture is a child near twelve years of age. Did we see a scene where Abraham is calling to Isaac to come down out of a tree? Or to come back from running away? No, we did not.

Why did Isaac so willingly lay down on the altar? Allow himself to be tied? Why did Abraham obey so unflinchingly?

God had already promised Abraham that his seed would be called through Isaac. God had miraculously blessed Sarah with Isaac after promising Abraham his son would be an everlasting covenant. Clearly God had special, eternal plans for Isaac.

We read later in the New Testament that Abraham thought God would raise Isaac from the dead. After all, if God promised Isaac into an everlasting covenant, God would either have to stop Abraham from killing Isaac, or raise Isaac from the dead.

Some may read this as God testing Abraham, but Abraham was testing God as well. If God is not able to keep his promises, is God worthy of worship? Clearly Abraham’s faith was stronger than any person we know, if he trusted God enough to raise Isaac from the dead.

This again likens Abraham to the Father and Isaac to the Son (in imagery or type) as a model of the faithfulness of a father to both God and to his own offspring.

Abraham says prophetically to Issac, “God will provide a lamb.” This account has power in the Gospel, because it reminds us Christ’s death was necessary. Many people believe Christ “chose” to die. And while Christ laid down his life, he also asked God (in the garden) to “let this cup pass from me”. Christ asked for any other way besides his death. But Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). His death was not only necessary, but a foundation stone of the Creation.

Jacob’s Ladder (Gen 28) (John 1:51)

When Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, he saw a vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending. Later in the New Testament, angels would ascend and descend on the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Jacob’s ladder was a foreshadowing of Christ.

Noah’s Ark (Gen 6,7,8)  (Col 1:28) (Matt 24:37)

Noah’s Ark is coated with “pitch” as a finishing touch. A similar word is used where God wants to make people “perfect” in Christ. This word means “complete” or “finished”.

Jesus likened his second coming to the “days of Noah” and the Flood. This type of “escape plan” is an “evacuation before judgment” just as he likens the Rapture, and evacuation before the judgment to follow.

The Ark launches on the 17th day of the second month, which is the first month of the religious calendar. Meaning the Ark launched on the same day of the month as the Resurrection.

Adam and Eve (1 Cor 15:45) (John 3:29)  (Eph 5:25-32)

Christ is likened to a husband to his church the bride. Wedding imagery is all over the New Testament. Christ is also called the “last Adam”.

When God created woman, he caused Adam to fall asleep. When God created the Bride for Christ, Christ also had to enter a form of sleep (death) to bring forth his bride (the church).

When Eve brought Adam the forbidden fruit, Adam deliberately bit the fruit. This was a man who loved his bride enough to die for her. Christ exhibited this same love.

Moses and the Rocks – (Ex 17:6) (Numbers 20:8-12)

Moses was told to strike a rock and bring forth water, and he did so. Later he was told to speak to the rock to achieve the same result, but instead he struck it. For this, God told him that he and the generation with him would never see the promised land. Why so harsh?

Think about the model God was building here. When Jesus (The Rock) was struck (on the Cross) it only needed to happen once. Afterward we merely speak (Romans 10) to the Rock to receive living water (salvation). Moses damaged the imagery God was painting prophetically, and it mattered enough for God to exact extraordinary punishment.

Moses and the Serpent – (Numbers 21:8,9) (John 3:14)

The people of Israel were being attacked by fiery serpents (seraphs) and would die if bitten. These are described as “flying fiery serpents”, so were able to take flight and breathe fire.
If bitten, all one had to do was look at the serpent on the pole Moses had prepared, look and believe they would be healed, and God would heal them.
Jesus (talking to Nicodemus) says just as Moses lifted up the serpent, the Son of Man must be lifted up, and all who look on him and believe will be saved.
This is a prophetic model, where Jesus makes clear he will save all who look upon him and believe. Jesus focused on belief alone, no additional works required.

The Veil of the Temple (Ex 26:31) (Matt 27:51)

The Veil was the covering for the Holy of Holies, both for the Tabernacle and the Temple. The Holy of Holies is where God’s Spirit would personally come and interact with the High Priest. In short, the veil is a covering for God’s presence on earth.

Fast-forward to the advent of Christ, and Jesus said he and the Father are one  (John 10:30)     and that his body was a temple (John 2:19). This is demonstrated in glory at the transfiguration (Matt 17:2). We are also told we as believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:17).

Tying all this together, the Veil was a physical covering for God’s Spirit on earth. It was a foreshadowing of Christ, who is the physical covering of God’s Spirit on earth. It is also a foreshadowing of the Church, as God’s Spirit indwells us (1 Cor 3:17), our bodies are a covering for God’s Spirit on earth.

That the veil was rent in two (Matt 27:51) at the Crucifixion, is symbolic of God’s no longer using a physical temple to host His Spirit, but to use people for this purpose. In other words, the Temple’s physical veil was no longer needed.

Resurrection in Time

As we celebrate the Resurrection, let’s take a look at what the Resurrection means in time.

With over three hundred prophecies centered on Christ’s first coming, over four hundred speak of his Second Coming. This is for some, the most well-understood event of the ages. For others, it is cloaked in mystery. I was mentored in this subject at an early age, by my sainted mother and various pastors I met along the way.

The prophecies themselves, delivered over time, means God is sending a clear message to mankind, that God lives outside of time and controls it for his own glory.

Some believers fully accept the notion of a Second Coming, but balk at the notion of a pre-visit (called the Rapture). Jesus himself aligned it to the Jewish Wedding protocol. Here, the groom leaves, builds a new family home, returns when everything is ready, takes his bride to the wedding chamber, has a wedding supper, and whisks his bride to the new home. We see the imagery of the wedding generally matched the imagery associated with Christ’s ascension, his promise to prepare mansions (John 14:2), his return to receive his bride (Rapture – 1 Cor 15:51-52)), taking her to the wedding chamber for the supper (Revelation 19:9), and whisking her to the new home (which includes mansions in heaven and Earth in the millennial period).

God has always intended for Christ to come, die and be resurrected. Jesus is the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8) – Jesus Christ is the purpose for which the creation was made. “By him and for him” (John 1:1-5).

And if this is the case, the Resurrection was always on the fabric of time, we just hadn’t experienced it yet. Abraham was commanded to kill Isaac, even after God had promised the Redeemer would come from his progeny, and Abraham was so confident in God’s promise he believed God would either stop him or raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). The concept of resurrection was not foreign to Jewish believers.

In fact, by the time of Christ, the religious leaders had split into groups based on their belief (or lack thereof) in the resurrection (Matt 22:23). Martha believed Lazarus would be raised from the dead, in the resurrection (John 11:24). Jesus challenged the religious leaders with a trick question, with the presumption of the fact of the resurrection (Luke 20:33). Jews had a belief that God would perform a resurrection in the end of days.

To recap prior essays, God created time, is outside of time, is sovereign over time, and sits at the beginning of time, the end of time, and every nano-second in between, all at once. This means even as he was helping Noah prepare the Ark, the second-per-second clock of time was marching toward the Resurrection, an event already on the timeline, waiting for us to experience it.

As noted in the essay on the Outrageous Myth of Good Friday, the day after the regular Sabbath after the Passover is called the Day of Firstfruits. Jesus Christ is called the “firstfruits” of the “first Resurrection” – and says this “First Resurrection” is the Resurrection of the Saints, an event still in our future.

See, not even Christ’s Resurrection is the first one – it is the first fruits of the first one.

I find it amazing that God could lay out an event (the Passover), establish a feast (The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread) and cap it with the Day of First fruits – all as a template of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, which would not happen for another fifteen hundred years?

Isn’t this proof that God lives outside of time?

I sat down with a group of young men and the topic was “ask anything”, so they asked, “what happens when a person dies?”

This goes straight to the heart of Resurrection, because believers are promised everlasting life. Death has no power over a believer. Fear takes on a different meaning, but not the fear of death (1 Cor 15:55).

A friend’s mother is a hospice worker, and was asked, “Do people die like they live, or do you get a lot of ‘deathbed confessions’?”

She said, Here’s something interesting. When a Christian was told he was near death, he got agitated and ranted. It reduced to a false alarm. An atheist under the same false-alarm scenario was calm and collected. But when the real time-to-die came along, the Christian was at peace, and the atheist got agitated and ranted. In both cases, they took their convictions to the grave.

And this, she said, was how it went for everyone. She could not recall a single deathbed conversion because the people had lived their lives, had made peace with their beliefs, and saw no compelling reason to change them. What would death change? One even said that his death would prove one right and one wrong. But again, the consequences of being wrong, for the atheist, are catastrophic. Almost like putting all of our money into the hands of Bernie Madoff, even while people are warning us away, and we defiantly say – “We’ll see who’s right in the end.”

What happens when a person dies? Physiologically, the body ceases to function. All of the necessary chemicals are present, but life isn’t. Science cannot re-inject the force of life into those chemicals, because life arrived with the chemicals, from the parents at conception, and continued the passing-of-the-torch of life from all their predecessors. Once the flame goes out, it can’t be restored.  This is physical life.

But if we look deeper into physical life, we see three categories the Bible uses. One is the basic force of life, what biology call life. Two is the breath of life, what the Bible centers on breathing land animals with blood (blood is the life of the flesh). Three is the living soul, or what God breathed into Adam. This is a conscious, rational soul with an awareness of time. The other creatures have no awareness of time (apart from instinctive circadian rhythms). This means a dog cannot tell you what it did at three PM today, nor can it tell you if it’s Winter or Summer on a calendar.

In the movie The Lion King, the Mufasa character is killed in a stampede of wildebeest. He manages to save his son, Simba, and crawl up the rocks. But the wildebeest are roaring past below. Scar casts him into the herd and he is trampled. Moments later the stampede is over. If Mufasa had been human, he would have crawled upon the rocks and waited a couple of minutes for the stampede to end. Animals don’t think in terms of the passing of time, and what waiting could mean. They instinctively wait for food, and may understand light and dark, but could not tell you which day of the week is better for hunting. Or if holidays have any play in it.

Mankind is obsessed with time because there’s so little of it. Our awareness of time is acute.

When my mother was dying of cancer, she would only take a Tylenol, but no harder drugs. As a young woman, some nefarious things happened to her where drugs were administered and she lost control of her faculties. Delirium, bedspins, and it frightened her. She never again ate, drank, or took anything that would alter her perception of reality. I still recall those last months. Mom would call me (and I was her designated caregiver) and be in a fit of pain. I could order, without her permission, any drug I saw fit. But she was strong and resisted any attempt to help her. And she was in such pain. A CT-scan showed that not only was she in pain, but the pain itself was so severe it was likely altering her perception of reality. I discussed this with her, but she would not budge. I had them administer the pain medication with a needle against her wishes (I had power of medical authority, so she had to do what I said). A half hour later, she thanked me. The drug they gave her killed the pain but did not affect her mind.

Point being, I saw other people in the nursing home who had already lost their minds, some of them decades prior. They had no perception of reality. I could not bear the thought of Mom having to live one-second-at-a-time with pain so severe, such that each tick of the clock itself is brutal. The drug they gave her smoothed the pain and made her final time more bearable.

Humans have an acute sense of the passing of time. Einstein put it this way – When your finger is on a hot iron, one second can seem like an hour. But when a pretty girl is sitting on your lap, one hour can seem like one second. In both cases, time is passing, but our perception is altered.

For a believer today, the Bible says we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. It’s an immediate transition from Earth to Heaven for our spirit. Our body stays behind and does what the Lord called “sleep”. This is not “soul sleep” as some might believe. This is merely a Christian euphemism for the temporary span of time between physical death and resurrection.

But it was not always this way. Jesus said to Nicodemus that no man had entered heaven. This means all believers prior to the Crucifixion went somewhere else. Where would this be?

When Jesus was on the cross talking to the thieves, one of them asked to be remembered and Jesus said he would meet him in Paradise. Not heaven, which Jesus spoke often about, but Paradise. Where is Paradise?

Jesus gives the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man, where upon death both men arrive in Sheol, which contains two chambers. Lazarus is taken by angels to Abraham’s Bosom, or what Jesus would later call Paradise, and one landed in Gehenna, the place for the wicked dead. Interesting – the only way to get to Abraham’s Bosom is being couriered by angels. We can safely presume this also applies today when we transition to heaven.

There is a lower chamber – Abaddon, also called Tartarus, the abyss, the bottomless pit. It hosts fallen angels reserved in chains until final judgment. Abaddon is a bottomless pit – it’s at the geometric center of the Earth, where every wall is a ceiling, and there is no bottom.

We read where Jesus descended and “preached to spirits”. This spirit is the pneuma, or the name for a human spirit, not the name for the angelic spirits in Abaddon.

What would Jesus preach to these spirits, and which group of spirits is he preaching to? We can presume he’s preaching to the group in Abraham’s Bosom, because all the others (in Gehenna) did not die in the faith. This means Gehenna continues to hold the souls of the wicked dead before Christ, and all those afterward. It currently hosts such malefactors as the second thief on the cross, Cain, Lamech, Nimrod, Hitler, along with anyone else who didn’t die in the faith.

What did Jesus preach to them? The same thing he says we should preach to others (the foolishness of preaching pleases God). He preached his Lordship, that he is the promised Redeemer, and all who believed would come with him to heaven. Abraham’s Bosom is empty today.

Another group of spirits are worth mentioning, the “unclean”. These are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim (giants of Genesis 6), which do not belong in Heaven or Sheol, so roam the earth in search of bodies to inhabit. Their Scriptural name is “unclean spirit” and modern name is “demon”. But these are not the fallen spirits hosted in Abaddon. In Revelation we read where “death and hell” gave up the souls in them. What souls are hosted in “death” that aren’t hosted in hell? The spirits of the dead Nephilim.

Interestingly, these spirits were disembodied by the Flood of Noah, and their death was the primary purpose of the Flood. Jesus later says these spirits, when cast out of a host, “wander in dry places.” Recall when Jesus cast them out of a man and put them into swine, the swine ran for water, as though instinctively knowing the water would free them of the demon. We could then ask – is water a type of “phobia” for them?

In one scene, Mia protects herself with a line of water, and the spirit doesn’t cross it.

Hard questions

We often hear a question like – what about babies – or the “man on the desert island” – where do they go when they die?

The Bible says that babies of believers go to heaven. The word “holy” is the same Greek word for “saint”. It offers no promises to babies of unbelievers. This continues the theme of “peace” for believers and “urgency” for unbelievers. In other words, if you as an unbeliever are concerned about it, why don’t you cover them by becoming a believer?

One man said he was in a car accident before he became a Christian, and the accident killed his wife and two infant children. He believes they all three went to hell that day, but when he became a believer, his babies were removed from hell and put in heaven. No record or account of this circumstance is addressed in Scripture, but the man’s faith led him to this conclusion.

One faith system places babies in “Limbo” where they float around for eternity. There is no doctrine of Limbo in Scripture. And why would God do this? The Bible says we are born sinners, and cannot come into the presence of God. Jesus, in covering us with his own blood, “hides” our sin from God. “We are hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). The question is – what does God do with the babies of unbelievers?

But in both cases, the desert island and babies – or any other “hard case” – here is the operant principle: God is good. He has taken gigantic steps to see to it that nobody perish. I’m not one to add to Scripture, so I will speculate only on God’s goodness. I don’t believe anyone in heaven, upon such folks coming before God, he didn’t have a plan in place to get the Gospel to them before they died, even if it was an interaction with the soul in the twilight of death. Likewise for babies – I just don’t think anyone will be pointing a finger at God for being unfair, unjust, etc. God is big enough, loving enough, and good enough to work it out. If I’m part of it, all the better.

What is death?
On two occasions, Jesus raised people from the dead. Before doing so, he claimed they were asleep (Matt 9:24, John 11:11). When he raised the girl, it says “her spirit came again.” Keep in mind that both the girl and Lazarus were not “resurrected” they were “resuscitated” – they did not rise from the dead as immortal. They eventually died again (and it is appointed to die only once (Hebrews 9:27).

So Jesus had it right – they were both sleeping, but clinically dead. In short, they were beyond what any doctor could do to help them.

Concerning death, the Bible speaks of a silver cord (Eccl 12:6). People in near-death experiences sometimes confess they have an out-of-body moment where they hover over their body, even the whole scene around it. They sometimes report the presence of a silvery cord attached to their spirit and their body.

Death in Scripture has a more constrained meaning than in biology. Death in Scripture is cessation of life in a blood-borne creature with a beating heart (Gen 9:4, Lev 17:11,14, Deut 12:23).

Death is the penalty for sin (Rom 6:23)

Blood is the price for sin (Lev 17:11,Heb 9:22)

Follow this: The Bible says that death came into the earth after Adam sinned:

1Co 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1Co 15:21 “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
Rom 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

Can we see the progression in the above? Sin brought death into the world. Sin preceded death. Why is this important?

Death is not natural, and is the “last enemy that shall be destroyed”  (1 Cor 15:26). If death is not natural, what is? Eternal life is natural. The couple in the Garden were told to eat from the tree of life, which meant they would live forever – as long as they kept doing it.

There’s even a law tying sin and death together:

Rom 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Important point: If death came after sin, what does this say of evolution’s narrative and its compatibility with Christanity? Evolution claims death reigned the earth before mankind ever showed up. Remove the relationship between sin and death, we remove the very meaning of the Cross. Evolution is an attack on the Cross.

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death.  If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!”
Bozarth, G. Richard, The Meaning of Evolution, American Atheist (February 1978), p 30

What is Resurrection?

If Jesus is the firstfruits (1 Cor 15:20) of the first resurrection (Rev 20:5), we can look to his description for insight. He could walk through walls, was hungry, had the scars attained in life, and remembered earthly life. He was also immortal, and uncorrupted from sin. This means the resurrected body has similar biological function to our body today, but little distinction otherwise.

All people are resurrected in body, soul, and spirit. Some to everlasting life, and some to eternal damnation (John 5:29). Jesus said to fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28). So the body goes with us to heaven, or it goes with us to hell. If to hell, soul and body are destroyed (Greek apollymi – perish, lost, ruin, destroy).

In the account of the dry bones (Ez 37), Ezekiel sees a bunch of bones go into upright skeletons, and flesh forms on them. We can imagine this process took at least five minutes, maybe less, but it’s described as over a duration.

In the account of the Rapture, the dead precede the living, but all are transformed at the same time (1 Cor 15:51,52). This simply means, if we’re still alive, we’ll be transformed into our new bodies, and will remain this way until the dead believers are brought from the graves and reconstructed. How long before this is complete and we join them? Minutes, it seems. The verses are given as a way to set our expectation for a duration. In the book series, the Rapture events are always depicted this way. They transform, linger for a short duration, and vanish.

Concerning dry bones above, recall Adam was made from dust of the ground. When we eat or drink, the chemicals in our body are swapped out with the incoming chemicals. All over our body, the cells are replaced with new ones based on the type of food consumed. Each cell is comprised of water, chemicals, and information – the information in the DNA. While the cell dies and is replaced with a new one, the DNA transfers from the old to the new.  The information in DNA is preserved even though everything about the cell is transient.

Moreover, the soul is not part of the physical body (silver cord above). So as chemicals are swapped-out and cells replaced, the soul remains intact as well.

In fact, with all the activity for maintaining physical swap-out of chemicals, we may forget the only two things that remain, are both eternal – the information in our DNA and our souls.

If God has access to dust (he does) and access to our genetic information (he does) and access to our spirit (he does), then it’s a short leap to resurrecting a long-dead person into a living one.

When is resurrection?

Jesus said no man knows the day and hour, but also said we can know when the season has neared.

He likened it to the Jewish wedding protocol. The groom promises, goes to build a house, returns for the wedding when he’s ready. She is to wait with her lamp trimmed, with plenty of oil to see her to the bridal chamber. She knows “about” the time he will come but not the exact day nor hour. She’s prepared.

He also said he would come as a thief in the night, surprising those unprepared.

The “when” also goes to timing (mentioned above).  But in our case, it also includes a racing clock. Getting things done before a deadline. Working while it’s daylight. A field “white unto harvest”, but lacking workers to reap it. The time of salvation is now. Urgency, urgency.

All this leads to a future point in time, an event popularly called the Rapture, which is described in numerous places in Scripture. We are encouraged this is the “blessed hope” of the church. (Titus 2:13).

I recall a debate/discussion in our office cubicles where a dear saint was poorly defending the Lord’s Second Coming. The nay-sayer said (per Hollywood renditions) that Jesus would return as a baby – as he did the first time. And if so, how will you know it’s him. The dear saint pulled snippets of Scripture, what she knew, but could not withstand the tsunami of logic coming from this rather rabid atheist.

The Scripture says Jesus Christ will appear “in the clouds, with power and great glory” (Matt 24:30). I shared this with the atheist, and simply said, “If someone shows up floating in the clouds, with power and great glory, he’s got my vote.” The atheist was stunned that he’d missed something so simple.

Another nay-sayer, who wasn’t familiar with Scripture, told me “the Bible says believers sleep, but we know they are dead.”

I told him the Scripture says when we die, our spirits are immediately in the presence of the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). He told me this is not the case. I said – “you mean, you don’t think it happens, or it’s not in the Bible?” He said it wasn’t in the Bible, so I showed it to him. His answer – “that’s not my understanding.” So I challenged him – how do you reconcile this verse with your understanding, without changing your understanding in light of new information? He said he’d think about it.

This same nay-sayer had another thing to say. I walked from our lunch area with a new believer and we were talking about all kinds of Biblical events and concepts. When we walked past his cubicle, he sprang from his seat as though electrocuted. “What are you guys talking about?”

My cubicle was near, and my phone rang, so I had to take it, but I listened with the other ear as this nay-sayer hammered the new believer. When I returned, he said “I was just telling him, what does it matter? Whether we believe in God or not, as long as we think we’re doing the right thing-”

So I said – “You told me once that you don’t like seafood. If we were walking past just now, and going on about the best seafood restaurants, you wouldn’t care about the conversation at all. But just now, you jumped out of your seat and injected yourself. Clearly it does matter – to you.”

Going too far

Some friends and I traveled by car to Kansas city for a wedding. We were all to be groomsmen. The groom gave us instructions using landmarks, and said, if you see thus-and-so, you’ve gone too far.
Everybody in the car but me thought this was a goofy thing to say. Sort of like, when you get to the last stop sign, turn left.
True to form, we were engrossed in conversation and missed the turn. We passed thus-and-so, and I pointed it out. Everyone looked around and laughed, and we turned around.

The Apostle Paul did something similar for us concerning the Rapture event. He warned us about the “son of perdition” what end-times-prophecy writers call “the Antichrist” in 2Th 2:1-12.
In this passage, Paul offers comfort to those who fear the Rapture may have passed them by. Apparently someone sent them a letter (v2) and Paul told them the Antichrist had not yet arrived.

Many people have asked me over the years, “Is so-and-so the Antichrist?” And the answer is of course, no, because the Rapture hasn’t happened yet. In (v5) Paul says he’s already discussed all this with them, so he’s offering a summary in this text.

Also, God’s Spirit is on the earth (v7) differently than before Christ. In prior time, God’s spirit would fall on a prophet, but not all the believers. After Christ, God’s spirit indwells all believers and His influence radiates from the believer. All this stops when the believers are Raptured. Moreover, the power of God’s spirit to abate evil goes with them, too. Evil has full sway.

In (v10,11) we see when people reject the “love of truth”, God will send “strong delusion”. I would argue this strong delusion is already underway. And will be more so after the Rapture.

 

Rapture

The word “Rapture” does not appear in Scripture. It is derived from the Greek word for the phrase “caught up”. In plain terms, being “caught up” is transitioning from one place to another in an instant of time.

And just as we can know flight is possible from watching birds, we can also know space-folding is possible based on it demonstrated in Scripture.

Let’s look at how God uses time-related metaphors to describe his return:

1 Cor 15:51-53- “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…” What happens? We shall all be changed.

Phase One – Trumpet sounds
Phase Two – Every believer transformed
Phase Three: dead are raised, living people follow

What is the time differential between the two phases? A noticeable duration. Here’s more:

1 Thess 4:14-18 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

The takeaways here –

Phase One – The Lord descends with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God.
Phase Two: Dead are raised
Phase three: Remaining living are raised and “caught up” together with them in the clouds.

This passage contains more detail, but the same basic model.

Luke 17:34 “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

1 Th 5:2 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

Mat 24:36-39
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

In the above, the Rapture appears suddenly and without warning of any kind. The days leading up to it are routine, everyday, nothing special or out-of-the ordinary.

If we look at Revelation, we see some extraordinary things. Angels preach to mankind. The two witnesses are causing devastating plagues worldwide. A megalomaniac has taken over the world as its emperor. These are not routine, everyday things.

The Rapture transpires in phases.

First, the Lord arrives, announced, and in the clouds.

Second, all living humans are transformed, in the “twinkling of an eye”. Faster than a blink.

Third phase commences, that of resurrecting the dead. The valley of the dry bones could approximate the duration of this phase. Meantime, all living believers are still on the ground, in transformed bodies. The clock is ticking, so what will they do with the time? Plea to those watching? Call a loved one? Say goodbye to those around them?
Keep in mind the resurrected dead are still on the ground, too. They are being reconstructed in real-time, before the eyes of any onlookers.

Fourth, all believers, the resurrected dead and transformed living, join the Lord in the air.

One could say a last phase commences, that of what happens next?

God says he will keep things consistent (Gen 8:22) “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

God says he upholds the entire creation with the word of his power (Heb 1:3).

So we can know things will hold together. This event will not unravel physics. It was planned for.

It’s important to place each portion of the prophecy into its “timeline” context, and not jumble them together as if their sequencing doesn’t matter. It is our resurrection after all.

Jesus and the Apostles gave us enough information to know and to “comfort one another with these words.”

 

 

References

 

 

2Th 2:1-12
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

 

Heavenly Time

The Apostle Peter offers a short monologue on the last days (reference verses at end of this essay), and ends with a mysterious note. The key verse about time is:

2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

Another verse:

Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

Those who play fast and loose with time, that is, evolutionary time, take these verses as metaphorical. I’ve heard pastors say – this means a thousand years passes like a second…

No, it says a thousand years is as a day. One day = one thousand years. That’s what it says. In two places.

The reason a liberal interpretation is favorable to them, is they choose to shrink from the notion the Earth and Cosmos are young. What does time matter to God after all? Turns out, time is precious to God. He invented it for a reason, and uses it to express his greatest glory.

No big, right?

These verses, if taken in context, have a literal meaning. If we divide the day into twenty-four one-hour segments, and divide one-thousand by the results, we can see if a day is as a thousand years, an hour is about forty-two years.

Think about this context. We arrive in heaven after death, and barely one hour passes with each forty-two years on earth. Or rather, when my mother died years ago, she entered heaven, and I don’t believe I’ll survive forty-two more years (I could be wrong). But let’s say I die twenty-one years later. When I arrive in heaven, only thirty heavenly minutes have passed.

Why is this important? Think about organizing a family reunion. Everyone is supposed to arrive at six in the evening, but we know some might be late for various reasons. When the party starts, some guests have arrived. More trickle in. We find ourselves standing nearer the door so when guests arrive we can greet them.

A half hour after my mother arrives, she’s already busy interacting with her forebears and friends who preceded her. I show up, and we have another family reunion – our own. And this process continues every heavenly minute. Believers show up and are re-acquainted with others.

Every heavenly minute. Tell me this isn’t something we look forward to.

It’s basically a perpetual family reunion – running on a different clock.

The heavenly-time / earthly-time also plays into the afterlife for those in Sheol. As we see from the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man, clearly the Rich Man knew he just arrived and wanted to make sure his brothers didn’t follow him.

What does that say of the sentiment of those souls in Sheol? While the souls in heaven cheer for each new face through the door, the souls of Sheol wail for every new soul, because they understand the hopelessness of their condition, and wouldn’t have wished it on anyone.

Scientists tell us time passes more slowly in a “gravity well”. That is, the closer a person gets to the geometric center of a mass, the more gravitational influence, and the slower time itself transpires. When atomic clocks are synchronized, they can be placed in separate locations and reflect different times. One at the top of a stairwell, will offer a different (faster) time than the one at the bottom of a stairwell, because the one at the bottom is deeper, albeit fractionally, in Earth’s gravity-well. Time moves slower under the influence of gravity, so says Einstein. At least, the folks with the atomic clocks on the stairwell claim this is what we see. But is it?

Interestingly, the people who created those atomic clocks will be the first to say they cannot measure a time differential so small. When the original experiment using aircraft and atomic clocks was published, the numbers published to the public were different than the ones on file with the government. These are public records, and can be seen by anyone if they are curious. Why were these reported numbers fudged? It seems more and more, science has a price. Anyone willing to pay that price, gets the science they paid for.

Many of Einstein’s contemporaries disagreed with him. Many today still do. I read a recent article about the many things relativity has solved. One of humanity’s greatest achievements, and so forth. And yet, why are there so many adamantly resisting it? And why didn’t Einstein receive a Nobel for it?

From the above, the one-thousand-years-to-day seals the fact that time is relative and not constant. Could Einstein have perceived this reality and attempt to solve it mathematically? Unfortunately, instruments don’t exist which can definitively say, because of Einstein’s very own assertions. For example, if two clocks are synchronized, the mere act of moving them apart causes them to go out of sync. Moving them back together re-syncs them. The motion alone causes this. What of the two atomic clocks at the top and bottom of the stairs? They too, were sync’d and later moved. And are now out-of-sync, not because time moves differently, but because the motion caused it.

Or was Einstein just a crackpot?

One of the most famous paradoxes of time dilation is the Twins Paradox. The Wiki for this paradox explains the various solutions (over fifty and counting). Ironically, the solutions to the paradox all go outside of Einstein to explain it. After all, Einstein explained the “motion alone” was the cause of the effect. The explanations to rescue the Twins Paradox invoke practically anything but “motion alone”.  If we defend the Twins Paradox without using “motion alone” – we deny Einstein. Wasn’t the objective to vindicate Einstein?

We find more ironies, dichotomies, and paradoxes in what Einstein actually promoted, than any science fiction has ever manufactured from it.

More recently, Stephen Hawking re-described black holes as something different than his original explanation. The headline “black holes don’t exist” was tempered with a redefinition of a black hole. Forget everything you thought you knew. Now we know more. And what we used to know was wrong. How many times has this happened in the past century alone?

And if science can so easily declare whole parts of itself wrong in favor of new information, why do people defend science knowledge? It’s like pouring a cup of coffee in an earthquake.

Don’t get me wrong – science has done amazing things with what we know. It’s those mysterious things we’ve never solved – questions like – What is Energy? What is Matter? What is Gravity?

You know, important stuff.

A black hole is a mathematical concept, not an observed or measurable object. How can refining, or redefining math, with no physical basis of accountability, have anything to do with “knowledge”? It must be validated in the physical world.

Keep in mind a black hole has never been observed and is largely a rescue device to explain the anomalies of galactic motion. When it wasn’t enough, dark matter was invented as another rescue device. When both of these hit walls, the black hole was redefined. In the end, Hawking attempted to define the universe in terms of gravity, as had Einstein, as had Newton. Yet recent discoveries have shown Hawking, Einstein and Newton all three were describing behavior without defining the solution. Could gravity be an expression of another force, and not a force unto itself?

Today, the four most significant domains of physics stand undefined, after all these years, even centuries of the best scientific minds attacking them. The first is energy – we can define its behavior but nobody has ever defined “what” energy is. The second is matter – we can define its behavior but not “what” matter is. The third is light, while we can define it behavior we cannot say “what” it is (is it a wave, a particle, or both?). The fourth is gravity – again we can define its behavior and effects, but not “what” gravity is. That it affects matter (another undefined) adds to the mystery. Moreover, some would say neither time nor space have definitions either. Of their behavior, but not “what” they are.

This is a sad state of affairs, that these fundamental forces are all around us, represent well-over ninety-nine percent of our perception of physical reality, but remain undefined.

Einstein needed to simplify his math, and provide a deterministic way to reach conclusions, and the variability of time was a significant rogue quantity. Rather than open his math up to the complexity time requires, he decided to put a speed limit on the universe. This would be light speed, and declared it constant. He didn’t measure it as such (and every measurement of light speed since the first measurement, shows light speed slowing down over time – nobody expected this).

“That light requires the same time to traverse the path A > M as for the path B > M is in reality neither a supposition nor a hypothesis about the physical nature of light, but a stipulation which I can make of my own freewill in order to arrive at a definition of simultaneity” (Einstein 1961, p. 23) [emphasis is in the original].

Einstein simply “declared” the speed of light as constant. In another essay, I point out the definition of speed:

Speed = distance / time

Notice if either distance or time isn’t constant, speed can’t be constant. If we take sides with Einstein and claim light speed is constant, we have to define time as constant. If we do this, we deny Einstein. If we define time as relative, we take sides with Einstein, but this means the speed of light is relative, and we deny Einstein.

Can we see why many thought (and still do) that Einstein was a crackpot?

With the many discoveries in quantum physics, especially quantum entanglement, we now know particles can instantly influence each other over vast distances. There is no “speed limit” between them. Some suggest a “wormhole” between the particles. Some have even suggested wormholes exist between every particle in the universe and every other particle in the universe. So that our universe has more wormholes than particles.

See how complicated all this gets when people don’t want to forsake a crackpot? It leads to more crackpottery (some call psycho-ceramics).

Here’s what they defend – the light-year. If time is relative and speed is relative, there’s no such thing as a light-year. And if so, the distances in space are “undefined” and the universe’s age is “unknown”.

Does the average Joe really have a problem with this? I mean, when we go work every day, are there Einstein bobble-heads on our desks? The influence of Einstein is actually pretty rarefied. Ditching his theories in favor of something better and more comprehensive, will do all of science a favor. But adhering to him even when observations deny him, has stunted, some say poisoned science for many decades.

Back to black holes. Most don’t realize the ironies of black holes. If the black hole is so dense that gravity keeps light from escaping – wait a second – the boundary of the black hole is the “speed of light” and cannot exceed it – this is a universal speed limit, recall. And if the boundary of a black hole is the speed of light, and light travels at said speed, why doesn’t light escape? The point is, light should escape, it it compelled to escape and it’s possible to do so. The black hole was invented to explain something else, so this pesky little irony is ignored.

Scientists claim photons are exempt from time dilation – that is – for any particle with mass traveling at the speed of light, time stands still. If this applies to a photon, it means the photon moves from a distant star to our eyeballs instantly. No duration of time passes for the vast distance it travels. But wait, they say, the photon has mass, but not “rest mass” so it’s exempt. Of course it’s exempt – it has to be, you see. If it’s not, there’s no such thing as a light year.

Back to black holes – it operates on strong gravity. Its core has collapsed into dense matter and the gravity is so strong – well – not even light can reach escape velocity. The funny thing is, gravity only has influence on objects with mass, so why doesn’t the mass of the photon count here? Oh, no it doesn’t, they say, because the gravity of a black hole influences the “wave” of light and turns it inward.

Ahhh – if the behavior of light is anomalous as a particle, we invoke the wave, and if anomalous as a wave we invoke the particle. The mystery remains, but we don’t have to maintain context. How convenient.

But turn that back around. If light can’t escape a black hole, and gravity can’t move faster than light, gravity can’t escape a black hole either. But the gravity of a black hole does influence the space around it. How is this possible unless gravity is faster than light?

Back to black holes. If the Sun were to “blink out” we’re told we wouldn’t know it for at least eight minutes. But if the Sun ever disappeared, would the earth take eight minutes before it drifted, or would it drift immediately? Everyone answers “immediately”, but this means the effect of gravity is faster than light (some scientists have shown both in math and the physical world that gravity is billions of times faster than light).  However the example of the Sun’s mass above is not theoretical. The Milky Way is on-the-move. The Sun sits in a rotating arm of the galaxy. It is moving through space at extraordinary speed. In the eight minutes it supposedly takes gravity to get to the Earth, the Sun has already moved from the position when it emitted the the light, by half a solar diameter. Another eight minutes for a full solar diameter.

So – uh – is the Earth revolving around the Sun itself, or around a spot in space where the Sun was eight minutes ago?

Why does this matter? Because the Earth doesn’t experience drag or lurch. It floats and revolves peacefully without any lag effects. Moreover, if the Eart revolves around a spot where the Sun was eight minutes ago, Earth would experience radical orbital decay.

Now let’s translate this to atomic motion. The same speed-of-light problem exists with electrons spinning about a nucleus (provided atoms are not structured). If there is a propagation delay associated with the speed of light between the nucleus and the electron, it will experience the same orbital decay.

So does this mean the forces in the atom, and the force of gravity are “instant”? No light speed propagation delay at all?

Some say gravity doesn’t “move”. But its effect decreases with distance. We understand the effect, but not what gravity “is”- so how can we say it does not move? First define it, then determine what it can or cannot do. For example, new theories suggest gravity is an effect of the electromagnetic force, that gravity is just an artifact of electricity. Or rather, electricity is the driving force (and electricity does move) – and gravity is just an expression of electricity. Electrodynamic behavior is the same as gravitational behavior, so how do we know gravity is in play at all? What if gravity merely mimics the electrical force? Keep in mind a simple magnet can pull a metal object off a table, defeating the influence of gravity of the whole Earth.

Gravity as a force is too weak to be a viable contender for scalable galactic effects.

After all, the Earth’s atmosphere has a slight positive charge. The Earth’s surface has a slight negative charge. These opposite charges cause the atmosphere to “stick” to the surface, otherwise the thousand-miles-per-hour spin rate of the Earth would make for uninhabitable wind speeds. Likewise clouds have varying degrees of negative electric charge, and the ones with higher negative charge float higher in the atmosphere. This charge-separation is 10^38 more powerful than gravity. When raindrops leave a cloud, they take on a slight positive charge and are pulled to the earth anywhere from five to ten times faster than they would fall from gravity alone. And electrical effects of charge attraction and charge separation explain all this.

Dark matter has never been observed and never will be – it’s made of something completely unfamiliar to physics. Black holes have never been observed and never will be. Even the so-called places in the sky where they “think” a black hole might be, invariably have one or more equally viable explanations, but these explanations are ignored as unacceptable by the establishment science. Galileo would have recognized this, since his chief opposition to the Heliocentric Theory were the Aristotelian (Geocentric) academicians in universities. Sure, the Catholic church came down on him too, but that wasn’t his primary resistance.  Establishment science rigorously protects its theories long after they have lost their explanatory and predictive power.

We have a Galilean-sized problem once again brewing in the cosmos, and how the cosmos will be defined.

Some years ago, a scientist introduced me to the “one way” speed of light. It has never been measured. Light speed is always derived from a two-way round-trip. Every measurement of lightspeed has a built-in throttle in several ways.

First it requires electronic starting/finish gates to mark the start and stop of the signal, and electronics is tied to atomic motion, arguably no faster than the speed of light. Second, when light “bounces” from something, it doesn’t just bounce. A photon is absorbed an re-emitted. This requires an atom to take on the photon and re-emit the photon, once again constraining the emission to atomic motion, artificially clamping the speed. Third, since aforementioned clocks can’t be sync’d at a distance (moving them apart causes them to go out of sync) we can’t just send a one-way signal between two clocks. Even if we embed a signal in the light itself, electronics is required to receive and interpret the signal, and this once again clamps it to the speed of the electronics.

As far back as the 1600’s, researchers claimed they had proven the constant speed of light when light from the Sun reflected off moons of Jupiter. This too, required the reflection of light, not the one-way speed of light.

As noted in another essay, if the one-way speed of light and time dilation of a photon hold true, light can travel any arbitrary distance with no duration in time. Keep in mind when God created the heavens on day one, he made them to be used as a clock – to tell time (Gen 1:14). But if the speed of light is a constant, and the nearest star to the Sun is over four light years away, the sky around the Earth on Day Eight would have been devoid of stars, and still would be. Yet the context of the passage is that the Creation is functionally mature, and stars are visible immediately. Based on this, we should give God the benefit of the doubt and seek other answers than those provided by people attempting to disprove God’s existence, and using “long ages” of time to do it.

Once again, humans take something God provided (time) as a blessing and use it against God. Returning evil for good. Even if God didn’t exist at all, the hoops these folks jump through to deny the obvious, is staggering. If they would simply align with “what is observed” and let the math follow, they might find the cosmos has an unknown and unknowable age (and this would not stop them from saying God isn’t real), but at least the science would once again pursue observation and tailor the math accordingly, rather than what they do now – pursue math and tailor the observation accordingly.

Point being – why can’t a secularist “just do science”. It doesn’t matter what he thinks of his origins (if he wants to exclude God). He can make up any arbitrary story, or none at all, and it should be good enough. After all, nobody’s going back in time. Nobody will receive benefit or harm whether these are known.

We don’t need anything from the deep-time past to do operational science today. Think about computers, space-based satellites, electricity-driven technologies – every one of them depends upon laws in effect today, and none require a reference to deep-time for accuracy in their products. Do you believe a cell-phone engineer has Darwin bobble-heads on his desk? Does biological evolution, or long ages of the earth and cosmos, have anything to do with making a high-quality telephone? Of course not. Deep-time isn’t going anywhere.

God placed the Creation here for us to examine and put to use. Whether believer or not, anyone can use the Creation as a starting point and move on it. Let the conclusions fall where they may. If the conclusions point to God, or at least, don’t point away from God, but the scientist can still “do good work” and “make important discoveries” – nobody from our church will harass him into Christianity. Just keep up that good work. Conversely, he/ she should not take unknowns and unknowables, turn them into science, and treat them as real.

And here’s the primary kicker – God said (Genesis 8:22) that he would keep the universe consistent. We know the laws of physics, chemistry, gravity, aerodynamics, etc. have a purpose. They won’t change. We can then setup predictable scientific experiments and use the scientific method.

However, the secularist who does not accept the reality of God still benefits from the aforementioned laws. He may say – we don’t believe in your God, and we can still do science! But this is irrelevant. The fact remains if God isn’t real, what guarantee do they have of consistency? The laws have no overarching purpose and can arbitrarily come and go as they please. Without a purpose, the laws have nothing keeping them in place, or changing entirely. The laws of the universe remain steadfast because God promised to keep them there.

The secularist cries foul because you can’t put God into a test-tube and apply the scientific method. The laws of the universe are here to stay, they say. And they better stay, they say, because a lot is riding on it.

This is arbitrarily inconsistent. They have no reason whatsoever to believe the laws will remain in place, or won’t spontaneously change for reasons unknown. They likewise have no reason to believe the laws will go away, but that’s the point. Without God, the laws can come and go, without any reason at all.

And immersed in such a grand inconsistency, it’s hard to tell where the edges are.

Can we see, with fuzzy edges, the lack of a Creator means we can’t do science at all?

Can we also see how Genesis 8:22 – a promise of consistency from the Creator, provides a sound foundation for science?

That we can do science, means the Creator is real.

I’ll develop the above further in another essay on perception.

 

 

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2 Peter 3:3-10 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

 

 

Some theologians claim this account is fictional. That Jesus manufactured a story about someone named Lazarus and a rich man.
This “parable” however, begins with the same phrase as the “parable” of the prodigal son. “There was a certain man”. Why would Jesus use a term like “certain man” if he didn’t intend the audience to accept it as real?
The intended audience of this tale, and the prodigal, was the religions leaders. They are shots-across-the-bow. The prodigal after all, isn’t a story about the first son, but about the reaction of the second son (a metaphor for the religious leaders).
This account of the Rich Man is made even more chilling when we understand the position of the pharisees and leaders – some of the richest men of their time, and rubbed shoulders with the richest. For Christ to describe it this way, with a beggar named Lazarus, and a man clothed in purple, who ate a lot, and threw scraps to his dogs – this is very specific terminology.
In other words, Jesus may as well have been saying, remember thus-and-so, here’s what happened to him…
It is also an interesting insight to what people in hell actually think. They are in pain, they experience duration, they have lost hope, they want to warn others, and they don’t have a clue why they are in hell. And likewise, don’t have an ounce of repentance in them.
Another interesting factoid, is that while the Rich Man’s body, and his brain, are rotting in a tomb somewhere, the Rich Man remembers Lazarus, recognizes Abraham, understands his Jewish heritage (cries “Father Abraham…”) and recalls his brothers still alive. He “remembers”. This tells us human memory is in the soul, not the brain. The brain is merely a metaphysical switchboard between the body and the soul. When we think about it, the amount of storage capacity to record a person’s life – in stereoscopic HD video, including sound, smell, touch, pain, any other senses, all recorded in-sync for immediate recall – is a lot of storage – more molecules than the brain has to offer. So the stuff has to be stored somewhere else. Think of the soul as the body’s “cloud storage”.

Luke 16:19-31 “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

 

The Outrageous Myth of Good “Friday”

Many years ago, an atheist challenged me on two “clear contradictions” in the Scripture, or so he asserted.

Contradiction #1
Jesus said clearly, he would personally be in the earth three days and three nights, just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, and this would be the only “sign” offered to the people asking (Matt 12:38-41).

We don’t get a full three days and nights out of a Friday Crucifixion. So, said the atheist, the Bible can’t be trusted. Hold that thought.

Another set of verses, in different books, offers up another contradiction.

Contradiction #2
After they women saw him laid in the tomb, they waited until after the Sabbath was over, to purchase spices to anoint the body (Mark 16:1).
The Bible says the women prepared the spices and rested the Sabbath Day according to the commandment (Luke 23:56)

Did you catch those? The women waited for the Sabbath to be over to purchase the spices. And then it says they prepared the spices and rested on the Sabbath.

It cannot logically follow that the women could purchase the spices after the Sabbath, but prepare them before the Sabbath. The atheist said – the Bible can’t get these details right so we can’t trust anything else.

I’ve watched (and read) some of our most prolific apologists wrap themselves around the axle on this, in a noble attempt to squeeze three days and three nights into a Friday Crucifixion. It always seemed so “shoe-horned.” But one thing they never got past, was the simple clue about purchasing and preparing spices.

As we resolve these conflicts, we’ll see we don’t have to shoe-horn or do violence to the Scripture. Just read it in plain text.

Some background first.

The regular Sabbath day begins at sundown on Friday, and ends at sundown on Saturday. This is to honor God’s original definition of a day (Genesis 1:5) “the evening and morning were the first day”. A “day” in God’s eyes goes from sundown-to-sundown. Orthodox Jews today honor the Sabbath on this time line.

Every passage we’re about to examine is in context of a sundown-to-sundown day, as this was the practice in the first century.

The Crucifixion has a deep context in the Passover. This celebration lasted over several days in fact ( Lev 23:4-12), all in the first month of the year.
Day 14 – Passover
Day 15 – Feast of Unleavened Bread – Holy Convocation

This is an important sequence, because the Feast of Unleavened Bread, like the other feast days, was a “Holy Convocation” – also called a “High Sabbath”. In fact (John 19:31) points out that they needed to get Christ off the Cross because the next day was a “high day”. Jesus was killed on the day of Passover, and the following day was a high day, the Feast of Unleavened bread.

But – and this is important – the Feast of Unleavened Bread is honored as a Sabbath no matter what day it falls. Today the some Jews may combine (for convenience) the Feast day Sabbaths with regular Sabbath, but Orthodox Jews do not, and the Jews of Christ’s time did not. They honored these Sabbaths on the day they fell.

So it was not uncommon for the Jews to honor two Sabbath days in the same week. If we have two Sabbath days in play for the week of Christ’s Passover, doesn’t this affect our understanding of when Christ was Crucified? Sure, it was the day of Passover, but if the following Sabbath (the high Sabbath day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread) can be any day of the week, we’re now free to unhook ourselves from a traditionalist “Friday” model (a “one-Sabbath” model) and seek a deeper truth.

What if the Feast of Unleavened Bread fell on Friday? A well-meaning pastor friend defends and speaks on this model – essentially two Sabbaths, back-to-back, add more hours so it doesn’t feel like the “three days and three nights” are shoe-horned.

The problem: he’s looking at this time period from an American perspective, not a Jewish perspective (sundown-to-sundown day).

Thur – Fri – Sat – Sun

See how the “dashes” above represent a “night”. And wouldn’t you know it, between Thursday and Sunday morning, we have three nights. Bingo, we recovered our missing night.

But in Jesus’s context, a sundown-to-sundown day, three days and three nights clearly connotes seventy-two hours, does it not? I mean, why say it that way if it means something else? Plenty of passages in Scripture say “after three days” or “after “x” number of days” etc. To depict a general passing of time. But if we hear “three days and three nights”, it’s pretty clear the speaker intends three full Jewish days of the evening/morning combination. That’s seventy-two hours with specific start and end points.

In the above model, if Jesus is laid in the tomb on Thursday evening, we get one full day/night from Thur-Fri, and another full day/night Fri-Sat, but the next full day/night has to go Sat/Sun, ending at sundown on Sunday, and this didn’t happen. We don’t get three full sundown-to-sundown days. Maybe we found the missing night, but we’re short a day.

More importantly, where in that model do the women have time to purchase spices and prepare them? They don’t. They can’t do any “servile work” on a Sabbath day, so no opportunity arises to “work and rest” with back-to-back Sabbaths.

Some who advocate the Friday death would claim Mary had to prepare spices sometime on Friday, because it says she rested afterward on the Sabbath. I agree she prepared the spices on Friday, but I can’t see Mary doing this instead of being with her son.

Many verses (listed at the end of this essay) claim she was present at the Cross and followed them to the tomb. Christ’s arrest and death took her by surprise, with no time to purchase or prepare spices. Keep in mind we’re not talking about a five-minute spice prep. To prepare burial spices for a whole body required many hours of work.

So now we need an extra day in between the High Sabbath and the Sabbath Day to account for this purchasing and preparing of spices, which Scripture says was book-ended by the two Sabbath days:

They waited for the Sabbath to complete before purchasing, prepared the spices, and rested the Sabbath.

Wed – Thu – Fri – Sat – Sun

In the above notation, the “dashes” represent the nights. If Jesus is Crucified on a Wednesday, they have him entombed by sundown Wednesday, and this starts our three-day-three-night clock-of-Jonah.
From sundown Wed to sundown Thu
From sundown Thu to sundown Fri
From sundown Fri to sundown Sat

So now we have our three Jewish days, evening and morning, and the whole clock terminates at sundown on Saturday. Notice we don’t need the extra “night” Saturday-to-Sunday.

And we have Friday as a free day for the women to purchase and prepare spices. Mary would have witnessed Christ’s death and burial on Wednesday, not Friday.

What if the Crucifixion was on a Tuesday? This would open both Thursday and Friday for purchase and preparation of spices. But it also opens up Friday to visit the tomb. Purchase and prep on Thursday, visit the tomb on Friday. Since this didn’t happen, we have assurance no extra days existed. An extra day on Friday alone is the only model fitting the whole time frame and the actions of those involved.

Another point here. Folks who advocate a Friday death also sustain damage with other verses.

Mat 26:61 – I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

Mat 27:63 – Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Mar 14:58 – We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

These advocates use “in three days”, “after three days”, “within three days” to claim the Crucifixion “technically” falls within these boundaries if Jesus died on Friday. These boundaries are “less specific” than “three days and three nights”.

In fact, throughout Scripture, if a more specific definition is given, it’s accepted as the standard while the less-specific definitions ride in its wake.

This is clearly not the case for explaining a Friday death. Why would we use the “less specific” boundaries as the standard, and ignore the “more specific” boundary?

The answer is simple: Tradition. The tradition of the Friday Crucifixion has to be explained. But that’s the problem – the Friday death is the fallacy.

Two important verses for us to apply when addressing a fallacy.

Proverbs 26:4,5
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

In the above, the don’t answer / answer model is simple: Don’t answer the question according to the folly (fallacy) of the fool. In this case, don’t answer according to the fallacy of the Friday Crucifixion. Rather answer the fallacy itself, by challenging the fallacy with a better answer.

For example, if someone says you must prove God is real. A fool places this fallacy at our feet, and we immediately begin to answer it. No, the fallacy is obvious. We don’t have to prove God is real. Nobody has to prove this. The fool rather has to prove God isn’t real, because the consequences of his fallacy are greater than our silence on the matter.

In this case, the fallacy is the Friday Crucifixion We don’t answer in these terms, attempting to show why the Friday Crucifixion makes sense (because it doesn’t). Rather we go to Scripture to determine what day makes sense.

The latest day to make sense is not Friday, so which day makes more sense? Clearly the Scriptures noted above give us important context.

If Jesus is killed on Wednesday, they rush him into the tomb by the start of the High Sabbath Wednesday at sundown. At this point, no shops will be open after sundown (it’s the Sabbath) and no shops open the next day for purchase of spices. The women have to wait until Friday, and have all day Friday to both purchase and prepare the spices before the start of the regular Sabbath at sundown Friday.

Are you with me? It gets better.

Recall ( Lev 23:4-12) says in the first month of the year:
Day 14 – Passover
Day 15 – Feast of Unleavened Bread – Holy Convocation
On the morrow after the regular Sabbath – Day of First Fruits

It also says the first day after the regular Sabbath after the Passover will have a special connotation: The day of firstfruits. The high priest will wave a sheaf of wheat on this day, blessing the spring harvest. The sheaf represents the firstfruits of the harvest.

This is prophetic, in that Christ is called the first fruits (I Cor 15:20-23) of the dead. His Resurrection, on the Jewish day of first fruits, is a promise of the harvest (of souls) to come in the Resurrection of the church (Rev 20:5-6).

Jesus is called the Lamb of God (John 1:36), which takes away the sins of the world. He is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).

The Passover was established by God in provision of the Children of Israel leaving Egypt, and s a prophetic herald of the Lord’s Passover, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The references to Christ as Lamb, and that his blood covers sin, and that Jesus is the first fruits of the Resurrection, all point skyward, to a God who lives outside of time and can share such cosmic-level truths with mankind in a deep and powerful way – over millennia of time to fulfill.

Who else but a God who lives outside of time could knit together a story so wonderful, and put it in the Scripture in a way that feeds our souls as we hunt for his truths?

But if we knee-jerk agree with tradition, the Crucifixion happened on a Friday, we get superficial understanding, and will never get to the meat of the deeper, more powerful message. We must peel back the layers and find God’s treasures.

Here is the Scriptural time line:

  • Tue (Day 13) – Christ in the upper room with disciples (evening)
  • Tuesday evening – Christ arrested and tried by Sanhedrin
  • Wed Morning – brought before Roman leaders, beaten and sentenced
  • Wed(Day 14) – Passover – Christ is killed and laid in a tomb before high Sabbath begins (sundown)
  • Thur(Day 15) – Feast of Unleavened Bread- high Sabbath day (closes at sundown)
  • Fri((Day 16) – Day the women purchase spices and prepare them (regular Sabbath begins at sundown)
  • Sat((Day 17) – Regular Sabbath – women rest after their preparing (closes at sundown)
  • At Saturday sundown, the day of firstfruits commences, and Jesus rises from the grave sometime afterward.
  • Sun(Day18) – (beginning at sundown prior day) Christ is resurrected – day of firstfruits

As a note – since Jesus said he would be in the belly of the earth three days and three nights (the clock of Jonah), and this was a precise time frame, we can be sure he rose from the dead in the moments after the closure of Sabbath on Saturday after sundown. This was after all, the first moments of the day of firstfruits, and Jesus didn’t have another minute to wait to leave the grave, since the clock of Jonah had expired.

Some have said that if he rose on Saturday, he rose on the Sabbath. No, the Sabbath closed at sundown, and that’s the point. The Day of First Fruits commenced at sundown – the Sabbath was over.

Is there any doubt that God is using clocks and timing, across many centuries, to pull this off – and show he lives outside of time?

And none of this is difficult to achieve for him?

Frankly, God doesn’t need his apologists apologizing for missing days and nights in the Greatest Story Ever Told. What he needs is faithful apologists who will defend the Scripture as written, even if it flies in the face of tradition.

The Friday Crucifixion is a convenient myth. We have the opportunity to share the true story of the Passion, in all it prophetic glory, if we stick to the Scripture and render it just as God did, with regard to time.

And in doing so, the glory of God’s provision, across time, and of Christ’s sacrifice, in time, are all the more intriguing and wonderful.

 

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Gen 1:5 “…And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

Mat 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Jhn 19:26-27
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Mat 27:59-62
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Matt 27:61 – And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Matt 27:55-56
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

Luke 23:55
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
Mark 15:47
And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Lev 23:4-12
These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover.
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.

Mark 16:1
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome,
had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

Luk 23:50-55
And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

Luke 23:56
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1 (KJV)
Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them.

John 19:31
The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the
sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken,
and that they might be taken away.

John 19:30-42
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day,
(for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate
that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes,
about an hundred pound weight.
Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man
yet laid.
There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Matt 12:38-41
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall
no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and
three nights in the heart of the earth.
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented
at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

I Cor 15:20-23
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Jhn 1:36
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Rev 13:8
…Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Rev 20:5-6
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Is Time Travel Possible?

This is a question haunting mankind since the dawn of time – pardon the pun.

What if we could go back in time and correct a mistake, or capitalize on an opportunity? Don’t you think the losers of the 1929 Crash would have loved this?

Or for law enforcement. The movie Minority Report uses insight on future crimes, but what about going back in time to witness the crime itself? Wouldn’t this convince a jury, and after a while, would we even need juries anymore?

The standard time travel models raise a good deal of questions, so when super-imposed upon story including religious matters, aren’t we treading on thin ice? I’ll get to some of these in other essays, but for now, let’s look at the possibility of time travel in the present Creation.

Some of my favorite religious authors are not theologians, but scientists. One in particular, Dr. Jason Lisle from ICR, is an astronomer with many profound insights to the larger creation. Keep in mind that Dr. Lisle has probably never heard of me, and that’s okay. My mention of him here is not to be construed as his endorsement. Nevertheless, he posits a simple assertion:

God has made laws all over his creation and does not break his own laws to get things done. He says “my word shall not pass away” and the law “shall not fail” and throughout the Scripture asserts the rigid and unfailing strength of his laws (Luke 16:7)

I point this out because some pastors and theologians have preached – to my ears – the notion that God sets aside his laws to perform miracles. And this is how we know it’s a miracle, the laws have been suspended and only God can do that.

But can he?

God says it’s impossible for him to lie (Heb 6:18). His holiness precludes him from breaking promises and breaking laws.

And when we think about it, the only reason God would need to break a law is if he needed to adapt, to change things to accommodate circumstances. This presumes God didn’t foresee those circumstances and have enough wisdom to accommodate them early – even at the point of Creation.

Revelation 13:8 tells us Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This means not even the Cross took God by surprise. Not even the Fall took God by surprise. Jesus was not Plan B – he was and is the centerpiece of the creation.

A premise of the Bible is God lives outside of time as we understand it. He is sovereign over space, matter, and time, having created all three (Titus 1:2). The laws of time were etched into the creation from the beginning. Every law God would need, from those required for a virgin birth (Galatians 3:19), to a resurrection, to organic healing, to fire from heaven – all the laws are already in place. No new laws are necessary and no special “breaking” of laws is required.

If God exists at the beginning of time, and at the end of time, and every nanosecond in between – simultaneously – then he knows full-well exactly what he will need and has the wisdom to build everything he needs at the point of initial construction. He won’t need to break laws “along the way” because he’s already there. (Rev 1:8, Heb 13:8, James 1:17).

Think about how gravity and aerodynamics play into each other. They are separate sets of laws. One keeps things on the ground and one takes things aloft. Gravity is always present, but aerodynamics allows us to use different laws to fly, and depends on gravity to stay put – after all, the atmosphere is held in place with gravity, and aerodynamics uses the atmosphere. These laws coexist in an integrated Creation. Just as we can see birds fly, we know laws exist to assist us in flight. Did God show us humans traveling time, so we therefore know time travel is possible?

God shows us several places where he folded time.

When Jesus was at the transfiguration (Matt 17:2-3), Elijah and Moses appeared to him They were not ghosts, but the living forms of each. Jesus would have had to fold time to each of them, in different millennia, to interact with them at the same time.

Jesus took the Apostle John into the future, at least three thousand year’s worth. While there, John said he “looked” and “saw” things with his own eyes. These were not virtual visions. An angel took him (Rev 21:9-22) and measured the city of God. A hands-on experience. John was actually there, physically transported into another time, not shown something through a portal or vision.

Paul claims to have been “caught up” to the “third heaven” (1 Cor 12:2) where he witnessed things. This is an example of folding space rather than time, for instant transportation. But the premise remains, the capacity to fold space is already present in the creation.

Phillip came alongside the Ethiopian Eunuch and interacted with him about salvation and baptism. At the end of their discourse, God transported Phillip far away, instantly (Acts 8:39). This is another example of space-folding for transportation.

Jesus said concerning children, that their angels behold the face of God always (Matt 18:10). Angels (Cherubim Guardians) have more than one face. If one of them is to behold God always, it must fold space from its location with the child, to the heavenly realm where God is. Otherwise how could it guard the child and behold God’s face at the same time?

Lastly, we have the examples of of Enoch (Gen 5:4) and Elijah (2 King 2:11). Both these men were translated, that is, they didn’t see death. Elijah was taken to “heaven” but the Hebrew word here is not God’s heaven, but the sky. For each of these, where did they go when they were translated? Some have said to heaven to wait for their time to be used. But this would not be possible – since Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:13) no man has ascended to heaven, so Elijah and Enoch weren’t there.

The Bible says it is appointed to a man once to die (Heb 9:27). People only die once. This is why Jesus said of Lazarus (John 11:11) and the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:52) – they are only sleeping. They had not experienced death. More on this later. Enoch and Elijah had not died.

It is clear from the testimony of the Two Witnesses in Revelation, these two men are Elijah and Enoch. Some have said one is Moses, but recall Moses died (Deut 34:7). Both these Witnesses will be slain in Jerusalem (Rev 11:7), so for Moses this would be dying twice. Moreover, being in Jerusalem would be a violation of God’s curse upon Moses, that he would never see the promised land (Deut 34:4).

So here we have two men, translated from their given century directly into the post-Rapture world to stand by the Temple and preach the messages they were already preaching before they left.

All this said, time travel is built into the laws of the Creation and people have already done it. They didn’t do it through technology, but through the laws already present in the creation.

So just as we can see birds fly and know other laws exist allowing us to do so, we can create technologies to help us fly – and we can also see people traveling time, and know it’s possible. Which is why people have attempted to create the technology to do so, and some claim to have already done it.

I don’t personally believe any of these tales. They don’t pass the basic tests, which we will discuss in another essay.

Giants and the Virgin Birth

The giants of Genesis 6 are some of the most enigmatic characters in Scripture. Their tale strikes at the very heart of Virgin Birth. How do these connect?

Many people gloss over this part of Genesis. Giants are an interesting artifact, but nothing more. Such folks also might believe God used the Flood to destroy wickedness. This is a superficial reading of the text, but not a scholarly one.

The text makes very clear the Flood was intended to solve a physical, not spiritual problem. After all, when Noah stepped off the Ark (Gen 8:21) God said man’s imagination is evil from his youth. If it was intended to solve a sin problem, it failed.

But one has to ask, how does a global flood solve a sin problem? A violence problem? Won’t the problem return when the population roars back?

The missing ingredient in the discussion, is DNA. While this seems a little oblique, follow this, because it starts out with DNA in Genesis 6 and maintains this theme.

We’re told the sons of God took wives of the daughters of men, and sired giants. This is clearly a reproductive act involving DNA. Some say the “sons of God” were the sons of Seth, but don’t explain how simply mating with other human women would bring about giants. Such a conclusion is sidestepping the problem of “how did spirits mate with humans to produce offspring” since angels do not procreate. There is no marrying in heaven (Mark 12:25). Keep in mind that marrying isn’t about a “covenant to live together” – it’s about “becoming one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

The physicalized form of a couple becoming “one flesh” – is offspring. Back we are to DNA.

And what kind of flesh would the giants be? God delineates two seeds in Scripture (Gen 3:15), one belonging to the human-kind and one belonging to the devil. Spiritually it defines two offspring, the children of God and the children of the devil (1 John 3:10). There is no in-between or fence-sitter. That is, you’re either fully human, or not. You’re either fully God’s, or not.

Clearly the Ben-Eloheem (Sons of God) spoken of here, and the same reference in Job, speaks of the Fallen Angelic beings. So let’s agree it’s against the rules to marry in heaven, but the Fallen are outside the law by definition – criminals don’t obey the law.

But what business do such beings have with DNA? They ordained it (Gal 3:19) and were charged with overseeing it, that is, enforcing it. So they had direct knowledge of what God intended to do with DNA – that is, use it as mechanism to personally enter his own creation. He would do this as a spirit (Matt 1:18, Luke 1:35) when the Holy Ghost “overshadowed” Mary and conceived Jesus Christ.

Whatever mechanism God (as Spirit) would use to impregnate Mary, the angelics were privy to this knowledge and had the capacity to exploit it for themselves (as spirit) to impregnate a human female.

Then by (Gen 6:12) we’re told all flesh had corrupted his way. The flesh is physical reference, not a spiritual one. The “way” of flesh is a “path”, and is defined by only one thing- and that’s DNA. Somehow the DNA of the living things was corrupted. A symptom of this was violence, of course, if the animals turned from their natural instincts.

If the human genome, and the many other animal genomes, were irreversibly corrupted, how could anything stop this from affecting all of creation? One means to cut it off, and be thorough about it, would be a Flood. This would wipe out all the corrupted kinds and only the survivors, on the Ark, would prevail afterward.

Keep in mind also that God didn’t require Noah to gather animals. Who but God would know which forms of the animals would be most viable for the world to come? God said he would send Noah the animals (Genesis 6:20). So Noah only had to focus on the boat. God told him how big to make it, and knew how many animals he would send.

Moreover, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8), that is “favor” or “acceptance”. In the next verse we see why. Noah was “perfect in his generations”. Here “perfect” has a physical meaning of “whole” or “sound”, or “with integrity”. And “generations” means “time period.”

So, Noah had perfect physical characteristics for his time period. His genetics were still intact. Geneticists claim each generation today accumulates over one-hundred new mutations per individual. From the inception of the human genome, Noah is only ten generations from the original, error-free genome in Adam. It’s not a stretch to imagine no mutations had yet crept into Noah’s genes. Ten copies is barely getting started. DNA is a very robust mechanism.

We can see how this unfolds into a plan to preserve the DNA of the animals and mankind, the “best of breed”. DNA is a centerpiece of this plan.

A more insidious plot unfolds here, in that if the angels were apprised of the nature of the “seed” of the Savior (Gal 3:19) that God intended to use DNA to personally enter history as the Redeemer, we see some very serious breaches of this plan.

First, the Redeemer would be lamb (Rev 13:8) what John the Baptist called the Lamb of God (John 1:36). If this is true, according to God’s laws the lamb can have no blemishes (Exodus 12:5), that is, no corruption. In fact, all sacrificial animals of this time (clean animals) carried this same constraint. Always bring the best of the flocks, not the worst.

But what if the Fallen targeted the clean animals first? No man could find an unblemished animal for an offering to God. As such, no man would ever restore fellowship with God, even for the short season provided through sacrifice. More insidiously, substitutionary death is a major theme of Scripture, leading to the foot of the Cross. Eliminate this, and there’s no thread through history taking us there.

Second, Jesus was a high priest (Hebrews 6:20) and according to the law (Lev 21:17-21) no priest is to have a blemish, or corruption.

To summarize, the Fallen Angelics, Ben-Eloheem, knowing God’s plan to use DNA to enter humanity through a female vessel, accomplished the same sort of miracle (spirit fathering a child with a female vessel) as God intended with the Virgin Birth, but to defile God’s plan rather than honor it. And in so doing, produced corrupted flesh (Nephilim) which doubly slapped God in the face, once for defiling the nature of the sacrificial lamb, and once for defiling the nature of a priest.

Lastly, these murderous giants are book-ended with the violence of the times, and are famous for it (Genesis 6:4). If the giants prevailed on the earth, they could destroy mankind from the earth and potentially replace mankind with another kind, the Nephilim kind. If mankind is eradicated, there can be no human Redeemer. All the people who died prior to this time would be separated from God forever. Moreover, since God promised a Redeemer to them, this would be a promise broken.

God’s own holy nature precludes him from breaking a promise, but as noted in another essay, this did not take him by surprise. He had the solution in hand.

The Bible says the Fallen are bound in everlasting chains (Jude 1:6) in darkness, until judgment. This is the most severe punishment God delivered to any of his Creation even since that time. Why so severe and complete? These fallen angels corrupted something precious to God, the method he would personally use to enter his own Creation as Jesus Christ, and Redeem his Bride. Redeem the whole Creation. But they also attempted cut-off the Redeemer completely, preclude God’s ability to Redeem his bride. Between these two insidious acts, there couldn’t be a greater punishment, or a hole deeper or darker to put them in.

This is why the story of the Flood is important to the Savior. Jesus mentions Noah in terms of his own Second Coming, as in the days of Noah (Matt 24:37). This time period is given as a template or prototype of what is to come prior to the return of Christ. People caught up in the routine of life when the reality of Christ’s return is upon them, like a Flood.

However, because it also deals with the corruption of the flesh, primarily the corruption of DNA, something more ominous arises, in that today scientists are able to map and easily edit DNA toward expected ends. Genetically modified foods, animals and soon humans. They are editing DNA just as the Fallen were editing DNA, in the “days of Noah.”

In foreign countries today, human genetic experimentation is full-bore and full steam ahead. Countries allowing it see an influx of money and scientific investment. Perhaps they don’t appreciate what is in store if the human genome is edited into a heretofore unknown form.

The proponents of genetic enhancement claim they can edit human DNA with the genetic material from other creatures, including animals, sea creatures and birds. Those with higher longevity, greater visual acuity, stronger constitution, higher IQ, and many other features. Those injected with these enhancements are essentially chimeras – half beast and half human, and may walk among us today.

A question was asked in a forum not too long ago: What if the Beast of Revelation isn’t metaphorical or figurative? What if it’s literal? What if he’s genetically enhanced? A true “beast”? What if part of his genes are from sea creatures, so he truly “rises out of the sea” as Revelation says? These things are no longer out of reach.

Experiments happening today include the manufacturing of a human male gamete from scratch, using all the necessary biochemical parts, but the twenty-three chromosomes are either spliced from another creature, or are grown in a lab, but none originated from a human male. If this is successfully used to procreate a human being with an adult female, imagine the implications. It means a human can be created without involving a male of the kind. A virgin birth. And replicates the process (in human terms) the angels used when manufacturing DNA for their wives in Genesis 6.

Aren’t we told Satan comes as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14) and counterfeits the things of God? The template used by the son of perdition in Scripture is one of counterfeiting. He is slain and brought back to life (Rev 13:3). Why wouldn’t we expect him to use human technology and other means (especially a throwback to the days of Noah) to accomplish a virgin birth and mimic other aspects of Christ?

We are told to be watchful and accept no imitations. There is only one Jesus Christ, the name above all names, born to a virgin, crucified for sins, and raised from the dead. He will return for his bride.
We can count on it.

 

Supporting verses:

 

Gen 6:12
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

Gen 6:9
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Gen 6:4
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Gen 8:21
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats

Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Lev 21:17-21
Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

 

On Predestination

This is a complicated and controversial topic, but the answer is a lot simpler than folks want to give God credit for.

I grew up around people who deeply studied Calvinism. I posited so many arguments back and forth with them, and they gave me a run for the money. I finally arrived to a “balanced” conclusion about it all, but it was inadequate because of the limitations of the human mind. We cannot fully understand God. We can only draw conclusions from what we read in his Word.

As for the common views of predestination, and the verses to support them (see the end of this essay for references), they still fall short for a simple reason – they are looking in the wrong place.

When we consider the concept of “time” (see my essay On Foreknowledge) we must wrap our heads around God’s utility of time. If predestination is anything, it presumes a wide range of things about time and God’s relationship to time. God knows what will happen before we do. How does this play into our freedom to choose God?

Some people believe Time is, and always has been. And that over time, people created God. Indirectly speaking, time created God.
Some people believe God is, and always has been. That God created time when he created space and matter. After all, space, matter, and time cannot exist without co-existing.

Some people believe God knows the names of all those people who will be in heaven, and knows the names of all those who will be in hell.
If God knows all things past, present, and future, this is a perfectly reasonable conclusion. After all, if God exists at the end of time, the beginning of time, and all points in between, God is everywhere and everywhen. Is there any knowledge unavailable to him?

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

In the above verse, an infinite God is able to infinitely remove knowledge (of a person’s sin) from his infinite mind. Note the knowledge never leaves his mind, but it is infinitely removed within an infinite mind.

Infinity has some interesting nuances.

If I have a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, and an infinite number of guests show up, I can accommodate them all. If another group of people arrives, also infinite in number, can we accommodate them? Sure, have the current occupants move to odd-numbered rooms. This opens up an infinite number of even-numbered rooms.

So when we say the transgression is removed from God’s mind – it is removed as far away as it can possibly be, but never leaves God’s mind.

Back to the original question, why would it “please God” for the “foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor 1:21) to save people? Why does he say we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:9-9), and faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17)? If he already knows who is going to heaven and who isn’t, why bother? God already knows the outcome no matter what we do.

So why would he commission our participation? It’s one thing to “say” he “knows” our participation will matter, but if it’s all “in the can” anyway, why bother? It’s all under control.

I’ve watched pastors draw an array of dots on a board. And then circle a few. And say this is how predestination basically works. God circles the ones he wants to keep.
Is it that simple, and that rigged? Stay with me.

Gideon was going against the Midianites. He didn’t have a big bunch of folks. God told him to take the soldiers to the river, and for those who drank with their cupped hands, tap them on the shoulder. For those who drank with their faces in the water, leave them be. (Judges 7:5-7)

When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac, the servant prayed for specific characteristics and actions to be displayed to him. Rebekah came forward and did exactly that (Genesis 24:1-29).

Jesus tells a parable of a man who needed workers (Matt 20:1-6) and went to the marketplace where they stood idle. Notice he didn’t go door to door, or put out an advertisement, or go through the streets shouting. He went to one place, the marketplace, where people had come seeking work, but were idle.

Naaman went to Elishah (2 Kings 5:1-27) and asked for help with leprosy, but Elishah told him to dip himself in the Jordan seven times. Not another river, and not five times. Naaman balked at first, and said he had rivers back home. His servant said to him, paraphrased here, if he had told you to do a great thing, you would have done it. Would it kill you to dip yourself seven times?

We can see, in this model, Naaman cannot take credit for having done anything for the cure. Only his faithfulness is required. Do what God says. Do it his way. See what happens.

Elisha’s servant took it upon himself to chase after Naaman and take money for the service, even after Elisha told him not to – and Elisha cursed him and his children with leprosy. That’s a permanent gig. Says his skin turned white as snow.

In the examples above, God sought for people doing certain things at a certain place.

Or rather, Naaman asked of the prophet of God, not the prophet of Baal. He was in the right place, asking the right questions. Same for Gideon, his three hundred men, and for Rebekah. In the right places, responding the right way, asking the right questions. Their hearts aligned in God’s direction, and God responded in their favor.

Now for the opposite side – Jesus said of Judas, it would be better if he had not been born (Matt 26:24). God says Esau sought repentance carefully with tears (Heb 12:16-17). Jesus said to the pharisees they would burn in hell, and declared this while they were still alive (Matt 23:33). Jude speaks of the “twice dead”, the people who have rejected the call of God. And we’re told if we blaspheme the Holy Spirit, we’re not eligible for heaven no matter what (Matt 12:31). Likewise, those who take the Mark of the Beast will not enter heaven (Rev 14:9-11).

And with the account of Cain and Abel, when Genesis 4 opens, it’s obvious Someone showed them how to ritual-sacrifice – they were doing it as if it were a routine. We see Cain brought an offering from the ground, and Abel brought a meat offering (Genesis 4) and later learn Abel’s was a more acceptable sacrifice (Heb 11:4). Why? Because Abel offered the blood, and only blood provides the remission of sin (Heb 9:22).

Some say Cain was rejected because he came with a corrupt heart, but we all do (Jer 17:9). And some say Cain had a bad attitude, but we all do (Rom 8:7). In the end, Cain came to God on his own terms, rather than Abel, who came to God on God’s terms.

All of us know people who were well-meaning when they did something in God’s name, but it didn’t bear fruit. They make decisions under the notion that God will bless their plans because they have a “good heart”. I’ve even known people who will seek advice from all their friends, and then take a path none of them suggested. This way none of them can take credit for the success, nor can be blamed for failure. But the person’s life was wreckage for this practice. What did it actually accomplish?

Whatever happened to doing things God’s way, and watching the fruit of his promises come to pass? Isn’t it a blessing to recognize when God is honored, the fruit of joy, peace and love? Or do we go about it (like Cain) on our own plans, and experience a hollow victory? A fleeting moment of glory, not for God, but for us, our cleverness, and our ability to show “it can be done another way”. God knows it can be done another way. He’s chosen the most foolish one (preaching) to see if you or I will step up to it. Moreover, the foolishness of preaching “pleases” him. If any of the other “clever” methods pleased him (and we knew it) they are fair game. But God didn’t point out any of those. He said it pleases him for preachers to audibly preach the Gospel to listening ears.

We back off, and go to electronic evangelism or hand out booklets, or do things passively. But we don’t step up to what Jesus said was foolish, because it’s foolish. We are more clever than that. We can come up with another way yielding more. Really? In today’s mechanized and automated world, the church is making less progress in reaching people for Christ, than it did before the horse and buggy. Machinery and technology has made us less efficient than ever.

So we have these bad actors who God pre-designated, it seems, to be damned. While others, according to that pastor, God “circled” and called-out to be saved.

The Bible does clearly say that many are called and few are chosen, this “few” being the same word as used for a mustard seed. A very small number chosen. At the same time we see in Revelation that a “numberless multitude” will be saved. No doubt the total number of people saved will be vast. What does this say of the total people lost, if comparatively speaking, the total saved were like a mustard seed?

As noted in the essay on foreknowledge,the answer is here just as obvious. God has the capacity to remove from his immediate knowledge certain forms of knowledge, almost like a filter, and removes them infinitely from his infinite mind (As far as the east is from the west). What plays into this is God’s foreknowledge of who will be in heaven and who will not, and how he has chosen d the “foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor 1:21) to save people. And says people must believe Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead in order to be saved (Romans 10:9) and goes on to say this cannot happen without hearing God’s word, which cannot happen without a preacher.

Bottom line, God has clearly commissioned humans (Matt 28) to participate in the salvation of others, even though his Spirit will call the unbeliever, and his Spirit will activate the faithful heart to respond to the call (Eph 2:8-9).

But doesn’t God know who will answer the call? Why all the machinery of getting people involved, and all the mistakes and weaknesses of humans?

One simple word: Glory.

God says his strength is made perfect in weakness. The weaker vessel steps up, fulfills God’s directives and the miracle of salvation comes about, God is glorified. He receives little or no glory for stepping in where he wants human involvement.

And this is the primary answer to the nagging question. If God wants humans to participate, for his glory, how do we deal with the fact he already knows the outcome?

Simplest answer is – he doesn’t. Or rather, he’s chosen not to.

A simple example of God’s practice on this, is when he claims to have “winked” at sin in times past (Acts 17:30). He’s essentially saying he looked the other way and let it ride. He received glory for his mercy.

Another simple example is Christ’s parable of the wheat and tares (Matt 13:24-30). The evil is there, and everyone knows it. Let it ride. God receives glory for letting it ride.

Same for the removing our sins as far as the east is from the west. He infinitely pushes this knowledge from his infinite mind so he can experience the glory and the delight of a saved soul. This is why he says he’s “patient”. Time itself allows him to be patient to us, and allows him to set aside knowledge that would necessarily preclude glory for him.

And why not glorify the one who made heaven and earth, and all that’s in it, and redeemed it to himself as a righteous owner and king? He’s earned it.

The conclusion is simply this: we get wrapped around the axles of logic and reason when we try to put God into a logical box. If this, then that, when God is a dynamic personality on his own, and loves to participate in the joys of his own creation. He would constrain himself from ruining the blessings he has for us – and this is what time does. He would also constrain himself so he can participate in the thrill of the salvation experience for both himself and the recipient of the gift.

How is this any different than a parent taking a child to practice a presentation, and staying out of it until the day of the show? Sure, the parent has the ability to look-in on progress, and can certainly hear or see snippets of the presentation coming along. But the thrill of watching it unfold with everyone else – all of us know nothing compares to it. Jesus even said he would confess us before his angels if we confessed him before men. Wait – doesn’t he already know when and where we’ll do this? The answer again is – sure he can know that – but it gives him glory and delight to set aside this knowledge so his own creation can participate.

If he says it is more blessed to give that to receive (Acts 20:5), imagine how blessed God is each time a new person receives the gift of everlasting life? Knowing who will do this before they were even born, is knowledge worth putting aside until the day it actually shows up, in exchange for the blessing and glory that will arrive with it.

So let’s not “logic God” into a box and see if he gets out. Not really a fair practice and it short-changes God’s intent for us. It also turns God into a dark personality. Choosing people before they are born. Who even has a fighting chance?

God has the capacity to know who will join him in heaven, but his desire for glory and delight in his creation compels him to set this knowledge aside so the preachers can get to work, and he can delight as his own creation participates in the Greatest Story Ever Told.

For his glory.

 

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…

God and Time

Wrangling time travel might be enough to tackle, but this series of books isn’t just about traveling through time, but about how God uses time.

Many people believe God is orchestrating the universe in real-time. He has a big mind, big plans and can control any real-time outcome, so he can shape the future into anything he chooses. This is the philosophy of those who think God lives with us, in real time, but not in the past or future.

Or rather, time is a like a river and we’re on a boat in fog. The fog behind us is a little thinner, but the fog before us is a thick bank. God is tall so can see over the fog.

H.G. Wells described this as the “frantic director”. Where a stage play is underway, and something happens to knock over a prop, something catches fire, other mayhem ensues and pretty soon the whole play is out of control. The frantic director knows what’s supposed to happen so he’s trying to bring things back to center in the face of escalating chaos.

No folks, we don’t serve a God that small.

I’ll give it to you straight, and discuss it below. God created time, and lives outside of time. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was, and is, and is to come. He never changes, and has no shadow of turning. Even his name “I AM” is the same in every nanosecond of time. As time is how we measure change, how can he exist in time with us, but never change? No, he exists outside of time, and in time – simultaneously. It goes like this:

God is at the beginning of time, the end of time, and every nanosecond in between – simultaneously. God does not orchestrate the future. He’s already there. He can build that future any way he chooses. We simply haven’t experienced it yet. That future, and God, are waiting for us. But God is here with us now.

So the analogy of the fog bank and river still work, for us and for God sitting on the boat with us, as long as we accept he’s not just on the boat. He’s downriver at every rock, crag, turn and juncture, already planning our future and keeping us from danger.

It’s hard for us to conceptualize God outside of time. Or even that God is waiting for us in the future even as he’s with us now. But this is how it works, and God is never out of control, and God is never surprised. Unless he wants to be. For his own delight and glory. More on this in the essays on foreknowledge and predestination.

The correct way to think of God’s interaction with time, starts at the beginning of Creation. Titus 1:2 says God promised, before the “world” began. That word “world” is the Greek for “time period” or “time itself”. Before time began. Before the clock started ticking on this time-frame we live in, the one God created, etc. So there was a time, or a period, before this one we experience now. Will there be another time frame after this one? The Scripture alludes to it when Jesus claims an end to it in Matt 28. The closure of one time period and (presumably) the opening of another.

And if God created time, he is sovereign over it. In the “frantic director” example, God is subject to time, it is sovereign over him.

One secularist said – “I think time created God. That over time, mankind needed a way to explain the unexplainable, and dropped all that into a bucket called God.”

A comedian (Michael Jr.) once said “Unbelievers attribute things to a god they call “Something.” I’ll give you an example – they’ll be surprised by a bad choice and say “Something told me not to do that.””

But is it really true that God was invented by mankind to explain the unexplainable? I ask this because the Bible comes off as simple active narrative. Other so-called “holy” books have soaring words and mighty metaphors to describe their patriarchs, who never do anything wrong. In the Bible, the patriarchs come off as the worst of the lot. Moses, David and Paul are all three murderers. Each of the patriarchs comes off as human and vulnerable.

And of the contributors of the Scripture over what is a four-thousand-year period by over forty men and women of every walk of life – bedouins, shepherds, statesmen, physicians, lawyers, tax collectors, fishermen, kings, priests, rich men, poor men, etc. All of them agree in hundreds of controversial topics. If you were to ask ten people from the same region, same upbringing, even the same church, you would get ten different answers for each of the controversies the Bible agrees upon across all these people and centuries.

Point being, if mankind could have written the Bible, mankind wouldn’t have. Everything in it goes against the grain of human nature, yet perfectly aligns with reality. Jesus said we have to become a servant to become a leader. We see all over the world where servant-leaders thrive and dictators do not. The Bible knows more of human nature than all the reams of psycho-analysis developed in the most recent centuries. One person said you could pick any three books on a topic in a self-help section, and later learn the Bible already answers the problem in a single verse in Proverbs. Why not just read Proverbs?

We can see how God used time to express his Words over many millennia of time. And how did he address the masses when describing himself? Did he say look at me, I’m God. Or did he say, look at where you were, and where you are now? I’m the one helping you through this. I did all these things in your behalf. My track record stands as one who is helping you succeed, not doing damage to you. How many times does God call his people to “remember” – then he would describe the things he had done for them in very context of saying “this is who I am”.

Or rather, it’s what I do, that defines Me.

When people say things like “man created God” what they are doing is denying God’s testimony that the history of the world is what defines him. Take away the history of the world, and we remove the key way God defines himself. Take away God, and we remove the definition of mankind. If mankind is to have a purpose for existence, only God can define it. He’s the Creator. If mankind comes along and rewrites history without God, he has stolen mankind’s true identity, and left nothing but despair in its wake. Without God, there is no hope for the future. We all die, go to the graves, and our words and deed are forgotten.

God spoke to the prophets, told them he would personally come to earth and redeem all mankind. Said he would return a second time to clean up the mess mankind had created. Promised a number of other things along the way. How can he make such promises iron-clad? If this is in human terms, we make a promise to someone and work toward its fulfillment. It’s all we know how to do. In God’s universe, he has a lot more at his disposal, namely time, to affect what he wants to accomplish.

God said he would show himself to Moses as he passed over the cleft. Exodus (33-22-23) He would pass by in full glory and cover Moses with his hand, and then show Moses his “back parts”. This has been translated in various ways, but the Hebrew word is the same for when a person is thrown backward off a horse, or when an army retreats over the same path it arrived. This second example is telling.

What if God showed Moses God’s history prior to the present Creation? Where God had been, what he had done, etc – “who God is” in the way he’s acted over other time periods outside of ours? This is a compelling question, but it is alluded to with this one Hebrew word – showing where God came – and what he did – from prior to this present “time period”.

What if time is like a book? God has written into the pages of the book all the things he’s already promised. The Rapture, the Great White Throne, etc are still in the book on the page he wrote them on, but real-time hasn’t caught up with it yet. The people trapped in real-time have not experienced it yet. But it’s there, all the same. The pages of the book turn one second at a time, and all that God said would transpire on that page, comes to pass. Do other things transpire that weren’t on the page (yet). Perhaps, and this is where free will enters.

Doesn’t God judge us from books (Rev 20:12)? Books play an important role in gathering information in a sequential manner. They serve the role of sequential recording. We merely have to ask ourselves, if God is already in the future, everything we are about to encounter is already in his past.

See my essay On Foreknowledge, because free will, predestination etc are developed there.

When we think about it, free will is not the freedom to choose God. We don’t have that freedom and the Bible says so. It even says we’re not seeking God (Romans 3:11). We can’t choose what we don’t seek.

And while God says he’s a rewarder of those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6) this is speaking of those who already have faith in God, and who are seeking to root out the mysteries of God. For those without faith in God, they aren’t seeking him, so will not choose him.

Apart from that, think about choices. If I choose to step outside onto a 747 jet to Asia, but there’s no jet outside waiting for me, the choice isn’t open. Same for if I apply to a company I’ve chosen to work for, but there are no openings. I am subject to the choices available to me, so that choice isn’t really free, it’s just opportunistic.

One thing we always have the choice to do – is evil. No constraints on evil choices at all. Even Jesus said if we lust after a woman in our heart, we’ve already committed adultery with her (Matt 5:28), so even if the opportunity to physically commit adultery never arises, we are guilty all the same. If we consent to murder (Hosea 6:9, Acts 22:20), we are guilty of it. Jesus changed our perspective to his perspective, in that we are all evil by nature, but can choose good (Matt 7:11) for others.

God uses time to express his greatest qualities. In this regard, time is God’s greatest invention because it gives him the greatest glory. With time, God can express longsuffering, patience, faith, loyalty, provision, love, grace and mercy. Without time, mercy doesn’t exist. Justice is instantaneous. We as humans have no time to repent, grow faith, increase loyalty, work to the salvation of others, pray, etc. It takes time to grow spiritually, exercise faith, learn God’s ways. And when we do, God is glorified. There is no glory in a robot honoring its maker. There is glory in a free creation where mankind chooses to be loyal to God.

Time enables all this.

God invented time as a way to exercise his own self-control, because time constrains God from instantly annihilating his own creation. Think about how God likens himself to light, and when light enters a room, it chases away darkness. Darkness isn’t given a choice. God’s holiness compels him to judge sin, experienced as “wrath”. This is what Jesus has saved us from – not sin, not the devil or hell, but God’s wrath (John 3:36, 1 Thess 5:9).

And if God’s holiness compels him to judge sin, why hasn’t the entire creation burned to a cinder by now? God gives insight to his patience in the parable of the wheat and tares (Matt 13:24-30). He will allow good and evil to coexist because to remove evil will damage the good. This would be similar to a SWAT team entering a building full of hostages and avoiding a shot because they might hit the innocent.

But see what God is doing with the wheat and tares – the problem will be resolved in time, not with immediate action.

This is what confuses people who don’t think evil is real. They don’t attribute the evil acts of the world to evil people. They call it wrong, senseless, heinous, barbaric, sick, twisted, etc. But they won’t call it evil. They turn around and say Doesn’t God see all this? And why doesn’t he stop it? The parable of the wheat and tares is the example, but the better question is – You see it too? What are you doing to stop it? You’re blaming God for not stopping it, or claiming God is evil because he doesn’t stop it, but I don’t see you lifting a finger, so what makes you any better?

I can be certain that if God exists at the beginning of time, the end of time, and every second in between, that his omnipresence has a larger dimension – he is every-where, and he is every-when. He exists with me in real time, and he exist five minutes from now – a year from now – at my deathbed – simultaneously. He knows what is about to happen to me, because he’s already there.

My mother told me more than once as a young man, that if God intends me to marry, in heaven, my children already have names. Faith like this is what helps us deal with the here-and-now, knowing God is in control now, tomorrow, forever. And when the world turns upside down for us, it didn’t take God by surprise.

This is not to say the evil things befalling people are what God wants. The wheat and the tares tell us God doesn’t want the evil to harm us, but removing it will cause greater harm.

What of the man who believes he married poorly to a woman who doesn’t love him, seeks other lovers and shames him? Doesn’t God see this? The man has choices to free himself of this, but should not expect God’s finger to split the heavens and dispatch the evil doers.

What of the woman who married poorly to a man who doesn’t love her, but cares for her needs and doesn’t shame her or seek other lovers? She might be miserable, and she might not like her situation, but ditching her husband could lead to what? Nobody caring for her needs? Her end could be worse. What if God took him away from her and left her with nothing?

This is how the wheat-and-tares play out. Some evil allowed to remain because removing it does more harm.

Many people accept God’s presence in their future, in everyone’s future, and know when things go bad, God still has things under control and there will be an expected end, an end with hope, laughter, and joy that may seem elusive now, but it’s coming.

God keeps his promises. He already has.