Finding Jesus the Wrong Way
“The Lost Tomb of Jesus” documentary aired on the Discovery Channel March 4, claiming a tomb in Jerusalem once housed the bones of Jesus and His family. Once again, we have an arm of the liberal media presenting us with information that tries to debunk Christianity.
The two-hour special was bankrolled by famed Titanic director John Cameron, and it drew a sizable 4.19 million viewers. The lion's share of the coverage came from all the free press it received. Nearly every news outlet on the planet ran a story about the program. The way the liberal press was hyping the documentary, one would think they had found a tomb containing Jesus’ birth certificate and high school yearbook.
Having watched the show, I don't know why this "archeo-porn," as one archeologist described it, was given the green light. I would rank its dud factor equal to the Geraldo Rivera opening of Al Capone's vault. The man who found the tomb has publicly said the tomb is not connected to Jesus. Even the Discovery Channel team now realizes the hollowness of the claims in the program. The network has yanked plans to run future repeats.
Documentarian Simcha Jacobovici was the voice of the project, and he presented the core argument that this "Jesus tomb" is real because of the unlikelihood of finding another tomb with ossuaries containing the inscriptions “Jesus son of Joseph,” “Mary,” “Mariamene e Mara” and “Judah son of Jesus.” Jacobovici said “Jesus son of Joseph” was the Jesus of the Bible"; “Mary” was Jesus' mother; “Mariamene” was his wife, Mary Magdalene; and “Judah son of Jesus” was the son of Christ and Mary Magdalene. He put the odds of it not being Christ's tomb at 1 in 600.
There is nothing impressive about the names found on the ossuaries. The name Mary is shared by 21 percent of the women from the 1st-century Judean area; Jesus, Joseph and Judah were among the top four male names. "Jesus" is actually an English translation of Joshua.
When you consider that 88,000 people lived in the Jerusalem area at the time of the 1st century, it should be easy to find a few other tombs with the same names. I would liken it to someone finding graves marked with the names George, John, and Thomas, and then claiming they had found the burial site of America's first three presidents.
There is a major problem with one of the key names. Jacobovici said that “Mariamene e Mara” was Mary Magdalene, or "Mary the Master." Nearly every scholar who has looked at the inscription believes it actually says "Mary Martha" or "Mary known as Martha." Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, has doubts that the name ``Jesus'' on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it looks more like the name ``Hanun.'' Ancient Semitic script is notoriously difficult to decipher. Of course, if this is true, the claims made by “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” completely collapse.
What irritates me the most about these so-called new discoveries in the past few years is how they ignore the biblical and historical record. Thousands of documents provide details about the life of Jesus, and liberals say the evidence is not strong enough. Plato made the only documented reference to a city called Atlantis in 355 B.C., and people are still looking for it today.
The evidence in support of the Bible is so strong, Christians have no business going into the panic mode whenever Time Magazine, Newsweek, ABC "Primetime Live" or any other media outlet decides to fire a cheap shot at our Lord and Savior. From all the witnesses we have from the 1st century, it's going to take more than an empty bone box to rewrite history.
The non-Christian writer Josephus backs the New Testament account of a risen Jesus: “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he...wrought surprising feats...He was the Christ. When Pilate condemned him to be crucified, those who had...come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared...restored to life....And the tribe of Christians has not disappeared.”
I think the frequency of these attacks on the Christian faith provide strong evidence that the Bible is real. The Word of God predicts that the devil will do his best to attack the name of Jesus. You don't see the media attacking the validity of the Koran. I would love to see a documentary on how Mohammad plagiarized his ideas from the Bible. Of course, the god of this world would never allow that type of program to go into production.
End-of-Days Scenarios: Part 2
Again, I state that the end-of-days scenarios I lay out in this essay are speculation--postulation based upon my years of prayer, study, observations, and thought. I’m sure there are many who view things to come in a much different way, even among we who hold to the pre-mil, pre-trib view. So, I present this for your consideration, as, in my view, likely possibility, not as set in biblical stone.
First, let us look at the way the world is configured.
The United States of America is the world’s lone superpower. Whether looking at military, economic, societal, technological, or whatever category we want to look at, America stands alone at the top of the nation-heap. I use the word “heap” because this world is built upon garbage–filth from the heart and mind of its father, the devil. Boy! I know how cynical that seems. But, God says there is none good but One: “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God” (Mk. 10:18).
Since sin entered the world, man is fallen. Mankind must have redemption found only in God, the Son. People must be born again or they cannot even see the kingdom of God: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3).
Jesus’ words, here, have dual meaning to me: 1) those who refuse Christ by rejecting their need for a new, spiritual, birth will not go to heaven upon death; and 2) they cannot even understand heaven and things of God without the new birth into God’s family. I base this latter assessment upon the following words of the Apostle Paul: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
This is going to sound even more off-putting, but it is true nonetheless. Christians are the only “good” in this downward-spiraling world. Now, am I saying that I, in my fleshly efforts, am better than the one who does not claim Christ as Savior and Lord? No, absolutely not! I must say that in one regard, I am like Paul. But it is not his lovely Christian side, rather is the other. Paul said: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).
Only through Christ is any Christian viewed as “good” in God’s sight. Only through Jesus does a person become fit to inherit an eternal home in heaven. All humanly born and humanly-devised matters are due for God’s judgment and for eternity apart from God because He cannot abide sin. Sin must be dealt with, and Jesus is the way sin is forever eradicated.
When it comes to the future, all hinges upon the person and presence of Jesus Christ as redeemer.
So, why all that, to get to the speculation of what will happen from here to eternity? Because Christians are the key, in my stream-of-consciousness unfolding scenarios for the end of days. God’s final wrath and judgment will not begin falling until the only good there is in this world is removed. This Bible prophecy truth is found in the words of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:9).
When Christians are removed in the rapture (read 1 Cor. 15:51-55 and 1 Thes. 4:13-18), the things on Earth will change dramatically. We get a prophetic glimpse of that removal of Christians from the planet in Paul’s additional words to the Thessalonians: “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” (2 Thes. 2:6-7).
The word “he” in verse 7 refers to God the Holy Spirit removing from His office as He interacted with mankind during the age of grace (church age –which is this present dispensation). The Holy Spirit, resident in the church during this present dispensation, will, in the moment of rapture, no longer work in exactly the same way as now. He will interact with the human creation much as He did during the time before the church was born at Pentecost (Acts, Chapter 2). (I know some believe the church was born on the shores of Galilee earlier, when Christ called forth the first disciples. I disagree.)
God the Holy Spirit, living within Christians, is the only “good” to be found in people. The rapture will take that "good" to be with Jesus Christ for eternity. All who are “born again” (see John 3:3) will go to the heavenly homes (dwelling places) Jesus has been preparing for them since He ascended to the right hand of God the Father (read John 14:1-3). These will include everyone–dead and living--who have accepted Christ for salvation of their souls. There will be no good people left on the planet –that is, none that are “good” in God’s holy view.
With the Holy Spirit no longer acting to influence the consciences of humans in as powerful ways as He does at present, mankind’s actions and reactions will be exponentially accelerated for the worse. We will begin to explore likely scenarios for the period immediately following the rapture in next week’s Nearing Midnight commentary.
Book Review: Preparing for the Mark of the Beast
Author: Arno Froese
Midnight Call is the premiere Bible prophecy publication, in my view, and in the opinion of thousands upon thousands of readers/subscribers. It has become so, in large part, because of its editor-in-chief’s absolute adherence to God’s Word in analyzing the issues and events of our time. Arno Froese is the keeper of the gate for this great magazine, and I’m gratified to be privileged to call him friend and brother in Christ.
In writing his latest book, he continues in the spiritually attuned tradition presented in the magazine, and his many other books involving eschatological matters. Preparing for the Mark of the Beast is, quite simply, a terrific volume that welds the reader to each page with electrifying dissection of the many factors leading to that ominous, future insignia that will be the badge of obeisance to the son of perdition –Antichrist.
The author has, in my many years of knowing him, presented topics of Bible truth from surprisingly, sometimes amazingly unique, perspectives--i.e., Arno Froese thinks about details within considerations wrapped up in Bible prophecy like no one else I know. And, he, through his scholarship, causes others to probe more deeply than the cursory way in which they sometimes begin to look at things when thinking on them, and when lecturing on them becomes almost too routine.
Preparing for the Mark of the Beast will challenge your presuppositions. It will take you more deeply, in the sense of analyzing the evil involved, than you’ve ever gone into the satanic mindset of this fallen world. It will enlighten you to the methodologies and swiftness with which the minions of darkness, both demonic and human, are paving the way for the moment when the beast will sit in the Temple atop Mount Moriah and declare himself to be God.
Froese melds the words of the ancient prophets with the vernacular of our times. He integrates, in down-to-earth terminology, the profound endtime things God forewarned those many centuries ago with today’s headlines, giving the reader a portal through which to peer into their future.
Froese covers the present and emerging technologies from his visceral understanding of how these realities fit within the coming 666 mark of the Antichrist beast. Computer-satellite-electronics funds transfer, super-sensitive snooping devices wielded by clandestine governmental services, GPs and chip implantations –all are given appropriate scrutiny by the author. Few who undertake ministries that major on Bible prophecy have the level of acumen with which God has blessed him, and it shows in this book in a powerful way. At the same time, however, the author speaks most profoundly in forewarning the deceptive movement toward the spiritually fatal mark of the beast growing within the Christian ranks. His is, in addition to excellent prophetic exposition in general, a wake-up call to the malignant apostate sickness infecting this generation.
Arno Froese, without leaving the reader looking exclusively at the dire prospects for those who will be left behind after the Rapture, points all who will heed God’s Word to the thrilling truth that if one is sealed by the Holy Spirit through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, the mark of the beast will never touch his or her Christ-secured soul.
Preparing for the Mark of the Beast is a book that I’m convinced God has urged the author to pen at this, the most troubling, yet most exciting time in human history.
To order "Preparing for the Mark of the Beast," for $16.95 call TOLL FREE:
Preparing for the Mark of the Beast
I also highly recommend "The Masterpiece" by Dr. Joseph Chambers. This book puts the reader right out there on Heaven's Balcony, while below the stupendous Seals, Trumpets, and Vials of Wrath pour on an incorrigibly wicked world of earth-dwellers. Yet the work --one of the best I've read-- tells the Story of God's Love for His creation called man in understandable language accessible to even the newest student of Bible Prophecy.
See my review, then consider getting the book. You will be glad you did.