Archive for apologetics

Resurrection…What’s the Point?

Posted in Gospel, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by paulthepoke

1 Corinthians 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;

emptytomb

The Greek word for “resurrection” is anastasis. It means: raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat); a rising from the dead; that of Christ; that of all men at the end of this present age. –Strong’s Concordance

The resurrection of Jesus is the power of God. The resurrection validates and authenticates Christ’s death on the cross which is the payment for sin.

So what if Jesus was not raised from the dead? What’s the big deal about the resurrection? Who cares? Scripture states twice in the below verses, we are wasting our time with Christianity and the Bible if the resurrection is not true. Without the resurrection, we physically die and our bodies are eternally buried. We are dirt and worm food. Job 21:26 Together they lie down in the dust, and worms cover them. Our bodies become the byproduct of worm digestion…

1 Corinthians 15:14b …your faith is also in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;

1 Corinthians 15:17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

Without Jesus’ resurrection, our faith is described as “vain” and “worthless”.

The Greek word for “vain” is kenos. It means: empty, devoid of truth; contains nothing; empty handed; without a gift; fruitless; no purpose.

The Greek word for “worthless” is mataios. It means: devoid of force, truth, success, result; useless, of no purpose.

This is our faith without the resurrection of Christ. Without Jesus’ resurrection, there is no hope for our bodies. We are dead and buried, a corrupt, sinful mess.

If we are not resurrected in the future, then Christ’s resurrection did not occur. That’s the security and truth of the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

Adam introduced sin to humanity. The result of sin was bodily death. Genesis 2:17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.

As believers in Christ, our soul and spirit are separated from the body at the point of physical death.

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

1 Corinthians 15:54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” The Apostle Paul is quoting Isaiah 25:8.

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?Hosea 13:14

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;

1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for “victory” is nikos. This is the word for the brand name Nike. Jesus’ resurrection is the power over death and sin. Christ is without sin (1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5). He fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17, Romans 10:4). He is the victory.

The promise of the resurrection is glorification, the reconnection of our body, soul, and spirit.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

https://paulthepoke.com/2014/05/11/resurrection-witnesses/

https://paulthepoke.com/2014/04/26/resurrection-for-all-part-2/

https://paulthepoke.com/2012/04/05/resurrection/

 

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Isaiah 8:14-16 The Rock

Posted in Gospel, Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 8:14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary; but to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, and a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

In Romans 9, the Apostle Paul is quoting from Isaiah 8:14 in the initial half of the verse. Then Isaiah 28:16 is quoted in the back half of the verse. Romans 9 tells us who this “rock” or “stone” is. It is Jesus. Paul connects the dots of the two verses.

Romans 9:33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

He is sacred and holy like a sanctuary. The phrase “a stone to strike” was prophetic when written by Isaiah. The grammar of the phrase in Hebrew refers to the stone being struck a fatal blow.  He is an obstacle to the Jewish people.  Jews by and large do not believe He is their Messiah. They remain hostile to His name.

The Hebrew word for “snare” is pach. According to Strong’s Concordance, it literally is a bird trap. Figuratively, it can mean an agent of calamity. He is the bait for the destructive trap to the people of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 8:15 Many will stumble over them, then they will fall and be broken; they will even be snared and caught.” 

Verse 15 restates the outcome of the Jewish people. Jesus will be an obstacle. Great numbers will trip over “the rock”. They will be crippled and crushed, shattered into pieces.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

The “stone” is tested and tried. The cornerstone is described as yaqar in the Hebrew. Yaqar can mean: valuable, prized, weighty, precious, rare, splendid, costly, or glorious. The syntax in the original Hebrew language states the “rock” was firmly, intentionally, and intensively placed. We know today, He was sent and set by the Father. The condition is the same whether it is the New Testament or the Old Testament. Believe in “The Rock”. 

Isaiah 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 

This is an official, sealed, and legal document as far as God is concerned. It was completed once in the past and the results are binding today and forever more.

“It is finished,” Jesus (John 19:30).

The Resurrection, An Enemy’s Perspective Part 2

Posted in Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2013 by paulthepoke

Matthew 28:11-15 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

Note the response of the priests and Pharisees. They did not try to deny or refute the claims of the soldiers. The Jews did not try to sway or change the story. The soldiers were believable. I think I would have some serious conviction if I had seen what the soldiers saw. The soldiers knew Christ’s body was missing. They had been literally shaken to their core by an earthquake. And they saw a bright, white being that was ridiculously strong. They knew better than to try and mess with it.

The Pharisee response, give the Roman guards lots of money. The soldiers are paid to lie. They could not have the truth out in the open.

Question, how many grave robbers would it have taken to pull off the job of stealing a body? There would need to be forces to take out the Roman guards. There would need to be several men to remove the sealed stone. Do you think all skilled Roman soldiers would have fallen asleep on the job knowing the consequences? Say they were asleep. Do you think the guard would have awakened with all the racket of somebody trying to steal a body?

The Jews said they would cover for the soldiers in regards to their superiors. The Jews knew the soldiers would pay a hefty price for failure when it came to their superiors, their lives. The Jewish leaders were willing to step in on behalf of the soldiers and deal with Roman leadership to quiet this talk of resurrection. Both parties just wanted “The Resurrection” to go away.

Here are some things the Jewish leaders did not do. One, they did not produce a body. Two, they did not form a search committee and go looking for Jesus. If His followers took the body, it should have been easy to find. Three, they fought the early church and the apostles at every opportunity.

The Resurrection, An Enemy’s Perspective Part 1

Posted in Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2013 by paulthepoke

Let’s look at those who were hostile or indifferent to Christ. What was their response to the resurrection? Let’s set aside the hundreds of eye witness accounts of believers or followers of Christ who saw a resurrected Jesus. What does the Bible have to say about non-believers? What was their response and perspective after the death of Jesus? The religious Jews and their power base were threatened by Jesus. He was moving in on their turf. The Pharisees wanted any memory of Jesus to be completely sealed in a tomb. The Romans wanted political and military control of the region. The last thing the Romans wanted was upheaval and a social uprising. They were interested in “keeping the peace” as they saw it.

Matthew 27:64-66 “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

The Pharisees have a request after the death of Jesus. To kill Him was not satisfactory. The Jews were bent on squelching any “resurrection”.  Pilate was likely agreeable to the Jews’ request just to get them out of his hair. He washed his hands of Christ’s pending death and claimed innocence of His blood (Matthew 27:24).

Pilate issued a Roman guard to protect the tomb. A guard was usually four men. These men were skillfully trained. Failure to perform their duty resulted in torture and death in front of their peers. The size of the average stone used to seal a tomb during Jesus’ day was approximately 1.5-2 tons. This would have taken several men to complete the job.  The tomb was sealed by the Roman Empire. If the Roman seal was broken, death by upside down crucifixion was the penalty. McDowell, J., Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1972, 1979.

Matthew 28:2-4 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

These were Roman soldiers. These were the most skilled, deadly, and armed military men of their day.  But they had an encounter with something they had not seen before, a being capable of moving a sealed, two ton stone. This thing was bright, white hot and came with an earthquake. It dropped out of the sky. It was a picture of eerie calm. The angel sat on the grave stone it moved, not exactly a hostile or defensive posture.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Posted in Gospel with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by paulthepoke

As we approach the holiday of “Easter”, many will ask “, What does a rabbit have to do with Jesus, why are eggs involved, and why did Jesus have to die?”

There are many traditions as to how “Easter” gets its name. Ishtar (Easter) is the Babylonian queen of heaven. She is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. Astarte (Easter) is the Syrian sun goddess, known as the queen of heaven. According to legend, she allegedly laid a golden egg which became the sun. There is also a pagan tradition concerning a bird who wanted to be a rabbit. The goddess Oestre (Easter) turned the bird into a rabbit. According to legend, this rabbit could still lay eggs. From this, the egg became a symbol of the start of new life, rebirth, and fertility. A rabbit became a symbol of fertility and new life. What does any of this nonsense have to do with Jesus? Absolutely Nothing!!!

One small problem, the early Christian church joined the fun and adopted the egg as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. This has done nothing but add to the confusion to the point and purpose of Jesus’ death.

Why did Jesus have to do die? This point is specific and clear according to the Bible. At this time, I will let the Bible speak for itself.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…

Hebrews 9:26b … but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

Just in case anyone is wondering, the message of a sacrificial death for sin rings loud and clear in the Old Testament in Isaiah. Look at the detail of these verses. This was written approximately 700 years before Christ. It reads as a narrative of the events along with the accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Isaiah 53:3-12 He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

But wait, there is more…

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a SECOND time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Just believe it (John 3:16).

Genesis 2:2-3 The Sabbath

Posted in Creation with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2011 by paulthepoke

Genesis 2:2-3 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

God has set the pattern of the work week. This pattern of a seven day week is wired into our being. The other facets of how we mark time have astronomical markers; the day (sun), month (moon), seasons (equinox) and year (completed monthly cycle). The week does not have an astronomical marker, it is different.

Our calendars work with seven day weeks, not five or eight or whatever. Man has tried to alter this concept of the seven day week. One example is the Soviets during the 1930’s. The comrades tried calendars with five day and six day weeks. The idea was for continuous work, 24 hours a day, non stop. The plan was for improved economic output. Somebody was working at all times, every day. The result was decreased productivity and more mechanical breakdown.

God did not rest because He was fatigued or exhausted. That tired argument is put to sleep in Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. The Sabbath is a notification that the creation is completed. His work is finished.

The pattern of rest on the seventh day is repeated over and over throughout the history of Israel. Here are just two of many examples.

Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” Note all people and animals are included. It is a universal concept.

Exodus 31:16-17 “So the sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.” Due to the everlasting nature of this covenant, one gets the idea that the Sabbath will be reinstated in the future when Christ returns. Based on this verse, we should be observing it today.

By the way, God takes the Sabbath very seriously. This is not a warm, fuzzy McDonald’s jingle “You deserve a break today” mentality. Exodus 31:15b …whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death. By this standard, how many of us would be around to read this? I know I would be gone. God is not asking us to do hard, physical labor or some unreasonable task. We are being asked “to rest” one time in seven days.

Genesis 1:31 – Genesis 2:2 Creation Completed

Posted in Creation with tags , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by paulthepoke

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Look at the word all or “kol” in the Hebrew. As defined by Strong’s, it means: all, the whole, any, each, every, anything, totality, everything. Who made it all?

Notice, it is God who made it. The grammar in the Hebrew is stated as a simple action verb. God made it, straight forward and no tricks. It is just not complicated. This did not occur by random chance. This was orchestrated by God. The creation account is complete at this point. Species do not mutate from here. There are no transitional species noted.

“Not one change of species into another is on record… we cannot prove that a single species has been changed.” –Charles Darwin, My Life & Letters, Volume 1, p. 210.

All of this is “good” or “towb” in the Hebrew. It is defined in Strong’s Concordance as: good, pleasant, agreeable (to the senses); pleasant (to the higher nature); rich, valuable in estimation; appropriate, becoming.

The completion of this day is not just good but very good. Previous days in the creation week were “good”, but at the end of day six, it is exceedingly good. See the word “very” or “m@`od” in the Hebrew. It means: exceedingly, much. In today’s vernacular, amazing, abundant, or awesome would be possible descriptions.

And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. The sun sets and the next day starts.

Genesis 2:1-2a Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; …

PaulthePoke

Prophecy Watch & Bible Study

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